1 Up Calv’ry’s mountain one dreadful morn Walked Christ, my Savior, weary and worn; Facing for sinners death on the cross, That He might save them from endless loss. [Chorus]
2 “Father, forgive them!” thus did He pray, E’en while His lifeblood flowed fast away; Praying for sinners while in such woe– No one but Jesus ever loved so. [Chorus]
3 O how I love Him, Savior and Friend, How can my praises ever find end? Thro’ years unnumbered on heaven’s shore, My tongue shall praise Him forevermore. [Chorus]
Chorus: Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer! Seems now I see Him on Calvary’s tree; Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading— Blind and unheeding— dying for me!
In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:7-8)
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5-6)
Good Friday – The Crucifixion (Mark 14:53-15:41; 1 Peter 1:18-21; Luke 22:47-53; 23:39-43; John 19:1-37)
[“Blessed Redeemer” written by Avis B. Christiansen]
In my child/teen years attending school, it was important that you wore green on March 17th. Why? It had nothing to do with St. Patrick, the man. It was to avoid a classmate pinching you due to not wearing the color of the day! If you did not wear something green, be sure you were in for a long day!!
But really, who was St. Patrick?
Here’s an article from The Gospel Coalition written by Mike Pettingill that will shed some very interesting light on this man.
Today most people know St. Patrick for green beer, banishing snakes from Ireland, using shamrocks to teach the Trinity, or his walking stick growing into a living tree. Indeed, none of these legends has anything to do with the real Patrick.
However, the factual accounts of Patrick, missionary to Ireland, are even more compelling than the folklore. Telling the true story of Patrick provides an inspiring lesson in God’s grace and mercy.
While other 1,500-year-old characters in history are difficult to research because too few writings have survived time, Patrick is hard to study because so much has been written about him. The bulk of the writings on Patrick are lore, fiction, and embellishment. In uncovering the real Patrick we must sift through ten fictional accounts of his life to find one factual work.
From Slave to Evangelist As a teenager Patrick was kidnapped, taken from his home in southern Britain, and sold into slavery on the island of Ireland. During his six years as a slave he converted to Christianity and earned a reputation as a fervent evangelist. In the dark of the night Patrick escaped his bonds and fled Ireland. Following a long journey home he entered theological training and full-time service to the Lord. God spoke to Patrick in his dreams and told him that he would return to Ireland and serve as a missionary to the people who had kept him in servitude.
In AD 432, 25 years after fleeing Ireland, Patrick returned to the place of his bondage. He did not return with malice in his heart, but as a missionary eager to convert the Irish. Patrick served in regions of Ireland where outsiders had never traveled. While roaming through Ireland he preached to pagans and also instructed Christian believers. Patrick trained Irish helpers and ordained native clergy. He was bringing a new way of life to a violent, war-oriented pagan culture. His work was both groundbreaking and Christ-honoring.
“Daily I expect to be murdered or betrayed or reduced to slavery if the occasion arises,” Patrick wrote while serving in Ireland. “But I fear nothing, because of the promises of heaven.”
Many brutal kings and warlords felt threatened by Patrick’s work. In order to obtain the favor of local leaders and to gain safe passage, Patrick paid penance, or bribes, to authorities. He used the rulers to gain access to their lands just as they used Patrick to gain wealth and favor with Christians. Of the bribes he paid, Patrick proclaimed, “I do not regret this nor do I regard it as enough. I am paying out still and I shall pay out more.”
Missionary Ahead of His Time In fifth-century Ireland women were a commodity. Selling a daughter or arranging a politically strategic marriage was common and advantageous to a family. Patrick upset the social order by teaching women they had a choice in Christ. As God converted these women to Christianity, some became full-time servants of Christ in the face of strong family opposition. Patrick told women they could be “virgins for Christ” by remaining chaste. This newfound control was appealing to many women, but it angered many men who believed Patrick was taking away their prized possessions.
At the time many scholars regarded Ireland as the end of the earth, or at least the edge of the inhabitable portion of earth. The collapsing Roman Empire supported many beliefs that civilized society was drawing to a close. Politicians and philosophers viewed Ireland as barbaric and untamable. Many Christians did not believe the Irish were worthy of being saved. At that point in history, Patrick truly served as a pioneering missionary to a forgotten people.
Patrick advocated learning among Christians. He promoted the ascetic life and monasticism. The Irish culture did not place great value on literacy or education. Patrick, however, promoted studying the Scriptures as well as reading books written by fathers of the faith.
