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Article: A Brief History of Ancient Horses: The Steeds of Gods and Kings

A Brief History of Ancient Horses: The Steeds of Gods and Kings https://flip.it/J2wxNA

In this section of Isaiah, the Israelites have returned from exile in Babylonia. The prophet is charged with raising up those who had been dispersed as well as those who had been allowed to return. But his mission was not to end there, he was to stand as a “light to the nations” to show God’s goodness and power. Jesus tells us in the gospel that we too must be lights to the nations. How is this to be done? It begins in our homes where we witness the love of God to our families. If our family members cannot see Christ’s love in us, who will see it? I am not talking about a piety that makes others uncomfortable, but a sincere faith that shines forth in good times and bad and reaches out to those in need. It doesn’t mean that we need to talk about our beliefs to everyone we meet either. St. Francis of Assisi is quoted as saying, “Preach always, and if necessary, use words.” Although he would probably be the first to question that he said it, he would certainly agree with it in principle. When asked why they became a Christian, most people answer that they wanted the qualities that they saw in other Christians. They have met Jesus in the words and actions of others. They see the difference in the way these Christians treat other people. They meet love in person and then they meet the God who inspires it. They see their “light.” Jesus tells us not to hide our light under a bushel, but to stand proud in our faith. Are we up to the challenge to let others see our light? Sometimes we make God’s word more difficult than it needs to be. God wants us to understand His Word, so He makes the most important things easy to reach. Forgiveness. Grace. Hope. Love. Righteousness. With every reading, He reminds us that these things are on our hearts, ready for us to use at all times and in all places. Thank you, Lord, for Your word. Thank you for revealing the truth of Your holiness. Help me to hold close to Your word just as You hold close to me, so that I may live in obedience. If I stray from Your path, use Your word to bring me near to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Migrants Were Observed Crossing Border As Arizona Governor Was Criticizing Biden Admin On Immigration Crisis

As Arizona Governor Doug Ducey criticized the Biden administration for failing to halt the flow of illegal immigrants, individuals were observed walking over a crack in the US-Mexico border barrier. Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls talked to the media while a reporter for a local NBC station videotaped a group of “nearly a dozen” migrants entering.

According to Nicholls, they’re seeing a lot more drug trafficking in our neighborhoods, affecting our schools. He claims that “drug trafficking affects our schools and the entire community. We appreciate the governor’s assistance, as well as the National Guard and Border Patrol officers.”

Moreover, Governor Doug Ducey of Arizona held a news conference in Yuma, accusing the Biden administration of “upending logical, successful measures like the Migrant Protection Protocols” and then reinstating them months later only when a court ordered it. He added that “thousands of migrants have been pouring into the United States every day along the Mexican border for many days.”https://lockerdome.com/lad/13456309840218726?pubid=ld-6133-2018&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fthecongressionalinsider.com&rid=&width=280

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona has urged President Donald Trump not to restart the Mexico-US Population Protection Program (MPP), which forces asylum applicants to wait in Mexico before appearing in immigration court in the United States. In October, Border Patrol officers encountered 164,303 migrants at the southern border, bringing the overall number of interactions for the fiscal year to 1,734,686.

Dr. Mehmet Oz: Dr. Fauci Should Be Held Responsible For ‘Deceiving’…

Illegal Migrants Are Now Flying Without ID

The Transportation Security Administration is being investigated by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas). TSA Administrator Pekoske was contacted by Gooden, along with Reps. David McKinley (W.Va.) and Mary Miller (Ill). Gooden was concerned that the TSA actively aided illegal aliens traveling across the nation without appropriate documentation.

Representatives from both parties have written to Transportation Secretary Pekoske, requesting an explanation of how the TSA screens non-US/Canadian people who do not have passports or travel papers issued by the United States. It accepted additional forms of identification, including a Notice to Appear (NTA) in court, the TSA wrote in an email to Gooden’s office. Agents scan a migrant’s biometrics, take pictures, and run their fingerprints through immigration and NCIC databases before issuing an NTA.

Moreover, by permitting these unknown and unvetted migrants to board aircraft and fly across the nation, the TSA and non-profit organizations are putting millions of Americans traveling for Christmas in danger. The TSA claims to have found other forms of identification for use in certain instances, such as when non-US citizens or non-nationals do not have an approved form of identification. TSA contacts the National Transportation Vetting Center (NTVC) for travelers under typical situations, seeking to verify a traveler’s identification.https://lockerdome.com/lad/13456309840218726?pubid=ld-6133-2018&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fthecongressionalinsider.com&rid=&width=280

Furthermore, the TSA says it seeks public input on adequately screening persons who enter the country without valid identification. That’s excellent, but remember that nearly none of the 82,000 Afghans who arrived in the US before August were screened beforehand. There may be jihad terrorists and other criminals among them, but there’s no way of knowing until they conduct crimes.

Once again, the Biden administration wholly opposes the American people’s interests. Biden’s managers are opening the door to all kinds of criminal and terrorist activities by permitting illegal migrants to travel without appropriate identification. And it begs the question: Are they truly this stupid? Is it possible that the safety of Americans isn’t a top priority for their handlers?

According to Joe Biden’s managers, millions of illegal migrants fly the friendly skies without ID, paid for by who knows who and might be very explosive. If they had forgotten since the Obama administration left office, they now see what it means to have an America-Last administration.

