Verse of the Day

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Third Sunday after Trinity - Fathers Day

Fathers Day
Today we prayed for our fathers, those who are with us and those who have gone before us and brought us to this point in our lives.

Fathers Day is a day we celebrate the role of fathers in our lives.  It is normally a day of joy and congratulations.  But, it is more than that, it is a reminder of what a father’s role should be.  A father is to be the spiritual head of the family, a provider of both spiritual and earthly needs, the protector, commander, president, judge and most of all - the leader.  To lead, you must be ahead of those you lead.  Lead means, follow me; not, head that way.  A father must live his life for his family.  The role comes with privileges, but the privileges are granted only to those who fulfill the responsibilities.  Those responsibilities are awesome, but the rewards incredible.  Yet, as a father, I assure you, in the words of Paul, we all fall short.  But that does not mean we should give up, but rather we must redouble our efforts.

I share with you a poem in a Fathers Day card I received.  I can tell you I have fallen short, but it is clear from the card what I must do in the coming year:

Only A Dad
Edgar A. Guest[1]

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

From the book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916

When we remember our fathers, we remember not only those who brought us into this world, but also those who have gone before.  We stand here in the present only on the shoulders of those whose actions and leadership got us here.  As fathers we know we are not perfect, nor were our fathers, nor theirs.  For the sins of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation. Exodus 34.7 We need be mindful of that when we live our lives.  We serve as a model for our children and grandchildren, as well as others who see our lives.  Living as a father gives one greater tolerance for the errors of their fathers and an appreciation for the pressure they were under.  One can only marvel at the job they did.

ay God grant each father the strength to live their life in a manner consistent with our duty as a father, husband, brother; and to fulfill the promise we made to God and Family when we accepted the role as a father.  We, each of, us fall short, but ask God God’s help to meet the challenge, in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen

God • Honor • Country • Family

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.  Most are from Rev Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, but overall mostly from Bryan.  He always has a few great ones to share.  So, on to the On Point quotes –

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
Proverbs 20:11

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for such is the kingdom of heaven.
St. Matthew 19:13-14

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.
Colossians 2:6

Education that does not begin and end in heaven is not true education.
Douglas Wilson
20th and 21st  century American theologian and Christian Classical educator

A more certain way to attack religion is by favor, by the comforts of life, by the hope of wealth; not by what reminds one of it, but by what makes one forget it; not by what makes one indignant, but by what makes men lukewarm, when other passions act on our souls, and those which religion inspires are silent. In the matter of changing religion, State favors are stronger than penalties.
Baron de Montesquieu
18th century French philosopher.

There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough—a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice—which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.
JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author
(Holiness, p. 204).

Someone should tell [the president] that 1984 is not an instruction manual.
Steve Stockman
21st century American congressman

We wanted a president that listened to all Americans— now we have one.
Jay Leno
20th and 21st  century American comedian

Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear— kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor— with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant funds demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.
Douglas MacArthur
20th century American general officer and hero

You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things FOR you carries with it the equivalent power to do things TO you.
Albert Jay Nock
20th century political commentator

The Propers for today are found on Page 192-193, with the Collect first:

Third Sunday after Trinity.
The Collect.

 LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid, be defended and comforted in all dangers and adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dru Arnold read the Epistle, which came from the Fifth Chapter of St. Peter‘s First Epistle, beginning at the Fifth Verse.  Peter tells  us to not be proud of what we have been given, rather to use those gifts to the benefit of those around us.  We should ask God to carry our concerns and worries so that we might to the tasks set before us. 

We must pay attention to the world around us and take care not to fall prey to the devil, for he is constantly looking for ways to help us drift off our path towards heaven.  You must understand that other Christians come from the same pool you do, humanity, they have the same frailties and problems you do.  Hang in there and do your very best, God will take care of you in the end.  There are none so poor as cannot purchase a noble death.  Never forget that. 

Trust in God and dread naught.

LL of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel started in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke, beginning at the First Verse.  This is a story of  Jesus, rather than one of his stories.  The Pharisees were appalled that those who were particularly sinners in their very qualified eyes were attracted to Jesus and even worse, he talked to them, even breaking bread with them.  To the Pharisees, Jesus told the story of the shepherd who loses a sheep and searches for it.  When he finds it he carries it back to the flock on his shoulders.  He goes on to tell the story of the woman who loses a piece of silver and turns her house inside out to find it.  That story ends in a very interesting word play in English, “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece (peace) which I had lost.”  Jesus ends the story with, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”  Having said that, there is also joy when we do not sin, but choose God’s way.  And we enjoy it more also.

