ARCHIVES JULY - AUGUST

2021

 

 

 

Blog 229 for AUGUST 28, 2021

 

A VERY SPECIAL THANKS

TO MY PRAYER ARMY

The last week of December in 2020 was a week like I had never experienced. I developed an intestinal obstruction that kept me in the hospital for the last week of the year. I was discharged on the first day of 2021.


The five nights I spent in the hospital taught me some very important lessons. The most important of these was the value of a prayer army. I was surrounded by a host of friends and relatives that called for God’s healing stream to flow through me. My dear Lord not only heard their prayers but answered them as well. 

 

 

It never entered my mind that I would ever be confronted by an intestinal obstruction again. However, it did happen again on Tuesday, August 3rd. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in Newport, TN, Medical Center. By now my prayer army was in full force for the healing stream of the Great Physician to flow through me. A new friend, Dr. Matthews, came to my room early Friday with the good news that I was being discharged after breakfast. It goes without saying that it was a great way to begin a new day.

 

The medical procedure for treating an intestinal obstruction is horrible. A tube is put in your nostril, down your throat to the obstruction area, where it draws out the stored-up waste. Two times is too many. Dr. Matthews informed me that I would need surgery if an obstruction happens again. I am pleading for my prayer army to rally again for God’s healing to keep all obstruction away from my body.

 

Jesus really is the Great Physician!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

Blog 228 for AUGUST 21, 2021

 

THE INFLOW AND OUTFLOW

OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Spirit-filled life is best illustrated by the inflow and outflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It makes a rhythm in the spirit possible and is absolutely necessary. The inflowing Holy Spirit cleanses and purifies our individual hearts and minds, and the outflowing of the Spirit impacts and ministers to others. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 8:5, “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” 


In 1967 I made my first trip to the Holy Land. The visit to the Dead Sea had a major impact on my life. Although water from the Jordan River pours into the Sea, It has no outflow. No fish can live in that water, and all around is dry, barren land.

 

 

That is the picture of the empty lives of many people in these last days. Rich blessings from God flow into their lives. They have health, prosperity, ability, and talent, but all around them is dryness. In many, there is no inflow of the Spirit. Their lives are barren, unable to flow out to bless the world that touches them from day to day. 

 

 

 

Are you asking: why am I so empty? It may be because the inflow of the Spirit has ceased and you are so full of yourself. No room is left for the satisfying, refreshing water of the Spirit, which only God can give. Please think what would happen if the inflowing and outflowing of the Holy Spirit would sweep across our land! Without a doubt, it is our greatest need and the answer for our time! Here is a sobering question for our day:

 

Is your life a dead sea or a flowing well?

 

 

Dear Lord, please send a mighty move of your Holy Spirit across our thirsty land!

 

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 227 for AUGUST 14, 2021

 

PEARSON FAMILY REUNION

AUGUST 7 AND 8

Bess and I have been in Houston, Mississippi, celebrating the Pearson family reunion. A few years ago the reunion had been celebrated every other first weekend of August. It is held in Pearson Chapel Nazarene Church on the outskirts of Houston.

 

Pearson Chapel had its beginning in the farm home of Matti Pearson, the grandmother of Bess. She felt a call from God to be the host of a Sunday School since there was no church in the area of the country where they lived. It wasn’t long until the Pearson home was overflowing with people. On May 14, 1939, ten miles from Houston, in vast cotton fields, Pearson Chapel Nazarene Church was organized.

 

 

From the beginning days to the present time, it has been the only church in the area. Mama Pearson has been a major key in the success and growth of the church. She and her husband Ed gave some of their vast cotton fields for a church. Through the years the growth of the church has inspired and built three worship center buildings. Two years ago at the Pearson family reunion, a large and beautiful new building was dedicated. It was a thrill to be there for this exciting event!

 

Through the years I have been the preacher in several revivals, two before Bess and I were married, and while Mama Pearson was still alive. I still remember while I was preaching, she got blessed and shouted God’s praise from her seat. I just stopped and let her have the moment. God’s presence filled the full worship center. Several people came forward at the invitation seeking the Lord, including an elderly white-headed man that had never been saved. It was great helping him to receive Christ!

