Saturday, November 5, 2011

On Resisting Spiritual Schizophrenia

Those who deny the existence of God,
or who desire to change ancient boundaries,
risk the future of society,
as though throwing it up into the air
and they watch, with baited breath, as it comes crashing down to earth.
They think that a parachute may appear and,
if not,
that the landing will be spectacular.
The observing theist is left to pray
that God has adequately planned for this
juvenile delinquency.

O Lord, forgive us for lightly casting aside our heritage, for denying the value of old-time religion, for imagining that new ideas are always better and for refusing to seek out the ancient paths to wisdom. Forgive us for the hurt we have done to ourselves, and to others, because of our failure to follow your guidance. Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on us!

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that one in five persons suffer from mild forms of mental distress. One in ten will suffer a major crisis at some point in their life. One in a hundred will suffer actual schizophrenia. This is an epidemic that is rarely spoken about in our churches. It reveals a crisis in spiritual as well as mental health. Indeed, has deficient theological practice contributed to the poor mental health of Canadians? Have our leaders been seduced by empty philosophies hidden behind high-sounding theologies which promise salvation according to man's wisdom? Is it possible that flawed theological beliefs may have contributed to the lacklustre experience which many have suffered at the hands of the 'mental health system'?

Louis Weil wrote in 1983,
‘Our inherited attitude toward the liturgical act reflects a kind of schizoid state. We hear but do not really hear. The liturgy is an encapsulated experience, entered into in isolation from real human experiences. It does not connect with the real world because it has been shaped by a piety which is often consciously an escape from the pressures of the real world. Liturgical time is seen as ‘holy time’ working according to its own laws, and feeding our hunger and thirst for God. But it does not connect for the great majority of our people with the real choices of daily life.’

So-called 'liberal Christianity' has revealed itself to be nothing but a modern heresy, its chief cause and symptom being an artificial separation, divorce even, between theological study and practice. For many years, "seminary and divinity school students (have) complained that practical courses lack intellectual rigor and that scholarly courses seem irrelevant to their vocational and professional goals. The classical fourfold curriculum (church history, biblical, systematic and practical theology) creates an enormous gap between the academic and practical aspects of a ministerial curriculum. Just as important, this standard curriculum eliminates theology from the core of both practical and academic studies. Theology as a theoretical discipline appears disconnected from the skills needed to be a successful parish pastor. Theology as an inquiry emerging from faith and piety appears to lack the marks of an impartial and critical discipline." - from Making Theology Central in Theological Education by Dr. Ronald F. Thiemann, 1987, Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Mass.

The delayed adolescence of young adults has been widely observed.
Are today's students as prepared as those of previous generations when they enter Bible colleges or seminaries?

In Christian Education and Evangelism, Donald G. Stewart comments that,
“Emotional pressures are adapted to the use of those who wish to impose what to think without regard to how to think…Teaching the young those aspects of religious doctrine which are beyond their intellectual capacity and relevant experience to understand and to assimilate often lays the groundwork for emotional collapse and serious mental disorder of which guilt complexes and disabling fear are the symptoms.”

Jesus saw no artificial distinction between spiritual and physical illness. The New Testament reveals a comprehensive approach in His ministry including healing, teaching and preaching. This suggests a need to consider recombining the medical and spiritual methods of healing that are used in our communities today. We need to recognize all aspects of our health. Clergy have told me that even today, unless they are planning to become a chaplain, they may only receive three or four days devoted to mental health in the whole of their formal education. The care and cure of souls has been neglected and largely replaced by client-centered therapies, removed from the oversight of the church.

Illness or disease is usually attributed to viral or bacterial causes, bad genes, environmental pollution, addiction, substance abuse or simple inability to deal with stress. Yet there is a very real redemptive connection between spirituality and medicine. 'When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.'

Paul counsels us,'Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.'

He also clearly warns that 'the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their nonspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.'

...'For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ we are brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him we were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Our whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when we were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which we were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.'

