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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
Several recent decisions by the Supreme Court have helped restore the foundational freedoms that made the United States, though far from perfect, the greatest nation on earth. Yet we must realize that there is no real freedom apart from God and the acceptance of personal responsibility. There can be no effective government without responsible citizens living under moral order. If we do not live under control with the freedom Jesus offered to all captives, we can never hope for our society to support and maintain the principles that enable freedom.
With an understanding of the importance of personal freedom, we may rightly ask the question, “What about national freedom?” It is my firm opinion we are in danger of losing it, along with the opportunity it offers. It is my prayer that all believers will learn that we must live to protect what others died to provide.
We are in the process of forfeiting the freedom our founders established – a freedom built on moral absolutes and a strong, but limited, government. Enemies of faith and true freedom don’t even want to acknowledge the supernatural power that influenced America’s birth or the importance of God, faith, family, and the principles necessary for freedom. They stand hell-bent in opposition to undeniable, absolute, transforming truth.
It’s time for people who understand the value of faith and freedom and its foundation to stand together like a mighty army – an undeniable spiritual force. We must reclaim the land of promise birthed through faith, prayer, and personal sacrifice to bless the American people and the nations of the world. Our freedom can only be preserved with the same determination, diligence, and supernatural unity Jesus prayed for and freedom’s champions understand.
The framers of the Constitution knew that the true liberty they offered demanded responsible citizens. Benjamin Franklin was asked if the meeting in Philadelphia had created a monarchy or a republic. Franklin answered, “A republic – if you can keep it.” Franklin, along with the other founders, knew that in order for liberty to be maintained, it would have to be supported by principled statesmen who were actively engaged in the task of governing themselves, encouraging all citizens to hold fast to truths espoused in the Declaration of Independence.
John Adams, our second president, said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
We are on the verge of losing freedom’s blessings as morality is under assault. Sadly, the church has not fully understood the importance of living under the control of God with the powerful spirit of God providing the strength for us to not only enjoy the privileges and possibilities of freedom, but also to protect them.
Jesus commissioned His followers to share the truth that sets people free and keeps them free. He said, “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
Ronald Reagan observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on to them to do the same or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
I do not want to be found among those who will be asked what we were doing when freedom died. By the grace of God, with His help and the help of those who share common concerns and with Christians of conviction, I will not be indifferent and allow freedom to die on my watch. I will continue to pray, preach, and openly call for a return to God-given principles.
America’s founders believed they were on a journey similar to that of Israel’s exodus from Egypt to God’s Promised Land. Moses was their hero. His farewell address delivered on Mount Nebo references the choices God offers those desiring true freedom. Martin Luther King, Jr. invoked these words the night before he was assassinated in 1968, and Ronald Reagan repeated them while standing at the base of the Statue of Liberty celebrating our nation’s birthday in 1986:
“See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and adversity. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God to walk in His ways and to keep his commandments. But if you turn away, you will certainly perish. You shall not long endure on the soil that you are crossing the Jordan to enter. I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse, choose life that you and your offspring shall live.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-19)
The life being offered was a life of freedom, fullness and fruitfulness. God has granted us both the privilege and responsibility of being overseers, good stewards of all that He had entrusted to our care. You can be the guardians, the gate keepers, the restorers of the foundation and the wall builders maintaining our precious liberty. Let not your hearts be troubled. Keep the faith. Fight the fight as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ with the whole armor of God and the sword of the Spirit, don’t bend and don’t bow before the godless influences of this world and you will not be crushed and enslaved by the powers in this present world!
When God rules in individual lives, sound principles will prevail in our land. Leaders will no longer be chosen because of personality, party affiliation, or skillful communication. They will be chosen because of their commitment to God-given principles necessary for the survival of true freedom.
I am praying to God and appealing to caring people to help restore America and freedom. It will not be easy, but together, and with God’s help, it can be done. This is the greatest hour for people of faith to become a guiding light.
I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
God’s miraculous deliverance of Daniel from the lions in the lions’ den where he had been cast for worshipping the true God opened Nebuchadnezzar’s eyes to whose God was God. And he even issued a decree that all men in his vast kingdom give homage to the God of Daniel. Daniel’s faith and refusal to cease his regular daily devotions had resulted in the knowledge of God being spread throughout the land.
