Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The Battle with Discouragement
Fighting discouragement is discouraging, to say the least. I do not recall one distinct time of facing this tormenting spirit or spirits head-on and winning. Whining is my usual mode when I am forced to face these nasty, tormenting spirits.
How is it that these spirits are allowed to pass through our divine protection and worry us as a dog worries a bone? How is it that we must wrest the promises of GOD with all our strength… yet barely keep from drowning in a sea of discouragement?
Again and again, the lesson book keeps opening to this chapter as The LORD insists on mastery instead of failure in this battle with these tormenting spirits.
Recently, The LORD, bless HIS+ Holy Name, has mercifully pulled apart this netting so that I can see some of the threads which tangle together to ensnare my soul. Here is what HE+ has shown me.
Lesson One ...
Sort it through, thoroughly.
Where do discouraging torments come from? To know what triggered discouragement off is step number one... but only step number one. Knowing is NOT routing these wicked spirits out of the vicinity, however. Beware of stopping at this step.
For me, I am tripped up when something earthly, temporal doesn’t go the way I planned... especially when I’ve been meticulous in planning and careful in the execution of the situation. This has happened twice in the last 3 days... one, with a cake I baked for company and the other, with my supervisor at school. I became discouraged because I followed the “rules” and it produced the opposite of what I wanted.
In each situation, The LORD showed me that my work itself was not necessarily faulty. I felt bad because I thought my judgment was in error.
Then, the worse part hit me:
I “looked bad” in the eyes of man.
The attack then intensified as the tormenting spirits of anger, bitterness, resentment and ... alas... self-pity came banging on the door, clamoring to get in. They pelted me with their lies and worse, another rotten spirit was coming down the road at full speed: Self-indulgence. After all my hard work, someone has to make me feel better, n’est-ce pas? Unfortunately, something is ready and waiting to pet me with a self-seeking illusion just as soon as I want it.
Thus, now the battle is with a battery of vicious, wicked spirits who are stomping me on the ground and grabbing at my thoughts. My heart feels like it is in a vice and I can hardly breathe. My peace has fled and nearly my sanity, also. I am ready to scream and be mean to anyone in the vicinity. No-one can please me, at this point... although I demand that they do, in my heart.
Stop all wrestlings.
Return to the original situation and observe: what is out of line with The Word of GOD? Someone not in the thick of the battle can see it instantly. Fear entered in because of how I thought I looked before the eyes of man.
Well, that is wrong and worthy of a hearty repentance. At that point, the pack of dark, bullying spirits back off to the nearby bushes and I can breathe a little easier.
Behind most of my fear, I have learned with much pain and sorrow, lurks pride. I want to be seen as doing the best, working the hardest, and acclaimed much for so doing.
Aha! Now the real motive has surfaced. Basic, old Adamic pride which cloaks itself in virtue is at the root of this insistence to be valued by man. My fear of failure is NOT a noble virtue. Rather, this particular fear is a noble and hard-working slave of pride.
May The LORD’S Name be praised! HE+ truly is our deliverer. HE+ is able and willing to deliver us from our enemies. But, we must do our part. We must sort through the tangled netting and see where we veered away from walking in the Truth of the Scriptures. If we get to the original situation and repent of leaving the Scriptural path, the skirmishes with the other tormentors will decrease and end altogether.
If we allow sin in our hearts (i.e., a veering away from the Words of Our LORD), then we cannot stand in the battle. Even praying mightily, we still cannot stand in these battles and we wonder why The LORD does not regard our cry.
HE+ does hear us, but HE+ wants us to walk through these situations His+ Way. HE+ will allow us to be soundly beaten in order to teach us to do so.
Repentance, then, follows after being led by the nose to indulge Self in anger, bitterness, resentment, meanness of heart and my “brand” of Self-pity.
Now my anger is directed rightly:
at the tricks my Self, that old Adamic nature that is supposed to be dead, has pulled on my New Creature to make her leave the side of her Savior and be beaten by her own, old, sin-filled nature!
I have found my mortal enemy: my Self.
I myself have allowed the wicked spirits to run rampant in my soul and they mopped the ground up with me. They always do their job well.
I have no-one to blame but myself... and shame, on top of that.
What shall be done unto you, old filthy Self ? Penance is slightly out of vogue among Christians, even serious ones. However, physical chastisement helps one to learn the lesson better. Remember: children learn best by touch (tactile) and adults are only grown-up children. So, do what you can by way of fasting, additional prayer times, shut-down times with only The LORD, times of Holy Silence, etc. in order to teach your physical man that it must submit unto the New Creature, the Spiritual man, that you have become. Then comes that sweet, sweet VICTORY IN JESUS.
