Showing posts from December, 2010
In Paul's world the Jews were the the insiders and the Gentiles were the outsiders. Rather than put ourselves in with the Gentiles automatically, I believe if you have been going to church for some time then you need to consider yourself an insider. So as we look at this passage as one written about the insiders, we should be mindful of the ways in which we might not see God working in the lives of the outsiders. We may find that we limit God and box God into working in the world in the way in which we are comfortable. Paul reminds us that we all have areas in our lives that need pruning and God's help.
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Paul reminds us of the power of prayer in our lives. Not so that we can change the circumstances of our life by having God grant us our requests, but so that we can change the circumstances of our life by giving our lives over to God. There is a distinction here. When we pray we give to God the things that are joyful and the things that weigh us down. We give to God the things that are joyful in our friends and family's life and the things that weigh our friends and family down. The hope is then that we can be open to God's movement in our lives and in the lives of the people we know (and do not know). We pray trusting that God will take care of what God needs to take care of. We pray out of faithfulness to God's presence in our lives. We pray trusting that God will set right in our lives what needs to be set right.
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Ahh, Abraham's family! What I love about his family's stories are how real and honest they are. The writers did not leave out all of the dysfunctional and deceptive stories. Yet we see through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and even Paul that God chooses to use them (and dare I say us) despite our short comings, despite our failures and equips us for ministry. God molds us into new creations so that we can boldly say that who we are is a direct result of God's action in our lives!