This verse tells us that “all things work together for the good of those who love God.” If we love God, then we live in obedience. The “all things” refers to the providence of God and all the things that relate to Him: His Holy Spirit, His love and mercy, His truths, etc. All of these things come together for our good if we love God and show that we do by our behavior. But it’s not only required that we love God, but that we are called according to His purpose. This refers to the purpose that God has set before us. He calls us to a specific purpose in this life. As long as we are obedient to this purpose, to His call, then all of His resources come together for our good. This is a very encouraging scripture to let us know that, if we follow the will of God, everything will be okay with us. More than okay, actually. They will be “good,” because God is on our side.
Jesus tells us that the golden rule sums up the law and the prophets. Jesus is also telling us that we shouldn’t try to take the easy way out. From the time a two or three year old figures out that disobeying mom or dad brings punishment, he also figures out ways of trying to get away with it. The child will lie or hide or blame a sibling or the family pet! Unless this behavior is caught and the children learn that they can’t get away with it, they will continue this pattern. It can be very tempting to take the easy way out. This is not what we are called to do. We are called to take the narrow path, doing the right thing. We all get upset when we hear about hit and run accidents, but it’s hard to own up to something if you think you won’t be caught, especially when it could be expensive We choose the easy or the narrow path just about every day. Some decisions are easy, some are not. Do you waste time on the phone or on a computer searching websites or playing games when you should be working? See, what I mean? Students today are told they need computers for research that will enhance their learning, but some take advantage and their research trying to find papers that they can claim as their own. Jesus knew us well, and has given us fair warning. We should listen.
We need to be on the lookout for those who would lead people away from God by pretending that they are leading them to God. We have seen this happen several times in very public and tragic ways, but it can happen in less public ways as well. The world was horrified when they learned of the mass murder/suicide of over 900 people, one third of them minors in Guyana in 1978, and again of the destruction of the compound in Waco, Texas where over 70 people died. Both of these tragedies occurred because the leaders of the cult claimed to either be a god or be God’s messenger or Messiah. There have been many other cults operating with less destructive results. Preying on loners or immigrants, the leaders promise security here and eternal life if only you follow them. They don’t say that you are following God, but you are following them because they are the only ones who know the way! By their fruits you will know them. These people ask blind obedience, work to separate people from their families and friends, and often demand a certain percentage of income. This doesn’t sound like Jesus to me. Paul never demanded obedience to himself, in fact, he said just the opposite to the Corinthians. John the Baptist said that he wasn’t the one and pointed to Jesus. We have been warned by Jesus to look at those who claim to be prophets carefully and judge by their fruits. If they are more interested in leading us to themselves instead of to Jesus, we must beware.
Again we have a prophet spreading God’s message of love, begging the people to admit their wrongdoing, and sincerely repent and turn back to him. When you read the Old Testament, you start to wonder if they will ever learn. I wonder what historians one hundred years from now will say about us and our behavior. Will they read the New Testament and find remnants of Christian groups and compare their behavior with the Bible, and find us worthy of the name? I’m not so sure. Not only is there a lot of what I consider very un-Christian behavior by individuals but also by Christian groups towards one another. Perhaps we should reread Joel and the messages given by some of the other prophets and take these messages to heart. God wants us to turn to him. He wants us to take responsibility for our actions, and ask forgiveness so that he can forgive and renew us. God isn’t looking for grandiose exhibitions of repentance, but a sincerity of heart. It’s how much we are willing to change our behavior. It’s how welcoming we will be to the stranger, how much we are willing to help others to grow in their faith as well as how willing we are to grow in our own.
Let us not, O Lord, underestimate what you can do in us and through us. We do not know all of your purposes for us, but we know that nothing is too hard for you to do. We pray for the steadfastness of soul to continue to pursue knowing you even in the face of resistance and the faith to believe that your Word planted deep in us can strengthen us for even the most difficult tasks. 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?
Position of the Parties Zechariah 3:6 > The Angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 – “This is what the Lord Almighty says: “If you (I) will walk in my ways and keep My requirements then you will govern My House and have change of My Courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
Psalm 33:12 – “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD.”
America was founded on godly principles rooted in God’s eternal Word. Freedom is God’s idea, and implanted within every human heart by the Creator who made them is the yearning to be free. Leviticus 25:10, inscribed on our Liberty Bell says, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof.”
