"Dedicated to strengthening and encouraging the Body of Christ."

Laying Up God’s Word In Our Hearts

By Lois J. Stucky

    Please reread the significant second sentence in the above account of Pastor Blumhardt as repeated here: "From his father he imbibed in boyhood a keen relish for Scripture study." What a valuable, enduring heritage for a father to leave to his son! The Word penetrating Blumhardt’s youthful heart and thoughts provided excellent guiding principles for almost his full lifetime. His study of the Scriptures from boyhood no doubt contributed to the important fact that though he studied at a university that largely discredited evangelical truth, he came through with his evangelical faith untainted.

    The account of Pastor Blumhardt also speaks of his strong faith which "took absolute hold on the promises of the Word." Being full of the Word of God and believing it implicitly provided the solid foundation God could use to make Blumhardt’s preaching of great profit to the crowds drawn to hear him preach. His courageous faith in standing and acting upon the Word made way for God’s power to be displayed widely. During that night of intense prayer battle against Satan’s hold on the young lady in his congregation, Blumhardt’s faith, quickened by his fasting, and his determined stand on the promises of God, and his persistence throughout the night – culminated in the shout of deliverance, "Jesus is victor!" God was glorified throughout a community and a nation and beyond as a result.

    Following Blumhardt through life, it is apparent that he had gained from his diligent study of God’s Word more than a head full of knowledge. His heart partook of the spirit of the loving heavenly Father and the tenderhearted, caring Son and Savior as revealed in the Word. Blumhardt took time like Jesus with whomever came to him for help, whether that one was nobility or a commoner or even a disreputable person. As a true servant of Christ, he unselfishly disregarded the inconvenience it might cost him to minister day or night. People could sense his heartfelt concern for them in their need by his kindly touch on their head as he prayed for them. The attention he showed to children attested to his humility. The love of the Lord in his heart for souls around the world led to his wide support of missionary work. Like Jesus, his primary aim was to call "sinners to repentance" (Luke 5:32). But God was pleased also to grant healings among those people in need who gathered for prayer, and Blumhardt’s compassionate heart rejoiced when needs were met.

    Through His Word and by prayer and by His Spirit, God was working more and more of the image of Christ into Blumhardt. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor. 3:18). The Holy Spirit and the Word of God and the seeking of God’s face can do the same for those of us who long to bear more of the image of our dear Lord and Master.

    Will you please join us in prayer that this issue of Herald of His Coming will inspire readers to eagerly make time, sacrifice time if necessary, to immerse ourselves in reading and studying and meditating on God’s Word? The ultimate purpose is that we live more holy and fruitful lives, bearing more fully the image of Christ and being well pleasing in the sight of God.

 

 

Pastor Blumhardt (1805-1880): His Life And Ministry (Part 1)

    John Christolf Blumhardt was born in Germany in 1805. From his father he imbibed in boyhood a keen relish for Scripture study. He received thorough training as a Lutheran pastor. Although the universities were largely discounting evangelical truth and simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he passed through their courses thoroughly trained but untainted in his faith.

    As he left the university his whole being was filled with zeal to do the utmost in his power to counteract the evil tendencies of the age. When in 1828 he began to preach, his gifts soon became widely known and recognized.

    It was no doubt a wonderful help to his whole Christian life to work for six years in connection with the Missionary Training School at Basle. Here the missionary fervor was implanted and he had the opportunity of seeing the power of evangelical truth.

    The marked characteristic of the man at this stage of his experience was a strong faith in God, a faith that took absolute hold on the promises of the Word and rested upon them in calm confidence. In person he was commanding, yet gentle and winning in manner, while in conversation he manifested an interest in and love for all men. God had wonderful things in store for him, and the call came to a new field.

    After short service as pastor of Iptingen, in 1838 he removed to Mottlingen, a Lutheran village in the Black Forest of the kingdom of Wurtemberg. At the beginning of his work there he was married to Johanna Dorothea Kollner, who proved to be a devoted Christian wife and helper.

