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8.6.20


You may have seen this video already, it has been making the rounds. If not, enjoy. It is a parody of a song from the show Hamilton. -pastor mike https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFduNE4pXAQ&feature=youtu.be

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. Today, Lord we lift up the people of Ethiopia, Fiji, Bulgaria, Japan, and Cuba. Lord, guide the church in these countries and help them connect to the lost. Father help the lonely in Sharpsville to see that they are not alone. Heal the sick at heart and help the sick in body. Teach us to love as You love. 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 “…(God) has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NIV) In light of the explosion in Beirut yesterday and continuing our reflections on reconciliation, I am including a part of author Philip Yancey’s blog on a visit to Lebanon written last July. (https://philipyancey.com/a-refugee-haven) -nicole “Officially, there are around a half million Syrian refugees,” explains a staff member from Lebanon Youth for Christ who leads me through one of the camps. “But a million more have crossed the border illegally and joined them. They can’t work, can’t send their kids to school, can’t even get married because they have no legal status. What can they do with their lives?” To complicate matters, he says, many Lebanese Christians view Syria as an enemy. “They remember the recent past when Syria occupied us, a time of rapes and violence and oppression. We had to pass through military checkpoints to go anywhere. So, at first it was hard to get Christians to care about the refugees’ plight. But now local churches and teams from other countries are stepping up.” Besides the day camps and sports activities, Youth for Christ has built a center that offers training in such subjects as English, Computer Skills, and Sewing. When Muslim activists complained, the local imam replied, “They opened a school, and built a basketball court and an indoor soccer field. What have you done for the refugees?” “But they’re teaching the kids about Jesus!” said the radicals. The imam shot back, “Of course they talk about Jesus—they’re Christians. What do you expect? But find me one kid who says they pressured him to convert.” …I hear (many sad stories) from refugees. A woman who was forced to watch as her family members were sexually abused and murdered in front of her eyes. Children who looked on as men raped their mother. A father fleeing on foot whose three-year-old was killed by a sniper. To see such stories on CNN is one thing; to sit in a refugee tent and hear the accounts in person, something else entirely. In one city, I visit a church service that includes many Muslim Background Believers (MBB). “Please don’t take pictures,” the pastor says. “The danger to Muslim converts is real.” “Why do they take such a risk, if it’s so dangerous?” I ask. “There are two main reasons why they become Christians,” he replies. “Many have visions or dreams of a man in white beckoning them, and they then discover the man is Jesus. I hear this story over and over from converts. The second reason is simply love. Not so long ago this (Lebanese) city was besieged by the Syrian army, bombed every day. Six thousand died, with many more injured. You can understand why not many volunteered to help at the Syrian camps right away.” He leads me downstairs, to an underground parking lot with spaces still marked in yellow paint. “Once our church got to know the refugees, though, we felt compassion for them. They have lost everything, and live in a kind of limbo, people without a country. So we converted this indoor parking lot into a school that now educates 650 kids.  My visit ends in his office. “I have had some very low times,” he admits. “In this region we live with war and its terrible effects. I wish we could do more to help the refugees. There used to be a strong minority of Christians in places like Syria and Iraq—now they’ve fled to the West, decimating the church in the Middle East. Yet just as I get discouraged, I see God raising up a new church among the most unlikely people, Muslim refugees. I see Christians reaching out in love to their former enemies. God hasn’t given up on this part of the world, and neither should we."

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 Chronicles and https://bibleproject.com/explore/1-corinthians/ for an overview of the letter that Paul sent to the church in Corinth. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. 1 Chronicles 22:2-23:32 David is making preparations for Solomon to build the Lord’s temple. Why does God not permit David to build the temple? (22:8) If the God of the Old Testament is a God of judgment, then why would this detail matter? Maybe we have misunderstood the "God of the Old Testament." Yesterday David took a census, he counted the Israelites “from Beersheba to Dan.” (21:2) Today he will count the Levites. Yesterday what he did was wicked. Today is good. David is counting the Levites for a very specific purpose. What is it? Once again, it is confusing as to why the census was a problem. How important is our motivation. Aren't we told over and over again, that the heart is what God pays attention to.  1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Yesterday Paul talked about the message he brought to Corinth. The message was “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (2:2) This was reinforced with the power of the Spirit, not wise and persuasive words. Paul will clarify this morning that even though his words were not wise, his message was. What is the focus of Paul’s words today? What grants us wisdom? (2:12) Psalm 91:9-16 The psalmist continues to talk about making God our dwelling and refuge. When we do this, how will things work out? (Over this past week, in the midst of incredible tragedy with the death of my sister-in-law, I am able to find comfort in my Lord. I believe this is what the psalmist is getting at.)  

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