Serving Up Sunday

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Daily Prayer for September 2

Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger…through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 2 Corinthians 6:4–5, 8b–10, NIV

Dear Father in heaven, you are always near to us on earth, and we thank you for all the love you put into our lives so that we can be joyful, even in all kinds of temptations and struggles. How much you have given us and how often you have rescued us from distress! Again and again you have let the light of life shine out. You give us light not only for the moment but also for the future, enabling us to draw strength and assurance from the present, the past, and the future, to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

Dear Friend,

“May they all be one,” Jesus prayed. In the book Discipleship, J. Heinrich Arnold writes, “The attempt to reconcile different churches and confessions is without any doubt good. But true unity – the unity that breaks down all barriers – starts with repentance.”

Teresa of Ávila was a courageous woman whose faith challenged both the sisters in her order and the church hierarchy of her time. But her fiery and mystical writings are tempered by a wonderful sense of humor: “It is amusing to see souls who, while they are at prayer, fancy they are willing to be despised and publicly insulted for the love of God, yet afterwards do all they can to hide their small defects. If anyone unjustly accuses them of a fault, God deliver us from their outcries! No, sisters, no; our Lord expects works from us.”

September is just around the corner, so it’s technically still summer. But here in upstate New York the goldenrod is blooming, and despite the persistent heat, the air smells a little like autumn. Who’s to say when one season ends and the next begins? It’s a question asked, in poetry, by Jane Tyson Clement:

At what instant does the summer change?
What subtle chemistry of air
and sunlight on the clean and windsmooth sand? …

Till next week,

Maureen Swinger
PS: New on Plough.com this week, Wesley J. Smith writes about doctors who face devastating ethical choices: Lose your morality or lose your job? Save lives or end them?

In Defense of Medical Conscience Rights

Dr. Mark Hobart, a Catholic physician in Melbourne, Australia, is opposed to abortion. Not only is it contrary to his religion, but he believes it is the immoral taking of a human life.

That was his business – until the state of Victoria enacted a law in 2008 requiring all doctors asked for a legal abortion to either terminate the pregnancy or actively find another doctor willing to abort. And just like that, all general practitioners and ob-gyns suddenly faced the prospect of forced complicity in pregnancy terminations – whether or not they believed such actions were sinful, a violation of the Hippocratic Oath, or contrary to their moral beliefs.

Hobart must have known that he could, one day, face an agonizing choice: Participate in abortion or lose his medical license. These fears were realized in 2013 when a patient learned that her 19-week fetus was a girl. The disappointed woman and her husband told Hobart they wanted a boy. They asked the doctor for a sex-selection abortion. Hobart faced a decision that could risk his career.

TODAY’S DAILY DIG

bfly19Just as some of Jesus’ first-century followers could not credit the presence of the risen Christ, so our own blindness, habit, and fear form a kind of constant fog that keeps us from seeing, and thereby believing in, the forms that grace takes in our everyday lives. We may think that it would be a great deal easier to believe if the world erupted around us, if some savior came down and offered as evidence the bloody scars in his side, but what the Gospels suggest is that this is not only wishful thinking but willful blindness, for in fact the world is erupting around us, Christ is very often offering us the scars in his side. What we call doubt is often simply dullness of mind and spirit, not the absence of faith at all, but faith latent in the lives we are not quite living, God dormant in the world to which we are not quite giving our best selves.

Source: My Bright Abyss

 

 

 

Verse of the Day

Inspirational illustration of Psalm 119:64

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

Sometimes we get so caught up in the wonders of God’s creation and the marvelous blessings of his grace we forget to ask him to teach us his truth. Let’s not only worship him in awe for his majestic creation, but let’s also worship him by learning his will and seeking to live it in our daily lives.

My Prayer…

Holy and Precious Father, teach me your truth. Lead me to your will. Guide me in your wisdom. I want my life and my choices to be a reflection of your plan for me when you made me new in my mother’s womb. In the name of Jesus I ask these things. Amen.

 

 

 

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A Craving for Miracles

Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.
John 4:48

A craving for miracles was a symptom of the sickly condition of men’s minds in our Lord’s day; they refused solid nourishment and longed for mere wonders. The Gospel that they so greatly needed they would not have; the miracles that Jesus did not always choose to give they eagerly demanded. Even today there are many who must see signs and wonders or they will not believe. Some have said in their heart, “I must feel deep horror of soul or I never will believe in Jesus.” But what if you never should feel it, as probably you never will? Will you go to hell out of spite against God because He did not treat you like someone else?

One has said to himself, “If I had a dream, or if I could feel a sudden jolt of something, then I would believe.” You undeserving mortals dream that my Lord is to be dictated to by you! You are beggars at His gate, asking for mercy, and you are drawing up rules and regulations as to how He will give that mercy. Do you think that He will submit to this? My Master has a generous spirit, but He also has a royal heart. He rejects all orders and maintains His sovereignty of action. Why, dear reader, if this is your case, do you crave signs and wonders? Isn’t the Gospel its own sign and wonder? Isn’t this the miracle of miracles, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish”? Surely that precious word, “Let the one who desires take the water of life without price”1 and that solemn promise, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out”2 are better than signs and wonders! A truthful Savior ought to be believed. He is truth itself. Why will you ask the One who cannot lie for proof? The devils themselves declared Him to be the Son of God; will you mistrust Him?

