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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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Devotion on Samson as a Type of Christ for Friday - 31 August 2012, Anno Domini



The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

A
LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen

1 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. 2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not. 3 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. 4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: 5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. (Judges 13:1-5)
32. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.(Heb 11:32-34)
            Samson was a man of great strength while in his role of being `separated and anointed' by God.  He was a champion and a deliverer for His people, Israel. Courageous and mighty in strength, Samson is both typical, and atypical, in character and likeness to Christ. There are many parallels which suggest, in Samson, his likeness to Christ even though, like all men of flesh, Samson fell far short of that ideal Plumb Line which describes Christ. (Amos 7:7-8) Why not challenge your own understanding by reading the account of Samson beginning in Judges 13? As you read, consider the ways in which Samson is like unto our Lord Jesus Christ. It would be most gratifying to do so prior to reading the remainder of this devotion. You may be amazed and will doubtless find many more parallels than I am able to cover, other than the salient points, in this devotion. In writing these devotions on Types of Christ, at each subject, I am faced with the dilemma of finding a large cache of precious gems, and not being able to claim more of them than I can carry on my back.
            Observe the many in which Samson's mother discovered that she would bear a child despite her barreness: 3. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Samson came for a particular purpose, at a particular time, and with particular gifts and powers. He was anointed by God for a purpose. By the way, Reader and Elect of God, please know that God has called you, too, and set you apart for His particular purpose at this time. Have you discovered that purpose yet, or do you still seek to know it? See how similar the announcement of the birth of Samson was to that of Jesus to Mary: And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. (Luke 1:26-31) There is at least some respects in which the angels of the Lord must joy in their duties given them by God. How blessed it must be to bear the news to a woman, barren over many years, that she shall bear a son; or even to a young virgin that she shall bear a son who would be the very Son of God!
            Samson was born at a time when Israel was being persecuted by a pagan enemy – the Philistines. Christ came at a time when Israel was occupied by a pagan enemy – Rome.  Samson was born as a `savior' of his people from oppression. Therefore thou deliveredst them into the hand of their enemies, who vexed them: and in the time of their trouble, when they cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and according to thy manifold mercies thou gavest them saviours, who saved them out of the hand of their enemies. But after they had rest, they did evil again before thee: therefore leftest thou them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had the dominion over them: yet when they returned, and cried unto thee, thou heardest them from heaven; and many times didst thou deliver them according to thy mercies (Nehemiah 9:27-28)  Christ came as a Savior of His people (all who believe): For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
            Samson killed a lion with his bare hands. Then went Samson down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath: and, behold, a young lion roared against him. And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him, and he rent him as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand (Judges 14:5-6) Jesus defeated that roaring lion that seeks to destroy our souls: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour  (1 Peter 5:8)
            Samson was a teller of parables as was Christ. (Judges 14:14) Christ was a teller of parables: (Matthew 13:3, and all of Matthew 13). Samson's very name means, in Hebrew, the sun, or sunlight. Christ is called the Sun of righteousness. (Malachi 4:2).
            Samson was betrayed into the hands of his enemies by one who was close to him for a bribe of silver. (Judges 16:5) Christ was betrayed into the hands of His enemies by a bribe to a close companion (Judas).  Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. (Matt 26:14-16 )
            Due to his transgression, Samson fell into the hands of his enemies. (Judges 16:6-21) Due to His righteousness, Christ fell into the hands of His enemies. Samson endured the pains of ridicule and torture as prisoner of the Philistines, but repented there and was received of God. Christ bore the humiliation and ridicule of the Romans and Jews in scourgings, beatings, and the death of the cross. Samson died to save and avenge his people, Israel. Christ died to atone and redeem His people – true Israel. Samson slew many of his enemies by his death. Christ destroyed our enemies through His death and resurrection – sin, death, Satan, and Hell.
            Did you, Reader, discover more ways in which Samson was a Type of Christ? Are you? You must be if you are called Christian!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Devotion on Jacob as a Type of Christ Thursday - 30 August 2012, Anno Domini




