Verse of the Day

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Third Sunday after Easter - Mothers Day

This is the third issue of the AOC Sunday Report.  At the request of Bishop Jerry Ogles, the Faithful Centurion’s Sunday Report has morphed into the AOC Worldwide Sunday Report.  Bishop Jerry asks each of the parishes to contribute to the report, some as they have in the past others for the first time.  If you have any suggestions for change, please send them to Bishop Jerry or me,

Mothers Day - 11 May 2014, Anno Domini

Mothers Day 2014

Everyone’s mother is SPECIAL, and rightly so.  We owe our physical as well as social and spiritual (to an extent) being to our mother.  At a time when our minds are easily influenced and molded, our mothers taught us earliest the meaning of right and wrong, courtesy and respect for others – especially our elders – and a love and regard for the great Being to whom we owe our Creation.

When just a toddler I can remember my mother going about her daily chores singing many of the great old hymns of the Church.  They still ring in my mind’s ear today….What a Friend we have in Jesus…..Alas, and did my Saviour Bleed…..At the Cross…..In the Garden…..Love lifted me…..Abide with me…..The Church’s one Foundation…..Onward Christian Soldiers…..Amazing Grace…..and on, and on.  Their beautiful words and melody have sustained me when times were difficult, and they have called me back home when I was oft a prodigal.

 When I could barely speak and understand, my precious mother would sit me on her knee and tell me about Jesus.  I did not understand her explanation of why He died for me, but I knew that He did it out of an unknowable love because mother had said it.  When I asked her where I came from, she answered from heaven…..and I believed it.  We came from His Holy Presence as He had fashioned our members in the womb, from the Father, “trailing,” as Longfellow has said, “clouds of glory.”

I later went off to West Point and later to the service.  I wandered away from some of the lessons my mother taught me.  But ever in my memory were her words and her songs.  Always and hauntingly they came back to my mind as consoling angels.  My mother taught me that character mattered, that purity in all matters affecting life was the rule, and that love was greater than all else.

In May of 1991, my mother was taken to the hospital with chest pains.  The physician did not consider them life-threatening, but admitted her to a private room for observation.  That night my mother suffered a massive heart attack which destroyed much of her heart.  The Doctor told us that she only had about 23% of usage left in her heart and that her outlook was grim.  If she survived, she would never again be able to work in her treasured flower gardens or do anything else of note.  I knew mother would not be happy in that sad state.

On the Saturday night before her death, she asked me, “Son, will you pray that I go easy?”  I tried to make light of her comment and told her she would be fine, but she insisted.  I did pray that the Lord would allow my mother’s passing to be ‘easy’ and painless.  Sunday morning, the Doctor called us in for an impromptu meeting.  We feared the worst – and got it!  The physician had gone in to see my mother around 10:00 A.M. on Sunday morning.  She was in a light-hearted mood and responded to the doctor’s joking comments with a smile.  He said that as he reached up to get the attendant’s chart, he looked back down at my mother and realized she was gone.  Just like that!  His heroic attempts at reviving her were futile.  But mother had a great day beyond our knowing.  She had gone to be with her Lord, Redeemer and Saviour – on Mother’s Day.
Jerry L. Ogles
Presiding Bishop
Anglican Orthodox Church Worldwide
On Mothers
On this Mother’s Day, it is very easy for us to look back at our mother’s life and think of all the things we like about our mother.  We like, it is all about our mother and what she did for us.  The pivotal thought seems to be us.  It is not about us, our / us is merely an adjective to describe a particular mother.  For motherhood is about self-sacrifice.  Putting the child’s welfare above that of the mother.

The love of the mother for her children comes with a price.  The price paid is not without return.   The last words of almost all soldiers who die in battle are either “Mom” or “Jesus.”  There is a lesson all in of itself.

What did your mom chose?  An extra child or an extra home or trailer?  Your schooling, or her vacation without you?  Dental work for you or a new car for her?  Shoes for you or a fancy dress for her?

Jesus commanded us to follow Him, He who put our lives before His.  Who on this earth does this more consistently than mothers?

Saint James tells us in his Epistle, “Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only.” Who on this earth does this more consistently than mothers?

As Christians we need to uphold and recognize the example of sacrifice in motherhood so that we might understand the sacrifice made by God on our behalf in Jesus’ death for our sin.
Third Sunday after Easter

Today was the Third Sunday after Easter, the central event of the Christian year, the celebration of our Lord, “Christ the Lord is Risen!”

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 some great ones to share.  On to the On Point quotes –

If it were to be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws -- the first growing out of the last. ... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.
Alexander Hamilton
Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, 1794

TO MARY VAN DEUSEN, who had written him of her diagnosis of cancer: On his empathy for her and even more for those in her situation who do not have faith; on the right to happiness; and on how fear of cancer may be worse than the reality of cancer.

9 October 1955

I have just got your letter of the 3rd. The news which it contained came like a thunderbolt—especially as the letter began (and it was rather wonderful that it did begin) on such a trivial subject as my book. And if that first sentence flattered my egoism, imagine how I was rebuked when I came to the next, and was suddenly brought up against the real great issues.

