2 Corinthians 5:11-21 – We Are Ambassadors for God

Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Do you know what ambassadors do? If that’s what we are, we should know what our jobs are. It sounds pretty important and we carry some pretty hefty authority! An online definition says an ambassador is “an official representative or promoter.” For our purposes, we get some clues in our text for today. What do we see?

The job we are called to do is help reconcile people to God. We are cheerleaders or promoters for God. There are a lot of people in this world who don’t know God, much less have a personal relationship with him. God desires to be connected with all of us. So as God’s representatives our text prepares us for what we might encounter, and how we should present ourselves.

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Proverbs 17:1-15 – Forgiveness

Read Proverbs 17:1-15

Isn’t reading all of this wisdom good for the soul? Be sure to take time to really wrestle with each proverb. There are only a handful to reflect on each day. Again, I am torn for which one to focus on today. As a grandma, I do agree that grandchildren are our crowning glory. All the trials and tribulations that go with parenting seem to be rewarded when the grandchildren come along. And, the one that spoke of acquitting the guilty also spoke to the paralegal in me who prepared a number of cases for trial.

Verse 9 is the one I chose for today, and it says, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Forgiveness is a powerful act. It releases us from bondage. Many times, we hold on to something that has happened to us, and it can make us bitter. We let it play over and over in our heads. Meanwhile, the other(s) involved are totally unaffected and may not even remember the event in the first place. Holding on to hurts is hurting us more than the person who hurts us, don’t you agree?

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Proverbs 14:1-10 – It’s a Big Deal

Read Proverbs 14:1-10

Proverbs is a great book for life. There are so many nuggets we could easily gloss over. Be sure to spend time really letting these truths speak to your soul. I had to read this passage a couple of times to decide on my focus for the day. Verse 9 says, “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.”

Guilt. It’s a slippery slope. It means we’ve done something we feel bad about. For fools, it’s not big deal. For the godly, we recognize it and want to make the situation right. Our guilt will often keep us up at night and distract us from happiness. Rather than guilt, the King James Version says that “Fools make a mock of sin.” I suppose that’s at the root of guilt. Guilt is a by-product of our sinfulness. But not everyone feels that guilt or remorse, they simply brush it off as nothing.

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Matthew 5:38-42 – An Eye for an Eye

Read Matthew 5:38-48

Revenge is a scary thing. Jesus is helping us to be better in our relationships, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the other person will do likewise. We are often hurt by what others say and do or how they treat us. What do we do with those crushed feelings? How do we reconcile with someone who doesn’t even know they hurt us.

We hear in today’s reading that taking the “high road” is the way to go. We need to be the “bigger” person and do the right thing. The example we see here is when someone slaps us on the right cheek, we’re supposed to offer the left, too. As if the first pain wasn’t enough, we need to welcome more. Jesus told us this to support his charge to us to not resist an evil person.

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Hosea 3:1-5 – Reconciled

Read Hosea 3:1-5

Poor Hosea. Sometimes being used by God isn’t easy.

If you’re following the text with us, you know that out of obedience Hosea has married a prostitute and had children with her. To reflect God’s relationship with Israel, Hosea allows her to go out on him and now accepts her back, after doing who knows what with who knows who. Yet, he must stay apart from her still. Reconciliation is here. Forgiveness is coming.

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for his wife either. Gomer is silent, we don’t hear her side of things. We can only imagine what it was like for her. True dysfunction. Does she know any different? Does she realize God is using her as a teachable moment for his beloved Israel? What a great picture of how God gave Israel a second chance (and 3rd and 4th). Likewise, he continues to give us second chances.

I love the part of v. 5 that says, they will “tremble in awe of the Lord and of his goodness.” I want to focus on that message today. May I “tremble” at the Lord’s goodness.

I look out my window and see the beautiful blue sky. I am blessed to live in a place that is sunny most of the time. Even though we are in “rainy season”, it rains mostly at night, and boy does that make for cozy sleeping. Long gone are the days of below zero temperatures, but that’s the picture I get when I think of “trembling”. Physical shaking and shivering, but in this case, because of the awe I feel for God.

Take a moment to close your eyes and just breathe in and out. Let your mind focus on God and what he is telling you today. Don’t you just shiver a little to know that the God of the universe has a message for you today? Rest in his love until you feel that tingle and know you have heard from your creator.

Let’s pray. Father, God, I give you thanks for giving me a “do-over” when I don’t get it right. Thank you for being such a loving God. How much you loved me when you sent your son,  Jesus, to live like me, hurt like me, and dream like me. What a sacrifice to take on my sins and die for me, I am in awe. Watch over me today. Guide all I say and do. Make me more like Jesus as I serve and love others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.