Do you ever wonder if God would talk with you in an audible way, how the conversation would go? Some people have had the rare experience. I never have, but just the same I do talk with Him. It is usually in the shower or in bed at night. We are told, however, to always be in a prayerful state.
Since He knows all languages and the odd expressions that most cultures have when carrying on a conversation, I’m certain that it would be the same with us in this generation. No Thee or Thou, as in the Bible…for King James didn’t realize that in our times we would be far beyond these expressions. He probably would be mortified to think that a conversation with God could be on such a “common” level. He would probably think our conversations were disrespectful!
Recently a friend sent me this video. He called it “moving.” I call it “Relevant,” for God will definitely meet us where we are…regardless of who we are. The next time you pray, think about this particular conversation.
Enjoy it now…and be moved!
Turn on your sound…Click below… Wait for the download to show up below your screen and then click on the your download to watch.
Our National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and in various churches, this Sunday, May 17, 2020, will be honoring our brave military who have served faithfully for our freedom and democracy. We must remember that there was great cost.
What exactly is FREEDOM and its COST to us today?
This might be the time to ask ourselves some hard questions, as we have been told recently that we must forfeit many of our freedoms for the “good of all.” We have to ask ourselves what will be the great cost to our democracy and freedom, as we see many private decisions slowly drifting…or rapidly falling into someone else’s hands to make choices for us….such as when we can work, run our businesses, shop, go to school etc. etc. ?
We, as citizens, appreciate warnings to potential danger and given a heads-up to prepare individually and within our community…just as we do when a devastating hurricane is approaching Florida or any part of our country.
I can never remember our local news saying “You are mandated to board up your house and stay inside because you could die from this approaching storm!!”
They just inform us and expect that as responsible people we will prepare and do what is right for us and the neighbors around us. Is EVERYONE always responsible? NEVER...not in the past and not in the future. Some houses blow away and people are sometimes killed, but we then try to help as much as possible to rebuild lives. One thing is certain, people are generous, helpful and outright heroic in many situations. Most do not expect government handouts unless they are in dire need. Faith based organizations hand out food with these disasters and as they are doing now.
This is DEMOCRACY…and personal responsibility. This is what our military men and women have bravely fought to maintain.
No governments… local, national, or international are able to have perfect answers when they begin dictating to the masses. State and community rules/regulations that help our society are expected, when they don’t interfere with with our Constitutional rights that will be discussed later. The individual is the patriot, the guy next door…like all of our military.
Our honored military have sacrificed so much for their country’s freedom. Do you think they were afraid? Of course they were, but they knew without freedom we would have nothing to live for. They went…They served…and they are loved for it! Are people afraid today? Yes, for certain, if they are about to lose everything they have worked hard for over the years or if they have elderly parents who are facing things alone. Wars were fought to keep our independence, starting with the Revolutionary War.
- WHY did the U.S. and other freedom loving countries get involved in the wars listed below? There is a simple answer….
TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM TO MAKE OUR OWN WAY OF LIFE AND DECISIONS WITHOUT INTERVENTION FROM A DICTATORSHIP...whatever the name may be.
- Why should we be concerned today? I’m certain you are pondering your answer.
- There is also another question that we should be asking ourselves:
How do countries slowly, or not so slowly, lose their independence and freedom of choice?
“Although regimes vary widely, most dictators have at least a few things in common. They don’t come to power through free, constitutional elections. They often take control during coups d’etats, revolutions or…
states of emergency.
Once they have control, they have absolute, sole power.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)
- What about deaths brought on by men who cared nothing about freedom for their citizens…only about their own power?
(Deaths caused by three of the worst dictators: Joseph Stalin 43,000,000 Mao Zedong 38,000,000+ Adolf Hitler 21,000,000)
- What about the dictators of today’s communist countries to whom we are giving much of our allegiance…wealth and intellectual property?
At the present time, we know there are gulags around the world where thousands are languishing and dying because they have no voice and are arrested with no recourse for protesting or speaking out about their government’s activities. (The term, gulag, is a prison camp where conditions are extremely bad and the prisoners are forced to work very hard. The name gulag comes from the prison camps in the former Soviet Union.) Collins dictionary
Military conflict has taken place during every year of the 20th Century. There were only short periods of time that the world was free of war. The total number of deaths caused by war during the 20th Century has been estimated at 187 million and is probably higher. (from Imperial War Museums)
20th and 21st Century’s major wars:
- The First World War 1914–1918
- The Second World War 1939–1945
- The Korean War 1950–1953
Slide presentation: (Give each picture a moment to change)
- The Vietnam War, 1955-75
- The Gulf War, 1990–1991
- The War in Afghanistan 2001–2014
- The Iraq War and Insurgency, 2003–2011
- The Global War on Terrorism, 2001–present
Our freedom today in America and around the world is due to those who were willing to stand up and go into harms way to defend freedom. This is why we honor them today in our churches, who still have church services…via the internet and TV broadcasts. Because most churches place the physical health of their congregations as a priority, it was only the wise thing to do until they were able to assemble together again. How to do this was up to the church to decide what was best to continue giving people the opportunity to worship. Faith is alive and well, even if it is a family gathering around the TV at home. Underground churches have had to find creative ways to worship God in the past and present throughout the world.