The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

A
LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen

By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff(Heb 11:21)
            It is a spiritual delight to examine those privileged souls whose lives reflect certain characteristics shared with that of Christ. It is, as well, a comfort to see those types of Christ who fall far short of that perfect Ensign of Christ but who are nevertheless granted mercy and grace by God in Christ. If we look closely, we will discover that they all have fallen short in so many ways of the glory of Christ – some, such as David, in significant ways and others, such as Abraham, to lesser degrees. The truth that remains behind the veil among all of these lesser types is that God's grace is sufficient to bridge any gap in man's weakness of character and His Perfect Righteousness as long as man will seek His face in sorrow and repentance.
           The focus of our devotion today, Jacob, may not at first appear to be a suitable type for Christ, but Jacob's life does, indeed, exhibit many parallels with that of Christ from which we can learn and be inspired. Perhaps the first and foremost typical quality of Jacob's nature in Christ is his following in, not only the physical, but more importantly, the spiritual, line of the descent of the Seed of Promise. This is, once again, akin to the Apostolic Succession which we lay claim to in the reformed Anglican Churches – that succession is less measured by whom physical hands were laid upon and more in those true and lovely doctrines taught by the Apostles. Regardless the recognition of one's apostolicity in liturgical form, it means nothing apart from the true Doctrines of Grace and Truth contained in the Gospels, and all of Holy Writ. To prove that point, I call to the bar those apostate men of the Episcopal Church USA who have gone over to such sins of the flesh as are unmentionable in the scope of this devotion, and they have done so in rebellion against the clear counsel of God. To summarize: there is no apostolic succession without the attending `Doctrinal Succession."
            How did Jacob succeed to the blessing of the Promise? Though in full accord with the will of God, for His will is immutable, Jacob received the blessing by ruse. He supplanted the birthright son, Esau, who should have received the Promise under the terms of the Law. Esau was not worthy. He cared more for the comforts of the day rather than the future hope available in God, so he literally sold his birthright for a bowl of red porridge. Many today are doing the same. They care little for those blessings made available through Christ and go about getting wealth and pleasure as if there is no tomorrow. But there IS a tomorrow of unending joy or gnawing misery. The choice would seem simply based on advantages alone; however, the Kingdom of Heaven is not gained by calculation, but by love. The name of Jacob (or in Hebrew, ya`aqôb) means `heel-catcher,' or supplanter. Christ came to supplant the dark Prince of the Air (Satan).  Satan was cast down to the earth as a result of his rebellion in Heaven. (see Revelations 12) He was here first. He was in the Garden as well, but he misappropriated that which belonged to God. Christ came to reclaim the souls of men who were of faith.
            Esau, and his people, persecuted and discomfited Jacob. So did Satan and his minions persecute Christ. Jacob was visited by angels in his vision at Bethel: 10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. (Gen 28:10-15)
With no pillow for His sweat-laden head other than a stone of the Garden, an angel appeared unto Christ to strengthen Him on the Night preceding His passion:  43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  (Luke 22:43-44) A point quite separate from our focus of typical fact is the point of the Ladder which Jacob saw in his vision. That Ladder was, itself, a Type of Christ providing men and women with a transport and a means of gaining Heaven.
Jacob loved Rachel above all measure. He labored for seven years to gain her father's permission to marry her, but he was deceived by Laban. Laban gave unto Jacob Leah in the stead of Rachel. So Jacob worked another seven years for the Bride of his Love, Rachel. The people of old Israel were the first to know God and His Counsels, yet they lacked the love and faith to know Christ their rightful spouse. Only a bare few believed in the Promises of God through Abraham and his descendents. These were of the Old Testament Church of the Wilderness. (Acts 7:38) Christ loved His Bride the Church and suffered, like as did Jacob, for the Bride of His Love.
God gave Jacob his real name, ISRAEL, after he had wrestled with the angel. Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.  (Gen 32:28) God gave Christ His name, Jesus, ere he was born upon earth: "20…….the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matt 1:20-21)
In all of his faults and shortcomings, Jacob was a type of Christ in miniature. The point most pressing for us to remember is that Jacob was in the line of the Promise…..and so are we all who are sincerely called `Christian.' Are you called Christian with authentic justification?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Devotion on Abraham as a Type of Christ Wednesday 29 August 2012, Anno Domini



