Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry
(1 Corinthians 12:28)

Following in the footsteps of the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke, Shepherd's Cross Christian Helps Ministry exists by the grace of God to further the first century Apostolic tradition serving in the Great Commission.

(St. Matthew 28:16-20)

Psalm 143

A Confession Of His Sins

O Lord, hear my prayer!
Pay attention to my plea for help! Because of your faithfulness and justice, answer me!
Do not sit in judgment on your servant, for no one alive is innocent before you.

"Lamentations" (Greek threnoi = Hebrew qinoth) denotes the character of the heart in which King David mourns over his sins before God.

The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he delivers those who are discouraged. Psalms 34:18

For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name [is] Holy ; I dwell in the high and holy [place], with him also [that is] of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Isaiah 57:15

This is what the Lord says: “The heavens are my throne and the earth is my footstool. Where then is the house you will build for me? Where is the place where I will rest? My hand made them; that is how they came to be,” says the Lord. I show special favor to the humble and contrite, who respect what I have to say. Isaiah 66:1-2

“Too late came I to love thee, O thou Beauty so ancient and so fresh, yea too late came I to love thee. And behold, thou wert within me, and I out of myself, where I made search for thee: I ugly rushed headlong upon those beautiful things thou hast made. Thou indeed wert with me; but I was not with thee: these beauties kept me far enough from thee: even those, which unless they were in thee, should not be at all.”
St Augustine: The Confessions

I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishments. I spread my hands out to you in prayer; my soul thirsts for you in a parched land. Psalms 143:5-6

Once a week, a Christian friend of mine attends a local area men’s support recovery group at a neighborhood church. Recently, I accepted an invitation to join him. Following a light dinner, singing Christian praise and worship songs and a ½ hour of listening to a guest speaker, men and women of all support recovery needs gather in separate numbered classrooms in the church annex.

As a result of the engaging experience I consented once again to attend the get-together. On this occasion on my own accord made a decision to sit in on different group than the one my friend visits.

The group leader asked for a volunteer to read one of the cue cards. Having a voracious appetite to devour texts by reading them I immediately volunteered. After finishing reading the laminated card to the collection of men assembled together from all walks of life the designated leader opened up the floor for those willing to speak to take their turn speaking for three to five minutes.

As each man began to share from his heart as others shared from their head, I began to look back to a time of my pre-teenage years. Having reminiscent recall of the old days I began seeing as in a vision, the moment when all my troubles with lust first began.

As highlighted gleanings from my past began to materialize I began to interiorly sense physically the power lust seemed to hold over both my central nervous system and mental faculties. The interior physical pressure to act out was indescribable.

The Apostle Paul’s written words found in the Epistle to the Romans, best sums up sincerely that time in my life, “So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:21-25

Without an intermission, this vision began to marshal an august advance opening a flood channel releasing candid and unguarded memories dammed within my unconscious mind forwarding them to my conscience mind.

I imagine from my experience what Israel’s King David may have experienced had he began looking back from his deathbed reminiscing on his past sin of bedding Bathsheba and ordering the murder of Uriah the Hittite her husband by having the soldiers retreat from him in battle.

Being oblivious to the fact that God’s Prophet Nathan was speaking about him when he told of a parable about a man and his lamb, King David reacted heatedly, “Then David became very angry at this man. He said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! Nathan said to David, “You are that man!” 2 Samuel 12:5, 7

Sitting in the midst of ten to fifteen men, I realized I may never have physically murdered anyone as David conspired successfully to kill Uriah the Hittite; however I too was as guilty as King David.

Then David exclaimed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord!” Nathan replied to David, “Yes and the Lord has forgiven your sin. You are not going to die. 2 Samuel 12:13

Through years of Bible Study and contrite supplication with hands raised upward, God, in His time, began changing the desires of my heart and began to renew my mind,. Now as “I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishments.”

The direction of my hands may be spreading upward in the same direction that I had done years ago, “I spread my hands out to you in prayer…” however I am not experiencing that horrific spiritual nightmare any loner of being enslaved by lust.

“…my soul thirsts for you in a parched land.”

