Friday, September 30, 2005

I have nothing to wear!

Isaiah 61:10 NIV
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

A very special social engagement, my son's wedding, is fast approaching, and I have as of today, not made the all-important mother-of-the-groom dress selection. I have been waiting for inspiration! (Not really, I just don't enjoy shopping like some of people I know.) Its a good time to think about what we really use to adorn ourselves, the brides jewels (her dress is amazing) and the bridesmaids dresses, the men's crisp white shirts and sharp suits, and the flowers and all, to make ourselves beautiful, but our real beauty comes from within, from our salvation and that is a free gift from God!

Abba Father, there is nothing we need that is not known to you. Help us seek what is truly important, and not be seduced by worldly desires. With your help, let us be ready, with our lamps burning, when the bridegroom comes. We lift in prayer our sister Carolyn Dianne Zackry who waits for you, be with her now and always. For Steve Tanner in Greenfield IN and Tim McQueary in Lagrange KY, who both need to feel your amazing power in their lives. We pray for Tonya Sheffield at KCIW, Stephen Akin at Tennessee Colony and his wife Kelly in Mena AR. For these and all of your children, we lift our prayers in Jesus name. Amen.

Just so you know, I'm going shopping for a dress this weekend, so I can be ready the bridegroom comes!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I lift up my eyes to the hills.

From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Psalm 121

Gracious God, our creator and protector, we praise you and we honor you above all others. We know you have touched our lives, and we know that you are constant in your care for us. Help us to be constant in our care for others, and in our faithfulness to you. We lift up Mr. Waymon L. in Tennessee Colony who seeks your will in his life; Mr. James Goodman in Amarillo, Mr. Phillip Duke G. in Beaumont; Mr. Henry Allen Stanley in Beaver, WV and his entire family; all the ladies at Dawson State Jail, especially Chandra and Lisa; everyone at Richland Parish Detention Center in Rayville, especially today Rosena Johnson; for Brother Mitchell Charles who is expecting a miracle blessing in his life; we pray for Michael Baker for his success on th e G.E.D.; we pray for Craig Redd, for his daughters and for his ministry at Sterling Correctional Facility. Birthday Blessings to Mary Routh of Rocky Mount, NC; Esther Moreida and her family; For everyone at Plane State Jail, especially Elizabeth B.; Mr. Hubbard N. Hill in Angleton to find his path back; for Hattie Hopkins at the Mary France Center; Brandy L. in Bryan, TX; for Fredda at Gatesville, and her daughter Mandi; special prayers for Elaine Zapata for soothing her fears and healing powers. We continue to lift up our prayers for everyone who has been touched in the Katrina and Rita disasters. We give you thanks for all your good gifts, and ask your continued blessings and safekeeping for our families whether near or far. For healing and peace in the world, we pray in the name of Jesus; Amen.


Our prison ministry is devoted to the distribution of "A New Day in Christ" daily devotional calendars. This ministry has grown from our local church into a nationwide outreach because of people's hunger for the word of God. This year alone, we have sent out over 15,000 calendars to individuals in 48 states and 7 foreign countries. We get so many letters asking for other things. These requests usually are very sincere and humble, for items such as a large print bible, a pen pal, financial assistance for commissary items, help in contacting a loved one, and similar requests. As we read each and every letter, it sometimes breaks our hearts to know we cannot respond to each of these other requests. However, we are confident in our calling, and we are focusing our time and resources on distribution of the calendar, and that means that other ministries must be for other people.

These are the areas in which we can respond:

"Please send me a devotional calendar." We will send a devotional calendar free to anyone who requests one. We have two versions, one has a stand-up easle and a plastic spiral binding. The second is a glue-bound book version specially designed for individuals assigned to units who will not allow the spiral binding inside. Please include a complete mailing address with i.d. number if required.

