Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Saint Patrick's Day - March 17, 2017

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 

If you're a Sabbath-keeper, it might amaze you to learn that so was he...

(Quoted from "The Patrick You Didn't Know", by Dan Dowd)

Saint Patrick’s Day is a well recognized holiday in the Western world. Celebrated in mid-March with no other Christian holidays around it, Saint Patrick’s Day has taken on a very festive atmosphere. While many picture wearing green, three-leaf clovers, leprechauns, green beer and corned beef, do any of those things really have anything to do with Patrick himself?

Do you know who Patrick was—and more importantly what he taught?

Let’s start with what most people think they know. We have been told that Patrick was a Catholic monk who brought the Trinity doctrine to the people of Ireland. And along the way he drove all the snakes from the Emerald Isle. He became so renowned that the Catholic Church made him a “saint.”

None of that is true. (Except that the Catholic Church did make him a saint, but only after changing his story - history)

The Scottish slave in the Celtic Church


Patrick’s given name was actually Maewyn Succat (or Sucat). He took the name Patrick most likely because of the area he was from in Scotland. That’s right, Patrick was Scottish, not Irish! Here’s what Patrick said himself of his background:

“ I, Patrick…had Calpornius for my father, a deacon, a son of the late Potitus, the presbyter, who dwelt in the village of Banavan…I was captured. I was almost sixteen years of age…and taken to Ireland in captivity with many thousand men” (William Cathcart, D. D., The Ancient British and Irish Churches , p.127).

Patrick labored for six years as a slave until he managed to escape back to his native Scotland around A.D. 376. He believed he had a calling from God, however, to go back to Ireland to teach God’s Word to the people there. The Catholic Church, while having had an impact in England and later Scotland, did not have a significant foothold in Ireland until the 12th century. They didn’t even acknowledge Patrick for about 200 years after his death.

Patrick was connected to what is known as the Celtic Church. It was very much opposed to what was taught in the Roman Catholic Church.

While we have little of Patrick’s history and teaching written by himself, what’s taught about Patrick now didn’t surface until about 500 years after his death. It was the Catholic priest Jocelyn, writing around A.D. 1130 who wrote most extensively about Patrick. He ignored much of what was known then about Patrick and inserted a Catholic background into Patrick’s story. Patrick never wrote about a connection to Rome or popes or that his authority came from there. So if Patrick wasn’t Roman Catholic, what did he teach?

Patrick’s actual teachings

In A.D. 596 Pope Gregory sent a group of monks to England to try and bring the Celtic Church under
the authority of Rome. However, the Celts refused to acknowledge Gregory’s authority and rejected the teachings of the Roman Church. In Ireland the monks found that the Celtic Church permitted their priests to marry. They also practiced baptism by full immersion in water. The Celtic Church also rejected the doctrine of (papal) infallibility and veneration, transubstantiation, the confessional, the Mass, relic worship, image adoration and the primacy of Peter (Truth Triumphant, by B.G. Wilkinson, pg. 108). The latter list is of specific Roman Catholic doctrines that the Celtic Church knew were not taught in the Scriptures.

Patrick also rejected the merging of church and state (a main teaching of Catholicism). He believed and taught the same as Jesus in John 18:36 that God’s Kingdom is not of this world. The Celtic Church had local ecclesiastical councils and kept Saturday as a day of rest, (A.C. Flick, The Rise of Medieval Church, pp. 236-327). In this matter of a Saturday (Sabbath) rest, Dr. James C. Moffatt wrote that, “They [the Celtic churches] obeyed the fourth commandment [the Sabbath commandment] literally upon the seventh day of the week” (The Church in Scotland, pg. 140).

Patrick (and the Celtic Church) observed the other “festivals of the Eternal” (Leviticus 23), believed human beings were mortal (that is rejected the teaching of an immortal soul and the doctrine of going to heaven or hell), rejected the Trinity doctrine, followed the food laws of Leviticus 11, refused veneration of “saints” or worship of Mary, and believed that only Jesus Christ is our mediator (Leslie Hardinge, The Celtic Church in Britain ; B.G. Wilkinson, Truth Triumphant ).
The Celtic Church had a long history before the Catholic Church pushed deeper into England, Scotland and Ireland. Celtic writings speak of individuals coming from Asia Minor who brought with them the doctrines they received from John, Paul, Philip and other apostles of Jesus. A Catholic “father,” Bede, (who lived in the mid 700s A.D.) who wrote about the Celtic Church:
“They ignorantly refuse to observe our Easter [Pascha, or Passover] on which Christ was sacrificed, arguing that it should be observed with the Hebrew Passover on the fourteenth of the moon” (Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica).

What about St. Patrick’s Day?

As it is currently celebrated, St. Patrick’s Day actually has nothing to do with the historical man Patrick. Many “Christian” holidays are a mixture of truth and error. Because of this, most people don’t really know the history or purpose of the day. Vertical Thought challenges you as a vertical thinker to seek the true history of such things as St. Patrick’s Day.

We encourage you to read what God said in the Bible to know which Holy Days He made and who He said are saints.

We follow the same teachings, doctrines and practices established then, and believe our commission is to proclaim the gospel of the coming Kingdom of God to all the world as a witness and teach all nations to observe what Christ commanded. It appears that Patrick believed these same teachings!
From our best historical understanding, the Patrick you didn’t know lived a life according to the Bible, rather than human traditions. You can too.