The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

A
LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen

            13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (Romans 4:13-16)
            In our discussion of the Types of Christ found, primarily, in the Old Testament, the conclusion is unavoidable that most are in the very presumed genealogical line of Christ. Adam was the first man and, therefore, father of all according to the flesh just as Christ is the firstborn of the Kingdom of God. Seth was the father of the Semites of which the children of Promise (Israel) and the Children of the Law and Flesh (Hagar/Ishmael) are descended. Rachab, Boaz, Ruth, and David are also in that same genealogical family line. Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and others shared that line as well in a more immediate sense. So a beautifully painted mural of Christ begins to emerge as we study these faded types of that Masterpiece which is Christ. Today we will undertake to study the ways in which Abraham is a type of Christ in both his life and calling.
            Our ancient father, Abraham, speaks to us from the dust of the earth and from the more articulate pages of Holy Scripture. It is a story of a promised Redeemer first revealed eastward in Eden, confirmed in the arrested sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah, and fulfilled and consummated on the brow of a rugged hill called Golgotha (also Mt Moriah) by the only Begotten Son of God. The account given of Abraham is a story that is not a parable, but a true-to-life story of a man whose entire life was under the Providential and predestined will of Almighty God. It is true that God reveals Himself to us often through the lives of His people. What aspect of the nature of God is being revealed to others through your life, dear Reader?
            Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. (Gen 17:5-7) Before ever there was a called-out People of God, Abraham was called and chosen to be the progenitor of, not the fleshly seed, but the Promised (or spiritual ) Seed of the coming Redeemer. Christ, too, was called and appointed as the Savior when there was no world, no sun or moon, and no people to populate the world that God would create. Christ accepted that awful role as the Lamb of God in the Hall and Council of Heaven in Eternity past. 
It is interesting to note that God made Abraham the Father of Many Nations before there was yet a single nation to qualify for the role. Christ also is the everlasting Father who was so designated before the foundations of the world. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) The everlasting Father suggests that Christ was Father of His people before there were any to be father of. This demonstrates the amazing Providence, Foreknowledge, and Predestined Will of God active from before the worlds were made in eternity past. Abram means `high father' in the Hebrew. His name was changed by God to Abraham meaning high father of multitudes.
            The life of Abraham's son, Isaac, was spared by a lamb caught in the thicket.(Genesis 22:13) That lamb was a foreshadow of Christ's sacrifice. The life of Barabbas was spared by Christ when Barabbas was caught in his crimes. Christ died in place of Barabbas just as Christ died in place of Isaac, and you and me.  So you believe that you are good and righteous? Christ died for a hardened murderer in the same way He died for YOU.
            Remember that animal that suffered the first death on earth after Adam sinned? Adam and Eve were naked, just as the sins of you and me make us naked to God's view. There must needs be a covering for our sins to save us the reproach of God and man: Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Gen 3:21) An innocent animal had to die to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve, and the Lamb of God had to die to cover the sins of you and me. God made a promise in the distant dews and damps of Eden: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Gen 3:15) That seed of the woman (not of man but of Mary) would be the promised Redeemer  through the lineage of Abraham. Abraham, too, sojourned for a time in Egypt just as the presumed parents of Jesus had taken Him into Egypt to sojourn until the wrath of Herod had expired. That Promise made to Abraham of a blessed Seed is the same promise realized in Christ. It is not the seed of the flesh that is blessed by God, but the children who have received and believed the Promise (the spiritual Seed). That Promise has nothing to do with race or tribe, but with the treasures of the heart in Christ. They which are the children of the flesh (neither Jews, Hebrews, Greek or others), these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise (those who believe upon the name of Jesus Christ whether Jew or Gentile) are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:8)
            Abraham served as king, priest and prophet in his own family; so is Christ King, Priest, and Prophet of His Church.
            Abraham and Sarah erred in not waiting upon the promise of God. They were childless in old age. Sarah gave her maidservant to Abraham by which he might have an offspring. That was not the will of God! That child of Hagar (the mother by law of the firstborn) was not the child of Promise. Ishmael was the child of the law and of the flesh. So God gave Sarah conception of that Promised Child in Isaac – the Seed of Promise which came, like Christ, through the agency of a miracle.
You will remember that Abraham cast out Hagar (the mother of the firstborn in the eyes of the law) and Ishmael (the seed of the flesh) just as Christ cast out the legal covenant and fleshly seed from His Church. For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. (Gal 4:22-31)
 I pray that you, Reader, will see the profundity of promise verified in these choice verses. Hagar is referred to in the Hellenized text as Agar. Hagar represents the Jewish legalist as well as the Moslem legalist, and all other legalist. Sarah represents the mother of Faith. Isaac, and you and I, as believers, are children of the promise made free in Christ. Those who are the children of fleshly desires and motivations persecute those of us of faith. In the USA, that persecution has started as a subtle hushing of the voice of faith and conscience. It has recently grown beyond that subtlety and is manifested in the arm of the law to stop Christian worship.
            Abraham is called the heir of the world. Christ is the consummate heir of both heavenly and earthly power. Are you sincerely a child of the Promise?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Devotion on Collect for the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity - 28 August 2012, Anno Domini


