Follow by Email

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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Devotion for Saturday after the Third Sunday after Trinity 30 June 2012 Anno Domini


30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:30-37)
The Collect
Third Sunday after Trinity
O
 LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

     The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the most often quoted and popular of all the parables with the possible exception of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. It is my favorite of them all. It defines, for the lawyer as well as for us, to whom we should show mercy and of whom we should consider to be our neighbor.
     To get to the setting for this parable, we need to examine the reason for our Lord's giving it: 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:25-29)
     This "certain lawyer" was an accomplished academic of Holy Scripture. He was presumptuous of his own wisdom, both Holy and worldly. He was most likely of the mold of many modern theologians who love `refined' and `brainy' arguments about "finding themselves" or better still, "how to help others find themselves." Such people love argument for the sake of argument and have little taste for simple truth. His motive was to reveal his own vast knowledge and to cast dispersions on that of a poor and itinerate teacher – Jesus Christ. The lawyer `tempted' Jesus in order to expose what he believed to be uncultured and unrefined learning. Even when he had answered correctly a question posed by Christ, he yet persisted in displaying his prideful, philosophical grasp of the ridiculous – "And who is my neighbor?" Can't you just imagine the arrogance in which this question was posed as the lawyer spoke with a heavy nasally-tempered Oxford accent?
     30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Jerusalem is the place of the Temple and the Holy City, but a certain man left the place closest to the worship of God and went DOWN to Jericho. The further we depart from the Will of God, we are placing ourselves under the power of the Prince of the Air. As we learned from Psalm 1, sin is a DIRECTION. Jonah, too, in order to escape the commands of God, ran DOWN to Joppa, went DOWN into a ship, went DOWN into the sides of the ship, was cast DOWN into the sea, went DOWN into the belly of the fish, and then DOWN into the very depths of the sea. When we depart from the presence of God, we are going DOWNHILL! This man was robbed and beaten to within an inch of his life. He was left by the world "half dead." All who are in the world and not in the Kingdom of God are "HALF DEAD!" They live their temporary moments on earth and then depart for the long night of outer darkness.  The world will always leave you half dead.
     31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. "By chance" only happens in parables – not in the lives of God's chosen. The priest was also going to Jericho. He had been to the Temple for services and was ritually cleansed. He, too, was going DOWN. The priest is without excuse in failing to help the poor victim because we are expressly told that he saw him. Instead of helping the man, the priest passed by as far as he could get from him (the other side). This is an example of the very person who should be expected to harbor the greatest care for those in need not even lifting an eyebrow to comfort the man. The priest had an overwhelming religious responsibility to see to the hurt man. The Law of Moses even requires compassionate treatment for hurt animals: Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. (Deut 22:4) Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? (Isaiah 58:7)
     32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. The Levites were the lowest order of the priesthood having responsibility for the Temple grounds and upkeep. This Levite has also come DOWN from Jerusalem and is, undoubtedly, ritually cleansed from Temple work. He at least SEES the poor victim lying bleeding by the road, and even went to him to look upon him proving that he was aware of the seriousness of the man's predicament. He, too, shamefully went by on the other side
     The priest and Levite were both men whose positions were called for under the Law. Their behavior suggests that the law is incapable of compassion and feeling. The Law offers no grace.
     33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, When we come to the end of our proverbial rope, it may be time to turn our eyes and hearts to heaven. This `Good' Samaritan is a type of Christ symbolized in the parable. He is hated by the Jews as are all Samaritans. He is the One least likely to feel an obligation to the poor and sinful man (for He has no sin). The Samaritan is traveling UP to Jerusalem.  Just as Christ came into a sinful world for us, the Samaritan goes to where the man was. That is why we are the "salt of the earth." We must deliver our healing balm to the point of need. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews for the felt they were unclean people simply for the blood that coursed through their veins. But this Samaritan had no such feelings of malice toward the Jews. He came to where the man was,  he SAW him, and (the most important element of the entire parable) he had COMPASSION on him. Compassion is an emotion that comes from God alone. The hated Samaritan was far more Christ-like than the priests and Levites of the Temple who had credentials to serve God but not the heart.
     34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. Christ CAME to us, He BOUND UP OUR WOUNDS, He has given us the wine and Oil of His Spirit, He has given us a conveyance to safety (the Cross), and He has brought us to a place of care and love. The wine, the oil, the physical sacrifice of allowing the hurt man to ride his own beast while he walked, his personal time devoted, and the care he gave were all Christ-like evidences of compassion.  Compassion is an arm of Grace – something the Law could not provide.
     35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Having carried the assault and robbery victim back down the trail to an Inn, the Samaritan treats this stranger as his own brother – he treats him with expensive oils and wine, he gives of his time and resources. But, when he has done all for the moment of danger, he decides to continue on to his pressing business in Jerusalem. But he does not abandon his assumed charge. He gives the Inn Keeper two pence (two days' pay) to continue to watch after the needs of the injured stranger. Christ has not left us Comfortless has He? When He ascended on High, He sent to us the Comforter  to care for us during His sojourn. The Samaritan tells the Inn Keeper to care for the man and, if more money is need, he will recompense on his return. Christ has a CONTINUING care for us.
     36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? The greatest points of Christ's teachings are made with searching questions: "But whom do you say that I am?" "Woman, where are thine accusers?" "Lovest thou me more than these?" "How readest thou?" The answer is so obvious that none can escape its admission: Who was neighbor to him that fell among thieves? Was it a priest of his own people? Was it a Levite of his own faith? or was it a perfect stranger of a hated race of people? The lawyer is a Jew and his prejudices will make it very difficult to respond correctly, but his own pride requires an answer.
     37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.  The lawyer, beleaguered and defeated by a greater mind than he imagined existed, could not bring himself so much as to utter the word `Samaritan,' so he responds with a sterile "He that shewed mercy on him." Now the lawyer KNOWS the right answer, but even though we KNOW right, it avails us nothing if we do not ACT on that right: "Go thou and do likewise." Have you done all that your heart has known to be right?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Devotion for Friday after the Third Sunday after Trinity (Saint Peter the Apostle) 29 June 2012 Anno Domini




