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“We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.”

“The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.”

“By opening our lives to God in Christ, we become new creatures. This experience, which Jesus spoke of as the new birth, is essential if we are to be transformed nonconformists . . . Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.”

“Like the early Christians, we must move into a sometime hostile world armed with the revolutionary gospel of Jesus Christ. With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quo.”

“Christianity affirms that at the heart of reality is a Heart, a loving Father who works through history for the salvation of His children. Man cannot save himself, for man is not the measure of all things and humanity is not God. Bound by the chains of his own sin and finiteness, man needs a Savior.”

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Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

–St. Francis of Assisi

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A Christmas Gift

Christmas. It is one of the most joyous Christian holidays, a time to remember the birth of Christ our savior. Christmas is a time to share our blessings with one another, and to be surrounded by the people we love. It is a time for giving, and a time for forgiving. Most importantly, it is a reminder of how much God loves us.

It is also a time of declaring God’s promise of His saving grace to others:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift ever given, by the greatest gift-giver of all, our wonderful God and Father:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…” Ephesians 2:8

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As we reflected on thanksgiving – join us as we give thanks to God for bountiful love and grace:

Heavenly Father, During this time of Thanksgiving
We bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You’ve done
Especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.

That “Salvation belongs to the LORD.
Your blessing is upon Your people.” Psalm 3:8

May our hearts always declare with the “voice
of thanksgiving, And tell of all Your wondrous works.” Psalm 26:7

Amen

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“Lord God, You have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in Your Church, but
you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had
lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I
call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall
teach the people. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon You Word.
Use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should
be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.”

Luther’s last written words on a note: “We are beggars: this is true.”

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8 & 9

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Change Hitching Posts

by Billy Graham

put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:24

In Texas they tell a story about a man who used to hitch his horse every morning in front of the saloon. One morning the saloonkeeper came out and found that the horse was hitched in front of the Methodist church. He saw the man walking down the street and called out, “Say, why is your horse hitched in front of the Methodist church this morning?” The man turned around and said, “Well, last night I was converted in the revival meeting, and I’ve changed hitching posts.” That’s what it means to be born again. That’s what it means to be converted. It means that you changed hitching posts.

Prayer

May I live in such a way that people will know that I am bound in the freedom of Your love.

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Immediately following the attacks of September 11, 2001, prayer for our nation was heard everywhere. People from different faiths gathered in Yankee Stadium for the “Prayer for America” event. Members of Congress gathered on the steps of the Capitol singing an impromptu “God Bless America.” Prayer gatherings were held in the Pentagon. On September 14, 2001, many religious leaders, including Billy Graham, were all invited to the National Cathedral to address our leaders and nation on a day set aside, called a “National Day of Prayer & Remembrance.”

In Dr. Graham’s remarks, he said: “We come together today to affirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political background may be. The Bible says that He is ‘the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles.’”

Today, those times of prayer have almost totally faded into obscurity. Religious freedoms are coming under attack.

Franklin Graham described our nation this way:

“The Bible tells us that Christians should expect persecution. I don’t know if believers in our own country will ever experience the degree of persecution that is occurring in places such as Iran, but I do know that our religious freedoms are being seriously eroded. Christians are becoming the victims of our country’s growing intolerance and misguided zeal for pluralism. However, Christians who live boldly for Christ, even in the face of opposition, are a strong witness to a morally bankrupt society.”

Although the attacks of 911 were tremendous tragedies inflicted upon our nation — the Bible warns that a people that turns away from God carries more serious consequences (Isaiah 1:15-20).

May it be that we would be a nation that adheres to its declaration, “In God We Trust,” clinging to His promises of 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

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