WE have Enough Problems In America; Human Trafficking In Pennsylvania

I wish Josh Shapiro was around when I was trapped in human trafficking in Scranton Pennsylvania the was 1992 when my life was turned upside down. I did go to the Scranton Police Department and the Lackawanna Sheiffs Department. At that time i was told by both departments it was my fault. For 30 years I was caught in this horrable crime without help for any government. I have true stories to tell and I will be writing more about the unlawful government of Lackawanna County Pennsylvania. There are also a few judges I can write about as well. I am Praising the Lord for saving my life and never leaving me. My faith in Jesus has helped me as well. God bless everyone who reads this post, in Jesus name Amen.                                                    HARRISBURG — Two men who coerced six victims into prostitution with the false promise of easy money and then used drugs, violence and threats to control them have been arrested for human trafficking. Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office worked closely with the Pennsylvania State Police and other law enforcement agencies to build the prostitution and trafficking case.                                                        Crowell was taken into custody by authorities outside Chicago over the holiday weekend, and Schiff, currently incarcerated in York County, was arrested as well.  The men are charged with trafficking in individuals, corrupt organizations, involuntary servitude, conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver, prostitution and related offenses.              Kenneth Crowell, 34, and Barry “Bear” Schiff, 50, coerced six women into a forced servitude as prostitutes in a human trafficking ring that operated in Lancaster, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York counties and southern New Jersey from 2014 until October 2017.                                      “This is a horrible case where women were lured into prostitution by the false promise of easy money,” Attorney General Shapiro said.  “When the victims tried to leave, these criminals used violence and threats of violence to keep them working as prostitutes against their will. Law enforcement collaboration and the use of a statewide investigating grand jury built this case.  We will use every tool at our disposal to prosecute these kinds of human trafficking cases.”                          Click here for a video of Attorney General Josh Shapiro.                          The arrests mark the second human trafficking case brought by the Office of Attorney General and Pennsylvania State Police in recent weeks. Earlier this month, two defendants were held for trial on human trafficking charges in Montgomery County in a case broken open with the help of an Uber driver who alerted police to the existence of a trafficking victim.                                                                                                                     The charges against Crowell and Schiff stem from a joint investigation by the Office of Attorney General and Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from Northern York County Regional Police, Dallas TX police, Millville NJ police, the North Star Initiative of Lancaster, and the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia Anti-Human Trafficking Program. The ring was uncovered when a woman reported to police that she was a victim of human trafficking during an undercover prostitution sting.                                                                                                            “The Pennsylvania State Police are committed to investigating individuals and criminal organizations involved in the trafficking of humans for financial gain,” said Cpl. Gregg J. Kravitsky. “This investigation shows that by working cooperatively with law enforcement and other partners, we can bring those who commit these heinous acts to justice.”                                                                                                        On April 4, 2017 two undercover Pennsylvania State troopers responded to a prostitution advertisement on the website Backpage. Using the listed phone number – later linked to a second number tied to nearly 350 similar ads over two months – the troopers arranged a meeting with the victim at a Lancaster hotel.                                                                                   After the troopers identified themselves, the victim told police she did not feel safe and wanted to “get out.” She said she was recruited by Crowell and Schiff as an escort while she was working at a York gentlemen’s club. The victim told the troopers Schiff bragged about selling opioid pills and heroin to the women working for him as a means of control. When she told Schiff she didn’t like him buying and supplying heroin in the hotel room where she worked, Schiff threatened her with a knife.                                                                                               A second victim testified before the grand jury that she needed money to fuel her addiction and began working for Crowell and Schiff believing they ran an escort service, not a prostitution ring. She testified she rarely slept and was sent in an Uber to buy large amounts of heroin for Schiff multiple times.                                                                                                    According to the grand jury presentment, a third victim testified Schiff told the women his name was “Frank Luchese” and impersonated a mobster to intimidate them. She said she joined what she believed was an escort service run by Crowell and Schiff to pay off a drug debt to Schiff. When she tried to leave, Schiff told her he would “chop her up into little pieces and throw her in the river.”                                                               Victim four worked for Crowell and Schiff at various times between 2014 and 2016 as a way to obtain heroin and support her addiction. She testified Crowell tried to strangle her on several occasions, causing her to lose consciousness during one confrontation.                                             A fifth victim who began working for Crowell and Schiff in 2015 testified that Schiff controlled her with prescription opioids and heroin. This victim testified that one time, after she refused Schiff’s demand for sex, Schiff slammed her head into a bucket of dirty water containing shards of broken glass. The victim suffered severe cuts and scarring on her knees and legs.                                                                                                                After that incident, the victim sought help during a “date” from an undercover police officer and gave a full statement to police before being taken to the hospital for treatment.                                                                   Because of the complexity of trafficking cases and the importance placed on them by Attorney General Shapiro, the office has specially designated Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Castellino to prosecute human trafficking cases.                                                                                  

Watch “Battle in The Heavens [Daniel, an Overcomer]” on YouTube: Open and Listen

Article: The 5 best trip planner apps: Easily plan your next vacation

The 5 best trip planner apps: Easily plan your next vacation https://flip.it/uN0ctf

5 Encouraging Prayers for Teachers Starting the New School Year

Picture of my BFF Avery and myself on our first day of Senior year I can’t believe it, but I’m about to start my 3rd year of college in a couple weeks, and most of my friends’ siblings are starting next week, so with a new school year quickly approaching, it’s time to get in […]

5 Encouraging Prayers for Teachers Starting the New School Year

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Dear God, give me wisdom to know when I am being led in a foolish direction. Help me to resist the temptation of alcohol today. I know it is not only leads to foolish decisions, it is also dangerous. Give me the courage to turn away from alcohol or anything offering false promises of happiness. You are the only thing that will bring me true fulfillment. Thank you for giving us refuge and courage to battle temptations such as these. Please use me to help others struggling with these temptations, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In this world, you will have enemies. There will be times when you are afraid. But, when you place your faith in God, you will find refuge. Like young birds are protected by their parents, God will offer you the same protection. Call on him when you need protection and he will cover you. You can rest safely with Him like a baby bird would do under the wings of its father. Believing in his truths will provide you with a shield and buckler – more protection against enemies and destruction.

Dear God, thank you for loving me enough to rescue me from my sin. You call me your child and you love me as a father. When I am afraid, let me feel you near. May I draw to you to find refuge and protection. I am placing my trust in you completely. While I know I will face struggles here on earth, help me to remember that you will never leave me or forsake me. O Lord, I cling to your promises. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Have you been treated unfairly? Have you ever been treated unjustly because of your faith? If so, take heart! The Bible reminds us that as Christians we will be persecuted. It also reminds us that Christ also suffered unjustly. He did not simply suffer – he died for our sins. He did this so that we might come to know God. Yet, in the death of his human flesh, he was still triumphant! When we suffer because of our faith, may we be reminded of Christ, who suffered infinitely more than we ever will in order to draw people to God.

Dear God, thank you for sending your son, Jesus Christ, to come to live on earth amongst us. We understand your son was sinless and blameless, yet He suffered because of our sins. This act of mercy and grace is more than we can comprehend. Help us to share the news of your son’s death and resurrection with others. And, when we are treated unfairly because of our faith in you, may we continue to press on because we know that you also suffered. In Jesus’ name, amen.

God appointed Samuel as His prophet during the period of selecting two kings: first Saul and then David. This verse follows the moment when the Lord called Samuel. From then on, Samuel continued to grow, the Lord was with him, and all of his prophecies came true. God did great things through Samuel, and it began when God spoke to Samuel and he listened calling himself the Lord’s servant. Are you willing to do whatever it is God has for you? God works mightily through His servants.