Amen, and Hallelujah.
PS… As a case in point, I have been so discouraged that it has taken me 2 weeks to get this on the page!
 This usually happens on the job with the public, something like this: my supervisor tells me to teach reading a certain way, using certain prescribed phonics programs. I do it with gusto ! But, I realize the children would gain more reading with another program entailing more actual reading . I do not want to displease my supervisor, so I continue to do what he says. Later, I find out other teachers have done what I wanted to do ... and have made greater gains and received commendations from that same supervisor!
 This “looking bad” may or may not be reality. It just seems so to me. Others have not said a negative word and , in fact, have said I was doing well. I cannot trust that, though.
 My self-indulgences usually take the form of fantasies, which end up making me feel drunk and emptier than before they started. Other people may turn to food and crave sweets ... or pizza. Some may turn to TV, movies, or music.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
As you may have guessed, our schedule here at the Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD+ has become hectic during the past several weeks. We are suddenly in the public several hours of the day now, due to our work schedule. I am doing well to keep the prayer stations covered. My personal worship, which involves reading the entire book of Psalms through each week, usually comes in the early morning hours like around 2:30 or 3 a.m. Oh, how I need that stillness !
The more packed my schedule has become, though, the more desperately do I need my prayer times, worship times, and times of quiet-tude with The LORD. Thus, something had to give place.
I am re-evaluating this labor, also. Is it helpful to anyone out there? Responses are few and I simply cannot get my counter to work (possibly because I have little time to work with the computer now when something doesn't go right.).
The LORD is GOOD to His+ children and will lead any willing heart into doing His+ will... which is the only thing that counts. It is a struggle to vanquish Self, at times. It is an even bigger struggle to determine when Self is leading. She can sugar-coat anything to make it look like "The LORD'S will"when all along, it is mine !
So... HE+ must increase and I must decrease... is the watchword for today.
Let me know how you are doing.
Laboring In His+ Vineyard, for the eternal wages
Sister Judith Hannah
Only 1 life; 'twill soon be past.
Only what's done for CHRIST will last.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Underwritten by The LORD JESUS CHRIST
The first part of Luke 16 holds the enigmatic account of the unrighteous steward, as related by Our LORD JESUS CHRIST. Everybody knows it deals with wealth, riches, and money (and accounts, too) of every sort. That part is not mysterious. As a matter of fact, 28 verses out of the 31 verses in that entire chapter spoken by The LORD deal with money or, as in the Greek, mamona.
After some research, we discovered mamona was capitalized. It was a proper name: Mamona, the name of the Syrian deity of riches. Hence, mammon came to mean wealth, riches, and money in English.
This information brought the entire passage into focus. It told us that the source, the origination, of a money system was brought to mankind via a foreign deity... that is to say, a demonic entity. The origins even of the English word money come from the idolatrous temple Juno Moneta, the place where the Romans coined their money. (This is found in the etymology of money / mint, from Webster’s 7th New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 540). In other words, mammon was brought to man through the hands of the wicked spirits, the fallen angels. Thus, it is clear to see that in the beginning, the money system was not created by GOD for man’s use but by the wicked spirits.
Now, what would one suppose Our LORD thinks about such a devised system of mammon which HE+ did not develop for mankind? In this 16th chapter of Luke, Our LORD describes all mammon (riches, wealth, money) as unrighteous.
Does the Greek text adequately support this? Yes. Throughout this passage, unrighteous is used in the Greek: that is, the opposite of righteous/righteousness. Adikais and adiko is used throughout as adjectives describing mammon. Verse 8 has a parallel construction in the Greek regarding the unrighteous steward. Thus, it should be read as “unrighteous mammon” instead of simply dishonest wealth. Wealth gotten by dishonest means versus honest wealth is stretching the Greek, grammatically.
Why is this distinction important?
Wealth gotten by dishonest means is bad; wealth gotten by honest means is okay, right? Yes... in the eyes of man.
But how does Our GOD view mammon? His+ estimation of what we labor for night and day is clearly stated in John 6:27. HE+ said, “Labor not for the food which perishes, but for that food which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you. For HIM+ has GOD The FATHER sealed.”
