Who are we?

The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Devotion for 1 June 2011 Anno Domini

Devotion for 1 June 2011 Anno Domini
“5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk? 13And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.” (John 5:5-15)
“And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.” The only name of great import here is not the man with the infirmity, but the Man who was able, beyond measure, to heal every disability – the Lord Jesus Christ. So, we have a “certain man” at the pool of Bethesda at which an Angel at times disturbed the waters and gave hope of healing to the first man to the water. The name, Bethesda, means House of Kindness, and this is the place at which the man with the infirmity found the most gracious of kindnesses and mercies. He had suffered his affliction for thirty-eight years. Either he suffered from early youth, or he also suffered from infirmity of age.
“When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case,” Jesus did not find this man by any combination of accidental events, but by the foreknowledge and Providence of God. He already knew that the man had suffered a “long time in that case.” “He saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?” It is very likely that the sick man had not the slightest understanding of the meaning and depth of Christ’s inquiry. Certainly, after years of pain and suffering, and coming to the pool, he desired, above all else, t o be made whole in his physical body. But when Christ makes whole, He makes body AND soul whole. He not only removes the physical impediments to freedom, but, more importantly, the spiritual impediments to the Perfect Law of Liberty.
“The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.” The man does not answer the question of Christ with a direct response. Instead, he makes excuses for his failure to be healed. Instead of asking outright forgiveness for our sins, how often we try to justify and extenuate our reasons for sinning. Of course, his case is not totally devoid of hope. After all, he IS at the pool! Had he given up hope the hour before the arrival of Christ, he would have lived out the remainder of his life with his infirmity. But being at the pool to meet Christ at the time appointed by Christ for the purpose resulted in his physical AND spiritual healing. No man but One, would help him.
“Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” Notice that Jesus does not ponder the pros and cons of healing this man. He acts with immediate compassion. He issues a command which the man could not have ignored even if he was disposed to do so. Not only “Rise!” but “take up thy bed,” and “walk!” The sight of many people witnessing this man, stricken for thirty eight years, rising at the command of Christ and, not only rising, but taking up the load of his bed, and walking with it was unimaginable in its implications. But the man did that very thing at Christ’s command. We, too, are not to lie down at every hopeless prospect. We are to rise up, carry our weight, and walk in faith. General Patton has said that “it doesn’t matter how hard you fall. The important thing is how high you bounce!” I believe that! Every Olympic champion has failed at his sport more than any amateur. Why? Because it was the series of failures which he overcame that made him a champion in the first place. The same is true of our spiritual muscles. God wants us active and spirited to overcome the challenges of life by the power of His Word.
“And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.” There was no delay while the sinews and tissues in the man’s body gradually strengthened. He was made whole immediately! Now most observers would have thought this was a wonderful act of compassion by our Lord, and perhaps most observers did do so; however, you see, it was the Sabbath! There were those present who would grasp at every straw to discredit the Son of God for they resented Him.
“The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.” I will refer to these infidel Pharisees in the same way that our Lord made reference to them: they were a “generation of vipers!” (Matt 3:7) Please do not accuse me of judging without cause. That which God’s Word judges is judged already. We may always judge by the Word of God as to righteousness and not be blamed of personal judgment. These men could not see the glorious fruit of healing; they could only see the abrogation of the man-made ordinance for the Sabbath. God’s Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath! This is the kind of judgment Christ counseled against.
“He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.” Even this simple man was baffled at the lack of logic and common sense of these ungodly Jews. Who told thee to carry thy bed? Why it was more importantly the same One who made me whole! Being healed from a disability of thirty-eight years duration should far outweigh any consideration of carrying one’s bed on one day out of those thirty-eight years.
“Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?” These men should have marveled at the miracle, not glowered at the result. What man healed thee on the Sabbath? He must be found and killed! What hopeless degenerates of the Temple!
“And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.” Perhaps this man’s healing should have evoked a great curiosity in the agent by whom the healing came. Perhaps he should have asked, “Who art thou that thou canst heal me?” But the man may have been so completely overcome with joy that his thinking was not keen enough to ask. How often do we pray for a thing and, once granted, fail to recognize that God Himself came to us and answered our prayer?
Sometimes, the Lord gives us a bit of space to digest His goodness, and then returns for further teaching. “Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Important to realize that this man did not linger in some bar or brothel someplace in Jerusalem after his healing. He went straight to the House of
God. Where do you run in gratitude of the mercies of God? “Behold, thou art made whole.” You are not just whole in body, but your sins have been forgiven you! You are every whit whole! Therefore “sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Sin is the root and season of all pain and death. You are forgiven! So, go and sin no more.
“The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.” The second most important thing in being healed and forgiven is to avoid keeping it a secret! This man told the unbelieving Jews that it was Jesus who healed him. My heart burns with joy when I see a young athlete make a public profession that all his skills are due to his Lord Jesus Christ. Why are we not all like such young champions! This poor man, healed of grievous hurt, had no idea that the news of One who could completely heal would be received with malicious contempt. The very Light of the World had come unto them and, amazingly, they could not see it. “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:5). Are you able to behold the Light of Christ today?

Devotion for 31 May 2011 Anno Domini

Devotion for 31 May 2011 Anno Domini

“ 1 God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. 2 That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. 3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. 4 O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. 5 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. 6 Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. (Psalms 67:1-7)

Here we have a general prayer for God’s blessing upon the people and, indeed, those such blessings be extended to peoples all over the world. The true natural state of mankind has been abrogated and overturned by sin. The perverse has become the new ‘natural’ to most of the lot of mankind as they wallow and perish in their perversity. But the Psalmist pleads for mercy and blessing. The mercy and blessing of God is not without limit. Love, unreciprocated, ceases.

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.” In the presence of the Lord there is mercy and blessing. His face, being made near by His presence, will shine and bring joy and provide blessings untold. So the Psalmist prays for that Presence that His Face may shine upon us. When the Lord is present, the effulgent Light from that presence brings salvation, mercy and grace to the servant of God. “Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake. “ (Psalms 31:16). If the Lord is not present, due to our sins and rejection of Him, there will be no Shining Face, but only a lingering darkness.

“That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” The Shining Face of the Lord reveals truth, but also exposes sin. The sun may dry the laundered blouse, but it also kills harmful organism that have made their home there. The Face of the Lord is as the Sun upon the nations – to both grant mercy and to eliminate the odors of sin and corruption among them. How beautiful and joyful is the rising sun. How gladdening and full of grace is the shining face of the Lord upon us. The Sun is provided for the purpose of giving light to the lower world, but the Face of God is the Light of all Creation and gives joy and gladness in heavenly places. If it will shine upon the nations, they shall be healed.

