Monday, December 24, 2007

Sinless Ages! Sinless Ages!
Sinless Ages
to sing HIS+ praise!

If His+ first Advent brought the offer
of peace and goodwill toward mankind,
what will His+ second Advent bring?

See: 2 Thess. 1:7,8,9. See: Rev.21:1-9 See: Zech. 14:4
We look forward to
His+ second Advent
with great anticipation.
Maranatha !
Come, LORD JESUS.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

FOR WANT OF A NAIL...
The Battle with Discouragement

Ever wondered WHY discouragement is a battle? It is because there are wicked spirits involved which somehow creep through our protective barrier placed by The LORD to torment us.

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.
[1]

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.
[2]

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.
[3] 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.


LESSON TWO

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.

LESSON THREE

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.

LESSON FOUR

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.


LESSON FIVE

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!

LESSON SIX

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.

LESSON SEVEN

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!

[1] 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!

[2] 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.
[3] 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

QUIET-TUDE is necessary..... so sorry for the time lapse

Sorry for the time lapse, dear friends.

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

NEED INSURANCE?

The CHRISTIAN’S GREAT INSURANCE POLICY...
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.
Our friends are those who reside in Heavenly places! Our friends, The FATHER, His SON JESUS CHRIST, and His HOLY SPIRIT, are the ones Who have the power to receive us into the Eternal habitations not made with hands. (Verse 9). Now, if this Greek verb is indeed rendered welcome, others included in the reception committee could well include the saints of Hebrews 11: 36,37, 38... of whom the world was not worthy. It could include the martyrs of Revelation 6:9 whose glorious resting place is under the Altar of GOD. And, of course, it could include the various powerful orders of the heavenly hosts of the LORD+.

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!
This one, HE+ says, will hold fast in the Heavenlies. This insurance will pay great dividends in the end, when we really need it, when nothing earthly will help us any longer. The Roman Centurion, Cornelius, came unto the favorable attention of Our LORD even before he was saved because of his use of unrighteous mammon.

Do we?

In verse 11, Our LORD JESUS tells us plainly that if we are not faithful to do His+ Will in what GOD considers the least important thing in this world, do we presume that Our LORD will entrust to our authority any of the Really Important things... like to rule over 10 cities and to judge angels as well as the world (Luke 19:17 and I Cor. 6:3)... for all Eternity in the world to come? Everything included in the mammon system of wealth will burn in the last day. The Apostle Peter has warned us of this.

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.
Why?
Because one master is GOD... the other is a demonic entity called Mamona.


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 also NOT a parable. Our LORD JESUS said it was a "CERTAIN" steward... just like HE+ said later in Luke 16 that there was a CERTAIN poor man named Lazarus. The Early Church even knew that the rich man's name was Dives. The label parable is again, from men ... not from GOD. (Scripture identifies clearly when Our LORD was speaking in parables. Luke 16 is not one of them.)

RATHER...

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).

Thus, in HIS+ great love for mankind, Our LORD is warning us throughout Luke 16 about what can cast us away from His+ Presence and into Eternal sorrow.




Friday, August 31, 2007

The SUFFERING JESUS

The Suffering JESUS... is not a popular topic among most evangelicals, nor charismatics, nor most of the main-line groups.

I ran into this... um, thought... at a prayer meeting about 30 years ago where the main speaker was a Roman Catholic priest, a dear brother who was alive in The LORD. He spoke about repentance being the key to becoming close to The LORD JESUS. He shared about his experience hearing confessionals... something we of a non-Roman background were rather squeamish about.

It seems there were some nuns whose main focus was on the suffering JESUS. Their purpose in life was to associate themselves... to identify themselves... with His+ agony and sufferings.
Well, needless to say, we were NOT INTERESTED. We wanted the victorious JESUS Who+ overwhelmed His+ enemies... and ours! We were not interested in going the 2nd mile nor turning the other cheek, having once been slugged. So, it was a restless bunch of baby Christians listening to this good brother that night.

But, being a Franciscan, this brother knew the fruitfulness of chastity, obedience, and poverty. He said hearing the confessions of these sisters was like being pelted with cotton puffs. The sisters were sorry, contrite, and ashamed of their sins before GOD. The priests who heard the confessions were even MORE sorry, contrite and ashamed... and often, the priests were the ones in tears, hidden in the privacy of the confessional booths. The innocence and purity of the sisters brought conviction to the hearts of the priests who were sent to hear their confessions.

He related about the time he was called to hear the confessions of one of those nuns in this Order of the SUFFERING JESUS. She was dying of cancer. It had eaten away half of her face. Knowing she was dying, all she could do was to give thanks to The LORD for going before her in His+ agony of suffering. She thanked Him+ for bearing such pain, willingly, for her sins. She knew, just knew, that His+ pain was worse that anything she was called upon to bear. The priest said he left in tears.

