A confession

November 9, 2008

Last month, Rev. Brian Thom was consecrated bishop of Idaho, and I posted a prayer for him.  Later, StandFirm posted an article on the consecration, and I made a couple of biting comments about his affiliation with Planned Parenthood of Idaho.  (I realize that most women who abort a baby, in that moment of decision, feel as if they have no other choice–a commentary on the pressure exerted by our culture.  I simply have higher expectations of those persons who have taken holy vows.)

As I awakened this morning, the Holy Spirit stirred me to think of Bishop Thom again, and my cynicism came to the fore.  I thought, ‘Perhaps in the symbols of office given during the consecration, they presented a suction curette so that he could suck out the brains of pesky pro-lifers like the abortionists do to the unborn babies.’  (I know, pretty rancid thinking, but I’m trying to be truthful.)

During my husband’s sermon on the wise and foolish virgins, he told us that St. Augustine said the wise virgins endured to the end; in them love did not grow cold, their love preserved its glow to the end.  I was convicted by the Holy Spirit; I knew in that moment that my Christian love for Bp. Thom had indeed grown cold, and I think that is why the Holy Spirit brought him to my mind today.  The Holy Spirit knew what would be in my husband’s sermon, even though I didn’t.

We are all called to the mind of Christ, to the same love, the same thoughts, the same attitudes.  May God have mercy on my soul and grant me the grace to see both the unborn and Bishop Thom with the eyes of Jesus and to love them with His heart. 

And if Bishop Thom should read this:  I challenge your thinking on the subject of abortion, but that is no license for me to be hateful. I apologize.  Jill Woodliff

Preparing for Advent 2008 — how to access our old Advent posts

November 9, 2008


The clock is ticking. Advent 2008 begins in 3 weeks, on Sunday November 30!

As many of our readers know, Lent & Beyond was well-known in 2004 – 2006 for our special Advent series with many special posts of Advent devotionals and Advent resources. I’m hoping to continue that tradition in 2008. (Unfortunately, Advent 2007 was largely ruined by the hacker incursion and destruction of our old site, which meant we were offline most of December 2007.)

For Advent 2008, as time and energy permit, I intend to post some of the best Advent prayers, devotionals and resources from our old site, as well as new material. Unfortunately, our old site with several hundred archived Advent posts has been down for about two weeks, and I don’t yet know if / when it will be resurrected. But I was able to do some digging in Google’s cache this morning, and have a few links I can post here which will make some of our old Advent resources available while I work to import many of them here to our new site.

Please let us know what you would like to see us post here in terms of Advent devotionals and resources. We love getting feedback! Thanks.

Note: I’ve now set up an Advent category for the blog (with various subcategories) and a special Advent Section on the sidebar.

I’ve started updating our famous Advent Resources Compilation (with more than 100 links!) It is online and fully usable (see above), even as I work to add some new links, and remove a few old links that have gone bad.


For those looking for Advent Resources & Advent Devotionals, even while our old Lent & Beyond site is offline you can still access many of our old Advent posts by using the Google cache.

Go to Google and copy and paste the following blue links (i.e. cache: http …..) in the Google search box for various categories and entries:

Our Advent Resources Compilation post (this is now online here on the new blog — no need to use the Google Cache!)

For the Advent resources category:

For the Advent devotionals category:

For some of our favorite Advent posts from the past 3 years:
(Any of the linked posts in this post can be viewed using the Google cache as well…)

The Advent Prayers category:

The Advent Quotes category:

A brief post on Children’s Advent Crafts and Activities (we’d love to add a lot more resources here, let us know of good ones you find!)


In addition to the cached versions of some of our prior Advent posts, and categories, here are a few of our favorite Advent links which we have featured in years’ past (all links were verified to be working as of Nov. 9, 2008). Most of these are included in our Advent Section in the side bar:

Advent Readings

Daily Scripture Readings for Advent: As in previous years, the CRI website has updated their handy table with the Daily Office readings (1979 BCP) for every day in Advent. (This year 2008-2009 is Year One of the Daily Office Calendar).

For the Advent Sunday Lectionary Readings (1979 BCP / RCL), a good source is the Satucket.com website. The 2008 -2009 church year is Year B in the Sunday lectionary calendar.

For those who follow the Traditional Lectionary, CommonPrayer.Org is an excellent resource. At their Ordo Calendar for December you can find links to the 1928, 1662 English, and Scottish 1637 (basis for 1789 US) lectionaries, and of course Lectionary Central’s excellent resources are all based on the traditional lectionary.

For those using the 1928 Daily Office, CommonPrayer.Org’s Daily Office page is the place to go. And here’s their December Ordo Calendar with the Daily Office links.


Other favorite Advent Links:

Advent Wreath Guide by Presbyterian Pastor Mark D. Roberts

BBC Advent Calendar (available from December 1)

Christian Resource Institute: is a fantastic Advent Resource site. There are many helpful resources here, including: All about Jesse Trees (includes instructions to make a Jesse Tree); Chrismons: Make your own Christ-centered Christmas Ornaments (including patterns); A Service for the Hanging of the Greens at the beginning of Advent

Church Year.Net Advent Site

Classic Church Music Online

Creighton University “Praying Advent” site

Following the Star Online Daily Devotional

Go to Bethlehem Advent Blog

Holy Trinity New Rochelle’s Advent Resources Page

John Piper’s Advent Narrative Poems

Lectionary Central (for sermons, commentary and other resources based on the traditional Anglican Lectionary). Advent 1. Advent 2. Advent 3. Advent 4.

