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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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Devotion on Hosea as a Type of Christ – Wednesday after the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity Sunday - 31 October 2012 Anno Domini



Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

G
 RANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faith- ful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

            11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel. (Hosea 1:10-11)

            My heart is rent for poor Hosea when I read the account of all that God had commanded him to do and to suffer. But, then, I consider that all of the commandments of God are a joy to him who receives them. Hosea obeyed God without question when God directed him to take for a wife a whore. There is a deep significance to the purpose of God in such a command, and Hosea well understood and gladly complied. As a matter of fact, Hosea would have yet complied even if he had not understood the purpose of the Lord in the command. We all are to be as a good and obedient soldier facing the enemy on the field of battle. Whatever command is given by our Line Commander, we obey immediately and without reservation. It is impossible for the common soldier to know the tactical plan and purpose of the field Commander, so he must trust to that better judgment and understanding just as we must trust to that perfect will and knowledge of God in all things. Hosea is the perfect example for us.
            Please imagine, if you will, the plight of the prophet Hosea. He was a God-fearing Hebrew Prophet. Yet, God has ordered him to take a whore for a wife. When she proves unfaithful and returns to her former lovers, God tells Hosea to take her back at a great expense to Hosea, and he does! What does this tell us of God’s dealings with His people and the role Christ played in coming among us?
            Hosea was a prophet of Israel though he also addressed the affairs of Judah. These were, unlike the common perception, two separate peoples. Israel was those ten tribes that had broken off and formed the Northern Kingdom – later taken into captivity and dispersed in unknown parts. They are the scattered flocks of God which are hidden, as a remnant, among all the world. Judah and Benjamin were of the Sephardic Jew who claimed lineal descent from Judah. There are few Jews in Israel today who are of Sephardic descent. Most are of the Ashkenazi race from central Europe and who, it is doubtful, have a single drop of Judah’s blood in their veins. At length, the blood type is of no account, for Christ came to save all of Israel – those who are the Children of Promise who are of the ‘spiritual descent’ and not the bloodline of Israel. (see Romans 9:8, Gala 4:27-31) It is a known fact that many lineal Jews are now coming to Christ – not as Messianic Jews bearing Judaic superstitions in their hearts, but simply ‘Christians’ as are all who are the Children of the Promised Seed (Christ).
             11.Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land There is neither Jew nor Gentile, for all are ONE in Christ Jesus. (see Romans 10:12 & Gala 3:28) Hosea is a type of Christ in that he suffered as did Christ by having an unfaithful spouse. It is amazing how the prophets of the Lord were called upon to bear such heavy crosses, but they did so because they belonged to Christ by faith. The One Head to which Hosea pointed was none other than Christ! The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Gen 49:10)  Shiloh is an epithet for the Messiah. He is the ‘sent One’. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace (Eph 2:14-15)
            Christ is a pure and true Bridegroom. But His bride, the church (in both the Wilderness and the Christian era) has committed adultery. Israel was in a fallen and immoral state when Christ came. He bought her with the cost of His own bloody sacrifice, yet, she remained unfaithful. As Hosea prophesies the falling of Israel from her lofty place, so Christ pronounces the judgment on Jerusalem. He tells the Jewish leaders  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Matt 21:43) This seems and irreversible circumstance, but it is apparent only and not fixed. Just as God, through Hosea declared to the off-spring of Israel, Now when she (Gomer, the prostitute wife of Hosea)  had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. (Hosea 1:8-9) This is a time-limited pronouncement against Israel. See what God later says through Hosea: Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. (Hosea 1:10) It is at the time of the uniting of the people of God of the Old Testament with those who have been gathered from every tribe and people from all over the world (scattered believers) in Christ that has reference here.
            Christ came to mother Israel and was rejected. She played the whore. She wanted nothing to do with her offspring (descent from Abraham as the Promised Seed). Even as Christ pleaded with her to gather to Him, she was aloof and resentful. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
(Matt 23:37-38)  We see a description of the coming persecution of Israel and the Elect Church in Revelations 12. The mother of the New Testament is the Old.
            Time will not allow for a fuller study on Hosea in a mere devotion, but I encourage every Reader to study this book to the enlightenment of your souls. There are some particularly disconcerting points raised in Hosea (depending, of course, on your perspective of being in – or out – of a state of grace). Hosea has his most horrific warning to the apostate people of God: For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. (Hosea 8:7) One cannot help but observe the devastating effects of those great whirlwinds that have battered the coastal cities of America over the past few years. Such storms, coming in quick succession, render us helpless and hopeless in contending with them. They cripple our economy and reduce us to hunger in many places.  The remarkable references to the Whirlwind in bringing God’s judgment are too numerous to discount (a single reference would be sufficient).  Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (Prov 1:24-27)  Have we set at naught the counsel of God once heeded by our Fathers? Is it likely that God will apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah for harshly judging them while ignoring the sins of a nation that has been so richly blessed by His bountiful grace?
I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say still unto them that despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. (Jer 23:13-20)
I am not drawing any conclusions, but I will ask you to consider these things.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stand up and be counted or be accounted as nothing.


