First Presbyterian Church

First Presbyterian Church
221 North Main Street
Belvidere, IL 61008
815-544-6402

Monday, January 7, 2013

Script #125


Beloved,

1. As we "let go and let Him" on the corner of Lincoln and Main, there are so many miracles almost every day!  For example, if you were in worship yesterday, you heard the powerful story of Jodie Harrison.  If you missed it/her, go to the archived version via www.bnnsradio.com and catch up!  Anyway, I visited a member of our family of faith earlier this morning who was not in worship yesterday and she/he shared almost the same thing with me that Jodie shared with me nearly 30 years ago!  Praise the Lord for authentic healing!

2. Don't miss the opportunity on 1/13/13 after the second worship service (see below)!

3. Don't be spooked!  Check out the attached scratch on Biblical not hocus-pocus-simple-Simon-says spiritual warfare!

Blessings and Love!

Scratching the Surface

of

Spiritual Warfare

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Victory)

It’s possible to distinguish the Lord’s light from darkness.

It’s possible to distinguish people living in the Lord’s light from people living in darkness.

God and His accomplices build bridges, relationships, friendships, and families; forgiving, reconciling, healing, helping, inviting, welcoming, including, elevating, and encouraging.

God says, “Come to Me, all and everyone who are weary and burdened, and I will take care of you and give you…”

God’s accomplices cooperate with His caring call.

Satan, the architect of darkness, and its accomplices tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, and seek to
destroy.

Satan says, “You’re no good.  You’re bad.  You’re useless.  You’re not invited, welcomed, included, or loved.  You don’t belong.”

Here’s the good news: “Darkness cannot overcome the Lord’s light…My children, you have come from God and have conquered these spirits because the One who lives within you is greater than the one in this world…Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Of course, as Luther cautioned, Satan is “a clever trickster” and its accomplices are sneaky, secretive, slimy, and slithering among the faithful like sleeper cells: “It/they come as angels of light.”  Jesus said, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Denise Frangipane: “Satan is a master of illusions.  He plays upon our weaknesses and exaggerates our problems.”  It/they come at our moments of vulnerability.

Certainly, victory is guaranteed for people who really believe in Jesus and are intimate with Him; or as Francis Frangipane wrote, “How do we defeat the enemy?  Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips.  It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.”

Moretheless, Paul used the metaphor of a Roman soldier preparing for battle to remind us of how/why we can live victoriously (read Ephesians 6:10-20).

Here’s an example of how to pray with Paul’s metaphor as a guide:

            Lord, I thank You for providing all I need to live victoriously!

            You are all I need to live victoriously!

            Aware of the dark influences conspiring to move my mind from You,
            I close the psychic door; barricading it with the cross of Christ and
            sealing it with His blood.  Knowing You have granted volition to me,
            I only open this door for You.

            I wear the helmet of salvation which is lined with the promises of Your
            affection and protection.  Making all thoughts captive to You and
            protecting my mind which is a battleground for spiritual warfare, this
            helmet covers my ears, eyes, and mouth so I do not hear, see, or speak
            in unGodly ways.  I will not entertain anyone/anything that distracts me
            from Your holiness.

            I place the breastplate of righteousness over my heart which is the
            wellspring of my life.  This is not my goodness.  It is Your great
            graciousness that protects me.

            I wear Your belt of truth.  Your truth protects me.

            I wear Your gospel shoes of peace; therefore, I can stand firm, balanced,
            and always ready to follow You.  Firmly footed, I look up, stand up,
            speak up, and act up for You.

            I take the shield of faith, my trust and confidence in You as saving Lord,
            to protect me from the fiery darts, deceptions, lies, assaults, accusations,
            and all other dark strategies.  With the hinges of this shield, I am linked
            to all of the saints for protection of family, home, possessions, and
            church.

            I wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the Bible.  The Bible contains
            Your pure prescriptions for living victoriously.  Defensively, I can
            distinguish Your light from darkness because of the Bible.  Offensively,
            I can bring Your love, light, and salt into the world because of the Bible.

            I wrap myself in the mantle of praise because You “inhabit” the praises
            of Your people.  As my praises go up, Your blessings come down.

