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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, February 27, 2018

Hymns of the Church – Deep, Deep Love of Jesus – 27 February 2018, Anno Domini


37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Romans 8:37-39)

13 Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.14 But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.15 So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?16 He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others.(Luke 20:13-16)

            We are sweeping into the final week before Passion Sunday, and it is only fitting and proper that we should consider that Passion of Christ in dying for our sins – the Passion of a deeper Love than the world can ever know. Today is also St. Patrick’s Day – a man whom the roman Church has hijacked as their own, and whose memory is celebrated by excessive drink and riotous parading. It must be a matter of embarrassment to St. Patrick that he was neither Roman Catholic (they disowned his ministry as he undertook it) nor did alcohol ever touch his lips. He was a teetotaler and carried on his mission to Ireland without the approbation of the Roman church. On this day, I wear orange (if I can find it) to signify the Protestant side of St. Patrick.

            Deep, Deep Love of Jesus was written by S. Trevor Francis and published in 1875.  The music, entitled Ebenezer, is composed by Thomas J. Williams and set to print in 1890. The hymn is most devotional and contemplative of that love of whose enormity we are incapable of comprehension. To consider the brave-hearted courage of our Lord in allowing Himself to be humiliated, brutally beaten, and hanged to die the ignominious death of the cross is unfathomable to us. He, being totally innocent of any sin whatsoever, died the deserved death those of us whose righteousness was of no account at all. He did it out of a divine LOVE. It is this LOVE that the hymn today contemplates:

Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!

Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!

Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love

Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!

How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore
!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;

How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!

’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;

And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!” Yes, the Love of Jesus is deeper than any ocean, and boundless as all of the seas combined. I should point out, however, that, though the author is correct in calling that love ‘free’, free describes the cost of all love. Love, by definition, demands no ransom. In some ways, good St. Patrick gave evidence of a parcel of that love in his selfless mission to the Irish. His love of Christ is described in both his life and his teaching. His famous, poetic quote, presuming correctly that Christ is love personified, could very possibly given rise to the author of this hymn using the nearly same terms in this particular verse of the song. Here is how St. Patrick viewed our Lord:

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
           
            The Love of Christ is a leading and victorious kind of love. It compels us to follow – not out of force – but that passion of love of which we share a portion with Him. It will see us through, and all of the way to our Highland Home.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore! How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore! How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own; How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!” Parents and grandparents can not keep quiet in boasting of their children and grandchildren. To hear their clamoring over them, one would think the children were at least angels. Why is this true? I believe it is altogether owing to a love that cannot know any bounds. Such love sees only perfections in those in whom there is no perfection. But the love of Christ, though akin to this, is far greater – and it will never let its object go. Such a love needs praising and shouting from peak to peak. He is not the kind of lover that uses and abandons, but rather is unchangeable in His boundless affection for His own. As a matter of fact, His love is overflowing with constant abundance. He has watched over us from our primitive beginning, and His omniscient eye beheld us in His hazy view from that terrible cross of Calvary. If He watched over us from the cross, how much do you believe He watches over us now from His Throne of Glory! He is our High Priest who intercedes for us with the Father.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best! ’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest! O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me; And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!” There is no dimension in which the love of Christ does not excel all others. The boundless limits of the love of Christ seems to fill the smallest havens of the sea as well as the limitless expanse of space. The love that traverses that expanse of space can also fit snugly into the artfully constructed sanctuary of the bird’s nest. One of my favorite hymns is “Jesus, I Come.” One line of that hymn suggests the depth, height and width of that love:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

            It is true that the Love of Christ is a lifting love. It is a bit like the words of a modern spiritual song by Josh Groban, and fits perfectly the sentiments expressed in the last line of today’s hymn –

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be.

How high do you ascend in that love, friend?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

AOC Sunday Report

You can download the AOC Sunday Report RIGHT HERE!
Happy Second Sunday in Lent!

The AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

There are great sermons from Bishops Jerry and Roy, as well as Rev Jack.  Like every Sunday, each are different.  You will enjoy each of them.

There are a lot of people who need your prayers, please take the time.   Start with Shamu and Bob and work out from there.

Have a great week ahead.  There was a lot about the misuse the Prosperity Gospel in the news this week; but don't be confused, God want you to be truly happy.  The rest is what comes of it.

