VIDEO Saint Augustine

Apr 2, 2017

Augustine of Hippo, Latin: Aurelius Augustinus Hipponensis; (13 November 354 – 28 August 430), also known as Saint Augustine, Saint Austin, Blessed Augustine, and the Doctor of Grace (Latin: Doctor gratiae), was an early Christian theologian and philosopher whose writings influenced the development of Western Christianity and Western philosophy. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius (modern-day Annaba, Algeria), located in Numidia (Roman province of Africa). He is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers in Western Christianity for his writings in the Patristic Era. Among his most important works are The City of God and Confessions. According to his contemporary, Jerome, Augustine “established anew the ancient Faith.” In his early years, he was heavily influenced by Manichaeism and afterward by the neo-Platonism of Plotinus. After his baptism and conversion to Catholicism in 387, Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and perspectives. Believing that the grace of Christ was indispensable to human freedom, he helped formulate the doctrine of original sin and made seminal contributions to the development of just war theory. When the Western Roman Empire began to disintegrate, Augustine developed the concept of the Church as a spiritual City of God, distinct from the material Earthly City. His thoughts profoundly influenced the medieval worldview. The segment of the Church that adhered to the concept of the Trinity as defined by the Council of Nicaea and the Council of Constantinople closely identified with Augustine’s City of God. In the Catholic Church, he is a saint, a preeminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinians. His memorial is celebrated on 28 August, the day of his death.

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The Millennial Reign

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. Isaiah 2:4

If you visit the United Nations in New York City, look for the sculpture by Soviet artist Yvgeny Vuchetich of a man beating a sword into a plow. The sculpture depicts Isaiah 2:4 and suggests the mission of the UN is to convert implements of war into tools of peace. But that mission cannot happen by human effort, for the passage in Isaiah talks about the Millennial Reign of Christ.

The Bible is filled with information about this future golden era in which Christ, having returned to earth at the end of the Great Tribulation, will reign on earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-6). The prophet Isaiah described the harmony and happiness of this period (Isaiah 11:1-9).

As believers, the Millennium is not to be feared. It will bring peace, prosperity, purity, prolonged life, and personal joy. It will be a time when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and it will serve as a prelude to eternity (Habakkuk 2:14).

The kings of the earth will not usher in a reign of peace; it will be the Prince of Peace who subdues these warring nations who will then begin this millennium of peace. Wilbur M. Smith

God Is Present in Dark Times

Genesis 39:1-23

In this day of instant news, we regularly see images of calamity in our world. And on a personal level, we experience seasons of hardship as well. The same is true of friends and family who encounter job layoffs, marital troubles, difficulties with children, and other challenges.

As Christians, we have a heavenly Father who has promised to be with us in our struggles. We can rely on Him—He knows what will happen before we do; nothing is hidden from His sight (Heb. 4:13). He sees in the darkness of troubled times as clearly as He does in the daylight (Psalm 139:11-12). Through His Spirit, He offers us the comfort, strength, and wisdom to persevere.

The story of Joseph illustrates this truth. After being rejected and sold into slavery by his brothers, he was falsely accused by his master’s wife and imprisoned. But in the midst of those terrible times, the young Hebrew man experienced God’s presence and favor.

I doubt Joseph comprehended the Lord’s intentions during his slavery and imprisonment. But later on, as second-in-command to Pharaoh, he understood God’s purpose in allowing those difficult years. In the end, Joseph testified to what he knew to be true. His brothers had meant to harm him, but God used all the hardship to accomplish His good plan (Gen. 45:4-8; Gen. 50:20).

When troubles hit, remember what is true and take heart. The indwelling Holy Spirit has the resources to provide what we need, equip us for the journey, and sustain us with His presence throughout the dark days. Nothing can stop the purposes of our Lord from being carried out (Isa. 14:27).

In Christ Jesus

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)

One of the key doctrines of Christianity is the union of the believer with Christ. In fact, the expression “in Christ” or its equivalent is found over 160 times in Paul’s epistles alone. Since, in God’s sight, we are “in Him,” all His attributes and accomplishments are credited to us as well.

