Follow by Email

Who are we?

The center of the Traditional Anglican Communion; adhering to the Holy Bible (KJV) in all matters of Faith and Doctrine, a strict reliance on the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, The two Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion, the Two Creeds, and the Homilies and formularies of the Reformation Church of England.

Verse of the Day

Friday, July 31, 2020

A Renewed Mind - 31 July 2020 Anno Domini



A
ND I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  (Revelation 21:1-8)

            When I was growing up, my family placed a high premium on anything we acquired that was ‘brand new.’ I suppose that term meant the manufacturer’s brand was still visible on the item whether a baseball glove, a ring, or an automobile which was THAT new! There was always an emphasis on the word BRAND, and less on the new. If I received a brand-new bicycle, what an improvement it was over the old bent-up and rusty bike that I was ashamed to ride in public. There are also some old friends with whom I would, today, be ashamed to be seen in public. It was a discredit to me and my Lord to have called some friends in times past for no one is our friend or brother except those who are in Christ. Of course, I, too, was unworthy of the friendship of a committed Christian in my prodigal days of youth. To what do I attribute my changed outlook on social, moral, and family values? It is simply the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost over which we have no control. 

            The Holy Spirit is able to amend and make new the most depraved soul among us. In and of ourselves, we are incapable of any righteousness or improvement in character. This is the saving and ameliorating power of God working through the Holy Spirit. What of the imaginations and desires of men – are they not all oriented to greater and greater evil? 

A
ND GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.   (Genesis 6:5-8)

            Since NONE are righteous, and since the wages of sin is death -  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord(Romans 6:23) what solution could be proferred to save us from our desperate hopelessness? Please note our salvation is a GIFT of God and nothing which we earn or merit in any form. In our state of lostness and unrepented sin we cannot come to Christ. But we can be drawn to the Throne of Grace before our Lord by the Holy Ghost. Even if we try to escape, He will follow hard on and nip our heels at every turn until we fall prey to His beckoning. The old man must die, and the new man must be born a changed being in Christ.

            Those sins that we formerly believed to be of a necessary part of our daily lives become unthinkable as our desires change and are replaced by the Mind of Christ. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2).  Note the active verb, transformed! It is a new thing that happens to us – not something we do. We are transformed by the Mind and Power of God. Our desires and actions are no longer ruled by the old man, but by the new in Christ. “3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Titus 3:3-5) Not our wills, but God takes sovereign control of our hearts. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

            Just as a new bicycle has the manufacturers seal or brand proudly displayed up front, so does the Christian possess that Seal of God in their foreheads and in their hearts – a seal that grants the authority of the believer to the possessor. 

F
OR in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:15-17)  “24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)

            In most of my devotions, I plagiarize the Bible more than any other source – whether another commentator of my own personal opinion – because God’s Word settles the matter is fewer words and greater clarity than any man is able to utter. Rather than simply giving the book, chapter and verse, I print the whole out. I do that because I realize that some will simply accept my word and go on with their reading; however, the reading of the very Word of God has great power. It sinks into the hearty and kindles a fire. My words and thoughts cannot do that.

            When we surrender our old self-wills, which we jealously hold tightly as free wills, we are taking on the Mind that was in Christ and His Holy Will. The self-will of man can imagine nothing good. It must be surrendered to the Will of God and we are thereby made free!

Key Verse
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
(Ephesians 4:24)

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

My God, My God, Why has Thou forsaken me? - 29 July 2020 Anno Domini

 

(To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David)

M
Y God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
            
            Suppose one beautiful, sunlit morning, your father called you into his study to make a very unusual request: he desired you to go to a far-away land to a people hostile to all foreigners and carry a message of peace and forgiveness for past offenses. But, he informed you, these people are quite treacherous and will not accept your platitudes of peace and love – in fact, they will publicly beat you, strip you of all your clothes and nail you to a tree until you are dead. Then, you may ask, But why should I go to such a people if they reject our message? Your father responds, It is for the benefit of all our family here that you do so. These people will forever remain our enemies unless some one of us makes the maximum sacrifice to open their eyes to mercy and truthThen, there shall be peace between our families and those   many who respond to your sacrificial action; and you, too, shall be reunited with the family in God’s own time at the resurrection.