Godspeed,

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, CA

Sermon Notes - Second Sunday in Lent - Saint Andrews Church - 25 February 2018, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
The Second Sunday in Lent.
The Collect.


A
LMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And due to the rubric, the Collect for the Day is followed by the Collect for Ash Wednesday, which is found on Page 124:

The first day of Lent, commonly called
Ash Wednesday.
The Collect.

A
LMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

¶ This Collect is to be said every day in Lent, after the Collect appointed for the day, until Palm Sunday.

One great acknowledgment stands out in today’s Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent: Since our father Adam partook of the ill-natured tree in the midst of the Garden, Man must still find himself constantly relying upon that OTHER Tree in the midst of the Garden at Eden which he rejected – the Tree of Life. Because of that rejection, we are full of sin and incapable of helping ourselves. We even return to, stop and listen to that unholy voice, and partake of the ill-fated fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is only the Mercy and Grace offered by the Tree of Life that keeps us from constantly appealing to the serpent of the other tree. This Collect originates in the Gregorian Sacramentary. For a fuller study and brief meditation on the Collects, I recommend The Collects of Thomas Cranmer, by C. Frederick Barbee and Paul F.M. Zahl. (Erdmans, 1999)

J
ESUS went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her,O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.  (Gospel of St. Matthew 15:21-28)

            Departing Israel proper, Jesus travels beyond her borders to Tyre/Sidon and there is confronted by a Canaanite woman whose need is very grievous. She knows more of the Lord’s identity than the pretentious priests and rulers of Israel. Because her need is great, so is her striving in seeking out the Lord. Her winning prayer to Christ is short and desperate – “Lord, help me!” Fancy words and length of expression are no gage for the efficacy of a prayer. Moreover, a casual search for the benefits of Heaven are not consistent with a strong faith. Jesus tells us, “Seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you.” In today’s text, we see the reward of the earnest seeker.

Jesus has just been confronted by the scribes and Pharisees (blind leaders of the blind) who have come to Him with a petty complaint involving hand-washing. These men ruled their charges by red-tape and the jot and tittle of the law, and not out of love. There is one cardinal principle is preaching that may be the most neglected, not only by the former Pharisees, but the contemporary ones as well. That principle is clearly elucidated in 1 Peter 5:2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:2-4) So Jesus, wearied of the harassment from the mean fellows, resorts to the far reaching coastline of Tyre and Sidon (Phoenicia on the Mediterranean) for a time of peace and quiet. There is also a certain woman in His thoughts that needs to see Him and is awaiting His arrival there. This dear soul has no idea that the Son of David will travel to her distant home, but the Son of David knows, and He comes.

            The beauty and comfort of God’s providential care for us, even while we were yet strangers, knows no limits on time and distance.  Perhaps, ere you came to Christ, you, too, were a great distance away among a people of Godless character; yet, Christ was aware of your plight and His Holy Spirit, swift as a Dove, came to you and answered your great need. He knew you LONG before you knew Him – even while you were yet in your mother’s womb where He MADE you! Such a wonderful visit of Christ the great Healer and Physician was beyond the realm of possibility in the imagination of the Syro-Phoenician woman. Yet, there was something in her heart that made her believe that God would provide. Already, she had more faith as a Gentile than the Jewish rulers had as the lost sheep of Israel. The reassuring thing about faith in God is this: We need not understand the ways and means of God’s answering our prayers, but only to know that He certainly WILL! The ear of faith, to, is very keen to hear every whispered detail of the Way of the Lord’s Coming whether it be on the road from Galilee, or from Jerusalem. The direction is not so important, but the fact that He will come after all. There is a parallel account of this event in the Gospel of St Mark 7:24-30.

