Prayers for Survivors — Part 6

As time passes, it is easy for many of us to think that the effects of abuse have disappeared. But we are reminded that each day these women face new challenges, grow beyond where they had been. But their pain is real, the consequences significant. This is a small reminder that not one is forgotten.

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Heavenly Father, You know the challenges and attacks that each of these people have faced. Reassure them of Your presence in Jesus Christ. Grant them strength, wisdom, and insight on how best to proceed, especially in the coming days. Refresh, restore, and renew them according to Your mercy in Jesus Christ. May they continue to be a voice for the broken, the forgotten, the voiceless. Protect their hearts when attacked, and sustain them with Your Word. 

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Day 78 Katelynne Hall #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Loving Father, we ask for Your mercy on Katelynne in all that she does. Strengthen her for her task, grant her joy in her life and activities. In difficult times be her Rock and comfort her with your everlasting love. IJN Amen

Day 79 Anya Gillengerten #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord God, grant Your special blessings on Anya. As she faces challenges because of the abuse, may You raise up people to care for and minister to her. Bring healing, strength, and confidence. Meet all her needs in Jesus, in whose name we pray.

Day 80 Kaylee McDowell #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Father, we approach Your throne of mercy in behalf of Kaylee. Comfort, encourage, and strengthen her each day. Raise up people who can love, support, and affirm her. May You bring healing to her heart and confidence in all she does. IJN Amen

Day 81 Lindsay Woolever #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, may You sustain Lindsay even in the darkest days. Continue to watch over her, bring complete healing & strength. Whatever her needs, may You meet them. Surround her with people who love her. Psalm 34:18-19. IJN Amen

Day 82 Hannah Morrow #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Today, God, our focus is on Hannah. You know the pain she has endured, the ongioing effects. But You are a God of love. Remind her daily of that & raise up people who extend that love to her. Comfort & strengthen her. IJN Amen

Day 83 Bayle Pickel #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, bless Bayle as she moves forward. Healing continues & comfort needed. Raise up people who will care for her. We also pray for her family as they live w/consequences. Give Bayle times of refreshing & strengthening. IJN Amen

Day 84 Alexis Alvarado #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Gracious Lord, continue to bless Alexis with healing, strength, comfort, & hope. Give her wisdom as she moves forward. May You sustain her in the difficult times, encourage her in challenging times, & give her grace and peace. IJN Amen

Day 85 Morgan McCaul #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Father, today our prayers are with & for Morgan. We give thanks that You have strengthened her to be a consistent voice in the  need for change at MSU. Grant her continued healing, grace, & wisdom as she does so. IJN Amen

Day 86 Trenea Gonzcar #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we bring before Your throne of mercy Trenea as she continues to heal. Grant her grace in the difficult days, strength to move forward, &wisdom to make healing choices. Bless her family as they too walk with her. IJN Amen

Day 87 Larissa Boyce #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors God, look w/favor upon Larissa. Whatever repercussions from the abuse, may You bring healing of spirit, mind, & body. Strengthen her for all tasks. Grant her family peace as they walk w/her. Give them wisdom, love, & compassion. IJN Amen

Day 88 Bailey Lorencen #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we ask for Your blessings, strength, & wisdom for Bailey. Guide her as she deals w/ the past and moves forward as conqueror. Bless her family as they care for her. Reshape the bad into something even better. IJN. Amen

Day 89 Valerie Webb #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we ask for special blessing, healing, strength, and comfort for Valerie. As she faces challenges, make her more than sufficient to meet and overcome them. Guide her daily and may she live in Your strength. IJN, Amen

Day 90 Whitney Mergens #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Heavenly Father, bless Whitney with healing and mercy. For the dark days of memories, grant her relief. Guide her as she moves forward. Surround her with people of love and truth. May she live in Your strength and clairty of speech. IJN Amen

Day 91 Marta Stern #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, may Your comfort, strength, & wisdom be w/Marta. We give thanks for her strength and willingness to speak. Bring her complete healing of body, mind, and soul. In the dark days, be her Light and compass. IJN Amen

Day 92 Clasina Syrovy #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Heavenly Father, You know Clasina’s needs. Bring healing & wholeness to her life. Guide her as she moves forward. Give her wisdom as she makes decisions & may the scars of asbuse give way to a healed body, mind, & spirit. IJN Amen

Day 93 Emma Ann Miller #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, Emma’s needs are many, some even hidden. But You know & You love her. Grant healing, strength, determination, & focus in the journey ahead. Surround her with people who love, care for, & encourage her. Bless her. IJN Amen

Day 94 Amanda Smith #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, today our prayer focus is Amanda. You have gifted her, rescued her, & now restoring her. Whatever needs she has may You more than meet them. Grant her healing, wisdom, & voice to speak against evil. Surround her w/people of love. IJN Amen

Our prayers continue
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Prayers for Survivors/Conquerors—Part 4

Continuation of prayers for the survivors and conquerors of the abuse by Larry Nazzar. It’s easy for us to let slip the horror done and how that has affected so many including family members of those abused. These prayers can help us remember those who endured and lived in light of the consequences of the actions of one man, the inactions of several people, and the indifference at best of organizations.

