South Sudan

December 31, 2013

Power struggle within South Sudan has left many dead and displaced.

Dear Lord,
Sudan is replete with rebels bent on harming and killing Your people, taking land that is not theirs, and disrupting the government of Southern Sudan.
If any marauders start out with evil intent, we beseech You to send swarms of hornets to drive them away from Your children, just like You sent hornets against the Hittites, Canaanites, and Hivites.
If any armed gunmen on horseback set out to harm the innocent, we humbly ask that You commission an angel to stop their horses, just like You stopped Balaam’s ass.
If militia use weapons upon Your children, stop their weapons the way You closed the mouths of the lions for Daniel.
If an army seeks to destroy Your people, we plead with You to obstruct their view, like the pillar of cloud that gave darkness to Pharoah’s army at the Red Sea.
If any of Your children are being hunted down, we ask that strangers will hide them, like Rahab hiding Joshua’s two spies under stalks of flax, or give them means of escape, like Paul escaping King Aretas of Damascus through a window in a basket. If any babies are in peril, we ask that they be spared, like Moses in the bulrushes.
If Your children are oppressed by thirst, open their eyes to see a well, like Hagar in the wilderness. If their strength wanes, grant them provision from unexpected sources, like Jonathan’s honeycombs in the fields.
Jehovah Sabaoth, You are God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and we proclaim Your Holy Name over South Sudan. Amen.
Genesis 21:19, Exodus 2:3, 14:19-20, 23:28, Numbers 22, Joshua 2:6; 10, Judges 14:8-9, 1 Samuel 14:25-27, 2 Corinthians 11:32-33

Isaiah 65:24, Psalm 139:1-6, and John 5:5-9

December 31, 2013

“It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
      Jesus, thank you for hearing me.

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. (Psalm 139:1-6)
      Thank you, Father, that I am in your hands. You know me through and through; you know all my sins of thought, word, and deed, and yet you love me enough to send your son Jesus to die for me, and you fill and refill me with your Holy Spirit. Thank you.

Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:5-6)
      Jesus, I too want to be made well. I want to see your healing power manifested all around me.

The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. (John 5:7-9)
      Lord, speak your word and I shall be made well. Speak you word and those around me shall be made well. Speak your word and this diocese will be a well-watered garden of delight and healing. Thank you.

Dec. 31      46, 48 * –; 1 Kings 3:5-14: James 4:13-17;5:7-11: John 5:1-15
Eve of Holy Name: –: * 90; Isa. 65:15b-25: Rev. 21:1-6
Holy Name: 103 * 148; Isa. 62:1-5,10-12: Rev. 19:11-16: Matt. 1:18-25
Holy Name January 1: 8; Exodus 34:1-8; Romans 1:1-7 or Philippians 2:9-13; Luke 2:15-21

      Notes from the Front Line

***** ST. ANN’S OF AMSTERDAM (Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013; 11-12 noon in our Parish Hall during monthly Community Meal. Anne DeGroff and Deacon Alan Hart presiding at His table.)

SUE — Received prayers for her father and sister, who both are seriously ill.

DAVID — Asked for prayers for the safety of children from predators.

(Monday, Dec. 30, 2013; 9:45 — 10:30 a.m. in front of our church on Division Street. Very raw, windy and brutally cold day after a mixed precipitation storm last night froze solid and turned the streets, sidewalks and parking lots of Amsterdam into a three-inch cake of dangerous ice. The meal usually served at the Masonic Temple across the street was not open today (probably because of the awful weather) so many people who came turned to us for the free non-perishable food we offer at the table now. Some also took winter clothes, which we also offer those who come for prayer. Did not anoint anyone with Holy Oil or give out any wooden crosses today.

OLDER MAN (No name given) — Received prayer for safety and took some gloves and a hat and socks.

ANGEL (young man) — Gratefully took food and clothing for his young family. He filled a generous bag with things like pasta, sauce, mac and cheese and soup and said “Thank you so much. Now we can eat today … after all!” We prayed for the safety and preservation of his family.

DAVE — Asked for prayer for the coming year to be better financially for him than this one was. Took food and clothing items for friends in need.

