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Sunday, November 22, 2015

"We Praise Thee, O God, Our Redeemer, Creator" - 22 November 2015 AM and PM

Sunday morning:

We praise Thee, O God, our Redeemer, Creator, In grateful devotion our tribute we bring; We lay it before Thee, we kneel and adore Thee, We bless Thy holy Name, glad praises we sing.
As your congregation, we give thanks to you, O God, because you give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ‘s death and resurrection. Therefore, aid us that we may be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord Jesus, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15.57-58).  And similarly, give us the strength and self-control to never repay evil for evil, but to always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. To rejoice always, pray with ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances for this is your will for us in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5.15-18).

For your Church throughout the world, The Christian Reformed Church; United Reformed Church of North America; Reformed Church U.S.; Netherlands Reformed Church; the Evangelical Presbyterian Church; The PCA; the United Church of Canada; and the Association of Independent Methodists: that together we would lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and we would run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of your throne, O God. And that we would consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that we may not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12.1-3).

We intercede for brothers and sister, friends and foes. O Lord God, provide shelter and safe haven for those in the thick of life’s storms – whether its disease or bodily ailments…family or vocational jeopardy….financial or emotional woes….

Guide the leaders of every nation, especially in battle-weary lands, ravished and wrecked regions: for the sake of your Church, the honor of your name, and the good of many, bring sensible resolutions that will further safety and security, peace and prosperity, goodness and gallantry, compassion and courtesy, education and medicine, fresh water and full bellies.

Finally, God of merciful kindness, who does not desire the death of the sinner, but that they should turn and live (Ezekiel 18.23): For our friends, family members, neighbors, antagonists, leaders, magistrates and public servants who have turned their backs to you and not their faces (Jeremiah 2.27)……, cause them to recognize their perilous position, grant them repentance and lead them to a knowledge of the truth that they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been captured by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2.25-26).


Sunday evening:

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old” (Micah 7.18-20). Glory to you, Lord God, Most High!

LORD God, we pray for your one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in all places, to include Faith Fellowship Church; Faith Tabernacle; New Beginning Fellowship; Oklahoma City Family Church; Restoration Community Church; and Shekinah Fellowship. Since “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully,” make us cheerful givers, and make all grace abound to us, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work. And you who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness (2 Corinthians 9.6-8, 10). O Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord God, we have so many reasons to give you thanks. As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday may gratitude and gratefulness swell in our hearts and from our lips, and ungratefulness and unthankfulness wither away. Favorably overshadow our time with family and friends during this season that our festivities may be fortunate and fitting. And may this be a season when many who may not be in the habit, will turn to you and voice your praise. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Father, who has given us parents to honor; guide the children of this congregation to obey their parents in the Lord because this is right. For the first commandment you gave with a promise is “Honor you father and mother that it may be well with you and that you may live long (Ephesians 6.1-3). Also, Father, guide the grown children who have struck out on their own now, launched their careers and begun their own families, to remember to honor their parents with respect and thankfulness, courteously receiving whatever godly counsel and advice their mothers and fathers extend to them. And Father, guide the adult children of this church to honorably care for, and wisely attend to, their aging parents in ways that show love, appreciation, respect; in ways that will be best. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"It's Biblical, Not Political!" by Dr. James Taylor. A Very Short Review

It's Biblical, Not Political! How To Line Candidates Up BiblicallyIt's Biblical, Not Political! How To Line Candidates Up Biblically by Dr. James Taylor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A book by an African-American Evangelical minister promoting politically conservative positions. The book is heavily documented with biblical and historical sources, as well as material from the likes of David Barton, Gary Demar, Russ Walton, John Eidsmoe, the Ryrie Study Bible, Tim LaHaye, and many others. "It's Biblical, Not Political!" leans to the side of the old Moral Majority and Theonomic camps. The author also defends the position that the U.S.A. has a Biblical, moral and divine mandate to support the modern state of Israel. The book is written as a guide for screening political candidates, questions to ask and answers to listen for. If that's your kind of thing, then you may like "It's Biblical, Not Political!"