            How would you respond to being sent by your beloved father to such a hateful and treacherous land and people to suffer deprivation, torture and death? I am sure you would not go silently into that good night. But this is only a very weak human example of the love and mercy of the Son of God in coming to this far country, falling among thieves and murderers and dying for their own benefit and at their very hands.

            We will cover only the first six verses of this great Messianic Psalm today. It is an inspired account of our Lord’s suffering on the cross – but it is more. Though the first 21 verses describe our Lord’s travail on the cross, the last nine verses (beginning at verse 22) describe His resurrection joy! We will reserve that portion at a later date.

            Our Lord’s first utterance from the cross is the hallmark of the first verse of this Psalm: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Our Lord was willing, from the Heavenly Council of Eternity Past, before the worlds were made, to come down from the opulent mansions of His Father’s home and become a man like unto us, though remaining God incarnate. He had feelings of modesty and love, and he felt pain of greater intensity than any other can endure. He did it all without hesitation. Imagine the one Man of greatest virtue and modesty being stripped completely naked and nailed to the cross for all to behold! It was an event that He alone could endure or complete. No other was worthy to pay the wages of sin for others for no other was sinless. But He endured that cross all alone. The pain and suffering were so horrific that even the Father turned His face away – and there was darkness over the land for the final three hours. All alone, Christ cried out in despondency, My God, My God, what hast thou forsaken me? It was the most painful moment of his eternal Being. His Father could not suffer so with Him, nor could the Holy ghost – He alone could satisfy the sin burden of the elect of God. It was the cry – not of our Lord alone – but of all lost humanity!

            Below is a quote taken from Matthew Henry's Concise commentary concerning these verses from Psalms 22:

           The Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, testifies in this psalm, clearly and fully, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. We have a sorrowful complaint of God's withdrawal. This may be applied to any child of God, pressed down, overwhelmed with grief and terror. Spiritual desertions are the saints' sorest afflictions, but even their complaint of these burdens is a sign of spiritual life, and spiritual senses exercised. To cry our, My God, why am I sick? why am I poor? savours of discontent and worldliness. But, Why hast thou forsaken me? is the language of a heart binding up its happiness in God's favour. This must be applied to Christ. In the first words of this complaint, he poured out his soul before God when he was upon the cross, #Mt 27:46|. Being truly man, Christ felt a natural unwillingness to pass through such great sorrows, yet his zeal and love prevailed. Christ declared the holiness of God, his heavenly Father, in his sharpest sufferings; nay, declared them to be a proof of it, for which he would be continually praised by his Israel, more than for all other deliverances they received. Never any that hoped in thee, were made ashamed of their hope; never any that sought thee, sought thee in vain. Here is a complaint of the contempt and reproach of men. The Saviour here spoke of the abject state to which he was reduced. The history of Christ's sufferings, and of his birth, explains this prophecy.

            The one human being who had never once sinned was disrobed before the multitudes and displayed above them all on the cross. His modesty stung his face in shame. The pain of the nails was excruciating. In fact, the term comes from the Latin ‘ex’ ‘crucis’ – literally ‘from’ the ‘cross.’ When we describe insufferable pain, we call it excruciating (as if from the cross).

2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. The Lord uttered the cry of all of us who have walked in darkness. There are times when we feel abandoned by God, but do not realize that He is right beside. The Lord may not promptly answer our prayers because it may not be the most opportune time to provide our want. So we are left bewildered . . .  why does He not answer me in my troubles? His timing is perfect – ours is clouded with doubt and impatience.

3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. In our times of despondency, let us remember the former works of the Lord in being always sufficient to our needs and always faithful to come to our rescue on the turbulent seas of life.

When I was young, no minister could satisfy my curiosity about verse 6. It made no sense to me, and their explanations fell short. Why would the Lord of Glory refer to Himself as a worm? Yes, the Lord put Himself down in order that we might be raised up; but the illustration of a crawling worm under foot did not satisfy my curiosity.  My understanding was not satisfied until many decades later while living in Iran. Iran is known for its beautiful gardens, and they still existed there before the Muslim hordes trampled them underfoot following the Revolution.

