Saint Valentine


Saint Valentine, or Valentinus, has an important story to share with us today!

Saint Valentine was executed for refusing to deny his faith after being arrested for secretly marrying Roman soldiers to their brides, defying an order from Emperor Claudius II that soldiers were not to marry.
(The Story of St. Valentine: More than Cards and Candied Hearts)

This is so relevant today! God designed and defines marriage. Yet, the devil continues to scheme through rulers and despots to redefine marriage. 

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”
St. Valentine, The Real Story
By David Kithcart

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
(Acts 4:18-20

National marriage week and Saint Valentine’s day! 

He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Matthew 19:4-6

Just War / Just Cause Theory

Just Cause Theory

“a three-step theology of resistance…

“The [1] first was prophetic denunciation of the civic evil. When the magistrate is defying God, then courageous men in the pulpit should be authoritatively naming what is happening, and denouncing it ( Matt. 14:4). The [2] second stage is for the believers to flee the persecution. Jesus said to do this — when you are persecuted in one city, flee to the next (Matt. 10:23). The [3] third and final stage is to take up arms defensively (1 Sam. 22:2). David’s men were armed, and were not cooperating with Saul’s tyranny at all, and would certainly have defended themselves if cornered, but David would still not lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed. So it is not permissible to undertake a revolution whereby the rebels seek to overthrow the existing authority. But taking up arms defensively is an option. And stating that you will refuse to comply if required by the tyrants to is also an option. This is why George Washington said that weapons were liberty’s teeth. This is why molon labe is an option. As the saying goes, when the government starts saying that you don’t need a gun, then you need a gun.

“In his magisterial Institutes, John Calvin gave us another layer of protection against lawless anarchy. He taught that when the supreme ruler is resisted, it should be undertaken by the lesser magistrate, and that the people should not try to resist tyranny at the top as an inchoate mob. They should resist tyranny from the central government by means of submission to local authorities who are fulfilling their oath of office. Every lesser magistrate has the obligation (not the right, the obligation) to disobey unlawful orders from above. And, when they do this, the people have an obligation to rally behind them.

https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/assemblin-carryin-n-sayin-stuff.html

EDC (every day carry)

Just War Theory

“[W]e can evaluate whether… any decision leading to hostile action, is justified according to what is called “Just War Theory.” Over the centuries, Christian thinkers from Augustine to Aquinas to the Reformers—seeking to reconcile Christian teaching on the sanctity of human life with the Christian responsibility to love our neighbors by protecting them from evil—have proposed a set of conditions by which a violent act can be considered justified. These conditions deal with both whether war ought to be waged, as well as how war should be waged.

“[1] First, the cause for going to war and the intention behind it must be just. [2] Second, the war must be waged by a legitimate authority. [3] Third, force must be used as a last resort. [4] Fourth, force used in war must be proportionate to the threat. [5] Fifth, force must not target non-combatants, and finally, [6] there must be a reasonable chance of success.”

https://www.breakpoint.org/soleimani-the-u-s-and-just-war/

Barmen: the Church then and now

Tom introduces listeners to the Barmen Declaration of 1934. He then helps listeners understand what genuine resistance to the Nazis looked like at the time, and how many German churches had been coopted by cultural trends.
In our ideological age, cut off from both nature and nature’s God, totalitarianisms emerge to fill in the empty spaces in our heads and hearts. Classical Christian theism is what we need today, but most evangelicals don’t know what that is.

https://crosspolitic.com/podcast/the-theology-pugcast-the-barmen-declaration-saying-no-to-cultural-accommodation/

Here’s the wiki page for the Barmen Declaration–https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barmen_Declaration

Highlights/Outline of this Episode

The Barmen Declaration

1934 Germany, 139 delegates of the churches meet to declare the true aligence of the church and encourage resistance to false allegiances and the political evil of national socialism. (Yes, socialism, the same godless ideology we are facing today in America.)

False allegiances

  • Turned from the true God
  • Political symptoms are related to the sickness of theological liberalism
  • Theological liberalism is embraced in order to make the church more relevant, attractive
  • Resulted in “domesticated,” “accommodating,” and effeminate church

Resistance to evil

  • Godly relevance (truth) is not always popular
  • The movement started from the Barmen declaration had to go underground
  • Grace and salvation give you the freedom to proclaim unpopular truths no matter the worldly consequences
  • Stop following the godless culture in order to be relevant
  • Build a Godly culture in the church and our households

Socialism, Communism, Marxism https://ministry.family.blog/america/socialism-marxism-communism/

Prayer of Hope

A prayer of Hope in times of danger, distress, and terror.

July, 2016

I was feeling great sorrow and distress over the turmoil in our nation and world. It is obvious God has been pulling away as we have been pushing him out. The acts of terror, racial and police violence, and political uncertainty and division.

But, Christ is in me, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27)

In my Scripture reading and meditation today:

1. I prayed from the Psalms “I am weary from grief; strengthen me through Your word.” (Psalm 119:28)

2. I was both encouraged and challenged that when God had twice revealed plans for the ultimate destruction of Israel, twice he relented after the intercessory prayer and pleading of the prophet Amos. All is not lost, but we must plead and pray and repent! “‘Lord God, please forgive! How will Jacob survive since he is so small?’ The Lord relented concerning this. ‘It will not happen, He said.” (Amos 7:2-3)

3. I marveled in the hope of glory! “God’s mystery—Christ. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him.” (Colossians 1:2b-3)

So, have hope, do not be deceived and be thankful! (Colossians 1:4,7)

Pray

“O Lord, whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible… let us dwell in Your most secret place under Your shadow, where there is safe protection…

Help us to be entirely dependent on You for support, counsel, and consolation.

Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit for every purpose of our Christian life.

In Jesus Christ’s name we pray – Amen!”

Prayer adpated from the “Puritan Prayers: Refuge”

Reading plan From the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings for Year C, Monday (July 18, 2016): Psalm 119:17-32; Amos 7:1-6; Colossians 1:27-2:7.

Prayer for Healing

“Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, You became man and died on the cross for our salvation. You healed people of sickness and affliction through Your love and compassion. Visit me, Lord, and grant me strength to bear this sickness with which I am afflicted, with patience, submission to Your will and trust in Your loving care. I pray that You will bless the means used for my recovery and those who administer them. Grant that my sickness may be to my spiritual benefit and that I may live the rest of my life more faithfully according to Your will. For You are the source of life and healing and to You I give praise and glory, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.”

“My Orthodox Prayer Book” by Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Rev. Theodore Stylianopoulos

See Healing https://ministry.family.blog/2020/01/05/healing/

Healing

God can and does heal

  • Remember all the times Jesus healed and even brought the dead to life
  • I have seen people healed from health afflictions after earnest prayer in our small group

15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:15-16 (ESV)

But does not always heal

7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,[a] a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (ESV)
  • To keep Paul from becoming conceited, or trusting in his own ability and righteousness, rather than in God’s grace and power.
  • So that Paul’s weakness would bear witness to God’s greatness.

We can’t always understand His ways

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36 (ESV)

But we can trust that all things are for our good and His glory

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 (ESV)

And even death cannot separate us from His love!

38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV)