Father, thank You for protecting me from the deep water and the burning flames. You fight my battles so that I am not overcome. With You by my side, I am never alone. Amen.

In this passage, God gives us several examples of how he protects us: both in fire and flood. These are two of the most destructive elements on earth, yet God promises to keep us safe from the harm of both the “sweeping waters” and the “flame.” He promises that we will not be overcome, even in the midst of danger. What a mighty God we serve! What a Savior is this!

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

This is one of my favorite Gospel Passages. It’s a question that I have often used for meditation both for myself and for classes I have taught to both teens and adults. It’s a question that I think we need to reflect upon often as we can lose sight of the importance of Jesus in our lives. And the answer can change. He might be friend, brother, Lord, Savior, shepherd, leader, companion – or just someone we have heard about. One teen answered the question by saying that Jesus was a nice man. Is that all he is? What about the Son of God – Divine? Does it make a difference in my life if I believe that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity who came to save me from eternal death by his dying on a cross? Does it make a difference in how I live if I believe that this is not the end? This is a time for getting to know him better so that I can also live eternally in heaven with the Father. I know this because of the resurrection. Yes, Jesus can be my friend and companion, but he is so much more than that. By his life, I know how to live. By his dying and rising, I can face my own death and the death of those I love because he has shown me that this is not the end. In this today’s gospel, Jesus tell us that we must pick up our cross and follow him. Are we willing to deny ourselves in order to follow Jesus? What am I being asked to change in my life, right now? I am so glad that we are reminded each we read this question that Jesus asks – not just the disciples – but us as well. Who do I say that Jesus is for me, today?

This is my favorite Proverb. It talks about two things that are so important to following God’s will. Honesty is so necessary in life. The person who lies has two things going against him. The first is kind of obvious. Once you know a person lies or is dishonest in business, how can you trust him or her? Even when the person is telling the truth, you don’t believe it. You wonder if you’re being cheated in business dealings. But there’s another problem for the person himself. The dishonest person can’t trust anyone else either because he or she figures everyone else lies or has an agenda that is out to get him or her. The second half of the proverb concerns balance. How much does any person need? I’m not asking how much a person might want, but need. It’s hard for the rich to realize their dependence on God. This is why Jesus said it was easier for a camel to walk through the eye of the needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. And the very poor can be tempted to steal in order to take care of their families, and thereby break the commandments and offend the God they love. When we think of the early Christian church, they seemed to understand this and they made sure that their goods were distributed so that all had enough, and no one had an excess.

Ecclesiastes is a fun book to read. About the only thing people recognize is in chapter three where we read about a season for everything – a time to live, a time to die, etc. – but we have much to learn from this book. I’m sure you have heard the phrase, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This brief passage expresses the same idea. Just like the Israelites made the same mistakes over and over again, so do we. Yes, there are inventions today that we take for granted today that would never have entered into the imagination of peoples of earlier times, but they repeated the cycle of obeying God, enjoying prosperity, forgetting about God, doing their own thing, falling into the hands of the enemy, begging God for forgiveness, promising to do better, being forgiven by God and obeying – for a while, and so it went. How many times do we promise God that we will do better, we will treat people better, we will be more honest in our dealings with others, work better with our communities for justice – if God will just give us what we need now. How long did the promise last once our prayers were answered? We fall into the same cycle as the Israelites, we do the right thing or say the promised prayers, or whatever we promised for a while and then fall into bad habits and wonder what went wrong. Ecclesiastes is a short book, take some time and read it through. There’s a lot to learn here.

Many people do good things. The question here is, why? One summer I worked in the office of a major university where I recorded the donations that came in on cards with the name of the donor on them. I came across many names of prominent people who were quite familiar to me, but there was a notation on the top of many of those cards that said “anonymous.” Many of these people actually had two cards, one for the public and the other not. The public one was for far less money. They wanted to support the college, but didn’t want credit for their generosity. Obviously, people will be rewarded here for a generosity of spirit, they will be known for performing acts of heroism. We know the names of people who have worked to spread the gospel message and those who work tirelessly for justice. This does not take away from their sacrifice. But, there also are people who want to be known for their good acts and it is these that Jesus warns about. It is one thing for people to come to know the goodness of others; it is another for that person to call attention to what they are doing for their own glory. Do we act because as followers of Christ we are called to do what we do? Or, do we want attention?