The opposite lanes of the boulevards were divided by beautiful gardens of flowers and trees. I often observed white-oak trees with a large bloody spot on them, much like a man was shot there. I asked my driver what made these red splotches. He told me it was the Crimson Worm. This spurred my curiosity. I researched the matter and learned the Crimson Worm has traditionally been used in the Middle East to dye cloth crimson red. The red die is emitted when these worms are boiled. It was used for that purpose in the time of Christ. The scientific term for the Crimson Worm is ‘Coccus illicius.’ When the mother is ready to produce her young (which she does only once in her life), she attaches herself to a tree or fence post in such a manner that she cannot be removed without tearing her body apart. When her young hatch, they feed upon her living body until able to survive without her. At that point, she begins to die. Her usefulness has ended. As she does so, she emits a crimson die which covers her little ones. From that moment forward, these remain crimson red like their mother. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

Out of a strong urge, I went back to the Hebrew text of Psalms 22:6 and discovered the term for worm to be ‘tolah - ath’ which means (you guessed it) Crimson Worm. That is what Christ is to the believer. His blood covers us and changes us – we become like unto Him in our Way and Walk. There on the cross, His death gave birth to His people. All of the family of God are children of their Heavenly Father, and of the King of Kings. If we are so, we must be Princes and Princesses. A Prince or a Princess will do nothing to bring shame upon the name of their Father, nor upon the Throne which He occupies. 

Do we quit ourselves as Princes and Princesses of the Most High God? 13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong(1 Corinthians 16:13)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Hymn 272 – Lord, Your Almighty Word – 28 July 2020, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord


F
OR ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.  (Psalm 119:89)

F
OR he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.  (Psalm 33:9)

H
EAVEN and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away(Matthew 24:35)

A
ND God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3)

God’s Word is an immutable Force that requires neither concession on the part of the created, nor acquiescence of any other power of angels or other heavenly beings. This hymn honors and praises that Almighty and Invincible Word in terms reverent and majestic. The lyrics are the work of John Marriott (1780-1825) in 1813 of Cottesbach, England.  The tune author is unknown beyond the fact that it is of Italian origin and, therefore, titled, ITALIAN HYMN. 

Lord, Your Almighty Word

Lord, your almighty Word
Chaos and darkness heard,
And took their flight;
Hear us, we humbly pray,
And where the gospel day
Sheds not its glorious ray, 
Let there be light!

Savior, you came to give
Those who in darkness live
Healing and sight,
Health to the sick in mind,
Sight to the inly blind,
Now to all humankind
Let there be light!

Spirit of truth and love,
Life giving, holy dove,
Speed forth your flight!
Move on the water's face
Bearing the lamp of grace,
And in earth's darkest place
Let there be light!

Holy and blessed three,
Glorious Trinity,
Wisdom, love, might;
Boundless as ocean's tide,
Rolling in fullest pride,
Through the world far and wide,
Let there be light!

            1 Lord, your almighty Word Chaos and darkness heard, And took their flight; Hear us, we humbly pray, And where the gospel day Sheds not its glorious ray, Let there be light! Before that which God terms the Beginning, there was nothing that had yet begun. There was only smothering darkness and energy-less ether. Matter and energy came into existence simultaneously along with the space-Time-Matter Continuum. God created TIME just as He created Matter and Energy. But these rudimentary evidences of Creation were in a complete state of disorganization much like a glob of clay ere the potter’s wheel gives it form and beauty. The Darkness to which the author makes reference stood as a powerless lack of any force whatsoever before the Voice that thundered from the heights of Heaven. It shrank as a vapor before the mighty power of Light which God spoke into existence.  All that was made came at the precise Word of God. We have that Light of the World today codified in the Holy Scriptures. The Word is our Lord personified in His Word.

