Verse of the Day

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Ninth Sunday after Trinity

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

Sermon  Rev Jack Arnold  Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon tied the Epistle and Gospel together talked, as is oft the case, of the need for action, not simply diction, the general content is in forewords above.

Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God to give us … the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will …

This is kind of a follow-on to last week’s Collect.  We are asking God to give us direction so we might know right from wrong and follow the right way.  If we listen to our hearts and minds, like the aviator, mariner or adventurer without a compass, we will soon be hopelessly lost.  With the compass God gives us we can find the One True Way, much like the compass always points North.

The Collect acknowledges without God’s intervention through the Holy Spirit in our lives we cannot do anything that is good or right. Indeed, our own very natures prevent us from doing what is right.  Our nature is inclined towards being away from God, but with the help of the Holy Spirit, we can reset our nature to be towards God. We just have to ask for His help and not just ask for it, but willingly receive it.  By receiving, I mean that we have to be willing and ready listeners, ready to listen to what He wants us to do, and then act upon that. We must let His will be our will. We have to put aside what we want to do, and put what God wants us to do in the forefront. This is a very difficult matter, a concept we have always struggled with.

This is nothing new.  As Paul reminds us we have a common spiritual past, regardless of our actual lineage.  Spiritually, we are descended from the Jews of the Exodus.  Their God is our God; God directed their actions.  He was a Trinity then as He is today.  Their reality is our reality, whether we choose to understand or accept it. Our forefathers drank of “the same spiritual drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.”  We are like them in that we stubbornly, due to our own nature, resist His will. We murmur and grumble, when in fact we should be praising Our Father Almighty. We are also like them, in that if we do not look up to Him who was lifted up on the cross, like Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, we will perish. However, if we will look up to Him who was crucified on the cross, and believe on Him and His Name, we shall be saved.  By looking up, we also are to believe on Him and His Resurrection and acknowledge that without this event, we would not be saved.

He also points out with God’s help there is no temptation we are not able to withstand. We just have to call upon His Name and follow His Way out of it. He will always provide us with an escape route from whatever difficulty we are facing. We may not like it sometimes, but His Guidance is always the best path to follow in the end.

Those who have gone before provide examples, both good and bad. We should aspire to follow the good examples of those who have gone before and not the bad examples that they left behind. In this letter Paul addresses the bad and suggests we should see what their ill behavior gained them before we set our course and not after.  We should not strive to emulate the murmurings of the people, though we may feel that way sometimes, as we can learn from their bad examples.  We must see their bad examples and do not emulate those; on the other side, we must see the good examples, and strive to emulate them.

Following after the Jews, we should strive to not incorporate those bad examples, but the good examples into our lives. And, lest we think ourselves ever so special, he reminds us we are subjected to no special temptations, only those “as is common to man.”  Every man on this planet is a sinner who desperately needs help, every bit as much as the next, albeit likely in differing ways.  In sin, all are equally lost to death, unless they accept the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Which is to say, common to everybody within the human race who is not Christ, which is all of us. This is another example of the adage, “Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.”  It is an old saw, but one as valid today as the first time it was used.  

That is a reason the Old Testament should be read and reviewed and compared to the New Testament, to see where we came from, how we got here and where we should go next. It works like a process flowchart, from the beginning from Adam, down through the various figures of the Old Testament, the flowchart ends at the arrival of Christ and the Holy Ghost, and in our redemption. Analyzing this flowchart, we can see our temptations and sins are nothing new, and sins are a waste of our spiritual life. We must practice continuous improvement, kaizen as the Japanese called it, and or Total Quality Management of our spiritual life.

Just like Total Quality Management requires each and every member of the organization work together to achieve quality and serve the needs of the customer, so too, do the Scriptures require all believers work together, to serve the needs of those we serve, namely other believers and the Church. We must continuously improve ourselves in our day to day lives, not just in the church, but in our business and personal lives. This is the message Paul is conveying to Corinthians, we must see how our forefathers acted, emulate their good qualities and dispose of the wasteful, bad, sinful qualities.   We must continually improve upon ourselves throughout our lives. We must continually work on turning our bad qualities into good qualities. Only God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ can really provide us the spiritual guidance we need to do this. We must trust that they will give us the correct guidance when needed. 