What is His+ estimation of those valuables which men have heart attacks over or what men sell their souls for? HE+ tells us in Matthew, in Mark, and in Luke: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
We can truthfully see that mammon is: 1) always unrighteous---not being created by GOD for mankind, in the beginning, and 2) is the very least thing of value in His+ estimation... and rightly so, since the enemy camp devised the system which has been placed upon man, to his unwitting destruction. Verses 10 and 11 establish this point. HE+ declares if one is faithful in that which is least –or, unfaithful, as the case may be—that one would act the same way in dealing with much.
As a matter of fact, further on in that very passage in Luke 16, our LORD pointed out this uncomfortable truth: that which is highly esteemed by men is abomination before GOD (Luke 16:15 ). This strong Greek word means what is extremely hated, detested, or abhorred. In the 6 places (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Revelation) it is used in the New Testament, it is always used in conjunction with idolatry.
Now, back to the passage of interest... the enigmatic Luke 16: 1-13. Our LORD shows us how worldlings do and what they consider smart or practical in the management of earthly goods. The fellows in this passage all valued shrewdness with money so highly that—even if they were cheated themselves—they had to own up that it was quite a smart or practical thing to do to falsify the bills “for friends.” The fellows who went along with having their bills re-constructed liked the good bargain, naturally! Which of us wouldn’t like to have our bills reduced by some means or other? How many of us would even question why our bill has been reduced? The fellows in this account, however, knew just who had benefited them.
Thus, these fellows—no better than the unrighteous steward—would welcome someone who helped out their finances. They’d welcome him right into their midst as a loyal friend and not as a scoundrel... to them! The LORD accurately pointed out how worldlings conduct their affairs using unrighteous mammon. This still goes on today. Having “friends” in high places benefits the pocketbook, doesn’t it?
But then, Our LORD JESUS CHRIST makes some startling statements. First, HE+ recognizes that money is here, a reality of this life, and that it will not disappear until HE+ returns. So, Our LORD tells us how we sons of Light should do with this unrighteous mammon. HE+ starts out by establishing His+ authority...“And I say unto you....” you sons of Light, you should use this unrighteous mammon in the same way!
However, the difference is exactly WHO our friends are.
In short, “the friends receiving us into Everlasting Habitations” (verse 9) could include all the Church Victorious, all the martyrs and confessors who have not denied The LORD before men (Luke 12:5-9), no matter what the cost nor loss.
Those “friends” could include those servants of HIS+ who were so careful and mindful to do His+ will that HE+ did not order them to depart from HIM+, as in Matthew 7: 21-23. “They” might include those who overcame the devil and satan by the Blood of the LAMB+, and by the word of their testimony, and who loved not their lives unto the death, as in Revelation 12:11.
Unfortunately, we sons of Light+ aren’t as shrewd as the worldlings. We do NOT use our unrighteous mammon to win friends in Heavenly Places. Instead, we use it for our own interests. In short, we use it for the same purpose as the worldlings to procure earthly security instead of Heavenly security... only in a more honest fashion... (perhaps).
In a concrete and practical way, Our LORD is showing us how to procure an insurance policy which HE+ Himself+ underwrites!
He said: But the day of The LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the Heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10).
However, the true, eternal riches will not be touched by judgment’s fire; they will remain. And, our priceless spirit, soul, and body, made in the image and likeness of GOD, will not suffer the loss of even one hair! (Luke 21:18). Furthermore, Scripture says, “And GOD shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away. And HE+ that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And HE+ said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. ” (Rev. 21:4-5).
The message of this passage in Luke 16 is clear: use your money, wealth, and riches for The LORD. If you do not and use it for your self or your earthly security just like the worldlings do—no matter how honest you are in your dealings—Our LORD will not entrust unto you the authority and power and the true, eternal riches in the age to come.
Furthermore, verse 12 tells us that we will not even be able to keep our own souls intact. Our LORD said in Matthew 16:26 and in several other places: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
Just how clear was this message received when Our LORD spoke it? Look at verse 14, the very next verse. Guess who mocked and derided these important words of CHRIST JESUS ? The Pharisees did, who were lovers of money, lovers of silver, lovers of mammon and that wicked system. Those fellows understood His+ words and account regarding the worldlings exactly. They received it to heart, and like the clever devils in James 2, they believed it. But, being men, in their presumption, they did not tremble as did the demons. Those Pharisees, those men, derided CHRIST JESUS... the only ONE+ Who+ could save them from being consumed by the mammon system and by their sins. And, if they never repented and changed their ways, they would have died in their sins.
As Our LORD truthfully and faithfully told us, Mankind, you humans, you cannot—are absolutely not able—to serve both GOD and Mammon.