The golden, majestic appearance of our Declaration of Independence – the parchment papaer, the resolute signatures of those who represented the voice of a new nation, and the rich content of this anointed document, bear testimony to the powerful faith which underscored the conviction on which our independence is based: “… the Laws of Nature and Nature’s of God that all men are created equal, and they are endowed by thier Creator with vertain unalienable Rights… appealing to the Supreme Court of the world. …”
faith of our earliset leaders can be seen in the content of their state constitutions, penned by some of these men who wrote the Declaration of Independence. The Delaware document, for example, written by Thomas McKean, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, and George Read, also a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution ofthe United States, says, “Every person who shall be chosen a memeber either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust, before taking his seat, or entering upon the execution of his office, shall take the following oath: “I…do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Spirit, one God, blessed for ever more; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.” 1
Authors of the State Constitution of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Rush and James Wilson, shared a like conviction. They wrote: “Each memeber of the Legislature, before he takes his set, shall make and subscribe the following declaration: I do believe in one God, the Creator and Governor of the good and the Punisher of the wicked. And I doacknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by divine inspiration.”
The North Carolina Constitution bears witness to a desire that believers shape the governing process: “No person who sahll deny the being of God or the truth of the Christian religion, or the divine authority, either of the Old and New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedoms and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or palce of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.”In 1892, the Supreme Court noted that each of the 44 states then in the Union had some kind of God-cnetered declaration in its constitution. Indeed, the writings and governing documents of our Founding Fathers attest to their belief that a central faith in the Almighty was essential, and that ths new America could only move forward as “One Nation Under God.”
God raised up America for His own special purpose: to be a witness to His great goodness, to carry out the Great Commission and to be a light to the world. His drea from the beginning was to build a nation through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. It is being accomplished everywhere born-again, Spirit-filled believers are standing in faith, boldly releasing His covenant promises for the fullfillment of His purpose. As you read this post, get to know and appreciate these God-anointed, founding documents of America that are based on Hos eternal Word, and the other historical documents included in this post. Set your hearts to pray for the great experiment in freedom, dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ. Allow God’s Word to flow from your mouth in faith as we partner with Him in intercession for the manifestation of His plans, purpose and pursuits for One Nation Under God – the United States of America in Jesus name Amen.
Here is a prayer that Kenneth Copeland wrote for the United States Government: James 5:16 – “The earnest (heartfelt, continue) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous pwoer available [dynamic in its working].”
Following are Scripture-based prayers that will help connect your heart with the heart of the Father for our nation. 1st Timothy 2:1-3 says we are to pray, intercede and give thanks for kings and all who are in authority. This is God’s command to every believer. Praying for godly leaders is productive toward God’s plan and purpose for our nation.
Proverbs 21:1 tells us, “THe king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” God will turn the hearts of our leaders as we heed His instructions to pray for them.J
Jeremiah 1:12 – Pray this paryer in faith, believing you receive, and remember God watches over His Word to perfrom it!
Father, I pray according to 1 Timothy 2:1-3 > which says, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of god our Saviour.”
First, I ask for righteousness to prevail in our nation. I ask for godly counsel and wisdom for our cheif justice of the Supreme court, associate justice and all judges across this land. Isaiah 1:26 says, “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Thank You, Lord, for restoring to our nation righteous judges who hear Your voice and adhere to Your Word.
I pray for our president, his cabinet, the vice president, the secretary of state, and the State Department; secretary of the treasury and the Department of Defense; intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the Department of Justice; secretarty of education and the Department of Education; governors and state governments; mayors, city councils and all others in authority at every level government. I pray they receive the wisdom of God, act in obedience to that wisdom, and for the power of God to flow in ther lives. Show them Your plan for the reversal for every evil way, and give them the courage to execute it. I declare that they hear and obey Your voice, Lord, and sho9w honor and respect for Your Word and your people.
Heavenly Father, and Lord God Almighty, I pray forthe members of Congress: our Senate and House of Representatives. I pray they find Your peace and direction, and they act and lead according to Your Word A house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, Father, I ask that You unify them in righteousness be manifest in the hearts of all in authority, and that they seek after You with all their hearts, souls, minds and strength.
In Jesus name I speak a hedge of protection over all men and women in law enforcement and the military. According to Romans 13:4, they are minsters of God, Your servants, for our good. Thank You, Lord, that Your angels surround them and keep them, that no evil befalls them, neither does any playue or calamity come near them. I declare that your hand is on them, and that yor deliver them from who lie in wait to harm them. Thank You for helping them discharge their duties with great wisdom and anointing, and walk in truth, integrity and honor. Wherever they go, they carry the anointing and light of freedom as representatives of a covenant nation.
According to Matthew 18:19 and @Now Father, you Corinthians 10:4, I bind the principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of hte world ranged against this nation and pull them down. In the Name of Jesus, I bind every evil spirit of strife and division, and I break your power to divide this nation. I speak unity, harmony and peace over America. I declare that Jesus is Lord over the United States of America!