    Simple trust in Jesus was held in contempt by many, but the young pastor boldly began to preach where his Master had begun before him, with that first and most important Gospel to sinners, "Repent ye: for the kingdom of God is at hand" (Matt. 3:2). Soon his earnestness and zeal bore fruit, and crowds flocked to hear the simple Word. A revival came on, mingled with conflicts and opposition, but he held steadily onward and endeavored to guide all who believed into the pathway of holiness. He had unlimited confidence in the atonement of Christ for soul and body and was not at all ashamed to avow his belief and faith.

    God often teaches us through some spiritual crisis. Blumhardt learned the way of faith more perfectly through meeting a case in his pastoral experience that did not seem to respond to prayer. There was a young woman in his congregation who was very strangely afflicted. For a period of two years Blumhardt had her constantly on his mind and presented her to God in prayer. She seemed to be truly possessed of demons as in great agony she would speak first with one voice and then with a strangely different one. Medical men were sent for and upon examination, asked if there was not someone who could pray, as this did not seem to be a case for medical treatment.

    This came as a challenge to Blumhardt, and the pressure was increased when some of his members who had accepted his teaching as to the power of prayer, came to him and told him that this was his opportunity. There was no way of retreating from the challenge, and so he gave himself to earnest prayer. He also responded, "To be in accord with the Word of God you also must unite with me in supplication, according to James 5:14."

    At first there seemed to be nothing accomplished by Blumhardt’s prayers. The young woman became worse. He took the burgomaster of the town with him on frequent occasions, who witnessed the raving and the peculiar phenomena manifested by this young woman, but all his praying and visitation seemed to be of no avail.

    His attention after a time was drawn to the text in Scripture which says that "…this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matt. 17:21). In his desperation Blumhardt gave himself to prayer and fasting and then called upon the young woman once again. Prayer was made and the fulfillment of the promise claimed. In the name of Jesus, he commanded the evil spirits to depart. But Satan would not give up without a struggle. Through an entire night the battle continued, Blumhardt praying unceasingly and with rising faith. Toward morning the struggle culminated. The demon was vanquished! The afflicted one was made whole! One of her limbs had been drawn up and was considerably shorter than the other. This was immediately lengthened and she was entirely healed!

    The cry, "Jesus is Victor!" rang out with such fervor that almost the whole village heard it. A dissolute man who was passing near the young woman’s home at the time became thoroughly convicted of his sins and sought out Pastor Blumhardt afterward and gave his heart to the Lord. Then he spent his time bringing others who were out of Christ to the pastor, which resulted in about twenty being brought to a saving knowledge of the truth.

    News of the remarkable deliverance of the young woman in Pastor Blumhardt’s parish spread rapidly and for months he was busy dealing with seeking souls. Through the answer to prayer for the young woman, Blumhardt’s own confidence in God increased, and God began not only saving souls but also healing the sick in such a marked way that many began coming to him from different parts of Germany. Sometimes large companies would camp on the lawn of his church, and he would preach to them and pray for them.

    On the monthly day of "humiliation and supplication," Blumhardt preached from the text, "The right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly" (Psa. 118:15). The pastor said himself that from that day he was actually besieged in his own house, from seven in the morning till eleven at night. Men who had never cared for their souls sat in the parlor for hours, patiently awaiting their turn. In two months’ time there was scarcely a score of persons in the parish who had not thus come in humble confession and sincere repentance.

    Said Blumhardt: "The meeting of the so-called Pietists within the parish, about thirty in number, soon grew like an avalanche, and prayer meetings had to be held – first twice, then four times a week. The people felt so irresistibly driven to meet together that eventually the prayer meetings had to take place every evening…. The Lord blessed these gatherings more and more.

    "Extremely touching were the assemblies of the children in three or four sections, of which I knew nothing for a considerable time. There you would see children of four years and upwards, all kneeling in a circle, and praying in so earnest, childlike, and intelligent a manner, that grown-up people who happened to hear them could not restrain their tears. Who had taught these little ones to pray? They used to go about so carelessly. Who put into their minds that sudden and irresistible desire to unite themselves in prayer?

    "For the grown-up people I now arranged evening lectures, held first at my own house twice a week, then in the large schoolroom; and when the schoolroom would not hold the people, we were obliged to assemble in the church. I held besides, three times during the summer, conferences, eight meetings each time, and each lasting about three hours. These the Lord was pleased greatly to bless. My principal aim in this was to lay a good foundation in the families for brotherly love, peace, forbearance to one another, and the spirit of reconciliation. It became a rule that married people frequently prayed together, besides having the daily morning and evening prayers with their families; and this contributed more than anything else to the keeping alive and strengthening of the Christian spirit."

    (To be continued)

   – From the booklet Pastor Blumhardt.

 

 

Read Reverently

    One of the main sources of power in the life of George Müller of Bristol, England, was his devotion to the Bible. He read it reverently every day, and gave the following principles for reading the Bible for personal profit.

    • Read regularly. Read alternately from the Old and New Testaments. Begin at the beginning of each. Mark where you leave off each day. When you have finished each Testament, begin it again.

    • Read prayerfully. Seek carefully the help of the Holy Spirit so that He will enlighten you.

    • Read with meditation. Ponder the truth so that it may be applied to your heart. Better read a little, and think much, than read much and think little.

    • Read with reference to yourself. Never read only with a view to instructing others. Ask yourself, "How does this affect me, my faith, my life, my service?"

    • Read with faith. Not critically, but to discover the revealed Word of God. Rest upon God’s promises, warnings and commands as of vital importance.

    • Read to carry into practice. Accept God’s Word as being the revelation of His will. He expects us to do, as well as to know.

    • Read it to find Christ in the whole Word of God. As He is promised, incarnate, atoning for sin, resurrected, ever living, coming again!

 

 

Clean Because Of God’s Word

    William Culbertson wrote, "I recall reading a sentence from George Henderson: ‘The Bible is unlike any other book, in that one must personally know its Author before one can really understand its contents; it resembles other books in that to be understood it must be read, to be known it must be studied.’

    "If there is in our hearts any aspiration for holiness – if, implanted by the Holy Spirit, there is a deep desire for Christlikeness – then we can be absolutely sure that the Holy Spirit will lead us to make much of the Word of God. No one who has at his disposal the blessed Book of God and who neglects that Book can be a strong, holy Christian."

    D. L. Moody used to inscribe in the front of his Bible, "This Book will keep me from sin, or sin will keep me from this Book."

    "Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee" (Psa. 119:11).

 

 

Tools For Studying God’s Word – A Family Study Of Psalm 119

By Kim Butts

    "Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in His ways" (Psa. 119:1-3).

    If the promised blessing for those who accomplish these things seems like an impossibility for your family, consider that at the very end of Psalm 119 (v. 176) the psalmist himself, who for all his devotion to obediently following the Lord’s commands, confesses his inability to keep from falling into sin without the guidance of the Shepherd.

    We are all in the process of becoming like Christ, who, when He walked on this earth, was blameless, kept the Lord’s statutes, sought after the Lord with all of His heart, and did nothing wrong while walking in the ways of the Father.

    Consider taking your family on an unforgettable journey through the Word of God as revealed in Psalm 119. This psalm is a devotional study dedicated to the Word of the Lord! It is also a prayer, because the psalmist is speaking directly to God. As you read, study, meditate, memorize, pray, seek, repent, obey, praise, and testify to what the Word of God has done, you will gradually become as individuals, and as a family, more of a reflection of Christ Himself.

    As you read each verse do the following as a family (realizing that some of these action steps may not apply to every verse):

    Read the verse out loud (you can take turns as you go through the psalm). Reading helps you to see His Word with your physical eyes. "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law" (Psa. 119:18). "It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees" (Deut. 17:19).

    Study the verse carefully and discuss what it means for you individually, and as a family. Studying helps you to see His Word with the eyes of your heart. "Teach me, O Lord, to follow Your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart" (Psa. 119:33-34). "I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven" (Eccl. 1:13).