16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? (Luke 12:16-21)
The Collect
St. Peter the Apostle
O
 ALMIGHTY God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy Apostle Saint Peter many excellent gifts, and commandedst him earnestly to feed thy flock; Make, we beseech thee, all Bishops and Pastors diligently to preach thy holy Word, and the people obediently to follow the same, that they may receive the crown of everlasting glory; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

     We are reminded in our Collect for today (St Peter the Apostle) of the great calling and awesome responsibility given to St Peter to feed the flock of God. Though heralded by the Roman church as their founder, I have seen no conclusive evidence to prove that St Peter ever lived in Rome. There is no preeminence in the Succession from St. Peter and that from any of the other Apostles. We might recall that St Peter grievously denied Christ three times the night of His betrayal and, yet, unlike Judas, Peter repented with bitter tears. It is often dire failure that may precede a great calling in Christ. Once Peter had conquered his mountain of fear, he never looked back in his Apostolic ministry. Though we have failed and foundered in our frailty to serve, it is the perseverance that will press our beleaguered spirits on to a grand victory in Christ. Never give up, never give in, and never give out in serving the great Bishop of our Souls, the Lord Jesus Christ is a mighty lesson we learn from the Apostle Peter.
     Hopefully there are none among our readers whom Christ has classified as fools, but it is always profitable to continually examine our hearts to insure that no trace of the foolish heart dwells there. How many nominal Christians endeavor to balance their lives between a token eye wink toward God, and a lavish embrace of the things of this world? They build opulent castles for their souls upon the fault line of impoverished faith. If those castles are built upon shaky foundations anchored in a luke warm faith, they will be far less worth than a shanty built upon the solid Rock of Christ.
     16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully. Though it is true that God causes His rain to fall upon the unrighteous as well as the righteous, all who are so blessed by God by abundance owe a debt of gratitude to the great Lord and Master for the increase of his crops.
     17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? The greedy will always looked to the conservation of their wealth and not the benefit they could easily provide to their fellow beings. He does not wonder "How shall I use my fruits to the best advantage of all?" but what can I do to preserve that which I have gained. This is a question that confronts everyone who benefits from God's blessings of wealth and material increase. The answer to that question will determine whether we are wise stewards, or fools who believe that we can forever hoard our wealth. The end issues of life settle all arguments regarding the benefit of unshared wealth.
       18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. This chap is not a noted criminal – a murderer, a rapist, an adulterer, or a thief – but his one great condemnation was personal greed, and that was enough to lose his soul. He may even be the Rich Man who failed to share the crumbs from his table with the beggar, Lazarus. He lived only unto himself. In the service of God, we have our rest, our joy, and our increase in serving others in Christ. We labor and tire not because we have known that Christ will do the labor through us. We share our resources and suffer no deprivation because we are sons and daughters of the King of Kings. If we grow weary in well-doing, perhaps the well doing was our own works and not the works of the Lord. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Gal 6:9) Perhaps we have even over-planned in our endeavor to perform our service precisely our own way instead of upon a reliance of the leading of the wise and loving Holy Ghost in guiding us by the compulsion of our hearts instead of rigid plans made by our own hands and minds.
     20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? We shall definitely share all that we own – whether by expressions of love, or the judgment of God in taking our lives. If we are taken in death, we no longer have the opportunity to determine WHO will receive the benefit or our wealth. It will be left to the world and not to widows and orphans. When God takes our souls, that is all that remains left to us – our naked souls. Those souls will either be clothed with a White Robe of Righteousness in Heaven, or shall be cast into Hell unclothed for all to see our grievous sins. Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them. (Psalms 39:6)
     21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. Are we rich toward God by investing in love and heavenly things; or have we heavily invested in the present and elusive desires of this world. The entire object of the greedy man is to accrue wealth that terminates in self. Which investment is most secure, those invested in a globe which shall perish by intense heat, or those of heaven which are eternal? Being rich toward God is a permanent state of privilege. Faith itself is a precious possession. Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (James 2:5) and That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim 6:18-19) Laying up treasure for ourselves will not benefit beyond the last breath we take on the earth in which we have invested, foolishly, our all. Where have you invested your increase, friend?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Devotion for Thursday after the Third Sunday after Trinity - 28 June 2012 Anno Domini



