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8.11.20


A fellow computer programmer for a consulting group had designed some software for one of our largest accounts. He asked my help in putting it into operation. At first, he handled most of the work. Eventually, though he asked me to help with the last phase of the training.  When I sat down with one woman and told her I would be showing her how to make changes to the files, she sighed with relief. “I’m so glad you’re teaching me instead of him.”  Surprised, I said that my colleague was far more experienced than I was.  “Yes,” she said, “but I feel much more comfortable with you. I get nervous around really smart people.”

-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. Father we intercede on behalf of the people of Lithuania, East Timor, Samoa, Zimbabwe, and Libya.  Lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ in these countries. Especially guide the schools and parents during this time of uncertainty. Strengthen the healthcare workers and comfort the bereaved. 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 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Let’s continue to marinate on the images that we saw in the Bible Project video on justice (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A14THPoc4-4). While God made us in His image, mankind chose to rebel and define “good and evil” for ourselves. This has led to all kinds of destructive human interactions and injustice. However, God has not left us to our mess, He has a plan of redemption.  The book of Genesis has a dividing point in it. Chapters 1-11 cover the creation of the world and how things deviated from God’s design as a result of human sin. In Chapter 12 we meet Abram/Abraham. God covenants with Abraham’s family to create a “new humanity” that will keep God’s law of justice and righteousness.  Tzedaqah is the Hebrew word for “righteousness”. We tend to think of righteousness as “doing the right thing” but a better understanding is “right relationship”. It means treating people like they were made in the image of God with “their God-given dignity.”* If you think back to our discussion of the fruit of the Spirit and reconciliation, you can see that being righteous, is less about moral absolutism and more about mending broken relationships and love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control. An example would be Oskar Schindler. Schindler was a German businessman during WWII. He was also a womanizer and war profiteer. If righteousness were defined as “doing the right thing” Oskar was not a candidate. BUT as the war progressed and he saw the inhumane treatment of Jewish people by the Nazis he was convicted in his heart. He spent the rest of the war using his money and connections to save as many Jewish people in Poland as he could, protecting them at his enamelware and munitions factory where he directed his factory to produce useless ordinance. In 1993, Oskar and his wife Emilie Schindler were awarded the title "Righteous Among the Nations" by the Israeli holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, not because Oskar was a model of moral excellence but because he saw the Jews as human beings when the entire Nazi world around him was treating them like vermin.  Righteousness is about loving human beings the way God does. He loved people so much that even though they wanted Him dead, He was willing to lay down his life for them and us. Do we know what it means to be righteous like Jesus was righteous?

* from the Bible Project video on Justice

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/ecclesiastes/ for an overview of Ecclesiastes and https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-corinthians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Ecclesiastes 1:1-3:22 As I started this mornings devotions, I felt this abrupt change from 2nd Chronicles to Ecclesiastes. But as we look at the first verse, who is potentially the author of Ecclesiastes, and how does this fit with the beginning of 2nd Chronicles?  The Bible Project does not like the translation of Hevel into “meaningless.” Take a moment and follow the link above to learn a more complete understanding of the word Hevel.  Ecclesiastes has always been a depressing book for me. To me it is summed up in the idea that “life goes on.” With the death of Sarah two weeks ago, laundry still needed washed, meals needed prepped, bills needed paid. "Life Goes On." Solomon is asking us to take a moment and step back from life, and consider “Where do we find value?” It’s a great question. Is it found in pleasure? Wealth? Labor?  Chapter 3 begins with a famously quoted section. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…” Re-read verse 11-13. What is the gift of God?  1 Corinthians 7:1-16 Up til this point in the letter, Paul has been addressing issues he has heard through the “grapevine.” He will now turn to issues that he had been questioned about. His first response is to a question about marriage. Is it good to be single or married? How would you sum up Paul’s teaching?  Psalm 94:12-23 The psalmist began with his struggles against injustice. How do we avoid injustice? (v 12) Ultimately where does our hope come from?

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