Speaking of lessons, when Saint Luke recounts the story of the prodigal son we oft think ourselves as that prodigal one returning to God so late in life.  Yet there is far more to be learned than the titular son.

Consider the two sons.  The older is a wonderful young man who strives to please his father in everything he does.  The younger son asks for his inheritance, now rather than later, and sets off to spend it wastefully in a far off land.  In dire straits, he decides to go home to his father and beg to be allowed to live as one of his servants.  He decides to tell his father, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son…”  Before he can get the words out of his mouth, his father welcomes him, gives him new clothing and calls the servants to prepare a fatted calf for a big party.  The elder son is very angry and hurt.  He asks his father what he did wrong; he followed his instructions every day to the best of his ability, worked hard, and yet his father had never even given a small party for him.  The father answered, saying, “Son, thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”   “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost and is found.”  

This story, like that of the workers in the vineyard has a number of meanings.  Like the father in the story, God wants us to be His faithful child always, but rejoices when we return to Him.  Like the prodigal son, we should be grateful if we live long enough to come back to Him.  We should recognize when we have erred and strayed from our ways like lost sheep; as soon as we recognize that, we should immediately return to Our Lord in prayer, asking for His forgiveness.  Like the father in the story, our Lord will warmly welcome us back with open arms. 

The moral of the older son’s story is that we should not be jealous of those returning to Christ’s flock after years away, but instead, be more like the father and rejoice when one of the lost sheep comes home to us. For jealously is something that will chip away at our hearts and make us into less kind people and more evil. But genuine love and affection can only make us into a more kind and better people. So let us learn from the older son’s mistake and not be jealous or hold a grudge against the lost for having been lost, but rather, rejoice in the act that they have been saved.

The moral of the younger son’s story is that God is always waiting for us, and if we are not too late, we can always return to Him.  Today preferably, rather than tomorrow! He will always accept us with opening arms, but we must make sure it is not too late. Don’t wait until you die! If you feel you have erred and strayed, repent now! Do not put off until tomorrow your repentance. If you are led by the Holy Spirit to repent, please do it today, you may not live to see tomorrow. 

Do not let the sun go down on your sins and wrath, you may not live to see another day! On the other hand, consider the oldest son, let us learn from his mistake and be joyful when our brothers and sisters come home to our family. Let us put aside the anger and jealousy and replace those hurtful emotions with the emotions of pure love and joy! Let us join in the celebration and not begrudge the fatted calf.  We should not be jealous or angry when our long lost brethren return to the flock of Christ! We should be merry and joyful they have returned to us! Do not let your pride become anger and cloud your emotions like it does so many of us. But, rather see a sinner coming back into His flock and rejoice in he is no longer headed towards The Pit! 

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, August 6, 2017

The Transfiguration of Christ, superseding the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!

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

This Transfiguration is in many ways a strange event, certainly the like of which the world had never   Certainly an exception to Ecclesiastes 1:9’s 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.  For this truly was something new with the Son!
seen before and would not see again.

Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God who … grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty   

The Collect does not take us where I, at least, would think it would.  We are asking to have our souls be able to withdraw from the noise, clamor and evil of the world which Bishop Cranmer summarizes as the disquietude of this world.  To withdraw means to separate, more on that later.  But to where?  To where we might let our souls behold the King in his beauty.  To behold the King in his beauty is to know the Peace of God.  That Peace which replaces the disquietude with quietude.  To be at peace and rest, something we long for and can only achieve with Gods help via the Holy Ghost.

That leads us into Peters words as he nears the end of his time here on earth.  He is at peace with what counts and separated in many respects from the disquietude of the world, set aside, or in another word, holy.  He tells those who have depended on him for guidance he will soon be leaving them for home; they must carry on with the initial guidance he and his companions have given them.  He reminds them they have been given the truth and the light of our Lord Jesus Christ, not a bunch of what he calls cunningly devised fables which were designed to keep them subject to the ways of this world.  He reminds them, and us, this Lord Jesus Christ whom we follow was called My Beloved Son out loud by God Himself at His baptism and again on the Mount at the Transfiguration when we were specifically commanded to listen to him and by inference follow him.  For what good is listening only?