     41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. (Luke 7:41-43)
The Collect
Third Sunday after Trinity
O
 LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

     When I was a small boy, our nation was just recovering from the Second World War and the depression that preceded it. There were many very poor vagrants who wondered from place to place looking for a meal. I remember my mother preparing warm meals for some of those beggars. She would ask them to wait a bit while she "put something on the stove." When a meal was ready, she would bring it out onto the porch where the beggar would sit and relish the hot meal – my mom was a wonderful cook. These beggars were very dirty men with unkempt hair and rough, dirty hands. I watched carefully as they ate (from a discreet distance) and was always amazed that my mother fed them their meals from the same table service from which the family ate our own meals. I tried to remember which plate, saucer, or cup they used so that I could avoid eating from those at dinner time. I believed that the unsanitary hands and lips of the beggar would pollute, permanently, those vessels. Of course, I had nothing to worry about because my mom used good detergent in washing the dishes – the same detergent she used in washing the dishes from which we all ate. In the end, every dish, regardless of its state of cleanliness at the beginning, wound up being just as clean as the other. This may seem an unrelated story from the parable that we study today, but I believe I can draw the parallel if you will patiently bide with me.
     41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. May I suggest that the Creditor is none other than the LORD Himself? But who are the debtors? Every man, woman and child who comes into the world by the grace of God. The unsaved of the world are a diverse lot – some are so mean and evil, that the mention of their very name causes us to recoil. Others are fine, upstanding and moral people who are generous to others and polite under even trying circumstances. Even if they have never mentioned the name of Christ, we might presume that they epitomize the devoted and ideal Christian, but we would be mistaken for there are none righteous, no, not one. Apart from the saving grace of Christ, there are none called Christian in truth. In essence, these two diverse characters are of the same mold – both are lost and damned to the fires of Hell except they throw themselves on the mercy of the Crown Sovereign of Heaven. So, we are all alike, debtors. And we have the great blessing and privilege to be forgiven that debt if we are so compelled to receive that free grace made available in Christ. We are all dirty dishes in the eyes of God even if some have accrued more filth than others but, when washed by the blood of Christ, we become pure and clean in His sight.
      42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? If we are honest with our hearts, each of us is the one who was forgiven most by the loving Creditor. We have taken our breath of life from His very lips, we have occupied the body that He so freely gave us, and we have lived riotously in a far country – far removed from the Fountain of Love and Truth in Him. Now, we come before Him as grievous debtors. The one next to us owes far less than we owe. We are forgiven ALL because we have owed ALL. How grateful should we be to the Creditor who gave His life to pay for our lifetime extravagance in sin and debauchery?  He has taken our dirty hearts and souls and washed them in the detergent of His Blood. How can any be unclean from that washing? How much should we love one who has bought our souls from the fires of Hell at so great an expense?
     43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. Simon, the Pharisee, at whose house Jesus is guest, gives a tentative response for he does not wish to acknowledge that a dreadful sinner can be made every whit as clean as he, himself, by the Creditor. He responds with a `supposition' and not a certainty. A woman whose sins were many came to Christ at Simon's house with an expensive alabaster box of ointment and, with hot tears of repentance, anointed the head and feet of Christ after bathing His feet with her tears and drying them with her very hair. Jesus, knowing the thoughts of Simon and others, told the parable under discussion. In fact, this woman, though she had been an egregious sinner, was made pure and clean while Simon remained a dirty vessel in the greatest need of washing. The woman left Simon's house forgiven of all her debts yet Simon remained in his house owing the greater debt for which he had not been granted forgiveness.
     Simon, though tentative in his judgment, had judged rightly according to the Lord. How sad that we may judge rightly and not respond to the change that such judgment warrants. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17) My good friends, have you known to do good and failed in the doing? Have you been washed thoroughly or do you remain a dirty vessel apart from the cleansing available in Christ. Your debt owed can never be too great for His grace (which is boundless). Though you may come in from the street of life reeking and stinking of your sins, you may be made clean before the Master's Table.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Devotion for Wednesday after the Third Sunday after Trinity - 27 June 2012 Anno Domini