“3 Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.” There is double emphasis here on the Communal significance of thanksgiving and praise. This praise is not the cheap, irreverent, man-pleasing praise we have seen in many modern churches of today; but the jubilant and reverent love and joy expressed among a people assembled for the only purpose of praising God and not man and his arts.

“O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.” There is no happier nation than that which is governed with righteous judgment. The whole nation sings a common song of joy when justice is revered and observed. Though the Psalmist tells us that God ‘shall’- not ‘perhaps – judge the people righteously, that moment has not yet arrived. God is slow to judge and will predictably await the fullness of iniquity prior to lowering His mighty Arm of Justice and Judgment. Our wicked rulers are most often simply the men of our own making. We have given them the power to do wickedly in the first place. We are made to mourn such conditions of our own making and want to blame all else but ourselves. The sin nature is like that! “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Prov 29:2). When Liberty was proclaimed in Philadelphia, the people rejoiced until the Liberty Bell, itself, cracked. It has been a long wait since such rejoicing was witnessed in America.

“Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.” Perfection in the natural state is achieved in being in complete harmony with God and His natural and spiritual laws. But nature has been corrupted, and those governments which man has formed to be the protector of his person and property have assumed the role of the very villains against whom man first formed that government for protection. If our possessions can be taken from us by force and given to a people who have not title to it, which is robbery even if it is given the name of entitlement. Government without God is government which belongs to Satan. Only when nations are in right relations with God can they be blessed, and the people blessed with them. Then ‘shall’ the earth yield her increase!

“God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” Any nation which recognizes and accepts the sovereignty of God in their establishment and legislature WILL be blessed of God. Need I cite an obvious and glaring example? When the world fears God instead of imagined catastrophic disturbances, blessings can then begin to flow earthward. But absent that fear of the Lord, the world is destined to languish in its own blood. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov 1:7).

The Godly words of a 19th century French economist (Frederic Bastiat) have bearing on these passages: “We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life—physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course. Life, faculties, production—in other words, individuality, liberty, property—this is man. And in spite of the cunning of artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.” Keeping God in all things is wise and imperative if we would have joy of life.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Requiem to the American Soldier

Requiem to the American Soldier

Mine eyes have searched the battlefields, two hundred years ago,
And fixed upon my Fathers...with crosses row-on-row.
Their blood has nourished Courage and Ardent Virtue bought.
They stood in battle bravely - and fought the wars they fought.

The mist of years have softened, but the battle’s heat I feel:
Their lines sway like a banner as they charge up San Juan Hill.
In timeless sleep they stagger, beneath a khaki sky,
But stand forth ever ready, to fight, to win, or die.

On Chickamauga’s creek beds, and Santiago’s slopes
They fought as ones be-knighted, defending cherished hopes.
From the Ardennes’ bloody contest, to the walls of old Bastogne
American blood and courage Have gained the Heights alone.

The shots at Concord township, join those of Gettysburg,
And those fired at Fort Sumter, around the world were heard.
The beaches red at Normandy, and those of Inchon’s shores
Were bought and paid by courage, yet still the battle roars.

On Mekong Delta’s paddies, and Khe Son’s rugged slopes
The Grand Old Flag was lifted, with clear and crispy notes.
America’s youth and valor, were tested, tried and torn
But pressed on proud and bravely, despite the Traitor’s scorn.

To you, you Knights of Valor, Press on the torch of Right.
Reclaim the trailing Ensign, Restore the Shining Light.
The Light of Freedom’s promise, The hope of present years,
Are now the struggle’s object, Though won through Sweat and Tears.

A City, Bright and Gleaming, stands grandly on the Rise,
The blood-bought fruits of Freedom beneath the Azure Skies,
Are all our Fathers fought for, and freely bled and paid
So you and I could know it, before the glory fades.

With God our hope established in pastures Green with Love
And all our National Treasures, a gift from Him above,
We have no right to wander from Truth or Light or Trust,
But to the Throne of Mercy, our March is Good and Just.

~ by Jerry Ogles, Bishop, AOC
Memorial Day, 2003

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Devotion for 29 May (Sunday) 2011 Anno Domini (Ezek 36:25-38)

