Tuesday, December 12, 2017

In the News ... "Final fundraising push for Food Bank"

WTFB Photo
• Invitation to tour WTFB facilities in Midland or Odessa

Staff Report
Odessa American


MIDLAND/ODESSAS, TEXAS -As the end of 2017 nears, the West Texas Food Bank is asking all West Texans to remember their hungry neighbors this holiday.

“Now is the perfect opportunity to support your hungry neighbors,” a WTFB news release said, adding that the Abell-Hanger Foundation will be matching donations through the end of the year. For every new gift to the West Texas food Bank, and for every increase over last year’s gift, the Abell-Hanger Foundation will match the donation.

“This means for every new dollar donated, we can provide eight meals,” the release said ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

On Silence

[The demon Screwtape writes:] Music and silence—how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell—though longer ago than humans, reckoning in light years, could express—no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise— Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it.

From The Screwtape Letters
Compiled in Words to Live By

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 12, 2017

2017 INTERNATIONAL PEACEMAKERS - The 2017 International Peacemakers, who spent four weeks speaking across the U.S., have returned to their homes. But the impact of their visit is still being felt by presbyteries, churches and communities where they spoke ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 12


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for December 12

Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13

The psalms were created to be sung! Before reading today’s devotion, you are invited to take a moment to read aloud or sing today’s psalm.

In this scripture, we hear the Israelites reflecting on what God has done in Israel’s past. God has pardoned and forgiven. God has restored Jacob’s fortune. God has shown favor on the land. These good times stand in contrast to the Israelites’ present situation. We are not told what is happening, but the psalm is clear—the Israelites are in a time of pain and struggle.

The psalm anticipates a return to better circumstances, and there is no “maybe” here. Because of what God has done in the past, there is no doubt about what God will do now—God will speak to God’s people. God will give what is good. Love and faith will meet, and righteousness will create a path. It is a psalm about hope—a hope that confidently expects, even demands, that God will do something.

In this Season of Advent, as we remember what God has done in the birth of Jesus Christ, what kind of hope do we have? My hope is often a “maybe” hope, a polite hope that asks God for what our world needs, a modest hope that does not expect or ask for too much. In the Season of Advent, God pushes us to something different, to a bold kind of hope that expects nothing less than God made flesh, a hope which demands that our lives and world be healed, reconciled, and made whole.

God, speak to us! Embolden our hope through the stories of your abundant mercy and love. Hear our prayers, O God, and bring peace to our world. Amen.

April Long
Student from Austin, Texas


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Monday, December 11, 2017

From @chinaaid : "Pastor receives court date to combat fine"

The China Aid Association is a non-profit Christian organization - based in Midland, Texas - with a mission to uncover and reveal the truth about religious persecution in China, focusing especially on the unofficial church. They do this, they explain in their website, by exposing the abuses, encouraging the abused and equipping the saints to advance the kingdom of God throughout China.

CAA Photo
Pastor receives court date to combat fine
Distributed by ChinaAid, November, 2017 ...

GUIYANG, GUIZHOU, CHINA – The pastor of a serially persecuted house church in China's southern Guizhou province received a summons to court, ordering him submit evidence on Nov. 20 and appear in court the next day for a hearing ...

more on this story from China Aid



Invitation to Prayer from Faces of Children ... Wednesday

Faces of Children is an ecumenical prayer ministry under the auspices of First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas. Their mission is to initiate ministries of prayer for children in churches, communities, and neighborhoods. In doing so, they seek to provide an opportunity for people of God to join together, learn about children and their needs throughout the world, and celebrate Christ's love (especially as it relates to children).

Invitation to Prayer ... Wednesday

Hi Friends,

If you're in town and free, please join us to pray together on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., in the gym conference room at First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas.

Also, Faces of Children is now on Facebook! I invite you to like our page so that you can see regular stories, prayer needs, and updates from partner ministries.

All the best,

Carrie




In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.


