Feb 15, 2017

Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. — Genesis 47:28 Imagine how Jacob’s last 17 years on earth must have felt to him. Even though he was in Egypt, out of the Holy Land, he was together with his children and grandchildren and their ever-growing families. Those precious years were full of peace, abundance, and godliness. Children, parents, and grandparents all studied the Word of God together. In this week’s Torah portion, Jacob truly lived. And as part of life, he passed on his legacy to his descendants and died surrounded by his loved ones. Friends, we’ve just been through the holiday season, spending time with family and friends. But why wait just for the holidays to do this? It’s challenging to make time for family get-togethers in today’s busy world, but it’s worth the effort. Because in the end, family is what truly matters in life. Family, as Jacob knew, is life. With prayers for shalom, peace, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

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Feb 14, 2017

Lord, because of the Savior's sacrifice I ask that You will have mercy on me, a sinner. I'm sorry for all my sins. Forgive my past and help me forgive others. Lord, accept my gratitude for Your love and my blood-bought forgiveness. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

Posted at 07:14 am by preacher314
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Feb 11, 2017

Verse Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 Voice Live for yourself and you will live in vain; Live for others, you will live again. Bob Marley Prayer God, motivate us to seek justice, even when the outcome won't affect us. (Sojourners, sojo.net)

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Feb 9, 2017

Psalms 119:1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34; I Corinthians 2:6-10; Matthew 5:17-37 "... go and be reconciled with your brother first" (Matthew 5:24). It seems clear, and for a variety of reasons, that many people feel as though we are living in difficult days. Perhaps your are among them. In an apparent response to that mood, there was an amusing image portrayed recently in a popular magazine. Pictured in a department store is a shopper, standing in front of an attractive display of neatly stacked pillows. The store clerk is pointing to the shelves as he says, "No. These are pillows for screaming into. You'll find our sleeping pillows on the second floor." Of course, difficult days summon in us a variety of emotions. And while screaming into our pillows is far better than taking out our frustrations on those closest to us, the Gospel writers tell us, over-and-over again, that there is a Truly better way. Put your faith and trust in God's plan for living and you will be blest. Your faith will bring you happiness. Your faith will bring you fulfillment. Your faith will bring you ever closer to becoming the person God created you to be. Indeed, it is your steadfast faith that will transform your most difficult days into Blessed days of fulfillment. Jesus came into this world and preached a Good News Gospel about God's Rule and God's Love. Time and again, and in many different ways, He said, "You will recognize by their fruits the persons whose faith and trust in God's ways bring them into His Kingdom." You will know them, He said, by the difference this faith and trust has made in the way they live. And because their faith and trust in God have made a difference in the way they live, they are blest, they are happy. Sunday Sermons Online sermoneditor@voicings.com

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Feb 8, 2017

Verse Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness speaks deceitfully. Proverbs 12:17 Voice Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. [Jeff] Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. Coretta Scott King Prayer God, let us walk in truth, live in truth, and be brave enough to speak the truth. (Sojourners, sojo.net)

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Feb 6, 2017

A guy placed an ad on a Local Affairs website: "I have two tickets for the 2017 Super Bowl, both box seats. I paid $2500 for each ticket, but I didn't realize last year when I bought them that it was going to be on the same day as my wedding. I am looking for someone to take my place. The wedding is at St. Thomas Church, Providence at 3pm. Her name is Amanda. She's 5'6", about 130 lbs. She is a good cook, too. She'll be the one in the white dress."

Posted at 08:49 am by preacher314
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Feb 5, 2017

Verse Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8 Voice The outstretched arms of Jesus exclude no one, not the drunk in the doorway, the panhandler on the street, gays and lesbians in their isolation, the most selfish and ungrateful in their cocoons, the most unjust of employers and the most overweening of snobs. The love of Christ embraces all without exception. Brennan Manning Prayer Surround us with living saints who remind us of the sort of people we are trying to become. Common Prayer (Sojourners, sojo.net)

Posted at 06:26 am by preacher314
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Feb 1, 2017

