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Carrying the Shield

November 2018


Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...


Opening tasks and steps

  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over
  • Closer your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read
  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion

 

Passage of Scripture

1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;

2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;

4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Titus 1:1-4 (KJV)


Quote

“When Eve dropped her shield of faith, every other piece of her spiritual armor became vulnerable.”

Beth Moore

 

Devotion

The Armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-20) is one of the most oft quoted scripture, especially among those who both love Jesus and carry the warrior's spirit within them. This is fully understandable given the similarities. This passage combines both the aspects of a follower of Christ righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and spirit along with the warrior's tools of the trade; breastplate, shield, and sword. This becomes a potent combination that appeals to many who would stand in the gap for those less able, but precisely how does one do these things, for example carry the shield of faith?

 

We all want to defend those less able from our adversary, his ways, and his minions. A shield is a potent piece of armor to defend both one's self and someone else. The knights Templar of old did this to great effect in real-world battles, but how do we as modern day descendants of those knights of old do this in a spiritual battlefield? This then becomes one of our principle tools and we must understand it's employ if we are to be effective in waging spiritual warfare in defense of those we love.

 

Our faith becomes the shield that is able to, as we read in Ephesians 6:16, "...wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." Faith is that sincerely held belief that something is true. As Christians, we believe the Bible to be true. The pursuit of truth in a godly fashion becomes righteousness. That "godly fashion" is verse 1 from this month's passage.

 

We openly, publicly acknowledge what we believe to be truth, the Bible, because that is the perfect pursuit of God. Living, doing, being the way scripture outlines life to be is the ultimate pursuit of God. Our path is one laid out by our Creator. Jesus became our example of walking that path. The Holy Spirit is now our guide while we walk that path.

 

Closing Statement

Our day to day goal should always be to set one foot after the other along a path our studies reveal to us by way of forming our lives to be more like what is revealed to us through reading scripture. Anything else becomes worldly living and shores up the strongholds, powers, and principalities of this age rather than building up the kingdom. This path should be avoided and those who refuse to turn from it shunned as they are heading in a direction that is not in line with the one God has lain before us.


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory

Mark Malcolm

markmalcolm@firstchevalier.com

Communications Executive Officer

Senior Editor

Georgia






Time for the Truth

October 2018

Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...

 





Opening tasks and step



    Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over

  • Closer your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read
  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion


Romans 14 King James Version (KJV) Verses 1-23


1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

22 Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.





Quote


“No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.”

Atwood H. Townsend


 

What did you have for breakfast this morning? Perhaps the greatest expense of energy on breakfast, or any meal for that matter, was the trip to the closest grocery store. The greatest struggle once at the store perhaps was narrowing down which of the myriad choices presented there in colorful packaging you wanted to purchase and take home for a meal. The pictures on those packages all of the perfect serving of whatever happened to be contained within designed to trigger our saliva glands, hunger pangs, and rumblings of our stomachs. We make the purchase, take the meal home, and prepare it for consumption.  Perhaps before we dine we give thanks for the food we are about to eat, and then hungrily scarf the meal down.

 

If we aren't preparing the meal, then the struggle is quite different. Deciding which restaurant we want to eat at, what style of food to eat, the cost associated with eating out, and the distance or time it takes to just get a seat all play a role in our decision about where to go for that meal. Again, we might give thanks before eating, but once grace is said, the meal is consumed, paid for, and we return home sated, poorer, but fatter relishing what we have consumed.

 

The medieval diet and process was something different, and for Templars it went a step further again.

 

Rising at around 4AM the Templars had more on their minds than what they would eat. Battle, both spiritual and physical loomed large over every day for the Templars. In that we are again alike, we and our Templar brothers from bygone days. We find ourselves under assault from things both in the physical world and spiritually from things unseen. Again, like our Templar brothers we can both build up our defenses and defend ourselves through use of the truth.