Lord, You did mighty things through Samuel. I praise You for Your mighty works. You do great things through Your people. You make small acts into mighty deeds. I will be Your servant. Whatever small things or large things you have for me, I will do. I bow before You, ready and willing to do Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

When you are young, it is wise to remember God and live for Him. Do not wait until you are old to come to God. He can bring You more joy than any earthly thing. His rewards are greater than any prize on earth. Come to God and serve Him now. He deserves your praise when you are young and when you are old.

Heavenly Father, I will live for You now when I am young. I won’t wait until I am older. I want to serve You now and later. I want my every day to be spent serving You and being in Your will. I want to experience Your presence. I want to pray on my knees before and after I need a cushion to do so. You are great and I praise You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

So you love the Lord. What do you do about that? Isaiah was cleansed of His sin. The first thing he did was to say, “Send me. ” Are you willing to be sent by the Lord? Will you go for the Lord? Now, this may or may not mean traveling to another place. But essentially it means to do the will of the Lord and what He is calling You to do. The Lord has something for you. Follow His lead. If you don’t feel He is leading you, then prepare yourself to be sent, pray that He will send you, and wait for Him.

Lord, I want to do Your will. You have saved me and I am so grateful for that. You are too good to me. Send me. I want to do your work. I want to do whatever You have for me. If You ask me to be a janitor, I will. If You ask me to share the good news of Jesus with a friend or stranger, I will speak. If You ask me to give up my possessions, I will. If You send me somewhere I don’t want to go, I will obey. Whatever it is, send me. In Jesus’ holy name amen.

God is the source of peace. You could be the most stressed out person in the planet, but God can give you incomprehensible peace. Give your worries to the Lord. He raised Jesus from the dead; He can certainly give you great peace. Have faith in the Lord and seek Him, He will give you rest. God will do a great work within you, seek Him.

Lord, God of Heaven and Earth, You are the God of peace. Be my refuge from my troubles. Be my shelter in the storm. Be my rock surrounded by sinking sand. Your name is great. You are mighty. You do not cause turmoil within me though, You bring peace. Can I have peace that comes from You? I want to find refuge and rest in You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Why would a foolish man try to buy wisdom from another man? If he is a fool and not wise, he will not know whether or not the advice is good anyways. If you are afraid you are not being wise or that you are a fool, there is a remedy: reading Proverbs. The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom. If you have children, read it to them before they go sleep. Teach others and yourself to value wisdom. It is one thing to not be wise but value wisdom and seek it, if that is the case you will eventually become wise. It is much worse to not care for wisdom or even to choose to stay unwise. The Bible also says that we can pray for wisdom, so go ahead and ask God for some wisdom whenever you need it!

Lord God, you are the God of wisdom and truth. You know all wisdom and created it. Lord, make me wise. You have set responsibilities before me, and I want to do them well, so give me wisdom on how to complete the task the best I can. You know me. You know the gifts You’ve given me. I know that You can never have too much wisdom, so make me wise. And always keep me humble because I do not want to be wise and proud. I come to You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

It is good and profitable to use God’s wisdom to solve situations. When we try and solve situations using our emotions, mistakes will always be made. You will find joy and happiness when you rely on the wisdom of God, because it always ensures that situations turn out for the best.

Dear God, I pray that when I am faced with situations that need to be resolved, may I never turn to my emotions or external influences. May your voice be the first one I hear and may I listen to it too. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

Salvation gives us every reason to be joyful and glad. Jesus Christ has stripped us of all sin and darkness, and He has given us light. He has made us pure before the Father’s eyes. The way a bridegroom would adorn His bride, is the way Christ has adorned us, out of His love for us.

Dear God, I am truly grateful for this gift of salvation. Father, I thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who has saved me, cleansed me, and made me new before you. I am free from the weight of my old life and I can live happily in this new life, as a part of you, because of what Christ has done for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

In times of trials and tribulations, no matter how young, fit, or strong we may be, there is nothing of our own that will be able to keep us going. The enemy will always strive to wear us down. But if we wait on God, trust in Him completely, He will refresh us and give us the strength we need to carry one.

Dear God, there are many things we face in this world on a daily basis. When we try to handle things on our own, we end up discouraged and exhausted. Lord, I ask that you strengthen us when we are weak, and may you sustain us at all times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

When we are in Christ, we live a life of winning – no matter what. When we are alive, it is for the benefit of those around us as we continue to minister to them. When we die, it is still gain because we are simply returning to our heavenly home.

Dear God, I thank you that in you, there is always gain. I do not fear the works of man – even if it may lead to my death – because I know all situations always work out to your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

When we are in Christ, we live a life of winning – no matter what. When we are alive, it is for the benefit of those around us as we continue to minister to them. When we die, it is still gain because we are simply returning to our heavenly home.

Dear God, I thank you that in you, there is always gain. I do not fear the works of man – even if it may lead to my death – because I know all situations always work out to your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Some tend to mistake God’s patience for slackness, and that is a mistake. If God wanted to, He could choose for Christ to return today. The reason why God hasn’t called such an order is because He wants as many people who are lost to become saved so that they do not perish in the Lake of fire.

Dear God, I pray for all of those who are lost and do not know you. I pray that their eyes will be opened to your goodness, Lord. May they realize that they need a Savior, and may the turn to you, Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

No matter what we do in our lives, as Christians we have to remember that all glory must go to God, the Father. He is the Creator of all things good and pure, and He is the only one who is deserving of all the glory and the praise.

Dear God, I would like to take this moment to reflect on your mightiness and on how glorious you are. There is no one like you. No one can ever love the way you have. No one could have created the universe the way you did. Father, I simply pray that in all I do, may all glory always be given to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

As Christians we move by faith and never by sight. Just because we cannot see God with our physical eyes, does not mean that He is not real – Because He is. The Christian walk is a walk of faith. We live contrary to the world that bases all their belief on what they can see, hear, and touch. If we forfeit our faith, and we do not believe in Christ, all our efforts will be in vain.

Dear God, I ask that you will help me remain faithful to this cause. Lord, whenever temptation or doubt comes my way, may you give me the strength to turn away from them and focus on you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

As Christians we move by faith and never by sight. Just because we cannot see God with our physical eyes, does not mean that He is not real – Because He is. The Christian walk is a walk of faith. We live contrary to the world that bases all their belief on what they can see, hear, and touch. If we forfeit our faith, and we do not believe in Christ, all our efforts will be in vain.

Dear God, I ask that you will help me remain faithful to this cause. Lord, whenever temptation or doubt comes my way, may you give me the strength to turn away from them and focus on you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

As you walk in your Christian life, you need to ensure that you remain rooted in Christ at all times. The enemy will try to railroad you and tamper with your faith. But as you can see, in this verse, God is able to keep you, through His Spirit, and remind you to focus on Christ at all times.