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Day 42 Victim 75  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, even tho her name is not public, You know Victim 75 & all her needs. Whatever her needs, raise up people to care for her & her family. Strengthen her even now. IJN Amen

Day 43 Chelsea Williams  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors God You know the hearts of everyone. You know the hurts that Chelsea has endured, You know her needs. Guide people to her that can strengthen and encourage her. Guard her heart. IJN Amen

Day 44 Stephanie Robinson  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord God, we pray for Stephanie today. May You guide and help her in anyway, bring clarity to issues she faces. Heal her body and soul, guard her heart in the aftermath. IJN Amen

Day 45 Carrie Hogan  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Loving Lord, Jesus, we pray for Carrie in all her needs. Take away fears, uncertainty, & may her confidence be in You. Bless Carrie & her family with wholeness, strength, & comfort; IJN Amen

Day 46 Helena Wick  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Your mercies are new every morning, Lord. May that especially be seen by Helena this day. Whatever challenges she faces may You be her Rock, her strength, her Comforter. IJN Amen

Day 47 Victim 28  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, for Victim 28, You know her pain, her challenges. Grant her Your peace that passes all understanding. Strengthen and comfort her each day. Dry her tears, sustain her always. IJN Amen

Day 48 Victim 10 #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors: We lift up to Your throne of mercy Victim 10. Grant her peace and healing each day. Protect her spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally. Look with favor upon her family as well. IJN Amen

Day 49 Jamie Dantzscher  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Merciful God, may Your presence & grace daily reassure & strengthen Jamie. Grant that each step forward means necessary resources and people will help her and her family. IJN Amen

Day 50 McKayla Maroney  #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, we give You thanks for McKayla. Bring complete healing for her emotionally, mentally, & physically. Whatever her needs, raise up people who can care for & encourage her. IJN Amen

Day 51 Lindsey Lemke #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Lord, You know the trials that Lindsey has faced and still faces. Bring healing to her body, mind, and soul. Sustain her w/Your everlasting love and people who love her & her family. IJN Amen

Day 52 Nicole Reeb #PrayerSurvivorsConquerors Dear God, We give thanks to You that Nicole is special in Your sight. Grant healing & blessing in all she does. Surround her w/people of love and compassion. Guide her daily. IJN Amen

Psalm for the broken but not destroyed

Places of the Passion Pt 1

The Upper Room

During our midweek Lenten services we will take a look at five places connected to Jesus’ death. Each place will expose us to the people involved in Jesus’ death. We will see people taking actions that reveal that they are not only witnesses but accomplices in Jesus’ death.

Our first look  tonight will be at the upper room. The upper room is a place for intimacy, a gathering familiar and cherished by Jews. The Passover celebration was not a private event, but a family and friend oriented event.

In the midst of this, Jesus addresses two items of critical interest: 1) the identify of his betrayer, sin exposed, and 2) the institution of the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins.

As we explore tonight we begin our walk to the cross. Like the disciples we ask “Is it I, Lord.” As we examine our hearts, we, too, will see our own sin—confessing during the service. And the solution is the forgiveness that Jesus earns for us and He gives to us through the Word, through Baptism, and especially tonight, the Lord’s Supper. We cherish the weekly celebration of the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness we desperately need and want.

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17  Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”

18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’” 19 The disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

20 Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 21 As they were eating, He said, “Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me.” 22 Being deeply grieved, they 1each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 23 And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. 24“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”

26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:17-29 NAS)

Review of Unbroken by Madeleine Black

Unbroken: Used, beaten, but never broken. My story of survival and hope. Madeleine Black (2017).

Rape is horrible, no matter how we describe it, no matter what words we choose—rape is still horrible. Madeleine Black in her book uses words, graphic words, to tell the story of her rape and close brush with death. As difficult as the book is to read, this book needs to be read—by survivors of rape, by families of those who have been raped, by friends who want to help but may not not know how to respond.

And it needs to be read by those who get impatient, frustrated, and exclaim “Just get over it!” If only it were that easy. Madeleine takes the reader through the process of dealing with rape and all the associated emotional, mental, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of rape and survival.

At the end the reader discovers that the road to “get over it” is something each rape survivor wants to do. But it can’t be done with an impatient shout or frustration from a friend, family member, or even the survivor. There is so much more to it. Madeleine writes:

I have been a victim of a crime that leaves you silent, and there is so much that stays hidden in that silence. It not only protects the perpetrators, but it also keeps the victims in the shadows, drowning in their inappropriate guilt. Now, my strength is my voice and I intend to use it, not just for me, but for others who aren’t able to speak up yet. (p. 266)

As you read the book, Madeleine walks you through the horrifying details in essentially chronological order. That means at the beginning she will generally describe the rape and associated death threats and degradation. But it isn’t until much later in the book that she gives the full details—and it is so bad that she provides an appropriate warning about the graphic nature of the events surrounding the rape. Why that approach? Because Madeleine is living with the reality of the rape, which means some events are blocked from her memory as a defense mechanism. The frustration and despair of rape includes gaps in memory. She couldn’t get past it, because she didn’t and couldn’t have the entire story in mind. The reader takes the journey with that hole in her memory—she lived that way not having answers, fighting at times to remember, thus, the reader experiences it that way, too. Consider how many years Madeleine endured those struggles to get to this point in 2017. A one week immersion in her book does not fully give the reader the understanding of what it means to “get over it.”

