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 Trinidad and Tobago, Tanzania, Slovakia, Kyrgyzstan and the church in these countries as well as the lost. We pray Lord, for Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done. Feed us, physically and spiritually; forgive us and make us to be forgiving. Protect us from harm, physically and spiritually; So that we may live to serve You with all our hearts. 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 What do you do everyday, without fail? It usually involves getting up, getting ready (dressed, showering, brushing teeth, eating) and doing whatever it is that you have to do - everyday. We don’t give these tasks much thought, they normally don’t elicit too much enjoyment, and we do them because we see them as necessary. Yet, if you have ever been depressed, experienced a severe health crisis, or devastating loss these very tasks become both overwhelming and precious. In crisis, the very normality and routine of the “every day” gets turned on it’s ear. We lose our bearings and struggle to do things like shower, eat, or accomplish routine tasks. Sometimes the crisis comes from loss of physical or mental ability (a bad back, chronic headaches, or depression) sometimes it comes from outside forces (a disaster of some kind, death of a loved one, violent crime, breach of trust, or loss of a job). Every human being will face crisis. In this broken world, some people will face every kind of crisis listed above…more than once. But the verse we have been looking at is not about crisis. It is about the absolute struggle we face in the mundane routine. Each of us spends most of our life in the realm of the mundane. Crisis is past or over the horizon and out of sight. We are tempted to put our lives on “cruise control” when things are just plugging along, but what if the seasons of “bleh” are actually gifts. What if the “everyday” is actually a space to turn our hearts and minds towards God with direction and intensity because there is no crisis that is demanding our attention and energy? Over the centuries, Christian saints have repeatedly pointed to the value of incorporating certain practices into the routine of our days: prayer, meditation, fasting, singing, worship, silence, scripture study and memorization… Yet in the modern world of infinite and ever expanding distractions, isn’t it easier to play some mindless game on your phone than turn your heart and mind toward Jesus? The pandemic has been a slow motion crisis for most of us. Upending our world over the course of months; throwing our routines just a bit out of whack, denying us certain things while providing unique opportunities, slaying some while most get well. What Paul is exhorting us to do is to not just cling to our everyday routine, but to be sure that the routine includes orienting toward God everyday, at the beginning and end of each day, that it includes His word, Prayer, and space for Him to speak. C.S Lewis once said, “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that Other voice, taking that Other point of view, letting that Other larger, stronger, quieter Life come flowing in. And so on, all day. Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings; coming in out of the wind.” What would life look like if we were filled, refreshed, and trained for the ultra-marathon that is the Christian life during the times when there is no immediate crisis?
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 20:1-23:18 Chapter 20 begins with the hazards of being a prophet… As a symbol of coming judgment upon Egypt and Cush, what will Isaiah do? (20:2-3) As we read on there are more images of judgment upon the nations surrounding Israel and Judah. 2 Corinthians 11:1-15 Paul continues to defend himself before the Corinthians. This seems to be an ongoing battle. Imagine, how difficult it must have been to discern truth from fiction in the first century. Imagine the number of “false apostles” that would have taken advantage of the moment to make a buck. Aren’t there “pastors” today that are all about the money? What does it look like to be faithful? That is Paul's point. Proverbs 22:7-16 Notice how generosity is described… (v9)