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Our daily Bible readings are found at Listener's Bible. You can listen to the text or read it and it will update each day. 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, we pray for the Dominican Republic, Cyprus, Serbia, Thailand, Sierra Leone and the church in these countries as well as the lost. We thank you for your provision even in difficult times. We thank you for the gift of peace in a very un-peaceful world. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; 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 Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid. John 14:27 GNT What was the best gift you’ve ever received? What did it feel like when you opened that gift or saw it for the first time? When I was nine, my parents and brother worked in secret for months to make me an enormous stuffed lion to lay on the end of my bed. Leo was made from soft faux golden fur with a thick brown yarn mane that they hand knotted. I was obsessed with stuffed animals and always wanted more to add to my “family”, and so I was beside myself when I unwrapped the sheets that hid Leo on Christmas morning. Now fast forward to today, do I have Leo? No. Leo was pretty beat up by the time I got married fourteen years later. So what happened to Leo? I don’t remember, I think my mom gave him to a friend’s granddaughter…maybe? This is just what happens, after a while, the first joy passes replaced with the mundane day-to-day feelings. We as humans are forgetful; it’s the flip side of our capacity to move on from intense sadness or loss. As a result, every day we need to remind ourselves about God’s love and sacrifice or else we forget. I believe it’s because of our forgetfulness that the Bible encourages us again and again to be courageous, unafraid, and free of anxiety. Why? Because for one thing worry doesn’t actually DO anything positive and more importantly because in the center of God’s will is the very safest place we can be. Being in God’s will won’t prevent the death of the body, the loss of things we hold dear, safety from persecution, or difficult times (How do we know this? Because Jesus existed as a living example of a life lived at the center of God’s will and He experienced all these things). Instead what we gain in PEACE. Peace in the midst of the storm, peace in the dark of night, peace when we feel all alone, peace when we don’t know how we are going to make it, peace when we feel betrayed, peace when lies are spoken about us, peace when we think we may die or worse, we may have to go on living. This peace is not like the peace the world talks about, which is outward tranquility, no this is a rugged, sturdy, rough and ready peace that can stand up to ANYTHING this world chucks at us. Because it is God’s own peace, a peace that is built upon a sure and certain knowledge of what is to come and how this will all end; with God and all the saints rejoicing in the biggest kingdom party you can’t even imagine. Jesus was facing the cross, enjoying the last supper, about to be betrayed, deserted, persecuted, tortured, and then executed so we can live a life of certainty and peace in the midst of this chaos. He did it first so we can follow. This is a gift worth remembering…EVERY DAY. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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