It is difficult to write because you must know by now what I do not yet know. I can’t tell whether I am writing to one who is giving thanks for an escape (oh how I hope you are in that position) or to one who is right up against the Cross. Thank heaven it is His Cross and not merely ours. I was most struck by your saying ‘It doesn’t seem too bad: for me, that is.’ So I am sure you are being supported. (What must such a situation be to those who are the majority, who have no faith, who have never thought of death, and to whom all affliction is a mere meaningless, monstrous interruption of a worldly happiness to which they feel they have a right?)

God bless and keep you: and your husband too. You will indeed, indeed, be in my prayers. I once had a bad scare about cancer myself, so that part I can, I think, imagine. But of course it is now, for you, either better or worse than a scare. If the reality is worse. At any rate it must be different. (The Litany [in the Book of Common Prayer] distinguishes ‘thine agony and blood sweat’ from ‘Thy cross and passion’, the fear from the reality). You know how I shall await your next letter.
Jack Lewis
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III

Refusing or not refusing to execute a law to stamp it with its final character ... makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended and can never be proper.
James Madison
letter to John Brown, 1788

On perfection and failure
No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, & the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.
Jack Lewis
The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
St. Mark 10:25

He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
St. John 8:47

You call me eternal, then do not seek me. You call me fair, then do not love me.
You call me gracious, then do not trust me. You call me just, then do not fear me.
You call me life, then do not choose me. You call me light, then do not see me.
You call me Lord, then do not respect me. You call me Master, then do not obey me. You call me merciful, then do not thank me. You call me mighty, then do not honor me. You call me noble, then do not serve me. You call me rich, then do not ask me.
You call me Savior, then do not praise me.
You call me Shepherd, then do not follow me.
You call me the Way, then do not walk with me.
You call me wise, then do not heed me.
You call me Son of God, then do not worship me.
When I abandon you, then do not blame me.
A poem on the door of the Lubeck Cathedral in Lubeck, Germany.

Blindness and deafness in spiritual things are worse in those that profess themselves to [be] God’s servants and messengers than in others.
Matthew Henry
17th and 18th century English pastor and author

Let us never be surprised at the wickedness there is in the world. Let us mourn over it and labour to make it less, but let us never be surprised at its extent. There is nothing that the heart of man is not capable of conceiving, or the hand of man of doing. As long as we live let us mistrust our own hearts (Jer. 17:9).
JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author

We have been in many a trial, but we have never yet been cast where we could not find in our God all that we needed. Let us then be encouraged to trust in the Lord for ever, assured that his ever lasting strength will be, as it has been, our succour and stay.
Charles H. Spurgeon
19th century English pastor and author
(Morning and Evening, p. 375).

They who voluntarily put themselves under the power of a tyrant deserve whatever fate they receive.
6th century BC Greek philosopher and author

Today the path of total dictatorship in the United States can be laid by strictly legal means, unseen and unheard by the Congress, the President, or the people. Outwardly we have a Constitutional government. We have operating within our government and political system, another body representing another form of government— a bureaucratic elite.
William Jenner
20th century American senator

Even years after his death, the Roman Senate continued to cry ‘Hannibal is at the gates,’ using the peoples’ fear of Hannibal exactly as the U.S. government and its lapdog politicians today use the myth of terrorism. We are sacrificing liberty for ‘security’ because of the created, imagined threat of terrorists. The government bureaucracy will never accept responsibility for the collapsing economy, and the elite who run the United States will never give up power...The people are now the enemy of the state, and their remaining wealth is seen by the politicians as their solution to maintaining perpetual power. .. All governments turn on their own people in their final days in order to retain power... Something Americans don’t understand: There can be no free society once government has granted itself the power to confiscate property, imprison people under any pretext (or without a pretext) and without charge. This is now true in America... But even in the face of economic chaos, the United States is warmongering under one pretense or another. War hides the crimes of government... There is plenty of historical precedent for this, going back to the decline and fall of Rome... If you have been reading beyond the controlled media, you know very well the seriousness of the situation... Hannibal is not the enemy. The enemy comes from within.
Bob Livingston
20th and 21st century American conservative commentator
editor of the Personal Liberty Digest

The Global Warming hysteria is about absolute power over every man, woman and child on earth... Environmentalism is wealth redistribution on a global scale... The liberal billionaire who clamors about sustainability likes progress. What he dislikes is the middle class with its mass produced cars and homes... He thinks, in all sincerity, that they would be happier and more spiritually fulfilled as peasants. It is not an original idea. The Industrial Revolution had hardly begun revolving when the ‘Back to Nature’ crowd began insisting that it was time to learn a more harmonious life by going back to the farm... The Soviet idea of progress was feudalism dressed up in Socialist red. Environmentalism dresses up feudalism in Green. It seeks to reverse all progress that we have made in the name of progress. Environmentalism is as sophisticated as a Soviet collective farm, as modern as the homeless people dragging bags of cans along on sticks... and as smart as a slum made of trash. Beneath all the empty chatter about social riches and sustainability is that need to impose progressive misery.
Daniel Greenfield
21st century American commentator
(The Environmental Apocalypse, 4-23-14).