Proverbs 25:26 – Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked. 28 – Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. Lackawanna County Government Profits OFF of Inmates in the County Jail! Even though the criminal cases against eight former or current prison employees charged with sexually abusing inmates concluded, the county’s costs are mounting as it deals with the aftermath of a 2018 raid and guards still on paid leave.Even though the criminal cases against eight former or current prison employees charged with sexually abusing inmates concluded, the county’s costs are mounting as it deals with the aftermath of a 2018 raid and guards still on paid leave. Lackawanna County paid these men for raping inmates

Genesis 6:11-12 > Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their way.

Local government are encourging arrests to line their pockets. While Lackawanna County holds innocent people

There is big money in county jails in America, and Lackawanna County in Scranton Pennsylvania is no different. I believe the county should be charged with Capital Kidnapping. I know their corruption all to well. I was held three weeks longer then I should of been.

The first signal of the new wave of possible wrongdoing happened in September 2017, when agents from the state police and attorney general’s office raided the county’s Administration Building, jail and work release center. Five months later, in February 2018, the attorney general’s office charged seven current and former prison guards with sexually abusing female inmates or having inappropriate contact with them.

InfoThis is archived material from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website. It may contain outdated information and links may no longer function.

Former Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak Sentenced Today on Corruption Charges in Federal Court

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeJanuary 30, 2012

  • Middle District of Pennsylvania(717) 221-4482

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that former Lackawanna County Commissioners Robert C. Cordaro and Anthony J. Munchak were sentenced in federal court in Scranton today by United States District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo.

Cordaro and Munchak were sentenced today to serve 132 months (11 years) and 84 months (seven years), respectively, in federal prison following their convictions after a jury trial in June 2011 on multiple felony counts to corruption during their tenure as County Commissioners. In addition, Cordaro was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $98,856, a $1,800 special assessment and serve a three-year term of supervised release. Cordaro had previously agreed to forfeit $355,000 to the United States which represents proceeds from the criminal offenses. Munchak was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, a $800 special assessment and also serve a three-year term of supervised release.

Cordaro was ordered to surrender immediately, Munchak will report on April 3, 2012 to commence service.

Judge Caputo said in imposing the sentences today that the defendants violated the public trust and the oath they took as public officials. He noted that these are the fundamental foundations of our system and that the defendants turned that system “upside down.”

At the sentencing hearing today the government contended that Cordaro and Munchak’s criminal activities were “serious, extended and extremely damaging.” The Government stated that Cordaro and Munchak used their positions as majority County Commissioners to “engage in a pay-for-play scheme by accepting money in exchange for their official actions,” and violated the trust placed in them by the citizens of Lackawanna County.

“People have the right to expect that their elected leaders will honor the oath they swore to. The federal justice system must and will stand up to protect that expectation,” said Peter J. Smith, United States Attorney.

The Government was represented in the Cordaro and Munchak case by Assistant United States Attorneys Lorna N. Graham, Bruce Brandler and William S. Houser. The investigation was conducted jointly by the FBI and the Criminal Investigations Office of the IRS.

History of This Case

Cordaro and Munchak were originally charged in a 40-count indictment in March 2010 with racketeering and related charges in connection with alleged improper actions of the former Majority Commissioners in accepting payments and other benefits from individuals and entities doing business with Lackawanna County.

In October 2010 a superseding indictment was filed on substantially the same charges. The superseding indictment was presented due to changes in the application of the Federal Honest Services mail fraud statute resulting from a Supreme Court ruling.

In June 2011, following the 12-day trial, a federal jury in Scranton returned guilty verdicts against Cordaro and Munchak on charges of racketeering, bribery, conspiracy and tax fraud charges as described below.

Robert Cordaro

  • Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (1 count);
  • Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (2 counts);
  • Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right (1 count);
  • Extortion Under Color of Official Right (2 counts);
  • Money Laundering Conspiracy (1 count);
  • Money Laundering (3 counts);
  • Racketeering (1 count);
  • -Racketeering Conspiracy (1 count);
  • Conspiracy to Defraud the United States(1 count);
  • Subscribing and Filing a Materially False Tax Return (3 counts); and
  • Income Tax Evasion (2 counts)

Anthony Munchak

  • Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (1 count);
  • Bribery Concerning Programs Receiving Federal Funds (2 counts);
  • Conspiracy to Commit Extortion Under Color of Official Right (1 count);
  • Extortion Under Color of Official Right (2 counts);
  • Subscribing and Filing a Materially False Tax Return (1 count); and
  • Income Tax Evasion (1 count)

