Today we honor our veterans, worthy men and women who gave their best when they were called upon to serve and protect their country. We pray that you will bless them, Lord, for their unselfish service in the continual struggle to preserve freedoms and safety for all.
Bless them abundantly for the hardships they faced, for the sacrifices they made, for their many different contributions to America’s victories over tyranny and oppression. We pray for the families of those who serve, especially those who endure long separations as a sacrifice for our country. Bless military families and give them abundant compensation for there sacrifices.
We ask, Lord, a special blessing for wounded warriors, those with sustaining injuries, those who have lost limbs and suffer post traumatic stress.
We especially give thanks for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice of their life for this nation. And Lord we pray that the service of all service women and men would be that of peacemakers, and that armed conflict would decrease as we seek a peace that binds humankind together.
We respect those who serve, we thank them, we honor them, we are proud of them, and we pray that you, O God, will watch over these special people and bless us all with peace and happiness. (Words modeled after DOC - Disciples of Christ - Prayer)
This week I explore the problem with religion, as expressed in the second chapter of James. The problem with religion it hit hard with these words in verse 19:
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
Here is the Message translation of James words starting in verse 14:
Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?
I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, “Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I’ll handle the works department.” Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.
What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That’s just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them? Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?
In Alpha we learned about surveys indicating that most people pray. Even people who don’t consider themselves religious find themselves praying from time to time, especially when they face fears and anxieties. Sometimes our worries seem like they are going to crush us. Other times we experience a calm we can’t explain, but it doesn’t last.
In Alpha we ask the question: Is there something or someone bigger we can trust?
We are finding interesting and inspirational answers in the Bible and the stories of one another.
Think about this Alpha question: "If it turned out there was a God after all, and you could ask one question, what would it be?" You can jot down your thoughts and bring them to Alpha next week. Invite a friend! You may review with them our first session in this video and join us at FCC next Wednesday at 6PM.
This coming week, we will look at some of the evidence regarding the historical Jesus. Particularly consider inviting guests who may like to explore the variety of ideas about Jesus and sort out the evidence.