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One of the earliest and the most outstanding intellectuals, leaders and defenders of the Christian faith was Augustine, the fourth century writer of the “Confessions of Saint Augustine,” one of the most famous tell-all autobiographies written. Young Augustine was a hedonist, a philosopher, an agnostic, and a rebel, but his mother Monica was a godly, persistent, and resourceful woman. Augustine often laughed at her mother’s pious ways, mocked her faith, and deliberately defied her continual pleading for him to repent of his pagan lifestyle, to convert to Christ, and to live an exemplary life. When Augustine wanted to leave the shores of Carthage, North Africa, for the bright lights of Rome, his mother feared the worst for her son, dreaded the outcome of his leaving, and often fled to the church for solace, prayer, and advice. In her despair, she would often weep uncontrollably for her son. One day a minister noticed her painful cries, and asked her why she was so bitter. She told him of his wayward son, but the bishop assured her with these words: “Go in peace; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.” Augustine avoided his mother as much as possible and ignored her warnings time and again, but he could not escape her continuous prayers. Monica painstakingly prayed, wept, and looked for her son for 30 years until Augustine surrendered his life to Christ. Life has its heartaches, and none is as heartbreaking as a rare, a stubborn, or an unspeakable illness that is dreaded for its physical onslaught, financial cost, and mental, emotional and physical toil. The Chinese saying, “Long-sick folks have no filial or obedient child by their bed.”

 
Contributed By:
Bill Sullivan
 
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Quoting the English preacher John Daniel Jones: He lived from 1865-1942, this is from his sermon The Sovereignty of God

In our absorption in the thought of God as Father, we have almost lost sight of the fact that He is the Holy Sovereign, ruling the world in righteousness. The result has been that to a large extent, we have lost the sense of religious awe, of reverence, and of godly fear.

To make our religious life deep and strong we need to recover that lost sense of awe. We need to be taught afresh the fear of the Lord. And to recover that lost sense of awe, to create a feeling of reverence, we need a fresh vision of God as the Holy Sovereign. The Lord reigns, let the nations tremble. Why (should the nations tremble)? He is holy. We have only to realize that God is the Holy Sovereign, and the awe is bound to come back. The will that rules is a holy will. The power that governs is a holy power. All who sin bring themselves into collision with the sovereign will and power of the universe.


If the realization that a Holy God is sovereign fills us sinful men and women with awe and godly fear, that same realization of God as sovereign ought to fill those of us who love goodness and long for the triumph of Christ with a happy confidence.

Psalm 97:1 The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.

The destinies of the world are not, for instance, at the mercy of fleets and armies. The Lord reigns. To know that God rules – to realize His sovereignty – is to be delivered from fear and despair.

"The Lord reigns." This is the ground of our confidence in the triumph of the church. The church has not, in recent years, been in a triumphant frame of mind. She has been depressed, nervous, harassed, and anxious. She has been conscious of strained resources and inadequate powers. My brethren, what we want for a recovery of our courage and confidence is the recovery of our faith in the sovereignty of God.

Our lives get broken and harassed just because we forget that it is the Lord who reigns.

 
Contributed By:
Terry Laughlin
 
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Blessed Are The Persecuted

Matthew 5:10-12 says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

We are not to be surprised if people in the world hate Christians. (1 John 3: 13) Matthew Henry wrote, "Whom Christ blesses the world curses. The heirs of heaven have never been the darlings of this world, since the old enmity was put between the seed of woman (Eve) and of the serpent (Devil). Why did Cain hate Abel? Because Abel's works were righteous."

Persecution is a great paradox and a part of Christianity. Therefore it is put last of the eight Beatitudes. Jesus gives mention of it twice in His opening statements in the Sermon on the Mount because persecution is certain. In fact, "...everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted..." (2 Timothy 3: 12)
Righteousness, proper living before God, is an offense to people who live for the flesh, the world and the Devil. True holy living by the children of God convicts those who live for themselves.

Persecution, which is seen by an all-knowing God, comes in many forms and is found in every nation. Christians have been fined, imprisoned, banished, stripped of their estates, scourged, tortured, falsely accused and killed. There is no evil so black and horrid as false accusations and the persecution of Christians who truly walk uprightly before God.