31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matt 25:31-46)
Collect
Third Sunday after Trinity
O
 LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

        Do you have any plans for where you will be and what you will be doing at the Lord's Second Coming? If so, you may as well cancel them for the schedule of activities is already set in concrete. Regardless your spiritual state, you shall be gathered for a grand meeting on that morning that burst upon the world with brilliance of  Light and Infinite Power. The event will be similar to the choosing of sides on the school play ground but with far greater consequences. At the time of the His Coming shall the Holy Angels bring before Him all nations, tribes, and people for a division of the spiritual sheep from the goats? At that moment, we will have no time to alter our behaviors or reputations to be like sheep, for, if we are goats, goats we shall remain. Sheep follow their masters, but goats have their own head and will follow their own desires. Jesus reveals that which differentiates goats from sheep in conduct, in love, and in fidelity to those who are admitted into the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. Have you known those distinctions, and do they exist in your life?    
        31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: Please note the preposition with which this verse begins, and note that it is the word WHEN and not IF! His coming has been long settled in the Councils of Heaven – He shall certainly come. The only mystery that remains unrevealed to us is that mystery comprehended in the word WHEN? Christ shall not come alone for every dignitary of a great Kingdom travels with a royal entourage.  The Holy Angels shall be among His great and divine delegation. Remember back in sleepy little Bethlehem how a precious little baby was born to be our Savior? He came in the glow of tender love and consolation. But now, at this Second Coming, He shall come in great power trailing (as says Wordsworth) the clouds of glory – and leading the armies of Heaven. (see Rev 19:11-21) At that moment, the time of decision will be past and the gates of mercy closed for those who have played the fool with the Word of God.
          32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. These are of those people among the nations and kingdoms, I believe, that have mingled together in the kingdom of heaven indistinguishable, as in the other parables, until the time of harvest coming, as well as those of the world who never graced the doors of the church. Professor John Broadus, Chaplain to the Army of Northern Virginia during the War Between the States, illustrates this event as follows: "The morning after reaching Palestine, when setting out from Ramleh, across the plain of Sharon, we saw a shepherd leading forth a flock of white sheep and black goats, all mingled as they followed him. Presently he turned aside into a little green valley, and stood facing the flock. When a sheep came up he tapped it with his long staff on the right side of the head, and it quickly moved off to his right; a goat he tapped on the other side, and it went to his left. Thus the Savior's image presented itself exactly before our eyes." 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. The right side is the place of honor; the left the place of dishonor.
        34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: Christ, for the first time and  just hours before His blessed Passion, makes reference to Himself as the King which title He rightfully holds above every title of man. He has used the common animals of the shepherd to illustrate His dividing of the saved from the unsaved. Even though the sheep and goats pictured are of the same flock and grazing ground, He makes application to the truly Chosen of God (sheep) and all others – either pretenders to the kingdom or those totally without – as goats. It is of particular interest to note that the kingdom to which Christ refers was prepared for these exact sheep from the foundation of the world. He knew them long before they saw the light of day at birth.
        35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Please note carefully the reason that Christ claims these particular sheep for His own. At the sum total, it is because they have a like nature with Himself! They have fed the hungry, they have given water of life to the thirsty, they have entertained strangers and provided lodging, they have given attire to the naked, and they have visited the sick and those in prison. All of these classes that were shown compassion represent the Lord Himself for it is on His behalf that these things were done to widows, orphans, and all in need. Jesus knows well our hearts, and He makes no mistake in knowing which heart has taken on the nature of His own great and pierced Heart.  A great old preacher of the past, Dr. Horatius Bonar, gives us an example in a dream he experienced: Bonar dreamed that the angels took his zeal and weighed it, and told him that it was an excellent zeal, that it weighed out at 100% - all which could be asked. He was greatly gratified by the result. Next they wished to analyze that zeal. They placed it in a crucible and tested it in various ways with this result: 14 parts were selfishness, 15 parts sectarianism, 22 parts ambition, 23 parts love to man, and 26 parts love to God. He awoke humbled, and determined on a new consecration of his life to God! The outward appearance makes no impression on the heart of God. It is the Inner Heart of man that decides the issue.
