“My wife asked me to take her to one of those restaurants where they make the food right in front of you. So I took her to Subway... and that’s how the fight started.” Thanks to Linda
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. Lord, bring the lost home. Raise up the oppressed, and convict the oppressor. Heal the sick and broken-hearted. Humble the proud, help us to be generous with our time, And our treasures for Your name’s sake 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 Many movies and books depend on a “twist”, an unexpected plot turn. It has become so ubiquitous that we expect the “twist” and begin to look for who is the secret traitor, or who is the unexpected bad guy. The whole power of the "twist" is in our expectations. Now, I am a reasonably intelligent person but at times I am really ridiculous. Like the time I watched a movie, on the edge of my seat waiting for the “axe to fall”, knowing that this gambling scenario was going to end badly, until…it didn’t. Because Oceans 11 is a comedy! Somehow I had missed that, somehow I was under the impression that there would come a moment when the lighthearted banter would turn dark and gory. My expectations created a “twist” that didn’t even exist! In yesterday’s meditation, Oswald Chambers observed, “I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him.” This is the big “twist”, the unexpected plot turn that defies our expectations everyday, because each day our natural self declares, “This is MY life, I will live it the way I want.” The infilling of God’s Spirit turns this upside down. We have “died to self” and now live for Christ. Our lives are not our own, because we have been bought with a price (1Cor. 6:20) We are set apart, made holy, and what “I want” is becoming what God wants. It’s why we pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” This process is what leads to our lives becoming fruitful, spirit filled adventures. No matter what happens, in every moment, Jesus is inviting us to follow Him, through the good, bad and ugly times, trusting Him. This is what grows all that good spiritual fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control are what set us apart from the world. Consider the many renowned Christians who have revealed Christ’s love to the world. What made them special? Here’s the twist; nothing but Christ. They would be the first to say it. Mother Theresa, MLK, Corrie Ten Boom, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, CS Lewis, St. Augustine, Calvin, Wesley, Julian of Norwich, the apostle John, Peter, Mary Magdalene and Paul. Everyone of them in their writings and speeches declared the power of their lives was their submission to Christ. In this world of number one, self first, take no prisoners, consider how unexpected truly sanctified living is, it is our job as followers of Christ to be the “twist” and live in surprisingly faithful and selfless ways, ask God soften your heart to His transformative touch today.
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 19:14-20:21 When Hezekiah is in trouble, whether from the armies of Assyria or from illness, what will he do? As a result, God will send Isaiah with messages of hope. It’s important to remember that prophets like Isaiah brought both. Messages of judgment as well as messages of hope. For that reason their “whole” message needs our attention. The text for this morning wraps up with an introduction to the nation of Babylon. While Assyria will conquer Israel, it will be Babylon that leads Judah into exile. Both nations are “tools” God will use to discipline his chosen people. Acts 28:1-16 Paul’s journey to Rome seems to be adventure after adventure. None of which by my standards would have been any fun. Shipwrecked, bitten by a snake… at least that is the case if we focus on everything that went wrong. The flip side is the opportunity to bear witness to God’s provision. He will heal many on the island of Malta. He will stay with the chief official of the island, enjoying his hospitality. Because of Paul, the islanders will provide for the needs of the voyagers, to finish the journey to Rome. It is a story worth telling. What’s your story? When telling it, what do you tend to focus on? Psalm 83:1-18 Asaph continues to express his longing for God’s deliverance. He won’t give up or give in. In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he will say, “we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.” It seems that suffering can either destroy us or refine us. What will you permit it to do?