Lent Quotes: Christ understands the weakness of men

February 29, 2012

I found the following quote in the Feb. 29th entry at Anglican Mainstream’s daily Lent Devotional.  May it encourage others as it has me.  I’m glad Christ knows my weakness and is easily found when I humble my heart to seek Him!  Oh that I weren’t so stubborn in often refusing His help and His grace!

 

“Christ, like a skillful physician, understands the weakness of men. He loves to teach the ignorant and the erring he turns again to his own true way. He is easily found by those who live by faith and to those of pure eye and holy heart, who desire to knock at the door, he opens immediately.”

– St. Hyppolytus (Treatise on Christ and Antichrist)


A Lenten Parable: Coffee & Life

February 29, 2012

Go check out Tara’s beautiful and powerful parable about French Presses, Coffee and Life at Story-Formed blog.

I related to it very well this morning, and I’m oh so glad that Jesus IS willing to make us clean and to heal us!


Lent Quotes: John Piper & John Wesley on Fasting – Fasting expresses AND assists our hunger for God

February 29, 2012

Another great passage from John Piper’s wonderful book on Fasting:  A Hunger for God, in which Piper draws on a powerful quote from John Wesley to explain how fasting both expresses AND assists a deep hunger for God in our lives:

One of the great effects of fasting is that it assists what it expresses. I mean that fasting is mainly an expression of the soul’s hunger for God. It is not a contrived means to make us love God. We love him and long for him. And then fasting rises up as a way of saying earnestly with our whole body what our hearts feel: I hunger for you, O God. Fasting expresses, rather than creates, hunger for God.

Nevertheless, it is also true that the very nature of fasting makes it an assistant to this hunger for God. The reason is that hunger for God is spiritual, not physical. And we are less sensitive to spiritual appetites when we are in the bondage of physical ones. This means that fasting is a way of awakening us to latent spiritual appetites by pushing the domination of physical forces from the center of our lives. John Wesley expressed this as well as anyone I have read. What he calls the “sensualizing” of the soul is a great hindrance to our longing for Jesus to return. Therefore fasting assists the very experience of hunger for God that it also expresses.

Fullness of bread [increases] not only carelessness and levity of spirit, but also foolish and unholy desires, yea, unclean and vile affections. . . . Even a genteel, regular sensuality is continually sensualizing the soul, and sinking it into a level with the beasts that perish. It cannot be expressed what an effect a variety and delicacy of food have on the mind as well as the body; making it just ripe for every pleasure of sense, as soon as opportunity shall invite.

Therefore, on this ground also, every wise man will refrain his soul, and keep it low; will wean it more and more from all those indulgences of the inferior appetites, which naturally tend to chain it down to earth, and to pollute as well as debase it. Here is another perpetual reason for fasting; to remove the food of lust and sensuality, to withdraw the incentives of foolish and hurtful desires, of vile and vain affections.

I do not mean to belittle the good gifts of God, as if eating were an evil or even a hindrance to spiritual sensitivity. Together with Wesley I simply mean to say that most of us run the risk of being overly “sensualized” simply by having every craving satisfied and rarely pausing in a moment of self-denial to discover if there are alive within us spiritual appetites that could satisfy us at a much deeper level than food, and that are designed for the honor of  God. Such is the appetite for the coming of King Jesus.

A Hunger for God, Crossway, 1997.  pp. 89 – 91

(A Hunger for God is available as a free eBook here)


1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and Sunday School Lesson

February 29, 2012

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)
      LORD, let these words characterize the witness of all our clergy and lay leaders throughout this diocese. The power of their witness will not depend on excellence of speech or of wisdom in declaring your testimony. Help them make the choice to know nothing among us except Jesus Christ and him crucified. Paul came in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling, and his speech and his preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but he demonstrated the power of the Holy Spirit so that the Corinthians’ faith and ours should not rest on the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Thank you for his life and witness to us.

A word received: Keep listening.

STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 21, March 4 2012
Theme Verse: Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Readings: Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Haggai 2:1-23; Psalm 16:5-11

A word received: I want to build you into the church I want. I AM the foundation and cornerstone. Look to me — let me build you up by my Holy Spirit and my word.

      Gospel: Mark 8:31-38

(verse 33b) “But you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” A word received: Where is your attention fixed? What are the concerns that drive you? I want you to look at what drives and motivates you. Are you concerned about the things of God or of men?