 

 

It was always a joy to drop by Mama Pearson’s beautiful home when we were in Houston and visit with her. I always knew she loved Bess and me and was proud of us. I really feel that some of God’s glory on her has been on Bess through the years. What a heritage we have received!

 

 

At every Pearson family reunion through the years, our group has received a special offering of a few thousand dollars, in honor and memory of Mama Pearson. It is given to the pastor in the Sunday morning service to be used to meet a special need in the church. To God be the glory for all the great things He has done!

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 226 for AUGUST 7, 2021

 

 

We do not hear in these troubled times that the church is alive and well. However, the Word of God is continually proclaimed as another story. As a matter of fact, Matthew sixteen verse eighteen proclaims a different and thrilling story! Our Lord is speaking when He proclaims “I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” When He says "My," what church is He talking about? Is it the huge church in an American city or a fast-growing church with exciting ministries and non-stop building expansion? All of these may be great, but that is not what our Lord is talking about here. He is not even talking about buildings, crowds, ministries, or excitement. In spite of all its enemies have done, the Church has never been destroyed. It has sometimes been driven underground but it has not died. One major reason for that is the nature of the church: it is God’s Church! Another reason is that sinful humanity desperately needs the Savior of the Church.

 

 

By now you know where I am headed for this blog. The Church is people!  In the 1800s the famous infidel, Robert Ingersoll gave a speech in Chicago and said the Church was dying and in another generation few, if any, churches would be left. In 1776 Voltaire, the French Philosopher, in his famous writings against the Bible and Christianity predicted, “One hundred years from my day, there will not be a Bible on earth except one that is looked upon by an antiquarian curiosity-seeker.”

 

 

Within 50 years after his death, in an ironic twist of Providence, the very house in which he once lived and wrote was used by the Evangelical Society of Geneva as a storehouse for Bibles and Gospel tracts and the printed presses he used to print his irreverent words was used to print Bibles. Today the Bible is still the most popular book that is available to be purchased. Without a doubt, it really remains the inspired Word of God. There is no other book with the same transforming power as the Bible. It remains the most requested Book at the time of death.

 

When I was ordained as a preacher of the Gospel in September of 1963, I made a vow to God that I would preach God’s Word without fear or favor. God has helped me through the years to be faithful and committed to that vow. It has been a thrill to witness a host of people across the land that have responded to my invitation to join me in running the race for our Lord.

 

I am praising my Lord for the fellowship and the overcoming power of His Church and His Holy Word!

 

 

 

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

Blog 225 for JULY 31, 2021

 

 MAKES THE DIFFERENCE

One of the most amazing stories ever recorded is that of Gideon that is found in Judges chapter 6. Ten times I have been to the place where it is recorded, and where Gideon routed the Midianites. One of the reasons it has always been an exciting place for me to visit is because of the location of the miraculous victorious battle. It is in the same place called Armageddon, where the last great battle will be fought. It is known as the Valley of Armageddon and is known as the greatest battlefield known to mankind. 

 

 

Nowhere in the Word of God can we find a better basis to prove the value of one plus God. Gideon’s sword plus God’s sword...Gideon plus God...one plus God. What an army! It is just another way of saying if God is for us, who can be against us. One plus God makes the difference in any situation or circumstance!

 

Now think of things of lesser value than a man and we can still emphasize the value of one. One link in a chain...one shingle on a roof...one soldier counts in an army even though he may be a private...one letter is essential to complete the alphabet...one key on the piano helps to make a beautiful melody. 

 

Turning to world history we underestimate the value of one. Aaron Burr missed being president of the United States by only one vote. One vote saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment. One vote gave Texas to the United States. No society discovered America, but one man, Christopher Columbus. 

 

The value of one is illustrated in the Bible. Noah, his life was an unmuddied stream in an ocean of iniquity; Joseph, just one, brought deliverance to a world in a great famine; Moses, just one, with his rod, seas divided and a nation was born in one night; Paul, just one, rocked the old world with the message of Jesus Christ. 

 

One plus God has always made the difference through the centuries of time! Gideon plus God...you plus God. What a team! You, just one, plus God, but what a team! You can make a difference! 

