Tag Archives: Joy

GLEANINGS FROM THE GEESE

2017-04-13 Geese Up State NY

By Fr Stephen Young

There is something so inspiring about the flight of geese as they wind their way across the morning or evening sky.  Even more incredible and captures our imagination is to watch a flock in the field lift off and almost magically move from randomness into a beautiful and coordinated “V” shaped pattern.

Woven into this ancient flight plan is a deep message that reflects the “V”ictorious life promised by God to those who will follow His flight plan as presented through His Son Jesus.  What lessons can we realize from these magnificent creatures?

FACT:  As geese flap their wings, they create an uplift for the birds that follow.  By flying in the “V” formation the whole flock adds 70% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

LESSON:  People who share a common purpose and direction; who form community, get where they are going quicker and easier.  They lift each other up along the way. Encouragers!!

FACT:  If a goose falls out of formation, it feels the drag and resistance of flying alone.  So it quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

LESSON:  If we have the sense of a goose, we will stay in formation with those committed to the same direction as we are headed.

FACT:  When the lead goose tires, it rotates back in the formation and another takes the point position.

LESSON:  t pays to share leadership and be humble enough to let others take a leadership turn when needed.

FACT:  Geese flying in formation honk to encourage one another and those up front to keep together and keep up the pace. The honking helps keep the pace and momentum.

LESSON:  It is important that we “honk” and that our honking be one of encouragement.

FACT:  When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down other geese drop out of formation to follow it down to help and/or protect it.  They remain until it dies or is able to fly again.

LESSON:  When one of us is down, it’s up to others to stand by us in our time of trouble.

PONDER: Reflect upon these lessons from the Goose.  What scriptures, parables and Biblical precepts are portrayed through their actions?  In Christ and in following in His pattern we do find “V”ictory.

 

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I Can Only Imagine, Counting the Stars

StarsintheskyArticle by Fr. Leo

Photo by Magellanic Cloud Wikipedia

We recently read in the Bible about God asking Abraham to look up in the night sky and count the stars.  Genesis 15:5-6 – “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.  And he believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness.”  Realizing that Abraham was being asked to use his imagination to accomplish the seemingly impossible task of counting stars, reveals a profound example of what it would look like when Abraham sees the fulfillment of this promise.  God uses the number of seemingly infinite stars to fuel Abraham’s imagination concerning the promises.  We read that it is anything but possible when you are looking through the lens of the facts.  In Genesis 15:7 – “And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.”  What is so significant about this event that was going to occur through Abraham, was by this time he was up there in years and Sarah his wife, was no spring chicken herself, as well as she was barren, unable to have children.

For Abraham, not having a son meant that his heritage would not go on.  Not having a son was paramount to him revealing a lifetime of unfulfilled desires that were continuously nagging at his heart and staring him in the face were the facts that told him this was IMPOSSIBLE.  Even if it was just for a moment in time, something amazing takes place, a miracle of the heart.  Genesis 15:6 – “And he believed in the LORD, and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

There is an incredible lesson to be learned here, teaching us about how God works in our lives.  We must ask ourselves what was so pleasing to God.   It was this very act of believing before it even happened.  And what does God do?  He accounts it to Abraham as fulfilling the law of righteousness, in turn, making him the father of faith.  Abraham is an example to all those who are in Christ.  We read in the Epistle to the Romans 4:17 – “(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”  A simple law was fulfilled as God was teaching Abraham to use his imagination and not to believe the facts nor depend on excuses like we all do in the face of impossible odds.  Instead, Abraham teaches us to trust God, knowing that His ways are not our ways; with Christ as our foundation and living by faith in Jesus.  We see evident in 2 Corinthians 4:18 – “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  Abraham was learning to do what God is asking each of us to do, which is to exercise our faith with this incredible gift called our imagination that each one of has available to use.  It says in Mark 11:24 – “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that have received them, and ye shall have them.”  Remembering God is fully able to fulfill his promises to us, Jesus reminds us when he says in Luke 12:32 – “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

As we learn to live by faith, Jesus promises us we will never be disappointed, that it is the father’s pleasure to give you and I the kingdom and that His kingdom is built on the foundation of faith.  It is our small measure of faith in action that relies on HIS grace, through the renewing of our minds.  Titus 3:57– “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Quiet Walk On A Father’s Day

By Fr. Stephen Young

The woven voice of God, so full

  Melodious in currents streaming,

    So deep, so sweet, Our voice compared, so incomplete.

      In Sunday praise, to God we reach,

    But the song of wind and warbler,

  The ear of God they do truly meet,

Holy are they, pure and clean.

We gather, seeking a wilderness temple,

  Revealed to all, its veil now opened,

    We priests enjoin the sacrifice,

      Immersed, renewed by the Laver’s water

      Entering now the Presence, God’s sacred Presence.