"Please send my wife or husband, son or daughter, my friend or cell mate, a copy of your calendar." We will be happy to send a calendar to anyone you lift up to us. Please include full name and mailing address (even if the address is the same as yours). However, we ask that you make appropriate requests only. For example, the calendar is written for adult readers. We will send the calendar to children at your request, but they will most likely find it difficult to read. Also, we can not honor requests to include the requestor's name anywhere in the letter.

"Please send me other study material." We will send a sample of the "In Touch" magazine which is published by Charles Stanley's Institute for Christian Living. Although we are not affiliated with the organization, we support their work and appreciate their mutual support in providing free subscriptions to this quality publication to anyone who writes and requests.

"Please pray for me and/or my wife or husband, son or daughter." All prayer requests are appreciated and are offered up individually and in community. Each prayer request we receive is posted on this web site, as soon as possible, and is forwarded to members of our community who are commited to praying for this ministry and for you.

These are requests to which we are unable to respond:

"Please send me a bible." We recognize the need for everyone to own and to read the bible. Our calendar barely even begins to scratch the surface of the richness and the expansive grace of God as expressed in the entire written word. However, our ministry does not have the resources to provide bibles to inmates. It is our recommendation that you contact the International Bible Society at 1820 Jet Stream Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. They are the publishers of "Free on the Inside," a New International Version of the bible which is written especially for those in prison. It contains specific meditations, prisoner's testimonies and artwork. They will send the bible free of charge to anyone who requests it.

"I would like a pen pal or prayer partner." It is my sincere prayer to develop a network of caring individuals who are able to address all of the requests we get for someone who will correspond with inmates on a regular basis. However, our congregation is very small, and at this time we can not offer to match up pen pals or prayer partners. We will continue to pray that we are able to grow a network of supporters from this web circle to serve in this ministry.

"I am indigent and need financial support." This ministry does not have the physical or financial resources to deal with individual requests for financial support. At this time, our primary fundraising goals are to translate the calendar into Spanish, and to create a large print version. With these and other projects as priorities, we feel called to focus our energy on the calendar ministry.


Finally, friends, we pray that you become active in a group or ministry wherever you are. If you don't know your chaplain, try to meet him or her. If there are worship experiences or prayer services available, do whatever it takes to be part of those enriching experiences. Yes, God comes to us in the quiet stillness of our room, but God also exists within community, and God wants us to be in community with other believers. We thank you all for your prayers and your support. Our community is enriched in serving you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Prayer Requests for today... and thanks for your prayers!

Dear God in Heaven and here among us,

We thank you for this day and for your love, and for the opportunity to serve our neighbors in your name. Today we come to you with many cares and concerns weighing our hearts, and yet we know that you carry our burdens, so the weight is lifted, and we can bear it all in Jesus' holy name.

We pray again for many of our brothers and sisters in who are separated from their families and friends and have only you to turn to each day. We ask your blessings on all who are incarcerated, that they may invite you into their hearts. For we know you are with them always, and all we have to do is open our hearts to you, and you will touch the places that are broken and heal them. Specifically today we lift up Melissa C. of Gatesville, TX and her son; Mary Ann and Tony M. of Austin for strength and joy in their new marriage; Mr. Kitchens of Tennessee Colony to be reunited with his family soon; Fester H. and Chris K. in Beeville, TX, Mr. K.D. Watson of Lubbock, TX; Ms. Johnnie Lee, Michelle Guzman, Alice Dickerson, Sally Alvarez, Janet Arenas, Tiaka Barron, and all the women at Gatesville, TX; for Patricia Compton and her son Kaleb in Kentucky. Tina Melton asks special blessings for herself and her daughter, Dian, and for Angela and Ken who are looking after Dian while she can not. Tammy Dailey in Alderson, WV, Rosa Lee McGary of Metairie LA on her birthday; Stephen Baldwin of Ft. Stockton for strength to live for you; Christine Garza in Longview, TX; Juan Rimes at Buster Cole Jail, Mr. Ronald Bailey in Dallas, TX; Chasity Phillmore; Dalia Luera in Kingville; Wonnette P. in Lexington, KY and her family; Ronda Johnson in PeeWee Valley, KY; Ms. Angela Robinson in Wheel Wright, KY and the other women in Otter Creek CC; David in Houston Jail. As they ask for your grace and mercy, we give thanks and praise that you, our loving and generous God, respond to their prayer with grace and mercy in abundance!

