Dear Prayer Warrior
It is the New Year and part of my celebration is watching the Rose Parade and looking forward to seeing the Lutheran Hour Ministries Float. It is extraordinarily beautiful this year.
This year’s parade theme invites us to imagine the places we can go. The 2013 LHM Float, “Jesus… The Way To Heaven” , reminds us that heaven is the ultimate place to go for all who call on the name of Jesus Christ to be saved.
In John 14:3-4, Jesus reminds us that “if I (Jesus) 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.” That place is heaven, and the only way for there is through belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
The elements of “Jesus… The Way to Heaven” depict God’s promises in His Word: the path we travel to heaven (Matthew 7:14), God’s Word guiding us on our journey (Ps. 119:105), and Jesus welcoming us with open arms at the gates of heaven showing us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn. 14:6). It is our prayer that this year’s float would be a reminder that everyone can spend eternity in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.
“Jesus… The Way to Heaven” features a walkway adorned by lampposts and the bible. Upon the absolute floral masterpiece that covers the base of the float, the walkway leads to the gates of heaven. Each gate features a cross as well as a cross at the top of the gate. A star is used at the rear of the float, that signifies the gates of heaven are open.
Our prayer warriors stand at the ready to pray for your needs.If you would like to submit a prayer request, it will be shared with our community of faithful Christians, so that they may pray for you.
Yours in Christ,
Those recovering from Surgery: including Joan Schwartz, Liz Miller, Zane Brantner, Don Brown, Kristy Noland, Lynn Holmes, David Creasy, Doug (husband of friend of Nicole Gruen).
Please pray for Fred DeHass who fell and broke his hip and is having surgery on Tuesday, Jan 1st. Pray that God would give the hospital staff great skill as they seek to help him. Prasy that God would grant Fred healing and restoration.
Please pray for Susan Wolfram as she recovers from rotator cuff surgery and regains the use of her right shoulder
Those with Health Concerns: including Carole Reid, Ashe Wheeler, Dee Merrifield, Jessica Kuse, James Standridge, Ron Gray, Janice Mortensen, Orman Enke, Austin Dukes, Karen Duensing, Carolyn Mommens, Jeanine West, Ken Norton (Donna Steele's father) Terri Christensen's niece, Bethanie Christensen and Dannette, a coworker of Vonda Schnelle.
Those with Cancer:
Those in Hospice care: including Barbara Brown
Pray for Zane Brantner, father of Linda Gibbons, who is entering hospice care. Pray that the hospice workers can ease his pain, that he would have peace, and that God would comfort him and the whole family with the Good News of our triumphant Christ Jesus.
For Expectant Mothers and their unborn babies: Heather Pijanowski, Stephie Kuhn.
Newborn Babies and Children: Pray a prayer of thanks for the birth of a healthy daughter Gabriella to Shelby Osbourne. And praise God for the birth of a healthy daughter to Korey and Tiffany Danley! Tenley Ann born December 28. Weighed in at 10 lbs. 14.3 oz and 21 in. long.
Pray for Emma Pointer, who was admitted to Children's Mercy with RSV. Pray for healing for this little girl.
For midweek and confirmation, for Men's and Women's Bible studies that God would bless all who teach and all who learn, that we may all receive wisdom from God.
For our Abounding Love Preschool and Parents Day Out program, that God would bless this ministry and provide for its needs, that through it we may reach out with God's love to children and their families.
Those seeking Employment: That God would provide jobs for the unemployed and underemployed.
Prayers for all who travel: Pray for everyone who is traveling in the snowy conditions, that God would send his angels to guard his people in all their ways, and that he would send help and aid wherever it is needed.
Those in Care Centers:
For all who grieve: Please pray for Austin Dukes and family at the death of Austin's half-brother, Jason. Pray for comfort and strength for the family of Dannette Foster who passed away on 12/26/2012.
Please pray for comfort for Heather and Brian Pijanowski and family at the death of Heather's grandpa, Bill DeBusk, who passed away 12/18/2012 at the age of 84. Pray for safe travel for the whole family during this busy travel season.
Please pray for family and friends of Diane Boyer, who was a good friend of George and Chris Dawson, whom God has called home to heaven following a tough battle against cancer. Pray for peace and comfort to those who mourn her loss.
Please pray for Mary Lou Rowland and family at the death of her husband Bob Rowland. Bob was called home the morning of 12/31/2012. Pray for God's abundant comfort for the family that they migfhjt have peace and great joy in the victory of Christ.
Those suffering the effects of tragedy and disasters:
For the tragedy in Connecticut 12/14/2012:
Almighty God and everlasting Father, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who cry to you in tribulation and distress come before You, so they may recognize and receive Your gracious help, comfort and peace. Be a source of strength and hope for the children and families affected by the shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn. Grant them Your abiding presence and bless those whose vocation it is to bear mercy in body and soul in the midst of this evil. Bring hope and healing that all affected may find relief and restoration; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Pray for the members of Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kansas City at the loss of their sanctuary in a fire the morning 12/27/2012. Pray for Pastor Brad Zerkel as he leads the congregation at this difficult time.
For marriages and families to grow stronger and for those suffering from divorce or broken relationships.
For those suffering from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and mental illness.
Please pray for Ryan Kuse, recovering from burns suffered in an accident.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise:
As of 12/16/2012, 107 families have pledged $68,830 for the facility Improvement Project Fund Drive. $34,928 has been collected so far! Many thanks to everyone who has participated! Your prayers and your generous support for this important project are very much appreciated. We also are excited to announce that an anonymous donor has offered to match up to $2,500 in new pledge gifts donated by January 15th. To meet this "CHALLENGE", you will need to pick up a yellow pledge card at church and return it with a new pledge or additional donation (over and above any original gift or pledge). This is a real blessing, as it is an opportunity to "double" your gift and increase your support.
Please pray prayers of thanksgiving from Emma Pointer, daughter of Matt and January Pointer, who will be going home from the hospital, and for Ken Norton, Donna Steele's father, who is recovering better than expected. Continue to pray for their healing and complete recovery.
Please pray prayers of thanksgiving and praise for the remarkable healing of baby Ashe Wheeler. Test results show the hole in her heart has healed perfectly (it actually said that in the report) and will not need surgery. Her current weight is 3.8 lbs and growing. Please pray for continued healing and strength for Ashe and spiritual strength for the family.
For all the called and support staff of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church: that God would provide all that is needed - the time, talents, and treasures - for BSLC's growing ministry.
For BSLC staff and volunteers as we head into a busy and active time of year.
For the fund drive for the Facility Improvement Project.
For inactives to return. For visitors to attend our worship sercvices.
We would like to thank the Christians at Beautiful Savior who remain anonymous but have recently and throughout the year provided us with gift cards since Dennis has been out of work. This, along with the church food pantry, has made our lives so much easier and has truly encouraged us as we have felt the love and support of so many people. Our church family truly "walks the walk". God bless you. - Dennis & Cindy Barnes
Father, we share the sentiment Paul expressed when he wrote, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” Our hope is not limited to this earthly existence, but rather it flourishes and yields growing anticipation as we contemplate the blessed future event of our Lord’s soon return. Being aware of our unworthiness and inclination to sin gives us all the more motivation to fix our hope on You. We want to set our affections on things above, not on things of this earth, for we are dead to the world and our life is hidden with Christ through You, Father. Purify our thoughts, actions, and conversation as we with renewed determination fix our hope on the Everlasting One. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Isaac Watts wrote "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" as a paraphrase of Psalm 90. His desire to write the hymn was born, in part, out of his dissatisfaction with the church music of his day. At 20 years of age, he complained that the metrical psalms they had to sing at Above Bar Chapel in Southampton were grim and ponderous. But to sing anything other than the actual words of Scripture was said to be an insult to God.
Watts’ father heard Isaac’s complaining and challenged him to "write something better for us to sing." In 1719, he published an important hymnal titled The Psalms of David in the Language of the New Testament. In it he paraphrased the entire Psalter with the exception of twelve Psalms he felt were unsuited for usage.
At this time in England, religious freedom was severely limited and Watts’ father was jailed twice for his religious views. Isaac himself was considered a radical churchman, since he wrote many "hymns of human composure” songs that did not directly quote Bible passages.
In such uncertain times, Watts looked to Psalm 90 for comfort and wrote more than a paraphrase of its heartening words. His hymn actually gave a grand commentary on the subject of time and how God stands above human time.
Originally, "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" contained nine verses. Today most hymnals use only verses 1, 2, 3, 5, and 9. In 1738, John Wesley changed the first line from "Our God" to "O God." Some feel that the change makes it easier to sing and also calls the vocative case which causes the singer to expect the "Thy" of the second stanza.
This hymn is in our hymnals under the catagory for the New Year.
Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.
Under the shadow of Thy throne
Before the hills in order stood,
Thy Word commands our flesh to dust,
A thousand ages in Thy sight
The busy tribes of flesh and blood,
Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Like flowery fields the nations stand
Our God, our help in ages past,
Written by: Pete Miller
For Christians, if God is central in the New Year’s resolution, it has a better chance for success. God gave human beings free will, and He never oversteps that freedom to make choices. God’s Word certainly has made clear which choices are better than others, but God never forces His people to comply.
Choosing to do the will of God is always a right choice and, of course, has God’s endorsement. God’s favor and blessings should be incentive enough to pursue Godly goals. God’s Word is filled with what is right and good, therefore reading and learning the Bible is a good place to start and a good place to stay.
The Christian’s first priority should be making time or more time to read and study the Word of God. This may necessitate getting up an hour earlier, or maybe less TV time. One will always make time for whatever or whoever is loved. Jesus said, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)
This is a good place to start for any believer. Goals set in this light would include spending more time in personal devotion to God, Bible reading and time in prayer. This time is usually best first thing in the day, before all the demands and activities of daily life make quiet time with God impossible.
Other resolutions might include memorizing verses of Scripture, perhaps one a day or one a week. Pick positive and encouraging passages, and inspirational promises of God. Prayer time should be purposeful, perhaps with a list of people or situations that need prayer. One might even have a prayer journal, jotting down how and when God answers the prayers.
Financial giving is certainly a solid Biblical principle which includes tithing and special additional offerings for different church needs or perhaps for the support of missions work. The only way to improve on the principle of tithing is to increase the proportion of the amount. It may be that in order to give more, the resolution might include spending less on sodas, or coffees or movie rentals. These kinds of resolutions are blessed decisions. If one has more time than money to offer, perhaps volunteer in the children’s department at church, or make a plan to visit the sick or elderly. Maybe it’s time to restore a damaged relationship with a family member or an old friend.
Personal resolutions might include watching less TV, spending more time with spouse or children, such as playing games or going out to sports events or picnics in the park. Resolutions might include planning dinner parties for friends and neighbors, becoming better organized at home, in the office or garage, or maybe getting additional education on a subject by taking a community college course or online class. Better financial management is an important goal, which could include renegotiating insurance policies, utility expenses, reevaluating food costs and auto usage, and perhaps making a savings plan for a family vacation.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might,” and similarly, Colossians 3:23 and 24 state, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Loving God first with heart, soul and mind includes and can be expressed in having an enthusiasm and exuberance for many things in life. God’s desire is for His people to live life to the fullest and to flourish, having good health and prosperity, among many other blessings. Resolutions and goals selected with love for God and done thoughtfully in prayer Pcan be life enhancing and enriching.
By: Irvin L. Rozier
Matthew 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repititions, as the heathen do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
Because Epiphany is primarily observed by Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican Christians, many Protestant believers don't understand the spiritual significance behind this holiday, one of earliest feasts of the Christian church.
If you were fortunate enough to have grown up in a town such as Tarpon Springs, Florida, where I attended high school, then you are probably quite familiar with some of the unique cultural celebrations associated with Epiphany. What I remember vividly about this ancient church holiday is skipping school each year on Epiphany to see many of my classmates (young men ages 16-18 of the Greek Orthodox faith) dive into the chilly waters of Spring Bayou to retrieve the cherished cross. The "blessing of waters" and "diving for the cross" ceremonies were famous in our predominately Greek community, and that fame was shared for a year by one special Greek classmate who had the honor of recovering the crucifix and receiving the traditional full-year's blessing.
After more than 100 years of celebrating this tradition, the annual Greek Orthodox festival in Tarpon Springs continues to draw large crowds, yet many observers do not understand the true meaning behind these Epiphany ceremonies.
What is Epiphany?
Epiphany, also known as "Three Kings Day" and "Twelfth Day," is a Christian holiday commemorated on January 6. It falls on the twelfth day after Christmas, and for some denominations signals the conclusion of the twelve days of the Christmas season. Though many different cultural and denominational customs are practiced, in general, the feast celebrates the manifestation of God in the form of human flesh through Jesus Christ, his Son.
The word epiphany means “manifestation” or “revelation" and is commonly linked in Western Christianity with the visit of the wise men (Magi) to the Christ child. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the gentiles. In Eastern Christianity, Epiphany puts emphasis on the baptism of Jesus by John, with Christ revealing himself to the world as God's own Son. Likewise, on Epiphany some denominations commemorate Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine, signifying the manifestation of Christ's divinity as well.
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