Verse of the Day

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Eighth Sunday after Trinity

BEWARE of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing

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 –

Whenever Government means to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.
Elbridge Gerry
Debate, United States House of Representatives, 1789

Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.
Jeremiah 2:11

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
St. Luke 12:40

The nature of true repentance is clearly and unmistakably laid down in Scripture. It begins with the knowledge of sin. It goes on to work sorrow for sin. It leads to confession of sin before God. It shows itself before man by a thorough breaking off from sin. It results in producing a habit of deep hatred for all sin. Above all, it is inseparably connected with lively faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance like this is the characteristic of all true Christians. The necessity of repentance to salvation will be evident to all who search the Scriptures and consider the nature of the subject. Without it there is no forgiveness of sins. There never was a pardoned man who was not also a penitent. There never was one washed in the blood of Christ who did not feel, mourn, confess and hate his own sins. We could not be happy if we reached the kingdom of glory with a heart loving sin.
JC Ryle
19th century Anglican bishop and author

Western countries have achieved individual comforts with an unsustainable system. This unsustainability is both economic and demographic as budgets and children are both lacking. Meanwhile the countries and cultures that have failed have achieved a perfectly sustainable state of misery. They may not have much income, but they also don’t have much to eat. They may have high infant mortality rates, but they have even higher childbirth rates. America of [2014] cannot go on being this way indefinitely. It probably can’t even manage another two decades without major changes of some kind. Afghanistan [2014] however can go on being the way it is indefinitely... Living the Afghan lifestyle in London or Los Angeles is even sustainable because food and housing are free. That just leaves large packs of nomadic youth roaming the streets, selling drugs and rioting at the slightest provocation until it’s time for them to get married and make more nomadic youths... It’s tribal life transplanted to the West. It’s culture with no real purpose except to produce young males eager to fight and expand tribal power and a religion with no real purpose except to affirm that as a religious duty. Islam embodies expansionism. Its directives of male violence and female subjugation have no other end. They protect the tribal imperatives of endogamy and violence, of inbreeding and the feud. It has no ideas except to get bigger and that makes its followers into ideal military colonists.
Daniel Greenfield
21st century American commentator
(Know your military colonists, 7-27-14)

There is just one political party, and it is a government party. Any belief that there is any significant difference between Democrats and Republicans is pure fantasy. All supposed differences are merely Kabuki theater designed to keep the people distracted from the behind-the-scenes machinations of the elites.
Bob Livingston
20th and 21st century American conservative commentator
Personal Liberty Digest

Today Americans would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.
Henry Kissinger
20th century American secretary of state and globalist

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

Let’s get real, austerity is not going to happen and we aren’t going to balance the budget. We’re never going to pay off our debt or even pay it down. We’re rapidly moving from 4 taxpayers for every social program recipient to 2 per recipient... we aren’t even really paying the interest on the debt... the Federal Reserve is just printing money... Politicians and central bankers have shown they are going to print money to fulfill the obligations despite the declining purchasing power of the money. It’s not so much science as religion. A belief that infinite growth will be a reality through... technologies, innovations, and solutions that in four decades have gone unsolved... and now it is simply a matter of time until the globe either becomes saturated with dollars and/or rejects the currency... we’re approaching the moment where even at historically low rates we will not be able to pay the interest and maintain government spending... without printing currency as this generation of Americans has never seen. Bad governance and bad policy coupled with disinterested citizens will demand it.
Charles Biderman
20th and 21st century American investment manager
(Trim Tabs blog, “US is Bankrupt”, 8-4-14).

Violet Seed
A little boy planted a single seed in a bank of earth. It grew, budded, and blossomed into blue violets, unseen by the child planter. It also seeded, and the seed fell out upon the bank of earth; and next spring more violets grew; and so for years, increasing every season. The boy, grown a man in a foreign land, desired to visit his childhood’s home. When he came to the wide bank of violets, he remembered how, years before, he had planted there a seed. "Can it be," he said, "that all these have sprung from the seed I planted?"
625 New Bible Stories and Illustrations

God’s Time is not our time, don’t confuse the two and be discouraged!
The American missionary Adoniram Judson arrived in Burma, or Myanmar, in 1812, and died there thirty-eight years later in 1850. During that time, he suffered much for the cause of the gospel. He was imprisoned, tortured, and kept in shackles. After the death of his first wife, Ann, to whom he was devoted, for several months he was so depressed that he sat daily beside her tomb. Three years later, he wrote: God is to me the Great Unknown. I believe in him, but I cannot find him.

But Adoniram's faith sustained him, and he threw himself into the tasks to which he believed God had called him. He worked feverishly on his translation of the Bible. The New Testament had now been printed, and he finished the Old Testament in early 1834.