This, of course, leads to Lukes account of the Transfiguration.  Luke the Physician is often Luke the Historian and this is one of those cases.  Jesus went up to a mountain; interesting he did not go to the temple, is it not?  He took Peter and John and James, those to whom he was closest, and went up to pray.  He knew where he was going, He always did.  While He prayed, His appearance and clothing changed.  This is the outward transfiguration.  You can be sure when He left for the mountain, his clothing was not white and glistering, for in those days nothing was.  There he met with Moses and Elias, not dead but alive.  They talked of the upcoming crucifixion, but once again Peters presence was slipping away as he fell asleep, much like he would at Gethsemane.  When Peter awoke, he suggested making three tabernacles or monuments to Jesus, Moses and Elias.  That must have amused Jesus to no end.  Then came the Cloud of God and the VOICE!   This is my beloved Son: hear him. Then, there was just Jesus and his band.

So, what to make of this?

And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen. 

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 30, 2017

Seventh Sunday after Trinity

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today’s sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

Consider 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.  This will help us to appreciate and act in goodness.  Without His love, our efforts will ultimately be of no avail. We cannot do anything without His help, and with it, it will be easier. There will be times where we fail, but if we turn back to Him, then we shall succeed. When I turn to Him nowadays for help with stuff, that I do far better than if I do not.  When I pray for something that I truly need, I find that He answers. I just have to listen to what He says.  When I don’t listen to what He says I find that I have a more difficult time than if I do listen and act on what He says. This holds true not just for myself, but all of us who follow under Christ’s banner.

So, pretty clearly we need to be of God.  For the world is lost, so we cannot be of the world and expect to be saved. So, 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 the saying of Solomon’s 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, that we could be redeemed. 

As Paul says, we have been transformed from servants of sin to servants of the giver of life. God has paid the wages of our sin, through the death and resurrection of His Son. We are called to be worthy of this new life as His servants. We have to truly live our lives as being of God. Being of God, as the adopted sons and daughters of God is truly a marvelous thing. It gives us the ultimate family; the body of Christ, the Church. It gives us the ultimate support system, of God and of our fellow believers. Our fellow believers, who are fellow travelers on the path to paradise, can give us moral support as we traverse the narrow and steep path towards heaven.

Before we are of God, we are of this world.  Our life is here, our end is here.  Once we are of God, 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, what provision – if any – He has made for those who chose not to follow Him here on earth for whatever reason.  We do know 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?

If we will follow God, we will live; not only forever in the next world, but better in this world, starting right now, not just after we our earthly time is gone.  We must put aside what we did and do what He would have us do.  Remembering what we did wrong in the past, so we do not repeat those incorrect actions in the future. Actions are the key to everything.  Talk is nice.  Action is what counts. We have to act upon our beliefs, which can be very hard sometimes but must be done. I struggle with this myself, but I find returning to God helps with this.  He cleans the slate, so I can try again anew.  This is always a very comforting thought, that God will always accept you, if you repent and do your best not to make that same error again. This will be a continuous never ending cycle for those who endeavor to do their best to follow Him, make mistakes, then get back up and try our best again. 

The key word is doing our best and not just saying we are doing our best when we aren't. We know we are doing our best, when we have done all we can in a given situation, according to our abilities. There are days that we do less than others, but so long as we have done our very best in those situations, we can feel reassured we have acted for Him. Let us put aside our excuses, which are feeble and weak and concentrate on acting for Him. 

Acting is the key element of the Christian faith, for without action, there is no evidence of faith. You need faith, that is true, through the Holy Spirit, but you also need to back up that faith with actions. Your actions on this Earth, determine who you really have faith in, God or man. The only sure support source is God, because He will never let you down, He will always be faithful and true. We can always rely on him for guidance and strength in very stressful times.

He is the one who we should always look to for guidance when times get tough. In fact, we should expect, if we follow Him, things will get difficult, especially when it gets nearer to His coming. For we will be persecuted for His Name’s sake.  By those who are doing what they think is right, when they are really doing what is wrong. They will think they are doing God a favor by their acts, when really they are working for the other guy. We must hold fast and persevere in following God and Scripture. We will get our righteous reward in the end for doing so. Acting for Him may not always be easy, but rest assured it is always the right thing to do in the end.