Today's text does not encourage Christians to seek persecution. But, neither does it permit retreating from it, sulking or retaliation.
Christians who are persecuted because of righteousness will have a great reward in heaven. They may not understand the purposes nor see the benefits of it down here on earth, but there will be a great reward in the future life. Persecuted Christians who are fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit, can be like Peter and the other apostles when they left the Sanhedrin "...rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name [of Christ]." (Acts 5: 14)

Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer were the two American Christian aide workers being held by the Taliban under threat of death during the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on America and the resulting U.S. attack on Afghanistan. They open their book, "Prisoners of Hope" with these words, "To the Afghan people whom we so dearly love." These words reflect the heart of Christians who are willing to risk persecution and perhaps death for the sake of taking the gospel to the lost, those who are without Christ as personal Savior and Lord. They also wrote; "To our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Your everlasting love healed our hearts and set us free. May we honor and love you with all that we are for all of our days."

Having the "Righteousness" of God is to have a surrendered heart to His will, regardless of the cost. Blessed are those who will undergo persecution for the sake of the righteousness of Christ.

 
Contributed By:
Gene Gregory
 
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In this genealogy, there are 4 women mentioned. Now, it is unusual enough to find women listed in a Jewish genealogy, but if you were to look for matriarchs listed in ancestors of Jesus, you would expect to find godly women; women like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. These 4 women stand out because they are missing. Instead, Matthew lists 4 other women. He lists, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and “her who had been the wife of Uriah.” Now, what was it that made these 4 women stand out?
*v3 Tamar – If you remember, Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law. Her first 2 husbands died, and she was childless. So, she dressed like a prostitute, slept with her father-in-law Judah, and gave birth to his son. She was guilty of incest.
*v5 Rahab – If you remember, Rahab was a prostitute in the city of Jericho. She hid the Israelite spies and so they spared her when they destroyed the city.
*v5 Ruth – The Bible records nothing truly sinful about Ruth, other than the fact that she was a Moabitess. She came from a nation of people who did not believe in the one true God, but who worshipped idols instead.
*v6 Bathsheba – In Verse 6 we find mentioned “she who had been the wife of Uriah.” That is Bathsheba. Her sin was so terrible that Matthew blushed at the thought of even mentioning her name. Bathsheba is the woman who cheated on her husband with king David. She became pregnant by him, so David had her husband killed. She then married the man who killed her hu...

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Contributed By:
Donnie  Martin
 
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The following incident is vouched for by a Church of England clergyman who knew all the circumstances.
A young woman, who had been brought up in a Christian home and who had often had very serious convictions in regard to the importance of coming to Christ, chose instead to take the way of the world. Much against the wishes of her godly mother, she insisted on keeping company with a wild, hilarious crowd, who lived only for the passing moment and tried to forget the things of eternity. Again and again she was pleaded with to turn to Christ, but she persistently refused to heed the admonitions addressed to her.
Finally, she was taken with a very serious illness. All that medical science could do for her was done in order to bring about her recovery, but it soon became evident that the case was hopeless and death was staring her in the face. Still she was hard and obdurate when urged to turn to God in repentance and take the lost sinner’s place and trust the lost sinner’s Saviour.
One night she awoke suddenly out of a sound sleep, a frightened look in her eyes, and asked excitedly, “Mother, what is Ezekiel 7:8,9?” Her mother said, “What do you mean, my dear?”
She replied that she had had a most vivid dream. She thought there was a Presence in the room, who very solemnly said to her, “Read Ezekiel 7:8,9.” Not recalling the verses in question, the mother reached for a Bible. As she opened it, her heart sank as she saw the words, but she read them aloud to the dying girl:
”Now I will shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.”
The poor sufferer, with a look of horror on her face, sank back on the pillow, utterly exhausted, and in a few moments she was in eternity. Once more it had been demonstrated that grace rejected brings judgment at last.

H.A. Ironside, Illustrations of Bible Truth, Moody Press, 1945, pp. 31-32.

 
Contributed By:
Paul Fritz
 
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The movie, "The Three Faces of Eve" had many lessons that were similar to the sin of the first woman - Eve. Eve allowed her contented feelings to be undermined by the devil. Eve impulsively chose evil without consulting godly people. Eve not only sinned but got others to join her in destructive activities. Eve when confronted, tried to blame others.

