Prayer for the Persecuted

Eternal and Compassionate God, We thank you, Lord, for visiting us when we are afflicted and suffer unjustly. For you are a God who cares, who understands our grief, our wounds, our sorrows, our diseases. We lay our afflictions before you for we cannot bear them alone. Heal our wounds, comfort us in our griefs, […]

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36. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Eternal and Compassionate God, We thank you, Lord, for visiting us when we are afflicted and suffer unjustly. For you are a God who cares and understands our wounds, our sorrows, our diseases. We lay our afflictions before you for we cannot bear them alone. Heal our wounds, comfort us in our griefs, purge us of disease. Restore us; […]

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Kodak Prays for the Persecuted

Betsey Kodat. 2015. Arise, LORD! Scriptural Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Herndon, Virginia: CreateSpace. Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra The annual number of Christian martyrs in 2015 has been estimated to have been 90,000 people. This estimate is a decline from 377,000 in 1970s in the heyday of world communism,[1] but it is still about […]

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Suffering Predates Salvation

“He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” (Isa 25:8 ESV) By Stephen W. Hiemstra In both the Old Testament Books of the Law and Books of […]

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Righteous Suffering

“Then the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings” (Exod 3:7 ESV). By Stephen W. Hiemstra For the Christian and for the Jew, the experience of God frequently arises in the context of righteous […]

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McGrath Chronicles the Rise and Fall of Atheism, Part 3

Alister McGrath. 2004. The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World. New York: DoubleDay. (Goto part 1; goto part 2) Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra Because human beings cannot live without hope, nihilism itself points to God. As Freud himself admits, we were created to worship God!  In effect, atheism […]

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Nouwen Ministers Out of Pain

Henri J.M. Nouwen.  2010.  Wounded Healer:  Ministry in Contemporary Society (Orig pub 1972). New York:  Image Doubleday. Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra Many call stories recited by pastors started at the foot of a hospital bed. Mine did. Others have suffered chronic illness of a sibling or child.  Been there.  Awareness of our own pain […]

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Jesus: Lament over Sin

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psa 126:5 ESV) By Stephen W. Hiemstra What do you mourn for from the bottom of your heart? What does God mourn for? One of the earliest indications of God’s experience of grief in scripture is over human sinfulness: “The LORD saw that the […]

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Jesus: Joy in Sorrow

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matt 5:4 ESV) By Stephen W. Hiemstra The tension within ourselves is never more obvious than when we grieve. Grief vanquishes all pretense of our self-sufficiency. From the bottom of our hearts we cry out to God knowing our total dependence on Him. It is […]

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