This is Hans Schile from the Finishing Well Podcast.
On Finishing Well, we help you make godly choices about Medicare, long-term care, and your money. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it, but most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. This is the Truth Network. Welcome to If Not For God, stories of hopelessness that turn to hope. Here is your host Mike Zwick.
This is If Not For God with Mike Zwick. For today, we are going to be doing a show on Saint Patrick. I know a lot of people are talking about this.
A lot of people are thinking about this. Saint Patrick is a big topic. You know, it's a huge celebration. I actually used to live in Savannah, Georgia, where we had the second largest Saint Patrick's Day celebration in the country. I believe the first largest one is in Boston.
I'm going to be talking about this today a little bit. You know, one of the things that a lot of people think about with Saint Patrick, first of all, they think that he was Irish. He was not Irish. He was actually British. And when he grew up, his father was actually a deacon in the church. And so when he was a young boy about 16 years old, he was actually kidnapped and taken over to Ireland. And when he was taken over there, that point in his life, he was not very religious at all. And he might have even been called an atheist at that time, because he just did not take the Christian religion that he grew up with very seriously. But as we know, and many times when we're dealing with difficult circumstances in our life, a lot of times that is when God is able to grab our attention.
But I believe it's Psalm 34 16, where it says he is close to the brokenhearted. And that's actually what happened to Saint Patrick. So he was kidnapped. He was taken away.
There were the druids, and there were also the pagans who were over in Ireland at that time. And when he went over there, he was miserable. I mean, he hardly got any food, hardly got any water. He was a slave. But he went over there for six years, and he got closer to God. And God reached out to him as well.
But when he did his job, he did it to the best of his ability. And people who saw him and who were the pagans and the druids and all that stuff, they saw how hard he worked. And they said, this guy's got something to him. I believe before he left, he had actually prayed for a young boy when the druids, they were looking to their own gods. And when they prayed to the other gods, as you would know, of course, it did not work. But when Saint Patrick actually prayed to the real God, the true God, he prayed for this young boy to be healed, and he was completely healed.
So he really got their attention. And so what happened was, was that Saint Patrick, there was a time where he really began to pray, and he began to fast to God. And when he fasted, the Lord actually heard his prayer. And one night he had a dream, and it was an angel named Victor who said that his fastings had pleased the Lord and that soon he would get out of Ireland. And in another dream, a few nights later, it was said in that dream that his ship was ready. And so what he did was he just got up in the middle of the night and he left and he started going. Now at that time, if you were a slave and they caught you running away, they would pretty much kill you.
And it would be horrible. But he went all the way and he went 200 miles. Now this was a time they didn't have cars, they didn't have a lot of the technology, there was no real way to get there. So he was led by the Lord. And when he got to the ocean, he saw the ship. And he said, oh, great, here's my ship. But when he, when he got to see the ship, he talked to the owner of the ship and the ship said, yeah, come on. He said, how much money can you give me? The owner of the ship told Saint Patrick, he said, you don't have any money.
We're not going to let you on. So Saint Patrick prayed to God fervently. And then all of a sudden the owner of the ship said, okay, you can come on the ship, but you're going to have to perform a pagan ritual to get on the ship. And Saint Patrick said, no, I'm not going to do it.
But he got on the ship anyways. I'm going to pause right there for a second. You know, when I talked to a lot of people nowadays, they said that, well, fasting was something that was for the Old Testament. And it's not really something for today. But when I read the Old Testament and the New Testament, that's not really something that I see. As a matter of fact, Jesus said, he said it himself, he says, but when you fast, he's talking, he's talking to people when he was around that day, he said, but when you fast, he didn't say if you fast, he said, but when you fast. And he said, you know, actually people came up to him and they said, how come you and your disciples don't fast? And he said, basically, while you're having a wedding, he said, you know, they're, they're enjoying me. We're going out, we're hanging out together.
We're having a good time. He says, but we, they don't fast while the groom is with them. He said, but when the bride groom goes away, he said, at that point they will fast.
And so he clearly tells us that we need to fast. Matter of fact, I'm going to look at some other verses. Acts 13, two, while they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, set apart for me Barnabas and solve for the work to which I have called them. Acts 14, 23, Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for each, each for them in each church. And with prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord in whom they had put their trust. Even Joel 2 12 says, even now declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart with fasting and weeping and mourning. Luke 2 37, and then was a widow until she was 84.