The sister was in joy. She had trained herself to identify with CHRIST JESUS, the Suffering Savior, so much so that any pain she had to bear called her into a time of thanksgiving. She thanked HIM+ for reminding her that HE+ bore with patience His+ agony and pain... for us sinners... simply because HE+ loved us. HE+ bore His+ pain because that was the only way to free us from sin... from the grip of the devil... from the depths of Gehenna after death. Furthermore, HE+ did it without complaining, willingly, knowing it was the will of HIS+ FATHER.

Like church bells ringing, pain became the reminder for these sisters of our Savior's agony for us. So, pain and suffering became a time to turn to The LORD in thanksgiving, first of all. Yes, it was a time to ask HIM+ for healing and mercy... but also a time to learn obedience... like HIM+... in the things that are suffered. They learned to identify themselves, in humility, with the Suffering One.

Because of their embracing the Suffering JESUS, they had peace in Him+. These sisters learned not to fight "for their own rights." They learned to yield at all times, in HIM+. They had peace in His+ will. Thus, they could minister peace to anyone who was suffering. The result was that they had an anointing upon them to turn others to The LORD during their suffering... and in their own.

Yes, we know the LORD can and does heal and work out situations that are impossible, humanly speaking. But, the Suffering JESUS is to be embraced as well as the victorious JESUS.

Let us be content to let The LORD JESUS reign.

Let GOD be GOD !

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A WORTHY PRAYER


Almighty GOD, the fountain of all wisdom, Thou knowest our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which-- for our unworthiness we dare not and for our blindness we cannot-- ask; through the worthiness of Thy Son JESUS CHRIST our LORD, Who+ lives and reigns with Thee and the HOLY SPIRIT, one GOD, now and forever. Amen.
This worthy prayer was found amongst the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer, Proper 11, Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

DENYING GOD... When do we do this?

William Law... that single-minded Christian who exhorts us to walk in the ways of holiness for HIS+ name's sake... was quoted in a Continuing Anglican church newsletter recently. Brother Law said:

Whenever a man allows himself to have anxieties, fears, or complaints, he must consider his behaviour as either:

1. a denial of the wisdom of GOD,
or as
2. a confession that he is
out of HIS+ Will.
To be always in a thankful state of heart before GOD is NOT to be considered a HIGH PLANE of spirituality
but rather...
the normal attitude of one who believes that
"All things work together for good to them that love GOD, who are called according to HIS+ purpose."
Perhaps this holds true regarding all grumbling and complaining, also ?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

SELF on the THRONE of your HEART




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.

...A Self-Portrait, Indeed...



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 .

Is it possible that the spirit of SELF make us all look alike?
[Now that's a frightening thing to ponder. ]

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

The Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD+
An Ante-Nicene Creed

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.

I believe in
One GOD The FATHER ALMIGHTY,
Maker of the Heavens and the earth and of all things
visible and invisible;

And in one LORD JESUS CHRIST,
the Only-begotten SON of GOD,
begotten of His+ FATHER before all worlds.
GOD of GOD, LIGHT of LIGHT, Very GOD of Very GOD,
begotten, not made,
being of One Substance with The FATHER,
by WHOM+ all things were made.

WHO+, for us men and for our salvation,
came down from Heaven
through the Spirit and Power of GOD The FATHER,
descended into the Hebrew virgin, Mariam,
and was made man
and dwelt among us, full of Grace and Truth.

And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
HE+ suffered and was buried
and descended into the heart of the earth;

And the third day HE+ rose again, according to Scriptures,
and ascended into Heaven
and sitteth at the Right Hand of GOD The FATHER ALMIGHTY.
And HE+ shall come again, with glory,
to judge both the living and the dead;
Whose Kingdom shall have no end.

And, I believe in
the HOLY SPIRIT, The Paraclete, The Sanctifier,
sent by CHRIST from The FATHER,
WHO, with The FATHER and The SON together is worshipped and glorified;
WHO spake through the prophets.

And, I believe in
One Holy and Apostolic Church,
out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation.
I acknowledge One baptism for the forgiveness of sins;

And, I look for
the resurrection of the dead,
and the Life of the world to come
through JESUS CHRIST Our LORD.
Amen.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Proclaim the Greatness of The LORD our GOD !

Proclaim the Greatness of The LORD our GOD;
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.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Pattern of the Early Christians...

The pattern of how the Early Christians --of the first 200 years-- practiced their Christianity is worthy of our attention. It was a powerful church, a church that spoke loudly ... without saying a word. The Early Church of the first 200 years stood unified against the heretics; indeed, their writings against the heresies show us vividly exactly what they believed, how they discerned Scriptures, and how they lived.

