Updated: Jul 23
A police officer sees a man driving around with a pickup truck full of squirrels. He pulls the guy over and says... "You can't drive around with squirrels in this town! Take them to the zoo immediately." The guy says "OK"... and drives away.
The next day, the officer sees the guy still driving around with the truck full of squirrels, and they're all wearing sun glasses. He pulls the guy over and demands... "I thought I told you to take these squirrels to the zoo yesterday?" The guy replies... "I did . . . today I'm taking them to the beach!"ou
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. To those who have been called Who are loved in God the Father And kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. (Jude 1 NIV) 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) "One of the greatest barriers to our mission of reconciliation is judgment. Judging is not our job, it’s God’s job. Our job is to discern so that we can be faithful." When I was in the third grade, we were in our elementary school library working on a project. It required us to find certain books on the shelves based on information written on index cards. That day my regular teacher was out and we had a substitute, Mrs. G---tte. As the activity came to an end, I realized that two of the other groups had left their card piles on a reading tables, but Mrs. G---tte had asked us to return the cards to her when we were done. So I dutifully picked up their cards as well as our group’s cards and turned to take them to her, when suddenly I felt her grab me by the shoulder. She snatched the index cards out of my hand and shook me, “How many times do I have to say this! I told you no more than 5 cards!” I opened my mouth to speak but she shook me again, “If you were my child I’d slap you so hard your head would spin around! Go back to the classroom and sit at your desk for recess, head down, No TALKING!” And she pushed me towards the classroom. I was eight, but I remember it clear as day. I had been judged falsely and it stung. I had been trying to help. But Mrs. G---tte, exhausted and frustrated with our class’ poor listening skills, made me her scapegoat. We have all been on either side of this scenario. Judged or judging others unfairly. However, as followers of Jesus, tasked with the mission of reconciliation, it is Jesus’ example that shows the way. Jesus was a human being. As a man he modeled the grace, patience, gentleness, kindness, and self-control needed to avoid scenes like the one that happened in my school library. He dealt with stupid people, lazy people, angry people, obsessive people, needy people, and his own family. He had people persecute Him, judge Him, hate Him, ignore Him, reject Him, spit on Him, lie about Him, assault Him, strip Him naked, rip out His hair, torture Him, and all this before murdering Him. And His response was, “Forgive them because they don’t have a clue what they are doing.” He could have incinerated them with Holy fire and it would have been justly deserved, but He didn’t. Because He loves us and died for us, now we live every day rooted in the gratitude for what we have been forgiven. We can never repay God but we can “forgive as we have been forgiven” and choose to allow God to be the righteous Judge. A little patience and understanding would have gone a long way back in that school library. So keep your eyes open for the opportunities that God is giving you to be gracious, kind and forgiving. Most likely, it will be when you are angry, frustrated, and “righteously” outraged, ready to act as judge, jury and executioner and “slap somebody so hard their head will spin around”, but Jesus invites you to join Him in choosing a different response…
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/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. Hosea 6:1-7:16 In light of God’s coming judgment upon Israel, what does Hosea call Israel to do? (6:1-3) Israel has broken her covenant with God. She has done all sorts of evil, as we continue to see described by the prophet. But she's not alone. Alongside of Israel, who else is being called out by Hosea? (6:11) Chapter 7 will take us back to the judgment upon Israel as Hosea continues to describe her sins. (Remember, Ephraim is another name for Israel) Romans 7:7-25 Sometimes I wonder, if what Paul is trying to say doesn’t actually translate well. Paul will continue to observe the difference between being a Jew versus Gentile follower of Christ, by focusing on the Law. What is the purpose of the Law? (7:7) I don't know if Paul had Adam in mind or not, even though he just compared Adam to Christ, but what if we consider God setting a boundary with Adam. Think about it like this, Adam can only break God's command after God had given it. It’s only after the command that Adam committed sin. The question is, was God’s command evil? NO! I can't help wonder if that is what was going through Paul's mind as he talked about sin and the law and the command. But now, in our sinful nature, we are slaves to sin, and we really can’t help it. Consider what Paul says in 7:18-19. The question he will finally come to, we find in 7:24. What is this question and what is the response? Psalm 88:9b-18 Psalm 88 seems to focus on this idea of continual suffering. The image is that of being on death’s door step, constantly. It’s almost as if, the psalmist has been afflicted by a health issue of some sort. But in spite of this, where does the author turn? To the gods of Canaan or Assyria? In light of what we have been reading in Hosea, we should realize the difference is of the utmost importance.