Samuel’s circuit

November 30, 2011

1 Samuel 7:15-17 (CEB)
Samuel served as Israel’s judge his whole life. Each year he traveled between Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, serving as Israel’s judge in each of those locations. Then he would return to Ramah because that’s where his home was. In Ramah too he served as Israel’s judge, and that is also where he built an altar to the LORD.

Bethel means House of God.
Gilgal means the reproach of Egypt being removed by the act of mass circumcision or circle of standing stones.
Mizpah means watch-tower; the look-out.
Ramah means the height or high place of God.

O Lord,
Would that the praise of my lips create a throne for You and the circumcision of my heart allow me to draw nearer to You, that I may gaze upon Your holiness and enter Your presence. Amen.

Psalm 12 and Sunday School Lesson

November 30, 2011

Help, LORD, for the godly man ceases! For the faithful disappear from among the sons of men. (Psalm 12:1)
      LORD, raise up godly leaders and teachers throughout the Episcopal Church. Thank you for the faithful sheherds you have raised up in this diocese.

They speak idly everyone with his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. (Psalm 12: 2)
      Jesus, cleanse the seminaries of the Episcopal Church of all idle speech and false teaching. Thank you for the faithful witness of Nashotah House and Trimity School for Ministry.

May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things, (Psalm 12:3)
      Father, shut the mouths of all those who speak flattering and proud things. Bless the words of your faithful witnesses.

Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is LORD over us?” (Psalm 12:4)
      Holy Spirit, there so many lawless and lordless people among us. Help them know their need for Jesus.

“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” (Psalm 12:5)
      Lord, you taught David how to be a faithful shepherd and rescue his sheep from the mouth of the lion and the bear. Please raise up faithful shepherds in our day who will resuce the poor and the need out of the clutches of those who would consume them.

The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (Psalm 12:6)
      Holy Spirit, write your words on our hearts and minds. Help us daily walk by the light of your word.

You shall keep them, O LORD, you shall preserve them from this generation forever. (Psalm 12:7)
      Jesus, preserve us and protect us.

The wicked prowl on every side, when vileness is exalted among the sons of men. (Psalm 12:8 )

A word received: Keep turning to me. I can do what you cannot.

Theme Verse: 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Readings: Mark 1:1-8; 2 Peter 3:8-18; Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85
Memory Verse: He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
Next Week: John 1:6-8, 18-28; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-28; Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 126

A word received: I want to build you into the church I want. I AM the foundation and cornerstone. Look to me — let me build you up by my Holy Spirit and my word.

      Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

A word received: Remember all those witnesses that pointed to me in your lives as John did in his time. Who are you pointing to me? Look around you; ask for the guidance and power and fire of my Holy Spirit to do this.

      Epistle: 2 Peter 3:8-18

“My times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31:15a) (verse 8-9) A word received: I want you to use my gift of time to you to build up my kingdom. Don’t be distracted as you wait for my timing of events. Keep your eyes on me. Pray for ears to hear my word to you so that your heart will be ready.

      Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-11

(verse 10-11) A word received: Pray that I will come into your heart now. I long to carry you in my arms as a lamb of my flock. I will lead you. I AM faithful.

      Psalm: Psalm 85

A word received: I want you to see from verse 12 that verses 10 and 11 are what I give. They are not by your good works, but by my mercy and love.

Wednesday: 119:1-24 * 12, 13, 14; Amos 3:12-4:5: 2 Pet. 3:1-10: Matt. 21:23-32
Thursday: 18:1-20 * 18:21-50; Amos 4:6-13: 2 Pet. 3:11-18: Matt. 21:33-46

Albany Intercessor

Thanksgiving for South Carolina

November 29, 2011

Received from one of our readers–

O Lord Jesus Christ, who art adored by the holy angels in heaven, yet dost deign to receive the praises of thy Church on earth: We bless thy name for this news of your protection and grace; and pray that through it the hearts of all who hear this report may be refreshed, and uplifted to thy throne in heaven; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

Matthew 21:12-16

November 29, 2011

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:12-13)
      Lord Jesus, it is so easy to get sidetracked by money raising bazaars and projects; restore to our common life in this diocese a clear understanding of the holiness of your sanctuary. Let every parish in this diocese become a house of prayer.

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. (Matthew 21:14)
      Holy Spirit, move in the healing ministry throughout this diocese: give sight to the blind and restore mobility to the lame. Thank you.

But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have perfected praise’?” (Matthew 21:15-16)
      Father, please help us praise Jesus as we ought and teach and encourage the youth and children in our parishes to do the same.

      Jesus, prepare the hearts of all those who will be going to the Youth Rally at the Diocesan Convention and the various ministries to children there. Anoint all those who will be ministering to them with the power and love of your Holy Spirit.

      Holy Spirit, anoint and guide all those who are planning and preparing for the Diocesan Convention in June. Bring revival and healing to this diocese. Thank you.

Tuesday: 5, 6 * 10, 11; Amos 3:1-11; 2 Peter 1:12-21; Matthew 21:12-22
Wednesday: 119:1-24 * 12, 13, 1; Amos 3:12-4:5; 2 Peter 3:1-10; Matthew 21:23-32

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily quote
      The Shepherd leads his sheep to still water. (Psalm 23) Why? Because sheep, like us, like to drink from still water so water does not go up their nose! Allow the Lord, the Shepard of your soul to guide you to still waters.

***** Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2011
From: Nigel Mumford
Subject: Daily quote
      Is it faith healing or faith in God to heal? Who needs to have faith, the person who is sick or the prayer team. The onus is on the prayer team. I know someone who was in a coma for three weeks and could not pray. The prayer of the faithful pulled him through! He is alive today because of a mighty prayer team. Thank you and thank you God.

***** Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2011
From: Jake Dell
Episcopal News Service November 28, 2011
Disciplinary Board dismisses abandonment complaint against South Carolina bishop
Communicants alleged Mark Lawrence aimed to leave Episcopal Church
By Mary Frances Schjonberg
      [Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church’s Disciplinary Board for Bishops Nov. 28 said it cannot certify that Diocese of South Carolina Bishop Mark Lawrence has abandoned the communion of the church.
      “Based on the information before it, the board was unable to make the conclusions essential to a certification that Bishop Lawrence had abandoned the communion of the church,” the Rt. Rev. Dorsey F. Henderson Jr., board president, said in a statement e-mailed to Lawrence and reporters. (Henderson said he informed Lawrence of the board’s conclusion by telephone as well.)
      The board met Nov. 22 via conference call to consider information given it by a group of communicants in the diocese.
      Under Title IV, Canon 16, a bishop is deemed to have abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church by an open renunciation of the doctrine, discipline or worship of the church; by formal admission into any religious body not in communion with the church; or by exercising episcopal acts in and for a religious body other than the church or another church in communion with the church.
      “Applied strictly to the information under study, none of these three provisions was deemed applicable by a majority of the board,” Henderson said in his statement.
      In the Nov. 28 statement, Henderson said that the disciplinary board faced what he called a “basic question” of “whether actions by conventions of the Diocese of South Carolina, though they seem — I repeat, seem — to be pointing toward abandonment of the church and its discipline by the diocese, and even though supported by the bishop, constitute abandonment by the bishop.”
      “A majority of the members of the board was unable to conclude that they do,” Henderson said.
      Henderson, the retired bishop of Upper South Carolina, noted that it is “significant that Bishop Lawrence has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to lead the diocese out of the Episcopal Church — that he only seeks a safe place within the church to live the Christian faith as that diocese perceives it.”
      “I speak for myself only at this point, that I presently take the bishop at his word, and hope that the safety he seeks for the apparent majority in his diocese within the larger church will become the model for safety — a “safe place” — for those under his episcopal care who do not agree with the actions of South Carolina’s convention and/or his position on some of the issues of the church.”
      Lawrence told the diocese Oct. 5 that he was being investigated for abandonment. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori and the House of Bishops were not involved in making the claims, Henderson said at the time via a “fact sheet.”
      The package of documents alleging his abandonment of the church that Lawrence said he received Sept. 29 from Henderson, is posted on on the diocese’s website. The documents contained 12 allegations of when Lawrence’s “actions and inactions” sought to abandon the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church.
      Those allegations cited five specific diocesan convention resolutions that Lawrence supported. In addition, the allegations also claimed that Lawrence has removed all references to the Episcopal Church from the diocesan website and noted that half of the congregations with working website have done the same or offer links to breakaway Anglican organizations.
      “The bishop appears to have done nothing to stop other parishes which are outwardly moving in the direction of withdrawal” from the Episcopal Church, including parishes that have sought or obtained legal advice on those moves, allegation seven said.
      Three allegations referenced comments made by Lawrence about what he calls the Episcopal Church’s “false gospel of indiscriminate inclusivity” and his description of the church as a “comatose patient” that has slowed down Anglicanism in the 21st century.
      It is also alleged that missions are being planted in the diocese but Lawrence has not recognized “a congregation of loyal Episcopalians” as a parish or mission.
      The 12th allegation surrounded the circumstances of the ordination of Lawrence’s son.
      The diocesan leadership has engaged in a series of moves to distance itself from the Episcopal Church, ultimately stemming from disagreements over human sexuality issues and theological interpretation. In October 2009 the diocese authorized Lawrence and the Standing Committee to begin withdrawing from churchwide bodies that assent to “actions deemed contrary to Holy Scripture, the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them, the resolutions of the Lambeth Conference which have expressed the mind of the communion, the Book of Common Prayer and our Constitution and Canons, until such bodies show a willingness to repent of such actions.”
      That authorization came in response to two General Convention resolutions passed two months earlier that focused on human sexuality and reaffirmed the Episcopal Church’s commitment to the Anglican Communion. Resolution D025 affirms “that God has called and may call” gay and lesbian people “to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.” Resolution C056 calls for the collection and development of theological resources for the blessing of same-gender blessings and allows bishops to provide “a generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.”
      In his Nov. 23 interview with the Living Church Lawrence said that provision gave permission to bishops to act contrary to the Episcopal Church’s canons, its prayer book, church history and the church’s historic teaching on marriage.
      In October 2010, the South Carolina convention approved six resolutions in response to General Convention’s 2009 passage of revised Title IV canons on clergy discipline, according to an explanation posted on the diocese’s homepage before the convention. The convention met again in February 2011 and passed two of those resolutions again as required, amending the diocesan constitution to remove the accession clause to the canons of the Episcopal Church and to enable the convention to meet more frequently than annually. The diocesan said at the time that the resolutions were meant to “protect the diocese from any attempt at un-constitutional intrusions in our corporate life in South Carolina.”
      At Lawrence’s direction, Diocesan Chancellor Wade Logan Nov. 16 sent a quitclaim deed to every parish in the diocese. A quitclaim deed generally transfers ownership of the property from the party issuing the deed to the recipient.
      “For 190 years (1789-1979) there had never been any idea that somehow the parishes did not completely and fully own their property,” Logan said in his letter. He said the diocese could issue quitclaim deeds because the state Supreme Court has said that the 1979 passage by the General Convention of the so-called Dennis Canon was not binding on the parish of All Saints, Pawley’s Island, South Carolina.
      The “Dennis Canon” (Canon 1.7.4) states that a parish holds its property in trust for the diocese and the Episcopal Church.
      Logan said in his Nov. 16 letter to parishes that removing the accession clause was part of the “continued pursuit of our historic unity based on common vision rather than legal coercion.”
      The quitclaim action was not included in the original material submitted to the board.
      Lawrence told the Living Church on Nov. 23 that he issued the quitclaim deed in part because “the threat of property disputes” should not be “the only thing that holds us together.”
      “Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom, not the keys to the building,” he said.
      Lawrence said that when he awoke the day after having decided to issue the deeds he felt that “for the first time, I am the bishop of this diocese.”
      The disciplinary board’s investigation of Lawrence appears to be among the first it has conducted. The board was created under the revised Title IV canons on ecclesiastical discipline which went into effect on July 1. The board is made up of 10 bishops elected at any regularly scheduled meeting of the House of Bishops, and four priests or deacons and four lay persons initially appointed by the president of the House of Deputies with the Executive Council and thereafter elected by the House of Deputies. Henderson noted in his fact sheet that the board “operates confidentially.”
      — The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg is an editor/reporter for the Episcopal News Service.

Albany Intercessor

Thanksgiving for South Carolina

November 29, 2011

Thought experiment: Imagine the field of vision of the angel of death at the first Passover, looking down upon the doorposts and lintels of the children of Abraham. Millions of doorways, along alleys and lanes in the land of Goshen, supernaturally marked so as to repel the angel of death.
Now imagine the field of vision of the angel of death today, looking down upon persons, homes and churches, businesses and vehicles, altar rails and reserved sacrament, and perhaps even regions and municipalities marked with the Blood of the Lamb–a tangled network of life and love shining bright against the darkness.

Joshua 2:10-11 (NIV)
We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. When we heard of it, our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Lord, You are indeed God in heaven above and on earth below. You are King of kings and Lord of lords.
Rahab acknowledged Your greatness, and You delivered her and her family from destruction. You have delivered Bishop Lawrence from the deposition charges, and we thank You.
Rahab tied a scarlet cord in the window of the city wall. Should the angel of death look down upon the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina through an unseen portal, let the vision of the Blood of the Lamb applied to the faithful and their homes and churches and businesses and vehicles melt his heart in fear. The fibers of Rahab’s cord (interlacing, twisting pennants of red, overlapping and knotted at the window) were a token of salvation for her, her family, and all that they had. We apply the Blood of Jesus Christ as a token for the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina. Amen.

Charles Wesley

November 28, 2011

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Words: Charles Wes­ley, Psalms and Hymns, 1738.

Music: Sa­gi­na, Thom­as Camp­bell, Bou­quet, 1825

2 Peter 1:1-7

November 28, 2011

Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1)
      Father, thank you for the apostolic witness of Peter and Paul and the others Jesus called to this ministry. Do not remove the ancient landmark. (Proverbs 23:10a) Do not let anyone remove the ancient landmarks of scriptural teaching in this diocese. Help us hold steady to your word and the apostolic witness. Bless and anoint the witness of your apostles among us today:
            Bill Love
            Dan Herzog
            David Ball
            David Bena
            Harold Miller
            Mike Chapman
            Mark Lawrence
            And others.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, (2 Peter 1:2)
      Holy Spirit, help us daily grow in our knowledge of God the Father and his son Jesus our Lord. Let your grace be multiplied among us.

as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by glory and virtue, (2 Peter 1:3)
      Jesus, help us daily answer your call to glory and virtue.

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)
      Jesus, help us daily reflect on your promises to us and the hope we have in your resurrection.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)
      Jesus, help us daily abound in these things so that our lives will be fruitful for your kingdom.

A word received: Allow the little children to come to me and forbid them not.
      Lord, speak to those congregations where order is more important to them than allowing children to be there in the service with their noise and confusion.

Monday: 1, 2, 3 * 4; Amos 2:6-16; 2 Peter 1:1-11; Matthew 21:1-11
Tuesday: 5, 6 * 10, 1; Amos 3:1-11; 2 Peter 1:12-21; Matthew 21:12-22

Albany Intercessor

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