Monday, June 17, 2013

no greater agony

There is no greater agony than to lose love, you know that, psychiatrists, counsellors know that. There is no greater agony than a love that really matters to you, you lose it, it's gone, And, depending on how long and deep that love was, the more agony it is.
As you know if an acquaintance says, "I never want to see you again" that's bad. If a good friend says, "I never want to see you again" that's worse, If your child or sibling or parent says, "I never want to see you again" That hurts way worse ---- And if your spouse says, "I never want to see you again" that hurts the worst of all.  A lot of you have been through those experiences. It destroys your heart, It destroys your body, it destroys!
The quote above is from a sermon on the Crucifixion by Timothy Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.
Keller then points out that this terrible suffering is nothing compared to the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross, when God the Son is separated from God Father - They (the persons of the One God) had been together for all eternity, and on the Cross the Father abandoned the Son to a brutal, agonizing death.
We see Jesus' anguish the night before in the garden of Gethsemane when He prays, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." And then again on the cross when he cries out, in despair, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Jesus, the Son of God, was abandoned by the father when he was being brutally put to death by those he had created. He voluntarily suffered this humiliation and death, so that He could pay our debt of sin. He was punished and abandoned - getting what we deserve - and He did all this to save us from our sins.
Coram Deo.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A quote:

…as St, Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary, He told us to be not only "as harmless as doves," but also "as wise as serpents." He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up's head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim... The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old. It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have... God is no fonder of intellectual slackers than of any other slackers. If you are thinking  of becoming  a  Christian,  I warn you  you  are embarking  on something which is going to  take the whole  of you,  brains and  all.
C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A letter: Dionysius to Fabian

In the year 250 A.D. the Roman Emperor Decius issued an edict declaring that everyone in the empire had to sacrifice to the emperor, in the presence of a Roman official, and receive a certificate to show that they had done so. This edict led to severe, universal persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire.


What follows below is taken from a letter written by Dionysius, the Bishop in Alexandria, to fellow bishop, Fabius of Antioch. It is about the local persecution that had begun a year earlier in that city.


First, then, they seized an old man of the name of Metras, and commanded him to utter words of impiety; and as he refused, they beat his body with clubs, and lacerated his face and eyes with sharp reeds, and then dragged him off to the suburbs and stoned him [killed him by stoning him] there. Next they carried off a woman named Quinta, who was a believer, to an idol temple, and compelled her to worship the idol; and when she turned away from it, and showed how she detested it, they bound her feet and dragged her through the whole city along the rough stone-paved streets, knocking her at the same time against the millstones, and scourging her, until they brought her to the same place, and stoned her also there.


After these first couple Christians were murdered by the mob, they attacked Christians throughout the city, “Then with one impulse they all rushed upon the houses of the God-fearing, and whatever pious persons any of them knew individually as neighbours, after these they hurried and bore them with them, and robbed and plundered them, setting aside the more valuable portions of their property for themselves, and scattering about the commoner articles, and such as were made of wood, and burning them on the roads… And here is the response of the Christians, “The brethren, however, simply gave way and withdrew, and, like those to whom Paul bears witness, they took the spoiling of their goods with joy... “


He then adds, But they also seized that most admirable virgin Apollonia, then in advanced life, and knocked out all her teeth, and cut her jaws; and then kindling a fire before the city, they threatened to burn her alive unless she would repeat along with them their expressions of impiety. Appollonia would not blaspheme God and was burnt alive.


Dionysius next writes, “They also laid hold of a certain Serapion in his own house; and after torturing him with severe cruelties, and breaking all his limbs, they dashed him headlong from an upper storey to the ground. And there was no road, no thoroughfare, no lane even, where we could walk, whether by night or by day; for at all times and in every place they all kept crying out, that if any one should refuse to repeat their blasphemous expressions, he must be at once dragged off and burnt.”


The above account is only the small beginnings of the universal, extreme persecution of Christians that soon followed these events after Decius released his edict.


