Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: September 2010
O LORD, God of my salvation,
         I have cried out day and night before You.
Let my prayer come before You;
         Incline Your ear to my cry. 

Psalm 88:1-2 (NKJV)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sweet P's: A prayer for our marriage



Almighty and gracious Heavenly Father,

I thank you for my wife, F., and for our son, J.

This Monday, on the seventh anniversary of our marriage, You will remind me of another one of Your astounding miricles. Who would have ever believed, at the ripe old age of 42, I would find myself being married to a wonderful woman? I can understand why Sarah laughed when she heard the news that she would give birth after so many years.

I ask that you bless my wife and our son. Keep watch over my wife as she finishes her degree. Send an army of your angels to protect and defend her. Keep her and her family in Tanzania safe from all harm.

Lord, I ask that you continue to bless our marriage. Defend it from the evil forces that seek to isolate Your children through infidelity, lies, and the cares of this world. Remind me every day to show my family that I love them. Refresh in my mind every single day the vows that I made:


Mungu akasems, Si vema mtu awe peke yake, nitamfanyia msaidizi wa kufanana naye. Kwa hiyo aliwaumba mtu mume na mtu mke, akasema, kwa sababu hiyo mtu atamwacha babaye na mamaye, ataambatana na mkewe; na hao wawili watakuwa mwili mmoja. Hata wamekuwa si wawili tena, bali mwili mmoja.

(The Lord said, It is not good for a man to be alone, I will make for him a helper who is like him. Therefore He made them husband and wife, saying, for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife; and their bodies will become one. They will never again be two, but only one.)


Thank you again, Lord, for my family. Amen.

_____________________________

Below is a picture taken on our wedding day. The Tanzanian pastor who married us is Joel Nangole.



Here is a closeup of my wife during the payers:




Monday, September 20, 2010

Off-line

This is a message to my readers (both of them).

I will not be blogging for the next several days, and perhaps longer. I have been ill since last Friday, and this week has been a rough one at work.

Anyone with small children (our son is four years old) knows my dilemma. My wife is a student working for her BA degree in Mathematics, so it is bad for her to miss school. As a college teacher I am in the same boat. My sick days are not my own - I must save them for when our son is ill and cannot go to school.

I will be back as soon as I can.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sweet P's: A prayer for those who despair



Lord God, we ask that You bless those who despair.

Lord, we ask that You place Your hand on their hearts.

Lord, we ask that You make known Your presence.

Lord, we ask that You make known Your love.

Lord, we ask that You lift the veil of darkness that engulfs their souls.

Lord, we ask that You remove all barriers, and throw down all obstacles.

Lord, we ask that You guide them in Your paths.

Lord, we ask that You send an army of Your angels to watch over and protect them.

Lord, we know that Your beloved Son cried out in pain and despair in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Lord, Your Son has experienced our pain and suffering.

Lord, Your Son has known hunger, fatigue, and pain.

Lord, Your Son has suffered betrayal and rejection.

Lord, help us to remember that Your Son suffer all of these things for our sake.

Lord, help us to remember that we will never be alone.

Amen.




Today's verse

One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."

"Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.


Job 1:6-22 (NIV)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Today's verse

I said, “LORD, be merciful to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You.”

My enemies speak evil of me:
“When will he die, and his name perish?”

And if he comes to see me, he speaks lies;
His heart gathers iniquity to itself;
When he goes out, he tells it.

All who hate me whisper together against me;
Against me they devise my hurt.

“An evil disease,” they say, “clings to him.
And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.”

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted,
Who ate my bread,
Has lifted up his heel against me.

But You, O LORD, be merciful to me, and raise me up,
That I may repay them.

By this I know that You are well pleased with me,
Because my enemy does not triumph over me.

As for me, You uphold me in my integrity,
And set me before Your face forever.


Psalm 41:4-12 (NKJV)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today's verse

Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.


Psalm 29:1-2 (NIV)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Today's verse

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today's verse

Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.

Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good."

Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."

"Do it again," he said, and they did it again. "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time. The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD - he is God! The LORD - he is God!"


1 Kings 18:21-39 (NIV)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sweet P's: A prayer of wonder



Lord, when I consider the works of Your hand,
I cannot help but ask:
"Who are men and women, that You care for them?"

We are not angel. We are not gods.
We sin and rebel against You.
We make up lies about You, and admire our own cleverness.
We call upon You when we wish, and ignore you when we wish.
We ravage Your creation.
We rob, rape, and kill each other.
We break all oaths, forget all promises, destroy all hopes.
We rebel against You.
We judge You.
We condemn You.
We try to cast You out.

Yet You still love us.
You sent Your Son to take our punishment.
You still offer us eternal life with You.
You still give us the chance to be Your children.
You still hear our cries of agony.
You still wipe away our tears.
You still restore our hope.
You still blot out our evil.
Even now, our just punishment is held back.
Even now, You wait for us.
Even now, You burn with a consuming love for us.

We thank You for your love.
We thank you for your patience.
We thank You for your blessings.
We thank you for Jesus, Your only Son.
We beg forgiveness.
We cry out for mercy.
We reach for Your hand.

Amen.




Today's verse

O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.


Psalm 77:13-15 (NLT)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Today's verse

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and depart from evil.


Proverbs 3:7 (NKJV)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Victory over persecution: Minneapolis

A Christian psychologist (Dr. Michael Campion) represented by the Alliance Defense Fund has agreed to a substantial settlement from the city of Minneapolis after it unconstitutionally terminated its relationship with him because he had ties to a pro-family organization.

This was the quote that caught my eye:

After learning that Campion was affiliated with the Illinois Family Institute, the city hired an independent psychological testing company to evaluate him in July 2006. Although the results showed no evidence that his work was flawed or biased, the city disregarded the analysis and terminated its relationship with him.


Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head;
many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me.
I am forced to restore what I did not steal.
(Psalm 69:4 NIV)

Please pray for all Christians facing persecution at work because of their faith.

Today's verse

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Psalm 119:103 (NIV)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Today's verse

"Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”


Hosea 6:3 (NLT)



(This verse is to give thanks to God, who has sent us much-needed rain!)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Today's verse

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

John 14:1-3 (NIV)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Today's verse

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Romans 13:1-7 (NKJV)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Will you pray for a restricted nation?

Over at Christian Persecution Blog there is a call for prayers for those living in restricted nations. These are countries where Christians are harassed, beaten, deprived of property and human rights, raped, imprisoned unjustly for their faith, and murdered.

I will be praying for the African nation of Eritrea. Here is a brief description (to read more you will need to click on Eritrea):

Eritrea has been devastated by war and drought. With independence in 1993, hopes were high that Eritrea could become a model democracy for Africa. Today those dreams lie in tatters. The Marxist government imprisons tens of thousands of citizens, tortures at will, and pursues a systematic policy to eradicate evangelical Christians and churches. Thousands have fled as refugees into neighboring Ethiopia and Sudan. Up to 500 Eritreans leave their country every week to escape this oppressive military state.


Will you join me in spending a month praying for Christians living in one of these countries?

Trouble for Planned Parenthood?

San Francisco-area Planned Parenthood clinics are stripped of affiliation after complaints.

There is hope that the abortion industry, like the slave trade, is on the decline.

Please pray for an end to abortion.

"Blessed are the ... cellphones?"

Reverend Lisa Vaughn of the Anglican parish of St. Timothy (Canada) is asking her flock to bring their cellphones and other technological devices to church to receive a blessing.

Some things are beyond parody.

At any rate, I doubt that this will do much to help arrest the decline of the non-African parts of the Anglican Church. There is an old saying that goes something like, "If you try to seem too modern, you run the risk of actually appearing out of date."

Maybe the Anglican Church and other "mainline" denominations might want to give the Gospel another try. It seemed to work pretty well for a couple of millennium or so.

Today's verse

“The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands. But he does not hesitate to punish and destroy those who reject him. Therefore, you must obey all these commands, decrees, and regulations I am giving you today.

Deuteronomy 7:7-11 (NLT)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Declining membership

An interesting aricle at One News Now. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's decision of August 2009 to ordain non-celibate homosexuals and bless homosexual marriages has not yielded the fruits the leadership was hoping for. Membership is shrinking; not growing.

Key quote:

[Mark] Tooley, whose organization monitors mainline denominations in the U.S., contends there is a direct connection between membership loss and a denomination's position on same-sex "marriage."

"[That amounts to] direct rejection of biblical and historic Christian teachings," he explains. "And so theologically orthodox church members and theologically orthodox congregations have a hard time ignoring that new stance in the same way that they ignored for many decades a whole host of liberal political positions by their church hierarchy."


For many Lutherans, the ELCA's decisions about homosexuality was the final straw that broke the camel's back. But by no means was it the only one. The rejection of the Gospel in favor of radical secular politics has been causing the ELCA to hemorrhage members for years. The North American Lutheran Church (NALC) is an effort to give a home for faithful Lutherans who have been displaced by the ELCA's actions.

This is a terrible thing that the ELCA's leadership has done. All Christians should pray for the repentance of the ELCA and for it's return to the true Church.

And repentance is always possible. Even now there is still time to turn back. Please pray with me for a renewal of the Spirit with in the ELCA.

Sweet P's: A prayer of thanksgiving



Almighty and gracious Heavenly Father, I come before You today with thanksgiving.

I give You thanks for the good health of everyone in our family. I give You thanks for my beautiful wife F., and I ask that You continue to bless and strengthen our marriage. I also thank You for my wife's chance to study for her degree. I give You thanks for our beautiful son J. Please sent an army of Your angels to protect and accompany him. I give You thanks for the opportunity to teach, and I ask that You bless my students.

Lord, there are many who are suffering today. They lack food, water, the chance to work, and hope. Lord, I know their pain since I, too, have been without those things. You are able to remove all obstacles, bring the high places low, and elevate the weak and helpless. Fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

Lord, those who read these prayers have terrible struggles of their own. Raise these people up, strengthen them, guide them, and restore their souls. There is nothing that You cannot do! You are the only True God!

Amen.



Today's verse

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Today's verse

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.


Proverbs 1:7 (NKJV)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Today's verse

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:20-1 (NIV)