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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Friday, May 22, 2015
Christians are brand-new people on the inside. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. We are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated—we are re-created (new creations), living in vital union with Christ. At conversion we do not merely turn over a new leaf; we begin a new life under a new Master.
God brings us back to himself (reconciles us) by blotting out our sins and making us right with him. When we trust in Christ, we are no longer God’s enemies, or strangers or foreigners to him. Because we have been reconciled to God, we have the privilege of encouraging others to do the same, and thus we are those who have “the task of reconciling people to him.”
An ambassador is an official representative of one country to another. As believers, we are Christ’s ambassadors, sent with his message of reconciliation to the world. An ambassador of reconciliation has an important responsibility. We dare not take this responsibility lightly. How well are you fulfilling your commission as Christ’s ambassador? (NLT)
2 Corinthians 5:16-21 – So we have stopped evaluating others by what the world thinks about them. Once I mistakenly thought of Christ that way, as though he were merely a human being. How differently I think about him now! What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Shannon Hale’s (Missouri) story is titled “LOVE TRACKS;” here is a portion of Shannon’s story:
“Our town was buried by a record snowfall. . .
“I was reminded of a time when the heaviness of life, like that snowfall, had hit me with full force. Alone in a hospital waiting room, I learned that my mother’s exploratory surgery had revealed terminal cancer. As the surgeon left me, a friend from church peeked around the corner and said, ‘Just thought I would check in on you.’ My stunned silence turned to sobbing as I collapsed into her arms.
“My friend’s presence right then was just the gift I needed. But how many times had I taken such a simple kindness for granted? Are acts of love, like the silent tracks of creatures on my snowy walk, treasured only when the bleakness of life makes them obvious?
“A review of my day so far reminds me that evidences of God’s love are all around me: a kiss on the cheek from my husband, an ‘I love you, Mom’ note from my son, the laughter of neighbors chatting at the mailbox. Even though the snow is melting, I can choose to treasure the ‘love tracks’ in my life today and every day.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – Today, I will leave love tracks in the lives of those near me.
Prayer: God of all comfort, remind us each day to notice the tracks of love and care you have left in our lives. May we never take for granted the special people you place on our path. Amen.
Prayer Focus: THOSE FACING A TERMINAL ILLNESS
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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