On this day, February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from Victor Verster Prison in Paarl at 16:22.
From The Book of Acts:
While he clung to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the portico called Solomon’s Portico, utterly astonished. When Peter saw it, he addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though he had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in his name, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you. And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you. And it will be that everyone who does not listen to that prophet will be utterly rooted out of the people.’ And all the prophets, as many as have spoken, from Samuel and those after him, also predicted these days. You are the descendants of the prophets and of the covenant that God gave to your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.”
* The Harper Collins Study Bible NRSV
Bio from The Great Horologion, Orthodox prayer book:
“Our righteous Mother Xenia of Petersburg was born about the year 1730. She was married to a Colonel named Andrew. When she was twenty-six years old, her husband died suddenly, having been drinking with his friends. Left a childless widow, Xenia gave away all that she had, and vanished from Saint Petersburg for eight years. It is believed that she spent this time in a hermitage, learning the spiritual life. When she returned to Saint Petersburg, she wore her husband’s military clothing, and would answer only to the name Andrew, that is, the name of her husband. She took up the life of a homeless wanderer, and was abused by many as insane. She bore this with great patience, crucifying the carnal mind through the mockery she endured, and praying for her husband’s soul. She was given great gifts of prayer and prophecy, and often foretold things to come. In 1796 she foretold the death of Empress Catherine II. Having lived forty-five years after her husband’s death, she reposed in peace at the age of seventy-one, about the year 1800. Her grave became such a source of miracles, and so many came to take soil from it as a blessing, that it was often necessary to replace the soil. When a stone slab was placed over her grave, this too disappeared over time, piece by piece. Saint Xenia is especially invoked for help in finding employment, lodging, or a spouse.”
The Last Magi: A Tale of Faith, by E.A. Sharpe, chronicles the journey of Artaban, the fictional “fourth Wise Man” to follow the star in search of the new born Christ. This novel is joyous and engaging, a fast read while also inviting us on an epic adventure with plenty of humor, suspense, and awesome surprises along the way. I recommend this book for readers of all ages who might appreciate a fun and unique perspective on the story of Christ’s Nativity.
Summary: A Christmas classic your children will read to their own. “Wise, witty, profound and often poetic. A tale for the ages.” – Charles McClellan. Now available as a quality paperback. A compelling tale of faith, folly and the wisdom of the heart, The Last Magi is the story of Artaban, the fourth Wise Man. Leaving behind his betrothed—the fiery and beautiful Rasha—he follows his fellow Magi to Bethlehem, there to crown “the child born to be king.” But Artaban is too late; the infant and his family have gone. Thus begins a quest that takes the Mage through the cities and wastes of Asia and Europe, through years of hardship and peril. Mocked and impoverished, alone but for his sardonic servant, Ismail, Artaban doggedly persists, even as his body falters and his eyes dim. Is it all for naught? Told in ringing prose and rich with vibrant characters, The Last Magi is a gripping narrative of one man’s magnificent obsession, of love, danger, despair and redemption. Here is a book to cherish, to read and reread. Here is an old-fashioned fireside tale for children of every age.
Author Bio: Ernest A. Sharpe is a professional writer living in Austin, Texas. He has authored novels, screenplays and various forms of nonfiction for many years.
Paperback: 196 pages
Publisher: Positive Imaging, LLC (December 2, 2015)
* also available on Kindle and NOOK
From Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:
“So then, putting away all falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing. Rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk, but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly, but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore it says, ‘Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 4:25-5:20)
* The Harper Collins Study Bible NRSV
The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline is the first book in a trilogy by the Christian author, Tabitha Caplinger. The story follows Zoe as she discovers there’s more to life than the typical routine of school, friends, and family, and that she belongs to a line of ancient warriors destined to save the world from destruction. Intriguing dialogue, suspenseful action sequences, and strong characterization make this an exceptional story and a fun and exciting read. I recommend The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline for fans of young adult literature and for anyone who enjoys tales of supernatural adventure.
Summary: Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she’d ever have to endure. When she began seeing things she couldn’t explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad. Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to prevent the powers of darkness from condemning the world. But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn’t just another descendant—she’s the key to humanity’s salvation. In this first installment of the Christian fantasy trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.
Author Bio: Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri, with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.” When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.
Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Vox Dei (October 13, 2015)
* also available for Kindle and NOOK
I Am Plural (album)
* I Am Plural is a duo comprised of Jason Beckring and Ryan Barker
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
The Trisagion Prayer
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.
The Jesus Prayer
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, treasury of blessings and Giver of Life, come and abide in us, cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Gracious Lord.
Prayers to Mother Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
In giving birth you retained your virginity, and in dormition you did not forsake the world, O Theotokos. You were translated unto life, being the Mother of Life, and thus by virtue of your intercessions, you deliver our souls from death.
Another Good Prayer
O Christ our God, who at all times and in every hour, in heaven and on earth, are worshipped and glorified, who are long-suffering, merciful, and compassionate, who love the just and show mercy upon the sinner, who call all to salvation through the promise of blessings to come. O Lord, in this hour receive our supplications, and direct our lives according to your commandments. Sanctify our souls, hallow our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds, deliver us from all tribulation, evil, and distress. Encompass us with your holy angels, that guided and guarded by them, we may attain to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of your unapproachable glory, for you are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, through whom all things were made.
Who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man. And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried, and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.