A minister was arrested in Florida for not closing his church, which caused infection to spread from those not knowing they were carrying the Coronavirus. This act of defiance by the pastor, which was totally unwise at the time, lead the Governor of Florida to make this statement as the right to worship was being challenged by the local authority:
“I don’t know that [governments] would have the authority, quite frankly, to close a religious institution.” Governor DeSantis said in deciding not to shutter churches in Florida. “The Constitution doesn’t get suspended here.”
- What does our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee us?
Our Constitution, through Amendment 1, guarantees FREEDOM of RELIGION, SPEECH, PRESS, PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY and petition of grievances. Many young men and women have been willing to die for this freedom. Many have!
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
To all our military…from all wars…we THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND YOUR DEDICATION TO FREEDOM!
My husband ,who is a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain, will be presenting the sermon from St. James Episcopal Church in Florida. This will be taped ahead of time to be aired on Sunday, May 17. If interested in watching, it can be viewed on YouTube any time on or after May 17. (Go to YouTube and type St. James Episcopal Church, Leesburg, Florida to view and choose the service for May 17.)
On the Friday of the crucifixion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, Boyer Writes presents the Requiem by Mozart
What is a Requiem?
Compositions written to honor the deceased, often in the form of a Requiem Mass. As early as the late 15th century, Requiems were composed using melodies from Gregorian chant.By the 18th century, composers began to create Concert Requiems that required large orchestras that were too large to be used at ordinary funeral services and were more like an oratorio.The 20th century saw the emergence of the War Requiem, or compositions to honor those killed in war. These Compositions will often contain secular text along with the religious text of the Requiem Mass.Over 2,000 requiems have been written by hundreds of composers over the years.a version of the mass performed to commemorate the dead.
Requiem by Mozart, performed by the National Orchestra of France, directed by James Gaffigan Turn up your sound
Today in the U.S. we are celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is a day to give our special someone a note of love, flowers, or a delicious box of candy. It may be overrated, but it helps the bottom line at the stores and it is always appreciated by the recipient of such thoughtfulness.
Today, I want to write about the greatest of all loves.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
When Christ laid down His life in payment for all sins, He paid the greatest price possible. It is in His sacrifice that we know the GREATEST OF ALL LOVES.
There are those who decide to give their lives to sharing this love with others. In some cases, it costs them their own lives. We have all heard of martyrs that lived long ago and are often described as saints today. Did you know that there are modern-day martyrs who have risked everything to bring God’s love and compassion to people around the world?
The man I will write about is an American, whose story is found below:
LIFE OF BROTHER JAMES:
Brother James was born into a family of farmers near Stevens Point, Wisconsin, USA, on September 21, 1944. He attended grammar school and then went to Pacelli High School in the city of Stevens Point, where he met the Brothers for the first time. In September 1959 he entered the Juniorate in the state of Missouri. After three years there, he was admitted into the Postulancy program and then entered the Novitiate in August 1962, when he took the habit of the Brothers and the religious name Brother Leo William. Later, like so many other Brothers, he went back to using his baptismal name.
He was assigned to Cretin High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota for three years. There, besides teaching classes in Spanish, English, and Religion, he supervised school maintenance and he coached American-style football.
In August 1960 after making perpetual vows, he was sent to Bluefields, Nicaragua. He taught there until he was assigned to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua in 1974, where he was the Director. Under his leadership, the school population grew from 300 to 800 students. Brother Santiago also accepted the task of supervising the construction of ten new rural schools. His religious superiors ordered him to leave Nicaragua in July 1979 during the time of the Sandinista revolution. It was feared that since he worked for the Somoza government he might be at risk. For that reason, he returned to the United States and again taught at Cretin High School in the fall of 1979 and he participated in the Sangre de Cristo renewal program in the state of New Mexico in 1980.
He was sent again to mission territory, this time to Guatemala, in January 1981. He taught at the secondary school in Huehuetenango and he also worked at the Indian Center, where young indigenous Mayans from rural areas studied and trained in agriculture.
