"An old Italian lived alone in New Jersey. He wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament. Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty sad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days. Love, Papa A few days later he received a letter from his son. Dear Papa, Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried. Love, Vinnie At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son. Dear Papa, Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances. Love, Vinnie
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. Help us to be on our guard so that we won’t be carried away by the errors of the misguided. Help us grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2Peter 3) 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 “…(God) has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NIV) “Reconciliation literally means, ‘bring together again’. When we talk about reconciliation, we are talking about taking broken relationships and mending them.” One of the greatest barriers to our mission of reconciliation is judgement. Judging is not our job, that’s God’s job. Our job is to discern so that we can be faithful. Yet many of us get caught up in looking at others and deciding whether or not they have been faithful. We have all heard the aphorism, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes” it was taken from a poem “Judge Softly” published in 1895 and written by Mary T. Lathrap. Below is a slightly adapted version to stir us to think before we fall into the trap of judging (Matthew 7:1-5 NIV)
Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps, Or stumbles along the road. Unless you have worn the (shoes) he wears, Or stumbled beneath the same load. There may be tears in his soles that hurt Though hidden away from view. The burden he bears, placed on your back May cause you to stumble and fall, too. Don’t sneer at the man who is down today Unless you have felt the same blow That caused his fall or felt the shame That only the fallen know. You may be strong, (you may be tall) But still the blows (that no one sees, And that no one knows) May cause you to stagger and fall. Don’t be too harsh with the man that sins. Or pelt him with words, stones, or disdain. Unless you have no sins of your own, And your heart, (only wisdom and love, contain.) For you know if the tempter’s voice Should whisper as soft to you, As it did to him when he went astray, It might cause you to falter, too. Just walk a mile in his (shoes) Before you abuse, criticize and accuse. If just for one hour, you could find a way To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse. I believe you’d be surprised to see That you’ve been blind and narrow minded, even unkind. There are people on reservations and in the ghettos Who have so little hope, and too much worry on their mind. (So), there but for the grace of God, go you and I. Just for a moment, slip into his mind and traditions And see the world through his spirit and eyes Before you cast a stone or falsely judge his conditions. Remember to walk a mile in his (shoes) And remember the lessons of humanity. (Forever we’ll) be known by the tracks we leave In other people’s lives, our kindnesses and generosity. Take the time to walk a mile in his (shoes).
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/hosea/ for an overview of Hosea and https://bibleproject.com/explore/romans/ for an overview of the book of Romans. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Hosea 3-5:15 (I always knew there was a problem with raisin cookies.) Ok, so maybe that isn’t the point of chapter 3. But then what is? What is Israel accused of? (3:1) Using the images of adultery and prostitution, Hosea will continue to condemn Israel into chapter 4. As we read throughout the two books of Kings, Israel led by her kings and priests, not only permitted idolatry, but embraced it. Which then overflowed to impact the rest of her life. Without God, we are left with 4:2. What is the sense of the chapters and verses that we are reading in Hosea? Again, think back to the book of Kings. What we are seeing is that for hundreds of years, generation after generation had been walking away from God. They have forgotten who delivered them from Egypt, and who established them in the promised land. And so when they look for help, when they go to prayer, they turn to the Canaanite gods and Assyrian gods and Babylonian gods and any other god they had heard of. They turn to the gods of all the nations surrounding them. God has finally had enough. Romans 6:15-7:6 Once again Paul will ask the question, “Shall we sin…” and once again he will say, “By no means!” Paul likes this imagery of slavery. In 6:19, what are the two options we have? We will be slaves, but to what? As Paul points to the images of slavery and then marriage, he is trying to make a point about the Law. What is the point he is making? Here’s a question that might help… is there a difference in doing something because we want to versus doing something because we have to? What is that difference? The Law is rooted in obligation, in the "we have to" while following Christ is rooted in freedom and the "we want to." Psalm 88:1-9a What is the image we find in the first half of psalm 88?