Our ten-month-old grandson is our joy and delight. During one of his visits to our house, I was busy in the kitchen when I noticed he had gotten uncommonly quiet in the living room. I looked into the room just in time to see him about to put an electrical cord into his mouth. Instinctively I shouted, “No!” which startled him so much he not only dropped the cord but burst into tears. I scooped him up and comforted him to reassure him that I loved him.
How like a loving parent is our God. The Bible is filled with warnings, as we read in Hosea 11; accounts of guidance and protection as found in Psalm 107:1-9; and instructions in righteousness, as in Colossians 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21. Yet these texts assure us that even God’s harshest warnings come from a heart of God’s parental love.
In 2 Corinthians 3:2-3, Paul writes to the Corinthian believers, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ” (niv). Paul tells the Corinthians that they are the living gospel to all those they come across. And so are we today.
In order to “be the gospel” to those around us, we must first love them. Loving others can be difficult, but I rely on the old saying: “Our walk talks, and our talk talks; but our walk talks louder than our talk talks.” In other words, actions speak louder than words. When our actions show God’s love, we are being the gospel.
Dear Lord, help us to be the gospel both within ourselves and to others every day. Help us to live authentic Christian lives; lead and direct our hearts, minds, and mouths. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hosea relates a further message from God. Israel has repeatedly ignored God’s teachings, even though God continues to reach out with love and kindness. Although a just response would be wrath, God will respond instead with mercy to restore the people. The psalmist echoes this teaching about God’s enduring love. Although some have gone through periods of distress, when they call out to God, the Lord responds with steadfast love. We then explore guidance for the life of a Christian. In Colossians we read that we should focus on heavenly realities, not the physical world. Rather than pursuing our own pleasure, we should put on a new self and behave more like God desires. The parable that Jesus tells reinforces this point. We should focus on storing up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones.
Read Hosea 11:1-11. How have you suffered the consequences of turning away from God? How has God welcomed you back?
Read Psalm 107:1-9, 43. What stories of God’s goodness does your family tell to the next generations?
Read Colossians 3:1-11. How has Christ renewed you? How do you see Christ in others?
Read Luke 12:13-21. How has greed shown up in your life—as racism, wealth-mongering, or myths of scarcity? How do you combat greed in all its forms to live out of a mentality of abundance?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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