            We look in upon Jesus immediately after His confrontation over hand-washing with the Pharisees: 21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. Please do not argue that Christ knew not whom He would meet at His destination for I will not believe it. Christ always knew whom He would meet and whom He would heal in every case. He knew a woman of Samaria would come to Jacob’s Well at the noonday hour long before the woman experienced her thirst. So He waited there while the disciples went for bread. You may be the most incorrigible and egregious of sinners, judged so by infidel and Christian alike, but Christ may have already established a point in time when He will seek you out in a land far removed from the familiar people of God. This woman may not be an egregious sinner. In fact, I believe that she is a good and faithful mother to the treasure of her bosom, but she has not yet met Christ – and that meeting will make all the difference in her life. Now He is coming. The news is whispered about the villages and among travelers along the dusty roads. His fame has even reached the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and the woman has heard with bated breath. HOPE is the dominant quality that informs her germinating faith in a Figure see has yet to meet. The Gospel of St Mark tells us that Jesus went into a house to rest near the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, but “could not be hid.” (7:24)  No truer statement can be uttered about Jesus – He cannot be hidden from the searching eye, for all that seek Him shall fid Him. (Luke 11:9 et al)There is a Syro-Phoenican woman that is seeking, and she shall find Him at all costs. This is always the cause that brings us to Christ – NEED! Many need, but fail to satisfy that need in coming to Him.

            22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David. There are three important points to be made in this one statement: 1) The woman did not casually call out for help as if her need, or her expectation, was minor. She CRIED out because her NEED, motivated by a mother’s love for a dear little girl, was GREAT! “my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil” . 2) She named no great need in her cry – only a request for mercy. If she has mercy from Christ, she has all else of her need. 3) She recognized Jesus as the Messiah. That is the meaning of her expression “O Lord, thou Son of David.” She did not call Him ‘a’ son of David, but the prophesied Son of David. When we go to Christ in prayer, do we fully realize He is? This woman KNEW before ever she met Christ. She knew out of NEED and FAITH. Perhaps feeling herself so much so unworthy as the publican who came with the Pharisee to the Temple that day and would not approach so near, she called from a distance unto Christ. Actually, our first call to Christ is always from a distance, for we call out of our bondage and need. It is just as the hymnist, William Sleeper, has written in the hymn:

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;

Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

            23 But he answered her not a word. Was Jesus being unkind to this precious mother? Of course he was not! Jesus showed nothing but the deepest compassion for others in need. Jesus does not answer for two reasons: 1) He desires to allow the woman’s faith to increase, by and by, through her persistence. If we pray ceaselessly and, yet, have not gotten an answer, do we cease to call upon the Lord? God would have us pray with persistence. As we pray continually, our eyes are opened more and more to the Mind of God – our prayers thereby become more and more in accord with His own Will to grant. Do you recall in our previous studies how those who are closest to Christ often prevent those who need Him most from coming? And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. Do we value our comfort and leisure so highly that we forbid others who have a great need from coming to the source of that comfort we have? Are we too cozy in our little buildings of stone walls and high spires? The salt that is not often shaken will harden so that it cannot be dispensed from the shaker.

            24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Every Word of Christ is with power yet this is one of those ‘BUTS’ which deserve heeding. This woman is from the Canaanite race of Gentiles that the Jews despise. Christ is drawing out of a deep well, the refreshing waters of faith this woman has.  He does it not only for her own benefit, but for the benefit of his Jewish disciples to learn of compassion.  He is saying to the poor mother, “Look, I know you have a need, but I am not sent to any other than the lost sheep of Israel. If you become a child of the Promised Seed, you, too, shall be in the fold of Israel.” The statement of Jesus is looked upon with particular interest by His disciples. Jesus is slowly drawing the woman closer to Himself, and to His Love-Brimmed Heart. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. Yes, we see that the Love of Jesus does draw her nearer, don’t we? She finally is not afraid to worship the Savior of her soul. She asked for the deepest desire of her heart, and that desire derives from a love that is inexpressible for her daughter. 

            Please note thoughtfully the kind and loving response of Jesus to the woman: 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs. At first glimpse, this may sound a bit harsh to such a loving mother, but it is laden with love. The word Jesus uses here to describe her relationship to the children of God (Israel) is not the term for the cursed and hated dog of the ghettos, but the Greek word, κυνάριον, pronounced ‘koo-nar’-ee-on’, meaning ‘puppy’ or ‘pet-dog.’ The puppy dog is a pet and is fed by the children by secretly dropping crumbs of food down to them. Perhaps we, as children of God, fail too often to drop these crumbs of the Bread of Life down to those who are starving for love and nourishment. Jesus, from eternity past, has loved this woman and her little daughter; but He needs to show her the manner in which she must come to Him. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. These words were evoked by Christ for the benefit of those standing nearby. He already knew these words were written in the red blood of love on the woman’s heart for her daughter. Had she not needed a healing for her daughter, she may never have sought Christ out.

