|Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.|
Someone asked, where do the quotes come
from? The answer is from the
people who uttered them. But, how
did you find them? Oh, that. Some from Bishop Jerry, many from Rev
Bryan Dabney, a few from other places, some from Rev Geordie Menzies-Grierson, but
overall mostly from Bryan. He
always has a few great ones to share. On to the On Point quotes –
TO MARY WILLIS SHELBURNE: On how
to rehearse for death and how to diminish fear.
17 June 1963
Pain is terrible, but surely you
need not have fear as well? Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer?
It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you: like taking off a
hair- shirt or getting out of a dungeon. What is there to be afraid of? You
have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life. Your sins are
confessed and absolved. Has this world been so kind to you that you should
leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
Remember, though we struggle
against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way
round—we get afraid be- cause we struggle. Are you struggling, resisting? Don’t
you think Our Lord says to you ‘Peace, child, peace. Relax. Let go. Underneath
are the everlasting arms. Let go, I will catch you. Do you trust me so little?’
Of course, this may not be the
end. Then make it a good rehearsal.
Yours (and like you a tired traveler
near the journey’s end)
The Collected Letters
of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
I think we have more machinery of
government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the
Then retired President Thomas Jefferson
letter to William
If the president alone was vested
with the power of appointing all officers, and was left to select a council for
himself, he would be liable to be deceived by flatterers and pretenders to
to John Adams, 1789
Have we not all one father? hath
not one God created us?...
I am the good shepherd: the good
shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
No man would refuse to enter a
lifeboat because he did not know the specific gravity of bodies; neither would
a starving man decline to eat till he understood the whole process of
nutrition. If you... will not believe till you can understand all mysteries,
you will never be saved at all; and if you allow self- invented difficulties to
keep you from accepting pardon through your Lord and Saviour, you will perish
in a condemnation which will be richly deserved.
English Baptist theologian and author
(All of Grace,
Welfare not only correlates with
social failures, it causes them. And it doesn’t just cause them in our own
country. Third World activists complain that Western aid destroys local
capabilities and cripples domestic economies while promoting a culture of
corruption and violence. The best evidence of that may be in the world’s
biggest welfare state in the Palestinian Authority where the locals know how to
do little except make demands and threaten to kill everyone if they don’t get
what they want... Institutional determinism promotes learned helplessness. It
teaches people that their failures can only be remedied by blaming someone
else. And that can never lead to success. Without individual responsibility,
all that’s left are institutional subsidies for failure and there are only so
many companies that can be bailed out and only so many individuals who can live
off the welfare state without the entire economy collapsing past the point
where it can subsidize them.
(Why People Fail,
Leave no room for the Devil. Be
too busy for him. Have no time and no place for him. Vacant places invite him.
The Devil loves a vacuum. A very busy person himself, he does his biggest
business with those who have no business.
19th and 20th
century American pastor and author
(Guide To Spiritual
Warfare, p. 133)
... On January 19, 1807... [was
born] Robert Edward Lee... the less-than- longed-for fifth child of a mother in
uncertain health and reduced financial straits struggling essentially alone to
maintain the facade of family in a home that was never hers. The infant’s
father was a war hero in a war that had been over for a quarter century. He was
desperately in debt, in flight from his creditors, and apparently oblivious to
the realities of his fading fame... Some time during the summer of 1810, Ann, Harry,
and their four children left Stratford and moved into a small house... in
Alexandria... [The Lee] family legend has little three-year-old Robert
returning one last time to his mother’s room where he was born and spent much
time... to bid goodbye to the two angels represented in iron at the back of the
(Robert E. Lee: A
Biography, pp. 29-31).
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 or our Deacon Striker.
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 are found on Page
111-112 with the Collect first:
Second Sunday after The Epiphany.
and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully
hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of
our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Dru Arnold read
the Epistle for today, which came from the Twelfth Chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans beginning at the
Sixth Verse. As Paul often does, he gives guidance on what God would have us
do. He notes that each of us have
differing talents, skills and resources.
What God wants us to do is use all of what He gave us to further His
will and His way, so that we might be truly happy here on earth. To be gracious and hospitable to those
around us, to remember each of us are equal in God’s eye.
gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy,
let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait
on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on
exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth,
with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without
dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be
kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one
another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which
persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and
weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high
things, but condescend to men of low estate.
