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 Burkina Faso, France, Jordan, Kiribati, Sao Tome and the church in these countries as well as the lost. Open my eyes to see Your grace. Teach me to be grateful for all that You are doing. I lift up those who need You most today; fill them with 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 One day I was on my porch. We lived in East Liberty at the time. We chose to build a house in what used to be a tough neighborhood of Pittsburgh, to be a part of an intentional Christian community. Other young families had been buying and renting in a two block radius since the 1970’s, choosing to deal with the challenges of living in the inner city so that we could be a part of our neighbor's lives. It was not a Utopian paradise. There were all kinds of problems: problems with neighbors, problems with drug dealers, street violence, prostitution, alcoholism, homelessness, petty theft, noise, shoot outs and fire. There were also disagreements within the community; there were differing views on how to raise our kids, share common property, how often to gather for meals… you get the picture. However, there were great things about it too. Always knowing where to borrow a cup of sugar (and having keys to get in if they weren’t home). Our kids and the other community kids grew up in a bubble of “aunts” and “uncles” who looked out for them, took them sledding, and passed out popsicles on hot days. Having a shared vision for ministry and service pushed each of us to open our hearts and our doors. So on the day in question, sitting on my front porch, I was approached by a woman. She was pretty dishelved and I thought I recognized her from the apartment building on the corner. “Hi.” “Hi, I was wonderin’ can I borrow your phone, I’ll pay you?” I scooched over and made room for her on the top step, “Sit down, it won’t cost anything.” I got up went in the house and got the cordless phone (no cell phone for us back in 2007). I gave her the phone and went around the corner of the house to give her a bit of privacy. It was a heartbreaking conversation that I tried hard not to listen to. Rhonnie was a recovering addict, she had lost custody to all three of her kids back in the day. Her family had shut her out as a result of her addiction. She was working three minimum wage jobs, but her chronic back pain made the four total hours of riding buses to her jobs very difficult. She was looking to get steroid injections for her back but the medicare doctor wasn’t being cooperative. Could her cousin drive her to see a different doctor? I ended up driving her to meet her cousin. It turned out that we would be friends. Over the next 5 years I saw that for Rhonnie, “not growing weary” was as hard for her as it was for me, but her daily challenges were different. I needed to be patient with my kids, remember doctor’s appointments, and be gracious during fractious church and community discussions. Rhonnie had to stay sober, keep going to crappy jobs that made barely any money, and try to stay connected to her kids and grandkids. We often sat on the front porch just looking at the traffic going by, quiet, refreshed by the knowledge that we were friends. I encouraged her to quit smoking but I always lent her a few bucks to buy a pack after a hard week. She would always pay me back when she got paid. Laughing she’d ask, “What would we talk about if I quit?” “How good you are doing!” I’d say, also laughing. We have lost touch but a few years ago she called me, “I just wanted to tell you, how good I am doing. No drugs, I got disability for my back, and I live near my daughter now. Helping with the grandkids, ain’t that somethin’?” It was something indeed, Rhonnie always was an inspiration to me.
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 17:1-19:25 The thing to notice this morning, is how prophecy is often portrayed. The imagery of what is going to happen to the nations, is just that, imagery. It is meant to evoke emotion. It is very similar to poetry.
Our text ends with God blessing three nations. 19:23-25. What do you think about this, realizing that Israel was the only "chosen" nation? 2 Corinthians 10:1-18 How does Paul appeal to the Corinthians? (10:1) Considering his response would be among brothers and sisters in Christ, is this how we act towards one another? Psalm 106:16-31 Notice what happens to people when the “don’t believe His promises.” Verse 25.