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"2016 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide" - A Review

2016 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide2016 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide by Sean Weaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book, enjoyable features. There are multiple authors picking up somewhere on the human timeline, whether in the 1800s or off into the future. The stories are short enough to keep attention, long enough to develop story-lines and characters, and fun enough to enjoy.

"2016 Young Explorer's Adventure Guide" exhibits some of the most promising YA fiction writers. There is enough diversity to keep a reader looking forward to the next story. I recommend the book.

My thanks to the publisher for the e-copy used for this review.

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"First Defense" by Dr. David Hopkins Jr. A Review

First Defense: Anxiety and Instinct for Self ProtectionFirst Defense: Anxiety and Instinct for Self Protection by David Hopkins Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When looking for ways to defend yourself, it is easy to assume programs and products are the simplest and quickest answer. But because violence is often chaotic, other things may be necessary to have a well-rounded approach to self-defense. Dr. David Hopkins Jr., psychologist, martial artist, Krav Maga instructor, and co-owner of Israeli School Security, has taken in hand the task of combining psychotherapy, psychology and personal protection in his easy-to-read 177 page paperback, "First Defense: Anxiety and Instinct for Self-Protection".

Hopkins' approach is to help the reader learn to enhance anxiety, and then employ it like an intelligence satellite. To learn to trust one's own anxiety and instincts in critical and crucial settings. For the author, using anxiety as an ally is far different from slipping into "a fear response of panic" (20). When fear and panic take over one shuts down or freezes. But when a person learns to use anxiety, she is freed from tunnel vision and is taking in - or experiencing - the environment, the people around her or the person engaging her, as well as a wider range of perceptions (24); thus giving her an almost intuitive ability to respond and survive.For the purpose of aiding a reader to learn how to enhance their use of anxiety, Hopkins has loaded his book with numerous exercises and space for journaling perceptions, thoughts, actions and reactions. Once one has gotten a handle on using their own anxiety to their benefit, then the other side of the coin is to learn to use the predator's anxiety against himself, which Hopkins spends time explaining and exhibiting.

"First Defense" has very little to do with the technical aspects of self-defense. There are no diagrams or descriptions of how to perform cool take-downs, disarms or drops. In fact Hopkins is quite reticent to say, "Do this in that do that in this event." His whole goal is exactly what the book's subtitle expresses, learning to use anxiety and instinct for self-protection. By grasping what the author is promoting, and supplementing their martial arts training with it, one will gain a well-rounded approach to self-defense. I strongly recommend the book.

Much thanks to YMAA for the free copy of the book used for this review.

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Sunday, November 15, 2015

"All Praise to God, Who Reigns Above" - 15 November 2015 AM and PM

Sunday morning:
All praise to God, who reigns above, the God of all creation, the God of wonders, pow’r and love, the God of our salvation! With healing balm my soul He fills, the God who every sorrow stills. To God all praise and glory!

We call upon you to lift up your face on this your congregation, that as we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so we would walk in him; rooted and built up in him, and established in the Faith, as we have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving (Colossians 2.6-7). And help us, O Lord, to advance godly peace with those who are at odds with us, or scorn us, and that if possible, so far as it depends on us, we would live peaceably with all (Romans 12:18).

For your Church throughout the world, those congregations in the Society of St. Pius X; the Philippine Independent Church; Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church; National Association of Free Will Baptists; the Church of Denmark; the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland; Uniting Church in Australia; the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and Taiwan.  Give strength, courage and joy to the faithful; give hope and assurance to the doubtful; give help and aid to the needful; give reformation and restoration to the culpable.

We remember those who are tossed about on the stormy seas of emotional and physical torment, as well as those scrambling to get above the insurmountable troubles of their life… We ask you to look kindly on them and supply them with every good and perfect gift that may restore them and encourage their hearts that they may rise up above their troubles and give you thanks until their dying days and beyond.

We cry out to you to intervene in the lives and hearts of those who have their backs to you and have never turned to face you in Jesus……

Please, mighty God, guide our magistrates, legislators and judges, as well as the leaders of all the nations of this earth: may they make good decisions and pass just laws; may they labor hard toward peace, harmony, justice and prosperity; may they bring a halt to human and drug trafficking; and may goodness prevail in all lands.

