Read Deuteronomy 4
To read this text go to: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+4&version=NLT
Scripture- Deuteronomy 4:39-40- “So remember this and keep it firmly in mind: The Lord
is God both in heaven and on earth, and there is no other. If you obey all the decrees and commands I am giving you today, all will be well with you and your children. I am giving you these instructions so you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”
Observations- In chapter 4 Moses delivered a message about standing firm in the faith. Moses, who had been leading the people through the wilderness for many years, was quite pessimistic about how well the people would hold up their end of the Covenant with God. But he was optimistic about Who God was and how God would be faithful even through their disobedience and subsequent exile from the Promised Land.
Application- Paul was pessimistic about human nature and our default position as those prone and bent to sin, to miss the mark of God's full intention for our lives: "So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate." (Romans 7:14-15) However, he was also wildly optimistic about the power of Jesus Christ to transform us into new creations: "Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 7:24-25a) Left to myself and my default position as a "sinner" I'm a mess. When I submit to the authority of Christ and seek His help on my journey, I am alive to the truth that I am His new creation. Life always goes better when I am more deeply connected to God's great love for me as one created in His very own image.
Prayer- Lord, the truth about me is that I am a sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Let my grateful response to Your abundant, life-changing grace be to strive- with Your help- to sin less and grow to be a better disciple of Jesus. Nudge me through the Holy Spirit today to be the hands, feet, and voice of Jesus for someone I meet along the way today. Amen.
"But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God." (Romans 5:8-11),
- S, - From last Sunday's message "Make Us One" here are some suggestions related to gossip:
HOW CAN WE DEAL WITH GOSSIP?
One thing that negatively impacts the oneness and unity in Jesus’ church is gossip. Gossip is, of course, different than processing information. Processing is when we seek advice on how to resolve a problem and move forward in a healthy way. Gossip, however, seeks to make the problem worse. A lot of times when we hear gossip we don’t know what to do or how to respond. When we hear gossip, I want to encourage all of us to THINK.
Think about what you really know when you hear gossip, which can be defined as any report about someone or something involving details neither of you have confirmation of what is true and it’s usually highly negative. To THINK means to consider five key points: 1) T- Is it Truthful? Very often people report the wrong information and it spreads like wildfire. There might be a kernel of truth that is mostly wrong. 2) H- Is it helpful? Gossip can be a lot, a little, barely, or not at all true, but if it’s not helpful in moving toward resolution, it shouldn’t be shared. In moments when we are tempted to spread especially church gossip let’s picture Jesus praying for our oneness and unity in John 17:21: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one- as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” 3) I- Is it inspiring? 4) I- Is it necessary? 5) K- Is it kind? If the information you are hearing from someone doesn’t pass the “think test,” we need to consider our options.
Most of us don’t know what to say or how to respond when we hear gossip. Many people just listen. They won’t share what they heard from others and they take it with a grain of salt, but this doesn’t help it stop. Here are some things you can do when you hear gossip: Believe the best about the one who is being gossiped about and the person sharing the gossip. Pray both for the person sharing the information and the person it’s about, since you don’t know the truth and it isn’t helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind. I’d like to suggest you say something like “This conversation feels like gossip to me. I’m not comfortable with that. Let’s talk about something else.” Or you could ask the person who brings up the gossip: “Can I quote you back to the person being gossiped about?” This honors Jesus direction in Matthew 18:15-17 about first going one to one to get an issue resolved. If that doesn’t work, then we invite a third party to help us work through the disagreement.
It might also be helpful to invite the person gossiping to consider ways they can help instead of making things worse. “I wonder what we could do to help bring oneness and unity.” This can help stop the spread of negative gossip. Invite God to help you with this by praying something like: “Lord, protect my ears from hearing gossip and protect my mind from giving gossip a home.” Finally, if you ever hear anything that concerns you about someone, call them and ask them about it. If you ever hear anything about me that concerns you, call me. My number is 484-4724.
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