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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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Can you change the world?

Change starts with you and in the here and now.  If you don't, who will?
The answer is yes; though you may not know it at the time!

Gene McVay

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two-year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa-to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area.

This was a huge step of faith. At the village of N’dolera they were rebuffed by the chief, who would not let them enter his town for fear of alienating the local gods. The two couples opted to go half a mile up the slope and build their own mud huts’.

They prayed for a spiritual breakthrough, but there was none. The only contact with the villagers was a young boy, who was allowed to sell them chickens and eggs twice a week. Svea Flood-a tiny woman only four feet, eight inches tall-decided that if this was the only African she could talk to, she would try to lead the boy to Jesus. And in fact, she succeeded. But there were no other encouragements. Meanwhile, malaria continued to strike one member of the little band after another. In time the Ericksons decided they had had enough suffering and left to return to the central mission station. David and Svea Flood remained near N’dolera to go on alone. Then, of all things, Svea found herself pregnant in the middle of the primitive wilderness. When the time came for her to give birth, the village chief softened enough to allow a midwife to help her. A little girl was born, whom they named Aina. The delivery, however, was exhausting, and Svea Flood was already weak from bouts of malaria. The birth process was a heavy blow to her stamina. She lasted only another seventeen days. Inside David Flood, something snapped in that moment. He dug a crude grave, buried his twenty-seven-year-old wife, and then took his children back down the mountain to the mission station. Giving his newborn daughter to the Ericksons, he snarled, “I’m going back to Sweden. I’ve lost my wife, and I obviously can’t take care of this baby. God has ruined my life.” With that, he headed for the port, rejecting not only his calling, but God himself. Within eight months both the Ericksons were stricken with a mysterious malady and died within days of each other. The baby was then turned over to some American missionaries, who adjusted her Swedish name to “Aggie” and eventually brought her back to the United States at age three.

This family loved the little girl and were afraid that if they tried to return to Africa, some legal obstacle might separate her from them. So they decided to stay in their home country and switch from missionary work to pastoral ministry. And that is how Aggie grew up in South Dakota. As a young woman, she attended North Central Bible College in Minneapolis. There she met and married a young man named Dewey Hurst.

Years passed. The Hursts enjoyed a fruitful Ministry. Aggie gave birth first to a daughter, then a son. In time her husband became president of a Christian college in the Seattle area, and Aggie was intrigued to find so much Scandinavian heritage there. One day a Swedish religious magazine appeared in her mailbox. She had no idea who had sent it, and of course she couldn’t read the words. But as she turned the pages, all of a sudden a photo stopped her cold. There in a primitive setting was a grave with a white cross-and on the cross were the words SVEA FLOOD. Aggie jumped in her car and went straight for a college faculty member who, she knew, could translate the article. “What does this say?” she demanded. The instructor summarized the story: It was about missionaries who had come to N’dolera long ago … the birth of a white baby … the death of the young mother … the one little African boy who had been led to Christ … and how, after the whites had all left, the boy had grown up and finally persuaded the chief to let him build a school in the village. The article said that gradually he won all his students to Christ… the children led their parents to Christ… even the chief had become a Christian. Today there were six hundred Christian believers in that one village…. All because of the sacrifice of David and Svea Flood. For the Hursts’ twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, the college presented them with the gift of a vacation to Sweden.

There Aggie sought to find her real father. An old man now, David Flood had remarried, fathered four more children, and generally dissipated his life with alcohol. He had recently suffered a stroke. Still bitter, he had one rule in his family: “Never mention the name of God- because God took everything from me. After an emotional reunion with her half brothers and half sister, Aggie brought up the subject of seeing her father. The others hesitated. “You can talk to him,” they replied, “even though he’s very ill now. But you need to know that whenever he hears the name of God, he flies into a rage. Aggie was not to be deterred. She walked into the squalid apartment, with liquor bottles everywhere, and approached the seventy-three-year-old man lying in a rumpled bed. “Papa~” she said tentatively. He turned and began to cry. “Aina,” he said. “I never meant to give you away.” “It’s all right, Papa,” she replied, taking him gently in her arms. “God took care of me.” The man instantly stiffened. The tears stopped. “God forgot all of us. Our lives have been like this because of Him.” He turned his face back to the wall. Aggie stroked his face and then continued, undaunted. “Papa, I’ve got a little story to tell you, and it’s a true one. You didn’t go to Africa in vain. Mama didn’t die in vain. The little boy you won to the Lord grew up to win that whole village to Jesus Christ. The one seed you planted just kept growing and growing. Today there are six hundred African people serving the Lord because you were faithful to the call of God in your life. … Papa, Jesus loves you. He has never hated you.” The old man turned back to look into his daughter’s eyes. His body relaxed. He began to talk. And by the end of the afternoon, he had come back to the God he had resented for so many decades. Over the next few days, father and daughter enjoyed warm moments together. Aggie and her husband soon had to return to America-and within a few weeks, David Flood had gone into eternity.


