Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lift Up Your Hearts!


Lift up your hearts!

We lift them up
unto The LORD.

Let us give thanks
unto The LORD GOD.

It is meet and right
so to do.

It is very meet, right, and
our bounden duty
that we should at all times
and in all places
give thanks
unto THEE,
O LORD,
HOLY FATHER,
ALMIGHTY,
EVER-LASTING GOD.

Who, in the multitude
of Thy mercy 
hast surrounded us
with so great
a crowd of Witnesses...

that we,
rejoicing in their fellowship,
may run with patience
the race
that is set before us...

that together , with them,
we may receive
the Crown of Glory
that fadeth not away.

Therefore, with Angels
and Archangels,
and with all
the Company of Heaven,
we laud and magnify
Thy Glorious Name 
evermore praising THEE
and saying...

HOLY
HOLY
HOLY
LORD GOD of HOSTS*

Heaven and earth are full
of Thy Glory

GLORY BE
TO THEE
O LORD MOST HIGH.
Amen.

* Hosts= Divine, Heavenly armies
Ancient Hymn called the Sursum Corda

Saturday, December 24, 2011

UPON HIS+ SHOULDER............... Tying Together HIS+ Nativity and The TREE+

For unto us a CHILD+ is born,
Unto us a SON+ is given:
and the government
shall be UPON HIS+ SHOULDER...
.
... Isaiah 9:6, A


In ONE VERSE  in the prophet Isaiah, the INCARNATION of the Eternal SON+ of GOD and what HE+ came to accomplish is set forth TOGETHER... tying together the Nativity and the Cross+ of JESUS CHRIST.
.
Tertullian (c. 160-240 A.D.) writes about this Nativity Passage... and ties it to The TREE** , i.e., the Cross of Our LORD JESUS CHRIST... **not the "Christmas" Tree.  

 
Listen to this famous Early Christian's words. Tertullian says: 

Similarly, again, Isaiah says: "For a child is born to us , and to us is given a son." What novelty is that, unless Isaiah is speaking of the "SON" of GOD?...  and one is born to us, the beginning of whose government has been made "on HIS+ shoulder."
  
What king in the world wears the ensign of his power  on his shoulder, and does not bear either diadem on his head , or else sceptre in his hand, or else some mark of distinctive vesture? 

But the novel "King of ages," CHRIST JESUS, alone reared "on HIS+ shoulder"  HIS+ own novel glory, and power, and sublimity, ... the cross, to wit: that, according to the former prophecy, the LORD thenceforth "might reign from the TREE. (Psalm 96:10)*"

from The Writings of Tertullian, ANF Vol. 3, I. Apologetic: ,  Section 7, "An Answer to the Jews", Chapter 10, p. 166, second printing edition, 1995.

 * This phrase from the tree... was removed from the text, although the Early Church writers quoted it, being familiar with it. See footnote, that same page in Vol. 3, ANF.



GLORY  TO GOD
      IN THE HIGHEST!
.
Only Our LORD JESUS CHRIST could
.
Reign from the TREE+
.
of HIS+ Cross !
.
And it was prophesied
right along with HIS+ Birth !
Glory to GOD ! 
.
Glory to GOD
and PEACE
GOODWILL
toward men !
.
+  +  +

Thursday, December 22, 2011

SKELLIG MICHAEL...

The  BEEHIVE....  
Photo from skelligstrips.com (I think)

Within your Heart...

Monday, December 19, 2011

SKELLIG MICHAEL... A Retreat into Prayer

Photo from  prayerfoundation.org
             Skellig Michael- Monastery in the sky-  Ireland


Photo from  in-between.org.UK
or
basementgeography.blogspot.com
Ancient Celtic Monks Living Quarters on Skellig Michael


                 A  Quiet Monk
   

The ULTIMATE PRAYER RETREAT...
A life given over to HIM+,
undistractable and focused,
agreed with CHRIST+ Our LORD.