         37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? The elect of God are never set on themselves and over proud of their righteousness imputed by Christ. They will always and forever be amazed at the grace of Christ in granting them salvation based on none of their own works and solely upon His own. We often wonder, even though we have surety of it, how this mystery can be!
        40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me He still speaks to those on His right hand and, by extension, the same right hand of the Father. We have a lesson herein that many churchmen will find offensive. The church feels that it has the sole prerogative to receive your alms and offerings and to dispose of them according to the will and intent of the committees. however, it is clear to me that one can most directly give to Christ through the direct application of love demonstrated in these verses. Christ is represented here, as the stranger who was entertained unawares, in the hungry child, the naked beggar, the homeless traveler, and the thirsty vagrant. When love and kindness are shared with these, it is a direct gift and favor to Christ. The other obligations to support the ministry of the Church is not obfuscated, but made clearly a parallel duty of the Christian. We are not just Christians on Sunday morning, or just in the shadow of the Spire, but everywhere and every day.
         The King will now address those on the side of dishonor: 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Bear in mind that these represent not only the abject and open sinners, but also those in the church who have borne their testimonies in hypocrisy, and their piety for the praise of men. Their boastful public prayers and positions of power in the church have been their only reward, for their hearts were never moved to the consolation and comfort of the poor and disadvantaged. These false professors will readily take the lead in the line for the upper seats, but shun lifting a finger for the private needs of the poor.
        44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? These posers have loved pride and privilege, but have failed to have a heart that can love both God and man. In fact, it is impossible to love God and forsake love to others of His creatures.
        45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. No one will cling to Christ simply because they fear Hell, nor will any cling unto Him simply for reward of Heaven.  No mother would lay down her life for her only child simply to share in the future prosperity of that child – it is all of love. Love is enough to drive the most forlorn of sinners to the mercy seat of Christ, and bind him there until the disposition of his soul has been finalized by grace. Even if He kills us, we shall LOVE Him! So spoke the sorrowful Job: Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…. (Job 13:15)
        46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. `There are none righteous, no not one" can also be spoken of each of us; however, if we are in Christ, our sins are covered by that white robe of righteousness that He offers to all who come to Him for His free grace He offers. Those "righteous" referred to here are those who have received the imputed righteousness of Christ and not any whose personal works are all righteous. Those goats (the pretenders to Christ and the outright rebellious sinners) will go into everlasting punishment. Is this fair? It is altogether fair and just for God is a God of justice, but also because those on His left hand were complicit with that Red Dragon (Satan) who rebelled against God and was cast down. If the soldiers of the Victor share in the spoils of Heaven, so shall the troops if the fallen share in the bitter fruits of defeat and despair. To which family do you belong, and to which Army do you bear allegiance, today?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Final Honors - Brig General Bishop Albion Knight



This message from Bishop George Connor regarding final honors for Bishop (Army General) Albion Knight who has been a staunch defender of the Faith and of his country:

Dear Friends,
Bishop and Brigadier General Albion W. Knight, Jr. will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery today at 2 PM EDT. Mrs. Nancy Knight wrote the following to me:

It will be "a small graveside service. He refused Highest Honors, saying it was too hot for all those soldiers, horses, and brass band. That's my Al!"