A few years later, the Hursts were attending a high-level evangelism conference in London, England, when a report was given from the nation of Zaire (the former Belgian Congo). The superintendent of the national church, representing some 110,000 baptized believers, spoke eloquently of the gospel’s spread in his nation. Aggie could not help going to ask him afterward if he had ever heard of David and Svea Flood. “Yes, madam,” the man replied in French, his words then being translated into English. “It was Svea Flood who led me to Jesus Christ. I was the boy who brought food to your parents before you were born. In fact, to this day your mother’s grave and her memory are honored by all of us.” He embraced her in a long, sobbing hug. Then he continued, “You must come to Africa to see, because your mother is the most famous person in our history.” In time that is exactly what Aggie Hurst and her husband did. They were welcomed by cheering throngs of villagers. She even met the man who had been hired by her father many years before to carry her back down the mountain in a hammock-cradle. The most dramatic moment, of course, was when the pastor escorted Aggie to see her mother’s white cross for herself. She knelt in the soil to pray and give thanks. Later that day, in the church, the pastor read from John 12:24: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” He then followed with Psalm 126:5: “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

Devotion on Book of Colossians (Chapter 4 v7-18) - 31 May 2014, Anno Domini
 (Ascensiontide)

(Anno Domini, abbreviated AD or A.D. expressly complies with Isaiah 61:2 & Luke 4:19, i.e. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Isaiah 61:2)




7 All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: 8 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts; 9 With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here. 10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) 11 And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you. 15 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house. 16 And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it. 18 The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen. (Col 4:7-18)

            In the concluding verses of Colossians, Paul gives recognition to those who have been with him in Rome (vs 7-14), to the brothers and sisters at Colosse (v 15), gives command to the Church at Colosse (vs 16-17), and issues his benediction at the last (v 17).

            CO-WORKERS: Paul includes greetings from the eight fellow believers who have been such a boon to his labors at Rome: Tychicus (7-8), Onesimus (9), Aristarchus & Mark (10), Justus (11), Epaphras (12-13), and Luke & Demas (14).

            Tychicus: “All my state shall Tychicus declare unto you, who is a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellowservant in the Lord: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that he might know your estate, and comfort your hearts.” What admirable qualities Paul ascribes to Tychicus – beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow-servant in the Lord. The Army of God is like unto armies of land warfare in many points.  Tychicus serves the role of intelligence officer. Paul has sent him to Colosse as an embodiment, in person, of those qualities he represented to Paul in Rome. First of all, Tychicus is sent to learn the condition of the Church at Colosse. You may wonder what Paul would do if the Church seems to be struggling on the brink of oblivion. Please remember that Paul began this chapter with an exhortation to pray for each other. If the report is unfavorable, Paul will pray, and enlist other believers to pray, for the Lord’s blessing on the Church of Colosse. Secondly, Tychicus is sent to report the circumstances of Paul and the Church at Rome. Each element of an army needs to know the disposition of its headquarters and maintain communication therewith.  So does each element of the Church need to maintain communication (fellowship) with all other elements of its branches.

            Paul was not only a soul-winner, but a maker of friends. He desires to know how his friends (brethren and sisters) are doing in the mission field. Should we not bear the same interest?

            Onesimus: “With Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They shall make known unto you all things which are done here.” Remember Onesimus? Once a run-away slave (Philemon), Onesimus is now a friend and fellow minister with Paul. Backgrounds from our former lives fade into obscurity when we come to know the Lord. Nothing is impossible with God our Father. Onesimus was from Colosse and very able to identify intimately with the people. When we visit our churches abroad, we have a deep interest in how they are faring; but we also share, in detail, how we are faring. This enables us to pray for one another with knowledge.