So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Luke 2:1-7


Dear Intercessors,

When I was about 5 years old, my Sunday School teacher had us memorize Luke 2:1-20. Echoes of it still reverberate in my mind. It was the KJV because I remember the opening line, "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Ceasar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." But as it sometimes happens, the echoes that reverberate for an entire lifetime sometimes become background noise... we cease to really hear them. And I admit that for much of the time, if I open the Bible and read the opening of Luke 2, I just skim the words. After all, I know what it says in the deepest part of my mind.

But do I really know what it says? Do we really grasp the magnitude of this message?

My sister-in-law is expecting a baby any day now, and for the last month her doctor has requested she not travel more than 45 minutes from home so that she can be sure to have quick access to the hospital when her time comes. In contrast, Mary, in those last uncomfortable days of pregnancy, traveled far away from her home because political leader of her world told her she had to go.

And all around the world, even today, women give birth in unfamiliar places and spaces as they are fleeing violence, obeying orders, and seeking safety. This week, I read this essay by Oddny Gumaer with Partner's. In preparation for our prayer this week, I'd like to ask you to read it as well, and let's spend some time praying for mama's who give birth to babies in unsafe and dangerous places. Let's pray for the children to be protected from violence, traffickers, and anyone who would wish to cause them harm; pray for protection from illness and the consequences of unattended childbirths. Pray for the mothers who must muster strength they don't think they have to keep walking, to keep nursing, to keep giving life to a vulnerable child in a world that seems to say on the strongest survive.

There are still Marys in the world today. May we hold them close to our heart this advent season.

PR&D Photo by Oddny Gumaer
He was born the night they fled.
By Oddny Gumaer

"You don't know how strong you are until you are in a situation where you need to be that strong," said Y. She should know what she is talking about.

She was nine months pregnant when the army threatened to destroy her home and her village. The whole village was forced to run. The only alternative to running was a brutal death by their own army, endorsed by their own government. For Y the flight could not have come at a more impossible time. She had started feeling contractions that morning. Still she joined the others and fled. They walked in the heat of the day, constantly looking back to see if the soldiers were getting closer. From afar they could see the smoke of their houses burning. There was no turning back.

She delivered her baby in the jungle that night. There was nothing there that could ease her pain or assist her as she pushed and moaned. The villagers were with her, but there was little they could do. When the baby boy was born, they wiped him and put him by his mother. "Go," she insisted while facing her family and the villagers who had been there with her while she was delivering. "It is not safe for you here. You need to leave and get to Bangladesh. I will stay here for a bit with the baby and recover." Nobody wanted to leave her, but they knew she was right. If the army caught up to them, they would all die. So, she spent the night alone with her new baby in the jungle. It was hard to sleep because she was constantly listening for the sound of the enemy approaching. "I was so afraid," she recalls.

Keep Reading ...

Praying with you,
Carrie

Carrie J. McKean
Faces of Children Director
First Presbyterian Church of Midland, Texas
(432) 684-7821 x153



If you have prayer requests about children, those who care for them, those who have authority over them, or those who harm them (the really hard prayers to say sometimes), please send them to info@facesofchildren.net

In the News ... "Church to host seminar teaching mass shooting defense tactics "


• Cost is $20, space is limited ... register online

By Paul Wedding, Reporter
The Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - A retired Arlington police officer with more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement and the military will be hosting a seminar at 6 p.m. Dec. 15 to teach residents how to respond during an active shooter situation.

The host of the seminar, Bryan Proctor II, began bringing the course to churches after the mass shooting at a Texas Baptist church in Sutherland Springs caused the death of 26 people, and was asked to bring his seminar to Odessa by the Life Challenge Church, 4500 N. Grandview Ave., where it will be held ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

Luckily Shasta had lived all his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tash- baan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion.

And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor over-the-Sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia. But after one glance at the Lion’s face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn’t say anything but then he didn’t want to say anything, and he knew he needn’t say anything.

The High King above all kings stooped toward him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.

