Romans 5:19-21

March 31, 2011

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
      Jesus, please bring us to the obedience that produces righteousness.

Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, (Romans 5:20)
      Jesus, thank you for multiplying your grace among us.

so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)
      Jesus, thank you for the gift and hope of eternal life with you.

A word received: Come to me.

Thursday: [83] or 42, 43 * 85, 86; Jeremiah 10:11-24; Romans 5:12-21; John 8:21-32
Friday: 95 & 88 * 91, 92; Jeremiah 11:1-8, 14-20; Romans 6:1-11; John 8:33-47

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011
From: Noel Dawes
Subject: Welcome Home Initiative, 10th Retreat, March 28-30, 2011 – Day 3 – Final Day, Wed, Mar 30th – Please Praise God!
      10th Welcome Home Retreat (28-30 Mar 11)
            Day 3 — Final Day — Wed, Mar 30th, 2011
To All Our Prayer Warriors Who Intercede for the Welcome Home Initiative:
      The final day of most activities always bring joy, often tinged with a little sadness. It has been so good and refreshing to be in the presence of the Lord, but now we must go out into the world, which is so beautiful yet so dysfunctional in so many ways. We live in the world but must try not to adopt or live in the pattern of its dysfunction. Rather, we aspire to live lives of authenticity and dynamism with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And with our neighbor. So, we went out (home) with joy, praying for each other and particularly praying for those Veterans going home to places such as Brooklyn, NY.
      The joy started at breakfast time with a quick visit from Chaplain (Colonel) Eric Olsen, the State Guard Chaplain for New York State. He is an old friend and a previous Closing Ceremony speaker. He had recently recognized the Spiritual Life Center as a founding member of the NY National Guard ‘Partners-in-Care’ program. PIC is designed to encourage local churches and organizations to reach out to their local armories and offer whatever help they can to the Soldiers. Many units will deploy for the second time later this year (many individuals have completed more than two deployments). This will be the biggest deployment of Guard Soldiers from NYS since the Vietnam War and we are privileged and proud to be a founder member of PIC, encouraging others to care for their local Soldiers too.
      After breakfast we were able to spend about an hour or more praying individually for each Veteran, his wife and for other caregivers present. For the first time on a WHI Retreat we split into two groups to pray, one being led by Fr. Nigel and the other by +Dave Bena. This reminded us that this Retreat was the largest one to date. Many said it was the most blessed one to date! Having asked each person, “May we pray for you?” and “How?” we respectfully asked permission of each if they were happy to be anointed with oil and to have hands laid on them. Each person was then prayed for as they asked and as the Spirit led. The Lord was there, ministering His love and grace. It was visible on many people’s faces. Several prophetic words were given. Words of knowledge were shared. For at least one person, the Spirit-filled words came in the language of the Spirit and were received in the same manner. It was a most precious and holy time.
      Then came a sudden change of pace. We needed to be at the Great Hall, up the hill, for the Closing Ceremony. Having several aged and infirm Veterans, this took a little time but we made it for a group photo of the Veterans to take place.
      At around 11 AM, the Veterans ‘marched’ in to the beautifully decorated Christ the King Chapel for the Closing. The Chapel was about half full but their applause more than made up for a somewhat disappointingly small turnout (even though it was very pleasing that many had traveled 40 or 50 miles or more to be there.) After the Greenwich Honor Guard had marched in the Colors, a group of about twenty five 5th and 6th graders from a Christian school in Troy presented each Veteran with a thank you card and a beautiful hand painted picture. To see the respectful seriousness with which the boys and girls presented their gifts touched everyone’s heart. Later the group sang the National Anthem very beautifully. A lady from the Willard Mountain group of the Daughters of the American Revolution presented a pin to each Veteran along with the thanks of the whole DAR group for their service. We received greetings and best wishes from a representative of our local Congressman. Then, Major General Bob Dees was introduced and spoke very inspiringly for about 20-25 minutes. Some highlights from his message of encouragement were:
      His Christian candor and honesty was deeply appreciated by all the Veterans, many of who commented most favorably on the inspirational quality of his talk. Each person felt as though Bob was talking individually to them.
      He thanked each Veteran and wife by first name. He thanked each caregiver (including Chaplains present) and each family member for the love and care they give to ‘their’ Veteran. “Where would we be without you?”, Bob asked each group. He also challenged each caregiver to consider how they might get themselves replenished when their ‘wells of courage’ become depleted.