2 Savior, you came to give Those who in darkness live Healing and sight, Health to the sick in mind, Sight to the inly blind, Now to all humankind Let there be light! Without Light, there can be no sight. The Light of God’s Word shines brightly before the Way of every believer – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:105 Before the glistening Light of the Gospel entered our hearts, we all walked and sat in darkness. Just as the Prodigal remained in poverty and despondency until the moment he came to his right mind: “And when he came to himself.” (Luke 15:17) I aver none apart from faith in their Lord and Maker are in their right mind. It is a perversion of God’s creative intent to deny one’s Maker. Even those who do not believe share, to a limited extent, in the Light of the Gospel. Civility, social conscience, charity, and benevolent government are all fruits of that Gospel. But that benefit is limited to the carnal existence of the unbeliever, and is a glorious sunbeam of eternal beauty to the faithful.

            3 Spirit of truth and love, Life giving, holy dove, Speed forth your flight! Move on the water's face Bearing the lamp of grace, And in earth's darkest place Let there be light! Just as that Holy Spirit moved upon the face of the waters at the beginning (And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters), so do we beseech that Holy Spirit to move upon the face of the waters of our souls, families and nations. Grace is an agent of that Light, and mercy is its right arm. The darkness that prevailed on earth at the beginning was vanquished by the Light of God. In times of great faith, that Beacon Light of Truth and Love as burned brightly and broadly; but today, the Light has been artificially subdued by the wicked imaginations of men so that rape, beheadings and rampant hedonism prevails in many parts of the world.

4 Holy and blessed three, Glorious Trinity, Wisdom, love, might; Boundless as ocean's tide, Rolling in fullest pride, Through the world far and wide, Let there be light! In the beginning was Darkness. God began His Creation in Darkness. He began in darkness, and ended in LIGHT.  “ . . . .  and the EVENING and the MORNING was the first Day!” The Lord Jesus Christ was the executive agent of Creation morning. “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” We need not wonder which member of the Godhead is represented by the Word. “14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) The only member of the Triune Godhead that has become flesh has been the incarnate Jesus Christ. Love is the fuel of true Light. It enables obedience to both Tables of the Law. The only thing that obstructs light from shining is when we allow a physical object or a worldly consideration to come between.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

AOC Sunday Report - Seventh Sunday after Trinity


Happy Seventh Sunday after Trinity!  The AOC Sunday Report can be downloaded RIGHT HERE!

Today we have excellent sermons from Bishops Jerry and Roy, as well as Revs Jack and Bryan.  Each, as usual, is quite different.  I am confident you will enjoy them.

There are a lot of people who need your prayer; Bishop Roy, known to many as Bishop Beaver for felling a tree in Statesville, managed to almost fell another tree, this time near his home and hurt his knee; Bob is undergoing surgery for a broken shoulder this week, Shamu is still very hurting from her internal injuries and Amy's dad Bill is slipping away.  Please give the people your prayers.

There is an excellent week ahead that you can find with the help of the Holy Ghost.

Godspeed,

Hap
Church of the Faithful Centurion
Descanso, California

Sermon Notes - Seventh Sunday after Trinity - Saint Andrew’s Anglican Orthodox Church - 26 July 2020, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

L
ORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The opening of the Collect (using Gelasius translation) formerly used the honorific: “O Lord of Host” as its introductory opening; however, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer referenced the Lord as described in James 1:17 - “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”


     This Collect asks four things of God which we are incapable of doing ourselves: 1) “Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name”; 2) “increase in us true religion”; 3) “nourish us with all goodness”; and, 4) “keep us”. We can neither receive, nor retain, the love of God’s name without the efficacious working of the Holy Spirit therein. We are helpless to supply a thing of which we can claim no ownership. The love that permeates our hearts is from the overflowing Fountain and Source of Love which is in God through Jesus Christ. Like our bodies, we cannot add a single inch to the stature of our spirits and souls. All of the increase we enjoy in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding comes from that same Source from which the Love of God overflows. Our nourishment is forever from God if it is wholesome and good. We daily partake of the Bread of Heaven given by that Giver of all good things found in the Word of God which is preserved for us as a gift to all who believe. Who is our Keeper? Why, it is the Lord Himself. He is our Good Shepherd to keep us in the good way. He is the Rock of our Salvation to keep us from drifting. He is the Ark into which we flee for salvation in the day of ruin. And He is much more…so much more that we cannot mention all in the scope of a short devotion. Since He is the Word in total, He is also the Author and Giver of Life itself, and the Preserver of Life in Love.

     Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. The righteous of the Lord are steady as a well-steered ocean vessel on the seas of life. The Captain knows well the course, and His Compass is true to the North Throne of God. Those who are everlastingly ‘remembered’ by God cannot be moved from that faith and grace which has saved them, and preserved them. 

     He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. The immovable North Star has long been used by seafaring vessels as a constant reference and guide across the vast oceans. The navigation of the vessel is based on clear vision and physical sight; but there is a means by which the soul of the Christian may be guided in both light and darkness by means of an indwelling compass of the heart. That compass is the Holy Ghost.. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3) 

A sailing vessel may be many hundreds of tons. It may carry a large cargo and take on a great draught of water. It's sails are extremely important for they provide the vessel with the means of movement based on prevailing winds. When errors in navigation are discovered, the sails, like our motivations, can be adjusted to correct to a right course. The ship’s structure is also vitally important. It must be made of sturdy materials and its design commensurate to cutting through the blasts and billows of the storm.

But there is one device on the ship that is of far greater importance than the quality of canvas comprising the sails, or the species of timber defining its hull. That device is the magnetic compass. Though the captain of the vessel may use a sextant under clear skies for navigation, it is worthless under a cloudy sky. But the magnetic compass performs under every condition of weather or light. It may temporarily deviate when attracted by a large mass of metal on a passing ship, or by the electrifying impulses of the lightning from a storm, but it will always move back to magnetic north. That magnetic compass is so very similar to our Conscience, guided by the Holy Spirit, with which God has equipped us. It may be attracted temporarily to the passing things of this world; or it may deviate from true course briefly in the storms of life; but it will always return to its true reading and point the way to safe harbor of the soul.
When our hearts are fixed and trusting in the Lord, we may waver at moments of temptation. But that will only be a rare and temporary deviation.  Our hearts, as did David’s and Peter’s, return to the true course of our love and safety in Christ. A heart whose foundation is that Rock of Christ is stayed and immovable. It may shake with the blast of ill winds against its walls, but it is fixed in place and cannot be moved. Do you have such a heart, reader?

The Gospel for Holy Communion for this Sunday:

I
N those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.   (Mark 8:1-9)

            I would caution the reader from believing the false inquisitors who try to make a direct comparison between this text and another in Mark 6 (feeding of the seven thousand). These are two distinct events even as related in this 8thchapter of Mark and John 6:13 according to the very words of our Lord in Mark 8:18 &19.   The idle minds of would-be theologians are blinded by doubt of Scripture and by pride of position to discount the very words of our Lord.

                        Though I have preached from this text many times, the Word of God lends itself to variant colors of brilliant light when held up to the sun, as a diamond with many facets, and turned about to view those complementary colors of stark gold, blue, green, and blue – each represented a single component of that white light of the Sun of Righteousness.

Let us first observe the nature of the MULTITUDES that followed Christ:

1)      The hunger was great in those days to hear the Word: “In those days the multitude being very great.” Why is it not so in our own day? Those attending churches that adhere to the Word of God have dwindled significantly due to the self-righteous nature of modern man. They come in dozens to worship in true reverence today rather than by the thousands in those days in which travel was difficult.
2)      These thousands did not come to satisfy the physical, but spiritual, senses: “they have now been with me three days.” It is a great accomplishment in our day to hear a minister preach longer than 20 or 25 minutes, but an even greater accomplishment to witness worshippers willing to sit through a sermon that is as long as the Holy Ghost would have it to be. These multitudes came to hear the Word until it was finished being spoken. They did not mind their physical needs during the preaching of the Word.
3)      Their sustenance was not physical, but spiritual: “have nothing to eat.” There is no record of any glances often at their watches, or running to and fro for water or other nourishment. They were fixed on the Lord, and nothing else mattered in their hearts.
4)      Though they were actually famished for bread, they had not murmured or complained of it: “. . if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way.” The soul is always satisfied when coming into the Presence of the Lord, but faints in His absence. In our partaking of the Supper of the Lord, do our hearts not burn in our breast when the meaning of the elements of Bread and Wine are contemplated?
5)      Many of the multitudes did not take a casual stroll to hear Jesus. Most had traveled from far villages and lands to hear the Words of Jesus. How far, friend, did you travel to hear this Word, and how far are you willing to travel if necessary? “. for divers of them came from far.” How far will we go in questioning the power of God? “From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?” A mere man cannot satisfy, but a man who is the Son of God can, indeed, feed all who are hungry.
6)      The multitudes came not only to hear the Word, but to obey it as well: “. . he commanded the people to sit down on the ground.” They obeyed not even knowing what to expect later. Is our own obedience so prompt and unquestioning? After standing to hear the Gospel for three days, why would they now sit upon the ground? They didn’t know the reason, but they obeyed any way.
7)      The multitudes were filled both spiritually and, now, physically, at the hearing of the Word. “So they did eat, and were filled.” We are always filled when it is the Lord that feeds us: “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35) I will add that the Bread which came down from Heaven is also the Word (from beginning to end). (John 1:1) Do we hunger and thirst for that Bread (Word) daily, or do we presume ourselves well-fed upon the bread of our own unworthiness?