 

Templar meals were taken in silence. Presumably this allowed the knights, sergeants, and companions at arms to contemplate those things the Holy Spirit, God, and Christ laid upon their hearts. For Templars, meals were not a function of deciding what to eat. Rather, they consumed whatever was at hand as a mechanical function of feeding the machine that is the human body. They spent more of their energy devoted toward deciphering more important questions beyond what to eat. Instead, they concerned themselves with contemplating the truth of God's word, the reality of what was revealed to them through their studies, and how to turn what they'd learned into real change in their lives. These changes became the next step each man took in their walk with God.

 

We, with all the things in our lives that distract the least of which are our meal choices, struggle to find the simplest of truths or hear the voice of God. We go to church on Sunday and listen to the sermon. We may even take notes circling or underlining particularly pithy points, but what then? What happens to those poignant notes that highlight areas of our lives which need our attention? For most, the sermon or notes end up forgotten or filed and never dwelled upon again. But what would happen if those notes became the root of further study during the week upon which we contemplated at our meals, discussed with those close to us, and then that which we learned became the catalyst for changes we made in our own lives to step along our own paths, walking with God?

 

 

Closing Statement


Our Templar forebearers ate in silence to grow closer to God. What do we do to grow closer to God? Should our mere attendance in a Sunday service be all we commend to God or should there be something more? The truth is at our fingertips. We have but to spend some quiet time with an open heart willing to go where the Holy Spirit leads.

 

Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory

Mark Malcolm

markmalcolm@firstchevalier.com

Communications Executive Officer

Senior Editor

Georgia  (For the Monthly Mana)





Weapons of a Modern Templar

July 2018


Greeting-Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...





Opening tasks and steps


Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over

Closer your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read

Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion


1 Thessalonians 1:1-7 King James Version (KJV)

1 Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

3 Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;

4 Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.

5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.

7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.


Quote


"Unless the Spirit of God comes with the word of God, it will be to us a dead letter."

Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary


Devotion


Regarding the Master of a Templar chapter the Latin Rule reads, "The Master ought to hold the staff and the rod in his hand, namely the staff by which he sustains the weaknesses of other men, also the rod by which with zeal for rectitude he strikes the lives of those who err." In another place The Rule reads, "It is necessary that the unwholesome sheep be removed from the society of the brothers of fidelity."1


The Templars may not have thought of themselves as an example, but they surely were. We know this in several ways but most notably because the creation of a militarized, monastic order was wholly new to the world at that time. The Templars became the model from which so many other groups designed their paths of membership from the Hospitallers, Teutonic Knights, and even smaller orders like the Order of St. Lazarus who allowed Templars who had contracted leprosy to join. Make no mistake, like it or not Templars were, and should be today, examples leading the way to a lost world.


This sounds more like the closing to a devotional rather than the opening, but it leads to this. As modern-day knights templar we are examples to the world. Like it or not our path is that of leadership rather than followers or bystanders.


Consider the following. Take yourself back to the days of the original Templars we model ourselves after. A knight of the order wore a pristine white mantle with red crosses on it. This was in the days before bleach. Before modern laundry rooms. Before detergent pods wrongfully viewed as edible by some. This mantle symbolized the discarding of the old, "dark" ways of the past, and the washing clean of the inner person by the blood of Jesus Christ. If that was the message preached as the center of salvation, what message would a dirty, dingy mantle present to those preached to?


How does that ancient, white mantle translate to us today who are on the path of Christ stepping onto the spiritual battlefield to war against powers, principalities, and strongholds of darkness? Simple; our greatest weapon against our age-old adversary is our example, the way we live. We demonstrate how clean our mantle is in the actions we take, the words we say, the life we lead. We highlight the blood-red cross on our heart each and every time we stand up for what is right by not allowing what is wrong to go unchallenged. We swing the sword of the word of God when we implement lessons learned from our study of scripture into the actions of our day to day lives.