The following notice of a Prayer Meeting in Silver City, NM, epitomizes the attitude that the American church, I believe, should take in the face of an all-pervasive evil that is gripping our country. It was forwarded to me by Bishop George Connor, Presiding Bishop, AEC.


Dear Friends in the Lord & Parishioners:

Tonight will be the moment when "the rubber meets the road," or, if your prefer a more graphic expression, tonight will be when "the bullet hits the bone!"

People of all different kinds who look to the Lord Jesus and recognize Him LORD of ALL, will be meeting together to pray for our country. We put aside denominational and doctrinal differences that the evil One has used to keep us separated and fragmented, to be able to declare that in this Present Age, we have much more in common with each other, than we do with the world!

Our Christian Faith is being denigrated and rejected by a secular society that now feels itself empowered to dictate to the Church what it (society and government) wants us to believe. If they are permitted to get away with it, THIS WILL MEAN the eventual DEATH of CHRISTIANITY in the United States!

WE, as CHRISTIANS HAVE SINNED!! We have grown complacent and have accommodated EVIL in our society. We have sometimes worshipped a POLITICAL PARTY and whomever its candidate for office may be, rather than worshipping the Majestic and ALL-HOLY GOD and His Only-Begotten Son, Our Savior Jesus Christ! If we had worshipped Him, we would not have allowed the casual murder of over 54 million babies and counting, on the blood-soaked pagan altars of the modern Ba'als and Ashtartes; otherwise known as pro-abortion candidates! We would not vote for those that seek to destroy life in abortion, infanticide, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research. You know the litany; I will not bore you with a sermon. We, as Christians, have not sought to bring the Reign upon earth of Christ our King by voting VALUES rather than PARTY or CANDIDATE. WE HAVE SINNED! Political Parties have been our gods; we have trusted in the arm of flesh!

Is there time to avert the catastrophe that will surely come upon us if we continue to live cozily amidst REPREHENSIBLE EVIL??? Will He save us if there are only 10M, or 5M, or just ONE MILLION righteous, GOD-Loving people left? Will we go the way of Israel (destroyed in 721 B. C.) or Judah (destroyed in 586 B. C.)???

Tonight we will pray TOGETHER--no denominational boundaries--for MERCY! WE HAVE SINNED, and we are reaping the bitter fruits of our actions. Our country has fundamentally changed right under our feet! When did we stop being a Christian Nation?? Now our country is HOSTILE to Christianity!! We will be humbling ourselves tonight in the sight of the Lord, begging Him, pleading with Him to SAVE OUR LAND! I think it was either President Jefferson, or President Adams who said "Our democracy can only work when the people believe in God." He was right! Without God, there is NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH, and therefore, all "truths" are equal and cannot claim superiority! This is called "relativism." Pope Benedict XVI has referred to our Western culture as laboring under the "Dictatorship of Relativism" where there is NO TRUTH! Doesn't that sound familiar?? "Quis quis est veritas?" (Hint: he provided the "legal authority" for Jesus' Crucifixion. Give up?... Pontius Pilatus: "what is truth?").