For all victims of crime, we ask your protection and grace, to help them wherever they may be to feel your presence and your abiding love. For all who work in law enforcement and the justice system, please shield and protect them, and give them grace and wisdom to carry out their responsibilities with compassion and care. For those of us on the outside, show us the right way to minister to prisoners, and upon their reconciliation with society, show us how to welcome them home with open arms into a community of joy.

And for our nation and our world, please act upon human hearts to enable us to seek justice and compassion, to meet the global needs, have respect for human dignity and to live together in peace. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thank you for all of the prayers that have been offered up for our church community during the past week. From today's letters, we have received many many reassurances that, while we are praying for you, you are also praying for us! We give thanks for you, and for your love and prayers offered for our protection. Now, please remember the victims in Beaumont and Port Arthur, and Lake Charles and all the small communities on the coast that have been devastated by Rita. Keep the Katrina victims in your prayers too, as they continue to need God's guiding hand as they find their new path to follow in this world.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Forward from International Network of Prison Ministries

(This post has been edited to remove unsubstantiated information. I apologize for posting this earlier without due consideration of the inflammatory charges it contained. However, the heat wave is not in question, and these inmates, as well as all those in unairconditioned units across Texas, are certainly suffering in this heat, as a many others who are either poor or displaced or in other dire circumstances. Please excuse my error.

"From: Prison Ministry
Date: Sun Sep 25, 2005 06:35:59 PM PDT
Subject: [Intl-Network-of-Prison-Ministries] Hobby Unit temperature is 102 degrees, life-threatening

Marlin, TX is the town where the Hobby Unit women's prison is
located. This is the prison unity with no
air conditioning in the domiciles.


Please remember to pray for the inmates of the Hobby Unit during
this life-threatening heat wave.


First Mail in Houston

One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."
Luke 8:22-25

We have been without mail in Houston since Thursday, when the evacuation overturned all our apple carts. So today's mail was welcomed, but very light. Most of our out of state mail has not even been brought to Houston yet, so the bulk of our delivery will be tomorrow and Wednesday. This will, of course slow down our delivery of calendars, and the result may be that some don't get their calendars at all. We have found that if too much time passes between when the letter is written and the calendar is received at the facililty, the percentage of returns increases dramatically due to transfers and releases. If you have written in to ask for a calendar, please allow three to four weeks to receive it, and then if you have not received it, please write again. If you have been transferred or reassigned within the same facility, you will need to write again. We normally ask that you allow two to three weeks for the calendar to be received, but we expect this may add to our volume for a while.

Also, with increased returns come increased postal costs. It costs us $1.83 to mail a calendar, and the same for its return. So a returned calendar costs us $3.66 in wasted postage. That is why we make every attempt to process requests in a timely manner to minimize returns due to transfers and releases. You can help us by assuring that the addresses provided are complete and correct! Help us continue to share the Good News of A New Day in Christ with as many people as possible.

Dear God, we give thanks for your protection and mercy. We offer our prayers for those in neighboring towns and states who are struggling to overcome the effects of the storms that have ravaged the Gulf coast. Please provide your grace and protection to them as they continue to work towards rebuilding the communities and churches and families that have been broken by these events.

For those who are incarcerated, we pray you will guide and direct their lives toward a more meaningful relationship with you through Jesus Christ. In particular, we lift up Barbara S. in DelValle, TX, Sherry G. in Dayton, TX, Chris L. in Sterling, CO and his wife Sheila Rae. As they have reached out and asked our prayers, let us reach out to them in love and kindness. Enable us to be your messengers, and to bring the Good News to all the people, that salvation is within reach, that your grace is free and your love is impervious to the wind and rain that may destroy all earthly treasures.

Help us overcome the fear that holds us in unhealthy circumstances or relationships. Help us rely on you alone to sustain us when all others fail us. In the name of Jesus Christ we ask these things, May we be prepared to hear your call in our lives and respond, Amen.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Yesterday's Devotion

Jeremiah 1:5 -" Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations"

Poor Jeremiah, what a dreary life a prophet of doom must have had. But what a powerful message he brought. And God gave him the words and the strength to speak them. God knew what Jeremiah needed and provided it. Jeremiah had a really tough job ahead of him, to inform the whole Old Testament world that they weren't keeping the covenant. If you feel led to do something that seems too huge, remember that God knew you in your mother's womb, and consecrated you, and appointed you too. If you are being called, God will give you what you need to do whatever you are called to do.

Oh God our help in ages past, help us today to hear your call and to have the courage to go where you lead. We lift up those who are struggling to answer your call. Be with them, and help us minister to them. Amen

(Its amazing and miraculous how often the readings for the day take on a specific and timely significance, even though they were written almost six years ago.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wait a minute!

Romans 8:23 (NIV)
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Sometimes, waiting is hard to do. Waiting for the weekend, waiting for our spouse or children, waiting in traffic (one of my favorite examples), waiting until we have all the answers. "Wait till your father gets home!" my mother used to say. Oh, boy, I just couldn't wait then! So often we see the waiting time as wasted time, because we are looking too far forward and missing the beauty of this moment. Let us pray for vision to see the brightness of each new day, and the patience to wait in hope for Christ's coming in fullness into our lives.

Dear God, Quiet our hearts and minds and let us wait for you in peace. Open our eyes to the world around us, help us see the glimmers of hope when our heart's desire is still far away. Thank you for your grace which is freely given to us, and help us to respond to that grace by sharing your love with all around us, even while we wait. Today we lift up the mothers and fathers, the sons and daughters, the sisters and brother who are waiting for their loved one's release. Help them to endure their trials and feel your presence with them, even when the days seem dark and the nights are long. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Monday, September 19, 2005

1 Samuel 16:7

"... for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

We may be distracted by outward appearances, or fooled by false pretenses, but God will look into the hearts of all, and we can not know what He will see there that may be hidden from us.

Lord, your love and mercy are great and wonderful gifts. Help us prepare our own hearts and fill them with your love, so that we may be more tolerant, and forgiving toward one another. Help us remember that we all sin equally in your eyes and we are all equally in need of your grace.

We ask your blessings on Don M. in Travis Co. Michael M. in LaGrange, Ky, and his mother Garnette, sister Sandy, and friend Mickey for healing and peace, Colleen J. in Franklin, Ky and parents in Lousiville, Stephanie C, Suzette W., Dana B., Marie A. and Jessica R. from Dallas Co. for their renewal and retrn home to be with their families. We lift up these who are known to us, and we lift up all those in prison, who are separated from their families by fences and walls. Heal their soul-sick hearts and equip them to turn hopelessness into hope, and to know you are in them when they abide in you.


Friday, September 16, 2005

Weekend Prayer Warriors

Creator of the universe, maker of all things, kindle in us a creative spark. Let our hearts burn with love for you and for the world you have created. Show us the way to serve you in this your world.

We lift the names of the following individuals asking for your protection and peace in their lives. Mrs. Jordan in Dickinson, TX, Ofelia C., Maria C., Brenda W., Jacklin C., and Maria H. of Dayton and for their loved ones searching for you, Gregory G. in Ft. Stockton and his family, Weldon M. in Austin, and Joseph P. of Ft. Stockton. Each of these children of yours has needs that only you can satisfy. Touch their hearts and comfort them, and remain present with them all the days of their life.

In you mercy, you forgive us all our transgressions. We are a new person altogether by your grace alone. We celebrate the new day, and we give all the glory to you. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Pray for Karen

Karen is our friend Jodi's best friend from childhood, and I just found out she was injured in an accident when her car was hit full force by an ambulance. She's going to be okay, but faces a long and very painful recovery from multiple injuries. Please pray for healing mercies for Karen.

