“The finest men in all the world are not to be found in the warm, genial climates, where the earth has only to be tickled with a hoe, and it laughs with plenty; but the strongest and the most enterprising spirits have been found at the back of the north wind, where there are frosts and ice, and long, dreary winters, and men have a hard struggle for a livelihood. They become really men under that stern training. Now, if there were no thorns and thistles, no struggles and no trials, should we have any brave Christians? Should we have any great and noble souls at all? When did the Church yield her best men for her Lord’s service? It was in the persecuting times, when they had to swim through seas of blood to hold fast the truth of Christ. These are silken days, and we have wretched specimens of Christians everywhere; but if the times of persecution were to come once more, with the rough winds blowing, and the whole sea of the world tossed in tempest, we should then find brave sailors who would put the ship’s head to the wind, and ride safely over the stormy billows in the name of the Eternal God.” Spurgeon, C. H.

From the Thorns and Thistles Sermon, Vol 39.

Christianity,

Woe Was Me

“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.” (Isaiah 5:11-12, ESV)

I’m reading through Isaiah lately. It’s seemed like an intimidating book and I was wondering if I might be able to understand any of the prophecies. But considering I’m a Christian and the Holy Spirit is given to me to help in understanding it, and I have shelves full of commentaries in this computer, I figure I should give this book of Isaiah an honest try. This verse above stuck out to me because for a period of my life my days actually match this description.

Not only did I go late in the evening, but I even rose early morning for strong drink. The reason was because I would sometimes be hanging out all night drinking in downtown San Jose. Past 2 am the corner store stops selling alcohol. So as soon the stores were open for liquor again, we would go for a walk down to the corner store, get some snacks and another 40 ounce bottle of Mickey’s or whatever. Yeah, those were some crazy nights. And you can imagine, just as the verse in Isaiah suggests, I had no regard for God. Although God had given me life, and by his grace I had the the enjoyment of the fruits of the land that He made, in the form of shelter, drink, food, clothing, yet I paid no attention to Him. Woe was me indeed!