Please join us tonight at the interdenominational Prayer Gathering at The Copper Ridge Fellowship's meeting house. Do everything you can to be there! Our way of life and religious freedoms are at stake! 

Directions are simple:   In Christum unum sumus, ("In Christ we are one")

Rev. Robert L. Becerra Pastor of Santa Clara

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles - Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity - 28 October 2012, Anno Domini


Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. [October 28.]

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

G
 RANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faith- ful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet
mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.  18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. 24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. (John 15:16-27)
            The world, if you listen to its claims, is full of love. Men love sensual beauty, comfort, food, drink, a good time, money, etc, but is this real love? What happens to the love professed for money when there is no more time, or money? Even the love a wicked man has for his child perishes with the fires of Hell. So what is the essence of real love?
            Real love is directed outward, not inward. It does not base itself on lust, on pride, or upon the temporary values. Real love, as defined in Holy Writ, is eternal. Real love is bounteous for, the more given, the greater the reservoir thereof. So Christ gives us a direct order, or commandment - These things I command you, that ye love one another.  LOVE ONE ANOTHER, as I have loved you, Jesus commands in another place. That is more love than we are capable of either giving or comprehending, so how can the Christian obey this Commandment? He obeys by, first loving God with all his heart, with all his mind, and with all his strength. If he does so, the second part will be easy. He will love his neighbor, as does Christ, as himself. The love of God among Christian people should be very much like a bicycle wheel. The Church is the outer rim. The spokes are the love we profess, and the center (or axle) is Christ who is the center of all of our Love. Those spokes, too, draw ever nearer to one another as they draw nearer to Christ.
            An example of Christian love is given by Dr. J. Hamilton:  When a rose bud is formed, if the soil is soft, and the sky is genial, it is not long before it bursts; for the life within is so abundant, that it can no longer contain it all, but in blossomed brightness and swimming fragrance it must needs let forth its joy, and gladden all the air. And if, when thus ripe, it refused to expand, it would quickly rot at heart, and die. And Christian love is just piety with its petals fully spread, developing itself, and making it a happier world. The religion which fancies that it loves God, when it never evinces love to its brother, is not piety, but a poor mildewed theology, a dogma with a worm in the heart.
            18.If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Can the whole world hate you? Believe it or not, the world can, and does, hate you. It hates you because you are not one of its own. Christians, remember, are not of this world. It is the same thing as hating all of the people of China simply because their government is Communist except, in our case, we are hated because our Sovereign is righteous. The world does not like to surrender its elusive and doubtful treasures; but neither does it wish to come into a kingdom whose judiciary is based on love. The world prefers to keep its power to crush the weak, and elevate the wicked.
            20.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also If our King is viewed as the greatest enemy of the world, why would the world love His subjects. In the ancient annals of wars and government, when the King's Palace was taken by the enemy, all who occupied the Palace were alike tormented and slain. The vulgar and reprobate of the world literally hate righteousness and justice. Because you belong to the Righteous Christ, they hate you and seek your annihilation.
           21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. Had these of the world known God, they would have at least feared to do such evil; but they do not know God, nor do they desire to know Him. Had God's Word not clearly been proclaimed to the world through the Gospel of Christ, these wicked ones would have at least the excuse of ignorance. But they are now devoid of any covering for their sins since they have rejected the Redeemer and Savior. The Prodigal's Robe have they not taken to cover their filthy sins.
            23 He that hateth me hateth my Father also. Remember that historic feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. The father of both clans was hated by the other, they therefore sought to kill his children.
            24 If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. Had Christ not proven with many wonderful words and works His Person, the world would yet have excuse for their lack of faith. But He did come and healed the lame and diseased. Restore sight to the blind. Raised the dead again.
            25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. This is the most hurtful realization of all concerning the world's hate. It is groundless and without a cause. Christ came onlyu to comfort, save, enlighten…yet, they hated Him for it. And they will hate you and me as well.
            26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: The Comforter does not come toi turn the world's hate for us into Love, but to give us comfort in spite of the world's hate. He encourages, fortifies, inspires, and helps us to carry on despite the many obstacles and pitfalls along the way. You will recall that the Angels comforted Christ in the Garden before His Passion, yet, His great mission remained as a Sacrifice, written in Red, upon the portals of Heaven itself.
            27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. From the beginning at which we came to know Christ, we shall bear witness of Him – not out of compulsion, but out of Love and Duty.
            Today we honor and remember St Stephen, the first martyr, and St Simon. St Stephen died proclaiming the Gospel of His Lord. At the moment of his death, he asked forgiveness upon those ignorant men – one being Saul (later Saint Paul) – who were stoning his life from him. Can you sacrifice only your pride and self-dignity today for Christ? You are not asked, today, to submit to stoning, but you can at least stand together with the people of God and boldly proclaim righteousness to the four quarters of the world. They may not heed you, but at least they will have no excuse in ignorance of the Truth.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Devotion on Christ as Judge, Saturday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 27 October 2012, Anno Domini



Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. (Acts 10:42)
            Perhaps it is owing more to the doubt of the common inquirer that Christ would ever, in view of His great Compassion, exercise authority as a firm and unyielding Judge, than to any lack of confidence that He is ABLE to execute that judgment upon humanity. We constantly learn of His deep compassion and kindness in His miracles of healing, forgiveness, and grace; yet, the New Testament does not stop at these acts of mercy. If we will know the whole of His Person, we must read the whole of His Book. Truly, He is Judge of both the quick and the dead, but also an executor of wrath and vengeance upon those who are wicked and rebellious. The title of Judge, when applied to Christ, is no metaphor, for He is truly and actually Judge. He is, first of all, our Bondsman and Redeemer. Then He has become our Advocate at the Bar of God. Finally, He has become Judge of all things. Is anyone more qualified to Judge us under the Law than He who is the Author of that Law? The collective legal minds of Harvard pale before His Mind of Law and Justice. They may imitate His expertise, but can never attain to any approximation of it. He is the High Judge whose verdicts and decisions are not subject to appeal or review. If there is the least morsel of evidence that our hearts are motivated by love of God, He will not remember the sins on the docket. If He recognizes our hearts as having received and believed in His Holy Name, the evidence against us will be dismissed. Our Adversary (or prosecuting attorney), we are told, will not be present when we go before the Judgment Seat.
            You may deny the role of Christ as Judge by quoting from the following text: Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.  And yet if I judge, my judgment is true (John 8:14-16) In so doing, you would err in reading only the text that suited you. Christ came as Savior. His role as Savior ends when a man takes his final breath – then cometh the judgment:  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrew 9:27-28) Unto those who eagerly look for His Coming, these are those for whom there can be no dread of conviction by the Judge of hearts and Souls, Christ is Savior as long as time remains, but when that curtain of time is removed, He immediately becomes Judge.
            The Lord has been long suffering toward us. He is patient and loving, yet many are rebellious to His Face and reject all that He bled and died to grant. When our characters are completely incorrigible, they have become reprobate to God. We reject God's loving approach through the agency of Holy Spirit – His yearnings and His small still Voice – until, though these continue, we have grown dull of feeling and hearing. Speaking of hearing, I learned from a medical professional (who has a ministry to the dying) at a recent convocation that the last sense we lose at death is the sense of hearing. The last reality that the dying may experience are those words of love and prayer that are uttered at the point of death. It is almost as if the Lord delays His closing the door of salvation until the very last moment – for it is by hearing that we are led by faith. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17)
            When the righteous, at length, close their eyes in that long sleep, they go before Christ as righteous souls. It is not that Christ exempts these from the hard provisions of the law, for they have indeed committed sin. But He has washed those sins away by His redeeming love and grace at the moment of their conversion to Him. He does not overlook their sins – for they are no more. They come before Him with that imputed righteousness granted by Christ and His suffering once and for all. All who are under that blood of the Lamb, sacrificed from before the Foundation of the World, will have attained that legal righteousness granted in Christ who satisfied the Law on our behalf.
            Those who linger in the mud and vomit of their sins and depravity, and never come before the King with a repentant heart, shall face utter terror at the Coming of Christ. They are open belligerents to His Kingdom. At the time of His coming, the lines of battle are drawn and clear. We shall all stand on one side or the other. Those Remnant of Israel (all Christians of all time) shall be drawn into the Camp of the Saints as the legions of the Anti-Christ and His beastly system shall converge from the four quarters of the world to destroy this last outpost of faith and Godliness. Consider how small will that remnant be when they are surrounded by the evil forces of the whole world? It is never the quantity of belief, but the quality of belief, that gains favor with God. And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelations 20:7-10) After this momentous event, we are told, comes the White Throne Judgment. If your name is not found in the Book of Life, the Judge has no choice but to bind you over to Hell.
            If you know this Judge at the last Day, you will not fear or tremble. You know that He is full of Love and Truth. He has kept His Word to you through all the years of your following Him. He will not cast you out, or disown you. Can you imagine the terror of going before the Judge on that Last Day with the seal of "unbeliever", or "unregenerate", or "blasphemer" stamped in your forehead? Perish the thought! How will you go before the Judge of your Soul on that Day?     

