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Day 45 - Crawling Off the Altar

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Reading: Romans 12: 1-13

Reflective Thoughts

Crawling off the Altar

Sometimes touching base with friends at the beginning of the week sounds like a comparative analysis of whose schedule is busiest. A recent study in Great Britain suggested that the average parent only has approximately 90 minutes of free time. Granted, the study is based on two-income homes from a slightly different culture-but all of us get the general idea. We're too busy.

Add to that the injunction by the Apostle Paul to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. That might just work because by the end of the day, many of us feel too tired to crawl off the altar. But that's not exactly what Paul is talking about. Instead he refers to a mindset that can only happen if we allow ourselves to be changed from the inside out. The good news is that we don't need lots more free time to do this. But we do need to practice a change in our thinking.

How important is your busy day compared with someone else's needs that interrupt it? How does your expression of hope in Christ determination your witness to fellow believers and your devotion to them? How does your call to be holy affect what you say on the job? To the grocery clerk? We can't crawl off the altar because the altar is everywhere we go.


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"?



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