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Before yesterdayThe light breaks through

Three Greatest Gifts the Church Can Give to Believers

18 October 2021 at 20:12

Stop me if you have heard this, “Boy, has this been a difficult season.” That is an attitude I have heard time and time again. I think we have given up on the idea of ever returning to normal, but we should not give up on the Church getting back to what it does best. However, in this season, I wonder if the Church needs a reminder of its purpose.

https://blog.cph.org/serve/the-three-greatest-gifts-the-church-can-give-to-believers

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An Interview with Author Fatima Oliver

15 October 2021 at 11:46
Fatima and I talk about her journey.  She believes everyone needs a safe place to fall. Someone who lovingly accepts your ugly cry. A victim-mentality must change to a victor mindset. At some point, we are all held accountable for what we understand and it is up to us to correct it. Her new book, “The Prescription is in the Dirt”, is a bold, funny, illuminating, and sometimes hard-to-swallow inspirational memoir that embraces the journey to healing, self-love, and acceptance. This book speaks candidly on the pain and trauma I have endured. Also,  the consistent baby steps I learned along the way to walk in forgiveness and healing.  It is now, available in eBook and Paperback versions on Amazon.

‎From Mess to Miracle: Interview with Author Fatima Oliver on Apple Podcasts

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From Mess to Miracle- Dealing with Mommy Guilt

7 October 2021 at 15:37

ByKeith Haney

 OCT 7, 2021

From Mess to Miracle: How to Cure Mommy Guilt on Apple Podcasts

Mom’s have a hard time taking time for themselves.  The guilt of trying to meet everyone’s needs creates guilt and self-doubt.
My guest is Angela Bell is a life & success coach for moms, mortgage agent, entrepreneur, author, business owner, mother and wife. 

After doing the work to overcome the mom’s guilt and shame associated with not fitting into what “society” wants moms to be, she has made it her mission to help other moms do the same. She is an NLP Practitioner, Hypnotherapist, and Life & Success Coach. She coaches moms on goal achievement and helps them get free of their limiting beliefs, releases their “mom guilt and shame” and get comfortable being their best and highest self. Please rate the podcast and leave a review.

Inspiring Stories of Faith 
In times like these, we need hope. You can partner with me as we inspire the people around the world

Support the show (https://paypal.me/alightbreaksthrough?locale.x=en_US)

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Leading in a Time of Crisis

29 September 2021 at 08:20

Isaiah begins his call to ministry facing some difficult circumstances. The implication of Isaiah 6:1 is: the king is dead and the throne is empty. If your church is in the middle of a transition from COVID to whatever is the next crisis, you may feel like the people in Isaiah’s time. https://alightbreaksthrough.org/three-essential-lessons-from-the-call-of-isaiah/

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Living With the PUC

28 September 2021 at 18:39

ByKeith Haney

 AUG 25, 2021

Recently, I attended a conference where the speaker was trying to find a word to describe this season of our lives. He invented a new word, PUC. What does PUC mean in good Lutheran fashion? It stands for Pain, Uncertainty, and Chaos. Does that resonate with you? This year, we have seen more than our fair share of three of those. My focus is on the word “chaos.” As believers, we have had to learn to live in the chaos.We like things we can control, but COVID-19 taught us we cannot control the chaos. Rules are in place to help reduce chaos, but rules are often there because someone in the past created chaos. Think back to the year you saw more growth in your life in the chaos. If we avoid chaos, we may limit the growth God has in mind for our life. James reminds us, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, do not obsess about those things you have no control over. Instead, focus on the outcome. God uses tough times, even chaotic times, to strengthen our faith.Questions to Ponder.

  1. How has God challenged you during this chaos?
  2. What growth opportunities have come out of this season?
  3. What is your plan to implement and take advantage of this opportunity?

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Words for the Week: Patience

23 March 2020 at 11:00

Patience is forged over the hot coals of trials. Those trials strengthen us for the long journey of faith. – Keith Haney

I have never asked God for patience for I fear the things I would have to go through to develop that spiritual muscle. Yet, the last twelve months of my life has been a constant lesson in patience. This past year has taught me that patience is forged over the hot coals of trials. Those trials strengthen us for the long journey of faith. In preparing this post I came across the greatest explanation of the biblical understanding of patience.

Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “run with endurance” the race set before us. George Matheson wrote, “We commonly associate patience with lying down. We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid. Yet there is a patience that I believe to be harder — the patience that can run. To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies a great strength; but I know of something that implies a strength greater still: it is the power to work under stress; to have a great weight at your heart and still run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily tasks. It is a Christ-like thing! The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in the sickbed but in the street.” To wait is hard, to do it with “good courage” is harder! – Our Daily Bread, April 8.

Lord I pray that you will give me the strength to still work for you and the Kingdom while it breaks my heart, my spirit is downcast, my hope waning. Give me the patience to courageously live a life which gives honor and glory to you. That is the patience spirit I desire in 2020. It is patience grounded on hope in a benevolent God and a compassionate Savior.

Prayer:

Dear Lord,
This has been quite a journey and the end is not in plain sight. Through all the trials of life Lord, you are my refuge and strength. In hard times You are an ever-present helper in times of trouble. Help me cling to You and the truth of Your word. When the journey seems insurmountable I know Mighty One You are by my side. When my hope wains Father Your grace is sufficient. As the prophet, Nahum reminds me, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in a day of distress; He cares for those who take refuge in Him.” (Nahum 1:7) In Jesus’ name. Amen

Other posts in this series: https://revheadpin.org/2019/01/07/words-for-2019-courageous/

https://revheadpin.org/2019/01/02/what-is-your-word-for-2019/

https://revheadpin.org/2019/01/02/what-is-your-word-for-2019/

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Prayer on John 9

17 February 2020 at 08:10

Photo by Eternal Happiness on Pexels.com

Dear Father,
As this week begins, we reflect on the miracle of the man born blind. There are so many parallels for us today. Many times, we are blind to our sins and faults. We think if we ignore them You will too. But like the man born blind, Jesus exposes the darkness in our lives. So, Lord thank You for the example of this blind man and His developing faith. We pray that our eyes to see the truth and not be influenced by our selfish desires, nor a worldly mindset that seeks to create doubt in Your work on our behalf. The devil seeks to discredit Your grace. Thank You Holy Spirit for the faith you place in our hearts and we have become citizens of heaven. Give us the boldness to proclaim the light of the gospel to those still trapped in darkness. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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A Baptismal Prayer

13 January 2020 at 08:00

Dear Heavenly Father,

As this week begins we stop and reflect on our baptism. On Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of our Lord, Jesus Christ. His baptism was not a cleansing from sin instead it was a coronation as King. You place Your special blessings of the Spirit of God on Him with these powerful words, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:17

In our baptism, you also give us a special word joined with water connected with Your promise and adoption into the family of God. You said to us, “In the name of the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” And Father you attached this promise, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.“ Acts 2:38

In love, You have called us to know you. You continue to lead us to trust You. 

And through baptism, You bound our life with Yours.

Dear Jesus surround Your children with your everlasting love, protect us from the Evil One.

Today and every day fill us with the holy spirit that we may walk in the way of Christ,

and grow in the knowledge of His love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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Prayer for the Week of January 6th

6 January 2020 at 08:51

Dear Lord, 

As, the new week in a new year fully gets underway fill us anew with Your Spirit. May we rise to meet each new day in the New Year with a renewed passion to live as children of the Light. Wherever we go, let us spread love, joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness. Let us desire to become more like you and give our lives totally to you as an act of worship. 

May the words of Paul in Romans 12 be our guiding verse this week, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Help us desire these things so much more than the sin that entices us. Thank you for always going before us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. 

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Prayers for the Week of December 2nd

2 December 2019 at 17:42

Dear Father,

You are the most high, most glorious, the thought of Your infinite serenity fills me with joy. Life is filled with toil and grind, troubles and distress, but in You, I am forever at perfect peace. Lord your power is limitless, Your goodness unending. You bring order out of the mayhem, and my defeats are Your victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigns supreme. 

Holy Spirit find a welcoming home in my heart. May you live and move within me,
breathing life into in my prayers,
speaking in my words,
modeling Christ in my actions
living in my life,
causing me to grow in grace.
Your presence alone can make me holy, 
devout, strong and happy. 
Abide in me, gracious God. 

In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Thanksgiving Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones

28 November 2019 at 12:35

Dear God,
We are want to express our gratitude for all your blessings. You have given us so much, not only providing what we need to live an abundant life but in giving us an indescribable gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. This Thanksgiving day is filled with a mix of emotions.