The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

A
LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen

17. But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity and unto eternity upon them that fear him: And his justice unto children's children,  18. To such as keep his covenant, And are mindful of his commandments to do them. (Psalm 103:17-18)

            ALMIGHTY and everlasting God First and foremost in this Collect, we observe that praise and recognition that should precede our every petition –  here we note that God is OMNIPOTENT (Almighty), and God is ETERNAL in that omnipotence.  13  I beheld, therefore, in the vision of the night, and lo, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the ancient of days: and they presented him before him. 14  And he gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him: his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom that shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14) The Ancient of Days is another name for God the Father, here, who is without beginning or end. The Son of Man referenced is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ according to His own Words: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven. And then shall all tribes of the earth mourn: and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty. (Matt 24:30) God is the essence of all goodness, righteousness and love to those who fear Him. I am sorry to say that He also is an instrument of destruction and judgment to those who do not fear Him. For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29) That fire will not consume precious metals and gems(those who emulate His character), but rather the stubble and refuse of the field (those who disdain the merits of God).
            "….who art always more ready to hear than we to pray" Secondly, we recognize that God is ALWAYS more ready to hear the prayer of a sinner, or of His chosen, than they are ready to pray. The heart of God is inclined toward us at all times – not just at times of great trial and hardship. He is disposed to hear us when our hearts are merry and surrounded in the beauty of a glorious sunrise, as well as those moments when the pain of death and suffering have fallen upon us. Why will we not share our joys as well as our pains with the Lord? To quote the words sent by a friend this morning, "Isn't it strange that you can't find a word to say when you're praying but..  you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a Friend?" Perhaps we do not pray with a believing heart for, if we did, we would share all our joys, pains, and needs with the Lord.
            "…..and art wont to give more than either we desire or deserve" Thirdly, it is very true that God intends to give us more than we either DESIRE or DESERVE. If we will remember that prayer is CONVERSATION and NOT DICTATION, we might pray with greater results. If we pray foremost, as did Solomon, for wisdom, God will give wisdom plus a great deal more. If we have wisdom, we will use our wealth and resources according to God's will and not our own. If we seek wealth BEFORE wisdom, God will give neither. We ALWAYS need more than we desire. We may only desire bread to satisfy our hunger, but God desires to give us more – bread for our bodies AND Bread for our Souls. If God grants us anything at all, it will ALWAYS be more than we deserve. We did not make ourselves, we do not sustain our lives moment by moment, we do not deserve forgiveness for our many sins and faults; but God supplies all of our NEEDS which shall always be more than our desires (though perhaps different in nature).
            Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy Fourthly, the mercies we receive from God daily are more in abundance than we even consider. The next breath we take is not deserved, but granted by the sustaining mercy of God. For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:6-8) That Redeemer is He who even suffered a terrible death on the cross for the very purpose of redeeming you.  How discourteous would it be of us in offending the Sovereign of Heaven by trampling the Blood of His only Begotten underfoot? Our just deserts for our natural-born sin is death, but God, in His mercy, offers redemption in Christ. Do you DESERVE this? NO! We DESERVE death. It is only the mercy of God in Christ that will spare us and impute the necessary righteousness to us required of Heaven.
            "….forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid" Sin puts a separation between us and our Father in Heaven. When we sin, we are ashamed to look Jesus in the eye. My heart bleeds for poor Peter whose love for Christ was great, but his courage failed him when in the court of the Sanhedrin. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.  And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)  At that moment, Peter could not look Christ in the eye, but Christ could look Peter in the eye. Those hot tears of repentance were, perhaps, the greatest prayer Peter ever uttered. God hears our tears just as He hears our words. Sin separates us from God from our own perspective, but God never separates Himself from us if we are His. Imagine the heart-pain Peter felt over the next three days in which Christ supinely lay in the cold Tomb of the Garden! How elated was Peter to be reconciled with that "Friend that sticketh closer than a brother" by Galilee's Waters. (Proverbs 18:24) Christ is already sorrowful over our sins – so much so that He died to propitiate for them. But often must we also be full of sorrow and run to the feet of Christ seeking His face of favor once more. It is good that our consciences condemn us, for it drives us to the mercy seat. Those whose consciences are calloused and seared have not the tether to  draw them to Christ.
            "….and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask" A child may pitch a tantrum for sweet candy, but the mother kindly gives the child a more wholesome food – bread. We, too, pitch tantrums over our lustful desires which God refuses often to grant; but He always supplies a good heart with good nutrients for the soul. The baby receives its mother's milk, not because it has done a single thing to deserve that milk, but because the mother loves the baby with an immeasurable (and undeserved) love. The love of God even far exceeds that sacrificial love of a mother. We are mature enough in years to know better, yet we bawl and scream for our wants as incorrigible children. God may feel it expedient to remove even some of our favorite playthings when we behave so – not to punish, but to awaken us from our immaturity and lack of gratitude for ALL that He has given. We cannot even be aware of all the benefits that come daily from the hand of God. As long as we feel healthy, we are pleased to be, but fail to thank God for the good health He grants us. What of our families? Do we thank Him daily for our loved ones as well as for the food we eat? Do we thank Him for our rest and sleep, our warm and secure homes, our liberties granted by God through our national government? So many, many things we take for granted and are too prone to say, "God has not blessed!" The most memorable answer I have ever received from anyone during my years of ministry came from an eleven year old girl. When I asked the youth group, "What has God done for you this week" the young girl looked me straight in the eyes and answered, "EVERYTHING." So I learned what God means when He says "a little child shall lead them."
 "….but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord" Surely, we have deserved nothing for which we ask of our Maker, but we do not rest our petitions upon our own merits, but upon the merits of the One who bled and died for us – even the son of God!  Reader, has God blessed you today, this very moment?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Devotion on Joshua as a Type of Christ for Saturday after the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity - 25 August 2012, Anno Domini