She never left the temple, but worship day and night, fasting and praying twice a week. And it says Luke 18 12 and he gave a 10th of all that he had. As you continue to go on Acts 13, three through four. So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.
Luke four, two through four were for 40 days. And this was where Jesus actually fasted. He was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days. And at the end of them, he was hungry.
No kidding. The devil said to him, if you are the son of God, tell this stone to become bread. And Jesus answered, it is written, man shall not live on bread alone. And so, you know, when I think about this, I think about, you know, there are some people that say that fasting was just for the Old Testament. There are many, many verses in the New Testament where it clearly states that we are supposed to fast as Christians.
And many people that today that I've known who have fasted, they have fasted for five, 10 days or whatever it was. And then they, they got an answer from the Lord. The interesting thing is, is that, you know, people say, well, if you say a little prayer when you're 15, 18 years old, then after that, regardless of your behavior, you're saved no matter what you could do, whatever you want to do. But there are many, many verses in the New Testament that would point to the opposite. Matter of fact, Jesus said, if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. He said, it's better for you to go through life with one of your hands than to have both of your hands and to be thrown into the fire of hell. Many, many verses in the New Testament.
It's not just that. So here's some Bible verses about turning away from sin. It says that the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Romans 6 23, 1 John 1 9, it says though, here's the good news. If we can confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. James 4, James 4 17, therefore to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it to him, it is sin.
1 Corinthians 15 33, do not be deceived, that bad company corrupts good morals. Romans 6 16 17, now I urge you brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching, which you learned and turn away from them. Mark 3 28 through 29, truly I tell you, all sins shall be forgiven the son of men and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of an eternal sin. And so if you look at what the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is, it's where the Jews are looking at Jesus and he's performing miracles. And they're saying that what you're doing Jesus, you performing these miracles is by the power of Satan. And Jesus said that any other sin that you commit can be forgiven if you ask for forgiveness.
And that's the great news, but that if we have Jesus, is that if we at any point, even no matter how far we go, but if we turn to Jesus and we ask him to forgive us of our sins, as far as the east is from the west, so far it'll be, our sins will be removed from us. But we need to be careful not to commit the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. And that's where we say, if something is done by the Holy Spirit that we say, if we say that it's of the devil, that is dangerously close to committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. And I've said this before, if you believe, you know, if you don't speak in tongues or if you don't believe that healing is for today or whatever, but if you call something like that, if you call it demonic, that is dangerously close to the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
So I would, I would, I would avoid that to the nth degree. First Corinthians 10 13, no temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man. And God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with a temptation will provide the way of escape also so that you are able to endure it. First John 3 4, everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness and sin is lawlessness. Galatians 5 19 through 21. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envyings, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such not such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. So if in other words, you say, hey, I'm a Christian, but you openly and outwardly continue to just sin, then it says you're not going to inherit the kingdom of God. Matter of fact, John Bunyan, who wrote the Pilgrim's Progress, when he was a young man, he lived in open sin. And one day he actually heard a voice from heaven. And when he heard this voice from heaven, what the voice from heaven said to him, it says, will you continue in your sins and go to hell? Or will you turn away from your sins and go to heaven?
And so it is very, very important to us as Christians that we turn away from our sins. You know, as I continue on with St. Patrick, you know, one of the things that I've seen with him is that, you know, people say, oh, you know, it's a drinking holiday or this or that, whatever. But there were many miracles that he witnessed. And one of the things that he witnessed is that he actually had left Ireland, he had gotten out of the situation that he was in. And he said, I'm going to decide I'm going to become a student and I'm going to become a teacher in the church. And so he was studying at what we would call seminary today. He did his studying. And then all of a sudden when he was out in his hometown, which was in Great Britain, in a dream, somebody came to him and in the dream, he heard the voice of the Irish and a voice that said, Holy boy, come back to Ireland.
We need you. He convinced his church that he was supposed to go back to Ireland. So in other words, he already had a job. He had everything set up. He was going to be comfortable when he came back to Britain, but he was told in a dream that he needed to come back to Ireland.