Do you study the word of God daily? How do you keep your sword sharp if you do not? Do you attend church as often as possible? How do you support your brothers and sisters who struggle to stay on their path if you do not? Do you admonish yourself inwardly for transgressions of His statues when they occur in your personal life? How do you wash the inside of the cup if you do not?


Our forebearers rode on horseback down dusty roads to defend pilgrims with blood and steel. Society has advanced to a point where only a very few of us are required to actually take up arms at home or abroad to keep the peace, but that does not absolve us of our duty. They fight on a worldly stage against physical enemies attempting physical harm, but that harm is merely temporary, affecting the body alone. We ride forth to wage spiritual warfare on an ethereal battlefield that has eternal consequences. They battle for the body, but we battle for the soul.


Closing Statement


Modern Knights Templar, both man and woman, set forth on this of spiritual warfare task armed primarily with the sword of the word that is the Bible. We bolster one another in Christian conferencing when we fellowship together. The kind word, the soft touch, the smile, and the unasked gift given without reservation or expectation of it being returned are the weapons we wield. Our example is our most potent offense against the onslaught of the adversary so let us do everything in our power to keep our quivers full, our sword sharp, and hold our shield high. The devil never sleeps and he would like nothing more than to revel over the fall of a temple knight.


Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminītuōdāglōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory

Notes

The New Knighthood. Malcolm Barber p.17

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrew
Georgia






  1. THE WORK OF THE KNIGHT
  2. June 2018

  3. Michael Haag, The Templars the History and the Myth HarperCollins 2008; adapted from p.102

Who’s Path are We On?


Greeting-Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...

 


Opening tasks and steps

  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over

  • Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read

  • For this month, try to get up one hour earlier than normal but no earlier than 4 AM. Spend this hour reading scripture or other works based on scripture.

  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion



Ephesians 4:17-24 King James Version (KJV)

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.


Quote


"Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning." John Henry Newman


Devotion


A new companion at arms to the Templars starts his first morning after having been accepted. He wakes at 4AM for Matins and to tend his horse or, if he has none, others’ horses in the stables before lying back down. He rises again at 6AM, and from that time until noon, he attends three more services along with training and more horse grooming. At the noon meal while he eats in complete silence, he listens to the chaplain read scripture. At 3PM there is an afternoon service called Nones and then Vespers at 6PM. At 9PM he attends Compline after which he meets with the brethren to discuss the plans for the following day, and then more horse grooming. Finally, at midnight, he returns to bed in complete silence where he sleeps until 4AM the following day and begins the routine anew.1

 

The man described above was presumably not a new convert to Christianity. His life perhaps was very different from the one he voluntarily chose with the Templars, though I suspect his life was different in many ways from those non-believers around him. We, too, have different lives from those who live in the world as professing followers of Jesus Christ, and we should.

 

When a new companion at arms joined the Poor Fellow-Soldiers in Christ, he shed his former life and took on a new life, the life of a Templar. The most dramatic change occurred that very first morning as he rose at 4AM to begin the routine that would comprise every day from that day forward. The question for us becomes how has our life changed with our declaration that we follow Christ? If the answer is that it hasn't changed at all or in any significant way, then another question needs to be asked. Do we really mean it when we say we want to grow closer to Him?

 

Spend some time in retrospect this month reviewing where your life has gone since you declared your allegiance to Jesus Christ. Can you name the moment you consciously allied with Him? In the Baptist faith, the church calls this a testimony when members talk about the moment in time they became saved. For Methodists, the this story of coming to the Lord is referred to as a profession of faith. Other denominations put different names to it. The point is, can you put into words why you believe what you believe? Here Peter's words:

 

15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)

 

Is there a visual and physical change in your life since that moment? It doesn't matter how small an increment as long as it is a change away from the old life and toward the new life. Is there a new person walking in your shoes on a new path leading away from the world and toward Him? Can you explain to others why this change occurred?

