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. Father there are so many hurting, heal their wounds. There are so many lost, guide them home. There are so many that refuse goodness, show them truth You are love; teach me to be love too. 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 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4 MSG 2020 has not been an easy year so far, has it? There have been so many trials and challenges, so much upheaval and change, with no clear end in sight. We all just wish we could go back, reverse the calendar and start over; with no acrimonious election, no Covid 19, no wildfires, hurricanes, floods, resumption of border war or explosions. (Of course, we have not had to deal with the wildfires, or the terrible port explosion in Beirut, or the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia so we can count our blessings in the midst of mayhem.) Yet when we listen to James’ words are we not convicted? I do not do a jig of joy when I am tested or challenged. Usually I get angry or I get sullen or I give up. I complain, lament, and ask, “Really?! Seriously? Do I have to deal with this?” I am not filled with sheer joy…because deep down inside I believe I deserve an easy life. I have “earned” the right to a simple straightforward path of all green lights, front row seats, curbside parking, and no lines at the grocery store. The power of such false thinking rests in the fact that I don’t acknowledge that it’s there. That is the very point James is making. When we are tested the truth comes out. If we have not been grateful, kind, patient, and joyful these last few months we need to ask ourselves why? This is a chance to clean out the closets of our hearts and the crawlspaces of our minds. What cobwebs of lies, rats of untruth, and mildew of discontent have taken up residence? Until we are tested we will never know what we are truly made of, but we often fly high on heroic imagination of how we would handle a great difficulty (though truth be told, I think a massive crisis is easier manage than a long drawn out inconvenience or irritation). This year has been an opportunity for us as believers to be tested, if we have been found wanting, GOOD, now we know. Rather than wishing things were different, let’s get on with the hard word of “growing up” in Christ, becoming mature, lacking nothing. Is there anything we should want more?
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 25:15-26:24 Chapter 25 has quite an extensive list of nations and kings that will drink from the cup of the Lord’s wrath. What does this mean? (I want you to think about this for a moment. How could multiple nations experience the Lord’s wrath. Think back through history, and how a potentially powerful leader could expand the borders of their nation. One nation, conquering multiple other nations.) In chapter 26 we see why God sends the prophets. What do we see in verses 2-3? Jeremiah seems to be in trouble. What do they want to do to him and why? (v 11) Prophets seem to have a dangerous job. Some of the things Jesus said about prophets, and how people treated them, all of a sudden make more sense. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28 Paul uses the image of night and day to talk about our life in Christ. What is the difference? Verses 16-18 are very familiar verses. Do they feel out of reach? Psalm 119:17-24 Verse 24 is a great image. What does it mean to you?