Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Advent Candles

First week in Advent


“also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

~Romans 5:3-5

You might have noticed that I have three words at the top of these devotions. The first is the theme that the candles represent, the second is the Biblical characters used to represent each theme. The third word that I’ve decided to add, represents each of the five purposes from the best-selling Christian book,‘A Purpose Driven Life” by Pastor Rick Warren. I think that these purposes fit in perfectly with the candles of the advent wreath.

Warren contends that in the Great Commandment (Matt 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20), Jesus gives us five reasons for living. Five things that Jesus did on Earth and we should be doing as members of the Body of Christ (the Church on Earth).

Discipleship - you were created to become like Christ.
Fellowship - you were formed to be part of God's family.
Ministry - you were shaped for God's service.
Worship - you were planned for God's pleasure.
Mission - you were made to tell others about Christ.

A disciple is someone who follows a discipline. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a discipline is a field of study, a training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character, or a prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior.

If we follow Jesus, study His Word, and practice Spiritual disciplines like prayer, praise and meditating on God’s Word He will fill us with hope. But those things take work. Just like physical training for a sport. No pain, no gain.

Need help becoming self-disciplined enough to spend time with God everyday? Try Soul Journey they have cool daily devotions that you might want to check out- especially once Advent is over and I stop sending these to you!

Prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Micah, Zechariah, and Malachi studied God’s Word and followed His ways even before Christ came. They persevered in cultures that ridiculed and rejected them. They held onto the hope that God would send His Son.

During Advent we hope that the baby Jesus will come at Christmas, but we also hope He will return in Glory to renew all of creation. Right here, right now, we hope He will live in us and speak through us.

But if we are going to have any hope at all, we must follow Him


Dear Jesus,

This Advent, I want to be Your disciple and your prophet.
Draw me into spending time with You- in Your Word and in prayer-time.
Teach me Your ways and mold my character,
so that I can be someone you speak through
and so that I can have the kind of hope that does not disappoint.

Thank you Jesus,


Monday, November 29, 2004

First week in Advent


14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened." 15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the HOPE that you have.”

~1 Peter 3:14-15a

There are five candles in an advent wreath. 3 purple or blue, and one pink on the wreath itself, and one white one in the center. Advent means coming. It is a season when we prepare for Jesus’ arrival. Purple symbolizes both His royalty and our repentance. The evergreen or holly wreath symbolizes both the eternal life He brings and the crown of thorns He wore to win it for us.

Each week a new candle is lit. each candle represents something.

The first candle is the “Prophets’ Candle.” It represents the hope that the people of Israel in the Bible had that someday their Messiah would finally come. His coming was predicted in the Old Testament by the prophets.

A prophet is not a psychic. A prophet is someone who speaks for God. Whenever we talk about God or His love for us, we are being prophets.
Last year kids from St. John’s Lutheran Youth Fellowship joined 600 other high school students from 60 different Iowa congregations in Des Moines last weekend for the annual District Youth Gathering.

The theme of the event was a Steven Curtis Chapman song, “Live Out Loud.”

We were reminded of who we are, loved and forgiven children of God. We were then challenged to live like who we really are without embarrassment, without hiding our love for Jesus. May your hope live out loud this Christmas.

Dear Lord,
This Advent, please remind me of the hope I have in You.
Help me to “Live Out Loud” for you
and to be prepared to explain where my hope comes from.
Thank you Jesus,

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Buy Nothing Day - Adbusters Culturejammers

Why fight the crowds? Instead, why not fight that nasty case of Afluenza?
Don't buy anything this year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Click here:Buy Nothing Day - Adbusters Culturejammers

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Religion vs. Spirituality

Religion vs. Spirituality
contemporary American conservative-Christianity vs. "the Way"

Tonight I read Matthew 23. Holy cow!

Jesus is a radical. He doesn't want surface, shallow, politically expedient religion. He wants sincerity. He wants people who will genuinely open their hearts to Him.


Dear Jesus,

Make me "real"
forgive me when I take You out and put You on for a show, instead of being like You.
Create in me a pure heart, oh God
and renew a right spirit within me
(PS 51)


The Most Important Thing


"Dear Jesus,
More than anything else,
I want to know You intimately."

~Rick Warren, Purpose Driven Life

"Joy is the motor,
the thing that keeps everything else going...
Joy makes us strong."
~Richard J. Foster


Dear Jesus,
Restore unto me the joy of Your salvation.
In Jesus' name,

Prayer REQUEST: District Youth Gathering

St.John LYF, Charter Oak

Please pray for Jason, Jake, and me, we'll be there Nov 26-28. It's based on Galations 5:1

Thank You,

RENOVARE - Bringing the Church to the churches

RENOVARE - Bringing the Church to the churches
These are interesting people- former Quakers with a heavy dose of Lutheran theology, they focus on the Spiritual Disciplines and small group Bible study.

Tony Campolo.Org

Tony Campolo.Org & EAPE
Tony Campolo is one of my all time favorite Christian authors. He is a Sociology professor at Eastern University in Philadelphia.

Friday, November 19, 2004

If the World were 100 people

If the world were 100 people
There would be:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 from North and South America

8 Africans

52 would be female

48 would be male

70 would be nonwhite, 30 white

59% of the entire world's wealth would belong to only 6 people
and all 6 would be citizens of the United States

80 would live in substandard housing

70 would be unable to read

50 would suffer from malnutrition

1 would be near death

1 would be near birth

Only 1 would have a college education

99 of them will not see this message,
because only 1 would have a computer.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

American Prayer - by U2

American Prayer:
This is the time to finish what you started
This is no time to dream
This is the room
We can turn off the dark tonight
Maybe then we might see
This is my American Prayer
American Prayer
This is the land
The land that keeps your feet from getting wet
And this is the sky over our head
Remember that what you see depends on where you stand
And how you jump will tell you where you're gonna land
This is my American Prayer
American Prayer

My oh my, let's not get tired
Let's not kick at the darkness
Let's make the light brighter
These are the hands
What are we going to build with them?
This is a church you can't see
Give me your tired and poor and huddled masses
You know they're yearning to breathe free.

World Vision Daily Prayer Guide: Democratic Republic of Congo (11/18/2004)

World Vision Daily Prayer Guide: Democratic Republic of Congo (11/18/2004): "1 in every 1,346 African children under the age of 15 died of HIV/AIDS in 2001. Pray for World Vision as we fight against HIV/AIDS through the Hope Initiative."

The link above is to a daily prayer calendar from World Vision.

Bono's American Prayer - Christianity Today Magazine

Bono's American Prayer - Christianity Today Magazine

Bono, lead singer of U2 and former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart have composed a song that reflects the rocker's hope that America, and American Christians in particular, will respond to the AIDS crisis.
Bono debuted 'American Prayer,' a work in progress, during the Heart of America tour.

In early December, Bono sang:

These are the hands / What are we gonna build with them? / This is the church you can't see / Give me your tired, your poor and huddled masses / All are yearning to breathe free / American prayer, (This is my) American prayer.

It's one song that Bono is happy to explain. "My prayer is that this country, which has unparalleled economic, technological, military, and cultural power, will rethink its humble origins, the purpose that made it great," Bono told CT. "There are millions and millions of lives hanging in the balance in parts of the world, that depend on decisions made a long way from them. And there's the prospect of war around the corner. I'm not saying I know what to do, or what anyone should do. America has got to make up its own mind about all these problems and potentials, but it will make better decisions if it revisits the cauldron of ideas that the country came out of."

I Asked God

This was an email forward from a Senior in our church's youth group. Email forwards can be sappy and cheesy, but I found the theology of this one to be pretty sound even sage. Serious Spiritual wisdom from a high school girl's web-surfing.

I Asked God

I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.

I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.

I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.

I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.

I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares
and brings you closer to Me.

I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, No.
You must grow on your own! ,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.

I asked God for all things that I might enjoy life.
God said, No.

I will give you life, so that you may enjoy all things.

I ask God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said..Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.

Send this to ten people to brighten their day and
back to the person that sent it.


May God Bless You,

'To the world you might be one person, but to one
person you just might be the world'

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

uprising against the disorder

"To clasp hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world."
~Karl Barth

He knows our needs

"It matters little what form of prayer we adopt or how many words we use. What matters is the faith which lays hold on God, knowing that He knows our needs before we even ask Him. That is what gives Christian prayer its boundless confidence and its joyous certainty".

~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

This is an image of the Jabez Prayer written in Persian, the language of Iran- perhaps this was a language that Jabez would have known well.

Prayer of Jabez:
Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,

"Oh, that you would bless me
and enlarge my territory!
Let your hand be with me,
and keep me from harm
so that I will be free from pain."