From The Horse and His Boy
Compiled in A year with Aslan

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 11, 2017

EDUCATE A CHILD, TRANSFORM THE WORLD INITIATIVE - Although many children grow up in an atmosphere of violence, poverty and other negative influences, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) initiative is working to counter that reality ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 11


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for December 11

Isaiah 40:1-11

Comfort, comfort ye my people. In this Advent season, we are desperately searching for comfort. Chaos has wreaked havoc on our world from hurricanes in southeast Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean; to earthquakes in Mexico; from flooding in Sierra Leone and South Asia; to famine in Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Yemen. Where is God in these natural disasters? How can we proclaim God’s glory in the face of such loss?

In this time of anxious expectation, we still hear the prophet’s words crying out to prepare the way of the Lord. Who will make straight the highway in the dry desert parched of life? Who will lift up the valleys of mud that have swallowed up people? Who will make low the mountains of rubble? In the midst of disaster and destruction, humanity has the power to show up, to level the uneven ground, and to make the rough places plain. By coming together to support communities devastated by chaos, we can see the glory of God as it is revealed. When we provide food to our neighbors, the shepherd feeds his flock. When we listen to the pain of others, God carries the lambs close to her chest. Through the practice of showing up, we prepare our hearts and the world for the coming of the Christ.

God of chaos and of hope, we remain hopeful in our work as we eagerly await your coming as the infant Messiah, the comforter, so that your glory may be revealed to all people in times of abundance and in times of uncertainty. Amen.

Angela Williams
Student from Rock Hill, South Carolina


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Sunday, December 10, 2017

In the News ... "The Empty Stocking Fund needs your help"


• Funds for a holiday meal, gifts under the tree

Staff Report
The Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - The 23rd year of the Empty Stocking Fund is underway with a goal of $100,000 that won’t be met without your help.

Funds raised stay in Ector County and go to help needy families ike that of Emilia, recently divorced single mother of six who is struggling to make ends meet ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

In the News ... "House of Faith celebrates Backyard Bible Club Christmas parties"

SAST Photo by Yfat Yossifor
• An afternoon of delights

Staff Report
San Angelo Standard Times


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - With Christian Church of San Angelo decorated like a medieval castle, volunteers from House of Faith hosted three Christmas parties for children in 15 Backyard Bible Clubs of local elementary schools this week ...

read the rest of this SAST report

C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

In the earliest days of Christianity an ‘apostle’ was first and foremost a man who claimed to be an eyewitness of the Resurrection. Only a few days after the Crucifixion when two candidates were nominated for the vacancy created by the treachery of Judas, their qualification was that they had known Jesus personally both before and after His death and could offer first-hand evidence of the Resurrection in addressing the outer world (Acts 1:22). A few days later St Peter, preaching the first Christian sermon, makes the same claim—‘God raised Jesus, of which we all (we Christians) are witnesses’ (Acts 2:32). In the first Letter to the Corinthians, St Paul bases his claim to apostleship on the same ground—‘Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen the Lord Jesus?’ (1:9).

As this qualification suggests, to preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection. . . . . The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts. The Resurrection, and its consequences, were the ‘gospel’ or good news which the Christians brought: what we call the ‘gospels’, the narratives of Our Lord’s life and death, were composed later for the benefit of those who had already accepted the gospel. They were in no sense the basis of Christianity: they were written for those already converted. The miracle of the Resurrection, and the theology of that miracle, comes first: the biography comes later as a comment on it. . . . . The first fact in the history of Christendom is a number of people who say they have seen the Resurrection. If they had died without making anyone else believe this ‘gospel’ no gospels would ever have been written.

From Miracles
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.


Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 10, 2017

MINUTE FOR MISSION: HUMAN RIGHTS DAY - Today, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 69. This declaration outlines basic civil, political, cultural and economic rights to which all people are entitled. Though not a binding document, the declaration has provided a platform for the creation of over 60 human rights measures. These laws have helped protect many people, but there is still much work to be done to ensure the protection of all people’s human rights ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 10


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for Second Sunday
December 10

Mark 1:1-8

What’s your first reaction when you hear good news? Do you smile? Is your heart filled with joy? Do you want to share it with someone? If so, with whom?

Mark’s gospel opens with these words, “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God …” God prepared the way for this good news to be heard just as the prophets foretold. The messenger was a strikingly unique figure named John the Baptist. His clothes were made of camel’s hair and he ate bugs. (I love the way God empowers unique and interesting people.) John’s message was one of confession and repentance—turning away from selfish pursuits and incomplete pictures of the work of God.

I must admit that I am a bit of a sap when it comes to the season of Advent. The music, the d├ęcor, the symbols, and the spirit all move me. Each year, I confess and repent of my satisfaction with sentimentality as I look upon the brokenness of our world and see the work that needs to be done. I am reminded to heed John’s message by looking to Jesus and to follow John’s lead by pointing to Jesus—the embodiment of the good news—who came to reconcile and restore the creation to its Creator.

In this text, John mentions two baptisms: his baptism in water and Jesus’s baptism in the Holy Spirit. As humble recipients of the good news who have been baptized in the waters of repentance, how will we, like John, faithfully point to Jesus? As empowered and enabled recipients of Jesus’s baptism in the Holy Spirit, how will we bear witness to this good news? As the Spirit enabled those faithful followers on the Day of Pentecost, may we also be empowered to proclaim this good news in fresh and unique ways that can be understood, participating with God in this reconciling and restorative work.

ou are the God who sends and embodies the good news. May we, like John the Baptist, faithfully point to Jesus the Messiah. As we are baptized in your Holy Spirit, enable us to embody the good news with our words and deeds as you send us. Amen.

Curt Davis
Student from Austin, Texas


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Saturday, December 9, 2017

In the News ... "Help fill the stocking this year"


• Partnership of the Odessa American and the Salvation Army

Staff Report
The Odessa American

ODESSA, TEXAS - The 23rd year of the Empty Stocking Fund is underway with a goal of $100,000 that won’t be met without your help.

Funds raised stay in Ector County and go to help needy families like that of the Garcias, a family with two toddlers struggling to make ends meet after the father recently lost his job ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

Minute for Mission: Christmas Joy Offering


EDITOR'S NOTE: It will be my turn to present Minute for Mission tomorrow, during the service at Grace Presbyterian Church of Midland. Some of what follows is mine ... but I also took advantage of materials generously provided by Presbyterian Church (USA).



The special offerings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) play an important role in defining what it means to be a connectional church in the twenty-first century, bringing together the diversity of the PC(USA) into focus, and taking faith-based action on shared concerns. The Offerings are opportunities for partnership, learning, and witness ... and profoundly affect the life of the church as a collective witness to Jesus Christ’s love for the whole church.

One of these offerings, taking place during the month of December, is the Christmas Joy Offering ... those colorful offering envelopes that have been added to the pews.

Each year during the Advent and Christmas season, we turn our eyes to Bethlehem and celebrate the wondrous gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior. By giving to the Christmas Joy Offering, you honor this gift by providing assistance to current and retired church workers in their time of need and developing our future leaders at Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges.

Here's one example where Christmas Joy gifts help ensure dignity for a faithful church servant’s final years ...

As an urban minister for more than 40 years, Bob Forsberg dedicated his willing hands, generous heart, and sharp mind to serving people society had cast aside.

Last year however, at age 91, the mental capacity that had served this Presbyterian minister so well began to fade. His memory loss became so debilitating that Bob, after years focused on helping others, found himself in need of help.

He found that help through contributions to the Christmas Joy Offering.

Here's another example ... one where your contributions are helping our next generation of leaders through programs like the Menaul School, located just up the road from here in Albuquerque, New Mexico – where Christmas Joy gifts have helped change lives for generations.

Menaul School is a faith-based, college preparatory day and boarding school for students in grades 6–12. Menaul School is an independent school producing leaders in the community with a reputation for excellent values, ethics, and moral character ... and they've been doing that since 1896.