NANCY — This woman comes every Monday and takes all the food items she can carry in her cloth grocery bag. (We don’t mind how much people take.) She told me a few weeks ago that St. Ann’s ” … gets (her) through the week with your food” and she is very grateful. We prayed for her to be safe and to not be afraid.

DONNA — During the hot summer months, this young woman would always run down the street and wave and say “God bless you!” as she ran past. One day, she finally stopped and said hello and asked why we were out on the sidewalk. When we told her it was to offer prayers for needs for yourself or someone else or for a thanksgiving, she got prayer and has come ever since. Today she, too, was in need of food for her family to get through a tough time. We are so glad we are able to help people in need, and there is, unfortunately, much need in downtown Amsterdam.

Albany Intercessor

Church of England House of Bishops

December 31, 2013

John 10:14-15 (NIVUK)
‘I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

O Good Shepherd, thank You for laying down Your life for the Church of England.

Hebrews 13:20 (NIVUK)
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,

O Great Shepherd, thank You for conquering death for the Church of England.

1 Peter 5:4 (NIVUK)
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.

O Chief Shepherd, we pray that the House of Bishops in the Church of England will humble themselves under God’s mighty hand that they may be lifted up in due time. Guard them from dishonesty. May they cast their anxiety upon You and remain in the hope that You Yourself will restore the church and make her strong, firm, and steadfast. Help them stay alert and sober, resisting Satan and standing firm in faith. Amen.

Syrian chemical weapons

December 31, 2013

The US-Russia deal for Syria to surrender more than 1,000 tons of chemical agents averted US-led military strikes after a chemical weapons attack on August 21 near Damascus that the United States says killed 1,400 people. The December 31 deadline to have the most dangerous chemicals loaded on a ship will not be met. However, Assad’s government appears to be making an effort to cooperate.

Our Father in heaven,
We pray that the chemical weapons will safely leave the nation of Syria. Dissipate any plans to capture the chemicals as war booty! Scatter the activists involved.
We pray for the safety of all persons involved in the transportation and destruction of these chemicals.
We bind any spirits of lawlessness, violence, chemical warfare, propaganda, lies, hatred, theft, and anti-Semitism that are seeking to hijack this international plan. We bind all interaction, interplay, and communication of demonic spirits surrounding the transport personnel, the organizers, and the specialists who will destroy the weapons.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Various Scriptures

December 30, 2013

So Jesus came again to Cana of Galilee where he had made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus had come out of Judea into Galilee, he went to him and implored him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. Then Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” The nobleman said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies!” Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.” So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. (John 4:46-50)
      Jesus, please help me take you at your word as this man did. When you speak to me, please help me by your Holy Spirit to act on your word.

And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, “Your son lives!” (John 4:51)
      Father, help us to be bearers of such good news.

Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.” So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, “Your son lives.” And he himself believed, and his whole household. This again is the second sign Jesus did when he had come out of Judea into Galilee. (John 4:52-84)
      Holy Spirit, let the word of what Jesus has done for us move through our whole family and bring them to belief in Jesus as it did with this man. Thank you.

Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.” (1 Kings 17:24)
      Father, please help us hear and receive your word of truth when they are spoken by your servants.

The LORD IS my shepherd; I shall not want. He MAKES me to lie down in green pastures; he LEADS me beside the still waters. He RESTORES my soul; he LEADS me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)
      LORD, thank you for all that you do for me.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
      Thank you for letting us see your goodness.

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD! (Psalm 27:14)
      Holy Spirit, give us a heart to wait on the Lord and be of good courage. Thank you.

A word received: Come to me with your burdens. Let me carry them.

Dec. 30      20, 21:1-7(8-14) * 23, 27; 1 Kings 17:17-24: 3 John 1-15: John 4:46-54
Dec. 31      46, 48 * –; 1 Kings 3:5-14: James 4:13-17;5:7-11: John 5:1-15
Eve of Holy Name: –: * 90; Isa. 65:15b-25: Rev. 21:1-6

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Christ Church Schenectady Neighborhood Meal Prayer Table – December 29, 2013, Chuck and Theresa Rinaldo
+ Remee – Asked for God’s provision. She was not able to buy gifts for her children and has a heavy heart. We prayed that she lay her burden at the foot of the cross and that she know the love of Christ and share that most precious gift with her children.