Statistics are unclear, but there were only somewhere between twelve and twenty-five professing Christians in the country when he died, and there were not churches to speak of.

At the 150th anniversary of the translation of the Bible into the Burmese language, Paul Borthwick was addressing a group that was celebrating Judson's work. Just before he got up to speak, he noticed in small print on the first page the words: "Translated by Rev. A. Judson." So Borthwick turned to his interpreter, a Burmese man named Matthew Hia Win, and asked him, "Matthew, what do you know of this man?" Matthew began to weep as he said,

We know him—we know how he loved the Burmese people, how he suffered for the gospel because of us, out of love for us. He died a pauper, but left the Bible for us. When he died, there were few believers, but today there are over 600,000 of us, and every single one of us traces our spiritual heritage to one man: the Rev. Adoniram Judson.

But Adoniram Judson never saw it!

And that will be the case for some of us. We may be called to invest our lives in ministries for which we do not see much immediate fruit, trusting that the God of all grace who oversees our work will ensure that our labor is not in vain.

Adapted from Julia Cameron, editor
Christ Our Reconciler (InterVarsity Press, 2012), pp. 200-201

Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of. An apparently trivial indulgence in lust or anger today is the loss of a ridge or railway line or bridgehead from which the enemy may launch an attack otherwise impossible.
Jack Lewis
Mere Christianity

TO EDWARD LOFSTROM: On what Lewis attempted in the Chronicles of Narnia; on the character of the man Jesus—his tenderness, ferocity, and even humor; and on the need to do one’s duty while having patience with God.

16 January 1959

1. I am afraid I don’t know the answer to your question about books of Christian instruction for children. Most of those I have seen—but I haven’t seen many—seem to me namby-pamby and ‘sissie’ and calculated to nauseate any child worth his salt. Of course I have tried to do what I can for children—in a mythical and fantastic form by my seven ‘Narnian’ fairy tales. They work well with some children but not with others. Sorry this looks like salesmanship: but honestly if I knew anything else I’d mention it.

2. Of course. ‘Gentle Jesus’, my elbow! The most striking thing about Our Lord is the union of great ferocity with extreme tenderness. (Remember Pascal? ‘I do not admire the extreme of one virtue unless you show me at the same time the extreme of the opposite virtue. One shows one’s greatness not by being at an extremity but by being simultaneously at two extremities and filling all the space between.’)

Add to this that He is also a supreme ironist, dialectician, and (occasionally) humourist. So go on! You are on the right track now: getting to the real Man behind all the plaster dolls that have been substituted for Him. This is the appearance in Human form of the God who made the Tiger and the Lamb, the avalanche and the rose. He’ll frighten and puzzle you: but the real Christ can be loved and admired as the doll can’t.

3. ‘For him who is haunted by the smell of invisible roses the cure is work’ (MacDonald). If we feel we have talents that don’t find expression in our ordinary duties and recreations, I think we must just go on doing the ordinary things as well as we can. If God wants to use these suspected talents, He will: in His own time and way. At all costs one must keep clear of all the witchdoctors and their patent cures—as you say yourself.
Jack Lewis
The Collected Letters of CS Lewis, Volume III

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 199-200, with the Collect first:

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

 GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Epistle came from Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Eighth Chapter, beginning at the Twelfth Verse. Paul tells us to live out our lives as Jesus instructed us to.  If we live as we want, we die and are gone.  If we live as Jesus commanded, we will live through to eternity.  Life is not about here, it is about doing well enough here so we can get there.  If we want the fruits of the heirship we have been given, we must live the part:

RETHREN, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Today’s Holy Gospel started in the Seventh Chapter of the Gospel according to St. Matthew, beginning at the Fifteenth Verse.  Matthew records the warning that so few heed. Many leaders talk a good line, but how do they actually act, particularly in private?  For it is private when none are looking that we are revealed.  If you want to get to heaven, you have to act the part, not just talk about it.

EWARE of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

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.

Eighth Sunday after Trinity
Saint Andrew’s
Anglican Orthodox Church
10 August 2014, Anno Domini

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity.

The Collect.

 GOD, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt 7:15-23)

            In today’s Gospel text, the Lord is making concluding remarks in His Sermon on the Mount. Every word that Jesus spoke was Gospel Scripture. He, being God the Son, speaks from the height of the Mount to the people at various levels below the summit. This, too, is symbolic of His Sovereignty and Divine Nature.  He speaks of a matter of grave importance, especially for the church today. The circumstances of false doctrine and hypocrisy in ministry was very much like it is today; but the shyster-minister of today is more polished at flattery and back-slapping. As Jesus says in another place, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”  (Matt 24:11-12) The precise words of Jesus are important to note – ALWAYS. He does not say, “A few false prophets shall rise” but “MANY!” Why do these false prophets arise? It is because men disregard God’s Word as their rule and compass for life. Iniquity abounds, and iniquity produces hypocritical and greedy ministers. They arise from iniquity and not from righteous living. They lack love, and they impart this lack to their listeners.

            How do these false prophets come to us? All who are members of our Church will know that they do certainly come, for we have had our quota of them. They come presuming to agree with all that we believe and practice. They claim to preach a Gospel that is of Christ, but their living testimony betrays their claim. They love the attention and admiration of the people, but that is a love of self and not of others. They will travel long distances to receive honors, but will seldom take thirty minutes from their leisurely schedules to visit the sick, the hurting, and those who are suffering from want of resources. They prefer to delegate these missions to others in the church whom they consider to be ‘inferior’ to their own high estate. They pretend to love the people, to stand upon biblical faith, to care for the widows and orphans; yet, their zeal is not translated into action. Well did our Lord call them wolves in sheep’s clothing! “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” They are precisely the opposite of what they pretend to be. They appear as gentle and kind, yet every kindness has a string of wanted favor attached.

            These ravening wolves are not difficult to identify if the Christian is a devout Bible scholar. He can compare words to fruit and see, very quickly, that they do not match. The wolf cannot don the sheep’s clothing for very long for it goes against his nature. At some point, at the time most opportune when he has gained the confidence of the sheep, he will cast away the sheep’s clothing and devour the sheep. How many instances today do we hear of clergy eloping with a church member’s wife along with the treasure of the church? The Word of God is our Armor against such villains. Why do so many churchmen omit daily scripture reading today – even faithful attendees at church? They are marching onto the field of battle with neither armor protection nor sword.

The Bible gives you every mark of identification of these fools (and fools they are for they offend the Sovereign of Heaven). “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” They live by a standard alien to the Word of God. Many cannot even preach the Word from the pulpit with conviction and power. They may quote the philosopher as much as the Lord and Savior. They may lean heavily on stories about themselves rather than those of the Suffering Savior. Beware of such men. They smile always while they prepare the table to devour the trusting victim.

 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Does the minister convince the people to love HIM, or does his preaching evoke love for the Savior whom he pretends to preach? This is the fruit of which Christ speaks. There are only a few fundamental qualifications for a minister of God (and a seminary degree, though sometimes helpful if it is a truly Christian seminary, is not one of them today), he must:

1.     First of all, be a devout Christian himself;
2.     Love God’s Word so much that he attains an unquestioned level of scholarship in it;
3.     Be able to teach that Word to his listeners so that they love the virtue of the Word he presents;
4.     Have a deep and abiding love for Christ and the Church (including every member);
5.     He must be of untarnished character – not seeking self-acclaim, but the acclaim of Heaven; and
6.     Be called of God, know that he is called of God, and confirmed in that calling by the Church in the apostolic ‘laying on of hands.’
7.     In other words, his Facebook description must match that of his true character – only an illustration!
There really is not much of a line between the minister and the lay Christian – each is called of God into different missions and responsibilities. The preacher is never to place himself above the people to whom he preaches. Christ Himself never did so. His affections and compassion were toward the poor sinner and always expressed in loathing toward the false priests and Pharisees (ministers) of His day.

The professing Christian (lay or clerical) should be a Christian as much on Friday night as he claims to be on Sunday morning. He is much like the silver spoon compared with the silver-plated spoon. They both look alike when we first hold them; but over time, the silver on the plated spoon wears through to the baser metal underneath, and we know that it is not what it pretends to be; the sterling silver spoon retains its character throughout all time and service. The same with all Christians! How many in the church today do you believe are sterling all the way to the bone?

Jesus concludes this text with an eye-opening closing: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” There are many today sitting in the pews (or standing in the pulpit) who profess Christ with convincing lips, but that lip-service loses its splendor in the dark nights of the week. They may claim to love Christ, but care very little for the study of His Word that nourishes them on the Person of Christ. There are a great many ministers who handle the Word of God with unclean hands. They prepare great shows of entertainment at which the Holy Ghost, presumably, is their ‘Genie in the Bottle’ who comes down to heal and to bless precisely at the televised hour! How shallow can we be! “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas.(Matt 16:4)

Two important points are made in this last verse: Firstly, He refers to the seeking of a wicked and adulterous generation. If modern America does not fit that description, I do not what nation does. The only sign to which Jesus refers is His own death, burial, and resurrection which is comparable to the experience of poor Jonah.