Each Sunday there are Propers: special prayers and readings from the Bible.  There is a Collect for the Day; that is a single thought prayer, most written either before the re-founding of the Church of England in the 1540s or written by Bishop Thomas Cranmer, the first Archbishop of Canterbury after the re-founding. 

The Collect for the Day is to be read on Sunday and during Morning and Evening Prayer until the next Sunday. The Epistle is normally a reading from one of the various Epistles, or letters, in the New Testament.  The Gospel is a reading from one of the Holy Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  The Collect is said by the minister as a prayer, the Epistle can be read by either a designated reader (as we do in our church) or by one of the ministers and the Holy Gospel, which during the service in our church is read by an ordained minister.

The propers are the same each year, except if a Red Letter Feast, that is one with propers in the prayerbook, falls on a Sunday, then those propers are to be read instead, except in a White Season, where it is put off.  Red Letter Feasts, so called because in the Altar Prayerbooks the titles are in red, are special days.  Most of the Red Letter Feasts are dedicated to early saints instrumental in the development of the church, others to special events.  Some days are particularly special and the Collect for that day is to be used for an octave (eight days) or an entire season, like Advent or Lent.

The Propers for today are found on Page 173-174, with the Collect first:

The Third Sunday after Easter.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY God, who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Epistle for today came from the Second Chapter of the First Epistle of Saint Peter beginning at the Eleventh Verse.  Peter tells us to live a good life, to follow the directions Jesus left us, to make ourselves positive examples of citizen to others, to be leaders of our community, drawing people towards God.  To live out the life Jesus commanded, to do nothing to draw ill repute on the Word of God.  To be truly free and follow freedom to where God wants us to be, not to Donkey Island, where false freedom takes so many.

EARLY beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Today’s Gospel came from the Sixteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John beginning at the Sixteenth Verse.

Jesus warns his disciples of the events about to unfold.  He is to be taken from them shortly by the painful death on the Cross for our redemption.  He will not be with them here on earth.  Yet, after three days time He will Rise from death, having overcome death for us.  When He is gone from us we are sorrowful, just like the disciples.  He came back from death for us.  And yet He was to leave again, yet not be gone from us as the Father would send the Holy Ghost to make His abode in our hearts and bring Jesus to us.

ESUS said to his disciples, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

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
Third Sunday after Easter
St Andrew’s Anglican Orthodox Church
11 May 2014, Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord)

The Third Sunday after Easter.
The Collect.

LMIGHTY God, who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.  12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.  (John 14:1-14)

        The unsurpassed serenity of the heart of Christ is so well demonstrated in His counsel to us, moments before His passion, to not let OUR hearts be troubled. What magnanimity is demonstrated in a heart that cares for our peace at a time when the scurrilous clouds of pain and death hang, as the Sword of Damocles, over His virtuous head but with a greater certainty of fulfillment. In fact, the Lord has only sought to lift our hearts and spirits in these last days of His Passion and Death. Should He not occupy His mind with the thoughts of a brutally unfair trial that looms ahead….the humiliation and suffering….the horrible death of the Cross? Yet, instead, His heart is possessed by an undying Love for His own whose fragile existence will be so rocked by the coming events.  This is the perfect Man and the Perfect God.

        General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, was a stellar cadet in his early years at the US Military Academy at West Point. He later became the Superintendent of the Academy and made many improvements to the program there that prevail until today. Months before his death, MacArthur delivered his Farewell Address to the Corps of Cadets at West Point on May 12, 1962. The General concluded his remarks with: “Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.” Those were memorable lines with which to conclude a remarkable and fascinating military career. But look at the concluding words of Christ, and His Love demonstrated in them, on the eve of an ordeal of which great men of history could never have contemplated without an overarching obsession. Truly, He loved us until the end.

        1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In the concluding verse of the last chapter, Jesus has told Peter that he will deny Him thrice before the cock crows. Now, He continues with the loving counsel to us ward that we not allow our hearts to be troubled on account of events about to unfold. These words offer comfort to Peter, but not to him alone for the pronoun ‘YE’ is plural and signifies its meaning to each of us. There are considerations that transcend pain, suffering and death. The kind of love that filled the heart of our Lord, and by adoption, our own hearts, is that which transcends death. Truth, Light, Life, Love – all transcend death for their quality is not of the temporary expanse of this earthly life, but comes from the Eternity of Heaven. It is not possible to have a firm faith in God the Father without a corresponding faith in God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

        2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. As a good Hebrew Son upon betrothal to His future Bride, He will go and prepare a place of lodging for Himself and His Bride under the supervision of His Father. Of course, the provision is made by the Father as well in that He has many mansions that will afford residence for the fullness of the Wedding Feast. When preparation are complete, whether morning, noon, or late night, the Son will come for His Bride – the Church. He prepares a place for us in two ways at least: by dying on the Cross at Calvary thus purchasing our redemption so that we would be made worthy through that sacrifice; and, secondly, by ascending to the right hand of the Father to make timely intercession for His Elect.

