Today is the Women’s World Day of Prayer. The WWDP is held on the first Friday of every March. This year’s theme is “Streams in the desert” and the official programme was provided by women in Egypt. Go here for more information.
We had a lovely and rejuvenating service over at Nigel Methodist. The Minister spoke about how, when we are fed by the wellspring of God’s grace, this has a ripple effect on our homes, our friends and family, our places of work and worship–because whomever we encounter will encounter others.
In that spirit, here is a prayer (for International Women’s Day):
Women are a reflection of the glory of God. Today we honor the women of all times and all places:
Women of courage.
Women of hope.
Women living fully.
Women experiencing joy.
Women delighting in life.
Women knowing the interconnectedness of the human family.
Women honoring the sacredness of the relational, the affective.
Women quietly tending the garden of human flourishing.
Women boldly leading the transformation of unjust global structures.
Women seeking Wisdom.
Women sharing Wisdom.
Women receiving Love.
Women giving Love.
Women: the image of God.
Loving God, we celebrate your faithfulness and love. On this day we commit ourselves to the promotion of the full humanity of all women everywhere. We know that whatever denies, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is not of God.
Help us to be faithful to your call to love.
The topic for our Bible study this week is demons: whether they exist, the extent of their influence, the position of our church (the Methodist denomination) on demons and the like, the role of psychology, exorcisms, cursed objects, angels, et cetera. Since I’m researching it anyway, I thought I’d highlight some of the more interesting things I found, whether I personally agree with them or not. In no particular order:
- “Satan will hand you self-pity like candy.” An interesting article from RELEVANT magazine that summarises spiritual warfare.
- “In case you haven’t noticed, the devil loves a vacuum. He loves it when we leave him just enough space to bring in spirits of doubt, heaviness and fear.” An insightful article from Charisma magazine.
- This article on territorial demons and generational demons. Makes the point that we can’t just push blame for our sinning on to demonic influence.
- There has been a bit of a boom in the exorcism business; the Catholic church cites people dabbling with occult practices as one of the reasons behind the rise in demonic possessions.
- Protecting yourself against fallen angels (especially of relevance to the angel-loving crowd).
- A post about cursed objects.
- “A Methodist exorcism”, recounted from one of John Wesley’s journals.
- Guidelines for exorcism in the Methodist Church, according to “Statements and reports of the Methodist Church on faith and order, Vol I 1933-1983″ (pdf; see last few pages).
- “A warning against the warfare worldview”. It seems to boil down to: do we believe that the war against Satan can be lost? Or has it already been won?
- A berth of articles warning about the dangers of deliverance ministry (the danger seems to be too much reliance on our authority in Christ rather than on Christ Himself). And this article on whether you need deliverance or not.
- And of course, the flipside: “Are Guardian Angels biblical?” and “Do we have Guardian Angels?”
How about a poll?
A Prayer for Grace
from Carmina Gadelica
I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me
In the eye of the Son who died for me
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me
In love and desire.
Pour down upon us from heaven
The kindness of Thy forgiveness:
Thou who art uppermost in the city
Be Thou patient with us.
Grant to us, Thou Saviour of Glory
The fear of God, the love of God, and His affection
And the will of God to do on earth at all times
As angels and saints do in heaven:
Each day and night give us Thy peace
Each day and night give us Thy peace.
Last Sunday our church was blessed with a visit from CrossRoad, a worship band from Boksburg. They rocked both morning services, even the hymn sandwich crowd (much to everyone’s surprise, including, probably, the hymn sandwich crowd itself).
There was the kind of clapping and hand raising that would have embarrassed kids who’d brought along not-particularly-religious friends (I say this as a former not-particularly-religious friend).
Altogether it was fun and Spirit-filled. If you’re in the Gauteng area and looking to line up a worship gig for your church, do check out their website. They’ve got two CDs out, Rock of Ages Revisited and the more recent A New Beginning. Some of their songs are available for download here.
Hopefully they will risk visiting stolid Heidelberg again :).
Though I can’t say I’m rooting for a return of Spirit-inspired PDA :(.
The real problem with “Love the sinner; hate the sin” is that hate comes so much more naturally to us. . .
And when you start hating sin, you’ll find it is oh so much easier to hate other people’s sin — i.e., sins toward which you have no particular inclination — than your own. Which makes you no less sinful than those you judge, but a lot more hypocritical.
I say let’s focus on just trying to “love the sinner” for a while. When and if we get that down — if we learn to truly love sinners as Jesus did — then maybe we can talk about hating their sins.
Read the whole post here.
[Your spiritual food] must be continually sought. Do not try to live on last year’s manna. Stale experiences are poor food… [Y]ou need to have a daily realisation of the things of God.
[B]e not idlers with the Word of God–search it. Get up early in the morning to read your Bible if you cannot do it at others times. Steal from your sleep a happy hour to read the Scriptures. Diligently and earnestly seek the Lord, for He has said, “They that seek Me early shall find Me.”
–Charles Spurgeon, ‘Lessons from the Manna’, no. 2332. Read the whole sermon here (it’s in PDF format and free to download).
I acknowledge that the reality of your love is so much bigger than the doubt of my emotions.
I am so grateful that you, creator of the universe, love me as personally and intimately as you do.
I pray to walk my life with you, Lord, and to never forget that it is a journey to something more.
I pray that, as I walk this path, enough of your light will shine through my brokenness to illuminate the journeys of the people around me.
I pray for the wisdom to realise how foolish I really am.
Thank you Lord, Father, Creator, Friend, for your endless mercy and generosity and grace. Direct me in all I do.
A very belated Happy New Year’s from YMHM! I hope that this apology slip will help you repair the familial bridges scourged during the holiday period. Alternatively I suggest leaving everything behind: getting in your car and driving till the fuel runs out, then hitchhiking across a dry expanse of desert using a fake name, finding work in bars, getting into fights and generally being consumed by a trickery of nostalgia and regret… Or deleting people off Facebook. Whatever works for you.
I hope that your 2014 is good, but not so good that you worry that it’s too good to be true and all about to go horrendously wrong. Just good enough that next year might be even better.