In the afternoon of February 13, 1982, he was shot several times by three hooded men and he died instantly. Attempts to identify the assassins were unsuccessful. After funeral rites in Guatemala and in Saint Paul, Minnesota, he was buried in the parish cemetery in Polonia, Wisconsin.
His character and personality:
His own writings and other declarations pertaining to him, before and after his death, show us his character and personality. Before leaving Pacelli High School to go to the Juniorate, the Brothers that knew him wrote that “he was very generous, pious, honest, docile and that he was very well-ordered and tidy; he did not smoke, he received the sacraments weekly, he got along well with his classmates; he devoted two and one-half hours per week to house chores.”
A Brother who was his Director in the Scholasticate and at Cretin High School, his first community, recalled him as “an intelligent person, although not an intellectual, jovial, easy to relate with, preferring physical work to sports, with a deep faith and love for his religious vocation, but with a certain tendency to come late to class and community prayers.”
His Call to Missions:
While he was still in Nicaragua, his old desire to work on the missions was obvious. From Nicaragua, he wrote about the satisfaction he felt while working for the very poor. Responding to the question if he felt afraid about the shootings that were taking place around him, he wrote: “Are you kidding? I never thought I could pray with such fervor when I go to bed.” In one of his last letters, before he died, he showed that he was aware of the situation in Guatemala and the possible personal consequences for him. He wrote in January 1982: “I am personally weary of violence, but I continue to feel a strong commitment to the suffering poor of Central America. … the Church is being persecuted because of its option for the poor. Aware of numerous dangers and difficulties, we continue working with faith and hope and trusting in God’s Providence.” He went on to write: “I have been a Brother of the Christian Schools for nearly 20 years now, and commitment to my vocation grows steadily stronger in my work in Central America. I pray to God for the grace and strength to serve Him faithfully among the poor and oppressed in Guatemala. I place my life in His Providence. I place my trust in Him.” This Brother of the Christian Schools was martyred on February 13, 1982, at the age of 37, in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. This was the day before Valentine’s Day.
Video: Turn up sound (unmute if needed)
It has been some time ago that the world, through their TV channels, watched the spire of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris fall into the blazing fire and smoke below. Yet, a cross that hung in the cathedral survived.
It may be time now to think about the power of the cross as a symbol of hope. The cross is not a symbol of hope fo everyone. Yet it is powerful, whether they think so or not. There may have been some who rejoiced as the cathedral burned because they wished any symbol of Christianity to be destroyed. Just as terrorists wanted the World Trade Towers to no longer be the symbol of economic power, their evil minds set out to destroy them. Symbols, in themselves, do have power to renew our minds and thoughts to something that can become even greater. That is true of the two symbols that are written about in this blog post. The cross being our greatest hope…not wealth, but faith.
In place of those fallen towers, where thousands died…Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and many others with faiths… as well as atheists and agnostics, a great new tower was built. A grand memorial to all who died and suffered that terrible day now stands deep in the belly of the new, grand building.
We remember also over 2,000 First Responders who have died or sick years afterward from illnesses that came upon them trying to reach the victims. This has led President Trump to sign the 9-11 Victims’ Fund to those still suffering.
Tragedies often bring about in the human spirit a desire to rebuild, to remember and to fight against such atrocities and those who propose them.
Instead of shocking, deliberate attacks, such as those on the World Trade Center, Pentagon or the intended attack on the White House, a few are accidental as the burning of the great Cathedral of Notre Dame. The world was dismayed for another reason as we recognized the value of a great work of architecture that had stood for over 850 years, having taken 200 years to build. It was a prize of history, being one of the most famous Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. This church was not only a symbol of Christianity but of the culture and the magnificent antiquities of France.
In the Cathedral of Notre Dame hung a cross, which was only exposed after the fires were put out. Miraculously, it still hung as did some of the magnificent stained glass windows. The French are determined to rebuild this great church and in doing so, we also can believe that it will be a revival of a great symbol of renewal, endurance, and hope. The world needs symbols of hope and none is more powerful than the cross and the great buildings in which a cross is lovingly placed.
Recently, I saw a video of a church standing on an island in Japan. Inside was a great cross, stained glass and though the island is now almost deserted, the church still survives in an unlikely place. Someone build it years ago and it is a symbol of their faith.
For all Christians, the real symbol of hope was never burned in that terrible fire in Paris…the great cross of Christ. That cross, shining bright, amid the ruins of the cathedral, sent the message around the world that the cross of Christ is the true symbol of hope for the world.
Yes, the cathedral will be rebuilt eventually, but the message of Christ in the cross will still shine after the burned rubble is cleared away. The message it brings is forgiveness, a renewed life, and the promise of life eternal through Christ, the Son of God.
The message in the clearing away of the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City is that out of the ashes rises the great Phoenix of hope, freedom, democracy and renewal. Even in that terrible attack, St. Paul’s Chapel next door to the towers was not destroyed even though the debris fell all around it. The 1st President of the United States, George Washington, worshiped in this church.
It was not the first time, however, that this Christian church had escaped being destroyed. In the first days of the American Revolution, the invasion of British troops sparked the Great Fire of 1776, which destroyed 432 structures in New York. The fire spread to St. Paul’s Chapel and very nearly overwhelmed it, but a bucket brigade managed to squelch the fire. It is now named as the oldest surviving church in Manhattan.
Symbols are important in our lives. Some are international, national, or even personal, but they are often a message of joy, inspiration or hope.
(ABC News tour video) Important: In order to hear sound on the video, you will have to unclick sound symbol.
“The Gregorian chant is the oldest musical manifestation of the Occident (countries of Europe and Americas) and it has its roots in the songs of the old synagogues, since Jesus Christ`s times.
The first Christians and disciples of Christ, were converted Jews who, persevering in prayer, continued to sing the psalms and songs of the Old Testament. As the Greeks, not Jews or Romans, were also becoming Christian, elements of the music and the Greek-French-Roman culture were being included to the Jewish songs. “
As the birds have been singing outside my window this Spring, I enjoyed hearing God’s little creatures sing along with this peaceful Gregorian Chant. For your listening pleasure …for peace and joy!
Illumination-Peaceful Gregorian Chants– Dan Gibson’s Solitude
VIDEO (Turn up the sound. There is a slight delay in the opening…so give it a moment. )
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
Who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11
It is the Christmas season around the world…and a time to remember the Holy Night when Christ, the Savior was born.
Boyer Writes has enjoyed the Christmas musical countdown presented to you, the reader, this Christmas season. We hope that you have enjoyed it also. If so, write us a note. We love to get them. firstname.lastname@example.org
Boyer Writes presents Libera for your inspiration
Boyer Writes presents Christmas music for your inspiration.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Could it be possible that this Jesuit Priest sees things far clearer than most on the difference between two major religious faiths? Would he be so convinced of his viewpoint that he felt the need to warn the Pope about his concerns?
A friend sent me this article of an interview given by Father Henri Boulad to the National Catholic Register.
The article is written by Edwin Pentin. It begins: “In an interview with the Register, Egyptian Greek Melkite* Jesuit Father Henri Boulad explains why he believes Islamist terrorists are applying what their religion teaches them, and why the Church fails to address this because she has fallen prey to a leftist ideology that is destroying the West.”
If you are interested in reading it, you should read it in its entirety…including the last part of the article: “Are there genuine and workable possibilities for reform of Islam and can dialogue ever be effective?”
(*The term “Melkite” (/ˈmɛlkaɪt/), also written “Melchite”, refers to various Byzantine Rite Christian churches and their members originating in the Middle East. … When used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers specifically to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church as an ethnoreligious group. ( pertaining to ethnicity and religion) from Wikimedia
The subject of immorality is out in the open. Perhaps the first thing we need to do is to identify exactly what we mean by immorality. We are not always talking about sexual immorality. God’s law does say “Thou shall not commit adultery.” That seems clear, but in essence, we are talking about wrong behavior. This could range from evil and wicked acts such as stealing, murder, adultery, lying and corruption in many forms. Any way one looks at it, it is always associated with doing wrong and being offensive. Wrong behavior is a way of living avoided by most people who want to live good, honorable lives and teach it to their children. For those readers who may be unfamiliar with what exactly the 10 Commandments are, this picture gives the list that was given to Moses.
Probably everyone has broken one or more of these Holy Laws at one time or another. We may ask ourselves, however, in modern interpretation…what have we made our Gods? Have we never used God’s name in vain? Do we honor a special day to worship? How many truly honor our Mother or Father and show them that they are honored? We may not have killed, committed adultery, but saying something false or repeating a gossip against someone…or even stretching the truth is probably something we have all done. You get the point.
How is all this relevant to us in this time of electing our next President of the United States? What responsibilities do our candidates have in this matter of immorality or morality? What about the press that labors on the off color or inappropriate comments because that is what they think we, the people, want to hear?.. or do we?
