LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Lord You are the Good father. You welcome us when we stray, You are with us always. Help us to speak in truth and in love . Be with those who need you most and call the lost home again. may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen MEDITATION I want you to get out there and walk—better yet, run!—on the road God called you to travel. I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline—not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love, alert at noticing (inequity) and quick at mending fences. Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift… Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:1-3, 29-33 MSG One morning, when we lived in the city, before our neighborhood went upscale and was still on everyone’s “sketchy places to avoid in Pittsburgh” list, we were awoken by some very loud noises. This was of course, not unusual, but this was different. It was banging, smashing, exploding, glass breaking and then screaming, mingled with gunshots. It was terrifying. Half asleep we tried to sort out what was going on and rushed to get kids downstairs to the basement and then our shoes on to see what was happening. As we got outside we could see that our neighbor’s house across the back alley, was on fire and so was the apartment house directly next to it, I mean really ON FIRE. Standing on the sidewalk, as my brain tried to put it all together, I leaned over to a friend and said, “I bet someone threw a Molotov cocktail through their front window or did a drive by shooting, that would explain the shots, crashing and screaming.” “Yeah” she said, “that might be what happened.” She repeated my idea to another neighbor and it circulated for about an hour before I talked to the sweet young lady that had been renting the first floor apartment in the house where I had thought the fire had started. She explained that they had been awakened to her daughter screaming. The house (closer to us), in which no one was at home, had somehow caught fire. The homeowners, hoarders and former contractors apparently stored a lot of ammunition in the house along with several propane tanks (never a great idea). Once the first propane tank went off, the fire spread so rapidly it engulfed the side of the house apartment house along with the porch. This poor lady’s oldest daughter, who was getting ready for school, began screaming that the house was on fire to alert her family and the other renters in the building who also began loud screaming and shouting as they worked to get everyone out. The ammunition was going off in the heat of the flames in the house where the fire started, the tanks were exploding and they were able to get out with just what they were wearing to safety. No drive-by, no shouted threats, no Molotov cocktails. I had said what I thought but I was wrong. I spread rumors that were unhelpful and false with no malice in my heart. I should have been quiet, because I sullied the reputation of a fine and God-fearing family I didn’t even know with indications that they were involved with drug and gang related violence. We need to take responsibility in today’s world for spreading rumors, slandering others, and repeating false narratives. The church stands for love, unity, and TRUTH. Please be aware that your friends and the community know you go to church. You represent Christ and FPCS, when you speak, post, or communicate, your words matter. “Say only what helps, each word a gift…” DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/jeremiah/ for an overview of Jeremiah and https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-thessalonians/ or an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Jeremiah 21:1-23:8 Chapter 21 starts with a plea from the king of Judah, Zedekiah. What is he asking for? (v 2) What is Jeremiah’s response? (vv 3-10) What does it look like to be just and right in chapter 22? To be righteous? (v 3) When the city of Jerusalem falls, and other nations pass by and ask what has happened, what is the answer? (v 9) Chapter 23 speaks of a King who will reign wisely. We use the language of Lord and Savior for Jesus. Do you realize that the word Lord, is another way of acknowledging a King? This image of a coming king, is an image that we apply to Jesus! 1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13 We read of Paul’s longing for the church in Thessalonica. Imagine what has happened... Paul had planted this church, and then sometime in the near future, he was called away from that church. Called away because of persecution. This young and new church, without its leader, has caused Paul all sorts of concern. That’s what we are reading about, and this is why he is overjoyed to hear that they are standing firm in the Lord. Paul prays for the church. What is his prayer? (vv 12&13) Psalm 119:9-16 The psalmist continues to talk about the Lord’s law. What does he ask? (v 9&10) What does he do with the Law?