You see... this entire account is NOT about a clever money-handler nor even about the bunch of rich rascals who are his friends. THAT IDEA came from the commentators and the editorial staff who put labels in Scripture above certain passages.
It is about mammon and exactly how Our LORD sees it: as an abomination.
The purpose of this account is simply this:
to show us how Our LORD wants us to deal with this unrighteous mammon...
It will soon burn. James 4 says it is the cause of wars and fightings. Our LORD says riches are DECEITFUL, choking out the Word, making that man so deceived by riches unfruitful ( Mt. 13:22). Worse, we know what Our LORD says happens to the unfruitful branches. (See John 15).
Friday, August 31, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
For our citizenship exists in (the) Heavens
Who+ will transform the body of our humiliation
This is a more literal translation from the GREEK of these 2 glorious verses. In the first verse, “conversation” is really POLITEUMA (as in politics). .. which means citizenship. More accurately, it means commonwealth, state, place of citizenship, homeland.
The word exists (not really is , as in KJV) means exists, be present , be at hand. And, furthermore, the clause ought to read:
[ That’s where it IS... in the Heavens. At this present time, we are traveling through a foreign land, planet earth, merely as foreigners, passing through hostile, enemy territory. Thus, we do not accrue things, as mere visitors, nor do we participate in the governing activities of our “host” country because we are not permanent citizens here on earth. We are card-carrying citizens of a Heavenly Kingdom instead. Furthermore, our citizenship is real and actually operational NOW; it will be MORE fully operational when we get to our homeland. ]
In the Greek, the word order is quite fluent, not following placement rules like English so precisely does. But, the above clause is in the exact order of the Greek words.
Another quite interesting word change from KJV is that “Heaven” is in the plural here, in the Greek. Not every usage of heaven in the New Covenant is plural—only some are. But oddly enough, the Hebrew Old Covenant always uses heavenS... not heaven. This is because the ancient writings said there were several levels of heaven, i.e., not just one big heaven above the earth.
The word wait / await includes the idea in the Greek of an eager, anticipatory watching for… which moves the “wait” from a dull, tiresome chore to an energetic looking for of our dear Savior Who+ is coming once again, from out of the Heavenlies this time
When that happens, HE+ will be sure to change the form of our bodies, which nowadays, are means for so much humiliation at best, and sin, at worst. They will be transformed into the very same form as JESUS’ glorified, resurrected body. His+ power-filled resurrected body could still eat honey and broiled fish, could be touched and handled, resembled HIMSELF as HE+ walked on earth. Yet, HE+ could enter a room without opening a locked door, could ascend into the Heavenlies, and could seemingly vanish quickly. We will be like HIM+.
This will be accomplished due to the fact that HE+ has—and will use—active, working, energetic POWER at HIS+ disposal. He will use it as HE+ has promised…for HIS+ pleasure, having re-assumed HIS+ Divine position after the Resurrection.
Reversing the action of “emptying Himself+” (in Philippians 2:7), HE+ has “re-filled” HIMSELF+ with the fullness of HIS+ Divine power, “re-robing” HIMSELF+ with what HE+ had laid down when HE+ limited HIMSELF+ in becoming human.
Thus, HE+ re-assumed all HE+ had emptied HIMSELF+ of, after His+ glorious and mighty Resurrection; hell (sheol) was unable to hold HIM+ down in its caverns.
Furthermore, even before His+ power-filled Resurrection, the gates of hell were unable to withstand His+ divine storming of that place… from which no-one had been able to escape, before JESUS. The gates of hell were unable to keep HIM+ from entering and preaching to the ones who hadn’t heard the GOOD NEWS yet.
[The I Peter 3: 18-19 verses point out that although His+ flesh was put to death, His+ Spirit went and preached unto the spirits ( of other dead ones) “in prison.” This powerful event happened even before His+ Spirit re-entered His+ crucified body lying in the tomb. Then, 3 days later, HE+ re-entered His+ Body and with great Resurrection power burst forth from the tomb in His+ glorified state. HalleluJAH !
What’s more… the gates of hell not only were unable to prevent HIM+ from leaving their confines, but the gates of hell were unable to stop HIM+ from taking His+ freed ones—the “captivity” spoken of in Ps. 68 and Ephesians 4—from leaving sheol also. Having just preached the GOOD NEWS to them, He+ deftly moved paradise from Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:22) in the upper regions of sheol into the 3rd Heaven, far above the earth. This is the same 3rd Heaven referred to by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 12.
