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SUNDAY 12.04.16 – Prayer Tip: Whose Child is This?

Daily Scripture

Matthew 1:18-19: This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.

Prayer Tip

Sometimes, for myriad reasons, we decide to not do something because it’s technically not required of us. We aren’t legally bound to do it, it’s not part of our job descriptions, or no one expects us to do it. Can you imagine if Joseph had held on to this attitude when he found out his fiancée was expecting a baby that wasn’t his?

Yes, at first, “he planned to divorce her quietly”, but then God told him in a dream to go ahead and take Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:18-24). At this point, Joseph could still have used his free will to go against God’s command…but he didn’t. Joseph did what no one else would have expected him to do, even when he would have been legally justified. He opened himself up to letting God use him even when he didn’t fully understand why.

Much later, Jesus taught the young lawyer that it’s not enough to just do what is expected (Matthew 19:16-22). We are called to go above the standard and beyond the norm to show Christ’s radical love to a world that needs it, even if it’s just to one person at a time, like Joseph’s decision to bless Mary and give her a sense of peace in a confusing time.

Holy God,

Thank you for the example we have in Joseph of your love in action in a way that seems so foreign. Guide us, especially during this Advent season, to love others radically and to touch their lives in surprising ways. Make us instruments of your hope, peace, joy, and love.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 – Angela LaVallie Tinsley, Prayer and Funeral Ministry


Join us for worship today click here for information on worship times and locations. If you are not in the Kansas City area, you can take part in our worship via live Web stream at rezonline.org.

Download a printable version of this week’s GPS.

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SATURDAY 12.03.16 – Bethlehem and Jesus

Daily Scripture: Micah 5:2-5, John 7:40-43

2 As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
though you are the least significant of Judah’s forces,
one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you.
His origin is from remote times, from ancient days.
3 Therefore, he will give them up
until the time when she who is in labor gives birth.
The rest of his kin will return to the people of Israel.
4 He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
They will dwell secure,
because he will surely become great throughout the earth;
5 he will become one of peace.

40 When some in the crowd heard these words, they said, “This man is truly the prophet.” 41 Others said, “He’s the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ can’t come from Galilee, can he? 42 Didn’t the scripture say that the Christ comes from David’s family and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” 43 So the crowd was divided over Jesus.

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

Bethlehem we know, but what’s this “Ephrathah”? It meant “fruitful,” and was the name of the district around Bethlehem. The prophet Micah preached in Jerusalem about 700 years before Christ. (Jeremiah 26:17-19 mentioned him.) As the armies of the mighty Assyrian Empire threatened Jerusalem, Micah promised that God would send a deliverer, born in Bethlehem. Hebrew scribes quoted Micah 5:2 to tell King Herod the Messiah’s birthplace (Matthew 2:6). John recorded Jesus’ enemies arguing that he couldn’t possibly be God’s Messiah. They used his growing up in Galilee as proof: “Didn’t the scripture say that the Christ comes from David’s family and from Bethlehem, David’s village?” Of course, he did—if they had only paid attention to a small detail like his father’s home town.

  • Micah stressed God’s ability to do big things in people and settings that seemed minor. The divine ruler born in little Bethlehem, he said, would “surely become great throughout the earth.” When have you seen God do something big through something “little”? John’s symbolism underlined that Jesus, born in Bethlehem (which meant “house of bread”) was the bread of life, the source of living water. How will you allow him to nourish your soul this Christmas season?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I don’t live anywhere near Bethlehem, but your love and grace have touched and changed my life. Thank you for being a God who does big things even through the small things of earth. Amen.

Family Activity

Jesus has many names in the Bible including “Messiah,” “Savior” and “Emmanuel.” Being called by name is important to everyone. Our names help us feel cared for and valued. What are names of some of the people in the Christmas story? Which people in the story are named as groups and not as individuals? Notice the people around you. Do you know the name of your mail carrier? School crossing guard? Janitor at work or school? As a family, take time to learn the names of those who serve you every day. Share God’s peace and love by introducing yourself and telling them how much you appreciate their hard work. Share the love of Jesus with them by bringing them a treat, praying for them and regularly calling them by name.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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FRIDAY 12.02.16 – Joseph the carpenter

Daily Scripture: Matthew 13:53-57, Mark 6:1-6

53 When Jesus finished these parables, he departed. 54 When he came to his hometown, he taught the people in their synagogue. They were surprised and said, “Where did he get this wisdom? Where did he get the power to work miracles? 55 Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? 56 And his sisters, aren’t they here with us? Where did this man get all this?” 57 They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.

But Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns and in their own households.”

1 Jesus left that place and came to his hometown. His disciples followed him. 2 On the Sabbath, he began to teach in the synagogue. Many who heard him were surprised. “Where did this man get all this? What’s this wisdom he’s been given? What about the powerful acts accomplished through him? 3 Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t he Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” They were repulsed by him and fell into sin.

