A New York family bought a ranch out west hoping to raise cattle. Later a friend asked what they named their ranch. The new rancher answered, “I wanted it to be the Bar-J. My wife wanted it to be the Suzy-Q, one son wanted the Flying-W, and the other the Lazy-Y. We finally decided on the Bar-J-Suzy-Q-Flying-W-Lazy-Y. We have only had one problem. None of our cattle survived the branding.”
Sometimes making everybody happy does not mean that you have unity. The Moravian brethren discovered this in the midst of internal conflict in 1747. Count Zinzendorf arranged to have a Conference so they could discuss the issues causing the controversy. When the representatives arrived they did not immediately begin to have debates as they had assumed. Instead, he instructed them to first spend time in prayer and the study of 1 John. By the end of the week they had realized again that one of the main lessons of the book was “love for all the brethren.” On Sunday they agreed they should observe the Lord’s Supper, remembering that being many they were one Body. Compromise or debate would have failed. Looking to God for guidance, they once again became the unified functioning body of Christ. They now experienced what they had forgotten they cherished – the blessing of unity.
Prayer with purpose, submission to God’s Word, and a humble spirit brought the blessing of unity to the Moravian brethren. It is time for God’s people to use this simple formula today.
By Dr. Gayle Woods
1 Peter 4:12-16
We discover the strength we have in Christ in the midst of adversity. It is interesting to observe that most of the Psalms were written during times of difficulty. Many of the New Testament Epistles were written in prisons. The book of Revelation was written while John was in exile. Most of the great thinkers in history had their most profound discoveries while in time of tribulation. It seems that when God has important plans for a person He takes him into the fire. In the 4th century A.D. 318 delegates gathered for the Nicene Council. Less than twelve had lost an eye, a hand, or had been made lame by torture. Daniel, Jeremiah, Paul, and John all were brought to the depths in order to know the strength of Christ as they brought glory to the Father in their works and words. On the wall in Charles Spurgeon’s bedroom hung a plague that said it well. “I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10) A clay pot can sit in the heat of the sun indefinitely and know no change. It will remain a clay pot. It is only when it is placed in the intense heat (between 2,192 °F and 2,552 °F) of the kiln that it can become porcelain.
by Dr. Gayle Woods
Tim Bowden in his book “One Crowded Hour” tells of an incident that took place in Borneo in 1964. Napalese soldiers preparing for combat were asked if they would be willing to jump from airplanes flying over Cambodia. They had never done this before and didn’t completely understand the implications of the request. Bravely, however, they stated their willingness asking only that the airplane they were to jump from would fly slowly over a swampy area at an altitude of 100 feet. The puzzled officer making the request told them this was not possible. Their parachutes would not have time to open at this low altitude. The Napalese soldiers answered in surprise. “You didn’t mention parachutes before.”
This amusing story illustrates the type of dedication that is demonstrated by those who serve the Lord. Strengthened by Him they face challenges they would otherwise avoid. David Livingstone, is a good example. He over 29,000 miles through Africa in order to minister to the people. During this time his wife died and he faced strong opposition from his Scottish supporters. In spite of these problems and the added burden of being half blind he continued his work. An entry in his diary states his resolve: “Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever me from any tie but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.” (http://kaarre.wordpress.com/tag/god-go-with-me/)
by Dr. Gayle Woods