Devotion for 29 May (Sunday) 2011 Anno Domini (Ezek 36:25-38)
“25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek 36:25-38)
“Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” This sprinkling is not the actual cleansing itself, but like Baptism, it is a visible and outward sign of the inward and spiritual grace with which we are endowed when our hearts are converted and we come to the Lord. The vessel is cleaned within, before it is wholesome to drink from, and then without.. (Psalms 51:7).
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” The engine of this ‘new spirit’ is love. The old heart of stone (like unto the tables themselves upon which the Commandments were first written) will be replaced by a heart of tender flesh that is capable of feeling and love. “Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. “ (2 Cor 3:3). Interesting to note from this verse quoted that WE are the epistle, or letter, of Christ. Our lives are a book written of our love for Christ. May the book end well! This city is not divided into caliphates or counties, but all are One – the family of God, or all of Israel!
“And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” It is this new Spirit which wills to obey God’s Commandments through the agency of that will formed by love, and not compulsion, as in the case of those Commandments written on tables of stone. This represents a fundamental change in our natures when we are blessed with the Holy Spirit to be our constant heart-companion. Common table salt is composed of two elements – both deadly if consumed in their pure state – sodium and chlorine. But when joined together, a compound is formed which is not only useful, but essential, to life. Such are our dead hearts when joined to a God who can only countenance judgment in His dealings toward us. That judgment is satisfied in the propitiatory death of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ! The old, dead man, condemned by the Law, becomes a gloriously living Creature in Christ.
“And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Where is this land? It is the estate of the blessed – the Holy City of God, not made with hands. It is that city and country made clear in Hebrews: “12Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. 13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” (Heb 11:12-16)
“I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.” Yes, the very name of our Lord (in the Greek and Hebrew) signifies salvation – ‘Jehovah is salvation’. The One who called the worlds into being will also call for the corn and wheat – the increase of the earth – to nourish His people. For those who are rebellious, He calls not for corn, but famine: “Moreover He called for famine upon the land: He break the whole staff of bread.” (Ps 105:16). “And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.” It is God who ALWAYS gives the increase and not the labor of our own hands. “And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.”
“Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.” The Holy Spirit, if we study and know Scripture, will bring all things of Christ to our remembrance. “…….and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zech 12:10). Is this not cause for deep remorse as well as joy and gratitude on our parts?
“Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” Not because of our own worth or merit does God grant Grace and forgiveness, but for the sake of His only Begotten Son who died for our sins. This Grace was given before the worlds were formed, in Christ, for He foreknew His Elect and Chosen.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” God will make all things new and of a new character and spirit – even those things of His own Creation. He has placed within the hearts of His people a new spirit and a new heart. He will change the nature of a ruined Creation into a glorious and new Creation according to His Word. “Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev 21:5-7). Our lives, too, shall become fenced from the world of evil and fenced to the Word of God.
“Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.” Can there be any stronger surety than the Word of the Lord? Those places that appear worthless and barren, He shall restore to abundant pastures. This is not only akin to the vacant fields of our present world, but the empty and ruined (by sin) chambers of our hearts. He shall make these new and overflowing with the fountains of Living Waters.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.” Though the Lord may tarry in bringing to pass those things promised, His people shall seek and beseech Him to come and restore righteousness to their land. We in America today are besieged by every wicked and evil notion. The reality of our society is dead to God and alive to sin. The Temple columns are falling and the wicked have gained the seat of authority. How shall this be amended? “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chron 7:14). It is important to note that ALL the inhabitants of our land are not called to prayer and repentance – only those “which are called by my name.” Too many in America and South Korea, and England, and Indonesia, and India and every other nation on the face of the earth, are only called by His name, but are not identified otherwise by character, love, or commitment, to fulfilling His Will in their private and national lives.
“As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.” And what of the ‘solemn feasts’ of the church? In our observance, in the Anglican tradition of the Church Calendar, we are made mindful of all of the accounts of the life of Christ and the profound events of the Gospel. The Church, if it is true, is the Holy Flock of God. In the days of the Old Testament period, there were three great annual festivals (Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles). At the time of these feasts, great flocks of the choicest of sacrificial animals were brought up to the Holy city of Jerusalem for sacrifice. – Jamieson-Fausset-Brown. Do we bring, in our day, droves of Living Sacrifices to Christ? “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1). Unlike those who would sacrifice Christ anew at every Mass, we must acknowledge that the only sacrifice that will suffice for the covering of our sins has already been made, once and for all, by the only One who was qualified and worthy to make that sacrifice – our Lord Jesus Christ! There remains a sacrifice of another type which the Lord would have in His people: “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psalms 51:16-17) Church, do we bring this desired sacrifice to God in our day?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Devotion for 28 May 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 6:10-24)

Devotion for 28 May 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 6:10-24)
10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (Eph 6:10-24)

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” These are Paul’s benedictory comments to conclude the Epistle. Strength in the Lord turns away the devil. We should mobilize our souls for the spiritual combat which shall surely come. Weakness is a characteristic of the wicked. Strength is a mark of Christian character.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” What armor? Every part of the arsenal of armor God grants is designed to be worn for our defense (and offense, too). In any war, or military engagement, a full knowledge of the terrain of the battlefield and the deployment of the enemy (intelligence) is essential for victory. One of the most effective armaments of the Christian is the Light which the Lord gives. “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” (Romans 13:12) Light not only reveals the right path, but also the ditches and pitfalls on either side of the way. When the Light is bright, the enemy can be clearly seen. Moreover, he is blinded by the Light. If you would have maximum armor, you must call on the maximum power available to you: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” (Romans 13:14) If we do this, all of the variables and confusion of the battlefield will disappear. No enemy, and certainly not the legions of demons we face, can stand against the power and presence of Christ! Press for the rout as the enemy flees before you.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Though flesh-and-blood agents of these unseen powers of darkness may seem the essence of the enemy against whom we battle, they are only the vassals and apparitions. The Great Conspirator of nations and earthly powers issues his commands and orders from the balconies and spires of the seats of government. His domain has invaded all the avenues of political and social concourse. He pulls the invisible strings of the implements of war against heaven.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” If a soldier is completely defeated, he cannot stand. If he stands boldly, he cannot retreat standing. A soldier standing represents a strong wall of stone to the enemy. There can be no victory for the enemy as long as our men (and women) remain ‘standing.’ And when vigor fades and courage is daunted, and all our best arts of battle employed, STAND! Standing his ground is the meritorious mark of virtue of the soldier.
We are now provided with a detailed account of our armor: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” Our loins support our erect standing in battle and our center of strength. Truth is the foundation of our standing. The earnest of our love and faith is protected by our breastplate of righteousness because righteousness is the evidence of that faith and love.
“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Yes, a soldier must have freedom of movement. In ancient times, when an enemy was captured, his shoes were removed to prevent his freedom to move quickly. We enjoy liberty in Christ because Christ is our “Perfect Law of Liberty” (James 1:25). “The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.” (General Douglas MacArthur, USMA, 1962). The Gospel will always have peace as a result, but peace, at all cost, is not the end of the Gospel. There is an enemy in the field, and the enemy bars our way to peace. Peace will not come until the enemy is vanquished.
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. ” Three protective coverings (integuments) are mentioned in our text today – the breastplate, the girdle, and the shoes; two provisions for defense – the helmet (to protect the mind) and shield; and two weapons of offense – the sword (Word of God) and the spear (prayer). Note the phrase, “ye shall be able”, not “ye MAY be able.” Victory is assured!
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” That is, pray at every occasion and opportunity. You may even be sinking in the sea as was Peter when you utter your best prayer. Pray with every kind of prayer to meet every kind of contingency. Praying in the Spirit is allowing the Spirit in us, as the adopted child of God, to dictate the terms of prayer and petition. An army that has no watch or vision, even in the night, is already doomed. We must watch and be watchful, and not only at times, but ALWAYS!
“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Paul ask for particular prayer for himself that the Holy Spirit, according to the promise, will give him utterance of what needs to be said at every turn, in proclaiming the deep mysteries of the Gospel. Paul, an ambassador of Christ in chains at Rome, needs fervent prayer to give him boldness to speak that which needs spoken. We, too, need such boldness in our day.
“But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.” Tychicus is a beloved brother to Paul (in Christ) and may be depended upon to deliver all news of how Paul fares. Even bad news is often a comfort over doubt and the unknown. In our day, we have ministries which also keep us abreast of suffering Christians, in bonds in other lands, for whom we must pray.
The Benediction of Paul: “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” Peace on the inward heart, regardless the outward circumstances, to all who are brethren in Christ (that includes you and me). There is no peace to the wicked. Love is predisposed with the saints; however, faith must be the company of love. “……faith which worketh by love.” (Gal 5:6). “Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity” is spoken as a contrasting malediction to those who do not love the Lord. “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.” (1 Cor 16:22). All who fail in love to Christ are accursed (Anathema) and all who love Him receive the opposite measure of Grace! Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus! The prayer of all who love Him!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Devotion for 27 May 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 6:1-9)

