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 good shepherd. Give wisdom and humility with those who lead, comfort the caregivers Heal the sick, lift up the poor, And give us the courage to welcome the stranger 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 “…speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15 NIV Now you may be saying, “Hold on a minute Nicole, you said that ‘The third way that Jesus and Paul modeled was a willingness to engage with people they did not agree with IN LOVE and respect.’ Yet yesterday’s meditation held some pretty spicy words from Paul, In fact, he was downright rude calling those Corinthian Christians babies and infants, so what’s the deal?” Often people cite the words of the prophets, Jesus overturning tables, and Paul’s diatribes against the church in Corinth as evidence that when you are telling the truth you can be as mean and aggressive as you want to be, however that would be a poor interpretation of what is going on in Scripture. Proverbs 15 tell us that, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not upright.” In that last observation is the key to comprehending the difference between our angry words, harsh diatribes or incensed social media posts and the words of Jesus, the Prophets, or Paul. Our hearts will reveal, “Why” we are speaking harshly. If we are motivated by fear, anger, resentment or self-righteousness we would be better off keeping our counsel to ourselves. In fact, at times it is likely that Paul wrote out of his anger. Just because an event or a conversation is in the Bible does not mean it is offered to us as guidance. Remember the difference between Descriptive and Prescriptive. Descriptive verses are Biblical narratives or writings that may accurately depict what did happened not what should have been done or said (example: David and Bathsheba and Elisha and the bears) Prescriptive writings are directly instructing us how to behave or illustrating the living out of the totality of biblical truth (example: Job speaking honestly to God, The sermon on the mount). Paul’s deep distress about the state of things at the church in Corinth was understandable. They had HUGE issues of blatant sin going on particularly social inequity and moral corruption, as a result, Paul as their pastor, speaks to them boldly. But remember Paul will cap this SAME letter with 1Corinthians 13 which if you don’t recall is the very famous love chapter, you know, “love is kind, love is patient….” Paul’s heart is one of deep love and commitment to shepherding the church, not proving he is right. The prophets wept, Jesus wept, and Paul wept over the sin and brokenness that they cried out against and their hearts revealed their ultimate love for God and the very sinners they spoke to, so ask yourself, “What is going on in my heart?” before you open your mouth or hit send… 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/colossians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Colosse. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Jeremiah 16:1-17:27 Chapter 16 begins with a fairly dark image of the days to come. It is an image that is summed up in verse 9. What does verse 9 say? Israel’s exodus from Egypt, is a key memory for her. We see this in verse 14. But God is saying that memory will be replaced by a new one. What is that new memory? (v 15) Chapter 17 talks of the sins of Judah. The idolatry – “altars and Asherah poles” (v 2); their trust in man and not God (v 5); and then we see an interesting accusation regarding carrying a load on the Sabbath. (v 21ff) What do you think it means to carry a load through the gates of the city on the Sabbath? Colossians 4:2-18 Chapter 4 begins with an exhortation to do what? Paul is asking for prayer, for what? (v 3-4) I personally realize how little I ask you to pray for me, as your pastor. That needs to change. So please, pray for me and the gospel, that I might proclaim it clearly. Like usual, Paul will conclude his letter with a series of greeting from various members of the church. Psalm 118:17-29 The psalmist believes that he was chastened “severely.” And yet, what is the tone of the rest of the psalm? Can we give praise to God, even when things are difficult?