"Grant to me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know, to love what I ought to love, to praise what delights You most,to value what is precious in Your sight, to hate what is offensive to You.Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of ignorant men; but to discern with true judgment between things visible and spiritual and above all things to inquire what is the good pleasure of Your will." ---Thomas á Kempis
Civilized man has brought about this tragic fall by associating love with sex exclusively and then popularizing the error by every means at his command. Millions of young people today are wholly unable to think of love except in terms of the disgraceful promiscuity of Hollywood. Newspapers now report the numerous marriages of the movie crowd by number: “It was the third marriage for her; his fourth.” And if it were not so tragic for everyone concerned, it would be hugely comical to read of a movie star being interviewed by the press and solemnly assuring the public that she is not at the moment “in love.” Such a use of the word is completely degraded and smacks more of the beasts than of men made in the image of God.
For the millions, love is an emotional attraction, nothing more, as unstable and as unpredictable as sheet lightning. The Bible teaches, on the contrary, that true love is a benevolent principle and is under the control of the will. If love were merely an emotion, how could God command us to love Him, or to love our neighbor? No one can “fall in love” at the command of another, if falling in love means getting seized suddenly with a fit of love as one might be hit with a charge of electricity or caught with a severe spasm of coughing.
A. W. Tozer Sermon: Willing To Love
by Avery Foley on March 17, 2015
Every year on March 17 millions of people around the world celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parades, parties, and the color green. But who was the man who inspired these traditions and why do we still celebrate him today?
Who Was St. Patrick?
Although there is scholarly disagreement on the exact date (and even the year) of St. Patrick’s birth, the traditionally accepted consensus is that St. Patrick was born Maewyn Succat in the Roman colony of Britain around AD 387 to middle-class Christian parents. At the age of 16, Maewyn was kidnapped by pirates and carried off to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. In Ireland he learned a new language and the culture of the Druids. At that time in Irish history, Ireland was a dark nation where the religion of the Druids reigned. This pagan religion involved worshipping nature, violence, and even human sacrifice.
When young Maewyn was kidnapped, he was not a Christian but was essentially an atheist. However, his father was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest, so Maewyn had heard the truth as a boy. During the long, cold, and lonely days and nights caring for his master’s sheep in the Irish countryside, Maewyn began to pray. Soon he had developed a relationship with the triune God of Scripture and was praying nearly 100 times during the day and night. After six years of slavery, he claims he was told in a vision that a ship was ready to take him home. He hiked 200 miles to the coast, boarded a ship, and eventually returned home.
Back in Britain, Maewyn claimed to have received a vision in which he heard the people of Ireland saying, “We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.” After studying for the priesthood, being ordained a bishop, and changing his name to Patrick, he headed back to the nation of his slavery to be a missionary among the Irish.
St. Patrick was tremendously effective and saw many pagans turn to put their faith in Christ.
St. Patrick was tremendously effective and saw many pagans turn to put their faith in Christ. Despite how his extant writings testify to how much he missed his homeland, he chose to live and serve among the Irish he grew to love. He even suffered imprisonment and persecution at the hands of the Druids. But his dedicated and tireless evangelistic efforts, according to tradition, resulted in his baptizing 120,000 new believers and building over 300 churches in Ireland. He served and worked among the people for 30 years before he died on March 17, 461, and was buried in Ireland.
St. Patrick’s Day
We now celebrate St. Patrick’s Day each year on the anniversary of his death, March 17. Originally, this was strictly an Irish feast day in the Roman Catholic Church to commemorate the patron saint of Ireland. However, Irish immigrants coming to North America brought the tradition with them, and it is now widely celebrated each year. Sadly, few people remember the devoted missionary who stands behind the St. Patrick’s Day tradition.
Symbols of St. Patrick
There are a myriad of symbols that we associate with St. Patrick’s Day today, including the color green, leprechauns, pots of gold, and corned beef. All of these things arose long after St. Patrick died and have nothing to do with the courageous missionary. Indeed, most are American additions to the Irish holiday.
However, there is one St. Patrick’s Day symbol that is actually associated with St. Patrick. According to tradition, St. Patrick used a shamrock (clover) to teach the concept of a Trinitarian God to the Irish. Each of the three lobes of the shamrock represents one member of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Of course, no analogy is perfect, but one can easily relate how three nearly identical leaves make up one shamrock.
How Should Christians Respond to St. Patrick’s Day?
Just like St. Patrick preached to a pagan audience, so do Christians today preach to largely pagan audiences. In the West, we can no longer take for granted, like we used to, that people have background knowledge of the Bible or that they trust what the Bible says. When we say “God,” we can’t even assume people are thinking about the biblical God! Essentially, we live in a nation of pagans. They need to be reached with the gospel, just like the Irish Druids that St. Patrick reached.
Just like St. Patrick took something that was common to the culture, the shamrock, and used it as a springboard to present the truth about the one, true God, so can we take what is common to our culture and use it to share the gospel with others. Paul did this very thing in Greece when he used the “altar to the unknown god” to proclaim who that God was! Creation evangelism provides the perfect opportunity for us to do just that. We can take something common to our culture, like clothing, law, or education, and use it to present the gospel from the very beginning.
For example, why wear clothes? It goes back to sin and shame and the need for a Savior in Genesis 3. Why do laws exist? Because God is the ultimate lawgiver, and we need laws to rein in our sin nature ever since sin came into the world in Genesis 3. Why should we educate our youth? It is a biblical mandate (Deuteronomy 11:19; Proverbs 22:6), so they too can learn the truth of God’s Word that leads to the gospel. In a secular culture, why wear clothes if we are just animals? Why have laws when nothing really matters? And why purpose ourselves to educate our kids that nothing has a purpose?
Today, our pagan culture largely doesn’t understand what sin is or why we need a Savior.
Today, our pagan culture largely doesn’t understand what sin is or why we need a Savior. We have to take them back to the beginning, in Genesis, to show them who God is, why there is such a thing as sin, and why we need a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This St. Patrick’s Day, use the true story of St. Patrick as a springboard for presenting the life-changing message of Jesus Christ with others.
Taken from: Answers in Genesis
“Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1)
One of the perennial theological problems is the apparent prosperity of the ungodly along with the suffering of the righteous. Why would God seem to endorse such a system?
It has been this way for ages. Some 2,000 or more years before Christ, Job asked essentially the same question as did the prophet Jeremiah in our text above. “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? . . . They spend their days in wealth, and . . . say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways” (Job 21:7, 13-14). Likewise, the psalmist Asaph complained, “I was envious . . . when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3).
Evil Hearts Produce Evil Deeds
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)
Once a decision is made to reject the overwhelming evidence of the “eternal power and Godhead” that the Creator has displayed for all to see (Romans 1:20), and once the personal conviction of the Holy Spirit has been spurned (John 16:7-11), nothing remains but social pressure to do good. And when that wanes (as it surely will), the individual cycles every more rapidly into a godless lifestyle, falling away “from the faith . . . having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1-2).
Excerpt from Days of Praise
“For what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness of God without effect?
Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND MAY OVERCOME WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.” (Rom. 3:3-4)
Many Christians are so intimidated by the arrogant unbelief of the supposed intellectuals of the world that they either reject or compromise or ignore the difficult teachings of Scripture. This is a grievous mistake, for all of God’s “sayings” are “justified” and He will surely “overcome” all those who presume to “judge” Him and His Word.
God’s truth is not determined, however, by taking a vote, or by the opinions of skeptics, or by metaphysical speculation. It is determined by God Himself, and none other, “for the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth” (Psalm 33:4).
“And Haman answered the king, “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head. Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor. Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’ ” Esther 6: 7 -9
“If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” (John 3:12)
Many who profess to be Christian intellectuals today are arguing that we should defer to the evolutionists in matters of science and history, since the real message of the Bible is spiritual. The Genesis account, for example, is not meant to give us details of the events of creation, for scientists can give us this information. It merely assures us that God is somehow behind it all. But if this were all that God meant to tell us, its very first verse is enough for that! What is the need to describe all the days and acts of creation at all if the record has no real relevance to history or science?
As the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus in our text verse, if we cannot trust God’s Word when it relates “earthly things,” how can we possibly rely on its testimony of “heavenly things”? To some extent we can check for ourselves whether or not it is accurate when it records facts of history and processes of nature, but we have no means at all of determining whether it speaks the truth when it deals with heaven and hell, with salvation and eternal life, or with God’s purpose for the world in the ages to come.
