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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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Devotion on the Branch as a Type of Christ for Saturday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 29 September 2012, Anno Domini



St. Michael and All Angels.

The Collect.

O
 EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant that, as thy holy Angels always do thee service in heaven, so, by thy appointment, they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ or LordAmen.

2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. (Isaiah 4:2)  1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. (Isaiah 11:1-5) "….behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. (Zech 3:8-10) Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD (Zech 6:12)
If we distinguish between Vines and Trees, we will observe that the vine correlates to the branches on trees, but on a Vine, the branches stem from the trunk of the vine. Christ is both the root and branches of the Tree of Life for He is that Tree of Life in all its Perfections. He provides all nutrients and provisions necessary to make a wholesome and bountiful fruit; however, if the fruit fails, it fails of its own depravity and not of God's provision. My wife has a persimmon tree (of the Asian variety) in our back yard. If conditions are ideal, the tree produces wonderful, large persimmons that are delicious to eat, and perfect in appearance.  She watches the tree constantly as the fruit ripens. Unfortunately, she is not the only one who is watching. Birds and squirrels also are watching to get to the ripened persimmons before their rightful owner can take possession.
These little thieves are much like the "little foxes" of sin spoken of by Solomon in his Song. They do not take much of the fruit. They just peck a small part, or bite a tiny bit from near the base of the stem – then the whole fruit is ruined. These fowl of the air (Matt 13:32) are those little demons that come to live in the branches of the church to destroy her fruit. God has better plans for us than to have us fall victim to the deceits of the world and the weakness of the flesh.
Christ is our all-sufficient Branch. He is the conveyance whereby the juice of life flows from the Root of the tree, up the trunk, and out the branches to the fruit. If worms interdict the flow of nourishment by eating away at the life-juices, the fruit will suffer want. If the tree suffers draught, water must be provided for survival of the fruit. God provides an abundance of the Water of Life to us so that none need famish of thirst. If the Water gives out, it is because we have refused to drink of it.
Christ is like unto that Branch that proceedeth out from God the Father.  A Branch is always reaching out, and that is what Christ is doing for us. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) As the only Begotten of the Father, Christ is of the same substance of the Father, just as a Branch is of the same substance with the Tree. If your new bible identifies Christ in any other way than only Begotten Son, please throw that bible away and get a REAL one.
            The fruit of a branch or vine must always exhibit the same nature as the tree or vine from which it derives life. Christians, being the fruit of the Garden of God, must bear the nature and likeness of God, our Maker, in the same way that a Black Corinth grape is distinguished from a Concord grape – by the vine which has provided it life. If we are called Christians, we should act, look, and feel like Christians. When a stranger meets us, he should have no problem in recognizing that we are fruit from our Maker's Vine.
If we spring from the Vine itself, we should become branches providing life to the fruit. Our lives should be fruitful and honoring of the Vine from which we, ourselves, draw and transmit life. Woe be unto us if we fail to produce abundant fruit in our lives: I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. (John 15:1-8)
            Beware of false and evil fruits! We all produce some kind of fruit – either good, or bad. We must often stop and consider the kind of fruit we are producing. Is it the kind of fruit that makes joyful the heart of man, or is it the kind of fruit that takes away joy, that does not promote life and faith of the fruit? What has been your fruit today? Does it possess the same character of the One you profess to emulate?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Devotion on the Devotion on the Underground River at Shechem as a Type of Holy Ghost for Friday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 28 September 2012, Anno Domini



