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Prayer Blog

March 2 2021 Prayer Blog

Posted by Carol Gilbert on

Exodus 21:1-11

Pastor Dave was honest in describing our gut reaction to the word slave and to God’s rules about slavery: we recoil. We wonder, is God is condoning slavery? How can slavery possibly fit with loving our neighbor? A skeptic reads this passage and throws the Bible away, rejecting its Author. Some Christians read this passage, are confused, and quickly skip past it to more easily understood, and more heart-warming, passages. A better response is to put on our “student hats,” as Dave expressed it. For Americans, the word slave carries the baggage of a horrific history. Dave asked us to try to set aside that baggage and work to discover what God is really saying. Pray that you – and all of us – would not ignore confusing or upsetting portions of Scripture but rather lean in and dig for understanding. Pray that we will truly believe that all Scripture – including what the Bible says about slavery – is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Dave explained that, at this time and in this context, slavery was a sort of welfare program for those who could not support themselves. It was a voluntary exchange of labor for provision, for a finite period of time. The laws God set down for slavery were intended to protect the slave from abuse by the master. One general principle Dave drew from the passage is that God calls His people to provide for and protect the needy, treating them with dignity. Ask the Lord to show you the needy in your personal world. Ask Him: Do I see the needy and care for them, or ignore them? Do I treat them with respect, or am I condescending? Do I paint all needy people with the same broad brush – a narrative I’ve created to explain their plight? Ask God to give us His compassionate heart for the poor.

A second general principle Dave drew from the passage is that work is good; the able-bodied Hebrew poor worked to earn their keep. God also expects a man to provide for his wife and children. Doesn’t it seem that work and personal responsibility are increasingly devalued in our society? As one specific example, I know a woman who has had four children by three different men. She was married to none of them, and none provides for her or the children. It is a picture of personal irresponsibility, all the way around. God’s ways are good for us! Ask the Lord to somehow bend our society’s values back toward biblical standards of responsibility. Pray that Christians will lead the way by setting a stellar example of diligence and commitment. The church should not point an accusing finger at “the world” if we are guilty of the same failures.

Calvary Family

I learned on Sunday that Eula Mae McLaughlin met her Savior face-to-face on February 10. Pray for her daughter, Lee McLaughlin, and other family members and friends as they process her loss.

Lift up our staff as they prepare this week for the soft opening of our new worship center on Sunday. Pray especially for Todd Dixon and his team as they work the bugs out of the new audio and video systems and for Diana Aksel and her team in the Children’s Department as they re-launch Sunday School.

Our elders have a regularly-scheduled meeting this Thursday evening. It is a reminder to pray for these men who have the challenging job of shepherding the Calvary flock. If you’d like to lift them up to the throne of heaven by name, they are Nick DonVito, John Gilbert, Bob Sanchez, Bob Schraeder, and Dave Tebay.

A blog reader contributed her thoughts about the value of observing Lent: During the season of Lent, I look for ways to intentionally prepare my heart by focusing on Jesus and His sacrifice. I might make a personal sacrifice, meditate on daily blog posts or read through an appropriate book. Why? So that when we reflect on Good Friday and rejoice on Easter, it is not a matter of that moment only. My reflections and joy are the culmination of all my meditations during Lent. This year, I’ve been thinking about the overwhelming holiness of God. As I read about the sacrificial system in the Old Testament, the danger of coming too close to His holy presence and the necessity and hard work of ongoing sacrifices, I become more aware of my own sin and how it separates me from God. How Jesus’ sacrifice sets me free. How I can now come boldly before the throne of grace and be welcomed into the presence of God. Amazing grace indeed!

In Christ,
Carol Gilbert
Calvary Community Church of Brea

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