Bono Interview – Who is Jesus?

Gay Byrne interviewed Bono, lead singer of U2. When asked, “Who was Jesus?,” Bono answered, “That is the defining question of what Christianity is about… Either he is the Son of God… or he was nuts.”

For the full interview from the television series website, click here and look for the interview for “The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne” June 25, 2013.

Or watch this video below. I do not know how long the below video will be on Youtube, but it is the full interview:

Hope Deferred

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” ().

The gospel is “I am accepted through Christ, therefore I obey” while every other religion operates on the principle of “I obey, therefore I am accepted.” Martin Luther’s fundamental insight was that this latter principle, the principle of ‘religion’ is the deep default mode of the human heart. The heart continues to work in that way even after conversion to Christ. Though we recognize and embrace the principle of the gospel, our hearts will always be trying to return to the mode of self-salvation, which leads to spiritual deadness, pride and strife and ministry ineffectiveness.
— Tim Keller, “Preaching in a Post-Modern City”

Recently, I attended a service with another local body of believers in PA. They were friendly. The Pastor demonstrated a loving and “pastoral” heart for his people. I believe at this particular service I attended, he was shorthanded and had to fulfill not only the preaching responsibilities but also the music portion, as well. I was looking forward to being challenged by God’s Word and pointed to my Savior.

The Pastor directed our attention to the verse,

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life ().

My mind raced to possible connections to the Gospel from the first time he read the verse. “Ohh!! This is going to be good! Something I need to hear!” This hope, he said, is not like “I hope it doesn’t rain.” It is a desire for something that will most surely come to pass. It is more like, “I hope to go on vacation next week!”

Suppose I am at the grocery store, and I say, “I hope to get to the cashier soon.” And then there is a person in front of me who has 16 items rather than “15 items or less” AND there is someone who has a product with no bar code on it so a price check is requested. AND there is someone else who drops a glass jar with the words echoing throughout the store, “clean up at register 4!” (ok – I added that last part. You had to hear his descriptions of events). But this is what the word deferred means. It is a delay in receiving what we hope for.

This delay in receiving what we hope for makes the heart sick. I hope to get to the cashier, but all of these things are delaying me! At this point, the pastor described what happened when he was very sick a few weeks ago. He wanted to watch TV, so he got up from his bed (already weak from being sick) and crawled toward the living room. He tired out and rested in the hallway. After a short while, he began to crawl again toward the living room. After a few delays of a sick and weakened body, he finally made it to the couch where he could watch TV.

“Sickness will come!” he exclaimed. “Expect it!” He admonished. “Get up and keep going!” he exhorted.

He then briefly touched on the last portion of the verse, “a desire fulfilled is a tree of life”. When we hope for things and circumstances delay our obtaining them, keep going! Keep working to obtain it! Just like he wanted to watch TV but was delayed because he was sick and weak.

At the end of his sermon, he pleaded for people to come to Christ. He said something to the effect, “If you have not trusted Jesus as your personal Savior, please do so before it is too late!”

One weekend I watched a children’s television program while Owen was playing in the living room. Every so often, when something peculiar happened on the program, he would stop what he was doing and watch. On this particular episode, one of the puppet characters was dejected and lost all confidence of doing anything. The whole program’s point was, “have confidence in yourself because you can do it! You can do anything you put your mind to! Believe in yourself!”

The point of this child’s program was, in essence, “pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and keep going!”

Now, this pastor was exegetically accurate and precise. He conveyed the meaning of the verse fairly well. He was not boring. He was engaging. His love for the people of which he is Undershepherd was compassionately displayed.

But there was no GOSPEL! The pastor’s main point conveyed was, “pick yourself up by your own bootstraps and keep going!”

We may be exegetically accurate and precise. And we may convey the meaning of the text as the original hearers (possibly) understood it, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, it’s still moralism. It’s a promotion of self-salvation. At the very core, both teachings are saying, “Jesus’ finished work is not enough! Go and do! Save yourself!!”

For a preacher of the Gospel, it is sad there was no preaching of the Gospel.

Note: This was originally posted in 2008.


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12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (ESV)


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12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (ESV)

News, Views, and Opinions

Here are a few things you should know about:

A Reflection on James 1

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. ~

Most anger is a fleshly anger, an anger produced of man not of the righteousness of God. The point I want to bring out is being a doer of the Word also includes being quick to hear () and being slow to anger (), as well as, bridling the tongue (; ; ; ). Visiting orphans and widows in their affliction does not outweigh the folly of allowing anger to flourish and the tongue to be unbridled (; ).

Other passages to note:

If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. ~

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. ~ ()

But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. ~

from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. … Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. ~

We must be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only. But if we do get angry, let not the sun go down on our anger; remember, “my little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. ().


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19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)


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13 If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame. (ESV)


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29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (ESV)


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23 A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly. (ESV)


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16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly. (ESV)


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The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (ESV)


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14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly. (ESV)


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12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
rather than a fool in his folly. (ESV)


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10:1 Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench;
so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. (ESV)

20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (ESV)


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43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (ESV)


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27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (ESV)


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22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. (ESV)


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16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:25-27 (Listen

16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Ephesians 4:25-27 (Listen)

25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. (ESV)


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2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (ESV)

What is sin?