The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O
 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water (John 4:5-7)
It was water of Jacob's Well for which the woman came, and it was the Water of Life with which she left that Well.
Situated approximately thirty miles north of Jerusalem in the hill country of Ephraim is the ancient walled city of Shechem of the Old Testament, Sychar in the New Testament, and today known as Nablus. It is the burial site of Joseph. Beneath the foundations of Shechem there runs an Underground River which carries its nourishing waters to the distant pasturelands, and it is this water course from which the water for Jacob's Well is supplied. The waters of the river run totally unnoticed beneath the busy commercial streets and shops of flourishing Shechem during its active workday of barter and trade. But once the oxcarts and trampling feet of merchants and patrons have been stilled by the curtain of night, one can very plainly hear the gurgling ripples of the stream deep below the foundation of the city as it hurries along to its indefinite destination.
How like the still and silent draw of the deep waters of the Holy Spirit are the waters of this Underground River, and it was these waters that quenched the great thirst and convicted the woman of Samaria as she spoke with the Fountainhead of those Waters of Life.
Quite often in our busy lives of social, commercial and professional activity, we are unable to hear the soft, sweet voice of God calling to us over the tumult of life. It is at those busy times that we need Him most - and are sadly unable to hear. What must we do to enter again into the sanctuary of the Almighty? Simple! "Be still, and know that I am God." Ps 46:10.  Sometimes we simply need to close our minds, hearts and ears to the rush of daily life, stop what we are doing on the computer, and commune with the Majesty from on high. He never shouts, screams or intrudes without our invitation; because He is a perfect Gentleman (Jesus es el Senor - Jesus is a Gentleman.. as our good Spanish brothers love to aver). "Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" Job 37:14.
Remember the call of God to young Samuel? He called three times in the night. Samuel heard clearly each call, but aging and restless Eli did not hear. I Sam 3:4-15. And poor dejected Elijah, having given up all hope, God commanded to go and "stand upon the mount before the Lord." Elijah witnessed a great and strong wind which rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, a STILL SMALL VOICE.
God does not speak to us in the heated shouts and elevated voices of everyday life. He speaks not through the twisted and tortured notes of heavy metal (Christian?) music. Not in the peals of drum and discordant voice. He comes softly! He resorts (as he always has) not to the sin-filled  and busy main street, but to the GARDEN.
The Holy Spirit is forever that silent, bountiful stream of Living Water that courses ever near us, but which we often neglect to hear or heed.
Our present generation wants ACTION! Entertainment - even in worship! But they are a sad lot who seek God in vaunted words, music and deeds of modern society which, it seems, many of our churches attempt to emulate. Worship in many of America's churches is centered on man and his word - not the Word of God or praise to Him. What does God think of such churches?
"An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given it.."   St. Matthew 12:39.
So if you want to hear the voice of God, be near Him who first loved you; seek Him in the quiet sanctuary of His Garden. Seek Him in your closet of prayer, not in the boisterous 'noise' of some modern worship services. The sound of His voice is like the Underground River of Living Water of ancient Shechem. To hear Him, OUR feet must stop, OUR voices must be stilled, if we are to hear HIS. Thoughts of the market place, the bazaar, the social gatherings, must be put aside. We empty our hearts of worldly lusts and turn them to the Source of all Mercy and Grace.
So we conclude, today, our devotions on the Three Rivers of God – the Mighty Nile river (God the Father), the Jordan River and that Giver of Life – the Zayanderud (God the Son), and the Underground River at Shechem (God the Holy Ghost). Reader, do you know these Three?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Devotion on the Jordan and Zayanderud (Giver of Life) Rivers as Types of Christ for Thursday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 27 September 2012, Anno Domini



The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O
 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