We confess our thanks, but also acknowledge sadness because of the empty seats at our table. We know that death and sorrow were not your original plan, but the result of sin in the world. These moments of sorry draw us closer to you and each other.

Loving Father fill the empty places in our hearts and this empty place at our table with Your everlasting love. Teach us to savor the moments we have with one another, to remember what we have lost, but also to look forward to the great union in heaven.

In Jesus, we pray.

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Prayer for the Week of Thanksgiving

25 November 2019 at 08:11

Dear Lord,

As this week of Thanksgiving begins I stop to ponder why do we often need a holiday to remind us to give thanks. It is hard in this sinful life to have a grateful spirit. Life makes that challenging, events and our circumstances harden our hearts

A grateful spirit becomes more challenging during times of oppression, persecution or grief than during periods of bliss. I have had seasoned, and new Christians ask me this question. “Please tell me how we are supposed to ignore all the pain and suffering and have a thankful attitude?
What exactly I am thanking you for Lord?” Have you been there? Have you wanted to ask God this question? I want to explore the answer. We will see want answers God provides.

Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians provides context.

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:15-18


Is a wake up call that happiness is not the prerequisite for a grateful spirit, but Christ is. No matter our situation we have been redeemed.

We give thanks for the gift of God’s grace freely given to all the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. So, this week and every week be grateful for whose you are in Christ Jesus. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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Prayer for the Week of November 18th

18 November 2019 at 07:00

Dear Lord,
As this new week begins may it be filled with joy and contentment. May nothing rob us of the joy of our salvation. Help us to enjoy Your abundant blessings. No matter what the devil attempts to do this week, Jesus, you have already won the victory. Lord grant us the victory over every adversity that comes our way. Gives us the strength to stand firm in the faith and stand tall in the face of challenges. No matter the size of the mountains they are made low by our faith in Jesus. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Prayer for the Week of November 5th

4 November 2019 at 17:58

Dear Lord,

As we welcome this new week may nothing separate us from You today. Teach us how to choose only Your way today so each step leads us closer to You. Help us walk by the Word and not our feelings. It is easy to allow life to distract us and lead us far from you. Help us keep our hearts pure and fixed on the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Protect us from our own careless thoughts, hurtful words, and unloving actions. And keep us from being distracted by our selfish wants, our unhealthy desires, our self-centered thoughts on how things should be. Help us to embrace what you have in mind for us this week. May we rest in the truth of Psalm 86:13, ‘Great is your love toward me.’ God is is awesome that the Savior of the world would desire to spend time with us minutes this morning. Lord, help us to forever remember what a gift it is to sit with You like this. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

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When Church Traditions Are Dangerous?

30 October 2019 at 07:00

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You probably know there are jokes about different Christian communions — Baptist jokes, Catholic jokes, and yes even Lutheran jokes. More often than not, they’re told by members of that church body to other members. Lutherans are known for being traditional in its ways of doing things. So, “How many Lutherans does it take to change a light bulb?” The answer is, “Change? We can’t change my grandfather donated that lightbulb when the church was dedicated.”

While most of these jokes are a harmless reminder not to take ourselves too seriously. There is an underlying reality that often isn’t funny, our attitudes toward change. Our jokes about religious traditions point humorously, to the danger of taking traditions to extremes and how those extremes can be unhealthy. I share this with a church I was working with, “It’s not a good idea to sit in the dark because you can’t bear to get rid of your tradition-hallowed, but burned-out, lightbulb.”

The Background of the Text

In Mark chapter seven Jesus tackles two important questions about the Gentiles. “Does interaction with Gentiles defile the Jews?” (Mark 7:1–13) And a question you can insert for any group not a part of our tribe “are the Gentiles less Important than the Jews?” (Mark 7:24–37).

For the point of brevity, we will limit the discussion to Mark 7:1-13.

Jesus was being taken to the woodshed (as they say down south) for violating the Sabbath traditions earlier in Mark 2:15–28; 3:22–30). He had received an official visit from the scribes and Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, the Jewish religious ruling council. Because of His early infractions, he was being closely watched to see what others lines He might cross. In Mark seven it violated their tradition of the ceremonial washing of hands. I mentioned earlier that some traditions are dangerous and hurtful. This hand washing falls into that category. This ritual had nothing to do with hygiene; it was purely ceremonial to get rid of whatever defilement the Jews accidentally picked up from the Gentiles or Samaritans.

Nothing Against Tradition.

