John 3:16-17 and Isaiah 43:2

February 21, 2013

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
      Father, please help us understand the depths of your love for us. Help us by your Holy Spirit to share the good news that you sent your son Jesus to die for us to rescue us from sin and death. Father, we ask you to overcome in us the world, the flesh, and the devil. Help us daily make the choice to use the sword of your Spirit which is your word so that others will believe and be saved. Help us by your Holy Spirit to recognize and seize every opportunity you give us to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Father, we ask all this in Jesus’ precious name. Thank you.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2)
      A word received: Look to me to carry you through the deep waters.

Thursday: 50; *; [59, 60] or 19, 46; Deut. 9:23-10:5; Heb. 4:1-10; John 3:16-21
Friday: 95* & 40, 54; *; 51; Deut. 10:12-22; Heb. 4:11-16; John 3:22-36

Albany Intercessor


A Musical Confession for Lent: Crippled Soul, by Sojourn

February 21, 2013

I was feeling restless and troubled yesterday about many things – especially the state of my own heart.  As I often do, I turned to music to help quiet my heart and help me turn to God.  But no familiar song seemed to echo what I needed to hear or wanted to pray.  So I went searching online for ….. something …  I’m honestly not sure how I stumbled on music by the Nashville worship group Sojourn, and just the song I needed to hear at this point in Lent, but I’m glad I did.  – Karen.

Crippled Soul:  LISTEN HERE

Oh, my crippled soul
So broken with my sin
With a nature so depraved
I’m so ashamed, so afraid
If I bring it up again
If you really look again
Will you change your mind
And never let me in

O Lord, please do anything but leave me here
Let me run again, or help me fly,
Or somehow make it right
But Lord, please don’t leave me here

And I hate what I am
All these things that you despise
The depravity that seems to be
At the core of who I am
So hide me from myself
Let me pretend I’m someone else
Someone with a pure
And holy heart

Is it any wonder then
That I should love to fly
Those moments when I touch you
And escape all that I am
Is it any wonder then
That I should do all that I can
To make it seem like I am whole
And worthy

Tell me Lord, what do you want
Do you plan to make me whole
Or leave me broken
And bring glory through your grace

– Rebecca Dennison

You can listen for free online to Sojourn’s music.  There are quite a number of songs on various albums that are very appropriate for Lent, including many songs adapted from hymns by Isaac Watts.  I intend to listen to more of their music…

Check out Over the GraveThe Water and the Blood  and Come Ye Sinners.  Learn more about Sojourn here.


The relics of St. John the Baptist

February 21, 2013

According to ancient tradition, the burial-place of John the Baptist was at Sebaste in Samaria, and mention is made of his relics being honored there around the middle of the 4th century. Historians record that the shrine was desecrated under Julian the Apostate around 362, the bones being partly burned. A portion of the rescued relics were carried to Jerusalem, then to Alexandria, where they were laid in the basilica that was newly dedicated to the Forerunner on the former site of the temple of Serapis. Many places claim to have a portion of his relics. An obscure and surprising claim relates to the town of Halifax in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, where the Baptist’s head appears on the official coat-of-arms. A legend first recorded in the late 16th century and reported in William Camden’s Britannia accounts for the town’s place-name, as ‘halig’ (holy) and ‘fax’ (face), by stating that the first religious settlers of the district brought the ‘face’ of John the Baptist with them.

Father,
We thank You for the life of John the Baptist, prophetic forerunner to Christ Jesus. May his prophetic words resound throughout the Church of England:

Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins. . . . The man who will come after me is much greater than I am. I am not good enough even to bend down and untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Reference: Wikipedia


Lenten Devotional Reflection on John 3 – Coming Into the Light

February 21, 2013

Today’s devotional Reflection from St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Talahassee, FL encouraged and challenged me. The passage discussed is John 3:16-21.  It’s an extremely familiar passage, but this devotional digs a bit deeper and provides a very apt practical application for Lent:

John 3:16-21 God So Loved the World

In this chapter, Christ is having the well-known “born again” conversation with the rabbi, Nicodemus. Christ has explained to him that this means you must be reborn of God’s Spirit and be led by Him, completely relying and trusting in His  direction (v. 6-8).

Christ makes plain to Nicodemus how one may be saved. Christ would do the work of sacrificing Himself for us on the cross in payment for our sins, so that anyone who put his or her trust in Him would no longer be condemned. Christ says that, “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Believing does not just mean believing that Christ is who He says He is and believing that God exists and acts. It means believing in such a way that it changes how I act.

As I grow in Christ, more of my actions become ones that I can bring into His Light. As the Amplified Bible says it, “But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are – wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him]” (v. 21). As one born of God’s Spirit, I am acting in accordance with His perfect will. And so, I can “boast in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:31) about these actions.

On the other hand, if I am unwilling to allow Christ’s light to shine on something I have done or said, then I had better confess my sin and redirect my will to His. If I am not willing to speak to Him about my words or actions, then I must be avoiding His light and hoping that my deeds are not exposed.

Living Out Lent – Be honest with yourself and with God. What are you failing to speak with Him about? Consider whether you are involved in something that you are trying to hide from His Light. If you are involved in ongoing sin; but, you are ready to turn from it, consider confessing to one of our priests, or to a trusted, committed Christian friend who can help you be accountable.

– Kris Bowers

St Peter’s Anglican Daily Lenten Devotionals can be found here.


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