            Aristarchus & Mark: “Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)  Interesting that Paul mentions these two together. If we review Acts 13, we see that Barnabas and Paul had taken John Mark on their first missionary journey. The youthful Mark seems to have forsaken the trip mid way and gone home. On the next trip, a division between Barnabas and Paul arose when Barnabas desired again to take Mark. The two separated at that point; however, we see that the mission of Barnabas and Mark was successful and now Paul recognizes the fact. Regardless of our past failures in the service of God, there is always a new Spring coming.

            Justus: “And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.” Justus, Aristarchus, and Onesimus were all a great help and comfort to Paul. They were Jews converted to Christ. When we walk in the Church doors, we should not be greeted with whispers behind our backs, inquiries about our shabby appearance, or inquiries of an unpleasant nature. How should we greet and treat one another in Church? Let God answer: “29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Eph 4:29-32)

            Epaphras: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis.” Did you notice that prayer is also a labor? It is so often a comfort, but it is also a labor of love and an obligation to pray on behalf of your fellow believers. Do you? Though Epaphras is in Rome, his prayers reach across the miles to Asia Minor and benefits the Church at Colosse, Laodicea, and Hieropolis. Not only does a man bear his testimony in the work of the Lord, but others must recognize that testimony as well (as does Paul here).

            Luke & Demas: “Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.” Luke was called the “beloved physician” by Paul. Paul was able to heal miraculously, so why the need for a physician? Because Paul knew the apostolic gifts would soon end and the learned skills of the physician would be used of God for healing. Luke was not only a physician, but a scribe as well for Paul. Luke was trained and qualified to heal the body through his physician’s skills, and the soul through his teaching of the Gospel. These two send their greetings to their brothers and sisters in Colosse. Did you of the AOC know that you have family relations in the Solomon Islands, in Fiji, in the Philippines, in Pakistan, in India, in Africa, in South America, and in Canada – not to mention the islands of the Caribbean?  (Altogether, in more than twenty-two countries around the world). The sun never sets on the AOC.

            PAUL’S GREETING: At present, we have several churches in Africa top which we should send greetings and prayer, to those in Pakistan, in India, and elsewhere. “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” And, may I add, the Church in India, in Pakistan, in Africa, in South America, in Canada, and the Islands of the Sea.

            PAUL’S COUNSEL: “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from LaodiceaAnd say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

1) Read this letter of Paul’s to the Church at Colosse;
2) Read it to the Church at Laodicea; 
3) Read the letter Paul wrote to the Church of Laodicea to the Church at Colosse. The Gospel truth must go round and round; and
4) Tell Archippus to be sure to continue in that ministry to which he has been called of the Lord.

How often do ministers come to us as wolves in sheep’s clothing claiming the Lord has called them to our Church? After much time and expense, we learn that they would steal away the flock to some other church whose doctrines are alien to both the Christian faith and thus the AOC. Keep on the path that the Lord has set your feet, or do you believe the Lord mistakenly called you to the wrong ministry?


            PAUL’S BENEDICTION: “The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen” How strongly should we remember our brothers and sisters in bonds? “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Heb 13:3) Paul is a believer in the grace of God. He opens his Epistle with a salutation of grace (Col 1-2) and he closes it with a benediction of grace. Perhaps we should follow his example in all our writings and conversations.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Devotion on Book of Colossians (Chapter 4 v1-6) - 30 May 2014, Anno Domini
 (Ascensiontide)

(Anno Domini, abbreviated AD or A.D. expressly complies with Isaiah 61:2 & Luke 4:19, i.e. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Isaiah 61:2)




1 Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. 
2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; 3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. (Col 4:1-6)

            In our last devotion, we discussed the duties and obligations of wives, husbands, children, fathers, and servants. That devotion is actually concluded in the first verse of the next chapter (4) concerning MASTERS. Paul is referring to any earthly master who has authority or responsibility over some aspect of your life as a student, an employee, or a soldier. But in the greater sense, there is only one who is your Master, and that is the Lord. All human laws are subordinate to His Supreme Law. We are forever counseled to obey God and not man (or man’s government) when it contrasts with that Supreme Law of God. An earthly master is not someone who is necessarily ‘better’ than another. He is simply someone who has been assigned a position of authority in government, business, education, etc. We are all, in some respect, masters and servants.

            How should masters treat their subjects? They should treat them, of course, in the same way that they would wish to be treated if the roles were reversed. The golden rule is expansive and has application to every aspect of life. If a master treats EVERY subject with the same care as he would like to be treated, there can be not inequality of treatment among his charges.  It requires a high level of Godly conscience to be a master and not one who discriminates. It would be wiser to avoid the role if we cannot live up to its standard: “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1) A teacher (or master) has a grave responsibility to not only know well the subject, but possess the elocution of imparting that knowledge to his student.