The Eleventh Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O
 GOD, who declarest thy almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

            1 Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' minister, saying, 2 Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. 5 There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. 6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:1-6)
            You may recall our pointing out that the Old Testament, wherein the Law that was written on Tables of Stone, proved to be an impossible obedience to the Children of God. It was the instrument of teaching to the people of God that their righteousness could never be that perfect righteousness which the Law compelled. The Law was a curse to the people. Though codified on Mount Sinai, the Law truly became a binding curse at that tragic Fall of Adam before the ominous Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Gal 3:10) Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
In the final analysis, the Law is forever a curse, to them who are bound there under. The Old Testament Witness rightly seals its close with the word, CURSE.,(Malachi 4:6) The curse of the Law is death, and Moses, the Lawgiver, died on the slopes overlooking the Promised Land, not being permitted to enter therein. So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day. (Deut 34:5-6)  But Moses suffered no loss. He went to a far better land of promise. His next appearance was on another mountain with Christ, Mount of Transfiguration!
Moses, the Law Giver, expired short of the Land of Promise because the law cannot avail to gain our entrance therein. Joshua, whose Hebrew name is the same as that of our Lord, Jehoshua, or salvation of God, was able to cross the Jordan Waters on dry ground and lead the Children into that Land. When the righteousness of man fails, the grace of God carries the line to victory. Joshua was, like Christ, obedient to God insofar as he was able to be. God expects no more of any of His children of flesh. He is well aware that only His Son could be obedient with a perfect obedience, and righteous with a perfect righteousness. It is for this reason that only Christ could atone for the sins of the world. I love to think of the atonement of Christ as a reconciling of our fleshly minds with that perfect Mind that was in Jesus and making us ONE with God, so, He came to atone (place our minds and hearts AT-ONE, atone -with that Mind of Christ).
As Joshua led the Children of God into the Promised Land, so does Christ lead us into that Greater Paradise of Promise. What the Law could not accomplish, Grace in Christ has, indeed, accomplished.  Abraham is the great ancestor of that promise which would come in the Promised Seed that was Christ. What the Law (Moses) could not do through the infirmity of the flesh, our Joshua (Jesus) accomplished through His righteousness and sacrifice as the Rock of our Salvation, that same Rock that followed the Children of Israel in the Wilderness. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor 10:1-4) Do you not love the beauty, clarity, and cohesiveness of Holy Scripture?
Joshua was a mighty warrior to defeat many kings and enemies of his people. So like Christ is a might King, the King of Kings, and has defeated unnumbered principalities and powers that have stood against, and oppressed, His people. He defeated, for all time and eternity, that hapless King and Prince of the Air, Lucifer (alias) SATAN. He also has defeated that terrible tyrant of our souls, SIN, which has kept us in bondage from our birth until our being found in Christ. Jesus defeated that last Sovereign of the Long Home so that it wields no power whatsoever over His people, DEATH!
What of those promises made to Abraham by the Almighty God? They all had their fulfillment in the Lord Jesus Christ. What of all those promises made to Moses and the Children of Israel? They all had their consummation in Joshua. As the host of Israel, under their commander Joshua, spared the harlot, Rahab (and ancestor of Christ) by a scarlet chord, so Christ has spared His people from the pains of Hell by the scarlet Blood of His Cross.
At the last, Joshua received in peace those Gibeonites who sued in humility for it. Jesus Christ spared those of us who were before His enemies when we sued in humility for peace and acceptance of God.
As Joshua had crossed the Jordan Waters and stood upon the plains and without the walls of that wicked city, Jericho, he was attended by an Angel of the Lord and fell upon his face. And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD'S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Josh 5:13-15) This Personage was no Angel, but seems to me to have been the pre-Incarnate Christ since He demanded worship.
            Christ also, ere the great battle of His Soul in the Garden before Golgotha, fell on His face and was attended by Angels. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matt 26:38-39) And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:41-43)
            The human type always falls short of the heavenly type. Joshua's salvation was conditional and temporal. The salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ is eternal and unconditional in faith and grace. Have you seen the glory of our wonderful Savior contrasted with these lesser types? Do you KNOW Him enough to recognize the vast difference?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Devotion on Moses as a Type of Christ for Friday (St. Bartholomew the Apostle) 24 August 2012 Anno Domini