Lift Up Your Hearts: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany Resources

Liturgies.Net Advent Resource page

Pray As You Go (Jesuit Daily Devotional Podcasts)

Ezra 10:1-5

November 9, 2008

Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. (Ezra 10:1)
      “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and he relents from doing harm.” (Joel 2:12-13)

And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God, …; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. (Ezra 10:2)
      Jesus, please help us confess our sins and turn to you; for you are our hope and our salvation.

Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God …, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. (Ezra 10:3)
      Pray for hearts that will tremble before God because of the sins of his people.

Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.” (Ezra 10:4)
      Holy Spirit, please help each of us take personal responsibility for our deeds and for your call to us to return to Jesus and his ways.

Then Ezra arose, and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath. (Ezra 10:5)
      Father, help each of us do our part in bringing your church and your people back to your ways. Thank you.

Sunday: 34; Ecclesiasticus 51:13-22 or Ezra 10:1-17; 1 Corinthians 14:1-12; Matthew 20:1-16
Monday: 77, [79]; Joel 1:1-13; Revelation 18:15-24; Luke 14:12-24

      Notes from the Front Line

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

      Please pray for the President Elect and his family daily.

Albany Intercessor


November 9, 2008

(Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008; 9:15-10:30 a.m.; in front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Torre Bissell and Deacon Alan Hart.)

a–anointed with Holy Oil.
t–received one of Torre’s wooden crosses.
c–received one of our church “Are You Looking for God?” cards.

Note: Very overcast, cool day but only some occasional rain. The rain did nothing to deter people from stopping! God had one of the busiest Prayer Tables yet this day.

DON — We prayed for blessing on his marriage and for continued good health.

t–ANDRE — Young man who wanted prayers for his young son, Andre Jr., and for his next baby who is on the way, and for his woman. (They are “talking about marriage” at this point.)

t,c — BEVERLY — This is a woman just out of the Air Force. She is retired after serving 21 years in Trinidad. She is trying to locate in this area and said she is searching for a home and for a nice church community to settle into.

t,t — JIM — Please pray for this man, who asked for prayers on behalf of his sister KATHLEEN who was just beaten up badly by her ex-boyfriend. He also wanted prayers for thanks that he himself is alive and in good health.

a–PAT (Frank Upshur‘s daughter) — PAT asked for prayers for herself this time as well as for her son KEITH (who just got a job!) and her nephew NICK, who still needs a transplant donor for a serious medical issue. PAT feels “the devil keeps coming at me” and is trying to prevent her from praying for — and helping — her family.

t–EDDIE — Wanted to say prayers of thanks that he is “still kicking at 64!” and is happy to be alive. He was collecting bottles and cans on the street.

t–BILL — Asked for prayers for his woman, DIANE. This woman lives in New Jersey and they love each other and are trying to work things out so they can be together and get married and have a church wedding. Right now, they are in separate states and do not see each other very often.

a,t — LISA — This young woman wanted prayers for her two children, JAYDA and JOSHUA. We prayed for their protection and provision and for the Lord to bless this little family.

a,t — JOSHUA — Joshua, a young man in a sweatshirt, spotted us from across the street but then looked away until we called out to him and he came! He seemed to want to be invited. He wanted prayers for safety and protection from all the “stuff” going on around the neighborhood.

a,t,t — LAURIE and JOSH — This is the mother and the older brother of the young woman we have been telling you about who recently was raped by three men and is trying to deal with all the trauma and worry that naturally has surrounded that attack. LAURIE is the one who first told this girl to come to the Table for prayer and encouragement. LAURIE asked for prayers for her whole family to find some peace. JOSH also asked for prayer for his infant son, DEANTHONI, who has a serious digestive problem and is losing weight because he cannot properly digest food because of a stomach blockage. (The attacked girl prayed for him on Wednesday.) Please pray for this family which has had so many problems! We asked the Lord to take all these problems unto himself and send peace to these people.

a,t — CALVIN — This man at first said he wanted prayers for a job because he had no money and his wife was ready to “kick me out” and that his daughter was disappointed in him. But when Torre sensed Calvin was not telling us the “whole story,” Calvin admitted he has a drug addiction and that all the money he has is going for marijuana and he is putting the drug first and his family second. He asked for prayer to be freed of his addiction and for forgiveness.

t–EBONY — She wanted prayer for her husband, CECIL, to be healthy and safe. She also asked for prayer for her brother ROLANDO and her sister, KATHY. EBONY was on her way to church services.

ERIC — Another man on his way to a local church service stopped by for prayer for protection and provision. He also prayed for US!

JIM — This man stopped quickly for prayer for his son, ROBERT, to be safe.

t,t — MATTHEW and WALTER — Two young men on their way to the Dollar General stopped for prayer for “everything in general.” A third young man, a repeater to the Table, got a quick “booster shot” of prayer. He showed us he is still wearing his cross.

Albany Intercessor

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