            Now we will examine a new area of Paul’s counsel to the Colossians in verses 2-6. He counsels regarding 1) Prayer; 2) Watchfulness; 3) Gratitude; and 4) Bearing Fruit.

            PRAYER: Paul counsels to “Continue in prayer” for themselves and for the Church at Colosse. “Charity begins at home” is a rule that applies personally in prayer. Unless we have prayed for light and guidance in our own lives, of what benefit will our prayers be for others? We are to be always in an attitude of prayer. Our lives are literally walking prayers. There is a time to exhort, to preach, to teach, to engage in the labors of life – but there is also, as did Christ, a time to resort to the mountain (quiet place apart) for prayer. Prayer fortifies the soul of man and brings him into communion with God. Prayer truly opens our eyes to what God wants for us and causes us to subordinate our desires to His. It is, as well, a seeking for wisdom.

            Secondly, Paul being a prisoner in Rome, seeks – and NEEDS – prayers for himself that the Word of the Lord will go out from the very headquarters of mammon. “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: 4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” (Col 4:3-4) Preaching is as a two-edged sword that either convicts or condemns. Either way, it satisfies the justice, or mercy, of God. Making the mysteries Christ and His Gospel known in the very seat of anti-Christ is essential. Perchance, some mind and heart may be turned to Christ but, if not, those hearers can never come before the Judgment Seat declaring that “Nobody ever told us!” Christians need to hold each other up in prayer. Prayer sustains from any distance. And we especially need to hold up the ministers of God in prayer – that they will speak courageously the truth of the Gospel, that they will not be tempted to compromise with the world, that they will stand strong in the day of reckoning.

            WATCHFULNESS: “watch in the same with thanksgiving.” This subject area follows hard on the heels of the first – PRAYER.  Watchfulness must attend prayer in times of stress and danger. As Jesus said to His disciples: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:41) So we see that watchfulness complements prayer. We must keep on guard against temptation, and then pray for the Lord’s help in rejecting it. Prayer strengthens the soul while watchfulness protects both body and soul. We are not only to keep watch against threats to our own souls, but those which threaten the souls of others. A dedicated watchman may save a city and a nation. “And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” (Ezek 22:30) It is often the case that one solitary patriot may save thousands and millions from ruin.

            GRATITUDE: Gratitude will garner more blessings than the plow will do for the farmer. Ingratitude stifles the fountain of blessings. A father loves to give wonderful gifts to his little daughter – the Apple of his Eye. But if the girl is not appreciative, she will care little for even the gift.

The first principle is to love the giver more than the gift. I read a story once about a little girl who saw some cheap, imitation pearls in a grocery checkout line. She begged her mother for the imitation pearls, but her mother said, “Lucy, nothing comes at without cost. You must save your allowance money to buy those gaudy pearls if you want them.” Lucy saved her allowance for the next three weeks and proudly purchased the false string of pearls. She loved that one necklace more than any other of her possessions. She never took them off except to bathe and to sleep. At night, she would lay them on the nightstand next to her bed. Her father, who came in and kissed her “goodnight” each evening felt badly about the pearls that the girl treasured so – they were too cheap for his daughter. One night, he entered and kissed her good night and asked, as he always did, “Do you love Daddy more than anything, Lucy?” Lucy responded, as she always did, “Of course, Daddy. You know I do!” He then asked, “Do you love me enough to give me your pearl necklace?” The girl’s countenance fell as she answered, “Anything, Daddy, but my pearl necklace. I love it most of all.” The father did this every night with the same results for about a month. Finally, the little girl began to feel guilty. What was a cheap pearl necklace compared to her father. So the next night, the father came in and kissed Lucy ‘good night’ and asked if she loved her Daddy more than anything.” Lucy responded that she did. He father than asked, “Will you give me the pearl necklace?” Lucy was sad that she had placed such a higher value on the necklace than her father. “Yes, Daddy, I love you more than anything. ….you can have the pearl necklace.” The father smiled as he took the ‘treasured necklace’ and said, “Well, my little darling, that is what I have been waiting to hear.” He then reached in his pocket and pulled out a fine string of genuine pearls as a necklace for the girl. He needed only to know that the girl appreciated him more than a cheap necklace. God often has the genuine article waiting for us if we will only love Him and be thankful.

BEARING FRUIT: “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” This is repeated throughout Holy Scripture. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph 5:15-16) We must not counter the influence of Holy living by exercising severe and unkind judgment against those who are without the Church. We are to judge WITHIN the Church but forgiven indiscretions of those who are unbelievers and know not better how to conduct themselves. “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?” (1 Cor 5:12)

            Quite often, a good minister is faulted for the few people who populate the pews of a parish. The minister is the under-shepherd of the sheep. Shepherds do not give birth to sheep – sheep do give birth to other sheep. If the Word of God is preached in truth and force from the pulpits, it is the responsibility of the people of the parish to let that be known to the community. If you disparage the preacher, who would desire to come and listen to him; but, if he holds up the Lord with well-delivered sermons – not read word-for-word – then perhaps we should let others know to come and share in the blessings. We bear fruit by producing other Christians and informing the world of the great Lord who made them.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Devotion on Book of Colossians (Chapter 3 v18-25) - 29 May 2014, Anno Domini
 (Ascensiontide)

(Anno Domini, abbreviated AD or A.D. expressly complies with Isaiah 61:2 & Luke 4:19, i.e. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Isaiah 61:2)




18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. 22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (Col 3:18-25)

            We might consider today’s text to deal with the family – both physical and divine. The issues are so large in all of Scripture that we may only skim the surface in addressing the magnitude of meaning in this devotion. I believe Paul begins with the most important and continues to the lesser. He begins with a role model of the Church – WIVES (and mothers).

            “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.”This verse has, in my humble opinion, been grossly misinterpreted to mean blind obedience to the husband – it does not mean that! The wife is to submit herself to her husband only insofar as it is “fit in the Lord.” An alcoholic or abusive husband is NOT fit in the Lord. The husband should be a man of high integrity who sets the example in love and sacrifice for his wife. Regardless the politically correct crowd, women and men are different in nature and talents. I am free of personal culpability in this matter since I only expound on Scripture. If you disagree, with which part of God’s Holy Word do you disagree?

            A woman has a trusting and nurturing heart that is naturally inclined to the sympathies required by children. She believes the best always, and prepares for the worst. In the Garden at Eden, Eve trusted beyond the limits of wisdom. She went before the tree that the Lord had warned against. She stopped before the tree, and then she engaged with the devil there in conversation. She was beguiled (seduced) by the serpent. She trusted without discretion and paid a heavy price for it. “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.(Gen 3:16) She truly was deceived while Adam was not deceived. “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 4 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim 2:12-14) Women are easily deceived because they truly want to trust others. It is part of their natures. This is one of the reasons that women are not called as ordained ministers. They are susceptible to being deceived by smooth talking jackals. But the strength and loyalty of a woman is also in her trusting nature. If her husband is a good man and Godly, she will trust without restraint, and cause her husband to be successful in both religion and life.

            Paul is simply restating a principle that permeates Scripture from beginning to end. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.(Eph 5:22-24) The role of a wife is to keep the home fires burning and in raising Godly children. I wonder what responsibility could be greater than the latter. The fate of rulers and of nations depends upon it. As old adage goes, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”  (William Ross Wallace) I will add that only insofar as a man is Godly and respectful to his wife, is the wife to submit to her husband. The wife submits as unto the Lord. That is out of righteous treatment and love that the Lord treats her – so she responds in kind. Notice that Paul does not say for the wife to love the husband. If the man is good and true, that is a given.

            “19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” I am afraid that the greater liability is laid squarely upon the shoulders of the husband! To begin with, if a man does not love his wife, why on earth did he marry her? True love does not wane. The husband is certainly commanded to love the wife. Why is not the same true for the wife? Think deeply of the institution of marriage as a type of the Church. If you will recall that Christ is the Bridegroom and the Christian Church the Bride, you will see a striking example of what the husband only is required to love the wife. Why would the Church love Christ, and why would a wife love the husband? “We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Manly love of a husband will always be reciprocated by the delicate heart of the wife. Does it not seem as an over-simplification to command the husband to love the wife? It is not. It is the degree of love that makes this commandment profound. “22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” (Eph 5:22-25) Even though we were sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us. Even if a wife nags and causes discontent, much love is required for the husband to lay down his life for the wife.