Hap Arnold read the Holy Gospel for today which came
from the beginning of the Gospel according to St. Mark, the First Chapter,
beginning at the First Verse. This
is the very first of the New Testament, a New Covenant or agreement with
God. It tells the story of “the beginning
of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” It talks of John the Baptist, who God sends as His
“messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice
of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths
straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of
repentance for the remission of sins.”
And the people came to John “and were all baptized of him in the river
of Jordan, confessing their sins.”
But, as a harbinger the One to come, John told them of the One coming “
the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.” He told them of the Holy Ghost. When Jesus, in His submission as a man
to God came to John for baptism, as he came out of the water, “the heavens
opened, and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him: and there came a
voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in
the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare
thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the
way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness,
and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went
out unto him all the land of Judæa, and they of Jerusalem, and were all
baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was
clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he
did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier
than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and
unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with
the Holy Ghost. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth
of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out
of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit, like a dove,
descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Sermon – Reverend Jack Arnold - Time and
Today’s sermon brought the
Collect, Epistle and Gospel together and is partly contained in the forewords
Consider these words from the Collect:
… hear the supplications of thy
people, and grant us thy peace …
In the Collect, we are
asking God to listen to us and give us His peace in our hearts. God is perfect. He hears us when we pray, God hears us
when we call Him. This Collect is
really to remind us that when we pray to Him, we need to listen to Him. To often we ask Him what to do, when He
tells us what He wants us to do, it is not what we want, so we don’t hear. After all, there are none so deaf as
those who will not hear. So, the
question is not, Does God hear our supplication? Rather the question is, Do we hear His answer and abide by
it? Do we listen when His answer
is not what we want but what we need? We think that he doesn’t answer, but that
is often because we are deaf to His answer through our own condition of being
poor, sinful creatures that need His forgiveness desperately. What we really
need to do is stop our wanting thoughts and to listen to what we need, His
Guidance. To do that,we must open our hearts and minds; and let Him in. He will
not force His way in. It takes action on our part to let Him in.If we open our
hearts and minds, then we will hear Him. Will we let him in to our hearts for
this to happen? It has to start with us letting Him in, and then we will hear
His answer loud and clear.
We all have some talent;
each has something they do better than others. Paul reminds us for the church, on any organization for that
matter, to succeed, we must do what needs to be done, working hard, honestly,
cheerfully, looking for no public praise, being kind to all. Everybody needs to utilize their
talents according to the needs of the church, not to somebody elses talents,
but their talents. Everybody has a talent of some sort, be it musically,
talking (being good with communication). Almost anything else that can be used
for His Glory is a talent. Sometimes, we fail to remember that for the team to
be successful, each person needs to do the job they do best to the best of
their ability; not necessarily the one they like best the way they want to do
it at the pace they enjoy. Not
just saying you are doing your best when your half, quarter or not at all best,
but full “best” ahead as it were! The reward of a job well done in and of
itself should be sufficient. It
does not matter to God who gets the credit, what matters to Him is that we get
the job done and to do it right! We should not be giving of ourselves to God,
so that we can get praise and recognition. That is not giving; it is selling. And that would not be
truly giving from the heart as is God’s desire. That would be using the talents He has loaned to us for our
own wants and ends, which would not be becoming of the Christians we are called
to be, the New Men we are called to be.
At the same time,
though we should not look for praise for our own work (though we may appreciate
it, we should not dwell on it too long, lest we get swollen heads!), we should
look for reasons to praise and encourage others. We need to recognize hard work, sacrifice, thoughtfulness
and talent in others, remark on it and praise the use thereof! That which is rewarded most is that
which grows best. Reward the good, so that we may reap the goodness of our
Even God Himself, looking on His Son’s baptism
remarked for all to hear, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
How oft do we praise the actions of others? To often we are quick to criticize the
failings of others. It is in our
nature, part of our human nature, our free will condition that we must fight
against with His help. We must understand that while it is valuable to know
when we fall short, people strive the most for praise of those whose opinion
When you hear those words, “Thou art my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased,” remember to use them yourself. Lead others to God, don’t point the way.