He will be sorely missed by the Church and by our Nation.

+Jerry L. Ogles, DD

Albion W. Knight Jr., 87, a retired Army brigadier general and nuclear weapons adviser who was the 1992 vice presidential candidate for the conservative US Taxpayers Party and served as a bishop in the United Episcopal Church, died May 22 at his home in Gaithersburg. He had congestive heart failure.

Bishop Knight was born in Jacksonville, Florida and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1945 and in 1950 received a master’s degree in communications engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a master’s degree in international affairs from American University in 1977.

He spent much of his early life in the Episcopal Church, in which he was an ordained deacon and priest.

He spent more than a year in Vietnam as deputy commanding general of a signal brigade and deputy chief of staff for logistics, directing the drawdown of 125,000 troops.

In the late 1960s, he was assigned to the Atomic Energy Commission, where he was an assistant director of a research and development division. He was deputy commanding general of the Army Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, NJ, in 1970 and 1971.

Gen. Knight’s final active-duty assignment, in 1973, was assistant chief of staff for logistics with Allied Forces Central Europe; he was based in the Netherlands.

After his military retirement, he served three years with the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, a congressional committee in which he held a supervisory role over the Atomic Energy Commission’s weapons budget. From 1977 to 1983, he was a self-employed management consultant.

His military decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

He joined the United Episcopal Church of North America, in the early 1980s and served as the church’s presiding bishop from 1989 until his resignation in 1992. As the Presiding Bishop of the UECNA, Knight more than tripled the number of parishes belonging to the church, oversaw the establishment of the church's seminary, and negotiated an intercommunion agreement with the Anglican Catholic Church. He later helped found the Church of England (Continuing), a conservative church in England that opposes both the growth of Anglo-Catholic practices and doctrines within the Church of England and the more liberal religious and social stance of the Church of England..

In 1992, he was the presidential running mate of conservative activist Howard Phillips for the U.S. Taxpayers Party, which among other things advocated drastic reductions in spending, eliminating the income tax and withdrawing from the United Nations. They garnered more than 40,000 votes nationally.

His first wife, Lucile Stice Knight, whom he married in 1949, died in 1969. A son from his first marriage, Kenneth Knight, died in 1995. A stepson, Richard Price, died in 1984.

Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Nancy Price Knight of Gaithersburg; a daughter from his first marriage, Nancy Lammie of Silver Spring; two stepchildren, Brian Gill-Price of Langhorne, Pa., and Darcy Smith of Jacksonville; two sisters; nine grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Devotion for Tuesday after the Third Sunday after Trinity - 26 June 2012 Anno Domini



           14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 25:14-30)
The Collect
Third Sunday after Trinity
O
 LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

