Category Archives: John Wesley

The Right Heart

     “Every wise man, therefore, will allow others the same liberty of thinking that he desires they        should allow him, and will no more insist on their embracing his opinions than he would              have them to insist on his embracing theirs. He is patient with those who differ from him,              and only asks him with whom he desires to unite in love that single question: “Is your heart          right, as my heart is with your heart?”

—-John Wesley from “Catholic Spirit”

         Jesus said: “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a             person.”

 

The words of John Wesley ring loud and clear in this confusing and divisive time. Wise men allow others to differ from them without turning on them. The concept that we must all walk in step with one another or become enemies is destroying our churches and nation. Our political or theological stands are not the sum total of our being.. The heart reveals our true nature. We are people of good heart or bad heart. If we wish ill will and destruction with any who disagree with our opinions, then I would say that we are not of good heart. However, people of good heart and wisdom can embrace others even if they are not in full agreement with them.

People of good heart:

  • Look for areas of agreement
  • Attempt to find the greater good
  • Work for the greater good
  • Seek truth
  • Understand there is more than one right answer
  • Give up power

 “Is your heart right, as my heart is with your heart?”


The Wesleyan Covenant Prayer

I am no longer my own, but thine.Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.Put me to doing, put me to suffering.Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,exalted for thee or brought low for thee.Let me be full, let me be empty.Let me have all things, let me have nothing.I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

thou art mine, and I am thine.

So be it.And the covenant which I have made on earth,let it be ratified in heaven.Amen.

 

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Some Thoughts About Fasting

The season of Lent is always a time to think and prayer about the value of fasting. Today I will share some thought from a variety of people from diverse background about fasting.

 

“Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

– Andrew Murray

“Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

– Andrew Murray

“One way to begin to see how vastly indulgent we usually are is to fast. It is a long day that is not broken by the usual three meals. One finds out what an astonishing amount of time is spent in the planning, purchasing, preparing, eating, and cleaning up of meals.”

– Elisabeth Elliot

“If the solemnities of our fasting, though frequent, long, and severe, do not serve to put an edge upon devout affections, to quicken prayer, to increase Godly sorrow, and to alter the temper of our minds, and the course of our lives, for the better, they do not at all answer the intention, and God will not accept them as performed to Him.”

– Matthew Henry

“The greatest saint in the world is not he who prays most or fasts most; it is not he who gives alms, or is most eminent for temperance, chastity or justice. It is he who is most thankful to God.”

– William Law

“Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

– Andrew Murray

“By fasting, the body learns to obey the soul; by praying the soul learns to command the body.”

– William Secker

“Fasting helps express, deepens, confirms the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God.”

– Andrew Murray

“The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things.”

– Ole Hallesby

“This Man (Jesus) suddenly remarks one day, ‘No one need fast while I am here.’ Who is this Man who remarks that His mere presence suspends all normal rules?”

– C.S. Lewis

“The abstinence is not to be an end in itself but rather for the purpose of being separated to the Lord and to concentrate on godliness. This kind of fasting reduces the influence of our self-will and invites the Holy Spirit to do a more intense work in us.”

– William Thrasher

“Fasting in the biblical sense is choosing not to partake of food because your spiritual hunger is so deep, you determination in intercession so intense, or your spiritual warfare so demanding that you have temporarily set aside even fleshly needs to give yourself to prayer and meditation.”

– Wesley L. Duewel

“Fastings and vigils without a special object in view are time run to waste.”

– David Livingstone


My Lenten fast is the “John Wesley Fast.” You might want to do this as well.


Prayer

Lord help me this day to develop a Lenten discipline. Allow me to conquer the desires of my body for rest, comfort and ease so that I may offer myself to You. For it was in your discomfort and pain that you brought life to me. Let this Lenten season be a time that I remember your sacrifice as I make the spiritual journey to the cross.

Amen


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Fasting, A Lenten Discipline

Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent. The Lenten season of the Christian Year when Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. I share with you today a way of fasting during Lent.

John-Wesleys-Fast

THE JOHN WESLEY FAST – A LENTEN DISCIPLINE

What is the “John Wesley Fast?”

