November 29, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008, 9:20 to 10:30 a.m., in front of Christ Church, Schenectady; Torre and Jonathan Bissell. Brisk, some light snow. Please pray for Deacon Alan Hart who had surgery yesterday to help him pass a kidney stone.

+ indicates received a wooden crosses. (Note: the wooden crosses we give out are made by Dennis Adams in North Carolina.)

Greg — a young man, a Jehovah’s Witness — gave us a tract but wouldn’t pray with us.

+Maria — “I want to pray for everybody — everything good in the world.”

+John — “Back and legs, lot of pain.”

+Krista — “Health, and for my kids.”

Steve — “For a new job.”

(One of the “girls”) — “I’ve been prayed for three times already.”

+Calvin — “I’m mad at God right now — burned out of apartment in a fire, need a job to support my family.”

James — an elder in the Macedonia Seventh Day Adventist Church around the corner on Swan St.

Jim — On Wednesday we prayed for his Godson (originally reported as son, but actually Godson) Ernie in Iraq. He has done three tours there. Jim sent Ernie a text message that we had prayed for him. Ernie replied, “Thank you.”

+Ashmanie — — young woman — prayed for protection and provision

+James — “For me and my lady.”

+Davy and +Sony — “Get a job.”

Albany Intercessor

Preparing for Advent

November 29, 2008

Note: Advent 2008 begins tomorrow, November 30. Lent & Beyond will be posting Advent devotionals and links to many online Advent resources. You can find all our Advent entries here.


[originally posted 2006]

Excerpted from the Creighton University Praying Advent site (one of my favorite online Advent resources), the following meditation on preparing for Advent was very helpful to me in terms of reminding me to ask the Lord what He is wanting to do in my life this coming Advent — in what ways do I need to see more of the fruit of Salvation in my life. In what areas am I still walking in darkness and need to allow the Lord’s light to break through?


We are about to read and pray about the expectant hope of Israel, as expressed through Isaiah. The images we will be using are about darkness and gloom – about thick clouds covering the people – and about hunger and thirst. They are images that attempt to capture a sense of what we feel when we are distant from our God. There are many images about war and conflict. They express the powerlessness and anxiety we experience when we feel vulnerable and defense-less. Most of all, there are images of a future day – a day that can only be called the Lord’s – when all the tears will be wiped away, when there will be plenty to eat and drink, and when there will be no more conflict and no more war. God’s salvation will be made known. God’s victory will be complete.

These are very precious days for us to come into intimate contact with our own need for salvation. It is a time to make friends with our tears, our darkness, our hunger and thirst. What is missing? What eludes my grasp? What name can I give to the “restlessness” in my heart? What is the emptiness I keep trying to “feed” with food, with fantasy, with excitement, with busyness? What is the conflict that is “eating at me”? What is the sinful, unloving, self-centered pattern for which I haven’t asked for forgiveness and healing? Where do I need a peace that the world cannot give?

Coming to know where I need a Savior is how I can prepare for Advent. I am preparing to listen to the promises, listen to these rich texts announcing the liberation I can truly long for. When my heart is open, when my hands are open, when my mouth is open and ready to ask for freedom, healing and peace, then I am ready to begin Advent.

Come, Lord, Jesus. Come and Visit Your People.
We Await Your Coming; Come, O, Lord.

Isaiah 35

The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.

They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.

Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak,

Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water; the abode where jackals lurk will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus. A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, nor fools go astray on it. No lion will be there, nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it. It is for those with a journey to make, and on it the redeemed will walk.

Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; They will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.

Preparing for Advent — Peter Toon: Stir up our wills, today!

November 29, 2008

Note: Advent 2008 begins tomorrow, November 30. Lent & Beyond will be posting Advent devotionals and links to many online Advent resources. You can find all our Advent entries here.


We originally posted the following entry from the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon back in 2006. Dr. Toon’s words resonate with me as I look ahead to Advent and consider the spiritual disciplines that might be fruitful. As a procrastinator, this post has much to speak to my life

Note: In the traditional lectionary, the collect for the final Sunday before Advent is the following. I love that as a prayer PRIOR to beginning Advent, for all the reasons Peter Toon cites.

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May this coming Advent season be a season of abundant fruitfulness in our lives, churches and ministries.


From the Rev. Dr. Peter Toon

Stir up our wills, O LORD — Today please, not in the far distant future!

Have you ever been comfortably seated watching TV, or reading a good book, and yet also been aware of (a) various necessary jobs to be done in the kitchen or elsewhere, and (b) a lack of will power to get up and do what has to be done?

It is common for human beings to experience in their moral and spiritual lives what Luther called in a famous book, “the bondage of the will,” a seeming absence or lack of power to do what is clearly known to be a duty and requirement. In the soul, as it were, there is not always a smooth gear change between what the mind through the conscience declares to be right and what the will alone can set in motion.

The weakness of the will of baptized believers in the Christian life of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ was well recognized by the apostles (see Romans 7-8) and by the bishops and teachers in the Early Church. This is why they called upon all to use the means of grace provided by the Gospel and to pursue sanctification before God. He who knows his own heart well knows that it is prone to lethargy; that it seems always ready to relapse into slumber as if it were satisfied with present attainments in the moral sphere. It needs constantly to be re-charged as it were by heavenly power and prompted to godly action. In fact, at times it needs to be released from servitude to selfish motivation.

Regrettably in much modern forms of Christianity, this truth and practical experience are not taken seriously (because there is such a low doctrine of human sinfulness and a strong belief in the freedom of the will) and it is assumed that people are actually and always free to do what is right if they so wish (see the Catechism or Outline of Faith in the ECUSA 1979 Prayer Book, page 825 for such teaching, which we may call Pelagianism if we want to give it an ancient title.)

The Collect [set prayer] for the last Sunday of the Christian Year in the ancient Gregorian Sacramentary [service book] and in the medieval Sarum Use [service book used in medieval England] and in The Book of Common Prayer (1549 and later editions) took this bondage of the human will to sin for granted as a reality experienced bu the faithful during the past year and prayed for the empowerment of the will by the Holy Spirit for the coming year. In its English form, as translated by Archbishop Cranmer, it prays:

Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The will is stirred up whenever by the presence and influence of the Holy Spirit (directly or indirectly through the means of grace) the internal affections of reverence before God, hope in God and love for God are set in motion so as to give strength and motivation to the will. Yet, it remains within our power even when our wills are set in motion not to follow the lead of these (aroused) godly affections; that is, we may resist and avoid their direction. The lethargic will, aroused by grace, can, as it were, turn over on its side and try to back to sleep. When this happens there is regression in the Christian life.

But Christ calls his disciples to follow him, to love God and the neighbor, to fulfill the great commission to evangelize and teach, and thus they ought, as and when aroused, to follow the direction of the Spirit and in his power do whatever duty is set before them, with joy and thanksgiving, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit in practical Christian living. And a constant duty and vocation is to abound in good works for the benefit of men and the glory of God. [We recall that Dorcas is commended as having been “full of good works and alms-deeds which she did” (Acts 9:36); that Paul declared that we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10) and we are to be “a peculiar people zealous of good works” (Titus 2:4).]

I would not work my soul to save for that my Lord has done;
But I would work like any slave for love of God’s dear Son.

In the new Christian Year about to begin, let us allow the Holy Spirit to stir up our wills and to inspire us to follow His lead into the production of the fruit of the Spirit & into good works to the glory of the Father.

Jos, Nigeria

November 29, 2008

From Anglican Mainstream:
November 29th, 2008 Posted in News |

Please pray for us in Jos, we are being attacked by Muslims. Churches have been burnt, no exact figures of casualties yet. We need prayer to stay the hand the hand of bloodshed, destruction, violence and death. Pray for instant return to peace and order. The crisis began around 2am Friday after local elections in Jos, why Christians must pay for this I do not know.
The Lord be with you,

Update Saturday morning

Archbishop Kwashi reports: “The reports from those I have sent out to collect information are that the Muslims are attacking and burning this morning. It looks well co-ordinated. They are well armed with AK 47 and pump machine guns. This morning they have been at Dogonduste. Quite a number of Christian homes have been burnt. We do not know how many have been killed. The local government has underestimated the vehemence of the militants. At the moment this is all restricted to Jos City.

We ask prayer for knowing the right thing to do. I have moved one of our archdeacons and his family to live in our home. St Luke’s Cathedral is in the middle of the area of violence. We hope we can proceed with our normal services tomorrow.”

Jehovah Sabaoth,
Your arm is not foreshortened. Your arm is mighty, and Your arm can reach throughout the earth. Reach down to Jos–Dogonduste and Jos City. Reach down and stay this bloodshed and destruction. We claim the name of Jesus to bind up the spirits of violence and death, the spirits of radical Islam and hatred of Christ. Restore peace to Jos City. Restore order!
Protect the Christians being persecuted. Commission Your holy angels to guard them, even through supernatural means. Have mercy on Your children, Lord. Anoint them with perfect love, which drives out fear. Grant them courage and the wisdom to know what You would have them do. Amen.

UPDATE (secular): Local journalist Senan Murray told the BBC’s Hausa Service that Muslims in the city tend to support the ANPP and Christians the PDP. These are secular news reports: Allafrica, BBC, AP, AP, ThisDay.


November 29, 2008

Nir Barkat has been elected the mayor of Jerusalem. Barkat has been a successful businessman, an Israeli army Major, and the leader of a movement for renewing the city of Jerusalem. Let us pray for the new mayor to bring renewal to the city of Jerusalem, for all its inhabitants – secular Jews, religious Jews, Arabs and Christians – living in the city.

Ecclesiasticus 36:12
Lord, have mercy on Israel, the people who are known by your name, whom you called your first-born son.

Psalm 122:6-9 NLT
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May all who love this city prosper.
Lord, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
O Jerusalem, may there be peace within your walls and prosperity in your palaces.
May there be peace within the administration of Nir Barkat.
For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be with you.”
Peace be with Nir Barkat and his family and friends.
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek what is best for you, O Jerusalem.
For the sake of Your house, O Lord our God, we pray for the mayor of Jerusalem. Amen.

“Advent is not supposed to be fluffy” – a reflection on Mark 13:24-37

November 29, 2008

I found the following meditation about Advent on the Center for Excellence in Preaching’s website.  Challenging words, but helpful in reminding us how to put the “hard” Advent readings into perspective.

First Sunday in Advent, November 30, 2008

Gospel Text: Mark 13:24-37

Most people associate Christmas with watchfulness. But to put it mildly, the watchfulness Mark 13 talks about is a far cry from children watching for a glimpse of reindeer in the sky on December 24 or the watchful expectation of children observing their parents putting packages under the Christmas tree and wondering just what might be in a box of that particular size and shape. The month of December may be about expectations and watchfulness but in the popular imagination, what we watch for are happy things: Santa Claus, reindeer, presents, family and friends we’ve not seen for a while pulling into the driveway for a holiday get-together. Advent begins with those passages where Jesus also encourages watchfulness but what he points to would not count as cheery in the minds of most. Jesus points to the end of all things and although believers may regard that return of Jesus as a good, hopeful, and finally comforting reality to which they look forward, many in the world may be simply undone by that return. The church has always insisted that Advent begin not inside a Hallmark card but up on the windswept peak of the Mount of Olives from which Jesus pointed forward to some very ultimate and final things. This is definitely NOT the biblical equivalent of holiday Muzak playing in the background of the mall. But maybe just that has been the church’s point all along—Advent is not supposed to be fluffy and sentimental. Our culture long since forgot that. Has the church?

From here. (emphasis mine)

The CEP website has similar reflections for each Sunday in Advent, following the Year B RCL Lectionary readings.  Very very worth a visit.  You will probably see us post quite a few of their resources.

Philippians 2:1-4

November 29, 2008

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, (Philippians 2:1)
      Holy Spirit, move our hearts in this diocese to
            consolation in Christ,
            comfort of love,
            fellowship in you,
            affection and mercy.

fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (Philippians 2:2)
      Jesus, help us bring apostolic joy to Bishop Bill and fulfill his joy by
            being like-minded in you,
            having love for one another,
            being in one accord,
            of one mind.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2:3)
      Father, please help us lay aside selfish ambition and conceit and take on the character of your son Jesus.

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4)
      Holy Spirit, guide us in bringing in all our tithes into your storehouse so that there may be food in your house and that we will see you open the windows of heaven and pour out your blessing on us. Thank you. (From Malachi 3:10)

A word received: You are in my care.

Saturday: 104; Zechariah 14:12-21; Phil. 2:1-11; Luke 19:41-48
Sunday: 146, 147; Isaiah 1:1-9; 2 Peter 3:1-10; Matthew 25:1-13

Albany Intercessor

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