Let’s come straight to the point… disgusting and inappropriate words and behaviors are being aired into our homes day and night. Most of us allow it. Our children are watching and hearing our reactions to whatever we are seeing. We have friends who limit T.V. or do not have TV at all in their homes. The reason? They are protecting their children. Children, at early ages, hear and have to deal with the obscene statements made on T.V. Unfortunately, they are often made by political candidates and others. Sometimes they are hearing their own family saying things that are offensive. They watch women who are willing to go on T.V. and give in the most descriptive, detailed way inappropriate sexual behavior toward them. The young are most observant and hear more than we think. They wonder what is the meaning of words like racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic…or may ask who is “deplorable” or what does “irredeemable” mean? It is too much…too young…too depressing. Could we even say it is immoral to poison the minds of the innocent? In this world of cell phones, computers, TV, video games and movies, is it any wonder that young people are often suicidal? We worry about mental health and instability in our society. How much are we contributing to this? Children need to have a child’s life because adulthood will come soon enough. Giving them freedom to watch and see everything and anything is not responsible parenting. Hats off to those parents who place boundaries. Maybe it is time for adults to do the same for themselves.
This is not saying that everyone should have their heads in the sand about what is going on in the world or in the political world, but as the young grow up, there will be time for discussions on topics they don’t understand. How much poison are we bringing into society because most are glued to their T.V. sets. Is our nation going down a slippery slope with no way to return to the normal and the decent? Even many adults have had enough. Yes, God knows our hearts and what is happening to our nation. There is need for transformation, just as there is a need for protecting our young. We, as adults, need to take control of our lives or we may be dragged down into the muck and the mire.
The highest honor in America is to be the President of a free country…following Lincoln and other great leaders. In recent years, the people of our nation seem to ignore immoral ways. People who believe in being moral and following the commandments for living are criticized and branded as “old fashioned” or “out of touch.”
One may be interested in how “out of touch” our founding fathers were when they wrote the Constitution and our great Washington monuments were built with inscriptions that announced the beliefs of out nation. Do you know the following?
- Walking up the steps to the U.S. Capitol Building, which houses the Supreme Court, set into the top of the building is a row of the world’s law givers who are facing Moses and the Ten Commandments.
- As one enters the Supreme Court, the two large oak doors also have the Ten Commandments engraved on the lower part of the door. Inside the courtroom is another display of the Commandments where the judges are seated.
- There are Bible verses etched in stone over the Federal Buildings and are displayed in state capitals.
- James Madison, our 4th President and Father of our Constitution said: “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
- Patrick Henry, a Founding Father and patriot said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians…not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher…whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.
Were these men backward and out of touch? After reading these facts about men who worked to build our nation, one may ask how far away from morality have we come? Many in our country do not seem to trust what any member of Congress or the President has to say. Truth and trustworthiness is at its lowest ebb. Political correctness and their next election are in the forefront. Cooperation between parties in order to get things done for the benefit of all seems non-existent.
It does not appear to matter, in modern days, that a President was impeached for his immoral ways and then reelected. Those who have the option of leading this country into a better, higher, and more moral way also demean those who teach that immorality is not acceptable, whether one is in office or simply a citizen.
This came to light when a leaked email called the Catholic faith “severely backward” and hoped that Catholics would “demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship.” (article by Eric Scheener) It is assumed that those writing the emails are aware that the Christian faith, whether Catholic or Protestant, takes their so called “backward” views from the commandments of the Bible. Concerning these emails, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York said, “Were it any other religion…Jewish or Muslim faiths…there would be an apology…”
Apologies may not be the answer for no one seems to take apologies seriously. The hearts of the people and the country’s leaders need to be changed according to the Reverend Billy Graham. Now in his 90’s, Reverend Graham has been teaching what the Holy Scriptures has to say about being moral or immoral for over 60 years. It is estimated that Reverend Graham has given God’s message of forgiveness and salvation to about 2.2 billion people in 185 countries on 6 continents. This is what he had to say just a few years ago, still holding the same view today. Some would say he has not “evolved” enough. Others would say that he is being true to the principles of morality within the Christian faith and is a voice of warning to our nation.
“Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles. ‘Hope and change’ has become a cliche in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed. Our country is turning away from what has made it so great. But far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought. He knows our hearts need transformation.” Dr.Graham
To be transformed is to be changed in our spirits and souls. Psalms 139:2 and 26:2; Isaiah 64:8
“The man with a conscience fights a lonely battle against the overwhelming forces of inescapable situations which demand decisions. . . . Some who seek to escape from taking a stand publicly find a place of refuge in private virtuousness. Such a man does not steal. He does not commit murder. He does not commit adultery. Within the limits of his powers he does good. He must be blind and deaf to the wrongs which surround him. It is only at the price of an act of self-deception that he can safeguard his private blamelessness against contamination through responsible action in the world. Whatever he may do, that which he omits to do will give him no peace. Either this disquiet will destroy him or he will become the most hypocritical of Pharisees.” Derrick Bonhoeffer
This blog is for all Americans who may have gotten caught up in all the hysteria of the political season. God calls on us to be quiet, reflect and pray for ourselves and our nation. Perhaps…just perhaps, we might find leadership in our decision-making when voting time rolls around. I find it quite amazing that many of the religious leaders are willing to get up on a platform to endorse this one or that one…without really knowing the heart and soul of a person…or their true leadership abilities. We hear the term, “Evangelical Christians.” What exactly are they compared to other Christians, you may be wondering?
