Verse of the Day

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

On Point
Someone asked, where do the quotes come from?  The answer is from the people who uttered them.  But, how did you find them?  Oh, that.  Some from Bishop Jerry, many from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, some from Rev Geordie Menzies-Grierson, but overall mostly from Bryan.  He always has a few great ones to share.  On to the On Point quotes –

"[T]he propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
George Washington
First Inaugural Address, 1789
Putting our hand to this plough and looking back will prove that we were unworthy of the kingdom. If there be a hundred reasons for giving up your work of faith, there are fifty thousand for going on with it. Though there are many arguments for fainting, there are far more arguments for persevering. Though we might be weary, and do sometimes feel so, let us wait upon the Lord and renew our strength, and we shall mount up with wings as eagles, forget our weariness, and be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might....

As the rain climbs not up to the skies, and the snow flakes never take to themselves wings to rise to heaven, so neither shall the word of God return unto him void, but it shall accomplish that which he pleases. We have not spent our strength in vain. Not a verse taught to a little girl, nor a text dropped into the ear of a careless boy, nor an earnest warning given to an obdurate young sinner, nor a loving farewell to one of the senior girls, shall be without some result or other to the glory of God. And, taking it all together as a mass, though this handful of seed may be eaten of the birds, and that other seed may die on the hard rock, yet, as a whole, the seed shall spring up in sufficient abundance to plentifully reward the sower and the giver of the seed. We know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
"The Cause and Cure of Weariness in Sabbath-School Teachers”
8 November 1877

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty: and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.
I Corinthians 1:27-29

When bank-tellers are trained to identify counterfeit currency, they are asked to count hundreds of genuine bills. They are never asked to study a counterfeit bill. When asked why, the supervisor explained that when the teller knows the genuine article intimately, any counterfeit will immediately feel abnormal. So it is with biblical approaches to Indian beliefs and traditions. We start by training ourselves to know what the Bible teaches, and allow scripture and the Holy Spirit to transform our minds. Then we will be able to discern what traditions and practices can be allowed, those that must be discarded and those where the answer lies in the conscience of the believer.
Rev. Dr. Joshua Raj
Bishop in the Anglican Orthodox Church
20th and 21st century Canadian medical doctor
A Biblical Approach to Indian Traditions and Beliefs, p. 196

You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.
Robert Heinlein
20th century American author.

After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.
Italian proverb
The Propers for today are found on Page 212-213, with the Collect first:

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dru Arnold read today’s Epistle, which came from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, the Third Chapter beginning at the Thirteenth Verse. Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, prays that the people might “be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.”   More simply put, Paul asks that we open our hearts to God and to Christ, that they might work in our hearts the miracle of love.

 DESIRE that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Hap Arnold read today’s Holy Gospel which started in the Seventh Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, beginning at the Eleventh Verse.  Jesus was going into the city of Nain with his disciples and many followers.  “When he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.”  In those days, a widow with only one son had little, a widow with no son was in deep trouble.  Taking compassion on her and also the opportunity to make His power evident, He came to the bier, and touch it said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.”  The young man arose and began to speak; whereupon Jesus brought him to his mother.  Not surprisingly, news of this event was spread “forth throughout all Judæa, and throughout all the region round about.”  Like the young man, we are dead to eternity until we hear the command “… Arise.”  If we hear and act on that command, we have eternal life, just like the young man, it starts right then!

ND it came to pass the day after, that Jesus went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judæa, and throughout all the region round about.

Sermon – Reverend Deacon Jack Arnold - Time and Action
Today’s sermon tied the Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords above.

Consider the words of the Collect, “…let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness …”

When the Collect talks about the church, just like last week, it is not talking about buildings; it is talking about us.   Each of us; all of us and together.  We need God’s help (pity) to keep the group of us together following His Will, for without His Help (Holy Ghost) we are doomed to utter failure.  We can see this in the church today with many churches leaving the Bible that has been used for over 2,000 years with new fangled translations that mangle His Word, they leave the theology that Christ has set for us wth New Age pagan theology. This proves the truth of this collect, that without His help, we are doomed. With His Help, we are set for success for evermore.  He offers, do we accept?

