Verse of the Day

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Eighth Sunday after Trinity


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, wherein we ask God who … ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; … to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us …

We must understand in our hearts that God does indeed “ordereth all things” here as well as in heaven. Even though it might not seem like it at times, we have to understand ultimately He is in control of all of the Universe.  Once we understand that, then we can ask Him to keep us away from those things hurtful to us and incline our hearts towards those things that are good for us.  This is one of the many things for which we need the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in our hearts.  Without His Help, we cannot recognize the help we need.  We tend to think of ourselves as perfectible by our own work, without the need to depend on others (Him).  The problem is, it does not work.  The collect recognizes that on our own we could not find what is profitable for us and that we tend to stray towards those things that are hurtful for us. Therefore, we need God as our infalla]ible guide to steer us towards those things which will help us and not harm us.

Today’s Collect, Epistle and Gospel all come together with one theme. That theme is that if we listen to Him in word and in deed,  God will protect us from hurtful things and will lead us to profitable things. Profitable not in the sense of being Bill Gates rich, but profitable in the sense that whatever God and the Holy Spirit will lead us to will be beneficial for our spiritual well being as well as our physical and mental well being. Paul mentions before receiving the Holy Spirit or the spirit of adoption, we were under Satan’s bondage. We have been released from that slavery to Satan and are now free peoples under Christ’s banner. We are not called to freedom from sin just to re-enter our previous state, but to be the new men of Christ.  This means setting aside the previous things that hurt us spiritually, physically and mentally and focusing on pursuing a way of living that would honor God. That means examining our spiritual, physical and mental aspects of our lives, seeing what we need to do to improve it to follow His Word.

His Word brings us to another point. Which is does the Bible you use match the real Word of God?  It is not the grammar or style that counts, but the facts, the points, the real message of Scripture.  The Authorized Version comes from the Received Text and is reliable.  Make certain the version you use loses nothing in the translation. Many modern versions use corrupted manuscripts omitting a large number of verses that corrupt the message of the New Testament, and in the case of John 3:16 for example, dilute Jesus Christ’s status as the only begotten son of God. The newer Bibles also are copyrighted so “Man” owns it, and not the author of Scripture, God our Father. In this case, these newer Bibles are not Bibles at all, but doctrine books of men set on not following Scripture.

So, once you let the Holy Ghost into your heart, then take the direction He Offers, read and understand Scripture, you will know what you are supposed to do.  Then, you need to actually act on that knowledge.

In the Gospel, Jesus covers similar ground.  He points out that if we are of the good tree, our actions will produce good fruit. Before, we were of the bad tree and that is why we produced nothing good. He also points out that not everyone that claims to be a Christian will get into heaven. He says only those who DO the will of God and actually ACT upon His Words will get into heaven and not just those who say they are doing the will of God. He talked about the wolves in sheep’s clothing. He talks about many that have hijacked the church of God and have turned it into a temple of thieves and followers of the Devil rather than soldiers and followers of Christ. This Gospel lets us know that unlike us, Jesus is not fooled by those who have deception in their hearts. Those false prophets might fool many but they will never fool God. Another reason for us to ask the Holy Ghost into our hearts that He might give us the wisdom to root out such false teachers in the Church. The whole point of all of today’s readings is that we need to act in a manner that is in accordance with Christ’s teachings. 

Action counts.  For by their actions ye shall know them.  

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

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Seventh Sunday after Trinity



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.

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. 

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Sixth Sunday after Trinity


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.

Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Todays sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 


Consider these words from the Collect, … who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass mans understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire 

We acknowledge God will give those who love Him more good than they can imagine, let alone ask for.  But, first you have to love Him. How do we accomplish this? We do it by asking the Holy Ghost to enter in to our hearts so we might truly love Him.  If we do, more good will come to us than we can even imagine or hope for.  The point of the collect is that we cannot fathom how much goodness will happen to us, if we follow Him. With His Infinite Grace and Love, God has the potential for unlimited amounts of Goodness.  But the key word here is Love. And where we do we get that love from? We are back to the Holy Ghost. He is a key element of love, without Him we cannot even love Him. If we cannot love others we have seen, how can we love Him who we have not seen? He gives us far more love than we can possibly deserve. 