An article (in part by Traci Schmaucher) explains the five main beliefs of the Evangelical:
1. …Personal conversion experience must personally trust in Jesus Christ for salvation.
2…Believe in the Bible as God’s inspired Word
3. ..The work of Jesus on the cross, through his death and resurrection, is the only source of salvation and forgiveness of sins. through faith alone. People can do nothing to earn their way to heaven and good works is our grateful response to our pardon, not to cause it.
4. … Motivated to share the gospel either one-on-one or through organized missions… the Great Commission’s call (to go into the world and spread the Gospel)
This past Wednesday was the beginning of Lent for Christians. The first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday because the priest makes the sign of the cross on one’s forehead with these words. “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return” If one actually thinks of the meaning of these words, they are quite sobering. We all know that time here on earth is short, but how often do we really get up each morning and thank God for a new, wonderful, glorious day? I’m certain that someone reading that sentence is saying “You have no idea what my day is like…or what I am going through!” That is true, but God does. In these 40 days, we remember the suffering of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who understand all we face in life. He wept in the Garden before enduring crucifixion. One day our days will end. To the atheist, I say, “What if you are wrong and you find yourself standing before God. What then? I also would say that should you be right, I have had the most wonderful, love filled life sent from “God”.
Christians often miss these special 40 days before the Crucifixion and Easter, Christ’s Resurrection. Yet, these forty days are some of the most important in the holy times for a truly dedicated Christian. I would not limit this time of repentance to only Christians either, for I’m certain there are those who would like to find faith, but still has not done so. Perhaps even some reading this blog. Those who are not used to the Christian practice of receiving the ashes may have seen someone out on the street with a black smudge on the forehead. They may have wondered why their face was dirty, not knowing that it was the sign of the cross received on Ash Wednesday. Some people also choose to fast certain meals or give up some special treat during this time. This should not be something we announce, for we are told in Matthew 6:16-18 the following. “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This is why some Christians wash off the ashes after they are received, so that it is something between them and God and not for the general public. Others also spend each of the 40 days reading special scriptures and prayers in private devotions.
The main thing for Christians during Lent are two things: self-reflection and repentance. I’ve often said that I do my best praying in the shower. Wherever your place to pray may be, use it to list all the sins and short-comings that you can think of and ask forgiveness. The Holy Scriptures tell us that “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 Thank God for that!
Short history of Lent and its Meaning:
(Author Norman Tanner) “The earliest mention of Lent in the history of the Church comes from the council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The council of Nicaea is best known for the profession of faith – the ‘Nicene Creed’ – which is still recited in most parishes every Sunday immediately after the sermon. However, the council also issued twenty canons of a practical nature, dealing with various aspects of church life, and the fifth of these canons speaks of Lent. The word used for Lent in this fifth canon is tessarakonta (in the original Greek), which means ‘forty’. For the first time in recorded history, we have mention of this period of preparation for Easter as lasting forty days. Much earlier, Christians had introduced Easter Sunday to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Soon afterwards, a period of two or three days preparation, specially commemorating Christ’s passion and death – the ‘Holy Week’ part of Lent today – had been adopted by various Christian communities. But the first mention of a preparatory period lasting the forty days comes from this fifth canon of Nicaea. The length of time was adopted in imitation of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert at the beginning of his public ministry: Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights and afterwards he was famished. (Matthew 4:1-2)
Around the world, Christians will flock to churches on at least two days: Christmas and Easter. In some cases, it is a requirement in order to be considered in “good standing” with the Church. Yes, we know that people are busy and God looks on the heart not on our record of attendance, but just the same these 40 days leading up to our most celebrated Holy Days should not be forgotten. After all, repentance and forgiveness is what keeps us in “good standing” with God. What is more important?
Therefore…therefore…and therefore….head to a secret place or to the shower …for it’s not just for cleaning the body, but for the soul. Don’t miss it.
What exactly is Nihilism? The article written by by Luca Volontè explains what has been happening in Europe for some time. We ask the question, “Is this now spreading to America or is it already here?” and “How dangerous is it to the values in our society…especially if one values his or her faith and culture?”
Read and you decide. Article by Mr. Volonte
A prayer from Syrian Clementine Liturgy
O God, the unsearchable abyss of peace, the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessing and the bestower of affection, Who sends peace to those who receive it, open to us this day the sea of Your love and water us with plenteous streams from the riches of Your grace and from the most sweet springs of Your benignity (kindness or tolerance toward others.). Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace. Enkindle in us the fire of your love ; sow in us Your fear; strengthen our weakness by your power; bind us closely to You and to each other in one firm and indissoluble bond of unity.
If you have never seen the marvelous art and architecture of the Sistine Chapel or St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, this is your opportunity along with beautiful music for this Sunday morning. May you blessed by Michelangelo’s beautiful paintings and the sculpture of Masters.
Art and music for your Sunday listening.
May the glorious Resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ help us to remember the glory of the earth where we live. HAPPY EASTER DAY from BOYER WRITES
(Turn on sound)
John 1:4 In HIM was life, and that life was the light of men.
If we asked ten people what is meant by the word, “Hope”, we would probably get ten answers. It seems illusive….something that we can’t get a handle on…but we still hope. Norman Fried writes about hope and concludes, ” Through hope we discover faith and the pursuit of redemption. Hope sets us on a path toward attaining our goals; it helps us determine strategies for living and it transforms our will into action. And when all hope seems lost, faith asks us to look inward and to think differently. Faith teaches us to look for new ways to live in a life filled with pain. It guides us to develop new pursuits; to achieve new victories. And through our pursuits, we encounter God’s ways and we are challenged to unite with Him; only to find ourselves cleaving to both. In the end, we learn that religion is the confluence of two parallel forces; man’s wish to create a livable world, replete with the hope of grace and dignity, and man’s need to honor and accept what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.” Some words that he uses stand out to me.
- “…pursuit of redemption” In the long run, we all want to be redeemed. We look for an eternity of bliss with an eternally loving God. Redemption, however, is the moment we put our trust in the Savior. Redemption does not just start in the future, but is a daily existence. God sent His only Son to redeem the world.
- “…determine strategies for living” Hope is all important to the very way we live. None of us want to come to the end and be filled with regrets.
- “…challenged to unite with Him” Many things are important to us: family career, dreams and goals. Perhaps the most important thing that we can hope for is to feel His presence with us moment by moment. In this season of Lent, we ask God for that presence and to be united with Him.
- “what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.” We look at the tragedies of the world, past and present, and wonder how people did live through the unlivable. Truly it was the ability to hope even through harsh struggles.
Job spent hours listening to his friends who brought no comfort. I wonder at this patience! (Through most of the Book of Job) Yet, this man of faith continued to believe in the one strength he had and the hope that he knew to be God’s gift to him during a terrible time of his life Even in more modern times, history tells stories of hope under the worst conditions. One such battle of WWII would appear that there was no hope. “The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest battle on the Eastern Front and was marked by brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army made it a turning point in the war. After the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces never recovered their earlier strength, and attained no further strategic victories in the East.” The film, Enemy at the Gates, has some dialog between Nikita Khrushchevand Danilov, the soldier who believed that if they published fliers for the Russian people to read about heros of the motherland, it would bring hope. In particular, he wrote of the Russian marksman, Vassili Zaitsev, who became the center of the writings. Danilov told Khrushchev the following: “Here, the men’s only choice is between German bullets and ours. But there’s another way. The way of courage. The way of love of the Motherland. We must publish the army newspaper again. We must tell magnificent stories, stories that extol sacrifice, bravery. We must make them believe in the victory. We must give them hope, pride, a desire to fight.” Without hope, men have little for which to live. Regardless of the country from which one comes, the politics of the time, or the belief system that they hold, the human race must have hope. It is not enough to use the word, but to actually believe in a hope that is greater than our understanding. The video below is in honor of all who had hope where there appeared to be no hope. Omer Meir Wellber and Russian National Orchestra. Pietro Mascagni – Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana”. ( A response from my friend, Mark. Thanks. Romans 12:12 from the Holy Scriptures: “Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in AFFLICTION and faithful in PRAYER.”)
As we prepare this Advent Sunday for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we at Boyer Writes dedicate this time of Advent to a deep refection and a quiet time. Stop from your busy schedule and let God speak to you through His quiet, still voice.
Below are the voices of Cistercian Abbey in the Vienna Woods.
“This Cistercian Abbey was founded in 1133 by Saint Leopold III as a house of prayer to thank and praise God and to intercede for the sake of the world. The spiritual and cultural life of this house has continued without any interruption or destruction. We Cistercians live in the rhythm of “ora et labora – pray and work”. The monastery seems surprisingly young at heart. Of the 83 brothers who live here, most are well under 50 years old. And more than a few of them found their way to the monastery via the internet. The brothers use social media to reach as many people as possible and introduce them to their heritage and their philosophy, which is to appreciate the qualities of the age and yet to live unchanged according to Abbey’s traditional religious principles and monastic rules. The Cistercian order demands discipline, work and obedience. Severity is their standard…”
Turn on sound and enlarge picture for best viewing.