For example, Paul said even to the carnal Corinthians that “of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). To the Romans (see today’s verse) he said that being in Christ frees us from the judgment, since Christ has already borne our judgment.

To the Galatians, Paul emphasized that “ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The Ephesian epistle has many such expressions, the most comprehensive being Ephesians 1:3: “[God] hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” To the Philippians, he promised that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). The Christians at Colosse were assured that “ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10).

Even when we die, we “sleep in Jesus” and, when He comes again, “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:14, 16). Paul even wrote to Timothy that God’s “own purpose and grace” had been “given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9). These are only a few examples of the marvelous blessings shared by all who are “in Christ Jesus.” We should be willing gladly to acknowledge “every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 1:6). HMM

I do trust in thy word

Psalm 119:33-48

Psalm 119:33

Bernard says, “He who is his own teacher has a fool for his master.” We cannot teach ourselves what we do not know, and to know anything aright we must be taught of God. Those whom the Lord himself instructs, become practical scholars and persevering disciples. Lessons divinely learned are never forgotten.

Psalm 119:34

Where the Spirit of God gives a spiritual understanding of the Word, the whole nature is sanctified and set upon keeping the Lord’s commands. This prayer is suitable for each one in the family; let us stop a moment, while we breathe it from our hearts.

Psalm 119:35

I am like the poor impotent man who could not move; therefore, Lord, make me to go. Where my heart already runs, there let all my faculties follow.

Psalm 119:36

Covetousness is the rival of religion. Those who love not God, frequently make a god of their gold. This sin is sure to bring ruin upon those who fall into it. It made Judas a traitor, and dragged him down to hell.

Psalm 119:37

Looking brings longing, and longing leads to sin, therefore let not the eye gaze on evil.

Psalm 119:38

My whole nature is set upon honouring thee; therefore, O Lord, make all thy promises to stand firm for me.

Psalm 119:39

The reproach of Christ we rejoice in, but from the reproach of inconsistency we should daily pray to be delivered.

Psalm 119:40

Mere professors long after the promises, but genuine saints long after the precepts also. He who does not desire holiness will be shut out of heaven. Lord, send us more grace that we may be more holy.

Psalm 119:41

Mercy, yea, many mercies, we need, and we cannot be saved without them, but then they are promised in the Word, and here is our ground of comfort. Let us plead the promise in prayer.

Psalm 119:42

Faith, by the help of realised joy and manifested holiness, shuts the mouths of gainsayers.

Psalm 119:43

If we are somewhat straitened in spiritual enjoyments, yet do not quite prevent our praising Thee. Let us rather stammer out Thy praises, than be entirely silent.

Psalm 119:44

This would be heaven upon earth; it is heaven in heaven.

Psalm 119:45

Holiness is the truest liberty.

Psalm 119:46

What is there to be ashamed of? God grant us the boldness of true faith in all companies.

Psalm 119:47

“I live a voluptuous life” said holy Joseph Alleine; “but it is upon spiritual dainties, such as men of the world know not and taste not of.”

Psalm 119:48

He longed to embrace the truth, and therefore held up his hands to receive it with inward delight. He felt encouraged to practise diligently the law of his God, because he loved the Lord’s Word, and daily meditated therein. It should be our daily habit to search the Scriptures. We must not be content with this family reading, but must each, in private, feed upon the precious Word. Are we all mindful of this?

 

In thee I live, and move and am;

Thou dealest out my days:

Lord, as thou dost my life renew,

Let me renew thy praise.

 

To thee I come, from thee I am;

For thee I still would be;

‘Tis better for me not to live,

Than not to live to thee.

 

Is It Possible for a Christian To Become the Enemy of God?

James 4:4

How does God view a believer who once walked with Him and knew the power of the Holy Spirit but has now become so entangled in the world that he hardly ever picks up his Bible to read it, rarely prays, and comes to church only if it “fits” into his schedule of things to do? How does God look on it when a believer departs from the red-hot spiritual passion he once possessed and turns his devotion to other things?

James 4:4 says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” This verse tells us exactly how God feels about a believer who wanders away from Him.

I want you to notice the word “is” in this verse. It is from the Greek word kathistemi, which means to constitute or to render. This is very important, for it alerts us to the fact that when a believer chooses to take a worldly path, he sets himself in direct opposition to the godly path God desires for him. As a result of the choices he has made, he has rendered, constituted, or caused himself to become the “enemy” of God.

I know that the word “enemy” is strong, so let’s see what it means. The word “enemy” is the Greek word echthros. This word is usually used to describe enemies in a war or enemies in a military conflict. It is the picture of two nations who are in opposition to one another and have therefore engaged in a military conflict. They are warring nations. They feel hostility, antagonism, and even animosity toward each other.

In Luke 23:12, the word echthros is used to communicate the enmity and animosity that existed between Pilate and Herod Antipas before they became allies at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Prior to forming their new alliance, Pilate and Herod Antipas were fiercely hostile toward one another. Jealousy and competition raged between these two men. They were enemies.

So the meaning of the word echthros in James 4:4 is unquestionable. It is the picture of a hostile force. But now James uses this word to express the feelings and emotions that God possesses toward a believer who transfers his devotion and passion from Him to the world. By using this word, James tells us that if a believer chooses to make his relationship with the world a greater priority than his relationship with God, he is making a choice that will put him in direct opposition to God. In fact, the word echthros lets us know that God takes this decision so personally that He views it as an act of war! To God, this is the ultimate violation!

I realize that Romans 8:31 says, “… If God be for us, who can be against us?” But by the same token, if God takes a stand against us and our activities because our actions are wrong, our plans and pursuits will be frustrated and paralyzed, and we will not succeed in our endeavors. God is not against us being blessed or having a lot of possessions. But He is against whatever takes His place in our hearts. When the things of the world move from our hands into our hearts, that is the violation that concerns God the most!

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” According to these words of Jesus, it is impossible for us to give our hearts simultaneously to two masters. We must choose whom we are going to serve: God or mammon.

“Mammon” was an expression used by the Jewish community of New Testament times to express the idea of worldliness. So when Jesus said it was impossible to serve God and mammon, He was actually saying that it is impossible to serve both God and worldliness.

The word “serve” is the Greek word doulos, which describes a servant or a slave. This word was used to denote a servant who had become a slave for the rest of his life. This servant’s lifetime responsibility was to “service” his master with all his attention, time, and energy. In other words, he catered to his master’s every wish, desire, or demand. He was there to help, assist, and fulfill his master’s wants and dreams to the exclusion of all else. This servant’s entire existence was to “service” his master in whatever way the master asked or demanded.

Let me give you this example. When you purchase a car or a washing machine, these machines will operate for a while without your attention. However, a time comes when you must give your attention to them in order to keep them in good working order. And if you own a house or apartment, you know that a home requires all kinds of time, attention, energy, and money in order to keep it in good shape. In other words, all these natural possessions must be “serviced.”

When Jesus told us, “… Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” He was telling us that both God and mammon require time, attention, energy, and money. Jesus knew that there is not enough of you and me to properly “service” both God and worldliness in our lives. Hence, we must choose which master we are going to serve. Once that decision is made, we must then “… hate the one and love the other….”

To truly serve God, you must spend time with Him so you can know His voice and develop a pattern of obedience in your daily walk. It will demand your fullest attention. The work of God must be “serviced” with prayer, obedience, repentance, and worship.

If a person chooses to serve “mammon” (worldliness) instead of the Lord, he will have to turn his attention and devotion to the world. As a worldly person, he will be required to learn the ways of the world and to adapt to the thinking of the world. Serving the world and worldliness requires 100 percent of a person’s attention.

Just as serving God requires your time, attention, energy, and money, the world will demand the same from you. This is why Jesus said it isn’t possible to serve both God and mammon. You see, there just isn’t enough of you to serve both of these masters simultaneously, so you must choose whom you are going to serve.

So let me ask you this: Whom are you serving in your life right now? What most requires your time and attention? Can you truthfully say you are giving God your fullest attention and that the chief priority in your life is to serve and obey Him? Or must you confess that worldly pursuits, possessions, and corporate success consume your thoughts and energies?

If you are consumed with God, these other things will take a lower place on your list of priorities. But if you are consumed with the world, material things will dominate the landscape of your mind. So just stop and ask yourself, What do I think about more than anything else in life? Your answer will probably tell you whom you are serving the most with your heart.

James 4:6 tells us that God takes a stand against a believer who turns his devotion to the world and becomes worldly. In fact, it says God “resists” such believers. The word “resist” is the Greek word antitassoa military term that means to militarily order one’s self against someone else. This is no accidental, fly-by-night plan of resistance but a well-planned, prepared resistance.

This emphatically declares that God takes it so personally when a believer turns his devotion from Him to the world that He sets Himself in opposition to that believer. Like a military commander, God reviews the situation; then He decides how to resist and frustrate the things this believer is trying to achieve and thus bring him to a place of surrender.

If this believer does not quickly surrender, repent, and come back to where he ought to be, God will continue to take a stand against his activities. The Christian can rebuke the devil all day long, but it will be to no avail, for his problem isn’t the devil—his problem is God!

It doesn’t matter how smart that person is, how many talents and gifts he possesses, or how hard he works to achieve his goals, things just won’t work out right because God is standing in opposition to him, frustrating every step he takes in order to get his attention and help him get his priorities back in divine order.

As terrible as this resistance sounds, it is a manifestation of God’s grace! By blocking our way and resisting our choices, the precious Holy Spirit endeavors to get our attention and to bring us to a sweet place of brokenness where sin is confessed and fellowship with God is restored.

You see, God is so passionate about your relationship with Him that He is unwilling to share you with the world. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a job or be successful. In most cases, you must have a job, and God wants you to be successful. But if you switch your allegiance from God to the world around you, God views that as the ultimate violation in His sight. It is the very act that causes Him to decide to rise up and to do something to bring you back to where you ought to be!

So I advise you to take a good look at your life and make sure your priorities are where they need to be! Make sure you are more aligned with the Lord than with the world around you! Otherwise, God may step forward to deliberately frustrate your plans in order to bring you back to where you ought to be!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I am running to You! I want to be as close to You as I can possibly be! I don’t want even the smallest hint of worldliness in my life. I want to be like You, to think like You, and to please You in every part of my life—my family, my job, my relationships, and my finances. Holy Spirit, if there is any part of me that has been influenced wrongly by the world, I ask You to please show it to me and help me get it corrected.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that I am on fire for Jesus Christ! I am alive to God and dead to the world around me. Nothing means more to me than pleasing Jesus. Every day of my life, I live to serve Him and to do His will. Although I live in the world, I am not of the world. I am a citizen of Heaven, living with eternity at the forefront of my mind!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Has there ever been a time when you unintentionally allowed your devotion to slip away from the Lord as your attention was drawn to the world around you?
  2. What did you do to get back to where you needed to be with the Lord?
  3. During that time when you wandered away from the Lord, did you sense that God was supernaturally working behind the scenes to get your attention and to bring you back home spiritually?

 

Sage Advice On Life And Ministry

“Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints… ”

 

Cast your cares on the Lord, and He will sustain youHe has delivered us and will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” (Psalm 55:22; 2 Corinthians 1:10)

 

“Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement… ”

 

If you have faith as a small as a mustard seed, you can say to thistree, Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.” (Luke 17:6)

 

“Trust God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you… it is a failing world… inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment… ”

 

Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.” (Psalm 146:3)

 

“Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord… ”

 

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstancesin any and every situationI can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12b,13)

 

“Continue with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: Faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her great Guide.”

 

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune, for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, and their descendants with them.” (Isaiah 65:23)

 

“In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged upon us to pursue. Come fair or foul… the ministry (is) our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of his wings.”

 

I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (Acts 20:24a)