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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 Montenegro, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, St. Kitts, & Nevis, St. Vincent & Grenadines and the church in these countries as well as the lost. 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 Listen to me, you islands;     hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me;     from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. (God) says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant     to restore the tribes of Jacob     and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,     that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”  Isaiah 49:1, 6 NIV In today’s prayer, we completed our journey of praying for every country in the world by name. I left the tiny Island nations for last. These are countries smaller than some U.S. cities scattered across remote stretches of ocean. In our church we have a congregant who was born on a tiny Pacific island. It is a U.S. territory and she came to the U.S. many years ago now. She has often related how little people know about her homeland.  In Pittsburgh, I had a good friend who had emigrated to the U.S. from a Caribbean Island. She often talked about her childhood on that Island. When we were in missionary training, before we left for Haiti, we got to know a couple who had served on Vanuatu, a pacific atoll. They shared about the beauty and challenges of living in such a remote and tiny place.  We lived in Haiti for almost a year. Haiti is the western half of the island known as Hispaniola that was inhabited by the Taino people before disease brought by Columbus wiped them out. The present day Haitians are the descendants of African slaves brought by the French to work sugar plantations. We found Haiti to be both a beautiful and devastated island. In today’s reading from Isaiah, the very islands like Haiti and Vanuatu are being specifically addressed. From the heart of Israel, a tiny nation bordering the Mediterranean, God is calling for the attention of all the far-flung nations of the world. In this oracle, Isaiah speaks of both himself and Jesus, as called to with a specific mission from before birth. Then in vs. 6 God speaks and He opens the boundaries of His work of salvation to the very islands and nations called to attention in vs. 1. “It is too small a thing” just to save the Chosen People. The Gentiles, the peoples apart from Israel, are being called as well. It is God’s intention that all peoples will receive the invitation to the Kingdom. In a time when many of these islands were unknown to Israel, un-mapped by any explorers, God had His eye and heart on these peoples. It has always been God’s intention to open the way for the people who seemed most distant to find Him.  In today’s world, every inch of the land is mapped. We have satellite images, instant world-wide communication, there are no “unknown places” anymore. Yet in our own communities there are many who are “distant” from the Lord. As far from Him as if they were on some distant atoll. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” Lift up the distant lands today in your prayers and also people who are distant from the Lord, they need the light…we all do. 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 Isaiah and for an overview of Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth and for an overview of Paul's letter to the church in Galatia. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Isaiah 30:19-32:20 Notice how our text for this morning starts off. Even though God has afflicted Israel, what is the hope we find? (v 19) As we read through Isaiah, like with Amos, what we find is a collection of oracles. Hence the back and forth from judgment to hope to judgment again. The oracles at times, feel repetitive. Even so, stick with it.   2 Corinthians 13:1-14 Paul is wrapping up his second letter to the Corinthians, as he talks about his upcoming visit. What is his hope with this visit? (v 10) Proverbs 22:17-27 How does verses 22-23 fit into our study of Amos? Isaiah 33:1-35:10 When God restores things, what will he fill Zion with? (v 5)  Notice the imagery of chapter 34. What kind of feelings does it evoke?  As we being chapter 35, what is the purpose of God’s vengeance? (v 5) Galatians 1:1-24 Here in the intro to Paul's letter to the church in Galatia, he spells out the gospel or the good news. What did Christ do for us? (v 4) What do you think is going to be the purpose of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia? (vv 6-7) Psalm 107:10-22 Twice in our reading from psalm 107 God will bring suffering upon his people. Twice they will cry out to God. And twice God will respond. What will he do when they cry out? (v 13 & 19) What is our response to God’s deliverance? (v 15 & 21) How does God use suffering?

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