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. Jesus You were willing to die for us when we were your enemies. You forgave us every sin; teach us to be as generous, loving and kind. Give wisdom to those who lead, strength to those who heal, Comfort to those in need. 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 Paul’s words to the Church at Ephesus are good words for us to hear as we think about how we live and speak as Believers. Ephesians 4 MSG In light of all this, here’s what I want you to do. While I’m locked up here, a prisoner for the Master, 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. 4-6 You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly. You have one Master, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who rules over all, works through all, and is present in all. Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness. 7-13 But that doesn’t mean you should all look and speak and act the same. Out of the generosity of Christ, each of us is given his own gift. The Word says, He climbed the high mountain, He captured the enemy and seized the booty, He handed it all out in gifts to the people. Isn’t true that the One who climbed up also climbed down, down to the valley of earth? And the One who climbed down is the One who climbed back up, up to highest heaven. He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving in sync and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. 14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. 17-19 And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion, (any sin will do; gluttony, jealousy, backbiting, you name it). 20-24 But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything…and I do mean everything…connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you. 25 What this adds up to, then, is this: no more lies, no more pretense. Tell your neighbor the truth. In Christ’s body we’re all connected to each other, after all. When you lie to others, you end up lying to yourself. 26-27 Go ahead and be angry. You will get angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life. 28 Did you use to make ends meet by stealing? Well, no more! Get an honest job so that you can help others who can’t work. 29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. 30 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. 31-32 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.
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 18:1-20:18 Chapter 18 begins with the image of a potter throwing clay at his wheel. What is God saying to Jeremiah through this image? What is God’s reasoning, the motivation for His actions? (vv 1-10) With this in mind, what has Israel done and what will God do with them? (v 15) Chapter 19 goes on to outline the sins of Israel. What they did, as they pursued false gods, was offensive to the Lord. What does God describe? (vv 4-6) Using a clay pot, God will describe His response to their sins. What will God do? Chapter 20 talks about Jeremiah’s experience as a prophet. What will happen to him? (vv 1-2) How does Jeremiah feel about his calling by God? (v 14) It’s a difficult passage to read. Filled with sorrow and grief. St Teresa of Avila is quoted with saying to God, “if this is how you treat your friends, it is no reason you have so few.” 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:16 Paul remembers the church in Thessalonica because of three things… what are they? (v 3) As we read through Paul’s letters, over and over again he talks about suffering, opposition and persecution. And yet, how does he respond to these? (v 2:1) Realizing this, does the church need to fear suffering or persecution? Should we be searching for that position of power and authority? Does Paul? Did Christ? Or maybe a better question, in both their lives, how is power and authority revealed? Psalm 119:1-8 The psalmist talks about the “law of the Lord” with thanksgiving and joy. And yet, does the psalmist find it easy to follow them? (vv 4-6)