        3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Noah found the only place of security was in the Ark of God when God said unto Noah,  And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. (Gen 7:1) You will note that God did not tell Noah to GO into the Ark, but COME into the Ark, because the place of security is always the place of God’s Presence. Our hope would not be full without the sure knowledge that we would be called to be with Christ at His Coming. We shall live by the Rovers of Waters and eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, and every provision made for our souls in an Eternity with Christ. We shall not hang our harps in despondency upon the willows of Babylon, but sing our songs to Zion in the New Jerusalem prepared by our Lord. (Psalms 137:3-4)

        4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Do we KNOW the WAY? If not, we are about to be told. Oftentimes, we know more than we realize. The possession of knowledge itself is not always a guarantee of wisdom, but knowing the means of employing the knowledge that we have is the key to Wisdom. All of the disciples KNEW Christ, but did they truly know His full Person and nature? As we read the Gospels, does the beauty and nature of Christ burst upon our hearts with the warm love of KNOWING Him? Or do we simply read dead words. If the Words of Scripture are not accented with Love and Life, they remain dead to the marginal believer.

        5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the wayIf Christ says we KNOW the Way, do we believe Him? Apparently, Thomas had yet to learn that the Words of Christ were Truth only. It is, by the way, perfectly normal that we should at times question our faith and seek further assurance from Christ in study and in prayer. So we mustn’t judge Thomas more harshly than we judge ourselves. Even when we began our Bible study with a complete trust in the Word, our studies should lead us to question and seek fuller Light.

        6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. There is no Life apart from that offered in Christ. Have you believed that there is no life apart from that granted in Christ – that He is the Creator of life itself? All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men(John 1:3-4) Have you believed that He is the Way (DOOR to the Sheepfold) and that there is no other entry but by Him? If so, you will know that He is the WAY! Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (John 10:7) Have you believed His message? Have you known Him to be the Truth personified? But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Eph 4:20-21) You may know all of the above facts intellectually, but if they have not come to be the Crown Jewel of your heart, they are dead facts to you.

         7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. The faith of Abraham was a great faith. It looked forward in promise and hope to the coming of Christ. In that faith, Abraham KNEW God the Father. Without that nature of Christ, made visible to us in His Incarnation, we could not know the mercy, truth, and grace of God the Father. Christ is, as we would have said in the Tennessee vernacular, “the spitting image of His Father!” In a note I earlier shared on the Trinity, Dr. Nathan Wood (The Secret of the Universe) illustrates its nature in terms of directions (dimensions) in space. Without three directions (dimensions) there is no space. All three dimensions are required to establish space. He further disannuls the claim, by some, of the impracticability of Three Persons in one Godhead when they offer the formula, 1+1+1=3. They claim that this would cause God to be three gods. But Dr. Wood gives the formula another way, 1x1x1=1 in which the very nature of each component part of the Trinity equals the whole and each member totally pervades the nature of each OTHER member.

        8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth usLight itself resides in God – the Father, the son, & the Holy Ghost. Light itself is not visible to the human eye. It can pass through a dark vacuum and never be seen by us, yet it is there. In order for us to know light, it must impact a material object. That material object of god the Father is Jesus Christ. He came in a physical body so that we may, by knowing and seeing Him, know the Father and see the Father. Philip desired some partial revelation of the Father by Christ not knowing that all that Christ was pictured the Father in full detail.

        9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the FatherJesus exercises a patience dictated by love when answering Philip. Philip was one of the first disciples to be called (John 1:43) yet he had not learned fully in his heart that Christ was a full revelation of the Father. After the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord, we hear no more of these doubtful questions, for the Holy Ghost will bring all things to remembrance of those things written of Christ in the Scriptures.

        10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. If we look closely, we may read a stinging rebuke to our own living testimony. All that Christ did and said was so much perfectly representative of the Father that it would be nigh on to impossible to miss. When men look at our actions and words, do they see the Father with whom we, too, are supposed to be One?

        11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.  If you do not believe the very Words of Christ, than, at least, believe Him by His actions and life. Can humankind raise another from the sleep of death as Christ raised Lazarus? Can humankind restore vision to eyes that have been dark from birth, or restore a leper, or heal the lame? Can humankind walk on water? Did Christ these things?

        12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. Please do not misunderstand these words to mean that believers can entertain with their works, or perform wonders for profit. If our minds are conformed to the Mind of God, we shall do the works of God without fanfare and solely to His Glory. Our works, therefore, will never be showy or prideful, but will reflect the perfect will of God. The Lord Jesus Christ was confined to a body while in this life. The physical limitations prevented Him from doing that which He could accomplish on our behalf when He was at the right hand of the Father. The Holy Ghost, our Comforter, is an omnipresent agency whereby all things may be accomplished at all places, and at all times, according to the Father’s will.

        13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. This does not have the meaning that many modern professors force upon it. As commissioned agents of the Lord Jesus Christ, we do have the authority to act in His name just as a commissioned officer of the military has the authority to act in the name of the President; but we do not have license to act outside the purpose, will, and intent of the authority in whose name we act. Those things that we ask in the Name of Christ will never be things that are contrary to His will to grant. The Father is glorified when the Redeemed of Christ ask only those things which it is the Father’s good pleasure to grant.

