Isis and Demons

February 4, 2015

2015 Blog Number Thirty-Two

Last Sunday’s lectionary was a story of Jesus preaching in a synagogue when a demon recognizes him and shouts out against him. The demon knows that he is God’s son. Humans were just beginning to attempt to figure out who Jesus was. The demon knew better. Jesus silences the demon and exorcises the man who convulses during the process.

The concept of demons is met with skepticism among mainline Christians in today’s world. Many of us assume that such “possessions” are in reality psychosis. In today’s world, mainline Christians would be as likely to dismiss the reality of demons and give pharmacological medicines to someone deemed to be “possessed.” I wonder if such mainline thought is correct.

Just today in the news it is reported that a group of evil people who go by the name of Isis burned a Jordanian pilot alive. Isis members claim to be Muslim and worship the God of Abraham. These people burned to death a man who was Muslim and also worshipped the God of Abraham. When I see such evil I can’t help but wonder if evil members of Isis are demon-possessed. Could people who claim to worship Abraham’s God really do such evil without being demon possessed? It is hard for me to imagine.

I wish that I had the gift of exorcism. If I had I would be working on exorcism even as I write this. As far as I know, I have no such gift. Until the demons are driven from Isis I will be praying for this to happen. Come and join me in church Saturday at 5:30 pm and Sunday at 10:00 am to pray that the demons leave Isis and these evil deeds end.

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Our Daily Elder Devotional

We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

My Loving Heavenly Father, thank You, for the wondrous ways in which You change attitudes.  I am not perfect, nor am I too stubborn to admit to You that my attitudes need to change for the better.  Grant me Your holy, helpful, and happy Spirit in my work today.  Amen.

2 Thessalonians 3:5New King James Version (NKJV)

Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.

Our Daily Elder-Driven Devotion

We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

Dearest Jesus, my Lord and Savior, help me not to take You for granted.  As You taught in the Lord’s Prayer, teach me to honor You, that I may daily look to You and work to do Your will in my life.

Matthew 6:9-10New King James Version (NKJV)

In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

0+ CMV-

2015 Blog Number Thirty-One

I’ve been feeling guilty lately. It has been a while since I’ve donated blood. Sometimes disputes erupt when I give blood. Some staff members want me to give double reds. Only people with high hemoglobin’s can give double red. Usually these are men. The problem is that most donors are women and they tend to have lower hemoglobin’s. Double reds are used mostly in trauma cases and they are frequently in short supply.

The dispute comes because I am also CMV- and sometimes I am encouraged to give whole blood so that my CMV- can be used for infants. CMV, I am told, is a virus that most people have had as children but I never had. It is not fatal unless an infant gets it during birth. In such cases it is fatal unless the infant is transfused with CMV- blood.

I walked into the donor center to donate today on the way to a hospital call. I expected the standard debate among staff as to whether they wanted my double reds or regular pint. There was no debate today.

“We were going to be calling,” the nurse told me. “A baby is needing your blood.”

I was quickly screened and a baby bag was added to my blood bag. On the table the nurse noticed that it was my birthday.

“Happy Birthday,” she said. “You’re making some Momma happy today.”

I hope so. Was there a baby born today who will share my birthday and my blood? I certainly hope so. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate a birthday than with a life saving donation. Oh God, may it be.

Our Daily Elder Devotional

Our Daily Elder Devotional

We claim no originality for these devotions. One of our elders searches various sources and finds a daily devotion. Consider this a gift from Clinton Avenue Reformed Church: www.clintonave.org.

The Tug of God’s Love

Whenever anyone asks me how I can be so certain about who and what God really is, I am reminded of the story of a little boy who was out flying a kite.  It was a fine day for kite flying, the wind was brisk and large billowy clouds were blowing across the sky.  The kite went up and up until it was entirely hidden by the clouds.

“What are you doing?” a man asked the little boy.

“I’m flying a kite.” he replied.

“Flying a kite? the man said, “How can you be sure?  You can’t see the kite.”

“No,” said the boy, “I can’t see it, but every little while I feel a tug, so I know for sure that it’s there!”

Don’t take anyone else’s wordier God.  Find Him for yourself by inviting Jesus Christ to come into your life.  Then you, too, will know by the wonderful\, warm tug on your heartstrings that He is there for sure.

Romans 8:16New King James Version (NKJV)

16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

The Body of Christ

February 2, 2015

2015 Blog Number Thirty

Today I’m scheduled to bring communion to our homebound members. The elders and I will, over the next few days, be bringing communion to nine different homes and institutions. It is perhaps the most sacred thing that we do as elders. We literally become an extension of the communion table that we have in church. The church comes to these folks who are not able to come to the church.

We are adding two stops to our rounds today. One woman is in the hospital and is requesting that we bring communion. Another is staying home because of the weather and her son asked us to bring communion. Of course we will be adding these new folks also. It will be a pleasure to be with them.

Some of these folks are lonely and others are dying. Some have been feeling estranged and others are in pain. Many are sad that they can’t physically get to church anymore. They all, however, look forward to the elders arriving, taking out the communion bread and offering prayers to the ill. Eyes light up and the smiles come at the sight of the communion elements.

Today some folks will be cheering the coming of a rodent out of a hole in Pennsylvania for ground hog day. I’ll be with people cheering the coming of the presence of Jesus.

On The Eve of Groundhog Day

February 1, 2015

2015 Blog Number Twenty-Nine

Groundhog Day has always seemed a little silly to me. Maybe it was because it came on my birthday every year. Maybe it was because growing up in Jersey City I really had no clue what a Groundhog really was. Maybe it was because I saw pictures of the Groundhog Day events from Pennsylvania and laughed at grown up people in Tuxedos out at dawn ready to an animal. Maybe it was because the weather never seemed to change on my block despite what the dumb looking animal did.

I don’t know where this silly custom came from and I certainly don’t participate in it but I have no problem with it. As far as I’m concerned it seems like good clean fun. It reminds me of my love for the Super bowl. Watching the Super bowl is something that I really get excited about each year even though it really is pointless but is good clean fun.

No matter who wins the Super bowl my life will not change. I will have the same job for the same compensation. My house and office will be the same no matter what the games’ outcome is. So why do I like the game and why do some people in Tuxedos like an overgrown rodent? Maybe in the mid-winter we need some silly way to vent our weariness of snow and cold. Maybe we are a bit bored at times and need a distraction. Does it really matter? Sometimes we just want to do something that is good clean fun. For some of us it is the ballgame for others it is a groundhog. Enjoy!

The Friendly Church