    Off with shoes!

  Knees to earth,

This is truly Holy ground.

Shekinah Glory, a pollen mist,

  An incense blessing from brother pine,

    Fills the sanctuary in benediction,

      Holy, Holy, Holy; Lord God Almighty!

      Oh Father, seen in winter’s ice,

    Your Son heard in the many waters,

  And Holy Spirit felt through morning mist,

The essence of a triune God.

A rainbow’s promise in color proclaims,

  By red, the Lamb of love was slain,

    By yellow our redemption claimed,

      By blue the Comforter ordained.

      An empty cocoon; an empty tomb,

    The stone rolled back,

  Life from death; Love and hope,

A mystery, a miracle, a resurrection!

My naked feet upon the earth, intrude,

  Foreigners yes, but strangers not,

    From dust, I came,

      And to dust, I shall return.

But till that Day, that glorious day,

  For which all creation waits,

    I will tend the garden precious,

      Walking and talking to the One I know,

        Who loves me so, my Abba Father

On this our Father’s Day. 

Please feel free to share how God has expressed Himself to you through His “Book of Nature” as we walk and talk together in the garden with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, anticipating the coming of Christ and the new heaven and new earth!

OPENING THE BOOK OF NATURE

 “Ponderings from Patmos”hugh-taylor-birch-park_0340

Nature is the Father’s most perfect word picture book where the invisible is made visible and the unknowable made knowable.  God makes Himself available through the Book of Nature so clearly that even a child might come to understand who He is.

As the ancients used hieroglyphics to document their story, so to God depicts His story through the pictures and patterns of the created universe.  The very heavens proclaim His glory and make known His message of love and restoration.

In Genesis, when God spoke, His voice, His energy, and life moved over the waters.  It is a strange but compelling visual, as the “deep” already existed at the beginning of the Genesis account.  The invisible power of God moved through the visible element of water, which gave us God’s first-word picture as He began to reveal the most awesome love story ever created.

As a young Christian, at the age of 31, I loved the Word of God and knew faith came by hearing that Word.  No matter how much I studied and listened to the Word being taught, I had come to a real roadblock in my walk with the Lord.  I was at an impasse that seriously affected my understanding of God.  I could not grasp the Trinity.  I prayed.   I studied.   I listened, but my dilemma grew.

Often as a young man, I would journey into the woods or go to the ocean whenever faced with life’s troubling moments.  In those times of doubt and conflict, there were many voices but nothing made sense and the path to clarity was hidden from me.

My spiritual struggle becomes pronounced with no solution in sight.  So on a late April day in the mountains of Vermont, I hiked into a nearby wilderness area seeking that place where I could just ponder the things of God, as Mary had done so long ago.  “How could she be with child not having known a man?”  “How could The Lord thy God be One, but in three persons?”

I sat for the longest time on a rock by the side of the river.  The sun rose above the trees and shone brightly upon me where I rested.  There was still snow on the bank of the stream and ice along the edge of the water, but in the middle, the current was now free-flowing in the warmth of the spring sun.  It was a magical moment as I sat on the edge of time when winter dies, and spring is born. My eyes were overwhelmed by such beauty flooding the windows of my soul!

And then a mystery was revealed to me!  As I studied the small stream with the rays of the sun streaming down, a mist began to rise from the place where the ice remained on the edge of the river.  The voice of God rang in my inner ear as my eyes beheld His revelation being made plain to me by His book of nature!  There, where the water, the ice, and the vapor all assembled, I could now believe that the Lord thy God is one God in three persons and that the one element H2O, is three forms, ice, water, and vapor!!  The Word from Genesis, God’s voice moving over the water; water in the natural, gives testimony to the spiritual nature of God Himself.  Even a child, a child like me, in that moment could understand.

Thus began my introduction to the Book of Nature, God began to confirm His written Word through The Word made visual; the greatest show and tell, presented by the great Teacher Himself.

“Some people, in order to discover God, read books. But there is a great book: the very appearance of created things. Look above you! Look below you! Note it. Read it. God, whom you want to discover, never wrote that book with ink. Instead, He set before your eyes the things that He had made. Can you ask for a louder voice than that?”   (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Fr Stephen Young

Listen Carefully

hugh-taylor-birch-park_0320“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”

These words, written by the great author George Washington Carver at the turn of the 20th century, are being rediscovered by a new generation of Christians and those seeking something deeper than the materialistic philosophy of the modern world.  In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the whole earth, in fact, the whole universe, was seen at that time as a living icon, which reflects the very face and purpose of God.  In no place was His voice more clear and authentic than within His very creation.  The patriarchs, saints, and Jesus himself had a deep understanding of the rich spiritual lessons learned through that still, quiet voice which spoke to their souls within the sacred places of nature.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, humanity’s basic desire is still to know God.  Nature, as a visual and tangible expression of God’s Being, is not only TEACHER and HEALER but also part of the PROPHETIC VISION.  As TEACHER, it manifests love and wisdom, yet while inspiring, it can be stern, just and uncompromising.  As HEALER, it is regenerative and uplifting when entered with respect, humility, reverence and an open heart for God.  As PROPHETIC VISION, it declares the divine reality and eternal power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thus the church today, more than ever, cries out to rediscover the mystery of nature’s sacred places. Sacred gardens exist for those who would have the courage to seek them out and those who would be open to receive the loving voice of the Father, whose voice speaks of peace and reconciliation.