The fact is that the Bible is accurate in all matters with which it deals, scientific and historical as well as spiritual and theological. It is a dangerous thing to listen to these modern “pied pipers” of evangelicalism whose self-serving compromises with evolutionary scientism have already led multitudes of young people astray in our Christian colleges and seminaries.
We yet may not have all the answers to alleged problems in the Bible, but we can be absolutely sure of God’s Word. When the answers are found, they will merely confirm what He has said all along. He is able and willing to speak the truth, and He means what He says!
excerpt from Days of Praise
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“And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not again do such wickedness as this among you.” (Deuteronomy 13:10-11)
In context, this “wickedness” was the crime of rejecting and influencing others to reject the Lord. While this is not a capital crime in a Christian context, this passage does show how God feels about the sin of unbelief—especially trying to persuade others into unbelief—in the infinite love and sacrifice of Christ who suffered and died for their sins. “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:28-29).
Unbelief in Christ is, in fact, the only sin which God cannot forgive, and thus is the most wicked sin of all. Christ died for all our sins, and thus will provide full forgiveness for all who will accept His gift of salvation. Christ Himself said: “ “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. ” (John 3:18).
One of the final words of the Bible warns: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8). The Lord Jesus is speaking of those who have spurned His sacrificial love. It may seem a light thing in our modern society to ignore or reject Him, but it will eventually prove “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) to face Him in judgment. HMM
New Defender’s Study Bible Notes
fearful. This fear refers not so much to physical cowardice as to lack of true faith which faith must be evidenced by public commitment to Christ. Note Mark 4:40; II Timothy 1:7; Matthew 10:32; Romans 10:9-10).
unbelieving. Final, unchanging, refusal to believe on Christ as Son of God and personal Savior is the only ultimately unforgivable sin (John 3:18).
whoremongers. The “abominable” are those who practice “abominations”—that is, the blasphemous and licentious practices associated with idolatry. “Murderers” are those guilty, not of manslaughter or of slayings in warfare of self-defense, but of willful criminal homicide. “Whoremongers,” in the meaning of the Greek pornos, refers not only to pimps but to any who practice or promote sexual activity outside of marriage.
sorcerers. The “sorcerer” (Greek pharmakeus) is one who uses drugs to induce pseudo-religious fantasies and occult experiences.
idolaters. “Idolaters” are those who are devoted to any object, spirit, person or practice which takes the place of God in their lives.
liars. “Liars” are those who practice deception and falsehood, especially false teachers (II Peter 2:1-3; Jude 4,13).
fire. This is the last reference to “fire” in the Bible. The first was in Genesis 19:24. Both also involve brimstone (see on Revelation 20:10) and both involve divine judgment on sin.
second death. See note on Revelation 20:14.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
cast in to the lake of fire. All who will have been confined in death and Hades will be cast into everlasting fire, along with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41), who are already there, and with the beast and the false prophet.
second death. These will all have died physically, then been resurrected. They will die again physically (or possibly will continue in an eternal state of dying physically—note Mark 9:43–48). This can appropriately be called “the second death.”
Truth from the bible:
“Say with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord.” Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved. With your heart you believe and are made right with God. With your mouth you say that Jesus is Lord. And so you are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
From: Days of Praise
in the Christian Church, the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, observed with special solemnity as a time of devotion to the passion of Jesus Christ. In the Greek and Roman liturgical books it is called the Great Week because great deeds were done by God during this week. The name Holy Week was used in the 4th century by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, and Epiphanius, bishop of Constantia. Originally only Friday and Saturday were observed as holy days; later Wednesday was added as the day on which Judas plotted to betray Jesus, and by the beginning of the 3rd century the other days of the week had been added. The pre-Nicene Church concentrated its attention on the celebration of one great feast, the Christian Passover, on the night between Saturday and Easter Sunday morning. By the later 4th century the practice had begun of separating the various events and commemorating them on the days of the week on which they occurred: Judas’ betrayal and the institution of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday; the passion and death of Christ on Good Friday; his burial on Saturday; and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday.
The Holy Week observances in the Roman missal were revised according to the decree Maxima Redemptoris (Nov. 16, 1955) to restore the services to the time of day corresponding to that of the events discussed in Scripture.