O
 GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2.To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. (Psalms 63:1-2)
Having fled to the Wilderness of Judah, David's tongue perhaps clave to the roof of his mouth as he was famished for water. Though the want of his body was for physical water, his thirst for the comfort of God and His miraculous works far exceeded the physical thirst he suffered. We all have experienced our spiritual thirsts in the wilderness of life. Just as water alone will satisfy our physical thirst, only God alone can satisfy our spiritual.
Following our previous discussion of the Nile River as a Type of God the Father, we will now examine the two Rivers – the Jordan and the Zayanderud – as Types of Christ (He being the central figure of the Trinity as depicted on the AOC symbol).
THE JORDAN: In an illustration of the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee I gave previously, I spoke of the relatively short span of the River Jordan. It rises from three primary sources (springs) from the Heights of Mount Hermon in the north, cascades down the slopes picking up other reserves of water and nutrients from tributaries on its way to the valley. From the base of Mt. Hermon, the Jordan flows across fertile pastureland and into the Galilean Sea which is teeming with life. It emerges on the south banks of the Galilean and continues down the wilderness valley to the lowest point of landmass in the world – the Dead Sea. (420 meters below sea level contrasting to Death Valley's 86 meters). The Sea of Galilee teems with life because it surrenders all of the Water of Life that it receives. The Dead Sea is dead because it gives up NOTHING. The Jordan River is only about 100 miles long quite short. The life of Christ was only thirty three years again, quite short. The Jordan River gives life everywhere it goes, and so does the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jordan flows down to the lowest point on earth. Christ came down to us (far below the pavilions of Heaven) and dwelt among us. He even descended to the grave (lowest point). Like the Jordan flowing into the Dead Sea and dying, so did Christ flow into our world and died in the Wilderness of our Sins. What a wonderful Lord and Savior He is to us!
THE ZAYANDERUD (GIVER OF LIFE IN FARSI): The second river to be typical of the Life of Christ is one in Persia called the Zayanderud. This is a Persian Word meaning "Giver of Life." This river originates in the snows of the Zagross Range of Mountains to the West of Esfahan, the central city of Iran located on the high desert. The waters are pure and cold as they flow down the mountain peaks and into the Valley high desert valley. This river literally teems with life, and gives of itself to otherwise dry, arid meadows stretching from the base of the mountain range toward the desert city of Esfahan. They flow through the City of Esfahan providing life and joy to its residence. This typifies Christ as He went about healing and feeding all who came to Him. As the river courses through the city, men cast refuse into it. The world also abused Christ even in His deeds of righteousness. On the Eastern Gate of the City, the waters emerge and continue the journey across the barren desert.
My wife and I were posted to this city and lived so near the river that we saw it every day of the five and one half years that we were assigned there. When flying above the desert terrain, one can know exactly where the course of the River flows, because there is a wide band of green vegetation for 5 or 10 miles either side of the rivers embankment. Everywhere Christ walked, there were multitudes on all sides hoping to benefit from His healing touch. The River gives Life everywhere it goes, and healing to the people.
That is exactly what Christ has done for us.
The River continues for about one hundred miles from its source and dies in the desert salts and sands. How like Christ in living a short thirty-three years, and then dying in the desert (a sinful world) of our sins for us.
Though a very short River, its impact is immeasurable in its blessings to the people of Persia. Just like the Life of Christ – rich and bountiful for us. The deadly salt-sea into which the river flows and dies is called Gav-Khuni or Blood of an Ox. It seems almost more than coincidence that this dead sea in a moslem nation should be so-called. Christ, too, was the Lamb of God whose blood was shed for us. These dead sea waters bear the deep red appearance of blood when viewed from the shore just as that blood that Jesus shed on the cross for us is ever before the eyes of the forgiven sinner.
This River, called Giver of Life, is exactly an illustration of our Savior Jesus Christ. Christ is not only the Giver of Life, but He is the Truth, the Way, and the Life itself. Christ came, like this river, to a point between Heaven (Zagross Mountain Range) and Hell (Dead Sea Lake of Gav-Khuni) to benefit and save us. He feeds us with His daily Water of Life and Bread of Heaven. Have we tasted? Do our own souls thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is? Just as the Giver of Life River gives life to all who come near its shores, so does the Lord Jesus Christ give eternal life to all who draw near by faith. Have you done so?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Devotion on Three Rivers, the Nile first, as Types of Christ for Wednesday after the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 26 September 2012, Anno Domini



