David Brainerd and the Indians

John Wesley said, “Let every preacher read carefully over the life of David Brainerd,” and distributed his life story to all his societies. So while this post is only a summary, I commend to you a review of David Brainerd’s biography.

This is the day that … the “fire fell” at Crossweeksung, in 1745.

Twenty-seven year-old David Brainerd had been expelled from Yale College three years earlier, and had turned his eyes toward the mission field, among the Red Indians.

His diary almost becomes monotonous with “spent the day in prayer and fasting for my beloved Indians.”

He tells of preaching through a drunken interpreter, of riding 50 miles a day to Indian encampments “down hideous steeps, through swamp and most dreadful and dangerous places … pinched with cold … an extreme pain in my head.” At times he coughed up blood.

But on 8 August, 1745, about 64 Indians – men, women and children – gathered around him. He preached to them on the parable of the Great Feast (Luke 14:16-23) and, to use his own words:

“The power of God seemed to descend like a rushing mighty wind… Almost all persons of all ages were bowed down with concern together and scarcely one was able to withstand the shock of this surprising operation. Old men and women who had been drunken wretches for many years and some little children, not more than six or seven years of age, appeared in distress for their souls… There was almost universal praying and crying for mercy … numbers could neither go nor stand…”

In the days that followed more and more Indians cried: “Guttummaukalummeh!” (“Have mercy on me!”).

By October, 1747, Brainerd was on his deathbed in the home of the famous Jonathan Edwards, and on 9 October all the trumpets sounded as this 29 year-old man of God passed to his Heavenly reward.

William Carey read Brainerd’s Journal, and went to India. Robert Murray McCheyne read it, and went to the Jews. Henry Martyn read it, and went to India and Persia. Jim Elliott was also motivated by David Brainerd’s example. May it inspire you also.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.

You’re Not Dead Yet

There is still hope for you yet. In fact there is going to be hope for you until the day you die. You may have given up already and others may have written you off, but “you ain’t dead yet!” and so there’s still plenty of hope for you and your situation.

Death was once defined as “the cessation of all radical change”. When I tried to track down that definition I couldn’t find it, but it catches the idea that as long as someone is alive they are able to make significant change to who and what they are.

A sinner can choose to put their faith in Christ even as they slip from life. Until death has made its final blow people are open to change, even quite radical change.

So, if you’re still breathing there is hope for you and the mess you are in.

Sadly we make the assumption we are locked into things and we endure our circumstances as if they are unchangeable. We see ourselves as unchangeable too.

But, as I’ve said already, “You’re not dead yet”!

History is littered with testimony of people who made significant, revolutionary and unexpected change. The power of God changes people. The grace of God changes people. A wake-up shake-up can cause people to take action they have kept avoiding. New insights have empowered people to make changes they previously thought impossible.

So, cheer up. You ain’t dead yet! Today is jam packed with miracle potential. You can change the rest of your life, the future of your descendents and even eternal destinies by what you choose to do today.

Aren’t you glad you’re alive?

Sovereignty Reigns Supreme

One of the awesome realities about our personal sovereignty is its inherent power. We, as sovereign citizens, can exercise incredible, miraculous power. That’s not because of any power resident within us in inherent in our being. The power is God’s power. But we can access that power, as people able to enter God’s presence and do business with Him.
History provides us a number of compelling examples, passed down to us in the historical records of the Bible. We find that ordinary citizens, less physically capable than their opponents, have been able to overthrow their enemies and win against insurmountable odds. The reason they could do so is because they were able to exercise their personal sovereignty. That’s why I say that sovereignty reigns supreme.
Personal sovereignty, when properly understood and exercised in the fear of God, brings people into line with the will of God and gives them access to the power of God. Consequently they end up with more clout than governments, armies and people of obvious social influence.
Consider the prophet Elisha. He had no political privilege. He had no special social influence. He had no army, nor any great store of money to use for productive ends. He was simply a ‘prophet of God’. He lived in a country where the ruler did not fear God and where most of the populace were idolaters. Yet he was a man who knew God. He had diligently pursued the right to do business with God.
So, when the nation of Syria decided to invade his country, Israel, this insignificant man, living in one of the villages in the countryside, was able to know what the king of Syria was planning. He would send intelligence information to the King of Israel. This happened so consistently and so accurately that the King of Syria suspected there must be a traitor among his closest advisors.
When the King of Syria discovered the personal influence of this one, defenceless prophet, he sent his whole army to capture the man of God. Yet Elisha was able to boldly walk straight up to the leader of the invading army and lead them all into a trap. See 2Kings 6:8-20.
One solitary sovereign citizen can exercise greater clout than a king and his entire army. One solitary person who understands their right to stand in the presence of God can call down power and outcomes that cannot be bought with millions of dollars.
David was a lad, but he knew his sovereign right to stand in faith in his God. So David, the shepherd boy, killed the fiercest enemy warrior, Goliath.
King Saul’s son, Jonathan, knew that with God on his side he could beat a group of enemy soldiers, and so he did.
Gideon, reluctantly at first, discovered that a small group of soldiers with God on their side is no match for a huge army without God.
Personal sovereignty reigns supreme. That doesn’t mean that people can be anarchists, because the only way to exercise personal sovereignty is to be in submission to the will and purpose of God, Himself. It also doesn’t mean that people should defy the authorities under which God has placed them. But it does mean that those who will press in to God’s presence, and be the people God wants them to be, will be empowered to work the works of God, despite opposition and every resource that is thrown against them. Some will experience miraculous power and miraculous outcomes. Others, like the many martyrs in human history, will take a stand for God and pay for it with their lives.
Personal sovereignty starts with the realisation that we all have to fall at the feet of Almighty God and enter into relationship with Him, on His terms, for His purposes, despite the personal cost to ourselves. From there, there is no stopping you as you step out and fulfil the will of God in your life.

Touching Lives

This is a posting I made on another site and thought I would share with you. Many years ago, when I was a young sales rep, I found myself sitting in a high-powered office overlooking Sydney Harbour, in front of the Advertising Manager of an International Cosmetics company. In the minutes that followed I sensed that this man had something troubling him.

I had been praying that God would give me opportunities to share about Him with people. After shifting in my seat for a while I ventured to ask if there was something bothering him. He said, “Yes”, and then he poured out about his wife leaving him and his life being in a mess.

I suggested that he needed God. He didn’t throw me out of his office, but looked like he wanted to hear more. So I explained why we need Christ and God’s forgiveness. I explained the wonder of relationship with God.

Then, with a gulp, I asked him if he wanted that kind of help in his life. He said, “Yes”. I led him through the sinner’s prayer, anxious that I get him to pray all the right things. I stumbled my way through to the “Amen”.

I looked up, itchy with discomfort. He just sat there with his head bowed, for what seemed like ages. Then he slowly lifted his head and looked at me. He said, “That was an amazingly emotional experience.” Well it sure was for me – I was exhausted by it all. But there he was, touched by the hand of God. 

I never saw him again. I was just a boy and he was a high-powered executive. I have no idea what came of him after that amazing encounter. But experiences like that have given me a strong taste for helping people. Touching lives is a privilege we all want to have – and touching lives with the love and power of God is an exciting moment for us all.