March 30, 2009

I had reported the diocese of Louisiana had passed a Sanctity to Life resolution, amended. I was wrong. I misunderstood the webpage. The motion to defer was passed. I apologize for the incorrect report.
One eyewitness described significant anger in those who opposed the Sanctity of Life resolution.

We are a conflicted church. Help us to remember that Your mercy extends to the sinner; yet, guard us from justifying sin.
I ask Your blessings on the proponents and the opponents of the Sanctity of Life resolution. You know their names; You know their needs. Bless them, dear Lord.
Bless all of the unborn in Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, and bless their parents.
Lastly, Lord, I ask Your blessings on the pro-life advocates across the Episcopal Church. You raised them up. They are lonely and sometimes rejected. Grant them peace, and strengthen their hearts. In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we pray. Amen.

Huron bishop election

March 30, 2009

Dean Terrance “Terry” A. Dance has been elected the new suffragan (assistant) bishop of the London, Ont.-based Anglican diocese of Huron.

Having said this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means Sent). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. John 9:6-7

Dear Heavenly Father,
Your servant Terry has been sent by the diocese of Huron. We pray that Terry will go, wash in the pool of living water, and see. May he know and understand the mind of Christ. Amen.

Psalm 31:1-5 and Sunday School Lesson

March 30, 2009

In you, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in your righteousness. (Psalm 31:1)
      Jesus, thank you for your righteousness; thank you for setting things right between me and your father; thank you for filling me with your Holy Spirit.

Bow down your ear to me, deliver me speedily; be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me. (Psalm 31:2)
      Jesus, you are my rock, thank you.

For you are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for your name’s sake, lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
      Jesus, please lead me and guide me, give me wisdom and discernment for this day’s work. Thank you.

Pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for you are my strength. (Psalm 31:4)
      Holy Father, protect me from every deception of the evil one.

Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. (Psalm 31:5)
      Jesus, thank you for rescuing me from sin and death, thank you for being who you are and for your great mercy to me and my family.

Monday: 31; Jeremiah 24:1-10; Romans 9:19-23; John 9:1-17
Tuesday: [120], 121, 122, 123; Jeremiah 25:8-17; Romans 10:1-13; John 9:18-41

      STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL, LESSON 30, April 5, 2009
                    Palm Sunday
             Jesus: the Shepherd and the Lamb
Theme Verse: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-2
Readings: Isaiah 53; John 10: 1-18,25-33, 39; John 19:28-30
Optional: John 1:29-31; 1 Peter 1:20, 2:24-25
Memory Verse: “I AM the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
       Old Testament prophecy about Jesus’ death and its meaning. Isaiah 53
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1) A word received: I want the children and the adults to choose to believe the report of Scripture about me. “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2) A word received: I had nothing the world values to help me. I had the Holy Spirit — he is the helper. I want you to have the full power of the Holy Spirit as well.
      “He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we did not esteem him.” (Isaiah 53:3) A word received: I AM still despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. I know your grief and I intercede for you. “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” (Isaiah 53:4) A word received: I have borne them and I will bear every grief you bring to me.
      “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) A word received: I want you to be able to say, “Jesus was wounded for my transgressions.”
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) A word received: You are called to recognize and repent of the ways that you have gone astray, as individuals and as the Body of Christ, the church.
      “He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) A word received: I chose to bear your guilt and your affliction so that you could enter into the freedom of the children of God. “He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare his generation? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people he was stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8 ) A word received: I willingly went to the cross for you. “And they made his grave with the wicked– but with the rich at his death, because he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9) A word received: I have told you what is true.
      “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he has put him to grief. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10) A word received: My father loves you and sent me to bear the cross for you.
      “He shall see the labor of his soul, and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11) A word received: This is my joy — I have brought many sons and daughters to my father. “Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul unto death, and he was numbered with the transgressors, and he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12) A word received: Bring your burdens to me: I can bear them.
       On this Palm Sunday we look at who Jesus is and what he did and what our response needs to be. Jesus is calling us to have a new and transformed understanding of God’s love for us, of what he was doing here. He is calling each of us personally to have our understanding transformed.
      Remember that God himself is the Shepherd of his people (Psalm 23) and that the kings of Israel were sometimes referred to as shepherds. Yes, it was commonly a lowly occupation but was also a way of talking about how God loves and cares for his people. In John 10 Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd as well as the Gate. “I Am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.” .An Israelite shepherd would sleep in the entrance to the sheepfold at night to stop any animal or thief from entering. (Jesus also said, “No one comes to the Father (God) but by me.” John 14:6) Then Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd… and I lay down my life for the sheep (vs.17) “The reason that the Father loves me is that I lay down my life (death), only to take it up again.(resurrection). (vs.18 ) “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.” Later, in vs. 30 he says, “I and my Father are ONE.
      Notice two things here. Jesus had the power and authority to choose to give his life for his sheep (us) and the power and authority to rise from the dead. Jesus is also saying that he and his Father (God) are ONE, which means that what Jesus is doing, God himself is doing in and through him. (The authorities wanted to stone him to death for this claim but he escaped, as he did many times (John 10:36,39; Matthew 26:53) because it was not the right time for Jesus to die for his sheep. That time came at a certain Passover. Notice the intended parallel of the Passover lamb whose blood on the doors of Israelites in Egypt delivered them from death.
      Jesus is also the Lamb of God. When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29b) In the sacrificial system of the Old Covenant, the priest offered the sacrifice of a perfect lamb that was killed and laid on the altar as an offering to God so that the sins of the person or nation might be forgiven. Of course this was only a temporary solution and God had something greater in mind. Hebrews 7 talks about how Jesus was the perfect, sinless high priest forever (vs. 26-28:1) “He sacrificed once, for all, when he offered himself. After he rose again he “sat down at the right hand of the throne” (of God)
      Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 5:20b-21 that “we implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
      God wants us to understand that he knew about this problem of sin in the people he had made and had a plan for dealing with it himself at the right time. Look at 1 Peter 1:18-21. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree(cross) so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and overseer of your souls.” ( 1 Peter 2: 24-25)
      God paid the penalty for our sins himself, in Jesus, his Son and his Word made flesh. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” (2 Corinthians 5:19) “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 ) God is righteous and sin must be punished but Jesus willingly had the sins of the whole world laid on himself as he died–so that we–and all who receive him, might live a new life that pleases God, free from the power of sin and death through Jesus blood and the power of the Holy Spirit.
       Have you given your life to Jesus and asked him to forgive your sins and have his life within you and be with him forever?
      Look briefly at John 19: 28-30. Look at how Jesus died after he knew that the Scriptures had been fulfilled. When he received the vinegar to drink (Psalm 22:18 ) Jesus said, “It is finished.” (Compare Psalm 22:31, a Psalm Jesus quoted from the cross.) It says, “for he has done it.” “Done” is a Hebrew root work meaning finish, accomplish, perform, bring to pass. Jesus was announcing that he had completed the work that he had come to do with God the Father before the creation of the world! Then “he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” Luke reports in 23:46 that Jesus said, “Father into your hands I commit my Spirit.”

      Hundreds of years before Jesus came God told us through the prophets how he was going to deal with the cost of our sins. He was going to ask the Messiah, his son, to carry the cost, the penalty of death, for our sins. God laid on Jesus all of the sins of the world, so that we might be healed/saved.
      Jesus died for our sins willingly. No one forced him. God taught the Israelites about the penalty and cost of sins by offering a perfect lamb to God as a sacrifice. Jesus died on the cross for our sins and he rose again from the dead to give us new life if we choose him as our Savior and Shepherd, the one we are to follow.
      God planned this all before he made the world and its people.
       Have you received Jesus’ gift for yourself?

Albany Intercessor

Lent Prayers: John Piper – Lord, Thicken Our Skin

March 30, 2009

Lord, thicken our skin.
Not that we be less tender, but that we be less easily offended.
Take away our bent to self-pity.
Give us a passion for the truth that is stronger
than our inborn passion for being praised.

Forgive us, Father, for calling words unloving just because they were tough.
Forgive us for attributing malicious motives
to people when we don’t know their motives.
Help us to learn from Jesus
when to be tough and when to be tender.
Guard us from justifying merely human anger with the hard sayings of Jesus.
But don’t let us become so mushy that we can’t speak a firm word in season.

We marvel at the words of our Lord Jesus.
How unpredictable He was!
No one ever spoke like He did.
He is in a class by Himself.
We bow before Him and shut our mouths.
We are eager for Him to speak – and to speak any way He pleases.
We are the silent learners.
He is the sinless teacher.
We put our hands upon our mouths and take our place at His feet.

Do with us as You please, Father.
We are not Your judge, nor the judge of how Your Son speaks.
Have mercy on us – tough or tender – and lead us to Your everlasting joy.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord Jesus,

John Piper, from Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ

hat tip: Kingdom People

Praise report

March 30, 2009

The Diocese of Louisiana passed a Sanctity of Life resolution, revised from its original. To my knowledge, this makes the tenth diocese to officially express dismay over the affiliation of TEC with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, in one fashion or another. Thank you, intercessors.

I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. Psalm 31:7

Gracious Lord, how courteous You are. Thank You for hearing the cry of the pro-life advocates in the diocese of Louisiana and planting their feet in a spacious place. Thank You for strengthening their hearts. Thank You for speaking life to this diocese. You have considered them, O Lord God of truth, and we praise Your holy name. Amen.

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