The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O
 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midstof the sea; 3 Thoughthe waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernaclesof the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. (Psalms 46:1-5)
We shall undertake a study today of three different rivers, each representing one of the Three Persons of the Godhead. Three different daily devotions will be required to adequately cover these Three Rivers – the Mighty Nile of Africa, the Zayanderud of Persia, and Underground River at Shechem in ancient Samaria. We will first examine the Mighty Nile River and its many characteristics that are typical of God the Father, as well as to God the Son. On the next two days following, we will cover the Zayanderud (Giver of Life) and the Underground River at Shechem respectively. I have written on these rivers before but, hopefully, I will have gained greater insight from the first writings.
How very much like a mighty river are the blessings, mercies, and love of God. A true river never stops flowing, and neither does the love and blessings of God. Both have an unbounded and munificent abundance as their Source.
The Nile River as a Type of God the Father:
The Mighty Nile River of Africa is the longest river in the world – 4,130 miles in length stretching from the shores of Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea (Fertile Crescent). God, too, is the Ancient of Days whose beginning and end are without measure.
The Nile River could extend from Lost Angeles to Washington, D.C. and back again. Perhaps Washington, D.C. could benefit from its cooling waters to counter the immensity of `hot air' being generated there.
On a visit to our churches in Kenya a few years ago, we spotted the very source of the Nile River Waters at the top of the continent of Africa – Mount Kilimanjaro. Landing at Nairobi, we could see the majestic, snow-clad mountain some few miles to the south (just across the national boundary in Tanzania). It appears as a flat-top table with fair linen draped over its summit – much like the Lord's Table of the Communion. This mountain is the highest in the continent of Africa (19,341 feet above sea level).
The snows of Kilimanjaro are, relatively speaking, eternal; but God, without any relationship to time, is eternal in nature. Though the snows remain as a crown to the mountain year around, enough of its abundant snows melt to feed into beautiful Lake Victoria to its north. The Lake is much like a sea in that one cannot see across its wide expanse. I was blessed to make temporary quarters for more than a week on its shores. Those melting snows come, like God, from the very highest source.
Many tributaries from the mountain streams feed into Lake Victoria which, in turn, feed into the White Nile. The Blue Nile, most heavily laden with nutrients from the earth, brings those nutrients and sediments with it as it joins the White Nile. The two Rivers are much like the Father and Son as they descend to bless the earth below. The Nile River passes through ten countries on its northward way to the Mediterranean. It descends from the highest Heaven of Africa to the lowest level of habitation at sea level. God, too, extends His blessings from on High to the lowest and most common of all creatures on earth. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is fullof water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. (Psalms 65:9) There is no end to the rich Waters of Life provided by our Father in Heaven.
Eagerly waiting far away and far below the snows of Kilimanjaro are the people of the delta region of Egypt. When all of the world is in famine, Egypt enjoys an abundance of produce generated by the waters of the Nile. The Nile rushes those thousands of miles and thousands of feet down to the Nile River Delta where it deposits its rich minerals and nutrients on the soil of the Delta. The Nile River Bed cannot contain the profusion of waters, so the great river overflows its banks to deposit its treasures on the fields of millions of farmers. How generous of it! If the Nile River is like unto God the Father, and His love, we are like the river bed that cannot contain that river for its abundance.
This characteristic of the Nile River may be compared to the Nature of God. He has provided the White Manna of Life (melting snows laden with nutrients) to us. He hails from on high. He is pure and White, and His riches are unsearchable. So the Nile River is illustrative of the Father.
Many souls would perish of hunger and thirst were it not for the Nile River. Many souls will perish for hunger for the Bread of Life and the Water of Lifewithout God's Son, Jesus, to supply our need. Of course, all things of God are also of Christ. He is our River of Life that God has provided for our salvation and comfort. And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Rev 22:1) Perhaps this river, mentioned in the last Book of the Bible, is the same as that first River mentioned in the first Book of the Bible (Genesis 2:10) restored to us after Adam's Fall?
Have you tasted these waters of the river of God? Have you shared its abundance with others today?

Prayer Request


From Bishop Jerry's sister Lynn:

There's a lady I've known forever. She's very sick. On top of that, she's being abused by those to whom she has given everything..... Lies about her abound, and seem to come from all sides. 

Just breaks my heart. Seems there's nothing I can do alone but maybe, if we join in and lift her up together, we can heal her.

She's well over 230 years old, but way too young to die.

Her name is ' America '... And I love her and have always been proud of her.

Take time to say a prayer for her - even if it is a short, simple prayer like, "Lord, please heal our land. Amen".. 