You may say, with the Oxford lisp, “Yes, but we have always had these sins with us! Nothing has changed.” Really! How do you suppose the Founding Fathers would have felt about outlawing Bible reading and prayer from schools? How do you suppose they would have viewed legalizing mind-altering drugs, homosexual marriage, and open abortion? These are the egregious sins of our day, but seldom mentioned from the pulpit either out of fear of the politically correct censors; or government retribution; or, sadly, perhaps because they may see nothing wrong with these sins; Secondly, Jesus makes a hidden reference to His identity as Judge. When all of those false and vain professing Christian laity and clergy come to Him justifying themselves by their works of false piety and miracles, they are acknowledging something they failed to acknowledge in their preaching and lives – it is Him to whom they report at the far Banks of Jordan Waters. And who is it that expels them from Heaven? “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” At the portals of Heaven who is it they confront with the claim that “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” It is Christ to whom they come face-to-face, isn’t it? And what does Christ say to them? He says He never KNEW them – not now, or even while they were performing those presumed ‘wonderful works.’ He then pronounces an eternal judgment against them: “depart from me, ye that work iniquity” These prestigious ministers were never known of Christ. They receive that final verdict – just the very thought of which should strike terror and dismay in their hearts, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Depart from WHERE and to WHAT PLACE? Simple: in eternity, there will only exist two places, as there only exist two families today.  Either we belong to the family of God, or we belong to the family of the Prince of this World. There is no middle earth. In the resurrection, we either abide with Christ in Heaven, or we abide with that wretched Fallen Angel in the Fires of Hell.

Sorry, is this sermon makes you ‘uncomfortable.’ A warning is far better than walking into the ditch unwittingly. This is a day of personal and national repentance. In fact, every day of the year, decade, century, and millennium is a day of personal and national repentance.

Who will hear the Lord’s Call?

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

Consider the words from the Collect, wherein we ask God who … ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; … to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us …

We must understand in our hearts that God does indeed “ordereth all things” here as well as in heaven.  Once we understand that, then we can ask Him to keep us away from those things hurtful to us and incline our hearts towards those things that are good for us.  This is one of the many things for which we need the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in our hearts.  Without His Help, we cannot recognize the help we need.  We tend to think of ourselves as perfectable by our own work, without the need to depend on others (Him).  The problem is, it does not work.  And yet, we cannot seem to figure this out on our own. To try what clearly does not work over and over again, is the very definition of insanity. On the other hand, if we look to God for help, for guidance, for direction, for course correction, for strength, for structure, for the ability to persevere, there is nothing that must be done that cannot be done.  In other words, on our own we cannot do anything that works, but with God’s help, we can do things that work!  But it is not because of us, that we can do things that work, but because God is acting within us with the help of the Holy Ghost. He can help us put aside our fears, worries, concerns and do what we need to do. It may not necessarily be what we want to do, but in the end, it is better than anything we could want to do. God asks only that we do our very best.  By the way, do not confuse saying you are doing your best with actually doing it. There is a difference between words and actions!

There are 66 books in the Bible, of those 27 are in the New Testament, of those Saint Paul wrote 13, almost half!  More than anyone.  Paul gives much of the guidance and direction we call The Word of God.  Yet, his message is very simple.  People claim to find it hard to grasp, which mostly means they don’t want to hear it.  If they truly did want to hear it, they would not offer up those excuses! Today, Paul tells us, much like last week, that if we are of this world, we die of this world. Pretty simple message, right? Yet if we will accept our adoption by God, we will be entitled to call Him Abba, or Daddy.  For, if we are His children, then we gain His Birthright and all that results from that status. Again, this is simple, but following as His Children can be a fairly difficult task, if we try to do things without His guidance. Actually, without His Guidance, we cannot do anything that is great or worthy. But with His Guidance, we can do all things! While we may have some cause for suffering here on earth, the resultant glory will all be well worth it.  The problem with this is that while we are all willing to suffer (just not today) we are so often not willing to put off what we want to do now for what God wants us to do.  We justify doing what we want, while ignoring what God clearly told us He Wants.  We look for people who claim authority who will tell us what we want to hear.  Once again, it is what we want, not what He Wants.

That leads right in to the point Jesus said in the Gospel according to Saint Matthew when He Tells us to take great care in who we choose to follow.  Scripture has been given to provide an unchanging standard against which we should judge the words and actions of those who would lead us towards God.  Jesus tells us to listen to those who preach of the Gospel and discard the words of those whose teachings are not congruent with The Word.  For, it is by their actions can you judge their teaching. By their fruits you shall know them. Examine the “fruits” of a persons actions, and you can see where their heart truly lies, is it with mammon, or is it with God?  To quote President Reagan, “Trust, but verify.”  Does what the person say match with The Word.  We all have Bibles, most the Authorized Version.  Does what the person preach match what God has said?  Does their life live that talk? We do not want to follow people that produce evil, corrupted fruit, but good and plentiful and delicious fruit!