SCRANTON — Seven current and former Lackawanna County Prison guards arrested this afternoon on charges of sexual abuse at the jail are free on bail. Troopers arrested former prison guard John J. Shnipes Jr., 42, of 115 Simpson St., Archbald, at his home. Shnipes is a former Archbald councilman who lost his seat in 2017. He didn’t say anything as troopers led him by his arms to their vehicle and declined comment later when he was escorted out of the state police barracks in Dunmore. Charges against Shnipes, 16 in total, include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and institutional sexual assault. State police arrested George T. McHale, 50, of 513 Florin St., Scranton, and Jeff Staff, 42, address unknown, at the jail. Both were taken away in handcuffs and escorted to marked state police vehicles. Correctional officers James J. Walsh, 51, Paul J. Voglino, 45,Mark Johnson, 53, and George R. Efthimiou, 50, also were arrested. Walsh has been on paid administrative leave. He is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and by threat of forcible compulsion, according to a court docket made public late this afternoon. Voglino is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and threat of forcible compulsion. McHale is charged with institutional sexual assault, indecent assault without consent and indecent assault by threat of forcible compulsion. Johnson is charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and threat of forcible compulsion, institutional sexual assault, indecent assault and harassment. Efthimiou and Staff are both charged only with institutional sexual assault. The dates the offenses are alleged to have occurred range from January 1999 through 2011, according to publicly available dockets. State police arrived at the jail after 2 p.m., not long before shift change, and acted with silent efficiency. Both McHale and Staff were visibly surprised. McHale’s eyes stared forward. His face was a pale mask of shock. Staff wanted a Times-Tribune photographer to stop taking pictures. The state police didn’t react. The camera kept clicking. Warden Tim Betti said no warning of the arrests was given but he could “surmise” what the arrests were about. He stood in the parking lot of the jail as the state troopers put the two under arrest. He planned to address his staff after and was sure that morale would be low. “It affects my morale,” Betti said. “It’s a little dour…it matches the sky right now.” The arrests come six months after agents from the state Attorney General’s Office and state police raided the jail, the county work release center, 911 center and county administration building related to a grand jury investigation into alleged sexual abuse of inmates. County Judge James Gibbons, who is chairman of the county prison board, said Wednesday afternoon he did not know any details of the arrests. He said he was not notified in advance that the arrests would happen. Bernie Brown, a lawyer representing Staff, Voglino and Johnson called the charges “trumped up” and claim the guards’ accusers went to the attorney general and are telling stories to increase their chances for settlements in their lawsuits. The investigation arose from a civil lawsuit filed by a woman who alleged she was sexually abused by six guards from 2007 to 2016. Three additional women later joined the lawsuit and implicated other officers going back to 1998. The lawsuit, which is pending in federal court, contained allegations against prison guards the women said committed the abuse, as well as fellow guards who witnessed it but did nothing to stop it. It also alleges prison and county officials knew about the abuse and tried to cover it up. The accused guards coerced the incarcerated women into the sex acts by giving them extra privileges or threatening to take away privileges or place them restricted housing, the suit said. When they were free, the guards manipulated them into having sex by threatening to have their probation revoked. Two of the women alleged they tried to report the abuse to other guards and prison officials. Rather than help them, the guards harassed and berated them and actively helped the abusive guards conceal the assaults, the complaint said. The suit alleged most of the abuse happened between 1998 and 2013, but some as recently as last year. All seven arrested were taken to the state police barracks in Dunmore for interviews and then were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Paul J. Ware at his office on West Pine Street. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 23. A press conference is slated for some time tomorrow, Trooper Mark Keyes, a spokesman at the Dunmore barracks, said. Walsh and McHale are free on $50,000 unsecured bail and Voglino, Efthimiou and Staff walked on $25,000 unsecured bail. Johnson posted a bail bond for $25,000. Shnipes posted a bond for $100,000. An attorney representing Shnipes said he is looking forward to his day in court. JEFF HORVATH, STAFF WRITER, CONTRIBUTED TO THE REPORT Check back for updates.

The day after the guards’ arrests, Attorney General Josh Shapiro called it “the opening chapter” in trying to end abusive prison culture. The grand jury presentment charging the guards mentions others who knew about abuse but may have done nothing about it, though Shapiro declined to speculate then about charging them.