    Studying the Word also helps you to discover the character of God. For example: "You are good, and what You do is good; teach me Your decrees" (Psa. 119:68). In this passage, we see that the character of God is goodness – who He is and what He does is good. "You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in Your Word" (Psa. 119:114). In this passage the character of God is protector. He is our Refuge and our Shield. "Yet You are near, O Lord, and all Your commands are true" (Psa. 119:151). As we study this verse, we can see that God is near to us, and He is truthful. Studying the Word of God helps us to see more clearly what God is like.

    Meditate on the verse. Spend some time quietly reflecting as individuals and then ask: "What does God want us to do individually and/or as a family in response to this verse?"

    "Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts; then I will meditate on Your wonders" (Psa. 119:27). "My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises" (Psa. 119:148). "I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways" (Psa. 119:15). "Oh, how I love Your law! I meditate on it all day long" (Psa. 119:97).

    Determine if this verse is one you should commit to memory. If so, write it down on a 3 x 5 card. Keep all of these cards together as you go through the psalm. Begin to memorize at least one or two verses per week. Memorizing helps you to keep God’s Word in your hearts. "I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You" (Psa. 119:11). "Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn Your commands" (Psa. 119:73).

    Pray through each verse, seeking the Lord’s will for your family within it so that He will receive honor and glory. Ask the Lord to reveal His character. Claim His promises for your family. Ask Him to do His work in and through you. Prayer helps you to stay connected to the heart of God as you seek to know Him better through His Word. "I seek You with all my heart; do not let me stray from Your commands" (Psa. 119:10). "Blessed are they who keep His statutes and seek Him with all their heart" (Psa. 119:2). "I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts" (Psa. 119:45).

    Repentance – if the Lord shows you individually and/or as a family some area of sin in your lives, take time to confess and to repent. Be sure to thank God for His promise of forgiveness, and talk about how you can keep from committing this sin again. Now, accept His wonderful gift of grace. "I have sought Your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your promise" (Psa. 119:58). Repentance helps you to be restored to right relationship with God. "I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commands" (Psa. 119:176). "Direct my footsteps according to Your Word; let no sin rule over me" (Psa. 119:133).

    Ask: Is the Lord asking us to do something in this verse? If so, what should we do in order to obey Him? "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psa. 119:105). Seeking the Lord’s will helps us to become less, so that He can become greater. "You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed" (Psa. 119:4). "He must become greater; I must become less" (John 3:30).

    Begin immediately to be obedient. Obedience is the way we learn to humble ourselves before God, and is the way to holiness. "Give me understanding, and I will keep Your law and obey it with all my heart" (Psa. 119:34). "I will always obey Your law, forever and ever" (Psa. 119:44). "I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands" (Psa. 119:60). "Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them" (Psa. 119:129). "I obey Your statutes, for I love them greatly" (Psa. 119:167). "I obey Your precepts and Your statutes, for all my ways are known to You" (Psa. 119:168).

    Rejoice in the Lord and give Him praise for what you have learned through His Word. Praise is the natural response of our gratitude to God. "May my lips overflow with praise, for You teach me Your decrees" (Psa. 119:171). "Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart" (Psa. 119:111). "I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches" (Psa. 119:14).

    Ask: How can we testify (tell others) what God has done in and through us as a result of this verse? "With my lips I recount all the laws that come from Your mouth" (Psa. 119:13). "I will speak of Your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame..." (Psa. 119:46). How can our very lives be a living testimony of Jesus? "May those who fear You rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in Your Word" (Psa. 119:74). When others come to know Jesus as a result of our lives and our testimony, He will receive all honor and glory!

    In Psalm 119, there is a wealth of information about our awesome Lord! We have only to dig in and gather what is more precious than gold and silver – the law from His mouth (Psa. 119:72) that is waiting to become part of who we are in Christ Jesus. If you will allow Him to teach you through His Word, it will truly become a lamp to your feet and a light for your path (Psa. 119:105).

    May the Lord give you and your family His richest blessings as you faithfully seek after Him. May the unfolding of Your Word, O Lord, give light (Psa. 119:130) to each individual and to each family that searches for the truth (Psa. 119:160). May their lips overflow with praise as You teach them Your decrees, and may their tongues sing of Your Word, for all Your commands are righteous (Psa. 119:171-172).

    "Your Word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations..." (Psa. 119:89-90).