        14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. The charismatics have falsely insisted that we can demand things of God and that He must grant them or break His promise. Do you agree with this deceptive claim? Suppose we ask and God does not grant? Why has our prayer failed? There are two primary reasons given in Scripture, all relating to the Sovereign Will of God: 1) Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts(James 4:3) or, 2) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me(Psalms 66:18) Where may we find the perfect solution to the dilemma we may face in the above? Why not resort to the very counsel of Christ given in Matthew 6 - Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matt 6:9-13) What untoward request does this prayer make? Not one! It opens with an honorific to God. It is a ‘communion’ prayer because it begins with “OUR”. It prays for our daily bread which it is the Lord’s will to grant always. It evokes the will of God on our lives on earth as well as it is done it heaven. It begs forgiveness for transgressions, which are many, and perseverance against the temptations of the world. It ends with a further acknowledgement of God, His Kingdom, His Power, and His Glory (not ours). AMEN. There is not a single selfish request in this prayer, and it only asks that the will of God be done – not MY will, but THINE!

Have your prayers been like unto this model of all prayers?

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. 

We are in the Easter Season which consists of Easter and the following four Sundays, until we get to Rogation Sunday.  This is a time we should work on centering our lives on the central figure in our religion, Jesus Christ. 

Consider these words from the Collect:

… who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same

If we will listen to Him, God will always provide the light to show us where “We have erred, and strayed from His ways like lost sheep. Where we have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. Where we have offended against His holy laws. Where we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done[1]…”  He does this so that we might return to His Path.  He does not show us where we have erred for no reason, but rather that we might use His Light to return to the path that brings us to His World. Then we can shine that Light for others to see, that they might pick up their torches and bring His Light into the darkness of the world, be it the Western Civilized Word or the Eastern World. First we have to let His Light into our hearts before we can shine it to others that they may see the works of His Light. Then we shall transform the world from total darkness, to that of a total light. At least that is what we are always striving to work towards, even when evil is often thwarting our efforts to the maximum. If evil is thwarting our efforts than we all must put in 110% to stop evil and combat it across the world wherever it is. We must never, never, never, ever give up on this fight. 

We must fight it wherever and whenever we run across it. We must not let the little and big evils in this life get us down or defeat us. We must rely on the guiding power of the Holy Ghost and God’s unlimited grace to save the day. I know that this week, I am counting my blessings that God gave me the grace to deal with an absolutely horrific test situation and dealing with it. His Grace can help you out of any horrific situation, but first you have to ask and accept His help, which is a universal theme in our sermons here, because it is a truth and one that Jesus preached, that is that we have to accept Him into our hearts, if we are to become truly Christians.

I met a Navy SEAL in Guam, who gave the most excellent sermon that we must be on the offense in the battle against Satan, never defense. The SEAL noted that Paul did not describe any sort of back plating whatsoever, hinting that Christianity was an offense based, not defense based religion.  We must never our back towards the enemy, but rather face forward and attack. The best defense is a good offense as in every case. We must never cease our fight against Satan, for he is powerful here on earth, tricking many. We are often outnumbered in the fight.  Numbers matter not.  We must always fight with all we have every time.  We must carry on; we must storm the beaches of Hell itself, and keep on persevering in good times and in bad times.

Paul tells us that if we follow Christ’s example, we will live lives like His to the extent we can.  We will do good, be law abiding, work hard, be generous to our fellow human beings, help where we can, pray for help when we can find no physical way to help.  It may be hard to do any physical help, but if you are generous and prayerful, you can often do good even when physical help is next to impossible. Be good citizens, be good neighbors, take particular care of our Christian family.  In short, do what Christ would do as far as it is in us.  Let us do our best to think in hard and trying times, what would Jesus do in our situation, and then act in a manner most like Him. In order to make the world a better place, we first have to start with our selves then work out word, applying the principles of Christ to our lives. God does not ask us to be perfect; He does ask us to do our best to try to be perfect, to follow Jesus’ lead to the extent we have it in us.  Each of us is different, some are in truth better than others.  God holds us each to the same standard, that is to do our best.  Not to be better than any other particular person, but to do our best to follow His Instructions.  Being better than someone else is of no account, what is of account is following His Instructions to the best of YOUR ability. 

Don’t think of trying to be better than your neighbor, think of being better than you are. Be better than you were yesterday, if you do this, then you will improve day by day, year by year.

In the Gospel according to Saint John, Jesus tells of His impending bodily death and resurrection.    He reminds us that if we have eternal life, sorrow, even the sorrow of death is transient, for He has conquered death. Any irritations or sorrows, large ones or small ones, are in the large scheme of things (eternity that is) very small and insignificant compared to our future with Him in heaven. We have to keep this in mind throughout our travel along the straight and narrow upward path. His One Sacrifice, made One Time, for All Mankind, for All Time is that joy that no man can take from us.  But, if we want to share in that eternal life, we need to see the error of our ways in the Light of His Light and take actions to follow Him.