Mail Call!

Dear God, We give you thanks and are so inspired and honored by the many letters we receive each day. We praise you thank you for entrusting us with this ministry for your church. We ask your blessing on us, and your strong, steadfast love to strengthen us to be able to continue the work you have called us to do.

We also ask your blessings on us all your children who have fallen short, but specifically those who have broken trust with society, and now spend their days in prisons and jails across this huge country. Let us hear your voice, and be changed. Where we are broken, heal us. Where we are angry, soothe us. Where we are afraid, support us.

We ask your blessings on our society. Where it has fallen short and broken trust with your children, enable compassionate leaders to be your voice, your hands and feet for change. Let the leaders yet to be known hear your voice, and be called out. Where our society is broken, bring us healers. Where we are at war, bring peacemakers. Where we have only uncertainty, bring your sure presence.

Specifically we lift the following names made known to us this day: Desiree N. in Ocala Fl, her family, Ricky Cowart, Thomas Mitchell and Michael Magee in LaGrange Ky, Gwendolyn w. in Newport AR and her son Theodore in Hope AR. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve these and many more in the name of Jesus Christ.

We thank you for your free gift of grace which is extended to all of us, and though we are not worthy of your love, yet Christ died so we may know you. Please bless all the men and women in prisons, help them see the way you would have them go in their life. Please bless all who work in the prisons, whether officers or administrators, teachers, doctors, nurses or chaplains. Please lift their spirits so they may carry out their work with love for Christ and for fellow man in their hearts and minds. All this we ask in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Today's blessings

Please pray for Archie M in Beeville, and his mother Judy V of New Orleans, Archie has not heard if his mother is safe or where she may be. Kimberly B. in Dallas, and her grandmother Juanita B. in Greenville. Pray for Kerry L in Dallas, Kim N and Jesus R in Ft. Stockton.

Dear God, these children of yours ask humbly for your help. Give us all what we need to grow in you sight, and to become the people you have designed us to be. Help us to lift each other up, and for those who are in prison and unable to be with their family and friends, give them comfort and let them know your ever-present love. Amen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Daily Prayer Requests

Join in prayer for the mothers and sons, the fathers and daughters, for the families who are broken and who need God's healing power in their lives: Tammy H. in Gatesville and her son Vincente in Temple, Brenda B. of Owensboro Ky, Rickie T. in Madison IN and all her family and friends in Dorm C, Tammy H. in Tallahassee Fl. and her study group, Natalie B in Ft. Worth to know she already has a 2nd chance in God's sight, Teresa B in Alterson WV, for C Lara and wife Sheila, brother Mike and sister-in-law Dena, we didn't get a full address so we couldn't send a calendar, please write us again, Loretta Z and her children in Scotlandville, LA who asks blessings for all the displaced inmates and free persons from Hurricane Katrina, Mandy T. in Newport AR, Juan J. Jr. and Rosie B. in Miami FL, Michelle A. in Dallas for healing from addiction, the families of Angela C., Pamela B, Norma L., Gerri S. Donna C., Randa M. and Maria B. for change in their lives, Derick G. and his family, Eric K. in Tennessee Colony, TX, Lecia W. in Bryan TX, Rhonda A. in Fort Worth, Lisa W. in Arlington, TX, JoAnn D. and her children Billy Ray, Melinda Sue and Richard Lee. For Kimberly S. and her family, especiallly her grandmother Loretta T., Ashley S. in DelValle, TX and her children Eric & Justin, DoLores E. in Dayton, TX and her three daughters and their father.

This prayer was written by DoLores E. who prays for her family to be reunited after 6 year apart: "Dear God, Thank you for always being there to help us up when we fall. Thank you for our friends who help you in this work. Also Lord, Let me not dwell on the smallness of man, but on the greatness of God in the universe. Let me go forth in joy with open arms and a loving heart. Thank you, Lord, for all your wonderous works and for your presence all around me. Amen."