 Jerry L. Ogles

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Devotion on Collect for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 25 September 2012, Anno Domini



The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O
 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest. 16 The LORD called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. 17 For the LORD of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee (Jeremiah 11:14-17)
            Whether I apply the words of Jeremiah to my church, or to my nation, I cannot pray for their success in wickedness and affronting the very God who blesses them. We live in a nation whose foundation, like the church, rested upon God and His Word. Long before we saw our freedoms in America begin to dwindle and vanish, we saw our blessed Church fade and dwindle – overcome by the desires to be accepted by the world and a cowardly reluctance to stand upon those truths that made her great. Can I pray for her success in that regard? Can I pray for the success of the leaders of our nation who embrace the filthy practice of homosexual marriage and the murder of innocents before they ever see the beauty of God's Creation bathed in sunlight? We are now harvesting the bitter fruits of rejecting God as a nation and as a Church. Murder, abortion, vile sexual sins, drug abuse, and alcoholism have grown up in our fields of infidelity. Our children stagger in lost paths, while we revel in our faith in government to the detriment of our faith in God.
            The Collect for the 16th Sunday after Trinity makes proper and appropriate appeal to the only prayer we can truly utter for an apostate church, society, and government. Our weak faith of today did not result from an overly reliance upon government, but our overly reliance on government resulted from our weak faith. The former bastion of freedom and liberty – the early Church in America -  failed to stand up when divorce began to grow prolific, when the 1st Amendment right of children to pray at any place (especially in school) was abrogated by a renegade judiciary, when the Holy Bible was deemed too harmful for the exposure to children in public schools, when abortion (more egregious even than the slaughter of millions in Nazi death camps) became legal and even encouraged, and when high government officials began to advocate for the right men to marry men, and women to marry women. How far into the abyss can we sink ere we burst Hell wide open? So, can I pray the Prayer Book Prayer for the President who has callously embraced the sinful and opposed the righteous? Yes, for every word of the prayer is honoring of God and calls any man in the office of President to be made aware of his right path and to turn from any wickedness:
 O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen This prayer calls for righteousness in the President, and should we (as Jonah) be disappointed if he repents from the course he has embarked upon to evil?
Of course, before any President may leads us in righteousness, the heart and soul of America must be open to Christ and willing to follow on a righteous course. Whose duty is it to remind us our responsibilities and debt to God? Is it not the Church – His beloved Bride who has committed spiritual adultery? O LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church Before God will grant pity, we must ask it of Him. We must ask in the same vein as 2 Chronicles 7:14 -  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Does God seek to hear the prayers of ALL people in a wicked land? No, not at all, but He DOES seek to hear the prayers of those who are "called by my Name" to humble themselves (have we?), and pray (have we?), and seek my face (have we?), and "turn from their wicked ways (have we?). Only after this formula shall God heal America. At present, we are NOT a righteous nation. At present, we are not humble. At present, we are not a pure church in prayer. At present, we still pursue a wicked path. But god WILL have pity and grant it for our asking.
            Do you believe the America we have known can be safe without the special benevolence and succor of God? "….because it cannot continue in safety without thy succor." It cannot be so preserved without it founding principles established in God for His Church.
            If we desire God's help, we must seek it admitting our sins and doing so in humility and prayer. America must turn from the propagation of murder of babies and from that "abomination that maketh desolate" spoken of by Daniel the Prophet and by our Lord Jesus Christ! "….. preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness." If we are serious in our national repentance, we shall seek to be a good people so that we can be helped, forgiven, and restored by a Good and Holy God. Have we drifted too far from the share to be saved? Is the arm of the Lord ever shortened to save His people? I exhort ever Reader of this letter to stand with that same courage of men such as Patrick Henry in the beginning of our Liberties and stand upon the Liberty of Christ and not of governments. There is no weapon fashioned by the enemy of our souls that can stand against our Lord and Savior.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sermon Notes for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, 23 September 2012, Anno Domini



