Saturday, August 29, 2015

THYME Magazine: Prayer, The War Room

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume X, Issue V

A 'Best of THYMEs' Feature...

G-d's Word to Praying People

Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
    Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
    and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
    they seem eager to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that does what is right
    and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
    and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
    ‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
    and you have not noticed?’

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
    and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
    and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
    and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
    only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
    and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
    a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
    and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
    and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
    and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
then you will find your joy in the Lord,
    and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
    and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." -- Isaiah 58

A special thank-you to Carl Tate for pointing out this scripture. As the 'other' weekly news magazine celebrates the 'Me' Generation's potential to become the next 'Greatest Generation' a number of great messages have been preached about dying to self and seeking to "decrease that G-d might increase." Indeed, men and women such as Jeremiah Lanphier, George Müller and Florence Nightengale began their journeys in prayer with a recognition of the heart of G-d.

This led them to minister to the pain of people around them. Then, realizing their own inadequacy, they redoubled their laboring in prayer.G-d met them and did amazing works through them.

Such is the hope that we should have as we begin a season of earnest prayer... that G-d will shine forth in the world, and that we will be open to His Spirit doing so.

Jeremiah Lanphier's Journey of Prayer
How A Nation Was Turned to G-d and Restored

Jeremiah Lanphier discovered the power of prayer in his own life.

A Milestone Monday Feature:

America found herself at a crossroads. Wild speculation and greed had built a house of cards. While a few became incredibly wealthy, the gap between haves and have-nots grew ever wider.   The economic crash had put 30,000 men out of work on the streets of New York City.  Churches languished as people explored Spiritism and other "new" ideas. We, of the Twenty-first Century, would find the condition of the culture strangely familiar.

Political corruption, shady dealings in business and a general moral decline were the norm.  "Atheism, agnosticism, apathy and indifference to God, to the church, and its message abounded on every hand. The decline was fourfold: social, moral, political and spiritual." -- Tom Shanklin

Then came the crash! Factories were shuttered. Banks failed and merchants were ruined. Thousands were destitute. Winkie Pratney, who chronicled the great revival, says: "A near socio-economic collapse jolted America away from her apathy into a national cry for spiritual reality." Chuck Balsamo presents a wonderful concise history of this revival in his book Make Me a Legend [click to read]. The story does not begin with a mighty move and thousands of conversions, rather it begins in a rather small way.

Jeremiah Lanphier was a middle-aged businessman caught in the crossroads. Having no children and no family, he was drawn to minister to the needs of those living in the dark slums of Hell's Kitchen. Leaving his business, he became a lay missionary with the North Dutch Church in Manhattan. Pouring his life into the lives of those he saw caught in hopelessness, he soon came to the end of his own strength. Physically and mentally exhausted, Lanphier discovered that just as the body needs food, the soul and spirit of a man need to be nourished in prayer.[1.]

Each day at midday, Lanphier would seek solace in the Church Consistory Building, where he would cry out to G-d for spiritual strength. He experienced G-d in a mighty way in these times and felt that others would benefit from prayer as well, especially the city's businessmen. He printed up and distributed 20,000 flyers advertising his first noontime prayer meeting, on September 23, 1857.

That day he prayed alone for thirty minutes before six others joined him. The next week there were twenty. The week after that forty people showed up. In time over 100 churches had noonday prayer meetings going throughout the city. G-d's powerful move was felt far beyond New York City. Newspaperman Horace Greeley wanted to get a count of the number of men  praying in New York so he sent a reporter out to the meetings. Racing around the city in a horse-drawn buggy, the reporter was only able to get to twelve meetings in the noon hour, but he counted 6,100 in attendance.

Spiritual awakening followed and Americans found strength in G-d for the turbulent days that followed. This Third Great Awakening not only revitalized the spirit of America's people, but led to missionary outreach around the world.  [2.]

The Prayer Meeting that Touched the World
Moravians Prayed Around the Clock for 100 Years

The village of Herrnhut in Saxony.

A Milestone Monday Feature

The Moravian Brethren Church was born in the 1720's when Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf gave refuge to persecuted Hussites from Moravia and Bohemia. The village of Herrnhut, Saxony, now a part of Germany, was built by them.

Count Zinzendorf started a round-the-clock prayer meeting in 1727. It lasted one hundred years. People in Herrnhut signed up to pray for an hour a day.

What G-d did as a result of that prayer meeting is amazing. In an era when travel was difficult and dangerous the Moravians became a major force in reaching the world with the Gospel. Their ministry took them to many parts of the world. Moravians settled in the new world in Pennsylvania. The cities of Bethlehem and Nazareth are Moravian settlements. Count Zinzendorf secured a large tract of land in North Carolina where the Moravians established Bethabara. From here they began outreach to the Native Americans around them.

In 1753, Moravians from North Carolina travelled into the Cherokee Nation, which extended into North Georgia and Alabama from Western North Carolina. The nonacquisitive Moravians eventually developed a long standing ministry among the Cherokee. Since unmarried Moravian men and women lived in communal houses, one house for men and another for women, they may have been philosphically closer to a long house people than other Europeans. The New Georgia Encyclopedia states of them:

Generally, the accomplishments of the Moravians lay in the fact that their missions not only opened their doors to all visitors, including African slaves from nearby Cherokee plantations, but also functioned as model farms for European agricultural techniques. Particularly, the Spring Place Mission served as an exemplar for other missionary enterprises to emulate."

The Moravians certainly were lovers of innovation in agriculture and craftsmanship. Visit the restored Moravian settlement in Salem, North Carolina today and you will see some of the first water pipes in America -- hollowed logs with metal couplings -- that carry water inside the Single Brothers' House.

The War Room
New Film Explores the Power of Prayer

Sunday, August 2, 2015

THYME Magazine: Lee Jong-Rak and IMAGO DEI

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume X, Issue IV: Lee Jong-Rak tenderly lifts an abandoned baby.

Living in Light of IMAGO DEI

In the earliest days of the Christian church, child abandonment was a problem too. Unwanted children were simply cast into the Tiber River. Understanding the preciousness of human life, the Faithful pulled as many of these young souls as they could from the water and raised them as their own. Pastor Lee Jong-Rak of Seoul, South Korea is a man who lives in light of that great Truth today, the Truth that man is created in the image of G-d according to the Holy Scriptures. Each life is precious.

Pastor Lee was moved by the sight of abandoned babies that were simply left on the streets of Seoul. Most of these infants died, so the man of G-d came up with a solution... a heated "mailbox" where infants could be left anonymously. It is estimated that about six hundred childrens' lives have been saved through this unique ministry. Many of the abandoned children are handicapped, having conditions like Down's Syndrome. They are seen by many in that part of the world as a curse and a burden.

Pastor Lee's own son is handicapped, and Pastor Lee sees him as a blessing, noting that such children increase our capacity to love.

The Drop Box” was directed by Brian Ivie, a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. “Through this movie, we’re hoping that people would see more than Christians working on behalf of orphans,” said Ivie. “We’re hoping that people would see a G-d who has always and will always love the broken and the lost.” Ivie was personally impacted as he directed “The Drop Box.” As he accepted the “Best of Festival” award for the documentary at the 2013 San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival, Ivie told the audience: “I became a Christian while making this movie. When I started to make it, and I saw all these kids come through the drop box it was like a flash from heaven. Just like these kids with disabilities had crooked bodies, I have a crooked soul. And G-d loves me still.”

The Drop Box [click to read] was shown in theaters in a very limited release. It is now available for home viewing on DVD. In an era when unborn life is so casually disregarded it is good to remember this: Scripture says that our children are created in the image of the Lion of Judah! That is what drives the work of Pastor Lee!

The film: The Drop Box is available on DVD.


Special Book Section

Several weeks ago we began the serial presentation of "Pontifus, The Bridge Builder's Tale in Three Parts." [1.] This week we present the second chapter of the second book: "Zimmerman's Folly" Here [click to read]. This special book section will continue through the Summer. The full publication of THYME will resume in the Fall. Look for a new installment each Wednesday morning.