Worship in Women’s Ministry by Sheila Thomas

Hurricane Irma Recovery & Relief:  We are still collecting data on how and when our long distance friends can help the recovery and relief efforts.  Many areas are inaccessible until the power company can clear downed lines and ensure the area is safe.  We will update on how you can help as soon as information is available.  Please note, if you have family in The Florida Keys:  Power, landline phones, and cellular service is out throughout the keys.  However reports of those who stayed behind on the islands has so far been good.  They are ok, just unable to call family to check in.

What in the Word Series contributor: Sheila Thomas on:

WHAT IN THE WORD DOES IT SAY ABOUT WORSHIP IN WOMEN’S MINISTRY?

worship1

Several months ago I was asked to speak about the importance of worship in women’s ministry today. I was honored and happy to do it. Why? It’s my heart. I love women’s ministry and I love worship.

So when thinking and praying about writing my article for this month, I felt led to share my thoughts again on this subject.

I feel it’s so important to ask God to show us how to worship. What does he want from us? He wants our adoration and praise. He wants us to “be in the moment” of praise and worship.

So many times it’s easy to be in a church service, but not really be there. You know what I mean? Our minds wander. We start thinking about our next day’s activities. What’s for dinner? What do I have to do tomorrow at work? Does my child have her homework done? Or worse yet, maybe you’re like me and you are easily distracted with the people surrounding you at church. “Oh, my! What was she thinking wearing THAT??!” Or “Gracious! She has a major sleep hole in her hair!”

Okay, maybe you’re not like me. I call it my crazy sense of humor. But really and truly, it could be me having a critical spirit. Lord, help me.

Years ago I found myself in a church where the musicians were less than good. Bless their hearts. They were doing their best, but for a music teacher (that’s me), I found it very hard to be able to focus on worship.

I began to talk to God about it and here’s what I heard Him say: You’re a music teacher. You are a trained musician. Your job all week long it to critique your students. It’s normal that you find yourself doing that in church. But close your eyes. Sing a little louder yourself and think of what you’re actually doing and not what they sound/look like.” I began to do that and found that I could actually worship God in spite of the less than excellent quality of the music.

Many things can distract us from worshipping God. Not even just in church, but in our everyday lives. We can find ourselves grumbling and complaining. We are sometimes just plain tired from all our necessary duties in our lives.

But God wants to be present in our everyday lives. Our days will go so much better if we will learn to praise Him instead of grumbling and complaining.

Worship is not just singing at church. Worship is done in our hearts and minds. So let’s look at what worship really is.

Worship:

The feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.

Honor given to someone in recognition of their merit.

Take part in a religious ceremony.

A divine encounter with God.

You can see from these definitions that it does not necessarily mean to sing. However we have come to think of worship as music done in a church service. For the sake of time, I’m going to be focusing on that today.

As a voice Teacher, I was interested to know that there are actually health benefits to singing.

Singing helps you to live longer, produces endorphins (the “happiness hormone”), helps the body produce oxytocin, which helps reduce stress, improves your cardiac rhythm, reducing the risk of heart disease. And if you sing correctly, if helps train your stomach muscles and diaphragm. It is a great exercise for your lungs, strengthens your immunity, increasing the concentration of immunoglobulin A, helps your brain develop, and it’s the best method to get better memory. If you sing with other people, you’ll find yourself feeling more self-confident! That’s how positive singing can be!

God thinks music is very important. There are at least 63 scriptures on music in the Bible.

Psalm 104:33: “I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”

Psa. 47: 1-2: “Come, everyone! Clap your hands! Shout to God with joyful praise! For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.”

I Tim. 2:8: “In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.”

One of my favorite verses is Zephaniah 3:17: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”

The Bible even speaks of winning battles through music. In II Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his Holiness as they went out at the head of the army, giving thanks to God because his love endures forever! And as they began to do this, the Lord sent ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, who were invading Judah, and they were defeated!

Battles are definitely won through our praise. When we sing and worship God together, we are creating an atmosphere for God to move. So important!

Our enemy, the devil, knows how important it is. Why do you think he messes in musicians’ lives so much? If he can cause them to be full of pride, jealousy, envy, lust, etc. , he can thwart God’s plans.

