Great Physician you have healed and raised little ones. You help those who hurt and you defeat disease. As you are the same yesterday, today, and forever, you will not rest until all that is unhealthy for your creation is taken away.
And so, as you encourage the little children to come to you, hear me as I ask this of you – go to this one. Stand beside Little Javie. Use every person and instrument you would in your kindness and care to bring him through this surgery well. Recover him and bring him through to a complete recovery.
Then let his newfound wellness be a strong, unquestionable testimony to your love and power.
Father, I pray with thanksgiving for every child who had a good first day of school yesterday. Thank you for your grace, your love, your care. You bless and bless and bless, over and over again.
However, today, Father, I pray for all of those who did not have a good first-day experience. Today I pray:
Father, in Christ’s name, I ask that you bless these with what they need. May their day not just go better today, or their week, but their year.
Each Friday for the bulk of this year, I plan to share with you a brief prayer to God our Father. These prayers will address all sorts of matters and concerns and will appear in no particular order. There is no grand plan or schedule to them; just prayer, pure and simple.
Pray with me, won’t you?
Father God, thank you for the light you have given me and have enabled me to walk in thus far. Praise be to you, my God, Dispeller and Defeater of darkness, my Light and my Salvation!
Forgive me of every grain of darkness in me. I beg you to continue to be patient with me for I know that I remain so very blind to so very much more of what you would have me to see, what you would have me turn from, and what you would have me embrace. I will die in this condition, on this ceaseless journey of enlightenment, in and toward, your light. How I need your constant guidance and direction! I know this, and so, into your hands I commit my spirit.
Keep me humble, Father, about what I think I know. Never stop working on me. In your Son’s name I pray, chisel me into something useful and good for your name. Make me a good reflector of your light. Grow me!
And I ask such not for myself alone, but also for all of my brothers and sisters everywhere, in every church family. Especially for those who are very young and are so very dependent on how those who are older model the meaning and practice of a walk of faith with you. Shield their hearts and minds from being shaped wrong, lest they grow hardened or cold, misled and misleading. Grow in them great discernment and persistence, so that they pick the good and toss the chaff away.
And I pray especially for those who are up in years and are growing more limited in their options in life and company. Continue to mature in them a mind ever opening wider to your work and ways of love. Protect their spirits lest they fall prey to the manipulative ways of our enemy, the evil one, and give way to disappointment and fear or give up and quit their journey with you altogether.
Please hear my prayer in the name of your Son, my Savior.
Here are links to five articles that I’ve found to be interesting and helpful reading.
Addiction, brain, children, communication, health, parenting, reasoning, teens & youth ministry: Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains [essential reading]
“‘The last place to be connected — to be fully myelinated — is the front of your brain,” [Dr. Frances] Jensen [who is a neurologist] says. ‘And what’s in the front? Your prefrontal cortex and your frontal cortex. These are areas where we have insight, empathy, these executive functions such as impulse control, risk-taking behavior.’ This research also explains why teenagers can be especially susceptible to addictions — including drugs, alcohol, smoking and digital devices. …
“‘Just like learning a fact is more efficient, sadly, addiction is more efficient in the adolescent brain. That is an important fact for an adolescent to know about themselves — that they can get addicted faster. It also is a way to debunk the myth, by the way, that, “Oh, teens are resilient, they’ll be fine. He can just go off and drink or do this or that. They’ll bounce back.” Actually, it’s quite the contrary. The effects of substances are more permanent on the teen brain. They have more deleterious effects and can be more toxic to the teen than the adult.'”
Attitude, expectations, helpfulness, ministry, preaching & teaching: Fighting Blue Monday: Be Helpful, Not Great
“In preaching and teaching, aim to be helpful. Do not waste any time attempting to be great.”
Bible study, Google Earth, teaching & preaching: Google Earth Pro is Now Free!
“I have frequently blogged about the value of Google Earth (a free program) for exploring and understanding the biblical lands. Somewhat amazingly, Google has now released Google Earth Pro for free. (It used to be a $399 upgrade.)”
Church decline & church health: 10 Behavior Patterns of Inwardly-Focused Churches
“In our survey [of 557 churches] we found ten dominant behavior patterns of members in these churches.” They are …”
Exercise, health, jogging, running & working out: When Exercise Does More Harm Than Good
“… those with the lowest risk of dying during the study period were people who ran less than three times a week for one to 2.4 hours, at a slow to moderate pace. … too little running and too much running are linked to higher rates of death … [the] sweet spot is closer to the ‘less’ side of the curve than the ‘more’ side. That dovetails with the mounting research that so-called micro-workouts—high intensity but brief workouts that could be as short at 1 minute, according to another recent paper—may be better for the body than long and continuous workouts.”
Here are links to several posts that I’ve found to be interesting and helpful reading.
Ancient world, archaeology, children & toys: Ancient Toys
“It is often easy to forget that the characters we read about in the Bible and in the history books were real people, and lived much like we do today.”