Often it seems much easier to take the path of least resistance, to quit our work at the first sign of effort, to goof off when “no one” is looking.  But in the end, the right thing to do is always the easiest.  The most profitable.  The one that will result in happiness.  It might seem hard, but it will not be as hard as doing the “easy” thing.

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

God • Honor • Country • Family
for all eternity

As we go off on our business, please recall this quote from GK Chesterton:

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting;
it has been found difficult and not tried.”

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:

What Makes You Happy[2]?  (Part Two)
John 16:16-22
Third Sunday after Easter
May 11, 2014

According to Thomas Jefferson and the people who signed the Declaration of Independence, “All men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  People have differing views about what makes us happy, but one thing is sure, we do pursue it.  Most of us spend most of our lives pursuing happiness.  Many of the best selling books are about finding happiness. Even many “Christian” books have happiness as their theme. Tim LaHaye’s How to be Happy Though Married, and Phil Robertson’s, Happy, Happy, Happy are examples of this.

Why do people have this preoccupation with happiness?  The answer is found in the Bible, in Genesis 3:6: “she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”  The “fruit” is the forbidden fruit, which Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat by God Himself.  And the result of their disobedience is the loss of paradise and the fall into misery described in Genesis 3:7-24.  That misery includes the pain of childbirth, discord between people, even in the family, natural disasters, sickness, death, and worst of all, the wrath of God for ruining His world and destroying ourselves.  In other words, unhappiness, a deep, deep discontent, depression, and sickness of the soul, became the normal condition of human existence. This unhappiness is naturally accompanied by a frantic search for something to heal that condition, and that search has become the great quest of human life.  It is this condition of misery that I am calling, “unhappiness,” and I am calling the healing of this condition, “happiness.”

But is the healing of this condition possible?  Didn’t God Himself say “cursed is the ground for thy sake: in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”?   In one sense, God was talking there about eating the fruits of the earth in sorrow due to the sweat and strain and grief involved in earning a living and growing the crops.  In another sense, He was saying we will eat the curse every day of our lives.  We will partake of this great sorrow of Fallenness and Sin, and we will partake of its devastating effects in this world, and in our lives, and in the lives of our families and friends and communities, and even our churches, every day for as long as we live.  Even Christ said, “ye shall weep and lament,”  “ye shall be sorrowful.”

Does God care about our condition?  Should He?  He is so vast and great, and He doesn’t need us.  He has everything He needs within Himself.  There is a school of thought that says God created people because He was lonely and wanted someone to love Him.  It interprets the Bible as a story of God begging people to love Him.  But that view is not accurate.  God created us to enjoy Him.  He created us to have the joy of seeing and knowing Him, of basking in His love. He didn’t create us to fulfill a need in Him.  He created us to share Himself with us.

But we have rejected Him.  We have tried to find our happiness in other things, things that do not and cannot cure the sickness in our souls.  So we naturally ask if God cares.  And, those who really ponder this question ask, why should He?  What is man that He should be mindful of us?  Why should He bother with us?  We left Him.  We spurned His love, hated His commandments, and set ourselves up as gods of our own lives.  Why should He care about our happiness?

I think God does care about our happiness, real happiness, which the Bible describes as joy, peace, contentment, and as eternal and abundant life.  The disciples, in John 16, were in great sorrow.  They had left everything to follow Christ, and He was talking about leaving them.  As far as they were concerned He was deserting them.  And with Him would go all their happiness because they defined happiness as worldly abundance and indulgence, and that is what they thought Jesus had come to give them.  But Jesus said their sorrow shall be turned into joy (Jn. 16:20).  They shall have exceeding gladness.  Is He promising them health and wealth?  No.  Is He promising them the euphoric feelings some people confuse with happiness?  No.  He is talking about His resurrection, about His coming back to them from the grave and ending their sorrow over His death.  But He is also talking about more.  He is talking about giving them true happiness, real joy, abundant and eternal life.  He is talking about breaking the power of sin and death and hell that has imprisoned humanity since the Fall.  He is talking about giving them life as God intended it, and as we had it in the paradise of Eden.

Most of that will come to us in the future, when we lay down this tabernacle of flesh and dwell with Christ in Heaven. Ultimately it will come when Christ returns in His Second Advent to “judge the quick and the dead” and to restore the creation to its original goodness.  In that new earth He will dry every tear and all the sorrows of earth will be will be turned to joy.

It is important to know that our Lord says this joy will come from seeing Him.  It will not come from dwelling in the renewed earth, though that will be beautiful and wonderful.  It will not come from the renewed bodies, pulsing with health and strength we can only imagine now, though that will be beautiful and wonderful.  Our joy, our happiness will be found in Christ. When we see Him, everything else will seem insignificant.

Part of the message of our reading from John’s Gospel is that we can see Jesus now, in this life, too.  True, we see through a glass darkly. True, we see with the eyes of faith rather than our physical eyes.  And, true, our view of Christ is often clouded by fears and doubts and the sorrows of life.  But we do see.  And it is as we are true to what we see in Him, as we know His grace, and trust His promises that we find true happiness even in the midst of this world of woe.  Beloved, see Christ
+Dennis Campbell
Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia

Roy Morales-Kuhn, Bishop and Pastor - St. Paul's Anglican Church - Anglican Orthodox Church
Bishop Roy is pastor of the biggest AOC parish West of the Mississippi and is in charge of the Diocese of the Epiphany. 