            I place Your cross before me as a banner and guide.  I have decided to
            follow You!  No turning back!  The cross before me!  The world behind
            me!  No turning back!  Though none go with me, yet I will follow You!
            No turning back!

            Thank You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for protecting and preserving
            me from here to eternity as I pray in Your holy, holy, holy name.  Amen.

In short, as Luther taught us to sing victoriously, “One little word shall fell
him!…Dost ask who that may be?  Christ Jesus, it is He!…And He must win
the battle!”

Or as many have done so victoriously when it/they come knocking at the door, “Jesus, please get that for me.  Thank You!”

Are you still looking for a different way to do church?
Are you tired of the SOSO RELIGION?
Are you put off by posers in pews, politics and pulpits?
Try our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main!
(Belvidere, Illinois)
Sundays at 7:20 and 10:00 a.m. and so much…

Scratching the Surface

of

Visitation

(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Visiting the Sick)

Jesus said, “As you do it for others, you do it for Me…I was sick and you visited Me.”

While everyone is called to Matthew 25 ministries, some family of faith members are especially gifted for hospital, nursing home, and shut-in visitation ministry.

This is a brief, incomplete, and indicative not exhaustive guide to visiting the sick.

Reminders


While hospitals and nursing homes are conduits of God’s miracles of modern medicine and despite the noble intentions of caring administrators, doctors, nurses, technicians, therapists, aides, and volunteers, being in a hospital or nursing home is always inconvenient, discomforting, and disconcerting; and it’s often disappointing, depressing, and filled with anxieties about life never being the same again. 


Waiting for test results, bed pans, sitz baths, snoring roommates, commotion in the halls at all hours, unfamiliar food, needles, tubes, strangers coming and going and invading personal space, and more than hints of mortality add to the stress.

Often necessary yet usually unpleasant, nobody looks forward to being shut-in or confined to a hospital or nursing home.

Suggestions


1. Prepare for your visit with prayer; trusting the Lord for the right words at the right times along with a comforting countenance.

2. Try to learn something about what’s going on before visiting; but do not ask questions about the diagnosis or prognosis during the visit!

3. Beware of “diarrhea of the mouth” or talking too much and listening too little!  When in doubt, listen!  When you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything!  A listening ministry is often more helpful than a verbal testimony.  The length and agenda of the visit is not for you to determine.

4. Do not force your way into the person’s personal space!  If the door is closed or there’s a “No Visitors” sign on the door, you can leave a note.

5. Do not visit anyone unless the joy of Jesus is in you and it/He shows! 

6. Stay away from inappropriate clichés like, “I know how you feel.”  You don’t; unless you have had the same challenge.  Regardless, let the person tell you how she/he feels and don’t tell them how you feel unless asked.  Remember, it’s not about you.  It’s about the person who is being visited.

7. Don’t encourage false hopes/expectations!  Don’t declare what only God knows!

8. Don’t overstay your visit or exhaust the person.

9. If she/he already has visitors, introduce yourself and, exercising some common sense, excuse yourself as appropriate.

10. Share your faith if asked.  Again, the length and agenda of the visit is not for you to decide.

11. Stand or sit where the person can see you effortlessly; and never sit or lean on the person’s bed.

12. Do not whisper to family, friends, hospital staff, or anyone within sight of the person.

13. Never question the person about the details of their sickness; and never question or criticize the treatment, institution, staff, or anything related to the hospital or nursing home.  If you have concerns, bring them up to appropriate staff out of the presence and hearing of the person.

14. Before leaving, suggest prayer; but do not pray too long or loudly.

I’ll never forget hearing about the child who said, “I like Jesus because He is God with skin on.”  You are the enfleshment of His love in the hospital, nursing home, or with a shut-in; or as the apostle aspired, “It is no longer I who live but it is Jesus who lives in/through me.”

Mother Teresa got it/Him: “Let us remember that Jesus has said: ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it to Me.’ Just think – that little smile that you give to a lonely person, that hand you give to a blind person to cross the road, that little bit of food you sacrifice from someone who is hungry, you do it for Him.”


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