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Archive for the ‘Saints’ Category

Entered into this Life on November 30, 1950
Entered His Heavenly Home on December 22, 2010

One of the questions I would always ask James was, “Brother, how is it with your soul?” He would always respond, “It is well with my soul.” In our last face-to-face conversation, just days before he went to be with the Lord, I asked the same question and he responded this time, this last time on this side of eternity, “It is very well with my soul!”

It was refreshing to see a man face the end of his earthly life with such peace and courage. The Book of Homilies includes a sermon entitled “AN EXHORTATION AGAINST THE FEAR OF DEATH.” I believe it was written by ++Cranmer. This statement was true of James:

And we ought to believe that death, being slain by Christ, cannot keep any man that steadfastly trusteth in Christ under his perpetual  tyranny and subjection, but that he shall rise from death again unto glory at the last day, appointed by Almighty God, like as Christ our Head did rise again, according to God’s appointment, the third day.

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Prayers for Asia Bibi

At the second service on Sunday, our dear brother Sam Jackson prayed for Asia Bibi who is under a death sentence in Pakistan accused of blasphemy. According to reports, she stood firm in her faith in Christ when she was commanded to denounce him. On June 19, there was an intense discussion among Asia and some Muslim women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam, and, according to VOM sources, Asia responded by telling the Muslim women that Christ died on the cross for our sins. She told them Jesus is alive. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them.

On Nov. 8, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death by a judge in Pakistan, according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. The judge also fined Asia $1,190 (U.S.) and told her she had seven days to appeal the decision. VOM contacts said Asia’s attorney does plan to appeal the sentence. Pray for Asia and her family during this difficult time. Pray that God will turn the heart of the judge in his hand and that Asia’s appeal will be successful. Pray that Christians in Pakistan will continue to stand for Christ.

Here is video clip recorded in Pakistan today. Her husband asks us to get the word out and pray for our dear sister in the Lord to be released soon.

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In 96, Clement, a student of Paul (referenced in Philippians 4:3) and 1st Bishop of Rome, wrote a letter to the church in Corinth. In light of our sermon series on 2 Corinthians, it’s an interesting read. You can find the text for this slightly apocryphal book here:  http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1010.htm

I was quite moved by the description of St. Paul’s death in chapter 5:

Owing to envy, Paul also obtained   the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity,  compelled   to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness  to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west,  and suffered martyrdom under the prefects.  Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy  place, having proved  himself a striking example of patience.

What great lengths St. Paul permitted himself to go to for the sake of the Gospel – even unto death.

I’ve also been reflecting on chapters 46 and 47. Even after Paul’s ministry to them, the Corinthians still were a mess. For example:

Your schism has subverted [the faith  of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continues.

They were set on division. They were set on doing it their own way. They were set on criticizing those appointed to shepherd them. They did not understand the significance of the covering of their leaders.

Take up the epistle of the blessed  Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the gospel  first began to be preached?  Truly, under the inspiration  of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos,  because even then parties  had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities  were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession,  that such a thing should be heard of as that the most steadfast and ancient church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. And this rumour has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected  with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.

Despite being shepherded by great, spirit-led leaders, they seem bent on defying spiritual authority in their lives. Unity is not easily achieved. Truly, it is good and pleasant when brothers dwell in unity! (Psalm 133:1). For, most of the time, harmony and concord are fleeting and sedition and pride are the norm. After all, the first brotherhood ended with fratricide didn’t it?

Perhaps we should not be surprised that theme of one-ness dominates the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17. We join with our Lord to pray for one-ness in the Church.

Almighty Father, whose blessed Son before his passion prayed for his disciples that they might be one, even as thou and he are one: Grant that thy Church, being bound together in love and obedience to thee, may be united in one body by the one Spirit, that the world may believe in him whom thou didst send, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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augustineI subscribe to americancatholic.org’s Catholic Saint of the Day. Today’s saint is St. Augustine (354 – 430).

What a great quote:
“Too late have I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within, and I abroad, and there I searched for you; I was deformed, plunging amid those fair forms, which you had made. You were with me, but I was not with you. Things held me far from you—things which, if they were not in you, were not at all. You called, and shouted, and burst my deafness. You flashed and shone, and scattered my blindness. You breathed odors and I drew in breath—and I pant for you. I tasted, and I hunger and thirst. You touched me, and I burned for your peace” (St. Augustine, Confessions).

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