Praying for my friends & country!

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As a Christian, and a citizen of this country, I observe that more than ever the art of discourse in our land appears to be lost.  When people disagree, the discussion turns to name calling, rather than the issue being discussed, much less the truth (or half truths)!   In God’s Church, I look across the Christ Church community and see God’s people gathered on Sundays to receive the means of grace – His Word, and His Sacrament from across racial, political, and socio – economic divide.  For we, at Christ Church Westshore are a Christ Centered Anglican Church, not a church of the far right (which creates modern day Pharissees / Legalists), or the far left (for Scripture does include imperatives that call us to a life Holiness which is where abundant life is to be found)!  Having that identity, you may ask

“So now what?”

As Christians, whether as  Republican, Democrat, or independent we live as dual citizens—sojourning here on earth while we lift our eyes and eagerly await our coming King.

While our country has transitioned its leadership, I plead to you all to remember  that we, and all our friends, even those lifelong friends that you see on Facebook / Twitter that you disagree with are created in God’s image!  Jesus is our eternal Lord, and our ultimate hope.

Therefore, I would encourage you to use these passages to guide your prayers for your friends, and our country over the next 90 days!  These nine passages can help center our gaze on Christ—our just king who reigns now and promises to return, bringing true and lasting peace.

1. Philippians 3:17-4:1

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

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2. Jeremiah 23:5-6

Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

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3. Psalm 72:11-19

May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him! For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight. Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed! Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

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4. Mark 10:35–45

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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5. Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

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6. Isaiah 9:6-7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

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7. 1 Timothy 2:1-6

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

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8. Psalm 75:1-7

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds. “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity. When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars. I say to the boastful, ‘Do not boast,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horn; do not lift up your horn on high, or speak with haughty neck.’” For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another.

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9. John 14:27-31

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I will come to you.” If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.

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Making Sunday Special

Jesus Ministering to Great Crowds!  The State of the Church Address ’17

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Take some time today, tomorrow, and Saturday and read the text for this Sunday – Jan 22nd – Epiphany 3, asking the Lord to prepare your heart for what He would have for you as we gather together this Sunday at Christ Church!

Matt 4:12 – 25     12 Now when he heard that John had been arrestedhe withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the seain the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali,14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

15 The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtalithe way of the seabeyond the JordanGalilee of the Gentiles16  the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great lightand for those dwelling in the region and shadow of deathon them a light has dawned.” 17 From that time Jesus began to preachsayingRepentfor the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

18 While walking by the Sea of Galileehe saw two brothers,Simon (who is called Peterand Andrew his brothercasting a net intothe seafor they were fishermen. 19 And he said to themFollow me,and I will make you cfishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left theirnets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two otherbrothersJames the son of Zebedee and John his brotherin the boatwith Zebedee their fathermending their netsand he called them.22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

[23] And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. [24] So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. [25] And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.