Actually, that brings us to another point, does the Bible you use match the real Word of God.  It is not the grammar or style that count, but the facts, the points, the real message of Scripture.  The Authorized Version comes from the Received Text and is reliable.  Make certain the version you use loses nothing in the translation.

So once you let the Holy Ghost into your heart, then take the direction He Offers, read and understand Scripture, you will know what you are supposed to do.  Then, you need to actually act on that knowledge.

This morning I was reminded of the 70th Anniversary of the landings on Guam to liberate it from the hellish occupation of the Japanese.  Seventy years ago at 0828 the 3rd Marine Divison hit the beach at Asan, near Agaña, while the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade hit Agat beach to the South. These points were North and South of the Orote Peninsula, where the Japanese had established an airfield, a key objective of retaking Guam. Under heavy resistance, these two units linked up to retake the Peninsula, then retaking first the south part of the island, before heading north to finish off the resistance at the north end of the island. Finally, the island of Guam was declared secure on 10 August 1944, marking the end of about two weeks of fierce and bloody hiding. Of course, there were some stragglers, as for example, Sgt. Yokoi, who surrendered in 1972, but this marked an end to the Japanese's presence on Guam.

We remember these men today and we should not forget their struggle for our freedom, nor should we be so willing to give it up today. As long as I live, I will remember these men and many of their brethren, who fought in the Pacific and in Europe in World War II, along with all others who served our country and gave their lives. Today, I remember in particular the struggles of those men who fought on Guam. I have been very fortunate to visit this island not just once, but twice, to visit the wonderful Thomas family, who showed me around to the various battle sites.

When I stepped foot on the area around Asan Beach, I felt a strange feeling, as if I was not alone. I knew that a few feet away from me where the Thomas family, but I felt a rather peaceful, yet sad feeling when I looked towards the actual invasion beach, knowing that men had spilled the blood so that I and my descendants would be free. I looked up towards the ridge line of Fonte Ridge, and only could imagine the horrors of the battle that day, of the chaos of fire, screaming and dying men, men giving their all for our country.  The battle of Guam cost our country 1,747 patriots’ lives, with another 6,053 wounded.  As I sat there, I resolved, they should not die in vain. As long as we believe in our country, it shall not perish from the earth.

Action counts.  For by their actions ye shall know them.  

Heaven is at the end of an uphill trail.  The easy downhill trail does not lead to the summit.

The time is now, not tomorrow.  The time has come, indeed.  How will you ACT?

It is by our actions we are known.

Be of God - Live of God - Act of God

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:

The Amiable Dwellings of God
Psalm 84
Eighth Sunday after Trinity
August 10, 2014

            The all time favourite Psalm is Psalm 23.  It is the most beloved, most memorised, most said, and most sung of all the Psalms.  Several composers have set its words to music, and versions of it are found in most of the Church’s hymnals, past and present.  John Rutter’s setting, in my opinion is the very best arrangement by a contemporary composer.  Howard Goodall is another contemporary composer, and though his works are decidedly contemporary in style as well as in time, his version is also worth listening to.

            It would be difficult to choose a “second place” Psalm.  If I had to choose, Psalm 19 would be a contender.  “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  So would Psalm 103; “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me praise His holy name.”  Psalm 95, which we sing in Morning Prayer, is a favourite; “O come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us heartily rejoice in the strength of our salvation.”  Of course there is the beautiful Psalm 42; “Like as the hart desireth the water brook, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God.”  Then there is the Psalm we read earlier this morning, Psalm 84.  It, too, has captured the minds of the composers, and you can hear a very beautiful version of it on the internet, sung by a choir in Iffley, England.

            I love the way this Psalm begins: “O how amiable are thy dwellings Thou Lord of hosts.”  Amiable.  The word means friendly, welcoming, comforting, sanctuary.  In Hebrew it is “yadeed,” and every comforting, welcoming image of home that has ever been imagined in the human mind is expressed in that simple word.  The world is not amiable.  When the Prodigal Son left his father’s house, he found the world to be a cold, cruel place. Its pleasures did not satisfy.  Its friendship was capricious.  Its promises were empty.  When he returned to his father’s house, starving and dirty, he expected to be grudgingly received as a slave.  He expected to be used and abused as the world had done to him.  He expected to hear, “I told you so.”  He expected to hear endless recountings of the way he spent his money and made the family less prosperous, and broke his father’s heart.  Instead he was welcomed with all the love and all the good things his father could give him.  Love instead of hate.  Forgiveness instead of punishment.  Fullness instead of hunger.  Wealth instead of poverty.  Welcome instead of rejection. His father celebrated his return.  He ran to him and kissed him and poured out his welcome to his beloved son.  What a wonderful picture of the welcome that is yours in the Dwellings of God. Truly one day in the house of the Lord better than a thousand outside of it.  Truly it is far better to be a doorkeeper, the most humble of servants in the House of God, than to wander at will in the tents of ungodliness.  A tent represents freedom.  A tent dweller has no mortgage, no ties to a place.  He can pull up stakes and move wherever he wants whenever he wants.  But such freedom is nothing compared to even the most humble position in the House of God.  Surely the Psalm speaks truth when it says, “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house.”

