The image of the beehive in our stained-glass windows, is a symbol for a community who work together for the benefit of all. An interesting reminder in the midst of a pandemic. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)
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, help those who are troubled; The sick, the lonely, the poor, the stranger. Encourage the healers, lead our leaders. Out of your great compassion, convict the sinner Especially me. 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 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify (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) In the movie, The Princess Bride, the Spanish swordsman, Inigo Montoya, is working with the giant Fezzik and the Sicilian Venzini to kidnap Princess Buttercup. (If you have never seen the movie, I highly recommend it) As the planned kidnapping is derailed by “the man in black”, Venzini keeps declaring, “Inconceivable!”. Once again, as the “the man in black” defies Venzini’s expectations by climbing the Cliffs of Insanity, Inigo turns to Venzini and says, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”* How often in church or in Christian circles are there words, complex words rooted in Latin or Greek, that have deep and specific theological meaning but we aren’t really sure what they mean? The word “sanctify” is one of those words. sanc·ti·fy verb 1. set apart as or declare holy; purify, cleanse, free from sin. “In sanctification, both God and the Christian have specific responsibilities. Paul commands believers to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12–13). God is the one who does the work of making us more like Christ, and we participate in that work by a life of continually turning away from sin and demonstrating our faith in Christ by obeying God's commands. The Holy Spirit plays a key role in this process: as we walk in the power of the Spirit we “will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16).** There is a nuanced interplay between God’s complete and powerful work of saving us, that He does completely and without our help, and the process of our transformation in which we work out that salvation through obedience to the Spirit in us. Sanctification, our being set apart for God is completed in Christ once and for all, but our human nature still rebels against God. All humans sin, but the Christian knows it is sin. We can repent and know we are already forgiven. It may seem “inconceivable” to non-Christians and the world, that expect believers to live “perfect” lives, but our blamelessness doesn’t come from our performance but from Jesus’ sacrifice, Thank GOD!
*(Watch clip from the Princess Bride https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3sLhnDJJn0) **https://www.christianity.com/jesus/following-jesus/repentance-faith-and-salvation/what-does-sanctification-mean.html
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 16:1-17:41 One of the practices that seems so foreign to us, is the practice of “human” sacrifice. Especially, when it comes to children. And yet, we find this practice being performed by a king of Judah. (16:3) In addition to this horrific practice, Ahaz will take the wealth from the temple and give it to the king of Assyria for protection. (16:8) And then out of admiration for the king of Assyria, he will turn God’s temple into a place of idolatry. Could it get any worse? Israel's story in Kings will conclude with a long list of sins, that began with Jeroboam's leadership. (1 kings 12) I find it intriguing how patient God was with the nation. King after king after king, did evil in the eyes of the Lord, until God will finally respond to the injustice and send them into exile. What a painful history for the nation God had set aside for himself. Division. Sin. Evil. With the exile and the re-settlement of Israel, we find the formation of the modern Samaria that we read about in the gospels. Although they had been taught about the Lord, (17:28) they were not devoted to Him. This is where the animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans of the New Testament comes from. A lack of faithfulness to God through worship. Acts 26:24-27:12 Paul will begin his journey to Rome. We’ll have to keep reading to see how it turns out. Psalm 81:1-16 Asaph will look back on the promises God had made to Israel, and from exile will wonder, how did things go so wrong. Why would Israel turn to other gods, when it was the Lord who had delivered them from Egypt? The story of Israel is a caution, with regards to how easy it is to turn from God. This is an important reminder.