Be of God - Live of God - Act of God
Bishop and Pastor - St. Paul's Anglican Church - Anglican Orthodox Church
Rev Roy is pastor of the biggest AOC parish
West of the Mississippi and was consecrated today as a Bishop and is in charge
of the Diocese of the Midwest. Roy
will be a great bishop and continue as a great pastor, nothing less is in him.
Second Second after Epiphany
19 January 2014
Epistle; Romans 12: 6 - 16
Gospel Mark 1:1 - 11
Humility and glory; quiet
dignity and greatness; being a servant and being the God of the Universe. In
our scripture readings today we see all of these concepts juxtaposition in so
many ways. How can the God of Creation also be a servant of man?
How can one so exalted be so
humble and meek?
To answer some of these
paradoxes and seemingly conflicting ideas, we need to understand the plan, the
grand plan of God, the creator. Why did he send his only Son, in utmost
humility, born in a lowly place, and yet born to fulfil all prophesy about his
coming? Down through the ages the prophets foretold his coming, where, and even
how, but only those who believed seemed to understand what it all meant. And
sometime even they didn’t, as we see the questions Peter and some of the other
disciples kept asking Jesus about the coming of his kingdom.
What are we to understand?
If you read over the “inventory” of talents that believers are ‘gifted’ with, you
can begin to understand what we are to do.
A. Prophesy ; now
that the canon of Scripture is closed, prophesy could be interpreted as a
person who can see what may happen if certain actions are taken OR not taken.
True Biblical prophets were and are 100% correct. They were not partly right,
somewhat right, they were dead on right. That which they prophesied came true.
We have that evidence in the whole Advent season. We see it as read in the Old
Testament and fulfilled in the New, time and again. Because of this 100% record
of fulfillment, we can also believe that all prophesy yet to come will also be
fulfilled 100%. Jesus Christ will return one day to set-up his Kingdom that
will have no end.
B. Serving; service
is in all things Christian, whether you are a nursery worker, cook funeral
lunches, a door greeter, a vestryman, or just volunteer at any worthy cause.
Service is everywhere. The apostles were called upon so much to serve, that
they finally had to set aside a group of young men to do that work, the deacon
became a vital member of the church body, he was able to help with taking care
of the physical needs of the church body, while the apostles would take care of
the spiritual. The deacon, priest and bishop are also servants to the people
for the furtherance of the Kingdom.
C. Teaching; very
much like service, teaching can be time consuming, but very fulfilling. To
teach you must have a certain amount of patience, an ability to share ideas,
information, directions, and concepts. In the realm of Sunday School, or
preparing for Confirmation, one must be able to convey the Word of God to the
student in a way that is both loving and yet firm. The importance of our belief
and the importance of being able to give reason for why and what we believe is the
best defense against heresy. Heresy that is sweeping the Church today, taking
with it many “soft” believer, people who don’t understand their faith or are
unable to defend against the wiles of the Evil One as presented by every day
life. Good teachers can be found, a good teacher can also be cultivated, a
talent that many times lies dormant, simply because no one asks that person to
help in the teaching process.
D. Encouraging; a
really daunting task. To be able to get a person or people encouraged about
their lot, to help them see that there is a way out of what seems a hopeless
mess, this is a talent. I have known people in my life who have stepped in and
given me a boost, shown me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,
there is a way to see this crisis through, and even survive, not only to the
next day but for the rest of my life. These encouragers are so important,
especially today, they not only help us on the way, but they pray for us, they
hold us up to the Throne of God, seeking His help in our journey. One of the
strongest talents of an encourager is the ability to guide kindly and yet
firmly, to pray without ceasing, and to always seek God in the endeavor they
are encouraging. One of the best examples of encouragers are the ‘prayer-partners’
such as what we see with the AOC prayer bulletins issued from the National
office almost everyday.
E. Contributing; one
who has can help those who don’t. Notice St. Paul writes to give generously,
but not all. One who has the talent to make and multiply wealth is to share,
but not bankrupt themselves, otherwise they will be of no use to anyone. Wealth
in the Bible is not condemned, it is the worship of wealth, the love of money,
the hoarding of coins that is condemned, not wealth. Christ reminded us that
the poor will be with you always. He also reminds us to help them, not condemn
them. Again, a tension but not an impossible task, one can be wealthy and be a
Christ follower. Be wise with your wealth, it will not go with you when you are
short and sweet. Govern diligently. To be on guard for corruption, evil doings,
to follow the civil laws as they prevent chaos, but most especially to be
diligent, which sounds more like following the law of the land, without
corruption. Lead the people. We see this concept outlined in the ordering of
deacons, priest, and bishops. But it also applies to those who help the church
function on a day to day basis, monthly, annually and in many cases as long as
the church endures here on earth.
