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 Togo, S. Sudan, Sudan, Malta, Brunei and the church in these countries as well as the lost. Lord when we feel weary, fill us with strength. When those who serve are spent, replenish their reserves. When the weak and lonely are filled with despair, May we show them Your 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 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 Chu is a North Vietnamese believer, She has suffered domestic abuse and persecution for her faith below is part of her story. “Her walk with Jesus began as an adult when a man, Pastor Kua Qang, shared the gospel with her, as well as her parents. “Pastor said to me, ‘If you follow Christ, you will not worship the devil; and sickness will no longer overcome you.’” For Chu, having just lost a child to illness, that initial introduction was all she needed to believe in Jesus. She was the first person to become a Christian in her village. And as she prayed, listened to Pastor Kua and became part of the church, the roots grew deeper. She even shared the gospel with her husband. For two years, he “believed,” she says. But he is an example of the seed that fell on rocky soil in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13. As soon as tribal leaders pressured him, he renounced Jesus and denied his faith. Having walked through decades of abuse, and now persecution for her faith, Chu may be weary. But she is not weak. This beautiful woman in her mid-40s displays mettle that has been forged in the fire. Her heart—for her children and for following Jesus—makes her strong. Even knowing that her husband would likely beat her, she still refused to deny Jesus. “I refused to deny my faith,” she says, “because I didn’t want to be tempted by the devil. And I don’t want that for my children either.” After she fled her home, Chu went to the authorities to show them her injuries and file a report. When they said they ‘didn’t know anything about it’…without help from the authorities Chu divorced her abusive husband. When I talked to Chu in late February 2020, she was living with her parents in another village. Now, three months later, our ministry partner shares that she is living in her church’s local parsonage. For her safety, she must live miles away from the area where she lived with her husband. Because of the divorce and her faith, the tribal leaders in that village said she needed to leave… I asked, If she renounced Jesus now, would she be able to return to her community? Chu’s thoughtful response reveals that the roots have indeed gone deep: “If I go back to everything as before, they will accept me back into the village. But because I already follow Christ, there’s no turning back. “I believe that when we believe in Christ and we are willing to abandon all things for the sake of God, that’s when we become a child of God.” I tell Chu that so many women throughout the world need to hear and be inspired by her story. She offers the truth she has learned firsthand: “My encouragement for them is to continue to lean on God and keep faith no matter what.”* Next time we will continue Chu’s story of perserverance… * https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/stories/when-i-wouldnt-say-no-to-jesus-chus-story-of-persecution-perseverance-in-vietnam/
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/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. Isaiah 5:8-8:10 We see several “Woes” this morning in chapter 5. What are people being called to account for? (5:8, 11, 18, 20, 21, 22) 6:5 is an often-referenced verse. What do you notice in this verse? Jesus will reference 6:9-10 as a reason for why he teaches in parables. (Matthew 13:13-14) But notice how in Isaiah, this is only for a limited time. What does Isaiah ask the Lord? (6:11) Again an often-referenced verse. (7:14) What does this verse mean in its original context? How will Matthew use it in Matthew 1:23? 2 Corinthians 7:2-16 Paul’s first letter had created “sorrow” within the church in Corinth. Why was this a good thing? (7:9) Unless you think “justice” is an Old Testament image, we see it here in 2nd Corinthians. Re-read verse 11. Psalm 105:23-36 What part of Israel’s story does this mornings portion of our psalm remember?