Third Sunday after Easter
11 May 2014
Mother’s Day
Ps 36:5 1 Sam 2:1b-10 Acts 2:22-36

Mothers in the Bible
Elizabeth-John B.;
Lois, Eunice-Timothy

ND Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

The passage from is Hannah’s prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for her first born son, Samuel.  Hannah had been unable to have children. She prayed that God would give her a son and she promised to give that son to the Lord’s work. Hannah would bear a son within that year. She dedicates him to the Lord and gives him to Eli the high priest to raise in holy orders. Hannah would have several other children, sons and daughters.

This story of Hannah is not the first, nor the last account of a loving mother and her children.

The mothers I have listed are just a few of the stories we can read in the Bible that will give us the great example of a loving mother.

In the story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth we find a mother who will love her son’s wife as her own child. The story is that Naomi and her husband and two sons will go live in Moab. After a while Naomi’s husband dies. Her two sons marry local girls and then they die. Naomi feels that it is time to return home to Judah. She tells her two daughter in laws that they should return to their own people. One does the other stays with Naomi. Ruth tells Naomi that her people are Ruth’s people, her God is Ruth’s God. This declaration speaks volumes about how Naomi must have treated her daughter in laws. There was great respect here.

So as the story continues Naomi and Ruth return to the town of Bethlehem. Naomi has a relative there who is quite wealthy, a major landowner and farmer. Ruth offers to glean the fields of this kinsman of Naomi to the two of them will be able to eat. The kinsman, Boaz by name notices Ruth. He wants to help Ruth because of her kindness to Naomi.

The rest of the story is the wonderful concept of redemption. Ruth is married to Boaz, she bares him a son named Obed. Obed has a son named Jesse who is the father of David. How is this redemption ? Ruth was a stranger to the people of Bethlehem. She was ‘adopted’ by her mother in law. From this great act of love Ruth will be part of the lineage of David who is in the lineage of Jesus. What a loving mother Naomi was to her daughter in law.

Elizabeth, a faithful wife of a priest in the tribe of Levi who was named Zacharias, will suffer the shame of being childless. In the narrative we find the angel Gabriel bringing great news to two families. When Mary, a virgin, was told by Gabriel that she would conceive of the Holy Ghost a son, who would be named Jesus. The angel would certify the miracle of the virgin birth with the miracle of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy in her old age. Wonderful verse of scripture, Luke 1:37. “...For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

With these two mothers, Elizabeth and Mary, they would give up their sons to the greatest ministry mankind has ever known. John would announce the coming of the long anticipated Messiah. Jesus would be that long anticipated One. He who would bring salvation unto all mankind. These mothers would give up their respective sons, to untimely deaths. And yet they would be the best mothers they could be, possibly only knowing part of what was to come in each life and yet still being the best they could in raising these boys to manhood.

In the last example of mothers today, let us look at the two women who would influence a young missionary/pastor and eventually bishop of the early church. Lois and her daughter Eunice would both be instrumental in raising a young boy, Timothy, in the way of the Lord.

5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Here we read St. Paul’s charge to Timothy to remember what he has learned from the faith of his grandmother and mother. Paul is giving these two ladies great praise for what they did in raising Timothy to be a faithful young believer. Wow what a strong message to us today. When we look at the examples of the mothers down through the ages as depicted in the Scripture, let us bear in mind and meditate on the great work that they did in guiding their children in the faith.

As we remember our mothers this day let us understand that being a mother comes with a great responsibility. Mothers of all times and places in history, have been the bulwark of civilization. Because of faithful, strong, kind and loving mothers we have reason to rejoice.

Every mother is special to her children, every mother should be honored this day. (Ex.20:12  …honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.)

Today is the day we honor mothers.  Let us honor and love our mothers, grandmothers and those who are like mothers to us not only today but throughout the year.

Let us pray:

LMIGHTY God, who alone gavest us the breath of life, and alone canst keep alive in us the holy desires thou dost impart; We beseech thee, for thy compassion's sake, to sanctify all our thoughts and endeavours; that we may neither begin an action without a pure intention nor continue it without thy blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of the mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, we may in heart be inspired by thy wisdom, and in work be upheld by thy strength, and in the end be accepted of thee as thy faithful servants; through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

LMIGHTY God, we entrust all who are dear to us; most especially this day, our mothers; who to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come; knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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.

Third Sunday after Easter

In his first general epistle (I St. Peter 2:11), the apostle Peter referred to Christians as, strangers and pilgrims. How true, for it is, after all, quite understandable for the Bible-believing Christian to find himself or herself “on the outs” as it were, in today’s world. We are “on the outs” because we have chosen to follow a different path— one which leads to life everlasting in God’s kingdom— as opposed to that wide path that leads to destruction (St. Matthew 7:13-14).