Let me be clear, I have nothing against traditions per se. Heck, I have some of our family and would hate to see those broken. Traditions go off the deep end when it has more authority than the Word of God. When we get to that point those firmly held ceremonies are wrong. Colossians 2:6-8 warns us against man-made traditions. 6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. 7 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. 8 See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ.

The formula that leads us astray is laid out by our Lord and Savior in Scripture. If you fear that your traditions, ceremonies, your practices have strayed from what God requires or desires below are keys indicators from Jesus’ interaction in Mark seven.

  1. We lay aside God’s Word (v. 8).

8 “You ignore God’s commandment while holding on to rules created by humans and handed down to you.” Mark 7:8

  1. Then we reject the Word (v. 9).

9 Jesus continued, “Clearly, you are experts at rejecting God’s commandment in order to establish these rules.”

  1. And finally, we rob the Word of any power in our lives (v. 13).

13 “In this way you do away with God’s word in favor of the rules handed down to you, which you pass on to others. And you do a lot of other things just like that.”

 Things had gotten so far out of control, so far from what God intended that the man-made traditions, not God’s truth, control the lives of God’s people. The Pharisees could rob their own parents of help by hiding behind their traditions!

Jesus exposes the Jews’ hypocrisy; He also exposed their hearts. “14 Then Jesus called the crowd again and said, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand. 15 Nothing outside of a person can enter and contaminate a person in God’s sight; rather, the things that come out of a person contaminate the person.” The Jews were not made unclean by coming in contact with Gentiles, what defiled them came from within. Like us, what defiles us are our own sinful hearts. As King David points out after his issues with infidelity in Psalm 51, no amount of washing on the outside can remove defilement on the inside. “Create a clean heart for me, God; put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!

When the church or our religious traditions place a heavy emphasis on following rules we open ourselves up for the danger of robbing God’s Word of its power…the power to set us free by the work Jesus has already done for us. We make faith about US not about HIM!  Jesus wanted to focus the hearts of the people back to the cross, back the what He had done to set them free form the expectations of the Law, back to grace.

 

A bonus post on worship to connect with Millennials,

A Worship Style That Connects With Millennials

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Prayer for Reformation Week

28 October 2019 at 07:55

Dear Father,
This week as we celebrate the Reformation it is a reminder of Your grace. Luther struggled with the weight of his sin like many of us. We know we cannot please you in our flesh. Nobody approaches God’s standard of righteousness. Bishop Moule said, “The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of God’s glory; but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you are on the crest of an Alp, but you are as little able to touch the stars as they.”

Paul reminds us,

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,…” Ephesians 2:4-6

God your everlasting desire is to keep us with you for all eternity. Thank you for knowing our weaknesses and have the love for Your creation to create a plan to rescue us from sin. A plan independent of any efforts on our part. If we were under a merit system, we would all be lost. Your grace means salvation is completely apart from any virtue we may think we have garnered. Grace means that Jesus did it all for our sake! Lord, help us focus on grace-filled lives. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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This Blog is On the Move

24 September 2021 at 22:00

Starting this blog has been a long journey. It began with a webinar where the sponsor talked about what a powerful influence a pastor could make doing a blog. That put a calling on my heart to consider it. However, that just created more questions in my mind than answers. Like, what would my blog to address? Do I have something people want to read? Do I have the dedication to keep it going? After months of prayer and wrestling in a Jacob-like way with God. On January 15, 2016, my first blog was launched.

A new website. New exciting content.

Busy on my downtime writing new content for my new blog. Working on new articles now: “Cracking the Millennial Code.” “How to Reach the Elusive Unconnected Family with Young Children.” and “How to Unleash the Army in Your Pews” I have started two podcasts: Becoming Bridge Builders and From Mess to Miracle. You can find the links to those here.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/becoming-bridge-builders/id1527559732

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/from-mess-to-miracle/id1544613313

You will not want to miss this. So it is goodbye for now. I will leave the old blog site up so you won’t face major withdrawl symptoms. If you don’t want to miss the the next chapter sign up now!

Here is the new blog address:
http://alightbreaksthrough.org

Here is a link to subscribe. Come join the party. This blog will be deleted be inactive soon.

https://mailchi.mp/ca109a931548/alightbreaksthrough/




See in down the road!!!

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How To Keep The Church Accountable?

23 April 2019 at 07:00
Even the church can go astray.  We need to listen to the leading of God and not men.

Charles Swindoll shares this story in his book, “Living Above the Level of Mediocrity.” Several years ago, I met a gentleman who served on one of Walt Disney’s original advisory boards. What amazing stories he told! Those early days were tough; but that remarkable, creative visionary refused to give up. I especially appreciated the man’s sharing with me how Disney responded to disagreement. He said that Walt would occasionally present some unbelievable, extensive dream he was entertaining. Almost without exception, the members of his board would gulp, blink, and stare back at him in disbelief, resisting even the thought of such a thing. But unless every member resisted the idea, Disney usually didn’t pursue it. Yes, you read that correctly. The challenge wasn’t big enough to merit his time and creative energy unless they were unanimously in disagreement!

Now while that works for Walt Disney because his creativity was far ahead of his peers, that does not work with the truth of God’s Word.  We as pastors and church leaders are not called to create some new creative truths that are not grounded in what is already written in Scripture.  The apostle John gives a stern warning against such theological creativity at the end of the Book of Revelations. 1I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”  In an attempt to create a theological checks and balances Luther describes the danger of any church leader, even the Pope, claiming to have supreme authority.  In an earlier post I review the three walls Luther challenged, because they were ignoring warning signs that have led to doctrinal impurity in the church.  And now that these errors were in the church’s teaching, the walls were preventing the church from correcting the false teaching.  These walls are easy to build but even harder to tear down once they are erected.  In this final post we examine the final wall.

In his 1520 Letter to the Christian Nobility. Luther’s attacks the premise that only the Pope can call an Ecumenical council to deal with errors in church doctrine.

It is important here to define what an Ecumenical council is: ecumenical councils are assemblies of Patriarchs, Cardinals, residing Bishops, Abbots, male heads of religious orders, and other juridical persons, nominated by the Pope. The purpose of an ecumenical council is to define doctrine, reaffirm truths of the Faith, and extirpate heresy. Council decisions, to be valid, are approved by the popes.[1] Participation is limited to these persons, who cannot delegate their voting rights.

Luther’s argument: For when the pope acts contrary to the Scriptures, it is our duty to stand by the Scriptures, to reprove him, and to constrain him, according to the word of Christ in Matthew 18:15: “If thy brother sin against thee, go and tell it him between thee and him alone; if he hear thee not, then take with thee one or two more; if he hear them not, tell it to the Church; if he hear not the Church, consider him a heathen.” Here every member is commanded to care for every other. How much rather should we do this when the member that does evil is a ruling member, and by his evil-doing is the cause of much harm and offense to the rest! But if I am to accuse him before the Church, I must bring the Church together.

They have no basis in Scripture for their contention that it belongs to the pope alone to call a council or confirm its actions; for this is based merely upon their own laws, which are valid only in so far as they are not injurious to Christendom or contrary to the laws of God. When the pope deserves punishment, such laws go out of force, since it is injurious to Christendom not to punish him by means of a council.

Summary; no person regardless of their place, position, or education level can be considered errorless. That position is reserved only for the Word of God.  We need to have in our congregations, our churches and church bodies a way to regularly have a healthy check and balance on our theology. It is easy to get sloppy and allow all kinds of false teaching and practices to creep into churches.  We need to regularly be in God’s Word and not be tempted to have reached a level where continued growth is not needed.

As Luther points out in this letter, Let us, therefore, hold fast to this: No Christian authority can do anything against Christ; as St. Paul says, II Corinthians 13:8: “We can do nothing against Christ, but for Christ.” Paul says to the Corinthians, II Corinthians 10:8, “God has given us authority not for the destruction, but for the edification of Christendom.” Who is ready to overleap this text? It is only the power of the devil and the Antichrist which resists the things that serve for the edification of Christendom; it is, therefore, in no wise to be obeyed, but is to be opposed with life and goods and all our strength.

[1]Hubert JedinKleine Konziliengeschichte, Freiburg, Herder, 1960, 9

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Even the church can go astray. We need to listen to the leading of God and not men.

Prayers for Sri Lanka

21 April 2019 at 14:36

Loving God,

We pray that you will comfort those saints in Sri Lanka in their suffering. We pray for the families who lost loved ones. For those needing healing and surgery lend skill to the hands of their healers.

Provide comfort for the long days of recovery and bless the people who will be Your hands, Your feet and Your heart on the ground.

Give all the confidence in the power of your grace, that even when they are afraid, they may put their whole trust in you; through our Risen Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

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