Today we live in abject luxury and opulence compared to the people of Jesus’ day, yet we have no time to 
drive a few minutes to Church on the Lord’s Day, or to take 15 minutes only from our leisure to read into the depths of the Sea of God’s Word. Shameful! We need not traverse desert and mountain to hear Christ – His Word is conveniently at our finger tips. We cannot even sit patiently in worship until the Holy Spirit has spoken His Word to us. We are a people in a hurry to go nowhere. We dare not deprive our souls of any desire compared to our duties to God. We ask for short, simple sermons, fast food style worship services, and a prompt release to go about our worldly pursuits. We are not like those people who hungered for the Word of god, traveled great distances by foot to hear it, lingered for three days without food, and left filled with both the Bread of Heaven and the bread of sustenance. Those who came at personal effort went away filled, and so will we if we approach worship in the right disposition of mind, body, and soul.

We will now examine the manner in which our Lord viewed the multitudes:

1)    Jesus recognized the need of the multitudes. He not only resolves to satisfy their needs, but also allows his disciples (you and I) to assist in satisfying His works of Mercy and compassion: “In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him.” Jesus takes note of our personal needs and points out to us the needs of others. 
2)    Jesus has COMPASSION on those who have grave needs. Compassion is not sympathy only, but the kind of sympathy that evokes ACTION to satisfy. Compassion means to feel the pain of the sufferer as that one’s own pain, and to take action to remedy the need or pain. Jesus ALWAYS had compassion on the sick, the crippled, the blind and deaf. And He demonstrated His greatest compassion for the sinner in His last act of mercy at Calvary in dying in our stead. “. . . because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.
3)    Jesus asks us to serve Him with whatever resources we have, and those resources will always be enough. “And he asked them, How many loaves have ye?” Truly, there were scarce resources, in the eyes of man, to suffice; but God needs only our small resources combined with a mighty faith in Him. “…And they said, Seven.
4)    6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.” Jesus asks us to rest in Him when He works because it is only by His works, and not our own, that we are benefitted. Moreover, though He was God in the flesh, He still gave thanks to His Father for every blessing. He also allows His people to participate in serving others the Bread of Heaven and of life.. He allows His ministers to serve as servants to the people. Jesus not only used the small supply of bread, but added variety to the feast by multiply the few small fish that were there. “7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.
5)    Jesus ALWAYS provides a full meal. “8 So they did eat, and were filled:” All of the thousands present were filled and satisfied. Numbers matter not to the Lord, it is abiding faith that He expects of us.
6)    Jesus does not desire that we waste aught of any blessings He showers upon us. “and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.” They did not leave the scraps in the field, but took up all that remained and, interestingly, that which remained was many times the amount with which they began. God takes the meager mites of the widow woman and multiplies those thousands and millions of times.
7)    It would be such a joy to feast with the Lord always, but there is also a component of service that must be satisfied by the disciple. Not only are we fed, we must seek others to be fed as well. “9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.” We must leave the mountain of our daily feats and go into the valleys and meadows to spread the good news of the mercy and grace of the Lord.

