In need of our prayers:
Those serving in the Military: that God would protect them and strengthen them to serve loyally. For their families, that God would care for their needs.
Those recovering from Surgery: including Simion Jones, Juli Wingert, Lynn Holmes, Fred DeHass, & Susan Wolfram
Please pray for Jessi, 13-year old friend of Britney Lewis. Jessi had to haev emergency surgery for blood blockage and infection around her stomach. Please pray for quick recovery and that she will be okay. Jessi and Britney have been best friends since Kindergarten.
Please pray for Kathie Sloan's sister-in-law’s 13-year-old nephew, Simon Jones. A CT scan revealed a massive tumor that is pressing on a main artery (affecting heart rate and blood pressure), has flattened his bladder and is pressing on a kidney. The tumor is thought to be cancerous. He will have surgery to biopsy and remove as much of the tumor as they can. Pray that the doctors would have great skill in performing the surgery. Pray for healing, and pray for strength and peace for him and his family during this difficult time.
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
Please pray for Phillip, nephew of the Schnelles, who will have an MRI today to determine if he has reinjured his knee. Pray for good test results.
Please pray for Michael, son of a coworker of Jay Watson: Hello everyone. Our son Michael is in the hospital with a very rare condition, and a very uncertain future. Hi has a 9 CM tear in the artery from his aorta to his intestines. The tear is in a very difficult location which precludes a stent. The tear is in a location that includes several very tiny blood vessels which are the blood supply to the small intestine. The small intestine is needed to take nourishment from the food that we consume.There is a chance that the tear could heal on it's own with some help. The option of surgery is high risk."
Those with Cancer:
including Carole Reid, Steven Larimore, Wayne Flemng, Susan Freyer, Peggy Clay, Bob Hanson, Kiers Rowley, JoAnne Harder, Kim Purdon, Maurine Sweet, Darlene Fields, Liza Miller, Tonya Hunter, Doe Thomas, Gloria Mengel, Charlen Clinton, Barbara Patrick, and Kay Valentik.
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:
Newborn Babies and Children:
Don and Sandy Brown request a Prayer of Thanksgiving for the birth of their 7th grandchild, Aya Dawn, born to their daughter Angela and Louis Perez. She was born Sunday, 1/27 and both Mother and Baby are doing well. We Praise the Lord!
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: including Marcia Barber and family at the death of her sister Elodee Ellis.
Please pray for Pam and Trent Williams and family at the death of Pam's stepmother, Carolyn Ferson. May God comfort this family with the hope of the resurrection through faith in Jesus our Savior.
Please pray for Christina Obenshain and family at the death of her aunt LeNese Craft. Pray that the peace of Jesus Christ would be theirs even in the midst of sorrow.
Those suffering the effects of tragedy and disasters:
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.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Praise:
Please say a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for the improvement of little Ashe Wheeler, great granddaughter of Norman and Debbie Baldwin. Before Christmas they gave her a 10% chance of survival. But now the hole in her heart has healed over perfectly, and she does not need surgery. She is now up to 5.5 pounds and is taking formula from a bottle. She has recently been sent home with monitoring equipment. This is so amazing! Glory be to God!
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.
Father, We thank you for the men and women that give their time and physical labor to setup and take down the gyms, stage, chairs, score tables, microphones and basketball goals for Upward Basketball. We pray for their continued energy and safety through the season. May we stay aware of what they give to make this season successful.
Father, I thank You for the marvelous transaction that took place when You delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me into the kingdom of Your Son in whom I have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. There is no earthly transaction that will ever bring about such a major change in my life or affect my future such as Your mighty deliverance. I was lost in darkness without hope but now, because of Your glorious deliverance and transfer, I walk in endless hope in the radiant light of Jesus. I have been found by Your love and kept by Your grace. Praise be to Your name! Amen.
Here is the account of how this beautiful hymn was written—from the hymn-writer C. Austin Miles himself:
One day in April, 1912, 1 was seated in the dark room, where I kept my photographic equipment and organ. I drew my Bible toward me; it opened at my favorite chapter, John 20--whether by chance or inspiration let each reader decide. That meeting of Jesus and Mary had lost none of its power and charm.
As I read it that day, I seemed to be part of the scene. I became a silent witness to that dramatic moment in Mary's life, when she knelt before her Lord, and cried, Rabboni!
My hands were resting on the Bible while I stared at the fight blue wall. As the light faded, I seemed to be standing at the entrance of a garden, looking down a gently winding path, shaded by olive branches. A woman in white, with head bowed, hand clasping her throat, as if to choke back her sobs, walked slowly into the shadows. it was Mary. As she came to the tomb, upon which she placed her hand, she bent over to look in, and hurried away.