Devotion for 27 May 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 6:1-9)
“1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;6 Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” (Eph 6:1-9)
The first Four of the Ten Commandments provide the parameters for our obedience and reverence to God. The last Five, our relationship and responsibilities in dealing with others. But the Fifth Commandment is a transition which typifies our responsibilities in both areas – God and man. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.” This Fifth Commandment is serves the dual role of informing us of our duties to our earthly parents, but also those owed to our Heavenly Parent. We must honor our parents just as we honor God. And we must honor God as well as our Great Father. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Ex 20:12). Would we live long upon the land which the Lord has given us? Then honor our father and mother (in the Lord) for such obedience is in no way contrary to the life we should live as Christians, and will assure us of a long life of eternal duration with God the Father. No parent (in the Lord) will countenance a life of sin and debauchery. Such parents will always encourage in the faith and lead us into a meaningful and saving relationship with Christ.
The first three verses of our text relate the manner in which children should reverence the parents. The next verse deals with the duty of parents toward the children.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” How does one provoke a child to wrath? By harsh and unjust treatment, by exercising authority with disagreeable intransigence. To the contrary, fathers must assume the responsibility of pastor of his family to teach the Scriptures and live the Scriptures before his tiny flock in Godliness and love.
“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” Labor at your employment with great care to do excellent work and as much of it as the hours of your daily schedule will afford. “An honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work” is the old adage, and it is quite pertinent today. If we daydream through our day, our work production will suffer in both quality and quantity. We do not always understand the reason for every commandment of Scripture, but we must obey nonetheless the Word of God. The same goes for our employer. It is not our lot to question why he demands certain tasks to be done. He is paying us a salary or wage in return for our obedient service to him. Christ died for our sins, and that amounts to a treasure in payment for which we can never labor or sacrifice enough. Our obedience to Christ should be motivated by our love for Him, not a feeling that we may be able to repay Him (for we shall not).
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” The character of a faithful employee, or a faithful Christian, is revealed in how they behave and conduct themselves when no one is watching, or will know what good they have done. Menpleasers satisfy men by their pretentions to be what they are not. Hypocrites try to appear devout by their pretended acts of righteousness. When we labor as if the company or corporation belongs to us, we will certainly perform at the acceptable level. When we serve the Lord from a heart devoted to Him in love and compassion, we will not miss an opportunity to magnify His Name and Cause!
“With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” All the labors of the Christian are centered in Christ. A sluggard does not ever reflect the Christian character in work. EVERYTHING is done unto the Lord by the Christian, whether paid or free of pay. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” (Eccl 9:10)
“And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.” Master or servant, we all has the same Great Master who oversees our labors. The master must exercise patience and kindness in his dealings with his servants, much like Boaz with the workers of his field: “And, behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers, The LORD be with you. And they answered him, The LORD bless thee. (Ruth 2:4). Such respect from the master will evoke the same from his subjects. Neither master nor servant owns a special consideration above the other from the Lord, for all are One in Christ Jesus.

Devotion for 26 MAY 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 5:15-33)

Devotion for 26 MAY 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 5:15-33)

“15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” (Eph 5:15-33)

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.” How we walk and where we walk demonstrates either wisdom, or it demonstrates foolishness. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly….” (Psalms 1:1) It is foolish to walk with losers. Walk with those who are your co-victors in Christ. The Godly way is the wise way. “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” (Col 4:5)

“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” The field commander will waste no time in rushing reinforcements to that portion of the battle-line which wavers. It is certain that we are in a great battle between good and evil. The declaration of war was made in eternity past. The war is not over until the last shot is fired and all is quiet on the battle-lines. Waste no time in pressing the Gospel. While it is yet light, labor with diligence. Soon it will be night and no opportunity will avail for righteous works.

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Drunkenness results from a failure to curb the fleshly desires. Any substance that alters our inhibitions or conscious state is detrimental to good conduct. Be so filled with the Spirit that the influence of wine, in comparison, would fail of any pleasure at all.

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Speaking, not only in Communion, but when alone as well, the vocabulary of the Psalms, and the words of the great biblical hymns and songs. There should always be a melody in the heart of the true believer. The words to the old hymn come to mind, “There’s within my heart a melody. Jesus whispers sweet and low. Fear I am with thee, peace, be still, through all of life’s ebbs and flows.”

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How do we give “thanks always”? Our entire daily life is a prayer. The kindness we show others is a silent means of saying “thank you” to God the Father for the Grace and Mercies given in Jesus Christ, the Son.

“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” Preferring the better portion for others and doing so knowing it will please our good parent, God the Father. How happy is a father to observe one of his children always giving place to another of them! So does God take great pleasure in our putting others’ interest ahead of our own. These are also acts of common courtesy (or what was once considered common) of giving your seat to an elder person, taking time to assist another in need who is incapable of helping themselves, or speaking words of sympathy to one who has suffered some deep tragedy.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” The Lord is kind and compassionate. We may submit ourselves unto Him for He will always treat us with love. The wife may always comfortably submit herself to such a husband and enjoy complete freedom in the process, for her desires will be his desires. We must always remember, in marriage and in government, that their exists an hierarchy of laws which must be obeyed. The Law of God trumps all others of men and governments. God does not expect a woman to be forced into ungodly trouble because of her husband.