Were we not present in that mountainside multitude to be fed by the Lord? Have not the multitudes of Christians since that time fed of the same Bread and drank of the same Cup? Have we become more like that Bread of Heaven by consuming it through God’s Word….so much so that we, too, have compassion on the multitudes and are moved to take action? These are questions no other man can answer for us. It is directed to the heart of every Christian.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Seventh Sunday after Trinity - Propers, Explanation and Rev Jack's Sermon


Do you need a short Morning or Evening Prayer service?  You can download one RIGHT HERE, it is straight from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer.

The Propers for today are found on Page 198-199, with the Collect first:

The Seventh Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

L
ORD of all power and might, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle came from the Sixth Chapter of Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans beginning at the Nineteenth Verse. Paul reminds us when we strive above all else for the things of this world, we gain nothing we can take with us to the next.  “For, when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” Conversely, if we will be servants of God (righteousness) we can be free from the devil sin).  “… the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  If we will follow God, we will live, not only forever in the next world, but better in this world.  We must put aside what we did and do what He would have us do.  Actions are the key to everything.  Talk is nice.  Action is what counts.

I
 SPEAK after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Today Holy Gospel was written in the Eighth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Mark beginning at the First Verse. Jesus had been in the wilderness teaching a multitude, some four thousand in number.  In those pre-restaurant on every corner days, the people had been without food and were hungry.  Jesus was concerned and inventoried their supplies, seven loaves and a few small fishes.  He gave thanks to God, and commanded the food to be set out before the people.  When they had eaten their fill, the scraps gathered up from the seven loaves filled seven baskets. 

Many speculated over the years as to just how He did it.  The answer is simple, He did it.  He did not talk about feeding the multitude and sit down to His own meal.  He acted and they were fed.  Does this story recall the words from the Last Supper used in Holy Communion at the Consecration? “he took Bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me.”  Those few words produced The Word, which has satisfied so many over millenniums. 

I
N those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them, I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: and if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets. And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

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 the words from the Collect,   author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same (that is to say keep us in goodness)

To get anywhere, we must acknowledge in our hearts all good is of and comes from God.  Once we acknowledge this, we are in a position to ask God to put in to our hearts love of Him and all that is His.  We are asking Him to have His Love in our hearts so that we can do good for Him. With His Love in our hearts there is very little we cannot accomplish; without it, we can accomplish nothing good. We have to recognize this and pray continually for Gods love to enter into our hearts and stay in our hearts.

Because of our human nature, there will be plenty of times when we fail, but if we turn back to Him, then we shall succeed. We just have to listen to what He says and then not just listen but act on what He says. This holds true not just for myself, but all of us who follow Christs banner.

The clear message in todays collect, Epistle and Gospel is that we need to be in God and have His Love acting within us. Paul points out that before we were saved we could do nothing good as we only served the darkness and had no light within us. But now that we have the Holy Ghost in us, we can truly follow the light.  For the world is lost, so we cannot be of the world and expect to be saved. We can only serve one master, so let us serve the master of good rather than the master of evil. God versus Satan; who do you choose to be your master?

So, recognizing we cannot be a part of this world, we need to be holy, that is, set apart from the world in our thoughts, deeds and actions. Thus, when Paul wrote to the people of Rome, he was writing to all of us; for truly nothing is new in the world. There is truth to Solomons saying there is nothing new under the sun[1]. For there is no new sin in the world that has not existed since the time of Adam. It may take different forms over the eons, but all sins are still the same since the dawn of man[2]. Up until the time of Christ, we were still bound in our chains to Satan. We could not pass into the kingdom of heaven, even the Law of Moses could not redeem us, because, on our own we cannot be redeemed. It was only with the coming of Christ we could be redeemed. 

He redeemed us through His Death on the Cross and His Resurrection. All three components of God, The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are necessary for our salvation and four our faith. The Father as the one who created us, the Son who died for us, and the Holy Ghost who breaths Gods love and truth and the Word into our hearts.  All three elements of God are active in our ongoing salvation. It is an infinite loop of sorts. God the Father passes His Will to us through the Holy Spirit. The Son, Jesus Christ is our mediator and advocate before the Father. While we do not know exactly each of their functions, we do know all three work together and Jesus is our mediator and advocate to the Father and the Holy Ghost breathes Gods Knowledge into us and believing and acting on what God asks and by what we get from the Holy Ghost brings us to be of God. 