            Where are these dwellings of God?  Where will you find them?  How will you get to them?  In one sense, you are already there. Jesus said “the kingdom of God is within you.”  1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you.”  Galatians 2:20 says, “Christ liveth in me.”  1 John 4:16 says “he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” So, when Christ welcomes you to His dwelling, and you are His dwelling, in a real sense He is welcoming you back home to you.  Not the same old you that used to be before He came to dwell in you.  He is welcoming you to the real you; the you you were meant to be; the you you always wanted to be but never knew how to become.  Christ makes the new you. In Him you are being made into a new kind of creature.  In Him the old creature of sin and rebellion and sorrow is being demolished, and a new creature of Godliness and goodness and wholeness and joy is being built.  You are not quite finished yet, in spite of what you may think, but you are under construction, and God will complete the work He has begun in you.  If you are a Christian you already dwell in the courts of the Lord because the Lord dwells in you.

            But there is more to the courts of the Lord than you, As John Donne famously wrote, “no man is an island.” You live in a series of interconnected webs of relationships, and you affect, and are affected by every part of every person in every one of those many webs. Nowhere is that more true than in Christ.  In Him you have become a member of God’s Church, the people whom He has called out of the world, redeemed with the blood of Christ, and filled with the Spirit of God.  You have become a stone in a spiritual house.  You have become a member of the family of God. You have become a cell in the body of Christ.  I like the Biblical references to the Church as the body of Christ, because they emphasise the very closest link and relationship between the Church and God.  Your body is where you live.  Your spirit, your soul, your essence lives in it.  God’s Spirit and essence has been placed in the Church.  He dwells in it as His body on earth as we dwell in our bodies on earth.

I also like the references to the Church as the House, or, Home of God.  They tell us He abides and dwells in the Church as we dwell in our homes.  In the fellowship of the Church, in her Scriptures and liturgy, in her preaching, sacraments, and Gospel, you have come into the courts of the Lord and into the dwelling place of the Most High God.  This is one reason why Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.  The assembling refers to the gatherings of the Church for prayer and worship and preaching and sacrament, and all the other good things God does for us through the ministry of a faithful and Biblical Church.  Let us long for the fellowship and ministry of the Church as we long for the very gates of Heaven.  For, indeed, in the Church, we are in the very home of God

            And still there is more to the dwellings of the Lord of hosts.  If you ask most people where God lives, they will say, “In Heaven.”  But we need to realize there is no place that is able to contain God.  There is no place where He can build a house and move in furniture and sit by a fire on a cold winter night to enjoy a little time with food and family and friends. God lives… in God, and everything else that exists, lives in God.  So, ultimately, to dwell in the house of God, as Psalm 84:4 says, is to dwell in God Himself.  And that means Jesus Christ.  What we really long for, what we really know is amiable, what our hearts and our flesh desire to enter, is nothing less than Christ Himself.

            How naturally fallen humanity longs for a place of peace and safety, a place of wholeness and welcome.  How naturally their hearts and flesh want to rejoice in a world where there is no more sorrow, sickness, suffering, hurt, evil, crime, war, or death.  How naturally fallen man tries to build such a place, as he tried to build the tower of Babel so long ago.  Babel was not an attempt to get to Heaven without going through God.  When the Bible talks about a tower reaching heaven, it does not mean Heaven as we think about it.  It is using symbolic language, like us when we talk about skyscrapers.  We know nobody is going to scrape the sky with a building.  It means a high tower so high it is like it scrapes the sky itself. The people of Babel weren’t concerned about God, or Heaven. Babel was an attempt to create heaven on earth without God.  The tower was a monument to man, as well as a unifying symbol.  It was an attempt to make a community of peace and brotherhood according to man’s view of things and by the power of man alone.  Babel, in other words, was an early expression of secular humanism.  It failed because of God’s intervention. He intervened so they would know their failure was due to His Divine judgment.  But it would have failed anyway, because the reality is that imperfect man cannot build a perfect world   But God can.  Everything we really want has already been created and is ours for the asking.  And it is better than anything we could ever imagine.  It is Jesus.

Where are the amiable dwellings of the Lord of Hosts?  Where are His courts?  Where is His Home?  He dwells in His people.  He dwells in His Church.  He dwells in Christ.  You will find Him there.  “O how amiable are thy dwellings, Thou Lord of hosts.”  “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy House.”

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. 