Today Menaul students are beginning new legacies. Most come from homes where neither parent has attended college, and many sacrifice to send their child to the school because it sends nearly every graduate to schools of higher learning.

Your gifts to the Christmas Joy Offering will help Menaul open the doors of opportunity for more students to begin their own legacies.

Those are only two examples of the impact of past contributions. Won’t you please give thoughtful, prayerful consideration to making a contribution THIS year to the Christmas Joy Offering?

In the News ... "Odessa Church News"

Courtesy Photo
• Today and in the days ahead, in Odessa-area houses of worship

Staff Report
Odessa American


ODESSA, TEXAS - Coming events include worship services, classes, Bible studies, community outreach, mission opportunities and more ...

read the rest of this OA report ...

In the News ... "Abilene Church News"


• Church news includes concerts and workshops, Christmas and Hanukkah observances

Staff Report
Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE, TEXAS - From the Reporter-News, news of services, special events and programs from Abilene-area houses of faith ...

read the rest of this ARN report ...

In the News ... "San Angelo Faith Briefs"


• This weekend, and in the week ahead

Staff Report
San Angelo Standard Times


SAN ANGELO, TEXAS - From the Standard-Times, news of special events and programs from Concho Valley houses of faith ...

read the rest of this SAST report

In the News ... What’s going on in South Plains churches

Courtesy Photo
• Area events in the days, weeks ahead

By Lucinda Holt, Reporter
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - From the Avalanche-Journal, news of special events and programs from Lubbock-area houses of faith ...

 • read the rest of this LAJ report

In the News ... "The Palmer Drug Abuse Facility in Midland is Closed"

KMID Photo
• A Narcotics Anonymous group needs a new place to meet

Clarke Finney, Reporter
KMID-TV


MIDLAND, TEXAS - What was once a refuge for recovering addicts in Midland has closed its doors, leaving many questions and uncertainty for the people who went seeking help.

The Palmer Drug Abuse Facility they meet at five times a week, is now closed.

One member who will remain anonymous says without the meetings, it will be hard to give addicts the consistent support they need ...

read/watch the rest of this KMID report


C.S. Lewis Daily - Today's Reading

Presented by Bible Gateway
Today's Reading

After that talk with the Lady things got worse in two different ways. In the first place the country was much harder. The road led through endless, narrow valleys down which a cruel north wind was always blowing in their faces. There was nothing that could be used for firewood, and there were no nice little hollows to camp in, as there had been on the moor. And the ground was all stony, and made your feet sore by day and every bit of you sore by night.

In the second place, whatever the Lady had intended by telling them about Harfang, the actual effect on the children was a bad one. They could think about nothing but beds and baths and hot meals and how lovely it would be to get indoors. They never talked about Aslan, or even about the lost prince, now. And Jill gave up her habit of repeating the signs over to herself every night and morning. She said to herself, at first, that she was too tired, but she soon forgot all about it. And though you might have expected that the idea of having a good time at Harfang would have made them more cheerful, it really made them more sorry for themselves and more grumpy and snappy with each other and with Puddleglum.

From The Silver Chair
Compiled in A Year with Aslan

Today in the PC-USA Mission Yearbook


The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study is a daily devotional with 365 inspiring mission stories that come from next door and all across the globe. It inspires thousands of Presbyterians daily as they uphold the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in intercessory prayer.

Courtesy Photo
Today in the Mission Yearbook: December 9, 2017

PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE DOCUMENTARIES - What began as a planned screening of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s newest documentaries in Dayton, Ohio, recently morphed into a community-wide event dedicated to peace. ...

CLICK HERE to read more.

From Austin Seminary: "Advent Devotional" for December 9


"A gift from our community of faith to you. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is devoted to preparing outstanding leaders for Christ’s church. One of the ways we nurture leaders is by building a loving community of faith and extending God’s grace to others. In this season of anticipation, we extend God’s grace to you and invite you to explore this book of Advent devotions. Through this collection, please join us as we prepare to receive God’s greatest gift—the birth of Jesus Christ."