G. Mercy; showing
mercy as St. Paul writes. Being able to forgive, being able to see the positive
in a person, especially if they have fouled up once or twice. It is so hard to
be merciful, if we are quick to condemn and hold people accountable for something,
that in most cases is not that important. Remember the parable of the talents,
and the debts one fellow has with his boss, his boss forgives him of his debts,
then the forgiven turns on one below him and is without mercy on the debt the
fellow below him owes the forgiven. And remember the boss then comes and
rectifies the situation, he without mercy is cast out.
Let us think upon our
talents, think about those things we are gifted with from our Creator, then
pray that God gives us an opportunity to act upon these gifts and to use them
to the Glory of God.
ather, we ask that you illume us with your Holy
Spirit, help us to see what work we have been set aside for, the work that you
have for us to do, for the advancement of your Kingdom, give us the sense of
urgency, the need is great, the workers are few. These things we ask in the
Name of God the Father Almighty, Christ Jesus his Only Son, and the Holy
Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, now and forever, Amen
“ As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men,
especially unto them who are of the household of faith”
Rev Bryan Dabney of Saint John’s Sunday
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.
Second Sunday after Epiphany
In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul posed this question: Is
There Unrighteousness with God? (9:14). The short answer is an unequivocal, No.
To the born-again Christian, such would be as clear as a wide-open blue sky;
but to those of the unregenerate, it would be perceived as shallow and overly
As to the question before us, Is There Unrighteousness with God?, the
apostle responded forthrightly, God forbid (v.14)
James reminded his readers, Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of
God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man... Every
good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father
of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (1:13 and 17).
The Jews tried to use a similar line against God in Ezekiel’s day when
the prophet noted, Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal (18:25). Their
complaint was that God was being unjust in not giving their good deeds any
standing if they did not continue in living righteously but had succumbed to
iniquity. The whole message of Ezekiel 18 was that God’s justice required a
person to keep his statutes all the days of his or her life and not just part
of the time. If a person did what was right at the beginning of his life, then
he should do so for the duration, for if he slipped into wickedness, then all
the good he had done would not count at all. God expects his perfect will to be
done— all the time.
Returning to Romans 9 we read, For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy
on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that
sheweth mercy (vv. 15-16). God desires all to turn unto him, but he will not
save the unjust apart from their repentance and acceptance of his only begotten
Son. In Romans 8:33 we read, Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s
elect? It is God that justified. Only the truly penitent sinner who calls upon
the name of the Lord will be saved. Only a person who has sincerely recognized
the error of his or her ways will receive God’s gift of pardon. And while it is
true that prior to being born again of the Spirit, such persons will remain in
their sins and trespasses— fit subjects of God’s righteous judgment;
nevertheless, upon their regeneration they were saved immediately and
eternally. That is the essence of the believer’s position: eternally secure and
safe in the hand of the Saviour. And though this state of eternal security can
be of great comfort to the believer— as he cannot slip out or be taken from the
Master’s hand— it does not preclude him from erring. It also does not prevent a
righteous and holy God from dealing with that wayward soul in a chastising
judgment, apart from an heart-felt confession of his sins.
St. Paul observed that, If a man therefore purge himself from these, he
shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and
prepared unto every good work (II St. Timothy 2:21).Those
who are predestined to glory must first see the need to be cleansed, and that
is in keeping with the very words of Scripture, for God hath chosen us in
[Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love (Ephesians 1:4). That said, God will not save us
unless we heed his calling to, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand
(St. Matthew 4:17). The Bible teaches us that the sovereign nature of God is
not perverted or diminished by the will of man. And so it follows that the will
of God for us in election is an affirmation of his sovereign authority in the
very nature of our own choosing.
Consider Article XVII of our Articles of Religion wherein it is
affirmed that, “Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God,
whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed
by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from the curse and damnation those whom
he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to
everlasting salvation, as vessels of honour...”
