The hour glass we see in the window above is a reminder of what "time" it is. "As God's co-workers we urge you not to receive God's grace in vain. For he says, 'In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.' I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:1-2, with a quote from Isaiah 49:8 in the middle)
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. Father, guide the scientists and researchers attempting to understand Covid 19 Give them insights into this virus and wisdom as they develop a vaccine. Keep their minds open to what this virus is actually capable of so that we do not fall prey to false assumptions. We are fearfully and wonderfully made but live in a fallen world, Help us to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves regarding health decisions. 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 “…(God) has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 NIV) “Reconciliation literally means, ‘bring together again’. When we talk about reconciliation, we are talking about taking broken relationships and mending them.”
What does it take to fix something that is broken? Glue, screws, nails, putty, spackle, lathe, brick, asphalt, stitches, original blueprints, zipties,…? It depends on what is broken and how badly it’s broken. Think about the film Apollo 13, which follows the difficulties facing three astronauts in a broken spaceship heading towards the moon. How many scientist and NASA techs worked to find solutions to save the crew? How many computers, tools, blackboards, calculators, slide rules, notepads, and scale models did it take to find answers to fix what was broken and bring those men home? It is a complex task to fix even simple problems. If fixing a broken leg takes more than a band aid, then mending a broken relationship is even more complex. Think about my story from last week about my problems with “Linda”, our relationship was in bad shape. We were avoiding each other because reconciliation required patience, humility, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Reconciliation is a process by which condemnation, judgment, guilt, hatred, wrath, envy, strife and division are overcome. It does not mean that the past is forgotten or erased. “Forgive and forget” is a slippery slope that prevents the deep healing that is required for true reconciliation. It allows us to tolerate one another but who wants to be tolerated; we want to be LOVED. If our mission on this Earth as Christ’s representatives is to mend broken relationships then we need to be prepared for what all this is going to involve. 1) It will be messy- real people, real relationships, real problems are messy. There will be betrayals, relapses, missed opportunities (Look! a chance to exercise forgiveness) 2) It will take the rest of your life-What else did you have planned? 3) It starts inside yourself and works it way outward-As we discussed last week, if you loathe yourself, loving the world is a bit of a stretch. Think of the lengths that God has gone to so that you can be reconciled to Him…so what are we willing to do?
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 Amos, https://bibleproject.com/explore/hosea/ for an overview of Hosea 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 8:1-9:15 What has Israel done that is bringing God’s judgment upon them? (8:4-6) In the midst of this judgment, God declares that a famine is coming. This is not a typical famine. What is the famine that God is sending through the land? (8:11) What would the church look like if it no longer preached the Word of the Lord? If it no longer had access to God's Word? Amos will make the point, that no one can hide from God’s coming judgment. (9:1-4) Yet, in spite of the utter hopelessness of 9:10, Amos will end with hope. What is the image we find in the final verses? (11-15) Hosea 1:1-2:23 Notice the kings that are listed at the introduction to Hosea. Was Hosea a contemporary of Amos? Meaning, did they prophesy at the same time? (Re-read Amos, 1:1) The prophets often reinforced their message, through using symbols. God’s complaint against Israel is that she is “unfaithful.” What will Hosea do, to reinforce this message? (1:2) How will the names of their children, likewise reinforce the message God wants Israel to hear? (1:4, 6, 9) In chapter 2, the graphic imagery of adultery continues. Why do you think the images are so graphic? Unlike Amos, Hosea combines images of judgment with images of restoration. Romans 5:12-21 Paul will compare which two individuals as he establishes how both death came into the world, and now how life has come into the world? Remember, he is trying to settle the debate between Jews and Gentiles, over the Law. Does the Law lead to sin? (5:13) Think about the "time line" of history. When did sin enter the creation? When did the Law? And when did Justification? Romans 6:1-14 Paul makes the argument in chapter 5 that God’s gift of grace, through Christ, is big enough to cover all sins. Therefore, if that is the case, Paul will begin chapter 6 by asking, if God's grace is that big, “shall we go on sinning then?” Why not keep sinning? How will he respond to this question? (6:2) He will build an argument against sinning. In your own words, what is Paul saying? (We died with Christ, and with Christ were raised to a new life. The old life was filled with sin. The new life, in Christ, is free from sin. What this means is that sin shall no longer be our master. Wickedness shall not fill our lives. Instead, we have been freed from "having to sin," and now our lives should reflect the righteousness we find in Christ, because we now see a new way to live. (Think fruit of the Spirit) Basically, our lives will reflect Christ's life.) Proverbs 17:15-24 Did any of these proverbs particularly strike you? Why? Psalm 87:1-7 Of all the cities on earth, what makes Zion special? Who has established Zion? (87:5)