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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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Devotion on Hymns of the Church - Hymn 558 - Oft in Danger, Oft in Woe - 30 January 2018, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
F
OR I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing(2 Tim 4:6-8)

            The meat of this hymn is that which fed the heart of youthful Christians at the time of its writing. Today, one would be hard pressed to come up with similar sentiments in most youth of our day.  The first verse was discovered in a fragment from the writings of Henry K. White upon his death in 1806. White was twenty-one years of age at the time of his death, and the verse was written just prior to his passing. He also wrote much poetry and one piece, CLIFTON GROVE, which rivals Thomas Gray’s Ellegy Written in a Country Kirkyard. Three additional verses were added in 1827 by Miss Frances Sarah Fuller-Maitland who was only fourteen years of age at the time of her revision of the hymn. What a beautiful, innocent and youthful heart with which Miss Fuller-Maitland must have been blessed by our Lord. 

            The tune to this hymn in the 1940 Hymnal is UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (1852) by Henry J. Gauntlett. There is an alternate tune which is more youthful (as were the writers of the hymn) which I prefer, EIGHMEY, by William H. Pontius (1886).

Oft in Danger, Oft in Woe

Oft in sorrow, oft in woe,
Onward, Christian, onward go:
Fight the fight, maintain the strife
Strengthened with the Bread of life.

Onward Christians, onward go,
Join the war, and face the foe;
Faint not: Much does yet remain,
Dreary is the long campaign.

Shrink not, Christians will ye yield?
Will ye quit the painful field?
Will ye flee in danger’s hour?
Know ye not your Captain’s pow’r?

Let your drooping hearts be glad:
March in heavenly armor clad:
Fight, nor think the battle long,
Victory soon shall be your song.

Let not sorrow dim your eye,
Soon shall every tear be dry;
Let not fears your course impede,
Great your strength, if great your need.

Onward then in battle move,
More than conquerors ye shall prove;
Though opposed by many a foe,
Christian soldiers onward go.

Oft in sorrow, oft in woe, Onward, Christian, onward go: Fight the fight, maintain the strife Strengthened with the Bread of life.The youthful heart, when early instructed in the Gospel Truth, is brave and hardy to battle for righteousness. Such a heart recognizes that the Christian witness is as much a soldier on the battlefield of life as is the armed knight on his mighty charger at Nottingham’s (White’s birthplace) Plain. The author of this first verse recognizes that in every war, there are reverses in combat. Some engagements may be lost, but the ultimate victory is all that matters – and we know to Whom that victory belongs. Just as the soldier on the line of battle needs sustenance of bread and provender to keep up his exertions, so does the Christian need His Daily Bread of God’s Word daily to sustain his strength in battle.

 Onward Christians, onward go, Join the war, and face the foe; Faint not: Much does yet remain, Dreary is the long campaign. The station of the soldier is on the line of battle. So is the duty-station of the Christian soldier. We wear our uniform of faith, and march under the Banner of Love, so that the enemy will know from whence we come; but also in order that those who are non-combatants on the side-lines will recognize from whence their help comes – and their help comes from the Lord who made Heaven and earth. No war has ever been won by entrenching behind earthen mounds, ramparts, and abatis. Battles are won by offensive measures taken against an enemy who has taken the mal-appropriated estate. We must emerge from our trenches and carry the battle to the very dining room of the enemy (which is Satan and his forces for the Christian). The enemy cannot hide in sanctuaries, or behind imaginary lines. He must be met at the very walls of the kindergarten, the school, the legislature, business, society, and even the Church itself (he is there as much as any other place). We grow not tired because it is not OUR spirit, but the Holy Spirit that prevails and moves us.

 Shrink not, Christians will ye yield? Will ye quit the painful field? Will ye flee in danger’s hour? Know ye not your Captain’s pow’r?The coward, in the heat of battle, knows not there is greater danger in retreat than in advancing against the source of our danger. If he exposes his back to the enemy, he will perish at last. General Robert E. Lee prevailed in many battles in which his force was far outnumbered by the enemy; yet, his Army knew their commander and had confidence in his proven competence and character. Likewise, the Christian should know His Commander and trust in His leadership as a proven Victor – the only One to both defeat death and hell at once.

 Let your drooping hearts be glad: March in heavenly armor clad: Fight, nor think the battle long, Victory soon shall be your song.Battle is a life or death situation. As General MacArthur has told us, There is no substitute for victory.That was true in the Pacific Theater during World War II, and it is true for the Christian of today. The substitute for victory for the Christian is infamy and eternal darkness. In fact, victory is already won, we need only claim it.

 Let not sorrow dim your eye, Soon shall every tear be dry; Let not fears your course impede, Great your strength, if great your need.When agreeing with another on matters of profound importance, it is important to look the other straight in the eyes. The eyes reveal hidden motive and subterfuge – or a pure and sincere soul. The eye of the Christian should be bright and clear. As President Roosevelt has said in his inaugural address of 1933: So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.  The hungrier the soul for truth, the greater valor is evidenced in the pursuit of it.

 Onward then in battle move, More than conquerors ye shall prove; Though opposed by many a foe, Christian soldiers onward go.We have a superb Operations Order, and Order of Battle, in the Gospel of Christ. There is no such term as retreat in the Army of God – His Order is Go ye- it is only FORWARD. The Army of God will surrender not an inch of forbidden territory to the enemy; but more than this, that Army always presses the battle ONWARD. The superior numbers of the enemy (and they will always have superior numbers) cannot impact the outcome of the battle since the battle is already won and the enemy has capitulated. His pockets of resistance in public places are only dying embers in the aftermath of the battle. 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us(Romans 8:36-37)It is often easier to win a war than to win the peace; but we are both conquerors and peace-makers in God’s Army. Shall we don the uniform and raise the Ensign of our faith now, and press on to the far lines of the enemy?

Sermon Notes for Septuagesima Sunday, 28 February 2018 Anno Domini
Idle until Called - Last Shall be First
 


Prayer of Collect
Septuagesima Sunday

            
O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen
.”

            Matthew 20:
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour, (9 AM) and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, (12 noon and 3 PM) and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, (5 PM) Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. 8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. 9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. 11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, 12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. 13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? 14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? 16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
            Many today are standing idle waiting to be called by the Lord. He knows His own long before He comes seeking.  It does not mean they are finally lost, but God calls, or does not call, according to His own discretion. Christ, being both the beginning and the end, has sole right to decide the reward of those who follow Him.
            The salient point in today’s text is not how long you have been on the Narrow Way, but where you are standing stand when the curtain of life descends and you close your eyes in death.
             This parable has direct relevance to the preceding event in Matthew 19 - 16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? 21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
            The Apostles did not understand this treatment of the rich young man. Jesus carefully explained that they would inherit eternal life, but He also closed the previous chapter with the words: 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
            There are a number of parallels to be drawn from other contextual references of the Bible to this principle of first/last, last/first.
            Luke 15 – Parable of the prodigal son.
            And he said, A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
The younger son (representing the gentiles) took his belongings and left the father and older brother and went into a far country where, after a time of carousing and living in finery, he lost all and was feeding the pigs.
            After a time, he came to his senses and resolved to return to his father as a hired servant, but the father only lavished the boy with gifts and love and called him his son.
            The older (representing the Jews) was of a sad and fallen countenance.
           
25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. 29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. 31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. 32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.            These, and many others we will not relate at this moment, serve to remind us that the Kingdom of Heaven is not organized along the lines of labor unions, or Corporate Human Relations policies.
           It tells us, first of all, that the gift of eternal life is not dependent on years of service or some principle of seniority.
         Once accepted by Christ, we are accepted wholly and in full.
         My wife used to remind me that some churches and Christians are like the chickens in the chicken coop – the moment a baby chicken finds an insect and tries to eat it, one of the older chickens rushes over and pecks the young chicken on the head so that he is unable to eat.
         Some one new comes into the church with some excellent talent the Lord has given them, and oftentimes, the older members do all in their power to prevent that new person from sharing that talent the Lord has given.
         That is a part of the meaning of the parable we study today of the Husbandman and the laborers.8
         The Husbandman is Christ – the laborers are those called to follow Christ.
         Listen to the explanation given by Bishop R.C. Trench, in his Notes on the Parables and Dean of Westminster Cathedral:
          But for all this the question, "What shall we have?" was not a right one; it put their relation to their Lord on a wrong footing. There was a tendency in it to bring their obedience to a calculation of—so much work, so much reward. There lurked, too, a certain self-complacency in it. In this parable the Apostles are taught that, however long-continued their work, abundant their labours, yet without charity to their brethren, and humility before God, they are nothing; that pride and a self-complacent estimate of their work, like the fly in the precious ointment, would spoil the work, however great it might be, since that work stands only in humility, and from first they would fall to last. The lesson taught to Peter, and through him to us all, is that the first may be altogether last; that those who stand foremost as chief in labour, yet if they forget that the reward is of grace and not of works, and begin to boast and exalt themselves above their fellow-labourers, may altogether lose the things which they have wrought; while those who seem last may yet, by keeping their humility, be acknowledged first and foremost in the day of God.
            Another point of this parable is related to the first we have made above.
            The Hebrew people of Israel had been blessed with the favor of God in being an example and forerunner of the people of God. They had come to believe that God dealt only with them in goodness and blessing and no one else.
            They considered that, if God were to welcome the gentiles into His plan of Salvation, that they must be less blessed than the Jews.
1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. 2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard
.             Therefore, the Jews are represented by the workers who were hired at the early hour of the morning.
           The husbandman had offered them one penny (or denarius) a day for their labor. This was the customary daily wage for a laborer at the time of Christ.
           Other laborers were hired at the noon day hour, and finally others during the last hour of the harvest.

. 3
And he went out about the third hour ( 9:00 AM), and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. 5 Again he went out about the sixth(12 noon) and ninth hour(3:00 PM), and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour(5 PM) he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? 7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive
.

            The Jews believed they should receive preference above others who were called latter into the Kingdom, but that is not the way the Lord Jesus works.
            When He healed the diseased, restored sight to the blind, healed leprosy, restored life to the dead …..He always healed COMPLETELY. Those who were healed were healed completely! He also treated the most serious disease first – SIN!
            Example: Matthew
9: 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

             Christ is generous to the gentile and Jew alike. No one can claim preference in the eyes of God due to the time of their salvation.
            Our reward shall be the Words uttered on that day when we come face-to-face with Christ our Lord: Matt 25:34 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Septuagesima, the Third Sunday before Lent

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion, Descanso, California
Today’s sermon ties together the propers, that is to say the prayer and readings for this week.

Consider these words from the Collect:

… we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness …

In the Collect, we ask God who knows we should be “…justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour …”  To get into heaven we need to be accounted as perfect. Yet, we cannot be “cured” of sin nor “improved” to perfection. So how do we solve this irregularity? We are imperfect creatures with free will, the most confounding combination ever created for salvation.  We know we ourselves cannot solve our dilemma.  Who can?  There is a solution for us!  Consider the words of John Newton near the end of his life, “Although my memory's fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior!” The answer lies in the latter part of Newton’s quote. Our sins are justly punished by eternal damnation, yet there is hope in our Lord. 

What Paul speaks of in his Epistle is the great reward we receive for holding steady to the course God has set for us. For eternal salvation is the delivery promised to each of us by Jesus.  This is the great reward for the race we run daily here on Earth. Make no mistake, like a marathon, this run requires frequent training in the Scriptures and acting upon the concepts in Scriptures. And like marathon runners, we receive a wonderful prize.  However, it is a prize that has value beyond anything on Earth. The prize is for the promise of an eternal, unending life, to be spent with our Lord and Savior Jesus. It is for the promise of a world unaffected by the tarnish of sin, unblackened by the sinful deeds of imperfect beings. It is an unshadowed world.  It shall be true happiness at last, to meet with our beloved family, our Christian heavenly family, friends and beloved pets. 

Eternal salvation is a far more valuable prize than anything we could possibly acquire here on Earth.  It is in fact a priceless treasure, truly priceless, except for the death of our Saviour and resurrection. That is the only price involved with our eternal freedom.  As the saying goes, there is no free lunch. Eternal life does not come to us without cost. The cost was Jesus’ one time sacrifice for all time for all mankind. Keep the eyes on the prize, as it were!  And realize that that prize does not come free. We have to run the race set before us and follow Jesus in order to receive our prize of eternal life. We have to be constantly focusing on this fact. 

When times get really hard, and it is tempting to give up sometimes; that is when we must redouble our efforts and focus our end goal, remaining on the path towards Heaven.. In order to stay focused on the path, we must always remember the end, the arrival in Heaven will outweigh all of the sacrifices, blood, sweat and tears we shed in this life. If we but stay the course, our time after this will be something wonderful.

Our eyes should be focused on the finish line, not our “competition.”  The only thing which counts is that we each cross the finish line.  It does not matter who our competition is, as we are not competing with anyone for our destination. We only have to concern ourselves with God’s will and focusing on getting ourselves towards the right destination.  For only you have an input in which area you will go. Not the final input, but an input none the less. 

So how do we run the race?  

With our eyes focused tightly on the finish line, not on those around us, wondering are they doing better than we are?  That is not a useful question. 

The useful question is, “Am I doing the best I can?” And we have to answer that question; if we are not doing our best, then we need to change it. And, remember this is a Team Effort. We have to want to win, and in order to win the race set before us; we have to perform actions. We need to act upon the Word of Scripture, the message, which is to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preach it to all nations as Christ commanded.  We must first start with our neighbors and work our way outward. It must be a team effort, we cannot all do it alone.  Each person in God’s Army has a specific talent and task assigned to them to complete their assigned mission here on Earth. We need support along the way, especially when things get tough, we need our Christian buddies to give us moral support and encouragement from the Word.   We want the Christian Team to win.  We need to give each team member all the help we can. And we need to be welcoming to each outsider who join the team, and treat them like the lifelong members of the Team. So, with that in mind, we must DO our best and not just say it, and we do that by acting upon the Word, not just reading it, but acting.

We are all so far from perfect that Holier than Thouis pretty damning praise.  Don’t even go there.  The best you can really do is not to be as evil as another, even that is pretty doubtful. But, we can do our best for our Lord and that is what really matters.

The Gospel for today, the very important parable of the vineyard, also gives us very good advice on the conduct of our daily lives and contains a crucial key to happiness.  There is the lesson that the deathbed conversion gains the same prize of eternal life as the lifelong follower, but there is a lot more in it for everyday life.  A person who comes to Christ late in life receives the same eternal benefits as a person who followed Christ from the age of reason.

It is a fine lesson in “buyer’s remorse” or coveting of jobs or similar concepts.  If you got a good deal, it does not change because someone else got a “better” deal. Take what you got, go forth and be happy.  Don’t complain because somebody else got the same deal as you did sooner. One meaning of this parable is that “cradle” Christians are no more likely to go to heaven than this morning’s convert.  They just get to enjoy the Christian experience longer. However, you should not wait until the last minute to join the gang, your time here might end before you get around to it.   So, don’t wait until tomorrow to act, do it today while you still have time!

Sometimes people act like being a Christian is an unpleasant experience that they will do when they get a round TUIT.  It is not.  Christians aren’t perfect, they just have more fun being imperfect and imperfectly trying to improve!

Christ gave us eternal life.  But, we have to accept it.  Once you accept it, start living as if you will live forever.  You will and you will have to live with your actions forever!  So, Act early and Act often! 

There is but one way to heaven.

That easy to find, easy to follow, easy to hike path does not lead to the summit where eternal life in the real world awaits. Open your heart to the Holy Ghost, use His Power to follow our Lord to God who awaits in heaven.

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Love of Many- a Devotion for 25 January 2018 Anno Domini

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
A
NDJesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places8 All these are the beginning of sorrows9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved(Matt 24:4-13)

            The Lord spares no words in telling us what to expect upon the earth in the latter days. He is direct and frank in His warning of what to look for in the world prior to His Coming again. Much of His summary of warnings are already transpiring. The only factors that remain to be settled is to what extent do these things occur and in what celerity of occurrence. Let us take the warnings of today’s text in order.

            Take heed that no man deceive you.Why would our Lord warn us to take heed that no man deceive us? Do we seek divine and spiritual guidance from self-proclaimed workers of evil? No! We seek spiritual teaching from men we trust in both the active ministry and in lay teaching, but primarily from the Word itself. It is these very men that Christ makes reference to for it is those who pretend to know exactly when Christ will return and some, even, proclaim themselves to have the power and nature of Christ. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. Notice Christ does not use the word ‘some’ but ‘MANY.’ If you would like to meet these scoundrels, simply turn on the TV to any of these apostate ministers begging for money and filthy lucre in return for empty promises of healing and prosperity. This is not speculation – it is a prophetic declaration of our Lord.

            And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.After every general conflagration of war, the soothsayers will proclaim the end at hand; however, the increasing prevalence of war around the globe is only the precursor of the end. Those who market in sensationalism are ready to proclaim every wicked figure that arises and every war that occurs as evidence of antichrist. But we have had antichrist with us from the earliest history of the Church. How do we distinguish antichrist from all others?

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? HE IS ANTICHRIST,  THAT DENIETH THE FATHER AND THE SON. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also(1 John 2:18-23)

Well, then, from that clearly worded text, we may look around and find many in our midst today who qualify for the label of antichrist – the so-called politico-socio-economic ‘religion’ of Islam, Jehovah Witnesses, the eastern religions, etc. But, I do believe that we shall have the hybrid antichrist arise in the coming days if his ascent is not already in progress – 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God(2 Thess 2:3-4)I will not be surprised to learn that this antichrist may be predisposed to the abhorrent sin of homosexuality! Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Dan 11:37 (KJV) Both Dr. Adam Clarke and John Newton ascribe this to the Roman and Greek churches proscribing their ministers to marry. But I believe this high apostate to be a product of the modern proclivity to exalt homosexual marriage.

            Regardless how much we feel secure behind our unwalled cities, there is coming a time of intense tribulation brought on by our own sinful inclinations and disregard for the God whose Providence oversaw our founding as a nation (in America). We feel that the great beheadings and murders that predominate on some foreign shores can never reach our homeland, but that is a great error in understanding God’s dealing with man. Because we have known God, and turned away, our judgment will be greater. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.When we observe these events happening, as we currently do, it is not the final hurt, but only the BEGINNING OF SORROWS.

            Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sakeAnd then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one anotherAnd many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.Those who have the courage to maintain their Christian testimony in the face of this firestorm of persecution may suffer the same martyrdom we witnessed at the godless hands of the Islamic State of Syria (ISIS). I am awed at the courage of one ten year old boy who refused to renounce the Lord Jesus Christ and suffered beheading by the muslims because of it. There were many others, too. Do our pulpit dandies of today possess that courage? 

            And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.Why do we observe a great decline in love of family and our fellow man in our world today? Do not tell me it has always been thus for I am old enough to remember times when neighbors cared for neighbors and women and men would never lift a cruel hand against their own children. But today, America alone has murdered more innocents in their mother’s womb than all of the men lost in all wars combined prosecuted by the American military forces. This exceeds the evil of Adolph Hitler’s crematoriums. But why does the love of many wax cold?

            Iniquity abounds today to a greater extent than ever in the history of our nation, and it is increasing at an alarming rate. We even unwisely invite immigrants into our country whose values and morals are far different from those which have characterized the American people these many years from our first founding as a nation. We shun those immigrants who are suffering persecution as Christians and, instead, favor those whose depraved religion has never been conducive to a freedom loving people. 

            What does it mean when Christ says that the love of many shall wax cold? Cold is not a value – like darkness, it is a total absence of value. Darkness is not a value, it is simply the absence of light which does bear a value and force. Hate is the absence of love – it is cold and unmerciful. Many among us stopped loving a long time ago, and now there is only a coldness of character and emotion left in our hearts. We are conditioned to accept the murder of mass numbers of innocents, and few will be as the village Hampden to which Thomas Gray refers in his great poem, Ellegy Written in a Country Churchyard:

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

            We have this endearing promise of our Lord: But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. This last phrase does not mean that some whom the Holy Ghost has drawn scratching and screaming to Christ will be lost, for all the Father has placed in His hand He will hold secure; but those of vain faith who are mere poseurs were truly not saved from the beginning. Those who belong to God KNOW it beyond any doubt. So rest secure in your salvation even in tremulous times. Only LOVE will get us past the spiraling path to destruction. If ye love me, keep my commandments(John 14:15)Let your obedience to God be evidence of your salvation if you will endure to the end.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

THE OLD TREE AND THE MULE -

        a short story taken from my latest book entitled, 'Contemplations on the Ways of the Lord' which I published recently and is available at cost from our National Office at cost. 

25 January 2018


https://youtu.be/pd3_f7z_YsY

WINTER QUARTERS,  a short story from Contemplations on the Ways of the Lord, a book recently published by the Anglican Orthodox Church and written by Bishop Jerry Ogles
25 January 2018



https://youtu.be/jHkhp4myfX8
One Small, No Account Life - a short story written and narrated by Bishop Jerry Ogles
25 January 2018



https://youtu.be/88HsK7KHzKs

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hymns of the Church - Hymn 499 – Before Thy Throne, O God we kneel – 23 January 2018, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lordd)

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!
O
 come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. 3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. 5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. 6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. 7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. . . . (Psalm 95:1-7)

This processional hymn was authored by the Anglican Bishop, William Boyd Carpenter (26 March 1841, Liverpool – 26 October 1918, Westminster), and was first published after his death in 1925. Carpenter was a Church of England clergyman who became Bishop of Ripon and court chaplain to Queen Victoria. The tune is from a collection of Peter Tchaikovski containing the tune, Petersburg, Russian Hymn by Dmitri Bortnianski. The hymn attains to the purpose of any classical hymn in revealing the beauty of doctrinal truth and mystery.

Before Thy Throne, O God, we kneel

1 Before thy throne, O God, we kneel:
give us a conscience quick to feel,
a ready mind to understand
the meaning of thy chastening hand;
whate'er the pain and shame may be,
bring us, O Father, nearer thee.

2 Search out our hearts and make us true;
help us to give to all their due.
From love of pleasure, lust of gold,
from sins which make the heart grow cold,
wean us and train us with thy rod;
teach us to know our faults, O God.

3 For sins of heedless word and deed,
for pride ambitions to succeed,
for crafty trade and subtle snare
to catch the simple unaware,
for lives bereft of purpose high,
forgive, forgive, O Lord, we cry.

4 Let the fierce fires which burn and try,
our inmost spirits purify:
consume the ill; purge out the shame;
O God, be with us in the flame;
a newborn people may we rise,
more pure, more true, more nobly wise.

            1 Before thy throne, O God, we kneel: give us a conscience quick to feel, a ready mind to understand the meaning of thy chastening hand; whate'er the pain and shame may be, bring us, O Father, nearer thee. After the Anglican tradition, and that of the ancient Church, we kneel in prayer at every worship service; but should we not also kneel at the home altar even more often? The possession of a good conscience is not our own meritorious possession, but rather a gift of the Lord’s grace toward us. If we disregard the Word of God in our daily conduct, our consciences will be well-worn and unfeeling. Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (1 Tim 4:2-3) If we disregard the Voice of God, we will certainly heed the word of the devil. If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:42-44) 

            2 Search out our hearts and make us true; help us to give to all their due. From love of pleasure, lust of gold, from sins which make the heart grow cold, wean us and train us with thy rod; teach us to know our faults, O God. If we are believers, we know God’s Word and Law. The greater problem is conforming to God’s Word in our lives. There are no hidden corridors in the inner chambers of a man’s heart. Its secrets are constantly accessible to God. It is the Holy Ghost that enables us to learn wisdom and follow that wisdom. If God never chastens us, we must not have received Him into our hearts. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:19)

            3 For sins of heedless word and deed, for pride ambitions to succeed, for crafty trade and subtle snare to catch the simple unaware, for lives bereft of purpose high, forgive, forgive, O Lord, we cry. We call upon the ears of the Lord in the Prayer Book Litany to hear us. That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to thy holy Word; We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord. We all have cause for repentance for both sins committed and acts of righteousness omitted (sins of omission). 

            4 Let the fierce fires which burn and try, our inmost spirits purify: consume the ill; purge out the shame; O God, be with us in the flame; a newborn people may we rise, more pure, more true, more nobly wise. Time after time we undergo the fires of refinement. We are refined as much as seven times very like  silver by the Great Refiner of Souls. Impurities rise as dross to the surface and are gathered each time and cast aside. Once the Refiner is able to discern His likeness in our visage, He will know that we are sanctified to be His servant. The Holy Spirit fans those flames of the Refiner. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God is a consuming fire. (Heb 12:28-29) The fire that burns also cleanses. It burns because it is healing a sinful blood disease that is inherited from Adam – SIN! But the graces with which we are imbued by God do not perish or burn away. In this mortal coil, we will not reach that perfect sanctification and sinlessness which we shall embrace at the very Gates of Splendor. But we do grow in wisdom, knowledge, and sanctification through the refining Word of God as we study to show ourselves approved of God. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (2 Tim 2:15-16)


            I have had occasion recently to hear men and women, who should know better, debate whether God’s Word came into our hands complete and without error. They plead the reason and logic of man and not God. It seems that the maker of their souls, and of the heavenly Universe, did not get it just right; so He needs the improving proof-reading of ignorant and clueless man. Really? God promised to preserve His Word. He has done so. Those who would discover a new Bible, or add and detract meaning from His original Masterpiece should beware the fires promised in the closing verses of the New Testament (just before the last benediction): For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Rev 22:18-19)