Skellig Michael, an ancient monastery jutting out of the cold Atlantic, about 9 miles from Ireland, was used by a small group of monks for about 600 years. They were stone serious about their retreat into prayer. 
~  ~  ~ 

We hear much about prayer retreats these days. How long do your church brothers and sisters spend at theirs? How much time is spent in prayer during the rest of their lives?

How about learning to feel GOD'S presence? How about learning to BREATH with HIM+ Who+ needs no air, but is the Breath of Life for all who choose to come to HIM+ in repentance and in truth?

HE+ says, "Draw near to ME+ and I will draw near to you."

HE+ says, "If you seek ME+ with all of your heart, you  will  find ME+."

In our very busy, self-oriented world and society, some will feel that they do GOD a favor by taking a few days, or maybe a week, to participate in a prayer retreat of one sort or another. Others will go on a prayer retreat out of a desperate desire to find GOD, to come close to HIM+.  That's commendable.

However, the direct mandate from our LORD CHRIST is to "deny ourselves, take up the Cross and follow ME" ... DAILY.

HE+ says, " Whoever of you that does not forsake all that he has, cannot be My+ disciple." 

We feel that these are hard words and probably not for us.
If they are not for us,
then
who are they for?

I think that we all are part of "whosoever".  The problem is that HIS+ words interfer with our materialistic western lifestyle. So, we feel that JESUS must have meant someone else other than us, or maybe HE+ was just mistaken, not understanding that we are under Grace!!  However, HE+ is the ONE+ Who+ placed us under that Grace with HIS+ own Body and Blood! HE+ is not likely mistaken.
      
Let us all take heed to our own lukewarmness, which in another place, JESUS said, HE+ will vomit out of HIS+ Body. JESUS can not be tricked.
      

There are those now and those in the past who have accepted HIM+ in every area of their lives and have sought to live the ultimate prayer retreat daily, for whatever amount of time they have been alloted in this very short life. The Cross of Christ is more valuable to them, you see, than any material gain or advantage or possession... than any career... than any retirement security. Yes! JESUS is right after all!! 
        

What is your life?

It is but a mist that appears for a little while, and then disappears. The only thing you really have is what you give back to HIM+. HE+ will keep it for you unto all eternity. HE+ will give it back to you multiplied a hundred times over!!

         " ..... is not My WORD like a FIRE, says the LORD? And like a HAMMER that breaks the rock in pieces?"   
AMEN

Brother Brendon Patrick, OGS +

In the Name of the FATHER Who created you,
the SON+ Who saves you,
and the Holy SPIRIT Who sanctifies you.

+ + +
        
   

Friday, December 16, 2011

My Hand, Cemented...



My hand, cemented...
fingers fixed
upon those goals
of my desire.
.
Grasping hand
unyieldingly
ignored YOUR+ call
… and coming Fire.
.
Determinedly
YOU+ pried them loose
until my willful
strength was through.
.
Emptiness
of hand and heart…
my sole* remains
… except for YOU+.
.
Sick I grew,
distressed anew
… no purpose, goal, nor person.
Weak body could not
stand the stress
of no human purpose
to profess.
.
Bleakly, no-one needing me,
skills vanished like hot air.

. Strength fled, fever raged;
mind, a blank; I did not care.
No work upon my shoulder
… except my solitary prayer.
.
No goal in life
… except to do
my daily discipline
with YOU+.
.
Directionless, interest gone
unadorned, life raw and bare.
.
Bones ached, emotions numbed.
Joy? Not my portion, this I rue.
Only in one place Joy glowed
… in quietness with YOU+.
.
Thank YOU+, LORD,
for freeing me
From built-in values, clamorings...
For prying loose my concrete grip,
Death-bringing goals
that would strip
my time and thought from YOU+.
.
My aims and goals
YOU+ withheld
…"AKA" my future woes...
.
Earth-bound illusions
replaced by YOU+...
  Heaven’s treasure flows
through entwining Fingers,
all Divine+
into this hand of clay,
called “mine.”

*sole = only
"AKA"= Also Known As
or Otherwise known as...
.
.
.  .  .  .  .
.
.
.
By Sister Judith Hannah  + + +
~ from my heart to yours...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Straw for the Manger #4....



