First Steps – November 21, 2022

“Sin is a refusal or failure to be in a personal relationship with the living, personal God, and so forgiveness of sin cannot work with some dictionary definition of sin but only in a deeply personal act that restores intimate relationships. The sin that denies the person can only be dealt with personally…So if something is going to be done about sin, it is not going to be along the line of laws and rules, codes and regulations. God and every person on earth are inherently personal and can only be engaged in relationships that are personal…We don’t sin against a commandment; we sin against a person.  Sin is not an offense against justice; sin is an offense against a living soul…And so Jesus comes alongside us and prays with us, ‘Forgive us. Forgive us our debts, forgive us our trespasses, forgive us our sin.’  He also trusts us to do the best we can in what he does best of all: ‘as we forgive our debtors.’  He can legitimately, genuinely encourage us to forgive because he has already set the stage by extending his forgiveness on a cosmic scale.”  (Eugene Peterson—Tell It Slant)

Three things that stand out:

1. Sin is personal and separates one from God, another person, and the person God’s Spirit is trying to fashion.

2. The remedy is also personal for, in Jesus Christ, God redeems the world.

3. We are to practice what we have received—Forgiveness.  As we have been forgiven, we forgive. 
At the beginning of this week, I invite you to ponder Peterson’s words and allow the Spirit to guide you as you follow the living God. 

 This Week’s Readings:
*Monday – Revelation 3
*Tuesday – Revelation 4
*Wednesday – Revelation 5
*Thursday – Revelation 6
*Friday – Revelation 7

Prayer Requests:
*Heal those who are sick and protect those who are not.
*Comfort those who are grieving and in distress.
*Wisdom for our leaders as they navigate through uncertain times.
*Guidance for those seeking to find their way.
*Continued Growth Inside and Outside the Walls of St. Paul UMC.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.” – Philippians 4:6