None of the cases of the guards arrested — John Shnipes, George T. McHale, Jeffrey T. Staff, James J. Walsh, Paul J. Voglino, Mark A. Johnson and George R. Efthimiou — have reached the trial stage. I just wander if these men are requiered to regieser with the State police as Sex Offenders.

Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and evermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.

“They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”

Almighty Father, you have promised to deliver me from my enemies, and you keep your promises. I praise you for the works you have done, the works you are doing, and the works you will do. Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for being near me. In Christ’s name I pray amen.

Ultimate Realty

Ultimate Reality is immovable, but is the cause of movement. Only through great insight will one comprehend this such-ness. A manual on Zen Buddhism, Maroon Mandala

Ultimate Realty

Olson v. Lackawanna County Prison et al, No. 1:2011cv02383 – Document 106 (M.D. Pa. 2014) :: Justia

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/pennsylvania/pamdce/1:2011cv02383/87741/106/

Amen

GOD CAN SHIFT YOU FROM WAITING ON IT TO WALKING IN IT!

If God has asked you to lay something down or pick something up — I promise you that in due time you will see the fruit of that decision. You will never ever regret obeying Him no matter how extreme, crazy, hard or illogical it might look. — it’s worth it every single time! Before […]

GOD CAN SHIFT YOU FROM WAITING ON IT TO WALKING IN IT!

And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. Ezekiel!

In this passage, we see a God who is not too happy with His chosen people. Because of their disobedience, they have blackened the name of the Lord. His reputation has been smeared among the heathen people of the area. He tells Isaiah to give His people a message: that He plans to restore His own name. He will ensure that these people know that He is God. Wow! Wouldn’t it be an awful thing to let God down in this way? To “profane” His name among His enemies? Sadly, we do the same thing when we don’t give Him the honor that is due Him while we are among his enemies in the world. When we allow people to speak against Him, or when we fail to lift Him up in their presence, we blacken His name. We cause Him to have to “vindicate the Holiness” of His own name, because we have refused to make His name holy. What a dreadful and treacherous decision! To put ourselves is such a position is a foolish thing indeed.

The entire book of Romans 8 about the assurance of salvation. Every Christian wants to be assured that he is actually saved. Many people wander around “in the flesh” believing that they’re saved, but if they read this chapter, it becomes the actual measure of salvation. It is a really good chapter to read if you want the assurance that you are indeed saved. This particular verse says that those who are walking in the spirit of God are the sons of God. If we’re led by the Spirit of God, what does that mean? What Paul is trying to tell us here is that if we are walking in the spirit of God, then we are actually going to kill the sin in our lives. We’re going to want it dead in order to please God, to glorify Him. You see, people who are not in the spirit, who were still walking in the flesh don’t really want to kill their sin. People who lie don’t want to stop lying; people who gossip don’t want to stop gossiping. If they do put on some semblance of killing their sin, it’s just so they’ll look better– not because they want to please God, Paul tells us here that if we truly want to be the sons of God, the children of God, then we are going to be led by the spirit. So one assurance of our salvation is this: we ask ourselves the question, “Am I trying to kill my own sin because I want to please God?” If the answer to that question is “yes,” then you are the child of God. That is evidence that the spirit lives in You because only the spirit in You would want to put an end to the sin in Your life. If you want assurance of salvation, look within to see what your motivations are for ending your own sin.

Father, I want to make Your name Holy. I want to be Your champion and tell the world of Your goodness and righteousness. Help me not to cower in the face of Your enemies, but to stand up and defend Your honor. Help me to be strong, even when I am afraid of the adversaries around me. With Your help and with Your power, You will never have to clean up a mess I have made of Your name. Amen.

Ruth was a virtuous woman (in the Hebrew, a “woman of strength”). She was willing to endure hardship and face an uncertain future in this life for the sake of taking care of her mother in law who had shown kindness to her and to be true to her God. May we learn from her good example and not let trying circumstances cause us to cease to follow you, Lord. Amen.

Ruth had every reason, humanly speaking, to leave her mother in law Naomi as her sister Orpah had just done, but she would not do it. Why? It was because of more than mere social and emotional attachment, and it certainly was not for any financial gain. In fact, she faced the possibility of being a social outcast in Israel and of remaining unmarried for life, wheras she could easily find a new husband in Moab. But Ruth would not go back to the old gods and old ways of her past. She steadfastly clung to the Lord Jehovah, having been converted to Him in her heart.