HEN drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

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

Consider these words from the Collect:

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

The Collect starts as they often do by asking God to hear us.  This is rather odd a thing to ask as He hears us all the time, the problem is that when we need His Help we so rarely ask, then when He answers, we will not hear Him.  That being said, when we do accept the Holy Ghost’s Help to pray, we can expect to receive spiritual, mental and physical comfort from God.  But, as the old radio talk show personality Bruce Williams was fond of saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”  So, ask.

When we ask for help and get it, we get great results.  But, when we get those results, who should really get the credit?  As Peter tells us in his epistle, we should not spend or time being proud of what we have been given, rather we should use those gifts to the benefit of those around us.  We could use the time we spend bragging about our talents more productively, such as using them to further His glory and Word in this world. And, when we have troubles, we should bring them to Him and ask God to carry our concerns and worries so that we might tend to the tasks set before us.  We cannot do this mission alone, we desperately need His help at all times, which is something everybody struggles with. But we must ask His help and be willing to listen to what he says.

We must pay attention to the world around us and take care not to fall prey to the devil, for he is constantly looking for ways to help us drift off our path towards heaven.  We must keep situational awareness at all times, so we do not fall into any of his traps that he has laid out for us. You must understand that other Christians come from the same pool you do, humanity, they have the same frailties and problems you do.  The word pictures painted of “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” is both vivid and true!

Hang in there and do your very best, God will take care of you in the end.  There are none so poor as cannot purchase a noble death.  Never forget that. 

Trust in God and dread naught.

When Saint Luke tells that Jesus not only talked to “sinners” but broke bread and ate with them, he related a story that was a particular concern to the Pharisees.  They were quite appalled that those who were particularly sinners in their very qualified eyes were attracted to Jesus.  They knew a sinner when they saw one (except in the mirror) and were quite certain sinners would never get in to heaven.  But, not only did Jesus appeal to the sinners, He even talked to them.  My goodness, He went so far as to break bread with them and engage them in conversation at meat!

With a clear view of the inner most thoughts of their hearts, Jesus the Pharisees the story of the shepherd who loses a sheep and searches for it.  When he finds it he carries it back to the flock on his shoulders.  He goes on to tell the story of the woman who loses a piece of silver and turns her house inside out to find it.  That story ends in a very interesting word play in English, “Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece (peace) which I had lost.”  Jesus ends the story with, “there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”  Having said that, there is also joy when we do not sin, but choose God’s way.  And we enjoy it more also. So it is preferable if we do not sin in the first place, but if we can’t do that, then God finds joy when we truly repent and turn back to Him and ask for His help and be willing to listen.

Notice Jesus’ actions when He finds a lost sheep, He carries it back to the flock on His shoulders with a smile on His face.

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 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 Pray
Psalm 145, Jeremiah 31:1-14. Matthew 9:9-13
Third Sunday after Trinity
June 16, 2013

 What do Christians do?  That has been the subject of the sermons for the past two weeks, and we could summarize them by saying, “Christians Love,” and “Christians Believe.”  Today we continue to look at what Christians do, and today’s sermon is, “Christians Pray.”

But saying, “Christians Pray,” leads us to another important question, why do Christians pray? We pray because the Bible tells us to.  “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” says Psalm 122:6. “Pray for them which despitefully use you,” said our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5:44). “Watch and pray” said Christ to the disciples in Gethsemane (Mk. 14:38).  “Pray for us” wrote the Apostle Paul in1 Thessalonians. 3:1. Again in that same Epistle he wrote, “pray without ceasing” (5:17).  And then we remember the well-beloved words of 1 Timothy 2:1-3, and 2:8;

 “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.”

 “I will therefore that all men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

But we don’t just pray because God tells us to.  In fact, we would pray if God did not tell us to.  For prayer is as natural to us as breathing. When we consider our blessings, we naturally say, “Thanks be to God.”  When we consider our sins, we naturally cry out, “Lord, have mercy upon us.”  When we face the troubles and trials of life, we naturally plead, “Lord, help us.”  This is so much a part of us that we almost do it automatically, and what a blessing it is to be so oriented toward God that we turn to Him automatically in these situations.  So we pray because we want to pray.  We are like David, who wrote, “early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee,” and, “Evening, and morning, and at noon will I pray, and cry aloud.”  (Ps. 5:3, Ps. 55:18).  For, “Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God.  My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God” (Ps. 42:1-2). “How amiable are thy dwellings, thou Lord of hosts!  My soul hath a desire and longing to enter into the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God” (Ps. 84:1-2).  We pray, because we long for God.