John, in flowing robe, appeared, looking at the tomb; then came Peter, who entered the tomb, followed slowly by John.
As they departed, Mary reappeared; leaning her head upon her arm at the tomb, she wept. Turning herself, she saw Jesus standing, so did I. I knew it was He. She knelt before Him, with arms outstretched and looking into His face cried, Rabboni!
I awakened in sunlight, gripping the Bible, with muscles tense and nerves vibrating. Under the inspiration of this vision I wrote as quickly as the words could be formed the poem exactly as it has since appeared. That same evening I wrote the music.
(1)I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses;
And the voice I hear,
falling on my ear,
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
(2) He speaks, and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody
that He have to me
Within my heart is ringing.
(3) I'd stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go;
through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.
615 SE Todd George Road
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My Favorite Bible Reading Method
Written by Dr. Ray Pritchard
Two points right up front:
1. I’ve tried a lot of different plans over the years. They all work pretty well.
2. The best Bible reading plan is the one that works for you.
That said, I’d like to mention my favorite Bible reading plan, which happens to be the one I’m currently using. It’s really about Bible listening, which right away sets it apart.
A Bible listening plan is one where instead of simply (or only) reading the biblical text, you actually listen to it at the same time. I’ve been using this method for a year now, and I think it’s the most beneficial Bible reading I’ve ever done.
To make it work right, you’ll need a smartphone (iPhone or Android) or an iPad (or some other tablet computer). It will work on a laptop, but it works much better on a portable computer system.
Start by downloading two apps: YouVersion and Bible.is. Both are free. I use YouVersion for reading the text and Bible.is for listening to the text being read. Bible.is offers you various choices, including dramatized versions of several popular translations.
I’ve been listening to the dramatized version of the New Revised Standard Version (although you could listen to dramatized versions of the ESV and the KJV). Personally I like the dramatized versions because they add background music, different voices for the different speakers, and various sound effects. Then I read along using the YouVersion app, usually in the ESV. By listening to one version and reading in another, I’m forced to pay more attention to the text and to think about the places where the translations are not the same.
Listening to the Bible slows me down. If the dramatized version takes 7 minutes to go through a chapter, then that’s how long I sit and listen and read along at the same time. This year I’ve been through quite a bit of the Bible this way, and I have found it fascinating and spiritually profitable to do some “Bible listening” along with my Bible reading.
To be clear about it, I haven’t gone through the whole Bible in one year, but that was never my goal. I do a chapter or two a day and find it invigorating to slow down and listen to the Bible and to think about why verses are phrased a certain way.
I’ve gone through Hebrews and John and Psalms and Proverbs and Lamentations and Ephesians and Daniel and Deuteronomy and a few others books also. I really enjoyed Leviticus and felt like I understood it for the first time. Listening to the Song of Solomon will cause you to see the book as it was meant to be–a love poem in honor of marriage. Right now I’m almost to the end of Luke.
What I’m proposing here is a Bible reading method, not a Bible reading plan. You still have to decide where you will begin reading. I found a great selection of plans on this YouVersion page.
Since January 1 is a day for new beginnings, you could begin the new year with a new start in your Bible reading. Maybe 2013 will be the year when you jazz up your devotional life by doing some Bible listening as well.
It certainly worked for me.
No Backdated Punishment in Eden
by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D.
At the end of Day Six, God said all was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), which means no death existed on earth because death is not good (Romans 8:20-22, 1 Corinthians 15). No animals died or were eaten before Adam sinned (Genesis 1:29-30, 9:1-4). Likewise, the Bible doesn’t mention the existence, much less the death, of any pre-Adamite subhuman primates before Adam sinned.1
Adam’s sin triggered the curse of death, fulfilling God’s warning (Romans 5:12-21). Only then did Adam experience the death that God had warned about. But dying was not limited to Adam! The animals under his authority (Genesis 1:26-31, Psalm 8) also became cursed with death (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 8:20-22).
Theistic evolutionists argue that animal death existed before Adam sinned, alleging that because God foreknew Adam’s sin, He justly imposed death on creation before Adam actually sinned (retroactive punishment).1 Yet the Bible never says that God punished Adam or animals before Adam sinned—to do so would be unjust. To punish a bad choice in advance would negate the decision as a true test of faith and loyalty.
Consider how people are tested by their choices.2 Joseph tested his brothers (Genesis 42-44), not revealing himself until after they made character-revealing choices. Daniel’s three friends were also tested (Daniel 3), yet they could not foreknow whether their godly choices would be rewarded with miraculous deliverance or agonizing martyrdom.