Let me ask you this. If you're listening today, has God told you that you need to do something? Have you felt the calling of God saying, Hey, maybe I need to go overseas. So you got to realize when he went back there, these are the same people that enslaved him. They worship multiple gods, but he obeyed the voice of God. And when he did a fire was lit, it's been said that he was bringing the light of Christ. And so when he went back, St. Patrick actually raised the dead. He was in a small town and there was a widow who couldn't walk to get water.
So what he did, he struck his staff on the ground and a fresh spring came up out of the ground. And there was a King who had a daughter and a son who died on the same day. And he heard about St. Patrick who had performed this miracle and it was through God. God had performed the miracle, but it was through St. Patrick.
He was the vessel. This King actually sought out St. Patrick. When St. Patrick found out that his son and his daughter had died on the same day. And the King hears that a man named St. Patrick raised the dead.
So St. Patrick made a deal with a King. And he says that if I raise your children from the dead, will you give your life to Christ? And the King says, yes, of course I would.
He's like, you know, what am I stupid? Of course he would. So St. Patrick raises the dead, raises the kids, raises the kids from the dead. And this King actually gives his life to Christ.
And also his whole tribe gives their lives to Christ as well. A matter of fact, today, if you know the city of Dublin, the King's daughter who was raised from the dead was named Dublin. And that's how we get Dublin. That fountain that St. Patrick asked God to raise up for the widow every year after this, that people would, the Irish would come around that fountain and they would drink the water from the fountain. And when they drank the water from the fountain, they were commemorating St. Patrick.
And the miracles that he had performed and they were remembering Christ as well. And so what happened is that the British would come around and when the British came in and they had occupied the Irish territory, the Irish didn't go to the fountain anymore because they were afraid that the British would think that they were rioting or something like that. So every year for St. Patrick's Day they would go to the pub and they still do this to honor St. Patrick. And so it's interesting, even when people are drinking nowadays on St. Patrick's Day or when they go to the pub, unwittingly they may be honoring St. Patrick.
And instead of being some holiday that is just out there to, some holiday that is out there to drink or whatever, it's really a whole lot more than that. And really one of the miracles that we think about is that St. Patrick, by his obedience to God and sharing the gospel with different chiefs, now Ireland is a Christian country. Now if you're listening right now you may say, hey I may not have the ability to start Christianity in a whole country or something like that, but you may. I mean you may be listening right now, you know it says in scripture that I have brought Christ to where he, I want to bring Christ to where he's never been heard.
He said, I don't want to build on another man's foundation, said Paul. And so there are places in the world where people have never heard the word of Christ. And so maybe you feel a calling to do that, maybe you could go out and do that yourself. And you know another thing that I'm thinking about is that we, sometimes I think we see persecution as something that's bad and something that needs to be avoided and stuff like that. But when I look at not only St. Patrick, I mean he was taken as a slave, it looked like his life was over, it looked like he had just fallen on hard times and things were never going to get better. But so many times if we're going through a hard time, maybe it's just God getting our attention. You know my friend Pastor Marty of First Christian Church of Boone, he sent me something and he said, you know, he said, I was working as a taxi driver, he said, but I quit because people were talking behind my back. Well, in the same way, you know, as a Christian, and I've seen this with whether it's been with Stu or whether it's been with Robbie or my friend John Perry or many other Christians, you know, people talking about you behind your back may be the least of the problems, okay. I mean you could deal with a lot more than that. Adoniram Judson went to Burma and he became, he was a Baptist missionary who went out there and that, you know, we think, oh wow, it's cool, I'd love to be like Adoniram Judson, I'd love to go to this other country where people are not Christians and they haven't given their lives to Christ.
And, you know, but at the same time, it's like, do we really want that? Because he was actually imprisoned and when he was in prison, he was hung upside down from his legs and he is the only thing that was allowed to touch the floor and this was done for days at a time, top of his neck or the top of his back and his head. You talk about a miserable, miserable way to live, but because of his obedience to God, now that whole region or that whole area, which is now Myanmar, became a Christian area. You know, when I think of Lottie Moon, Lottie Moon had gone to China and she saw nothing and nothing and nothing. As a matter of fact, when she was on her way back from China, one of the things that she did see, you know, she started to see a lot of people come to Christ and so when she saw all of these people come to Christ, one of the things that she saw is, oh, the things were getting better, but when she came back, she came back on a ship, she was coming back to America from China, she was emaciated, she hardly had anything to eat and she died of starvation. And so we say, hey, I want to do all the things that Lottie Moon did, but do we want to have to experience some of the problems that she experienced? Matter of fact, one of my favorite stories is of a guy named William Borden and the story is called No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets.