Dear God, I pray that no matter what may come my way. I will remain focused at all times, knowing that your Spirit is keeping me and strengthening me. I thank you, Lord, that I do not have to face this world on my own. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Song is something that may bring people from very disparate parts of life together, for songs can reach beyond borders and into peoples’ lives. Therefore it may get stuck in their heads, or stay with them for years on end, the words or tune affixed to a special time and memory. Would it be preposterous to suggest we treat Gods’ love like such a melody? Is it not after all, something immaterial but which moves us in some deep and knowing way? Literally, spread songs of joy amongst friends and nations, if you can, seek out other religious songs in other tongues. Figuratively sing His praise, let it be one of your favorite songs to carry with you wherever you go.

Lord Almighty, hear my songs of praise, hear my love for You rising up like a melody. Remind me that it is just as important to speak Your name as it is to sing it. Grant me this audience Lord, just as I wish to hear it from others. May it please You, may it harmonize with Your promise of everlasting life and eternal grace. Amen.

Listen to others speak, and one may slowly begin to deduce things from their character. Are their words filled with more positives than negatives? Are there curses or praises? Are they loud and gregarious, or silent and defensive? These come down to individual characters and history, but it is important to pay mind to the kind of language you use as a believer, for it may profoundly affect your outlook on life and God. The word in Scripture is not like that which comprises every day exchanges, so pay respect to it, give it reverence; these words were carefully chosen, passed down through generations for you by Him.

Heavenly Father, I thank you for Your word, passed down to us through Scripture and the mouths of our forbearers. Like those who have gone before us, please help guide us Lord in giving our respect to them and to You, by using Your word with reverence and veneration, disseminating Your truth. May my words shine a light unto You Lord, Amen.

One can never praise enough Gods’ glory, even if one tries! Everyday set aside something you are thankful for and give thanks to the Lord in prayer. Every day give blessings to the Lord for all he has provided for you. Extol his name whenever there is a moment, and let his angels hear!

Lord my Almighty Father, I exalt Your name in the highest of Heaven! At your feet, I give my thanks and blessing, and pray that in each and every day, You hear my gratitude. Help me maintain my daily prayers and duty to You Lord, so that I may never stray from Your truth. Amen.

Prayer is the Only Way Out!!!!

The World—Everything Is Different, but Nothing Has Changed

And the times are changing quickly. No one has any idea what the world will look like in ten years, let alone twenty or thirty. The rapid development of technology is more than we can take in. Those of us over the age of forty were born before the digital revolution really started. We’ve learned to use laptops, cameras, the Internet, and our personal electronic products, but it’s like learning a foreign language. But those under the age of forty have grown up with the digital revolution, and to them it’s their mother tongue. This has created the biggest generational gap since rock and roll.

Even greater is the moral generational gap. Those over forty in the western world grew up in a culture that still retained a semblance of its historic Judeo-Christian heritage. Our worldview contained some remaining vestiges of biblical truth. But our children are growing in an increasingly secular society.

But don’t despair. The things that matter most haven’t changed one iota. The little Book in my suit pocket is as unchanging as Him who is from everlasting to everlasting. That strengthens us whatever change may come.

Learn More

The World—Everything Is Different, but Nothing Has Changed
Where Do We Go From Here

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Many at Galatia had been influenced by the “Judaizers, ” Jewish Christians, or at least Christians in name, who sought to be justified through keeping the Law of Moses. But Paul tells them that the true function of the Law was not to save but to be a “schoolmaster” or “teacher” to bring them to Christ. Once they saw the impossibility of keeping the Law and the great culpability of breaking it, they would see their need to be saved by faith alone.

Lord, that schoolmaster (your Law) that revealed our need of a Savior is still revealing to us our shortcomings. As love is the fulfilling of the Law, and to love God and neighbor is the sum of it, we see the Law is a helpful guide for Christian conduct. Use it to test us and show us our flaws, then turn us by grace to the keeping of it through love. Amen.

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

To remove the curse of God for breaking his Law from us, Jesus took our guilt upon himself and suffered that curse in our place. God cannot demand “double payment” for sin, so that he cannot justly condemn those whose sins were paid for in full on the cross. That is why there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

O Lamb of God, it is your blood that takes away the sin-debt of the world, even of every one who believes on your name. We could not bear the punishment of our sin, nor endure the day of God’s wrath against sin. We praise you for your work of love on the cross, where you redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Amen.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

It is in God’s design of things that children should grow up and leave the home. It is normal that they should go out and begin their own home. For our families to be strong and healthy, unlike the “fractured” if not broken families the world is so full of, husband and wife must remain in close, intimate union. And this union is a picture of the union between Christ and His Church.

God, help us to work at our relationships with others so that they will be all you intend them to be. Let my relationship with you be the foundation for a good relationship with spouse, children, parents, all family and friends, and every acquaintance. Amen.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved; )

Perhaps the two sweetest words in the whole Bible are found here, “But God. ” In the verse just preceding, it is stated that believers were “children of wrath even as others” before their conversion. But God had a great love for them, which led him to “quicken, ” that is “raise to life, ” those who were dead spiritually. Paul then adds emphatically, “by grace you are saved. “

May we say with conviction, O Lord, that old Christian saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I. ” May we recognize that it was your saving love that made the difference with us. We were dead to God, unable to respond properly to him. But your love laid hold on us, Lord, and you imparted to us life. And we know that yours is a love that “will not let us go.” Amen.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

The Holy Spirit is here called the Spirit of Wisdom, using a grammatical construction that in the Greek indicates the Spirit is the “source of” or “giver of” wisdom. In 2 Timothy 3:15, we learn that the Scriptures are “able to make you wise unto salvation. ” When God opens our understanding to see the truth of the Gospel, he enlightens us and imparts to us wisdom to know and act on the truth. He then gives us hope of future glory and assures us of that hope by “the working of his mighty power” in us. That is the very power that raised up Jesus from the dead.

Open our minds more and more, we pray, to understand your truths. Let the “resurrection power” of God that raised Jesus Christ’s body from the grave raise up our spirits to live more and more a “resurrection life” of obedience to you. Amen.

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

Faith is a gift from God, but it is also a thing that we are called to diligently work at and improve. In fact, these verses on diligence are further informed by verse 10 of the same chapter where our diligence is said to be the means of making “our calling and election sure. ” That is, when faith, virtue (moral fortitude), knowledge (gained through experience), self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love abound in our lives, it is fruit of righteousness that helps assure our hearts that indeed we are God’s children and will enter his everlasting kingdom (verse 11).