All About "A New Day in Christ" Calendar Ministry

At First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, we see our calendar ministry as evidence that God is taking an active role in directing our work. As we worked on the first calendar six years ago, no one fully understood the purpose that God had designated for this work. We simply realized that a similar 40-day devotional booklet we shared during our “Gathered People” building program was an inspiration. So a few faithful souls were inspired to create a new calendar, a full year calendar for the new millennium. This was a huge undertaking for our small congregation of under one hundred. At times we thought it might be too much, but through persistence, patience and prayer, “A New Day in Christ” was the result of that inspiration. Upon completion about 500 calendars were sent out, two to each contributor, with a letter suggesting we keep one calendar for our own daily meditation, and pass on the second copy to a friend.

The first distribution was like sowing seeds that spread on the winds wherever the Spirit found fertile ground. Each calendar, then and now, carries with it an invitation to share a copy with a friend by calling or writing the Church. At first, we received just a few calls and a couple of letters each week. At first, some of us wondered how we would ever distribute the 5000 additional calendars we had in storage. Some of us were just waiting, getting ready for the wind to blow the right way.
Some calendars were requested for inmates in the Texas prison systems. They told others, and more letters started coming in. We were surprised when we began receiving more letters from prisoners from outside Texas. As inmates were being transferred out of Texas, they were spreading the word and encounaging people to write to request a calendar of their own. We ordered more calendars. Inmates wrote back after receiving their calendar to ask for another one for their wife or sister, for their father or their son. They were sharing the good news from wherever they were.

We heard from some inmates that their calendar was confiscated due to the spiral binding being a hazard. We ordered glue bound calendars. Soon the letters increased steadily to the point where this project has become a full time ministry. From within the prison walls, God’s glory is being revealed through the calendar, which is providing daily inspiration and hope to thousands of men and women who are in desperate need of a new direction for their lives. Through word of mouth from neighbor to neighbor, and sharing in small groups, people are becoming partners in the calendar ministry. Now, we serve them, following God’s direction, as hundreds of requests come in by phone and mail every week.
Two basic principles guide our mission. First, we only send one calendar to each individual whose name has been individually and specifically lifted up. Groups of people may get together and send in requests, but we ask that each calendar is mailed directly to an individual. Secondly, we do not solicit donations from persons who have requested the calendar. The calendar is free, like the priceless gift of grace we receive as Christians.

"I want to thank you for the wonderful things you do for us here in prison, that are really sincere in our relationship to our Father in Heaven. "

"I am fresh out of prison into a recovery institute, by choice. I am tired of being tired. I've chosen to continue my incarceration so I can learn how to be sober and be a Godly man."

"This life I've had has been like a prison. I've used drugs and alcohol to cover up the pain -- to hide the "me" that is so damaged. Now I'm sober and having to face reality. I can't do it alone."

"I am indigent, but I will make sure that I will do my best to pay for a devotional calendar by sending you a drawing. I can draw a little, but I'm willing to do my best for one of those calendars."

"I'm in prison. Will you please send these people one of your awesome devotionals? I know it will make a difference in their lives, like it has in mine."

"I recently received one of your devotional calendars "A New Day in Christ." I was quite moved because of such a blessing that I was compelled to write you this note of thanks. Each morning when I awake the calendar provides me with a scripture and prayer to meditate on for that day. This is such a great tool to focus and strengthen my faith."

"I would like to first say it truly was a Godsend to receive the calendar from your church, it truly lifted my spirits. It let me know someone cares about my spiritual well being."

"The devotional calendar is a Godsend in and of itself. I have a hunger for the word and it is all I can do to keep myself from reading cover to cover rather than day-to-day. Your gift has blessed me indeed. Big grin. Praise God!"

"I feel the power of God every morning as I read my devotional calendar I stand up in the middle of the dorm and read it out loud. And a few of my brothers stay awake and we have bible study."