The Collect
St. Bartholomew the Apostle
O
 ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
            23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward. 27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. (Heb 11:23-28)
            Behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. (Matt 2:13-15)
            To observe briefly from today's Collect for remembrance of Saint Bartholomew, we are reminded therein of the nature of Apostolic Succession in its proper bounds. St. Bartholomew did, indeed, not only believe the Gospel, but also preached that same Gospel with faithful diligence. We are counseled in the Collect: Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same. If the modern Church will be successors to that Church of the Apostles, we must receive and believe that which the Apostles received, believed, and preached. There is no Apostolic Succession without the attending Doctrinal Succession of that Gospel taught by our Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know of any modern churches who have not compromised, in many respects, that Gospel? Do they preach a message against abortion and homosexuality (the salient sins of the modern day)? Do they preach a sterile and watered-down Gospel? Do they hide behind a false concept of `prohibition against judging� even the most cardinal of sins? Flee from such a church. Better to sit in the security of one's home with the Holy Bible than to give audience at an apostate church.
            Reading  from the Caesarean News-Dispatch this morning, I came across an article announcing that the murderous King Herod died a painful death, and Caesar himself also had died � some two-thousand years ago! However, the object of their hatred lives on in Eternity, the Lord Jesus Christ! Well, I admit that I did not read that news article this morning from that paper, but I DID read the account in a far more timely and truthful source, the Holy Bible! Every weapon fashioned against the Lord and His people shall lie covered by the desert sands as that supposed unforgettable character memorialized by Shelley, Ozymandias (or Ramesses of Egypt)!  No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 54:17)
            Moses (from the Hebrew MOSHEH meaning drawing out of the water, or drawn out of it) was a man born into a land of sin, unlike Christ who was eternal and was sinless. But the parents of Moses were forced to seek the safety for their son under Pharoah's protection just as the parents of Christ found it necessary, by the counsel of an Angel of the Lord, to flee into the land of Egypt in order to save their Son from the wrath of Herod. Moses came to the Pharoah's daughter in an ark of reeds ; Christ came into the world in a wooden manger. Moses left the land of Egypt for a long period before his return to lead the people from the land of sin and slavery. (Egypt symbolically means sin and bondage)  And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Rev 11:8) Christ has also departed this world but shall return to gather His people so that they may be finally liberated from the hurt and bondage of this world.
            The first-born of every household died during the dreadful Passover in Egypt whose door facings and lintels were not covered by the blood of the innocent lamb. Many innocents died at the sword of Herod's army in Bethlehem in an attempt to murder the baby Jesus. Jesus is the Lamb of God which that innocent little lamb in Egypt foreshadowed. The firstborn of Israel were given life due to that Lamb. In Bethlehem, many innocents died in the stead of the Lamb of God as Herod sought to kill Him.
            Both Moses and Christ were appointed by God to lead their people out of sin and bondage. While Moses led the Children of Israel to the Promised Land of Canaan, Christ led the whole House of Israel to Canaan's anti-type, Heaven.  Moses gave his people the Law from the Hand of God. Christ gave the Law of the Gospel of Grace from the Hand of His Father. Moses performed many miracles at the Hand of God. Jesus performed many miracles and wonders by His own Hand. Moses instituted the observance of the Passover by God's counsel. Jesus Christ BECAME that Passover. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (1 Cor 5:7) Of course, leaven  represents sin; therefore, we use unleavened bread in the Holy Communion service so that the symbol may accurately represent that being symbolized, for Christ was sinless.
            Moses, ere delivering the Law to the people, was engulfed by a cloud on Sinai for forty days and forty nights. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. (Ex 24:18) So was Christ, ere delivering the Gospel, in the Wilderness fasting  for forty days and forty nights. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. (Matt 4:1-2) Moses made the waters of Marah sweet by casting a tree into them. Christ made salvation and grace sweet for us by dying on that tree at Calvary. Just as Moses' face was transfigured on Sinai so that its brightness was brilliant as the sun, so was Christ transfigured on the Mount and became glittering white in raiment and appearance. Moses met with God on Sinai, and he met with God (Jesus Christ) once more on the Mount of Transfiguration. This Mount of Transfiguration is considered by some to be Mt. Tabor, but this is not likely due to the geography and time of Christ's travel to Caesarea Philippi. The mountain was more likely Mount Hermon, Israel's highest peak at more than 9,000 feet, and close by the route Christ was travelling at the moment.
            I used to read of poor Moses being deprived, after forty years of leading an obstinate and murmuring people in the wilderness, of entering the Promised Land. He died on the slopes of Pisgah and God buried Moses. How sad! But the next time we see Moses, he is on that same Mount of Transfiguration with Christ. So what think you, did Moses not go to a much more delightful Land of Promise? Christ, too, after suffering death, burial and resurrection in the Garden ascended to a far greater Paradise than this world can comprehend.
These are simply some of the more profound similarities between Christ and Moses. There are many, many more that time does not permit in the scope of a devotion, but I encourage each Reader to read again the account of Moses and to be amazed at the Finger of God, pointing through Moses, to that glorious and perfect Savior who was to come, and HAS come! Do you KNOW Him?


heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

AOC Friday Quote Digest

Themes: : Quotes Of Interest ----Ministry Minute. Commentary on Sunday's Gospel- Theme:
Quotes Of Interest
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Sinclair Ferguson – When the Wonder Breaks In
When the wonder of the gospel breaks into your life, you feel as though you are the first person to discover its power and glory. Where has Christ been hidden all these years? He seems so fresh, so new, so full of grace. Then comes a second discovery-it is you who have been blind, but now you have experienced exactly the same as countless others before you. You compare notes. Sure enough, you are not the first! Thankfully you will not be the last.
~Sinclair Ferguson~
In Christ Alone (Lake Mary, FL; Reformation Trust Publishing; 2007) p. 37.
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MINISTRY MINUTE
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John Calvin – The Witness of the Holy Spirit
For even if it [Scripture] wins reverence for itself by its own majesty, it seriously affects us only when it is sealed upon our hearts through the Spirit. Therefore, illumined by his power, we believe neither by our own nor by anyone else’s judgment that Scripture is from God. But above human judgment we affirm with utter certainty (just as if we were gazing upon the majesty of God himself) that it has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry of men.
~John Calvin~
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Commentary on Sunday's Gospel
Mark 7:31
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Now, Decapolis is to the southwest and southeast of the Sea so His route is of interest. The majority is on the east of Jordan. It is a group of ten towns and their surrounding areas.
Evidently He was trying to avoid crowds or at least the Jewish leadership so was not traveling the normal point to point route. It is also possible that he was ministering as he went since Sidon is north of Tyre.
From the map the most logical route would have been to travel south from Sidon past the towns and then east into Decapolis then north to the Sea of Galilee. To have gone east from Sidon would have taken Him out of the way to get to the Sea via Decapolis. Robertson agrees that Christ approached the Sea from the southwest when he makes note that Christ avoided the area east of the Sea due to the ruler over that area.
Further information that may relate comes from Matthew when he mentions that Christ went up into the mountain after the trip in Mat 15:29. Mt Tabor is just southwest of the Sea.
Christ encounters another in need of His miracle power.
One might assume that the speech impediment might have been due to the deafness and this might well be so. The deaf have a hard time learning to speak due to the lack of being able to hear how words are formed. The text mentions that the man spoke plainly thus there was a double miracle. There was the miracle of healing his hearing and the other miracle in allowing him to be able to speak normally. A deaf person that begins to hear must learn to speak plainly it is not automatic.
The people asked Christ to touch the man, evidently knowing that this was a possibility with the Lord's healing abilities. Indeed, we know that Christ could speak or will someone healed but in this case He chose to go through another method. He chose to take the man aside and then touch him in two different ways. It is of interest that Christ spoke to one of the Trinity during this healing. It is recorded "And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened." Gill and Matthew Henry understand this to have been the Father, however I would lean toward it being the Spirit the power behind the miracles of the Lord.
Wesley takes it completely different - that it was not a request but that "This was a word of SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY, not an address to God for power to heal: such an address was needless; for Christ had a perpetual fund of power residing in himself, to work all miracles whenever he pleased, even to the raising the dead, Joh 5:21, Joh 5:26."
Robertson mentions that "Ephphatha" was an Aramaic word brought into the Greek that related to being unbarred. It has the idea of be opened thoroughly and it is a passive indicating that the opening would come from without.