CLICK HERE for a downloadable/printable copy of this season's devotionals.
CLICK HERE to learn how you can support the mission of Austin Seminary


Advent Devotional for December 9

Ezekiel 36:24-28

To comprehend the significance of God’s promises to Israel in Ezekiel 36:24-28, we have to understand real disappointment. Disappointment that makes you question everything that you know. Disappointment that is so mind-blowing, unexpected, and world-altering that it makes you feel as if you will never hope again. Disappointment that feels like death. It is to this kind of disappointment, to this feeling of utter darkness and depression, that God speaks.

Israel, at this point, was destroyed. Its places of worship and system of government were no longer, and its people were exiled to a foreign country, living under the thumb of an oppressive regime. Everything that the Israelites had known was gone. To this horror, God promises miraculous transformation. God declares that he will gather and return the Israelites to their homeland; that he will purify them and remodel them from the inside out. God states that he will give the Israelites a new heart and place in them a new spirit (v. 26). The heart in the biblical text was not just the seat of emotions and feelings, but also that of the mind and intellect. Spirit meanwhile frequently referred to that part of a human being which was divine and gave the person life (Num. 27:16; Job 27:3, 33:4).

To a nation that seems dead, God thus promises resurrection and revival. Though it feels and looks dead, though its heart has stopped working and is stone (v. 26), Israel, God declares, will come back to life. Its heart will beat once again and become flesh (v. 26). Indeed, it is only by going through the painful evolution from despondency to hope, from death to life, that Israel will learn to recognize and understand its life-giving and life-affirming God. And when it does, God promises, “you will become my people, and I will become your God.”

Gracious God, it feels at points as if we are in a downward spiral, headed towards death, despondency, and darkness. As you promised in Ezekiel, revive your people. Remind us that you are the God of life, resurrection, and hope. Amen.

Suzie Park
Associate Professor of Old Testament


For the glory of God and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is a seminary in the Presbyterian-Reformed tradition whose mission is to educate and equip individuals for the ordained Christian ministry and other forms of Christian service and leadership; to employ its resources in the service of the church; to promote and engage in critical theological thought and research; and to be a winsome and exemplary community of God's people.



This post produced with Bible Gateway reference/link 


Friday, December 8, 2017

From ServLife International ... "Upgraded Status"

ServLife International is a movement defined by values of God’s kingdom, not programs built around human efforts and activities. The reign and rule of God should be made apparent to every person on the planet, despite their religion, race or socioeconomic status. We believe that issues of justice are inseparable from the good news that Jesus Christ came to proclaim. ServLife exists to take the gospel of Christ and the hope of a better, more just, world to the lives of people we touch. This happens through individual contributions of time, creativity, resources and dreams.



ServLife Photo
Upgraded Status

In the rural village of Thingan, Nepal, a small loan can go a long way. For the past seven years, ServLife’s microfinance program has been empowering families to escape extreme poverty by offering small, low interest loans to jump start family businesses. The village, which lies 28 miles south of Kathmandu, is dominated by agriculture. Most of the 365 households make a living through planting crops, raising livestock or running small shops ...

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Adam Nevins 
From Adam Nevins
Executive Director
ServLife International Inc.


Join Our Mission

ServLife International propels reconciliation and justice by building global community to plant churches, care for children and fight poverty. Compelled by the message, life and love of Jesus Christ, we seek to care for the spiritual, physical, social, and economic areas of life in northern India and Nepal.  Learn more about our latest news, featured stories, and how to get involved at servlife.org

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Our church planters spread
the love of Christ in some of the most difficult
environments in the world.
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Sponsor a Child

For only $30 per month you can help give a child food, education, care and, most importantly, hope.
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Fight Poverty

The HOPE Fund, our micro-finance program, provides start-up funds for a small business, paving a way out of poverty for families in need.
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ServLife International, Inc.
P.O. Box 20596
Indianapolis, IN 46220
USA