The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

O
 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. 18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things. (Luke 7:11-17)
            How often have we been at the point of complete and total heartbreak when suddenly our prayers are answered in a far greater way than we could have thought to ask? Love being the one power that is stronger than death (for all love is of God), why are we surprised at the miracles of love that we observe in our own daily lives? Why will a mother sacrifice her last breath of her life for her child? Why do men go off to war against the enemies of their homeland without a sigh or a word of regret in risking their lives to defend it?
            Does God yet work such wonderful miracles as we have read about on that day He visited Nain? A young man is dead and within minutes of being buried. Is there hope for such a one? His mother has only this one son. She is a widow who has transferred all of her love and dependence from the deceased father upon this one special child for whom her very life is ransom. But he is now dead and she is left all alone! Though crowds gather about her, none have that familiar and loyal heart that beat in the breast of her deceased son, nor the dedicated love that heart devoted to his mother, for he is dead!
            I can only imagine the pain and anguish of that forlorn heart of the woman of Nain that day. She would perform her last duty to a son that she had held dear to her bosom from the day of his birth. As she walked along behind the bier, she was dazed with misery and blinded by hot tears of devastation and wonder." "Can it be that he is truly dead – that I shall no longer hear his voice responding to my calls to supper?" "Is it finally true that I am now left alone against the world since the darling of my heart has departed?" A million questions swirled through her troubled mind as she trudged along a path blurred by the tears of her misery.
            And what of the dead son? What are his thoughts? Well, he has no thoughts at all because the dead know nothing at all. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun. (Eccl 9:4-6)
            The world is populated by dead people who parade about as the living, and by the living who have been made alive from death.  Do we not remember that we were all dead in trespasses and sin before Christ called our name and made is alive in Him? (Ephesians 2:1) We knew nothing. We had no power at all to save ourselves or to even think of our great need. We were, spiritually, just as the young man lying on a bier at Nain that day. Did that young man know of Christ? did he desire to have Christ come and make him alive? No, he did not think any of these thoughts. Remember, he was dead as dead can be, and so were we before Christ chose us as His own and made the life blood of His eternal love flow though our hearts. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you (John 15:16)

11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
Now I pose the question that begs our deep thought: who are the dead? The dead: Those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who have no forgiveness for their sins…those for whom there has been no redemption for sins. That includes all the world which dwells in utter darkness.
The dead hear not. Who stopped their ears? Not God. Not even Satan. They themselves have chosen to be dumb to the reality of God. Their spirits lie in the same repose of that of Lazarus in the Tomb at Bethany before the penetrating voice of Christ called his name and commanded him to come forth.
This son of the widow is dead, but death cannot exist in the presence of the Fountain of Life. Jesus knows the importance of a son or daughter to a widow. The boy is all his mother has just as He, Himself, is the only Begotten of the Father.
As the procession proceeds from the gate of the city, there may have been little notice paid to the Master of Life who is approaching. 13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
Strange that a Perfect Stranger (and Jesus was both perfect and a stranger to the procession at Nain), should come forward with such a comment – weep not! How could she help weeping over her great loss. Christ speaks today and few listen or know Him.
Jesus never desires our sorrow, but our joy in life.  He neither wants us to `fear' or to `weep'. Fear not, I am with thee always, even unto the end of the world. Or "Hagar, why weepest thou?" The desire of Christ is always for our extreme joy in Him. And Christ knows there is no real joy, or life, apart from that which He offers. He sends no one to Hell. The lost, due to their rejection of Him, send themselves to Hell.
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. When God is at work, we had best stand still and see the marvelous works that His hands perform. Stillness is a vanishing quality in a world bent on technology and pragmatism.  As God said to Job in Job 37:14 "Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God"  Or  Psalms 46:10 – "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth."
So those who bore the body remained motionless while God  worked. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
Though the ears of the Rabbi's maiden were closed in the lock of death, the young girl heard the voice of Christ. Though Lazarus lay long dead in a stone cold tomb, the voice of Christ, his Friend, penetrated the bars of death and were heard in newness of life. So with this young man.
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. With Christ, death is always in the past tense! He was dead! No longer was he dead because he had heard and responded to the voice of Christ. He sat up and began to speak. Once you have heard the voice of Christ whisper in your ear a personal message, you cannot fail to speak out. You do not keep it a secret. When you are suddenly made alive in Christ, how is it possible to conceal one's joy?
It may be that you have yet to be made alive, unless you have heard that Voice. When were you dead, and have you been called to life? Have you listened? Did you respond by unashamedly speaking out? We were ALL dead prior to responding in faith to the grace of Christ. All lost. All dead.
Have you considered yourself righteous in your own right? Romans 23:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God  ALL? Does that include you and me? Yes, ALL
What is the condemnation to those who sin such as you and I have done? Rom 6: 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
What remedy is there for all of us who are born under the condemnation  of sin? Rom10: 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Christ is the great Creator and Giver of Life. Death will not exist in His presence. So we must insure our salvation that we may be present with him. But, how? Know that the wages of sin is death. Admit that we are dreadful sinners and cannot save ourselves through any good works. Repent of our sins and turn away from the desires of the flesh. Receive Christ as you Lord and Savior – not simply Savior, but Lord of your life as well.
How many of us present today have taken a `dry' shower, or a `dry' swim, or walked in a `dry' rain?
Is it possible to get into the water, or to come into contact with a fountain of water, and remain dry?
            There is a River of Life which makes all alive who bathe therein and drink from its fountain:
John 4: 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life
When we are IN Christ, all our sins are covered by His blood. When we are IN the River of Life, we are wet with that water of life all over. We are baptized in newness of life. Your eternal destiny depends upon which choice you make at the crossroads of life – will you be fearful and unbelieving? Or will you partake of the Tree of Life and Fountain of Living Waters?
Rev 21:6 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
            Simple response – John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Have you, too, believed unto salvation? 2 Cor 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
It will not be tomorrow, or next week, month, or year. The time is NOW! How do you stand, Reader, in regard to your soul?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Devotion on the Veil of the Temple as a Type of Christ for 22 September 2012 - (Ember Saturday)