I write, with trepidation, as one who has experienced the turmoil of coming to Christ in the midst of a mental health crisis. I've known both the ecstasy and despair of faith in the midst of severe illness. I ask the forbearance of the reader. I know some have taken their own lives in their attitude of hopelessness, assuming that nobody cared enough to listen to their struggles and come alongside! I speak boldly yet with humility knowing that many others have similar concerns. Let us open our ears and our hearts to one another.

I grew up with what I always thought was a healthy respect for authority, trying to do my best to obey parents and teachers. When I was at University from 1974 to 1979, society had become exceedingly fractious and rebellious. In January of my senior year I had a dramatic manic episode which required medical care and which left me unable to continue my classes. In March of that year, 1978, three days after deciding to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I was hospitalized for six more weeks.

I remember singing God's praises in the hospital hallways, but visits from family and clergy didn't stop my feeling abandoned by my Christian friends. I did benefit, later on, from some Holy Spirit-inspired teaching, and received a measure of healing through the ministry of the Order of St. Luke the Physician, but found little practical discipleship training in the Church.

I still identify with the testimony of Horatius Bonar, the Scottish minister who lived in the nineteenth century who wrote in one of his hymns,
'I heard the voice of Jesus say, "Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down, thy head upon My breast."
I came to Jesus as I was, weary and worn and sad;
I found in Him a resting-place, And He has made me glad.'

It's easy to receive gladness but more difficult to accept love.

The Ancient Paths Seminar (see ) does a good job of explaining the relationship between spirit and soul and body, and can provide room for the Holy Spirit to minister to the seminar participant.

In North America, our crisis involves a failure of our leaders to demonstrate the practice of godly Love. Christians are often ready to give theological arguments or lectures to persons in distress when prayerful listening, guidance and encouragement would be more useful.

For someone who is experiencing a major crisis, the ability to communicate with others can be seriously compromised. There is often awareness on the part of the sufferer that he faces a spiritual problem even if he’s never heard a sermon or darkened the path of a Christian in his entire life. Even today, the well-meaning Christian health worker or chaplain sometimes does not understand that confused religious garbling can be both a sign of illness and at the same time a sign of the struggle toward health. According to Anton Theophilus Boisen, who lived from 1876 to 1965, 'certain types of mental illness could be understood as attempts to solve problems of the soul, and that some patients can find a cure in the power of religion'. Boisen's ideas served as the foundation of modern clinical pastoral education.

The patient's struggle is between good and evil, between light and darkness, fire and smoke, clarity and confusion. The immediate practical problem is not solved by throwing the bandaged person back into society without dealing with root issues. Spiritual counsel and support is essential for a timely healing process. In the person at risk, there is a combined action from diverse internal and external sources, which works toward either disintegration or wholeness.

Christians have generally tried to reach out to those suffering from psychiatric illness, addictions and homelessness through inner-city missions and other agencies. How can we develop and nurture networks between our churches so that individuals can remain connected with the Christian community even while suffering crises?

Some bishops and clergy have failed to provide the biblical teaching and support necessary to combat the schizophrenic tendencies of our post-modern society with its speculative ideologies, but our God is sovereignly able to heal even a double-minded, schizophrenic people. The Lord our God is mighty to save and the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church! He knows what He's doing! The Lord is shaking His Church, moving His people in Spirit, truth and power. May our bishops and clergy share openly with each other and with their people those concerns which God has placed on the hearts of His people.

Servant leadership and the practice of Love as modelled by Jesus is at the heart the gospel! St. Paul cautioned against replacing grace with law. We must not exchange love for 'theological correctness'.

Some of our bishops have refused to allow ordained ministers from other countries to speak or teach here in North America. Yet, is it not a parody of the Christian faith when the descendants of those who received the faith from our missionary ancestors are refused the joy of returning to share with us the lessons they have learned of the Lord. If we say we 'believe in the Communion of Saints' we must be willing to receive ministry from Anglicans and other Christians from outside our local church, parish or diocese. Not only so when we invite them to come to us for instruction, but likewise when they are compelled by the love of Christ to visit us for exhortation or rebuke, without prior invitation, no less! This is just as true locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.

