Greetings to you all
On this Veteran’s Day, the honor and gratitude that is due all those whose sacrifices have protected freedom for Americans is far more than words can say. In their dedication to defending the nation and protecting fellow citizens, many veterans have borne severe burdens from battle – often with scars and injuries lasting a lifetime. To all those who serve now, we say a heartfelt thank you.
For all family members of veterans serving recently or decades ago, may the honor due to their lives and legacies bring comfort and blessed memories for you today!
A keynote of our calling as followers of Jesus in these challenging times, is found in Ephesians 6:17-18:
“And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.
With every prayer and petition, pray at all times in the Spirit, and to this end be alert, with all perseverance and requests for all the saints.”
This clarion call, so vividly portrayed as part of spiritual warfare, is far more practical than we sometimes imagine. We have at our very fingertips the “sword” that is described. Within the pages of God’s Word, we can tap into examples, promises and principles that shape our focus on God’s will for any situation we may fa
It isn’t a mystical secret. It’s not reserved for some elite group of people who have expertise in prayer. Rather, the “sword” of which the Apostle speaks is simply declaring God’s Word in any prayer of any kind at any time!
The examples we find in Scripture not only inform the way we pray now; they also elevate our understanding of what it means to bring the simplest of prayers to the throne of grace. (Hebrews 4:16)
The daily reality of bringing prayer into the troubles and tests of life is accented by illustrations such as the “sword”. These truths are an anchor for our souls while we watch and wait for God’s answers in our lives. This is such an awesome honor to share.
But sometimes, when pressures or problems appear to be overwhelming, we may struggle to know how to really tap into the honor of prayer. It’s for this reason, I believe, that Jesus told His disciples to “watch and pray”. In that simple command, Jesus empowers each of us to carry out this vital ministry of prayer.
We’ve all heard or used the phrase “a world of hurt” and yet, rarely have we seen a more distressing series of catastrophic events as in this time of profound crisis for the Israeli people. The vicious evil of antisemitism that has erupted on university campuses and in street riots outside of the White House and other public venues clearly reveals a poisonous evil that can only be cured by the infusion of the eternal truths of God’s Word. Though these are dark days, reflecting a severe moral crisis that runs deep in the currents of our culture, these tough times point us to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus in ways that are potent and very relevant for each of us.
Our brief exploration of parables this month takes us directly to the heart of the teachings of Jesus.
Tomorrow, we’ll explore a principle behind these parables that can sharpen our focus in prayer for Israel, for all those whose lives are affected by the tragic aftermath of the brutal attacks on Israel, and for a peace that reaches into the hearts of all people – across all ethnic boundaries, including those caught up in the conflicts of this turbulent time in the Middle East.
We pray for all those whose cities, communities and congregations are affected by the war and suffering that so many are experiencing due to the vicious assaults upon Israel that occurred just five weeks ago.
As we do so, we know that the Word of God itself is our “sword”. It’s the best of all swords! For this is not a sword of injury but a sword for healing. The sword in Ephesians 6:17b is a symbol of action, reminding us of the decisive forward-leaning attitude God gives all who stand for truth, against the evils of our day.
While we watch and wait for the conquest of Christ to bring an end to all forms of evil, our task in prayer is to apply God’s Word to each situation we face.
Human weapons fail in the face of the deep depravity of cruel and barbaric assaults such as those launched against the Jewish people.
The crisis of such vicious antisemitism is a reminder of how deep and deceptive a poisonous ideology can be. It also shows us why “the sword of the Spirit” is described so vividly in Ephesians 6: He has placed a living sword in our hands. It highlights the absolute necessity of having God’s Word close to our hearts and “within reach” of our hands. Prayers within Scripture are a perfect way to start when we are uncertain as to how to pray.
When we pray the Word of God, we have the assurance that all who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness will find their refuge in God. This includes individuals of all ethnic groups and in every nationality. The Gospel is not bound by time, ethnicity or borders. It reaches the humble and the hungry in every place. Those words “every prayer and petition” in Ephesians 6:18 aim our attention at the simplicity of prayer. We can take, literally, any problem that concerns us and convert our worry into a specific prayer. That bold believing approach is exactly what Ephesians 6:10-20 instructs us to do.
Closer to home, on the “front porch” of our own lives, the same powerful truths call us to prayer as well. Is there a place where pressure or stress feels overwhelming to you today?
We welcome the opportunity to link up with you for prayer on any front that is of concern to you.
You may share via a reply to this email or in a text or email at any other time. We love to lift these needs and we do so boldly, expectantly and gratefully. Together we can rest assured that “every prayer and petition” is of immediate importance in the eyes of the Lord. The care and infinite wisdom that the Holy Spirit promises to all who pray is truly a treasure beyond measure.
The good news God promises for all who “watch and pray” is personal, practical and priceless!
Online church ~ on Facebook live only on November 12th
It’s such a pleasure for us to welcome each of you who join us for live-stream or via Facebook live. Your comments and questions, prayer requests and notes mean a lot to us. Let us know anytime we can be of help. One of my great joys is to connect one-on-one with anyone who needs a friend, to pray or process a problem or an opportunity in life.
Special note for Sunday November 12th: While the dedicated media team members who run live-stream are away on vacation, we’ll have Facebook Live only for November 12th.
Our website live-stream and YouTube version will resume on Nov 19th
View the service live online
Saturday, November 18th ~ Love in Action Liberty Ladies’ Ministry Brunch @ 10:00 AM
Sunday, November 19th ~ Communion in Worship in our 10:15 AM service
Wednesday, November 29th ~Christmas Decorations Get-together
10:00 AM – 1:30 PM ~ decorating sanctuary/foyer areas (lunch provided)
sign-up sheet on Connections Table
Advent in Worship for 2023 ~ December 3rd, 10th and 24th
and during Candlelight Service on Dec 23rd @ 6:00 PM [see schedule note below]
Our December schedule includes two special events ~ plan now to join us!
Birthday Breakfast for Jesus ~ a fun annual family celebration @ 10:00 AM on December 17th
Candlelight Service ~ Saturday December 23rd (on the night prior to Christmas Eve) @ 6:00 PM
“From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is exalted
over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.”
(Psalm 113:3-4 NIV)
In His love,
P.O. Box 295
Westminster MD 21158
Pastor’s cell: 410.596.4096