Many believe that Satan was the worship leader in heaven.

Christian and Jewish Biblical scholars draw conclusions from Ezekiel 28:12-17 and Isaiah 14:12-14, claiming that Satan was once an angelic musician; a great worship leader of Heaven. Equally studious examiners of the Word debate that these Scriptures are not referring to Satan and/or that referring to him as a worship leader is not indicated.

Whether or not Satan was a heavenly worship leader before his fall from heaven may be an ongoing debate until Jesus comes back. That he is an adversary of God is supported obviously in both New and Old Testament Scriptures (Zachariah 3:1-2;Job 2; Matthew 4:1-11; I Corinthians 10:21; Revelations 20:10).

Satan hates those who choose to praise and worship the Creator and he fights against them. He is especially concerned when believers gather together for corporate times of praise.


Focus on God creates the humble heart that attracts the favor of God. So Satan attempts to redirect the believer’s focus to anything but God. The most common way the enemy tries to interrupt the flow of corporate praise and worship is by stirring up pride and/or fear.

Whether it’s true or not that Satan was the worship leader, he definitely hates worshippers. How many times have you seen him affect the music as well as the people involved in church music?

Praise is a weapon of spiritual warfare. We must use it!

There will be music in heaven. The Bible speaks of it. Rev. 19:1-7 talks about singing, mass choirs, harps and being played.

We know that music is a gift from God and is important to Him. And not for just our pleasure, but to worship Him, to conquer the enemy, and for our own well being. I believe that our participation in worship is getting us ready to worship in Heaven.

In women’s ministry, worship is needed. Women are tired. They come to a church event needing to be refueled. Not only do we need to know the Scriptures and have fellowship and discussion time. Not only do we need to know ABOUT God. But we need to experience, worship and show our love to God. He loves our adoration and praise.

Battles are won through our worship. It takes our minds off ourselves. We put our thoughts and hearts on God. We lift our hands in praise and worship to Him.

Heaven is going to be a place full of worship. We are getting ready to participate in the BEST WORSHIP EVER!

“When we, God’s people, come into His presence with thanksgiving and praise, warfare is waged against our enemies, and our battles are won by the supernatural power of God. In the face of challenge and persecution, God’s people are to unite and praise Him. The enemy has no chance of winning against people who are consumed with praising God. There is no victory against those who rejoice in God’s great glory.” (From “Extravagant Worship” page 52 by Darlene Zschech)

II Chron. 5:4-8, 11-14 says that they were joining in unison in one voice giving praise and thanks to God. There’s something powerful about being in one accord. They were accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, and they raised their voices singing, “He is good; his love endures forever.”

Then it says that the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filed the temple of God. Who knows what would happen if we as women would get together and just praise Him together in unity.

God wants to meet with us. He wants us to have an encounter with the Holy Spirit as we worship together. It’s not just a duty or a part of the program to have a few little songs to sing. What would happen if we totally abandoned ourselves in worship and didn’t care what anyone else thought?

I realize there are programs and time constraints. We have to be considerate of those things. I don’t know about you, But I’m hungry to experience the fullness of God. To really see Him move. See permanent change in women. In our relationships. In our marriages. In our children and grandchildren. In our finances. In our health.

In order for this to happen, we have to spend some time with God. It just might be a sacrifice worth making. Granted, some are not comfortable with that. What if something weird happened? What if someone gets out of order? You know, I just think God is big enough to handle that. Are we really willing to forfeit the move of God because we fear something will get out of order or weird?

In God’s presence is where we get revelation and transformation. It’s where miracles happen. Lives are changed. People are delivered and we become more like Christ.

Let’s be willing to get out of our comfort zones. Let’s ask God to come visit our women’s ministry. Let’s not have our plans so firm that we can’t allow God to do what HE wants to do.

It’s not OUR ministry. It’s GOD’S ministry. Let’s welcome Him. Maybe more people will be changed than just in following our little ideas for ministry.

I’m tired of status quo. I’m ready for God to move. We need God. Our nation needs God. We could be the change the world needs to see! Let’s pray.