While we must respect Archbishops, Bishops and Clergy and Professors of Theology, we do not place them above the authority of Scripture. Their proper authority is limited solely to that which the godly layperson recognizes and allows to be agreeable to biblical counsel. Some Christians have intentionally stayed away from theological revisionism and have chosen lay ministry as being more effective, pursuing self-directed study, welcoming independent counsel and only occasionally partaking of institutional academic teachings.

Does the ritualism which has become commonplace in our churches offer any genuine guidance and sustenance for the Christian life? Are we truly prepared for God to speak and move among us in our weekly and daily worship and service? As lay people, we should not be afraid to do whatever it is the Lord is calling us to say and do especially in those situations where man, whether secular or religious, tries to prevent us. All of us, all who believe God, are called to arise in faith to stand up with the gospel. We’re called to set an example for our fellow believers who need to be challenged to take risks in faith. If those in need around us are starving, it’s unacceptable to sit on the rich food supply. We think we must wait for the food inspector to give a certificate of approval before we can unseal the crate and give out its contents. This is what we often feel compelled to do because we have an unhealthy and unbiblical deference to so-called authority. We must all together recover a spirit of joyful obedience to God. We must speak, pray, shout, sing, demonstrate and declare the gospel truth in all its fullness. Scripture clearly calls all Christians to love and serve their fellows and through them their community. If we are being forced into independence, perhaps the Lord is helping us grow up! How else do mature believers and new Christians grow in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit?

Let us put our whole trust in Jesus!
Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered! (Psalm 68:1)
Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. (Jer 6:16)

Let us work toward structural renewal. Let us repent of our sin and pray for the cleansing, reconciling, restoring grace of the Holy Spirit to be supremely evident in us. Let us share the message of the cross. Let us make known the power of the atoning blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. Lord, we ask for revival in our churches and may it begin with us and all who read your Living Word. Let none of us allow ourselves to be separated from God or from those among whom we live. Let us not be double-minded. 'As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, we are, after all, to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We're to bear with each other and forgive one another if anyone has a grievance against someone. And over all these virtues let us put on love, which binds us all together in perfect unity.' Forgive us Lord, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us. May God help us walk humbly but boldly through the open doors before us, following gladly those of our leaders who are not afraid to follow the Lion of Judah, the Lord Jesus, the One and only Savior! Dissent, as per Latimer, Ridley, Wesley and many others, is an established Anglican tradition.

The French version of The Canadian national anthem includes the lines,
‘Car ton bras sait porter l'épée, Il sait porter la croix! Ton histoire cette un épopée des plus brillant exploits.’
translated as: 'For your arm knows how to carry the sword, (and)...the cross. Your history is an epic story (filled with) great exploits.'
May God restore His glory and freedom to His people and help us to stand on guard for our country. May we all take our full part in the Work of God: the salvation of sinners and the healing of the nations. Let’s take up our cross, using the sword of the Spirit to make our lives full of exploits for Jesus. Whatever your national origin, let’s stand together for His righteousness and truth.

In JESUS’ Name,
Richard Alastair ..., BSc.
baptized in Loughborough, England
confirmed in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
presently serving Him, (October 2012), in Toronto, Canada

At the foot of the holy cross

This is a French version of the well known hymn -
Jesus keep me near the cross.
The lyrics differ somewhat but the theology remains intact.
Let us be found  at the foot of the cross, au pied de la sainte croix...


Au pied de la sainte croix,
Jaillit la fontaine
Du salut que je reçois,
Grâce souveraine.


  Ô Sauveur, Rédempteur,
  C'est par toi que je vis;
  C’est dans le sang de la croix
  Que je me confie.

Seigneur, le sang de ta croix
Mes péchés effaces,
Tu me le dis, je le crois :
«N'y a du mal pas de trace »

D'etre assis au pied de ta croix
est mon bon partage,
C’est là que j’entends ta voix
Tu me dis : courage !