.... Whereby the DAYSPRING+ from on High
 hath visited us,
To give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.

For with THEE+ is the
Fountain of LIFE:
in Thy+ LIGHT
shall we see Light.

+  +

Dear Heavenly FATHER...
Remember the Traveler! 
Bring us safely home,
safely home...
HOME+ to JESUS.

O LORD, as we sojourn here through the valleys of human troubles, help us to lift our face to Thy Light.

Help us to walk in Thy Light, as HE+ is in the Light,
then... then.... then

we will have fellowship one with another, and The Blood of JESUS CHRIST His SON+ cleanseth us from all sin.
~  ~  ~
I ask THEE+ to keep me from hiding my sin from THEE+ ,  as did Cain, as did David. Help me to live in the Light of Thy+ Love, in the Light that repentance and Thy cleansing Blood bring into my heart. Help me, O LORD.

Heavenly FATHER,
Remember the Traveler!
Bring us safely Home,
safely HOME+ .
...I'm ready to go....
 ~~~ Fernando Ortega,
Christian worship leader
and Excellent Musician.
.
.

I+ AM the Light+ of the world:
he that followeth ME+
shall not walk in darkness,
but shall have
the Light+ of Life+
  +  +  +


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Come, Stand by ME+...


Stand by ME+
...when dignity is stripped;
they took My+ clothing, as well.
Come, stand by ME+.

Stand by ME+
...when rejection faces you;
family, friends, and followers
forsook ME+
when I+ needed them most, too.
Come, stand by ME+.

Stand by ME+
...when your good acts
are misunderstood;
they said My+ acts of mercy
were acts of be'elzebub.
Come, stand by ME+.

Stand by ME+
...when lying spirits defame you;
they dogged My+ path incessantly
... and still do...
Come, stand by ME+


Stand by ME+
...when excluded, though you love;
they hid their faces from ME+, too,
as I+ died to cover their sins.
Come, stand by ME+.

Stand by ME+
...when death strikes;
Death struck My+ Body
but soon found out it struck
its own death-blow, not Mine+ !
Come, stand by ME+.

Stand by ME+
...through every earthly trial;
I+ will not hide Myself+ from thee.
Come, stand by ME+.

Stand by ME+
It's then you'll find
the only way to minister
to My+ hurt
is
when you come
...and stand...
by ME+.

+  +  +
by Sister Judith Hannah,
who is learning to come
and stand
by HIM+.

Friday, December 2, 2011

#3 STRAW for The MANGER... Advent Meditation


For the Joy that was set before HIM+
HE+ endured....


Add straw to the Manger for victory in endurance...


HE+ was laid in a rough wooden feeding trough, a manger,  just after entering this life as a man... and HE+ was laid upon rough-hewn timbers, a cross of wood,  as HE+ prepared to depart this life, as The SON+ of GOD.

Neither items of wood were sanded and polished smoothly. The cross was likely as rough-hewn wood always is... jagged, splintery, knotty. The Romans would not have concerned themselves to sand or plane the crucifixion timbers. Even in HIS+ death throes, there was pain and agony un-imaginable.

But, .... for the JOY that was set before HIM+ , HE+ endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the Right Hand of the Throne of GOD.

For consider HIM+ that endured such contradiction of sinners against HIMSELF+ , lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Hebrews 12)

O LORD,
Help me to endure when someone crosses me , my words, or opposes my plans. Help me to focus on the FRUIT that I want to cultivate in that other person. Help me do those things that will make him hungry for THEE+,  those things that will draw him unto THEE+,  those things that will make him love THEE+ more than love me.

Then, O LORD, Thy+ Joy  will most assuredly rest upon me and I shall be full.

This I ask in the Life-Giving Name of  The SAVIOR Who+ always saw BEYOND the Cross, keeping that joy before HIM+.
+  +

In The Name of The HOLY FATHER,
Who created thee;
His+ Life-Giving SON+,
Our LORD JESUS CHRIST,
Who+ joys in thee;
And Their Blessed HOLY SPIRIT,
Who comes alongside to greatly strengthen us.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

HEAD-COVERINGS: When OPPOSITION Occurs