Bible, culture, faith & reading: * These Are the Most Godless Cities in America; * Actually, THESE Are the Most Godless Cities in America
* “The American Bible Society measures ‘Bible-mindedness’ by how strictly survey respondents read the book and believe in its accuracy. … The American Bible Society found that only 27% of Americans are Bible-minded. The data was based up on telephone and online interviews with 62,896 adults …”
* “In response to the ABS study, the popular Bible-searching website BibleGateway.com has released a study of its own with some striking findings. Based only on how often people in a given city use its Bible-searching software (and controlling for population size) … Bible Gateway’s different methodology—which, perhaps most significantly, does not take into account whether or not a reader considers the Bible to be literally true—yields some remarkable differences from the ABS study.”
Fear & idolatry: The Greatest False Idol of Modern Christianity [essential reading; spot-on!]
“Parroting the politicized talk show hosts and reposting the latest terrible news stories, we perpetuate the now comfortable, Evangelical Christian narrative of impending destruction, and we make it clear at every opportunity: The sky is falling.
“Though we will loudly, repeatedly and confidently proclaim Christ as Lord, in reality, many of us no longer practice faith in a God that has any real power, any true control or inherent God-ness. We seem to have little more than a neutered figurehead Deity, who doesn’t seem to be able to handle much at all anymore. He’s lost His Old Testament swagger.
“The truth is, Fear has become a false God, one too many of us worship with complete and undying devotion.
“Dig just beneath the sunny ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’ Bible covers, and the ‘God’s judgment is coming’ bullhorn warnings and you’ll find that much of America has imagined a powerless God who’s mostly just keeping Heaven tidy until all the Christians get there. In the meantime, we live in perpetually frightened freak-out mode.”
Fear, manhood, men & respect: The Problem with Men and Why We Ignore It/Them at Our Own Risk
“… human males crave respect. For most males, boys and men, respect is somewhere near the top of their hierarchy of needs. I would go so far as to say that, if they were to be completely honest, when asked which they would prefer if they had to choose one over the other most males would take respect over love. And, perhaps unfortunately, part of that craving for respect is desiring to be respected for their maleness. …
“… “when boys and men conclude they will not gain respect they turn to fear. That is, for many, creating fear of them in others becomes a substitute for respect. Fear feels, to them, like respect or at least is an acceptable substitute. Boys and men who feel respected rarely turn to fear as a substitute. They are satisfied with respect (or the real prospect of it). However, boys and young men who believe respect is out of their reach often turn to implied violence if not real violence such as intimidation.
“Nothing I have said implies this is how things should be. However, I have concluded that this male habit of the heart is so deeply ingrained that it is unlikely to be changed by social engineering or anything else. We ignore it at our own cost as a society.”
God, providence & sports: Aaron Rodgers: God Probably Doesn’t Care Who Wins Football Games
“‘I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome,’ Rodgers [quarterback for the Green Bay Packers] said. ‘He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.’ …
“… [meanwhile,] Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — an outspoken Christian — told reporter Peter King that a divine influence made Sunday’s barnburner so exciting. ‘That’s God setting it up, to make it so dramatic, so rewarding, so special,’ Wilson said, according to King.”
Here are links to five articles I’ve found to be interesting.
Apologetics, archaeology, manuscripts & Mark’s Gospel: Earliest Fragment of Mark’s Gospel Apparently Found
“Craig Evans, who is most certainly a careful scholar, has announced the discovery of a piece of Mark’s Gospel that may well date to 80-90 A.D. making it by far the earliest portion of any NT book yet found. … We must await the publishing of the materials and the evidence for these claims, and then the vetting of the claims by peer scholars, but thus far, it looks like Craig is on to something big!”
Children, divorce & parenting: ‘Kids Are Resilient’ and 7 Other Lies Divorcing Parents Should Stop Believing
“As a former divorce mediator, and current couples and family mediator, I have heard every excuse that parents use to feel better about breaking up their family.”
Climate, ecology, global warming, nature & pollution: Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says
“A team of scientists, in a groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources, has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. ‘We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,’ said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. … Coral reefs, for example, have declined by 40 percent worldwide, partly as a result of climate-change-driven warming.”
Deception, false claims, heaven, lies & personal testimonies: Boy Says He Didn’t Go To Heaven; Publisher Says It Will Pull Book [required reading]
“Nearly five years after it hit best-seller lists, a book that purported to be a 6-year-old boy’s story of visiting angels and heaven after being injured in a bad car crash is being pulled from shelves. The young man at the center of The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven, Alex Malarkey, said this week that the story was all made up.”
God, suffering & the problem of evil: If God Is in Control, Why Does Bad Stuff Keep Happening? [essential reading]
“You can never look at the way the world is and read God’s purposes off from the way the world is. It’s always more puzzling and confusing than that. … Part of our trouble is that in the Western world, we’ve assumed that God is, as it were, the celestial CEO of this thing called the universe incorporated. And then, as one of Woody Allen’s characters says: ‘I sort of believe in God, but it looks like He’s basically an underachiever.’ In other words, He’s not a very good CEO, He’s not good at running this show. But actually, the world is much more complicated than that. It’s not simply a machine or a business with God as the CEO. God is involved with it in ways which it’s hard for us now, particularly in the modern world, to grasp.”