GATES OF HEAVEN BY: Covenant Worship
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God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.
Girolamo Savonarola was born in 1452 in Ferrara, Italy. He was a sensitive and serious boy who was enamored with the study of religion. He started training as a physician, but his idealism caused him to drop out and join a Dominican order to fight the evils of the world.
Savonarola was deeply distressed by the corruption within the Catholic Church and what he saw as a lack of piety among its leaders. He spent his time praying, fasting, and teaching the novice monks. He became famous as a preacher. He preached about God’s pending judgment, the need for repentance, against the worldliness of the clergy, the evils of the ruling class, and the general corruption of secular living.
Savonarola used his power and popularity to bring about reform of church and state. He is considered an early reformer within the Catholic Church. Under his leadership Florence underwent a startling transformation: businessmen restored ill-gotten gains, there was much Bible ready, and the churches were crowded. At the same time, Savonarola made many enemies.
With the passage of time, community support for Savonarola’s strict views started to wane. On May 13, 1497, Alexander VI excommunicated Savonarola from the church on the grounds that he had disobeyed the pope’s commands. He was arrested in April 1498, tried for sedition and heresy and was brutally tortured. On May 23, 1498, he was publicly hanged and his body burned.
In the succeeding years the majority of citizens of Florence went back to their old ways, yet many permanently changed. One of those was a sculptor named Michelangelo.
Adapted from The One Year® Book of Christian History by E. Michael and Sharon Rusten (Tyndale, 2003), entry for May 13.
Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House
Retired missionary Paul R. Lindholm begins a reflection on what he views as the overriding purpose of Christian stewardship—glorifying God—with a humorous vignette:
A church choir director asked a clerk in a music store for a copy of an anthem with the title, “The Glory of the Lord.” The clerk called to the person working in the storage shelves for a copy. Finding none, the clerk called down: “The Glory of the Lord” is out of print.
In print and in thought, the shekinah glory of our Lord does not have the prominence nor attention it should have.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism highlights this subject in its very first question and answer:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
What a mind-boggling thought: God created us for the purpose of glorifying and enjoying him! Are you tempted at first glance to question God’s motivation? The fact is that God is a spiritual being who is social. Certainly he enjoys intimacy within the Godhead and among the angels. But beyond that, he desires authentic and voluntary fellowship with the beings he created to be in relationship with him. The enjoyment part is reciprocal (see Zep 3:17). And Psalm 8:4–5even proclaims that God crowns us with a measure of glory and honor. When we think of stewardship, how readily does this aspect occur to us? Lindholm goes on:
Before Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, his father King David had the Ark of the Covenant that contained the two stone tablets on which were engraved the Ten Commandments brought there.
The Ark was the symbol of the presence of God. When the Ark was first placed in the tabernacle in Jerusalem many offerings were made. Then a long hymn of thanksgiving was sung with the chorus accompanied by a large instrumental band. In the hymn were the lines:
The words, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name” [appear] many times throughout the Psalms.
Dear Father God,
I praise you and worship you. Thank you for your mighty works and deeds!
Our relationship with the Lord in to be held in High Reverence (Psalm 89:7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.)
Praise the Lord in all occassions, prayer and supplications. Worshipping the Lord in spirit and truth! Amen
80 YEARS YOUNG AND AN INSPIRATION: