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Day 44 - The In Crowd

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Reading: Romans 11: 6-36

Reflective Thoughts

The In Crowd

From James Dean in Rebel without a Cause to Ellen Page in Juno Hollywood has made a cinematic killing featuring outsiders and underdogs. That's because whether you grew up in an immigrant home or seemed to fit in wherever you went, there is something in all of us that identifies with the outcast.

Christianity itself is an invitation to the outcast. The Jews, being God's chosen people, cast out their Messiah and Lord, and so His good news was offered to us, the Gentiles, who were once excluded from it. But this story is better than anything Hollywood could produce, because it is a story of redemption for all who embrace Christ. Paul's warning to us in Romans 11:22 is that we not begin to think of ourselves as the in-group. There is no "in" outside of faith in the kindness of God.

What messages do we take every day to the people who need Christ? Are they about our opinions, our causes and our culture? Or do they reflect our reverence for the kindness of God? Do we welcome the outcasts (those who don't meet our standards)? What difference would it make to them if we lived as if the only "in" that mattered was "in Christ"?



Day 43 - A Remnant By Grace

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Reading: Romans 11: 1-5

Reflective Thoughts

A remnant by grace


Nothing makes us feel smaller than a struggle that is bigger than we are. Ironically, sometimes this becomes most evident after we've won major battles. Elijah faced 400 opponents in front of a hostile crowd and trusted God to win a miraculous victory. When it was all over, he ran away from one cranky woman, discouraged and feeling as if he were the only one (I Kings 18 and 19). God assured him that he wasn't alone. Seven thousand others like him were being preserved as a remnant by God's grace.

Paul could have felt Elijah's discouragement. He was one of a painfully small minority of believing Jews amidst a rising sea of Gentile believers. But he remembered God's principles of faithfulness and grace. Israel would not be forgotten. God's plans don't fail.

What struggles will you face today? What battles will you win or lose-and when they are over, will you feel like the only one? God's plans for you won't fail, and if you ask Him, He will show you that you are not alone in your struggle. Hold fast in faith to Him as His grace holds on to you.



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