 

These questions are important. These questions need to be answered honestly. If a sense of conviction falls upon the heart for one or more questions, then respectfully, there is an area that needs to be further examined as a failure to act in a way pleasing to Him. We are called to leave those things His Holy Spirit highlights in our lives as "corrupt" and "deceitful lusts".

 

These things are not on His path, they are on the adversary's path; a path we formerly walked, formerly. Walk that path no more. Put the foot onto the new path of the new creation. Walk in the way of the Master, the Prince of Peace and Lord of All. Take up His ways and discard the ways of Man. This new beginning is what brings joy to God's eyes, when we follow in the ways of His Son, Jesus the Christ.

 

Closing Statement


It doesn't matter what has gone before, truly. Nothing matters, how bad things were, what was done, or to whom, at least not from the perspective of God's love for His creation. Each individual is not only wanted but sought after; you are sought after by the Creator of all things. God wants you to be involved in His works. Put aside the guilt of the past and bathe in the forgiveness of His Son. Let Jesus wash clean that which Man has soiled. It is real. It is tangible. It is permanent...so long as you are willing to accept it, hold it, and cling to it as the most valuable of gifts that it is.

 

For those who claim the title of Christian, the World must see this change in your life. The path walked cannot be in secret while outwardly the cup retains the dirt and grime it always had. This process is a thing not done behind closed doors but out in the open so that others may see and inquire about the change. This is a public story, not a hidden tale.

 

For those who add the title Templar to their claim along with Christian, ours is a larger commitment. We are to be worthy of those who so long ago claimed the tabard of white and red. This is not posting on social media. This is not putting a fish symbol on the back of a car. This is going out into that world that so desperately needs the good news. This is going down His path without fear or deception. This is looking at that tabard for any speck of imperfection and scrubbing it out so vigorously as to threaten to tear the cloth. For Templars, if there is no outward change in our lives other than social media posts and an annual donation, then which master are we really following?

 

Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory.

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrew
Georgia






THE POOR-FELLOW SOLDIERS OF CHRIST

May 2018


Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...


Opening tasks and steps


  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over


  • Closer your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read


  • Consider finding one small regular act of giving either daily or weekly and one large, single act of giving for the month to enact.


  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion


Quote


"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give."                                          Winston Churchill




1 Corinthians 13: 9-13


For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


Devotion


On Christmas Day 1119 Hugh du Payns and his companions took their vows in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, calling themselves the Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ.1 From then until the end in 1307 the Templars were successful in their purposes. 


While individually they eschewed wealth in all its forms the order as a whole prospered greatly to enable its members to further their holy calling. They did so well, that ultimately it became their downfall some would say due to King Phillip's unwillingness to pay back the monies he owed the order.


When the order fell, it did so to a lie. False accusations were leveled at the leadership, and many of the brothers; claiming devil worship, satanic rites, and worse. This provided the gossamer-thin veil of legitimacy King Phillip needed to order the arrest of the Templar leadership, and seizure of all their assets, world-wide.


Why did they want to divest themselves of worldly wealth? The answer is simple. They wanted to be a monastic order, to grow closer to God and they believed this sacrifice would help them do that. Hugh and his fellow knights wanted more than anything else to be close to God, and they believed entering a monastic order would help them atone for the sins they had committed both before coming to Jerusalem and after.


Baldwin the II had other ideas. Baldwin knew how dangerous the roads were in his kingdom. He also knew how dangerous it was to defend those roads. He saw battle-hardened men who knew what it was to fight, how to fight, and how to be victorious; and he had a better purpose than shuttering those skills behind monastery walls.


Today, those of us who call ourselves Christians, study scripture, look at the past, and try to discern the path God has for us strive mightily to come to grips with our future. What should we do? How should we go about doing it? What is God's path for our lives? These are not questions asked lightly or without resolve behind them to take up the answers when discovered.