Without saying a word, their modest, unfashionable, and plain dress made them visible to and yes, targets in, their unregenerated world. It gave them ample opportunities to witness... both to the hungry souls yearning for the one true GOD and to the haters of GOD.


They spoke to their society wordlessly when they simply did NOT attend the theaters, sports, or events in the public arenas and stadiums. They would not go to the public bath houses. Nudity and nakedness in any degree were avoided. They stood out simply because they did not do the pleasure activities that were common in their societies. Mind you, they did not wear placards nor demonstrate on the sidewalk nor make any public protest; they simply withdrew themselves from attending these events. They knew how to separate themselves from worldliness.


They also refused to berate, gossip, or speak derogatorily of others. They practiced quietness, especially noticable in public. Loose, worldly talk nor jesting would not be heard in their somber interactions. They took the Word literally, that ...we must give an account for every idle word.

They were accused of being Christians, based on such evidence. Even one of the Roman rulers complained that the Christians lived such lives that "they not only feed their poor, they feed our poor also!"


The Christians were accused of not harming anyone, even their enemies. And, they never went to court to sue anyone. Christians would always suffer the wrong, with the hopes that
..."the blood of the martyrs would be the seed of the church."


Society considered Christians uncultured and even a danger to their society's values because they did not attend the common entertainment activities nor sporting events. What a tremendous witness, even though given in a form of accusation.

In this day and age, do we give enough evidence to the society around us that we are Christians... without opening our mouths? Are our values so distinctly different from the world around us that we make society uneasy... that something is drastically wrong?
If not, it's time to seek The LORD and change.

This is why The Order of the GOOD SHEPHERD+ patterns itself after the Early Church of the first 200 years. We follow CHRIST JESUS first; then we look to see the pattern lived out in the lives and writings of our Early Christian brethren.





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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Following the Authority Line

Why can't I go deeper with CHRIST? What's the block?

I know I love HIM+... I've committed myself to HIM+

... what's the problem ?

I am hearing this common theme amongst Brethren: Let's MOVE ON! Let's go DEEPER! There's more... there's more... And indeed, good Brethren, there is. However,the only way presented to go deeper is more reading, more studying, more evangelizing of the unsaved... all of which are good... but there truly exists the REST of the package!


For instance, I do not hear much concern about following the authority line, neither in the home nor in the church. Now mind you, I'm NOT talking about the baseless, man-made "apostolic succession" that some groups practice.

If the true, Biblical authority line was established and practiced-- as it was in the Early Church-- there would not be so many exhortations needed about Christian dress :>), just for instance.

This is not to say that MEN RULE... This is to say that the brothers SET THE EXAMPLE FIRST. This is the first line of defense (in both the home and church) against the wayward spirits of the flesh and world. These spirits constantly tug and pull at the Christians.

The authority FIRST brings himself totally in line with CHRIST'S Words (Matthew 5,6 and 7,and rest). Then he will have the spiritual authority and the spiritual power in the unseen realm to oust the rebellious spirits leading the flock astray. Yes, it will COST YOU BIG-TIME as you apply Matthew 5,6, and 7, and the rest, to your own life, your home, your family, and your church.

You will indeed pick up HIS+ cross and die daily to yourself as you learn to lay down the sword and the lawsuits and practice love towards your enemies... individual and corporate... both perceived and real enemies.

You will indeed pay the price, receiving the reproach that was laid upon CHRIST JESUS, if you stop laying up treasures for yourself on earth. TAKE NO THOUGHT FOR THE MORROW so that you may use your time to serve CHRIST JESUS with ALL of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. As you step out of this world's economic system to serve CHRIST JESUS, you will see a marvelous thing happen: HIS+ economic system will care for you and you will indeed be living in Psalm 23 and know NO WANT or lack of any needful thing.

Yes, dear Brethren, go the next step. Don't stop the exhortations but do start by laying the example FIRST.

Want the Sisters to dress modestly? Then get out of your cut-offs, shorts, nicely-cut jeans, tank tops, open-necked shirts, and backwards ball caps. Cover your bodies with work overalls, work pants, solid colored long-sleeved shirts with the collars buttoned... no chest, no he-man hair, no muscles rippling... look nothing like the world but rather like a CHRISTIAN brother... and you will see the Sisters change their dress to be not only modest but also to reflect CHRIST and be in line with the Apostle's words... at least, the Sisters who are consecrated in their hearts to living for The LORD with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Yes, go ahead, pay a price for following CHRIST. No-one is holding a gun to your head to keep you from doing so, is there? Yes, there are commandments to follow in the New Testament. They are given to help us grow... and grow closer to HIM+.

JESUS our LORD said, "If you love ME+, keep my commandments." See John 14 and 15.

I hope this is helpful, dear ones, in your endeavor to have more of CHRIST and less of this world.

In Christian love,
Sister Judith Hannah




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