"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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Prayer For Christ’s Church – Drawn from Zechariah 7-8
(In my morning devotional reading, I worked through Zechariah 7-8. It brought me to this prayer):
O LORD of hosts, who has promised to hear your people,
unless they refuse to hear you, “as I
called, and they would not hear, so they called and I would not hear”
(Zechariah 7.13; see also Isaiah 59.1-4 and 1 Peter 3.7): please turn our hearts
and the hearts of all your people to hear and heed you. O Lord, hear our prayer.
LORD of hosts, who sometimes disciplines your people by creating disharmony and
disunity, “for I set every man against his neighbor” (Zechariah 8.11) –
forgive us; bring us to love anew truth and peace (8.19); turn our seasons of
mourning and fasting into joy, gladness, and cheerfulness; save us (8.7, 13);
and restore us so that there “shall be a sowing of peace” (8.12). O Lord, hear our prayer.
O LORD of hosts, who desires us to be your people and you to be our
God in faithfulness and in righteousness (8.8); bring us to speak the truth to
one another; to render in our gates judgments that are true and make for peace;
to not devise evil in our hearts against one another and not to love false
oaths – all of which you hate (8.16-17). O Lord, hear our prayer.
O LORD of hosts, may we fear not, and may
our hands be strong for you, to you, and in your work (8.9, 13). O LORD, hear
our prayer, and let our cry come unto you. 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…