I know sometimes I think I have it rough and feel sorry for myself; it’s good for me to read things like this. It reminds me to be very thankful for the great courage of our brothers and sisters in Christ that have gone before us in the faith. It also reminds me to be thankful for God’s grace and mercy to me and to those that I love, we have been blessed so very much, yet we to often forget how much we are blessed by God.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A quote:

"... there are two kinds of love: we love wise and kind and beautiful people because we need them, but we love (or try to love) stupid and disagreeable people because they need us. This second kind is more divine, because that is how God loves us: not because we are lovable but because he is love, not because he needs to receive but because he delights to give." 
C.S. Lewis (in a letter to Miss Breckenridge - 19 April 1951)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Adam or Eve? Who is Responsible?

I think this is a topic many of us seldom think about so here are some of my thoughts on the subject.
Eve sinned, but it is Adam’s sin that is preeminent here. Let me see if I can show why this is so.
In Gen. 2:15 God places Adam in the garden to keep it. The word keep used here is “shamar.” According to Strong's Concordance this word means “to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life.” Adam’s task in the garden was more than simply that of a grounds keeper. He was also a guard, because there was an enemy on the loose (Satan). Eve did not receive this duty, Adam did. Also Adam was told to not eat of the tree of life, before Eve was created. (Note: We find the same word “shamar” is used in Gen 3:15 to describe the cherubim sent to guard the tree of life.)
Next Eve was created as Adam’s “helper suitable”. He was, from the beginning, head over her and responsible for her (he has to protect her as well). In Gen. 3:6 we are told that after Eve had eaten the forbidden fruit that “she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” Adam was there with his wife. He should have protected her, but instead he allowed her to be tempted. Remember Paul tells us that Eve was deceived when she partook; This is not true of Adam, he simply disobeyed God (1 Tim 2:14).
Because of all this, the Scriptures rightly give Adam credit for the fall into sin and not Eve. Nothing was cursed because of Eve’s sin, but the whole of creation is cursed because of Adam’s sin (Gen. 3:17-19; Rom. 5:17).
The above may seem like hair splitting but, Adam’s headship and culpability in this matter are both biblically and theologically important, especially when we look into the different roles that God has given to husbands and wives.
Soli Deo Gloria,

Sunday, January 15, 2012

St. Cyprian

Cyprian (died 258 AD) was the bishop of Carthage from 249 AD until he was executed by the Romans for his Christian faith and for his leadership of Christ Church in North Africa. Cyprian is one of my personal favourites among the early Church fathers.  He was born into family of privilege and wealth, but he willingly gave that up to serve his Saviour Jesus Christ and Christ’s Church. He was willing to do this during a time of serious and extreme persecution, when many fellow Christians were being imprisoned, tortured and killed by the Roman government, because of their faith.
St. Cyprian wrote a good deal; we are blessed to still possess, and have ready access to, much of what he wrote. We still have many of his personal letters written to friends and colleagues. We also have a sizable number of his treatises. These treatises are often very much like a sermon and many of them were likely sermons that he preached to his parishioners.
The quote below is and excerpt from a treatise Bishop Cyprian wrote on the Lord’s Prayer.
…[T]he Teacher of peace and the Master of unity would not have prayer to be made singly and individually, as for one who prays to pray for himself alone. For we say not “My Father, which art in heaven,” nor “Give me this day my daily bread;” nor does each one ask that only his own debt should be forgiven him; nor does he request for himself alone that he may not be led into temptation, and delivered from evil. Our prayer is public and common; and when we pray, we pray not for one, but for the whole people, because we the whole people are one. The God of peace and the Teacher of concord, who taught unity, willed that one should thus pray for all, even as He Himself bore us all in one…
I think it is good for modern Christians to remember that we received the Gospel of Christ from those who came before us. It is good to remember men like Cyprian, and elder brother in the faith, who willing gave his life, and was beheaded, for the cause of Christ and His Church.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A quote

Here is a quote from Lewis’s book Surprised By Joy: “This is why, though it was a terro, it was no surprise to learn that God is to be obeyed because of what He is in Himself. If you ask why we should obey God, inn the last resort the answer is, “I am.” To know God is to know that our obedience is due to Him.”