Who is the other component in this equation?  Jesus!  Jesus is that missing variable in our complicated equation state. He is the X. He can give us his guidance and grace via the Holy Ghost, to make us better men and women of the Lord.  He will help us to utilize the Holy Ghost to love God the  Father. He is who we need to gain eternal life. By His Sacrifice, made one time, for all mankind, for all time, we are accounted as perfect by His Faith and Action. However, we are not perfect by any means and will always have to work on our imperfection. However we do need to recognize that Christ has brought us immortality, starting right now. Eternal life doesn’t just start when you die. So we need to realize the impact that this has and plan our actions in life accordingly. 

This is a rather stark contrast  to  our rather usual shortsighted short term view, we must think in the terms of the big picture, not the tiny speck in the picture. We are not used to thinking in the long term view. Think of the clear vision of the big picture and not just the small, close in picture.  We must keep focused on the big picture, touching down at Heavens Gate. To get to that touchdown point, we have to align our actions in the pattern of life with Gods Word, make our actions consistent with our stated belief in Gods Word. 

Like flying, this requires constant adjustments. And lots of little tiny fluid adjustments are required in our lives here on Earth. Some will be easier than others of course. And we will fail from time to time as that is just our human nature. We have to get back up and be ready to start again and not the same mistake again that caused us to fail. When acting, think of how your actions will impact you, your family and others down the road, before acting and make the necessary fixes, if any are needed. The Holy Ghost can provide the inspiration and guidance we need to think through our actions. We just need to listen to Him at the moment when we need to act and remind ourselves that our future will be better if we listen to the Holy Ghost rather than ourselves.  

We have to think of ourselves as a part of Gods much bigger plan, and act to the best of our abilities and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost as a positive aspect of that larger picture.  Each of us has a role to play in His Plan. We do not know the whole details of that plan, but God will give us our part of His Plan if we but listen to what He has to say. And the key word here is to listen. We have to listen to what He actually says and not what we want Him to say. There is a distinct difference between the two.

In todays Epistle, Paul says as Jesus Christ died and rose again, so too should we die to our sins and rise again in a better state. He uses this metaphor to describe both our life here on earth as previously we had been living in our corrupt natural state and through the renewal of the mind through the Holy Ghost, we are transformed into something more pure than we had been. 

And as he says, as death has no dominion over Jesus Christ, so too shall it have no more dominion over us. For by His death and resurrection, He has paid the wages for our sin, which as Paul says in Romans is death. His death paid for our sins, so we might be accounted as perfect to get into heaven. Paul is telling us about that same accounting irregularity we mentioned earlier and Christ is that accounting irregularity. As we of our own volition cannot resolve the accounting issue, and thus cannot be worthy on our own to get into heaven.. 

The resurrection truly is the greatest miracle Jesus performed. Because before He came and died for our sins, we could not get into heaven on our own and in fact still cannot. It is by Gods Grace, that He sent His only begotten son, that we should not perish, but have everlasting life..  I find myself still amazed every time I think of it. How we poor sinful creatures who could not make it to heaven on our own, have had our wages of sin paid by our Lords death upon the Cross.


We must put aside our often foolish and angry thoughts and not act upon them, but rather have Christly thoughts and act upon those. This is another concept easier said than done. Instead of acting irrationally, we must instead think calmly and figure out the best way to handle whatever situation we are in without losing control of our emotions. How do we do this? The clear solution is to pray to God and ask for His Help in bridling our tongue and have it be a tool of  reason  rather than a tool of anger and deceit! And to also remember this every time we are in a moment of heated emotion.