In Hugh's day, he pledged his sword to an earthly liege, an earthly king. Hugh walked a path given to him by his lord, whom he believed to be a godly man. Today, we who are members of this resurgent most holy order pledge ourselves to that same cause, not to earthly kings, but to One who sits on a Heavenly throne. Our commands come now not through the voices of men placed in authority over us, but from Holy Scripture, that same Holy Scripture Hugh du Payns read in his day.


In Hugh's day he strapped on worldly armor of steel and leather to execute his duties. For us as Christians and Templars we pick up our armor and put it on not with buckles and straps but with pen and paper, for when we done our armor and take up our sword it is when we open our Bibles, take our notes, study scripture, and wield the sword that is the word of God. Our orders come from a Heavenly Lord who has conquered all, sits at the right hand of God, and sends His intentions to us through His Holy Spirit.


When Hugh met the enemy it was with steel in both armor and weapon, steel you could feel and touch. When he rode into battle dust choked his throat, sweat soaked his clothing, and blood stained the ground. Today, we still ride out amidst the dust of the world, with sweat on our brow, and occasionally brothers and sisters in Christ bleed just as they did in the days of yore. 


However, our weapons have changed. No longer do we swing steel in the name of God. Now, we speak the word that is the sword of God boldly in truth. Before, the steel of armor, helm, and shield defended the body from harm. Today, we speak hope into the lives of those afflicted to defend them against the onslaughts of evil. 


Before, the knights of old fought, lived, and died on an earthly battlefield. Today, we still fight, and live or die but our battlefield is one of spirit, not flesh and blood; and the stakes are just as high, no less than all eternity.


Hugh tended to real-world weapons and armor to defend both his faith and his life. We have armor and weapons too, but when we lay a sharpening stone to our sword it is when we open the pages of our favorite Bible, pick up our pen, and begin taking notes concerning how we go about presenting a better way to those we meet on their pilgrim road. 


We fight back the evil one when we speak hope into someone else's life, when we give though we have to do without. The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ gave all because they knew the stakes. That is our legacy as Templars and as Christians. If we wish to honor the sacrifices that went before, then we can do no less now. It is the path we have chosen.


Closing Statement


God changes hearts and minds while we change ourselves. The simple act of giving is not so the recipient can have what we offer. The act of giving alters the giver on a fundamental level to become more like Christ, who gave all for all of us. The knights of old gave up everything to pursue their calling so they would be without the distractions of wealth and could focus on training to fight, and fight well. 


Our giving should help us to center our minds and hearts not on what was given, but why. We give so that we may free ourselves from the internal need to covet and hold onto material things in this world. This frees us up to focus more on the spiritual battle, which we focus on by study His word and His ways. There is no better place for our energy to be spent than delving into the word of God as contained in the Bible, with a heart toward sharpening our spiritual sword and walk closer with Him.


Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory


End Notes


  1. Michael Haag, The Templars the History and the Myth HarperCollins 2008; p.96


Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrew
Georgia





The View From the Backs of Giants

April 2018


Greeting-Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on...



Opening tasks and steps


  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over.

  • Contemplate all the little things that make your life easier that did not exist one thousand years ago.

  • Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read.

  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion.


Romans 7:15-25 King James Version (KJV)


15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.

22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.


Quote


"Improvise, adapt, and overcome!"

Gunnery Sergeant Highway (Clint Eastwood), Movie Heartbreak Ridge


Devotion


We stand on the shoulders of giants. We have over two thousand years of written examination of scripture, commentary by church fathers, and sermons from some of the greatest motivators of all time. We have insight from men and women who spent their entire lives behind the walls of monasteries and convents doing almost nothing besides contemplating the thought behind God's words in scripture. Yet we sit back with a problem in our lives and ask, "How am I going to overcome this?" Why?


Nine hundred years ago, the year 1118, several knights took vows before a man of God. They weren't perfect men; they were just resolute. People needed help, and these knights were going to do everything they could to help them in the name of God. 


They set about documenting rules, ways of behaving, and methods of operating in a world they found utterly hostile to both their bodies and their spirits. Yet this hostility did not deter them from the goals they set about accomplishing: protecting people seeking God's holy city, Jerusalem.


From those humble beginnings, these few men grew into thousands of knights with thousands more in the sergeants at arms corps and tens of thousands of support personnel affiliated with them. The Knights Templar grew into the single most powerful, land-rich, money-rich, influential group in the world at that time. All this worldly success came from the humble beginnings of a few men resolved to do good.


These men weren't perfect men. They weren't paragons of virtue. We know this because they have rules for disciplining a brother who forgot or broke his vows. No, not perfect by a long shot, just certain. They were absolutely, positively, without a doubt certain they were on the path God had prepared for them beforehand. and they were not going to let anyone or anything get in their way of walking that path. Period.


Today, we stand on the backs of giants. It is true and is worth repeating that our Templar forbears were hampered by many inconveniences such as no electric lighting, no central heating and air, and no indoor plumbing to name a few. 


If you spend any time at all contemplating what life was like around 1118, the list of “needs” they did without, which we now take for granted, would be too long to include here. Suffice to say, there are many conveniences we see as necessities for which they did completely without...and still managed to follow God.


Giants. We have all their writings. We have all their thoughts. We have all their contemplations preserved for us to build upon. We have books written by men who never met each other, who lived on opposite sides of the globe around the same time, and we can read them as though we had those to people in the room right there with us. 


On top of that, we have the essays and contemplations of church greats who have come well before us who have already done a wealth of work for us. We have all this vast knowledge and scholarship laid before us by those who have come before, and still we say "I don't know how." What we really mean is, "I can't be bothered to..."


Scripture has the answer for anything that comes up in life. It does. We stand here today able to go on the internet, type in a few descriptive words, and we can almost instantly see what has been written by those who went before us on any topic. 


With a few clicks we can then have those books we desire purchased, and delivered to where we live, all without leaving the house...and then those books sit on a table and gather dust mocking our problems with their unopened solutions because we can't be bothered...


Closing Statement


The question here isn't what is holding us back. The question here is why are we letting anything hold us back? We have an historical example of men overcoming adversity to accomplish what God gave them. Our first step has to be overcoming ourselves or we become a hollow witness, a false balance, and a hypocritical example. 


We don't have to choose this path. Paul himself in today's passage laments his own weaknesses to avoid what he knows to be right and to avoid what he knows to be wrong. 


This goal is not about our being perfect. It is about our being honest within ourselves and identifying those circumstances that must change for us to grow closer to God and then creating a plan to change them. 


Yes, we stand on the backs of giants who have had these same problems before. Some of them overcame those problems and documented how they managed it. Others fell to them, and also documented how they succumbed. 


We simply need to discover what worked in the past and replicate that while discovering what didn't work and avoid that. We battle within ourselves to walk His path that molds us into a better example of His love,rather than walking our own path or our own love. 


He is the light. We are not. We are but reflections of His light. It behooves us to make sure that mirror is polished as brightly as we can polish so His light can shine through us to illuminate the path of another and protect their journey to seek God as our ancestors did. 


To do otherwise is to leave smudges on the surface that might cause another to stumble and lose their way. Who wants to carry the burden of that before the judgment seat?


Close


Nōn nōbīs, Domine, nōn nōbīs, sed nōminī tuō dā glōriam

Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy name give the glory

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrews
Georgia






The Climb

March


Romans 6:19-23 King James Version (KJV)

19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Stumble and fall but get back up

Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks below as you are easily able to before moving on...


Opening tasks

  • Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer for.

  • Think of or write down one of God's commands to which you do well in adhering and one to which you fail in adhering.

  • Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read.

  • Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion.


Quote

"Don't treat people the way they treat you. Treat people the way God treats you." Dave Willis, pastor, author, speaker


Devotion

You are not broken. You are not worthless. You are not useless. Fallen? Yes, but forgiven if you follow Christ. Meek? We should be, but that does not mean we are not bold when we walk.