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Ruth

TOP 99 Favorite Bible Verses That Every Christian Should Know By Heart

Okay, over the past 6 months many of you AMAZING Christians that read my blog have contacted me and informed me of your favorite books of the Bible, Bible prayers, and today I’d like to share with you the 99 bible verses that have been shared with me the most! I’m certain that a few […]

TOP 99 Favorite Bible Verses That Every Christian Should Know By Heart

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 1:4

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.

Famine, war, captivity…these are all the consequences of rebellion the people of Israel experienced. The Old Testament has example after example of the Lord turning his hand against those who did not obey him. It can be easy for us to judge these Old Testament citizens, but if we look closely at our own hearts, we will see that there have been times when we have disobeyed and rebelled against the Lord’s commandments. Rather than judging the Old Testament body, we should use their experiences as a guide. Rather than continuing in sin and having God subject us to his wrath, we should seek his face.

The early Christians were known by the example they showed in how they loved one another. In this short passage, we learn that they shared what they had so that no one went without. If we read further in chapter 4 we hear of how they sold their possessions and turned in their monies so that the apostles could distribute it according to one’s needs. Does this sound like the Christians of today?

Actually, it does describe Christians living in the poorer countries of the world. Many missionaries have described the welcome they have received and the good will of the people in the poor countries where they have served. I experienced the same on a mission trip to Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world. In the wealthier countries, keeping what they have seems more important than sharing with others. People are willing to donate what is not longer useful, clothing they have outgrown, furniture they need to replace, other items they no longer have room for, even cars that no longer work. But, are they willing to rent an apartment at a lower rate so that a poor family can live safely? They might rent to a low income family but usually with a government subsidy so they don’t lose any money. The rich can seem to feel that it’s their right to keep whatever they’ve earned – which is not actually wrong, but what of their responsibility to help the needy?

In the Gospel, Jesus points out clearly talks about our responsibility to the poor and the vulnerable, a preferential option for the poor. What about us?

Often we focus on the great, unearned, unlimited mercy God has shown us. Now we need to consider how we have shown mercy to others – and maybe even to ourselves! Where do you have a problem with being merciful? It could be with forgiveness, compassion for those who suffer from addictions, or who beg, or we might not be welcoming to the stranger. Each of us has a problem with someone or something. I worked in retail during high school and college and then married into the world of retail. One of my problems is having patience with store salespeople who are rude or who don’t have a clue about the products they are selling. I try. There are members of my family who don’t speak to one another. I know people who are so unforgiving that it interferes with their relationships.

God is merciful to us when we don’t know what we’re doing. He sends us help when we are lost. He forgives us over and over again. I also know people who continue to carry their past mistakes with them to the point where they can’t move forward in their lives. God has forgiven them, why is it that they can’t forgive themselves? Today, think about the areas of your life where God has shown you mercy, and then look at the areas where you need to pass that mercy on to someone else – or maybe decide that it’s time you put down your own baggage and forgive yourself. With God’s help, we can grow in our ability to share the mercy we have been shown with others and so relieve them of some of the pain they may be carrying.

Each time the Lord saved them, they poured out their thanks and let everyone know what God had done for them. It is now the Easter season, and we need to be just as enthusiastic in our thanks and praise as the Israelites. If they were grateful for the victories won for them, how much more should we be for Jesus winning the victory over sin and death. This is a battle that has won a victory for all people for all time. Never again will this battle have to be fought, and we didn’t have to fight it, Jesus did it all. There is a hymn that I’ve sung every year at the Baptist church during the celebration of the Seven Last Words on Good Friday that is called just that: “Jesus Did it All.” Not only did he do it all, but by his resurrection he let us know that the victory was won, the gates of heaven were opened and the power of Satan had been defeated. All we have to do is live each day following in the footsteps of Christ and accept the gift we have been offered. Why do we hold back? Do we take our faith so for granted that we no longer feel the need to say thanks? This year, let it be different and let those around you know of your gratitude for the victory won for you and for them.

Isn’t it amazing that God has the power to do great things through us? He pours His Spirit out and through Him alone, men and women are able to do things that they could never do apart from God. God can do anything. He has the power to move mountains, to speak His words through Humans, and to do great works in and through us. God is truly amazing!