Lord, we take seriously your command to strive diligently after godliness and all Christian virtues in our daily walk. We know that you do not desire our faith to remain “alone, ” but that it should be accompanied by all Christian graces. We are encouraged to know that you will help us and guide us as we grow in all of these areas, step by step. Amen.

But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

There will be days when you are tempted and days when you need protection, but you are a child of God. God will never leave you or forsake you – you will never have to walk through these challenging times alone. He is always faithful. He offers his protection and will help you stay away from evil. He has given you his Holy Spirit as a guide. Trust the Spirit to alert you when you have stumbled into trouble and call on him for protection.

Dear God, when I am fearful and need courage, I know you will strengthen me. You are always faithful and you will never leave me – thank you! Help me to trust you to guide me through difficult situations and protect me from any evil the evil one tries to use against me. O Lord, make my faith stronger so that I do not have a spirit of fear. Thank you for rescuing me time and time again. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Isaiah was dirty and full of sin. He was unworthy to see God’s holiness. Then the heavenly being took a hot coal from God’s alter. He put it on Isaiah lips and his sins were taken away and cleansed. Similarly, Jesus cleanses us who have faith in Him. He cleanses us and He makes us pure. Jesus Christ is our only hope of salvation from our wickedness. He is the only way to the Father and to heaven. Do you have faith in Jesus to remove your sins? If you cannot confidently answer, think and pray about it. It is always better to be sure. It is okay to not be sure; there is no shame in that. Get on your knees and ask God to reveal Himself to You. Proclaim your faith in Him and give Him your life. This is the way to salvation from your wickedness, sin, and the punishment you deserve – that we all deserve, but Jesus bore.

Moses had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and now they were wondering if they were any better off! They had reached the Red Sea, and couldn’t see any way around this barrier that had been placed before them. But God knew what he was doing and Moses followed his instructions and the sea parted so that the Israelites could pass through on dry ground. A question sometimes asked at a job interview is, “What do you do when you face an obstacle?” How would you answer? Would you try to go around it, through it, or perhaps over it? Moses could not go around his obstacle and knew that without help, he could never bring all the people, animals and supplies through it. So, he asked God for help. Was that the first thing you thought of? There is a saying, “If God brings you to it, he will bring you through it.” The key here is to ask God to bring us through it.

We often face challenges in our lives, especially when we are trying to live as Jesus wants us to live. Have you ever been asked why you believe? If not you probably will be. It can be hard to find the right words at times, but God will give us the words if we ask. Just as he promised Samuel, Isaiah and the other prophets, he will not leave us on our own and will give us the words we need when we need them. The next time you meet an obstacle, let God lead you over, under, around or through it. He will guide us in the right way to go.

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, He was prophesied about. That He would restore and bring life not break and ruin. That he would bring forth judgment on the Earth, and people everywhere across the oceans would listen to what He had to say. Now thousands of years later, people all over the Earth still listen to what Jesus has to say. Jesus is glorified through all history. People on every continent and in every country listen for His voice and read His Word.

Jesus, thank You for bearing the burden and punishment of my sins and wrongdoings. You are the only way to come to the Father and to everlasting life. I place my faith in You and You only. I believe that You, Jesus, are the Son of God. I believe in the Father and Holy Spirit also. I believe in the trinity and that the Trinity is one. I put no one else before You in my priorities. If You are not at my center, remove idols from my life. I place my life, faith, and trust in You. I repent from my wrongdoing, and I come before You in faith. My life is in Your hands. I come to You because You are gracious and let me call on Your name. Amen.

The first thing Andrew did when He found out Jesus was the Christ was to go tell his brother. Andrew went and got Peter and brought him to Jesus. Andrew could have been scoffed at or rejected by Peter if Peter did not believe Jesus was the Christ; yet, Andrew took him to Jesus anyways, and I’m sure he was glad he did. You have Jesus, and you love Him. Have you tried to bring your family to Him? Knowing Jesus is the only way to eternal life, wouldn’t you want to try your best to introduce Him to your grandparents, mother, father, brothers, sisters, and cousins?

Heavenly Father, give me strength and courage to introduce You to my family. They need You. I want to speak to them about You. Help me to tell them about You well. Help me to answer questions they have and to try to find them the answers I don’t know. Soften their hearts. Only You can bring them to You, so please do so. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Sometimes we grow weary as believers. Walking the road of faith gets hard. Other times it gets mundane. Sometimes doubt creeps in. We may even allow sin to fester in our lives and lead us to complacency and ceasing to listen to the Holy Spirit. But as believers, we can encourage our brothers and sisters to continue in the faith. Sometimes all someone needs is a reminder, encouragement, and support.

Heavenly Father, help my brothers and sisters. Give them strength and endurance to continue in the faith You called them to. Place people in their lives to encourage them. Bring them to a deeper love for You. Make them to feel Your presence this week. Let them remember why they first loved You. You are our great love. You are the worthiest of our love. You are worthy of more than we can give. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Father God, You sent Your son to the world to save us. He was with you in the beginning. People everywhere listen to His words. Jesus is amazing and true. Thank You for Your goodness, and that You build up and care for the weak. Help Your Church that is scattered all over the Earth. Unite us, Your Bride. Help us to glorify you and to proclaim Your gospel to the nations. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

When we reach a point of contentment, we are not moved by what another person does or does not have. Contentment prevents us from defining ourselves according to the world’s values. We become content through God, in whom we know we have everything we need. Eternal life, being the most important of it all.

Dear God, I thank you that I can be totally content in you. You have filled all the gaps and voids in my life. I know that I will never find contentment in this world; only in you and you alone. I pray that more and more of your children will come to realize this too, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Sometimes people tend to take God’s love and everlasting mercy as a way for them to continue living irresponsibly. When they are confronted about their actions, their response is “God loves me for who I am. ” Yes, he does, but our love for Him should compel us to be convicted of our sins and confess them to him. God won’t hold our sins against us; he is quick to forgive and swift to restore.

Dear God, once again I would like to thank you for your endless love and everlasting mercy. Father, I am sorry for any time I have taken you or your love for granted. If there has ever been a time where I tried to use the grace you have given so freely as an excuse to live irresponsibly, I humbly confess where I have erred, and I receive your forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Dear God, I pray for those who have chosen to turn from you. Lord, I pray that something in their hearts will make them change their minds about you. May they experience your love, Lord, in all its fullness and may they be compelled by this to know you more. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Someone once said that there are no u-hauls behind hearses. The implication is that you can’t take it with you when you die. There’s a story of a man who tried. When the doctors told him he had a short time to live, he converts some of this cash into gold bricks, puts them in a suitcase and instructs that this suitcase should be buried with him. When he approaches the pearly gates carrying the suitcase, St. Peter stops him and asks to look inside the suitcase. The angel Gabriel asks, “What’s in the suitcase?” “Pavement,” replies St. Peter. The story illustrates that in heaven what we consider to be wealth on this earth is really nothing. Heaven’s streets are paved with gold. That would be the equivalent of us finding some kind of value in asphalt or concrete chunks here on earth. We spent a lot of time trying to get things on this earth. We spend a lot of time working to get more and more and more stuff that we just don’t need. If you don’t believe it, take a look at what happens when a person dies without an heir. A lawyer has to come in, open up the house, and sell off all the belongs to settle the estate. Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stuff–sometimes still in boxes–is sold for pennies on the dollar. An entire lifetime of obtaining things and the only thing that happens is that strangers come in to pick over the possessions a giant yard sale. This passage tells us that we are to be content with what we have. We should be content with food and clothing. As long as our needs are met on a daily basis, that’s really all we should ask for. Everything else is just bonus stuff and if we are spending time away from our families, if we’re spending time focusing on getting rather than focusing on living, then we’re being very foolish because we can’t take it with us. When the end comes, all the stuff that we bought stay right here our closets or our garages. While we’re on this earth we need to make the right choices and be sure that we are able to be content with what we have. Then we may end up with few things that we want.

Childbirth can be a painful experience. Even with the best pain killers available, the stress and trauma of childbirth cannot be lessened greatly. A mother giving birth may travail in labor for hours. Her contractions may be painful and the birth process may be grueling. In that period of labor, she suffers greatly. But as soon as she sees the face of that newborn child, all of that passes away. The suffering, the pain, disappears and is replaced by joy. Here Paul gives us a similar situation. Paul explains here that the Gospel has great power to sustain us in times of trouble. He was not talking only about the trials that Christians in his time had to endure, but the sickness, pain, and trouble that all Christians, throughout time would have to endure. He says that no matter how difficult the suffering in this world is, it does not even compare to the glory that awaits us in heaven. The glory that will be revealed to us is so great in comparison to the suffering that preceded it. We will forget our former trials when we get a glimpse of that glory.

We are children of God. Think about that for a minute. The God of the universe sent his son to be born of a woman on earth living under the law – a woman like us. He sent his son so that we might be free from this law – the law of sin and death. We are free because of his sacrifice, and we have been made sons and daughters of God through him. How amazing!

Paul cries out here in anguish over indwelling sin that remained in him. He longs for the day when he will be free fully from the power of sin. While we live, a conflict is in us between the old and the new natures. It is a daily battle. It does not end until we leave this world, but God can help us subdue the flesh and live increasingly out of the new nature.

Father, I thank You for being with me in my trials. I know that I will have to suffer some in this world and I know I will have to go through trials. I also know, however, that what will be revealed to me when I finally see You face to face will make it all worthwhile. My suffering will fade to nothing as I see the glory of Your face. Amen.

If we hate that which is evil, we will love that which is good. The two go together hand in hand. You cannot love God and love Satan; you cannot love God’s Law and also love the paths of unrighteousness. At least, your heart of hearts and your new nature from the new birth will seek what is truly good; the old nature will seek sin, but the Christian must subdue and overcome it. The age old question of who’s right! There’s a commercial for an automobile company that uses the slogan of “either/or, or both/and” that I kind of like. Not that I’m supporting the company, but because I believe we sometimes think in an either/or way when it’s really important to be a both/and kind of person. In today’s gospel, Martha is busy about hospitality and Mary extends hospitality in a quieter manner. We need both, and we need to be both. There are times when we need to be about doing what Jesus tells us to do, but if all we do is “do” and we don’t take the time to listen, we just might get it wrong. Mary sits and listens to Jesus while Martha feels overwhelmed with her tasks. When Martha complains, Jesus tells her not to be anxious and worried, and I think that here is the key. When we take the time to sit and listen to Jesus and then move on to follow the will of God, we don’t have to be anxious and worried; we can relax in the knowledge that we are doing our best, and that is what is required of us. Jesus doesn’t say that what Martha is doing is unimportant; he just seems to imply that she shouldn’t be so focused on her work, that she neglects her need for being present and listening. We, too, can be so busy doing that we forget to take the time to pray, to reflect on Scripture, to sit and listen to Jesus. During the sometimes lazy days of summer, let us take advantage of the laziness and just sit in God’s presence and reflect on who we are and who we are called to be, so that when the time comes to be busy again, we’ll be ready.

Micah is a prophet at around the same time as Isaiah and has come to prophesy punishment to those who are behaving in an unjust manner. Just because a person has the power or authority to act unjustly, doesn’t mean that he should. One might think that harassment or schemes to defraud people of their property or their inheritance, are something new, but Micah lets us know that these things have been going on since antiquity. God isn’t any happier today about these practices than he was then. Micah made known God’s displeasure to the kings and leaders of the day. He warns that their unjust practices need to stop and that the people need to repent or else they are leaving themselves open to attack by armies greater than theirs.

As we know, Assyria and Babylon both decimated Judah and Israel. Think about the Roman Empire, they too had fallen into such a moral decay that they were open to being overcome by Constantine. What about today? We have become lax in our time as well. Corporate takeovers that have little respect for the rights of the workers have become common. Even companies that have not been taken over have been known to change their policies and limit the benefits that their employees enjoy. Communities can take property away from individuals for schools, highways, shopping centers, by eminent domain and those who live on the properties are forced to move. Although owners are reimbursed, renters need to fend for themselves. Looking out for number one, whether personally, communally or nationally can lead to ignoring the essentials and there is nothing to stop others from overcoming us. As Micah says, we need to work for justice if we want peace. And so still today, the Jewish people celebrate Passover and one of the traditions is for someone to ask why we celebrate this feast, and the youngest child answers with the story of the Passover. Jesus was celebrating Passover with his friends on the night before he died. I know this reading comes up during the summer, so it’s not the time for Passover, or the Passion of Jesus, but I have a question. What are our traditions surrounding the passion and death and resurrection of Jesus? Do we celebrate the end of Lent on Holy Thursday? Do we spend time with Jesus on Good Friday remembering his sacrifice? Is Easter all about candy and the Easter bunny? Today, many of our churches are practically empty on Easter Sunday and the children think more about an Easter egg hunt than God. Would the youngest member of the family be able to tell the story of why we celebrate? God brought the Israelites from slavery to freedom at the original Passover, but Jesus brought us from the slavery of sin and the freedom to celebrate eternity with him in heaven. One was temporary, the other is permanent. Why is it that we take this celebration so lightly? Even though it’s summer, let’s take a moment to think about how the story of our faith is being passed on to our youth.