Growing in Godliness Together – Jenny Andrews

I was living in Los Angeles, California when I had met her.  I was new to the church I was attending and wasn’t sure what to expect from the mommy and me class. I just knew that I was lonely in motherhood and needed someone to say hi to me. She said hi and then invited me over to her house for burgers with the kids. My husband was getting ready to leave for war and I was so in need of support. I had been a Christian for about 1 year and was sure in need of godly women.

As we sat and chatted about who we were and how we came to be where we were now I told myself this woman is a safe person for me. I really love talking to her. That conversation was nearly 10 years ago and we have had hundreds of conversations since then.

I wasn’t always in a leadership role so when I took on a leadership role in the church after fighting with God about my skills and talents my sweet friend came with me on this journey. She lives in another state now but we talk regularly. She has heard my tears, joys, anger, and heart through many circumstances in ministry.

Leadership can be lonely, hard, and frustrating at times we all need a small handful of friends who can walk with us through some tough decisions in ministry. Leadership is not a journey that we walk on alone because God never intended us to be lone Christian rangers.  He created us to be relational. But how do you find that godly person to go to when times get tough or when you want to celebrate what the Lord is doing? Below are 3 important steps to take to finding the right person to walk through leadership with.

  1. Prayer for the Lord to send the right person to you. God cares about our relationships with others so He will gladly answer that prayer for the right person.
  2. After prayer, be intentional on educating yourself in what a good friend looks like and become one. We usually attract the type of people we want to be like. A great book called, “Safe People” by Henry Cloud is a great starting point to becoming a great friend and looking for healthy traits in other women.
  3. Look for woman who you can learn from and grow from with. Women who absolutely adore Jesus and will not compromise their relationship with the Lord for anyone. Women who will graciously call you out and hold you accountable.

My sweet sister in Christ has been through this leadership journey with me since day one; and continues to encourage me and challenge me in my walk with Jesus. She has prayed with me and for me on numerous occasions. We are growing in godliness together. We aren’t perfect but we are in love with Jesus and His word.

We are living in the last days where people will turn to their own ways and not acknowledge who God is.  But, one thing I know for sure about our Father He always leaves a remnant of people behind to stand glorify Him and His holy name. It may get harder to find those who hearts are set on God, but when you pray and seek Him He will send the people your way.

Remember you can’t do it alone friend you need others to help you lift your hands up like Moses had in Exodus 17:13 NLT:

Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So, Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So, his hands held steady until sunset.”

Those friendships are invaluable and you will not regret having them when you them the most.

Whose Words Do You Believe? by Aimee Nelson

biblestudy

Part of our ongoing contribution series:  Leading Ladies: Devotions for Leaders

Sitting at my kitchen table a few days ago, I hear my five year-old yell from the patio, “I am strong, I am big”. Hearing those words I stopped what I was doing and decided to listen in on the conversation he was having with his friend. I hear him say again “I am strong”, “I am big”, “I can do it”, “I can do anything”! This time I hear his voice quiver. As I continue to listen I no longer hear their voices but the stomping of little feet. Suddenly this five-year old ball of anger comes running in and stands in front of me. Arms folded, lips pursed and his eyes filling with tears. He says to me “mommy I’m not strong”.

I kneel down, scoop him up in my arms and give him a huge hug. He then proceeds to tell me how his little playmate was telling him he wasn’t strong, he wasn’t big and that he couldn’t do what they were doing. I immediately sense a teaching moment and it’s one that I don’t want to let slip by. I pull him closer and begin to tell him that he is big, he is strong and there is nothing that he can’t do. I tell him that he’s all of these things because God says he is. I let him know that he can accomplish anything because God’s word says that he can (Philip 4:13). He looks at me and smiles, sticks his chest out and walks away with a swagger that would make you think he just conquered the world.

As I was thanking the Lord for the opportunity to impart truth into my son, it was then that I felt the Lord ask me “what about you Aimee, who’s words are you believing”? I took a moment to reflect on the question. And in the honesty of the moment, I had to admit I too have not always believed God’s word. You see I have often fallen victim to the same words that tormented my five-year old. Many times I have stepped out to do something for the Lord but back tracked or failed to launch out because I believed the words of others.

Whether those words came from a well-meaning friend or have spewed from a heart of hurt I listened to them, I believed them. I believed their words over the words of my heavenly Father who commanded me to be bold, strong and courageous (Joshua 1:6). His word also says that “I am more than a conqueror” (Rom. 8:28). I have made a choice to start believing what He says about me.