The word ‘stranger’ is translated from the Greek word pariokos which Thayer’s Lexicon describes as being, “one who lives as a stranger and sojourner upon the earth”. The word ‘pilgrim’ in Greek is parepidemos and is translated as “one who comes from a foreign place to reside in a new land.” Taken together, they speak of our status as believing Christians with regard to this world system, and how we are to live within the same. Their meaning is clear and may be expressed in this way: If we be in Christ Jesus, then we are not of this world. In point of fact, we are estranged from it.

Consider our Lord’s words following the Last Supper when prayed for the disciples as well as for all who would accept him as their Saviour: ...They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world (St. John 17:16). And the apostle John warned us to, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (I St. John 2:15). And St. Paul noted that, Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Corinthians 2:12-13).

Think on that for a moment. As born-again believers in Jesus Christ, we have received the Holy Ghost who guides us into all truth. We are no longer alive to this world system but have died to it being reborn into a new life and a new way of living. The apostle Peter noted that, Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles... wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you... (I St. Peter 4:1-4). Ergo, we are strangers to sin. We are not entertained by it. We desire to be distant from it. In our parlance, to be a stranger means being unfamiliar with someone or some thing. Strangers stand out. They appear detached. And because they are these things, they are often shunned as being “odd” or “different”, even “alien”. And we are pilgrims, as we are seeking a new place to live— a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:16). Just like the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock, we are in search of a new home, a place where we will be accepted into the beloved. That new land we are looking for is God’s coming kingdom.

But those who merely call themselves by the name of Christ, yet do not live in Christ, are not “on the outs” with this world. Their continued participation in those behaviors and practices which the regenerate person might find repugnant mark them as acceptable, or at least tolerable, to the unregenerate masses. In short, these so-called Christians are enamored of the things of this world, and are thus captivated by them. As they are more natural than spiritual, so it follows that they will fall prey to the snares and devices which the devil sets for them. As the apostle Paul noted, But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (I Corinthians 2:14). He also warned the Philippian church to, mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things) (3:17-19).

We have been warned by our Lord and the apostles to avoid hypocrisy in our living the Christian life. You cannot run here and there amongst the heathen of this world and not be tainted by their godlessness. That said, we cannot leave the world until we are called home. So for us, being in society does not mean being involved in its several evils even though we are surrounded by them. We are to note such and abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thessalonians 5:22).

While many Christians have established boundaries for themselves concerning their participation within secular society, still one can join in with those things that will not hurt their consciences. But a caveat is in order. We should be mindful that while there are things that are not unbiblical that we may enjoy; we should not be surprised to find a wicked angle that might lead us into situations where our faith might be compromised and our witness diminished by our participation in them. Therefore be discerning. Stay in control. Keep the commandments of God before you and the words of our Saviour. Avoid those things that would taint or vex your spirit.

Being regenerated in Christ Jesus may often mean separation from certain aspects of secular life. Just ask yourself: “Will my participation in whatever I want to do harm my Christian witness?” or, better yet, “Would God approve of what I am doing?” St. Paul once said that, All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not (I Corinthians 10:23). Doing what is expedient and edifying may often be challenging for us when we are being coaxed to act by those friends and family members who are as yet outside the fold of Christ. So whatever you do, make sure that you are right with God and that you stay in control so that the devil cannot turn your good into something evil, and that your good will not be evil spoken of (Romans 14:16).

The path of the stranger and the pilgrim is often a lonely course as the true and faithful Christian will not be part of the vast herd of mankind that is merrily on its way to perdition. The stranger and pilgrim in Christ is not a hermit— shunning participation in society— but is a witness— one who is standing in the open— revealing to those around them the true light of God’s word written. We are beacons in a sin-darkened world. We are the bearers of God’s light— candles on lampstands, blazing with the fire of the Holy Ghost. The stranger and pilgrim in Christ has been commanded by our Lord to do exactly that (St. Matthew 5:16).

So then let us be about our business. Let each of you purpose today to be that separated person— that stranger— that pilgrim— in Christ. Seek to separate yourselves from the world, the flesh and the devil. The apostle Paul once penned this passage for us regarding separation from evil in this life when he wrote, Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (II Corinthians 6:14-18). This do and live.

Let us pray,

 MOST gracious and loving God, who art a Father to all who truly call upon thy name; bless us with wisdom and understanding so that we might better serve thee in this life by being effective witnesses on your behalf to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; for this we ask in the name of thine only begotten Son, even Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Have a blessed week,  Bryan+

Congregations in the News!
Rev Rick Reid, of the GHQ Saint Peters and Saint Andrews in the Newton, NC, had the very nice Good Shepherd sermon from last week published in its entirety!  It was a very nice sermon, it is great when the world outside gets to see it.  Yes, we know you cannot read this one, we just wanted to show you the sermon made it!  Please look at last week’s Sunday Report if you missed it:

The near future, as well as Next Sunday

18 May 2013 – Fourth Sunday After Easter – Holy Communion - Service start time 1000 (10:00 am); welcome or gathering songs before the service at 0945 (9:45 am); Time 1000 (10:00 am); Location – 10603 Burrell Way, Descanso, CA

[1] General Confession – BCP Page 6
[2] Bishop Dennis is discussing happiness, this is a different word than fun.  Please consider the difference between  the two as you read this.

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