Friday, August 17, 2018

New Life in a Christian Community

The Way of a New Life

Global Economic Justice

Romans 12:1-3 The Message

Place Your Life Before God

12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3 I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

For Reflection
God has made us humans in God's image.  God has shown us how to live the life God has intended for us to live.  So, embrace God's Gift of humanity and live it in pursuit of the image of God.  

Pray

Pray and strive to become a more perfect human.  Seek to become equivalent in form to Christ.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Don't Act by Human Standards

The Way of a New Life

Global Economic Justice

1 Peter 3:8-12 The Message

Suffering for Doing Good

8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life
    and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
    Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
    run after peace for all you’re worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
    listening and responding well to what he’s asked;
But he turns his back
    on those who do evil things.

For Reflection

Tit for tat is an act of vengeance. Blessing one who has abused you is a loving response.  The strength in such a response is not widely accepted probably because much of the result is long range. A bigger stick is not the answer to violent acts.  Vengence and a violent reaction to a violent action give the purveyor of violence the upper hand.  One is more vulnerable to violent acts if one accepts the provocation.

Pray

Pray so that you dare to avoid the seduction of vengeance.  Pray so that you will have the will to face abuse as Christ nonviolently has taught us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Treat Enemies with Love and Mercy

The Way of a New Life

Global Economic Justice


2 Corinthians 10:1-6 The Message

Tearing Down Barriers

10 1-2 And now a personal but most urgent matter; I write in the gentle but firm spirit of Christ. I hear that I’m being painted as cringing and wishy-washy when I’m with you, but harsh and demanding when at a safedistance writing letters. Please don’t force me to take a hard line when I’m present with you. Don’t think that I’ll hesitate a single minute to stand up to those who say I’m an unprincipled opportunist. Then they’ll have to eat their words.
3-6 The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

For Reflection

The way of the world is not the way of Christ.  He has shown us the difference in graphic detail.  His life was a testament to the efficacy of Godliness. His death and resurrection underscored the power of The Way and the threat that it imposes on the perverse human perception of justice and power.

Pray

Pray, so you will have the courage to live as God has intended you to live. Pray, so that you have the strength to face a corrupt culture and structure a life shaped by Christ.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Respond to Abuse with a Blessing

The Way of a New Life

Global Economic Justice

1 Peter 3:8-12 The Message

Suffering for Doing Good

8-12 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing.
Whoever wants to embrace life
    and see the day fill up with good,
Here’s what you do:
    Say nothing evil or hurtful;
Snub evil and cultivate good;
    run after peace for all you’re worth.
God looks on all this with approval,
    listening and responding well to what he’s asked;
But he turns his back
    on those who do evil things.

For Reflection

Tit for tat is an act of vengeance. Blessing one who has abused you is a loving response.  The strength in such a response is not widely accepted probably because much of the result is long range. A bigger stick is not the answer to violent acts.  Vengence and a violent reaction to a violent action give the purveyor of violence the upper hand.  One is more vulnerable to violent acts if one accepts the provocation.

Pray

Pray so that you dare to avoid the seduction of vengeance.  Pray so that you will have the will to face abuse as Christ nonviolently has taught us.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Friday, August 10, 2018

Generosity Results in Mutual Thanksgiving

The Way of a New Life

Global Economic Justice

2 Corinthians 9:11-15 The Message

8-11 God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
    giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
    never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
12-15 Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, his gift. No language can praise it enough!

For Reflection

All that you think you possess is not yours. It all belongs to God.  We are the stewards of God's universe. We are created to share and be good stewards, not hoarders and gatekeepers of God's largess.

Pray

Pray so that you are moved by the extravagance of God.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Excel in Generosity

The Way of a New Life

Global Economic Justice

2 Corinthians 8:1-7 The Message

The Offering

8 1-4 Now, friends, I want to report on the surprising and generous ways in which God is working in the churches in Macedonia province. Fierce troubles came down on the people of those churches, pushing them to the very limit. The trial exposed their true colors: They were incredibly happy, though desperately poor. The pressure triggered something totally unexpected: an outpouring of pure and generous gifts. I was there and saw it for myself. They gave offerings of whatever they could—far more than they could afford!—pleading for the privilege of helping out in the relief of poor Christians.
5-7 This was totally spontaneous, entirely their own idea, and caught us completely off guard. What explains it was that they had first given themselves unreservedly to God and to us. The other giving simply flowed out of the purposes of God working in their lives. That’s what prompted us to ask Titus to bring the relief offering to your attention, so that what was so well begun could be finished up. You do so well in so many things—you trust God, you’re articulate, you’re insightful, you’re passionate, you love us—now, do your best in this, too.

For Reflection

What are you doing to help the poor? Being economically strapped does not cause unhappiness if you are rich in spirit.

Pray

Pray so that you will respond to the needs of others.  Pray so that you become rich in spirit.