Monday, May 9, 2011

Nicholas, Count Zinzendorf, Bishop: 10 May 2011
Nikolaus Ludwig Graff von Zinzendorf und Pottendorf (26 May 1700 in Dresden- 9 May 1760 in Herrnhut) (Nicholas Count Zinzendorf)

Nicholas, Count Zinzendorf was born in Dresden in 1700. He was very much a product of his time. Nicholas found the Lutheran Church (Dresdener Landes Kirche) to be rather dry. Influenced by his pietist grandmother, he found a joy in Christianity that seemed to be lacking in the Lutheran church of the time. Even in childhood he had a deep faith, and in adolescence struggled with whether to follow the Gospel or to fulfill his responsibilities to the king of Dresden as Count. At this time he established the Order of the Grain of Mustard Seed, a group in which the young men involved promised to use their position to further the Gospel. He later reordered the group as an adult, and such men as the King of Denmark, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Paris joined.

During his grand tour, he saw the painting ecce homo by Domenico Fette. The legend below the painting stated: "This have I done for you - Now what will you do for me?"
Count Zinzendorf felt that Christ himself was speaking to him and dedicated himself to the cause of Christ.

He married Erdmuth Dorothea von Reuss and took upon his duties at the royal court of Dresden. During this period, a group of Moravian Christians asked for refuge which he granted, and they formed the village of Herrnhut (the Lord’s Watch) on his land. Count Zinzendorf read about the early Unity movement and was impressed. His Moravians went through some serious divisions, and in 1727 Count Zinzendorf retired from public service to reunite them. Through daily Bible readings, they developed the Brotherly Agreement in which all secular activities were subordinated to spreading the Gospel. His communities were unusual in promoting equality of women, and having nobles and peasants working side by side. August 27, 1727 also marked another mile stone. They committed to pray 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for mission. That prayer group continued for more than 100 years and probably is the reason Moravian missions were so successful.

Hernnhut, under the leaderhip of Bishop Zinzendorf sent out missionaries to slaves in the west Indies, to South America, to the US Amerindians, to the Inuit of Greenland and Labrador, to Suriname, South Africa, Lyvonia, and Egypt. Bishop Zinzendorf’s missions often had an interesting twist. For the most part they worked in areas with no Christian presence. Once having developed the mission, they would often hand it over to another church, such as the Baptists or Methodist. In fact, while John Carey is called the father of modern missions, that name really should go to Count Zinzendorf.

In addition to managing Herrnhut, Bishop Zinzendorf had a wide ranging ministry and infected many people with a true love of God, dedicated to helping others, and helping men of means to dedicate themselves to proclaiming the Gospel.

Psalm 101:1-4
Nehemiah 12:27-31a, 43
2 Thessalonians 2:13–3:5
John 16:16-22

Heavenly Father, you raised up Ludwig Count Zinzendorf to build up your church and to send out missionaries. Grant that, like Ludwig, we would love you not just with our minds, but with our hearts as well, seeking to build your kingdom with the tools and position you have given each of us. Remind us daily that we live not for ourselves, but for you. This we ask in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Yeshuah ha Moshiah. Amen.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Isaiah: 9 May 2011

Isaiah (Yeshayahu) the prophet was of royal lineage and lived about 700 years before Christ. He was raised to have awe for God and to know and obey the law. He was called by the Lord during the kingship of King Uzziah and continued on for some sixty years. The start of his service began with a remarkable vision (Isaiah 6) in which Isaiah sees the holiness of the Lord and the sinfulness of man.

Isaiah constantly condemns the nation of Israel for injustice, especially against the poor, and calls for Israel to repent. He has a strong image of man’s need to repent, and God’s mercy if we do repent.

Isaiah was also well known for the suffering servant passages, which are both a description of Israel, and of the Messiah. He also predicts the virgin birth, and sets the context for the life of the Messiah.

Isaiah was eventually condemned to death, and sawed in two.

Isaiah 6:1-10
Luke 4:16-20

Heavenly Father, you cleansed the lips of Isaiah and raised him up to be a witness to the suffering servant and to help us to recognise the suffering servant. Remind us daily, since we are called by your name, that we are yours, and that we should daily remind those around us of your mighty deeds. Send us Lord into the world to proclaim that Messiah has come to save sinners. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen (red)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

St. Monica: 5 May 2011 (transferred from 4 May)

St. Monica (333-387)

Monica, probably a Berber, was born to Christian parents in Tagaste, North Africa. Married at an early age to Patritius, a pagan, she suffered much. He was annoyed at her prayers and alms giving. She was matron to the women and mothers of Tagaste to whom she witnessed and was listened to, because they knew her suffering.

Monica had three children, Augustine, Navigius, and her only daughter, Perpetua. Patritius refused to let her have the children baptised, which caused her sadness as well. After Augustine passed through a period of sickness, she concentrated her efforts on him. He was wayward and by his own admission, lazy. He went to school and fell into grievous sin. His father died soon after becoming a Christian, and Monica’s patient witness resulted in her mother-in-law becoming a Christian as well. Augustine joined the Manicheans, while his siblings became Christians. Uttering heresies at the table, Monica drove him away, but guided by a vision she recalled him. Guided by a bishop, she continued fervent prayer and fasting for her son and followed him to Rome and then to Milan. At Milan, she met St. Ambrose, and after 17 years of prayer for her resisting son, had the joy of seeing him convert to Christianity and be baptised in Milan. She lived in joy with her son in Cassicum, where after six months they decided to return to Africa. On the return trip, Monica died at Ostia, where she was buried.

Readings: Psalm 115:12-18
Judges 13:2-8
Galatians 4:1-12a
Luke 7:11-17* or John 16:20-42*

Father, you gave Monica the spiritual gifts to persevere in prayer for the conversion of her husband and son. Grant that we may so persevere in our prayers as to draw nearer to you each day. This we ask through Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Jeremiah: 4 May 2011 (transferred from 3 May)

Jeremiah or Yirmeyahu was a prophet who lived in the 7th Century, B.C. The books of Jeremiah, III and IV Kings, and Lamentations are attributed to him and his secretary, Baruch. He is known as one of the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel because their books were longer than the “minor prophets”) While being happy when he was younger, Yirmeyahu was know a the weeping prophet. Yirmeyahu resisted God’s call, but still went out, condemning idolatry, greed among the priests and false prophets. He was commanded to stay away from celebrations and feasting, and to call the people to repentance. His basic message was that the temple, king, and the priesthood were good for nothing as long as human hearts were idolatrous and full of deception. His basic message was that the people needed to return to full worship, and that God would give a new covenant, one that would include the whole world, not just the Hebrews.

Naturally, his message was not popular and his own people threatened his life (Yahweh warned him) and he suffered persecution. Like Isaiah, Yirmeyahu often had to act out his prophesies. As he predicted, Babylone (Bavel) conquered Judah, and many Jews were carried into captivity. The new governor allowed Yirmeyahu to select his dwelling place, but after Yohanan came into power, he forced Yirmeyahu and Baruch to go into Egypt, where he was probably murdered. Very little of what is attributed to Yirmeyahu was written by him. Most of it was written by his friend and disciple, Baruch. The so called letter of Jeremiah is probably not his work.

Jeremiah had a tumultuous relationship with his God. While proclaiming God’s faithfulness, and telling the people that if they repent they can still be saved, he denounces them at the same time, being told not even to pray for them because of their sins. He tells the people that their worship is nothing in God’s sight as long as people did not practice social justice and did not truly turn to God.

Heavenly Father, you raised up Jeremiah to warn of your judgement and to challenge people to repent and follow you. Raise up men and women to challenge us when we are in sin and to help us return to you. This we ask in the name of Yeshua who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach ha Kodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.