            28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. What has Jesus told the woman? He has told her (in other words): “Woman, you have known who I am. You have come seeking me out of a faith born of love. You have persisted in your prayers, so much so, that YOUR will is precisely the Will of God. It is by THAT latter Will that your faith has healed your daughter. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.  God is Light, and His Finger travels with Light Speed. There was no lingering spirit-possession of the daughter – not at all. She was healed that very hour (moment).

            So what valuable lessons have we learned from this most blessed mother of ancient Phoenicia? 

  1. Love will call us into a higher place – even to a seeking after God.
  2. We must seek the Lord diligently even in places that are perceived unlikely such as the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
  3. We must call out in earnest to Christ not holding back. 
  4. We must clearly state our need in prayer. 
  5. We must be persistent in prayer even if we only hear silence at first from the Throne of God.
  6. We must not only petition, but listen for the Will of God to be 
  7. We must worship God even while we are pleading our cause as did the distraught mother.
  8. We must give evidence of our Faith to both God and man.

            Have we exercised this example in prayer? Put it to the test. God is faithful always to answer if our wills are consistent with His Own.      

Friday, February 23, 2018

FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT COLLECT DEVOTION, 23 February 2018
 
 


Man with the Green Spectacles- a Devotion for 22 February 2018, Anno Domini

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!


. . . . for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.  (1 Sam 16:7)

            The heart of man is a great treasure chest. The treasures contained therein are the measure of the man in the eyes of God and his fellow man. Some hearts of men contain only perishable and unwholesome treasures. These are comprised of jealousies, envy, hate, violence, and pride. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and thatevery imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually(Gen 6:5)The hearts of other men are stocked with those treasures which are edifying to both God and man, and these treasures are of eternal value (such as love, reverence, kindness, faith, gentleness, and honesty). . . . . out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things(Matt 12:34-35) 

            That God sees where no man can see is a biblical fact: “the Lord looketh on the heart.” Suppose we could see the secrets of each other’s hearts? Would that not be a great benefit – or would it be disastrous? If we could see into the secret chambers of another’s heart, we would see there sentiments and emotions that lie hidden under the cover of darkness. We would see only those thoughts and motives that exist at the precise moment of our observation.  But when God looks upon the heart of man, He sees not only what is buried there of past thoughts and deeds, but also the present state of the man’s character. But God sees more – He sees what treasures of the future may replace those present cobwebs of perhaps doubt and avarice. 

            I will tell you a story of young man (William) whose life was changed by an amazing, and tragic, possession. The young man had, over a few recent years, begun his career as an up-and-coming physician whose practice was in an upscale part of the country. Already, he was respected and admired by peers, patients, and those of established reputations in the field of medicine. He was a kind, caring, and dedicated man, and he was an excellent specimen of his profession. 

Having already amassed a small nest-egg, William married the girl of his youth. She was a member of the local aristocracy as well as beautiful, thoughtful, and of unblemished reputation. Not many months after the wedding, the young lady was found to be with child. Of course, the young doctor William was elated along with his wonderful wife. A home of many rooms had been purchased in an exclusive neighborhood, and, when the child arrived, he found himself settled in a home of both love, opulence, and security. Later, when the child was enrolled in school, he proved to be a fine little scholar of which his parents were very proud.

This young father was blessed above all around him. It seemed that he led a life of which others could only dream – and he was truly the happiest of all in his circle of acquaintances. Moreover, he was a regular attendee at religious services of his local church, although he didn’t place an overabundance of importance to the matters pertaining to his soul. Certainly, he believed in God, but refused to be carried away as some others were with those constant Bible studies and teachings upon which they seemed to place an inordinate value.

Is it not quite often the curse of the well-established in our society to be distracted by the mundane wealth and successes of their lives? Is there, for example, ever enough wealth or treasure in a man’s vault of fortune to achieve satisfaction? Many marriages are ruined, not by a home lacking in a good wife or husband, or plentiful resources – but just the opposite. When life is easy and unlabored, the eyes are often turned to gleaming mirages scattered about us in society.

