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First

Daily Reading: Romans 16

 

Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. (Romans 16.5)

 

Devotional Thought: First tooth.  First steps.  First Kiss.  First job.  First car.  First home.  There is something special about first things, isn’t there?  Epaenetus was special as a first: the first convert to Christ in Asia.

 

When reading all the greetings in Romans 16, the tendency is to “glaze over.”  We don’t know those people.  Besides, it’s a little awkward reading someone else’s mail!  But if we hurry past these greetings we will miss some good things about Epaenetus:

·       He was beloved.  When I came to know Christ as a young teenager, I found that I was deeply loved – by God and by those wonderful folks at Pioneer, Ohio Church of the Nazarene.  You are beloved, too!  A question that arises from this is, “Do I consider others in the church as beloved?”

·       His name means “praiseworthy.”  It is not enough to be a recipient of love; I want to live a life worthy of that love.  I am totally indebted to God’s love.  Is my life consistent with that love?  I want to be praiseworthy before God.  In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter if I am pleasing to men.  Is God pleased with me?

·       He was the first convert in Asia.  The first person in that whole province to accept Christ!  And it was probably not without cost.  His family may not have been keen on the idea.  His employer may have viewed him with distrust.  His neighbors may have shunned him as an oddball.  But, none of that mattered to Epaenetus!  He found Jesus, and he couldn’t say no!  Someone has to be first, don’t they?  Is God waiting on you to be the first person in your family, in your church, or in your school to take a step of faith?

 

Prayer: Lord Jesus, when you came to earth, you put me before yourself.  Help me to put you first in my life!  Amen.

 

Psalm of the Day: 27.11-14

11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!

14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

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