Breastplate

Saint Patrick was born in the year 387 in the Roman-British town of Banna Venta Berniae – believed to be near, or the actual, town of Ravenglass. This town has the distinction of being the starting point of Hadrian’s Wall in Northwest England.

Patrick was raised a Christian – his father, Calpornius, was a deacon and his grandfather, Potitus, was a priest (the Catholic Church didn’t officially require celibacy of priests until 1123).

When he was 16 he was captured and taken as a slave to Ireland. He would write in his autobiography that his faith in Christ grew strong during his captivity and that he prayed daily. After six years, he said he had a dream or heard a voice telling him that he would soon return home to England. Soon after the voice said his ship was ready, so he fled his master, escaped to the sea coast two hundred miles away, and found a ship that took him back to England and to his family.

Several years later, he says he had another dream. In his words:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Focluth, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

This he did. He was ordained a priest and made it his mission to bring the Gospel to his former slave-masters. He died on March 17 in about the year 460.

There are several legends that have grown up around St. Patrick. The connection to the shamrock is one of them. The legend is that Patrick used a shamrock to help teach the concept of the Holy Trinity. Its three leaves but one plant, and its green color signifying eternal life.

The other is that Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland. However, there is no evidence that Ireland ever had snakes. It is more likely that this legend grew out of the fact that Patrick, in bringing the Gospel of Christ to the Irish people, clashed with the pagan Druids – many of whom were known to have had snake tattoos on their arms.

Perhaps Patrick’s greatest contribution has been his inspiration to bring the Gospel to all people, even our enemies and those who would mistreat us.

Patrick’s best-known writing is his prayer, known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”

I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:

I believe the Trinity in the Unity

The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today

The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,

The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,

The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,

The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today

The virtue of the love of seraphim,

In the obedience of angels,

In the hope of resurrection unto reward,

In prayers of Patriarchs,

In predictions of Prophets,

In preaching of Apostles,

In faith of Confessors,

In purity of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today

The power of Heaven,

The light of the sun,

The brightness of the moon,

The splendour of fire,

The flashing of lightning,

The swiftness of wind,

The depth of sea,

The stability of earth,

The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today

God’s Power to guide me,

God’s Might to uphold me,

God’s Wisdom to teach me,

God’s Eye to watch over me,

God’s Ear to hear me,

God’s Word to give me speech,

God’s Hand to guide me,

God’s Way to lie before me,

God’s Shield to shelter me,

God’s Host to secure me,

Against the snares of demons,

Against the seductions of vices,

Against the lusts of nature,

Against everyone who meditates injury to me,

Whether far or near,

Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues

Against every hostile merciless power

Which may assail my body and my soul,

Against the incantations of false prophets,

Against the black laws of heathenism,

Against the false laws of heresy,

Against the deceits of idolatry,

Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,

Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today

Against every poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against death-wound,

That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right, Christ at my left,

Christ in the fort,

Christ in the chariot seat,

Christ in the poop [deck],

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,

I believe the Trinity in the Unity

The Creator of the Universe.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Legacy

“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book!”
Job 19: 23

A few years ago, my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. This a type of blood cancer that can be very treatable.

All praise to God that it is in remission! But the doctor warned that in these cases it tends to only stay in remission for 10-15 years.

We talked on the phone recently and he was telling me how he thinks of that, how he doesn’t have a whole lot of time left on this earth.

I mentioned that he could think about the legacy he’ll be leaving behind. He told me that he’s leaving behind my brother and me as his legacy.

We do try to be a prominent legacy of my father! He taught us a lot about being a man, being a father and husband, but most importantly about being a man of faith!

I strive to be my father’s legacy. And I have raised my sons to continue the legacy of my father. I’m so glad and blessed that all three of them have been able to spend a lot of time with their grandfather and have gotten to know him so well!

As we continue this series of Job devotions from chapter 19, we have come to the desire of legacy that Job has.

When Job takes place – sometime around the turn of the 2nd Millennium BC (1800 BC), writing was already highly developed.

“Books” were usually stone or clay tablets and sometimes metal was also used.

Job wants what has happened to him, and especially his words, to be recorded as a legacy. He wants others to learn from what he’s gone through.

And that is exactly what happened. It is quite possible that Job did write all this down, or that it was written down during his lifetime or right after it. This would make Job the oldest book in the Bible (as he lives about 400 years before Moses, who wrote Genesis).

It is an incredible legacy to be able to still learn from Job 3800 years after the fact!

You and I have a similar opportunity for a legacy.

If you are a father or grandfather, your legacy can be your children and grandchildren.

Your community involvement can also be a strong legacy, as is your involvement in your congregation.

But don’t do it to be famous! Being famous and leaving a legacy are two different things.