There came a day when William was called away to a distant city to attend a medical seminar – a requirement of his profession. The city to which he travelled was one known for its luxurious hotels, gambling casinos, exotic restaurants and lounges. The seminar was only scheduled for three days, yet the attendance there included only morning sessions of three hours each. So, the doctor found himself whiling away the extra hours of his day, at first in long walks along the boulevards, and glancing into the windows of exclusive jewelry shops on the chance that he might find a fitting gift for his lovely wife.

As chance would have it, he met an old college friend during one of his walks who was attending the same business of the seminar. His friend invited him to a rather nice cocktail lounge. Though William was not known to imbibe in alcohol, neither was he averse to having a few drinks on occasion when socializing with friends. 

After a couple of drinks, his friend had to rush off to another engagement, and William remained behind to have only one last drink. He saw a somewhat appealing gentleman siting at an adjacent table who seemed to be remarkably gregarious and whose conversation was an apparent delight to those around him. The man caught William’s glance and invited him to join the company at his table which William did with unaffected alacrity.

This strange fellow proved to be a world traveler, and quite knowledgeable of history, science, and religion. William was entranced by the man’s smooth and informed conversation. Before long, only the stranger and William remained. In awe of the man’s apparent accomplishments in life, William ventured to ask him how he had achieved such stunning success. The stranger responded that he had discovered a mysterious secret resource that had led to, not only his financial success, but his refinement in arts. William could scarcely contain his curiosity. “What mysterious resource, friend?” he asked the stranger. 

The stranger slyly looked about himself, reached into his inside breast pocket, and withdrew a small case. Carefully opening the case, the stranger removed a pair of very strange spectacles. These were furnished with green lenses. “These spectacles are my secret mystery to life, William,” the stranger remarked. “But what is so special about those simple glasses?” asked William. 

 “Well, when a man places these glasses on his nose, he can see every detail about him.” “Well, I can see every detail about us as well,” replied William, “and I do not need spectacles to do so.”

 “Yes, but there is more,” responded the stranger. “You see, with these green lenses, I can see into the heart of every man, woman, and child that I survey. This has been a godsend in business investments as well as in personal relationships!” 

 “That is a fantastic power,” said William. “How could I have such a pair of spectacles?”

 “You are a special young man, William,” replied the stranger. Since I have seen into the mysteries of your heart, I can see that you are honorable and faithful. So, I happen to have an extra pair of these green glasses which I am going to give to you as a token of our new friendship – only please wait until you get back home before wearing them!” Upon this exchange, the man excused himself and walked away, leaving the spectacles, without as much as a ‘good-bye.’

William could not wait to try out the glasses, but he did wait until his return home since he had given his word to the stranger.

He placed the glasses on his face as he entered the house. His wife greeted him at the door but seemed a bit curious about the glasses, though she did not ask. Suddenly, William could see into the heart of his lovely wife. She was not all that happy to see him. Moreover, he saw in her heart that she still held a cherished memory of a previous romance. He also saw that she had been storing away a large portion of the money he had been giving her for expenses in running the house. She was suddenly no longer beautiful and lovely to William. When he discovered the ember of love in her heart for a previous fellow, he could bear that thought no more and began to hate his wife.

About that moment, his little son came in from school and rushed to hug his father’s neck; but William soon saw that the boy’s love was not so great for his father as was his desire to get gifts and advantages from him. William concluded that his son, too, was unworthy of his affections. His hopes for a happy home in the future was ruined in an instant. He saw every human weakness clearly in the hearts of his family.

Even during office calls the next day, he found that his secretary loathed him for his demands on her work. The patients, too, were petty and dishonest when they complimented the doctor on his treatments. William was aggrieved at these revelations. He hated he had ever worn the green glasses or met the devilish figure who provided them. He crushed them on the floor of his office in a rage of regret – but the damage had already been done just as surely as the moment that Adam partook of the unwholesome fruit of the Forbidden Tree.

            We do not know what happened to William’s marriage and family afterward, but it is certain that an unprofitable judgment can be made of a man’s soul simply by an instantaneous judgment of his heart condition at the very moment of observation. Man can only judge by what he sees at an instant. He may see an incorrigible drunk, a hopeless prostitute, or a swindler of enormous proportion, but that judgment was made without the benefit of future knowledge such as God possesses. God sees how the man or woman’s heart may be made anew in some future faith and time by the work of the Holy Spirit. We do not! Friend, I suggest that you refuse the ‘green spectacles’ just as Adam should have refused the bad fruit in Eden. Follow that Commandment of our Lord:  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.(John 7:24)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Devotion on Hymns of the Church - Hymn 217 – Come Holy Ghost– 21 February 2018, Anno Domini(In the Year of our Lord)

If you prefer, there is an easy to read and print READER version RIGHT HERE!