Bless GOD! HE+ showed them Who+ was in control! The “princes” (Grk: rulers, archons) of this world didn’t know and hadn’t bargained for the Resurrection. They wouldn’t have crucified HIM+, had they known it would be the means of their defeat! I Cor. 2:8.
When HE+ returns, HE+ will be subjecting unto Himself+ all things… in the heavens, in the earth, and under the earth (Phil. 2). In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, the Righteous will arise with glorified bodies like His+ … those who have died in CHRIST first, and those living in CHRIST, secondly. Here is the promise for Christians only:
For a trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we (who remain) shall be changed. (I Cor.15:52).
Thus we Christians say Maranatha! Come, LORD JESUS!
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which GOD hat prepared for THEM THAT LOVE HIM+. (I Cor. 2:9 and Isaiah 64:4). Amen and HalleluJAH!
May the LORD bless you today with HIS+ joy in His+ Resurrection…
We fully recognize that NO ONE can confess, repent, and be converted unto CHRIST JESUS for another human being; we have free will to choose CHRIST or not and no-one, not even parents, can make that choice for us.
The Early Christians of the first 200 years recognized this truth also, and it was universally believed and practiced. Later, many, many Christians lost their lives because they believed Scripture taught a believer's baptism... with confession, repentance, and conversion of life unto CHRIST... which infants were (and are still) incapable of doing.
Later, the teaching changed from the original pattern and entered into the church proper, weakening it considerably.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Whenever a man allows himself to have anxieties, fears, or complaints, he must consider his behaviour as either:
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Here is real Christian art you won't find in an art gallery.
It is from a Brother who, early in his walk, discovered something: the worst enemy that the Christian must fight is... himself.
Self is what gets us into messes. Self is what keeps us from the humility required to walk with CHRIST. Self lauds the fleshly accomplishments which ... in reality... only hinder and distract us from walking with Our LORD. Self keeps us from closeness with HIM+ Who+ desires closeness with us more than all the good activities we fill our days doing. Self sets up our own "do good" program for CHRIST... instead of waiting before HIM+, staying with HIM+, listening to HIM+.
When Self is on the throne of our heart, we are sowing to the flesh instead of the Spirit. Let us not be in the Self-willed bundle, ready to be burned (John 15), who says, "LORD, LORD, didn't we prophesy in thy name... cast out devils... do many wonderful works in thy name?" HIS+ response (Matthew 7) is frightening and it gives a clue as to who will be wailing and gnashing their teeth in the judgment.
Myself, I would like to put this on as a self-portrait in my profile column... except I cannot figure out how to add a photo to it ! [ If anyone knows how to do this, please advise me in the comments.]
When I first saw his drawing, I literally GASPED! I thought he had drawn my very own face in this picture. Oddly enough, when he showed this picture to someone else, he (not she !) said he thought it looked just like himself .
Saturday, July 14, 2007
The OGS Ante-Nicene CREED.... a statement of the basic beliefs of the Early Christians, compiled from the earliest Christian Creeds
It was the custom of the Early Christians to rehearse a short, concise statement of the basic tenets of the Christian faith during worship services and especially, during a baptism. This was to teach the untaught and to re-affirm to the consecrated follower of The LORD JESUS CHRIST the basics of Christianity. There are several very early ones, as each church district compiled their own. They were mildly diverse, yet each agreed with and complemented the others, before the Nicene Council, around 325 A.D. After the Council of Nicea, splits and divisions and issues of control entered into the once-unified Christian church. Our Order compiled this Creed from Christian Creeds written before the first Council of Nicea, 325 A.D. Much of it will sound familiar to you. We include this Creed in our Evening Prayer.
And in one LORD JESUS CHRIST,
WHO+, for us men and for our salvation,
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
And the third day HE+ rose again, according to Scriptures,
And, I believe in
And, I believe in
And, I look for
Friday, July 6, 2007
HE+ is the Holy ONE+
Blessed art Thou, O Lord God of our fathers:
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art Thou for the name of Thy Majesty:
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art Thou in the temple of Thy Holiness:
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art Thou that beholdest the depths, and dwellest between the Cherubim:………………………...
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art Thou on the glorious throne of Thy Kingdom:
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art Thou in the firmament of the Heavens:
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art Thou, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
* praised and exalted above all for ever.
This is a morning laud for the prayerbook. This can be recited, chanted, or said as an antiphonal (responsive) reading, if you have others with you. May the name of The LORD be praised, magnified, glorified and lifted up forever ! Amen.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Worthy is The LAMB that was slain !