God is not unjust to forgive us our sins when we ask him to do so in
the name of Jesus Christ, neither is he unjust to refer to all who come to
Christ as his elect and chosen. Now, nothing in Scripture tells us how this
divine choice is made, for as we read in Article XVII, “he hath... decreed by
his counsel secret to us.” Ergo, if it is a secret, then we ought to respect
the reticence of God and avoid needless and senseless speculations.
In his work, The Principles of Theology: An Introduction To The Thirty-
Nine Articles, W. H. Griffith Thomas observed that, “... there will always be
an element of mystery in the relation of two wills in the universe, Divine and
human. Christian people undoubtedly revolt against any view implying that the
majority of the human race are everlastingly lost and only a few saved. Nor
will any refuge be found by those who know and follow Scripture in the thought
of purgatorial or purifying fires, which cannot be found in the Bible. [But] no
careful and honest reader of Scripture can believe for an instant that all
human beings will be saved, for, if the Bible teaches anything distinctly, it
clearly shows that there are those who, through their own deliberate choice,
remain outside the circle of the saved.”
In a similar vein, Dr. Henry M. Morris offered the following: “[The Word
of God makes] it very clear that the substitutionary death of Christ is
sufficient to |take| away the sin of the world (John 1:29), that salvation and
eternal life are offered as a free gift of God's grace to anyone who will
accept it, and that anyone who will may come! It is only the voluntary act of
our own wills that is required, but there are many of whom Jesus must say: Ye
will not come to me, that ye might have life (John 5:40).”
And Charles Spurgeon once noted that, “... If your life is unholy your
heart is unchanged, and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person.
If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin
and a love of holiness, he has done nothing in you of a saving character. The
grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit.
Christ saves his people, not in their sins, but from their sins.” He also
stated that, “... The Holy Spirit makes men penitents long before he makes them
divines; and he who believes what he knows, shall soon know more clearly what
Let us also consider the words of the apostle Peter who reminded his
readers that, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance (II St. Peter 3:9).
And our Lord warning to the Jews of his day is apropos: O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto
thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen
gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (St. Matthew 23:37).
It is clear from the above quotations that the choices before us are
indicative of our destiny. If we choose to reject the truth of Christ, then we
lose heaven. If we choose to embrace the truth of Christ, then we obtain God’s
There is therefore no unrighteousness with God because he has given to
us the gift of his grace if, and only if, we believe on his only begotten Son
and accept him as our Lord and Saviour (St. John 3:16-18).
Returning to Romans 9, we find that, For the scripture saith unto
Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my
power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he
hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath
resisted his will. Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Yes, God has a sovereign will. Yes, God has the authority to harden and
to soften as the case may be. But such does not automatically infer that God
loses his sovereignty over his creation through his allowance of human choice.
God can do as he pleases and, in every case, he would not be unrighteous
because he cannot be unrighteous. Whatever he does, he does with his nature in
mind. God does not change. He was, is and shall always be, the Lord of all
creation and of all life. He holds all authority, might, dominion and majesty.
He is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
When we hear comments such as, “God is unfair,” or “God is too harsh,”
we ought come back with, “Where did you get this idea that God is any of those
things?” Usually, the person offering such comments will have only a vague
grasp of the truth of the scriptures and so their rationale will be tenuous at
best and contradictory at worst. The baby Christian, the carnal Christian, the neophyte,
and the like, might find a Bible verse to throw back at you like a bomb or hand
grenade, but its effectiveness cannot bear the truth of a properly presented
text of Scripture offered in answer to their poorly informed understanding of
the precious tenets of our Christian faith.
In no way, shape or form is our God unrighteous or unfair. God is
caring, considerate and loving beyond the earthly meaning of those words. Our
mortal language fails in its ability to adequately project the real meaning of what
God has in store for all who truly believe on Jesus Christ as their Saviour and
Lord (I Corinthians 2:9). So let us go forth this day and live the victory
which Christ won for us at the cross. Let us rejoice that our God is wholly
righteous and sovereign in all things. And let us also go forth in thanksgiving
and praise to our heavenly Father for the gift of his unmerited favor towards
ather, we come before thy throne beseeching thee
to look with favor upon us; forasmuch as we have accepted thine only begotten
Son, so help us to live within thy perfect will; and this we ask in the name of
him who came into the world to save sinners, even Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Have a blessed week, Bryan+
The more you read about
Robert E. Lee, the more you will come to appreciate his greatness as a human
being and the forces that tore at him during the Civil War. For him, the war was not an issue of
slavery, which he felt was not only wrong, but at its natural end in the United
States. For him the issue was the
rights of states and the republic.