When Jesus gave His Life for us, He did it knowing we would fail to follow in perfection, but fully aware some would follow to the best of their ability. We must get back up after we make our mistakes and continue on trying the best we can to follow Him. That is all He asks, do your best.  Even Saint Paul had trouble following our Lord, but he kept trying and doing his real best not to make the same mistake again.  Doing your best is not the same as saying you are doing your best.

There are none so deaf as those who will not hear. 

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



Sunday, July 12, 2020

Fifth Sunday after Trinity


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:

… the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by thy governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve thee in all godly quietness …

In the Collect, we ask that the events of this world might follow God’s governance or will.  Why?  Because in those places where it does, we find happiness and joy.  It is that simple, it means more, reflect on that.  After all, amazing is it not?  Since the Garden, it has always been one of the two same choices:

1.     We follow God’s Will for us, we do what is good for us, individually and as a people or a country.  It is hard work, but easier than we imagined; we prosper when all goes well.  It was all our doing, we are happy because we were so smart.

2.     We ignore God’s instructions, doing what we want to do, not what we are supposed to do.  It turns out to be way harder than we thought possible, in the end everything turns to weasel spit.  It was not our fault, it is God’s fault, He is punishing us.

As long as we are imperfect creatures with free will, humanity will not change.  The key word in this phrase is will. The will of humanity is set towards embracing sin and running away from God. But there is the possibility that through the Holy Ghost, we as individuals can change and with enough individuals changing, the whole of humanity of change.  We just have to start with our corner of the world and work out from there. Humanity would be better off if we fully embraced the principles found in the Gospel.  However, there is a big obstacle to this: human nature. By our own nature, we are naturally resistant to embracing what God wants. We have to understand doing what God wants will be better for us in the long run than doing what we want. 

If you think about it, all of our problems can be solved by doing what God asks! Don’t try to get out of doing what God wants to do what you want, and don’t look for loopholes.  Don’t be a Pharisee! Consider when Jesus told Simon Peter to go out and set his nets.  Simon was tired, he was hungry, he had fished all night with no result.  After making excuses, he decided to do what he was told! There is a lesson there, instead of making excuses why things are the way they are, why not be quiet and do God’s will instead? It will have a lot better result, that is for sure! 

That is what happened to Simon Peter; that is what will happen to you, if you will but listen and act. Listening and then acting are the key principles of this Gospel, we must listen to what He says, and then ACT upon it.

The point Saint Peter makes in this morning’s Epistle is that it is easy for us to be sinful creatures and not do good. It is much easier to swim with the flow than it is to swim against it.  God is calling us not to swim with the flow of the world, but to swim against it, for as GK Chesterton put it, A dead thing goes with the stream, but only a living thing goes against it.   It is much harder to resist that sin and to do good. However, we have help in the form of the Holy Spirit. He will give us that strength to resist the sin and to good and to overcome obstacles and feelings, but only if we let it. God is open to those who do good and He is against those who are evil. God will open his ears to us, but we have to also open our ears to what He asks us to do.  The Epistle is calling us to action, to act for Him, to be Holy and not conform our minds and actions to this world but God’s World.

Action and not just diction are what counts in the end. That phrase is what St. Peter’s Epistle boils down to and it is also a shared theme with this morning’s Gospel. When Simon Peter finally listened and acted according to Jesus’s instructions, wonderful things happened. So too will they happen for us when we finally actually listen to what God wants and do it instead of doing what we want.

Do not misunderstand, every day Jesus speaks to you telling you what to do.  It is your choice, you can listen like Simon Peter or you can ignore Jesus.  He has the pony for the lottery.  He wants to give it to you, all you have to do is accept.  While He is a bit more subtle than a Drill Instructor, the question is the same, “Can you hear me?” The problem with us is that we just do not want to hear. That is why we need the Holy Ghost to open up our ears, that we might hear and obey.

There are none so deaf as those who will not hear. 