Are there some negative words you have believed? Will you believe what God’s word says about you? Join me today as I choose to believe His word.

~Aimee

A Treatise on Discipleship By Trish Jones

“Vestiges of Vestal” (Do I have to have big hair?)”

This comment is going to date me, big-time – to the point where some of you might not even know to whom I am referring. But – I always wanted to look like Vestal Goodman.

vg

Internationally known as the Queen of Gospel Music, Vestal was a bigger-than-life, this-is-who-I-am-take-me-or-leave-me Southern belle. At Southern Gospel concerts, she easily commanded center stage with her gravelly voice, her ever-present hanky, and her flamboyant and flowing pant suits.

I loved those pant suits. I loved her style. I wasn’t a huge fan of her music, but I used to wish I could be more like her, or at least who she appeared to be. Unashamed of her size or her larger-than-life personality, Vestal Goodman was a “presence.”

So, for awhile, I tried to be a Vestal mini-me; right down to the Texas-sized big hair, five inches high and lacquered stiff enough to hold its shape in a downpour. I searched high and low for big-legged, flowered pants suits with long tunics in vivid colors. Found a few, too. I didn’t go quite so far as the hanky, but I did start quite a collection of chunky costume jewelry – something I’m known for to this day.

I watched what she did, what she wore, and how she acted, and did my level best to copy her mannerisms and her style. I was naturally a shy, lonely, and fearful introvert – but if I could convince myself to take on the public persona of Vestal Goodman, I could pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I learned to act like her, at least some of the time.

What I couldn’t have told you then – and still couldn’t until I Googled the singer’s biography – were the details of her life. Where she was born (Alabama) – how many children she had (two) – when she died (2003) – and that she battled an addiction (to prescription pain-killers after a fight with cancer). In other words, I didn’t know many real facts about, or was a true student of Vestal Goodman – I just tried to copy what I saw.

I was an admirer; a copycat; and a hypocrite. What I wasn’t – was a disciple.

—————————————–

Discipleship. That’s a buzz word in today’s church, and in our women’s ministries – but what does it really mean? Perhaps more importantly, what does the process of discipleship look like? How do we do it? Do we just find someone in our circle of friends and church family who looks like they may “have it all together” and try to mimic what they do?

Well, let’s see. They seem to be fairly regular in church attendance and they’re part of a Life Group. My life gets a little crazy at times, but I can probably do better at being more faithful in my church attendance. Check that box.

I know they study the Bible, I’ve heard them talk about their quiet time. I’ve not been very successful at that, but I’ll try harder. Go find a good devotional book for women, get up 15 minutes earlier, and spend time with God. Check that box.

They seem to be always smiling and know so many people! I don’t really know anyone here, and I’m too nervous to try and reach out to strangers. Well, some of us are just introverts and that’s okay. I’ll pass on that one.

I know she does some volunteer work with some ministry to the homeless, and I’ve heard her share the Gospel with a waitress when we were at the same restaurant. I’m not comfortable doing any of that, but maybe I can give a little more money to missions. Check.

Of course, I’m still struggling with my unsaved husband, and I’m terrified that my teen-aged daughter is having sex with her boyfriend, and I’m tired and depressed and frightened most of the time, but I don’t dare share that with anyone, they all seem like they can handle anything. I’ll just do what she does and try harder and maybe then God will give me what I need to get through this life.

Check. Out.

——————————————–

So. “Discipleship.” What is it? Is it just observing someone and trying to copy what you see? That, by itself, would be a daunting task. Is that enough?

Go deeper. In Christianity, who is a disciple? Are there two (or more) levels in Christianity; the first being a simple convert who stops there, and the second being a stage two Christian who learns more; and perhaps the third being a disciple-maker? (By the way, the Biblical answer is “no!”)

In passages like Acts 11:26 and Acts 14:21, the Bible is clear: disciples are Christians. No stages, no levels. Anyone who is a Christian, who embraces Jesus as Lord and Savior, is a disciple.

In what is known as the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19,20 Jesus gave his followers clear commands: “Go therefore and make disciples.” How? “Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

John Piper comments: That is a very long process. That is like a lifetime of process. So get them converted. Baptize them. And then spend a lifetime teaching them to obey all that Jesus said. That is what the verb “disciple” in the New Testament would include. People need to become Christians and people need to be taught how to think and feel and act as a Christian.”

So the question rises again: “how?”

The Apostle Paul had a visitor while he was under house arrest in Rome. Epaphras, the teaching elder of the church at Colossae, was seeking Paul’s advice on how to steer his church clear of false teachings that were threatening to undermine their faith in the sufficiency of Jesus. Paul answered the pastor’s questions by writing a letter to the general body of believers and leaders of this church the apostle had neither founded nor visited.

He wanted to make it abundantly clear that Jesus was enough – in all circumstances, for all seasons of life, and in the face of all assaults, questions, and ridicule.

This is part of Paul’s answer – to them and to us:

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ,  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 1:27-2:3 ESV)

There’s so much in this passage, but the complete exegesis isn’t what I’m after right now. Paul has given us an outline of discipleship – what it is and how to do it – whether on a one-to-one mentoring basis, or in a group setting. The apostle concisely lays out the who, what, when, where, why and how of discipleship.

Who (are we disciples of): Jesus Christ. In us. The hope (certainty) of glory. The Treasure of all wisdom and knowledge.

What (are we to do):

1. We proclaim Jesus; we declare, announce, preach him publicly – who he is, why he has come.

2. As we preach Jesus, we also warn; we admonish, we caution everyone – he is the only Truth. Don’t be led astray by other teachings, false Messiahs, or difficult circumstances.

3. As we proclaim Jesus, we teach him; we impart instruction, instill doctrine, with all wisdom – in other words, how to apply what we teach about Jesus. What difference does knowing him make in our lives?

When (do we disciple): The verb tenses in the Greek in this passage make it abundantly clear; the process of proclaiming, warning and teaching is an ongoing, ever-present action. When do we disciple? All the time, at every opportunity.

Where (do we disciple): Everywhere we may be (for example, in a Roman prison) and to everyone we can reach by any means – even those who have not seen us face-to-face. Wherever God has given us a sphere of influence; there we make disciples.

Why (do we disciple): To present (bring near into fellowship) every believer mature and fully complete in Christ; so that their hearts may be encouraged (in the midst of a dark and confusing world), bound together in love; richly assured in understanding and knowing Jesus Christ – in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

How (do we disciple): We labor to the point of weariness; we work hard; we struggle; in fact, we agonize in the entire process of discipleship – but – with his dynamic energy which so powerfully works within us!

——————————————–

Let’s go back to the Vestal mini-me. Or to those women you catch sight of at church every so often, who smile nervously at you as they hurry past after service, or stand against a wall in the crowded lobby before church service, looking vaguely uncomfortable. Take it from one who has been there, done that: they are longing for, looking for, connection and community. While they may not use the word or even know what it means – they are searching for a disciple-maker. A friend, a sister, to come alongside them and teach them about Jesus; teach them (in Piper’s words) “how to think and feel and act as a Christian.”

And that difficult, challenging, sometimes agonizing process is God’s calling on every believer’s life – no exceptions. That’s discipleship. And that’s our purpose as women of God and daughters of the King.

“For this (we) toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within (us).” (Colossians 1:29).

As in everything else in our walk with our Lord, he supplies all things needed to fulfill his plans and purposes in and through our lives – for the glory of his Name and the expansion of His Kingdom.

Let’s get to it.

Stand Up For Others – Isaiah 1:17

Isa117

As we reflect back on Charlottesville, and events like it, we are often lost in a sea of wondering “what can we do?” and “how should we respond?”.