But prayer would be meaningless if God did not care about us.  So, prayer is based upon the character and nature of God, who is revealed in the Bible as the One who loves us and gave Himself for us “to be the propitiation for our sins.” In a sense, these words from 1 John 4:10 summarise all that we have been looking at since Advent.  They summarise all that we believe about God.  They express the heart of the Christian faith.  God loves us and gave His Son on the cross to be the bearer of and payment for our sins.  Everything we do as Christians is based on this one supreme act of God’s self-giving, self-sacrificing love.  Everything we do is, or should be, our response of loving faith, trust, and obedience to this One who loved us so much “He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If we look back into this morning’s reading from Jeremiah 31, we see this was as true in the Old Testament as it is in the New; that the entire life of faith has always been based on the loving acts of God, who forgives sin and seeks fellowship with His people.  “I have loved thee with an everlasting love,” God says in Jeremiah 31:3.  “I will build thee, and thou shalt be built” He says in verse 4.  These words were given to the Jews in the context of their wars with the Babylonians, which resulted in the destruction of Israel, the sack of Jerusalem, and the Jews being forcefully moved to Babylon where they lived in captivity for fifty years.  The Bible makes it very clear that God allowed this to happen because Israel had forsaken Him.  But that was not the end of Israel, nor of the love of God for the Jews. He promised to restore them to their home, to rebuild their land and city.  He says He will “bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth…, and “a great company shall return.”  “There is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.”

Why will God bring them back to Jerusalem?  Why will He bless them with joy and peace?  Not because they deserve it.  Not because they have been holy and righteous.  If they had been righteous they would never have suffered defeat by the Babylonians.  But the Bible says time after time that they were sinners against God, and failed to keep the covenant He had made with them.  And they were no more righteous after their captivity than before.  There was no great revival of Biblical faith among the Jews in Babylon.  There was no great turning to holiness and Godliness of life.  The Jews continued on as they always had.  God saved them out of Babylon for the same reason He saved them out of Egypt, because He chose to love them in spite of their unlovableness.  In other words, they were saved by the grace of God, not by their own works of righteousness.

It was because God saved them by His grace that they were to turn to Him.  It was because He loved them that they were to love Him.  Their life of faith, their keeping of His commandments, their turning to and keeping His covenant with them was all to be based on His grace.  It was to be their response of love to His act of love.

So here is the point I am trying to make today.  Christians pray because we are responding to God’s love.  Christians pray because we believe God cares enough about us to act on our behalf.  And we believe He cares about us because we see that He sent Christ to the cross to bear and pay for our sins.  Once a person really believes his sins have separated him from God and made him worthy of the eternal wrath of God in hell, he cannot help praying to God for mercy.  Once a person truly believes Christ suffered the wrath of God for his sins, and gives him Heaven as a free gift of grace, he cannot help praying to God in loving faith.  That is why Christians pray.
+Dennis Campbell
Bishop, Anglican Orthodox Church Diocese of Virginia
Rector, Holy Trinity Anglican Orthodox Church
Powhatan, Virginia
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 Trinity

Halley's Bible Handbook (p. 332) reads as follows regarding chapter 34 of Ezekiel: "Responsibility for the captivity of Israel is here laid directly at the door of the greedy and cruel kings and priests who had exploited and led astray the people. Against this background Ezekiel sees a vision of the Future Shepherd of God's people in the Coming Messiah, under whom they shall never more suffer, and `there shall be showers of blessing'." Thus the applicable message of Ezekiel to us in our day is clear: While God expected those in leadership positions within ancient Israel to be faithful, he expects the same from those who hold offices within the body of Christ today. And as those of the Israelites who had deviated from his will were punished, so too will he deal with those who occupy positions within the churches if they are faithless to his word and commandment.

Ezekiel was given of the LORD to speak against the wicked shepherds of his people, more particularly the king and the priests (34:1-2). The king was considered a shepherd because of his duty to properly administer justice and to care for the whole of the land as God's steward. The priests were charged with leading the people in their worship as well as instructing them concerning the very laws of God. But they had been looking out for their own interests rather than the interests of those in their charge, and as a result the LORD gave the prophet to proclaim, Woe be the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flock? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with wool, ye kill them that are fed: be ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. And they were scattered, because there was no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered (vv.2-5).

The prophet Malachi was given a similar message that was specifically aimed at the priests: And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart... For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should see the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts (2:1-8). It seems that even after the dispersal of 70 years, the Levite clan had fallen again into the same sort of behaviors as they had engaged in prior to their exile in 586 BC.

Let us also consider the words of our Lord as per our gospel lesson (St. Luke 15:1-10) wherein he reminded his hearers that there is more joy in heaven over those sinners who came to repentance than over those who thought themselves just persons which need no repentance (v.7). He also delivered a stinging critique of the religious authorities when he said, Woe unto to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in (St. Matthew 23:13).

Our Lord expressed the same level of concern for the lost sheep in his day as the Lord GOD had done in his message to the prophet Ezekiel. The person of Christ as God made flesh did not change his mind over the centuries. As God the Son, he came to seek and save the lost. He came to bring the gift of salvation to those whose hearts were willing to be changed via repentance. And our Lord expects those in church leadership to be good shepherds and not hirelings who only care for the sheep because they are paid to look after them (St. John 10:12-13).