1) Revelation 22:17
2) John 6:37

 

 

Triumphant Defeats
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
September 02, 2018

“This was now the third time Jesus appeared to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.” John 21:14

William Wallace was a Scotsman who sought freedom from a tyrannical king of England in the 1200s. He initially took up this cause in retaliation for his own personal family losses. His cause grew among the people, and it became an insurrection against England. Wallace entreated Robert the Bruce, the future king of Scotland. However, Bruce betrayed Wallace in return for lands from the king of England. Wallace was turned over to the king of England to be tortured to death for crimes against England. Bruce realized his betrayal against Wallace and his own country. This remorse led to real repentance and a return to his commitment to the people of Scotland. He finally took ownership of the mission to free Scotland from England. He led the people of Scotland into subsequent battles against England and freed them. Wallace’s defeat ultimately led to victory through Bruce. It took the lives of many, including Wallace, for victory to be accomplished. [James Mackay, William Wallace, Brave Heart (Edinburgh, Scotland: Mainstream Publishing, 1995).]

So often defeat is what is required before victory can be won. Jesus said that unless the seed dies and goes into the ground it cannot bring forth fruit (see Jn. 12:24). The death of a vision is often required before the fulfillment can really take place. Have you failed at something in your life? Have you not seen the vision fulfilled you thought you were given? The vision may yet happen.

The disciples thought they suffered their greatest defeat when Jesus died on the cross. However, this defeat became the greatest victory on earth. Christ’s death gave liberty. Forgiveness came to all men. New life came forth-new strength for the disciples. Resurrection and new life came as a result of a “defeat.” “There are triumphant defeats that rival victories” (Montaigne, French philosopher).

Listening to the Father’s Heart – September 2 
by Os Hillman

Son, one of my required “graduate level courses” in leadership for my sons and daughters is a willingness to wash the feet of their Judases. Being wronged and rejected and taken advantage of by someone close to you is very difficult. It requires that you walk in a new level of my grace. Doing so will free you from bitterness and unforgiveness. However, remember this, son – you cannot compel someone else to forgive or accept my grace. There will always be those who choose not to. This saddens me, but it is something I, too, must accept. Walk in my grace and know that my love for you can heal the wounds that result from those who reject you. Leave them in my hands. Cut them loose, free them and go in peace. You can open the prison door even if they don’t choose to walk out to freedom.

But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask for them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. Luke 6:27-31

For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in the throng. Psalm 55:12-14

Beware of Mixture
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2 by Os Hillman
September 02, 2018

“Then they said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt'” (Ex 32:4).

Moses had gone up onto Mount Sinai to meet with God and receive the Ten Commandments. He left his brother Aaron in charge. Aaron had been mentored by his brother Moses. However, we learn that Aaron still has vestiges of Egypt residing in him. He had not had a complete conversion from the ways of Egypt to the ways of God. His leadership was not strong enough to thwart a rebellion in the camp and he allowed the people, and even encouraged the people, to make an idol of gold. Later, he tried to justify his actions by saying the idol was a God of Israel.

Today we see such mixture in the body of Christ. We promote guaranteed prosperity without the cross. We call adversity a sign of a lack of faith. We promote New Age philosophies mixed with the scriptures and call it a new freedom in Christ. This is only mixture. It is an abomination to the Lord.

And because Aaron has mixture in his own life, he was unable to be truthful to Moses when confronted with his actions. “He said to Aaron, ‘What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!'” (Ex 32:21-24).

Did you notice Aaron’s explanation? Out came this calf! – all by itself. Aaron attempted to deceive Moses. Aaron failed to fulfill his role as a strong, Godly leader. He allowed “mixture” to have power over the people of God.

Pray that you will be faithful to the Word of God and not allow new philosophies to distort its ageless truths.

 

 

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What Jesus Did! ‘If You Trust Me, You’re Trusting God’ — John 12:44-45

Illustration of John 12:44-45 NLT — Jesus shouted to the crowds, "If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me."

Key Thought

Want to know what God says? Listen to Jesus! Want to know how God treats people? Watch what Jesus does! Want to know what God cares about? Pay attention to what Jesus says and does! Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus claims to speak and act as God would. In fact, Jesus claims to be one with the Father. So the real choice for us is whether or not we are going to trust him with our lives.

Today’s Prayer

Holy and almighty God, please forgive my little faith. Please bless me as I continue to seek to know you better by reading and meeting your Son Jesus in the Gospel of John. I ask that you make yourself known to me as I seek to live for you each day. In the name of the Lord Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

 

 

 

Daily Breakthrough

No Question

But if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. —Mark 9:22

In this Scripture Jesus explained to the desperate father of a demon-possessed boy, “It’s not a question of what I can do.” God flung the stars into the heavens, put the oceans in their boundaries, sprinkled sand around the shores, and then sent the world spinning and commanded the oceans not to spill a drop. It was this blind man healer, this leper-cleansing man, this water-walking Jesus who said, “Light be”-.-.-.-and light was and has never ceased to be, because He never commanded it to stop. He is a supernatural, miracle-working God. He can do anything.

There is no mountain high enough to keep Him from getting to the other side. The devil can’t come up with a problem in your life that God can’t solve. It is never a question of what God can do, but only of what you believe He can do. Believe He can work miracles, He can make your feet like hind’s feet, and that you too will leap and bound over every obstacle the enemy puts in your path! No question.

Are you facing an insurmountable mountain today? Have it move aside by faith in Jesus. Only you can limit what He does through you.

Jesus, move my mountains, shatter my bondages,
and set me free from everything that
hinders my walk with You. Amen.

 

 

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