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Bible Reading for 10/31/13
2 Chronicles 24

 17 After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and paid homage to the king, and he listened to them. 
                                                                                                                     2 Chronicles 24:17 (NIV84)

Ponder

Who do you listen to?

No, really - when you stand at a crossroads, stare at threatening darkness or the unspoiled canvass of a brand new day - to whom do you listen?

Joash was a young king.  Early in his reign he benefitted from the sage counsel of a faithful prophet named Jehoiada.  And the Bible says that as long as Joash listened to Godly advise of this aging prophet, Joash did right in the sight of the Lord.

And then Jehoiada died.  And the officials of Judah sought Joash's ear.  They paid homage to him, bowed down and stroked his ego.  They feigned friendship and led the king astray, and kingdom into spiritual ruin.

If your answer before - to whom do you listen - didn't come readily, there's a chance Satan and his advisors already crouch at the door, ready to spring into action when your heart longs for guidance.  They're eager to stroke your ego, remind you how important you and your needs are, and lead your heart to Godless ruin.  Or maybe your answer came quickly - names of acquaintances at work, hunting buddies or one of the girls, those with whom you've grown close.  They know you, understand you.  But do they understand your God, his heart, and the simple truth that to choose any path other than his leads to separation, hurt and despair?.

We often talk of the unholy trinity in church, the fearsome threesome that war against our faith each day.  There's the devil - prowling like a roaring lion, looking to catch us when weak, separated from family of God and confused.  There's our own sinful flesh, the nature of fallen Adam and Eve that condemns us to fail over and over again and remind us of each painful slip until our hearts reason that God surely can't love us.  And then there is the world around us - sinful peer pressure - the countless hurting lost souls that are all to eager to stand by our side, cheering us to cross God's line, some simply happy to welcome us to their misery. 

And the antidotes to these spiritual attacks?  God says repel the devil and his lies with the truth!  God is love and loves us when unlovable!  God invites us to combat the despair of our sinful flesh with undeniable hope of our baptisms.  We will not be abandoned.  God adopted us in Christ!  And the negative peer pressure of a world that tries to deny God's existence?  God points us to the positive peer pressure of the church!  Fellow redeemed saints, children of God, eager to cheer each other on and exert the influence of Christian care and concern.

Have you surrounded yourself with such people?  Have you learned to value spiritual oneness above a shared interest in shopping, hunting, gardening or whatever?  Joash stands a reminder to us all of the value of good counsel and advice.  A boy king, advised, privileged and blessed to rebuild God's temple - left wounded and betrayed by his own "friends." Gather around yourself not simply those who will pay homage and then welcome you into their own godlessness, but gather around you the heirs of heaven - those stand by ready to tell you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.  Surround yourself with those who know, share and celebrate the will and heart of God.

Plan today for the next crossroads, challenge or opportunity.  Determine by those you choose to surround yourself - those to whom you will listen.  May God bless their words and counsel.


Pray

God, help me to surround myself with children of faith - those who will speak to me the unchanging and unfailing counsel of your Word.  Open my heart, free of arrogance and self, to receive their counsel as a blessing from your heart.  Help our congregation to recognize the treasure of our relationships that we may encourage each other, making the most of each opportunity, on the narrow road that leads to the joy and peace of your presence and promise.  In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
 

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+Equipping God's People+

-->  Needed - Members Engaged in Ministry!

At our last voters' meeting, the church council presented a plan for the future of St. John's. Now is where you all come in: we'd like to hear from you! What do you think of the plan, what other thoughts, opinions, or ideas to you have from it? Well, you'll have your chance to let us know at one of the upcoming cottage meetings. It's the church's hope that one of these meetings will work for you. The remaining meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 11th at 6:30pm in the school music room

-->  Needed - Sunday School Teachers, Help getting members to church,  Someone to organize Advent Soup Suppers, and readers in our Lutheran Elementary School

A member at Village Green East needs rides to church, the Sunday School program is looking for teachers interested in teaching 1-10 Sundays of the year, we're looking for someone to organize Soup Suppers during the three Wednesdays of Advent, AND we're looking for members to volunteer reading and listening to our St. John's school children read.  If you gifts match any of these opportunities, please contact the church office ASAP (793-7300) or Pastor Arndt
-->  MEN'S Bible Study

- is now twice a month.  That's right.  We're now meeting on the first AND last Saturdays of the Month.  This Saturday, November 2nd, we'll meet again at the M&M lunch in Two Rivers for our 7:30 AM Breakfast and Bible study.  We're currently looking at "Very Important Chapters in the Bible."  Please help get the word out to the men of our congregation.  And if you are among them, please consider joining us on Saturday.  You'll get to know your God better, your church family better - and find yourself better equipped to face the day as a man of God!


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