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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 pray for Belgium, Djibouti, Haiti, UAE, Tonga and the church in these countries as well as the lost. Jesus, we are so grateful for your sacrificial love. Forgive us for our impatience in these difficult times, Open our eyes to Your grace today.  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 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:20-21 NIV Has anyone accused you of being out of your mind recently? One of our favorite books, Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical, was written by Shane Claiborne. Shane has made some pretty crazy decisions in his walk with Jesus, like joining a homeless sit in, going to Iraq and calling Mother Theresa.  His choices to make his own clothes, live in a commune, and prioritize the poor have caused people to say that he is “out of his mind”. Following Jesus with single minded devotion should not be exceptional, but it is. When thinking about why, Shane had this to say; “I asked participants who claimed to be "strong followers of Jesus" whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”* Here in the Shenango Valley, we don’t generally think of ourselves as rich, but in comparison to much of the world we are wealthy beyond imagining. Food, clothing, shelter, transportation, education, clean water, medical care, and entertainment are all readily available and within reach. Yet, here in our community there are folks who struggle to put all the pieces together. In our great abundance, let’s not forget that there are many who have to choose, for example: food or shelter, medical care or education. Jesus saw His life an opportunity to serve others, I often get caught up in trying to serve my family, my desires, and myself. Living in Jesus’ footsteps will cause others to wonder if you have lost your mind, but when the end comes whose throne will we stand before?

DAILY SCRIPTURE READING Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit for an overview of 2 Chronicles and for an overview of Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. 2 Chronicles 26:1-28:27 Chapter 26 is all about Uzziah’s reign. How did it start versus how did it end? What was his downfall? (26:16) Now in chapter 27 we find out about Jotham. Like Uzziah, Jotham became powerful, and yet how long is his story?  Ahaz, is yet another story. What did Ahaz do? (28:1-4)  Ok, in light of what we learned about slavery in Amos, do you see how chapter 28 reinforces this idea? What happens as Israel rises against Judah, that even those in Israel have a problem with? (28:8-13)  How will Ahaz respond to his defeats? (28:22-23) How do things go for Judah? 2 Corinthians 1:1-11 Verse four explains very clearly why God offers us comfort. How would you articulate Paul's words here?    Psalm 103:1-12 “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-” What are the benefits that the psalmist will go on to describe?  Again, likely because we are studying Amos, but what do you see in verse 6 of this psalm? What about the privileged? The wealthy? What about me? Have you ever thought about why God does not look out for those at the top?  Do we need to adjust our understanding and expectations of who the poor, the needy and the oppressed are?

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