Each Thursday evening, after the evening meal, until mid-afternoon on each Friday, Methodist people are invited to follow Wesley’s example of fasting and prayer. During this time he did not take solid food but fasted and focused much of his time in prayer.

What is a fast?

Normally persons do not use solid food, but continue with liquids during such a short but regular fast.

Who is invited to participate in the “John Wesley Fast?”

John Wesley expected the “preachers” to participate, and he wanted all of the John-Wesley-whoMethodist leaders and people to follow this discipline.

Why this pattern?

Methodist people are invited to discover the power in this regular pattern and discipline that John Wesley followed for a half a century. For Wesley, the more important reason for fasting was that fasting is a help to prayer.

As one of John Wesley’s “preachers,” I would like to suggest that this Lenten you observe the “John Wesley Fast” as a Lenten discipline.

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RULE OF LIFE

Note: I am not sure where I got this document, but it has been in my files for a long tome. I’ve taken the liberty to make a few changes from the original. This rule would make for a good way to observe Lent.

This Rule of Life is based Wesley’s General Rules, the membership vows of the United Methodist Church and St. Benedict’s Rule. We believe this rule opens our eyes to God’s grace, balances life and enables us to pursue holiness in all aspects of daily living.  IB

A RULE OF LIFE

PRAYERS

· We will pray daily

· We will use a variety of forms of prayer such as the reflective reading of Scripture and other spiritual texts, confession, the prayer of Examen, intercession, journaling, and contemplation.

· We will fast from food once a week (either a full or partial fast)

PRESENCE

· We will practice a contemplative stance in order to be present to God, the world, and ourselves

· We will be hospitable to our neighbors in our families, neighborhoods and workplaces

· We will be hospitable to our faith community through participation in our worship, fellowship and mission

GIFTS

· We will honor and care for the gift of the earth and its resources, practicing ecologically responsible living, striving for simplicity rather than excessive consumption

· We will practice generosity in sharing our material resources, including money, within and beyond this community

SERVICE

· We will serve God and neighbor out of gratitude for the love of God

· We will practice mutual accountability with a covenant group within the community, for how we serve God and neighbor

· We will practice regular Sabbath as a means of renewal so that we can lovingly serve God and neighbor

WITNESS

· We will practice racial and gender reconciliation

· We will resist evil and injustice

· We will pursue peace with justice

· We will share the redeeming, healing, creative love of God in word, deed and presence as an invitation to others to experience the transforming love of God.

I commit to this rule of life and to the well-being of this community, out of gratitude to God who forgives, heals, and makes all things new. May my life be a blessing within and beyond God’s church, for the transformation of the world.

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Surrender to God

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

The prophecies in Isaiah seem to be fulfilled in this man Jesus, whose actions live out the prophet’s promise. God is here, and God’s presence among us is manifested in healing. This is a wonderful vision. And we may feel very comfortable in looking forward to this. Who wouldn’t? Everybody wants to say; “I’m a good person,” . What a super possibility—a world where things would really be good. Imagine a world with only good. That is God’s world and He invites us to consider the possibility.”

This is how Mr. Wesley puts it::
“The most dry and barren places shall be made moist and fruitful; which is principally meant of the plentiful effusion of God’s grace upon such persons and nations, as had been wholly destitute of it.”

John Wesley

  • Do you daily turn your troubles over to the Lord?
  • Do you ask God to help you prosper?
  • How often do you bring your troubles to the Lord?

As you worship consider how much different your life could be if you surrendered your all to God.

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A Treasure Hid from this World

20140727-182925-66565063.jpg“The kingdom of God within us is a treasure indeed, but a treasure hid from the world, and from the most wise and prudent in it. He that finds this treasure, (perhaps when he thought it far from him,) hides it deep in his heart, and gives up all other happiness for it.”

——-John Wesley, Wesley’s Notes

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
——Jesus of Nazareth

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Wesley’s Covenant Prayer

In his covenant prayer, which he offered every year at midnight on New Year’s Eve, John Wesley prayed:PrayerEvent1

I am no longer my own but Thine, put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt, put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

As fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ, Wesley’s reminds us that we are not “free agents’ who go about doing whatever pleases us, but are part of something special. Our calling is to make a covenant with God and each other  that carries out the mission of Christ. How do you express your covenant relationship with God and others?