There’s a lot of “famous” people who we remember but don’t do much for us.

But a legacy gives us lessons, gives us tangible teachable moments that can transform lives.

Especially a legacy that is infused with God’s grace and mercy – like Job’s!

Of all the things that Job wants remembered, it will be the very next words after he expresses his desire of leaving a legacy.

Words that point us to the Son of God, our Redeemer Jesus Christ!

More on this in a future devotion.

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Thank you and God’s richest blessings to you!

Skin of My Teeth

I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
Job 19: 20

Years ago I visited San Francisco with my dad and brother. We saw the sights – ate in China Town, rode the trolleys, drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, and visited Alcatraz prison.

Alcatraz has always fascinated me, for some reason. Its use as a federal prison, military prison, and Civil War fort sparks the history buff in me, I guess.

When the Clint Eastwood movie Escape from Alcatraz came out, I went to go see it. It was filmed on the island and so I had first-hand experience with the scenes depicted in the movie.

The story is about Frank Morris and two other inmates who attempted to escape from the escape-proof prison.

Their escape happened in 1962 and since they were never seen or heard from again, people believe that they either drowned in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay or they were successful in their escape.

The movie tells the story of how they got out of their cells, the main block house, and to the shore of the island.

You could say that Frank Morris escaped his cell by the skin of his teeth. He was able to crawl through a ventilation hole in his cell that was just a bit larger than he was. He probably left some skin behind squeezing through that hole!

Narrow escapes happen more often than we might expect.

There have been many times, I’m sure, that I narrowly escaped injury as a kid. Falling off a ladder and my garage roof and coming away with just a broken wrist would be just one example of escaping injury “by the skin of my teeth.”

I’m sure there have been many times driving through the streets of Chicago or on the LA freeways that I also escaped crashes and getting hurt “by the skin of my teeth.”

That’s an interesting phrase, “by the skin of my teeth.” As you see from the Bible verse for this devotion, the phrase is from Job chapter 19. It has become an idiom for a narrow escape.

But for Job it may have been literal. His body is so diseased-ridden that his skin has shrunk around his bones. The “skin of my teeth” may be referring to his gums that also suffered from the disease he’s infected with.

By this time, all the bad things that have happened to Job have come to an end. The only thing he has left is his wife and his life. He has been suffering from some kind of disease (we’re never told what, exactly). But the story doesn’t indicate that Job is getting any worse (nor better).

So Job could rightly say that he has “escaped by the skin of my teeth.” He’s escaped death and losing his wife.

And even though Job has cursed the day he was born and he’s indicated that he’s ready to die and might even prefer to die, this phrase “escaped by the skin of my teeth” tells me that there is still something in Job that wants to live and to get better!

It also tells me that Job sees some light at the end of his long, dark, tunnel of despair and pain.

This teaches me to never give up. God allows these bad things to happen in order to teach us that we have the strength to always look to him for all that we need. He will restore Job and he will restore us because of his great love for us.

We need look no further for that love than in the cross of Jesus Christ!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Can You Hear Me?

“Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.”
Job 19: 7

We have made our way to a pivotal chapter in Job – chapter 19 – and we’re going to stay here for a while and mine this chapter quite a bit, as there are nuggets of pure God-gold in here!

I received a phone call in my car the other day.

I had my phone hooked up via blue-tooth in the car. That means that I could take calls, listen to music, and get directions, all from phone through the car’s speakers wirelessly.

The phone rang and it was my friend and sister-in-Christ Penny. I said, “hello” but she didn’t respond. She started asking if I could hear her. I could and said so, but again she didn’t respond.

What had happened was that I had inadvertently hit the “privacy” button on the console that allowed me to hear the call but the caller couldn’t hear me.

I could talk to her but she wouldn’t respond because she couldn’t hear me.

She was talking to me and I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me.

It was frustrating until I figured out what the problem was. But by this time she had hung up.

So I called her back and I made sure that my car was not in “privacy” mode. We could then have our conversation.

Job has been calling out to God after being afflicted with disease, losing all his material possessions, and enduring the death of his ten children.

But God has not answered Job.

This must frustrate Job to no end! He calls out, cries out, and receives no answer. I don’t know if Job expected to receive a literal answer from God. We do know that God did have actual conversations with people in that time period – he talked directly to Abraham and Jacob, so it is possible!

But now that Job needs desperately to hear from God, he gets no answer!

I’ve been there. I’ve cried out to God and it seemed as if heaven was turning a deaf ear to me!

But no answer can be an actual answer. And this appears to be what Job is experiencing.

God doesn’t answer Job because God wants Job to cry out to him, to seek him, and to never turn his back on him!