And the verse that comes up is, do not put out the spirits fire, 1 Thessalonians 5 19. And it says, in 1904, William Borden graduated from a Chicago high school. As heir to the Borden family fortune, he was already wealthy. For his high school graduation present, William Borden's parents gave their 16-year-old son a trip around the world.
As the young man traveled throughout Asia, the Middle East and Europe, he felt a growing burden for the world's hurting people. Finally, Bill Borden wrote home about his desire to be a missionary. One friend expressed disbelief that Bill was throwing himself away as a missionary. A story often associated with Borden says that, in response, he wrote two words in the back of his Bible, No Reserves. Even though young Borden was wealthy, he arrived on the campus of Yale University in 1905, trying to look like just one more freshman. Very quickly, however, Borden's classmates noticed something unusual about him, and it wasn't that he had lots of money. One of them wrote, he came to college far ahead spiritually of any of us.
He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. He who, we who were his classmates, learned to lean on him and find in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration. During his college years, Bill Borden made an attempt, made an entry in his personal journey that defined him, that defined what his classmates were seeing in him.
That simple entry said, say no to self and yes to Jesus every time. Borden's first disappointment at Yale came when the university president spoke in a convocation about the student's need of having a fixed purpose. After that speech, Borden wrote, he neglected to say what our purpose should be and where we should get the ability to persevere and the strength to resist temptations.
Surveying the Yale faculty and much of the student body, Borden lamented what he saw as the end result of an empty humanistic philosophy. Moral weakness and sin ruined lives. As a matter of fact, what was going on at around that time, deism had become very big in the United States. And as you know, many of our past presidents like Thomas Jefferson, possibly George Washington, and many of those other guys, and it had become a popular belief that God is out there somehow. It's not that there's no God, but God is not interested in our personal lives.
And that's not true. Jesus cares about you. He cares about you as an individual. He cares about you.
He loves you. And so at the time, Yale had become a non-religious place. And around the turn of the 20th century, around 1905, many people had said, oh, there is something else. It's Darwin's theory of evolution. And by the way, it's just a theory. It's not true, but it's just a theory that people came up with.
And it says that the devil is the father of all lies. And so that being said, William Borden still went in there and he was absolutely determined to share Christ with his fellow classmates. During his first semester at Yale, Borden, he would transform campus life. One of his friends described how it began. It was well on in the first term when Bill and I began to pray together in the morning before breakfast.
I cannot say positively whose suggestion it was, but I feel sure that it must have been Bill, Bill Borden. We had been meeting only a short time when a third student joined us. So it started with two people. When a third student joined us and soon after a fourth, the time was spent in prayer. And by the way, we talked about this before in prayer, how many of the revivals that have started all across the world, whether it be the Azusa Street revival over in Los Angeles, or whether it be the Welsh revival over in Wales or how prayer had started. Matter of fact, there was one of the revivals that had started.
It was a group, two or three older women in their 80s, and they couldn't do anything, but they just got together every day and they prayed and God brought revival. So never underestimate the power of prayer. We need to pray for our country like never before. We need to pray for the world.
We need to pray for revival right now. But Bill's handling of scripture was helpful. He would read to us from the Bible, showed us something that God had promised us, and then proceed to claim the promise with assurance. Borden's small morning prayer group gave birth to a movement that soon spread across the campus. By the end of his first year, 150 freshmen were meeting weekly for Bible study and prayer.
By the time that Bill Borden was a senior, 1,000 of Yale's 1,300 students were meeting in such groups. He told me one time, it was recently, a friend of mine, his name is Lorette and he prophesies over people and he said that, Mike, he said, you are a pace setter. And he said, let the Lord reveal to you what that is. And so what I, what I thought about and I said, well, what does it mean? I said, well, I used to run track in high school. And I said, I said that I was pacing.
I said, let me think about that. And so what I realized is I remember when I went to a wilderness camp, lived in the woods for a year and 20 days back in my ninth grade year, my freshman year of high school, instead of going to high school, I went there. But when I was there, I started and I said, you know what? I said, I am going to make the most of this opportunity. I'm going to be here for a year and there's nothing that I can do about it. But what I started to do is I started to do pushups and sit-ups every day.
