July 2011


 Themes and ideas
Contemporary parallels, comments and links to supporting notes
3 July
Zechariah 9.9-12
Psalm 145.8-15
Romans 7.15-25a
Matthew 11.16-
God of surprises: the king is gentle, comes on a donkey and speaks peace to the nations.
Compassion. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.
Doing good can be a real struggle! Innate resistance.
Wisdom is vindicated by her actions, not by peoples' reactions. Little children, the weary and the burdened are God’s favoured ones.
The upside down kingdom has a new wisdom.
God’s agenda contrasts with what we are used to in the world.
For a different way, that puts people at the centre of policy, see notes 1e, 2e.
See notes 10, 11 and 13 for what ordinary people are doing.
If children and the burdened are God’s favoured ones, how do we react to Emelia’s story (note 6)?
10 July
Isaiah 55.10-13
Psalm 65.[1-7]8-13
Romans 8.1-11
Matthew 13.1-9,18-23
God’s word will achieve its purpose. It is an agent of transformation and joy.
Abundance and provision.
A new mind set. The Spirit brings life.
The word must be understood (v23) and take root deeply to yield fruit. Wealth can deceive us and suffocate God’s word.
Good is still done in God’s name. There is hope.
See notes 9 – 14.
It can be very hard to be confronted with some of the realities of today’s world:
Do we believe that the rich world deserves its wealth, or that others are poor through their own fault?
The first stage of transformation is to understand the way the world is and to listen.
17 July
Isaiah 44.6-8
Psalm 86.11-17
Romans 8.12-25
Matthew 13.24-
No Rock but God.
An undivided heart; certainty of God’s love. 
A new spirit and a new way of living. As children of God we inherit both God’s passion and glory. Hope of a better future.
The reality of wide-spread evil and God’s ultimate condemnation of evil
Is God our foundation?
There are many ways that the world-wide church continues to share in both suffering and overcoming and catches glimpses of a better future.
24 July
1 Kings 3.5-12
Psalm 119.129-136
Romans 8.26-39
Matthew 13.31-
Solomon asks for a discerning heart to distinguish right from wrong.
Contrast of God’s law and oppression of men. Sorrow that God’s ways are ignored.
When we don’t know what to pray, listen to the voice of the spirit within. The absolute certainty of Christ’s love even in the face of suffering.
A feature of the landscape starts as a tiny seed. Yeast slowly works through dough to make the bread palatable. The kingdom starts small and grows slowly. It is worth giving all for.
Understanding is still desperately needed today.
Oppression: the way today’s world works is oppressive to millions.
Debt cancellation started as a germ of a ‘naïve and dangerous’ idea, but the campaign took root, growing into a world-wide movement which has borne fruit. Debt cancellation has now happened in some countries, making life better for many.
Other new ideas are also beginning to grow. They too will be opposed by vested interests but have the potential to help millions at the sharp end of poverty.
31 July
Isaiah 55.1-5
Psalm 145.8-9,15-21
 Romans 9.1-5
Matthew 14.13-21
God’s free and bountiful provision.
Compassion, provision, satisfaction.
Paul’s passion for his people.
Jesus feeds the hungry crowd. ‘You give them something to eat’. Jesus takes what is offered and blesses it.
Tonight 800 million people will go to bed hungry, even though there’s enough food in the world for everyone. Emelia is just one of them.
God has already provided but the abundance is not shared. Debt, unfair trade and speculation all contribute to the problems faced by people at the sharp end of poverty.
Also at the sharp end are people working to provide food security.


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