These are just a few of the thousands who have written in to tell us that God has touched their lives through the “New Day in Christ” calendar ministry. Over and over, these people tell us that God is working through the calendar to help them. And over and over, they say to you, “Thank you!” and “You are in our prayers!” The wind continues to blow, and we are preparing to order more calendars.

You are invited to support this miraculous ministry in any way you feel inspired. By reading and answering letters, creating new devotional materials, providing financial support, becoming a pen-pal prayer partner with an inmate, or including this ministry in your prayers for guidance and direction, you can help continue God’s work. If you feel led to become involved in this outreach, please call to learn more about opportunities to serve.

Dear God, please continue to bless the efforts of your children engaged in spreading the good news through out the world. Today we specifically ask blessing for “A New Day in Christ” calendar ministry, for all who wrote devotions for it, for those who produce and distribute it, and for all who turn to it for inspiration each day. Make us one in your love, as your extended community of saints, and show us the way to continue sharing the good news of your love, active and alive in the world. Amen.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Adapting to a new normal...

Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison, Acts 12:1-19 NIV (NIV)

1It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.

6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.

8Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.

What prison are you in? Mine is anxiety. I keep waiting for things to get back to normal. And then I remember, this is normal now. New home, new job, new responsibilities, new expectations. Oh, and new fears and new insecurities. Well, maybe they are just the same old insecurities and fears, just lots of opportunities for them to take over. So anxiety takes hold and paralysis sets in. But as I look around, people in a lot worse conditions than mine are functioning, and God has called me to help them. So I just keep trying to look for my angel to break me out and show me the way.

Whether we are imprisoned to sin in our hearts or in a worldly prison for mistakes we have made makes no difference to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We all need to be ready to put on our clothes and sandals when the angel appears to lead us out of whatever chains are holding us back from being the person God designed and created us to be in His image.

Earnestly we pray dear God, release us from our chains to sin and self. Help us to be free from fear, free from anxiety, free from anger, free from envy, free from hopelessness. We recognize these as the chains that keep us from you and we reject those chains. We look for your angel to appear and tell us, " Follow me." Today we lift up by name our brothers and sisters in Christ: Mandy T. in Newport, AR; Valerie B. in Alderson, WV and George B. in Lisbon, OH; Juan J. Jr. and Rosie B. in Miami FL; for Angela C. in Sherman, TX; Pamela B. Norma L. Gerri S., and Donna C. in Dallas, TX; Randa M. in Abilene; Michelle A. in Dallas; Estella R. in Dallas; Victoria R. and her children Jessy, Moses, Abraham, Felix and nephew Tony; Virginia L. also in Dallas. For all these your children, we pray. In your loving kindness, let them know your presence during their time of need. Help them hear your invitation to follow you more closely, through whatever hardship they may be facing, and help them to put on their sandals and follow you. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Catch a breath...

The need here in Houston has been so great and the good people of New Orleans who are being relocated here have become a priority need. Please continue in prayer for them and their New Day new beginning. People who are displaced by the storm have come to Houston and many of them plan on remaining here. A great deal will need to be done to help the thousands who have had their normal "day-to-day" interrupted by this trauma get back to anything resembling "business as usual." The population at the Astro-Dome complex is thinning as evacuees locate relatives or friends able to accomodate them, or find an apartment or house to rent short term or long term. People need jobs, and social services is being overwhelmed by the numbers. Tempers are short, misunderstandings occur as exhausted and bewildered people encounter obstacle after obstacle. When the drama of the evacuation is over, as these weary and depleted people begin to be absorbed into the community, when the news crews and celebrities stop coming, and the depth of loss begins to become real, even as their physical needs are being met, there will be a depth of despair and we must pray for God to strengthen us to be present to fill this spiritual hunger that will persist even after the body has been fed.

Dear God, be present in our city, comfort the mourners and lift those in despair, strengthen those able to help and guide our efforts to your purposes. And help the rescuers and recovery workers in the stricken areas remain safe and whole, comfort their minds. Amen and amen.