      Epistle: Romans 8:31-39

(verse 31b) A word received: So many of my people are deluded by the judgments of others. Look at my word to you. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Use this verse to armor your heart and your mind from the concerns of men.

      Old Testament: Haggai 2:1-23

(verse 4b) A word received: “‘And work; for I am with you’ says the LORD of hosts.” If you do the work I call you to, your strength will be sufficient for the task. Do not listen to the naysayers and the prophets of doom. I AM with you and I AM sufficient.

      Psalm: Psalm 16:5-11

(verses 7-8 ) A word received: Listen for my Spirit and I will instruct you. I will show you the way to go.

Wednesday: 119:49-72 * 49, [53]; Gen. 37:25-36: 1 Cor. 2:1-13: Mark 1:29-45
Thursday: 50 * [59, 60] or 19, 46; Gen. 39:1-23: 1 Cor. 2:14-3:15: Mark 2:1-12

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 16 or 16:5-11).

***** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily Quote…
      R U spinning you wheels? R U lost in the moment of instant gratification and missing life in the process. Is your face buried in some electronic device? LOL. . I had a moment of truth TBTG. The other day as I was trying to take a photo DLPQ (sorry, just made that up) I was trying to get the image and missed it. Not only on my camera, but far more importantly, my eyes. I just missed it. I was looking at my camera! My focus was on the wrong thing. What is more important, the camera, the blackberry, the IPad, or life? Ummm. Now that was a life lesson. Jesus, BFF. Just sayin! GBU.

Albany Intercessor


Trinity School for Ministry: Lent 2012 Devotionals Online

February 28, 2012

As in years past, Trinity School for Ministry (TSM) in Ambridge, PA has a Lenten Devotional series with daily reflections by students and faculty posted online.

Apologies for not posting this sooner, it just occurred to me to check and see if Trinity was making Lent Devotionals available again this year.

Here’s the link for each day’s devotional.

There is a calendar at the bottom of each entry allowing you to scroll through additional entries.


Lent quotes: John Piper on our desire for other things versus our hunger for God

February 28, 2012

“Desires for other things”—there’s the enemy. And the only weapon that will triumph is a deeper hunger for God. The weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things.”  Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God.

What is at stake here is not just the good of our souls, but also the glory of God. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. The fight of faith is a fight to feast on all that God is for us in Christ. What we hunger for most, we worship. (A Hunger for God, page. 10)

And

Christian fasting is a test to see what desires control us.  What are our bottom-line passions? (p. 19)

And

Fasting proves the presence [of a hunger for God], and fans the flame, of that hunger. It is an intensifier of spiritual desire. It is a faithful enemy of fatal bondage to innocent things. It is the physical exclamation point at the end of the sentence: “This much, O God, I long for you and for the manifestation of your glory in the world!”

One might think that those who feast most often on communion with God are least hungry. They turn often from the innocent pleasures of the world to linger more directly in the presence of God through the revelation of his Word. And there they eat the Bread of Heaven and drink the Living Water by meditation and faith. But, paradoxically, it is not so that they are the least hungry saints. The opposite is the case. The strongest, most mature Christians I have ever met are the hungriest for God. It might seem that those who eat most would be least hungry. But that’s not the way it works with an inexhaustible fountain, and an infinite feast, and a glorious Lord. (p 22 – 23)

A Hunger for God is available as a free download here.


Mark 1:14-18

February 28, 2012

Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15)
      Holy Spirit, help us respond to Jesus’ message:
            “The time IS fulfilled, and
            The kingdom of God IS at hand, and
            We should REPENT and BELIEVE the gospel.”
      Please help each of us respond to his message.

And as he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” (Mark 1:16-17)
      Holy Spirit, help us FOLLOW Jesus.

      Jesus, MAKE US fishers of men.

They immediately left their nets and followed him. (Mark 1:18 )
      Father, so fill us with your Holy Spirit and with love toward Jesus that we will be disciples who IMMEDIATELY respond to his call. Thank you.

      Holy Spirit, give us a sense of urgency to respond to Jesus’ call and move out of the pews and into our communities with the gospel message.