Finally, Lord Jesus, resurrected and enthroned on high, who must reign until you have put all your enemies under your feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26): we think upon and mourn over the murderous bloodshed in Paris and Lebanon this past week, and we cry out to you: Lord, have mercy! We cry out to you, King of kings and Lord of lords, to break the evil abilities, schemes and intentions of evil men.  And bring your aid, healing and restoration to the ones presently suffering from the cowardly actions.


Sunday evening:

Lord God, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in your being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, the only living and true God; We rejoice in your decrees, your eternal purpose working out according to the counsel of your will, whereby, for your own glory, you have foreordained whatsoever comes to pass (WSC 4, 5, 7). Glory to you, Lord God, Most High!

LORD, be with your people here and world over, to include Faith Bible Church-Edmond; Maranatha Church; Cathedral of Praise; Church at the North Gate; Eagles Crest Fellowship; Eastpointe Community Church; and Faith Church. As Hosea put it, so help us to do: “Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” because you desire steadfast love and not sacrifice; the knowledge of God rather than burnt offering (Hosea 6.3, 6). O Lord, hear our prayer.

Shepherd of the Church, as the elders and deacons come together for our retreat this week, we ask you to be present in the formal and informal conversations, camaraderie, and coordination. For our leadership and fellowship may the end result be the very thing Paul desired, when he wrote, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). O Lord, hear our prayer.

Merciful God, we pray for those we know who are not Christians, or those who have trailed off into dangerous paths…may they hear, heed and live into Hosea’s summons; “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.” (Hosea 12:6). O Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord God, there are loads of other concerns we have……fears…….anxieties…….. aspirations….. longings….….aims..…..ambitions…...Mercifully incline your ear to us who have now made our prayers and supplications unto you; and grant that those things which we have faithfully asked according to your will, may successfully be obtained, to the glory of your name, the good of our brothers and sisters, and the relief of our necessities. O Lord, hear our prayer.

Friday, November 13, 2015

"Faith of our Fathers: Expositions of Genesis 12-25" by Dale Ralph Davis. A Review

Faith of our Father: Expositions of Genesis 12-25Faith of our Father: Expositions of Genesis 12-25 by Dale Ralph Davis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dale Ralph Davis smacks another ball out of the park with this recently published, 176 page paperback book. The chapters are around eight pages long, but easy to read, thus making this material delightful devotional reading on Genesis 12 through 25. The main points are set in bold, and the substance is nourishing, warm, instructive, substantive, biblical, sometimes delightfully counter cultural, and easy to follow. These are sermons Dr. Davis has preached at First Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Columbia, SC.

"Faith of our Fathers' is ideal for individual reading, group discussion, family devotions, and Adult Bible studies. Everyone who delves into the chapters will walk away glad they've read the book. I unreservedly and unhesitatingly recommend this book!

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"Guide to Prayer: For Ministers and Other Servants" A Review.

Guide to Prayer: For Ministers & Other ServantsGuide to Prayer: For Ministers & Other Servants by Rueben P. Job
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A functional devotional for ministers. Each day has a great opening prayer, then a scripture reading that seems to have very little rhyme or reason; A Psalm for the week; a set of eight or nine readings from various authors like George MacDonald, Henri Nouwen, Theresa Avila, Gregory of Nyssa, Charles de Foucald and many others; space for silent and written, reflection; A hymn for the week; and a benediction. There are also twelve monthly retreat models, maybe something a covenant group could use to lay the foundation to a season of communal prayer.

The goal of this work appears to be to facilitate the practice of daily prayer, meditation, lectio divina, and communion with God by forming and shaping the habit of Scripture reading and prayer for the minister. One of the clear benefits of a minister employing this material is that none of it is following the lectionary, or lectio continua, and therefore is not for sermon preparation or other utilitarian approaches. In other words, this book is simply for soul-care. If you're looking for a tool to use to use for your own personal maintenance, then I recommend "Guide to Prayer: For Ministers and Other Servants."

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