I asked my grandpa, “After 65 years, you still call grandma darling, beautiful and honey. What’s the secret?” He said, “I forgot her name 5 years ago and I’m scared to ask her.”
LET'S PRAY TOGETHER Lord, let our souls rise up to meet you as the day rises to meet the sun. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Jesus, today we intercede for the people caught. Caught in wars and military upheavals across the globe. Caught in sin and addiction. Caught in selfishness and fear. Lead them to freedom for your name’s sake. May the peace of the Lord Christ go with us: wherever He may send us; may You guide us through the wilderness: protect us through the storm; may You bring us home rejoicing: at the wonders You have shown us; may You bring us home rejoicing once again into our doors. Amen
MEDITATION 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:16-18 NIV) In considering this section of Paul’s letter it may be helpful to read it in a different translation. Below is The Message, a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson. Peterson is a well-respected theologian and his paraphrase offers a contemporary interpretation on the text that may help us better understand Paul’s writing. “Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (2Corinthians 5:16-20 MSG) You may be wondering what “decision” is being discussed in verse 16? In the NIV it says, we no longer regard anyone from a worldly point of view. In the Message verses 14 and 15 are very helpful, “Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.” This is the background for what Paul writes regarding reconciliation. As Peterson puts it, “we are to drop our differences”. But what does that mean? How do we do that, especially when it seems people are so divided. Tomorrow let’s delve into what reconciliation means practically.
DAILY SCRIPTURE READING
Our daily scripture reading comes from the following link… http://listenersbible.com/devotionals/biy/ If you have any insights into our daily readings, please feel free to share them with me. I would encourage you to visit https://bibleproject.com/explore/jonah/ for an overview of the book of Jonah and https://bibleproject.com/explore/romans/ for an overview of the book of Romans. These videos will help with the “big picture” and the main themes. Jonah 1:1-4:11 (Take a few minutes and look at the video from the Bible Project link above) Jonah son of Amittai. We heard of him back in 2 Kings 14:25. As we read this book, we might think of this as Jonah’s story. But the real question is, "where is God in the book of Jonah?" From the belly of the fish Jonah will make a profound statement. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.” (2:8) We often think of the Old Testament God as a God of judgment and vengeance. But that is not the story of Jonah. Nineveh was a wicked and evil city. And yet, in 3:5 we find that they “believed God.” They will repent and God will relent, which we find out is exactly what Jonah expected. So why did he flee in the beginning? (4:5) The tale of Jonah is an incredible story of a “gracious and compassionate” God. He is not just the God of Israel, but of all, which Israel had forgotten. We find this image of God in the life of Jesus Christ. The flip side, and something worth thinking about, is that the God of judgment from other places in the Old Testament, is the God we will see in Christ’s second coming. Both Justice and Grace are a part of the God we worship. Romans 1:18-32 (We missed this yesterday. Somehow, I was on 8:18-32, not 1:18-32, so let’s try this again.) Real quick, the image we find in this section would be a good description of the city of Nineveh from the book of Jonah. When left to our own, this is who we become. We turn away from God’s love, and cling to worthless “idols.” (Whatever those may be. Paul has a great list of idols in the form of sins we cling to.) Romans 2:1-16 OK, so here is today’s reading. How does 2:1 relate to the story of Jonah? Doesn’t Jonah long for God to judge? (What a warning for us) 2:7-8 is this idea of God’s Love and God’s Justice. We tend to dwell in one or the other. Paul is very much communicating the ideas from the book of Jonah. There are both Jews and Gentiles who will find themselves judged and there are both Jews and Gentiles who will find themselves to be declared righteous. “For God does not show FAVORITISM.” As we read in Acts, the Jews were really wrestling with the inclusion of Gentiles. Which is interesting in light of Jonah. Jonah is this amazing book, that sets up the precedence for such a thing. So this really wasn't a “NEW” idea.
Psalm 85:1-7 In the first three verses, with the reference to Jacob, we are reminded of God’s dealings with Israel when He delivered them from Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. These setup the call therefore in verses 4-7, to do the same again. What actions does the psalmist long for in verses 4-7? (Look at the verbs in these verses)