Ember Days
The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

K
EEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

31 And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made (Ex 26:31) And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. (Ex 26:33)  34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place. (Ex 26:34)
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience (Hebrews 9:8-9)
19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21 And having an high priest over the house of God; 22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
50  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent  (Matthew 27:50-51)
            The Veil of the Temple separated the Holy Place from the Holiest of Holies. It separated in its nature the people from direct access to God. Jesus Christ is the Open Door that stands between God the Father and those who are called and chosen in Christ. He is the partition through which we must pass if we are to come to God. There is no other way. He is the "Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by…" Him.
            The Veil was made of vibrant colors of colors of blue (faithfulness), purple (royalty), scarlet (sacrifice), and white (sinlessness). These same apply to our Lord Jesus Christ.
            The Veil in the Temple was lifted up on costly and elaborate pillars; however, Christ was lifted up on a crude cross of torture.
            The Veil was rent from top to bottom at the moment of Christ's death on the cross (3 PM). And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent (see also Mark 15:38). Christ was our Veil of flesh that separates us from God the Father. His flesh was torn and gashed just as was the Temple Veil. The Veil in the Temple was torn from "top to bottom" signifying that the only grace and forgiveness made aveilable to man must come from on high. Christ, being the center Person of the Triune God, was also God. His death removed the Veil of separation between God and man.
            Today, instead of a ritual approach to God through intermediary priests, we enjoy a direct access through Christ our Lord. He is the torn Veil for us.   
            If we are drawn near by faith, we may come face to face with our Maker through that Veil of Christ, for He, too, is our Maker.
            Have you approached the Veil?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Devotion on the Passover as a Type of Christ for 21 September 2012 on St. Matthew the Apostle/Ember Day



St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
The Collect

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the recipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist; Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
Ember Days
The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who hast committed to the hands of men the ministry of reconciliation; We humbly beseech thee, by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, to put it into the hearts of many to offer themselves for this ministry; that thereby mankind may be drawn to thy blessed kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

K
EEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy; and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