T
HENsaid Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.   And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost  (John 20:21-22)

            Cosin's translation of this powerful old hymn is the oldest translation in the 1940 Hymnal. This is well and good as the Coming of the Holy Ghost was concurrent with the beginning of the Gospel Age. The prophecies of Isaiah of the coming Messiah were clear that God would no longer be veiled from us as the Most Holy was in the Temple. He would ABIDE with His people at the fulfillment of the prophecy: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.(Isaiah 7:14)  . . . . which being interpreted is, God with us(Matt 1:23-24)Christ, being God in a body of flesh, was with us until the ascension. But the Holy Ghost, being the Third Person of the Godhead, has been with us ever since in His powerful presence.  He brings Love, Hope, and Liberty. The Spirit of God first imparts Love; He next inspires Hope, and then gives Liberty; and that is about the last thing we have in many of our churches.DL Moody.

Come Holy Ghost
Veni Creator Spiritus

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.

Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far from foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:

Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire. Thou the anointing Spirit art, who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.           The Holy Ghost  comes bearing heavenly gifts. Thomas Aquinas categorized these gifts from the study of Isaiah 11:2-3 thusly:

        1.    Wisdom,
        2.   Understanding,
        3    Counsel,
        4.   Fortitude,
        5.   Knowledge,
        6.   Piety,
        7.   Fear of the Lord.

            The Holy Ghost is a Spirit and is therefore unrestricted in either time or geography. It is for this reason that Christ told his disciples: These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  << Herein we have a glimpse of the Personality of the Holy Ghost. He will not speak of himself, but will teach us all things and bring into remembrance those things we have read and studied from the Word (which is Christ written). See how the second stanza brings this out:

Thy blessed unction from above is comfort, life, and fire of love. Enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight. The Holy Ghost is Light and Truth. He reveals Christ to us, but will not speak of Himself.  We know also the Holy Ghost is a perfect manifestation of Holy and Fiery Love. Being full of Love, He is easily offended by those who impugn the name of the Lord.  Though he knocks at the door of the sinner's heart, he may never knock again if he is witness of egregious blasphemy. Though He may knock often, the sound of His knocking may be filtered out by the depraved ear, long grown callous by the rejection of God.

            The Holy Ghost, like our Lord Jesus Christ, is a gentleman who intrudes not where He is not welcome. He will not impose Himself on us. We must INVITE that beautiful Personage to come to us:  Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire. When invited to abide in our hearts, the Holy Ghost will give that heart light and inspiration.

            The Holy Ghost is an ever-present Guide to all who receive Him. He sets us apart from the world and sanctifies us in a continual cleansing. He protects and keep our foot on the Straight Way while avoiding the perilous cliff.

            Anoint and cheer our soiled face with the abundance of thy grace. Keep far from foes, give peace at home: where thou art guide, no ill can come. The Holy Ghost cheers us in spite of whatever turmoils and dangers we face. He was in the prison dungeon with John Bunyon, and He accompanied Archbishop Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer to the Stake of Burning. Even then, He gave strength, comfort, and courage. It was Cranmer who held his hand to the fire to be consumed first due to signing and ill-conceived recantation. He spoke in the heart of Bishop Hugh Latimer at his sentence of death to remark: 'I thank God most heartily that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by that kind of death' and later before the stake to Nicolas Ridley - his fellow martyr:  Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. Can you imagine the courage of such words spoken just minutes before being set on fire at the cruel stake! 

            The last two prayers of the Holy Bible appear in the last two verses of that Book:  He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quicklyAMEN Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. AMEN. (Rev 22:20-21) Since the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One in purpose and in nature, we have the whole if we have the One.

