Type “good news” in the Google search engine and click “I’m feeling lucky” and what website will appear? The Good News Network, of course.
In 1997, Geri Weis-Corbley began publishing stories that offer a “Daily Dose of News to Enthuse.” If there’s anything positive about a story, Geri’s sure to publish it. Yesterday’s edition included stories about a new miracle fruit called the Ayurveda, a group of tennis stars who rallied in support of peace at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and a scientific breakthrough that can enable devices to be powered by soda pop and vegetable oil.
Please join us in our daily Bible conversation for the best news of all!
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
Isaiah 15:1-18:7. In chapters 15 and 16, Isaiah prophesies against arrogant Moab. I can’t ignore the grief Isaiah feels over the news of Moab’s impending destruction. In chapter 18, Isaiah prophesies over Cush, which was located in modern-day Ethiopia and Sudan.
Galatians 1:1-24. Paul wrote this letter to rebuke the Judaizers who were undermining the church in Galatia. Judaizers were people who believed that certain Old Testament practices must be incorporated into the Christian faith. Galatians could be considered a condensed version of Romans—and both served as the foundation blocks of the Protestant Reformation.
First and Second Corinthians were written to a church that was too lax regarding conduct and behavior. The Galatians was just the opposite—they were the poster child of legalism.
It appears that Paul wasn’t in the best of spirits when he wrote this epistle. Usually he begins his epistles with a warm greeting and often addresses his recipients as “saints” (see 2 Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Philippians 1:1). Not so here. After his perfunctory greeting he gets right to the point.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Last Sunday morning I listened to a preacher on the radio while I drove to our worship gathering. In his sermon, he lamented the failure of churches to call sinners to repentance when they give their hearts to Christ. While I can’t argue the importance of repentance—Paul called all followers of Christ to “repent and be baptized” in Acts 2:38—I realized that he was communicating something far beyond repentance. He expected people to get their act together before giving their hearts to Christ. This isn’t only wrong, it’s heresy. Equally disturbing to me was the fact that this preacher’s sermon was broadcast across the country, because he was the radio voice of a Protestant denomination.
If I weren’t a believer, his words would have pushed me away from Jesus, not toward him.
Paul wrote to the church in Galatia, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all” (Galatians 1:6-7). The word for “desert” in this passage was a military term for a soldier who deserts his troops. The gospel the Judaizers were preaching was so full of rules and requirements that the word gospel—which means “good news”—no longer applied.
The gospel is always good news. Following Jesus isn’t always easy. When he calls us to follow him, he calls us to die to ourselves (Luke 9:23). But Jesus doesn’t call us to get our act together before we follow him, we follow him because we can’t get our act together. That’s the offense of the cross: we can do nothing to earn God’s forgiveness or eternal life.
Paul wrote, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus died for sinners—people like you and me. He died for us before we could clean ourselves up.
And that’s good news for all of us. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die on a cross so our sins could be forgiven. Anyone can give their heart to Jesus in whatever condition they’re in. With the Holy Spirit living inside of us, we can then begin to live like Jesus.
What spoke to you in today’s reading?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.