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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Saturday, March 12, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
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 5:11-21 – It is because we know this solemn fear of the Lord that we work so hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too. Are we trying to pat ourselves on the back again? No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart before God. If it seems that we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live to please themselves. Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them.
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.
William J. Thomas (Kansas) titled his story “PEER PRESSURE;” here is a portion of William’s story:
“’You want to try some of this?’ someone at the party asked me.
“’Nope, I don’t do drugs.’ Though I was tempted to go along with the crowd, I knew that involvement with drugs could lead to health problems, perhaps even drug addiction. It could lead to legal problems and an arrest record. I want to avoid damaging my health, and I want to avoid hurting my legal standing in the community. Even more, I want to set an example that reflects my faith and will help others to avoid such problems.
“I have many shortcomings, and I’m far from perfect. But I believe that I am called to help other people, which includes letting people know that I am against these behaviors. . . .
“My relationship with Christ must go beyond church attendance to include sincere prayer, listening to God’s guidance, and setting an example for others.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – How will I set a Christian example today?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for helping us to stay open to your leading and guidance. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Prayer Focus: SOMEONE FACING PEER PRESSURE
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
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