For Christians, in the 25th chapter of Matthew, Jesus makes clear that how we treat “the stranger” is how we treat him. That’s what the Gospel text says. And the “stranger” means immigrants and refugees — the citizens of other nations living and traveling among us. Therefore, this is a faith issue for us as Christians. Donald Trump’s executive order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” is in conflict with our Christian faith, and we will oppose it as a matter of faith. President Trump’s executive order is not about security; it is about ideology. All of us want and value security. But these refugees have already been thoroughly vetted. They are mostly women and children who have had to flee situations of violent conflict — for their very lives. They are in danger; they are not a danger. They are refugees fleeing from violence, not the agents of violence toward us. The world’s experts on refugees around the globe clearly contradict what the ideologues of the new White House are saying. This is a political policy, not a rational one. This is a cruel policy aimed at refugee families in great need and danger; not a protective policy for American families. This is a payback policy aimed at satisfying a political base that has become hostile and hateful to refugees and immigrants. This is a dangerous policy that is already alienating our partners around the world, will be used by our enemies to recruit against us, and will make us less safe. We will oppose the executive order as a matter of faith. This is also a policy aimed at a religion: The seven nations cited are Muslim-majority nations. Furthermore, the executive order directs the government to prioritize admittance of refugees (both as possible exceptions to the current ban and to get special treatment when and if the refugee ban is lifted) who suffer “religious persecution” and belong to “minority religions” in their countries. This amounts to showing preferential treatment for Christian refugees over Muslim refugees, which President Trump admitted to a Christian broadcaster. Giving special treatment to Christians fleeing violence over Muslims doing the same is both religiously offensive — to many of us who are Christian — and contrary to America’s best and constitutional values. This policy is also aimed at race: The Muslims being banned by this order are primarily people of color; and their targeting is directly related to the white nationalist ideology that has now taken up office in the White House, which is a great danger to America’s future. The use of religion and race for political purposes undermines the United States’ fundamental commitment to being a pluralist and democratic society. Christian leaders who supported Donald Trump must speak up as Christians against policies that attack “the strangers” for their religion and their race. Christian leaders who supported Donald Trump should also stand in opposition to Donald Trump’s recent re-embracing of torture — which is contrary to Christian values and principles. Torture is anti-Christian, most Christians believe that, and all of us must now say that again. Whether it’s the banning of refugees, the targeting of another religion, the subtle or direct appeals to racism, or the endorsement of torture, it is time to speak truth to power. Religious leaders must speak up against these moral choices of our new president. There is more than politics at stake here; at stake is the integrity of our faith and the future of our country. (Jim Wallis is president of Sojourners)

Posted at 08:04 am by preacher314
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Jan 31, 2017

Jesus begins in the Sermon on the Mount by affirming that everyone in his audience is called, loved, powerful, and valuable. This was remarkable in his day because the religious people in Jesus' day liked to say some people are out and some people are in, and the way that you get in is by doing things the right way and not being sick. People like lepers and people with bleeding diseases were believed to be cursed by God because of a sin of their parents. There was this system in place where some people were in, and some people were out. Jesus comes on the scene in the Gospel of Matthew in Chapter 5, and he begins with the beatitudes in which he says that everyone belongs. He begins by saying "blessed are the poor in spirit." Don't misunderstand, being poor in spirit is not a virtue. Poor in spirit means you're spiritually bankrupt. Blessed are you if you mourn. Blessed are you if you've been a doormat your whole life. In Luke, he says blessed are you if you're poor, if you're persecuted, if you're unwanted, if you're uninvited. Jesus says to these people you are called, you are loved, you are light, you are salt. PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for accepting me. Even through my weakness, illness, and sin, I am loved by you and the salt of the earth. REFLECTION: If you were there in Jesus day, do you think you would be in or out? (Pastor Bobby Schuller)

Posted at 07:54 am by preacher314
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Jan 30, 2017

Verse Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13:10 Voice But no one should ever be locked away simply because they share the same race, ethnicity, or religion as a spy or terrorist. If that principle was not learned from the internment of Japanese Americans, then these are very dangerous times for our democracy. Fred Korematsu Prayer God, remind us that all of humanity is invited to feast at your table. adapted from Common Prayer

Posted at 11:15 am by preacher314
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