Words of Grace by Pastor Benson – October 2020
What Shall We Do? Pray!
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
On a bleak and wintry day in 1794 twenty-three New England ministers sat down together to consider a problem that was pressing heavily upon them. They were disturbed about the spiritual condition of their country.
Here was the situation: The effects of the Great Awakening of 1735 had worn off. The seeds of infidelity, imported from revolutionary France and watered by such men as Thomas Paine, were yielding their poisonous fruit.
Eastern colleges were rife with the skepticism of the age. Lawlessness ruled on the Western frontier. People were floundering in the bog of confusion created by the French and Indian War and the Revolution. There were few churches, few praying people. The established churches, most of whom had sided with England in the struggle for independence, had lost their influence.
The ministers were agreed on one thing – a revival was desperately needed.
What shall we do about it?” they asked themselves. The only answer: pray.
They issued a “circular letter” calling for church people to pray for revival. Let there be “public prayer and praise, accompanied with such instruction from God’s Word, as might be judged proper.”
Apparently hearts were hungry, for there was an enthusiastic response. All over the country little praying bands sprang up. “Covenants” were entered into by Christian people to spend a whole day each month in prayer plus a half-hour every Saturday night and every Sunday morning. Groups of young men went to their knees to pray for other young men. Parents prayed for their children’s conversion.
The stage was set. What happened as a result of this concerted prayer effort has gone down as the most far-reaching revival in American history.
(Excerpt from the book America’s Great Revivals: The story of spiritual revivals in the United States 1734-1899, pages 26-28, Bethany House, Mpls)
Will you pray to God today and every day for spiritual revival across our country?
All ladies are invited to the WMF meeting and fellowship Thurs. Oct. 15, 9:30am.
Lesson 9: Nehemiah – Build a Strong Wall of Christ-like Living / Hostess: Barb Starks / Pastor Benson will be leading this study.
Looking ahead to our annual Christmas Dinner; it will be the first Thursday in December…it is tentatively scheduled for:
December 3 @ 6:30 pm. – it will be a “Mommy, Daughter, Grammy Christmas!” Program will be “Hats off to Ladies.” Looking forward to this fun evening!
Morris Life Chain – Will you stand up for unborn babies? Hold a poster sign with a pro-life message along Route 47 / Sunday, October 18, 3:15-4:30 pm Meet outside Life Church, 118 E. Jefferson St, Morris See Pastor Benson for more details.
OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD
Love gifts for October: socks, tee shirts, brush, comb, hair accessories.
If you would like to put together your own shoe boxes, there are some available for you to take, in the closet in the fellowship hall.
OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS – members and friends
Joshua & Rachel Visser
Kris & Patty Houchin
REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR OUR CHURCH FAMILY AND FRIENDS ~
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” Philippians 4:6
Let us pray for:
Bob Arnsdorff, Katie Becker, Don Edmondson, Mike Ehrman, Kristy Glerup, Diane Growth, Jason Hecht, Sophia Jenkins, Alberta Larson, Pastor Mike McCarlson, Don Peterson, Judy Peterson, Orval Peterson, Debbie Ralston, Bob Vetter, Paul Wicks, Bob Williams
Serving our Country: Tracy Graham, (US Coast Guard), Kendall Wills, (US Navy), Matthew Cepiel, (US Navy), Alex Mata, (US Army)
Reformation Day – October 31
An article written by AFLC pastor, Rev. Ken Moland,
for Reformation Sunday, on the back of our Sunday bulletin.
Peace with God
Martin Luther longed to have peace with God. However, his troubled conscience and his fear of the wrath of God caused terror, not peace in his soul. It was only when he discovered the truth of Romans 5:1 that Luther found peace with God. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This testimony of the Apostle Paul led Luther, and leads the believer today, to the amazing reality of being at peace with our Maker and our Judge.
This treasured peace with God comes from the foundational doctrine of justification through faith alone, by grace alone, and in Christ alone. For the Apostle Paul, and later for Luther, only the righteousness of Christ could bring a lasting reconciliation, bringing God and mankind to a peaceful relationship.
Remember our catechism definition: “Justification is the gracious act of God whereby He for Christ’s sake acquits a repentant and believing sinner of his sin and guilt, and looks upon him, in Christ, as though he had never sinned.”
Paul acknowledges later in this same chapter that God initiated this reconciliation while we were yet His enemies. There was nothing that mankind could do to appease a holy and righteous God because we were at enmity with God, separated by our fallen nature and our willful disobedience. No human being could bridge the chasm that separated God from His enemies. No human effort, no matter how earnest, could bring peace with God.
But thanks be to God, what is impossible for mankind, is possible with God. Our sense of alienation and separation is overcome by our reconciling God. Christ is lifted up before us as the perfect propitiation for our sins, and we are assured that He has made peace by the blood of His sacrifice on the cross. No longer are we “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). We have been brought near to God by the blood of Christ, and in that nearness we have found peace with God.
May the peace of God through Christ be with you!
Reformation Day – Rev. Martin Luther and His 95 Theses Statements
From 1514 Luther was not only theology professor at Wittenberg University but also the priest at the City Church in Wittenberg. Luther observed that many people in Wittenberg were not coming to him for confession any more. They were going to other towns to buy Indulgences (primarily the Peter’s Indulgence).
The practice of buying indulgences, which somewhat replaced confession and allowed people to buy their salvation, was completely repulsive to Luther. He strongly believed that one lived a life of humility in order to receive God’s grace.
After 1507, trade in Indulgences took a steep climb because the Papal Court and Bishop Albrecht were in great financial trouble. In addition, the Dominican monk, Johann Tetzel, sold indulgences in the region around Wittenberg in a very ostentatious manner. Many stories started popping up about him such as, that Tetzel could redeem the sins of the deceased.
Further sayings of Tetzel, such as, “When the money clangs in the box, the souls spring up to heaven“, also brought protests from Luther.
Prior to October 31, 1517, Luther had preached against the indulgence trade. After reading an instruction manual for indulgence traders, he wrote a letter to his church superiors hoping to get rid of this abuse. In this letter he included 95 Theses which were to be used as the basis for a discussion on the topic.
Introduction to the 95 Theses: Out of love for the truth and from desire to elucidate it, the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and Sacred Theology, and ordinary lecturer therein at Wittenberg, intends to defend the following statements and to dispute on them in that place….In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Theses 32: Those who believe that they can be certain of their salvation because they have indulgence letters will be eternally damned, together with their teachers.
Theses 36: Any truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without indulgence letters.
Theses 53: They are the enemies of Christ and the pope who forbid altogether the preaching of the Word of God in some churches in order that indulgences may be preached in others.
Theses 62: The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.