We in the 20th century rarely think of those who endured…eaten by lions; burned at the stake; crushed by heavy stones because of their religious beliefs. After them, great cathedrals were built to honor God and those are often mostly empty today except for a few who come to pray or for the many who come with a tour guide to marvel at the architecture and the stained glass.
What has it cost to give us the religious freedom that we enjoy today? I use the word, “enjoy” because unless we are a Coptic Christian in the Middle East or in some other remote areas of the world, we do not have to worry about being persecuted for our beliefs. We can go into any church, synagogue, or masque and worship. This leads us to wonder if we will indeed be spared from persecutions …since we treat it so lightly.
How often do we read and reflect on the writings of Fox’s Book of Martyrs? Not only Christians men under Nero, but Jews under Titus suffered for their beliefs.
How little do we know about the death of the early Christians and disciples of Jesus? What do we know about men of more recent times who became martyrs for their faith?
- William Tyndale
- Master John Hooper
- Ridley and Latimer
- Thomas Cranmer
- and many others
When my husband and I were in England and Scotland, we visited York. There we visited the little chapel in The Shambles dedicated to the martyr Margaret Clitherow.
Margaret lived in the 16th century when there was great turmoil between Catholics and Protestants. She was married to a man of influence in the community who tolerated Margaret’s strong faith. Having been raised as a Protestant, she converted to Catholicism and was imprisoned many times for hiding the priests who were being persecuted. Unfortunately, it depended on who was on the throne whether persecution and fear for one’s life was a common problem. Queen Mary persecuted the protestants. Queen Elizabeth had Catholics imprisoned and executed.
Margaret was loved by the people of York. She was not only a young mother with a family to look after, but was willing to endure whatever came her way as she reached out to help those in danger of their lives…primarily at this time, the Catholic priests. . It was said that Margaret would slip out of her house at night; go to the gallows..praying for the victims and return to her home. An Act had been passed that to shelter anyone accused of heresy would be considered high treason and punishable by death. Margaret knew her dangers. In March, 1586, her home was raided and she was arrested. Included in her charges was not only her harboring priests, but that she had sent her eldest son out of the country to study with the intention of becoming a priest.
As the wife of an influential man, she had attended many elegant banquets at Guildhall, but now it became her place of trial. The court judge gave her the sentence, ” Margaret Clitherow, …you must return to the lowest part of the prison; stripped naked; laid down your back upon the ground and as much weight laid upon you as you are able to bear…and so continue three days without meat or drink, except a little barley bread and puddle water and the third day be pressed to death; your hands and feet tied to posts, and a sharp stone under your back.”
When visited in prison by a Protestant minister, Margaret said, “I am fully resolved in all things touching my faith which I ground upon Jesus Christ and by Him I steadfastly believe to be saved, which faith I acknowledge to be the same which He left to the Apostles and they to their successors from time to time, and is taught in the Catholic Church and through all Christendom. And by God’s assistance I mean to live and die in the same faith. For if an Angel came from heaven and preach any other doctrine than we have received the Apostle biddeth us not to believe him.”
Margaret sent her hat to her husband (signifying him as head of the house) She sent her stockings and shoes to her daughter, who was twelve. (signifying for her to walk with God)
As the heavy stone weight was placed on her, she called out “Jesus, Jesus have mercy on me.” She then died at age 33. Her road was short…but throughout the ages, the martyrs have paved a long road of faith with tears, blood and love.
Perhaps one of the most quoted verses of the Bible is John 3:16.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
At this Advent season, we realize that for anyone to give their only son to save another person is an unthinkable thing to do…yet, God did it.
To be in the world…to know the world…to have been part of creation, yet comes to the world to be the sacrifice for all sins of the world, God gave His only Son.
Why? Because He loved the world….His creation. A most profound thought!
He sent Him in the world…not to condemn the world…but that the world might be saved. That means you and me. No matter what your faith is; has been or if there is no faith, I would ask that you seek Him this holy season. Call upon His name and He will answer you. As strange as it may seem, I find seclusion in my shower to be the best place to pour my heart out to God. Give it a try.
During this Advent Season, I will be sharing some of my previous Advent posts. We, at Boyer Writes, wish you a blessed and special time of reflection during this time before the birth of our Lord Jesus. You will receive inspirational music throughout Advent. Take a few moments to be quiet before God and let His love fill your life.
“BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD”