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Community of Priests

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"The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation." - Exodus 19:6 (MSG) As Christians, we are all priests. We make connections to God on behalf of others. As a priest, we represent the needs of others before God. We set God's word before men and women. The Israelites in biblical time became a community of people and became a priest for one another. The Lord trained them in the rigors of faith like listening to God and receiving his grace. Moreover, obeying his commands and receiving his promises. Israel realized that their identity is in God. Without God's presence and action in their lives, people would not know who they were. This is so true with Christians. It is sad that many of us forget this. We forget the God who saves us and that he is with us. We need each other  to remind us of this truth. God put us in a kingdom of priests, made up of simple Christians like you and me. We present people to God and God to peopl

Suffering is Our Badge

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My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything. - James 1:2-4 We should be thankful if we do not get sick and experience pain. Some people are not so fortunate. God does not promise that we will not experience pain, difficulties, and heartaches.  Because these experiences help us to persevere and grow. He might not relieve us of pain but it makes us a better person. More patient, more caring, and more loving. Quote “Suffering, then, is the badge of true discipleship. The disciple is not above his master. Following Christ means passio passiva, suffering because we have to suffer.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship Prayer Lord, in times of pain and suffering, please help us understand that relief is not the goal. But this experience will make us grow to become like you. Amen. Photo by Kelly Sikkem

Freed to Serve

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My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love.   - Galatians 5:13 In the Gospels, Jesus was not portrayed as a middle-class conservative. Much less, a political radical. He did not join the Sadducees or the Zealots. Jesus gave us an alternative to these two positions. His way put God's kingdom and concerns at the center of His activity. He rejected the man-made rules which encouraged religiosity. Religiosity did not free people from their sin, hopelessness, and social rejection. Jesus does not belong to religion nor politics but to the world. Not to those who have it all but to those who need justice and mercy. He calls us to serve in love especially the poor, widows, and orphans. Quote "The world exercises dominion by force... Christ and Christians conquer by service." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer Prayer Lord, help us to be not to be too concerned with politics. But

Cheap Grace

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What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning?  - Romans 6:1-2 God's gift of new life in Jesus Christ is a gift we received. This gift is costly to God. He made it available to us through the death of His Son, Jesus. Living a new life daily is not easy. It is a continuous response in faith and trust. Living in humility, confession, and submission to Christ as Lord of our life. Quote “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ—living and incarnate.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship Prayer Lord, grant that us may not cheapen Your grace by taking it lightly. But help us dedicate ourselves to doing your will. Amen. 

Learning to Listen

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James 1:19-20 Remember this, my dear friends! Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to become angry. Human anger does not achieve God's righteous purpose.  We have to admit it. We are not good listeners. Our own thoughts and concerns distract us from doing so. Doing what we want for others is not serving. Serving others is finding out what they need and help to meet them. How do we know what other's needs are? By carefully listening to their hopes, fears, and concerns. Effective service comes from listening and it only happens when we give our time to others.  “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together Prayer Lord, please help us to give our time to listen to others especially those who are in need. Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

We all can pray

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1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 "We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ."  We can do many things for one another. We can love, encourage, help carry each other's burden. We can challenge, support, give, and serve. But we have to realize that we cannot do everything for others. The pandemic shows us that we cannot be with our friends and families who are infected with covid or other sicknesses. We cannot do anything to show our love except maybe extending financial help. Yet one thing we all can do is to pray for one another. We pray for people we know who are in need of healing, provision, and victory. We should pray for people who ask us to pray for them. And there is no reason under heaven that we cannot.  “And above all, we must not neglect the greatest service that is left to us, our

We owe to others what God did to us

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Matthew 6:14-15  For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Christians should act toward others the same way God acted toward us. God is generous, faithful, and gracious. We can not help but treat others with these attitudes. God forgives us so we should forgive others. He blesses us so that we can enrich others, and sets us free so that we can serve others. Having received so much from God, we can give to others out of the gratitude of our hearts.*  “When God was merciful to us, we learned to be merciful with our brethren. When we received forgiveness instead of judgment, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brethren. What God did to us, we then owed to others.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together  Prayer Lord, having received from You, help us to bless others with Your blessing. Amen. *Charles R. Ringma, Seize the Day with Dietrich Bonh