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, You prayed for us, Now we will pray for others. Lord, You love this world, this broken messy world, So help us to look with Your eyes and hear with Your ears. Grow compassion in our hearts so we can pray with You. 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 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. (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 NIV) “Reconciliation literally means, ‘bring together again’. When we talk about reconciliation, we are talking about taking broken relationships and mending them.” When I was in college, the pastor of my home church retired. He had started the church and it was hard to open our hearts to someone new. The Nazarene leadership sent us a new pastor from Kansas City to the Philadelphia suburbs and the first thing he did was to request a large addition to the parsonage. The parsonage was already spacious but it seems that this pastor had just built a large home back in KC and his possessions would not fit into our parsonage. To accommodate him, over Thanksgiving that year, our church began a building campaign to double the size of the parsonage. I was outraged. I returned to college and vented my frustration at the discipleship group I attended. “Can you believe the nerve of this guy? I put a note in the offering plate saying that I was keeping my money until I saw it being used to build God’s kingdom, not some idiot’s ego!” I went on and on. Our leader Doug stopped me, “I am wondering what else you’ve done about this situation?” he asked. I was taken aback, I thought the note was pretty bold, “What do you mean?” “Have you prayed?” he asked, looking at me seriously. “Well, sure, I mean I don’t know, I mean it’s pretty clear this guy is wrong…” I tapered off unsure. I could tell Doug was angry with me. He sighed, looked at the ceiling, and then let me have it. “That church is NOT your church, it is Christ’s beloved. Rather than gossiping, get on your knees and pray. Pray until you weep over this, until your heart is broken for your pastor and God’s church.” He paused and I began to cry. These were hard but necessary words. I have never forgotten what he said and I am glad he spoke. If people listen to you, if they respect you, then you need to take that ability to influence others seriously. How often do we in the church become loud about, “what’s wrong” but forget to humbly pray for the situation and the “bad guys”. Those “bad guys” are the very people Christ died for as the Paul said, ”God (is) 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 are on a mission from God, have you checked in with “headquarters” lately about your orders?
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/amos/ 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. Amos 3:1-4:13 Throughout chapter 3, we find a series of questions. What do you think these questions point to? In my mind these questions point to what is "obvious." God is saying, what I am about to do will be "obvious" because I have repeatedly told you what is coming, through my prophets. (3:7) Israel had this special relationship with God. Which means, they ought to know better. They ought to know their God. And yet, their sins are overwhelming. What does God declare will happen to Israel? (3:11-15) Five times in chapter 4, we see the phrase… “yet you have not returned to me.” What is the point that God is making in each of these circumstances? (Notice who’s responsible for the hardship) Why might God "discipline" the nation? Once again, the chapter ends with a declaration from God. What is that declaration this time? Romans 3:9-31 The conclusion Paul will make is that both Jews and Gentiles are alike, in that they both are under the power of sin. No one is righteous. If this is the case, and having the Law will not make one righteous, then what is the purpose of the Law? (3:20) Why might we want to know what is "sinful?" Therefore, if we cannot find righteousness through the Law, then how do we find righteousness? (3:22) Paul’s point is that we, Jew and Gentile, are justified or declared righteous, through one thing, and one thing only. What is this one thing? (3:28) Psalm 85:8-13 Psalm 85 points to the idea that in the past God restored His people. Because He has restored His people in the past, we can be assured He will do so again in the future. And so this psalm becomes a psalm of hope, that even while the current circumstances may be difficult, God is faithful.