For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face:
Now I know in part,
but then shall I know
even as also I am known.
1 Cor. 13:12

Any Christian witness is going to bring opposition. But what should a Sister do when Husband opposes the head-covering? What should she do when  Husband does NOT want her to wear it ?

Scripture , as always, has the anointed answer. Let us consider the context of the Head-Covering, 1 Corinthians, chapter 11.

Verse 3 BEGINS the reasoning for a Sister to wear a veiling:

"But I would have you know,
that the HEAD+ of every man is CHRIST;
and the head of the woman is the man;
and the HEAD of CHRIST is GOD. "

Thus, the Apostle establishes the authority-line, the Headship, that is to be found amongst Christian churches....  and Christian HOMES. 


Husbands dislike the head-covering for a variety of reasons. One major reason is embarrassment: they don't want to be married to a "dowdy"- looking wife. They want "their" wife to look fetching and lovely !

Sisters, can you honestly blame them?
Do you want Husband to dress
in any way
to embarrass YOU ?     
NO!  

Each of us has different "standards" in our mind's eye as to what is "okay" and what is "embarrassing."  When we go to church, go out to eat or shopping,  go to visit "our" side of the family, or when we are on a public job.... IT MATTERS  how Husband looks when we are together ! 

Chances are that you not only want his fingernails without car grease, but you also want him  not to appear as a  homeless street-man [ in his most comfy old plaid flannel shirt , moccasins, and rubbed raw cordoroys].... even if he is sparkling clean!  Some Sisters cannot stand to have the public see Husband's knobby knees underneath those bermuda shorts, either... it simply robs Sister of dignity!

Likewise, MOST husbands want their wives to REFLECT THEM and THEIR VALUES. 

Now, a head-covering can look dignified. It also can look lacey and feminine. However, it can be quite UN-dignified,  looking like canning-day or garden-work attire. Sometimes, a red or blue man's work handerchief is worn.... and dignity flees !   

Furthermore, a well-designed "early Christian" head-covering can resemble a Roman Catholic nun's covering. It may resemble an Anabaptist's cap or shorter veiling. The Charity veiling comes in all lengths. Most are either dark or light. Some are see-through.

Some veilings sit back on the head as a "symbol" of a head-covering ( ? ) and some hug the circle of the face, showing NO HAIR at all.

BUT, if Husband is embarrassed to have "his wife"  seen in public with ANY of those head-coverings on, then the Sister better find out WHY.... with a firm assurance to Husband that she will not go against his standard. 

If Husband wants his wife to CHANGE the style , then she should do so

But, if Husband is uncomfortable with ANY head-covering, then forsake it ... for his sake and to keep the Authority / Headship line in tact in the home...  as per Verse 3 ! 

Likely, a Sister in that predictament will be able to wear it IN HER PRAYER CLOSET where no-one else is present. She may be able to wear it IN THE HOUSE when no-one is home.... but she should walk in integrity towards Husband and remove it before answering the door or doing garden work if she lives in a suburb.

Even worse, if Husband wants his wife to look pretty when he arrives home from work.... she should do so. Fix the hair becomingly yet modest. Remove the chore clothes or garden clothing and don something appropriate --- home clothes that are fetching. If Husband likes earrings, put them on for at least his entrance and suppertime at the table.

IT IS NO SIN to look pretty for Husband.

Indeed,  it is a way to say, "You are important to me... so important that I will STOP my day and LOOK WELCOMING just for  you . "

So, even if YOU, dear Sister, are convinced that you need to wear a covering .... but Husband opposes it.... lovingly follow his headship in this matter.

For, that is what the COVERING means, in truth: that you are under Husband's headship!