It mentions that He again wanted little notoriety over the occurrence. Verse 36 tells us "And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it;"
It would seem from the wording that Christ spoke to them more than once indicating a length of time that He was around the man and his acquaintances.
We have no further information relating to this incident since Mark is the only one to record it for us.
Now to the part that everyone is looking for an answer for. Well relax as there will be no answer here either. Why Christ touched the man's ears and touched his tongue after spitting on His finger is unknown to me as well as all others that read the passage. We just are not told so we are left to speculation.
If I were to speculate it was a form of nonverbal communication. This man was brought to the Lord for healing even though the man had no faith, nor knowledge of the person he was taken too. Now Christ knew this and so He would have wanted to put the man at ease. How would you put a man at ease, by gestures that were non-threatening. By touching his ears before there was hearing would have drawn the man's attention to something relating to his ears and might have softened the shock of hearing sound all of a sudden. Why touch his tongue? Which man's tongue was touched. My guess would be that Christ spit and touched His own tongue. This might have signified to the man that Christ was getting rid of something distasteful from the tongue such as the impediment.
Some feel that saliva was thought to have had medicinal effects in this time of history. One commentary mentioned that cultic healers used saliva in their incantations. I suspect it was just how Christ communicated with the man to the man's benefit.
Some feel Christ took the man aside as something secretive, yet if Christ knew of this man's uneasiness He may have taken him aside just as a calming effect.Just as an aside, we tried a new church recently and the special music was introduced. The pastor stepped to a boom box stereo and turned it on. A heavy set teen was at the front by then. As the music began the girl began to sign. Now the first thing that struck me was that no one or at least few in the congregation knew signing so there was absolutely no edification. Further, as the music got to rockin and the girl got to swayin, I noticed I could not make out the words to the music due to the loudness of the loud instruments.
Result of the "special music" - we were treated to seeing an overweight young woman swaying to a rock beat in the middle of worship. Edification? Not so much. Now I trust that this might sharpen the pastor's resolve to create a music policy for his church that states that he will clear all music performed in the church.
One last point to the section - the man was deaf and dumb so most likely knew little of Christ or what/who He was. He probably did not know much, if anything about Judaism either. Why make such points? Because many of the phony "Faith Healers" when they cannot heal someone suggest that the person did not have enough faith to be healed. This is not so. In this case there most likely was no faith on the part of the man.
Healing in the time of Christ due to the gift of healing was a gift, not dependent upon the faith of the person healed but simply the power of God manifested through the gift. In James it mentions prayer in relation to healing. Again it seems that the faith is on the part of others praying for the sick. The one healed does not necessarily need to have the faith. Jam 5:14-16 "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
We have seen much of the Lord's work and of His travels to reach others with His message. We have seen His compassion for the plight of others. We have seen His power presented before multitudes, yet He is still not seen as the one that He truly is, the Lamb of God present to take away the sins of the world. He presented Himself and all the people were interested in was the hype and show of the miracles that could benefit them.
It is sure that the apostles and some of the followers were learning of Him, but as to recognizing Him as the supreme sacrifice, no they did not. They had no concept that He was there to die, that He was there to suffer. They were still looking for Him to make political hay and set the Jews free of their oppressors.
From Mr. D''s Notes on Selected Books
    
Reverend George (Geordie) Menzies- Grierson