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

Here Jesus talks to His Father one of His final prayers on this earth. In this verse, He refers to the work He has completed. He knows that His time on earth has come to an end. He has reviewed His life and He says, essentially, “Father, I’ve done the best I can. There is nothing more for me to do here. I’ve prepared them as well as possible. It’s time to do this thing I came here to do.” And with that, it begins. The greatest act of love known to mankind is about to unfold.

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

One of Kari Jobe’s most famous songs is “You are for Me.” Based on this passage, the song emphasizes the love of a God who is faithful on our side. No matter what goes on in our lives, He is there. Paul makes an important argument here: God gave His own Son for us. How can He not be on our side? He chose us. Every decision we make, every step that we take, God is with us. He sees our going out and our coming in. He sees when we fall and when we fail and He still is on our side, with unconditional love. It doesn’t matter what the world has said about us. It doesn’t matter what we sometimes say about ourselves. He, the Lord of All, is for us. He’s in our corner and with God in our corner, who dares to be against us.

Lord, I thank You for what You did for me at Calvary. You gave Your life for me. You loved me unconditionally. You suffered and died for me. Help me to be worthy of Your sacrifice. Amen.

Dear God, you are holy and you are jealous. When we are tempted to disobey your commands, remind us of the Israelites and the ways they suffered because of sin. Remind us that sometimes we must be disciplined to learn a lesson, but help us to learn this lesson from those who went before us rather than having to walk through it ourselves. Forgive us for our sins, O Lord. Do not turn your hand against us. Please extend mercy on your children. In Jesus’ name, amen. Lord, I believe that You have the power to do mighty works in and through me. I believe that You work through Your Church in mysterious ways. I give my life to You to do whatever You want in and through me. You are mighty and wonderful. Your ways are mysterious, and I praise You for Your great works. In Jesus’ name. Amen. Father, I know that You are for me. I know that You have my best interest in Your heart. You gave up Your own Son to give me life and I thank You. If You are for me, then no one can be against me. Amen.

The Fathers Glory! Lord, may You always be glorified. Help me to reveal Your glory in all that I do, so that not only Your glory, but the glory of the Father is made known to the world. Amen.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

When Paul preached at Thessalonica, many believed and came to Christ. This included a number of Greeks and a number of prominent and influential women. The Greeks would have had a completely different religion, believing in multiple gods, and yet they believed. Paul himself said that he was not a good preacher. It seems unlikely that these Greek men and women would believe, and yet they did. Maybe you’ve wanted to try something for God but it seems impossible. God works in miracles and all things are possible through Him. Give it some thought and prayer, and then have courage.

In His final hours, Jesus asks His Father to allow the world to see His glory. Not because of who He is, but because of who God is. His glory is God’s glory. He asks that God allows His glory to be revealed through the sacrifice of His son, who will shortly give His life for the lost. He asks God’s glory to be revealed so that everyone will know the incredible nature of the sacrifice, and experience hope for a new life.

Once I was working with a group of teenagers and had given them a project where they needed to make a picture to illustrate one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and they needed to work on it in teams. One of the teams had a young man who never wanted to get involved, didn’t contribute to the class and was not particularly liked by the other kids. This day, however, his artistic ability made him the hero of the team! The team came up with such a wonderful poster that the both his attitude and that of the class towards him changed for the rest of the year. It’s easy to miss something of value that’s right in front of our eyes. Peter is talking to the chief priests and scribes about their ignorance of Jesus’ true nature and mission. We may also overlook someone who could be a leader if we looked more closely at the individual and didn’t judge on appearance. I’ve become a fan of applying for jobs online as long as they don’t ask for a picture. Of course there will always be a face to face interview before the final hiring, but at least competent people won’t be overlooked because the picture doesn’t match the image the boss had in mind. Not that long ago, women were told they weren’t capable of doing many jobs they now have – doctors, mechanics, military personnel, etc. And men were seldom hired to teach young children. Just as the Jewish leaders were blinded by their own preconceived ideas, we can be too if we’re not careful.

Heavenly Father, I want to serve You. Lay on my heart how You want me to serve You. I will go where You want me to go. Stay where You want me to stay, and speak what You tell me to say. Lord, give me confirmation and then courage. Things may seem unlikely or impossible, but I know all things are possible with You. Lead me by Your Holy Spirit. I will follow. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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