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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. You are the vine and we are the branches; Help us to draw our nourishment from You, And grow to become more like You, Help us defy a broken world that wants us to conform. 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 have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 niv Philip Yancey is a journalist and bestselling author of books like Where Is God When It Hurts?, Disappointment with God, and What’s SO Amazing About Grace?. He’s been writing about the mystery of suffering for more than 30 years. Editor Diana Aydin spoke to Yancey about what he's learned in his explorations of human suffering. (Part 2 of the interview) What’s the best way to comfort someone who’s suffering? In the Book of Job, when Job’s friends saw his suffering at first, they tore their clothes, sat down in anguish and, for seven days and seven nights, didn’t say a word. That’s what really helped him. It’s when they opened their mouths that the problems started! I think we should do what Jesus did. He didn’t give platitudes. He just said, “I’m really sorry, how can I help?” and kind of let the person suffering decide where the conversation would go. It’s one time we should hold our tongue, unless we’re asked for really specific advice and, even then, be really, really careful. Is it true that God won’t give you more than you can handle? I would never tell someone that God won’t put on you more than you can bear. Some people break. It’s important to create a safe place to get it out, to express your needs, to get out your feelings about God. About two thirds of the Psalms are of lament or complaint. Again and again they say, “God, I’m upset with this world. I’m upset that good people are punished, bad people prosper. It’s not right.” I think it’s really significant that God included many prayers in the Psalms that express complaints against God. So I say if you have those feelings, get them out. How can we trust God to bring us through the other side of our pain? One example I like to give involves my wife, Janet. She’s pretty prompt. If she’s supposed to pick me up at 5 o’clock and still doesn’t show by 5:30, I don’t think, “Oh there goes my irresponsible wife again! I can’t count on her for anything.” Instead I think, “There’s something going on that’s causing Janet to be delayed.” I know who she is, I know her character. If we get to know God and believe God, then when something bad happens, my first response isn’t, “God let me down again.” There are things going on that I have no idea about. If we learn to trust God, it doesn’t mean that bad things aren’t going to happen to us. But they won’t pull the rug completely out from under us. We know this isn’t God sticking pins in us. God is on our side. My job is to trust, appeal for help to those around me and ask God to show me how something good can come out of it. What good can come out of suffering? There’s an opportunity that pain gives us. It forces us to concentrate on what matters most. I would say pain is like a hearing aid. When it happens, it’s up to us to tune in and use our suffering as an opportunity for growth, for helping others, for any way to redeem it. That doesn’t take it away, but it can help redeem it. Paul’s life was full of suffering: prison, a shipwreck, a snake bite, torture. And yet he said, “I look back on all these things God worked for good in my life.” He goes on to say that nothing can separate us from the truth of God’s love, not space or time or even death. He doesn’t pretend that this is an ideal world, but he does give hope. What do you say to those of us who ask, “Why me?” I say, ‘I don’t know, but here’s what I do know: God is on your side.’ I’m not sure it would really help us if we did have an answer. In a sense, you can figure out a lot of the whys behind a tragedy, like an airplane that crashes—the landing gear collapsed. But does it help the people who lost a loved one? Do they feel better if it was a mechanical failure rather than a human failure? I don’t think so. Suffering isn’t a mathematical puzzle that will be solved. It’s messy, and it’s important to think it through, but when it hits you, you just can’t be prepared. Rational answers aren’t going to do it for you. I don’t think that answering the question of why will give the satisfaction we think it might. The real issue is, ‘What can be somehow redeemed from it?’ That’s the question we should be asking.


Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit for an overview of Jeremiah and for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Jeremiah 6:1-7:29 I find verse 10 interesting. What is Jeremiah saying?  How do we respond when we don’t like what we find in God’s word? One gets the sense from chapter 6 that the people don’t want to hear what God is saying to them. Instead, they prefer lies. Sometimes God’s word is difficult to understand. Sometimes, it is difficult to apply. The warning we find in chapter 6, is that we need to work to both understand and apply. In chapter 7, what does verse 6 tell us? The warning we find in Jeremiah, is a warning to trust and follow the Lord, above all else.  Philippians 4:2-23 As you read these final verses from Philippians, what stood out to you? Maybe verses 6&7. Or maybe 12&13. To me, the theme of thanksgiving jumps off the pages or screen, through these verses. I ask myself, do I know what it means to give thanks?  Proverbs 24:5-14 Solomon speaks a lot about wisdom throughout Proverbs. What does wisdom mean to you? What does it mean to be wise? We talk about wisdom, but I wonder if we understand what it means to be wise.

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