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SERMON NOTES:

Prayer Requests

Church of the Way, who is suffering with cancer. Y Pray for Donna McCullen, wife of Ken McCullen, who is suffering from cancer.

Y Pray for Jerry Hermsen who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Y Pray for Mor Bakia in his job search. Y Pray for Diana Zile-Young, friend of Ivers, who is better but still struggling with alcoholism which is destroying her liver. Y Pray for Hussein, Angelicas co-workers husband, who suffers from leukemia. Y Pray for Rose Tendoh to find a job with Gods guidance. Y Pray for John Thiessen as he lives with cancer. Y For Bobbie Pearson, friend of Gloria Ivers, whos suffering from cancer. Y Pray for Beverly Dols, John Ivers sister, who suffers from lung cancer. Y Dave Schwartz continues to suffer from cancer, and Marg Olson is now in remission, (friends of George & Dianne Black). Y Pray for Ward Sessing, member of the Presbyterian

DEVOTION

This week we have a wonderful opportunity to learn what the Scriptures teach us about responding in love. Though our world is full of violence, you and I can step out of the pattern. We can be part of the breaking out of heaven on earth. These Scriptures are powerful examples of what God desires. Comments and thoughts about the devotion can be E-mailed to Pastor Paul at pastor@colpres.org. Enjoy!! Monday, February 18 Read Genesis 4:1-8 This is the first story of life outside of Paradise. Adam and Eve had two sons Cain and Abel. Cain became jealous that Abels offering was accepted by God and Cains was not. God pleaded with Cain not to be angry and told him that sin was always lurking at his door. Cain could not overcome his anger and killed Abel. Its not an accident that in this first story of life outside of Paradise an act of terrible violence took place. Though we humans are programmed for wonderful good, we are also capable of terrible evil. This is the world we live in.

Gods counsel to Cain is helpful to us. We know that sin is always lurking at the door of our own heart. By staying connected to God and receiving the gift of grace from God we can resist the lures of sin. Violence in the world originates from this sin. God doesnt want to see violence in the world, but through free will it does happen. One of the consequences of free will is the possibility of violence. Prayer: This story illustrates that sin is always lurking at our own door. Help me resist this sin by staying deeply connected to you. Give me strength and grace! Tuesday, February 19 Read Isaiah 58:6-9 God was upset with the people of Israel because they were ignoring the needs of their neighbor. They were fasting and doing the religious rituals of their day, but their hearts were not connected to people who needed help. God was upset because the religious rituals of the people were not consistent with the service that God desired. God wants us to worship and God wants us to serve the poor. Our worship is empty without a willingness to help people who are suffering. Verses six and seven remind us of this: Is not this the fast that I choose; To loose the bonds of injustice, To undo the thongs of the yoke, To let the oppressed go free, And to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into your house; When you see the naked, to cover them, And not to hide yourself from your own kin? Isaiah 58:6-7 Prayer: May my worship of you not be empty. May I love you through worship and love my neighbor through service. Help me be

an instrument of your grace with people who need your love Wednesday, February 20 Read Matthew 5:38-48 The Jews were waiting for a liberator who would lead the charge against Rome. In their history many leaders had fought the Romans in an attempt to overthrow the government. None had been successful. Jesus knew this historyand he challenged his followers to a different way. He wanted his followers to respond in love to their oppressors. If the Romans forced them to walk a milego another mile; if someone slapped them on the right cheek, offer the other. These teachings inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. They can inspire us too. When we are hurt by an oppressor the oppressor wins when we respond in a violent way. If we step out of the pattern that the oppressor establishes by responding in love, care, and compassion, we are powerfully setting a new pattern. At a minimum we are de-escalating a pattern of violence. Today think about someone who has hurt you lately. Instead of feeding resentment, pray that the Spirit can treat the person with love, care, and compassion. In doing so you are responding in a powerful way. Prayer: We can only live out these words of Jesus when your Spirit helps and sustains us. Work in our lives, so that we can be examples to people who have hurt us of love, care and compassion. Thursday, February 21 Read Proverbs 25:21-22 Proverbs are short snippets of wisdom. They are like folk sayings that are passed down like a stitch in time saves nine.

These two Proverbs are similar to the reading from yesterday. Heaping coals of fire on our enemies sounds like a violent act. The Proverb writerand Paul in Romansmeant it as an act of victory. We win over our opponents, our enemies, when we love them. We step out of a pattern of violence. Our love and kindness is a declaration of victory. We declare that we are not giving in to violence, but are choosing to live our lives by another way. We resist conflict and choose peace. This vision is one that disciples are called to follow. Jesus could have responded with violence. In chastising Peter for cutting off the ear of his slave, (Matthew 26:51-53) he acknowledged that he could call upon legions of angels to do his work. Instead Jesus chose another pathone that we still talk about today. If we want to be remembered in the future, we will choose to feed our enemies and give them something to drink. Not only will we heap coals of fire on their heads, we will be a lasting model of Gods love Prayer: On this day and this week empower me to love the people who I describe as my enemies. Give me the capacity to feed them and give them something to drink. Let me respond to them with love, care, and compassion. Friday, February 22 Read Romans 12:9-21 This passage from Paul is consistent with the passage from Matthew and Proverbs that we read this week. When we love our enemies we are not saying that their actions are right or should not be punished. We are saying that we are letting God be the judge or as Paul wrote we are

[leaving] room for the wrath of God. (Romans 12:18) The last verse in this passage is worth committing to memory: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21 Take some time today to memorize this teaching. Put it on a card, carry it with you, put it on your refrigerator. It is a teaching worth dedicating our lives! Prayer: Our prayer today is the teaching of the Apostle Paul. Help us not be overcome by evil, but help us overcome evil with good. Saturday, February 23 Read Revelation 21:9-27 This vision of the New Jerusalem is a promise that God gives to us in the future. Its a vision where everyone knows God and one where the glory of God is our light. We dont have to wait for heaven for this vision. God wants to inbreak into our world so we can experience a taste of heaven. This taste happens when we love our enemies and act with love, care, and compassion. In responding with such strength we are winning and experiencing the final victory that God will have for our world. Imagine what would happen if disciples of Jesus from around the world committed themselves to loving like Jesus! Heaven would break out on earth! Alleluia! Prayer: Heaven can break out in our world. When we always respond with love, care and compassionwith lovewe will experience the New Jerusalem that you promised in these verses. Help us be part of your heaven.