This is sometimes called the “alien work of God.”

The “alien” or “strange” work of God is “when he terrifies, because to make alive and comfort is God’s own proper work. But he terrifies … for this reason—that there may be a place for comfort and making alive. For hearts that are secure and do not feel God’s wrath hate consolation” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, taken from The Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord, ©2005, 2006 Concordia Publishing House, page 164).

God is silent to Job so that Job will continue to cry out to him!

This will not go on indefinitely – as we see God finally speaking to Job in chapter 38.

And the same is true for us! One of the reasons we may go through rough times and devastating periods in life is so that we will seek out God. He may be preparing us for the incredible blessings that he will give us!

As we continue through this set of Job devotions from chapter 19, we will see that God’s plan is working well! Job will continue to seek God, cry out to him, and will give an incredible confession of faith in God!

We can do this, too! That’s why we read and study the Book of Job! Let’s continue on together!

 

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Almost

He is thrust from light into darkness, and driven out of the world. He has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live.
Job 18:16-19

Billy was sitting at the table enjoying his lunch when a note was dropped next to his tray.

It in was a very romantic missive from someone named Sally. She professed her attraction to Billy and asked him to ask her out on a date.

There were two problems with this.

Billy didn’t know anyone named Sally.

And the note was addressed to Billy, but Tommy, who was sitting across from him!

Sally was indeed interested in a boy, and this boy was near Billy. But it wasn’t actually Billy she was interested, but Tommy, the boy sitting near Billy.

Almost … but not quite!

Sally almost gets it right. But “almost” doesn’t really count!

Bildad almost gets it right!

So far,  Jobs so-called “friends” have been blaming him for what has happened to him and his family.

The first friend, Eliphaz, even admits that it was revealed to him by a “spirit [that] glided past [his] face [so that] the hair of [his] flesh stood up” (Job 4:15), indicating that it was a ghost or a demon that had visited (haunted?) him with this information.

Zophar joined in to plead with Job to just get it all over with and admit that he had done something evil to bring such devastation on him and his family.

Bildad, chimes in again to reinforce what his two other friends had said, warning Job that those who are wicked are “cast into a net,” trapped, and ultimately not remembered on the face of the earth.

Obviously, he’s wrong in Job’s case since we all know of Job and have for nearly three thousand years.

But Bildad hits on something that is relevant.

There will be someone who is led into the darkness and driven out of the world. There will be no future family for one person and he will be killed.

But it will not be Job, it will be Jesus Christ.

And it will not because of his own sin but because he has taken all the sin of all people of all time on himself and suffers the complete wrath of God.

Bildad may be aiming this rebuke at Job, but very similar words will be penned in prophecy of what Jesus will do for all of us!

Bildad’s words are a precursor to the Messianic prophecies of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53.

What Bildad describes will happen, just not to Job!

It should happen to Job, to you, to me, to all people. We are all sinners and are condemned by God’s Law.

But Jesus Christ loves us so much that he took our condemnation and sins on himself and made the perfect sacrifice on the cross.

And in his unconditional love for us he gives us his righteousness and we are saved!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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Be A Whosoever

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:16 (KJV)

Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night. This dialog in the bright light of the full Passover moon gave us at least two things:

A. The most famous and well-known Bible passage of all time.

B. The cause to ask three questions:

  1. Do I really believe that God loves me?
  2. What is the extent of the giving of God’s only begotten Son?
  3. Will I perish or have everlasting life and why?

First, do I really believe that God loves me?

This is the question – whether we realize it or not. John 3:16 says that God “so loved the world” (emphasis added).

But does he really love me?

Second, what is the extent of the giving of God’s only begotten Son?

God’s Law demands that we live perfectly, without sin.

But we cannot do that because we are all conceived and born sinful – evidence of this is all around the world today.

To demand this perfection without giving us the means to do it would be – not inhumanly cruel but divinely cruel!

Yet God does demand perfection. So he sent the only one who could do it. His only begotten Son! Jesus became a human being to become the “everyman” that would be perfect in our place and could only be perfect because he is also God – the only begotten Son of God!

Third, will I perish or have everlasting life and why?

You have an answer, I’m sure.

But I also have an answer. And I’m confident that my answer is correct.

You will have everlasting life because of Jesus! He was born on Christmas day to take your place under God’s Law – to be your substitute.

He lived a perfect life and gives you his righteousness by faith.

He died on the cross to forgive all your sin.

He rose from the dead to conquer death and the grave for you – so if you die you will rise again.

He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for you and when he comes back he will take you to live there forever – everlasting life!

So, in the meantime, be a “whosoever” – live your earthly life so people will ask about your eternal  life!

©2017 True Men Ministries

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