So why do theistic evolutionists teach death before Adam’s sin? They reject the authoritative truth of Genesis and Romans in order to accommodate evolutionary teachings (e.g., eons of death before Adam sinned).3
But the Lord Jesus Christ did not accommodate false teachings when He physically walked this earth. Rather, He healed the blind on the Sabbath (see John 9) to prove that the Pharisees taught bad theology.
Why does it matter? The New Testament directly links sin’s cause and its cure by tying the gospel of salvation to Adam’s sin (Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15). Paul’s definition of the gospel of Christ contextualizes the gospel as being “according to the [Old Testament] scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The gospel depends on the Old Testament being true!
Indeed, the Old Testament is authoritatively relevant, true, and perfect—every “jot and tittle” (Matthew 5:18) of it. Christ Himself said that Moses would judge people after they die according to whether they believed the words of Moses (John 5:45-47).
If the books of Moses, which include Genesis, were authoritatively good enough for the Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:35, John 17:17)—and they were—they are authoritatively good enough for us. What we believe about death being the consequence of Adam’s sin in Eden is a test of our own loyalty to God.
Ways to Improve Your Prayer Life
Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life. Unfortunately, many Christians go through life feeling guilty for not praying as much as they think they should. Do you long for a more robust and meaningful prayer life? Do you yearn for the closer fellowship with God that prayer provides? Here are four suggestions that will help you to improve your prayer life.
1. Spend a solid ten minutes doing nothing but praising God.
Prayer isn’t all about you. When you focus your prayer exclusively upon God, you are better able to take the focus off of yourself. Too often, our spiritual life becomes a self-involved personal effort, making it hard to appreciate our amazing God in all his grace, glory, grandeur, majesty, holiness, and love.
Set aside ten minutes to simply focus upon God, and praise him for who he is and for what he’s done. Pray through a passage of Scripture like Psalm 135 or the prayer of Daniel (9:3-19). When the subject, the object, and the passion of your prayer is all God, you are better able to sustain your prayer life.
2. Use mealtime as your prayer time.
One of the reasons we get discouraged about praying is because we fail to live up to our expectations of having a special, sacred time and place to pray. Praying at a special time and in a special place is, of course, a wonderful thing. But rather than being discouraged about not having such a time, use daily occasions that you already have to pray. Mealtime is an excellent opportunity. Even parents with small children eat meals. Take a minute or two to pray, whether silently or aloud. You may wish to keep a small prayer notebook at the table, or a daily prayer guide "such as Portals of Prayer".
3. Focus less on the time, and more on the act of prayer.
Many Christians have heard of the testimonies of men like John Hyde or George Muller, who would spend hours each day in prayer. Martin Luther famously said,
“If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.”
If that’s true, than what about the rest of us? Should we feel ashamed for not spending hours each day in prayer? What about 1 Thessalonians 5:17 — the command to “pray without ceasing?” If judged by that measure, even the famous prayer warriors fall short.
Our problem comes when we gauge the success of our prayer life by the time that we spend doing it.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 does not tell us that a really good prayer life consists of no less than 45 minutes each day, or that we somehow have to be praying every single moment of time. Instead, the verse tells us to do two things: 1) Pray frequently (compare with Romans 1:9), and 2) never give up upon praying (Luke 18:1-8).
When we make time our effort in prayer, we put up a barrier to our actually praying at all. What about breathing a prayer to God as you step outside and see the sun? What about thanking God for his grace, as you encounter a moment of temptation? What about a prayer for patience as you change a dirty diaper, or cope with a crying child? What about a prayer for kindness as you work under a frustrating superior? What about an unspoken prayer for wisdom as you enter a counseling situation?
Let us pray often, but not wallow in guilt for not praying hours each day. Even George Muller said, “[I pray for] hours every day, but I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk, and when I lie down, and when I arise. And the answers are always coming.”
4. Pray on the spot.
In keeping with number three, try praying when the Spirit prompts you to do so. Have you ever had a sudden inspiration to pray? Then just pray, right there, wherever you are. Have you ever told a friend, “I’ll pray for you,” then totally forget to do so? Next time, just pray. If someone shares a prayer request with you, simply stop and pray for them at that moment.
Too often, we relegate prayer to something that is to be done at a certain time. The sad thing is, some of us aren’t successful in making time in our schedule. Rather than depend upon a separate time, just pray on the spot — whenever the Spirit leads.
The point of this article was not to make you feel guilty about not praying as much as you should. Instead, it is intended to encourage you in your prayer life. Rather than slog through your Christian journey in discouragement about your lack of prayer, look up in joy and celebrate the communication that you can have with your heavenly father.