"God be merciful to us & bless us, & cause His face to shine upon us.
That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.
Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You.
Oh, let the nations be glad & sing for joy!"
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Vespers - 14 October 2018
(The Oppressed): O LORD, a stronghold for the oppressed, a
stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name put their trust in
you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9.9-10); hear
the cries of those being oppressed by abusive spouses, violent and violating
adults, and neglectful caregivers…Hear their cries, come to their aid, and give
them a way out of the oppressiveness. And, O rescuing, compassionate God, give
us ears to hear their cries, the courage aid them, the wisdom to know how to
get them to safe places, and protection in the process.O Lord, hear our prayer.
(Marital Difficulties): From the very beginning you said that it is not good
for a man to be alone, and gave him a helper comparable to him that together
they might fulfil their God-given task of fruitful multiplication, filling the
earth, subduing it, and having dominion over the earth as your priestly, regal
representatives; but things went quickly sour, with marital disharmony and
conflict being one of the results. We implore you to take notice of those
couples who are experiencing conflicts and clashes, discord and disputes…May
your Gospel, your Spirit, and your church surround them and fill them with
hope, guide them toward repentance, reconciliation, and resolution, and walk
them into better days ahead. O Lord, hear our prayer.
(Raising Children): First, we thank you for our
children, grown and growing up. And thank you, O God, that you delight to call
us – who are often disorderly and disobedient – you delight to call us your
children, and to be called our Father. We ask you to be with those who have
children at home – at whatever age – and give them discernment to know how to
raise them well. May the children of our church and families flourish in
godliness, faith, hope and love as they grow into adults. May their parents
have the mental, emotional and physical energy they need. O Lord, hear our prayer.
(Generalities): Finally, Father, we have other people or
other situations on our hearts. In this silence listen to our concerns and
longings, answer our prayers, and show us your consideration and kindness …. O Lord, hear our prayer.
When I was 20 years old, I was stationed in a Muslim country for two years. During that time I read the Quran (in an English translation from Oxford), interacted with Muslim acquaintances, and saw Islam lived out in it's communal context. Therefore I was excited when my mother gave me a copy of "Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus". With bazillions of reviews already plastered on the various sites and venues, mine will be short and succinct.
Nabeel Qureshi has woven together a very personal and personable volume written to give "an insider's perspective into a Muslim heart," as well as equip readers "with facts and knowledge, showing the strength of the case for the gospel contrasted with the case for Islam," while chronicling his own inner struggles, sacrifices and doubts when grappling with the Christian faith. The style of writing is autobi…
"When evil looms and darkness falls And tragedy is breaking When all that's good seems overturned By God I'm not forsaken For though I fall or wander far I'm not too far for saving And when my Shepherd seeks and finds How can I keep from singing" (229)?
So cantillates Jennifer Michelle Greenberg, mother, wife, writer, musician and abuse survivor, in her new 240 page hardback "Not Forsaken: A Story of Life After Abuse". This volume is the tale of her terrors and troubles at the hands of an abusive father, and it is far, far more. It is truly a story of life after abuse, abundant life found only in the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. An easy to read book, it is ideally suited for those who have been traumatized and those who long to help the trampled! "I am not my abuser. I have a choice. I aspire to heal and grow by God's grace" (82).
Just like taking an abnormal psych class in college, a reader will likely see their reflection on many pages in the 200-page hardback "When Narcissism Comes to Church: Healing Your Community from Emotional and Spiritual Abuse". This newly released dossier, written by Chuck DeGroat, professor of pastoral care and Christian spirituality at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, and senior fellow at Newbigin House of Studies in San Francisco, is a velvet covered brick. It is easily readable, and reasonably attainable. DeGroat exposes the varied ways narcissism shows up in a parish, whether in the leadership, families, or congregational culture; and how it can show up in the corporate culture of an ecclesiastical denomination, association or network. It arises from the "lack of capacity for self-awareness and self-evaluation, shunning humility for defensive self-protection" (15). Further, according to the author, a deep, underlying shame is the driving forc…