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The supreme evidence of God’s love

January 9, 2024
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Daily Scripture

Romans 5:1-8

1 Therefore, since we have been made righteous through his faithfulness [or by faith], we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 We have access by faith into this grace in which we stand through him, and we boast in the hope of God’s glory. 3 But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4 endurance produces character, and character produces hope. 5 This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
6 While we were still weak, at the right moment, Christ died for ungodly people. 7 It isn’t often that someone will die for a righteous person, though maybe someone might dare to die for a good person. 8 But God shows his love for us, because while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The salvation God lovingly offers us brings splendid times of joy and peace. But feelings are volatile. We do not always feel that “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts.” Neither did reformers like Martin Luther or John Wesley. “The story of Scripture, Luther began to understand, is not how we make our way up the mountain by getting grace and then topping it off with love and works. Scripture is the story of how God came down to meet us—while we were yet sinners.” *

  • Our faith greatly affects our feelings but is not chiefly about how we feel. Our faith is rooted in specific historical facts—Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The apostle Paul said we’re secure, not because we feel a certain way, but because Jesus loved us so much that he died for us. How solid is your grasp of what some scholars call the “Christ-event,” and of the witnesses to the reality of Jesus’ history? How can you deepen your understanding of those vital events in 2024?
  • The apostle Paul twice used forms of the Greek verb kauchaomai in chapter five of Romans. In verse two, the Common English Bible renders it “we boast in the hope of God’s glory.” Verse three reads, “We even take pride in our problems,” which may be harder to believe. In both spots, the verb implied “to rejoice, be very happy.” ** Has the shift Paul described from trouble to endurance, to character, to hope ever helped lead you to trust in God’s love “poured out” in your heart?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you didn’t just wish me well from a distance. You came to this flawed planet, and lived, died and then lived again to save me. I open my heart again today—pour your love into it. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lisa Wilt

Lisa Wilt

Lisa Wilt is a member and greeter at the Blue Spring's campus. She is an inspirational speaker, podcaster, and author of five books. Lisa’s 1-Minute W.O.W. Words air twice daily on Life885.com. Lisa and her husband have 2 grown children and one grandson, Elijah David. The title that most defines Lisa is CHILD OF GOD. As her family will tell you, Lisa’s singing is dreadful, but her banana bread is delightful. Visit her at LisaWilt.com.

My father went up to heaven four days before we celebrated Christ coming down to earth at Christmas. In a new, raw way, I treasure the promise in today’s Scripture reading and prayer. Both remind us that our Father doesn’t “just wish us well from a distance.” He sent Jesus to this flawed planet to die for us “while we were yet sinners.”

With the death of my dad, my mom, my siblings, and I appreciate the gift of eternal life through Jesus more than ever. We anticipate the day we can hug dad again and feel his rugged hands gently wrap around us in heaven. When asked to write for the GPS today, one story about my dad immediately came to mind. Perhaps it was because yesterday’s scripture focused on hesed, the Hebrew word for our Father’s faithful love. My earthly father loved me, my brother, and my sister with “hesed.”\

Each night as a family we would kneel beside my brother’s bed and pray The Lord’s Prayer. After dad pulled the covers up to our chins, he would tuck us each into bed, but it was no ordinary ritual. Dad made it extraordinary.

We were given the choice of two bedtime tucks: “The Tenderizer” or “The Steamroller.” Dad said, “Only the rough and the tough order ‘The Steamroller.’” It deserved its name as it squished anyone in its path. Dad would lie down on the bed and pretend to roll over us. Of course, my mom had more than two cents to say about that tuck.

Without fail we would “place our order” for “The Tenderizer Tuck.” Dad used the sides of his hands to karate chop faster than a drum roll from our heads to our toes and back again. This seemed to vibrate every last giggle from our tired little bodies. Then he would kiss us goodnight and turn out the lights.

After all the years my dad tucked us in, I know that he is now tucked safely in our heavenly Father’s arms. Dad can rest after his 16-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. We each face trials. Some are physical. Others are emotional or spiritual. I watched my father as these trials produced endurance, character, and ultimately hope. Some think of God as an angry, heavenly steamroller. But we know from today’s reading that God loves us with the kindness of a father who would sacrifice what is most dear to Him to have a personal, eternal relationship with us.

Earthly fathers have big shoes to fill as they are called to love us like our heavenly Father. My dad, Cliff Nale, filled those shoes well. So today as I cherish his memory, I pray for those whose hearts hurt for the love of an earthly father. And I thank God for being our Daddy (our Abba) who wants us to rest in His love until we rest in His arms.

Prayer: Abba, send your Holy Spirit to comfort those who have not known the unconditional love of their earthly father. Send us and others to share your love, to show them your faithfulness and to invite them into the joy of knowing You. Give them fresh hope and peace that passes earthly understanding. Be with them in a new way in this new year. Tuck them in safely each night. Cover them with hesed. Amen.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Steven Paulson, Luther for Armchair Theologians. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, p. 62-63.
** Barclay M. Newman and Eugene A. Nida, A Translator’s Handbook on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. New York: United Bible Societies, 1973, p. 93.