Daily Bible Reading - March 17, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 17

Numbers 3-4

Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:16

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today, I would like to share some thoughts regarding the reading from Ecclesiastes 4:9-12. Okay, I know, I usually try to "spice things up" by sometimes commenting on the early Old Testament verses, sometimes on the New Testament verses, and sometimes on the middle reading. Yet for two days in a row, I've focused on a point from Ecclesiastes, and here I go again for the third day running...  But, if you'll bear with me on this, I think there are some beautiful and powerful concepts here which will strengthen and encourage our Christian marriages. 

Christians commonly know that marriage is one of the clearest pictures we have (on earth) of the relationship between Christ and His Church. It is a beautiful thing to see a young couple, saying their wedding vows with starry eyes and hearts committed to God and to each other. It is even more beautiful to see an older couple, who have faithfully kept that commitment to God and to each other for 50+ years. In Ecclesiastes, we are given powerful principles that will take us from wedding day to golden anniversary - and beyond - with joy and to the glory of God. Consider the tips found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

They have a Good Reward for their Labour:

First, a godly marriage will produce Eternal fruit. When my husband and I counsel young couples who are considering marriage, our first question of them is whether or not they make each other stronger or weaker in their individual relationships with God. A right relationship will be a nurturing greenhouse in which the two people not only grow but encourage each other in the Way of the Kingdom. 

Having established that a relationship brings greater spiritual depth to both people, we then ask if they are able to complete their Heavenly Calling better together or separately. If the couple can answer that they are better enabled to serve God and fulfill His Heavenly Calling together than they can separately, the two most critical factors are in place upon which to consider building a godly marriage.

In such cases the "two are better than one". And such a united and Christ-centered relationship will most assuredly produce fruit in souls touched for the Heavenly Kingdom. This is the Eternal "reward for their labour". 

If They Fall, The One Will Lift up His Fellow:

In my own marriage, I have noticed how this principle is demonstrated. When my husband's faith is weak and he is under spiritual attack or even falling in some way, I am quick to get into the "prayer trenches" of intercession on his behalf. He does the same for me. When I was in the darkest moments of my life, detailed in my new book (coming out this April) titled Escaping From the Dragon's Jaws, my husband fasted and prayed for me. 

Instead of judging our marital partner's weakness, instead of growing bitter against them for their un-Christ-like attitudes and behaviors in those moments of falling, we can reach out, stand in the gap, and intercede for our spouses. In this way, we lift each other up and strengthen one another. 

They Will Have Heat:

Scripture compares temperature to one's spiritual condition. We are "cold" when we are spiritually dead. We are "hot" when we are "on fire" for God. Just as a committed couple may intercede to lift each other up in times of failure, so the partners of a Christ-centered marriage can help to keep each other spiritually warm. We share with each other the things we have found in our private devotions. We pray together and encourage each other in Christ. 

Being in a Christ-centered marriage is one of the most powerful protections against becoming the proverbial "lukewarm" Christian.

A Cord of Three Strands is not Easily Broken:

A Christian marriage is a cord of three strands. One strand is the husband. Another strand is the wife. And the third strand is God, Who is to be the center of the couple's hearts and the center of the marriage. 

So how is your marriage doing? Are you the loving couple God intends for you to be with your spouse? Or has the fire of faith and commitment waned a bit? Here are few loving lab assignments to help you strengthen your marriage cord, whether your cord is frayed, or already pretty strong, these things will only make it better still. To strengthen your marriage cord, take the 15-day Marriage Challenge:

15-Day Marriage Challenge:

Day 1 - send a sweet text expressing your love and appreciation for your spouse. Include a Scripture Promise to encourage your partner in the Lord.

Day 2 - share a 6-second kiss. Then hold each other as you pray for God to bless your partner's life.

Day 3 - unplug and tune into each other by having a long conversation. Share your hearts with each other. Pray together over any issues on each other's hearts.

Day 4 - leave a love-note in an unexpected place for your partner to find. Look up your spouse's name meaning and find a Scripture that is an encouraging message for that name meaning. Include this name meaning and message at the end of your love note.

Day 5 - learn each other's love language at www.5lovelanguages.com and work to convey love to your partner in his/her love language today. Then focus on conveying your love to God in His Languages, which are: obedience, worship, and praise.

Day 6 - try a new dish together. As you dine, share the ways your partner is a blessing to you. Thank God for the gift of your spouse.

Day 7 - hold hands while you are out and about. Love is about letting your love for each show. Let your love for God show also, by sharing your love for Him with one stranger.

Day 8 - play a game together and share some laughter. Then spend some time together "delighting in the Lord".

Day 9 - enjoy a picnic in the park. Simply relax and breathe... :-) For a fun, spiritual option, read Psalm 103 together under the trees.

Day 10 - get dressed up and have a date night. Say a blessing over each other at dinner.

Day 11 - give a spontaneous gift (whether big or small). Choose a gift which will encourage your partner and shows that you love him/her.

Day 12 - make a "why I love you" list and give to your partner. Then make a "why I love You" list for God. Pray a thankful prayer to God, reading your list for why you love Him.

Day 13 - find someone who needs help (a shut-in person, someone who is elderly, someone who is sick) and team up, go over to the person's house and bless them by helping meet their needs together.

Day 14 - share old memories, go through childhood pictures together. Share your happiest and most blessed moments. Share your toughest times and how God helped you through them.

Day 15 - make a playlist of songs that remind you of each other. Amidst the romantic songs, be sure to include a few spiritual songs to encourage each other in God (choose your partner's favorite hymn or praise song).