      That for some, today might be the first time anyone had had ‘welcome home’ said to them.
      Our Veterans are like the outer skin of the body of the nation. When the ‘skin’ gets broken, bruised and hurt it is a serious matter. The nation bleeds. Some wounds heal from the outside in. But often the Veterans’ wound can only be healed from the inside out, since war assaults the soul and mind before it hurts the body.
      An orchestra tunes up for a concert often using middle C as the common note to tune in on. We need to tune our lives in on the central C of creation — Christ. As the orchestra has a way of ‘finding’ middle C, so, if we look for Him, Christ shows Himself to us. Christ knows us and everything about us. He loves us. He wants to make us whole. Bob illustrated his points with some lovely stories about Veterans who had committed themselves to the Lord and had been wonderfully set free in their souls, and then gone on to help others, including a sniper in Afghanistan.
      We were challenged to be better and not bitter. God-reliant and not self-reliant. Bob told two stories of folk from years ago who had experienced terrible and consistent trauma in their lives for many years. They had been able to grow spiritually and, therefore, as human beings, by having good attitudes in spite of all their trials and sufferings. One, Fanny Crosby, blind from a young age, was still able to write the inspiring words of a well known hymn, ‘Perfect submission, perfect delight! Visions of rapture now burst on my sight.’ (Hymn Blessed Assurance; underling by the author of this update). And, ‘Now Thank We All, Our God’ (German Hymn from 1636), whose author was the only surviving pastor in his city during the Thirty Years War. In one year, he buried over 4,000 people who had died because of famine and plague, including his wife. He frequently had 50 funerals a day). The example of these two saints should inspire us today. As should the example of a Soldier, terribly burned in war, who was so grateful that God had shown him mercy. In spite of the horrible pain and disfigurement he suffers, he has grown in faith and as a person, way beyond the trauma he has suffered. He has (not always easily) learned great patience, been blessed with hope and filled with joy. This is a mystery of God’s healing work in us but it enables us to go and be a comfort to others who suffer in similar ways.
      Finally, Bob commended 2 Cor 4 to us as the ‘resiliency’ chapter of the Bible. Read it. Pray for and do what it says and we will manifest the life and ministry of Jesus in our mortal flesh.
      After Bob, came two power-filled testimonies. The first was from a female Veteran who had no idea what the Retreat was about when she arrived on Monday (now that’s faith, to drive 4 hours to come to a Retreat about which she had no knowledge!) and left today so excited and grateful that she came. She saw God’s beauty in the place and in the hearts of those attending. She had received the Father’s blessing from one of our hosts. She said we are healed to be an extension to other’s healing. She offered to work with the SLC and another female Veteran to help us run a Female Veteran’s Retreat at the SLC. We are excited about this and have been praying for it for over 2 years and now it seems the Lord might be putting a suitable team together to organize and run it. Dates will be announced in due course.
      The other testimony was from an Army Vietnam War Warrior in the Big Red One Division. Part of his war job had been to prepare bodies (in all sorts of conditions) to be evacuated by air from the war zone. He had been haunted by staring eyes and broken skulls ever since and had not had a good night’s sleep. Sometimes he suffered terrible nightmares. Fr. Nigel prayed for him on the first afternoon but the prayer seemed not to have been answered on Monday night. He was prayed for again on Tuesday. Today, Wednesday, his countenance was entirely different. He had slept restfully for 8 hours and awoke with a sense of God saying to him, ‘go, lay hands on people and pray for them to be healed.’ Today, during the prayer time, he started his new ministry! Hallelujah (even though it’s Lent ).
      Then one of the wives, a member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle choir, sang a beautiful prophetic song. The service came to an end and ‘Welcome Home’ was said to each Veteran. Then it was time for lunch, final ‘goodbyes’ and, for most, a journey to the airport or by car, home.
      John 21:25 — And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which, if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books which were written.’ (Author’s note: Other deeds included deliverance for at least one Veteran. And, in this day and age I suppose written books must include emails, Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter ‘tweets’ etc ).
      The whole Welcome Home Initiative team thanks you so much for all your prayers!

Albany Intercessor

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Primate of Japan

March 31, 2011

The Most Revd Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu:

Now, above all, what we really would like the church across the world to do is support us by praying. The Japanese Church is a small church, but knowing that brothers and sisters in the worldwide Communion are praying for victims and the church’s relief activities, that gives them strength. I would also be very grateful if they would support us financially now and in the future so that we can help restore people’s lives and our church communities.

L&B’s prayers can be found here.


Hindrances to prayer, part 3

March 30, 2011

Hebrews 11:6 (Young’s Literal Translation)
and apart from faith it is impossible to please well, for it behoveth him who is coming to God to believe that He is, and to those seeking Him He becometh a rewarder.
I have not trusted that You are fully present in every situation, especially _______.

Mark 11:22-24 (The Message)
Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.
I have lacked the expectation that You yearn to be present in every aspect of my life.

Daniel 10:12-14 (New American Standard Bible)
Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia.
“Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”

I have been blind to the spiritual reality.
Have mercy, Lord, and forgive all these, my sins. Amen.


A Litany for Our Hearts from Exodus 6-11

March 30, 2011

            A Litany for Our Hearts

But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7: 3)
      Holy Spirit, soften the hearts of the leaders and teachers of the Episcopal Church.

Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard (Exodus 7: 13)
      Holy Spirit, soften the hearts of the President and his advisors.

Pharaoh’s heart became hard (Exodus 7: 22)
      Holy Spirit, soften the hearts of the judges in this land.

But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart (Exodus 8: 15)
      Holy Spirit, soften the hearts of the members of Congress.

But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, (Exodus 8: 19)
      Holy Spirit, soften our hearts and help us listen to you.

But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 8: 32)
      Holy Spirit, help us and our leaders repent of our hardened hearts.

But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen (Exodus 9: 12)
      LORD, in our time give us government that heeds you and your word.

He and his officials hardened their hearts. (Exodus 9: 34)
      Jesus, move in the hearts of the officials of this land.

So Pharaoh’s heart was hard (Exodus 9: 35)
      LORD, we say the words, but our hearts are still heart. Move among us and soften our hearts.

“Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials” (Exodus 10: 1)
      Holy Spirit, raise up witness to the leaders and teachers of the Episcopal Church and the rulers of this nation.

But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, (Exodus 10: 20)
      LORD, let your word, your living word, lodge in our hearts.

But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 10: 27)
      LORD, come among us and soften our hearts.

Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 11: 10)
      LORD, we have seen your work among us and yet our hearts are still hard; have mercy on us.

Wednesday: 119:97-120 * 81, 82; Jeremiah 8:18-9:6; Romans 5:1-11; John 8:12-20
Thursday: [83] or 42,43 * 85, 86; Jeremiah 10:11-24; Romans 5:12-21; John 8:21-32

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2011
From: Noel Dawes
Subject: Welcome Home Initiative, 10th Retreat, March 28-30, 2011 – Day 2, Mon, Mar 29th – Please Pray!
10th Welcome Home Retreat (28-30 Mar 11)
Day 2 — Tue, Mar 29th, 2011
To All Our Prayer Warriors Who Intercede for the Welcome Home Initiative:
      Thank you to everyone who has sent back an email of encouragement and/or inspiration. We are grateful for these, but can you leave them until the retreat is over, please! Time management issues in reading and, sometimes, answering them albeit briefly! But don’t want to sound ungrateful one iota!
      After breakfast on Tuesday morning (during which most of the hosts met separately to share experiences and prayer needs) we got started on the PTS Day soon after 9:00 AM. The whole morning session, split into two distinct parts, was moderated by a host in a way designed to get the Veterans and their spouses thinking for themselves and discussing between themselves. We were in one large group considering what is combat operational stress, combat trauma, post-traumatic syndrome all about. The session hinged around the question, “What has it been like for you and your family since your Veteran came home?”
      A couple of times during the morning, Veterans were encouraged and exhorted not to try and put right federal and state systems that might not be working but to give themselves the gift (albeit painful for many) of considering the question from the standpoint of their own personal lives. Some excellent points made. Towards the end of the session, before we stopped for a break, a Navy Veteran, a Chaplain, clearly articulated how his war experiences had driven him to reconsider the whole basis of his life, the attitudes of his birth culture, and his ministry. He decided his past was not going to ruin his present or his future. He felt he had to rise above all that was holding him back from being healed — his life, his birth culture, his ministry — and move on. Some would say he was seeking post-trauma healing. Others, that he found resiliency. He had suffered unspeakable trauma, which he never sought or desired, but by the grace of Jesus, the Healer, he eventually found new life and started again. Much as he wanted things to be as they were before he deployed they would never be so. He had changed and so had his family. Although healing didn’t happen quickly, or as quickly as he wanted it to, he was transformed by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. He was set free. His soul was given a gift from God, which accepted. He knew that God brought him through the trials and sufferings he had experienced so he could help and comfort others. He had persevered, grown in character, become full of hope instead of despair and had committed his life to helping fellow Veterans. He found a deep love for others which Jesus put into his heart. The layers of his artichoke had been peeled off, leaving a tasty heart! And all this happened to a man who said that when he came back from war, “I was in shock! I couldn’t readjust. I could not function with the values and priorities I had when I came home. Too much had changed. I realized that nothing would ever be the same. I went out, got retrained and started life again. This time I wanted to be more like Jesus and wanted to do more for him!” At least one other Veteran shared a similar story but in his own very individual and unique way, coming through the valley of darkness into the light of the Lord. Things are still not easy today, but he is not going backwards and is on the path towards the true and only Light, Jesus.
      This was not an easy session and we ‘lost’ a couple of Veterans to feelings of nausea, headaches, pain and feeling under the weather. Remarks such as these characterized the conversation:
      USMC Veteran: “I had delayed reaction. It took nearly 10 years to realize I had trauma and I’ve been fighting it for another 10 years.”
      Army Veteran: “My marriage was destroyed. I was destroying it and I didn’t recognize it.”
      Female Army Veteran: “I was fed up being told I didn’t have trauma when I knew I had.”
      USMC Veteran: “I put my wife through hell and didn’t realize it.” Later, “I’m still learning about PTSD.”
      Female Army Veteran: “Even though the Army is trying hard to deal with trauma, suicide and divorce issues, they are still stigmas, especially when mentally based. Soldiers are coming forward sooner than before but it is still not soon enough. We are trained to keep it all in.”
      Female Army Veteran: “For me, isolating myself was a major factor — and often I wanted to do it.”
      Air Force Veteran: “It has been like opening Pandora’s Box and not knowing what is coming out next. I want to get rid of the Box.
      After a break, we followed up with a brief discussion about the need to keep the different parts of our beings fit and healthy. These are the physical, the emotional, relational and the spiritual – the foundational part upon which all the other parts fit together as a whole. We broke for lunch with the request that we each consider these different parts and think of ideas for ourselves on how we might grow in overall health in each of these areas.
      After lunch we split into two groups — Veterans and Spouses. In the Veterans group a host explained, using his own experiences, about the value of telling our story. Jesus, the Healer, had ministered to him over the years as he had told his story from time to time in the right environment. Sometimes he had ‘seen’ Jesus in the depths of a terrible situation taking the burden of it on Himself. Our host had been substantially set free and filled with joy. At this stage the group split into 5 smaller groups and each person in each group was given the opportunity to share his or her story and receive prayer. It was reported that Christ seemed to be doing some significant things in people’s souls. In the group the author led, this was certainly so. Meanwhile, the spouses reported back that they also had a good and productive time of sharing, which had ended with many of them making pretty bracelets of colored beads as they talked. During this time, our Closing Ceremony speaker, Bob Dees and his wife, Kathleen, arrived and immediately joined the groups, settling in quickly and contributing measurably to the ministry of the groups they joined. Praise God for answered prayer concerning their travel and also about what Jesus did in the small groups!
      Immediately after small groups, soaking prayer was ‘soaked’ up by one or two folk and there was an opportunity for anyone who wanted to do so to have their confession heard in private, receiving absolution.
      Tuesday evening saw a change of pace and tone in the retreat as we tried to lighten proceedings with comedy and an inspirational preview of a Christian show called ‘Godspell’, which is taking place at the SLC on 7, 8 and 9 April. We were wonderfully encouraged by this performance skillfully produced and performed by staff from the SLC. We thanked God that those Veterans who had felt ill earlier in the day felt well enough to join us again, but please keep praying for them as they are still troubled by illness. An informal group met in the Great Room in the King’s Inn to fellowship, eat candy and talk. Some good ministry took place during this time too.
      All in all, this was a very long and emotionally tiring day. But we saw God move with great power and Jesus the Healer, heal with beautiful grace and peace. Please keep praying as we enter the third and last day — might it just be a Resurrection Day for some?
The whole Welcome Home Initiative team thanks you so much for all your prayers!

Albany Intercessor


Japan

March 30, 2011

Acts 17:26-28 (New King James Version)
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Father,
The Japanese are Your offspring. In You they live and move and have their being. You are not far from them. We claim that promise! May they seek You and find You in the midst of their adversity. Amen.


Egypt prayer requests

March 29, 2011

From the Egypt Bible Society. Read the whole summary of the referendum results.

PRAYER REQUESTS
I am therefore writing to ask for your prayers:

1. That all those who voted “no” may not give up on democracy in Egypt but will continue to be involved in the upcoming elections as much and even more than they were in this referendum.

2. That Christians in Egypt may believe that God is still in control even though their recent attempts to influence the political process met with few tangible results.

3. Please pray for discernment and creativity as the Bible Society team continues to develop relevant Scripture resources in response to current needs and events.


Hindrances to prayer, part 2

March 29, 2011

James 1:5-7 (New Living Translation)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.
I have doubted You.

Proverbs 28:9 (English Standard Version)
If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
I have disregarded Your commands, especially ______.

Proverbs 21:13 (English Standard Version)
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
I have been stingy.

1 Peter 3:7 (Amplified Bible)
In the same way you married men should live considerately with [your wives], with an intelligent recognition [of the marriage relation], honoring the woman as [physically] the weaker, but [realizing that you] are joint heirs of the grace (God’s unmerited favor) of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered and cut off. [Otherwise you cannot pray effectively.]
I have not honored my spouse, _______.


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