That leads us to Saint Paul’s point:  If we will open our hearts to God, He will send the Holy Ghost to fill our hearts with Love, Courage, Inspiration, Tenacity and Confidence, to mention just a few helpful additions to our portfolio. In short, all of the things that will help our character development. It will, as Calvin’s dad says in Calvin and Hobbes “build our character.” If we will open our hearts to Him, our ears will hear the command “… Arise.”  When we rise, we rise with the confidence of immortals and can conquer any obstacle.  But, without an open heart, our ears will never hear the command directed to our soul, “… Arise.”  We will be dead to eternity.

Open your heart to our Lord and arise.  Arise; go forth with Love, Courage, Inspiration, Tenacity and Confidence to fight the battle our Lord leads us into.

All Jesus asks is that we follow Him.  That is all follow Him.  But, words mean something.  The word follow is very important.

I have heard my dad say many times in the military fighter world the strongest acceptance and recognition of excellence that can be given is, "You lead; I'll follow."  For to do so is to put your life in the other's hands.  Literally, completely and without question.  It is a matter of putting the light on the star and hanging in there.   It is said by few to an even smaller number.  When you break out of the cloud after an hour of GE-28 Volt burning in your retina and see the runway or pop over the ridge after a half hour of dodging trees and triple A and the target is right there in the reticule, it is all okay.  Sometimes in between, it does not seem like it will turn out that way.  What makes you keep the light on the star is trust.  Just like the Marines in World War II, they had to put their trust in their squad/platoon/company leader that they would be able to outfight the Japanese for example. Even through the hell of battle, they surely must have felt relief when they were able to finally push the Japanese out of the islands. Like them, we have to trust God to get us through whatever hell the enemy can throw at us. I see this as another aspect of that truth.  The numbers are different in the case of God.  We all (unlikely to happen) need to put our lives in the hands of a small number (that would be ONE).

We need recognize who has the ability, the power, the perfection in leadership and have that trust to say, "You lead; I'll follow." I believe that is what Jesus expects from us in regard to our entire life. We may get out of position or even go lost wingman on the odd occasion, but he expects us to Our very best to follow His lead and stay in position.  Hard to do if your eye is not padlocked on Him.

I might add, as ministers of our Lord, we have a similar responsibility to those who would follow us here on earth.  And we have to work even harder, for created by a perfect God, we are imperfect creatures with free will.  A problematic combination.  We must strive for a correct attitude, heading, stability and predictability in our path so that we can be followed towards that final destination that marks a successful mission.

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

Bishop Ogles’ Sermon
We are oft fortunate to get copies of Bishop Jerry’s sermon notes.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Today’s sermon starts off with the collect, and like always, it will give you a lot to consider in your heart.

Sermon Notes
Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
Saint Andrew’s
Anglican Orthodox Church
15 September 2013, Anno Domini

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

 LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

ND it came to pass the day after, that Jesus went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judæa, and throughout all the region round about.

Who are the dead?   &  Who are the living?

11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.

The dead: Those who reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who have no forgiveness for their sins…those for whom there has been no redemption for sins. That includes all the world which dwells in utter darkness.

ALL were dead in trespasses and sins before being made alive in Christ by the Holy Spirit: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:1-2)

The dead hear not. Who stopped their ears? Not God. Not even Satan. They themselves have chosen to be dumb to the reality of God.

This son of the widow is dead, but death cannot exist in the presence of the Fountain of Life.

Jesus knows the importance of a son or daughter to a widow. The boy is all his mother has.

The widow made no audible request of Christ, but Christ knew her abject sorrow and took compassion on her as He always does with those who face calamity.

13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.

Jesus never desires our sorrow, but our joy in life.  He neither wants us to ‘fear’ or to ‘weep’. Fear not, I am with thee always, even unto the end of the world. Or “Hagar, why weepest thou?”

The desire of Christ is always for our extreme joy in Him. And Christ knows there is no real joy, or life, apart from that which He offers.

He sends no one to Hell. The lost, due to their rejection of Him, send themselves to Hell.

14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. When God is at work, we had best stand still and see the marvelous works that His hands perform. Stillness is a vanishing quality in a world bent on technology and pragmaticism.  As God said to Job in Job 37:14 “Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God

Or  Psalms 46:10 – “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

So those who bore the body remained motionless while God worked.

And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.

Though the ears of the Rabbi’s maiden were closed in the lock of death, the young girl heard the voice of Christ. Though Lazarus lay long dead in a stone cold tomb, the voice of Christ, his friend, penetrated the bars of death and were heard in newness of life. So with this young man.

And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.

Was dead! No longer dead because he had heard and responded to the voice of Christ. He sat up and began to speak. Once you have heard the voice of Christ whisper in your ear a personal message, you cannot fail to speak out. You do not keep it a secret.

Have you heard that voice? Has your dead ears responded in life?

When were you dead, and have you been called to life? Have you listened? Did you respond by unashamedly speaking out?

We were ALL dead prior to responding in faith to the grace of Christ. All lost. All dead.

Howe many are righteous?

Roms 23: 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

ALL? Does that include you and me?

Yes, ALL!

What is the condemnation to those who sin such as you and I have done?

Rom 6: 20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

What remedy is there for all of us who are born under the condemnation of sin?

Rom10: 8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Christ is the great Creator and Giver of Life. Death will not exist in His presence. So we must insure our salvation that we may be present with him.


Know that the wages of sin is death

Admit that we are dreadful sinners and cannot save ourselves through any good works.

Repent of our sins and turn away from the desires of the flesh.

Receive Christ as you Lord and Savior – not simply Savior, but Lord of your life as well.

How many of us present today have taken a ‘dry’ shower, or a ‘dry’ swim, or walked in a ‘dry’ rain?

Is it possible to get into the water, or to come into contact with a fountain of water, and remain dry?

There is a River of Life, which makes all alive who bathe therein and drink from its fountain:

John 4: 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life

When we are IN Christ, all our sins are covered by His blood. When we are IN the River of Life, we are wet with that water of life all over. We are baptized in newness of life.

Your eternal destiny depends upon which choice you make at the crossroads of life – will you be fearful and unbelieving? Or will you partake of the Tree of Life and Fountain of Living Waters?

Rev 21: 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. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 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.

Simple decision – John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Have you, too, believed unto salvation? 2 Cor 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Bishop Dennis Campbell’s Sermon
Bishop Dennis is a brilliant speaker.  He is able to take biblical precepts and make them perfectly understandable, even to me.  Oft he provides the text of his sermons and I take the utmost pleasure in passing them on:

Christians Continue
Psalm 145, Ephesians 3:13-21, Luke 7:11-17
Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity
September 15, 2013

All doctrines have a practical application to everyday Christian life.  The doctrine of salvation, for example, is not just about being saved and going to Heaven, but about how we live and what we value here and now and every day.  In fact the doctrine of salvation includes every other doctrine, for it is almost a summary of the entire Bible.  One part of the doctrine of salvation is so important that a proper understanding of it leads to great peace and faith in the believer’s life.  But an improper understanding of it leads to fear, worry and theological error in almost every other aspect of understanding the Bible.  I am talking about the old question, can I loose my salvation?  Is it possible for a real, true believer, a person who has been born again into a new life with Christ, a person who has been cleansed of all sin and restored to fellowship with God and God’s people, a person who has been adopted into the family of God, to loose all of those benefits, in short to be lost again?

So today we are talking about something very important today. The doctrine we are talking about is often called, the perseverance of the saints. Simply stated, it says real Christians stay Christians.  They never leave the faith, and, once saved, never become lost again.  The Bible does not say we will not have doubts, or fall into sin, or have times of fear.  It does not say we will never consider leaving the faith.  It simply says God holds us in His hand and nothing can pluck us out of it.  And, by His power and grace, He will keep us in the faith and get us to Heaven.  Article XVII of the Articles of Religion, states this doctrine in clear and Biblical terms.  After telling us of our justification, adoption into the family of God, being remade into the likeness of Christ, and empowered to live as God wants us to live, it says we “at length by God’s mercy… attain to everlasting felicity.”  God takes us to Heaven, the place of eternal joy.

Most of our meditations on perseverance tend to focus on the fact of perseverance, but today I want to talk about the how of perseverance.  We persevere in the faith because God preserves us.  It is He who sought us when were going our own ways like lost sheep.  It is He who called us to come to Him and be saved.  It is He who carried us back to the fold.  And it is He who keeps us in the fold.  Before I start on how God preserves us in the faith, I want to talk about why He preserves us.  For that we turn to Luke’s Gospel, chapter 7.

Nain was a small village about 18 miles south west of Capernaum, where Jesus had recently been teaching and ministering.  We have been reading His ministry in Capernaum about in last week’s readings in Matthew.  Going to Nain was part of a planned preaching tour of Galilee. Christ intended to leave Capernaum for such a purpose, as we see in His words to Peter in Mark 1:38, “Let us go into the next towns that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth.”  Christ made several preaching missions through Galilee, and this may have been part of His first trip.

As He entered Nain a funeral passed Him.  The only son of a widow had died.  In those days a widow often lived with her son or daughter.  It was the Jewish social security system of the time, and it worked very well.  This woman was probably poor and had depended on her son for her home and food.  Her situation looked bleak.  She would be reduced to begging for food, often going without the necessities of life.

But Jesus had compassion on her.  We need to say here that Jesus has compassion on all of us, according to His purpose and our needs.  Seldom does He raise people from the dead, no matter how deep our grief may be at their passing, no matter how great the cost to our financial security and comforts.  He raised the dead only a few times, each time to make a point; He is the Lord of Life.  He has the power to raise the dead.  Since only God has that power…, Jesus is God.  Making this point is part of His intention in this passage too, but He also has another: He intends to show His compassion.  This is not the first time the Bible speaks of His compassion.  Matthew 9:36 says “when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” In Mark 1:41 a leper had come to Jesus, “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand and touched him, and saith unto him, I will, be thou clean.”  Jesus is touched by our sufferings and trials.  He Himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He suffered hunger and weariness.  He suffered temptation, though He never sinned.  He wept at the grave of Lazarus.  He fed the hungry and healed the sick.  Finally, He laid down His life to save us from the worst disaster that could ever befall us, the disaster of eternal hell.  He has compassion on us and His compassion is usually expressed in standing with and comforting us with His promises of Heaven and eternal joy.  It is usually not expressed in miraculous healings, raising the dead, or delivering us from the troubles we have caused for ourselves and others.  He does deliver, but it is usually by the slow process of sanctification rather than a sudden and miraculous transformation of circumstances.  So here is the point; Jesus is able and willing to preserve us in the faith.  Truly, nothing is able to pluck us out of His powerful and loving hand.

This leads us to an important point in Ephesians 3.  Here God is delivering and preserving the Church, which, by the way, consisted of many congregations, each with their own pastors, under the direction of a bishop.  So we are talking about a lot of Christians and a lot of churches in Ephesus and the surrounding area.  And here is how Paul prays for them.  He asks God to strengthen each Christian with might by His Spirit in the inner man.  He asks not that they be delivered from their illnesses, persecutions, or the normal trials of life.  He asks God to strengthen them so they will be enabled to persevere through the trials.  He asks that Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith.  In other words, may they, by faith, trust the word of God that Christ does dwell in them.  He is never away from them.  He is never just in Heaven.  He is in them.  May they know this by faith.  He asks that they may be rooted and grounded in love, that is, love for God and love for others.  I wonder how many of our troubles would just disappear if we loved one another as we love ourselves. I wonder how much better we would get along at home and work, and especially at Church if we were willing to just love and let love guide our thoughts and actions.  I am talking, of course about love for one another, not love for ourselves.  Self love is the cause of most of our problems.  Self love is the source of sin, pride, greed, laziness.  Love of God and love of neighbor is the cure, and that only comes to us as the gift of God’s grace as He makes new creatures out of those who believe in Christ.

It is through these things, the might of the Spirit in the inner man, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith, and knowing the love of Christ which passeth knowledge that we are filled with all the fullness of God.  And that fullness of God is how He gives us strength to persevere.  It is how He preserves us, both individually and collectively as His Church.

Rev Rick Reid of Saint Peter’s Sunday Sermon
We are happy to have a sermon from Reverend Rick Reid, minister of Saint Peter’s, whose congregation is right at the Worldwide Headquarters of the Anglican Orthodox Church.  Rev Rick has all the resources and challenges right at hand.  I think you will enjoy his sermon.

Paul’s Prayer for the Saints  Ephesians 3:14-15

In this morning’s Epistle to the Ephesians, we hear Paul say: For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word “cause” means, “reason, For this cause or reason, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we stop to consider everything our Lord has done for us, and how He has changed our lives, it should motivate us to go to Him in prayer.

 God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins, and then welcomed us into His family. Our love for the Lord ought to manifest itself in a passionate desire to come into His presence, and to spend time with Him in prayer.

The Bible tells us many things about Prayer.

Did you know that prayer is a command? Jesus told us in St. Luke’s Gospel:  Luke 18:1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”…or….cease  ….Paul also told the Thessalonians 1 Thes. 5:17,to  “Pray without ceasing.”

Prayer Is Also A Duty: Paul told Timothy: 1 Tim. 2:1-4,“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Prayer Is A Gift: Heb. 4:15-16, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Prayer Is A Privilege: St. Paul told the Philippians: Phil. 4:6-7, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Prayer Is A Promise:   As we hear God say in Jeremiah 33:3    “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

And again in Isaiah 65:24, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”

Jesus told us in John’s Gospel (16:23), “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.”

We must make prayer a priority in our lives. We have much to pray about, and we have a God Who invites us to come to Him in prayer. We should humble ourselves before the Lord and ask Him to help us make prayer a passion in our lives.

 Paul was Passionate in His Prayer. When Paul considered these things, the power of them literally brought him to his knees. He says, “for this cause, I bow my knees.” Bowing the knees to pray is common for us, but for a man of Paul’s heritage, it would have been quite uncommon. Typically, the Jews would stand when they prayed. Their arms raised, with the palms turned toward Heaven. If you have ever seen photos or footage of the Jews praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, you know what that looks like.

To bow in prayer in that day was very uncommon. The Bible records several postures for prayer in the Word of God.

Abraham stood - Gen. 18:22b-23, “…but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

David sat - 1 Chron. 17:16, “And David the king came and sat before the LORD, and said, Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?

Jesus stretched out - Matt. 26:39, “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Bowing during prayer was usually done in periods of extreme humility, or extreme distress. For instance:

·      Ezra knelt when he confessed the sins of the people - Ezra 9:5-6.
·      Daniel knelt when he learned that King Darius had signed into law the prohibition of prayer - Dan. 6:10.
·      Paul knelt with the elders from Ephesus before he departed - Acts 20:36.
·      Solomon knelt before the Lord at the dedication of the Temple - 2 Chron. 6:13-14.

Kneeling in prayer indicates two very important truths.
1.  It is a sign of submission to One Who is being far greater than we are. When we bow before the Lord we are acknowledging His glory, His power and His authority over our lives. We bow in prayer before Him because we understand that we are in the presence of One who is far higher in rank, glory, and authority that we are. Bowing before the Lord in prayer is a sign of humility and submission before the Lord.
2.  It is a sign of intense passion and emotion. In the scripture we just heard, we can see the emotion and the passion that drove the individuals to pray.

Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by the circumstances and needs of life that kneeling becomes the natural posture that we adopt before the Lord. When Paul thought about the great truths that had been revealed to Him, he was brought to his knees in prayer and worship before the Lord. What a blessing it is when the Word of God stirs our hearts to worship

But in reality, God is not concerned about the posture of your body. I do not think the Lord cares whether you pray kneeling, sitting, standing, lying down, walking, or driving. God is more concerned about the posture of your heart.

Whether we kneel physically or not, we should always be kneeling before Him in our hearts as we acknowledge His glory, His greatness, and His wonder.

To the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power; both now and ever. Amen 

Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday Sermon
We are fortunate to have Bryan’s Sunday Sermon.  If you want people to come to The Truth, you have to speak the truth, expouse the truth and live the truth.    This is really a good piece and I commend it to your careful reading.