I would do jumping exercises to help me with cardio. I would lift rocks. And when I first started to do this, people would look at me like I was crazy. And they said, what are you doing, man?
They say, you're, you're doing. All of a sudden, several months had gone by. We were outside of the showers one day and we were changing. And this guy named Josh, he says, Mike, he says, what do you do? And I told him, I did the pushups and sit-ups and he said, I'm going to do whatever you do. And so he started doing it with me. And pretty soon the rest of the group started doing the pushups and sit-ups with me. And pretty soon after that, the counselor of the group started to do the pushups and sit-ups with us. Pretty soon, other groups in the camp, they saw that we were doing it and they started to do it. So everybody in the camp started to follow my lead. And I never told anybody to do this.
I just did it on my own. It's interesting when we just start doing what God has called us to do. And we start to obey the leadings of the Holy Spirit and we obey Jesus. It's amazing how many other people will follow along.
Just something to think about. Same with Bill Borden. This place was not a really a Christian place at all, but he started praying, started the Bible study with two people. By the time he was done at Yale or whatever, probably 80, 80 or 85% of people joined him in this. But Borden made it a habit to seek out the most incorrigible students and try to bring them to salvation. In his sophomore year, we organized Bible study groups and divided up the class of 300 or more. Each man interested taking a certain number so that all might, if possible, be reached. The names were gone over one by one. And the question asked, who will take this person? When it came to someone thought to be a hard proposition, there would be an ominous pause.
Nobody wanted the responsibility. Then Bill's voice would be heard. Put him down to me. Borden's outreach ministry was not confined to the Yale campus. He cared about widows and orphans, so he helped the poor, which Jesus called us to do, and the disabled. He rescued drunks from the streets of New Haven.
To try to rehabilitate them, he founded the Yale Hope Mission. One of Bill Borden's friends wrote that he might often be found in the lower parts of the city at night on the street in a cheap lodging house or some restaurant to which he had taken a poor, hungry fellow to feed him, seeking to lead men to Christ. Borden's missionary call narrowed to the Muslim Kansu people in China. And so he ended up taking a trip after college and after he had studied, he was in seminary at Yale, and he said, I want to be able to reach the Chinese Muslim people. And when he tried to reach the Chinese Muslim people, he made a stop in Egypt. What he did was he said, OK, I'm going to stay here and I'm going to study Aramaic.
And when he was there, he contracted spinal meningitis, and within a month he died. Somebody said that he wrote in the back of his Bible, no regrets. So sometimes in our Christian lives, the ministry blows up and we do really well. Sometimes we may die. Sometimes we could be speaking out for Christ. Sometimes we could be bold for Christ and we could be killed. We could be imprisoned. Many of the apostles, when they were flogged, they went away rejoicing because they were flogged for the name of Christ. And so sometimes it works out the way that we want it to work out.
Sometimes it doesn't. But I can't think of any other decision that I've made in my life that has been better than deciding to give my life to Christ. And I'm so glad I did. And if you've never given your life to Christ, as St. Patrick did, as many of my friends have done, at some point you're going to have to make a decision. You know, when I was in a church at Pinedale Christian Church many years ago, Pastor Bill McKenzie, he said, devil will not tell you not to give your life to Christ.
He said, but he'll just tell you not to do it right now. And if you've never given your life to Christ, I want you to do it right now today. Just pray with me, Lord, Jesus, I am a sinner. I have failed you, Lord. I've broken many of your Ten Commandments. I've lied, cheated, stolen, killed. I've done a lot, Lord. But I know, as it says in your Word, that if I ask you for forgiveness, it says that as far as the East is from the West, you won't even remember my sins anymore. Lord, and I want to be forgiven right now. I give my life to you, Jesus. I commit my life to you. In Jesus' name.
Amen. And if you've prayed that prayer with us, you can message me. I'm Michael Zwick on Facebook. You can message us on If Not For God with Mike Zwick. We'd love to hear your story.
We'd love to share your story. I want to encourage you to get in a good Bible-based church and, you know, have a happy St. Patrick's Day. It's not about going out there and drinking, but it's about remembering what Jesus has done for us. If not for God.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 18:39:28 / 2023-05-21 18:51:56 / 12