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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

My Good and Gracious Father

This evening will provide the last opportunity in 2017 for you to be part of the faithful group that gathers every Wednesday for prayer meeting at Friendship Bible Church. Oh the joy that awaits that group in glory, as Jesus reveals all that was wrought through their ministry of prayer. Get in on that! Join us this evening at 6:30!
Oh, and here’s a little prayer for the New Year to get your pump primed:
My Good and Gracious Father, 
You have brought me safely through another year. This was a year in which I saw and experienced so much of your goodness. You were good when you gave, and you were good when you took away; you were good when the sun shined upon me and you were good when the night fell around me. You were only, ever good. 
In your Word you give the sure promise that you have loved me since before the foundation of the world. That love was always with me and held me fast through another year. You led me in each step I took. You led me around the wilderness to the places of cool rest and quiet. You led me through dark valleys to the joy beyond. You were there even in times when I wandered and went astray. There was nowhere I could go that was beyond your love, beyond your reach, beyond your care and compassion. You are so good and I am so grateful. 
Father, I trust and I believe that your love and your kindness will be my theme in the year ahead. I entrust the future to you and I do it with joy and with confidence. I do it with sure hope that you already know each step I will take and that you will be with me to direct each one of them. 
If you have appointed trials and tribulation, I know that you will guide and comfort me through them all. If I have to pass through persecution or times of deep temptation, I can have full confidence that you will never leave me nor forsake me. If this is to be the year you call me home, I can receive that with joy, knowing that I will rejoice to be in your presence at last. If this is the year that Christ returns—Please, may it be the year that Christ returns!—, then I will join with all Creation in rejoicing and praising your name.
(Tim Challies wrote this prayer based on two entries in the classic Puritan collection of prayers, The Valley of Vision. May this be our prayer.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Are you ready?

What a weekend at FBC awaits us! Are you ready? If not it may pass you by and you’ll miss out. As I walked into the church this morning to begin my day, I noticed several reminders of all that this weekend holds:

There were the piles of canned goods and food stuffs in Fellowship Hall... all neatly arranged and prepared for Saturday morning’s food distribution. Are you ready to come help pack the Christmas boxes for the needy and hurting, and help drive them to those they are prepared for? Join us at 10:00 Saturday morning in Fellowship Hall, and your time investment will be less than 1 hour.

From Fellowship Hall I wandered upstairs into the sanctuary, where I saw the risers in place for the choir, and the platform rearranged to accommodate the band and the musicians. Are you ready for the wonderful Christmas program our worship team and choir have put together this year? If you’re a participant, remember that there is a dress rehearsal THIS EVENING (Friday) at 6:30 PM. And if you want to hear the praises of that Wonderful Child Jesus proclaimed in music, you have two opportunities to join us for the program - Saturday evening at 7:00 PM and Sunday morning during our regular 10:30 worship hour. Join us for one or both as we proclaim the Heart of Christmas - God’s Greatest Gift and Our Greatest Choice.

Finally, I glanced at the church calendar and noticed that on Sunday afternoon we will gather at the church and head off to share Christmas carols with our shut ins. We will meet at 4:00 and share the joy with some who are hurting and housebound this Christmas.

What a weekend!  We are ready! Are you? I hope you’ll invest the time to join us for these Christmas activities at FBC.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

I wonder...

... what could be more important than Prayer Meeting this evening? It's a church service that Satan fights hard, and throws road blocks in the path of every believer who knows it's value. Will we let the snake stop us tonight? Or will we be there?

Parents sometimes use their kids as an excuse to avoid prayer meeting, but then that's the hiss of the snake talking. Why not ignore him and bring the kids? Don't they need to learn to pray? And we need to hear them pray - nobody prays with more sweet faith than a child.

The snake tells us we're too tired... tasks around the house need done... our favorite entertainment beckons... etc. But it's all just so much evil snake hissing. Let's tell him to take a flying leap this evening and go to prayer meeting.

Prayer meetings at FBC run from 6:30-7:30 (at the latest) every Wednesday evening. You won't be pressured in any way to pray or speak out loud unless you want to. Silent prayers and vocal prayers mix and accomplish great things for God.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-- (Ephesians 6:11-18 NKJV)