In the end, it may not be the quickest way, but the path of following Him is the best way. Rather than take the so called ‘shortcuts’ Satan offers, that lead down the broad and wide path, let us take the harder, narrower path that He offers, that will lead us to Paradise. Many will choose the former path, for varying reasons, but in the end, it will not profit them. Our path may not profit us much on earth, in monetary wealth, but it will profit us in a priceless less gift; eternal life in heaven.

Saint Mark tells us of action. 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 then sit down to His own meal.  He acted and they were fed.  The clear message of the story 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. 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 23, 2017

Sixth Sunday after Trinity

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
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.  So, what should we ask for?  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 Holy Ghost is a key element of love, without Him we cannot even love Him. If we cannot love others, how can we love Him who we have not seen? He gives us far more love than we can possibly deserve.

That is the great and wonderful news about following our Lord. He has love for the entire world, if they would turn from their sinful ways and follow Him. This is the message we are bringing to the world. God loved us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son on the cross to die for us, so we and all who believe on Him might have everlasting life.  This is truly the Good News, for we were once condemned to hellfire, but now through our Lords sacrifice are going to be allowed to enter into heaven, though we are imperfect creatures.

We are imperfect creatures, created with free will by a Perfect Being.  To get into Heavens Gate, we need be accounted as perfect before the Judge.  That requires a bit of an accounting irregularity, to account imperfection as perfection.  And that is exactly what Jesus death on the cross did for us. It allows us imperfect creatures accounted as perfect before the great Judge, Our Father in heaven.

So, what does the Collect counsel, ask for the Holy Ghost to enter into our hearts that we might get more than we can desire!  Jesus!  Jesus is that accounting irregularity. He can give us his guidance and grace via the Holy Ghost, to make us better men and women of the Lord. By His Sacrifice, made one time, for all mankind, for all time, we are accounted as perfect by His Faith and Action.  Thus, through His Faith and His Action, we attain life everlasting. That eternal life doesnt start when you die either! Starting today, you dont have to wait until you die to benefit from your immortality. 

In fact, God would prefer you to start acting like you will live forever right now.  Thus, decisions you make, actions you take will be with the long term view of eternity!  Versus our rather usual shortsighted short term view, we must think in the terms of the big picture, not the tiny speck in the picture. 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 will require a lot of adjustment. Think of how your actions will impact you, your family and others down the road, before acting and make the necessary adjustments.  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 and larger picture, and act to the best of our abilities and with the guidance of the Holy Ghost as a positive aspect of that larger picture.

In todays Epistle, St. 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, renewed through the death of the old man to the new, and to describe our life in Heaven from here on Earth. When we die here on Earth, we will be resurrected in heaven with our Lord, free from our mortal and corruptible body, to our new and immortal state.

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 St. Paul says in Romans is death. His death has paid for our sins, so we might be accounted as perfect to get into heaven. We cannot be worthy on our own to get into heaven, but for the Grace of God, sending his Son Jesus to die for our sins, we will be able to get into heaven. This is the greatest miracle of our Lord Jesus Christ. He accounts us imperfect creatures as perfect, so we can 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. This is truly an amazing miracle, and 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.

As imperfect creatures, immortal or not, we make mistakes.  One to avoid is being madat ones fellow creatures, particularly family and friends.  We pick the most illogical reasons to be mad, the word chosen rather than angry.  Looked at logically, as God does, we need to solve the issue, kiss and make up, and do it before the sun sets on our anger.  Never part in anger.  One of you may not come back.  We must put aside our often foolish and angry thoughts and not act upon them, but rather have Christly thoughts and act upon those. Remember that before you are angryat a friend, relative, acquaintance, or stranger. We must not let anger and other irrational emotions such as fear get the best of us; but rather 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 reasonable tool 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 16, 2017

Fifth Sunday after Trinity

If you enjoy this, the entire AOC Sunday Report is RIGHT HERE!
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Church of the Faithful Centurion - Descanso, California
Today's sermon brought the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

… 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 the events of this world might follow Gods governance or will.  Why?  Because in those places where it does, we find happiness and joy.  And good things will happen when we do follow Gods will. The collect is expressing that not just we Christians should attempt follow Gods governance but that also of the whole wide world. Think about it, if the world would do what God ask, think of how much better it would be. 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 Gods 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 Gods 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 was Gods fault, He is punishing us.