God’s name as it is written in Scripture is either Jehovah or Yahweh, or just YHWH. All are translations of He is Who He is. Because the Jewish people did not call God by the name he gave Moses. It is for this reason that the Jewish people were so angry when Jesus said that before Abraham came to be I AM. To say God’s name was to blaspheme. For the people of Moses’ time, names had power. They felt that to use the name of God was to say that they had power over God, and so the name was sacred. I can remember an uncle of mine who would often take not just the Lord’s name in vain when he was angry, but would also use it to curse whoever he was angry with. I’m sure you know many people who do the same without even blinking an eye.

Good Christians, all, who would be horrified if they were called on it. We are offended when people use foul language, why are we not offended when the Lord’s name is taken in vain? A friend of mine used to work in the office of a major manufacturing company and the man who sat behind her was continually cursing the company and its managers. One day she had had enough and turned to him and said, “No wonder the company is going to pot, you keep asking God to damn it.” He had never considered that he was both swearing and cursing, but he stopped. What about us? Do we need to clean up our speech, or ask other to do so? How do I praise God? God doesn’t want an animal sacrifice he wants a sacrifice of the heart. He wants a joyous heart, a heart that bursts into song because it can’t help itself. A heart so full of gratitude that song is the only way a body can express it. I love music; I love to sing the songs of praise in church. I might not have the best voice but it’s the one God gave me so he must think it’s good enough. There is something about music that lifts the soul. It’s no wonder that the psalms are music. In fact, this psalm even tells us which piece of music to sing it to – “Lilies!” When we think about it, some of the most glorious music was written for religious reasons: Handel’s Messiah is but one example. When we listen to the anthems of many nations, we see how they give thanks and praise to God. Whether we raise our voices in song or not, what is important is that we raise our voices in thanks and praise to God. Our prayers acknowledge that we know who is in charge, to whom we owe everything and who deserves our praise.

Lord, I pray for the older people who do not know You. I pray they will find Your love and joy. Let them lean on You for strength and understanding. Help them to smile and live out the remainder of their days for You. Get them the word if they don’t have access to it. Bring Christians into their lives to speak life into them. You are the God who cares for the young and old, weak and strong, rich and poor. Bless our elderly and help us honor them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The writer of this Psalm desperately wanted God to show His strength through him, an old man. He wanted everyone to know God’s power. As we grow old, we can still show God’s strength. As we become weaker, we can proclaim how strong He is. Do not lose heart as you grow old. The retired missionary now goes door to door to preach even though he’s walking slowly. The woman who started doing jail ministry long ago is often decades later faithfully visiting the jail. Whatever God is calling you to, God is greater than your age.

Lord, as I grow old, let me still serve You faithfully. When I’m weak, help me to show others Your strength. Through wrinkles, let others see the joy on my face that comes only from You. Even if I’m moving slowly, let me still move for You. I will gladly do Your will until my last breath. If I’m on this earth, You have me here for a reason. I will continue to live for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

We were all introduced to our savior, Jesus Christ, through someone else. When we truly understand salvation, it is not enough for us to simply receive it. In our excitement, we will gladly go tell others about this miraculous savior. The prophet describes how when a city came to know the Lord, they rushed to pray and seek God so that they could go to another city to share this good news. The Word tells us we are commissioned to tell others the good news – let us go quickly!

Matthew 21:22- And ALL Things You Ask in Prayer, BELIEVING, You Will Receive

Prayer is greatly needed in the Church, the body of Christ today, and in the human society as a whole, is a genuine, God-sent revival. It is either revival or revolution, if it is a revolution, it will plunge human society and civilization into chaos and utter confusion. We are living in a time of widespread apostasy. This may be the last apostasy from which we will be saved by the return of our Lord Jesus to this earth to take the reins of government into His own thoroughly competent hands. That would, of course, be the greatest and most glorious of all revivals, and it would be a revival that would never end. However, we do not know that this is the final apostasy. There have been more complate and appalling apostasies in the past than this one is at the past hour. The apostasy in England in the time od the Wesleys, and in Amereica at the time of Jonathan Edwards, was far more complete than the present apostasy is. The postasy in this country at the opening of the 19th century was far more appalling, at least as regarding university life, than the apostasy of today. It was the revival under the Wesleys and their associates that saved the church and saved civilization in their day. Even as thorough a rationalist as the historian WIlliam Lecky admits that it was the revival under Wesleys that saved civilization in England. It was the Great Awakening under the leadership of Jonathan Edwards and others that savwed the church in America. Our greatest need today isa deep, thorough, Spirit-wrought, God-sent revival. Such revivals, as far as our human role is concerned, always come in one way – by prayer. It was Jonathan Edwards’ CALL to PRAYER that brought the Great Awakening. It was the city missionary Jeremiah Lanphier stirring the Christians of New York to prayer that brought the wonderous revival of 1857. It was the prayer of four humble Christians from Kells, Ireland, and the prayers of others. that brought the marvelous Ulster revival of 1859-1860. I have been praying to write a book about prayer. I had to read other peoples book about prayer, because even though I have been praying my whole life I needed to go back to the heart of prayer. The heart of prayer, to me is a personal relationship with Jesus. And to address going to Jesus’, Mother Mary to help me and of course the Holy Spirit. TO keep God the center of my life.

There is much in prayer, and yet it is as simple as James 4:2 – “You do not have because you ask not.” Then we ask ourselves, “Why don’t we have anything?” Again God replies, “It is because of our neglect of prayer. When we read the only inspired church history that was ever written, the history of the church in the days of apostles as it is recorded by Luke (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) in the Acts of the Apotles, what do we find? We find a story of constant victory and perpetual progress. We read, for example, such statements as Acts 2:47 – The Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. We read this statement from Acts 4:4 – Many of those

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Intercession: the action of Intervening on Behalf of Others: Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

When we try to rush ahead of God’s timing and His guidance, we will end up making a lot of mistakes. We need to humble ourselves under God’s guidance, realizing that He truly knows best. When we do so, we will reach the right points in our life at the right time. It’s all about trusting Him.