Recovering the True Patrick Patrick entered an Ireland full of paganism and idol worship. But just a few short decades after Patrick arrived, a healthy, Christ-honoring church was thriving. The Irish church was so strong that in the centuries to come it would send missionaries to evangelize much of continental Europe. Patrick’s legacy lives on through the countless spiritual grandchildren he left to continue his work.
Patrick lived in a way that brought honor to God. His devotion and resolute obedience offer examples for all followers of Christ. Patrick stood in the face of great challenges and did not falter. His service, his life, and his unwavering commitment to spreading the gospel of Christ are as commendable today as they were in the fifth century.
We as Christians have allowed the modern, secular customs of St. Patrick’s Day to steal away one of the greatest missionaries in Christian history and reduce his memory to leprechauns, green beer, and fictional tales. Let’s take back our beloved servant of Christ and share God’s glory achieved during the life of Patrick the missionary to Ireland. Let’s share the true legacy of this great Christian evangelist.
What a great day to share the gospel as the Lord opens the doors and . . . go ahead, wear green! No need to be fearful of the pinch! Share the good news!!
“Well, I walked into church, and no one spoke to me!”
“Every Sunday, my heart is stirred, and I leave knowing I have met with my Lord!”
“Our preacher (fill-in-the-blank)!”
“All our church knows to do is ask for money!”
“Our kids’ ministry is awesome!”
These and a whole host of other statements, both positive and negative, true and false, have been and continue to be said about the local church. In connection with yesterday’s post, Covid’s Speech Lesson, I want us to consider what is said to others about the local gathering we attend. Let’s look at one of them.
“Our church (or, That church) is so unfriendly!”
There’s a quick remedy for that one. Proverbs 18:24 reminds us, He that has friends must himself be friendly. Next Sunday, before you get out of your car, pray by yourself or with your spouse or your family, “Lord, I surrender to You, Who dwells in me, to be friendly, compassionate, listening, and caring to all we meet. And, lead us to the seats in the auditorium where You want us to sit today that we may help move folks around one step toward Christ.”
Think about it. If we are given to say that our church is not friendly, then perhaps we are not friendly because we are the church. We as born again believers are the body of Christ. Therefore, when we gather, we are more than just friendly on “the outside.” We desire to go deeper by showing mercy to those around us. We greet others with a firm handshake or a fist-bump or with raised eyebrows (for mask-wearers) and a word of greeting. Try to refrain from the norm, “How you doing?” and move on.
If you are greeting a visitor/guest, stop, speak to them, give your name, listen for their name(s) and use their name(s) immediately so you can begin to remember it. Put yourself in their shoes. Consider how you can make them feel at home; as if they were entering your living room. As you chat with them, don’t be in hurry. Introduce them to those serving at the Welcome Center. Ask questions and give guidance to the auditorium or nursery or fellowship area. Pray with them.
Sometime during the week, send a thank you note or a text or give them a call to let them know you have prayed for them. Make sure they know you genuinely care.
True friendliness is grounded in the person of Christ. He spent time with His disciples and others (John 3:22). He initiated conversations (John 4:7-42). He came to serve others (Mark 10:45). He prayed for others (John 17). He visited in homes (Luke 19:1-10). He reached out to sinners (John 8:1-11).
Since we can do all things through Christ as He lives His life through us, we can ignite a culture of biblical friendliness in our local congregation that will be contagious for Christ and to others!!
“That congregation is so friendly! They are genuine; they really care!”
These were a few of the headlines and article titles from Monday’s local newspaper.
We have come to the end of the year, We thought by this time we would not be talking about Covid. Yet, here we are, events being cancelled, hospitals at capacity, medical personnel stretched to the limit, fear capturing the minds of millions and more questions than answers abound.
We need some good news; some encouraging, eternal headlines! Absolute truth!
How about these three?
The Lord Reveals His Omnipotence Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 2 “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Now prepare yourself like a man;I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7)
Satan Is Defeated And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven[b] and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:7-10)
God Will Make All Things New Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:1-7)
Yesterday morning I read the local newspaper written from human viewpoint and these three passages from the Word of God written, inspired from divine viewpoint (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21).
The local paper focused on yesterday, today and the possible future with limited, tainted, incomplete statements. The Word of God focused on yesterday, today and tomorrow with perfect accuracy (Mark 13:31).