Now Father, Your Word says to pray for the peace of Jerusalem because those who love Jerusalem shall prosper. Because You love Jerusalem and all of Israel receives th Shalom of God, which brings wholeness – nothing missing, nothing broken. I pray no leader of our nation will make any decision that will harm Israel in any way, and that Yo make Youraself known and reveal Your perfect will to Israel and its leaders.
Thank You, Father God for hearing my prayers, in Jesus name, thank You for answering John and my prayers in Your Son Jesus name, I love You Father God in Jesus name, I love John very much. Forgive me for douhting You. Thank You Father God for lovong me in Jesus name, I thank You for softening the District Attorney in Jesus name. I am asking You for bring John back to us, To You first Father God in Jesus name Amen.
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.
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)
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. I just heard that the county government paid $700,000 to these C.O.’s who raped the women in jail. I seen male C.O.’s go into female inmates cells. We were told of we said anything we would never see our kids agasin. Because the C.O.’s could pin charges on us for telling on them.
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 […]
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.
The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Paul says here that husbands and wives do not have the right to deny each other marital relations; but that they can by common agreement for a time, abstain, in order to focus on the Lord in fasting and prayer. But that time should not be too long or they might be tempted by Satan.
Lord, let us find time to focus on you every day and during special times to do so even more intensely. Let us be realistic about our own weakness and proneness to temptations. Let our marriages be strong and our relationship with you be strong as well. Amen.
Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. The Word of the Lord in Jesus name Amen.
It is important to have attitude of gratitude and an eagerness to praise God because time He has always shown and proven his faithfulness. God is the God above all. He created the heavens, the earth, the universe, and He still knows you by name. Isn’t that amazing?
Jesus has just cured a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years, lying beside the healing waters of Bethesda with no one to put him into the water. After Jesus heals him, he finds him to warn him against sinning. Does this seem weird? Well, let’s think about it. A man who can’t walk can’t get into too much trouble. Now, he has choices and he may be tempted to make poor ones. God answers our prayers too. When we are in trouble and praying for God’s help, our focus is on God and trying to work things out. Once everything is great again, we often forget about God and get back into the same trouble or worse. Many people have prayed to become rich, to win a lottery or get an inheritance, and then what happens? In the majority of cases, the money can lead to a spending spree, a dissatisfaction with one’s spouse, job, home, etc, and the person loses what he has gained and more as the family, the job, the home, etc. are now gone. God’s message to the man who was healed is the same for us. Just as we turn to God in times of trouble, we must not turn away from God when all is going well.
Dear God, no one can compare to your greatness. There is no one, not a single being, in this universe that can try to stand up to you. I pray that all the earth will come to the knowledge of your greatness, O God, and that we will all come to worship you and give you the praise that is truly due to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
I imagine that you may have heard the famous quote, “Keep your friends close and enemies closer.” This quote has more nefarious intentions, but Jesus wants us to keep our enemies close for positive reasons: simply put, we can help them. It is our duty to love our enemies as ourselves in order to set an example, because an example was sent to earth for us in Jesus Christ. Honor his death by living as he did, sacrificing himself to his enemies so that they too, could be forgiven.
O heavenly Father, you sent your only son into the den of his enemies, sacrificing him so that we could understand your true love for us. This is the love I wish to spread to all people, my Lord, and I am sorry for being weak and selfish so often when I should help even my enemies, for they may need it the most. I thank you every moment of my life for sending Jesus as an example for me, and I shall do all that I can to follow his ways. I pray in honor of Jesus’ holy name. Amen.
Jesus, I thank You for Your fervent prayer which unites me not only with You, but with Your Father and my Father. Help me to see the extraordinary love He has for me, and that You have for me. I am eternally grateful for Your intercession on my behalf. Amen.
There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
Man is a fickle creature. It is not unusual for him to flit from plan to plan. Never really having a destination and changing with the wind. We see it even with people who root for professional football. One year they will start out as huge fans of a particular team. By mid season, when that team is no longer winning, they will begin to root for another team which has more wins. We change our minds on a whim. When we make plans in our own hearts, they are very changeable. When one dream gets too hard for us, we chase after another. When that one dead ends, we are off to yet a third endeavor. So it is with man’s plans. God’s plans are different. When God has a plan for us, it is steady. He knows the beginning and ending, as well as every bump on the road in between. So many people have left the path ordained for them by God only to wander from dream to dream and then to finally end up the path God had intended for them from the beginning. How much time would save if we just did it God’s way from the beginning? How much pain would we spare ourselves if we didn’t give in to our fickle nature? God’s plan will always be the best plan.