Doubt is normal. It was there in Paul’s time and it exists today. Maybe it is more prevalent today than it was in Paul’s time because there are so many people trying to discourage people from belief in God. The pagans of Paul’s time believed in gods, they just didn’t all know God. Today many claim that there is no God. They believe that scientists will soon be able to explain everything about how the world was created and answer any other question we might have. See, no need for God! And if there is no God then no heaven and no resurrection. If this is true then why bother depriving ourselves of all the pleasures we can get just because Christianity says love of God and of others should come first. But, there were too many people who witnessed Jesus after his resurrection. Too many people who were willing to die for the sake of Jesus and his teaching. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t die for a lie. And I doubt that they would either. So, as Paul says, since Jesus rose from the dead, we need to pay attention to what he said and to the promise that one day we too would rise if only we remain faithful. Doubt? Okay, but in the end, trust and belief.

According to Lionel Swain, of St. Edmund’s College, Ware, St. Paul believed intercession to be one of the most important aspects of faith and praying life, as praying for others is a recurring theme in his works. Prayer acts as a way for St. Paul to acknowledge God’s power. Intercessory prayer also acts as a way for the Apostle to “share in … the Father’s redemptive love”. Paul believed that prayer transformed the person doing the praying, as much as the one being prayed for, which creates a stronger bond between him and God.

Prof. Dr Johannes van Oort, Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Church History and Church Polity of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, adds that, in addition to praying for wisdom, the early church was very much involved with different charismas, one of which being healing. Praying for other people’s illnesses was another way that intercessory prayer was important in the early church, as healing was a sign of “the power of God’s Kingdom”. This gift of healing is specifically mentioned, among the other charismata, as a sign of being a true Christian by Irenaeus of Lyons in his text, Against Heresies.

Saints[edit source]

Intercession of the saints is a doctrine held by the Eastern OrthodoxOriental Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches that saints may be asked to intercede (or pray) for others. The doctrine of requesting intercession from saints can be found in Christian writings from the 3rd century AD, such as from Origen and Clement of Alexandria.

Main article: Prayer for the dead

The dead

In addition to praying for each other in life, early Christians would pray for those who had died. There is no unequivocal evidence that Christians began to pray for the dead before the third century AD. G. F. Hamilton argues that the earliest example of Church prayer on behalf of dead Christians are found in the Sacramentary of Serapion of Thmuis (350 AD). Rather than pray for the departed in regular church services on Sunday, these early Christians would hold special commemorative occasions during the week. There was a sharp distinction drawn between remembering and praying on behalf of the dead, and those who were the “‘faithfully’ departed”, where Christians would only pray for those who had died as believers. The First Epistle of Clement (95 AD) contains a prayer which, while mainly for protection for the living, also includes the dead. Even quite early, a distinction was drawn between those who had died as Christians, and those who had died as unbelievers. In the Martyrdom of Polycarp (155 AD), Polycarp is killed and his bones are taken by fellow Christians and a shrine is set up to him, where they may remember his martyrdom. In contrast, the “Apology of Aristides” shows how those who were not Christians were grieved for, while the dead faithful were rejoiced over.  

Theological perspective: In an article in Theological Studies, Catholic theologian Patricia A. Sullivan warns that saints should not be built up in a way that brings down God. Saint Augustine had famously said that we pray not to instruct God but to get our will in line with God’s. Sullivan warns away from the dictionary meanings of “intercession” as “intervention, mediation, arbitration, negotiation”, all of which sound like we are dealing with a hostile or unfriendly God, whom we need to manipulate to get what we need. Such is not the meaning of the hapax legomenon in the New Testament of the word for intercession. Sullivan goes on:

When we ask a saint to intercede for us, what is happening at a deeper level is that we are taking refuge in the all-enfolding community of the redeemed, approaching God thru saintly symbols of Christ’s victory and of our hope. Saints want always what God wants, what is best for us whether we pray for it or not. They are in a perpetual attitude of praise for God’s love and care, to which we join ourselves, praying, more precisely, with them rather than to them. The value of our petitions is that they turn us in confidence toward the God who loves us, allowing God’s work to be more effective in us, and thru us in others.

It would be anathema to ask God to try any harder to do good. By invocation of a saint “we take refuge in faith in the all-enfolding community of all the redeemed,” where “each is responsible for all”. They are “creative models of holiness”.

Islam

Main articles: Shafa’ah and Tawassul

Although the idea of intercession or mediation (Arabic: s̲h̲afāʿa) has historically played a very prominent role in Islamic thought, it is not universally accepted by all Muslims in the present day.

The Quran says that the pre-Islamic Arab pagan gods will not be able to intercede with God on behalf of humankind, and that “the guilty” (al-mujrimīn,) will not benefit from any intercession on the Day of Judgment. Other passages that deny the efficacy intercession include. Still others say that God is the only intercessor.

However, “intercession is mentioned in the Qurʾān with respect to angels praying for the believers and the Prophet praying for erring but repentant Muslims.” Furthermore, it became an orthodox Islamic doctrine or “cardinal belief” that “Muḥammad will intercede for all Muslims on the Day of Resurrection.” While this particular tenet practically remained unchallenged throughout Islamic history, the widespread Sunni and Shia practice of asking deceased prophets and saints for intercession by praying at their tombs have become contentious issues in the modern Islamic world, with all these different types of intercession often being labelled by Salafi/Wahhabi Muslims as a type of polytheism, in a manner akin to the attitude of many Protestants towards the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox practice of saint-intercession. In prophetic sayings there is intercession of martyrs for “seventy relatives” in the Hereafter.

Some religions claim that praying for somebody who is sick can have positive effects on the health of the person being prayed for.

Meta-studies of the literature in the field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is “no discernible effect” while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had “small, but significant, effect sizes” but the review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings.

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Does Jesus really want us to believe that our enemies are our parents, children, family or friends? Somehow, I don’t think so! It is really about priorities. Have you ever chosen to watch a sports program when your child wanted to talk to you? What about not sitting at the table for meals because a special game is on? We are called on to make choices all the time. We can choose God, or we can choose other. Is that late night party worth missing church? We can talk all we want about being too busy, but the truth is that we find the time for what we want to do. I love to read, knit, spend time with my friends and I hate doing the laundry, dishes, vacuuming, but it all needs to be done. I would rather pick up a good book than exercise. I can say that I am “too busy” to do the things I don’t enjoy doing, but the truth is, I choose to spend my time in other ways. The same is true about putting God first. A friend that is always put last doesn’t remain a friend for long. When it comes to God, we know he will never desert us, but what about our turning our backs on him? We know what we must do – put God first and then everything else falls into place. Even carrying the crosses each of us must bear in life is easier because we know we don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes we may have to disappoint a child or friend because we choose to do the right thing, but that is the price of being a disciple of Jesus.

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