Worthy is The LAMB that was slain to receive
Blessing and honor, glory, and power be unto HIM that sitteth upon the Throne
THOU+ are worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honor and power:
HalleluJah! For The LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH !
Weep not: behold, the LION + of the Tribe of Judah, the ROOT + of David,
THOU+ are worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof.
Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD ALMIGHTY,
Which was, and is, and is to come.
HalleluJah ! For The LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH!
These Revelation Lauds are found in chapters 4 and 5 ... and in the mouths of the four and twenty Elders and 4 Living Creatures who are before the Throne of the Living GOD. They never cease their lauds; why should we?
These lauds are part of my First-fruits, the first prayers of the day. I like to acknowledge exactly Who+ The LORD really is, what exactly HE+ accomplished, and what HE+ is about to do next!
Monday, June 25, 2007
93:1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty;
93:2 Thy throne is established of old:
93:3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
93:4 The LORD on high is mightier
93:5 Thy testimonies are very sure:
We do not need to be spoon-fed by the ministers and pastors. We must learn to worship, to pray, to return to the LORD throughout the day, stopping our duties and chores for a short period of time. It corrects the vision, straightens the heart, and brings about a closeness with the LORD. In order to do this, use the Psalms and Scriptures and lauds from the ancient church and compile your own, individual bookof prayers, psalms, and spiritual songs for your times of private devotions. If you home-school or have a household, copy them for each one plus visitors and put them in those flexible 3-ring-binders available in most stores.
If you look at these prayers, praises, psalms and hymns contained in the above standard books of prayer, you will see that they are NOT blasphemous.. i.e., no Mary worship nor veneration of saints... and their prayers incorporate lots of Scriptures.
It is easy to compile your own, however, as we have done at the Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD. In our research, we discovered that the Early Christians handed down some STANDARD HYMNS or lauds that were not long. They have been retained by some of the high church groups. A few have been retained by the low church (i.e., less formal) groups.
NO CHURCH GROUP has the monopoly on these ancient, early lauds and hymns that have been in the Christian church since its beginning. Do not let the Latin names (or Greek names) of the titles scare you; the English translation of the titles will do just fine. In other words, they can be used by all Christians. We use several ourselves.
However, having said that, some of the high churches have done some things that are exemplary and quite in keeping with the early church. They have done some things that help us towards the worship of The LORD JESUS CHRIST.
We found that the Roman Catholics, for example, always put the Gloria Patri at the end of a Psalm or Scripture passage, when quoted or sung or chanted. The Gloria Patri belongs to every Christian; it is NOT the sole possession of the Roman Catholics. It is a worthy praise:
Glory be to The FATHER, and to the SON +, and to the HOLY SPIRIT; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever, shall be. World without end. Amen.
Thus, at the Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD +, we end every Psalm or Scripture reading with the Glory be... [ the Gloria Patri ]. We try to make a distinction as we follow the church calendar between the Psalms and lauds we worship with in the morning and evening. At morning, for instance, we focus on the might and majesty of The LORD and we pick the Psalms which reflect WHO HE+ IS and what HE+ is coming to do. There are many, many passages to choose from, so let The LORD lead you and your household in compiling your own home Prayer and Worship Book.
Instead of your minister or pastor spoon-feeding you, you will become a strength unto him to help feed the flock who won't feed themselves. You will become closer to The LORD and your household will come into order. Conviction for even petty sins will fall upon all in the home and repentance should follow. All will be covered not only by prayer, but by THE EFFECTUAL PRAYER OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN.
This is one way to effectively sow to the spirit, to take up the cross and die daily to your Self, and follow HIM+.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Everyone of us ...
recognizes the value of training exercises: they hone the skills and make us stronger. Concentrated exercise in ANY area is thorough and methodical ~ routine, if you will~ bringing the body and mind into focused movement or practice. Exercise hones the concentration. This is to train the muscles to respond correctly and effectively and
to ignore the distractions.
Exercise is needed as much for the Spiritual Man within us as our physical man needs training. For most of us, our Spiritual muscles are flabby and nigh unto atrophied (useless). We cannot focus on reading The Word or prayer or simply being still before The LORD without our minds raring up like untamed stallions.
We remember that the Apostle Paul, who stood firmly against legalism, also brought his own fleshly man into submission unto The LORD. In the Greek, (I Cor. 9:27) the language is quite vivid, quite forceful. Paul says he does not fight beating the air, but rather he beats his body (black and blue! "... striking it under the eye") and leads it captive, making it ready to serve.