Friday, October 26, 2012

Devotion on Christ as King and Sovereign, Friday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 26 October 2012, Anno Domini


Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

"….He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." (Revelation 17:14) 
            In so many ways  and terms are the attributes of the Lord Jesus Christ revealed as Sovereign, King, and Lord. The parameters of His Lordship are clearly described within the Gospels, Epistles, and every other portion of Holy Writ. All who fail to grasp the full Countenance of Christ in all His Glory and Truth are blinded by the World and its Prince of Darkness.
            A King is possessed of an Empire with borders, citizens, laws, and a system of justice. Being King of Kings, all of the kingdoms of the world are placed into His hands to govern with a rod of iron. To those citizens whose allegiance is spurious, His rule will be as a rod of chastisement and correction; but to those whose loyalties are stayed upon the Sun of Righteousness, that Rod of Iron will be as a scepter of comfort and security. His Kingdom will incorporate many lands, tribes, peoples and tongues – but the minds of all shall be One with Christ.
            What are the borders of this Kingdom? The borders of the Kingdom of Heaven are established by the Grant and Ancient Landmark of Grace. Wherever His Grace is granted, there are His borders. Such grace is granted out of a humble plea for mercy from a heart that is child-like in its nature.  Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3) Little children have rightful parents. The Christian must have a rightful parent in God. The child is like, in character and appearance, the Parent. So is the Christian Child endowed with the character and likeness of His Father, God. The Kingdoms of the World, having been surrendered to the King of Kings, are at peace except in those regions which are in active rebellion. The greater part of the world, though subject to the King of Kings, is in rebellion to its properly constituted Sovereign. The Great King sends His emissaries, or ministers, on missions to negotiate peace with these rebels of the world; but He negotiates out of strength only, and will accept no terms of peace apart from unconditional surrender.
            Kings are descendents of royal bloodlines. Christ is the descendent of the King of Heaven. He derives His power, not from His subjects, but from His Father in Heaven. All kings are given crowns to symbolize their power. Christ earned His MANY crowns by His purchase at Calvary.
            As was the case with the Kings of Persia, the command and edit of the King, once uttered, could not be nullified – even by the King himself. Christ speaks only truth, and truth cannot be nullified. His Law is Truth and is Immutable! The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment. (Proverbs 12:19)
            The King is due reverence and praise. Every citizen of the kingdom must bear true faith and allegiance to the sovereign power. So must every citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven bow down in reverence and swear allegiance to the King of Kings. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11) Moreover every citizen of a state must give account of himself before the law of conduct and tax. So it is true in the Kingdom of Heaven:  So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:12)
            A good king of this world will visit the remote provinces to ensure their peace and prosperity. Christ has done so, and continues to visit – not only every province but every citizen – to discover their well-being and joy. He has neither left nor forsaken you and me today, this morning, this hour, or this very minute.
            Every kingdom has a book of codified laws. So does the King of King issue His Code of Laws in the Ten Commandments and the greater Law of Love upon which those Ten are suspended. Rather than being written on tables of stone, those laws of love are written on the hearts of His subjects. And adjudicated by the Advocate at Law who died for those subjects.
            Kings are anointed to their station. So was Christ the Anointed of God the Father from time immemorial to come to a world that was in a state of belligerence and war with Heaven for the purpose of suffering the indignation and death of an Innocent Lamb without blemish to free those very men who crucified Him of their bondage in sin.
            Reader, are you within the borders of that Grace granted by God to all who place their trust in Him? Have you confessed your full allegiance and fealty to that Sovereign who died for you? Have you bowed the knee often in reverence for His Grace, Mercy, and Kingship? Have you become a naturalized citizen of heaven and renounced your former citizenship in the world? Does your conduct stand as evidence of that citizenship?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Devotion on Christ as the Daystar, Thursday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 25 October 2012, Anno Domini



Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Peter 1:19)
            God began, before there was a single eye to see, His Creation in darkness. A night of eternity past was ended when God spoke the words, "Let there be light!" and He spoke it in the nothingness of space that had never before existed, as well. That past night of eternity was suddenly ended with the Presence of the Triune God in a Space-Time Continuum that likewise was a new thing issuing from the Mind of God. But God inculcated His mark of Eternity upon His new Creation by combining night and day in alternate sequence – the Night to reflect Eternity Past, and the Day to mirror Eternity Future – for God is a coming Light, too. We are reminded, by His Work and His Word, of the unfathomable beauty, love, and power of that Mind which is full of LIGHT. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.(Gen 1:1-5) Note how God concludes EVERY subsequent day of Creation with the words, "…….and the evening and the morning was the ______day."
            God has created all of the physical universe to be limited in time and endurance. The earth itself, according to the Scriptures as well as the second law of thermodynamics, wears thin as a garment.  And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment (Heb 1:10-11) But God did not create the soul of man to perish. He has given life eternal to every soul; yet, the destination is widely at variance. Some will, by their own actions in rejecting God, be cast into the fires of Hell while others, who have sought and found the Light of Christ, shall enjoy an eternity of fellowship with God and His people.
            The whole of Creation has proceeded from a primordial darkness, gradually emerging into that Light that God has reserved for those who come to Him. The customary twelve hours of daylight was created as a temporary shadow of a greater and more grand day of Eternal Light. Just as God began each day of Creation in darkness (at night) so do we all travel a darkened path, with only nocturnal lights to guide us, in this life. The symbolism of our struggle is described in the poem of San Juan de la Cruz, as The Dark Night of the Soul. All on earth are born with those natures of sin and darkness passed on to us from Adam. We grope about as drunken men as we seek to find joy and comfort in a cold, dark world devoid of joy and true happiness.  All of our efforts to improve our condition are pitifully hopeless. We yearn for an unseen Hand of Comfort, but know not from whence it cometh. At some point, we realize the Light is somewhere beyond and above us. God, through His grace and mercy, opens our eyes to Light just as He opened Hagars eyes to the Fountain in the Wilderness. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2) The Old Testament prophets and faithful looked, as did Abraham, to that coming Light of God, and found it in the fullness of time in the Lord Jesus Christ.
            God the Father knew full well that the genius of His Creation (MAN) must have a free mind and a free will if He would be able to love his fellows as well as God. He knew full well, too, that such a mind and will, constantly enticed and intrigued by the world and its Prince, would not be capable of living in full obedience to the Hand that made him.  So in the Council of Heaven, convened in Eternity Past, God prepared for our salvation by grace, and not by law, through the agency of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ! As the men from Adam to Mary and Joseph slumbered and stumbled in the meager lights of promise and hope – those lesser lights of the moon and stars – they came to know that their only hope must come from God and not their ability to be righteous under the terms of the Law of God. Now, would burst upon their souls that Light described in Malachi 4:2 - But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. This is the same Light described in Isaiah 9:2 above and Matthew 4:16, 17 -  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
            Deserts are desolate places. In the desert, water is rare, and vegetation scarce. There are few comforts to be had in the desert. But when travelling for hundreds of miles in the deserts of Iran (Persia), I discovered that the night stars were more brilliant and aided in my travel by illuminating my path than in more fertile lands. So the stars, especially the Morning Star of God, aid in our transport across our dark night of spiritual enlightenment. But what of the morning? What of that brilliant and unmatchable Daystar when it arises – the Sun of Righteousness? It leaves no shadow of doubt or dismay. Christ is truly the Daystar from on high! While men once walked by mere hope and faith, we now have "a more sure word of prophecy". In fact, we have the witness of the accomplished promise in Christ. If that Daystar which is Christ has arisen in your hearts, then those hearts could not be more full of light. There will be no dark corners, and no doubts, as to the path we must walk. The time comes when He is no longer the Bright and Morning Star only, but the brilliant Daystar (Sun) that vanquishes every shadow and every doubt. He came to my heart in His brightness in the tender hours of the morning – long before the created sun could arise. He lighted my heart and my mind, and made me see His beauty this early dawn of morning. He does so for all who place their trust in Him. Have you done so, dear Reader?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Devotion on Christ as the Seed of Promise, Wednesday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 24 October 2012, Anno Domini



Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

15 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)
23 Of this man's seed (David) hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus  (Acts 13:23)
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 (Romans 4:13)
6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:6-8)
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (1 Cor 15:45-49)
            The ways of God are past finding out by man, the crown of His Creation. All of man's logic and laws are so far short of the great purpose and will of God that they appear as a gossamer silk scarf when stricken by the saber of the Saracen Guard. Man's law and logic yield immediately before that of God. It has always been a principle of many lands, including the Holy Land, that the eldest son is the beneficiary of all that His father possesses, or at least the greater portion of his holdings. But this law is null and void in the eyes of God.
            When Eve was seduced in the Garden at Eden, and Adam, knowingly, partook of her sin, God immediately set in play His mighty plan for Redemption through a Redeemer. Adam was the federal head of all of humanity. We all alike have our descent from these ancient parents who brought sin and death upon all of their progeny – but not their human progeny alone, but upon every beast of the field, and all other living of nature. Being rightful heirs of our father, Adam, we deserve to die in our sinful natures of which we bear the very marks in our characters and being.  Adam was the first son of God according to biblical lines of descent, though he was a created being. (Luke 3:38) In legal parlance and custom, it would seem that the first human father should have preeminence over all others, and he does insofar as the inherited nature of sin is concerned; however, God would send another Son of a completely different character – a Son of His own Substance and Nature – the Lord Jesus Christ. So Adam was the first son who sinned willfully, but Christ is the second Son who was perfect and pure and willing to die a substitutionary death to cover our sins. He is the Seed of Promise made reference to in Genesis 3:15, Romans 9:6-8, and 1 Cor 15:45-49. If we have received His redeeming grace by faith and promise, we have become Children of Abraham and of Promise.
            It baffles mankind to observe how God seems to overlook, always  the first-born and favor the second. Cain was the first-born of Eve, yet he was a murderer. Ishmael was the first-born of Abraham, but yet Isaac was considered the seed of promise (for he truly was. Ishmael came through an act of adultery). Later, Esau was the first-born of Isaac, yet he traded his birthright, foolishly, for that which would only temporarily appease his appetite – a bowl of red porridge. So the birthright blessing passed on to Jacob and his descendants.  Order of physical birth has no preeminence with God – only the new birth in His Promised Seed, Jesus Christ, will the blessing of God be granted.
            Jesus came in the line of descent from the second king of Israel, King David. The first King, Saul, was not faithful to God. Even Joseph was the first-born son of the favored wife, Rachel, of Jacob. So the mathematics of God is quite different from ours. We may sit and calculate the odds and the possibilities ad infinitum, but the Sovereign Will of God is unbreakable by our meager figures.
            Even the Lord Jesus Christ had an immediate Forerunner to proclaim His Coming – John the Baptist! And the Books of God are divided, as well, into two separate, yet consistent, works – the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament summarizes the law and man's failure thereunder. In fact, the very last word of the Old Testament is "CURSE" for the terms of the law are a curse to man. But the blessings of God are found in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ of the second Testament!  Man can never be righteous under the terms of that law. The law was a schoolteacher and a mirror to our souls so that we might behold our complete hopelessness before God in righteous endeavor.  Once we had learned that reality under the struggles of those of the Old Testament period, we were made to know that we were helpless without a Savior. That Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, came in the fullness of time to Redeem us – even under the terms of that Law which condemned us. He satisfied the terms of the Law that we might be reckoned as righteous before God with that imputed righteousness that only Christ could grant.
            Are you, Reader, yet under the condemnation of the Law; or have you become a Child of that Promised Seed – Jesus Christ?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Devotion on the Collect for the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity - 23 October 2012, Anno Domini



Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O
 ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Cor 3:17-18)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
            Certainly, God is full of goodness for He is all-in-all, and there is no imperfection our impurity in Him. Therefore, His goodness is bountiful! Every good and perfect gift comes down from God. (James 1:17) James does not say, `some', or `most', but ALL good gifts! These gifts include life, joy, love, friends, family, church, and health. If it is GOOD, it is from GOD!
            This Gelasian collect was modified somewhat by Archbishop Cranmer to avoid any seeming allusion to the Romish doctrine of transubstantiation.  He, therefore, substituted "of thy bountiful goodness" in lieu of the term, "being propitiated."  The latter would imply an on-going sacrifice which the Romans believe they do by the sacrifice of the Mass. We, and the Reformers, denounce such a doctrine as wholly error. If the Roman church sacrifices Christ anew in every Mass, they are renouncing the singular worthiness of Christ's sacrifice for us at Calvary. O ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us, or, as the Roman Church would phrase the second part – thy on-going propitiation (sacrifice)!
The Roman Church irreverently leaves the Lord Jesus Christ perpetually on the cross (crucifix). For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1Peter 3:18)  Please observe how the Roman doctrine rejects the clear Word of God with their doctrine of transubstantiation:  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:  Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:  So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:24-28) As you can clearly see, Christ made that full and complete sacrifice once and for all – for those past sins, as well as those future.  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. (Hebrew 6:6) Even a too frequent observance of Holy Communion reduces the reverence and solemnity of that memorial which we make in the spiritual Presence of our Lord in the Communion Service. The notion that a weekly Communion must be observed is an error taken from Romish practice meaning that we need a very frequent observance to cover our sins – this was never the intention of Christ in instituting the Supper of the Lord.
I believe that it was for the above reasons that our courageous founding Bishop, James Parker Dees, refrained from weekly Communions.
The Collect then petitions God to keep us from all things that may hurt us. These are not past sins, but present ones, and other dangers. "…….keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us" If Christ is the Captain and Pilot of your ship, He will never steer you into the shoals and reefs.
            "….that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest In order to be ready in both body and soul, we must be conformed to that Mind which was in Christ. The only liberty known to man is made available only in Christ. The lost are not at liberty at all. They are under the bondage of sin. We must have faith, but that faith must be in the Lord and not our own might, or that of men. The faith must not be small. As our faith grows in Christ after our coming to Him, it increases with our continual sanctification. It is then that all things commanded by the Lord become a joy to perform, and are possible through Him.
            Too often, men remember those inferior and meaningless laws and traditions of men, rather than the clear intent of Christ in obeying only those things He has commanded.  Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:7-9)
            If we practice traditions from polluted sources, our worship will, likewise, be polluted with the commandments of men and not of God. Which do you practice?