Tuesday: 45 * 47, 48; Gen. 37:12-24: 1 Cor. 1:20-31: Mark 1:14-28
Wednesday: 119:49-72 * 49, [53]; Gen. 37:25-36: 1 Cor. 2:1-13: Mark 1:29-45

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 16 or 16:5-11).

***** Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: daily quote
      Sometimes words suddenly and unexpectedly catch me off guard. I could be reading the bible, and something I have read a thousand times, makes new sense read in a different light. I saw a quote the other day, “Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?” and the light went on… Stop talking, start praying. To quote a modern phrase, “Hello.”

Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Thank you…
      My father The Rev. David Mumford is home. Thank you all so very much for your prayers… Turned out to be an infection… Both he and my mother are now on antibiotics and are doing much better… You are all so kind to pray. The POWER OF CORPORATE PRAYER is something to behold. Your prayers saved my life… I believe that your prayers truly helped my dad. Thank you. Keep praying dear souls…

***** Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012
From: Susan Plaske
Subject: Cathedral Prayer Table Report
Prayer table report February 15, 2012, Over cast, sprinkles Linda Davis, Paula Sutcliff, Beth Collum and Hilda Hardy bag and crosses have been stolen
Lady walking by – pray for her peace and harmony
Rachida pray for her mom Dorothy
Diane — pray for health, up for job promotion
Carl — staying at the Mission, homeless, pray that things would turn around and get better
Jonathan — stress, feels that people are treating him cruelly when he has been nice to them. (took a Bible)
Fulaine J. Prayer for life itself
Kelly – has problems – God knows the details
Jim -(joking) did not want to bother the Almighty! We prayed for his strength, safety and contentment in the Lord.
Hilda – for wisdom in every area of life
Linda – for wisdom in retirement financial plans<
Carol for her job search
Brother Ken led us in prayer for His grace and mercy, to meet us and our loved ones at our point of need. Thank you Lord!

February 22, 2012 Beth Collum, Dcn Sue Plaske, Hilda Hardy and Tricia McCrossan, Ash Wednesday a bit over cast an d windy
Mary — prayer for her family and Jim for continued, healing and strength
race – friend Louise dying of MS on hospice. Prayer the Lord’s comfort and mercy
Wendy that she would come to know you
Ken — Dr. Appt today, results of tests performed
Mary and Zoe – relationship healing mother and daughter Mary was crying
Linda — healing of dizziness
Mike — Great aunt Kate and Great aunt margaret pray for their health, physical, mental and spiritual
Man walking by – pray for snow!

A special Thank you to Torre and Jean and Hilda for supplying a Spanish Bible. Conseula’s smile was just beautiful when she received this Bible.

Albany Intercessor


Lent Quotes: JC Ryle

February 28, 2012

Will at Prydain posted the following quote last week as a reminder not to try to be holy in our strangth this Lent. It’s a good reminder!

I pity those who try to be holy without Christ! Your labor is all in vain. You are putting money in a bag with holes. You are pouring water into a sieve. You are rolling a huge round stone uphill. You are building up a wall with untempered mortar. Believe me, you are beginning at the wrong end. You must come to Christ first, and He shall give you His sanctifying Spirit. You must learn to say with Paul, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

- JC Ryle


Please pray for the family of Bp. Cavalcanti and all in the Diocese of Recife

February 27, 2012

Tragic news out of the Diocese of Recife today concerning the death of Bp. Robinson Cavalcanti and his wife Miriam.

Today’s post at Anglican Daily Prayer which I read and linked a few hours ago, now seems particularly apt. Here’s part of that entry, part of a reflection by Myles Coverdale:

You are of those who have made a covenant with God to forsake themselves and Satan in this world. You are of those who have their loins girded about, and their lights burning in their hands, like men and women who wait for their Lord’s coming. You are of those who will worship the Lord God only, and will not worship the works of human hands, though the oven burn never so hot. You are in the number of them to whom Christ is precious and dear.

Therefore, dearly beloved, remember that your joy and paradise is not here, your companions are not the multitude of worldlings, and such as seek to please others and to live here at ease in the service of Satan. But you are of another world: Christ is your captain; your joy is in heaven, your companions are the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, and the dear saints of God who followed the Lamb wherever he went, knowing this life and world to be full of evil, a warfare, a smoke, a shadow, a vapor, replenished and environed with all kind of miseries.

