Archives for March 2020

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Unless I Make You Clean

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?" Jesus replied,"You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered,"Unless I wash you, you have no part with me." "Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" (John 13...

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This is The Week

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The Old Way and the New Normal

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). A tiny virus we can't see is bringing our world to its knees. We're hearing the phrase "new normal" a lotand it seems like we're getting a new new normal every day. This can be confusing, scary, wearying, but it looks like...

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Heart Transplant

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). The tension in the operating room was palpable as the chief surgeon resolutely pushed the gurney carrying the heart donor through the doors. Waiting inside lay the terminal pa...

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The Way of Life and Love

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20). You might be familiar with this "old Maine" joke: a tourist stops to ask an old Mainer for directions: "How do I get to Millinocket?" The old-timer rubs his chin, looks one way, ...

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A Fragrant Offering

Follow God's example,therefore, as dearly loved children,and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved usand gave himself up for usas a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2). My wife loves to cook. Some of her favorite dishes to make are ethnic: Thai beef salad, Korean pork tacos, and Greek chicken gyros, to name a few. My all-time favorite is Hunga...

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The Jesus Way

live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself upas a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2). Many of us are familiar with this Scripture: "Jesus said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life '" (John 14:6). Before Jesus is the truth and the life, he is the way. Jesus calls us to follow him. Follow his lead. Follow his example. Follow his c...

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Construction in the Age of COVID-19, Part Two

In him you too are being built together to become a dwellingwhere God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). The Jesus way is the only way God goes about God's business. We're looking at God's new-Temple building project, as Paul unpacks it in this week's passage (Ephesians 2:11-22). And very suddenly and unexpectedly, we're thinking about this in the face of a pandemic. ...

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Construction in the Age of COVID-19

In him you too are being built together to become a dwellingwhere God lives by his Spirit (Ephesians 2:22). Ephesians 2:19-22 describes an active construction zone: building materials (people!) are gathered, cornerstone (Jesus!) installed, foundation laid, an entirely new kind of "building" is risinga building that actually is not a physical structure but a new kind of ...

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The Dividing Wall of Hostility

"For he himself is our peace,who has made the two groups oneand has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility" (Ephesians 2:14). When I was a kid, my favorite thing to do was go to my grandparent's house. It was a land of delicious food and endless amounts of Disney movies. My grandfather's den was known as "the grandkids room," and my sister, cousins and I ...

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All Things Converge

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to ...

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God's Immigration Policy

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens but fellow citizens with God's peopleand members of God's household (Ephesians 2:19). My husband Tony immigrated to America from Asia in 1969. I've wondered if this is why photos of grateful immigrants becoming US citizens tug at my heart. When I read this verse, however, I see that maybe my spirit identifies with im...

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A New Temple, in Three Acts

Ephesians 2:11-22 Your Connect Devotional scribes hope our readers are reading the whole of the week's Scripture passage before diving into our brief attempts to comment on one or two aspects of it each morning. Please get a sense for the forest before reading our observations on one or two trees! We're currently exploring a wonderful, beautiful, un-boundaried "forest"...

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Free

He forgave all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:13b-14). I volunteered in a refugee camp as a college student one summer. Though I witnessed much pain and loss, God blessed me so much during that time. I enjoyed getting to know people in t...

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Performance Review

When you were dead in your sins God made you alive with Christ (Colossians 2:15). We're a pretty "performance oriented" country. We love high-performance cars, get performance reviews at work, experience "performance anxiety" of all kinds and in lots of situations, and know that "past performance is no guarantee of future results"! We're only as good as our last perfor...

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Zombies No More

When you were dead in your sinsand in the uncircumcision of your flesh,God made youalivewith Christ (Colossians 3:13). There are no zombies in the family of God. You've all seen your fair share of zombie flicks, right? Zombies are those half-dead creatures, formerly human, who now teeter somewhere between the realm of the living and the dead. They aren't fully consciou...

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The Radical Solution

He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14b-15). Do you like to be told what to do? True confession: I don't. Okay, that's not always true. But when as a teenager I pushed back at my mother's list of Saturday morning chor...

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Painting with the Full Palette

God made you alive forgave all our sins cancelled the written code that was against us disarmed the principalities and powers, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). We all have favorite colors, right? As a child, when you got that box of new markers or colored pencils or paints or the Crayola 128-crayon mega-box, you had some colors you used more than ...

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The Ministry of Reconciliation

God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our sins against us.And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19). The message of reconciliationthat great good news that through the cross, God has reconciled us to Godis hard to say and harder to hear in our current context. The general idea of reconciliation is highly regar...

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The Wisdom of the Cross

God made him who had no sinto be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Have you ever wondered, "Why the cross? Why did the Son of God have to die on a cross in order to forgive my sins?" The answer to that question is at once complex and incredibly simple. The cross reveals God's wisdom through what it allowed Him to ac...

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Reconciled to God

All this is from God, who reconciled himself through Christand gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). Reconciled is a wonderful word about a bad situation. Reconciliation is needed when a relationship has broken down, gone bad, been destroyed by evil, injustice, anger, rejection, bitterness, unforgiveness. Reconciliation involves hard and difficult ...

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Back in the Garden

And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselvesbut for Him who died for them and was raised again (2 Corinthians 5:15). God is Love. Love exists in relationship, and God is all about relationship. God is, therefore, all about reconciliation when there is relationship break-down. The archetype of relationship break-down is found in the Genesi...

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What Happened on the Cross

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) At the heart and center of the Christian faith and life hangs a crucified man. And around that terrible image some weighty and wonder-filled words have gathered: atonement, reconciliation, ransom, forgiveness, redemption, restoration, substitution, sacrifice, blood, victory, along with many others. We w...

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