4 Jesus said to them, “Prophets are honored everywhere except in their own hometowns, among their relatives, and in their own households.” 5 He was unable to do any miracles there, except that he placed his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 He was appalled by their disbelief.

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

In keeping with Joseph’s relative obscurity, the gospel writers never specifically said what he did for a living. They never directly called him a carpenter. However, both Matthew and Mark recorded that when Jesus went to Nazareth, many of the people rejected him. In Matthew’s version, they called him “the carpenter’s son.” According to Mark, they identified Jesus himself as a carpenter—it seems logical that he would have learned his father’s trade.

  • A United Bible Societies handbook for Bible translators noted, “The noun ‘carpenter’ may refer to one who builds with wood or stone. Wood is somewhat rare in Palestine, and houses are most frequently constructed with stone.”* Joseph and Jesus may have been stone masons, or may have been “subcontractors,” making wood items like doors for stone houses. People’s response suggests they did not see such workers as wise or impressive. Are you open to learning from anyone who has valuable insight to offer, or do you discount those who don’t have the “right” outward credentials?
  • The texts mention Jesus’ mother and siblings, but not his father. Most scholars believe Joseph died sometime before Jesus’ public ministry began. (Again, the gospels simply do not mention that.) Joseph apparently had a 12 to 30-year window to help protect and shape Jesus growth. What opportunities do you have to serve, bless or shape people and events? Are you ever tempted to think those opportunities will last forever?

Prayer

Lord, the gospels suggest that you and your earthly father were carpenters. Sadly, many people in your day added the word “just” before carpenter. Help me to value all people, not only the ones who are like me or impress me. Amen.

 

* Barclay M. Newman and Phillip C. Stine, A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew in the UBS Handbook Series. New York: United Bible Societies, 1988, p. 444.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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THURSDAY 12.01.16 – Joseph of Bethlehem

Daily Scripture: Matthew 1:16, 18-19

16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary—of whom Jesus was born, who is called the Christ.

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ took place. When Mary his mother was engaged to Joseph, before they were married, she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph her husband was a righteous man. Because he didn’t want to humiliate her, he decided to call off their engagement quietly.

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

The gospel of Matthew did not duplicate the gospel of Luke, but rather complemented it. While Luke told the story of Jesus’ birth through the eyes of Mary, Matthew told the story from the standpoint of Joseph, who was engaged to Mary when the story began. Although Mary lived in the tiny village of Nazareth, it seems from the slender evidence the gospels give us that Bethlehem was Joseph’s home town (cf. Luke 2:1-4). If so, that suggests that their families arranged the marriage, as was common in their time and place.

  • It would be nice if the GPS could have you read an eloquent speech Joseph made about being Jesus’ earthly father. But, as Pastor Hamilton wrote, “Unlike Mary, Joseph has no ‘lines’—we don’t read a single word he speaks in the Gospels…. He is the patron saint of those who serve and do the right thing without seeking any credit.”* How easy or hard do you find it to be content when the spotlight falls on someone else more than on you?
  • Pastor Hamilton also wrote, “Jesus likely learned from Joseph something he taught his disciples. ‘Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness to be seen by others,’ he said, ‘so that you get credit in their eyes…. Instead, do your acts of righteousness in secret—your Father will see and will reward you.’”** Try this spiritual exercise: do something good, in a way that no other human being will know about. Give yourself a chance to serve without any hope of recognition—except from God.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, continue to teach me the lessons you learned from Joseph. Help me to value opportunities to bless and serve others more than I value applause from others. Amen.

 

* Adam Hamilton, The Journey: A Season of Reflections. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011, p. 45.

** Adam Hamilton, The Journey: Walking the Road to Bethlehem. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011, p. 55.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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WEDNESDAY 11.30.16 – God’s choosing of ordinary working men

Daily Scripture: Judges 6:11-16, Amos 1:1-2, 7:14-15

11 Then the Lord messenger came and sat under the oak at Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 The Lord messenger appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior!”

13 But Gideon replied to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his amazing works that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, ‘Didn’t the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and allowed Midian to overpower us.”

14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “You have strength, so go and rescue Israel from the power of Midian. Am I not personally sending you?”

15 But again Gideon said to him, “With all due respect, my Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I’m the youngest in my household.”
16 The Lord replied, “Because I’m with you, you’ll defeat the Midianites as if they were just one person.”

1 1 These are the words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa. He perceived these things concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, in the days of Judah’s King Uzziah and in the days of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Joash’s son.

2  He said:

The Lord roars from Zion.
He shouts from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds wither,
and the top of Carmel dries up.

14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I a prophet’s son; but I am a shepherd, and a trimmer of sycamore trees. 15 But the Lord took me from shepherding the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

Gideon the farmer or the shepherd Amos are only two examples of many we find in Scripture showing that, long before Jesus’ earthly father Joseph, God often called hard, conscientious but ordinary workers. (Of course, God also called people like Moses, raised in Pharaoh’s palace, or the apostle Paul, trained in the finest rabbinical school in Jerusalem.) The point is that God seeks people with receptive hearts, whatever their earthly status.

