"Precious People" — A Year with Jesus for 10/08/2017
Note from Jesus
Dear Precious One,
Has anyone told you lately you are precious? You are! You are a blood-bought child of the Father. I rescued you from sin, death, and hell because you are too precious to Me to live without you. I left heaven to reclaim you.
You are precious. My apostle Peter said it this way:
You know that a price was paid to redeem you from following the empty ways handed on to you by your ancestors; it was not paid with things that perish (like silver and gold), but with the precious blood of the Anointed [Jesus Christ], Who was like a perfect and unblemished sacrificial lamb. God determined to send Him before the world began, but He came into the world in these last days for your sake.
(1 Peter 1:18-20)
What you find in the verses below is a long list of people in Rome whom Paul greeted. As you go through this list, I hope you find it amazing. Paul had never visited Rome, yet he knew all these people. He knew that they were part of the church in Rome. He even mentioned specific areas of Christian service for about half of those listed. So here are some things I want to place on your heart as you consider some of the implications of this list of names.
First, you live in an unprecedented time of travel and communication. When you travel, don't take a vacation from My work and My people, but use your travel, whether business or pleasure, to bless My people and spread the gospel!
Second, people are Our — Father, Son, and Spirit's — most precious resource. Encourage them to be active in My church. Don't fight over who can do what and who can have what role. Notice that both men and women are mentioned with important roles, responsibilities, and titles in Paul's list. Don't limit what people can do based on a distinction between clergy and laity whether it is a clergy of ordination, gender, or education. Don't preen or pout about the titles you or others are assigned. Serve others. Encourage your precious brothers and sisters to serve others. Like Paul, affirm the good work done by your brothers and sisters in Our family.
Third, value people more than buildings, programs, projects, and religious affiliations. These things can become points of arrogance and areas of contention. Remember it is worthwhile to walk away from all of those things to bring a single person back into the family (Matthew 18:10-14). People count far more than physical and temporal things. People are eternal. Buildings will crumble and fall. Programs go out of style, and another program becomes the latest church fad. Projects move toward an end. Religious labels are human creations and divisions that separate rather than call My people to unity focused on Me, My mission, and My will. So value people above all things. Things are temporary; people are precious because they are eternal.
Fourth, express your family relationship with each other through both words and actions. Why have some of you let the holy kiss go out of use in many of your Western churches when it is a frequent command found in your New Testament (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14)? You're family. Even if a holy kiss was particular to the culture in New Testament times, there are equivalent greetings now — a warm handshake with a sincere smile, or a brotherly or sisterly hug, or whatever is appropriate in your particular culture to show sincere affection and concern. Each person who gathers around My table is precious. So love each other and greet each other as family — as people who are eternal, precious, and beloved by their Father!
Verses to Live
As you read Paul's words of love, commendation, and friendship, think about the people in your life who are like those that Paul mentions. Make a commitment to write them a note of encouragement and thanks for what they mean to you. Pray for them! Value them! They are like you: precious!
I commend to you our beloved sister Phoebe; she serves the church in Cenchrea as a faithful deacon. It is important that you welcome her in the Lord in a manner befitting your saintly status. Join in her work, and assist her in any way she needs you. She has spent her energy and resources helping others, and I am blessed to have her as my benefactor as well.
Give my best to Prisca and Aquila; they are not only my colleagues in my profession of tent making, but more importantly they are my fellow servants of Jesus the Anointed. They put their lives on the line to keep me safe. Not only do I owe them my thanks, so do all the churches of the non-Jews. Send my regards to the church that meets in their house.
Send greetings to Epaenetus. I love him dearly and celebrate his journey to faith because he was the first to believe in the Anointed One in all of Asia.
Salute Mary for me; she has worked hard for all of you.
Give my regards to Andronicus and Junias, who are part of my own family and served time in prison with me. They are well known among the emissaries and have been in the Anointed longer than I.
Give my best to Ampliatus whom I love in the Lord, and greet Urbanus (our fellow worker in service to the Anointed One) and my beloved Stachys.
Send greetings to Apelles, a tried and true believer in the Anointed, and to the entire family of Aristobulus.
Do not forget to greet Herodion, another of my relatives, and everyone in the family of Narcissus who belongs to the Lord.
Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa, faithful laborers in the Lord, and our beloved Persis, who also has accomplished a great deal in the Lord.
Give my best to Rufus, clearly one of the Lord's chosen, and also his mother. She's like a mother to me.
My regards also go to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and all the brothers and sisters who are along with them.
Greet Philologus and Julia, Nereus and his sister, and let me not forget Olympas and all the saints who journey with them.
Greet each other with a holy kiss. All of the churches of the Anointed under my care send their greetings to all of you.
Response in Prayer
Father, I repent for the times I have not valued the children of Your family as You value them. I recognize them as important, but I grow frustrated with some who irritate me, bored with those who do not amuse or engage me, hurt by those who think themselves too good for me, and neglectful of those who always seem to need something from me. I shock and shame myself when I say these words, but they are true of me in my worst moments. Forgive me. Lord Jesus, when I take the bread of Holy Communion and remember Your body on the cross, open my eyes to see Your present-day body, the church. Help me recognize my brothers and sisters as the people for whom You died and whom you have brought together to serve the world as You did on earth. Holy Spirit, as the Father pours love into my heart through Your presence, channel that love through me to others who need to be touched by it. I ask and confess all of these things so that I might view each of Your children as being as precious as You do. Amen.
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