The LORD knows your heart of obedience towards HIM+ .... but let it begin at home, with your Husband.

Truly ,
it will be accounted
as your obedience
towards HIM+.

+

In the name of The FATHER,
WHO created us;
HIS Holy SON+ JESUS,
Who+ saves us;
And their Blessed HOLY SPIRIT,
Who sanctifies our obedience
unto The Living Word+.


Monday, November 28, 2011

STRAW for the MANGER .... Advent 2011


And she brought forth her firstborn SON+
and wrapped HIM+ in swaddling clothes,
and laid HIM+ in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Advent 2011

STRAW 2
...For the humiliation HE+ endured
for our sakes,
we give THEE thanks...

From the moment HE+ entered His+ birth-mother's womb, Our LORD suffered humiliation... as the good people of Nazareth whispered about His+ seeming "illegitimacy"  even from the beginning.

Being born in a stable, with a manger as His+ first cradle, no loving grandmother or precious aunts around to help with the birthing, Our LORD suffered humiliation even as a rejected Babe +

Humiliation was to be His+ portion from the time of His+ birth until HE+ said, "FATHER, it is finished... into THY Hands I +  commit My+ SPIRIT. "

+  +  +

O LORD,

I see Thy+ deep humiliation which was Thy+ portion from the beginning of Thy+ earthly days. Help me also to embrace the low portion, the low seat, the humiliation that others put upon me.

And, help me to embrace it with a Spirit of Humilityjoining myself to the Suffering CHRIST-CHILD+ , with true thankfulness of heart and meekness of soul.... as I enter into every new situation.... even as I interact with old familiar family, neighbors, and friends. 

Forgive me for fleeing from humiliation... forgive me for refusing to  practice humiliation when THOU+ hast sent it to me for my portion for that hour.


Help me with this, O LORD, that I may with a gladsome heart embrace Thy+ Cross here on earth ..... in order to hear Thy+ Words: "Well done,  good and faithful servant! Enter thou into the Joy of Thy LORD !"

In the Name of JESUS, 
The LORD of the Humble of Heart ,
I pray. 
Amen.    

Straw for the Manger is a necessary thing for the CHRIST-CHILD'S first earthbound bed. Let us provide that straw, as a memorial of good works and repentances, to prepare for HIS+ coming, to remember HIS+ first Advent among the sons of men. For every good deed, kind deed, for every turning the other cheek, for every submission of our tongue to CHRIST JESUS, let us put a straw into the empty manger box and prepare our hearts for the Coming of The LORD.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Straw for the MANGER.... Advent 2011


And she brought forth her firstborn SON+
and wrapped HIM+ in swaddling clothes,
and laid HIM+ in a manger;
because there was no room for them in the inn.
Advent 2011
Straw 1

Straw for the Manger is a necessary thing for the CHRIST-CHILD'S first earthbound bed.   Let us provide that straw, as a memorial of good works and repentances, to prepare for HIS+ coming, to remember HIS+ first Advent among the sons of men. For every good deed, kind deed, for every turning the other cheek, for every submission of our tongue to CHRIST JESUS, let us put a straw into the empty manger box and prepare our hearts for the Coming of The LORD.  

STRAW 1

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of HEAVEN.

Are we living our lives "poor in spirit," ... or do we clamor to have our way in things around the house, on the job, with others at church, etc. ? Do we make certain to give place to others and relinquish our "rights" or our demands , for CHRIST'S sake, Who+ blesses the humble of heart? Are we witnessing for CHRIST in this manner.... or are we the ones who try to control everything and everyone around us?
*
O LORD of the Humble of Heart, 
Help me to stop being "in control" of everything. Help me to work towards what produces GODLY fruit in me, first, and then in others. ... so that others may see THEE+ , not me. Amen.






Saturday, October 15, 2011

The IDENTITY Crisis