Returning to Ezekiel 34, God announced his judgment upon those whose solemn task had been to care for his people. He made it rather plain that he would be against those so-called shepherds and would, require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them (vv. 9-10). Without a doubt the crushing defeat of King Zedekiah and his administration marked the end of the kings of Judah leaving only the promise of God to reclaim his lost sheep and restore them to the land of their forefathers (vv. 11-22). The city of Jerusalem was sacked and the Temple was burned. The majority of those who survived were carted away into captivity while only a small portion of the population was left behind to tend the fields for the Chaldeans.

The promise of judgment had come. All that remained of the prophecy was for God to send to the promised redemption through the Messiah. As the prophet noted, And I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd... and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen... (vv. 23-28). God informed Ezekiel that the Messiah will be a shepherd to his people much as David had been. This reference to David was made twice in two contiguous verses, and emphasized the Messiah blood connection to him in keeping with the earlier prophetic promises made in Isaiah 9:6-7 wherein it is written his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.

Sadly, the faithless shepherds of today have ignored God's word just as those kings and priests in Old Testament times had done. Our Lord warned us concerning such persons when he said, Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves (St. Matthew 7:15). What better way to gain access to the sheep fold than by posing as a sheep yourself. It is easy to assume that all that glitters is gold, but such would be a mistake. We have been warned often not to "judge a book by its cover", so too must we not judge superficially when it comes to those who are our ministers and servants within the church.

St. Paul noted in his second epistle to the Corinthians that, if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (4:3-4). Indeed, the gospel is kept from these folk as they work for the adversary. Satan has done and will do all he can to keep as many mortals away from the truth of God's word. He has dropped a shroud, as it were, over their hearts so that they cannot discern the things of God around them.

In his second letter to St. Timothy, the apostle admonished his charge to, Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables (4:2-4). Preaching is essential for the furtherance of the gospel in this world. The apostle advised young Timothy to preach with earnest the words of truth so that more would hear and receive it to their eternal good.

But too often false teachers and preachers have twisted God's word to mean what he did not intend. They have taken liberties with the word in their ministrations, and this has led to a fair number of folk being deceived into accepting all sorts of beliefs and behaviors within their churches. Look about at what passes for the modern church and you will find acceptance of every sort of false doctrine you can imagine. And the only way that those churches came to accept such was because their leadership has been duped by the devil and his minions.

St. Peter recorded in his second epistle a telling description of these false teachers when he wrote, ... there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them... [they] walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government [ or, those who are appointed over them in the church]... [they are] presumptuous... selfwilled... not afraid to speak evil of dignities... they have eyes full of adultery and cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls; [they are filled with covetousness]; cursed children... [they] have forsaken the right way... following the way of Balaam... who loved the wages of unrighteousness... These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever (2:1-17). The apostle was given to pen this chapter to remind the faithful that evil may come in the guise of a brother or a sister in Christ whose sole purpose will be to lead them astray. Without sound preaching based upon the expressed word of God, and without the faithful being careful to check what they have been told by their ministers using the very words of Scripture, deception is a real possibility for said Christians.

So what should the faithful do when faced with those who are peddling the pablum of demonic deception within their churches? First of all, they ought to thank the LORD that their eyes were opened to the problem. Next, they should determine the scope of the problem within their respective church bodies. After that, they can make an informed decision as to whether or not it would be possible to bring said bodies back into conformity with orthodox Christian teaching. If they can be salvaged, by all means do so. But if they cannot then it would be best for the faithful to find a new church body where God's word is respected as truth and not just a choice among choices.

Jesus Christ is the good shepherd (St. John 10:14). No other person either in the past of ancient Israel or in the church age has ever possessed the singular purpose of taking care of the sheep of his pasture (Psalm 100:3) like our Lord Jesus Christ. We can rely on him. We can trust in him. He will not leave us to be stolen, killed, or destroyed by our adversary the devil (St. John 10:10). You can count on him to keep his word and just has he dealt with those wicked and slothful shepherds in Ezekiel's day, he will deal with those who are false witnesses and faithless shepherds of this time as well. There is a judgment coming. Make sure that you and the church you belong to are on "the right side of the river."

Let us pray,
 LORD, keep us, we pray thee, in this time of our mortal life; that we being so protected by thy most holy Spirit may ever praise thy name as a witness to those who claim they need no repentance: that they might hear and turn unto thee the only wise God, through the merits and satisfaction of thy dear Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

[1] Edgar A. Guest – 20 August 1881 – 5 August 1959
Born in Birmingham, England. He and his family moved to the United States in 1891. He worked at the Detroit Free Press in Detroit, Michigan. He started there as a copy boy then as a reporter. He had a radio show and a television series. Guest has written 11,000 poems. His sentimental and optimistic poetry are inspiring and enjoyable to read.

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