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Our sermon hymn for today, Crown him with many crowns (Hymn #352,
1940 Hymnal) supplies us with several reasons that we should crown our Lord with many crowns, and principal among them because he is King of all. But did you know that all who are born-again believers will also receive one or more crowns from our Lord and Saviour when he sits in judgment of our lives here in the flesh? The scriptures speak of five different crowns which will be given to those whom the Lord shall deem worthy to receive them. They are: 1) the Incorruptible Crown, 2) the Crown of Life, 3) the Crown of Glory, 4) the Crown of Righteousness, and 5) the Crown of Rejoicing.

The Incorruptible Crown is found in St. Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians where he explained, Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?... Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible (9:24-27). The corruptible crown which the secular runner received as an award was a wreath of made of laurel leaves. The apostle referred to it as corruptible because it was made from materials which were not meant to last. It was literally a crown for that moment, for following the next race another one would be given, and another in the race after that, and so on. The apostle reminded Christians that upon the completion our race in this mortal life, we will receive a crown from our Lord which will never fade or fail if we run and faint not. It will be ours for eternity and will be our badge of honor, which like all the others, we will gladly cast them at the feet of our Lord and Saviour in honor of his great gift to us via his saving grace.

The Crown of Life will be given to those believers who have been faithful to our Lord unto death (Revelation 2:10). As Matthew Henry noted, “The life so worn out in his service, or laid down in his cause, shall be rewarded with another and a much better life that shall be eternal.” When one reads the accounts of the early church fathers who served God unto death, we find listed men such as St. Paul, St. Peter, St. James, St. Andrew and St. Thomas. In fact most of the disciples as well as a host of early Christians were martyred for the faith. Add to them the Reformation saints who perished rather than reject the truth of God’s word written. Inclusive within that number are our Anglican fathers, such as Cranmer, Ridley, Hooper and Latimer, who chose the stake over their acceptance of the doctrine of the “real presence” in the Holy Communion. We could also include all those men and women whose lives were used up in service to our Lord in the mission fields over the centuries: spreading the good news to those in remote regions of the world where the light of Christ had yet to pierce and who labored even in the face of death to preach the word of God to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. What graciousness they shall receive at the hand of our Lord we can only imagine and that poorly.

The Crown of Glory will be given to those church elders, bishops, priests, pastors and deacons who properly tended their flocks. As St. Peter noted in our epistle lesson for today, Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away ( I St. Peter 5:2-4). The Lord has promised good to them who love him and who feed his flocks which are scattered across the earth. Pastors and bishops are supposed to love God and preach rightly the truth of God’s word written. Those who do will be blessed with the gift of this crown.

The Crown of Righteousness will be given to those who love the Lord’s appearing. As St. Paul wrote in second epistle to St. Timothy, Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing (4:8). The Bible tells us to fix our hearts on the coming of the Lord. The wise virgins of St. Matthew’s gospel (25:1-13) have been supplied as an apt example for us. The regenerated Christian will make provision for his watch, and should he nod off to sleep, he will eagerly awaken to go and greet our Lord at his coming. Ergo, as the apostle has written, all who will do likewise will receive this crown.

The Crown of Rejoicing will be given to those who have happily brought souls to Christ. In his first epistle to the Thessalonian church, the apostle Paul penned these words: For what is our hope, or joy or crown of rejoicing: Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming: For ye are our glory and joy (2:19-20). Because the regenerate Christian bears fruit— bringing others to the Lord as he has been called to do— the same shall receive of the Lord a crown of rejoicing on account of that joy in their hearts upon seeing others entering the fold of Christ. Do we tell others about our Lord? Do we desire that others be saved? Do we pray for those who are lost that perhaps God will influence them to come to him either by our witness or that of another regenerated believer? If we love the Lord, then we will also seek to bring others to him, and we will rejoice with them in their victory over sin and death.