Eighth Sunday after Trinity
10 August 2014
Knowing Wisdom
Ps 119: 33-48
OT Lesson   Zech 4:1-10    NTLesson  Jn 7: 14-24

each me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

In the three sets of scripture we will study today, we see the theme of wisdom interwoven in the Word. Sometimes we get so far from God’s word, we don’t see the simple message, in this case, we are looking at the concept of wisdom.  Not necessarily having it, but being able to understand what it looks like, what it is shaped by, why it is important to our daily spiritual and temporal walk in life. It can be very hard, trying to seek the wisdom of God especially when you are daily bombarded by the cares and wears of the world. It can be so hard to try and stay on the path of righteousness, we must daily renew our walk, each morning or before we retire at night, we need to spend a while in the Word of God.  We need a daily feeding of the Word as we find in the Holy Bible. This will lift us up, this will help to strengthen day at a time. 

35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.
36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
 We need wisdom to get along in life “....Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.”

Verse 37 of this passage is very practical, just turn my eyes from the junk in life, give me life instead. In verse 40, the psalmist asks for the desire to seek God’s precepts, to get the life caused by righteousness of those precepts.  Let us listen to what a great churchman of the last part of the 19th century wrote concerning a Christian’s daily walk:

“He endeavors to live according to God’s will, to do the things that please God, to avoid the things that God hates. His aim and desire is to love God with heart and soul, and mind and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself. His wish is to be continually looking to Christ as his example as well as his Savior, and to show himself Christ’s friend by doing whatever Christ commands. No doubt he is not perfect. None will tell you that sooner than himself. He groans under the burden of indwelling corruption cleaving to him. He finds an evil principle within him constantly warring against grace, and trying to draw him away from God. But he does not consent to it, though he cannot prevent its presence.In spite of all short-comings, the average bent and bias of his ways is holy—his doings holy—his tastes holy—and his habits holy. In spite of all his swerving and turning aside, like a ship going against a contrary wind, the general course of his life is in one direction—toward God and for God. And though he may sometimes feel so low that he questions whether he is a Christian at all, in his calmer moments he will generally be able to say, with old John Newton, “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world—but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
~ J. C.  Ryle

What does wisdom look like? Give an ear to this next passage, from Proverbs 1;

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
4 To give subtitle to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

Let us now look at the writings attributed to King Solomon, especially in his early days as king of the nation of Israel. This very familiar passage gives us simple instructions to how to find wisdom. That the marks of such wisdom are shown in your behavior towards others. That those who are wise will increase in this wisdom and learning. It really isn’t very hard to understand, wisdom takes discernment , you must notice and learn what wisdom is.  Dealing with justice and equity, listen and increase in learning. Understand and obtain guidance.  Notice the warning at the end of this passage: Have a reverence for God, know that He is in control, this is the beginning of knowledge, which leads to wisdom.  But the warning to the fool must also be understood, if you despise wisdom and instruction, it is to your peril.  Be aware of foolish behavior.

7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Now let us see what St. John wrote about wisdom and knowledge.

14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

This account is early in Christ’s ministry, people are still wondering about his credentials. They want to know how he knows so much, and yet is a simple laborer.

15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
So Jesus explains.
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

It is interesting, that Jesus put the discernment back on the listener.  This of course was due to the need for those listening to believe what was being taught, this would divide out the believer from the non-believer.  This would be based on wisdom, or as would later be given, the Holy Spirit. He would give wisdom to those who were to receive it, they would then be able to discern the good from the evil.  In the next passage, Jesus gives the listeners a clue as how to discern a person who is from God.

18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

If that person speaking does not try to puff themselves up, but point to the Glory of God, that person is of God. This is the application of wisdom. So many times in the past centuries people have followed false teachers, prophets, and leaders, they wouldn’t have if they had stopped to think about what they were saying. “Did they honor God? Did they point to Jesus as the ONLY WAY ? Did they seek to stay out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do his job?”  Just in our lifetime there have been many a false teacher and so called prophets who have lead people to perdition.  Think of Jim Jones and Jonestown, David Koresh and Waco, plus countless others who have just taken financial advantage of unwise believers over the years.  Look at verse 18 of the seventh chapter of John again. Make sure those who seek to teach you are in God’s word, for God’s work, for God’s kingdom, not something they are doing for themselves.

Let us pray,

OD be merciful unto us, and bless us, * and show us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us;
That thy way may be known upon earth, * thy saving health among all nations.
Let the people praise thee, O God; * yea, let all the people praise thee.
O let the nations rejoice and be glad; * for thou shalt judge the folk righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise thee, O God; * yea, let all the people praise thee.
Then shall the earth bring forth her increase; * and God, even our own God, shall give us his blessing.
God shall bless us; * and all the ends of the world shall fear him.

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.

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.