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” The model and type fits perfectly here. The marriage institution is identical to that of Christ and the Church. In America, a citizen is subject to the governor of the state in which he resides. But he is also subject to the President of the United States. A Presidential Commission will always take precedence over a State-directed Commission. This counsel presumes a Godly husband, not one who is wicked and abusive. A wife should be patient and aware of the hardships her husband faces, and his weaknesses. She should endure fair hardship if necessary, but never acts of unrighteousness which impacts her life and that of her children. God does not dictate such subjection.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” I find it noteworthy herein that God does not command the woman to love the husband, but does command the husband to love the wife! Why is this so? Is it an oversight? I think not! The institution of marriage presumes upon the different natures of the man and woman who are party to the covenant of marriage. A man, in the heat of labor or daily struggle, may forget to love as he should. He needs to be reminded that he must love his wife so much that he would die for her benefit just as Christ died for ours. But the woman has a natural tenderness in her heart that is prone to respond in love when it is offered. If the husband loves the wife beyond measure, there is no doubt that such love will be reciprocated by the woman tenfold. Why does the Church love Christ? Because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Why did Christ give Himself for the Church? “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” We should desire to maintain our wives and families in such a state of sanctification and cleanliness as to provoke the admiration of all other good men.

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” See? The type remains consistent here. The wife is the public face of the husband. He may be accomplished in many social graces, but if his wife is not virtuous, he will not be honored. The wife is the unchanging body of the marriage. Her influence in the home far exceeds that of the husband. The husband should insure that his wife is well nourished, well clothed, and well loved. The Church is the public face of Christ. If it remains virtuous (a pitiful state today), mankind will be attracted to it and honor it. Christ loves the Church more than His own Body, and He cannot wait until the moment arrives when He shall return for it. This is the manner in which husbands should view their precious wives. “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Those parts of Christ that are visible upon earth are found in the Church today. May the Body be righteous, the flesh devoted to the spiritual things, and the bones of faith strong and robust!

“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The first institution of God in the Garden at Eden is repeated here (in case we missed it in Genesis 2:24). The institution of marriage preceded the Church itself for it is, like the Passover Lamb, a type of that which follows in full reality. The first Commandment of God involves the marriage state between a man and a woman: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen 1:27-28) The modern perversion of homosexual marriage cannot satisfy this commandment and, in fact, is a shameful offense to the Creative Design of God. If we, the Church, are not the Bride of Christ, we have no part with Him. We cannot be One with Him and divided in the marriage institution.

“ Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” This same principle is repeated for emphasis and summary. It is a point which we must not miss. You will note, here again, the distinction provided between the male/female makeup of marriage: "his wife” and “her husband”. Surely we do not need to delve further into the question of what comprises a marriage. It is the most sublime of all of the earthly institutions of God because it typifies the most sublime of the Heavenly Institutions for which Christ died – the Church! How does your marriage measure up to this counsel?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Devotion for 25 May 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 5:1-14) “1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved

Devotion for 25 May 2011 Anno Domini (Eph 5:1-14)
“1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph 5:1-14)


God has always placed before us two different ways of walking – there is not one way only, and there are not three ways. There will always be the RIGHT WAY and the WRONG WAY. There were Two Trees in the Garden. Adam did not choose the Tree of Life (Jesus Christ) but the way of the world in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The first Psalms presents two ways of walking – one righteous and one unrighteous. So this text today presents us, in the first two verses, the manner of walking which is pleasing to God. Since walking in Christ is simple to define, there are only two verses devoted to this walk. The remaining twelve verses are used to describe the wicked way and to warn against it. Wickedness is fraught with confusion and drunkenness, so as a result, more words must be used in describing it.

“ Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children.” When a boy of four or five years of age, my grandmother (Granny Mae) used to take me to town for shopping on Saturdays. She always promised to buy me a ‘play-pretty’ (toy) and she always did. I love her beyond words! In order to keep my childish mind occupied and out of trouble, she told me, as we walked along the city sidewalks, that I “must avoid stepping on the joint-cracks of the sidewalk.” She told me that to do so was akin to stepping on your grandmother’s grave. My entire walk was focused on “avoiding the cracks” because I loved Granny Mae too much to dishonor her! I followed my grandmother’s counsel implicitly – and I still catch myself trying to avoid the cracks when I walk on the sidewalk today. This story is akin to the counsel that the Lord has given us, only very serious and very true. He has taught us how to live, what to believe, what to avoid, how to walk in love, and how to avoid dangers. Should we not follow Him as a precious child followers his parents, but more so? Christ has also warned us against associating with the stranger to righteousness.
“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” Not only has Christ given us good counsel and beautiful stories in the night (Pslams and Parables), but He also gave us His very blood as a propitiation for our sins. He loved us more than our mother could ever love us. He did more for us than any man (even if willing) could ever do. Christ has told us: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:13-14) Did He lay down His life for you?
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” Fornication is defined as consensual sex between any two parties not married to each other. It is a grievous sin and includes adultery and sodomy. Moreover, it is unclean. Many diseases, some deadly, are transmitted by way of this sin. Amazingly, covetousness is ranked among those sins which are serious and unclean. It is more serious than jealousy. It seeks not the same kind of wealth or possessions of another, but the very possessions themselves of the other person. It destroys, and leads to murder, lies, and theft. Such wickedness should be so incredible to the known character of a saint that it should never be voiced in the midst.
“Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.” Those things which do not edify should not be engaged in. Foolish talking (and even vain prayers), off-color jokes, and all of the filthiness of body and speech must be cast away and not drawn up again with the Christian. There remains sufficient numbers of blessing for which we should return thanks to leave no time for vile and foolish allurements.
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” Not that many who belong to God have not engaged in these sins before salvation, but after knowing the Grace and Love of God, how can one turn back to these base sins. Peter gives a stern warning regarding this: “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22) This describes the natures of dogs and pigs, but not sons and daughters of God.
“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” Paul gives the warning, for the occasion will certainly arise for the attempt. God’s wrath is even more greatly kindled against the lost for engaging in stratagems to deceive the Elect of God. “Be not ye therefore partakers with them.” Regardless of their worldly stature or political power, do not become complicit in their sins through participation. ‘NO’ is a fairly common word of only two letters. Remember to use it when efficacious to your soul!
“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light.” We were truly the children who sat in darkness but who have now seen a great light. “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) It is not possible to see great light without being recipients of that light to brighten our eyes, our faces, our countenance, and our souls. And if that light falls upon us, we become reflectors of that light. Are we children of Light? If so, there must be a natural father of that Light. Who must this be? “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17). There is no variableness in that great Father of Lights. He is constant and more absolute than the nature of that physical light we observe in the universe. Moreover, there is no shadow which comes between that Light source and its recipients such as there is which falls upon the earth from the rotation of the earth during hours of night.
The fruit of the Tree of Life is a wholesome fruit and always bearing the qualities of its source: “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” If we possess that Spirit as our constant companion, we, too, should exhibit these traits.
“Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Proving by our lives an acceptable offering to God of ourselves.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Not only avoid complicity with those who do the works of darkness, but reprove them in their wickedness. (How can this be accomplished without allowing God’s Word to judge them?) If God says a sin is a sin, are we judging when we pronounce an adulterer a sinner? No, God’s Word has so judged!
“For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” We are cautioned more than once to avoid making light of grievous sin. Not only do we avoid these subjects in casual conversation, but also avoiding making light in jest. Paul, again, gives warning to us in how we view such sins: “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Romans 1:32). Enjoying the entertainment of movies which depict adultery, homosexuality, and ungodly language is also a means of taking pleasure in the sins enumerated by Paul.
“But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” If you have that Light of Christ, you will reprove all sins that attract your notice. The quality of Light is to reveal. We stumble in the darkness until a torch is brought to light the way – to reveal pitfalls, ditches, and stones in the way. The wicked love darkness. They creep in the shadows believing that their evil deeds are covered. They are much like the snail which crawls out at night and eats the vegetables for which he did not labor. As soon as dawn begins to approach, he immediately heads for the darkness of a rock under which to shelter from the Light. There are two things a snail cannot abide – salt and light! David says of them: “As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun.” (Psalms 58:8) Christians are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14). Are you?
“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” Do not be caught sleeping at the moment of His Coming. If you are dead in trespasses and sins, be quickened by the Spirit and made alive. The domain of death is total darkness, but the Kingdom of God is all Light! Receive the Light!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Devotion for Monday, 23 May 2011 Anno Domini (Ephesians 4:1-16)

