Our fourth grader celebrated his birthday on crutches, and so he couldn’t carry the cupcakes into school without help. I asked our sixth-grader, Noah, to help his brother carry them in. “I could,” he said, “but I’d prefer not to.” Spotting a teaching moment, my husband asked Noah, “What would Jesus do?” Noah answered, “Jesus would heal him so he could carry his own cupcakes.”
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. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Search me, God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139) 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.” If this is true; if our life’s work is not to be right, not to be flawless, not to be better than my neighbor but instead to be an ambassador of reconciliation then maybe I need to rethink what it means to be a Christian. In Luke, chapter 14, Jesus tells us to count the cost of following Him. This is serious business and it starts deep inside us. Think of the process of reconciliation like a series of concentric circles. In the very center is your heart. Jesus died for you, when we accept His gift of a new life, our old “heart of stone” is replaced with a “heart of flesh” (Ez 11:19, Ez 36:26, Jer 31:33, Heb 8:10). Paul writes, “Be reconciled to God”, in other words this is the crucial first step, the mending of the broken relationship between yourself and God. Next, we must be reconciled to ourselves. We must come to know ourselves with clear eyes. On one hand God loved us so much He died for us and on the other “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you”(Romans 12:3). Too often we meander between self-loathing and self-adulation, but God entreats us over and over again to instead “love ourselves as the first step to loving our neighbor. As with the entirety of the Christian life, I need help with this step. I don’t like looking at myself with clear eyes, because it’s painful. Yet, I am stalled in my growth as a believer if I can’t be reconciled with myself. The next step outward is to be reconciled with my “neighbor”. Jesus was once asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ answer turned neat and tidy do-gooding on it’s head. He told a parable about how the most reviled and hated people are worthy of our love (see Luke 10:25-37). Even more powerfully though, Jesus demonstrated what it means to be reconciled with those around us by extending his hand to the tax collector, the leper, the unclean, outsider, immigrant, needy, complaining, difficult, uncooperative, and oppressor. He never stopped reconciling broken relationships even in His death. In fact His crucifixion, unearned and unjust, was the climax of a human life lived solely for reconciliation and is the point at which you and I can even dream of being made whole. Now, we move ever outward from a firm foundation of restored love and relationship able to encounter any person, any situation, any crisis with love and grace because we love God, we love ourselves, and we love our neighbor. If however, you are stuck, there is a glitch, then go back to the beginning. Start at the center and pray for God to show you where things have gone awry, He loves you, he desires for reconciliation to permeate your life, and He will open your eyes, just ask…
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 5:1-27 Judgment is being passed against Israel for her sins. 5:10-12 will describe some of these sins. What are they? God longs for us to do one thing. Everything else flows out of this. What is the one thing that will bring life? (5:4, 6) In the second half of chapter 5, God will talk about “offerings” and “worship.” Neither of which he wants from the nation of Israel. Instead, what does he want? (5:24) Romans 4:1-15 Paul is going to continue this idea of “justification,” or in other words, being “declared righteous.” Who will he turn to as a model? (4:1) Quoting Genesis 15:6, what did Abraham do that was credited to him as righteousness? (4:3) Next, Paul will use David’s words from the psalms to make the same argument. (4:6ff) Having established how we are justified, Paul will move his focus on to who is justified. It’s important here to remember what is causing the division in Rome. Jew vs Gentile. Circumcised vs un-circumcised. It’s a chicken and egg argument. Which comes first. Using Abraham as an example, which came first? (4:11) Psalm 86:1-10 David’s psalm this morning, stands in contrast to the writings of Amos, in that David’s eyes are always on the Lord. It’s one of the critiques of Israel we saw this morning. Israel had stopped seeking the Lord. This is a good encouragement to us. In prayer, seek the Lord.