Sunday, December 19, 2010

Immanuel Prayer

O Lord Jesus, my Immanuel*
When I am guilty, Be with me and forgive me.
When I am frustrated, Be with me and give me peace.
When I am confused, Be with me and make we wise.
When I am afraid, Be with me and make me brave.
When I am proud, Be with me and give me Your humility.
When I am sad, Be with me and comfort me.
When I am tired, Be with me and give me rest for body and soul.
When I am in danger, Be with me and save me.
When I am hurt, Be with me and heal my wounds.
When I am tempted, Be with me and keep me faithful.
When I am tested, Be with me and make me strong.
When I am spiritually attacked, Be with me, protect me.
Make Your home with me through Your word. Amen.

*Immanuel means "God with us" in Hebrew.
(Picture: Dan Schutte)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Luther on Friendship

In Luther's exposition of John 15.9 "As the Father has loved Me, I have loved you; abide in My love" he tells us why it is important to maintain the bond of friendship.

"Although we are moved to suspicion and displeasure, we should remember to beat these back and remember not to allow them to sever the bond of love and extinguish its fire; but we should cling firmly to our friendship in the face of them. And if perchance displeasure and disagreement arise, we should renew and improve our love and friendship. For to begin to love is not so great, but to remain in love (as Christ here says) is a real task and virtue. In the estate of matrimony many meet who at first are ready to eat each other for great love and passion, but later on they become deadly enemies. This also happens among Christian brethern. Probably for an insignificant reason the bond of love is severed, and those who ought to be most firmly knit and bound together are torn apart, so that they turn into the worst and bitterest enemies... This is the joy and delight of the devil, who strives for nothing else but to disturb the love among Christians and to arouse pure hatred and envy." (What Luther Says, p. 527)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Help Fight Child Abuse... Here's One Little Thing You Can Do!

Change your Face Book profile pic to help fight child abuse? Okay, but then I read someone's post... "How will this really help?" That's a good question. I changed mine, but then I thought about one thing that I think can really help.

I spent one year serving as a chaplain at a mental hospital in Nebraska. I met many people with tragic histories of abuse. Abuse disrupted their lives so severely that they sometimes attempted suicide and eventually came to the mental hospital.

Many times these people sought me out for help. But where do you begin? I would ask this question: As you look back on your life and see all this pain and abuse, do you ever remember a time when you felt the closest to God? Many times the answer had something to do with Sunday School. "I remember a friend who invited me to Sunday School." Or, "I remember my grandma bringing me to church and Sunday School."

Sunday School is still one of the most helpful ways to reach vulnerable children. It's free. It's age appropriate. And best of all it's all about Jesus. Sunday School was often that glowing ember grace that Satan just couldn't completely snuff out. Because of it, even as they were coming so close to the end of a miserable life, they reached out for Him once again... The One they heard about in Sunday School!

I'm sure there are many ways to fight child abuse. But I believe Sunday School is truly one of the simplest. What can you do?

1. Pray for your Sunday School.
2. Send your kids to Sunday School and encourage them to invite their friends.
3. Volunteer in your Sunday School.