He does this so that he himself would not become disqualified.
This same Apostle who staunchly set free the churches from legalism ALSO did not count himself as having already attained the status of being fore-ordained to the resurrection of the dead.
He pressed on toward the mark for the prize. He exhorted others to follow his pattern. Paul defined believers who have become the enemies of the cross of CHRIST like this:
they mind earthly things.
What is lacking in our church today is the disciplining of our spirits... discipleship...applying holiness training to our walk with CHRIST JESUS. Our walk should go beyond church attendance and fellowship and beyond Bible studies. As good and as necessary as all those are, they will not take us deeper with CHRIST if we avoid RESPONDING TO HIM+ IN A DISCIPLINED MANNER.
HE+ is looking for FRUIT, not HIS+GIFTS...
No, it is not written that we MUST practice discipleship. But for myself, I'd be afraid that my one little talent would be taken from me if I did nothing but attend church, fellowship, and Bible study. The HUSBANDMAN comes looking for the fruit of our union with HIM+, not the gifts of grace which HE+ has bestowed to help us walk. Since HE+ has given us every means to enable us to beat our Selfs back and live for CHRIST, we will be held accountable for not doing so.
The fear of The LORD is good; it helps us know for a certainty that HE+ watches our spiritual labors and which gate we continually choose to enter... the narrow or the wide. The fear of The LORD helps us to know that HE+ will trim us ...yes, even us! ... off the TRUE VINE+ if we do not bear fruit. The fear of The LORD is good, for we know
HE+ is no respector of persons.
Miranda ,Part 2
Miranda is sometimes afraid that she lays out too much money in books, because she cannot keep from buying all practical books... that... describe the inward holiness of the Christian life. But of all human writings, the lives of pious persons and eminent saints are her greatest delight. In these she searches as for hidden treasure, hoping to find some secret of holy living, some uncommon degree of piety, which she may make her own.
By this means Miranda has her head and her heart so stored with all the principles of wisdom and holiness, she is so full of the one main business of life, that she finds it difficult to converse upon any other subject; and if you are in her company, when she thinks it proper to talk, you must be made wiser and better, whether you will or no.
To relate her charity, would be to relate the history of every day for twenty years; for so long has all her fortune been spent that way. She has set up near 20 poor tradesmen that had failed in their business, and saved as many from failing. She has educated several poor children, that were picked up in the streets, and put them in a way of an honest employment. As soon as any labourer is confined at home with sickness, she sends him, till he recovers, twice the value of his wages, that he may have one part to give to his family as usual, and the other to provide things convenient for his sickness.
In a family seems too large to be supported by the labour of those that can work in it, she pays their rent, and gives them something yearly towards their clothing. By this means, there are several poor families that live in a comfortable manner, and are from year to year blessing her in their prayers.
If there is any poor man or woman that is more than ordinarily wicked and reprobate, Miranda has her eye upon them; she watches their time of need and adversity; and if she can discover that they are in any great straits, or affliction, she gives them speedy relief. She has this care for this sort of people, because she once saved a very profligate person from being carried to prison, who immediately became a true penitent.
There is nothing in the character of Miranda more to be admired than this temper. For this tenderness of affection towards the most abandoned sinners is the highest instance of a Divine and God-like soul.
Miranda once passed by a house, where the man and his wife were cursing and swearing at one another in a most dreadful manner, and three children crying about them: this sight so much affected her compassionate mind, that she went the next day, and bought the three children, that they might not be ruined by living with such wicked parents.
They now live with Miranda, are blessed with her care and prayers, and all the good works which she can do for them. They hear her talk, they see her live, they join with her in psalms and prayers. The eldest of them has already converted his parents from their wicked life, and shows a turn of mind so remarkably pious, that Miranda intends him for holy orders; that, being thus saved himself, he may be zealous in the salvation of souls, and do to other miserable objects as she has done to him.
Miranda is a constant relief to poor people in their misfortunes and accidents: there are sometimes little misfortunes that happen to them, which of themselves they could never be able to overcome. The death of a cow or a horse, or some little robbery, would keep them in distress all their lives. She does not suffer them to grieve under such accidents as these. She immediately gives them the full value of their loss, and makes use of it as a means of raising their minds towards God.
She has a great tenderness for old people that are grown past their labour. The parish allowance to such people is very seldom a comfortable maintenance: for this reason they are the constant objects of her care: she adds so much to their allowance, as somewhat exceeds the wages they got when they were young.
