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. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; The world is turned upside down. Lord, comfort those who need Your kindness today. Help us, as the church, to hear You and discern Your will for us in this new reality. Give wisdom to those with power, lift up the powerless. 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 Now there have been many of (the old covenant) priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to completely save those who come to God through him, because he lives to always intercede for them. Hebrews 7:23-25 in·ter·ces·sion/ˌin(t)ərˈseSHən/ noun 1. the action of intervening on behalf of another. I grew up in the late 70’s early 80’s when kids were still free-range. We left our house after breakfast and chores in the summer and came home for dinner when we heard the bell ring. At school and in the neighborhood, it was the law of the jungle. I have always been one to root for the underdog since I generally was the underdog. If I saw other kids picking on someone I would jump in and defend the person getting picked on. I have never lost my empathy for the person on the outside. In the Old Testament God made it clear, what made Israel special was God’s love, not their greatness or power. They were truly underdogs in the ancient world. Yet by God’s power they were to be a shining example of God’s love, justice, and mercy to the whole world. Over time though they lost that vision. They saw their place as God’s chosen as a path to their own glorification. So God came in person to set the record straight. Jesus had a real soft spot for the outsider, in His ministry He regularly reached out to people others wanted to ignore or reject: the leper, the demon possessed, prostitutes, the sinner, the tax-collector, a Roman soldier, a reviled immigrant woman. He intervened on their behalf while He walked the earth. Now in the Kingdom of God, He lives forever, INTERCEDING on our behalf. Think of it: God is praying for you! It is His joy and pleasure to work to bring about God’s greatest good in your life. That good does not mean ease, comfort or material wealth. It means being made in God’s image more fully by walking the same road He walked of sacrifice, service, and suffering. Yikes! This is no easy road, but it is the one that leads to everlasting life, unending joy, and perfect union with God and the saints. So we persist when it hurts and it’s difficult because not only are we filled with God’s Spirit but Jesus is praying for us. This is why we pray for others. Intercession is part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to love others as we love ourselves, and to join God in His holy work of redeeming this beautiful, broken, messy, wonderful world. Ask God who He would like you to pray for and then simply lift them up to God in your imagination. Don’t tell God what to do, just bring this person to God like the four friends in Matthew 9:1-8, and see what God will do… 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/isaiah/ for an overview of Isaiah and https://bibleproject.com/explore/ephesians/ for an overview of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Isaiah 60:1-62:12 Who thought having herds of camels would be a good thing? But consider what they were used for. (60:6) Isaiah chapter 60, sounds a lot like the end of the book of Revelation. Doesn’t it? The image of God being our light, with everything being the best that we could expect. Wealth. Peace. An end to sorrow. Open gates. The image we find here is a complete restoration of all creation, following God’s judgment. An end to all the struggles we experience. Chapter 61 continues this image. But what is really interesting, is that Jesus at the beginning of his ministry, will read from chapter 61. How does Jesus reference these verses? (Read Luke 4:16-21) What does this say about Christ? And chapter 62 continues with images of restoration. As we read these chapters, imagine what they must have sounded like for Israel, under God’s judgment, in exile. Imagine the hope. That is how the book of Revelation is meant to be heard by the church. A message of hope. Keep that in mind when we come to John’s Revelation at the end of the year. Ephesians 4:1-16 Chapter 4 begins with a call to unity. What is the attitude we should seek in the Spirit? (v 2) What is the purpose of our unity? (v 12-14) Proverbs 23:19-28 There are two paths placed before us. Which will we take? What do you take away from this morning’s proverbs?