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrews
Georgia






That which is old has become new again

February 


Hail and well met brothers and sisters from this most holy order and in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 


Take a moment to center yourself and clear your thoughts. Perform as many of the short opening tasks and steps below as you are easily able to before moving on... 


Opening tasks and steps 

o Think of or write down one thing you are thankful for, hopeful about, and/or in need of prayer over 

o Close your eyes and say the Lord's Prayer once then ask the Holy Spirit to walk beside you as you read 

o Read the quote and the passage of scripture before moving into the devotion 



“The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.” 

Honore de Balzac


Scripture


Psalm 111King James Version (KJV)

111 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.

His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.

He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.

He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen.

The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure.

They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness.

He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Public Domain


Devotion


In 1119 AD a small group of knights discovered its purpose from God when they banded together to protect the pilgrim road. Their specific oath, according to Malcolm Barber's The New Knighthood was, "they should maintain, as far as they could, the roads and highways against the ambushes of thieves and attackers, especially in regard to the safety of pilgrims"1. Note that oath does not specify Christian pilgrims, just pilgrims. Contemplate the impact of that omission for a moment.


The heritage of our order is such that if you were found on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem in need of help, you were provided with help. That particular section of road was very dangerous. In one section it traversed through a deep wadi, or canyon, with sheer cliff-walls, a perfect place for an ambush as was the case more times than could be counted (see image of St. George's Monestary).


Our Templar brothers of old set regular patrols over this road. They rode out of the safety of their positions into the night to ensure others were not beset by evil men bent on spilling their blood for whatever they carried. 


The Templar knights were not paid for this service. They did not brag nor take glory in it. They simply saw it as their duty from God and set about their service in workman-like fashion to make sure it was accomplished as well as they could accomplish it.


Theirs was a physical fight, a tangible battle with an enemy easily identified set before them. Their arms and armor were likewise things of this world they could touch, feel, and see. This made their duty in some ways easier and in some ways harder than the modern-day knight or dame's task. 


They could see the rust on blade or helm, the rips in cloth, and the tears in leather. They could easily identify places where their tools were deficient and attend to those deficiencies. Failure to maintain the tools of one's trade at this time was often the difference between life and death. 


A failure of one's weapon or armor in battle at a critical moment would most likely be the last thing a warrior saw.


However, for us, our arms and armor are usually not tangible as were our predecessors’. We fight with spirit, with faith, with words. Our battles are no longer fought on a physical road, placing real enemies swinging swords or aiming axes at us. 


For us, our weapons are the spoken word coming from a right-thinking heart filled with ideas derived from the study of words written over two thousand years ago. Ideas and words are ever so much harder to maintain than simply brushing off some rust until the metal underneath shines or sewing up a torn piece of cloth. 


We must sharpen our whit through constant study, police our comportment with vigilant attention to behavior, and mend the tears in our spirit with solace from comrades. 


We must attend to these “weapons” on ourselves and our brethren and sistern. 


Further, our adversary not only doesn't appear before us in tangible form, but also many times he even looks just like us, like our fellow brothers and sisters. We have to be astute in our observations, discerning the right from the wrong, or we may injure one of our own instead of attacking the evil that wells up from below.


To be sure our predecessors risked their lives every day, but that was the physical life. Since our battles are those of the spirit, we risk a far greater prize; life eternal. If we get this wrong, ever-lasting souls weigh in the balance. 


For us, if we are to engage in this battle at all, we are duty-bound to not only fight well, but fight rightly and justly. To do that we must make sure our foundation is built upon firm and solid rock, and begins rightly, for if we do not we risk our arms and armor, our weapons having been poorly maintained, they will fail us at a critical moment in battle. That just will not do.

Mark E. Malcolm

Staff Writer / Monthly Manna
Priory of St. Andrews
Georgia