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 Norway, Oman, Kenya, Chili, Philippines and the church in these countries as well as the lost. God, you are good and faithful. Full of mercy and kindness, yet mysterious; show us Your ways. Bring justice and truth 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 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:9-10 NIV Are you tired? Weary of life being turned on it’s ear? Are you fed up with masks and hand sanitizer, social distancing and limitations? You are not alone but thankfully we have a fabulous guide on how to handle times like these! The world that Jesus and the early church grappled with had all the chaos we face as well as little of the stability and safety nets we rely on. We can learn much by paying attention to the Biblical encouragements we find, because, “Honey, they get it!” “The Roman Empire struggled with problems which are surprisingly familiar: violent coups, assassination, overarching ambition, civil war, clashes between the classes as well as the sexes and questions of personal freedom versus government control”.* There were a series of pandemics that devastated various parts of the empire in succession and led to regulations by the government to bring them under control. On top of all this, the church was regarded as a dangerous cult that encouraged atheism, lawlessness, cannibalism, and incest (all based on misinterpretations of Christ’s teaching). Local persecutions were frequent and made it difficult for Christians to gather. New Christians were often rejected by their families and without a social safety net, starvation and homelessness were a real possibility. There was constant societal upheaval. The median lifespan at this time was around 38 years old and infant mortality rates were extremely high. Life was hard. Perhaps we have been lulled into a false expectation that life should be easy, things will always be getting better, and we deserve to be able to sit back and enjoy. There is no Biblical text or teaching that indicates that this is true or likely. Instead the bible teaches the opposite; this life will be filled with difficulty. The great Biblical promise is that peace, joy and freedom from pain exist in the Kingdom of God where He reigns supreme. This world and this life only offer a foretaste and when we die we enter into the fullness of God’s kingdom. Here and now, we are living examples of God’s mercy and love demonstrating what the Kingdom will be like and how God intended life to be for everyone. Offering assistance, grace, and forgiveness to the undeserving while caring for our fellow believers as if they were our own flesh and blood. Hang in there, Jesus knows precisely how hard this moment in time is and desires us to reveal God’s presence and love through our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control in spite of all the mayhem, monotony, and frustrations. Think about it, would Paul have warned us to not, “grow weary of doing good” unless it was likely we would? *https://pbsinternational.org/programs/roman-empire-in-the-first-century-the/
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, https://bibleproject.com/explore/micah/ for an overview of Micah 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 35:20-36:23 Josiah will die in battle. The way that this passage is written seems to indicate that God had told Neco king of Egypt to go to battle, and Josiah got in the way. We don’t often think of God moving in the world outside of Israel, and yet this is one of a handful of examples where he will. Following Josiah, it seems that the kings of Judah are in a downward spiral. How will God respond to their disobedience? (36:15-16) Notice what God will do through Cyrus king of Persia. (36:22-23) 2 Corinthians 3:7-18 Paul is talking about the Law of Moses compared with the New Covenant in the Holy Spirit. If you remember in Exodus 34:29 and following there is a story about Moses’ face being radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. Go back and re-read the story in Exodus. Paul is using this imagery to compare the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. Proverbs 104:19-30 The psalmist continues with the majesty of the Creation. All of it, the result of God’s hand. Psalm 104 is a great reminder of the majesty of God, seen in His creation. Do you ever pause, and give thanks? Micah 1:1-4:13 The two cities listed in verse 1 represent the capitals of Israel and Judah. We see this again in verse 5, where Israel is equated with Jacob, and then again in 3:1. What are the charges being brought against Samaria? (1:7) A new list is found in Chapter 2. Consider verse 2 in light of Deuteronomy 5:20-21, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” and “You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. You shall not set your desire on your neighbor’s house or land, his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Remember land seizures happened in court. The place of justice.) Chapter 4 begins with “the last days.” How are they described? 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 Paul will say in verse 16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Paul is not bothered by the idea of suffering. Why? In light of Nicole's meditation, how does this strike you? Psalm 104:31-35 As Psalm 104 wraps up talking about God’s majesty, the psalmist includes “May sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more.” In light of the idea of justice, what might the psalmist be saying?