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John Piper

Prayer for your enemies is one of the deepest forms of love, because it means that you have to really want that something good happen to them.

You might do nice things for your enemy without any genuine desire that things go well with them. But prayer for them is in the presence of God who knows your heart, and prayer is interceding with God on their behalf.

It may be for their conversion. It may be for their repentance. It may be that they would be awakened to the enmity in their hearts. It may be that they will be stopped in their downward spiral of sin, even if it takes disease or calamity to do it. But the prayer Jesus has in mind here is always for their good.

This is what Jesus did as He hung on the cross:

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34)– And it’s what Stephen did as he was being stoned:

“Falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”” (Acts 7:60)

Jesus is calling us not just to do good things for our enemy, like greeting them and helping supply their needs; he is also calling us to desire their best, and to express those desires in prayers, even when the enemy is nowhere around.

Our hearts should desire their salvation and desire their presence in heaven with us and desire their eternal happiness. May God give us grace to pray like the apostle Paul for the Jewish people, many of whom made life very hard for Paul:

“My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.”

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Night between 14-15 shaban is called “Laila tul bara’at”, the night of repentance.
a short clip about it and about preparing for Ramadan

Please do a lot of astaghfar, pray nafal prayers, recite Quran. And ask Allah to forgive us all and rid the whole world of this azaab/illness and its affects Ameen

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I decided to go to confession for this year valentine’s day since I was lost in my season of searching His presence in my life.

Today, as I received the Sacrament of Reconciliation I feel so blessed and forgiven, not only by Him, but forgiven by myself as I admit my wrong doings for the past few years. I thought that my penance for my sins will be praying the rosary because I felt that I was so dirty because of my sins, but He sees the sincerity and purity of my heart when I’m stating my sins.

Thank you, Lord for your mercy. You are the Lord of Mercy and Lord of all.

Jesus, I trust in You. 🥰

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Thither did we approach; and the first stair
     Was marble white, so polished and so smooth,
     I mirrored myself therein as I appear.
The second, tinct of deeper hue than perse,
     Was of a calcined and uneven stone,
     Cracked all asunder lengthwise and across.
The third, the uppermost rests massively,
     Porphyry seemed to me, as flaming red
     As blood that from a vein is spiriting forth.
Both his feet was holding upon this
     The Angel of God, upon the threshold seated,
     Which seemed to me a stone of diamond.

Bondanella’s Commentary: The significance of the three stairs have caused much controversy, but essentially they represent the three stages involved in the absolution of sin - contrition, confession, and penance. The specific descriptions of the steps have occasioned various interpretations: The white marble acts as a mirror to encourage self-reflection; the purple (“perse”) hue of the second step probably refers to the sinner’s recognition of his “broken” sinlessness; and the blood-red color probably refers to the saving blood of Christ in the Eucharist.

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Matt Kladnik
This is the Gospel: God, limitless in authority and power was determined to provide an adequate solution to the disastrous pain of sin. The separation that sin has caused between humanity and God needed resolve. Jesus came to be the perfect and full payment for sin. We can enter back into harmonious relationship with God through faith in Jesus and true repentance.
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Flight of the Innocent

Lord Jesus, Son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Just leaving my house for parking lot church on Palm Sunday, worship music blaring;

I swerved through a traffic light to pass a slower moving SUV (with obnoxious bumper stickers),

Who sped up to not let me pass, and I, in holy road rage, gunned my truck well over the limit,

Passing with a curse of disdain, speeding on in my indignation, struck your innocent winged friend in flight.

And I suddenly saw the whole world. Laying dead. Maybe half. Fluttering in the wake of ignorant pride and rage. Saying come Lord, Jesus. Come quickly.

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Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Luke 11:14
The conversion of a soul to God, is Christ’s victory over the devil and his power in that soul, restoring the soul to its liberty, and recovering His own interest in it and power over it. All the endowments of mind of body are now employed for Christ. [Yet] here is the condition of a hypocrite. The house is swept from common sins, by a forced confession, as Pharaoh’s; by a feigned contrition, as Ahab’s; or by a partial reformation, as Herod’s. The house is swept, but it is not washed; the heart is not made holy. Sweeping takes off only the loose dirt, while the sin that besets the sinner, the beloved sin, is untouched. The house is garnished with common gifts and graces, [but] it is not furnished with any True grace; it is all paint and varnish, not real nor lasting. It was never given up to Christ, nor dwelt in by the Spirit. Let us take heed of resting in that which a man may have, and yet come short of heaven.
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Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Psalm 97:10
O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.

Proverbs 6:16-19
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.

Romans 5:6-8
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

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1. Look upon the lively examples of the holy Fathers, in whom true perfection and religion were most shining, and thou wilt see how little, and almost nothing, that is which we do. 

Alas, what is our life, if compared to theirs? 

The saints and friends of Christ served the Lord in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in labor and weariness, in watchings and fastings, in prayers and holy meditations, in persecutions and many reproaches (Heb 11:3-7). […]

5. Now he is thought great who is not a transgressor, and who can with patience endure what he hath undertaken. 

6. Ah, the lukewarmness and negligence of our state, that we so quickly fall away from our former fervor, and are now even weary of living through sloth and tepidity. 

Would to god that advancement in virtues was not wholly asleep in thee who hast so often seen many examples of the devout!

- St. Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 18: Of the Examples of the Holy Fathers.

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This is a post by Jing Zhu, a junior at Tulane University. By God’s grace she was baptized last semester on December 15th, 2019. Here is her testimony!

I started attending church when I was three years old after my parents became new believers. It became a regular part of my childhood and adolescence, but I didn’t really understand the point of going to church as a kid. It was mostly superficial for me until I heard the gospel at a youth group retreat in middle school. From that point on, I began to gain a greater understanding of who God is and what He has done for me. However, as a teenager, I didn’t fully comprehend the depth of my sin and my desperate need for a savior. 

Besides John 3:16, one of the first Bible verses that I memorized was Romans 3:23 (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”). In my teenage mind, I wasn’t perfect, but I definitely didn’t think of myself as a sinner. I didn’t drink, party, smoke, or hook-up with people. I went to church and got good grades in school. However, my junior year of high school was when the reality of the ugliness of my sin (and sin in general) became apparent to me. As I dealt with my parents’ increasingly strained marriage, academic stress, and wounds from close friends, bitterness and anger festered in my heart. 

But God, in His great love and mercy, not only continued to pursue me after I had withdrawn from Him, but also opened my eyes to the effects of my sin. I realized that my angry words and actions caused deep hurt to my parents, my friends, and myself. Most of all, I had deeply hurt God. I sinned against Him. Moreover, through His Word, God revealed that I’ve actually been doing so all of my life, in every aspect of my life. That makes me a sinner in great need of a Savior. I cannot be my own savior, only God can be that for me. Even when I was disobedient, He was faithful. He is faithful, and always will be. My life (and time in college) has been filled with reminders of His steadfast love.

Turning to Christ meant confessing my sin to Him and repenting of it. It meant running to Him full speed whenever I felt tempted to lash out in anger and bitterness. It meant loving others and forgiving others (even when they hurt me) because Christ loves and forgives me (even when I sin against Him). I had to turn away from my sin and gladly obey Him. Doing so was painful (and still is, if I’m being honest) because it meant that I had to repeatedly die to my own desires. But I know this: I am a new creation in Christ and am continually being made new because of what He has done for me. In my place, Jesus bore the righteous wrath of God. I have the highest hope in Him because He rose and is coming again.

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