Mark 5:1-20

March 15, 2009

      Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when he had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
      When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God that you do not torment me.”
      For he said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then he asked him, “What is your name?”
      And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Also he begged him earnestly that he would not send them out of the country.
      Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
      So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with him to depart from their region.
      And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged him that he might be with him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Mark 5:1-20)
      Jesus, thank you for your compassion on me.

      Holy Spirit, guide me in speaking to my family and friends so that I truly tell of how Jesus has had compassion on me.

      Father, thank you for adopting me as your son and making me clean by the blood of your son Jesus. Thank you.

Sunday: 93, 96; Jeremiah 6:9-15; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Mark 5:1-20
Monday: 80; Jeremiah 7:1-15; Romans 4:1-12; John 7:14-36

      Notes from the Front Line

Date: Sat, 14 Mar 2009
From: Carlson, David A
Subject: Addendum to Prayer Table Report
Thank you for putting this combined report out. I forgot to include one of the people who stopped for prayer — a woman named Estelle (someone else came right after her and I forgot to write it down at the time). She needs to get an apartment (she has been staying with a friend) and asked us to pray for a custody hearing next week for her son Isaiah (the case will be held downstate so she is praying for transportation).

Albany Intercessor

Lent Quotes: Gregory of Nyssa – Through prayer … we rid ourselves of vanity

March 15, 2009

From our archives, originally posted in March 2007

Lent Quotes: Gregory of Nyssa on Prayer

Filed under: Saints & Church Fathers, Spiritual Disciplines, Lent 2007, Lent Quotes — Karen B.

The effect of prayer is union with God, and, if someone is with God, he is separated from the enemy.

Through prayer we guard our chastity, control our temper and rid ourselves of vanity. It makes us forget injuries, overcomes envy, defeats injustice and makes amends for sin. . . It will refresh you when you are weary and comfort you when you are sorrowful. . .

Prayer is the delight of the joyful as well as the solace of the afflicted. . . Prayer is intimacy with God and contemplation of the invisible.

–Gregory of Nyssa

Lord’s Resistance Army

March 15, 2009

A Ugandan website has posted an analysis of the military campaign against the LRA. Although Joseph Kony is still free, many of our prayers have been answered. One hundred fifty rebels have been killed, five LRA commanders captured, and 300 abductees rescued. Last week, the troops captured LRA leader number four.
The LRA use diversionary tactics to draw attention away from its leader. The capture and death of some of his commanders and fighters is poised to be a serious setback for Kony, as it deprives him of diversionary troops.
Dominic Ongwen is close to the Central African Republic (CAR) border, and Okeny Opwa is close to southern Sudan-DR Congo border. Kony is criss-crossing between these places. It was also reported that Odhiambo is in a critical condition, suffering from gout and probably injured during December 14 raids.
Kony is reported to have lost important means of communication by radio and satellite phones. Arms, hi-tech communication gadgets and laptops have reportedly been recovered. Air strikes razed down large gardens of food.
Moved by the cries of our African brothers and sisters, Lent & Beyond has posted 31 prayers for the defeat of the LRA, most of them in 2009. Operation Lightning Thunder, a joint military operation of Uganda, Southern Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo that began in December 2008, has so far been the most effective offensive against the LRA. I thank God for the many answered prayers.
We are currently praying through Psalms 17 and 18. As we progress through these psalms, it is occasionally uncanny how the current news report coincides with the next verses. On January 31, the rescue of 90 Congolese abductees tied to each other on ropes was reported. This was the corresponding scripture passage:

The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears. Psalm 18:4-6

Indeed, today’s analysis of the progress made by the military operation correlates with the next verses:

Psalm 18:28-29 (New Living Translation)
You light a lamp for me.
The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
In your strength I can crush an army;
with my God I can scale any wall.

O Lord our God,
We thank You for stirring us to pray for the defeat of the Lord’s Resistance Army and for teaching us how to pray. In Your strength, this army can be crushed! With You, this stronghold can be overcome! You are a mighty God and an awesome God. We praise Your holy name. Amen.

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