January 22, 2021
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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. 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. 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 5:17
A key word here is reconciliation. Reconciliation is the act of changing a once damaged relationship into to a harmonious one. It is the act of making right. For example, these verses talk about how God reconciled us to himself through Christ. By sending his only Son to die on the cross to save us from our sins, he reconciled our relationship with him. No longer are we bound by our sins. This passage continues, saying that we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. We are to spread to those around us the same reconciliation given to us.
I challenge you today to take a few minutes to think about what reconciliation means to you. What does it look and feel like? And finally, how can you bring the same reconciliation that you were so graciously given, out into the world?
January 21, 2021
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.” Exodus 3:11-12
Movies are a favored form of entertainment in our family. Because the Bible has often been a source of inspiration for literature and the arts, I wasn’t surprised to discover that movies about Moses date back to 1903. Moses is purported to have lived 120 years and his adventures have inspired writers and filmmakers for almost that long.
The vividly dramatic Moses stories have entertained everyone from Sunday school students to Ridley Scott movie audiences. Moses himself is the quintessential mild-mannered hero—a foundling who confronts the rulers of Egypt, performs miracles, and liberates his people. And while the spectacle of Moses parting the Red Sea or receiving the law on Mount Sinai translates well to a big screen, it’s the dialogue in Exodus 3:11-12 that has captured and held my attention.
Imagine an intimate discussion between Moses and God. Moses protests that he is not worthy or capable of carrying out the task that God has set before him. Does God say, “You are the perfect man for the job, Moses,” or “Don’t worry, Moses, you will defeat Pharaoh”? No. In fact, God does not mention Moses at all in his reassurances. Instead, his answer is God-centered. “I will be with you.” That’s it. And that’s everything. “I will be with you.”
I’ve heard it said that it’s inconceivable that God would ask something of us and then leave us to our own devices. If we are called to further God’s kingdom in the midst of uncertainty and pandemic, we have only to look to Moses’s example to know that, a) it’s not about us; and b) we won’t be doing it alone.
Heavenly Father, thank you for going ahead of us into this New Year. Let your presence give us the strength and the will to do whatever comes next. Amen
January 20, 2021
You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Psalm 21:2
We all have hopes and dreams that we want to fulfill as we begin another year. What are our dreams and aspirations, our hopes and resolutions? We all hope for a good year ahead. A new year is a great opportunity for all of us to begin again, to restart our hopes and dreams. We should remember that what lies ahead rests with God. The desires of our hearts are more likely to be fulfilled through bringing them to God, for He loves us completely.
Lord, in You our hopes and dreams are fulfilled. Help us, at the beginning of this new year, to dedicate our lives to You. Allow us to fulfill our ambitions and wishes through Your power, presence, and love in our lives. Amen
January 19, 2021
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever. Psalm 136:1
Written in the 5th century, the hymn, “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” was based on a poem by Marcus Aurelius Clemens Prudentius, the greatest Christian poet of his time. The text of this poem is a confession of faith to the Christ, the Son of God, whose birth and saving ministry came as a fulfillment of ancient prophecies.
Many people may not know this hymn; however, I love the feeling this hymn evokes. The music is written in plainsong, which means it has no specific rhythm or meter, it just flows along. I especially love the words in the third verse:
O ye heights of heaven, adore Him;
Angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him
And extol our God and King.
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring
Evermore and evermore.
Let no tongue on earth be silent!
Speak up! Sing! Proclaim!