 

You and I really can make a difference in a troubled nation and world!​​​​​​

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 224 for JULY 24, 2021

 

PROBLEMS AND CHALLENGES IN TROUBLED TIMES

 

Solomon, the wisest person that has lived in the history of our world, has really given us a great challenge when we are faced with discouraging situations in troubled times. All of us have been impacted and overwhelmed with problems we have never faced before in our lives. Look what Solomon has to say to all of us: “If you faint in the days of adversity, your strength is small.” The Apostle Paul adds a tremendous word of encouragement to all of us. As a matter of fact, it is my favorite promise in the word of God! It is found in Philippians 4:13; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It is wonderful to know that God’s love, mercy, grace and power is sufficient to carry us through every situation and difficulty we man face as we run this race of life. Let me mention four facts that will help us get through these challenging times.

 

  1. EXPECT PROBLEMS

There is only one place on this earth where there are no problems. It is in the city of the dead

   2.     WELCOME PROBLEMS

            Problems are stimulators to success. They never leave us where they have 

            Left us. Problems are guidelines and stop signs.

   3.      EVERY PROBLEM IS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY

            It really is a fact of life, every adversity hides a possibility. That has been 

            So true in my life, and I am sure it is also true in your life as well.

    4.     NO PROBLEM LEAVES YOU WHERE IT FOUND YOU

            We have a choice, to look up or to look down

            To give up or to press on

             No one else is responsible 

             We make our own decisions in life

 

Conclusion: Life is made up with choices. All of us at this present moment are living by the choices we have made to this present time. It really is a fact of life: There are many more to make before our life is over. I still believe that the best is yet to come!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 223 for JULY 17, 2021

 

The Church That Became The Talk Of The Town

Acts chapter three has the tremendous recording of a man that had been lame from his mother’s womb. He sat daily at the gate of the temple asking for help from Peter and John and gave him an amazing miracle of healing.  There were many great events in Jerusalem in the preceding months...the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and now the day of Pentecost was fully come. Pentecostal power came to those in the upper room, not to those in the temple. It came to the seeking, waiting, praying, and believing people. The lame man at the temple was a great mission opportunity. Underlying the glory of the miracle we see the tragic picture of the churches today. 

 

  1. IT WAS A PROFESSION CHURCH

They had a definite time to pray. No doubt it was a very active church, 

attractive, beautiful, and popular with a large attendance.

 

  1. IT WAS NOT A POSSESSING CHURCH

  • No power - No miracles, no conversions

  • No concern - The lame man was at their door daily

  • No passion - Lamentation 1:12 says, “Is it nothing to you, all you that pass by?” 

  1. IT WAS A POWERLESS CHURCH

  • It lacked the presence of the Power Giver

  • Lame man’s hope was aroused by Peter and John

  • Was he to be disappointed again as many times before?

  • Church today could be guilty of realizing people’s hopes but have nothing to give. The Power Giver came through two visitors. I have always thought that new blood brings new life in the church when Power Giver came to bring deliverance to the lame man, the eyes of the church people were opened. The best way for the people of the cities to hear about the Church is through miraculous salvation cases and miraculous healings.

  • Dear Lord, revive your Church before you return!

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 222 for JULY 10, 2021

 

 

CONGRATULATIONS

RESTORATION FELLOWSHIP CHURCH

OF LAKELAND

Sunday, July 4, was an exciting day for the Restoration Fellowship Church of Lakeland. It was the first Sunday in their new location on Hardin Combee Road in East Lakeland, near the intersection of U.S. 92 Highway. The facility formally was home to a Church of God for several years. It is a wonderful church plant with a beautiful worship center that seats 250 and a large gymnasium.

 

 

A very good sign out front now says Restoration Fellowship Church. Pastor and people believe it really is a gift of God! A very good crowd on a national holiday last Sunday, July 4, launched an exciting new ministry. The church will once again have Sunday morning worship at 10:00 a.m. Please spread the word and plan to drop in for an exciting worship experience. Bess and I are very excited about this new ministry opportunity and look forward to our first Sunday attendance after we return to Lakeland in the fall. I encourage everyone looking for an inspiring choir-led worship service to drop in for great worship if you are within driving distance. Auburndale and Winter Haven are close by. 

