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 Moldova, San Marino, Guinea, Sweden, Mozambique and the church in these countries as well as the lost. When there is sickness, death, and poverty, When we are weary, lonely, and sore of heart, Give us the strength to persevere, And run this race with our eyes on the prize. 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 Growing up my neighborhood was full of boys and much younger girls. I prayed for a best friend to move in and then in 8th grade a family with TWO girls moved in. Marie* was two years younger but Amelia was just my age! Unfortunately, Amelia was cynical, sarcastic and laughed at me when Marie and I played dolls and dress-up. As we went through High School, though, we had a lot of classes together and became friends over literature and joking with our English teacher. She still made fun of me for my Ranger Rick club and regularly told me I was insane to believe in God. When I was in college, Amelia* called. She wanted to tell me she was coming out as a lesbian. She knew that my faith was really important to me, she knew I was at a Christian college, and she thought she knew how I was going to respond. I said, “Okay, Amelia. I am not surprised and I am always happy to hear from you.” There was a large, blank pause then she said, “You aren’t going to tell me I’m going to hell? You aren’t going to tell me I need Jesus?” “Nope” “Why not?” “You know I’ve always wanted you to know Jesus, you know I think homosexual behavior is a sin that doesn’t honor God, and You know I love you, that’s why you called. Why would I tell you stuff you already know?” “Fine then just promise me that you won’t pray for me!” “Can’t do it, sorry.” “Well, then promise you won’t pray for God to make me straight.” “Sure, instead I’ll pray for God to fulfill your needs and make you whole, would that be okay?” “Sure whatever.” Perhaps not the greatest gospel presentation ever, but one that I feel was faithful. Over the years, we have touched base and recently Amelia reached out to me. I have no great story of transformation yet, but what I do know is that people like Amelia don’t mind if you are insane as long as you are truthful. Hypocrisy has been a curse of Christians that value the appearances over the actual state of the heart and unbelievers struggling with hurt are often wounded by false and superficial Christian “outreach” that tries to slam dunk someone into the kingdom rather than listen to their story, love them and speak truth to them and then pray. That’s the point where we let them work it out with God. We may be “out of our minds” but as long as we are loving, faithful and servant hearted our lives will touch those around us. -nicole *names changed
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-chronicles/ for an overview of 2 Chronicles and https://bibleproject.com/explore/2-corinthians/ 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 31:2-33:20 Notice what happens to the offerings presented at the temple. (31:10) What is a part of the offering for? Chronicles is interesting. Because unlike with Kings, we find the phrase “And so he prospered.” (31:21) Chronicles is more comfortable associating prosperity with faithfulness. What do you think? Hezekiah was not perfect. But, as far as kings go, he did a lot to rebuild Jerusalem and temple worship. Re-read 33:9. When God brings judgment against a nation, what is the reason? The nations he drove out before Israel, were they innocent? It is so important to remember this, when we wrestle with God over his decisions. OK, so Manasseh was nothing like his father. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and yet, when he sought the favor the Lord his God and humbled himself, how did God respond? (33:13) What does this tell us about our God? What do both the response in 33:9 and 33:13 tell us about our God? 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11 Why did Paul write to the Corinthians? (2:4) Paul is likely referring to the letter of 1 Corinthians . Paul talks about forgiveness in this section. How does it relate to what we read in 2 Chronicles 33:13? Proverbs 21:5-16 Which proverb stands out to you? Why?