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Be an Includer

Daily Reading: Romans 9

Scripture Focus: Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’ (Romans 9.25)

Devotional Thought: I am an 'includer' by nature. I want everybody to belong, everybody to be a part of the group. Perhaps I have the gift of hospitality. At any rate I am very sensitive to being on the outside looking in. I remember when my three kids were growing up at home, one of the things that got me the most upset was when two of them would exclude the other. "You all play together!" I can identify with the sting of being left out.

I think God is an 'includer' too! When he sees people who are left out, he says, "I'll take you!" And when he comes across someone who is unloved, he says, "I love you!" Aren't you glad that he includes you!

Ancient Israel often struggled to catch on to the concept of inclusion, adopting instead an attitude of exclusion. They saw themselves as an exclusive club. They were God's chosen people, and the rest of the world was just out of luck. They were jealous of their perceived special place in God's heart. God reminded them that he loved everybody and desired that those who were not his people would become his people.

Sometimes we in the church make the same mistake, don't we? We look at people who are still prisoners of sin and think, "What are they doing around here? I'm glad I'm not like them..." We struggle to remember that at one time we were outsiders and God included us. We forget that someone in the church reached out a welcoming hand to us.

Look for someone who is on the outside, and determine to love that person with the love of God! And more than that, include them in the fellowship of the church!

Prayer: Father, open my eyes to see those around me who are lost and lonely, suspected and rejected. Then, help me to love them and include them. In the name of Jesus, the greatest Includer of all! Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever! 27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. 28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive. 30 Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; 31 they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it. (Psalms 22:25-31)

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