The land may be the same with all the opportunistic temptations still available and still, through your grace, O Lord, I have changed having drunk from your fountain the You have brought to me to drink.

Jesus replied, “Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

So let the one who thinks he is standing be careful that he does not fall.1Corinthians 10:12

Revive Me Rescue Me

O Lord, for the sake of your reputation, revive me! Because of your justice, rescue me from trouble! As a demonstration of your loyal love, destroy my enemies! Annihilate all who threaten my life, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:11-12

Christ’s Resurrection

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been in vain. In fact, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, this is the way we preach and this is the way you believed.
1Corinthians 15:1-11

Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty. Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that he raised Christ from the dead, when in reality he did not raise him, if indeed the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone. 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the first fruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be eliminated is death. For he has put everything in subjection under his feet. But when it says “everything” has been put in subjection, it is clear that this does not include the one who put everything in subjection to him. And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subjected to the one who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, then why are they baptized for them? Why too are we in danger every hour? Every day I am in danger of death! This is as sure as my boasting in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord. If from a human point of view I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what did it benefit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Sober up as you should, and stop sinning! For some have no knowledge of God – I say this to your shame!1 Corinthians 15:29-34

The Resurrection Body

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed – perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another. And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:35-49

Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:50-54

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1Corinthians 15:55-58

Consider This

There is a prayer that is said around the world by those in many forms of recovery programs.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Full Original Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Christian Brothers and Sisters, we can not raise ourselves from the dead creating for ourselves a glorified body. Yet, there are millions perhaps billions that believe they hold their eternal destiny within their own power. That’s a fact. Jesus, being God in the flesh was able to raise himself from the dead just as he was able to lay his life down upon the cross for our sins. John 10:15, 17-18 No one took his life from him. He gave his life just as he had power to raise himself up from the dead after paying the price for his body of believers, the ecclesia.

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me –just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. 10:18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This commandment I received from my Father.” John 10:14-18

“O Lord, for the sake of your reputation, revive me!”

Christian Brothers and Sisters, we wait in expectant hope that our heavenly Father, God, is faithful to His word. What greater love than this that a man lay down his life for his friend. We have been born again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible. The down payment we have received from the Father is the Holy Spirit.

“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it?” Numbers 23:19

“No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

“You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” 1Peter 1:23-25

“And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.”
Ephesians 1:13-14

Israel’s King David did not experience this born-again experience.

“On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.)” John 7:37-39

King David is saved through faith upon the Messiah the same way we are saved.

“Behold, his soul [which] is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

“Now it is clear no one is justified before God by the law, because the righteous one will live by faith.” Galatians 3:11

“Because of your justice, rescue me from trouble! As a demonstration of your loyal love, destroy my enemies!”

What greater enemy has been destroyed than death?

“Annihilate all who threaten my life, for I am your servant.” Psalm 143:11-12

There will be a time when Satan along with the anti Christ and all that are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be caste into the lake of fire eternally. Book of Revelation 19:20, 20:10, 14-15

“Now the beast was seized, and along with him the false prophet who had performed the signs on his behalf – signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire burning with sulfur.” Book of Revelation 19:20

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever.” Book of Revelation 20:10

“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death – the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.”Book of Revelation 20:14-15

Until then let us hope following the example of our brother Jude who wrote: “Dear friends, although I have been eager to write to you about our common salvation, I now feel compelled instead to write to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men have secretly slipped in among you – men who long ago were marked out for the condemnation I am about to describe – ungodly men who have turned the grace of our God into a license for evil and who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 1:3-4

“But you, dear friends – recall the predictions foretold by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. For they said to you, “In the end time there will come scoffers, propelled by their own ungodly desires.” These people are divisive, worldly, devoid of the Spirit. But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith, by praying in the Holy Spirit, maintain yourselves in the love of God, while anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that brings eternal life. And have mercy on those who waver; save theirs by snatching them out of the fire; have mercy on others, coupled with a fear of God, hating even the clothes stained by the flesh.” Jude 1: 17-23

In Jesus name,

Brother Richard, MS Ed
Brother Richard, MS Ed

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