 

RESTORATION FELLOWSHIP CHURCH STAFF

 

This really is an exciting opportunity for people looking for a church home and a place to be involved, to drop in for a visit.  It will be like the “ground floor.” There are opportunities for music. Darrel Gash is an outstanding worship leader and developer of choirs. Without a doubt, he is one of the best that can be found anywhere. It has been my pleasure to have him on my team for several years. His worship leadership sets the table for the preaching of God’s Word. Pastor Terry is a wonderful pastor and preacher of the Word. You will know you have been to church when you attend a service at Restoration Fellowship Church of Lakeland. All denominational backgrounds are represented in a worship service. This is a great time for those that already call Restoration Fellowship Church their church home to reach out to others, inviting them to attend. Each one can win one! It is a fact, there are some people that are waiting for an invitation to attend a church service. 

 

Plan now to attend the Restoration Fellowship Church this Sunday. 

 

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 221 for JULY 3, 2021 

 

 

One of my favorite Sundays through the years has always been God and Country Day. Our goal has been to have an exciting celebration that honors God and country with inspiring music and God’s Word. In the many years Darrel Gash was my worship leader, he always had a tremendous feature of patriotic music with the choir and special singers that honored God and country. 

 

It is very sad that I have to admit that many churches refuse to have an extra special service feature around the 4th of July that honors God and country. I have heard some pastors say that they feel a service like this separates people that may not be in favor of a service with this special emphasis. I never catered to those in my churches with this philosophy. I have always believed that the more loyal we are to our Lord the more loyal we will be to our nation. Solomon, the wisest man ever to live, said in Proverb 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” You really cannot separate the two. I love the song we have always sung at every God and Country celebration, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

 

Mine eyes have seen the glory

Of the coming of the Lord;

He is trampling out the vintage

Where the grapes of wrath are stored;

He has loosed the fateful lightning

Of His terrible swift sword;

His truth is marching on. 

 

He has sounded forth the trumpet

That shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men

Before His judgment seat;

Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him;

Be jubilant, my feet;

Our God is marching on!

 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! 

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

 

 

There has never been a time in American history when the truth of our Lord needs to come marching on! I pray that every born-again, Spirit-filled person reading the lines will be motivated and inspired to take a stand for righteousness to prevail in all of our lives!

 

God Bless America!

Charles Kirby

 

 

 

 

Blog 229 for AUGUST 28, 2021

 

Thank You, Lord!

“Trinity”

(Written by St. Ethelwold)

 

This is the last blog in the three-month series of some of the most famous prayers of all time, as chosen by “somebody” associated with ConnectUS.  Some of the authors, many of my blog readers may have never heard of; nevertheless, for me it has been interesting reading, finding out a bit of information about the different authors, and certainly thought-provoking.

  

You are probably wondering just who is St. Ethelwold? I wondered that also. She has been the hardest one to find out much information. Not sure of her birthdate.  In fact, little is known. She was born to noble parents in Winchester, England.  She died in 740.

 

St. Ethelwold served in a secular capacity at the Court of King Athelstan. She was a leatherworker and bookbinder who turned Monk. She served as Prior and then Abbot of Old Melrose in Scotland. She was a Bishop of Lindisfarne, England, and she was a Benedictine hermit on Fame Island, England.  I’m not even sure in what order she served in these capacities. Below is her short famous prayer.

 

“TRINITY”

 

“May God the Father bless us, may Christ take care of us, the Holy Ghost enlighten us all the days of our life.  The Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and forever, to the ages of ages.” Amen.           

 

“Prayer is the key to Heaven...and faith unlocks the door.”

 

Remember those lyrics from a good ol' gospel song.    

 

.  

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 228 for AUGUST 21, 2021

 

Search Me, Oh God…

“Let Me Serve You”

(Written by St. Theresa of Avila)

 

 

 

“Govern everything by Your wisdom, O Lord, so that my soul may always be serving You in the way You will and not as I choose. Let me die to myself so that I may serve You; let me live to You who are life itself.” Amen.

 

 

This reminds me of a chorus I use to sing…

 

”I will serve Thee because I love Thee. You have given life to me. I was nothing until You found me.  You have given life to me.  Heartaches, broken pieces, ruined lives are why You died on Calvary.  Your touch was what I longed for. You have given life to me.”

 

I’m pretty sure Bill Gaither wrote this. If he didn’t, somebody did. I know I didn’t. 

 

St. Theresa was a Reformer.  She was born March 28, 1515, in Avila, Spain, and died Oct. 4, 1582.  St. Theresa was a major figure in the Catholic Reformation as a prominent Spanish mystic, and writer, and monastic reformer. She was known for her ecstatic visions.  Her bio is interesting.  So much to read. Disillusioned with the lax practices of her Carmelite Convent,  St. Theresa founded a separate province of shoeless Carmelites who took vows of austerities and strict spiritual discipline.  She was canonized in 1622 by Gregory XV.

 

 

In the “Twenty Most Famous Prayers of All-Time - Connect Us” found on the internet, so many of the authors have been Catholic priests, monks, bishops, and/or Saints.  Due to my personal religious background and denominational affiliation,  a few of the authors have been familiar; others have not. Next week’s famous prayer is again written by a Catholic Saint. It will conclude our three-month series of famous prayers in June, July, and August. 

 

 

Be blessed.

.  

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 227 for AUGUST 14, 2021

 

Hear My Prayer, Oh Lord.

 

“You Over Me”

(Written by St. Augustine)

 

 

“Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know You, and desire nothing save only You.

 

Let me hate myself and love You.

Let me do everything for the sake of You.

Let me humble myself and exalt You.

Let me think of nothing except You.

Let me die to myself and live in You.

Let me accept whatever happens as from You.

Let me banish self and follow You, and ever desire to follow You.

Let me fly from myself and take refuge in You,

That I may deserve to be defended by You.

Let me fear for myself.

Let me fear You, and let me be among those who are chosen by You.

Let me distrust myself and put my trust in You.

Let me be willing to obey for the sake of You.

Let me cling to nothing save only to You.

And let me be poor because of you.

Look upon me, that I may love You.

Call me so that I may see You, and forever enjoy You.” Amen.”

 

According to a 2016 article by Ryan Reeves, St. Augustine was born Dec. 13, 354 in Thagaste, North Africa; he died August 28, 430.  At the time of his birth, North Africa would resemble the modern Bible Belt. The conversion of Constantine helped to change the Roman World so that Christians were no longer persecuted. 

 

 

Augustine was a prodigious student in rhetoric.  He was an expert in it, thereby mastering the skill, speaking with beautiful words and with syncopated rhythms.  This was a path to a lucrative and prestigious career.

 

 

His career took him to Rome and Milan.  In Milan, he found himself confronted not only with pagans, but also with the local bishop, Ambrose.  Through Ambrose’s preaching, Augustine was converted to faith.  His Mom, Monica, had prayed for years for Ausgustine’s conversion  and she lived long enough to see it.

 

 

Returning to his native Africa, he became Bishop of Hippo.  During this time, as bishop, he would write nearly all of his works. There is much more information out there should you desire to look it up.  

 

 

“Only Jesus can satisfy your soul.”  Remember these lyrics from a good ole gospel song!  Bess

.  

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 226 for AUGUST 7, 2021

 

Oh to be Like Thee...

 

“Strengthen Us”

(Written by Thomas ȃ Kempis)

 

Hi there.  Here is one of Thomas ȃ Kempis’ prayers. As you will discover, he urged Christ-likeness.

 “God, our Father, we are exceedingly frail and indisposed to every virtuous and gallant undertaking.  Strengthen our weakness, we beseech You, that we may do valiantly in this spiritual war; help us against our own negligence and cowardice, and defend us from the treachery of our unfaithful hearts.  For Jesus Christ’s sake.” Amen.​​​​​​

.  

Thomas ȃ Kempis is famous especially for his writing of “The Imitation of Christ.” It is said that this is one of the most influential and well-loved books of Christianity.

 

 

Thomas was born in 1380 in Kempen, Germany, thus “ȃ Kempis” He attended a school near Deventer, Holland. He was schooled by the order of Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life in the Netherlands. So impressed with his teachers that when he was 19, he entered the monastery of Mt. St. Agnes and spent the rest of his long life behind the walls of that monastery. He was a Priest, a Monk, and a writer.

 

Thomas wrote many sermons, letters, hymns, and wrote about the lives of saints. And as has already been mentioned, his most famous work is “The Imitation of Christ,” instructions on how to love God.  In his writings, Thomas stressed the example of Christ in seeking a spiritual lifestyle. Thomas urges Christ-likeness.            

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 225 for JULY 31, 2021

 

“LEAD ME”

 

(Written by Thomas Merton)

 

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.  I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.  But I believe that the desire to please You does, in fact, please You.  And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.  I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.  And I know that, if I do this, You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore, I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.”  Amen.

 

 

I was not acquainted with the author, Thomas Merton. As I started my research to learn more about him, I was truly surprised by my discovery.  It seemed to me that here was a man who had tried everything and done everything...a struggling man.  I was about to decide to not use his prayer when I thought, this just might be the prayer of thousands of struggling people, both young and old.  Feel free to do your own research.

 

And this morning in our devotions, taken from “Follow the Leader,” by Norman G. Wilson, a simple prayer touched my heart, and I felt it would be appropriate to add to this blog.  The illustration was taken from a Christian magazine.  The simple prayer was a powerful one, written by a 40-year-old rough and wicked man. He was profane, mean-spirited, and loved to drink and fight. He went from bad to worse, from liquor to drugs.  Finally, he got so low he couldn’t handle himself.  His pastor repeated the advice he had given him so many times before, “Your only hope is God.”  Beaten and humbled, the man asked the pastor, “How do I contact God?” The pastor said, “Just talk to Him. Ask for His help.”  The man looked up and here is his prayer, a simple one.

 

“Help me, God. I can’t help myself.” The testimony of this 40-year-old man was that “God set him free from alcohol and drugs and all that rotten stuff.”

God hears all of our prayers, no matter our circumstances; whether we are thanking Him, praising Him, asking Him, confessing to Him, pleading for deliverance, or whatever your prayer is today.  Please know that God is listening. He hears our prayers and He answers our prayers. He may say “Yes;” He may say “No;” He may say “Wait.”


Remember to pray till light breaks through.                                                              

.  

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 224 for JULY 24, 2021

 

 PRAY YOUR WAY THROUGH!

 

“EMPTY VESSEL”

(Written by Martin Luther)

 

Hi everybody. Hope you are having a great week.  Charles and I are so thankful for those of you who read our blogs; and your comments which encourage us.  We hope they are a blessing to you.  This is the 8th “famous prayer” blog.  I started this project in June, and plan to conclude it, the end of August this year.

 

Our author of today’s famous prayer is Martin Luther, one of the most notable theologians in Christendom.  He was born Nov. 10, 1483, into Roman Catholicism in the small town of Eisleben, near modern Berlin in Germany; and was baptized the next morning on the feast day of St. Martin of Tours.  His parents were Hans and Margarethe Luther, middle-class peasant laborers.  His father, a miner, worked hard to ensure a proper education for his son and by age 23, Martin Luther held a Master of Arts degree from the University of Erfurt.

 

While his father wanted Martin to become a lawyer, due to a terrible thunderstorm experience, where a lightning flash narrowly missed him, Martin cried out a vow to God that if he survived, he promised to live as a monk, and so he did.  He entered the Augustinian Order at Erfurt in less than a month’s time, becoming an Augustinian friar.

 

Martin Luther was driven by fears of hell, God’s wrath, and a need to gain the assurance of his own salvation.  Even after his ordination in 1507, he was haunted with insecurity over his eternal fate and disillusioned by the immorality and corruption he witnessed among the Catholic priests he had visited in Rome.  In an effort to shift his focus from the spiritual state of his troubled soul, Luther moved to Whittenburg in 1511 to earn his Doctorate of Theology.

 

Immersed in the study of Scripture,  especially Ephesians 2:8...and the letters written by the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther came to the overwhelming belief that he was “SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH” alone. Luther now felt with all assurance that salvation was God’s free gift. After this, not only did these revelations change Luther’s life; they would change forever the direction of church history.

 

In 1514, Luther began to serve as a priest at Wittenburg’s Castle Church.  People flocked to hear him. During this time, he learned of the Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences (religious merits). Those who purchased these documents were promised a reduced punishment for their sins, for the sins of departed loved ones, and in some cases, total forgiveness from all sin.  Luther objected to this practice and on Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses to the Castle Church Door, formerly challenging church leaders on the practice of selling indulgences and outlining the biblical doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith. This act of nailing his 95 Theses to the church door has become a defining moment in Christian history, symbolic of the birth of the Protestant Reformation.

 

I think we can say that Martin Luther rediscovered God and changed. Those changes would forever change the direction of church history.  The Lutheran denomination was named after Martin Luther.  Read his famous prayer, “Empty Vessel.”

 

“Behold, Lord, An empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in faith; strengthen thou me. I am cold in love; Warm me and make me fervent that my love may go out to my neighbor.  I do not have a strong and firm faith; At times I doubt and am unable to trust thee altogether.  O Lord, help me.  Strengthen my faith and trust in Thee. In Thee, I have sealed the treasures of all I have.  I am poor; Thou art upright.  With me there is an abundance of sin; In Thee is the fullness of righteousness.  Therefore, I will remain with Thee of who I can receive but to whom I may not give.”  Amen.                                                           

 

Blessings, Bess 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 223 for JULY 17, 2021

 

KNEEL AT THE CROSS,

CHRIST WILL MEET YOU THERE!

 

“HELP ME LIVE IT”

(Written by Keith Green)

 

Keith Green was born on October 21, 1953, and died in a plane crash on July 28, 1982.  He was from Sheepshead Bay, NY.  He was a Gospel and Christian singer, songwriter, musician, and contemporary Christian Music Artist. Keith was best known for his strong devotion to evangelical Christianity.

 

What a talent he had. His life consisted of music, beginning with the ukulele at age three, the guitar at age five, the piano at age seven. Added to music were live theater, television commercials, and writing songs. At age eleven he had forty original songs under his belt and signed a five-year contract as a rock ‘n roll singer with Decca Records. Decca and Keith had dreams of stardom but were short-lived when Donny Osmond stole Keith’s short-lived spotlight.

 

There is so much more to the story. (Should you find this interesting, perhaps you might research his name and read more.) You are probably asking, well, what about his faith? We know that Keith had a Jewish background; but, interestingly enough, he grew up reading the New Testament.  This odd combination left him open-minded, but deeply unsatisfied.  His journey led him to drugs, South Asian mysticism, and “free love.” After experiencing what Green described as a “bad trip,” he abandoned drug use and became bitter towards philosophy and theology in general. Green would later state, however, that in the midst of his skepticism, he felt that God “broke through his calloused heart” and he became a born-again Christian.  Soon afterward, his girlfriend became a Christian; and in 1973 the pair got married and became involved with the VINEYARD CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP in Southern California.

 

The Greens began an outreach program in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California, which later was officially named Last Days Ministries.  Keith’s initial tone of ministry was largely influenced by Leonard Ravenhill, who pointed Keith to Charles Finney.

 

Oh my, there is so much to his story. I have to stop here.  What a ministry they had, and their legacy lives on. 

 

HELP ME LIVE IT

 

“Oh Lord, you’re beautiful, your face is all I see; for when your eyes are on this child, your grace abounds to me.

Oh Lord, please light the fire that once burned bright and clean; replace the lamp of my first love that burns with holy fear.

I want to take your Word and shine it all around; but, first help me just to live it, Lord. And when I’m doing well, the Lord be our defender and keeper of body and soul, both now and forever, to the ages of ages.”  Amen.  

.  

Just keep on praying.  Prayer is the key to Heaven.  I believe God loves to hear from us.  Thanks for reading my blogs. 

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 222 for JULY 10, 2021

 

​​​​

“CHRIST BE WITH ME”

(Written by St. Patrick)

Here it is July 10, 2021.  Where is time going?  I guess I can answer that.  It’s headed for that Great Day, that HomeComing Day, that Resurrection Morning.  Are you ready?  If not, PLEASE, don’t let another day pass without putting on the wedding garment; without being saved; without confessing your sin to God, repenting, calling on the name of the Lord, confessing HIM as Lord, believing on HIM, accepting HIS sacrificial atonement for your sins, and you will be saved.  And pray every day.

 

For the last five blogs, I've been doing a series on famous prayers.  Hope you have enjoyed them. And today is famous prayer number six written by St. Patrick.  We know of him, for several reasons, one of which is that he has a day set on the calendar, March 17, for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

 

His story is an interesting one. He was born in 385 and died March 17, 461. Research tells us that he was born in Britain into a Christian family. According to Patrick’s autobiography, when he was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates.  They took him from his home in Britain and sold him as a slave in Ireland.

 

Six years later, Patrick escaped and returned to his family in Britain.  There, he became a cleric and soon returned to Northern and Western Ireland as a missionary. He is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and teaching the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  He used a three-leafed shamrock as an illustration of “three in one.”  For this reason, shamrocks are a central symbol for St. Patrick’s Day.  It is said that he would faithfully ring the bell in the National Museum of Ireland, to let people know that it was time for church.

 

The printed portion of his prayer in this blog is the eighth section of St. Patrick’s Breastplate, a prayer of protection that has eleven sections.  In Ephesians 6:4, the apostle bids his readers to stand, “having put on the breastplate of righteousness.” 

 

Christ Be With Me

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I arise,

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

Salvation is of the Lord.

Salvation is of the Christ.

May your salvation, Lord, be ever with us.

May I take this special privilege and wish my great brother, Fred, a Happy Birthday this week! 

 

Enjoy this YouTube video of The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY.” 

 

 

Bess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 221 for JULY 3, 2021

 

 

“COVENANT PRAYER”

( Written by John Wesley )​​​​​​

 

As I have said in previous blogs, many of the facts concerning the authors of these famous prayers came from research on the internet, especially Wikipedia. Please feel free to learn more about these authors via your own research.

 

Methodists, Nazarenes, and Wesleyans for sure would know who John Wesley was. They could probably add much to this blog about him, even quote some of his sayings, or maybe tell a familiar story that he told. Wesley prayed many “famous” prayers. The Covenant Prayer is one of them.

 

John Wesley was born on June 17, 1703, in Epworth, England, 23 miles northwest of Lincoln, as the 15th child of Samuel Wesley and his wife, Susanna Wesley. He died on March 2, 1791, at age 87. What a contribution he made to the world, having founded the Methodist Church; introducing the experience of sanctification in one’s Christian life.

 

 

Growing up under the tutelage of his father Samuel, a graduate of the University of Oxford, a poet, and a rector of Epworth, and under the tutelage of his devout mother, Susanna, John became a Christian and later an Anglican Minister. In late 1735, as a young adult, he was invited to serve as a pastor to British Colonists in Savannah, Georgia. So he boarded a ship leaving England headed to the New World.

 

And the story continues...After a while there he went back to England. He was struggling with his Christian experience. In prayer, he sought help and history tells us that he describes the experience he had, this way. He was “strangely warmed.” He knew that he had had an encounter with God. At your convenience, go and read the rest of the story.

 

That encounter, that experience of sanctification, turned his life around, gave him the power to serve God effectively, to do great exploits for God. His continuing legacy is seen even today in every Methodist, Nazarene, and Wesleyan Church.

  

COVENANT PRAYER

 

“I am no longer my own, but yours.

Put me to what you will, 

Place me with whom you will.

Put me to doing, 

Put me to suffering.

Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you,

Praised for you or criticized for you.

Let me be full, let me be empty.

Let me have all things, let me have nothing.

I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service.

And now, O wonderful and Holy God,

Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer,

You are mine, and I am Yours.

So be it.

And the covenant which I have made on earth,

Let it also be made in heaven.

Amen."

 

Enjoy the YouTube video, “I Surrender All,” by the National Christian Choir.

 

 

 

P.S. July 3rd is our son Chuck’s birthday. Love you, Son! Happy Birthday to you. July 4th is my deceased Sister’s and her daughter’s birthday, Angela Cordell Thaggard. Happy Birthday, Angie. And of course, July 4th is America’s Independence Day. God, please bless America. We know that righteousness exalts a nation. Revive us again, oh Lord! Send a mighty Holy Ghost Revival on this land from the northern border to the southern border; from the West Coast to the east coast...all over this land. May righteousness, joy, and peace reign. Amen. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

 

Bess