This she does to comfort the infirmities of their age, that, being free from trouble and distress, they may serve God in peace and tranquillity of mind. She has generally a large number of this kind, who, by her charities and exhortations to holiness, spend their last days in great piety and devotion.
Miranda never wants compassion, even to common beggars; especially towards those that are old or sick, or full of sores, that want eyes or limbs. She hears their complaints with tenderness, gives them some proof of her kindness, and never rejects them with hard or reproachful language, for fear of adding affliction to her fellow-creatures.
If a poor old traveller tells her that he has neither strength, nor food, nor money left, she never bids him go to the place from whence he came, or tells him that she cannot relieve him, because he may be a cheat, or she does not know him; but she relieves him for that reason, because he is a stranger and unknown to her.
For it is the most noble part of charity to be kind and tender to those whom we never saw before, and perhaps never may see again in this life. "I was a stranger, and ye took me in," [Matt. xxv. 43] saith our blessed Saviour: but who can perform this duty, that will not relieve persons that are unknown to him?
Miranda considers that Lazarus was a common beggar, that he was the care of Angels, and carried into Abraham's bosom. She considers that our blessed Saviour and His Apostles were kind to beggars; that they spoke comfortably to them, healed their diseases, and restored eyes and limbs to the lame and blind; that Peter said to the beggar that wanted an alms from him, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." [Acts iii. 6]
It may be, says Miranda, that I may often give to those that do not deserve it, or that will make an ill use of my alms. But what then? Is not this the very method of Divine goodness? Does not God make "His sun to rise on the evil and on the good"? [Matt. v. 45] Is not this the very goodness that is recommended to us in Scripture, that, by imitating of it, we may be children of our Father which is in Heaven, who "sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust"?
And shall I withhold a little money, or food, from my fellow-creature, for fear he should not be good enough to receive it of me? Do I beg of God to deal with me, not according to my merit, but according to His own great goodness; and shall I be so absurd as to withhold my charity from a poor brother, because he may perhaps not deserve it?
Besides, where has the Scripture made merit the rule or measure of charity? On the contrary, the Scripture saith, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink." [Rom. xii. 20] Now this plainly teaches us, that the merit of persons is to be no rule of our charity; but that we are to do acts of kindness to those that least of all deserve it. For if I am to love and do good to my worst enemies: if I am to be charitable to them, notwithstanding all their spite and malice; surely merit is no measure of charity. If I am not to withhold my charity from such bad people, and who are at the same time my enemies, surely I am not to deny alms to poor beggars, whom I neither know to be bad people, nor any way my enemies.
You will perhaps say, that by this means I encourage people to be beggars. But the same thoughtless objection may be made against all kinds of charities, for they may encourage people to depend upon them. The same may be said against forgiving our enemies, for it may encourage people to do us hurt. The same may be said even against the goodness of God, that by pouring His blessings on the evil and on the good, on the just and on the unjust, evil and unjust men are encouraged in their wicked ways.
The same may be said against clothing the naked, or giving medicines to the sick; for that may encourage people to neglect themselves, and be careless of their health. But when the love of God dwelleth in you, when it has enlarged your heart, and filled you with bowels of mercy and compassion, you will make no more such objections as these.
When you are at any time turning away the poor, the old, the sick, and helpless traveller, the lame, or the blind, ask yourself this question, Do I sincerely wish these poor creatures may be as happy as Lazarus, that was carried by Angels into Abraham's bosom? Do I sincerely desire that God would make them fellow-heirs with me in eternal glory? Now if you search into your soul, you will find that there is none of these motions there; that you are wishing nothing of this. For it is impossible for any one heartily to wish a poor creature so great a happiness, and yet not have a heart to give him a small alms.
And if, as our Saviour has assured us, it be more blessed to give than to receive, we ought to look upon those that ask our alms, as so many friends and benefactors, that come to do us a greater good than they can receive, that come to exalt our virtue, to be witnesses of our charity, to be monuments of our love, to be our advocates with God, to be to us in Christ's stead, to appear for us in the day of judgment, and to help us to a blessedness greater than our alms can bestow on them.
This is the spirit, and this is the life, of the devout Miranda; and if she lives ten years longer, she will have spent sixty hundred pounds in charity; for that which she allows herself, may fairly be reckoned amongst her alms. When she dies, she must shine amongst Apostles, and saints, and martyrs; she must stand amongst the first servants of God, and be glorious amongst those that have fought the good fight, and finished their course with joy.