Devotion for Monday, 23 May 2011 Anno Domini (Ephesians 4:1-16)
“1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 8Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:1-16)
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” Not a prisoner in the sense that he has been taken against his will, but he has become so very attached to the Gospel of Christ that he is fixed in his place. All who are Christian are made to conform to a High and Holy Calling, especially so are ministers of God.
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.” Love extinguishes all pride and selfishness. The loving heart is drawn down to the lowest earth for the sake of the object of that love. There is no expiration date on love’s endurance – it waits interminably for the accomplishment of all good for that which commands its heart. It always assigns a lower value to itself than to another. “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” There can be no division where there is unity of Spirit and, therefore, no bond but peace. Having Unity of Mind in Christ, we will have no cause for quarrel.
“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” Christ came in a body, and the church is representative of that Body of Christ. The foot should never do anything to hurt the head, and the mouth anything to hurt the ear. All fitted together for one purpose is the Body of Christ in the Church. The Spirit, too, is one and omnipresent with believers. An example of the Oneness in Body and Spirit is our form of liturgical worship – the Lord’s Prayer said at all services (Our Father), the Apostles or Nicene Creeds repeated in all services of our church everywhere, and the General Confession. These unite us in one faith and one Lord. The Lectionary, too, keeps us all on the same course and same sheet of music else our songs would be discordant.
“One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Yes, there is no God but the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Allah does not measure up. He has neither Holy Spirit, nor Son, nor Grace! We have no Savior but God the Son, and our faith should be uniform if we could conform to the same Word of God as was first given and revived by the great Reformers. We are baptized into a faith and not a denomination. The outward signs of the inward graces are made manifest in the Sacraments.
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” ‘But’, though we are one in faith and Spirit, we each have a special gift according to our need and ability to respond for the good of the whole Body. The nose fulfills a need that the toes cannot do. Each body part, though one with the whole, are indispensable parts of that whole with peculiar properties to keep.
“When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” Instead of deprivation of freedoms and hope, Christ has led captivity into the captivity which had been foisted upon us. He has, in lieu thereof, bestowed precious gifts upon us – salvation, grace, ministries, love, hope, and faith, etc. These are gifts which fade away if not invested to produce greater return.
“(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” Christ first descended to our level, made like unto men, so that we might see and know God. He also is the One who ascended to the highest heaven in fulfillment of the Gospel plan. Please do not waste hard earned money on books purporting to be written by deceitful men who have ascended to heaven for a time and returned to tell us of it (for a profitable sales). He has ascended to the place of Highest Authority where He intercedes for us. No other can claim that privilege.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” He (Christ) has appointed these gifts to certain men whom He has called to that role of apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor, or teacher, or any other special calling to which a man may be called and fitted. Not only is the Calling a gift of Grace from Christ to the recipient, but also a gift to those who are benefactors of these ministries. May I further point out that none among men are worthy of these callings in their own right, but God will surely make every man worthy, in Christ, for the Calling which he has received, and He gave them to this end: “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
For what period are these gifts given? “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The work of the minister of God is to preach Truth which cannot but unify. The object of every sermon should be centered in Christ. Every sermon should be an exposition of the beauty and grace of Christ and Him crucified. That perfect man is a work in progress. Sanctification is an ongoing process in this life which can only reach fruition in the life to come, but the ‘imputed’ righteousness of Christ gives us the perfection required here and now.
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” The lack of wisdom and understanding among modern Christianity is unbelievable. How is it that so many sincere and humble souls are led astray by false prophets in our day? It is a fault of the ministers of God failing to teach the Word of God with convincing power and truth. Not knowing the depth and breadth of God’s Word, and Love, has caused many to be susceptible to the deceit of evil men after filthy lucre. They are the tools of the Arch Enemy of our souls as they lie in wait to deceive and destroy as their master bids. Instead of acting as children playing in the streets, we should be as soldiers of valor in truth and Spirit.
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Even in speaking truth, we must be kind and thoughtful in it. Thumping unbelievers over the head with a Bible does not impart grace. Our words should be gentle and thoughtful in order to be convincing, and our lives should reflect the very meaning of the truth which we impart.
“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” An otherwise wholesome body is not whole if the arms are withered, or the tongue is deformed, or the ears are silent, or the legs are crippled. Each part must be fitted to perform its essential task for the whole to be at comfort and full performance. The church may have an excellent clergyman, but the Vestry (or Session) is balking at every turn so that the Body is partially crippled to move ahead to the salvation and nurture of souls. The choir may be commendable, but the director a total dunce so that the result will lack its full measure of beauty. Instead, all these may be admirable, yet the membership is divided and split over the color of d├ęcor or the length of the service. But these are evidences of a lack of Godly love and obedience to Christ. If we love Christ above all else, how can we fail to tender the greatest measure of love toward one another. When such love permeates the church, and is centered in the heart of Christ, how can these trivial divisions arise? When an army is perishing for want of water, there will be no objection to the goodness of that officer which can satisfy the need. This principle also should apply in the Church Body of Christ. Does it in your church?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Devotion for Gospel Text, Sunday, 22 May 2011 Anno Domini

Devotion for Gospel Text, Sunday, 22 May 2011 Anno Domini

“5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:5-15)

“But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou?” The Lord had told them often that He must leave them. The reaction of the disciples had been one of casual inquiry as to where He would go, but never a serious, heartfelt persistence in learning the answer (John 13:36 & 14:5). A casual inquiry into the Will of God in prayer will generally lead to no prompt response to that prayer. The Lord would have us make our petitions in earnest and serious persistence. The manner in which we pray will determine the manner in which we receive an answer. While Christ was with the disciples, the full brunt of hate would be directed towards Him. When He would depart, that hatred would descend upon His disciples – and upon us!

“But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.” Why the immoderate grief at the loss of a loved one by Christian people? If we know and believe that our loved ones ascend to the Strong Embrace of our Loving Lord, why the grief? We place too great an affection upon this present world and on all of it which we enjoy. The grief may more appropriately result from our own lot in remaining behind and missing the present company of our loved one. It is likely that the disciples, at this point, had believed only with a superficial understanding what Christ had meant about His returning to the Father. Rather than looking to the glorious resurrection and ascension, their foresight ended, where it had always ended in this mortal life, at the Tomb!

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Christ came to us in human form. A human body lacks the versatility of movement that a spirit possesses – that is, to be at all places at once. It was expedient that Christ fulfill all of the requirements of the law for our redemption, and to return to the Father so that the compassionate and loving Holy Spirit would come to us! We have already observed how faithless the disciples were when physically parted from Christ – the disciples on the stormy seas, the men on the road to Emmaus, and Peter the night preceding the crucifixion! The Holy Spirit (or Comforter) would ALWAYS be with them and strengthen in the hour of trial and weakness. I need not remind you of the amazing courage and faith demonstrated by these same disciples once the Holy Spirit descended. Do we have that courage and conviction today? Do we, perchance, offend the Holy Spirit? Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, Christ is with us forever in our Emmaus walks.

“And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” A profoundly meaningful discourse here. Christ describes herein the ministry of the Holy Spirit in His operation toward the individual as well as the larger masses, the believer as well as the unbeliever. Not only will the Holy Spirit reveal righteousness to the Christian believer, but He will also CONVICT of sin the unbeliever and remove all doubt or excuse from His lips at the Judgment. He will accomplish this conviction through the power of the Word, for it is a two edged sword either to convince, or condemn! “Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” That seals up the whole! Satan has already been judged and his fate sealed!

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” It is likely that Christ has much more to say to each of us in due course, but we cannot receive it at once. Just as the disciples could not believe that Christ would raise Lazarus, or rise again on the third day, Himself, as prophesied prior to the crucifixion, we, likewise, cannot be mature enough at all points of our walk with God to have all things suddenly revealed to our unprepared ears. The knowledge of God requires consuming the Bread and Water of Heaven to build strong spiritual bones and muscles. Such bones and muscles do not appear overnight. “Line upon line, precept upon precept!”

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” I do love this passage! How shall He reveal that which is written about Christ if we have not yet taken the trouble to read and study the Word? He is our Guide, but we, too, must at least walk and follow. The Holy Spirit will not speak of Himself! In many churches today, we hear that they are a Holy Spirit Church. When such a claim is made, we can be sure that they are NOT a Holy Spirit Church for He will not speak of His own, but point, invariably, to Christ! He shall show us precious treasures and beauties from the Word concerning Christ alone! “All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” The Holy Spirit will teach us ALL of Christ! And not only of Christ, the Son, but the Father as well, for They are ONE with the Spirit! The Church belongs to Christ for He purchased it with His own blood. So our Church is a Christian Church!

Devotion for 21 MAY 2011 Anno Domini

Devotion for 21 MAY 2011 Anno Domini
“12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph 3:12-21)
“In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” In the days of the Kings of Persia (Cyrus, the three Darius’, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, etc) it was a serious undertaking to approach the King. If any of his subjects, including his wife, approached, they risked their lives if he did not lower his golden scepter to them. One could not approach with boldness for the king might be in a bad mood. If he was, you would have a really bad day! But, in Christ, we have courage and confidence that we may approach God without fear and in firmness of faith that He will always admit us to His Chamber.
“Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.” Instead of being encouraged to great faith and action, Paul feared that the Ephesians might be affected in a contrary manner, i.e., be DISCOURAGED at the knowledge of his suffering. They are justified to glory in the knowledge that one is willing to suffer for them – and no one more than Christ.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Our outward posture in worship should reflect our inward reverence. In proper Prayer Book Worship, we kneel to pray, and so does Paul. Our posture does affect our mind. George S. Patton believed that a soldier who “dressed like a soldier” would ACT more as a soldier should act. Kneeling is a humble gesture in prayer. Why should we not bow down when we approach so exalted a Throne and Sovereign? “Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” “There are two prayers of Paul in this epistle. In the first, the apostle petitions God for knowledge; and in the second, he prays for love. The first is a prayer for revelation; the second is for realization. The first prayer is for enlightenment; the second is for enablement. It is not enough merely to know; we must be. The fruit of divine knowledge is the expression of divine life.”—Lehman Strauss Commentary. In the physical world, there are three dimensions with which we are familiar. But Paul adds a fourth dimension in his description of Love – “breadth, and length, and depth, and height”. This fourth dimension is ‘breadth’! The breadth of God’s Love cannot be measured by physical means but by spiritual only! Since it surpasses the means of knowledge, it is a dimension with which we cannot measure, only at which we must wonder. The hymn, “The Love of God” tells us:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky
Examine Paul’s prayer benediction: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Please observe that God is exceedingly able to do more than we can even ask, and more than we can ever imagine – because His powers are of an entirely different dimension from all of which we are aware. His Mind is Infinite – ours, finite. And that infinite power can work IN us if we will but cast our burdens and cares upon His abundant riches to address. His Glory is not confined by time and space. It is unlimited and omnipresent across the expanse of Eternity. In the Church should reside His great glory through all ages of time, and then into an eternity future. If reverence, truth, humility, and faith do not exist in full measure in the church, where can it exist?

Devotion for 20 May 2011 Anno Domini

Devotion for 20 May 2011 Anno Domini

“1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” (Eph 3:1-11).

“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles.” Certainly, Paul is a willing prisoner, and a prisoner cannot go wherever he pleases, but must remain in the place designated by the authority to whom he is prisoner. Paul must carry the Gospel to the Gentiles – not by his own choice, but that of the Lord. Ministers are often called, as was Jonah, to go where they would not go, and to minister to those whom they may have held in contempt. This requires a further change in heart, nurtured by the Holy Spirit.

“If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” Paul is used by God as a channel for His Grace to the Gentiles. In times past, the Law was given to Israel, but now the Gospel of Grace is extended to all who will respond by God’s Grace. God gives us gifts which we are expected, in turn, to give away; but in giving, we never loose an ounce in Grace, but gain thereby. Grace emanates from love. The measure of real love cannot be discovered because it is a flowing fountain. It is never exhausted. Once it pours, it grows to a gushing Spring of Life.

“How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ).” A mystery is something that is hidden from the casual observer. The whereabouts of gold and silver is a mystery to 99.99% of the population, but the seeker of gold veins and silver knows the nature of the metals and where to look for their possible place of hiding. Likewise, if we are in fervent love of God’s Word, we shall learn the nature of its Author and study, in detail, all that He speaks. Thereby, He will reveal many precious mysteries to our minds which others cannot see. Simply receiving a letter from a distant friend tells us nothing of that friend’s conversation – the letter must be read!

“Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” Always in time past, there has been a testimony and prophetic Word of God; however, the fullness of the Gospel has opened in full wonder and beauty to all who will come to the Fountain of Living Waters. The shoot of a rose bush has no appeal or beauty, but as the bush grows, and the rose bud appears, we begin to see the promise of great beauty. As the bud opens into a glorious and beautiful rose, our expectations are nearly satisfied! But then, we desire more and more of the roses! The Gentiles are “fellowheirs and of the same body!” God does not have two Chosen people, but One only. Christ has opened to all the privileges of grace and love.

“Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” Who made thee a minister of the Gospel? Did the bishop of the local church, a vote of the congregation, a private decision on your part? Never! We are made ministers by the Grace of God! The evidence thereof is the “effectual working of His power” in our lives. The man, called of God, cannot remain silent regarding the Word that God has called Him to preach regardless of the disparagement of men and institutions. As Paul says in another place: “Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. “ (1 Cor 1:20-21)

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Well before a man can approach the bar of Gospel preaching, he must KNOW in his heart that he is totally without worth to handle so high a calling. It is the very moment when the minister or lay person begins to feel that they are “good enough” is the very moment that they are depraved and without excuse. WE are never good enough to be a minister, or a member of the Altar Guild, or fundamentally a Christian – NEVER! It is the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us, that makes us worthy and righteous. This, we MUST remember above all else!

“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Our duty, as ministers, Christians, and believers, is to reveal the beauty of the mysteries hidden in God from the foundation of the world. Christ was the executive Power at Creation (John 1:1-3). His Church, if it will dispense Truth, must be aware of the largesse of precious mysteries to be had in Christ. Have they forgotten? Christ did not devise a new purpose in His coming – it has ever been an eternal purpose which owed its fulfillment to His coming a walking among men in human form; to live such a life as we must know is Holy; to die a sacrificial death for our Redemption, and to rise from the Tomb of death on the third day and ascend to the Father where He today is our Advocate and Intermediary. Knowest thou these things?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Devotion for Thursday 19 May 2011 Anno Domini

Devotion for Thursday 19 May 2011 Anno Domini

“ 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Eph 2:11-22)

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands.” Paul counsels us to ‘remember’ because it is important that we do. There will be many, and are today, strange ideas about the identity of the people of God – some professing that those who actually deny the only Begotten of the Father is somehow chosen above all others as the special people of God. There are those who long and pine to see a return of Temple sacrifices as a sign of Christ’s dominion. Such sacrifices flaunt the blood of Christ as being insufficient to the forgiveness of sins, and they return to the shadow and type ignoring the thing foreshadowed by such unworthy sacrifices.

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” We were gentiles and strangers in times past before we came to be chosen in Christ, but we are now bona fide children of the promise and no longer aliens to Israel – the people of God. If we be children of Isaac through faith, then are we children indeed. (Romans 9:6-11).

“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.” We were strangers to the commonwealth of heaven. We were a rebellious people who had no master but the Dark Angel. But, thanks be to God, we were allowed to become naturalized citizens of that commonwealth of Israel through the blood of Jesus Christ. There remains no partition of separation between believing Gentile, Greek or Jew for we are all One in Christ Jesus. Those burdensome ordinances and laws of Moses and the religious leaders are not our measure of righteousness, and cannot be! Though the Commandments of God have never been suspended, they have been made more stringent having been written, no longer on tables of stone, but the very sinews of our hearts, so that we now obey (not out of compulsion) but love. Love is the greater power!

“And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” Christ died for Jew and Gentile alike in His Bodily sacrifice on the cross – one Body whereby all might become One in Him. In doing so, there remains no difference in approach (enmity) between the two. There remains only one way to the Father and that Way is through the Son.

“And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Christ did not differentiate between Jew and Gentile, Male or Female. He has brought us all together in Himself in love. To those of us who were far from God and lost to Heaven, He preached - to those of His own did He preach, and to those who were to be His own who were of the lost sheep of Israel.

“For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” There is not a separate dispensation for the Jews and then to the Gentiles! We all come alike by Christ by virtue and leading of that One Holy Spirit of God. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” Please do not miss this application here of Paul. Fellow citizens means just THAT! We are now adopted into the Israel of God – no wall of partition to divide. No special geographic borders to identify our belonging to God as His Chosen people.

“ And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Up until the Advent of Christ, the presumed foundation for the people of God was the prophets. The Apostles are now a major portion of that foundation. I say the prophets were the presumed foundation; however, the foreshadowing of Christ in their prophecies pointed to the same salvation in Christ as we enjoy after the culmination of that Redemption at Golgotha. Christ has ALWAYS been the chief cornerstone of the Temple of God. We each are stones of varying size and texture, but Christ has reserved us for a special place in the Temple where only we can fit in.

“In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” We are, indeed, the Temple of God. He lives in and through us. All of our righteous works are not ours, but His, working through us; however, the works of the flesh that are of no good value belong to us alone. The works of sin and vice are the only works to which we may attach legal claim. Does Christ work through you, or are you doing all the labors of emptiness which are yours to keep?