            Teach us to know the Father, Son, and thee, of both, to be but One, that through the ages all along, this may be our endless song:  Praise to thy eternal merit, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

            Let us remember that the Holy Ghost is our Teacher, but a teacher cannot teach if the student does not study. He cannot bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto youif we have not even taken the effort to study the lesson (Holy Bible) - not just on Sunday, of Wednesday, but every day of every week and every year if it has become to us its proper purpose - Our DAILY Bread!

            Finally, let us bear in mind it is the Holy Ghost who, in our darkest night and most despondent hour, offers to us Songs in the Night to En-Courage (Impart courage) to our troubled hearts. He turns the night of sorrows in the brilliant sunrise of the morning!

            Thy blessed unction from above  is comfort, life, and fire of love.            This hymn has a living testimony and is remembered by numberless clergy who heard this proper hymn sung at their ordination to Holy Orders.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

AOC Sunday Report

The AOC Sunday Report can be downloaded RIGHT HERE!
Happy First Sunday in Lent!  The AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

There are really good sermons from Bishops Roy and Dennis, as well as Revs Jack and Bryan.  While the cover the same Scripture, they are quite different, you should enjoy each of them.  If not, please let us know as we will send you a refund!

There are a tremendous number of people who need your prayers, please start with Shamu who undergoes surgery tomorrow and for Herb's family and friends who miss him.

There is a week ahead.  Good, bad or indifferent, your choice.  With God's Help and Grace, it can be EPIC!  Go for it.

Godspeed,

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, CA

First Sunday in 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 brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


Consider these words from the Collect:

… Give us grace to use such abstinence, that, our flesh being subdued to the Spirit we may ever obey thy godly motions in righteousness, and true holiness, to thy honour and glory …

In the Collect, we ask God to help us change our natural evil tendencies so that we can live life here His way and honor His wishes so we can be truly happy.  Without His help, we end up with what we want, not what we need.  Lent is the time in which we focus on fighting our sinful selves and working with the Holy Ghost to reconcile us with what God wants for us. What we want is not the same as what we need. We are asking him to help us fight our human nature and follow His divine nature, we are attempting to replace our nature with that of God’s. It will be a long and difficult road we must travel, doing this, but we are going to be much happier in the long run if we at least do our best. Do or do not, there is no try, Yoda is quoted as saying, and I have found it applicable here and in my own life. We have to act, not just say we are going to act, but we must physically perform ACTIONS!
                                 
Wantand Need; two words, used interchangeably in both our speech and thought that do not mean the same thing. Think about that!

Following the thought of the Collect, Paul asks us to be worthy of the grace God has given us.  He tells the people when they needed him, He was there.  They need to be there for those around them.  They need to be supportive of those around them and they must not frustrate God’s work by showing up late, or not at all. It goes back to Jesus’ saying, No man can serve two masters. We have to make a choice in this life and decide whom we are to serve, God or the Devil, and then act on it. There is only one good choice for us and that is to serve God, of course. Paul is advising people they can’t simply hold a position between the two, for there is no middle ground here. We have be on one side or the other.

We have to put in our 110% for Him, as He sent His Son to die for us and redeem us, so we should truly show our gratitude for His act, by serving others and performing actions for Him, with His Help.  We actually have to act upon our faith in order to live it. We do not have any faith if we are not actively acting upon it. We are largely outnumbered in this world by the enemies of God.  We are like many of our servicemen in many of the battles that they have fought our nation, greatly outnumbered by the enemy, they did not just sit on their hands and wait for the enemy to come. 

Our servicemen didsomething about it, otherwise they would be overrun by the enemy. It goes along with the saying, The best defense is a good offense. So, too, is it in this hostile world. While spreading the Word we need to be always going on the offense, spreading it to those who have not heard it. We have to always keep moving, or else we will be overrun by the Forces of Satan. We have to do this by doing actions that are consistent with His Word and show that we truly believe in Him and not just say we do.

Those around us are watching our actions in the time of testing.  God is also watching us in the time of testing to see how we perform with the talents He has given us. He is not testing us per se, but is evaluating our performance under pressure. Make no mistake it is a hard battle we are fighting, against the forces of wickedness, of the Devil, all across the globe. Our actions will show whom we truly serve,  God or the Forces of Satan. Which side will you serve? You in the end have to choose one side or another. Pick the winning side now, which is the Forces of God, and you will have a rich everlasting life. The key to winning this battle for souls is to never ever ever give up and to trust in God and Dread Naught. 