I praise God that Bp, Cavalcanti and his wife were among those to whom Christ was precious and dear, and who were willing to endure great trial and suffering to follow Him faithfully.

May the Lord be very near in these days to all who loved Bp. Cavalcanti and his wife, and may the memory of their life and witness continue to bring His Name much glory throughout Brazil and beyond.


Bookmark this! Anglican Daily Prayer blog

February 27, 2012

I (Karen) have a confession to make. Even given my limited time for blogging, in the rare seasons I am able to blog a bit, I take some time to review and pay attention to our site stats. I hope and pray it’s not vanity! It’s mostly curiosity, and wanting to know which of our posts readers find the most helpful,  and the fact that in seeing who’s reading and linking Lent & Beyond, I sometimes discover some great blogs and resources!

Well that’s proven the case this morning. I noticed that a few visitors have been coming to Lent & Beyond from a link at a blog called “Anglican Daily Prayer” so I checked it out.

It turns out it’s the blog of a longtime friend of Lent & Beyond, James Gibson (who blogs at Sanctus, a site I link frequently, and who used to produce “This Day in the Word” for which we had linked the RSS feed on our sidebar).  James is a church planting pastor in South Carolina.

Anyway, at Anglican Daily Prayer, James is posting daily meditations on the Daily Office during Lent.  Today’s post features an exhortation to persevere in trials and persecutions,  “An Exhortation on the Carrying of Christ’s Cross,” by Myles Coverdale.

This is a MUST bookmark site.  I encourage you to make it a daily part of your Lenten reading.


Several Lent Poems by George Herbert

February 27, 2012

Today is the feast day of George Herbert.

I don’t have much time for blogging today, and also have an AWFUL internet connection (our internet service here is not always reliable!), but I thought I’d at least link to several Lenten poems by George Herbert that we’ve posted previously:

Repentance

“The Agony” and “The Sinner”

Lord Instruct Us to Improve Our Fast (an excerpt from Herbert’s longer poem “Lent” which you can find in full here.


Mark 1:4-8

February 27, 2012

John came baptizing in the wilderness (Mark 1:4a)
      Father, come and lead us through the wilderness areas of our lives.

and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. (Mark 1:4b)
      Holy Spirit, anoint the preaching throughout this diocese so that we all hear a clear call to repentance and receive forgiveness of our sins.

Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him (Mark 1:5a)
      Let all your people throughout this diocese and in the City of Albany go forth to meet you Jesus. Let the Diocesan Convention be such a meeting place.

and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. (Mark 1:5b)
      Jesus, let the river of your Spirit flow though this community and through the whole diocese. Bring many to that river to be baptized by your Holy Spirit with a good confession of sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “There comes one after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. I indeed baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 1:6-8 )
      Jesus, let the river of your Spirit flow with such force that we are all carried forth on it (see Ezekiel 47:1-6). Bring us to that pleace where the river of your Spirit runs so deep that we have to take our feet off the bottom and let it carry us so that we can go forward in you. Thank you.

“You are my beloved son” (Mark 1:11) A word received: Ask them to discus how I showed my love for Jesus in the lesson. It is tied to being driven into the wilderness to face the temptations there. I am preparing my son for the tests he would face. [From yesterday's Sunday School class.]

Monday: 41, 52 * 44; Gen. 37:1-11: 1 Cor. 1:1-19: Mark 1:1-13
Tuesday: 45 * 47, 48; Gen. 37:12-24: 1 Cor. 1:20-31: Mark 1:14-28

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Start now reading and reflecting on the lessons for Sunday so that you can receive all that God has for you (Mark 8:31-38; Romans 8:31-39; Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 16 or 16:5-11).

***** Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2012
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily quote…
      Perhaps the fruit of not being affirmed is a perception of rejection.

***** Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2012
From: WHI Dayton Prayer
Subject: Welcome Home Initiative Dayton Prayer Request and Praise Report 2012 02 26
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (NIV)
      May you be richly blessed by the Father’s Love, as we hunger and thirst for the Bread of Life and the Living Water this Lenten Season and beyond.
      1. Various questions about WHI. “Will young active duty service members and spouses feel out-of-place since WHI veterans seem to be from previous campaigns like Vietnam War?” “Some of the soldiers have lost limbs or have other injuries – will they feel awkward coming to the retreat?” “WHI addresses spiritual and emotional healing; does it address physical healing?”
      2. WHI Dayton Team has decided to increase the total size of the April retreat from 40 to 60 total – approx. 20 facilitators and 40 attendees. As we stretch our faith, we need to obey the Lord and lean more on Him to provide for all resources and anointing. Many WHI Dayton vets and volunteers will be shouldering more responsibilities during the April retreat.
      3. A WHI Dayton vet will be on business trip to Washington DC for 3-weeks, 27 Feb to 16 Mar. He plans to join other DC area WHI advocates to promote WHI to military chaplains and other church groups.
      4. WHI Dayton vets has a vision for a new Veterans’ Resource Center: a new facility like popular coffee shops w/ windows and open design, smoke- and alcohol-free, where veterans and families can visit to network and receive personalized help – to include healing prayer ministry and training, marriage and parenting resources.
      5. A group of pastors and chaplains in KY is considering hosting a WHI Retreat early Oct. The General Officer’s WHI Retreat in DC is from 10 – 12 Apr. WHI Dayton Retreat is 17 – 19 Apr. WHI New York Team and volunteers are assisting in all these retreats; plus planning for a female vets’ retreat (TBD) and a 12 – 14 Nov Retreat.
      6. WHI Dayton alumni Dan and Gina expecting 1st child in March, Aaron and Jenn 4th child in June.
      7. USAF Ch. Mark, back surgery end of Feb and out for 30 days. Navy Ch. Fr. M’s parents need healing.
      8. If the Lord has a word for you to be shared with WHI Dayton, please feel free to e-mail us.
      9. We are looking for intense prayer intercession (on-site and from afar) from Mon 16 Apr to Thr 19 Apr noon. If you can give an hour to pray, for example, or organize a group to pray and worship for an hour a day – that faith will move mountains!

Albany Intercessor


“Lent empties us… in order to lead us to Wholeness”

February 27, 2012

Tara at Story-formed blog has a beautiful reflection posted about Lent:

In short, Lent exposes sin front and center….and leaves it there for a full 40 days.

There are no Hallmark cards for Lent. It is not a holy day that the rest of the world wants to co-opt. In my tradition, we believe we are sinners, but we like to move quickly to God’s love and grace and much more pleasant sentiments. But I’ve come to believe that Lent is exactly for those same believers…who having grown lazy have begun to drift slowly away from our First Love.

But Lent is all grace and love of God because it exposes our fractional living. We live half-this and a quarter-that – mixing concoctions that work for us. Lent turns our graduated cups upside down and empties us….in order to lead us to Wholeness.

But wholeness does not come easy. It takes us being willing to remain on the dark stage in the light of Divine Interrogation for 40 days.

Go read it all


Lent quotes: “Desire is at the center of the spiritual life”

February 27, 2012

I found the following at the blog A Ruach Journey – another one of those blogs that I used to read regularly that I’ve unfortunately lost touch with in the past year or so as work & ministry have kept me away from the computer.

David Benner says our longings, our desires are pathways for our journey with God.  I think he would say that intimacy with God is impossible without desire being present.

Here is a quote from Benner’s Soulful Spirituality,

Despite how it is sometimes presented, desire is right at the center of the spiritual life. A sense of obligation may sometimes be enough to keep you going to church, but only desire will keep you open to God and still seeking when your experience in church is filled with frustration and is irrelevant to your deepest spiritual longings. Guilt may be strong enough to motivate religious behavior, but only desire can lead you ahead on the spiritual journey. The absence of desire means the absence of spiritual life.  (p. 335)

The full entry is here

This seems a VERY apt quote to reflect on in Lent.  May we not practice our Lenten disciplines out of guilt or obligation, but out of a desire to grow closer to the Lord and increasingly be transformed into His image.

This quote about spiritual desire reminds me of various passages from John Piper in his book on fasting, A Hunger for God.  I’ll post some of those wonderful quotes tomorrow.


Commentary on “Ashes to Go”

February 26, 2012

A lot of Anglican blogs have posted stories this year about various churches offering “Ashes to Go” – coming to a public venue (such as in front of a Starbucks) and offering the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday.

I’ve not done enough reading to really reflect and comment on the practice, but there’s a really nice commentary at Creedal Christian for those wanting to reflect further on the pros & cons.


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