Read: Isaiah Nations battle to keep this resource to themselves, building huge reservoirs and constructing dams to divert it for their own needs. Even at home, drought restrictions remind us to think carefully about our use of this precious substance. Read: Luke 4. In this passage from Isaiah, God promises water: the barren desert will burst forth with growth. Here, in the synagogue, he answers the question.
He unrolls the scroll and reads from Isaiah He sets the pattern and calls people to the banquet with God.
(Minnesota Faith Collection)
Giving people clean water allows them to flourish. Crops can be grown, communities can be developed, families can bathe and children who otherwise would spend all day finding water, have a chance to get an education. But Jesus brings more to the party.
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Good news for the poor can also include someone to lift them out of poverty. As followers of Jesus, this is our mission. We tell people about the saving love of Jesus, and we show them what he is like. How can you live in a Christ-like manner so that he will be exalted and your light will shine in dark places? Reflect: All over the world, dry land becomes lush and green; everyone is clean and healthy; every child is in school. How did that happen? Respond: Write out your mission statement or manifesto, and then put into action for 21 days.
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By that time it should become second nature to you. Respond: Find out how you can conserve water in your household. Every time you use water, give thanks. God our Father, thank you for Jesus who has given us a window into your ways. Thank you for your love. You give a helping hand to everyone who falls.
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You, Lord, can turn deserts into lakes and scorched land into flowing streams. Help us work with you to channel water towards people who desperately need it. Dependence on alcohol and addiction to nicotine and heroin are destroying many lives. People who drink in response to stress or unhappiness may be showing early signs of alcoholism. People drink or take drugs to dull the pain, but the descent can be traumatic.
Addiction leads to violence, poverty, sickness, isolation and break-up in families. Smoking may seem harmless but nicotine is an addictive drug and is the hardest to give up with devastating long-term effects. What can we do? We should do all we can to change things for people who seek comfort in addictive substances, poverty, oppression, loneliness, feelings of insignificance, stress, and abuse. Respond: Think about behaviours and activities that take up a large amount of your time and energy.
Could any of these be considered compulsive or obsessive?
Do they cause you to turn away from God? Lord, when I am lonely and troubled, have pity on me. When my awful worries keep growing, rescue me from sadness. Remove from my life those things that separate me from you and keep me from experiencing healthy relationships with others. In a special way, all were now equal. Paul declares that the gulf between Jews and Gentiles has been bridged by Christ and there is neither male nor female.
Even gender is no barrier. The radical nature of Christianity has no room for racism, classism, or sexism. There is only the family. Reflect: Galatians 3. Imagine a church that is truly representative of all the people who live in the community. Imagine the diverse worship styles and kinds of outreach the members could experience. Respond: Find ways of reaching out to those not represented in your church.
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Where is the bridge-building going to start? How can you help it along? Pray for those in your church who are fearful of change and distrustful of people different from themselves. Keep us united so that the world will turn and worship you. Singing songs in church? Sharing food with the hungry?
Read: Mark Then along comes a widow, her poverty obvious from her dress. God wants lives of restorative worship. Restoration means more than slapping a bandage on a wound. Changing the life of the homeless means more than offering temporary solutions, more than a bed for the night. So, not just a patch of land, but a well-watered garden. Not just water but restorative healing peace. Think of one thing you have done on occasion to help others. Imagine doing it regularly until the end of your life! Lord, bring encouragement to those in need.
Show all who claim to be your disciples what is pleasing in your eyes. Make us truly grateful and show us how we can help the poor and give them a reason to shout your praises. Not impressive. But she has given all she had. She has less money than the others, but is far richer in spirit and understanding. The story follows a stinging attack on religious leaders who were oppressing the poor Mark Yet the people they are cheating are godlier than the rest of them put together.
This woman could have kept one f the coins for herself. But she chose to give all she could to God. Respond: Be generous in your giving. Think of how much God has given you and be willing to give it back to him in thankfulness. God loves a cheerful giver. I will praise you, Lord God, with a song and a thankful heart and will seek to do what is pleasing to you.
Read: Jeremiah King Jehoiakim forced the people to pay higher taxes 2 Kings Read: Numbers But God had given rules on the fair treatment of refugees and immigrants. They were to be treated with kindness Leviticus Anyone who had killed someone with a lethal instrument was assumed to have deliberately committed murder, and anger was no excuse v. This legislation provided two things necessary for every justice system: protection from revenge and the promise of a fair hearing.
In our world, many people are assumed to be guilty because of the family they come from, their tribe, race, nationality, or appearance. Justice involves hearing both sides of the story. We need to make sure that those who are accused of crimes get a fair hearing. What do we forget about refugees?