Judy – Asked for protection from a violent person who is abusing her. Also asked for continued protection of her son, Michael, who is in prison, and that he come to know Christ.

++Adriana – Pray for her family members who are in prison.

Steven – Very distraught and talkative; could not be comforted. He needs prayer that God will break through his anxiety.

Jerry – Prayed for provision to get his medications. He is in a spiritual battle. He believes the devil has heard him more than the Lord, and we rebuked that kind of talk in the Name of Jesus, praying the Lord rule and reign in his life. We prayed for the love of Christ to touch his heart. Gave him a booklet about the Messiah which he said he did want to read.

+Danielle – Her son Jaiden (16 months) was taken from her and placed with her aunt. Her aunt refuses to return him to her, but allows her to see him. She doesn’t have the money to travel to where he is. We prayed the Lord would work in reconciling any differences between her and her aunt and that in God’s time Jaiden would be returned to her; for her to have God’s strength and peace during this time.

+Janell – Had 2 of her 6 children with her. Her other children have been placed in foster homes. She is distraught that her parents won’t have anything to do with her and her children, Heather (4) and Dillon (3). Prayed for reconciliation between her and her parents; for God to heal her pain of rejection and fill her with His love.

Albany Intercessor

Church of England

December 30, 2013

Malachi 2:5-7 (AMP)
My covenant [on My part with Levi] was to give him life and peace, because [on his part] of the [reverent and worshipful] fear with which [the priests] would revere Me and stand in awe of My name.
The law of truth was in [Levi’s] mouth, and unrighteousness was not found in his lips; he walked with Me in peace and uprightness and turned many away from iniquity.
For the priest’s lips should guard and keep pure the knowledge [of My law], and the people should seek (inquire for and require) instruction at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

Oh, Father,
Would that this described all of the clergy of the Church of England! Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy and stir within their ranks a spirit of the fear of the Lord. Amen.

John 1:6-9, Genesis 1:28 and Galatians 5:22-26

December 29, 2013

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:6-9)
      Holy Spirit, help us in our day to bear true witness to the light of Jesus. Help us to be living gospels that shine forth with Jesus’ light. Thank you.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28 )
      Father, your first words to man were that we should “Be fruitful”. You also told us that children are desirable and that there was work for us to do. Help us to live fruitful, productive lives for you.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)
      Jesus, please help us walk humbly in the Spirit and bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. Thank you.

A word received: Rejoice in me.

First Sunday after Christmas: 147 or 147:13-21; Isaiah 61:10—62:3; Galatians 3:23-25; 4:4-7; John 1:1-18
First Sunday after Christmas: 93, 96 * 34; 1 Samuel 1:1-2,7b-28: Col. 1:9-20: Luke 2:22-40
Dec. 30      20, 21:1-7(8-14) * 23, 27; 1 Kings 17:17-24: 3 John 1-15: John 4:46-54

Albany Intercessor

Syrian chemical weapons

December 29, 2013

From NBC News:

The removal of deadly toxins from Syria under an international effort to rid the nation of its chemical arsenal will likely miss a December 31 deadline, the global chemical arms watchdog said.
Bad weather and shifting battlefronts in Syria’s civil war have delayed the delivery of essential supplies to sites where the toxins are being prepared to be sent to Latakia port, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said.

Proverbs 30:24-28 (MSG)
There are four small creatures,
wisest of the wise they are—
ants—frail as they are,
get plenty of food in for the winter;
marmots—vulnerable as they are,
manage to arrange for rock-solid homes;
locusts—leaderless insects,
yet they strip the field like an army regiment;
lizards—easy enough to catch,
but they sneak past vigilant palace guards.

Our Father in heaven,
May the Syrian government, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the various governments participating in the transport and destruction of these weapons be as wise as
–ants, stockpiling all that will be needed for this enterprise
–marmots, protecting the weapons with solid defenses
–locusts, anticipating and preventing all contingencies
–lizards, using stealth. Amen.

Church of England

December 29, 2013

Proverbs 30:29-31 (AMP)
There are three things which are stately in step, yes, four which are stately in their stride:
The lion, which is mightiest among beasts and turns not back before any;

Jesus, You are the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.
The war horse [well-knit in the loins],
Jesus, You are seated upon a white horse. Your name is Faithful and True. In righteousness, You judge and make war.
the male goat also,
Jesus, You are our sin offering.
and the king [when his army is with him and] against whom there is no uprising.
Jesus, Your eyes are as a flame of fire, and on Your head are many crowns. You have a name written, that no man knows, but You Yourself. You are clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and Your name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven follow You upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, slain from the foundation of the world, King of kings and Lord of lords, You are stately in step in every way. We invite You to the Church of England. Amen.

Various Scriptures

December 28, 2013

Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. (Matthew 2:12)
      Holy Spirit, thank you for the wisdom and inspiration you gave the Wise Men.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” (Matthew 2:13-15)
      Father, thank you for Joseph’s willingness to immediately heed your guidance. Help us by your Holy Spirit to do the same.

Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.” (Matthew 2:16-18 )
      Jesus, we pray for your suffering church. We pray for those who will be martyred today for their faithful witness to your love. Please give them strength to endure to the end and then let them enter into your glory.

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:1-7)
      Jesus, please help us overcome every obstacle that the world, the flesh, and the devil put in our path so that we may inherit all that you for us and drink freely of your living water of life. Thank you for being our tabernacle.

Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.” Thus says the LORD: “Refrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD, And they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope in your future, says the LORD, That your children shall come back to their own border. (Jeremiah 31:15-17)
      Lord Jesus, we live in the hope that you will reunite your body under your sovereign leadership and that there will be no more weeping or crying. Lord, we want to live as children of hope. Thank you.

A word received: Be at peace. I AM with you.

Holy Innocents December 28: 124; Jeremiah 31:15-17; Revelation 21:1-7; Matthew 2:13-18
Dec. 29      18:1-20 * 18:21-50*; 2 Samuel 23:13-17b: 2 John 1-13: John 2:1-11

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Christ Church Schenectady Prayer Table Report, Saturday, December 28, 2013, 9:15 – 10:30 a.m. Louise Popa, Mark Pasko, Steve Evans, and Torre Bissell on State St.

+–indicates received a wooden cross made by Dennis Adams of North Carolina
a–indicates was anointed with Holy Water
199–“199 Promises of God”, a small paperback with encouraging quotes from the Bible

Steve (man) — Prayed for open doors for him.

José (man) — Prayed for a blessing on him and his family.

+Kelly (mom) and + 199 Shawn (son, 10) — Kelly has 5 children. We prayed for “a good place for my kids.”

199 Connie (woman) — She asked prayer for Paul (in prison) that he would get his salt and sugar in balance.

Nick (man) — He asked prayer “for my neighbor Keith who got taken to the hospital this morning.”

Mark (man) — He asked prayer for Carol who is sick this morning, and for his Uncle Artie who has dementia.

199 Kevin (man) — He asked prayer that the music group he leads in his church will have unity in the Spirit.

199 John (man) — He asked prayer for Alison his niece and her family that they will walk in God’s ways.

Luz (woman, regular) — She asked prayer for her cold and for her husband Hediberto who also has a cold. She got warm clothes for herself and for a friend.

g Allah (man) — He asked prayer that God would “keep my family together.”

+ Helen (woman) — It has been several years since she has been to the prayer table. She asked prayer for Mike that he would be set free from addiction. He is in rehab.

+ 199 Mark (young man) — Prayer and blessing.
+ 199 Clyde (young man) — Prayer and blessing.
+ a 199 Linton (young man) — When asked if he had ever given his life to Jesus he said he believed in God but had never given his life to Jesus. When asked if he would like to, he said, “Yes.” He gave his life to Jesus and invited him into his heart and accepted him as his Lord and Savior. He confessed his sins to Jesus and accepted his forgiveness. We gave him If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) and explained to him that he was now clean.

+ 199 Alexsis — Prayer for health.

+Ron — Prayer for family.

Agnes (woman) — She asked prayer for health and for her family.

The Bus Driver honked and waved to us.

+ 199 Vick (young man) — He asked prayer for health.

Tony (young man on his way to an appointment) — “Hit and Run” prayer

Lelowti (woman) 9 hats and 1 pair of gloves. The hats were for her 5 daughters and 4 sons and the gloves were for her.

Justin — “Hit and Run” prayer

Eric (Pastor of the Macedonia 7th Day Adventist Church on Swan St.) — We prayed that the gospel would go forth in Schenectady.

***** St. Francis Mission Prayer Table 12-28-13. Sunny and not too bad for this time of year, Candy Palumbo, DR. Janice Houston-Little, Jana Lingo

Doug + anxiety disorder , court date

Katrina- Stress, housing

Larry – job

Pam – fiancé’s brother

Police officers responding to call across Robin St.

Pauline & Frankie – that they may get their lives back on track, and for Pauline’s health
neighborhood- Progress and less crime.

Bernie – arm problems

Kenneth – Blessing

Man across street – God bless

Salieh – Blessings

Micheal – blessing, and acid reflux

Joyce – pacemaker problems.

Susan – terminal cancer – peace

Charlie – God Bless You!

FHS, Jana

Albany Intercessor

John 21:19b-22 and 1 John 1:9

December 27, 2013

And when he had spoken this, he said to him, “Follow me.” Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on his breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:19b-22)
      Jesus, please help us stop looking over our shoulders to see what others are doing or saying; instead help us follow you at your word of bidding. Thank you.

      Holy Spirit, please give us the strength and courage to follow Jesus wherever he leads.

      Father, help us to be true and obedient sons who follow where Jesus leads.

      “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” (Jim Elliot, Martyr. 10/28/1949 diary entry)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
      Thank you, Jesus, for making me clean.

A word received: Keep on walking with me.

St. John December 27: 92 or 92:1-4,11-14; Exodus 33:18-23; 1 John 1:1-9; John 21:19b-24
Holy Innocents December 28: 124; Jeremiah 31:15-17; Revelation 21:1-7; Matthew 2:13-18

      Notes from the Front Line

***** Schenectady City Mission Prayer Table Report, Thursday, December 26, 2013, 5:10 – 6:10 p.m.. Torre and Jean Bissell, and Chuck Rinaldo from Christ Church Schenectady. This took place during the evening meal at the City Mission.

+–indicates received a wooden cross made by Dennis Adams of North Carolina

+++++ Gary — He asked prayer for an anointing on the message he would be giving to the people coming for dinner. We prayed for the refreshment of the Holy Spirit for him. He also asked prayer for his son Josh that he would find a wife after God’s own heart.

Ted (volunteer) — His granddaughter Camille is off all medications and is waiting to see a specialist. Appointments are being scheduled three months out. We also prayed for healing of Ted’s Basil Cell skin cancer.

Sue (regular) — She asked prayer for her father’s friend, Margaret, who has had to go into hospital. Margaret is not a believer. Sue’s dad has already died.

Smiley — He has boil on his leg which was lanced on Monday. He is limping from the pain. We prayed for speedy healing of the infection.

Albany Intercessor

Middle East

December 27, 2013

Blockquotes from Fox News. Scripture is Luke 2:10.

In Egypt, the Middle Eastern country with the largest Christian population – at least 10 percent of the population – Christians are at great risk.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.

An estimated 200,000 Christians have fled Syria.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.

In Iraq, Canon Andrew White, who is sometimes called the Vicar of Baghdad, reports that Christians are “frightened even to walk to church because they might come under attack. All the churches are targets… We used to have 1.5 million Christians, now we have probably only 200,000 left.

But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people.

Jesus, You are the good news. Abide with the Christians in the Middle East, we pray. Amen.

Church of England

December 27, 2013

My husband once observed that Jesus, in his natural life on earth, submitted to time.

“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come.”

He who was “in the beginning,” He who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” submitted to time. He waited.

Our Father in heaven,
We believe that when we’ve been in heaven ten thousand years, we’ve no less days to sing Your praise than when we’ve first begun. Yet, on earth, our days are numbered. One would think that with a finite number of days, we would be even more intentional about filling the time with praise. Yet, the opposite happens.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Teach the Church of England to sing Your praise and bring kairos into chronos. Teach them to redeem the time. Amen.

Various Scriptures

December 26, 2013

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: after his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for he will save his people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called his name JESUS. (Matthew 1:18-25)
      Father, thank you for sending your Son and your Holy Spirit so that you could be with us in all our trials and temptations. I thank you for Joseph’s willingness to listen to you your angel. Help each of us this Christmas season put away our human solutions and follow your advice.

Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. (Psalm 24:7-10)
      Jesus, I don’t have the strength to lift up those gates. Please help me lift them up so that you can come into my life more and more with your glory. Thank you.

He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. (John 3:31)
      Lord Jesus, I am so weary of earthly counsel, please speak clearly to us your heavenly counsel.

And what he has seen and heard, that he testifies; and no one receives his testimony. (John 3:32)
      Jesus, have mercy on your church and your people and help us accept your testimony.

He who has received his testimony has certified that God is true. (John 3:33)
      Jesus, you are true — you are truth itself.

For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. (John 3:34)
      Holy Father, pour out the abundance of your Holy Spirit on us so that we may hear and receive your words into our hearts.

The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. (John 3:35)
      Father, please help us daily enter into that love life you have with your son Jesus.

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
      Jesus, I believe in you. Thank you for turning away the wrath of God from me.

In you, O LORD, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in your righteousness. (Psalm 31:1)
      Father, through all my failures as a man and as a Christian, I still put my trust in you — that you will deliver me in your righteousness.

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 of refuge, my fortress and my sure defense: bow down and hear my cries to you and deliver me from all the tricks and traps of the evil one.

For you are my rock and my fortress; therefore, for your name’s sake, lead me and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
      Lead me, Jesus, by your Holy Spirit so that I do not stumble or fall. Thank you.

Oh, love the LORD, all you his saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:23-24)
      Thank you.

A word received: Open the door wider.

A word received: Rest in me; I AM in charge.

Luke 1:37 A word received: “For with God nothing will be impossible.”

A word received: Call my people to turn to me.

St. Stephen December 26: 31 or 31:1-5; Jeremiah 26:1-9,12-15; Acts 6:8—7:2a,51c-60; Matthew 23:34-39
St. John December 27: 92 or 92:1-4,11-14; Exodus 33:18-23; 1 John 1:1-9; John 21:19b-24
Holy Innocents December 28: 124; Jeremiah 31:15-17; Revelation 21:1-7; Matthew 2:13-18

      Notes from the Front Line

***** News from Bishop Grant and Doctor Wendy
Thu 12/26/2013

Christmas 2013
“He is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14)
As Christmas approaches, we are meeting the Prince of Peace in unexpected ways.
      Three weeks ago, Anuak refugees, driven across the South Sudan / Ethiopia border by some Nuer cattle raiders, ended up in our congregation in Tiergol, where they were housed, fed and welcomed by – Nuer Christians!
      Last week, our Dinka priest (who was serving that Nuer congregation in Tiergol) was in Gambella town for our clergy training days when fighting broke out in South Sudan. Although the dispute in South Sudan is political, it also has ethnic overtones. It became dangerous for our priest to return to Tiergol – or to remain in Gambella town where Dinka men are being threatened. Surrounded by the love and support of his fellow Nuer(!) clergy – he has been given transport and enough money to spend a couple of months with a Nuer family in Addis.
      Also last week, it was with great joy that we watched as our Mothers’ Union representatives from Opo, surrounded by their sisters from other language groups sang a worship song, the whole group clapping and dancing, some joining in the singing despite language differences. And during the prayer practicum at the same Mothers’ Union gathering, it was a joy to see two translator / facilitators, whose people are traditional enemies, praying together.
      This week, we’ve had two South Sudanese refugees staying on the compound, as they wait for papers which would allow them to travel to Addis Ababa. They had walked together through the night escaping fighting in a South Sudan border town and finally arriving at the Gambella Centre (which they were told would be the safest place). One was Nuer, one was Dinka.
      Even as war looms, the Prince of Peace is present among His children here in Gambella. Peace, not as the world gives. Fighting evil, not as the world fights. Welcome, Lord Jesus. Welcome this Christmas.
Praying together
      As Christmas approaches the events of the first Christmas seem to be echoed in life around us – Herods (more than one) slaughtering the innocents next door in South Sudan seems the most obvious example.
      But we’ve also had visits from wise men (and women) recently, these ones coming from the west. A group from the UK (including Grant’s predecessor Andrew Proud and his wife Janice), together with a group from the US (including Johann and Louise Vanderbijl, SAMS USA missionaries who we hope will join us permanently here in Gambella). Both groups brought great gifts (no frankincense and myrrh) as they taught the clergy and the Mothers’ Union, did some repairs around the compound (thanks Pat) and (very importantly) as they shared life with and learned from our African sisters and brothers.
      Not surprisingly, Grant did not wear his glasses into the shower (this omission being rather a habit with him). So when he looked down and saw the little lizard enjoying the tiny shower space with him, it was, well, share and share alike, and he left the little guy to bask in the cool water. It was only later, glasses once again in use, that he realized his ‘lizard’ buddy was actually a large scorpion. Uncanny, unexpected protection – as usual!
More Protection
      It is the beginning of dry season. In Gambella, that also means that it is time to burn the grass and the bush that have grown during the rains. Last week it was time for the neighbours to set fire to the bush adjacent to our Centre. It quickly got out of control and threatened to set fire to our compound. Thankfully we had cleared a fire break next to our (fairly useless) wire fence, but this fire was big. Grant and one of our guards spent several hours making sure the fire didn’t destroy our gardens and buildings. The heat was intense and our little garden hose and hand tools weren’t much of a match for the flames, but “somehow” our property wasn’t damaged- can’t wait for a wall to keep out thieves, hyenas, feral dogs – and fire!
      We are constantly aware that we have friends all over the world holding us in prayer. Thanks for that. Your love and prayers are certainly appreciated.
      May the Peace of Jesus fill you all this Christmas season.
      Grant & Wendy
      Rt Rev Dr Grant LeMarquand and Dr Wendy LeMarquand are missionaries of SAMS (Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders)
      Bishop Grant is area bishop for the Horn of Africa (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eretrea, Djibouti); under the Most Rev Dr Mouneer Anis, Bishop of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

***** Saving Kidnapped Archbishop Akinola Archbishop Akinola kidnapped 25 Dec 2013

Author: George Conger
      The former Primate of All Nigeria, the Most Rev. Peter Akinola, and his driver were kidnapped by gunmen on 24 December 2013, but released unharmed later that day after he convinced his captors he had no money to pay a ransom.
      Press reports from Nigeria have offered a confused account of the archbishop’s ordeal, variously stating a daughter of the archbishop was also taken, that the archbishop was freed after a gun battle between police and kidnappers, and that the police rescue team was led by the Ogun state governor.
      What can be established so far is that at approximately 3:00 pm on the afternoon of Tuesday, 24 Dec 2013, the retired leader of the Anglican Communion’s largest province left the offices of the Peter Akinola Foundation Centre for Youth Industrial Training in Abeokuta, the capital of Western Nigeria’s Ogun State.

***** Please pray for the Suffering Church.

Albany Intercessor

Christmas poem

December 26, 2013

By James Montgomery, 1771-1854. First published in Sheffield, England.

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.


Come and worship, come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King.

Shepherds, in the field abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with us is now residing;
Yonder shines the infant light:


Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great Desire of nations;
Ye have seen His natal star.


Saints, before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear;
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear.


Sinners, wrung with true repentance,
Doomed for guilt to endless pains,
Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.


Though an Infant now we view Him,
He shall fill His Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to Him;
Every knee shall then bow down:


All creation, join in praising
God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising
To th’eternal Three in One.


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