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7.4.20


How about this one… The three hardest things to say are: 1.      I was wrong 2.      I need help 3.      Worcestershire Sauce thanks to Linda

-pastor mike

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. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear our prayer, Lord; listen to our cry for mercy. When we are in distress, I call to you, because you answer 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 *Psalm 86:5-7

MEDITATION May God himself, the God of peace, (cleanse) you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. (Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV) When I was in college, I went rock climbing and rappelling at Lookout Mountain in Tennessee. The trip was a spring break service and spiritual growth opportunity. It was terrifying and awesome at the top of the cliff face, but for the beginners we went to the base of a cliff on the mountaintop. Instead of going over the edge we started by climbing up. There was one girl, Maria, who was on this trip primarily to serve and improve her English, she had never been climbing before. We all wore helmets, harnesses and were roped in on a belay system set up by Chris, a rock guide originally from New Zealand, who had climbed all over the world. It was about as safe as you can be climbing on a sheer rock face up thousands of feet from the valley floor. Maria started climbing hesitantly, and she was clearly very nervous. But as she gained 10 feet then 20 she seemed to relax until the face began to lean back and she hit a spot with no handholds. Chris called to her, “Back down a bit Maria, try to your left, you can do this, I have you”, but Maria froze. She felt stuck, and instead of heeding Chris’s directions she clung more tightly to the rock. However, due to the pitch of the face, there was no way she would be able to support her weight for very long, yet she dug her fingers in as her arms began to shake. We all took up a new call, “Maria, you can do this, it will be all right, JUST LET GO, the rope will hold you.” She began to cry and screamed, “NoNONO!” as her grip failed.  She never dropped. Safely harnessed in and properly belayed, she simply swung gently out away from the rock face and slowly spun however she tilted back too far in an effort to regain the rock face and tipped almost upside down. I can still see her face, wet with tears, topped by a bulky red orange 80’s era climbing helmet, her black hair tumbled up around the edge of the straps under her chin, and a HUGE GRIN on her face, she began to laugh, “I AM okay, I AM OKAY!! I want to try again!” Later Maria told us that when Chris had explained the harness and belay system at the start of the trip, she thought it all sounded good, but then on the cliff, she could not believe. She was absolutely sure she would plummet to her death. It wasn’t until she couldn’t hold on another second and felt the harness take her weight, spinning there she KNEW it was okay, that we had her. It was the clearest image of faith I have ever seen. As a church-going Christian, I have heard all about how God has me and I can trust Him, BUT for many of us we will never really trust until we have exhausted all our strength. Maria wanted to climb all the rest of the day but she couldn’t, she had used up all her energy trying to cling to the rock when the harness had her the WHOLE time. Do we trust God enough to swing free from our “death grip” and trust that He has us?

-nicole


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/1-2-kings/ for an overview of the book of 1st and 2nd Kings and https://bibleproject.com/explore/acts/ for an overview of the book of Acts. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. 2 Kings 10:1-11:21 Jehu seems to be out of control. Not only will he kill the line of Ahab, but all who were associated with him. And then he will continue, by killing all the prophets of Baal. It’s a brutal chapter. But we must put this chapter in context.  Ahab “did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.” (1 kings 16:30) In destroying the house of Ahab, we are told “I will avenge the blood of my servants the prophets and the blood of all the Lord’s servants shed by Jezebel.” (2 Kings 9:7) This might be a difficult chapter to put a handle on, but we must read it in context. And we must understand the culture of the day. The violence of the Old Testament, must be read in the context of a violent culture. Do you remember reading what the King of Moab did when the battle turned against him? "He took his firstborn son... and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall." (2 kings 3:27)  Acts 24:1-27 Paul will spend two years in prison, all because of politics. (24:27) Does anything ever change? What opportunity will Paul have during this time? (24:25) Paul sees not his suffering, but the opportunity to bear witness to Christ. I continue to be amazed by his faith. Do we look for the opportunity in every moment, or do we at times take our gaze off of God, and place it on ourselves? Psalm 80:8-19 Asaph is remembering how it was God who had brought forth the nation of Israel. What is he longing for God to do once more? 


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