I have known people who have experienced horrible circumstances. Neighbors fought in World War I, one was a Bataan Death March survivor, my father, uncle and father-in-law all fought in World War II. When I was in the Navy I met several former POWs of Vietnam. Our commanding officer came to the squadron the same month I did. He was a POW for 6½ years, severely injured and was in the hospital for 15 months upon his release. I persuaded him to tell of his experiences. So every week for a year he walked us through captivity and torture chronologically from the time he was shot down until he was released. As a pastor I have ministered to and cared for rape survivors, so I was not a newcomer to the agony of many who had endured severe trauma and major accompanying (often hidden) issues.

Yet, even with that background, this was a difficult read for me. I was surprised when I got about half way through the book—I had to stop. I didn’t read for two weeks. Very uncharacteristic for me. Puzzling: how could I be hung up on reading it? After considerable reflection I finally discovered why it was so hard for me. I thought I had the answers to “help Madeleine.” But what I was really doing was trying to re-write her book, from a different perspective so that it would get to the point where I had all the answers. Yeah, I know—how arrogant and disappointing! I had failed at the one point that had always been a strong point of my ministry— listening to the person on his/her terms.

That seems so obvious but I wonder how many critics of rape survivors approach it the same way, hence the exhortation “Just move beyond it!” By doing so, we fail to understand what really happened and what the teller of the story is presenting to us and lived through. Once I came to this realization, then I could go back and read the book, in other words—let Madeleine tell the story on her terms in her way. And then I could finish the book.

While reading, I gave Madeleine updates on my progress (or lack of). She wrote several times “It gets better, stay with it.” I did stay with it, and I am glad I did. My heart aches with what she endured, my heart rejoices that she came through decades of profound struggle. And now she has a voice to add, an important voice, a strong voice through her book and through public speaking. If you or someone you know (male or female) has been raped, seek help. There are many resources. Madeleine’s book is a valuable resource for every person.

Thank you, Madeleine for your story, your perspective, and your encouragement. Well done!

Prayer in midst of tragedy

Our hearts grieve today in the face of a major tragedy when family and friends suffer so much. As Christians we turn our hearts toward God.

O Lord, once again death has invaded our ordinary daily lives. Sin and evil have again striven against the life You have given and won a battle; spreading death where there should have been life, and sorrow where there should have been joy.

You who are the Resurrection and the Life, be with the families who have been so cruelly separated by death. Comfort those who put their trust in You that You have overcome death. Remind them of the hope we have in You that those who put their faith in You, though they be gone from us here, are safe and at peace in Your everlasting arms, looking forward to the grand reunion at the Resurrection at the end of this age.

Grant we pray to those who have lost loved ones the grace and strength that their grief may not turn to bitterness, their sorrow to despair, or their hurt to rage. Grant them the grace to help and comfort each other rather than allowing the anger that comes from grief to further tear apart families and friends. Help them to find in You the grace and courage to forgive the unforgiveable and leave the one responsible for this outrage to Your justice. Be with those who seek to bring comfort and aid and inspire them with Your loving kindness that they may be effective in helping them through their grief and sorrow.

Assist those responsible for investigating and judging this crime to determine the truth of what happened and to respond appropriately for the good of the community, to speak for those injured and killed, to honor their memory, and to act on behalf of those who have suffered such great loss. Assist us as You will, to understand what could drive someone to commit such heinous acts, not to excuse his actions but to explain them so that more may be done to help the afflicted to avoid such evil. As we as a nation go forward having again suffered the effects of such sin and evil in our midst, help us to respond with love and comfort for those experiencing loss and carefully consider with Your wisdom and counsel what may be done to deter or prevent such occurrences in the future.

Be with us at this time of sorrow and outrage, and especially be with, comfort, and strengthen the families and friends most affected. Help us to remember that Your Son came to save us from the sin that infects us all and whose death at the hands of cruel and sinful humans was for our salvation from that sin, that He is our Way, our truth, and our Life. Amen

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❤️❤️❤️

Sermon 09/24/2017

Isaiah 55:6-11 CSB

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; Seek the LORD while he may be found; call to him while he is near. 7  Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, so he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will freely forgive.

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.”  This is the LORD’s declaration. 9 “For as heaven is higher than earth,a so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, 11 so my word that comes from my mouth will not return to me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8XYDMInOhQETzBBa0h5NlBfWG8/view?ts=59c9594a

Sermon: Matthew 18:15-20

Preached Sep. 10, 2017

Forgiveness in the Church and for the Church

 

Matthew 18:15-20 CSB

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two others with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established. 17 If he doesn’t pay attention to them, tell the church. If he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like a Gentile and a tax collector to you. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.”

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B8XYDMInOhQEekY1SXJYU29ralE/view