What is sin?
The glory of God not honored.
The holiness of God not reverenced.
The greatness of God not admired.
The power of God not praised.
The truth of God not sought.
The wisdom of God not esteemed.
The beauty of God not treasured.
The goodness of God not savored.
The faithfulness of God not trusted.
The promises of God not relied upon.
The commandments of God not obeyed.
The justice of God not respected.
The wrath of God not feared.
The grace of God not cherished.
The presence of God not prized.
The person of God not loved.
That is sin!
(John Piper)

Being Loose

Christianity is necessarily true. Without the Person and Work of Jesus of Nazareth, we are left in our sin and without hope. But aren’t all religions true in some ways? Aren’t there many paths to God?

Is it easy? Not always. Will you receive everything you ever wanted in this life? Most likely not.

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Maybe you’ve heard the parable of the six blind men and the elephant. In this parable, six blind men feel a different part of an elephant and come to different conclusions regarding what the elephant is actually like. One blind man grabs the tusk and says, “An elephant is like a spear!” Another feels the trunk and concludes, “An elephant is like a snake!” The blind man hugging the leg thinks, “An elephant is like a tree!” The one holding the tail claims, “An elephant is like a rope!” Another feeling the ear believes, “An elephant is like a fan!” The last blind man leaning on the elephant’s side exclaims, “An elephant is like a wall!” This parable is often used to illustrate a view known as religious pluralism. Like the blind men, no religion has the truth. Rather, all religions are true in that they accurately describe their personal experience and the spiritual reality they encounter, given various historical and cultural backgrounds. There are various types of religious pluralism, but one way to define it is as follows: “the view that all religious roads – certainly all major or ethical ones – lead to God or to ultimate reality and salvation.” This idea is commonly reflected in such statements as “All religions basically teach the same thing” or “All roads lead to the top of the mountain.” The elephant parable, while attractive to many, suffers from a number of problems.

  • Problem #1: The parable is an analogy, not an argument.
  • Problem #2: Religious pluralism is patently false.
  • Problem #3: The parable begs the question.
  • Problem #4: The parable commits the self-excepting fallacy.
  • Problem #5: The parable is self-defeating.
  • Problem #6: The parable is radically skeptical.
  • Problem #7: The parable proves the opposite.

Read more of the explanation here: The Six Blind Men and the Elephant: A Case for Religious Pluralism?

Jesus said in :

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 ForGod did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

Do you understand that to be a Christian, you must only believe in Jesus? That He is the Son of God, sent from the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit, whereby Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. ().  If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (). Jesus fulfilled everything required of us by God the Father, and even though He did everything perfectly and without sin, He died to save us and was treated as one who broke the law — in our place.

We call this vicarious living and dying.

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Think of it this way. What other religion or religious system allows for someone else to fulfill every requirement necessary for 1) salvation 2) entering into Heaven / Paradise? And thereby, through faith in that one person, you are saved to the uttermost?

Not only this, but if God is your Father, then you will love Jesus (), and if you love Jesus, you will keep His commandments ().

But you will be hated by all for my [Christ’s] name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved (). Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake will find it (). For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my [Christ’s] sake will find it (). And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my [Christ’s] name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life ().

bettertodie[1]

The Christian life is hard. But unlike Islam, we are saved first through faith in Jesus, whereby we know beyond a shadow of a doubt we will be raised at the last day, therefore, we live our lives in thankfulness and gratefulness to the Lord. Islam and other religions do not have a guarantee as this. And not only this, we receive the promised Holy Spirit by Whom we are sealed — and no one can snatch you out of the hand of the Father nor out of the Son’s hand ().

Why do I bring this up?

In Christianity, sin is sin. All sin and any sin is enough to condemn us to Hell. Why? Because we are sinners. We sin because we are sinners. So, in one sense, no sin is any worse than another. However, without believing in Jesus as your only Hope and Savior, you will die in your sin.

As Christians, we struggle and fight to do what is right and good. Not to gain God’s favor, but because Jesus has gained the Father’s favor for us. We struggle and fight in thankfulness for what Christ has done for us.

It is only reasonable.

Therefore, we are to be strict with our bodies and loose with our money and possessions. The world believes we should be tight with our money and possessions yet loose with our bodies. And the world will go to great lengths to present the perception we can change the meaning and message of words. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap ().

Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;

the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,

and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King

on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree:

The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;

today I have begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,

and the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron

and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;

be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son,

lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,

for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

()

In other words, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Otherwise, God’s wrath is kindled upon you. It will be only a matter of time before your time is up.

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3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony. 33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (ESV)

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (ESV)

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (ESV)


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42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. (ESV)


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15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (ESV)


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22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (ESV)


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39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)


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25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV)


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29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (ESV)


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28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (ESV)


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Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. (ESV)


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2:1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (ESV)