As long as we are human, imperfect creatures with free will, it will never change for humanity.  But, we individually can change, and with enough individuals changing, humanity will change. The key is an individual changing. A snowball of these individuals changing can eventually in time cause an avalanche of individuals changing.  Of course, as we all know this is not an easy task to accomplish. To accomplish it, we must give up our base desires and wants and look to what God wants for us to do in this world.  We must focus on an aspect we need to change and work on changing that, day by day, year by year. It is a constant process we will undergo throughout the rest of our days on Earth.

We can learn from the past and live for the future in Him who gave His Life we might be free eternally. This is a very similar theme to last Sundays sermon, with very good reason. It applies to almost every single lesson in the Bible, which is to do Gods will, above what you want to do. Every time we do what we want to do instead of what God wants us to do, we fail. But when we do what God wants us to do, we succeed! Even though we want to do what we do, rather than what God wants us to do, it is better for us in the end to do what God wants us to do.  Doing what God Asks = Happiness, Not doing what God Asks = Unhappiness, to put it into mathematical terms!

So, how do we make our little part of this world follow Gods will? Peter tells to be of one mind, have compassion and pity for each other, to be courteous, to give good to all our brethren, to return good for evil, to seek peace, to do good, not just talk good.   He is saying that we need to BE good and it needs to show in our actions. We need to put away our evil thoughts and words and replace them with words of kindness and healing.

Peter tells us to not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. When Peter speaks of being of one mind, he is speaking of the one mind we will have when we follow the instructions of the Holy Ghost. He is saying we need to have one mindedness with Christ, to act as Christ would act. This is a hard concept to put into action in our lives. We are always having to work on overcoming our natural sinful tendencies and letting the Holy Ghost into our hearts to transform us into Children of God. That means putting away our old selfish minds and putting on the new one mind of Christ. The Holy Ghost will help us to have this one mind. 

We have to start first with ourselves and allow the Holy Ghost into our hearts to transform us. After we are transformed by the Holy Ghost, only then can we truly be able to help others. Then we can truly act with the one mind Peter speaks about. It will not happen right away, but it is a steady and continuous process, in fact taking most of our lifetime here on earth. But while we are being transformed, we can do our best to help others. But we must realize that it is only through God we can help others, and not to us only. To put ourselves in others’ places, understand when they fall short and make good things happen. The key word is walk”, to act upon the teachings of Christ, and not just utter them and not do them. All of us, including myself, struggle with this; but as long as we are DOING our best, and not just saying it, then that is all He asks of us.  We cannot do more than our best. We must be doing our best and not just faking doing our best. There is a significant difference between the two. If you are sincere, people will know it. If you are not sincere, people will also know it too. As they say, actions speak louder than words. And to paraphrase Scripture, where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. To understand where a persons heart is, look at their actions and not just their words. Words do not mean much unless they are backed up by actions. We need to perform good actions, with the help of the Holy Ghost, to show that we truly believe.

So, just how do we make good things happen?  Fairly simple, do what God asks! Follow the Summary of the Law and all shall be well in ones life. Every moral law hangs off of the Summary of the Law Love your God with all your heart soul and your mind, and Love thy Neighbor as thyself.” These two commandments are all where the Ten Commandments originate and thus from which all the moral laws of the universe originate. They are the ultimate benchmark for us, which we should try and do our best to meet. They are truly what we should be judging our own actions against. This is an extremely common theme again! Doing what God asks is the answer to all of our problems if you think about it! Dont figure out ways to seem to do what He asks, while doing what you want.  Dont 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 Gods will instead? It will have a lot better results that is for sure, like Simon Peter and his nets!  The net gathered an incredible catch Simon Peter and his friends could not board.  

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

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