Eighth Sunday after Trinity

In our epistle today, the apostle Paul noted that, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear: but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Romans 8:15). In another epistle, the apostle admonished, For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II St. Timothy 1:7). In the apostle John’s first epistle (4:18), we find the following: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

But in Psalm 111:10, we find a seemingly different message: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. From this passage, FEAR is interpreted to mean having a healthy respect for God as our Supreme Judge. And because every mortal is under the curse of original sin, so it follows that all human beings ought to FEAR God’s judgment. That is why the Law was given as it reveals our sinful natures. Witness the apostle Paul’s words in Romans (3:19-20), Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for the law is the knowledge of sin. The Law also provided a means for covering sin in order that the Old Testament saints might commune with God. Witness also the words of Moses in the book of Leviticus (16:30-34a): For on that day [the Day of Atonement] shall the priest make an atonement of you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD... And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year... Needless to say that time and again, the children of Israel violated God’s law and lived in outright disobedience to his expressed will. In such a state, they had lost that godly fear which was necessary for their fellowship with him. And so, without godly FEAR, they did not seek to be cleansed of their iniquities which in turn opened them up to God’s wrath.

Now the atheists and agnostics of our day are quick to grasp selected passages of Scripture because of their seeming paradoxical nature without seeking to learn their precise biblical meaning. They have attached their own meaning to such passages, usually in an effort to repudiate the divine authenticity of the Bible, as well as to mischaracterize the Christian religion as nothing more than an ancient fable founded upon hypocrisy and inconsistency. Many refuse to recognize their errant behaviors for what they are and confess them to God in Christ Jesus. They shun God’s true religion and his redemption to their detriment. Christians have been warned by our apostolic fathers concerning those who would mock and scoff as well as twist God’s word. Since the beginning of the Christian Church, these heretics have sought to ruin the faith of the elect. As St. Peter warning in his second epistle (3:3-4a): Knowing this first that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? Further on in that same chapter he wrote a stirring defense of St. Paul, whose writings the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction (vv. 15-16). Twisting God’s word is not something he takes lightly, and he will judge in the strongest terms those who have misused his word written for their sordid purposes. Witness the words of the apostle John in Revelation: If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life... (22:18-19).

Returning to the passages above concerning FEAR, let us reflect on what the Bible has to say about this word. First of all, we can define FEAR to be anything which causes us anxiety. We FEAR an economic meltdown because it might result in our being financially ruined. We FEAR criminal gangs because they interfere with our right to unhindered enjoyment of public spaces. We FEAR foreign interventions because they might result in a global war which will result in a horrendous loss of life, and, given our tenuous economic state, one which will likely upset the general framework of our public order. We FEAR the expansion of government control over our lives because it will diminish our privacy and impact negatively upon our rights and liberties as free persons. Yes, there is much we could add to our list of current and worldly fears.

God has called us to a perfect love of the Godhead which casts out FEAR. For it is through Christ’s atoning work that we have been justified and sanctified. In our acceptance of his free gift we have moved from FEAR to FAITH. We trust in the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost who guides us into all truth and who leads us to confess our sins and trespasses. On that account, that we are made right with God, and are ,by extension, made heirs with Christ in his kingdom.

Consider the words of Moses as found in the book of Deuteronomy (6:4-5):

ear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shall love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

As Christians, we understand that our love of Jesus Christ brings us the love of God the Father. Our faith overcomes that natural tendency in us to FEAR the judgment of a righteous and holy God. Our Lord encourages us to consider him a friend as well as our Saviour. Witness also the words of our Lord as recorded in St. John’s gospel (15:14-15), Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Hence forth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

The critic and skeptic are pawns of the Devil; for under his tutelage, they will persist in their refusal to follow God’s rules for life. And their persistence in this cause mirrors that of the leaders of the Jews during our Lord’s earthly ministry. For if they continue in that rejection, they do indeed have much to FEAR!

The earthly and profane rulers of this world seek to instill FEAR into allwho are subject to their control. That is basically how human government has perverted its duty to preserve righteousness and truth, and it is entirely demonic. The Devil seeks to imprison as many as he can with a spirit of FEAR because it is both crippling and debilitating. He has sought to imprison even the elect of God that they too might be compelled to live in such a state. No doubt, if he can succeed with the godly such will impair the communication of the gospel of truth to those who languish in his prison house of sin and degradation. We must not FEAR. We must do our duty. God has given us his word written to serve as a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. As Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson is reputed to have said, “The duty is ours the consequences are God’s.” Live, therefore, in obedience to Christ and live without fear knowing that all is in God’s hands.

Let us pray,

ather, give us hearts to love thee so that we might live without fear, and in so doing that we might better serve thee in this life; for these things we ask in the name of our Saviour and Friend, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Have a blessed week, Bryan+

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