Dear God, Help all the prisoners who have family affected by this natural disaster to have the peace of knowing their family is safe and where they are at this time. Isolation is so hard and leads us to fear and despair. Bring us into communion with our loved ones, and give us hope for the new day, strength to handle the challeges ahead, patience to see through the frustrations of being unable to help when we want so much to help, and courage to face any trials that may present knowing through Jesus Christ our needs are provided for. Help us trust in your grace.

For DoLores England in Dayton Texas and her three daughters, Derick G. in Abilene and his family, Lisa B. in Dallas, Ms. Gail H. in Coleman, Florida and her family, especially grandson Jesse, Rhonda L. C. in Ft. Worth, and Lecia W. in Bryan, Texas, For JoAnn D. and her children Billy Ray, Melinda, Richard Lee; For Kimberlly S. and her family, for Loretta T., for Ashley S. and her children Eric and Justin, we lift all these names to you dear God. These mothers and fathers have confessed their need for your intercessory love in their lives. Help them remain strong in you, and reunite these families in your time. We lift the names of Jessica R., Catherine A., Albert C., Lisa J., Elvira Euaro P., Irene P. in prayer. Let them know you are present with them now and always, and help them along their walk. Help us, as one part of your body the church, to know how to serve the hurt and broken people of the world, and empower us to be your witness in the world. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Prayer in action

This was posted on Craig's List Houston...

email this posting to a friend

Inexpensive ways to HELP those at the Astro Dome

Reply to:
Date: 2005-08-31, 11:53PM CDT

There are "kits" that can be made very inexpensively -
they're called "Health Kits". These Health Kits should include:

1 washcloth
1 hand towel
1 bar of soap
1 fingernail clipper
1 toothbrush
1 tube of toothpaste
1 dental floss
1 deodorant
1 comb (full size, not pocket size)
1 small pkg of bandaids (8-10 bandaids)
1 purse size facial tissue

Put all into a gallon size ziploc bag

These kits cost about $10-12 each to make. I made 8 of them for $83.00

There are also a lot of items that are desperately needed. Below is a
list of some of the main items:

Below items should be new:
· Sheets
· Pillows
· Paper goods such as plates, cups, napkins, disposable silverware -
forks, knives, spoons
· Bottled water (no glass containers)
· Single serving snacks such as Pop-Tarts and cereal bars, chips,
pretzels, cookies, candies, crackers, canned fruit
· Peanut butter
· Heat and eat foods such as chili, stew, canned pasta with sauce and
canned vegetables
· Any other single serving foods that don't require refrigeration
· MREs (Meals Ready To Eat)
· Baby formula and bottles
· baby shirts or one-piece body suits
· baby washcloths
· dressing gowns or robes
· baby sleepers
· baby sweater open in the front
· receiving blankets
· towels
· sleeping bags
· shampoo
· disposable baby diapers
· Powdered baby formula
· Jarred baby food
· Games and toys

Below items can be used but in very good condition:
· Clothing
· Shoes
· Blankets

Houston Astrodome
8400 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX 77054

Prayer Requests for today...

Please join in prayer

Dear God, we continue to lift up our neighbors in need as they endure unimaginable hardship. Please let them know your presence with them through this, and let them feel hope for the future. Guide and direct our efforts to be your hands in the community, so that through our efforts, you will be known.

We pray for the safety and peace of mind of those incarcerated in the storm damaged states, that they may be safe and warm, that their worries and fears are calmed, and they feel peace. And we lift up the following individuals by name, Charlotte Jones in Comanche Texas, and her family, for Lolita, Kirwin and Michael Watson for a strong family bond, Raphael Petty in Pollock, Louisiana, Lisa Laeffert in Las Cruces, New Mexico. By asking for prayer, these people have admitted their own weakness and become part of our community turning to you for help. In their weakness, strengthen them and make them whole. Let them see the light of your new better day. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.