Jusqu’au bout, la sainte croix
Sera mon seul thème,
Car près d’elle, j’entrevois
Au loin le paradis même.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

What Time Is It?

What will you do when the earth begins to shake?

Scripture has warnings for us, chief among them, the coming Day of judgement.

Over nineteen hundred years ago Jesus told the Jews that the time was near.

Many years before His day, the prophet Elijah fears for his life, runs from Jezebel and is told by the Lord's messenger (or angel) to go and stand on the mountain before the LORD.

And behold, the LORD passes by! ( WOW )

And a great and strong wind rends the mountains and breaks in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind.

And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing ( a whisper).

Have you heard that whisper, that voice of the Lord saying,
'Come, before it's too late. Won't you come to the marriage supper of the Lamb?'
'Don't you know that all who receive me will be welcome because the supper is for me and my bride.'

Turn away from the world, from the flesh, and from the devil and his deceptions.

Come to Jesus, take his yoke, learn of Him, receive His peace and rest.

The supper is for the Lord and His bride, no guests but the angels.

Will you be at the bright table or in the outer darkness?

Choose your judgement!

Still we say the time is near. Take heed! Make no delay.

What time do you have?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Plight of Asia Bibi, a Christian - the symbol of violence against women in Pakistan

The Pakistani Church and Indian Christians launch an appeal on behalf of the 45-year-old woman sentenced to death for blasphemy. On International Women’s Day, she has become the iconic figure of “the status of women in the country”. A Catholic activist urges the international community and Pakistan’s civil society to “bring about positive changes”.

Islamabad (AsiaNews) – Asia Bibi symbolises a generation of Pakistani women who, behind bars, in the home or in everyday life, are victims of abuse, violence and discrimination. It is incumbent on everyone to remember this woman on this day. A Christian mother, she is on death row for blasphemy, waiting for her appeal. Her fate goes beyond the normal obligations associated with International Women’s Day. It provides in fact an opportunity to give a voice to all those women who, from predominantly Muslim nations to the West, are victims of gender discrimination. To keep hope alive for Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Church and Indian Christians have launched an appeal for her release, and the repeal of discriminatory legislation like the infamous ‘black law’.
Contacted by AsiaNews, Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Catholic Church of Pakistan, said that Asia Bibi (pictured) is in a “very sad” situation. Her predicament does not “represents only an individual case of discrimination, but has become a symbol,” he said, “for all those behind bars, or in apparent freedom” who are victims “of human rights violations”.

On International Women’s Day, he hopes that “people will remember these women,” who are silently enduring “discrimination because of their sex or professed faith”. For Peter Jacob, 8 March is one of those dates “that everyone should remember for all these sad events, which are symptomatic of the bitter reality that characterises Pakistan today.”

Asia Bibi, 45, mother of five, is in the women’s wing of Sheikhupura prison (Punjab). She is under constant death threats by Muslim fundamentalists. As she waits for her appeal trial, it “is very important for the international community not to forget,” the NCJP director said, whilst “promoting good relations with Pakistani civil society.” We must work together to “bring about positive changes in the country”.

Indian Christians have also joined the Pakistani Church in demanding Asia Bibi’s release and the repeal of the blasphemy law. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has called for an “international resolution” against the ‘black law’, which Pakistan “refuses to abolish”.

For the Christian organisation, International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to propose and strengthen human and political rights as well as gender equality, whilst supporting “women’s struggles around the world”.

Pakistan, which is located in South Asia, has a population o 180 million people, with an annual growth rate of 2.2 per cent, and a natural increase of 2.3/100. Life expectancy is 66.5 per men, and 67.2 per women. At this pace and in the not so distant future, Pakistan should become the most populous Muslim nation, surpassing Indonesia.

About 75 per cent of Pakistanis are Sunni Muslim, whilst 20 per cent are Shia. Christians are under 2 per cent.

The literacy rate is 46.3 per cent, 61 per cent for men and 35 per cent for women. Many young people attend madrassas, fundamentalist Qur‘anic schools, which have become recruiting centres for suicide bombers. Still, female education has experienced some improvement in recent years as families realise the value of educated daughters. In 2008, public spending on education stood at 2.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Unemployment stands at 6.6 per cent of the population; however, 32 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line. (DS)

Monday, February 14, 2011

A site worth visiting

Just click on the following for an interesting article on spiritual schizophrenia:
Life as God sees it Today: SPIRITUAL SCHIZOPHRENIA:

 "SPIRITUAL SCHIZOPHRENIA I PAID FOR YOU, BUT HOW MUCH OF YOU, DO I REALLY OWN? The salvation of your soul cost Me my life. I paid for your s..."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lost Lady and my reply copied from the blog: Musings of a Christian Psychologist

Lost Lady
January 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm
Hello to All of you and thanks for your comments and information. It is so helpful to read about what others are going through. I am still trying, after decades and decades, to understand what happened to me. I guess I would like to know if my brain was damaged from birth, or the head injury at age 11, or was my brian changed by all the stress of my family life, molestation by a neighbor, incest, depressed parents, bipolar brother, being gang-raped and beaten at a young age and then having my folks dislike me and blame me for stuff that happened to me and to them. Then, I spent years in a Girl’s Institution that was VERY scary for me. And, of course, all that (and more) was compounded by the confusion of not being accepted by others that I tried to be friends with. (Except the guys, of course, —I was such an easy target. I suppose it was obvious that I was “damaged goods” and would believe any lie that I thought might get me some affection, —and PROTECTION.)
So, I have muddled through this rather long life and usually figured out how to cover up and do “the Look-Good.” But, not being myself, –not being able to tell the truth, has cost a lot. Of course, I was stupid about it for a long time, and didn’t let people get to know me much before testing the waters. But when I accepted Christ as Savior a long time ago I thought church would be a safe place to be myself. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch! I kept thinking I just had not found a real Christian group yet, and I looked, and looked, and joined a Christian Cult (When the leader died they expected him to be raised after 3 days. Whoooo, boy!) Then, I took my two little kids to a Christian commune, where they both got molested, –One by the guy in charge. And to show I’m not quite right, I guess, I am still wanting for God to arrange that somebody from there would apologize to me for their sin and stupidity. Sometimes, I just don’t know how to believe in God. That commune was kind of the closest I came to a family.
I know I have such a ways to go, if I live that long. I am in counseling, AGAIN, for about the 15th time, with a Christian guy who has experienced severe grief in his own life. And I found an odd, old Psychiatrist, who listened when I told him how EXTREMELY sensitive to meds I am. (I have tried just about all of them, for depression and anxiety, and then I have to find something to keep me from ramping up and not sleeping. YES, I have asked many docs over and over again if I could be bi-polar and the answer has always been no.)
Anyway, this guy has put me one an interesting dose: smash us two 10 mg. Prozac and add to a quart of some acid-based liquid, such as apple juice , and take ONE TEASPOON per day. I wonder if he is conning me and if I tell him it has helped he will just write me off. Well, it did seem to help me from sliding down into the Black Hole, but after 6 weeks or so I could feel the bad stuff coming on, so I added some L-Tryptophan, 500 mg., broken in 2 or 3 pieces and took one piece every day or so. It kept me from going under, I think. I’ve been feeling more and more that the Self I’ve kept hidden for all these decades is trying to escape to the open and I’m saying some things that are making other people uncomfortable, like, “Excuse me, I’ve been at this job for 10 years and you are not giving me the same raise everyone else got?” (They’ve tolerated my slight oddness all this time, I think, because I come when needed.) Now, I just want to get on—-get on with whatever! God just couldn’t have put me here to suffer and question and hide. I don’t even have the “Look Good” anymore ’cause I’m too dang old! Ha! Serves me right. I depended on that way too long. Now, I just want to be real. I just want to really know that God cares, –that it’s not too late for me to be ME, whatever that is. Hey, I’ve never said so much in one place in my life, except in counseling, so I hope somebody just can say, “Hey, I heard ya,” or “Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking and even if there is no answer this side of Heaven you will end up with a good Relationship with the Best Man in the whole universe.” One really good days, I believe and perceive that to be the Truth, but on bad days, and there are too many, I am so tired that I just want to be done. Sounds like there are a lot of you out there that feel that way. I wish I could just bust out with a smile and show up at Salvation Army dining room and say, “Here I am, all ready to help! I got an MI, but I promise not to let it spill over here.” Well, that just ain’t happening. So, do I need another med to make me calm enough, (or zoned enough) to volunteer or try to get involved in church? I don’t even want to go there right now. Thanks for listening….
Lost ( and trying to find )Lady.