The local paper provided a temporal viewpoint. God’s Word gave a transcendent, eternal viewpoint (1 Peter 1:23-24).
The local paper ended up in the trash can when I finished. Who wants to read old papers? My Bible was placed on the shelf to be read again with daily news/truth that settles, establishes, encourages, and enlightens as it points me to Christ (Isaiah 9:6; Luke 24:27; John 20:31; Galatians 3:24) and the fulfillment of all God’s promises (Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 55:11; 2 Corinthians 1:20; Hebrews 10:23)).
Go back and read the three headlines above with the accompanying “articles” underneath. The eternality of God’s Word is always fresh, compelling, revealing, relevant and true (Psalm 119)!
Today, let the headlines and “articles” from heaven nourish your soul!! That’s the best news!
Joy has dawned upon the world, Promised from creation— God’s salvation now unfurled, Hope for ev’ry nation. Not with fanfares from above, Not with scenes of glory, But a humble gift of love— Jesus born of Mary.
Sounds of wonder fill the sky With the songs of angels As the mighty Prince of Life Shelters in a stable. Hands that set each star in place, Shaped the earth in darkness, Cling now to a mother’s breast, Vuln’rable and helpless.
Shepherds bow before the Lamb, Gazing at the glory; Gifts of men from distant lands Prophesy the story. Gold—a King is born today, Incense—God is with us, Myrrh—His death will make a way, And by His blood He’ll win us.
Son of Adam, Son of heaven, Given as a ransom; Reconciling God and man, Christ, our mighty champion! What a Savior! What a Friend! What a glorious myst’ry! Once a babe in Bethlehem, Now the Lord of hist’ry.
The longer I strolled through the amusement park, the more burdened and sad I became. Everywhere I turned, people were trying to fit in, wanting to be accepted, living a lifestyle of sin, provoking their children to anger, flaunting their assumed freedom, living for the moment, trying to buy happiness, bowing down to the idols of their heart, motivated as described in Jeremiah 17:9
Then, the next morning while reading Ephesians 4:17-19, my mind was transported back to the day before and those dear soul’s greatest need . . . the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Why? Because they are living in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness (4:17b-19).
If it were not for the grace of God, Ephesians 4:17-19 would describe me. But, how marvelous is the mercy and grace of God that has transferred me from darkness to light! As an old song written by Rusty Goodman says,
Had it not been for a place called Mount Calvary, Had it not been for the old rugged cross, Had it not been for a man called Jesus, Then forever my soul would be lost,
The change this world needs can only be found in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ!! But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:4-9).
Protesting on the street corner, shaking your head in disgust, or responding in anger or arguing will not change sinful hearts. These dear souls, just like you did, need someone to love them enough for God’s glory to share the love of God through the cross work and resurrection of Jesus Christ that can radically change their life for eternity. Real life and adventure is only found in following Jesus Christ!
If you are searching today, my friend, read these scripture verses again and again until your eyes are opened to see your condition before God. Watch the video “How can I go to Heaven?” at the top of the sidebar.
I share this because I care for you. No critical judgment toward you. Jesus is the only way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) Everyone must go by the way of the cross or forever be lost, . . . and Jesus Christ did all that was necessary for you to have a life worth living here and for all eternity!
Last night’s presidential debate, . . . well, what a fiasco! What an eye-opening view once again into the heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9).
How difficult it is to listen to three men argue, interrupt, accuse, disparage, and fuss! Proverbs 18:13 reminds us, If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.
This past Sunday, I had the joy of listening to Carl Butler, the new pastor of Thompson Baptist Church, Thompson, PA, preach from Hebrews. The major portion of his message was seven reasons why we should listen to the Lord Jesus Christ.
As God’s final Spokesman, Jesus Christ deserves to be heard because . . .
He was appointed heir of all things (1:2).
He was God’s Active Agent in creation (1:2).
He revealed the Divine Glory (1:3).
He represented God’s character in the flesh (1:3)
He upholds all things right now by the word of His power (1:3).
He has totally purged our sins (1:3)
He finished the job and is seated at God the Father’s right hand (1:3)
Against the backdrop of last night’s disappointment and debacle, may I say to you today, because of Who Christ is, listen to Him. Men will fail you. Men are not omniscient. Men are fallible. Men are self-serving. Men need Jesus.
Open your Bible. Sit at Jesus’ feet (Luke 10:38-42). Listen to Him (Romans 10:17; James 1:19-21; Revelation 2:7).
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)