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 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dominica, Tuvalu, Sri Lanka, Liberia and the church in these countries as well as the lost. Comfort the bereaved, Guide the leaders, Hold up the healers, and fill us with courage and strength for the battle. 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 We began the story of Chu, a North Vietnamese believer, she has suffered domestic abuse and persecution for her faith below is the next part of her story (if you missed the first part go to 9.4.20). Every day, Chu wakes up to praise God, she says. She is illiterate and cannot read her Bible, but she listens to the Word of God from the radio. She wants to stand strong for Jesus, she says. She also asks for prayer that her persecutors—her ex-husband, relatives and the tribal leaders—would know ‘my Jesus’. As I talk to her, she sobs long and hard as she asks for prayer to one day have a house of her own. It’s clear this devoted mother is thinking of her children, not her own comfort. She dreams of having a home and her children around her. “Even though not all of my children could come, I wish that at least some of them could come and stay with me,” she tells me. Three months since she shared that dream with me, I learn that after much prayer and many conversations with her ex-husband and his relatives, three of her children are now living with her at the parsonage. And that her dream of having a home may soon be a reality. Pastor Kua has asked his church members to help build a home or buy land for Chu. For 90 long days, this mother was without her children, with no hope of ever having them with her again. Ever since I met her, I’ve prayed for my sister to be reunited with her children—and now, as the psalmist wrote, God has turned her mourning into dancing. This mother, my sister in Christ, is emotional as she learns that Christians throughout the world have been praying for her. And she is thankful for the support she’s received. A few weeks after meeting Chu, Open Doors partner provided her with food relief and financial assistance. The food was especially needed during Vietnam’s COVID-19 lockdown. Everyone in her village suffered, she says. “The support you brought me really helped during those difficult times.” When Chu first met Jesus years ago, she admits she was so desperate she didn’t think much about it. “I just wanted to believe in Christ because I hoped that when I believed in Him, my life would get better,” she remembers. In many ways, her life is not ‘better’, even with her children now with her. She is banned from her village, divorced, surviving on one small farming income and without her own home. But in her grief, there is also hope. In the absence of her community is the presence of her Savior. And in her pain, there is now trust. "No matter the hardships I’m going to face, I know that when I pass away, I have a place with Jesus.”* *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 8:11-10:19 Isaiah has some great texts in it. Does 9:6-7 sound familiar? The context is God’s judgment upon Israel and Judah, and the hope of their restoration. As Christians, how do see this text? Doesn’t chapter 10 sound like what we are reading in Amos? It is the same core themes. Withholding justice from the oppressed. Preying upon the poor and the vulnerable. The church needs to pay attention to these words. We are in danger of the same pitfalls Judah and Israel fell into. Is Israel’s fall, the result of Assyria’s might, or God’s choice to use Assyria as a tool of judgment? (10:12-13) 2 Corinthians 8:1-15 This seems like a sermon on stewardship, doesn’t it? What does Paul desire, in asking for their offering? (13) Proverbs 21:27-22:6 Reading the proverbs this morning, who is in charge? (21:31, 22:2) Like always, what stands out to you? Isaiah 10:20-13:22 Like in Amos this past Sunday, we see the image of a remnant. (10:20-22) Chapter 10 talks about God being in control. In what ways do we see this? Why do you think it is that God cares so much for the poor and needy? (11:4) What often happens to the poor and needy in any society? Chapter 11 describes the restoration of Judah. The remnant returning to their God and their land. (this is another chapter that is remembered to in light of Jesus) Chapter 13 is an oracle against Babylon. In verse 6 we see that the “day of the Lord” is near. The day of the Lord is a day of judgment. Notice how it is described through metaphors involving both the creation and from war. 2 Corinthians 8:16-9:5 There isn’t much theology in this passage this morning. It is more so about logistics for the offering. With 9:5, what does Paul highlight concerning the gift? Psalm 105:37-45 This will conclude psalm 105. Again, psalm 105 is a reminder of Israel’s story. What is the story we tell? Isaiah 14-16:14 We continue to see how Babylon will be judged. I think the basic takeaway, is that when Babylon falls, it will not be good. The Old Testament, is often difficult to understand and consequently read, because we just don’t know the history and the nations involved. We don’t get the references. Any history is challenging, if the details don't make any sense. 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 What does Paul say this morning about giving? Psalm 106:1-15 What are the mighty acts of the Lord? As we saw in psalm 105, Israel’s story talks about the majesty of God.