“The parallel between nature and scripture is so complete; we must necessarily believe that the person who is asking questions of nature and the person who is asking questions of Scripture are bound to arrive at the same conclusions.”  (St. Origen)

St. Origen, how does one begin to open the “Book of Nature?”  By walking into nature’s library.  Go find a natural place.  Enter in.  Sit and be silent for one hour and in that one hour, the entire collection in God’s heavenly library will be opened up to you offering you a lifetime of exploration and discovery.

Fr. Stephen Young

James: A Covenant People

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James 1:1 is encouraging the household of faith “Israel” the twelve tribes, meaning you and me, those that have received the revelation, as born again spirit filled Christians. We are called Spiritual Israel; Ephesians 2:8 for by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God, those that are called, fulfilling God’s desire to dwell within each of us in a covenant relationship. The most important reason for Jesus being Crucified on the Cross and Rising from the dead, was to fulfill and establishing this New Covenant as prophesied, Jeremiah 31:31- 33 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the LORD: however, this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. As it is written in 1 Peter 2:9 Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; with Jesus as our High Priest… Again this is whom James is writing to, the brides and the priesthood of the New Covenant that what ratified by a covenant confirming meal at the last supper, and by the sprinkling of very blood as our High Priest, Jesus the anointed messiah. This is the meal as recorded in Matthew 26:26-28 as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. Moreover, he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. What sins you may ask? The sins against the covenant, that was broken all the way back in the book Exodus as referenced in Jeremiah!

Understanding the context of his letter! Realizing why James is encouraging the brethren by saying “count it all Joy” because we are participating in the work of the covenant, as a kingdom of Priests and Brides participating with our High Priest Jesus sharing in His suffering along with and his brother James, establishing the kingdom of God throughout the scattered tribes of Israel. James writes in James 1:2 my brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; the Joys is a result of the knowledge of knowing the reason for the struggle on a personal and a corporate level, James describes in his Epistle that the trying of your faith works patience, Letting patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

James reminds us to ask for in prayer without wavering single-minded, and it shall be given to you we can be bold asking for wisdom because it is Gods desire that we would have this wisdom offering it to us liberally.

He also warns us that a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and when we are unstable in our thinking James 1:7 we should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Remember crowns are for a Kingly people with dominion over a kingdom, this is something that we lost when the covenant was broken, and with the establishment of the New Covenant Jesus gives us dominion, and shared authority in His kingdom, it is shared through enduring the trials and temptations of this life.

See you Thursday evening for online CCO Bible Study @ 7:45 PM Click for Info! 

“KICK OFF EVENT”

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Don’t Miss the, CCO Word study

“KICK OFF EVENT”

September 29th @ 7:45pm

It’s sure to be a blessed evening,

as we get together online

for this amazing event

to studying Gods Word!

Invite a Friend & Share this Invitation

LINK TO FACEBOOK EVENT CCO WORD STUDY 

Matt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Click on the Link…JOIN US ONLINE:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/813379136

This year the CCO WORD Study will focus on the Epistles of the New Testament. These are formal letters of instruction, written by the Apostle’s Paul, John, Peter, Jude & James the brother of Jesus; these letters were drafted to instruct, remind & encourage, the leaders and members of the early Church.
What is contained in these fantastic letters are gems, which will change your life and the lives of those you minister to.

Bishop Jonathan Will be teaching Topical subjects, focusing building Gods kingdom in our hearts.

Fr Paul Will be teaching on the Twelve Sons of Jacob and their meaning for our lives.

Reuben = “behold a son”
Simeon = “heard”
Levi = “joined to”
Judah = “praised”
Dan = “a judge”
Naphtali = “wrestling”
Gad = “troop”
Asher = “happy”
Issachar = “there is recompense”
Zebulun = “exalted”
Joseph = “Jehovah has added”
Benjamin = “son of the right hand”

Included will be a variety guest of speakers from within & outside our Community bringing an encouraging word throughout the year.

This is sure to be a blessed year, as we anticipate Jesus being formed more fully in our hearts.

We encourage you to join us online
Thursday, September 29th 7:45 pm
as we kick off the new year with
teaching and instruction from God’s Word.

Click on the Link…JOIN US ONLINE:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/813379136

Be Blessed
Fr Leo

 

 

THE CREATIVE ACT OF PRAYER, TWO

Part 2 of a Three-Part Series

dsc07194The Spirit Moved

The very first creative act is in Genesis 1:2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Waters being analogous to (consciousness) to begin the process of releasing the instructions for life. You and I, being formed in His likeness and His image, He Gods anticipates even today that we will participate in the very act of creation itself by following His lead.

The Word of God reveals to us in Genesis 1:2 – when He moved upon the face of the waters in the formless emptiness before anything existed, the Spirit of God (Strong’s H7307) the emotional mind of God, the wind, the breath of God. When we break it down to its verbal root (Strong’s H7306revealing the inner intention of the author meaning to smell, scent, perceive, and accept. This scent, the perceived reflective feelings is what MOVES (Strong’s H7363) Meaning to grow soft, relax to flutter over His brood, illustrating how God moves over the face of the waters, what the author is trying to say is, God with His directed motion (emotion) moved on what is defined as collective and individual consciousness He is teaching us that all of creation, all change, is a result of focused desire, a desire that originated out of Gods inner self.

God Said

Inner Speech is the heart and minds ability to put forth thoughts in the inner man. We see this in Genesis 1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. When God said (Strong’s H559) meaning to say in one’s heart, to think with emotion, let there be light. Another Hebrew word that operates in the very same way is the verb Siyach (Strong’s H7878), meaning to mediate, prayer, and meditation, to put forth thoughts. Interestingly this is the same word for the noun for a plant or bush with the idea of spring forth with growth from within we see this idea in Genesis 2:5 when scripture is describing again in Genesis 1:2 the Void of nothingness that actually only existed in Gods imagination before man was formed and placed in the Garden of Eden. When we muse and ponder on this verse we soon realize that God is teaching us that we have the same ability, to use your imagination, when we (Strongs H7880Siyach (pray, muse, meditate, put forth thoughts) it is these thoughts that form what we experience, in this manifested existence, that we know today as life. We soon come to the understanding that the very act of “prayer is a creative act of thanksgiving, not a form of begging” as we have been taught in our western culture and have come to except then wonder why our prayers are not answered.

When you think about it, we are already very familiar with these creative thoughts, each one of us experiences this inner dialog of “putting forth thoughts” all the time. These thoughts include conscious, willful thoughts, and our unconscious assumptions and beliefs. These thoughts can be positive or negative, they are dictating or moods, meaning our state of mind. When they are negative, these thoughts make us feel defeated, frustrated, even bring on depression and anxiety. This is what it means to Siyach (Strongs H7880 “put forth thoughts.” One example is in Job 3:25 – For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. Could it be that Job set the stage, though his inner dialog, he participated in his own act of creation that manifested reality based on what he was afraid of? Interesting enough this is how the book of Job starts then by Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do everything and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Here we see the word mĕzimmah a word mostly used for negative thoughts (Strong’s H4209with all that Job has gone through he comes to the realization that no thought is hidden from God, when you look at its verbal root zamam (Strong’s H2161here again we see the creative power of inner speech with thought, devise, plan, consider, purpose in the imagination to have a thought, generally this word is used mostly in a negative sense, but it can be used for good as well, it reads in Psalms 17:3 Thou hast proved my heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed (Strong’s H2161that my mouth shall not transgress. The word of God is revealing the willful discipline of a purposed heart. By the end of the story, Job realizes with a repentant heart, Job 42:5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye seeth thee. With all the trials that God allowed Job to go through he learns to know God by experience, thought perception, with his Inner man, in other words, his imagination. Another word that will help us to understand this creative force that has a continues effect in our lives, collectively and individually is the Hebrew word for conversation, a good example is Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation (Strong’s H1870) derek aright will I shew the salvation of God. Another excellent example can be found in Proverbs 3:6 in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Again we see the use of the word derek (Strong’s H1870when Solomon teaches us to acknowledge God in all our ways, meaning way, road, distance, journey, manner, in this context it is referring to the journey of the inner man through the path of our thoughts in the imagination.

Jesus opens the same door for each of us by his death and resurrection; He gives to each of us the opportunity for a renewed mind. We read in Ephesians 1:17-18 when referring to the eyes of our understating Paul is talking about the inner eye of our Imagination (Strong’s G1271also in the book of Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The heart as revealed in (Strong’s G2588is the fountain and seat of the thoughts. Scripture is talking about the kingdom of God that is within, and the power of a renewed mind in Christ as a result of the resurrection Ephesian 1:20-23 God lifts up our imagination and uses it for good, and for positive change in our life and the lives of all around us.

Go to: Part 3 of a Three-Part Series