 
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The 8 million women owned business in the U.S., account for 36% of all our companies and employ 26% of the workforce. (The Godly Business Woman)

 
Contributed By:
Larry Thompson
 
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Last week I read in the advice column in the paper about a couple who was celebrating 50 years of marriage. The husband wrote that someone commented, ¡§Ken, 50 years is a long time.¡¨ He immediately responded: ¡§Not nearly as long as it would have been without her.¡¨ I couldn¡¦t get the man¡¦s answer out of my mind. All day long I kept thinking, ¡§not nearly as long as it would have been without her.¡¨ Finally, I found myself starting to write about my life with Cynthia and the conclusion that all I really want from her is: Just one more day!¡¨ (Read Poem: ¡§Just One More Day!¡¨)





Just One More Day¡K Written by Dr. Larry L. Thompson in honor of his wife Cynthia

Lord, You honored me the moment she came into my life
I had no idea You were preparing her to be my wife.
She was so young and innocent, and beautiful in every way
We spent our days together, I prayed; ¡§just one more day.¡¨

I was so blessed that August day she became my bride
So gracefully she approached the altar to be at my side
I held her tight and whispered, ¡§Listen to what I say¡K
Loving you forever¡¦s not enough; I need just one more day.¡¨

In our youth we grew in our understanding of love
Through the laughter, the tears, and blessings from above
Our days full of light, the darkness seemed so far away
Yet I wouldn¡¦t sleep without praying, ¡§O¡¦ God, Just one more day.¡¨

Lord, just when I thought we couldn¡¦t possibly love more
You gave us Taylor and Jennifer to cherish and adore.
They filled our lives with such love in every way¡K
Then our girls became women, I cried, ¡§just one more day.¡¨

¡§They grow up so fast¡¨ was the advice we were told
I dismissed their counsel-we were young and they were old
Now I stare at your pictures knowing you¡¦re miles away
You have no idea what I would give for just one more day.

At first glance it seems so cruel, this cycle of life
I struggle with the aging process, seeing pain and strife
I¡¦m a stranger to my own dad as I hold him and pray,
¡¥Dear God, if we could just sit and visit, just one mor...

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Contributed By:
Michael McCartney
 
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The Birthing of America by Gray W. Clark: Why is it important to reexamine, in a Christian publication, the founding of America? Because the prevailing view of the birth of America is stilted. This stilted view has led Christians into rebellion. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (11 Samuel 15:23) which is always judged by God. The hoax of the American Revolution is that it was not a series of rebellious acts by the colonists against the Crown of England. Modern textbooks are advancing the hoax with statements such as: "The Declaration was a revolutionary document in the sense that it justified a revolution already begun." This is a quote from a typical college textbook. This period of history is being misconstrued in school textbooks to influence thinking to rebellion and revolution. When the Christian hears "revolution today", he thinks in terms of "Communist Revolution" and equates this with the "American Revolution". False equation. There was no Communist-style revolution to Birth America. Textbooks further teach that our forefathers wanted to break from the cover of the Crown and be separate. They, therefore, revolted to bring forth their desires, a new nation. Such teachings are not the best interpretation of facts. Revolution and rebellion are harmful states of mind. Christians need to learn that America did not want to be independent of England; it was forced upon her. Before 1776, she made numerous Godly appeals to the Crown for reconciliation to her pre-1763 relationship with England, but without success. Actually, England declared war upon America and granted her independence on 22 December 1775. The key period of history is from 1763 to the unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America in Congress, July 4, 1776. These events led to the Birth of America. Significant events occurred beginning with the Sugar Act of 5 April 1764 between Parliament, the King of England, and the Colonial Assemblies and Congress, that need to be better understood… Case in point: Do you know anyone who has committed rebellious acts against civil government using the excuse that "We owe it to our forefathers?" The question is, "What do we owe to our forefathers?" Do Christians owe "rebellion/revolution" or "responsibility/Godly appeals"? Charles M. Andrews knew the value of an accurate view of history when he wrote over 50 years ago in his Colonial Background of the American Revolution: "A nation’s attitude toward its own history is like a window into its soul, and the men and women of such a nation cannot be expected to meet the great obligations of the present if they refuse to exhibit honesty, charity, open-mindedness, and a free and growing intelligence toward the past that has made them what they are?

This article addresses two main thoughts: America was born under responsibility and Godly appeals. Governments born in rebellion die – (from http://home.neo.rr.com/moseshand/Studies/rebellion).

 
Contributed By:
Norayr Hajian
 
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The fact is, I am very narrow-minded. Take for example the fact that I have only one wife. There are lots of men and women that I care about, there are lots of wonderful, godly women in this world, but there is only one woman whom I have devoted my life and my love to. There is only one woman with whom I am one. I guess that makes me narrow-minded! Is that a problem? Not at all. It’s God’s design.

 
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