            I fear that I may make enemies in both the male and female camps through this commentary on husbands and wives. In the case that the husbands are feeling smug and content at the submission of the wives to their moral authority (if it is not moral, it is not authority), allow me to direct your attention to this passage which Paul stipulates in the verse immediately preceding the one which calls upon the wife to submit herself to her husband (in the Lord): “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” (Eph 5:21)

            “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.” There are a number of fitting reasons for Paul’s counsel here. First and foremost, it is, as Paul stipulates, pleasing to the Lord. It is also one of the great Commandments.  “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Ex 20:12) Though this Commandment is the fifth of the Ten, yet it is the deciding Commandment between our duties to God and our obligations to our fellow men. The Commandment has a dual application to our father and mother on earth as well as our Father in Heaven.  It also promises a long life to its adherents. The first four clearly direct our duties to God, the last five, our duties to man, and the fifth our duties to both. Is not God our parent if He is our Father? Children learn respect for God by learning respect for their parents. Perhaps this is why the modern church in America is in such a shambles today.

            “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” God does not tempt His children, and neither should we. God may TRY us in the same way that we TRY our children, but He never acts out of personal animosity or with frivolous abandon.

            “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” If we are servants, we must act as good servants, knowing that our service and character will reflect well upon the Lord whom we serve. If our masters are also Christian, there ceases to be a master/servant relationship for we are then near kinsmen in Christ. All that we do is to the glory of God, so we will not conduct ourselves immorally or as a sluggard.

            Men gain advantage against the law in the political world, but not in the Kingdom of Heaven. God will not look with favor upon backbiting and intrigue of His people. Sins may always be forgiven, but sin creates lasting scars. Our Lord Jesus Christ still bears the scars of the whip, the nails, the thorns, and the nails in His body. It was our sins – yours and mine – that graved those scars upon His sinless person. “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Though He loves us dearly, God will not overlook sins of bitterness and revenge among His people. If we persist in these, we may be called home short of our expected time; or we may not be so blessed with a crown of righteousness. Have you made any scars on the soft heart of a child, a lady, or a fellow man of late? Before you go to the Table of the Lord, set that offense straight insofar as in you lieth.


Bishop’s Letter – Ascension Day - 29 May 2014, Anno Domini



9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.  (Acts 1:9-11)

When I was just a very young boy, I loved to go out in the sage fields near our mountain home on sunny autumn days and just lie there looking at the high, white, puffy clouds. The only sound was the chill-autumn wind and an occasional distant droning of an aircraft. Though I have always loved planes, my curious attention was more focused on those mysterious clouds – so very high, and constantly changing. I wondered what they were made of, and how they kept from falling. I imagined some figure in every cloud. In those days, I had an unbounded imagination. I saw generals on horseback, sabers drawn, fixed in time during the charge against the enemy.

Sometimes, I thought I saw angels, or castles, and every other object that occupies the imagination of youth. I was unaware, at that age, of the majesty and glory of one particular cloud that hovered over Mount Olivet outside the gates of Jerusalem, and overlooking the village of His friends – Bethany - some two thousand years ago. It was a very special cloud, unlike any others that had ever formed. It did not appear as different from any other cloud. The thing that made it special was that which the cloud was privileged to receive – our Lord Jesus Christ.  The same is true of the heart of man. We may not often tell by looks, but the difference is in whether that heart, like the cloud, has received the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord knows because He is One who looks upon the heart and not the outward appearance.

Jesus came into the world – into Time and Space – to work out His wonderful plan of redemption for us. He came from the Eternal Halls of Heaven into a world that had rejected Him and grown gross in sin and sparing of beauty. Upon the completion of His atoning sacrifice, He rose from the grave and, at the appointed time, ascended back into that Eternity into which no man can look from his platform on this sphere. I refer to that great Church Calendar event of Ascension Day. It occurs always on the 40th day past Easter Sunday (on Thursday).  The Ascension of Christ is one of the five major milestones recorded in the gospels of the Life of Christ and is re-confirmed in both the Nicene and the Apostles Creeds.

Just before He was taken up in bodily form, the Lord spoke to the eleven Apostles (and to you and me): “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”  (Luke 24:46-49) All who believe have been endued with that “Power from on High – the Holy Ghost!” The leading question that should grip your heart is this: Have we, each clergy and laity, preached the Gospel of Christ, and the repentance and remission of sins, to every remunerative audience? Is the Gospel that we preach the full Gospel and not diluted with the soiled hands of translators and critics? THAT is the question, friend.