And God granted his request.
~1 Chronicles 4:10 - NIV

“Oh, that you would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that your hand would be with me,
and that you would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain.”

"Bless me, O bless me!
Give me land, large tracts of land.
And provide your personal protection--
don't let evil hurt me."
~The Message

I want to share with you a little bit about each part of this famous prayer each day for the next few days. first lets take "Oh, that you would bless me indeed,"

Here's what Webster's Dictionary says it means to "bless:"

1 : to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word
2 : to hallow with the sign of the cross
3 : to invoke divine care for
4 a : PRAISE, GLORIFY b : to speak well of : APPROVE
5 : to confer prosperity or happiness upon

Someone once told me that in Hebrew, "to bless" simply means "to make happy." Surely All seven Webster's definitions are things that each of us need. So when you pray the Jabez prayer, ask God to do these 7 things for you:


Dear Lord,

1 : hallow me, make me holy, consecrate me- Set me aside for Your use, for Your holy purposes. 2 : Put your mark upon me, write Your name upon my heart.
3 : Keep me and care for me as Your child
4 a : May I bring you honor and draw attention to Your love and Your power- b : Lord, find favor in me and may I be worthy of your approval
5 : Dear God, PLEASE provide for me, if it be Your will, even grant me material prosperity, certainly, please help me to find happiness in this life
6 Lord, preserve and protect me
7 : Lord, make me useful to You, grant me skills and talents so that I can be Your instrument.

In Jesus' Name,
Indeed! Let it be so! Amen

Some Christians have been very critical of this prayer because they're afraid that it's a selfish prayer. First of all, why would He put in inthe Bible if it's somehow wrong or sinful to pray it? Secondly, look back at what you just prayed, think about what it means to bless or be blessed. Surely God wants to bless you, His child. How can it possibly be wrong to ask Him to bless you?

Bless us, Lord, bless us indeed!

How to Bless Your Neighbors Through Prayer

How to B.L.E.S.S. Your Neighbors Through Prayer

Yes, I believe that "Oh, that you would bless me indeed," means that it's Okay to as for God to provide for you and even to prosper you. And yes, I think that includes materially.

But yes, I do believe that it is better to give than it is to recieve. I do think that Jesus set an example for us to be humble and selfless, not proud and shelfish.

So, why not ask God to bless your neighbors, to make them happy, make them holy, use them for His glory, protect them and yes, to provide for their needs and bring THEM prosperity?!

How can you do that? Click on the link above to learn more. It's all about usung the BLESS anagram:

Think of the word BLESS to remember five important ways to pray for your neighbors:
Body – health, protection, strength
Labor – work, income, security
Emotional – joy, peace, hope
Social – love, marriage, family,friends
Spiritual – salvation, faith, grace

Numbers 6:14-26 Prayer:

GOD bless you and keep you,
GOD smile on you and gift you,
GOD look you full in the face
and make you prosper.

Enlarge my territory

“Oh, that you would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that your hand would be with me,
and that you would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain.”
~1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV

So what does it mean to ask God to "expand your territory? Critics of Bruce Wilkinson's book The Jabez Prayer, feared that readers would try using this prayer as a get-rich-quick-scheme, as if God were some kind of Santa Claus who'll give you lots of STUFF.

But I think it's more like Saint Francis' prayer asking God to make him into His instrument.

"My willingness and weakness, plus God's will and supernatural power, equals... my expanded territory." ~Bruce Wilkinson, The Jabez Prayer

God wants to use you- to bless others, to pray for others, to help others, to challenge others.
We are our brother's keeper. Even if it's just offering a cold glass of water to a thirsty child, God wants us to be His hands and feet.

That's what expanding territory means, it means expanded responsibility.

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." ~Mother Teresa

But look what that tiny woman, Mother Teresa did! Once, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and inadequate my pastor told me something that has stuck with me for YEARS. He said "It's not how much YOU can do, its what the Holy Spirit can do THROUGH you!"

What a thrill to not just be safe in God's hands, but to be His tool while He goes about His handywork. Gives new meaning to the bumper sticker, "My boss is a Jewish carpenter," doesn't it?

But it can still be a little intimidating to think that God wants you to take on greater responsibility. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale suggested conditioning your mind with positive thinking by repeating Philippians 4:13 ten times a day.

Try it. It's bound to inspire confidence:

  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~NKJV
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.



Let me
make a difference
for You
that is
to who I am."


~John Piper

that your hand would be with me,

"Oh, that you would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that your hand would be with me,
and that you would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain."
~1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV

Certainly, this means you're asking for God's protection, but it also means you're asking for His guidance. And, frankly, I believe it also means you want His company, His companionship.

Think about our relationship to God, what would it compare to? Parent and child, right?

There were times when I was a little boy when I wanted my Dad to hold my hand. Like when I had to get a shot or when I went through a haunted house at the fair. Now that I'm a dad of two little girls, there are definitely times when I want them to let me hold their hand. Like in a crowded store or in a busy parking lot.

When I was little, I wanted that hand for the feeling of comfort and security. As a parent, I want to offer that hand for protection, safety, but also for guidance, for direction.

Who wouldn't want to hold hands with God. What a bodyguard, right? With God's hand upon you, nobody is gonna mess with you. On the other hand, you're not going to be able to get too far away from your Father either, are you?

The hand of the LORD was upon me there, and he said to me, "Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you."~Ezekiel 3:22

See what I mean about guidance?

One of the neatest feelings in the world when I was little was when my Dad would put his hand on my head and muss up my hair. He'd usually say something like "how ya doin, tiger?"
That hand meant approval and affection.

I don't read Hebrew, I don't know much Hebrew but one of my favorite Hebrew words is "PAGA." The Hebrew word for intercession, "paga," means "to meet" or "to touch."

I don't know whether or not paga is used in the Prayer of Jabez, but I understand that it appears 44 times in Old Testament. It means "to encounter, meet with, reach or stretch unto, to entreat, to strike, to touch, to attack"

Paga breaks down into two words:

QAL "to meet, to light upon, to join (used of kindness), to encounter, to fall upon (used of hostility), to entreat (used of a request), to strike, to touch (used of boundary)."

and HIPHIL "entreating, to interpose, to make attack, to reach the mark (as used in Phil. 3:13-14- striving on for the goal witch I haven't quite reached yet)."

A great way to think about that second part is to remember that Christianity is all about a relationship. "Hiphil," to me, is like when my 2-year old reaching up to me to try to get me to pick her up.


Dear Father-God,

May Your holy hand be upon me,

to protect me and guard me
to comfort and assure me
to guide me and lead me
to correct me and urge me
to let me know that You love me,
accept me,
enjoy me

I'm reaching out for You too,
I want to serve You, please You, be held and carried by You.

Thank you for your hand
for your protection
and for Your presence


“Oh, that you would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that your hand would be with me,
and that you would keep me from evil,
that I may not cause pain.”
~1 Chronicles 4:10 NKJV

Other translations put it "that I might not KNOW pain."
It's a big difference in inference. One may sound more selfish- don't let evil hurt me, and the other more altruistic-don't let me hurt anybody. evil is not necissarily synonimous with Satan. Evil is the fact of suffering, misfortune, and wrongdoing. Evil is something that brings sorrow, distress, or calamity. There is evil in the world, and has been ever since the fall of Adam. Like it or not, there is evil in each one of us due to our sinful natures. And of course, Satan uses, delights in, and initiates all kinds of evil.

1 Timothy 6:10 says that money is at the root of all kinds of evil. Does that mean that praying the Jabez Prayer, is asking God to deny you money? Not at all.

If anything, this last petition is really a repitition of the first one. If you are being made happy (blessed), than you're being kept from sorrow and distress. What's the best way for that to happen? By surrenduring our will to Gods. Think about it, if you want what He wants, you'll always be happy.

"I cannot pray in the name of Jesus to have my own will; the name of Jesus is not a signature of no importance, but the decisive factor. The fact that the name of Jesus comes at the beginning does not make it a prayer in the name of Jesus; but this means to pray in such a manner that I dare name Jesus in it, that is to say, dare to think of Him, think His holy will together with whatever I am praying for." ~Sören Kierkegaard

There are two aspects of the Lord's Prayer here. Both the "Thy will be done on Earth on it is in Heaven," and "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."



If it's Your will,
protect me from suffering and misfortune.
don't let me have to experience sorrow or distress

Since You want to use me as Your instrument,
don't allow me, by what I say, do, or fail to do
to cause misfortune or suffering to others.
Don't let me cause sorrow or distress for others.

Protect me from
evil, sin, and temptation in the world
from my own sinful, evil human nature, drives and desires
and from Satan and his demons...

so that I will not experience or cause pain.

In Jesus' name,

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

mallory's milieu

mallory's milieu
this link is to my "umbrella" site. Click there and you have access to all of my other sites.

definition of a milieu

Monday, November 08, 2004

Joshua update from his parents

November 5, 2004

Dear Family and Friends,

Joshua remains hospitalized. His white blood cell count is still not high enough for him to come home. It has finally started to climb. We are hopeful that he can come home this weekend.It has been a difficult week. Joshua was in the hospital for both Halloween and his birthday.

Today is Andrew's birthday. We'll have a small party for him at the hospital so Joshua can participate.While it has been a difficult week Joshua's emotional state did seem to improve as the week went on. I believe this is an answer to prayer. Praise God! A few days at home certainly will be the best medicine.

A number of people have asked me this week how Lori and I are holding up. The answer can be found in Isaiah 41:10 - 'I will strengthen you and uphold you'.

I don't know that we would be holding up on our own. But I picture God holding us up - our whole family encircled in His arms and lifted up. He knows we are tired. He knows our burdens. We are being carried forward on this journey by Him. That's how we are getting through each day. He also continues to support us and encourage us through you.

Please continue to pray for healing for Joshua and for his emotional well being. Also, please continue to pray for trength and health for Lori and our yet to born child.

Ted's Column

Either I made a mistake writing the html code into the templates, or Blogger is having some technical dificulties because all of the links on my pages are malfunctioning lately.

Here is a list of my websites, I guess you're best off highlighting, copying, and pasting them into the address bar in order to get them to work.

http://tedscolumn.blogspot.comMy weekly columns from the Charter Oak-Ute NEWSpaper, as well as other rants on sex, politics, and religion

My Artworks, as well as those of my students, and some famous paintings too

My First year of Columns

http://malloryprayer.blogspot.comPrayer Blog- all new, prayers, devotions, and quotes about prayer

http://cheercoach.blogspot.com Bulldog Cheer Coach’s Blog- also new, follow our season, as well as other notes on school spirit and positive thinking

Boyer Valley's Cheerleading Site

Portals of Prayer

Portals of Prayer

If you're at all like me, sometimes you're just so exhausted that you want to give up. Maybe you feel alone or even abandoned by God.
This morning I read a devotion in "Portals of Prayer," a quarterly devotional magazine (click on the link above) and I feel like God tried His best to reassure me that everything's gonna be alright:

"I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." ~Isaiah 41:9-10



I don't understand why on Earth, You'd ever choose me.
Some days it feels like everyone else has rejected me.
I get scared, remind me that You're always here with me.
I get discouraged and disapointed, help me to trust in You as my God.
Strengthen me and help me
Hold me up with Your powerful touch and Your mighty right hand.

In Jesus' name,

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Please pray for Joshua, the son of one of our classmates from Concordia. Joshua has Lukemia and his chemotherapy has been very intence,
Joshua's Birthday is Nov 2nd (he'll be 8 this year) and Andrew's is Nov 5th (he is turning 3 ).

His Mom & Dad write:" We are learning about what life will be like over the next 7 months. Joshua should have a "good" week this week and be at home. This will be followed by 5 days in the hospital for a round of chemotherapy. Then he will be home for a few days until the side effects from the chemotherapy really kick in. This is also when he is likely to get an infection (though an infection could hit at any time). The result is that he goes back in the hospital for about a week. Then the cycle repeats itself - Good week, moderate week, difficult week.

Many people ask us, "How is Joshua handling all of this?" Joshua has always had very good comprehension. We have been open and honest with him about his disease and what the next 7 months will be like. He definitely understands. He doesn't talk a great deal about it but I am not sure how much any 7 year old would. He definitely clings more to both of us so that certainly says something about how he feels. He is bravely enduring everything he must go through. We are very proud of him!

Prayer requests:

- continued healing for Joshua

- that Joshua would get his appetite back and eat well this week

- prayer of thanks for everyone who is supporting us

Johshua 1:9 "Be brave"


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Books For Soldiers - Care packages for the mind.

Books For Soldiers - Care packages for the mind.
Books For Soldiers - Care packages for the mind.
Hey this is really cool! What if everyone who found out about Books For Soldiers by landing on my Column site sent Bibles and devotional books like Prortals of Prayer, Daily Bread, or Upper Room or Guideposts?

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel has another great way to illustrate "Hiphil."
Remember: "Come near to God and he will come near to you." ~James 4:8a