We have been given eternal salvation by Jesus’ sacrifice, the understanding of the Gospel by the Holy Ghost.  We are at this time dying here on earth, yet progressing towards eternal life in the next world, in Jesus’ World, with His help. While we may never be wealthy here on earth, our actions can make our fellow Christians wealthy in spirit beyond measure.  

If you claim to be a Christian, you know what is right.  If you are a Christian, you do what is right, you don’t take a vote to see what the right course of action may be. Doing what is right does not depend on public opinion and we must do the right thing. In fact the public opinion oft times is rather in the wrong; see people’s opinions on homosexual marriage and abortion to understand this. It does not matter what others’ opinions are, that does not change the universal truth of God and His Message. We will be despised because of the opinions we hold from understanding the Gospel and His Message, from being on the side of righteousness. This is because people who do not want to hear our message will choose to hear something else, that was not intended by the message. They will claim we are bigots and hateful people, when we are nothing of the sort.

All we wish is for these individuals to repent of their sinful ways and turn back to God.  There is nothing hateful about that. However, it goes back to There are none so blind as will not see and none so deaf as will not hear. There will be many whose ears are closed off to the message as they are blinded by mammon.  But there will be some who eventually open their ears. All we can do is plant the seed and let the Holy Spirit germinate it. 

We must go especially against the grain to become Christians. The truth does not change, as it is the constant that never changes. God is the Truth, The Word and the Life of this universe. The Truth is God, and like God, the Truth never changes. It is our actions that count, in good times or bad.  We are Christ’s ambassadors to this world; unfortunately, we do not have diplomatic immunity. 

When the Devil attempted to tempt Christ, he shows how little he knows of Him.  If we emulate our Lord, it shows how little the Devil will be able to tempt us with his deceit. If we follow Him we will be able to withstand any temptation that arises as our Lord showed for us in the desert 2,000 years ago. 

Consider how little the Devil really offers you and how much Christ offers, the temptation is ever so much less.  The Devil is often referred to as the Deceiver or Dissimulator.  His forte is deception; he seems one thing, but is another.  He offers what he has no intention or ability to deliver. He actually has zero ability to deliver on his large promises, he has no right to give away what is not his! He ignores the inevitable result of accepting his proffered help or inside track. Jesus has more for us than the Devil can ever hope to offer, the promise of eternal life with Him and His Father. The Devil will never deliver anything close to that. We have to remember this next time the Deciever comes and tempts us for earthly riches and treasures. We also have to remember that mammon cannot make us happy, only serving God can make us truly happy. Mammon might offer a fun factor; only serving God can have the true happiness and bliss that comes from serving Him. 

The Devil clearly knows Jesus is the Son of God.  There is no doubt in his mind.  So, having understood that, consider what he offers Jesus in temptation.  

Remember, Jesus has fasted 40 days OF HIS OWN CHOICE; now comes the devil daring Him to show His Power by turning the stone into bread.  This to the Son of He who delivered manna daily to the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years.  

Cast thyself down and let angels catch thee; this to He who walked on water.

Up to the mountain lookout – Here is it all yours if you worship me.  This to He, who as it says in Psalm 95:

I
Nhis hand are all the corners of the earth; * and the strength of the hills is his also.

The sea is his, and he made it; * and his hands prepared the dry land.

O come, let us worship and fall down, * and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is the Lord our God; * and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

The devil promised Jesus nothing that was his to give, nothing that would help Jesus in the real world beyond the Shadowlands. He never does.  The devil is all about shortcuts.  Remember, if the shortcut was the best way, it would not be a shortcut. The devil will not help us at all in the long run, if you look at things from the eternal perspective. That is what we need to keep in mind every time he tempts us. If we keep that in mind, then the temptation will be less. 

The temptation of Jesus is no different than the Devil’s attempt to tempt us!  The Devil never delivers what we need, only what we, in our imperfect want.  He can’t understand what we really need, he only knows what we want. This is an advantage we have over him. We understand what we truly need, if we remember it, then holding off against the temptations is easier. Rememberas little as the Devil understands of Christ, the same way, as we are in God, so he understands little of us.  He will never offer you real help.  Remember that and the temptation is ever so much less.

Or, as my grandfather said, “Keep your eye on the donut, not on the hole”

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.

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