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Catching Fire

 

John Wesley said: “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”

If the church needs anything, it needs enthusiasm. Remember when people use to regularly knelt at the altar of the church? Such actions stir the soul to go forth with the message of Christ to the world. There are so many people in our world who are searching for something that gives them reason to soar. Mr. Wesley knew long ago that people are drawn to enthusiasm. Our challenge is to be enthusiastic people who just naturally lead people to want to know about the Christian journey.

Remember the words of the writer of Hebrews. “This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him.”

Enthusiasm is a state of mind that cannot be hidden. It defines who we are and how we act. It brings a smile to our face and kind words to our lips. Practice enthusiasm and it will be as infectious as the flu. We are followers of the “MOST HIGH GOD” – what could be more exciting?

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Wesley on Baptism

BaptismBaptism is the rite of adoption. We are all children of God by Creation, and Christ alone is Gods Son by natural and eternal generation. Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 8:15-16 state, “Ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified with Him. Paul infers this through the rite of Baptism when he states in Galatians 3:26-27, “Ye are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.”

So the rite of Baptism is a sign to the world of our regeneration through a new birth, and whereby we are engrafted into the Church. Through this act the Holy Spirit visibly signs and seals the promise of the forgiveness of sin and our adoption as sons of God. John says I was told that I would recognize the Son. Upon whom the Spirit would descend in baptism that would be the Messiah. So the Holy Spirit through Baptism declares that we have received Him and are therefore now, also, the sons of God.

From the Articles on Religion

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Covenant Servants

 

“Give yourselves to the Lord as His Servants, and bind yourselves to him as His Covenant-Servants.”

—John Wesley

John Wesley wanted all Methodists to be “Covenant –Servants” of God. He pointed to the scripture in Deuteronomy as his basis: “Today you have obtained the Lord’s agreement: to be your God; and for you to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, and his ordinances, and to obey him. Today the Lord has obtained your agreement: to be his treasured people, as he promised you, and to keep his commandments.” (Deut 26:17-18)  Wesley urged all people to take these words with profound seriousness. Today’s Methodists have fundamentally lost the Wesleyan concept of becoming a Covenant Servant. Our world is not in the habit of making covenants or doing service. Wesley put forth five ways to put this covenant into practice. Let’s try to recapture his concept.

English: Remember John Wesley, Wroot. Photo by...

SET APART TIME- Specifically, he pointed to the need of covenant people to have regular, secret time with God. Prayer, silence, and secret time with God are the fertilizer of the soul. Without such times we spiritually wither and die.

SERIOUSNESS OF SPIRIT- No relationship develops without a serious intent. The maker of the Covenant must be willing to work long and hard to keep the promises.

CLAIM THE GRACE OF COVENANT PEOPLE- With the covenant comes the grace of God, and that grace is beyond our human comprehension. People must claim and utilize God’s abundant grace on their journeys. Too often, we rely upon our strength at the neglect of the immeasurable strength of God. As covenant people that grace and strength is ours to use.

RESOLVE TO BE FAITHFUL- I can’t put it any better than Wesley himself. “Having engaged your hearts, open your mouth, and subscribe with your hands to the Lord, resolve in his strength never to go back.” The resolution is to never go back to life as it was before our covenant with God. Exercise control over our actions and our words as we strive to live for Him.

DO THE WORK OF THE COVENANT- We are commanded go forth to do the witness and work of the Lord. In our hands and through our words, the good news should manifest itself. Our work is done as if God were by our side watching our every move.

Wesley’s Covenant Prayer begins—“O dreadful God, for the passion of your Son, I beech you to accept your poor Prodigal now prostrating himself at your door: I have fallen from you by my iniquity, and am by nature a son of death, and a thousand fold more a child of hell by my wicked practices; but of your infinite grace you have promised mercy to me in Christ if I will but turn to you with all my heart: therefore upon the call of your gospel, I am now come in, and throwing down my weapons, submit myself to your mercy.” Life could be truly different if we all went to God in that frame of mind.

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