7 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: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
            The typical aspects of the Passover to Christ are multitudinous. The extensive marks of similarity and exact congruence is beyond the scope of a single devotion, so I urge the Reader to please digest the beauty and grandeur of this Type through deeper study.
            The Passover, inaugurated in the Land of Goshen in Egypt while the Children of Israel were subject to cruel bondage, was a signal Light from the Great Lighthouse of God to the Hebrew people, as well as to you and me, of His promise of Redemption to be made available in Christ. The effulgent beams of that Light swept the near and troubled Sea of the Hebrew people and beyond to the Pacific and Atlantic Waters of all races and tribes of people – even to those in the Islands of the Sea (who today sing praises to His Holy Name).
           God often turns the assaults of the Devil back against him (by using the very means the Dark Prince employs) as a means of grace and salvation from it for His people. Due to the greed and cruelty of the Egyptians, Pharaoh had ordered all male children of the Israelites to be cast into the river Nile. The mother of Moses did, indeed, cast Moses into the River Nile, but in a small ark of bulrushes daubed with pitch and slime in order to save him. Pharaoh's daughter was of a kind and loving disposition and, when she saw the baby in the ark, she took him for her own. Moses became the choice man of God, raised even in the very house of Pharaoh, to save His people from Pharaoh's oppression. Moses became God's `man for the time' and obeyed God in his walk.
            After sending forth nine terrible plagues against Egypt to persuade her king to release God's people, God dictated new terms and a final plague for Moses to report to Pharaoh. Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. (Ex 11:4-7) This would be the final plague God would send against Pharaoh, his household, and all of Egypt. But god always makes special provision for His people, and this time is no exception.
            2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.  And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.  And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.  And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.  Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.  Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. (Ex 12:2-20)
A lamb could never be a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice
 for the sins of the whole world
            That unblemished and innocent lamb, slain at first Passover, foreshadowed that innocent and perfect Lamb of God: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)  This Passover was authenticated in Christ for He has become our Passover that we observe in the Lord's Supper. If we are, like the Israelites in Goshen, covered under His blood, we shall not perish. The Cup (wine) of which we partake represents His warm and living blood that was shed for us. The unleavened bread (for the symbol must comport with that symbolized, represents His Body in all parts. The Passover Lamb was also foreshadowed by that animal which died to cover the shame and sin of Adam and Eve eastward in the Garden at Eden. Christ was, like the unblemished lamb, without sin and an acceptable sacrifice for our sins.
            The Passover Lamb was to be taken from the fold of other sheep just as Christ was made man and dwelt among us, and was taken from among us for the sacrifice at Calvary.
            The Passover Lamb was to be one year old signifying its peak  maturity. So was Christ at the peak of manhood slain for us. The Lamb was roasted whole just as was Christ crucified, pierced and recipient of the fire of God's wrath. Our Lord, though wholly crucified, did not suffer a bone of His body to be broken.
            The blood of the Passover Lamb was not to be allowed to spill upon the ground illustrating the preciousness of the blood of Christ which is to be revered. Just as the blood of the Passover Lamb was to be sprinkled upon the lintels and doorposts, so must Christ blood not only be shed wholly for us, but our consciences must be sprinkled by the notice of that blood. All who enter the house must see the blood of Christ as evidence of our salvation.
            The flesh of the Passover Lamb was to be eaten in its entirety. So must we feed upon Christ spiritually as our Bread of Life and drink His blood as a sacramental form and grace of His sacrifice. The Passover Lamb was to be eaten in one house symbolism the ONE-NESS of the Body of Christ at the Communion, and at all times.
            The sprinkling of the blood of the Lamb was to be done by dipping a cluster of hyssop into the blood to afford the sprinkling. Hyssop has many symbolic features. It will grow even on rock. The Christian will remain faithful even under hard oppression. Hyssop was used as a purgative to cleanse the inward body just as the blood of Christ first cleanses the inward heart, and then the outer.
            The unleavened bread of the Passover symbolizes sinlessness, pure doctrine, and sincerity. Leaven symbolized the hypocrisy and false doctrine of the Pharisees. Christ is sinless, pure, and true. The symbol of bread we consume in the Supper should also reflect those qualities of Christ.
            The Passover symbolizes the coming of God's people our of Egypt, or spiritual bondage of sin. Christ, being our Passover, has freed us, too, from the yoke and bondage of sin.
            The Passover Lamb was not to be eaten until all leaven (sin, hypocrisy, hate, impure hearts, grudges, etc) were removed from the house. We, too, should cleanse our hearts of all sin, ill-will, personal animosities – when we observe Holy Communion.
            Next when you observe the Holy Communion (our present Passover) remember the first Passover in Egypt. Remember the blood over the doors and upon the door posts. Remember that we are spared the Angel of Death when we are in that blood-covenant relationship with Christ. Are you?