As Christ ascended from Mount Olivet, He was received into that blessed cloud – out of the sight, for a time, of all beholders – but not out of mind or Spirit. That same cloud that received Christ shall be seen again at the return of Christ. We have God’s promise on that: “. . . behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” To the weathered seaman, clouds building in the East may not be welcomed, but to those who grow and produce crops, such clouds would be a welcome harbinger of plenty. To the Christian, we should remember that cloud that received Christ when we look into the heavens. We should remember, as well, that One (King of Kings and Lord of Lords) shall receive you into that same Cloud of Glory at His return.  Remember that cloud in which God appeared on Mt Sinai in the days of Moses (Ex 19:18); that Cloud (Pillar) of Fire by Night and Smoke by Day that followed Israel in the Wilderness (And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. Ex 13:21-22); and remember that cloud that covered the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration to protect their frailty from the Bright Glory of God – “While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.” (Luke 9:34-35) Here, as in the last day, the disciples were WITH Christ in the Cloud. Any clouds in YOUR forecast, friend?
Jerry L. Ogles
Presiding Bishop

Anglican Orthodox Worldwide Communion

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Devotion on Book of Colossians (Chapter 3 v12-17) - 28 May 2014, Anno Domini


(Anno Domini, abbreviated AD or A.D. expressly complies with Isaiah 61:2 & Luke 4:19, i.e. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” (Isaiah 61:2)




12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Col 3:12-17)

            We are ask, in many places of Holy Scripture, to “put on” some intangible thing such as the Mind of Christ, the whole armor of God, or, as here given, to put on kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, etc. What does Paul mean by this term, “put on?” A soldier is not a soldier unless he “puts on” a uniform – otherwise, he is accounted an insurgent or partisan without the protection of the laws of land warfare. General George Patton believed that a soldier must dress and look like a soldier or he will become a sluggard. We always feel more suited to the purpose if our dress is appropriate to it. If we dress reverently when we enter the sanctuary of the church, we will be more disposed to act with reverence. If we dress as a street bum, then we will be inclined to act as we dress.

            Paul is speaking here of the “ELECT” of God. What does this term (elect) mean? It means “called and chosen.” If we are called of God, we must make our election sure through the way in which the Holy Ghost inspires us to live a life that reflects salvation. Do we give mere lip service to God’s Word, or do we study diligently to see if all these things be true.  If we love the LOVE LETTER (Holy Bible) that God has given us, will we not first love its Author? Are we not saved by Grace through Faith so that none of our cunning works are anything worth? “ Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded .” (Romans 11:5-7)

Here is an explanation given by H.A. Ironsides: “Election has been has been pictured in this way. Here is a vast host of people hurrying down the broad road with their minds fixed upon their sins, and one stands calling attention to yonder door, the entrance into the narrow way that leads to life eternal. On it is plainly depicted the text, "Whosoever will, let him come." Every man is invited; no one need hesitate. Some may say, "Well, I may not be of the elect, and so it would be useless for me to endeavor to come, for the door will not open for me." But God's invitation is absolutely sincere; it is addressed to every man, "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely" (Rev. 22: 17). If men refuse to come, if they pursue their own godless way down to the pit, whom can they blame but themselves for their eternal judgment? The messenger addressed himself to all, the call came to all, the door could be entered by all, but many refused to come and perished in their sins. Such men can never blame God for their eternal destruction. The door was open, the invitation was given, they refused, and He says to them sorrowfully, "Ye will not come unto Me, that ye might have life." ... [But some will say], "I am going inside: I will accept the invitation; I will enter that door," and he presses his way in and it shuts behind him. As he turns about he finds written on the inside of the door the words, "Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.”  Charles Spurgeon gave a similar illustration of election years earlier.

            “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” IF you are the elect of God, you will put on the virtues described in this verse. “Bowels of mercy include the heart, intestines, lungs, stomach, etc. These are the vital organs of the person that harbor the life of his being. We must, in the very depths of our being, wear (and possess):

1.     Mercy, because God has granted the same to us;
2.     Kindness, for God has demonstrated the extreme limits of the same to us;
3.   Humbleness of mind, for Christ demonstrated the essence of humility in allowing Himself to be abased and abused for us;
4.     Meekness, for Christ, too, was meek and lowly;
5.     Longsuffering, for Christ suffered the greatest for the least of us.

            “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” Simple enough, isn’t it? Yes, very easily said, but the doing is the crux[1] of the matter. This is what Paul referred to as “I die daily.” (1 Cor 15:31) How can that be? Paul means that he subordinates HIS wants to those others around him for their benefit. He is continually giving up self for others. That sound so simple, and it is; however, few are able to achieve that level of holiness. How are we to forgive one another? Are we to go about, willy-nilly, forgiving men who are reprobate sinners (rapists, murderers, men-stealers, perverts)? No, if we lived life in that manner, there would never be a moral force against sin. How did God forgive YOUR sins? That is the way we are to forgive others. God does not forgive the sins of those who do not confess and repent, and neither do we. God does not expect more of us than he demands of Himself. Of course, if we argue, and are wrong, we should ask forgiveness of our friend. But why do you suppose we should forgive someone for arguing points of blasphemy against God? God gave us brains capable of logic. Let us use them!

            You may forget about the points raised in the first two verses if you are in compliance with the next, for it is the catalyst of obedience, kindness, mercy, humility, meekness, and long suffering. “And above all these things put on charity (LOVE), which is the bond of perfectness.” Love perfects all other weaknesses. It covers ALL sins. “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” (Prov 10:12) Love is a commandment of Christ – the ONLY new commandment that He gave: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”  (John 13:34-35) This is actually a re-codification of an ancient commandment. “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut 6:5) and “. . thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” (Lev 19:18)

 I have heard antinomian theologians claim these two latter commandments negate the obedience required of the Moral Law (Ten Commandments) but it certainly does not. Christ cleared the matter up completely when He answered the lawyers who challenged Him: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt 22:37-40) Obedience to the Moral Law requires, first and foremost, obedience to the Law of Love!

Now, how much has Christ forgiven YOU? Fine, that is the extent to which you must forgive other offenders. But love is the force that enables us to obey God. If our love is immense, our sins will be few. We love God ONLY because He first loved us. We belong to God because He CHOSE us. So His love must find an echo in our own souls.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” You are a Christian, right? Do you still, at times, slip and fall? Do you still tell lies – even subconsciously? Do you still get angry without cause? I am guessing that you do! Does God immediately bring down the hammer of retribution against you when you do these things? The peace of God rules in our hearts even though we fall short of his righteousness. He gives us that sweet peace to love and to forgive. We, too, are one body. How can the body hate its own hands, or feet, or lungs, etc? Without our lungs, we perish. We need all of the organs our Lord gave us at birth. All of the cells and tissue of the body represent the members of the Church of God each of which serve a vital purpose to the life of the Body. Christ is the Head of this One Body. The head controls all aspects of the operation of the body – both voluntary and autonomic. The Body (Church) cannot live without the Head, which is Christ. Without Christ, the church is nothing.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” I love this verse! It makes the statement I have been trying to make with a profusion of words in my hymn devotions! Christ cannot exist in a heart that has no joy. It is because, where Christ is, there is joy. But please observe the rest of this verse: “. . teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” How simple and profound! Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are intended to remind us of how far we fall when we are not in the grace of God. They also teach us, and those who hear our singing, the strong and immutable doctrines of the Church. Do you need to be reminded of Grace? How about John Newton’s Amazing Grace? Are you lonely? How about the Good Samaritan of Port Hope, Joseph Scriven’s “What a Friend we Have in Jesus?” Do you need light to lead you? How about John Henry Newman’s “Lead Kindly Light?” Do you need assurance? How about Miss Fanny Crosby’s “Blessed Assurance?” etc, etc. Hymns are portable Bibles we can carry in our hearts. They teach and convict. The blaring and inharmonious racket that passes for worship music today simply lead astray, or into the Hell from which they spring.

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” It is vitally important for us to know that we have from our Lord a “Power of Attorney” to act in His Name; but that does not give license to act outside His will in His Name. If we have put on the Mind that was in Jesus Christ, all that we do, all that we think, and all that we pray for will be in accordance with His will. An ambassador to a foreign power does not have authority to negotiate treaties that are not consistent with the will of the appointing sovereign. But when our lives are ordered by the Mind of Christ, our lives will glorify Him. Our prayers, too, will be granted for we do not ask amiss (James 4:3), or with iniquity in our hearts (Psalms 66:18), but out of a will surrendered to Christ. He is pleased to grant all things that are truly asked in His Name.



[1] Crux - the decisive or most important point at issue.  The word crux (genitive crucis); third declension - A wooden frame on which criminals were crucified, especially a cross.  Thus The Cross is our Central Point, our frame of reference.