January 29, 2011 at 11:35 pm
I hear you. I had a breakdown in my last year of university back in 1978 and have been on and off medications ever since. I took myself off cymbalta last month, with my doctors awareness and agreement, and have since received a great healing. While I agree that meds are often necessary, they often only mask symptoms and can act to prevent us from dealing with underlying issues, whether physical, psychological or spiritual. But my truly deep healing came through the ministry of a Family Foundations Ancient Paths seminar which I took last weekend near Collingwood, Ontario. I’ve also struggled for many years to understand what happened to me and whether the Christian church contributed to my problems or aided in my healing. The seminars really do help sort some of these things out, explaining that negative consequences always result from our disobedience toward God. See Jeremiah ch 6, verses 13-16. I’ve concluded it was a bit of both. I felt as though the church had led me up a slippery hill to Jesus and left me three feet short, deserting me for a time when I went to the Psych hospital. I was free to sing hymns in the hospital hallways and received some teaching on Holy Spirit in the 80s. I went from valley to mountaintop to valley to mountaintop to valley to mountaintop to valley …etc. I spent a total of seven and a half months in hospital followed by a year and a half in ‘Rehab’ all the time attending church as I was able. I went for training and got work as a layman looking after seniors and am currently working with marginalised men in Toronto. It bothers me that we are still not given sufficient time to tell our stories in our Christian communities but it’s important to keep asking and take whatever opportunities for talking or helping come up. Ancient Paths seminars worked, for me, because there’s a powerful combination of teaching and small group ministry done by trained, compassionate, spiritually prepared and empowered individuals in a two or three day retreat setting. Also in Toronto this week I attended portions of a 24 hour soaking worship session which God had orchestrated for just the right time for me. Church is strange. Preaching can be sound and encouraging but the next day it seems the application of what we hear is optional or in fact completely forgotten. My struggle has been particularly concerned with music and praise. I was always into math and physics. The Bible places importance on the person but the church makes man’s creation more important than he is. Look at how singers, even choirs, are not often really allowed to lead worship. Everything is ruled by the musical instruments, yes even when the instrumentalist is at work. Vocalists, indeed all Christians, must reclaim their duty to speak in their churches and to sing their own songs. James said that any who are merry should be allowed to sing praises to God and that those who are sick should call for elders to come and pray for their health. When we are not allowed to testify to God’s grace even when we are well, frustration must result. Call your leaders to account. It’s not a matter of rights but rather the health of the whole community for when one suffers all suffer. We have seen too often how this truth has consequences through the evil acts of disturbed individuals in various parts of the earth. Take courage; be bold; don’t wait to be asked or invited to do what you know God wants you to do, whatever that might be as long as its in line with the highest purposes revealed in the Scriptures. Most importantly ask God yourself for your healing and get someone you trust to agree with you in prayer. God is good and faithful and WILL give you the desire of your heart as you delight in Him, whether you’re passing through trials or joys. Seek the ancient paths; seek the Lord’s blessing and don’t give up until you get it. Perseverance does build character. Hallelujah !

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lyrics for G. F. Handel's Sacred Oratorio: The Messiah

Here is the full text of Handel's Messiah.



RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Tenor)
Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God; speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem; and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness:-Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

AIR (Tenor)
Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low, the crooked straight and the rough places plain.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Bass)
Thus saith the Lord of Hosts:-Yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land; and I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come. The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.

AIR (Bass)
But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He
appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.

And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call his name Emmanuel, God with us.

AIR (Alto)
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain: O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Bass)
For Behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall rise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee, and the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

AIR (Bass)
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; and they
that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Soprano)
And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto the, Fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people; for unto you is born this day in the City of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Soprano)
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying:-

Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, goodwill towards men.

AIR. (Soprano)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! behold, thy King cometh unto thee! He is the righteous Saviour, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

AIR (Alto)
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

AIR (Alto)
Come unto Him, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and He will give you rest. Take His yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

His yoke is easy and His burthen is light.


Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.

AIR (Alto)
He was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: He hid not His face from shame and spitting.

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows! He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him. And with His stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Tenor)
Thy rebuke hath broken His heart; He is full of heaviness. He looked for some to have pity on Him, but there was no man, neither found He any to comfort Him.

AIR. (Tenor)
Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Soprano)
He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of Thy people was He stricken.

AIR (Soprano)
But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell; nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is the King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

Unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee?

Let all the angels of God worship Him.

AIR. (Bass)
Thou art gone up on high; Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men, yea, even for Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.

The Lord gave the word, great was the company of the preachers.

AIR. (Soprano)
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.

Their sound is gone out into all lands, and their words unto the ends of the world.

AIR (Bass)
Why do the nations so furiously rage together, and why do the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His Anointed.

Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.

He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.

AIR (Tenor)
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Hallelujah!

*Part III*

AIR (Soprano)
I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though worms destroy this body yet, in my flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.

Since by man came death,

By man came also the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die,

Even so in Christ shall all be made alive

RECITATIVE. (Accompanied - Bass)
Behold, I tell you a mystery; We shall not all sleep; but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

AIR. (Bass)
The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written; Death is swallowed up in victory!

DUET (Alto and Tenor)
O death, where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

AIR (Soprano)
If God be for us, who can be against us? who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory and blessing. Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.
__ Amen.

This blogger's comment: And I say Hallelujah, Praise the Lord! Jesus is truly Risen from the dead!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Word From

- It Doesn't Fit our isms

(posted on Friday, October 22, 2010)

“That little thing says it is one of us,” said the regal rooster, looking down his beak at the little thing.

“One of us?” said the fat hen in her high-pitched tremor. “CLUCK, cluck, no, no, no…I don’t think so.”

“It doesn’t look like one of us!” sniffed the Banty with her beak in the air.

“It doesn’t act like one of us!” clucked the fat hen, shaking her oh so lovely comb in disapproval. “No, indeed, it doesn’t think like us either. CLUCK, cluck, no, no, no.”

“What to do? What to do?” bemoaned the Banty, nervously twitching her feathers. “How can we let that silly thing in the hen house?”
“We can’t,” answered the rooster, lifting its royal brow, “it doesn’t fit our –isms. It’s rebellious.”

“It doesn’t fit my Catholic-ism,” said the fat hen.
“Ack! And certainly not my pentacostal-ism,” said the Banty.
“Or my conservative protestant-ism,” the rooster said with scorn.

“I don’t think it follows any –ism at all! Ack!” shrieked the Banty. “What to do? What to do?”

“It’s such a simple little thing,” laughed the fat hen. “It says it doesn’t need an –ism. Imagine that! How impertinent!”

And they clucked and gaggled and gossiped and groaned about the little thing that said it followed HIM but with a freedom that was impertinent (said the fat hen!), and with a joy that was silly (said the Banty!), and with a uniqueness that was rebellious (said the rooster!) . . . and He who made the little thing smiled at it and told it to follow Him as they pushed it out of the hen house.

Judy Collins - Turn, Turn, Turn

The words of this song still have power to move us.
Judy Collins - a woman with a wondrous voice.