~~~ OR ~~~~
Leaving the World of FANTASY and Entering
REALITY in CHRIST 

When we die to Self and live unto CHRIST ( our baptismal vow ), we take on CHRIST and become a New Creature in CHRIST.  That entails a brand new identity, Bless GOD! 

It takes the SPIRIT of GOD to break the stronghold of our earthly identity and to be totally identified with CHRIST JESUS, as one of HIS+. We change our dress, our talk, our life-style, usually our friends, and sometimes the way we earn our living. 

Our identity becomes only one thing: Christian.
We become Single-of-Eye. 

But being human, we soon move away from REALITY+ and  REVERT back to some former identities or even, take on new identities. We become un-Single of Eye. And again, fantasies creep into our inner man.

If we go into ministry, we "become" pastors, missionaries, translators, and teachers, as our identity. We start out doing  all for CHRIST, but we end up thinking of ourselves in terms of what we DO, as defined by our work, our "position" when we relate to othersWe assume a "social" identity along with our Christian identity.  

But, Scripture teaches us that Our GOD is a jealous GOD; only ONE+ can be on the throne of our hearts at a time: us or GOD. Never will HE+ share HIS+ glory.

[ You can test the truth of this: imagine losing your "social" identity. What would be left? Only your identity in CHRIST JESUS. If it is painful to lose your social ( how people see you)  identity, then you can see that Self was on the throne and you are not content to be ONLY identified as CHRIST'S. ]

If we teach school, we do start out "teaching for CHRIST"... but we end up being known as a "teacher" in the inner man! The same is true of nursing or doctoring or farming or ministering.

Our identity becomes
something in
ADDITION TO CHRIST. 

If we become parents, then we become mothers in our inner man... not Christian women who have been assigned the blessed duty of raising children. Our identity again becomes something OTHER than CHRIST. The same is true for fathers.

And, here's the test: When your child or children grow up and leave the home, are you suddenly forlorn and without motive or desire? Does the house have an empty feeling?  If that is the case, then your identity, dear one, has shifted from CHRIST to motherhood (or fatherhood) !

Likewise: If you teach school or are involved in the pastoral or medical fields or running a business or farming.... and it suddenly ends and YOU CAN DO IT NO MORE, does your life feel empty and futile, with no "meaningful" work to do? If that is the case, then your identity has shifted from CHRIST to " something in ADDITION TO CHRIST."

That EMPTINESS,
NO PLACE TO "FIT IN",
I'M USELESS... 
feeling is a sign that your identity has slipped away from CHRIST and onto the temporal, to your destruction; all fanatasy leads to destruction.  

People do NOT give you identity; that is a futility because here is one thing you can DEFINITELY COUNT ON:  people change. Neighbors move, family and friends grow old and die, children grow up and leave. It is impossible  to cling to "how it's been" for security and thus, your place amongst people , your identity.

Work and skills  do not give you identity; that is fantasy.  Companies and systems change, as do their locations. Skilled or not, educated or not, tested or not qualified... the work place changes for everyone; it is in constant flux.

Even being identified as a pastor or minister, missionary or translator makes you un-single of eye. Eventually, you will leave that post, that appointment. If you have no other church to pastor, you will have an identity crisis UNLESS your identity is solely upon CHRIST JESUS the LORD. The same is true for Bible translators and even aging choir members !

Thus, our ONLY identity needs to be in CHRIST JESUS our LORD. Yes, we may and indeed must love and raise our children, we may nurse or teach or farm as our daily assignment. But remember, EVEN THAT DAILY ASSIGNMENT comes from HIM+.

HE+ places us and removes us from the "daily assignment" for three reasons, all of them good:

1. for our own good , growth, and protection
2. for HIS+ glory
3. to further the work in HIS+ Kingdom

Dear ones, search your hearts and establish the RIGHT identity.... that which is found in CHRIST. If you do this WITH ALL YOUR HEART, your children will grow up, move away, and your house will not be empty and your life will still have meaning.  If you do this, public work will come and go,  and it will not affect your sense of worth.

In short, if you  IDENTIFY with CHRIST... if you define yourself ONLY and SOLEY with CHRIST...  instead of with careers, jobs, motherhood or fatherhood, or people-defined functions, you will never experience the crushing loss of identity.

YOUR WORTH , IDENTITY, AND FUNCTION
will be tied up with CHRIST....
as it should have been all along.

+  +  +