G.I.F.T. 10-18-20

Growing In Faith Together
October 18, 2020

TODAY’S TEXTS
Isaiah 45:1-7
Psalm 96:1-13
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22

GATHERED BY GRACE
In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. Paul is giving pastoral encouragement and reassurances to new Christians living in an antagonistic pagan environment. Their commitment of faith, love, and hope makes them a model for other new Christians.

Discuss in your household or small group:
* Why do you think Isaiah could praise Cyrus, a non-Jew?
* Currently in the U.S., the major parties are divided over the proper role of government. What in these lessons suggests that Christians should take the debate about the role of government seriously?
* How does faith shape your economic decisions -- buying, saving, giving, and the rest?
* What do you think Paul means by “grace”? By “peace”? If you were sending this letter by e-mail, what would you put in the subject line?


DAILY BIBLE READINGS
These readings are related to the Sunday readings. M-W reflect upon the past Sunday’s readings and Th-Sa prepare for the next Sunday. Try to take time each day to read the assigned Bible passage.
Sunday Matthew 22:15-22 
Monday Daniel 3:1-18
Tuesday Daniel 3:19-30 
Wednesday Psalm 98:1-3 
Thursday Romans 5:6-11
Friday Job 19:25-26
Saturday John 11:25-26a
Sunday John 8:31-36

Next Sunday: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8:31-36

PRAYERS FOR THIS WEEK
For the Week: Thank you, sovereign God, for providing good order and government.

Throughout the Day: Create in me a generous heart.

Blessing to Share: Grace to you and peace.

For mealtime, say responsively: Let the heavens rejoice: Let the earth be glad.

Autumn Mealtime Prayer:
For food we eat,
for clothes to wear,
for nightly rest 
and daily care
we thank you Loving God. Amen.

FOR FURTHER REFLECTION
Devotional Practice: 
Give to God what is God’s. During your devotional time, pick up a quarter, or cash, or a credit card, and hold it in your hand. Feel the weight of the it. How do you feel as you hold it? In what ways does money have power in your life? In what ways can you align your values with how you use money? Reflect on this. How could you use this coin/cash/card to make a difference for someone or something else? At the end of the week, pray about your experiences.

Autumn Ritual: 
As we watch leaves fluttering to the ground in the fall, we are reminded that nature's cycles are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and to practice getting out of the way and letting Spirit take charge of our lives. Place a symbol of autumn – a leaf, an acorn – in your devotional area. Let it remind you to let go and let God.

SCATTERED TO SERVE
St. Paul included sentences of thanksgiving in most of his letters giving thanks for the people of the early congregations who were visibly living their faith. Think of five people who have shown that they are living out of God's love. Sent a note or a text or an email that says “I thank God for you!” 

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Written by Pam Larabee-Zierath


Gathered by Grace, Scattered for Service
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