While salvation is a gift of God to all who are born again of the Holy Ghost, the awarding of crowns is merit-based as we will be judged on how well we performed our duties in our Lord’s service. Consider the parable of the Talents as found in St. Matthew’s gospel (25:14-30). The Lord will extend to those who are faithful a hearty Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord (v.21). God has plans for all who are of his elect beyond the precincts of this life. Therefore be faithful and not fearful. Be considerate of God’s word written and follow it. Stand fast and contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Be strong in the Lord and the power of his might. Do all these things for a crown awaits you in heaven with our Lord’s greeting. Such is my hope and my prayer for each of you in Christ’s name.

Let us pray,

racious and loving God, assist us by means of the Holy Ghost that we might live each day praying for and looking for the coming of thy dear Son; that we would not miss the joy of the marriage feast which thy wilt prepare for all who love his appearing; for this we ask in the name of him who wears many crowns, and who is our Lord, our King and our Saviour, even Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

A Short Story with a Long Message
Sometimes, it is useful to stop and just remember how much has changed in America (and, indeed, the world). Remember when stories, such as the one below, was common fare in elementary school textbooks? Today, most students in the 4th grade would not be literate enough to read it and the balance would have no interest whatsoever in what happened hundreds of years ago. That is an indictment on our culture and our values - values which have been neglected by parents and educators to the detriment of our children. Before I was able to read, my mother used to recite this story and others like it to my eager ears. Wouldn't it be nice if such stories again became a part of our culture?
Bishop Jerry Ogles

By James Baldwin

One bright summer morning, in the city of Rome many hundred years ago, two boys stood watching their mother as she strolled with another lady through the garden of their home.

"Did you ever see a lady as pretty as our mother's friend?" asked the younger boy, holding his tall brother's hand. "She looks like a queen."

"But she is not as beautiful as our mother," said the elder boy. "She has a fine dress, to be sure; but her face is not noble and kind. It is our mother who is the queenly one."

"You are quite right," said the other boy. "No woman in all of Rome is so queenly as our own dear mother."

Soon Cornelia, their mother, came down the walk to speak with them. She was simply dressed in a plain white robe. Her feet were bare, as was the custom in those days; there were no rings on her hands and no chains glittering about her neck. Long braids of soft brown hair, coiled about her head, were her only crown, and a tender smile lit up her noble face as she looked into her sons' proud eyes.

"My sons," she said, "I have something to tell you."

They bowed before her, as Roman lads were taught to do. "What is it, mother?" they asked.

"You are to dine with us today, here in the garden; and then our guest is going to show us those wonderful jewels you have heard so much about."

The brothers looked shyly at their mother's friend. Was it possible that she had other rings besides those on her fingers? Could she have still more gems than those which sparkled in the chains about her neck?

When the simple outdoor meal was over, a servant brought the jewel box from the house. The lady opened it. How dazzling to the eyes of the boys were the jewels they saw there! There were ropes of pearls, white as milk and smooth as satin; heaps of shining rubies red as glowing coals; sapphires as blue as the summer sky; and diamonds that flashed and sparkled like the sunlight.

The brothers looked long at the gems.

"Ah!" whispered the younger, "if our mother could only have such beautiful things!"

At last the jewel-box was closed and carried carefully away.

"Is it true, Cornelia, that you have no jewels?" asked her friend. "Is it true, as I have heard it whispered, that you are poor?"

"No, I am not poor," answered Cornelia, and as she spoke she drew her two boys to her side. "Here are my jewels," she said proudly. "My boys are worth far more to me than all the gems in the world."

The boys never forgot their mother's pride in them, or her great love. Years later, indeed, when they had become famous men in Rome, they often thought of this scene in the garden. And even today the world still likes to hear the story of Cornelia's jewels.

Apocryphal Story - A Laconic Answer
Many miles beyond Rome there was a famous country we call Greece. The people of Greece were not u-nit-ed like the Romans; but instead there were sev-er-al states, each of which had its own rulers.

Some of the people in the southern part of the country were called Spar-tans, and they were noted for their simple habits and their brav-er-y. The name of their land was La-co´ni-a, and so they were sometimes called La-cons.

One of the strange rules which the Spartans had, was that they should speak briefly, and never use more words than were needed. And so a short answer is often spoken of as being la-con-ic; that is, as being such an answer as a Lacon would be likely to give.

There was in the northern part of Greece a land called Mac´e-don; and this land was at one time ruled over by a war-like king named Philip.[103]

Philip of Mac-e-don wanted to become the master of all Greece. So he raised a great army, and made war upon the other states, until nearly all of them were forced to call him their king. Then he sent a letter to the Spartans in La-co-ni-a, and said, "If I go down into your country, I will level your great city to the ground."

In a few days, an answer was brought back to him. When he opened the letter, he found only one word written there.

That word was "IF."

It was as much as to say, "We are not afraid of you so long as the little word 'if' stands in your way."

From James Baldwin's Fifty Famous Stories Retold – 1896 – Sent by Bishop Jerry

Public Schools, the Constitution and the Future by Dave Jolly
Shared by Bishop Connor (AEC):

America's Schools: God? NO! Pledge of Allegiance? NO! Muslim Poem? YES! I've been accused of hating the public school system in America because I am constantly writing negative articles about it.  Hate is not the word I would choose.  I don't hate public schools, I hate what they have become and what they are doing to America's children.

One hundred years ago, the progressive liberals saw the public schools as a tool to indoctrinate America's children into their way of the thinking.  They realized they had the kids for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 9 months of the year for 8-12 years.  This is more time than parents or anyone else would spend with them, giving the schools the greatest influence on generations to come.  When families got busier and both parents started working, the progressive liberals grew bolder in what they could push in the public schools because parents were too busy to check what their kids were being taught.

What I see in the public schools today is anti-America, anti-Christian and anti-parent.  Schools are pushing materials that teach homosexuality is normal and to say anything against it is hate language and not to tolerated.  Kids are being taught sexual relations are okay as long as they take precautions and if they accidently get pregnant, Planned Parenthood can help them murder their baby without the parents knowing.  Think about it, a student is not allowed to bring aspirin to school, but they hand out condoms without parental knowledge or approval and send kids to Planned Parenthood to get abortion pills.

Further examples of the agendas being taught in the public schools can be found in the following recent articles: Peter Badalament, Principal of Concord-Carlisle High School in the Boston suburbs chose to read a Muslim poem to the student body on September 11 instead of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  Supposedly, a student had been scheduled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance over the PA system, but the student could not make it due to an internship.  Badalament was unable to recite the Pledge himself (shows his lack of patriotism, doesn't it), so he chose to read the Muslim poem later in the day. In a second example, a class at Lucy Elementary School in Memphis was given an assignment to write about an idol of their choice.  One ten year old girl in the class chose to write about God and how he created the earth and how she is trying to do the best she can to be a good Christian.  The girl's teacher quickly told her that this was not acceptable because it had to do with God and He wasn't allowed at a public school.  Only after the parents complained to the school district was the matter resolved, but I've heard of many teachers telling students the same thing.

In fact, the law allows any student to freely discuss their religion and beliefs in public schools, but many schools trample on those legal rights and deny students their freedoms. In another example from the college ranks, a lecturer in Arabic Studies at San Diego State University handed out a map of the Middle East that omitted Israel.  In the place of where Israel exists, the professor's map listed it as Palestinian Territories. I've written in the past about schools in Texas that taught the Boston Tea Party was a terrorist act and Allah was God Almighty.  Students have been given assignments to design a new flag for socialist America.  Kids are being taught globalism instead of American history, pride and patriotism.  Then there were a number of instances last year where teachers and school administrators came down on students and bullied them in class because they wore Romney T-shirts.  Oh, what about the textbook that showed up in Florida public schools that had a whole chapter devoted to Islam while completely ignoring Christianity or Judaism?

The list of public school atrocities against Christians, conservatives and American patriotism keeps getting longer day by day. No, I don't hate public schools.  I hate the liberal progressive agenda it is forcing on our children in an overt effort to subvert America as it has stood for over 200 years.  The public schools are putting more effort and money into brainwashing our kids instead of teaching them what they should be learning.  That's what I hate and that's why I strongly advocate private or home schooling as a much wiser and safer alternative to public education.

Read more at http://godfatherpolitics. com/12535/americas-schools- god-pledge-allegiance-muslim- poem-yes/#SfM04037yBV65QTf.99 

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