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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

 

1/31/2007, #38, 1st Quarter 2007

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have no bread." But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened?" (Mark 8:16-17)

Lord, our hearts have grown dull and hard; we look at what you are doing all around us and do not perceive it. Please restore understanding to your church and your people. We have traded wisdom for knowledge and are poorer for the exchange.

"Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?" (Mark 8:18)

Jesus, restore sight to the spiritually blind in your church, and ears that hear your word and act on it. Flood us with your Holy Spirit so that we can call to mind the things you have said to us.

"When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?" They said to him, "Twelve." "Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?" And they said, "Seven." So he said to them, "How is it you do not understand?" (Mark 8:19-21)

Jesus, you have provided for us over and over again and we are still anxious about receiving today's bread. We worry about tomorrow's provision when we are even there yet. Please help us repent and turn to you in trust and worship.

Lord, we have substituted praise for worship. Praise of you is good, but we need to come into your presence and worship you and know you for who you are. Help us do this; then our hearts will be fixed on you in trust and obedience.

Then he came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. (Mark 8:22)

Jesus, touch our blind eyes as well.

So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when he had spit on his eyes and put his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, "I see men like trees, walking." (Mark 8:23-24)

Jesus, our sight is distorted as well -- we see but have distorted perception of one another.

Then he put his hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly. (Mark 8:25)

Jesus, I need your "second touch," I see, but not clearly. Much of your church needs your first touch as well as the second; please come and restore our sight.

Then he sent him away to his house, saying, "Neither go into the town, nor tell anyone in the town." (Mark 8:26)

Holy Spirit, please bring us and all your church to a place of trusting obedience of Jesus word. Thank you.

"Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman," says the LORD. (Isaiah 54:1)

Father, the Presiding Bishop spoke true words when she said we were not producing children in the Episcopal Church. Help us recognize our desolation and our need for more of Jesus in our lives so that we can produce children who will know you and grow in your son Jesus.

"Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. for you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited. (Isaiah 54:2-3)

Father, help us enter into the fullness of your promise. Bring forth converted children to fill our churches to overflowing. Restore in our cities and towns a saving knowledge of Jesus.

"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore. (Isaiah 54:4)

Holy Spirit, we trust that you will lead us through this time of desolation in the Episcopal Church to a place where we will be neither ashamed nor disgraced.

For your maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; he is called the God of the whole earth. (Isaiah 54:5)

Jesus, as we pray for our bishops and for the Primates meeting in Tanzania, please help us remember at all times to keep our attention on you: it is you who will redeem and save us, not them. We pray for an outpouring of your Holy Spirit on them so they will guide us in your true path and that they will be fruitful shepherds; but help us keep our eyes fixed on you where true joys are to be found. Thank you.

***** Please pray for Kevin Steckline who will be having back surgery next week Wednesday.

***** Pray for a special anointing to come on Bp. Bill as he prepares to lead the Diocese. Pray the Lord will make the way plain before him and accomplish HIS will thru Bp. Bill. Pray for God's protection, provision, strength, grace and clear guidance for him and his family, for Bp. Dan and Bp. Dave as they begin the life of "retirement" and new ways to serve the Lord.

Pray for the whole Diocese, the SLC, the Sisters, the Healing ministry, the Youth ministry and all the specialized ministries and those who lead them.

Cry out to the Lord for HIS Church. Cry out to the Lord for his guidance and presence at the meeting of the Primates. Pray that the Lord will soften hard hearts, give sight to the "blind" and make a way where there seems to be no way.

***** Cry out to the Lord for our country and its leaders. Pray for the protection of our military and civilians and the innocent Iraqis and others who get caught in the middle. Pray for all Christians who are being persecuted. Pray for military and their families whose tours are extended.

***** (PDU) Next Sunday, February 4th, at 4:00 p.m. is the Enthronement of the Ninth Bishop of Albany. We do treasure the traditions that the church in this diocese has passed down, though we are hardly medievalists.

Sunday's liturgy, in the context of Evensong, led by the cathedral choir, is the visible transition in the episcopate which points to the future.

The retiring bishop presents the crozier / staff to the new bishop, and Bishop Love then moves to take possession of the Chair, and cathedral and diocese. The bishop's cathedra is the symbolic locus of his office of teaching and leading.

A reception will follow.

This is a significant event in the life of our Diocese and we should be there to show our support for our new Bishop. Clergy planning to attend should arrive by 3:30. To facilitate seating for the procession, clergy are asked to email Dean Vang this week at mvang@nycap.rr.com.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

 

1/30/2007, #37, 1st Quarter 2007

Awake, awake! (Isaiah 52:1a)

LORD, rouse your church out of its slumber, help us awake to what you are doing.

Put on your strength, O Zion; (Isaiah 52:1b)

Jesus, you are our true strength, please help us receive the full power of your Holy Spirit.

Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city! (Isaiah 52:1c)

Holy Spirit, please give us your consolation and beauty in place of the ashes we wear now. I know the ashes of repentance are needed now, but please bring us through to victory and clothe us with garments of praise. (From Isaiah 61:3)

For the uncircumcised and the unclean Shall no longer come to you. (Isaiah 52:1d)

Father, we pray for your church and your people that you will circumcise our hearts and wash us of the filth that clings to us.

Shake yourself from the dust, arise; Sit down, O Jerusalem! (Isaiah 52:2a)

Lord, help the Episcopal Church to sit down before you and cease standing in pride and arrogance.

Loose yourself from the bonds of your neck, O captive daughter of Zion! (Isaiah 52:2b)

Holy Spirit, we cannot loose ourselves from the bondage of sin by our own devising, only you can do that: come with your healing, cleansing fire to your church to set us free.

For thus says the LORD: "You have sold yourselves for nothing, And you shall be redeemed without money." (Isaiah 52:3)

Jesus, we can only be redeemed by your cross and blood and your resurrection. Come soon, Lord Jesus, come soon!

A word received: Torre and Jean -- the time of visitation is coming -- prepare your hearts. [How?] Be diligent in turning to me. Whatever the crisis, turn to me.

***** Hi Torre,
Please lift up in prayer the following Alpha courses that are starting this week and will share a common Holy Spirit Weekend at the SLC March 16 and 17.
GE Research - starting Wednesday January 31, 12-1pm.
Hope United Methodist Church - starting Thursday, February 1st.
Christ Church Schenectady, - starting Friday, February 2nd.
All ready in progress - Christ Church Ballston Spa.
Thanks and Blessings! Scott Evans

***** Dear Friends of Fr. Dan,
Trudy and I went to Flecher-Allen, to see Father Dan this past Saturday, and while we were there he began to show signs of more activity than had been seen since arrival in Burlington. He began to rub his face, and eyes, and pull on the bridge of his noise. The sound of my voice seemed to trigger this, or it may have been simply a coincidence, but whatever it was, it was wonderful to see. He has much more movement of the body even though it may not be on comand, arms, and left leg, and I think and so did Pat that there was some movement in the right toes. Although these signs may be small signs of improvement, they are still signs that Fr. Dan even though still in a Coma is starting to heal. Before we left I was given the opportunity to anoint him and pray, and then to I thought that I could see facial expressions that he was praying as well. The Lord is at work knitting together those parts that were torn into.
Last evening they moved Father from the ICU to a private room on the sixth floor. Pat told us today that on two separate occasions once yesterday and then again today, that he cried, when she was talking to visitors about the accident. More signs, even though hard to see I am sure, but a strong indication that he knows what is going on around him.
Physical Therapy started today. They held him up on the side of the bed and his eyes were open the whole time. Still he cannot focus them, nor is there any response shown on command. Pat asked, that everyone's prayers be focused on the healing of his brain and for feeling to return to his right leg, so that he may move it.
Fr. Dan may be moved to a Rehab. facility within a week or so. As soon as we know more about where he will be, and when this is to happen I will pass this along to all on our list.
Please continue to pray and know that your prayers are at work, may the Lord watch over each of you, and in Father's place I pass these word on to you-
May God Bless and Keep each of you in the palm of His loving hands. Amen.Amen.
In faithful Service to our Lord, cn. Greg

***** Please pray for Kevin Steckline who will be having back surgery tomorrow, Wednesday.

Monday, January 29, 2007

 

1/29/2007, #36, 1st Quarter 2007

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" (Galatians 4:6)

Father, please send the Spirit of your son Jesus into all of our hearts so that we can cry out to you as your children.

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4:7)

Father, give us that Spirit of adoption whereby we are able to cry out to you, "Abba, Father!"

Jesus, so much of your church is in foster care and does not know the blessing of your father's love and adoption; please bring your whole church into the adoption you have planned for us.

Holy Spirit, please work in the hearts of the bishops and leaders of the Episcopal Church so that they will know and proclaim the Father's love in Jesus Christ. Thank you.

***** Keep praying for Bp. Bill as he approaches the time of becoming our Diocesan Bishop.

Keep on praying for Bp. Dan and Bp. Dave, the Diocese, the Spiritual Life Center, Healing Center ministry and their volunteer and paid staffs. Pray for young women to respond to their vocation to the religious life with the Sisters of St. Mary. Pray that all of us keep our attention on the Lord and what he wants, and not on our circumstances. Pray that we all will surrender our lives day by day to Him.

Pray that the Lord will rebuild His Church!

Pray for the Lord to bring more families with children and young adults and that we will graft them in.

***** You can watch a 10-minute video of the ordination of Deacon Joseph Acanfora on my blog at The Ordination of Deacon Joseph Acanfora

Sunday, January 28, 2007

 

Ordination of Joe Acanfora as a Deacon


 

Words Received for Sunday School Lesson 18

Words Received for Sunday School Lesson 18
Jesus is Tested and Prepared to Share the Good News
Matthew 4:1-17, Deuteronomy 8:1-5
I AM preparing you for what lies ahead -- don't be afraid.

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:17) Repent means "turn to me." I want each of you to repent. I want each of you to turn to me. I AM coming, be ready by being turned to me.

I want to go into the wilderness places in your lives. I want to go into those parts of your lives where you are tempted by the devil.

Sometimes you will be led into difficult times by My Spirit. Always remember that I, your Father, will be there with you. You are never alone, and you always have My word.

I prepared myself by fasting. Ask for more of Me in your life so that you can subdue your body.

You must learn to distinguish My speech from the tempter's. Let Me teach you to hear Me and recognize My voice. Ask Me to help you do this.

What is in your heart? Are you keeping My commands?

Both are necessary nourishment, bread for the body and My word for the soul.

In resisting the devil you are leaning on Me for strength. Lean on Me, look to Me, cry out to Me. As you decrease, I can increase in your life. Then I can use you.

The leaders despised Galilee and what came out of it, but I made it a place of blessing.

I want everyone to be in my light. I want everyone to see by My light. Do not sit in darkness any longer. Cry out for My light to dawn on you.

That is still My word to My people today. Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 

1/28/2007, #35, 1st Quarter 2007

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)

Jesus, please help us by faith to go forward at your bidding, knowing that you are the way, the truth, and the life. Guide Bp. Bill as he assumes the mantle of leadership for this diocese, that he will go forward in the path you have marked out for him.

By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; (Hebrews 11:9)

LORD, the Episcopal Church has chosen to walk apart from apostolic teaching and fellowship, help us in this diocese to know how and where we should walk. Help us enter into all that you have promised and prepared for us to walk in. Please keep us from false choices.

for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10)

Holy Spirit, please keep us in that city which has its foundation in God and is built and made by our Father through his son Jesus.

By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11)

Father, you are faithful and true, help us by trusting you conceive and bring forth everything you have prepared for us to enter into.

Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude--innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. (Hebrews 11:12)

Jesus, with your hand upon us we can be fruitful and produce children and disciples for the kingdom. Help us by faith to do what we cannot do in our own strength.

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13)

Father, help us to be a pilgrim people who will live and die in the hope of the resurrection and of the promises you have made to your faithful people.

For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. (Hebrews 11:14)

Jesus, scattered throughout the Episcopal Church there are faithful congregations and dioceses who seek a homeland in you. Lead us day by day so that we receive all that you have prepared for us.

And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. (Hebrews 11:15)

Jesus, you have told us that no one putting their hand to plow and looking back is fit for the kingdom -- help us look forward and go forward at your bidding. (From Luke 9:62)

But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:16)

Father God, we pray that you will not be ashamed of us because of the choices we make in this diocese.

***** Keep praying for Bp. Bill as he approaches the time of becoming our Diocesan Bishop.

Keep on praying for Bp. Dan and Bp. Dave., the Diocese, Christ the King Spiritual Life Center, the healing ministry, their staffs and voluteers, the Sisters.

Pray that all of us keep our attention on the Lord and what he wants, not on our circumstances. Pray that we all will surrender our lives day by day to Him.

Pray that the Lord will rebuild His Church!

Pray for the Sunday Schools and the youth groups of the diocese.

Pray for the Lord to bring more families with children and young adults and that we will graft them in.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

 

1/27/2007, #34, 1st Quarter 2007

Then the Pharisees and some of the scribes came together to him, having come from Jerusalem. (Mark 7:1)

Jesus, we pray that the leaders of the Episcopal Church will come seeking you.

Now when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. (Mark 7:2)

Holy Spirit, please help us see one another with your eyes -- instead of finding fault, help us see someone precious in the Father's sight.

For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands in a special way, holding the tradition of the elders. (Mark 7:3)

Jesus, help us see our traditions for what they are -- previous generations desires to draw close to you and abide in your presence. Help our traditions point to you and not be ends in themselves. Help us prune away every tradition that draws us away from you.

When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches. (Mark 7:4)

LORD, the weight of tradition can be crushing -- help us keep only to those practices which genuinely draw us into your presence.

Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?" (Mark 7:5)

Holy Spirit, help us repent of being "tradition policemen", help us rejoice in the work you are doing in the hearts of people we see. Help us lift the burden of fruitless tradition off of one another, and help us do this with Jesus' love.

He answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' (Mark 7:6-7)

Father, help us recognize when we have honored you with our lips but not our hearts -- help us repent of this. In so many places in the Episcopal Church our human traditions and cultural assumptions have become ordinances which have replaced your commandments. Wash us and cleanse us of such evil and hardness of heart.

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men." (Mark 7:8)

Lord, have mercy on us and help us repent of this evil in your sight.

***** To all who pray for Fr. Dan,

Day 13 of Fr. Dan's accident: He is still in a Coma. However, Pat said today that when she read him an email that he cried. She knows that he hears what is being said. She also wanted us to clarify, that earlier this week the attending Neurologist said that they have now completely ruled out a stroke or a heart attack, as previously thought. That means that the injuries to his brain were caused from the Black Ice that he hit, making him loose control of the Jeep causing the crash.

Today's prayers can be focused on a urinary tract infection, an illium (bowel has shut down), and a continued infection in his lungs.

Trudy and I will be seeing Fr. Dan and Pat tomorrow. Please pray good travel mercies for us.

I will be sending another update Sunday evening. In Christ, Dcn. Greg Bailey

Friday, January 26, 2007

 
 
Posted by Picasa

 

1/26/2007, #33, 1st Quarter 2007

The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, (Isaiah 50:4a)

LORD, you have formed me and shaped me; help me to speak what I hear you speak. Teach me to say only those things that are in accord with your will and your word.

to know the word that sustains the weary. (Isaiah 50:4b)

Father, help me to know the word that will sustain the weary; help me to speak that word to them.

He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (Isaiah 50:4c)

Holy Spirit, thank you for getting me up morning by morning to listen; teach me to listen to what you are saying.

The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. (Isaiah 50:5)

Jesus, please open the ears of my heart and my spirit; speak that word to my heart, "Ephphatha! Be open!"
Loving the Lord by John Henry Jowett, 1863-1923
Luke 10:21-28
The secret of life is to love the Lord our God, and our neighbours as ourselves. But how are we to love the Lord? We cannot manufacture love. We cannot love to order. We cannot by an act of the will command its appearing. No, not in these ways is love created. Love is not a work, it is a fruit. It grows in suitable soils, and it is our part to prepare the soils. When the conditions are congenial, love appears, just as the crocus and the snowdrop appear in the congenial air of the spring.
What, then, can we do? We can seek the Lord's society. We can think about Him. We can fill our imaginations with the grace of His life and service. We can be much with Him, talking to Him in prayer, singing to Him in praise, telling Him our yearnings and confessing to Him our defeats. And love will be quietly born. For this is how love is born between heart and heart. Two people are "much together," and love is born! And when we are much with the Lord, we are with One who already loves us with an everlasting love. We are with One who yearns for our love and who seeks in every way to win it. "We love Him because He first loved us." And when we truly love God, every other kind of holy love will follow. Given the fountain, the rivers are sure.

 
 
Posted by PicasaIsaiah 50,4-5a

Thursday, January 25, 2007

 

1/25/2007, #32, 1st Quarter 2007

Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. (Mark 6:30)

Jesus, please gather everyone to yourself who is engaged in apostolic ministry. Help them acknowledge to you both what they have done and what they have taught. Come with the cleansing power of your Holy Spirit on the meeting of Primates in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 12-19. We pray that you will guide them and they will hear and obey. We pray for travel mercies for all who are going to this meeting.

And he said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.(Mark 6:31)

Holy Spirit, please help all who are in apostolic ministry to make the choice to come aside with you. Speak to their hearts: get your word from their heads to their hearts.

So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.(Mark 6:32)

Father, confirm and bless that choice.

But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to him.(Mark 6:33)

Jesus, help us respect the need of our bishops and others in apostolic ministry to have time alone with you. In our desire to get to you, don't let us trample on their needs.

And Jesus, when he came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So he began to teach them many things.(Mark 6:34)

Jesus, please raise up faithful shepherds where there are none. Thank you for your compassion for the lost and the least; help us burn with that same compassion for your flock that you have. Please help everyone in your flock to hear and receive what you are teaching.

When the day was now far spent, his disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat."(Mark 6:35-36)

Holy Spirit, please help us, like these disciples, bring our human solutions to Jesus so that we may hear and learn his solution.

But he answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat."(Mark 6:37)

Father, help us see how inadequate our solutions are. Help us lean to draw upon the storehouse of your mercy.

And they said to him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?" But he said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish."(Mark 6:38)

Jesus, they did what you asked of them; help us do the same.

Then he commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties.(Mark 6:39-40)

Holy Spirit, help us recognize those times when we are to sit and wait for Jesus to do something.

And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fish he divided among them all.(Mark 6:41)

Father, help us, like Jesus, look up to you for you to bless and multiply what we have.

So they all ate and were filled.(Mark 6:42)

Thank you, Father.

And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish.(Mark 6:43)

Jesus, please gather up the fragments of my life as well -- use them for your purposes.

Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.(Mark 6:44)

Lord, what you have done for us far exceeds all that we could have imagined or hoped for. Thank you.

Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he sent the multitude away.(Mark 6:45)

Jesus, help us to be true disciples -- ones who will obey your directions.

And when he had sent them away, he departed to the mountain to pray.(Mark 6:46)

Father, help us make that choice that Jesus made: he spent time along in communion and prayer with you.

***** PDF documents with pictures of all of the Primates in the Anglican Communion and information about them and prayers for them can be downloaded at these locations:
Part 1 of the Primates Picture Gallery (Adobe PDF Format. size = 245 kb)
Part 2 of the Primates Picture Gallery (Adobe PDF Format. size = 225 kb)

***** Pray for Bp. Bill for the Lord to go before him and show him the way forward. Pray for protection, provision, strength, grace and clear guidance for him, Bp. Dan and Bp. Dave, the Diocese and staff, the Spiritual Life Center and staff, the Sisters, the Healing ministry and all faithful clergy and intercessors.

Cry out to the Lord for his Church. Pray that the Lord will use the bad things that are happening for his own purposes and glory.

***** (Update on Fr. Dan Moore) I am sorry that this update did not go out until this morning, but we don't have much to report in the way of Fr. Dan's condition. He did flex his fingers on the right hand, and opened his eyes a slit but there was no response to any light or movement. His lung's are still not good, but all things take time.
Father's daughter Kelly, was coming in last night on the train, and is going to stay with Pat until Wednesday. Trudy and I are going over this Friday and stay over night. I will try to keep you up to date on all that is happening so that you can offer up your prayers as you might feel drawn to do.
Pat once again says that she is thankful for you all, and I know that Fr. Dan can feel your love and prayers. So I say "please continue to pray", as I know you all are. I ask that God pours out His Blessings on each of you, and may I add my thanks as well.

***** (PDU-updates) Please pray also fro Mtr Geri Bissell-Thompson who is in her third round of chemo therapy; and for Joella Biddle, wife of Dn. Blair, who is recovering from abdominal surgery.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

 

1/24/2007, #31, 1st Quarter 2007

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Holy Father, help us yield ourselves up to your purposes so that we may walk the way of the cross with Jesus.

Jesus, come and live in me by your Holy Spirit so that I will live by faith in you. Thank you for giving yourself to me, help me to give myself to you.

Thus says the LORD: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you;" (Isaiah 49:8a)

LORD, hear the cries of your faithful people who are being persecuted for the sake of the gospel.

Jesus, please preserve your faithful people in your church.

"I will preserve you and give you as a covenant to the people," (Isaiah 49:8b)

Holy Spirit, use us and direct us in any way that seems good to you.

"To restore the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;" (Isaiah 49:8c)

Jesus, help us be repairers of the breach and restorers of streets to dwell in. (From Isaiah 58:12)

"That you may say to the prisoners, 'Go forth,' to those who are in darkness, 'Show yourselves.'" (Isaiah 49:9a)

Holy Spirit, help our lives to be well-watered gardens, like springs of living water, whose waters do not fail. (From Isaiah 58:11)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

 

1/23/2007, #30, 1st Quarter 2007

Words received and prayer for a Sunday School lesson in February.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

A word received: I want your works to draw people to my father. I want people to see my father's love in what you do.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Matthew 4:23)

Jesus, please come into our church and by your Holy Spirit preach the gospel of the kingdom, heal our sickness and every cause of dis-ease and un-ease.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

A word received: Seek after treasure that lasts to eternal life.

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

A word received: When you grieve for your sins and turn to me, I will comfort you.

Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

A word received: I want to bless you with what you do not have. Yield your strength to me so that I may perfect my strength in your weakness.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)

A word received: Open your mouth and your soul so that I may fill them. Come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (From Isaiah 55:1)

Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

A word received: Hunger and pray for mercy in my church.

Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

A word received: Pray for clarity of sight, pray for repentant and purified hearts so that you may see me.

Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

A word received: Bless me for my peace -- it passes all (underline) understanding.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

A word received: Pray for my people who are being persecuted -- that they may receive every blessing I intend for them.

 

1/23/2007, #29, 1st Quarter 2007

And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ. (Galatians 1:22)

Jesus, I pray that all your church will come to know your ministry and teaching through Paul.

But they were hearing only, "He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy." (Galatians 1:23)

Holy Spirit, we too long to hear that those who presently persecute your church and people will be preaching the faith which they once tried to destroy. Please work in their hearts and bring them to new life in Jesus.

Jesus, please set those congregations which are being persecuted free to follow you.

And they glorified God in me. (Galatians 1:24)

Father, let the conversion of our persecutors bring you glory.

"Come near to me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, I was there. And now the Lord GOD and his Spirit have sent me." (Isaiah 48:16)

Lord GOD, help us listen to your servants that you send us.

Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go." (Isaiah 48:17)

Jesus, you are our redeemer -- there is no other -- help us receive your teaching so that we may profit by it and lead us in the way we should go.

"Oh, that you had heeded my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea." (Isaiah 48:18)

Father, help us heed your commandments so that we may have your peace. Help your people hearken to what you have said and are saying through your living words.

"Your descendants also would have been like the sand, and the offspring of your body like the grains of sand; his name would not have been cut off nor destroyed from before me." (Isaiah 48:19)

Jesus, the Episcopal Church is shrinking -- there are few children coming to faith in you. Your church has been unfruitful and our name is being cut off. Have mercy on us and bring us back to you.

***** A response from Bp. Bill [see below]:
Researching the Primates is a wonderful idea. It is much easier to pray for someone you know something about. Thank you Marjorie. I would encourage the other members of the prayer team to do the same if you are able. Thank you all so much for your willingness to take part in this vitally important ministry of prayer. May our Lord Jesus Christ, bless each of you richly, as you hold the Primates and the Church up in prayer. Come Holy Spirit and be with us now, inspire our thoughts and prayers, and use us mightily in Your service.
Yours in Christ,
+Bill

***** Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 13:52:31 -0500
From: "Marjorie Butterworth"
Subject: Anglican communion
Dear Torre and Jean,
I have just "Googled" the Primate for whom I will be praying and realized what a great opportunity to learn of a part of the communion about which I know very little. The opportunity to acquaint ourselves (and expand our horizons) with the larger Anglican family is an unexpected blessing to this time of prayer. Will also submit a short write-up to share in the February church newsletter.
God bless.
Marj Butterworth

[Note from Torre: There are a wealth of resources about the Primates and suggested prayers on Lent & Beyond.]

Monday, January 22, 2007

 

1/22/2007, #28, 1st Quarter 2007

Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. (Psalm 41:13)

Father, help us bless you day by day and be a blessing to others. Thank you.

***** Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 13:52:31 -0500
From: "Marjorie Butterworth"
Subject: Anglican communion
Dear Torre and Jean,
I have just "Googled" the Primate for whom I will be praying and realized what a great opportunity to learn of a part of the communion about which I know very little. The opportunity to acquaint ourselves (and expand our horizons) with the larger Anglican family is an unexpected blessing to this time of prayer. Will also submit a short write-up to share in the February church newsletter.
God bless.
Marj Butterworth

[Note from Torre: There are a wealth of resources about the Primates and suggested prayers on Lent & Beyond.]

Sunday, January 21, 2007

 

Baptism at Christ Church Schenectady

Posted by Picasa

 

Our son and his family at Manchu Picchu this week

Posted by PicasaOur oldest son Brereton, Sandra, Kyle, Eric, and Rachel at Manchu Picchu in the Andes of Peru

 

1/21/2007, #27, 1st Quarter 2007

O God, you are my God; (Psalm 63:1a)

Father, I choose you and your ways.

Early will I seek you; (Psalm 63:1b)

Holy Spirit, help me arise each morning and set aside time seeking the ways and words of Jesus.

My soul thirsts for you; (Psalm 63:1c)

Jesus, give me a heart that is satisfied only by being with you.

My flesh longs for you (Psalm 63:1d)

Father, I long to be in your courts, praising and worshiping you.

In a dry and thirsty land (Psalm 63:1e)

Jesus, much of your church has become a waste land.

Where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1f)

Lord, bring us to the living waters of your Holy Spirit.

So I have looked for you in the sanctuary, to see your power and your glory. (Psalm 63:2)

LORD, we want to see you at work in your church -- we have seen the works of man and they do not satisfy -- now we want to see you at work redeeming and renewing your people and setting them free from the power of the world, the flesh and the devil. Thank you.

***** I just realized that I had left John Sentamu, Archbishop of York off the list of Primates. Please volunteer to pray for him.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

 

1/20/2007, #26, 1st Quarter 2007

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. (Ephesians 6:10)

Jesus, please help us and our church leaders find our strength in you and the power of your Holy Spirit.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

Father, help us by your Spirit to be fully equipped and prepared to serve your son Jesus each day.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Holy Spirit, give us eyes and ears to recognize where the true enemies reside and to continue to love our brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ even when we disagree with them.

THEREFORE take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

LORD, the times are evil, but you are greater than all the hosts of evil, help us this day to make the choice to clothe ourselves with your armor -- all of it.

Stand therefore, (Ephesians 6:14a)

Holy Spirit, help us to stand at readiness.

having girded your loins with truth, (Ephesians 6:14b)

Jesus, you are the truth, please help us bring our emotions and sexuality under your control.

having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Ephesians 6:14c)

Holy Father, guard our hearts with your righteousness that comes by faith.

and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15)

Jesus, help us walk each day with the preparation of your gospel written on our hearts and with a willingness to share that gospel with any and all we meet.

above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16)

Father, help us to so trust Jesus and your word to us that we can withstand every fiery dart and temptation of the evil one as Jesus did.

And take the helmet of salvation, (Ephesians 6:17a)

Holy Spirit, guard our minds and thoughts with the hope of salvation.

and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Ephesians 6:17b)

Holy Spirit, let your word cut through every lie of the world, the flesh and the devil. Help us use Scripture daily as we fight against evil.

praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, (Ephesians 6:18a)

Father, give your faithful people a heart to pray -- there is no place in heaven or earth that cannot be reached by earnest prayer.

being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- (Ephesians 6:18b)

LORD, please work in our seeing and hearing so that we are watchful and stand guard by prayer for all the saints.

Jesus, we hold up the saints in the Sudan, in Virginia, in St. Andrews Vestal, NY, in St. Andrews Syracuse, NY, in the Middle East, everywhere your people are under attack and ask you to bless, guide and preserve them.

and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, (Ephesians 6:19)

Jesus, we hold up our bishops and the Primates of the Anglican Communion and every apostolic minister, that they will be given the words to speak. We pray for the meeting of Primates in Tanzania that it will be anointed with your word and Spirit. Help them make known the mystery of the gospel. Please give Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori ears to hear.

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:20)

LORD, help every apostolic witness, bishops, clergy and lay, speak your word with boldness as we ought. Thank you.

But that you also may know my affairs and how I am doing, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make all things known to you; (Ephesians 6:21)

Holy Spirit, help us seek to know what is going on with our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

whom I have sent to you for this very purpose, that you may know our affairs, and that he may comfort your hearts. (Ephesians 6:22)

Jesus, help us to receive every witness you send to us.

Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 6:23)

Father, let your peace and love with faith dwell richly in our hearts.

Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. (Ephesians 6:24)

Amen!

***** Keep praying for Bp. Bill Love for total covering by the Lord. Pray for Bp. Dan and Bp. Dave for Lord's covering. Pray for Christ the King Spiritual Life Center, the Diocese and all clergy and staff. Pray for all lay leaders and ministers in the Diocese. Pray for the Lord to help us to hear, see and respond "at once" to whatever the Lord wants to do in our midst.
Pray for protection and guidance for the churches in Virginia that have left the Episcopal Church and those in Central NY where the Bishop and national church want to take their properties. Pray that no matter what happens the Lord will carry them through to His victory.
Pray for all Christians who are persecuted, some even unto death. Pray for the Lord to cover them and for us not to forget them.
Cry out to the Lord for His Church. Pray for the enemies of God's people. "Bless our enemies by sending your Holy Spirit to lead them to repentance and conversion." (Pr. by Francis McNutt.
Pray for protection for all the intercessors in our churches and for the whole church. .Pray that internet provider problems will be resolved and requested prayers will not be treated as "Spam".

Friday, January 19, 2007

 

1/19/2007, #25, 1st Quarter 2007

"Look to me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:22)

LORD, we look to you for salvation. Please help us be steady in you.

"I have sworn by myself; the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath." (Isaiah 45:23)

Holy Spirit, let your church confess with our words and deeds that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Help us bow the knee of our hearts as well as giving outward submission to him.

"He shall say, 'Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against him.'" (Isaiah 45:24)

Jesus, much of the Episcopal Church is incensed against you because you will not dance to their tune; have mercy on us and restore us with your righteousness and strength.

"'In the LORD all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.'" (Isaiah 45:25)

Father, please bring us and all your faithful people to the riches of your glory. Help us by your Holy Spirit to seek after that crown of righteousness that will never tarnish or fade away. Thank you.

***** We have every Primate covered by at least one intercessor and only three time slots uncovered. The following Primates have only one intercessor covering them. If you have not already signed up, please step up to the plate.

PROVINCE -- PRIMATE
Australia -- Phillip John Aspinall
Bangladesh -- Michael S Baroi
Brazil -- Maurício José Araújo de Andrade
Congo -- Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle
England -- Rowan Douglas Williams
Indian Ocean -- Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
Ireland -- Alan Harper (newly elected 1/10/07)
Kenya -- Benjamin M P Nzimbi
Mexico -- Carlos Touche-Porter
Myanmar (Burma) -- Samuel San Si Htay
North India -- Joel Vidyasagar Mal
Pakistan -- Alexander John Malik
Papua New Guinea -- James Simon Ayong
Scotland -- Idris Jones
South East Asia -- John Chew
South India -- Badda Peter Sugandhar
Southern Africa -- Njongonkulu Winston Hugh Ndungane
Southern Cone (South America) -- Gregory James Venables
USA -- Katharine Jefferts Schori
Wales -- Barry Cennydd Morgan

2:00 AM to 3:00 AM
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

***** Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 18:38:44 -0500
Dear Family in Prayer and Faith,
Today is Thursday, Jan. 18 th., the sixth day after Fr. Dan's car accident, and there is little change today in his condition. We talked to Pat this afternoon, and she said that sometime today they where going do a surgical procedure (tracheotomy), opening the airway, to aid in therapy. He is still breathing on his own, but this will aid in suctioning and it will be easier for them to turn him and do some range of motion exercises. He was fitted for boots to prevent drop foot. He did move his right arm a little at the shoulder. That is the only movement there has been on his right side. A positive sign. On Friday they are going to put in a stomach peg (feeding tube) because the tube that is going through his nose and delivering nutrition was backing up on his lungs because of gastric bi-pass he had in 1988. Pat figured that one out- THANKS be To GOD that she is a nurse. Pat is very pleased with the care he is receiving. I will send another update tomorrow after Trudy talks to Pat again. Keep pumping up the prayers. Thank you everyone for your love and prayers for Fr. Dan and Pat.
In Christ,
Dcn. Greg and Trudy

Thursday, January 18, 2007

 

1/18/2007, #24, 1st Quarter 2007

***** Bp. Bill has asked that we participate in round-the-clock prayer for the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. They will be meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 12-19. He said that this is a very important meeting for the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Please commit for two time periods: the week leading up to the meeting, February 4-11 and the week of the meeting, February 12-19, that is, there should be continuous prayer February 4-19. It is important that we sow the seed of prayer before the meeting and water the plants of the Spirit during the meeting.

Brothers and Sisters,
We are almost there: only two Primates and seven hours to cover. Jesus said, "Come, follow me."

PROVINCE -- PRIMATE
Melanesia -- Ellison Leslie Pogo
Philippines -- Ignacio Capuyan Soliba

1:00 AM to 2:00 AM
2:00 AM to 3:00 AM
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM

Keep praying for the Lord's strength, wisdom, protection, provision, clear guidance and new anointing for Bp. Bill Love. Pray for Bp.Dan and Bp.Dave as they lead the Leadership Conferences and prepare for a new role in the Body of Christ.
Pray for the Diocese, SLC, Sisters, Healing ministry, Youth ministry, Missions. Pray for the Lord to move powerfully at Christ Church and in all the parishes of this Diocese to accomplish His whole purpose and will. Cry out to the Lord for His Church.
Words received by diocesan intercessors:
A word received: Keep praying for My Church. It is My Church, it does not belong to any denomination or sect. I AM. I AM coming for My Bride; pray my bride will be ready when I come.
A word received: Pray for My people to be thirsty. Pray that they will thirst after My word and prayer and worship and praise.

***** Please pray for Kevin, he will have back surgery #5 on Feb 5th. Thanks!
FHS, Donna Steckline

 

1/18/2007, #23, 1st Quarter 2007

Also he said to them, "Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?" (Mark 4:21)

Lord, please let the light of your gospel shine forth in every parish and institution of this diocese. Help us repent wherever we have hidden your light by our words or deeds.

"For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light." (Mark 4:22)

Father, we pray for those who have loved darkness rather that the light of your gospel, turn their hearts into your ways; reveal their hearts to them so that they may repent.

"If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear." (Mark 4:23)

Holy Spirit, help us hearken to your word to us.

Then he said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given." (Mark 4:24)

Jesus, help your people make the right choices about what they choose to listen to. Give your people a hunger to hear your word. Move us to demand preaching inspired by your Holy Spirit.

"For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him." (Mark 4:25)

Jesus, you have taught us that if we do not use the talents you have given us, they will be taken away from us and given to others who have used what you have given. Please help us recognize every gift you have given us and use them all in your service.

And he said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground," (Mark 4:26)

Father, you have scattered the seed of your word far and wide, I pray it will take root and flourish in the Episcopal Church.

"and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how." (Mark 4:27)

Holy Spirit, we do not know how your word grows in our hearts, but we ask you to guide our seeing and listening and doing so that it will grow and prosper.

"For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head." (Mark 4:28)

Father, help us water and nurture the growth of your gospel among us -- help us recognize each stage of growth and encourage it.

"But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:29)

LORD, the harvest times are hidden in your heart, but they will surely come. Please help us be ready by prayer, reading of your word, and doing your will. After the harvest will come the threshing, please help us let go of every piece of chaff in our lives. We pray that no good grain will be lost with the chaff. Thank you.

***** Bp. Bill has asked that we participate in round-the-clock prayer for the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. They will be meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 12-19. He said that this is a very important meeting for the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Please commit for two time periods: the week leading up to the meeting, February 4-11 and the week of the meeting, February 12-19, that is, there should be continuous prayer February 4-19. It is important that we sow the seed of prayer before the meeting and water the plants of the Spirit during the meeting.

Please pick an hour of the day or night that you will commit to praying for the two weeks. Also, I have listed below the names of the Primates of the Anglican Communion and the time slots that have not yet been chosen. Please select one or two Primates and time slots that no one else has chosen.. Then let me know the hour and the Primate(s) you have chosen. My email is torre.bissell@verizon.net. We want every hour and every Primate covered!

PROVINCE -- PRIMATE
Bangladesh -- Michael S Baroi
Burundi -- Bernard Ntahoturi
Central America -- Martin de Jesus Barahona
Congo -- Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle
Indian Ocean -- Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
Japan -- Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu
Jerusalem & The Middle East -- George Clive Handford
Kenya -- Benjamin M P Nzimbi
Korea -- Francis Kyung Jo Park
Melanesia -- Ellison Leslie Pogo
North India -- Joel Vidyasagar Mal
Pakistan -- Alexander John Malik
Philippines -- Ignacio Capuyan Soliba
Scotland -- Idris Jones
South India -- Badda Peter Sugandhar
Wales -- Barry Cennydd Morgan

TIMES
12:00 AM to 1:00 AM
1:00 AM to 2:00 AM
2:00 AM to 3:00 AM
4:00 AM to 5:00 AM
8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
9:00 AM to 10:00 AM
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
2:00 PM to 3:00 PM
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
8:00 PM to 9:00 PM
10:00 PM to 11:00 PM

Blessing from the Anglican Christian community in Ceylon, Pakistan, and India:
May the Name of Jesus, the Son of God, who is mightier than all the hosts of Satan, and more glorious than all the angels of heaven, abide with you in your going out and your coming in; by day and by night; at morning and at evening; at all times and in all places.

May the Name of Jesus, the Son of God, protect and deliver you from the wrath of evil persons; from the assaults of evil spirits; from foes invisible; from the snares of the Evil One; and from all low passions that beguile the soul and body.

May the Name of Jesus protect and deliver you.

And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always. Amen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

 

1/17/2007, #22, 1st Quarter 2007

And again he began to teach by the sea. And a great multitude was gathered to him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea; and the whole multitude was on the land facing the sea. Then he taught them many things by parables, and said to them in his teaching: (Mark 4:1-2)

Jesus, please help us hear and appropriate what you are trying to teach us today.

"Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow." (Mark 4:3)

Holy Spirit, please work in our hearts so that we listen to Jesus and in our eyes so that we see the truths of his kingdom.

"And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it." (Mark 4:4)

Father, please come into those fruitless, unproductive waysides in our lives.

"Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away." (Mark 4:5-6)

Jesus, please come into the shallow places of our common life together in the Episcopal Church where seeds quickly blossom but soon wither away; bring us to greater depth of soil in you.

"And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop." (Mark 4:7)

Holy Spirit, help us recognize the thorny places in our lives and in our church that prevent us from producing the crop you are looking for. Please guide us in recognizing and clearing out those areas in our life together so they can be productive.

"But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." (Mark 4:8)

LORD, thank you for the fruitful places in our lives. Help us invest our time and effort into those areas which will yield a bountiful harvest for your kingdom.

And he said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Mark 4:9)

Help us to hear you, Jesus; help us make the choice to listen to you.

But when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parable. (Mark 4:10)

Holy Father, guide us into spending time along with Jesus so that we can grow in understanding his words to us. Thank you.

***** A prayer and words received for a Sunday School lesson in February:

Then he said to them, "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2)

Lord, it is your harvest and your harvest field, not ours; help us go forth to labor in your harvest fields with humility.

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight. (Luke 10:21)

A word received: Look at the choice my father made: to reveal the gospel to the weak and the lowly. It was that way at my birth and throughout my life and it is true today. I want you to rejoice that your names are written in my Book of Life.

All things have been delivered to me by my father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him." (Luke 10:22)

A word received: I chose you before you chose me. Rejoice, I have chosen you to go and bear much fruit.

Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; (Luke 10:23)

A word received: Thank me for blessing you with sight and hearing. All around you many are stumbling in the dark. Who will go to them with the light of the gospel?

for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it." (Luke 10:24)

A word received: Pray for my people to desire to see what I want to show them and hear what I want to say to them.

Now it came to pass, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, that one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." (Luke 11:1)

A word received: I want my people to come to me, asking me to teach them to pray. I will bless that request.

***** Keep praying for our Bishops, the Diocese, the Christ the King Spiritual Life Center, their staff and the Sisters. Pray for protection, provision, strength and clear guidance and constant travel mercies. Pray for Lord's powerful anointing on Bp. Bill as he prepares for the new responsibilities. Cry out to the Lord for his Church. Pray for repentance among the leaders of God's people. Pray for repentance in all of us. Pray for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit locally and in our nation. Pray for God to lead the Primates of the Anglican Communion in their meeting in Africa. Pray for clarity of sight and hearing for all of us, that we may respond to what the Lord wants to do in our midst.

***** PTL-The Dominican Mission team arrived safely. Vacation bible school is blessed with over 200 kids a day. We have a great team of teachers.
The Episcopal school is being used. The team is putting up a security fence around it, it is beautiful. It is a blessing from God that these children can go to school and are so eager to learn.
The women's sewing is filled with the Holy Spirit. Each day they praise the lord and we are blessed to be able to teach them sewing skills. Keep us in you prayers. God Bless
-Deacon Charlie and Polly Bailey

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

 

1/16/2007, #21, 1st Quarter 2007

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, (Ephesians 4:17)

Holy Spirit, much of the Episcopal Church is walking in the futility of their mind, seeking and following the wisdom of the world; help them turn and receive your wisdom and guidance.

having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; (Ephesians 4:18)

Jesus, please help the leaders and people of the Episcopal Church see by your light -- bring us to repentance, help us recognize the hardness of our hearts.

who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:19)

Lord Jesus, have mercy on us and draw us back to you.

But you have not so learned Christ, (Ephesians 4:20)

Father, help us learn and know Jesus.

if indeed you have heard him and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Ephesians 4:21)

Jesus, you are the truth, and no one comes to the Father except by you; please help us hear you and be taught by you.

that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, (Ephesians 4:22)

Jesus, please help the Episcopal Church, its leaders and people, put off the old man and all its deceitful lusts and conduct.

and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, (Ephesians 4:23)

Holy Spirit, please help us all seek the renewing of our minds that only you can do.

and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)

Father, please help us today to put on true righteousness and holiness, to become new men and women in you. Thank you.

***** Please select a Primate and a time to be praying each day from February 4-19. It is important that we sow the seed of prayer before the meeting and water the plants of the Spirit during the meeting. Let me know your choice. See 1/14/2007, #19 or http://albanyintercessor.blogspot.com/2007/01/1142007-19-1st-quarter-2007.html.

A prayer to be used for the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (Feb. 12-19) adapted from 1928 BCP)
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who by your Holy Spirit did preside in the Council of the blessed Apostles, and has promised, through your Son Jesus Christ, to be with your Church to the end of the world; We beseech you to be with the Council of your Church about to assemble in your Name and Presence. Save them from all error, ignorance, pride, and prejudice; and of your great mercy vouchsafe, we beseech you, so to direct, sanctify, and govern them in their work, by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, that the comfortable Gospel of Christ may be truly preached, truly received, and truly followed, in all places, to the breaking down the kingdom of sin, Satan, and death; till at length the whole of your dispersed sheep, being gathered into one fold, shall become partakers of everlasting life; through the merits and death of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

***** An update from Deacon Greg Bailey of Trinity in Gouveneur.
Subject: Wonderful News on Fr. Dan
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 18:08:56 -0500
Praise God!!! What a difference a few hours can make, when the power of the
Lord is at work.

It is now 6 p.m. Monday and I have just talk to Trudy- Fr. Dan has started breathing on his own, now he is still in a coma, but they thought that while they ended praying this afternoon it looked as though he was trying to say Amen. He has a long way to go but these are good signs, keep it up everyone our prayers are being answered.

In Faith and Christian Love,
Dcn. Greg

***** For Prisoners adapted from 1928 BCP.
O GOD, who spares when we deserve punishment, and in your wrath remembers mercy; We humbly beseech you, of your goodness, to comfort and succour all prisoners [especially those who are condemned to die]. Give them a right understanding of themselves, and of your promises; that, trusting wholly in your mercy, they may not place their confidence anywhere but in you. Relieve the distressed, protect the innocent, awaken the guilty; and forasmuch as you alone bring light out of darkness, and good out of evil, grant to these your servants, that by the power of your Holy Spirit they may be set free from the chains of sin and death, and may be brought to newness of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"Remember the prisoners as if chained with them--those who are mistreated--since you yourselves are in the body also." Hebrews 13:3

Monday, January 15, 2007

 

1/15/2007, #20, 1st Quarter 2007

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, (Ephesians 4:1)

Jesus, you have called us; we ask you to help us by your Holy Spirit to walk worthy of that call. Thank you for the high honor of your call.

with all lowliness and gentleness, (Ephesians 4:2a)

Father, help us walk before you in lowliness and gentleness.

with longsuffering, (Ephesians 4:2b)

Jesus, help us bear one another's burdens.

bearing with one another in love, (Ephesians 4:2c)

Holy Spirit, the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion are being torn apart by division and heresy; help us in this diocese to bear with one another in love.

endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3)

Holy Spirit, please show us day by day how to keep the unity of the church in your way, in the bond of peace.

There is one body and one Spirit, (Ephesians 4:4a)

Jesus, we pray for the Primates who will be meeting in Tanzania and for the bishops of the Episcopal Church that they keep your body, the church, in the unity of the Spirit.

just as you were called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4b)

Father, help us remember the hope of our calling.

one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (Ephesians 4:5)

Lord, let there these be the instruments of unity in the Anglican Communion.

one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:6)

Father, draw us all back to you.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:7)

Jesus, please help us use the grace that was given us to draw your church back to you. Please give us all a heart to intercede for your people and the leaders of your people. Thank you.

***** Please select a Primate and a time to be praying each day from February 4-19. It is important that we sow the seed of prayer before the meeting and water the plants of the Spirit during the meeting. Let me know your choice. See 1/14/2007, #19.

A prayer to be used for the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (Feb. 12-19) adapted from 1928 BCP)
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who by your Holy Spirit did preside in the Council of the blessed Apostles, and has promised, through your Son Jesus Christ, to be with your Church to the end of the world; We beseech you to be with the Council of your Church about to assemble in your Name and Presence. Save them from all error, ignorance, pride, and prejudice; and of your great mercy vouchsafe, we beseech you, so to direct, sanctify, and govern them in their work, by the mighty power of the Holy Ghost, that the comfortable Gospel of Christ may be truly preached, truly received, and truly followed, in all places, to the breaking down the kingdom of sin, Satan, and death; till at length the whole of your dispersed sheep, being gathered into one fold, shall become partakers of everlasting life; through the merits and death of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

***** An update from Deacon Greg Bailey of Trinity in Gouveneur.
Dear Family and Friends,
For those who may not know Fr. Dan [Moore] was in a car accident Sat. and received critical head injuries. He was taken to Burlington, and is in ICU. Trudy went with Pat, and called me last night at around 8, saying that not much had changed except that with the CAT Scan that was made after their arrival in Vermont, Fr. Dan's head injuries are more then what was first thought. I will give you updates as I receive them and I ask that you call on all you know to hold him up in prayer.

Lord we ask that you restore Fr. Dan to total health, that the head injuries that he received be healed, totally and with no lasting effects. Be with his wife Pat as well and with the children. Give them comfort and peace, in knowing that Fr. Dan is held in your loving arms and that you are the great healer of all. Amen

Sunday, January 14, 2007

 

1/14/2007, #19, 1st Quarter 2007

Bp. Bill has asked that we participate in a round-the-clock Octave of Prayer for the meeting of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. They will be meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, February 12-19. He said that this is a very important meeting for the future of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.

Please commit for two time periods: the week leading up to the meeting, February 4-11 and the week of the meeting, February 12-19, that is, there should be continuous prayer February 4-19. It is important that we sow the seed of prayer before the meeting and water the plants of the Spirit during the meeting.

Please pick an hour of the day or night that you will commit to praying for the two weeks. Also, I have listed below the names of the Primates of the Anglican Communion. Please select one or two of them. Then let me know the hour and the Primate(s) you have chosen. My email is torre.bissell@verizon.net. We want every hour and every Primate covered!

Here is a list of all the Anglican Primates in alphabetical order by Province. (For ease of formatting and clarity, titles have been stripped away. No disrespect is intended.) Profiles of many of the Primates can be found at http://lent.classicalanglican.net/?p=2960

PROVINCE PRIMATE
Aotearoa, New Zealand & Polynesia -- William Brown Turei
Australia -- Phillip John Aspinall
Bangladesh -- Michael S Baroi
Brazil -- Maurício José Araújo de Andrade
Burundi -- Bernard Ntahoturi
Canada -- Andrew Sandford Hutchison
Central Africa -- Bernard Amos Malango
Central America -- Martin de Jesus Barahona
Congo -- Dirokpa Balufuga Fidèle
England -- Rowan Douglas Williams
Hong Kong -- Peter Kwong
Indian Ocean -- Gerald James (Ian) Ernest
Ireland -- Alan Harper (newly elected 1/10/07)
Japan -- Nathaniel Makoto Uematsu
Jerusalem & The Middle East -- George Clive Handford
Kenya -- Benjamin M P Nzimbi
Korea -- Francis Kyung Jo Park
Melanesia -- Ellison Leslie Pogo
Mexico -- Carlos Touche-Porter
Myanmar (Burma) -- Samuel San Si Htay
Nigeria -- Peter Jasper Akinola
North India -- Joel Vidyasagar Mal
Pakistan -- Alexander John Malik
Papua New Guinea -- James Simon Ayong
Philippines -- Ignacio Capuyan Soliba
Rwanda -- Emmanuel Musaba Kolini
Scotland -- Idris Jones
South East Asia -- John Chew
South India -- Badda Peter Sugandhar
Southern Africa -- Njongonkulu Winston Hugh Ndungane
Southern Cone (South America) -- Gregory James Venables
Sudan -- Joseph Biringi Hassan Marona
Tanzania -- Donald Leo Mtetemela
Uganda -- Henry Luke Orombi
USA -- Katharine Jefferts Schori
Wales -- Barry Cennydd Morgan
West Africa -- Justice Ofei Akrofi
West Indies -- Drexel Wellington Gomez

***** Check out Lent & Beyond . Prayers for the various Primates of the Anglican Communion are being posted there.

 

1/14/2007, #18, 1st Quarter 2007

The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, "Come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?" (John 4:28-29)

Jesus, please help us meet you as this woman did so that our hearts are searched and we must say to others, "Come; meet a man who told me everything I ever did."

Then they went out of the city and came to him. (John 4:30)

Holy Spirit, please move the people in our community to respond to your witnesses and seek out Jesus.

In the meantime his disciples urged him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." Therefore the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him anything to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to finish his work. (John 4:31-34)

Father, give us hearts to receive that same nourishment that comes from doing your will.

Do you not say, 'There are still four months and then comes the harvest'? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! (John 4:35)

Jesus, we pray for eyes to see the harvest that is all around us.

And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors." And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." (John 4:36-39)

Father, help us by your Spirit to do our part in preparing and bringing in the harvest.

Jesus, we pray that all who hear your witnesses will respond as these men did.

So when the Samaritans had come to him, they urged him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days. And many more believed because of his own word. Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world." (John 4:40-42)

Help those who believe enter into a personal knowledge of you, Jesus, as these men did. Thank you.

"I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" (Isaiah 6:8).

***** Two new Sunday School lessons have been posted at:
http://albanyintercessor.blogspot.com/2007/01/study-guide-sunday-school-lesson-16.html
http://albanyintercessor.blogspot.com/2007/01/study-guide-sunday-school-lesson-17.html


***** Date: Sat, 13 Jan 2007 16:27:38 -0500
From: HCARRIER1@nycap.rr.com
Subject: Pray for Dan Moore

Torre, Nigel just called me from Potsdam, Fr. Dan Moore, from Trinity, Gouverneur, was critically injured in an auto accident on the way to the leadership conference in Potsdam. he has been flown to the Medical Center in Burlington, Vt. he has sever head injuries. please get the warrior praying for this fine priest. hap+

Saturday, January 13, 2007

 

STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 17 January 21, 2007

John Baptizes Jesus (God preparing His Son)
Theme: Good News to Share
Theme Verse: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10b NIV
Readings: Matthew 3, Luke: 21-23
Memory Verse: The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." Luke 3:22

Part 1 (Matthew 3:1-2) Word received: The time was right for John to prepare the people for My Son's coming. John heard Me and obeyed Me. When you hear Me, I want you to obey Me.

(Matthew 3:3) Word received: John knew who he was and he knew what I wanted him to do. I have plans for each one of you and I want you to listen so that each of you will know what to do. (Word received: Ask Me for My blessing on your hearing and seeing. I want to be Lord of your eyes and ears.) Prayer: Lord, we ask you to be Lord of our seeing and hearing and our hearts. Deliver us and your church from blindness and hardness of heart. We ask for your Holy Spirit to work in our hearts to make us ready to respond to you in our day.

John's message to the people of God (remember that these were God's people -- his rebellious people) began with "Repent" (a word meaning literally to have a change of mind, to turn around. The Old Testament often called for repentance as "Returning".
They had rebelled and wandered away from God.) John said in effect, you need to do this because God's kingdom has "come near" -- the time is short. In fact it was only about 3 years -- the length of Jesus' earthly ministry. (Matthew 3:1) Word received: People must have something to turn to (underline) if they are to turn from their sins. I want people to hear about My kingdom. It is essential to hear about what they are to turn to.

(Matthew 3:2b quoting Isaiah) "The voice of one crying in the wilderness" Word received: My church has become a wilderness and My people are lost in it. Pray that I will make a straight path for them. (Stop and pray this.)

People came from their homes and towns to hear John the Baptist and to be baptized, confessing their sins. (Matthew 3:5-6) Word received: I am calling My people to come out to Me -- to confess their sins. Admitting and confessing our sins to God is the first step in repentance. (Matthew 3:46) Word received: People were drawn to John by My Word and My Spirit. If you will allow it, you too will be drawn to Me by My Word and My Spirit.

John the Baptist's message to the Pharisees and Sadducees was what we'd call politically incorrect! "You brood of vipers…" What a warning, not just to the religious and political leaders of God's people but to us all! "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance!" In other words don't trust in your religious heritage (Abraham as our father) or in external religious rituals (even baptism). A true change of heart and mind will reveal itself in your actions. Jesus later said the same, "By their fruits you will know them." (Matthew 7:16) In our day we've heard the saying, "God has no grandsons." In other words, you may have a wonderful religious heritage but you have to come into a right relationship with God for yourself, and your life will reveal where you really are. Only God can see the heart but we are told to look at the fruits.

Now, as then, God has a time of accounting. Word received: There is wrath coming and there is blessing coming. Choose which you will receive by the fruit you bear in your life. (This is NOT being saved by works but our works will reveal our response.) Word received: That is the fruit I want in My people's lives. (Fruit that is in harmony with a changed heart and mind.) John pointed to the Coming One as one who would baptize (saturate, immerse) with the Holy Spirit and with fire, an internal baptism.

Part 2 Suddenly Jesus shows up and asks John, his cousin, to baptize him. John was scandalized and refused, but Jesus answers, "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." To fulfill all righteousness means to do the Father's will. This was always Jesus' single-minded purpose. Two things were happening here. First, what Jesus is doing is a pattern, a model for us of listening and obeying and being baptized. Word received: Submit yourselves to Me. (As Jesus and John did.) Word received: I honor obedience. The second thing that was happening was that Jesus, who had always been full of the Holy Spirit, received a special anointing of the Holy Spirit, to carry out his ministry. It was something like the anointing, setting apart of priests and king. The "Messiah" means the anointed one.

John points to who Jesus is -- the one who is mightier than he is, the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. It is the same Holy Spirit who anointed Jesus for ministry who is available to us. Doves are gentle and sometimes so is the Holy Spirit but he can also bring the fire of God. "Did not our hearts burn within us while he (Jesus) talked to us…."(Luke 24:32)

A winnowing fork is what those farmers used to toss the grain stalks which had been pounded in order to separate the wheat and the husks (chaff). In the present time the Lord is speaking to us about this. Word received: Pray for the day of My threshing. Pray that none of the wheat will be lost with the chaff. Pray for My little ones who are being led astray by lies. Pray for My will to be done. A time of winnowing is a time both of judgment and of blessing. We will need more of the Holy Spirit to equip us to bear fruit for God, to listen and obey the Lord and receive the blessing.

After Jesus was baptized and was praying (Luke 3:21) the heavens were opened ("to him") and he saw the Holy Spirit descending like a dove, alighting on him and a voice from God saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I have "found delight". (Literal Greek) This voice of Jesus' Father in Heaven is additional confirmation to Jesus that he is doing the Father's will. It is also something to strengthen Jesus on the difficult days ahead. (Notice that the voice of God in Luke and Mark is addressed to Jesus and the one in Matthew is addressed to people in general.) It is obvious that this story was told by Jesus to his disciples but some standing by, like John, may have heard something too. Sometimes when God speaks the message is tailor-made for specific people.

Echoes from the Old Testament

There are some interesting things to notice about this story. First, we see the Trinity working together here: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Second, we see echoes of the Genesis creation story. When God created the world, the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God spoke (His Word). Then as God created things
He saw that it was good and he spoke approval. Here God the Father is speaking his approval of Jesus. Jesus is called the Second Adam ("Adam" means man) by Paul in Romans 5. What we see here is the inauguration of the New Creation that the 2nd Adam is going to make possible, to undo the rebellion of the first people God created to have fellowship with himself. God is beginning the process of restoration of what He intended for people in the first place.

Notice that later after the first man's sin, rebellion, wrong choices, God's creatures hid from him. Here the Pharisees and other leaders also made a bad choice by rejecting God's purpose for them (Luke 7:30), that is, they chose to put obstacles between themselves and what God had prepared for them. Isaiah and John cried out for them to make straight paths for God, to get rid of the obstacles. In 1 Corinthians 1:23, Paul talks about the cross of Jesus being foolishness to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews. The biggest obstacle here is pride and refusal to repent, to choose their own way over God's way. We need not only to repent once but, like Jesus, to choose day by day to live a life of obedience to God and in relationship with him. We need to take time to ask the Lord how we are doing.

Footnote: Three other interesting parallels are
1. the word Adam ("adham") means mankind and "adhamah" means dust/ground and shows man's relationship to the ground he farms. In Jesus' incarnation, the Creator, the Potter (Jeremiah 18:6) and the clay come together.
2. In Jewish literature of the period (ex: the Dead Sea Scrolls) is filled with ideas of the Spirit of God hovering over the Messiah.
3. In Malachi 3:1-3 the passage seems to refer to John the Baptist, and Jesus' sudden arrival -- and its consequences.

Teaching Ideas for Lesson 17

Please read the Study Guide first. Go over Memory Verse to make sure the children understand it and then if they have memorized it.

Remind them their parents need to sign a report slip monthly if they have read the lessons, so they will get credit at the end of the year.

A word received: Honor your father and mother. Honor them by listening. Honor your father in heaven. Honor him by listening.

Make sure they know what happened in the story. Get them to tell you.

Basic points of the lesson for little ones:

1. John the Baptist was preparing people to receive Jesus. There are times when God does something special. Right now, God is asking us to be ready for what He wants to do.

2. When we do something that isn't right God wants us to tell Him and ask forgiveness. When we ask forgiveness and mean it, God will always forgive us and wants us not to do that again.

3. Jesus was obedient to His Father when John baptized him. God want us to be obedient to Him too. That gives God our Father, pleasure.

4. God sent His Holy Spirit on Jesus when he was baptized. God wants to give us His Holy Spirit also.

5. God wants us to listen for His word to us. God also speaks to children (like the boy Samuel and the boy Jesus). We honor God when we listen to Him and obey, just as we honor our parents when we listen to them and obey.

 

STUDY GUIDE: SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON 16 January 14, 2007

Jesus Shares the Good News as a Child
Theme: Good News to Share
Theme Verse: "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10b NIV
Readings: Luke 2:41-52
Memory Verse: "Didn't you know that I must be about My Father's business?" Luke 2:52

Notice that Jesus' parents were following the Lord and the law. (Luke uses the term parents even though he tells us about the virgin birth. Joseph was married to Mary and was the legal father of Jesus and the one who helped raise him.) It was the custom to go to Jerusalem for every Passover and they followed it. They were consistent as every parent needs to be. Mary and Joseph were witnessing to their children how to be faithful and loving toward God. They are a model for us in our parenting. "His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover." (Luke 2:41) A word received: I want you to see the way you are being raised: your parents are bringing you to me as Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to me. "And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast." (Luke 2:42) A word received: I want all my children brought to me so that they can come to know me.

Part of the way God was preparing Jesus for his role as Savior was to have him experience the whole human growing up experience. He had to grow/increase "in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man" so he could help us in our weakness because he knew what it was like. Hebrews 4:15 says "he was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin" so he could sympathize with us and help us. He had to "learn obedience" (Hebrews 5:8) through what he "suffered" (ie experience a feeling, usually painful). (The word "suffer" in KJVersion is several different words.)

One of the themes here is obedience (again!). Mary and Joseph were obedient to the laws and customs of God and Jesus was obedient to them as he was growing up. He was an obedient son and not a rebellious teen. Obedience is something we have to learn. Our children don't learn it all at once and we too have to learn to obey God. How has the Lord been teaching you obedience? (The essence of sin in the Garden of Eden story is wanting one's own way rather than obeying God.)

Obedience is not a politically correct virtue these days but it is a quality that is important to God. In both Old and New Testaments children are instructed to honor and obey their parents "in the Lord". (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-4) so it will "go well with them".

The obedience of Mary and Joseph to God's law was the context in which God did something surprising and wonderful, something Mary pondered in her heart.

Jesus had a "normal" family life at the same time God was preparing him to begin his ministry. Jesus remaining behind in the temple courts was not a sin. He was being obedient to his heavenly Father, but it was thoughtless of him not to tell Mary and Joseph! People traveled in caravans of relatives and friends so the boy was not missed till time to camp for the night. "When they had finished the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and his mother did not know it;" (Luke 2:43) A word received: This not parental neglect; this is parents who are embedded in a community of faith. I want you to be a part of a community of faith. "but supposing him to have been in the company, they went a day's journey, and sought him among their relatives and acquaintances." (Luke 2:44) A word received: I Am a father who seeks after my children and I seek after you.

Mary and Joseph went back to Jerusalem when they couldn't find him and searched for three days. "So when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking him." (Luke 2:45) A word received: Pray for the lost children. Pray that they will find homes and love.

By this time they were frantic, as we can see from Mary's scolding of Jesus. "So when they saw him, they were amazed; and his mother said to him, "Son, why have you done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought you anxiously." (Luke 2:48) A word received: I learned obedience by what I suffered. I want you to learn obedience as well.

Then we see this amazing thing--Jesus, already aware of his special relationship with his heavenly Father (not a frequent Old Testament term) says to them, "Don't you know that it behooves me to be about my Father's business?" "And he said to them, "Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) A word received: I Am about my father's business; I want you to be about my father's business as well. "But they did not understand the statement which he spoke to them." (Luke 2:50) A word received: Your parents won't always understand you when you follow me.

The temple teachers were astonished when they heard his questions and answers and understanding. "Now so it was that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions." (Luke 2:46) A word received: It is OK to ask questions and it is good to listen as well. "And all who heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers." (Luke 2:47) A word received: I can give you wisdom and understanding as well. Ask me for my Holy Spirit.

Jesus' heart was already set on learning and understanding the scriptures and obeying his Father in heaven. Mary recognized that something special had happened and kept it in her heart. Do we have a hunger for God's word and ways??? PRAYER: Lord help us to keep on growing in knowledge of you and in obedience to you and your ways. As parents, help us so to walk faithfully with you that we can teach our children to grow in wisdom and in favor with God and man.

Jesus went home with his family and was obedient to his parents. That too was part of his preparation. "Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but his mother kept all these things in her heart." (Luke 2:51) A word received: Are you willing to be obedient to your parents for my sake? "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." (Luke 2:52) A word received: If you follow me, you too will increase in wisdom and stature with both God and man.

Teachers' How to teach word: Pray that the children will seek Me and My ways as I sought My Father and His ways.

Teaching Ideas for Lesson 16

Please read the Study Guide first. Go over Memory Verse to make sure the children understand it and then if they have memorized it.

Remind them their parents need to sign a report slip monthly if they have read the lessons, so they will get credit at the end of the year.

Make sure they know what happened in the story. Get them to tell you. A word received: Pray that the children will seek me and my ways as I sought my father and his ways.

Basic points of the lesson for little ones:

1.Just as Mary and Joseph are models for your parents by obeying God, so the boy Jesus is a model of obedience for you, obedience to his Heavenly Father and to his earthly parents.

2. Obedience is something we have to learn, just as Jesus did.

3. When we are obedient to God, we will learn from and grow closer to God.

4. Sometimes others will not understand God's plans for us.

5. Jesus wants you to ask for His Holy Spirit, and to ask questions and listen. That is how you also can grow in wisdom and understanding.

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