Before we are of God, we are of this world.  Our life is here, our end is here.  However, once we are transformed via the Holy Ghost, then we are merely sojourners here; our life is not really here and certainly does not end here. We are merely passing through this world as a portal to our new unending life with God. The only way to be of God is through God, that is His Son, our Lord. I am the way, the truth, the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6) Jesus himself clearly says the only way to be of God is through Him. Nobody comes unto God but by Christ. What does that mean for those of other faiths? Nobody knows but Christ. But we do know that  He always means what He says and no one comes unto the Father (gets into heaven) except through Him.  That is clear, beyond any misconstruing.  He is the only way, so why not follow the proven way to God and salvation?

The clear message of the feeding of the multitude is action, and the whys and hows behind all of it does not matter as much as the simple message that He did it. It is all too easy to get wrapped around in fine details, when it is the bigger picture that matters. The clear moral of this story is that He acted, not just talked, but He actually acted and fed the people. It lines up with the collect and the epistle in that if we are to be Christians we need to follow the example that Jesus said, and act on our beliefs and not just say we believe. 

That is a model we should follow; not just talk, but act as well.  It serves as a template for our ministries here on Earth, to follow this plan of action and not just diction. Our love for God will be demonstrated through our actions, if we act for Him. Does this story recall the words from the Last Supper used in Holy Communion at the Consecration? He took Bread; and when he had given thanks, He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you; Do this in remembrance of me. Those few words produced The Word, which has satisfied so many over millenniums.  It does not take a lot of words to satisfy us, but they have to be the right ones, which come from Our Lord.

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

[1] 9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
[2] In some respects, this is a key to the Bible. Regardless of our own self-centered thoughts, we are the same people since Adam and will be until the end of time. Thus he who writes the Romans just as well writes to us. We would like to think we are better, but we are not. We are the same. But, on the other hand, that is convenient for what worked for them will work for us. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

The Militant Christ – Part Three - 24 July 2020 Anno Domini

a series of devotions by Rev Mark Sutherd Carroll, AOC



The following description of our Lord as Christ Militant by Rev Mark Sutherd Carroll has been our Devotion for three days, this is the conclusion.

Christ Militant - Vision of a Beautiful Warrior

A
ND it came to pass, when I, even Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. [Daniel viii. 15]
 Comment: The verbiage of the Authorized Version doesn't convey the militant nature of this passage. however a word study reveals that indeed Daniel saw Jesus Christ as a warrior. In the first place, this entire vision passage is about the rising and falling of empires: Persia, Media, Greece, Rome through conquest. Secondly, the image of the vision was "the appearance of". The Hebrew word is Mareh. It conveys the sense in some uses of a beautiful countenance, that is fair, favored, and good to look upon. The Hebrew translated man here, according to Strong, is "properly a valiant man or warrior" We know that the beautiful warrior was divine for he commands the Archangel Gabriel to tell Daniel the meaning of the vision. Gabriel proceeded to reveal the meaning of the images and how these empires would rise up and fall, ultimately with an ultimate fierce dark king should stand up and destroy God's people and face the Prince of Princes, even Christ Militant, but shall be crushed. 
 Christ Militant - Prophetic King – Priest - Warrior

T
HE LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. [Psalm 110]
 Comment: Psalm 110 is certainly one of the most vivid examples of Messianic prophesy in the Bible. It begins with the passage that Jesus identified as relating to himself: ("Jehovah said to my Lord..") It establishes the titles of everlasting King (who would "rule in the midst of thine enemy"), Priest ("after the order of Melchizedek"), and Warrior (who would "strike through kings in the day of his wrath."). The covenant of Jehovah is cited as the cause for this coming: David sang, "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent". Note also that the King shall "wound the heads over many countries". Like in Psalm 91, we remember the prophetic voice of Jehovah in the Garden who said, " it [seed of Eve] shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. ". It has been pointed out by O. Palmer Robertson that this prophesy showed the decitful way that Satan would strike, but the blow would not be fatal by striking the heel; whereas the Seed would crush the serpent's head; a mortal blow.