Lord, give us the hearts to do good and a stirring to seek justice.  Let us not just speak against oppression but actively correct it, being the change we want to see in this world.  Let us stand for justice, stand for others, use whatever we have to raise up and protect others.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Some practical things you can do:

  • Donate to victim funds to cover medical and other expenses.  Donate to counter-protestor legal funds to cover legal expenses incurred.  Please use wisdom and discernment here.
  • Support anti-racism organizations through financial support or volunteer/activism.
  • Be willing to put your name to petitions and letter writing campaigns to local politicians that fight racism or call for policy change.
  • Coordinate, participate, or volunteer at local community forums to address racism in your community.
  • Use your voice to stand in the gap, advocating for those who are oppressed.  Not just with letter writing campaigns but in the grocery stores and doctors offices.  Places where we encounter every day racism, bigotry, and discrimination.
  • Hold people from political offices to your immediate family accountable for the words and behaviors they exhibit, including yourself.
  • Set a better example for the next generation by intentionally expanding your group of friends to include people from other countries and cultures.  Take time to learn about other cultures, attend festivals in your area, etc.
  • Read, read, and read.  Have a willingness to read and gain perspective from those on the other side of oppression.  Take what you read and ask your friends to share their take and experiences.

 

In the Beginning

Gen1

Mankind, made in the image of God.  Not some, but the first man… and all that have come after him.  Image bearers.  

Not made in image of one another.  Not made in lesser quality duplicates down the line.  Each precious to the potter who formed us in the womb, knitting us together, numbering our hairs, calling us by name before we were even a thought.

These image bearers made to rule over creation, not each other.  Oh sin, how you slithered your way into garden… setting up a wave of destruction that would fall upon generations to come.  

Woman made in His image, she the helpmeet and partner… not less than.

Blessed, commissioned to multiply.  Not some, but all.  There was no limit set on who could multiply, it was a blessing to His image bearers.  Oh sin, how you tainted that union and how to try to diminish His children.

Great Protector,

There has been a war on your creation since the beginning.  The moment the apple was bitten, there was enmity in the world.  Lord, we ask for your protection from all the forces that divide.  The lies that tell us that our worth, value, identity is found in anything other than you.  The lies that try and convince us that some have greater value, worth, or purpose than others.  For Your word assures us that in Christ there is neither Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female… but all are one.  Each given gifts, callings, and blessings appointed to them by the Holy Spirit to use in your service.  None greater, all yours.  Protect us, Lord.  From those who seek to harm us.  Protect us, from the schemes of the Devil.  Surround us on all sides, going before us and coming behind us; as we walk in your justice, grace, and righteousness.

We stand in victory, and pray these things in Your precious name.

Amen.

Has Much Really Changed?

Ecc

Ecclesiastes tells us that there is nothing new under the sun.  So true.  Hate, prejudice, bigotry, racism… it is not new.  Sin is not new.  Ecclesiastes also tells us that was has been done, will be done again.  We should bear not surprise that these sins still run rampant.

This picture, was taken in 1992.  Twenty five years ago.  I look at it and I see Charlottesville 2017.  Things really haven’t changed that much, not in the heart.  But the boldness, perhaps has displayed itself in unprecedented ways.  The hoods, cloaks, and shadows are withdrawn, sin is exposed.

1995

For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. ~Luke 8:17 

Sin is out in the open, and with it has come a reckoning.   Parents and friends are seeing faces splashed across the news, their children and loved ones displaying their hate for the world to see.  Those secret things hidden in hearts are being confirmed as sin stares us in the face, desiring to make us meek and hide in response.  But let us not be meek, but BOLD as we stand up for what it good, honorable, holy, and righteous.

Creator God,

We pray that these wearisome things, that weigh us down… that seem too big or frightening to tackle down, let us see them diminished in to the shadow of your greatness.  Your word is true, that which has will be again.  We cling to that as a promise that Jesus will come again and overcome sin and death, destruction and division; standing victorious over his foe.  Lord, we ask for you to protect the eyes, ears, and hearts of the little children so that they may not be turned by the words of hate that others teach them.  Let them find joy, peace, love, and goodness in You.  May they have eyes to see, the way you see.  May they look upon all of your people, regardless of the color of their skin as sister and brother, created in the imagine of our Precious Father.  Bind the serpent that hisses in their ears, for he will be crushed once again.  Sin was here before my time, our time… but our future remains.  For you know the plans you have made for us, that is the future we await… waiting and yet praying LORD JESUS COME!

In this darkness, let us be light.  In a sea of hate, let us be love.  In a crowd of fists, let us be an embrace.  Let our churches and homes become a city on a hill, refuge for those who need safety, a fortress against oppressors, and a battle ground of prayer.

In Christ’s holy name we pray,

Amen.