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Showing posts from March 15, 2020

God Is Our Refuge and Strength - Prayers for 22 March 2020

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God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46.1). O Lord God, who rules in heaven and on earth, who directs orbits and oceans, governs harvests and hailstorms, directs plagues and pestilence, who fashions the hearts of all people and observes all their deeds (Psalm 33.15); through your Son, Jesus Christ, you reconciled to yourself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace through the blood of his cross (Colossians 1.20). Attend to our prayers as we seek your face and intercede on behalf of your Church and world.
For your church all around this globe, and around the OKC area, such as: Crosstimber UMC, Crown Heights UMC, Douglas Blvd UMC, and Edmond Chinese International Methodist Church; we pray. Guide her leaders, heal her divisions, reclaim her waywardness, right her wrongs, mend her brokenness, strengthen her weaknesses, and fortify her fidelity. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
For the nations of our world, incl…

"Emotional Abuse Recovery" by Martha McDowell. A Review

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Emotional Abuse Recovery: Healing Your Heart after Codependent and Emotionally Abusive Relationships: How to Handle Narcissists, Controlling, Manipulative, Toxic People and Take Your Life Back by Martha McDowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here we are in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak. The numbers of infected are piling up, and restrictions on human movement is mounting. Some States are even imposing a “shelter-in-place” restraint. It’s all for the purpose of flattening out the growing infection rates and is meant for our good. But it’s in the middle of such hunkering down that another potential problem can rise. Strapped to homes and secreted away behind certain closed doors, there is a perfect environment for abusive people to rain down hurt on their victims with little to hold them back. That’s what makes Martha McDowell’s 128-page paperback, “Emotional Abuse Recovery” a well-timed and worthy read. The material is presented simply, and without technicalities. Anyone from 16 to 66 …

Prayer for our Medical Professionals and Volunteers - 20 March 2020

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In the midst of this international epidemic, I thought it worthwhile  to pray for our medical professionals and volunteers, and their families.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me. O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit” (Psalm 30:1-3). O God our healer and restorer of life, we are ever grateful for our health establishments, the therapeutic advancements made throughout the years, and the number of men and women who have stepped into the helping professions. We pray for our doctors, nurses, PAs, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and other medical professionals and volunteers. We pray for these during this trying time. Preserve them from the very ailments they are seeking to remediate; pack them full of resiliency and buoyancy at every level of their being; make plentiful the equipment …

"The Noonday Devil" by Jean-Charles Nault, OSB. A Revised Review

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The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times by Jean-Charles Nault
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first time I read  this 205-page paperback, "The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times" was back in August 2015. I have picked it up a second time, and was even more impressed with it than the first. This is an intriguing read on the subject, written primarily from within the context of monasticism, and for monastics. It includes an interesting historical trek through Benedict, Evagrius, John Cassian, Gregory the Great and Aquinas. And it takes on the dead-end concoction of William of Ockham, and his "liberty of indifference" (96).

Acedia, that "Noonday Devil" is a broad vice that shows itself in loss of heart and motivation, discouragement, despair, desertion from place, perpetual need for activity and change, and so forth. "Acedia is the temptation to withdraw from the narrowness of the present so as to take refuge in what is im…

Prayer in an Epidemic (Psalm 63) - 16 March 2020

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O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. It is good to draw near to you; to earnestly seek you; to have our dry and thirsty souls quenched with you, O fountain of living waters. We pray for those who don’t know you and have never known the joy that you are and the life you give. Father, we pray for those who feel themselves to be in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Maybe the parchedness is from their sickness or disease; maybe it’s from depression or mental darkness; maybe it has arisen from grief or regret; possibly it’s as a result of a long period of unsettledness and adversity in their homes or situations, or worry and fear in their communit…

"How To Reach the West Again" by Timothy Keller. A Review

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How to Reach the West Again: Six Essential Elements of a Missionary Encounter by Timothy J. Keller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This short little booklet (just under 60 pages) is written to address what the Christian Church needs to focus on in a post-Christian western society. Not so much a "how-to" but a "why-to" and "think-through" kind of approach. It's an easy read that may envelope about an hour of one's time.

Keller brings out the way the story has changed in the West and that this post-Christian world is asking different questions from different perspectives than in the past. But also that it is narrating different tales and plot-lines. Then the author goes on to point out how Bible-believing, Gospel-embracing churches and denominations need to realize where we are now and to see better how to come at where we are. This post-Christendom evangelistic dynamic includes attention, attraction, demonstration, and conviction. The author draws from the…