Gen. Robert E. Lee's
birthday is a legal holiday in North Carolina. North Carolina in 1892 made the
birth date of Robert E. Lee a legal holiday in the State. Like Washington
before him, he led Americans, including North Carolinians, in battle in their
second War of Independence in defense of their homes, inalienable rights and
liberty. He considered his State of Virginia as his country, and the
South as his home.
Explaining his actions in
a postwar letter to R.S. McCulloch Lee wrote:
brave people who considered their rights attacked and their constitutional
liberties invaded," it ran, "would have
done as we did. Our conduct was not caused by any insurrectional spirit, nor
can it be termed a rebellion; for our construction of the Constitution under
which we lived and acted was the same from its adoption, and for eighty years
we had been taught and educated by the founders of the Republic, and their
written declarations, which controlled our consciences and actions. The
epithets that have been heaped upon us of "rebels" and
"traitors" have no just meaning, nor are they believed in by those
who understand the subject, even at the North…"
General Dwight Eisenhower
said of him in 1960:
Robert E. Lee was, in my estimation, one of the supremely gifted men produced
by our Nation. He believed unswervingly in the Constitutional validity of his
cause….he was thoughtful yet demanding of his officers and men, forbearing with
captured enemies but ingenious, unrelenting and personally courageous in
battle, and never disheartened by a reverse or obstacle.
Through all his many
trials, he remained selfless almost to a fault and unfailing in his belief in
God. Taken altogether, he was noble as a leader and as a man, and unsullied as
I read the pages of our history. From deep conviction I simply say this: a
nation of men of Lee's caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul."
British Field Marshal
Garnet Joseph Wolseley said of Lee:
believe he will be regarded not only as the most prominent figure of the
Confederacy, but as the Great American of the nineteenth century, whose statue
is well worthy to stand on an equal pedestal with that of Washington, and whose
memory is equally worthy to be enshrined in the hearts of all his
countrymen." This estimate is based upon a criticism of his character as a
man, a soldier, and a Christian citizen. As a thinker and man of intellectual
powers little has been said of him, and yet, intellectual power, associated
with moral purity, are the true spring of greatness."
After Virginia and other Southern
States had made Lee's birthday a legal holiday:
"The anniversary of
the birth of Robert Edward Lee was again observed throughout Virginia on
January 19th, 1892. In many of the cities and towns there were military
parades, and the banks and public offices in all were closed. The Confederate
Veterans Corps of the city of New York, and the Confederate Army and Navy
Association of Baltimore, Maryland, each commemorated the occasion by a banquet
with reverential exercises. The day is now by statute, a legal holiday in the
States of North Carolina and Georgia as well as Virginia, and the day was
observed in Raleigh and Atlanta, and doubtless in other Southern cities…
Business in the Richmond
city offices was at a standstill yesterday and matters at the Capitol yesterday
were dull. Many wholesale houses closed their establishments at
and the freight depots of the railroads were also closed after that hour. The
scholars of the public schools had half-holiday, and the banks were closed
throughout the day. Although the intensely discomforting weather materially
interfered with the proposed open air demonstration, it could not dampen the
ardent regard in which the memory of the glorious leader is held.
In Richmond, Mayor Ellyson
Comrades, and Fellow-Citizens: We have met today under the auspices of Lee and
Pickett Camps to do honor to the memory of one of Virginia's noble sons. Robert
E. Lee is forever enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen, and as we
contemplate his virtues and heroism we are made better and purer men, and I
trust the time will never come when Virginians shall fail on this, his natal
day, to recount the valor and patriotism of their greatest chieftain, whose
noblest aspiration in life found its completest realization in the doing of his
duty to his God, and his fellow man.
There is no danger, comrades, that the men who wore
the grey will ever prove recreant to the principles that actuated them in time
of war, but there is danger that our children may, and so we wish on these
recurring anniversaries to tell of the chivalrous deeds of such leaders as Lee,
Jackson, Stuart and Pickett, and to teach coming generations that the soldiers
of the Southern Confederacy were not rebels, but were Americans who loved
liberty as something dearer than life itself."
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