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"My Rock" - 29 November 2020

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  “ I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation ” (Psalm 18:1-3, 46). Holy God, we pray for all nations and countries, these United States of America, and for the leaders of the world. O God be gracious to us and bless us and make your face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you (Psalm 67:1-5)! We give you thanks for the bounty of the rain and showers this year. Help us in this State to be good

"Resurrecting Justice" by Douglas Harink. A Review

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  She was a young military intelligence officer who had recently become a Christian. I was about mid-way through my Air Force career and had been a believer for over a decade. We orbited in different constellations of friends and relations. Nevertheless, she invited my wife and I over to a dinner party she was having with her associates. The group was primarily made up of Democrats who were probably “centrists” and I was a Republican and committed conservative. But we played well together until the discussion came around to politics. The oldest guest and I began to have a vibrant discussion that loudly and energetically took over the dinner conversation, with our young host speechless and stunned. My dialogue partner was firm and thoughtful in his position, raised questions I had never thought of, and received rebuttals from me he had never considered. In the end, to the astonishment of our host and the other dinners, we shook hands and complimented each other, leaving the scene with “

LORD, Who Forms Light and Creates Darkness - Vespers 22 November 2020

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  As you declared through Isaiah, so we affirm: you are the LORD, and there is no other, besides you there is no God; you equip people, even those who do not know you, so that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides you; you are the LORD, and there is no other. You form light and create darkness; you make well-being and create calamity; you are the LORD, who does all these things (Isaiah 45:5-7). And so, to you do we pray: O Lord, hear our prayer.     Just as you did for us back when we were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures (Titus 3.3), so now through your Son Jesus Christ, save those who trust in their own strength, those who walk in darkness, those who are hostile and alienated from others and from you (…). O Lord, hear our prayer.     As you have been our healer and helper in days past, please restore and raise up those dealing with – and not dealing very well with – depression, dementi

"O God, Before Whom..." - 22 November 2020

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  O God , before whom no god was formed, nor shall there be any after you; for you, you alone are the LORD, and beside you there is no savior (Isaiah 43:10-11): We implore you to show kindness and care to those who are facing critical times (…), those who are hospitalized and weakening (…), those who are recovering from sickness or surgery (…), those swallowed up in sorrow and sadness (…), for exhausted caregivers (…), for those walking through darkness, depression, or disorder (…). Grant them relief, replenishment, faith and hope so as not to rely on themselves but on you, O God, who raises the dead. For you are he who delivers us from such deadly perils and will deliver us. And so, on you we set our hope that you will deliver us again (2 Corinthians 1:9-10). O Father , from whom all fatherhood is named in heaven and on earth, you who are over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:6), we implore you to strengthen and aid our brothers and sisters world over, including this cong

"Here Are Your Gods" by Christopher J.H. Wright. A Review

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  Here Are Your Gods: Faithful Discipleship in Idolatrous Times Christopher J. H. Wright IVP Academic ivpress.com ISBN: 9780830853359; September 2020; $18.00   I have a love-hate relationship with some books. I find them feeding my understanding, bringing me to reflect, and arousing my prayers. But I argue and dispute with them most of the way through, sometimes shoving them aside for a time so I can cool off. This was one of those books. Christopher J. H. Wright, international ministries director of the Langham Partnership, Old Testament scholar, prolific author, and lecturer, has pulled together an in-depth examination on idolatry in his newly published, 176-page softback “Here Are Your Gods: Faithful Discipleship in Idolatrous Times”. Part of it will sound familiar to those who have read his chapter on idolatry in “ The Mission of God ”. But Wright takes that material, fleshes it out more fully and goes into places that get painfully close to home – thus my love-hate rel

Prayer - "Jesus Wept."

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  “ Jesus wept ”! [1] I don’t think we grasp the deep significance of these words and your weeping. You truly are humbled, your “low condition,” your “undergoing the miseries of this life.” [2] You grieved your friend’s death, the black sorrow it poured into Mary and Martha, and the awfulness of the situation! And then you were accused three times that it was all your fault: Martha and Mary [3] who believed in you, who trusted you – accused you! And then the crowds [4] faulted you as well. O Lord, how meaningful this all is – God in the flesh wept, undergoing the miseries of this life! You know! You weep! Lord, some who I know need your tears to mingle with theirs. Chronic pain that will not end; dark moods that suffocate; fracturing marriage that refuses to be resolved; broken relationship that shoves its sharp shards deep into their hearts. Oh, weeping Lord! Weep with them, be deeply moved in your spirit and troubled for them. [5] And as you absorbed Mary’s and Martha’s accusa

"To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism" - A Book Review

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  In all candor, I'm not Anglican nor Episcopalian. I'm a Presbyterian by conviction. But I did earn my doctorate at a conservative Episcopal/Anglican seminary in Pennsylvania (Trinity School for Ministry) and am fairly well versed on that tradition and many of its peculiarities. So I was pleased to open the pages of "To Be A Christian: An Anglican Catechism (Approved Edition)" and peruse fully the nicely bound 160 pages of this hardback. The print is easy on the eyes, and the content does good for the soul. A catechism is an ancient pattern of programmed questions and answers, and in the Christian setting, they are questions that systematically work through key areas with biblically shaped answers, which is exactly what happens in this volume. After the front-matter (that includes an introduction by J.I. Packer), the catechism breaks out into four sections: beginning in Christ; believing in Christ; belonging to Christ; and becoming like Christ. I deeply appreciate th