        The Collect for 3rd Trinity reveals that the hearing of our prayers is not a fixed duty of God, but a mercy. We learn, as well, that the desire to pray to our Lord does not originate in the heart of the appellant, but from God. In the end sum, all of our protection and comfort comes from God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
        This is the manner in which the Kingdom of Heaven operates. It is as a man (the Lord Jesus Christ) travelling to a far country – heaven is quite distant to say the least. This parable of the talents illustrates how we are to conduct our lives in waiting upon the Lord's return. Our lives are a continual investment of time, resources, and, most especially, love. We are not permitted to save up our talents in safe holding until the moment of the Master's return, but these must be invested over time in order to accrue a record of service and faith. It would be impossible for one who loves the Lord to squander his time away in idle disregard of the service he owes to God and man once he has received the Grace of Christ in his heart. In fact, such an investment is a joy and not a sacrifice of labor.
        14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. The `goods' of Christ have been delivered to every faithful soul who has been the recipient of His saving Grace. That grace was bought and paid for us at Calvary before He ever departed for a far country and "sitteth on the right hand of God the Father" as the Creed avers. These `goods' are treasures of faith, grace, wisdom, and love.
        15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. God will not place a greater responsibility upon us than we are able to bear and meet. Some of us are not constituted in such a way as to be able to handle five talents, so God will give us two, or even only one; but whatever talents we have received, we are responsible to invest those talents at good return. There is at least one talent that every chosen of God receives – that talent is LOVE. It is so very easy to invest this talent. The more we invest, the greater the percentage of return. It is inexhaustible! Can you comprehend that? The oil in that jug will never give out. The more profusely it is poured out, the greater is the reserve in the jug. This is a mystery that God has placed in the nature of love. There are other talents such as evangelism, teaching, music, and administration which many are not suited to perform, but we all have that talent of LOVE if we belong to Christ. Have we invested that one talent at the amazing return that it will yield? When Christ had paid the last measure of His precious blood, He made those talents to be granted to those of us according to our abilities. It was finished at Calvary!
        16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. This is a very wise servant. He wastes no time in putting the five talents to work at interest. He is aware of the principle given by Christ: For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48) There is no time to waste in our investment, for the time granted us in living is also a gift whose future course is not certain.
        17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. The yield in both the five talents and the two are the same – that is 100% return. God gives you His 100% in talents. God wants your 100% percent in your investment of talents as well. If either of these first two servants had not immediately taken up their cross and followed Christ daily, they may have fallen short of their investment objective in service. If a socialist order prevailed in the kingdom of heaven, then one or the other may have been called upon to share some of their increase to the third servant who sat down on the talent God gave and did NOTHING to cause the talent to increase. But socialism is foreign to God, and the sharing of talents is not a reality. We go with that for which we have invested and labored.
        18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. Those gifts that we have received from the generous hand of God must not be hoarded, but shared. The only reason we prosper is for the sake of others of God's creatures. This one servant was so greedy that, though he wasted nothing, it shared nothing either. He only had left that which the Lord had given. But that, too, would be taken away from such a selfish and faithless servant.
        19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. It has been now some two thousand years since our Lord went into a far country.  Such an expanse of time makes any speculation of the time of His return an impossibility, but one thing is certain: He shall return at the time of His good pleasure and will. When He returns, there shall certainly be a reckoning. We shall each stand alone, face-to-face, with the Savior just as the woman taken in adultery stood alone and face-to-face with the Savior of her soul. At that day, excuses will not suffice. Our souls will be bared and our destinies known. How will we have persevered? If we have labored in earnest, our spiritual muscles will grow with the use. The higher we climb the mountain slopes, the broader becomes the horizon.
        20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. How many talents will you have produced from the riches of your heart for Christ on that last day? You have known and received the benefits of grace in Christ. Will you bring others to stand with you before your Lord? What of your neighbors? Your friends, your family members? 21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. The reward is the ownership of all of the talents both given and produced, but more, too. Entering into the joy of the Lord is the blessing of greatest comfort of all others: "You will take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty, faithfully performed; and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing & protection." (General Robert E. Lee, Farewell Address to the Army of Northern Virginia, 9 April 1865) Such a satisfaction so far exceeds in joy that measure of humiliation Peter experienced when, for the third time, he denied Christ before the tribunal. Christ immediately turned and looked at Peter – a look that pierced the heart of Peter. Will you have your heart pierced by the look of Christ at His return?
        22  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Though the reward given by Christ will be commensurate with our own labors of love, it will always exceed our grandest expectations. It will be enough!
        24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. What conniving, sniveling, and devious scheming to actually blame our shortcomings on the Lord Himself! The servant accuses his master of being too harsh and demanding, therefore the servile one was too fearful to accomplish anything. One thing is certain: this servant has great cause for fear since he has abandoned his duties of love and service to the Lord.
        26  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: What is the great sin of the servant under discussion here? How do we categorize his sin? He did no overt sin. He simply did NOTHING! What does our prayer of General Confession say? "…..We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us……" This servant did no outrageous sin; he simply failed to do that which love demands. His sin was one of omission and not of commission, but the verdict is the same. 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. This is evidence again that our labors of love in Christ are not ours at all, but His!
        Christ will now direct His commands to the Holy Angels as regards this unprofitable servant. He is finished speaking, forever, to such a one: 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. Have you love? If you have, the evidence of that love is the love that you have given away - the love that you have shared with the helpless little child, the widow, the orphan, the imprisoned, and the poor, will be multiplied on the back of that wicked servant who heard not the cry of poor Lazarus.
        30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Judas was an unprofitable servant who went out from the Lord's Supper into an eternally dark night. King Saul made his bed in Hell and left his first love for the Dark Angel. God sends no man to Hell – if we are sent, we send ourselves just as the Rich Man who failed to drop a crumb to Lazarus from his table ended up pleading for a drop of water from the finger of a beggar. In Hell, all are beggars without names or estates. The only light that is there is the dimly lit light of burning fires EVERYWHERE! Where do you plan to spend YOUR eternity, friend?