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Thursday, May 25, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – JOHN WESLEY... “A Burning Stick Snatched From The Fire.”

Get on fire for God and men will come to see you burn. - John Wesley.

The LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?" Zechariah 3:2.

I read on someone’s blog the other day, a scathing attack on John Wesley, and I thought to myself, how arrogant! How anyone can speak ill of another brother in Christ, never mind one of the ilk of a wonderful Christian like John Wesley, is beyond my understanding! It certainly was discouraging to see a man like Wesley castigated like that. I wonder if the writer can compare himself with Wesley’s love and work for the Lord…

Wesley traveled constantly, generally on horseback, preaching twice or three times a day, seven day a week. He wrote over 600 books, tracts, and articles. Compiled 23 collections of hymns, edited a monthly magazine, translated Greek, Latin, and Hebrew works, and edited, under the title The Christian's Pattern, Kempis's Imitation of Christ.

Wesley’s death did not bring an end to Methodism. Instead, it heralded a golden age of rising membership and increased self-confidence. Between 1791 and 1850 the number of Methodists in the British Isles increased from 72,500 to over 500,000, with millions more overseas. Although membership in Britain has declined since that high-water mark, Methodism remains one of the largest growing Protestant denominations in the world.

For example, between 1956 and 1996 the number of Methodists in Africa rose from one million to nearly six million and in Asia from 1,230,000 to nearly 10,000,000.

John Wesley’s reputation kept pace with this expansion. He was seen as the man whose genius and faith had laid the foundations for one of the great success stories of the post-Reformation Church. Despite cultural differences and the passing of more than 200 years, Methodists continued to look to their founder as the model evangelical and a focus for unity. - The Wesleyan Legacy.

John Wesley's father, Samuel, was a dedicated pastor, but there were those in his parish who did not like him. On February 9, 1709, a fire broke out in the rectory at Epworth, possibly set by one of the rector's enemies. Young John, not yet six years old, was stranded on an upper floor of the building. Two neighbors rescued the lad just seconds before the roof crashed in. One neighbor stood on the other's shoulders and pulled young John through the window.

Samuel Wesley said, "Come, neighbors, let us kneel down. Let us give thanks to God. He has given me all my eight children. Let the house go. I am rich enough." John Wesley often referred to himself as a "brand plucked out of the fire" (Zechariah 3:2; Amos 4:11). In later years he often noted February 9 in his journal and gave thanks to God for His mercy. Samuel Wesley labored for 40 years at Epworth and saw very little fruit; but consider what his family accomplished! - W. Wiersbe.
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When evangelist John Wesley (1703-1791) was returning home from a service one night, he was robbed. The thief, however, found his victim to have only a little money and some Christian literature. As the bandit was leaving, Wesley called out, "Stop! I have something more to give you." The surprised robber paused. "My friend," said Wesley, "you may live to regret this sort of life. If you ever do, here's something to remember: 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!'" The thief hurried away, and Wesley prayed that his words might bear fruit.

Years later, Wesley was greeting people after a Sunday service when he was approached by a stranger. What a surprise to learn that this visitor, now a believer in Christ as a successful businessman, was the one who had robbed him years before! "I owe it all to you," said the transformed man. "Oh no, my friend," Wesley exclaimed, "not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ that cleanses us from all sin!" - Our Daily Bread.
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Being much concerned about the rise of denominations in the church, John Wesley tells of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he asked, "Are there any Presbyterians here?" "Yes!", came the answer. Then he asked, "Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?" The answer was Yes! each time. Much distressed, Wesley was then ushered to the gates of Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! "No?" To this, Wesley asked, "Who then is inside?" The answer came back, "There are only Christians here." 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. – Source Unknown.
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I want the whole Christ for my Savior, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship, and the whole world for my mission field. - John Wesley.
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John Wesley preached his last sermon of Feb 17, 1791, in Lambeth on the text "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isa 55:6). The following day, a very sick man, he was put to bed in his home on City Road. During the days of his illness, he often repeated the words from one of his brother's hymns: I the chief of sinners am, But Jesus died for me! His last words were, "The best of all is, God is with us!" He died March 2, 1791, aged 88. - W. Wiersbe.

I think our attitude towards other Christians, should be the same as George Whitefield…

Although George Whitefield disagreed with John Wesley on some theological matters, he was careful not to create problems in public that could be used to hinder the preaching of the gospel. When someone asked Whitefield if he thought he would see Wesley in heaven, Whitefield replied, "I fear not, for he will be so near the eternal throne and we at such a distance, we shall hardly get sight of him." - W. Wiersbe.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, to forgive those who ridicule other Christians, because of their interpretations of doctrine. Help me Lord to remember John Wesley, and others like him, who loved you so much, and worked solidly for the extension of your Kingdom. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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