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

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Fourth Sunday after Trinity


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:

… protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal

We desperately need Gods Help, yet paradoxically, God can only help us if we put our trust in Him; we can never be strong, nor set aside to Him, if we do not let Him be our leader.  No one except God can be their own leader, no one.  Each of us, no matter our position, must have an immutable directional reference or we become hopelessly lost.  For navigation, we have a magnetic compass or better yet the Pole Star, Polaris, which will tell us True North so we can keep headed in the right direction.  People have died of starvation in a closely wooded area less than a mile across because they became lost while following their own sense of direction.  By definition, they were always less than 3,000 feet from safety, yet they died after many days.  So it is with our spirits. 

Like Peter, if we are separated from Christ, then we too shall become lost. But, if we have the Holy Ghost, we are not separated from God and Christ and will thus become stronger. So, if we have the Holy Ghost in our heart, he will both strengthen us and help us to holy, that is set aside. He can also help us be merciful to other people. We just need to listen to what the Holy Ghost says and act upon it.  

We need a leader to follow. We cannot be our own leaders. If we try to become our own leaders, it will not work. But fortunately for us, we have God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost.  if we will follow Their Lead, we will pass through this world in good order and go on to the next in eternal happiness. This is a very common theme within Scripture, do what God asks, be happy; dont do what God asks, dont be happyIt seems simple enough in theory, but a lot harder in practice. It is a lot easier said or thought about than done.   We want to do what we want to have fun, God wants us to do what we need to do to be happy.  Funand Happy do not mean the same thing, they are used interchangeably, their meanings are orders of magnitude different.

We should not consider what man thinks of us. We need to be concerned with what God thinks of us.  If we follow Him, then those who really matter will like us for who we are and how we conduct ourselves while following God and those who don’t are of no concern. Do what is right, avoid what is wrong and you will be happy are the basic principles of the Christian faith.

Paul builds on this, telling us walking Gods path, though it may seem hard at the time, is nothing compared to the reward we receive in heaven for following God’s will. There may be quite a struggle on this Earth before we go to our heavenly home. Paul assures us that heaven will be worth the wait. It ties in also with the collect saying that we need to focus not on things temporal, but things eternal. Meaning we need to look at ourselves and our actions with the long long term view with the goal of getting to heaven for eternity. It must be remembered eternal life doesn’t just start when you die and leave this Earth for Heavenit starts right now. The Collect is asking for God to help us make our way through this temporal universe to His Realm, the ultimate eternal universe of Heaven. We need His help to guide us through all of life’s trials and temptations 

In the end, our reward will outweigh all of our struggles, if we will but keep our eye on the true prize.  Our struggles here on Earth in the eternal view will not be as big as what our eternal reward will be, if we but stay the course that God has set for us. God gave us free will, which if we exercise it properly, that is the will to overcome temptation.  What at first seems like a constrained way of living, once actually lived is really perfect freedom. It only seems constrained, because we cannot conceive how following His Word will allow us true freedom.  If we overcome temptation to do what we want and do what God wants, we will receive the gift of eternal salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Luke presents a simple message, yet one that is often misunderstood, with majestic language which brings the message to a point of incredible sharpness.  We are to be a guide to others to Christ, yet we cannot help others until our own problems are on the way to solvation”, that is being solved through the salvation offered by Christ.  We need to follow Him, before we ask others to follow us.  After all, if we are not going in the right direction, what positive value is there in others following us?  We cant very well lead people to Christ if we ourselves are not on the road to Christ.

We do not want to be leading others towards The Pit, rather, we want to be sure we are on the right path before we guide others along the path. We must not lead others astray by our actions and judge unrighteously, but judge with righteous judgment through the Holy Ghost and on the solid foundations of Holy Scripture.

When he said use righteous judgement, he was talking about judging peoples behavior by the standards of Scripture, not condemnation. He was talking about using the Scriptures as the standard for judging individual’s behavior. He does not mean us to condemn others. This is connected with the parable of the mote. Often times when we are tempted to condemn somebody, we often ignore our own failures and focus on theirs. Let us get our act together first, before we help others. So, how can we, imperfect as we are, be honest with ourselves?  The answer is easy, hard to implement, but easy!  The Holy Ghost!  Let Him into your heart and do what you are told.  Simple, yet hard to do.  

Speaking of doing, what we do to others is a good measure of how we follow God’s Will and Direction.  We are expected to treat others as we would be treated. Remember the Golden Rule, do unto others as you would have done unto you. Our real earthly fortune, as well as are eternal lives, are a reflection of our commitment to God.

We are so ready to condemn the performance of others when our own is even worse.  It is common within all of us, especially me particularly. As Paul tells us, “all fall short.”  The operative word here is ALL.  If we look to condemn and repair our own spiritual lives before condemning others, we will be better suited to help them.  Our beam before their mote.

For only when we have taken care of our own spiritual health by looking to God for help to evaluate and improve how we follow His Word, we will be able to effectively spread the Word of His love for us.

And that is our job, to improve ourselves to effectively spread His Word by example; our action, not our diction, is the measure.

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

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Third Sunday after Trinity


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:

… hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities …

The Collect starts as they often do by asking God to hear us.  It seems to me this is rather odd a thing to ask as He hears us all the time; the problem is when we need His Help we so rarely ask, then when He answers, we will not hear Him.  That being said, when we do accept the Holy Ghost’s Help to pray, we can expect to receive spiritual, mental and physical comfort from God.  The key word in this is accept.  In order to receive the comfort from God, we have to first let him into our hearts to begin his renewal of our spirit. If we do not accept the Holy Ghost’s help, then God will not be able to help us.

It would be foolish not to accept the Great Physician’s help to transform our spirits. It would be like having cancer, and there being a cure for cancer and rejecting that cure because we don’t like it.  Without the help of the Holy Ghost into our hearts, we truly cannot follow Christ. We, of ourselves, cannot follow God without His Divine Assistance. We are sheep gone astray from our shepherd and without Jesus, are wolf food. But with Jesus’s protection, we are safe from the wolf/lion known as Satan. 

In order to have  the Holy Ghost’s help into our heart, we must let go of self centered and prideful  ways. Prideful beings cannot be followers of Christ. Peter makes this point when he says that God resists the proud and gives His Grace to the humble. The humble are those who are more likely to accept His Grace and the Holy Ghost’s help to renew their spirit. The proud believe they are self-made people and scoff at the very idea of God sending his only begotten Son that we should not perish but have life everlasting (John 3:16). These people are very resistant to God and the Holy Spirt.

The humble know they cannot make it into heaven on their own; thus they know they need that divine help and are willing to accept it. They know they can achieve nothing great without God’s help. These are the people to whom God gives His Grace, those willingly embrace His Help and utilize it in their lives.

We must strive to be humble in our lives and less prideful. When we let go of our pride, we can see where we are in error.  When we accept help from the Holy Ghost, we can begin to fix the cracks and faults in our spiritual character. He can shine a light into the darkest areas of our hearts. Jesus could do this as well and He knew very well the spiritual character of each person He encountered in His Earthly Ministry. 

With a clear view of the inner most thoughts of their hearts, Jesus tells the Pharisees the story of the shepherd who loses a sheep and searches for it.  When he finds the sheep he carries it back to the flock on his shoulders.  He goes on to tell the story of the woman who loses a piece of silver and turns her house inside out to find it.  That story ends in a very interesting word play in English, “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece (peace) which I had lost.”  Jesus ends the story with, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” No doubt the Pharisees missed the point of the parable as their hearts were too blackened by pride to hear His Word. 

The moral of the parable is Jesus is all about saving the sinners, not those who are already “righteous.” But for realists, there are none who are already “righteous.” I liken the church as a hospital for sinners. And all of the saints were sinners in their past too.  Having said that, there is also joy when we do not sin, but choose God’s way.  And we enjoy it more also. So, it is preferable if we do not sin in the first place, but if we can’t do that, then God finds joy when we truly repent and turn back to Him and ask for His help and be willing to listen.

Notice Jesus’ actions when He finds a lost sheep, He carries it back to the flock on His shoulders with a smile on His face. He rejoices in each lost soul saved. This is what the Church is about, bringing lost souls to Our Shepherd of Souls, Our Savior, Our Advocate, Jesus Christ, to His Kingdom of Heavenly Joys.

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hymns of the Church - Hymn 478 – Eternal Light, Eternal Light – 23 June 2020, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)


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HIS then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  (1 John 1:5)

            This beautiful old hymn was written one evening shortly after sundown on the Isle of Wight in 1798 by Thomas Binney in 1798. The tune to which it is assigned in the Hymnal is Eternal Light by Kenneth E. Runkle in 1941. It is full of descriptive adjectives illustrating that Eternal Light without which no life would be possible. 

            God is Light and without Him all would be smothering darkness. He is the great self-Generator of Light. Such immense light requires a like and infinite energy to produce which result in the “Consuming fire’ which God alone is.

Eternal Light, Eternal Light

Eternal Light! Eternal Light!
What soul can bear Your searching sight?
What heart, so open, pure, and true,
Can live and calmly gaze on You?

The glowing spirits round Your throne
All serve where sin is never known.
Their eyes can bear the burning bliss
Beyond a darkened world like this.

But how can I, a native here,
Before Your blazing eyes appear?
Can I, a creature of the night,
Endure Your uncreated light?

Praise God, You come to us in Christ!
In Him our darkness all is light!
O Fire of all-consuming grace,
In Christ we stand here face to face!

Eternal Light! Eternal Light! What soul can bear Your searching sight? What heart, so open, pure, and true, Can live and calmly gaze on You? Simply expressed, no mortal creature can look upon the face of God and live. We must be transformed into that precise image of God as first conceived in the Garden, and be made spiritual children of God as well as those of flesh and blood. God’s Light is a searching Light which scans the Waters of the Deep in constant search for those to whom His mercy is made profoundly available. The Light not only illumines the outward countenance, but the inner spirit of man as well. Nothing is hidden from the searching eyes of the Lord. Those who are oblivious to the Light of the Lord will remain in uncharted darkness for an eternity future.

The glowing spirits round Your throne All serve where sin is never known. Their eyes can bear the burning bliss Beyond a darkened world like thisAll sin is darkness, but that darkness cannot abide the True Light of God. Neither will the Light abide darkness. God will countenance no sin, nor sinner, in His Heaven. The Light will unfailingly expose that uncleanliness of heart and soul. The Church Triumphant are those who die in the Lord and have gone to their reward with Him on High. All fleshly sins have been washed clean as they serve before the Throne without shame or hurt. Now their eyes can comprehend what those same eyes could not when abiding in the flesh below. The world they departed was half darkness and half light in its rotation, but now, all is Light.

But how can I, a native here, Before Your blazing eyes appear? Can I, a creature of the night, Endure Your uncreated light? The Light of God is uncreated because God is Light. He has existed from eternity past to eternity future without beginning or end. The eyes of God are as penetrating fountains of light. No mortal can ascend before God with a single sin to his record. But “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and “there are none righteous – no, not one.” So, which of us is able to appear guiltless before the searching eyes of God on that Last Day? It is by having the imputed righteousness of Christ who purchased us out of the bondage of sin. We are saved by that unmerited grace of the Lord.

Praise God, You come to us in ChristIn Him our darkness all is light! O Fire of all-consuming grace, In Christ we stand here face to faceIn him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believeHe was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:4-9 Yes, the grace of the Lord to us-ward is all-consuming and irresistible. He is the Light of the World and He permits us the title as well so long as we are lunar reflectors of that great Light of the Sun of Righteousness. The day will come when each of us will stand, just as did the woman taken in adultery and the woman at Jacob’s Well, face-to-face with the Lord. At that moment, we face Him alone. In what manner shall we stand there? Shall it be as the Redeemed of the Lord, or as the condemned of the world?