  • Gideon’s story was striking. God’s messenger greeted him as “mighty warrior.” Gideon, not feeling like a mighty warrior, asked, “How can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I’m the youngest in my household.” And “The LORD replied, “Because I’m with you, you’ll defeat the Midianites.” When have you seen God’s power accomplish something through you or someone you know that you couldn’t have done on your own?
  • Like many prophets, Amos attracted some serious opposition. But he saw his message not as a cause he had invented, but as a deadly serious God-given commission, whatever the cost. So he kept preaching, even when those in authority ordered him not to. When have you had to stick with a purpose you believed was right, even if you faced opposition or ridicule?

Prayer

Lord God, you achieve most of your work through people willing to put themselves in the service of your kingdom. Make me, like Gideon, Amos or Joseph, one of those people. Amen.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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TUESDAY 11.29.16 – Bethlehem and David

Daily Scripture: Ruth 1:1, 16-19, 22; 4:11-17

1 1 During the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. A man with his wife and two sons went from Bethlehem of Judah to dwell in the territory of Moab.

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you.” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her about it.

19 So both of them went along until they arrived at Bethlehem. When they arrived at Bethlehem, the whole town was excited on account of them, and the women of the town asked, “Can this be Naomi?”

22 Thus Naomi returned. And Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, returned with her from the territory of Moab. They arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.

4 11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord grant that the woman who is coming into your household be like Rachel and like Leah, both of whom built up the house of Israel. May you be fertile in Ephrathah and may you preserve a name in Bethlehem. 12 And may your household be like the household of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah—through the children that the Lord will give you from this young woman.”

13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife.

He was intimate with her, the Lord let her become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi, “May the Lord be blessed, who today hasn’t left you without a redeemer. May his name be proclaimed in Israel. 15 He will restore your life and sustain you in your old age. Your daughter-in-law who loves you has given birth to him. She’s better for you than seven sons.” 16 Naomi took the child and held him to her breast, and she became his guardian. 17 The neighborhood women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They called his name Obed. He became Jesse’s father and David’s grandfather.

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

The story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth centered in Bethlehem. (Today’s reading just samples it. It is only four chapters long—if you’ve never read it, try to find the time to do so.) It was a story of loyalty, devotion and commitment, with far-reaching effects. Ruth became the great-grandmother of the great King David. (You can read about the prophet Samuel going to Bethlehem to anoint the boy David as future king in 1 Samuel 16:1-13.)

  • The story of Ruth told how God used Boaz, a prosperous farmer, to help Ruth, a Moabite immigrant, and her mother-in-law Naomi, by letting her glean in his fields (cf. Leviticus 19:9-10, 23:22). From his generosity came their marriage. From that came a line that led to King David, and, centuries later, to Jesus. When have you seen an outwardly small act of sharing (in resources, time, or talent) launch positive results that went far beyond what the giver might have expected?
  • Pastor David Jackman wrote that what Boaz did was “a reflection of the covenant-love (hesed) of Yahweh for His people, and at the same time a very practical illustration of how the quality could be worked out in interpersonal human relationships.”* In what ways have you learned to appreciate God’s steadfast love for you? How has God’s love shaped the ways you act towards other people?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, son of David, thank you for men like Boaz and women like Ruth who, right in long-ago Bethlehem, let their generosity and love set events in motion that led to your birth as my Savior in that same town. Amen.

 

* David Jackman, The Preacher’s Commentary series, Volume 7: Judges, Ruth. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991, p. 345.

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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MONDAY 11.28.16 – Bethlehem and Jacob

Daily Scripture: Genesis 35:16-20, 48:7

16 They left Bethel, and when they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into hard labor. 17 During her difficult labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid. You have another son.” 18 As her life faded away, just before she died, she named him Ben-oni, but his father named him Benjamin. 19 Rachel died and was buried near the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem. 20 Jacob set up a pillar on her grave. It’s the pillar on Rachel’s tomb that’s still there today.

7 When I came back from Paddan-aram, Rachel died, to my sorrow, on the road in the land of Canaan, with some distance yet to go to Ephrathah, so I buried her there near the road to Ephrathah, which is Bethlehem.”

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

The “little town of Bethlehem,” where Jesus was born, was a fairly small city about six miles from Jerusalem. The place had roots that ran deep in Israel’s history. The Bible story first mentioned Bethlehem when Jacob’s favorite wife Rachel died in childbirth. His grief at losing her was so great he mentioned it again as he neared the end of his own life. Jacob buried Rachel near Bethlehem, and put up a monument to her that lasted for several hundred years.

  • Jacob seemed to have loved Rachel practically from the moment he first met her (cf. Genesis 29:5-12, 17-18). We can imagine the sadness and loss he felt as, traveling along a desolate road, it became clear that giving birth to her second son Benjamin was going to cost Rachel her life. How has grief touched your life? In what ways, tangible or intangible, do you seek to preserve your memories of loved ones you have lost?
  • Rachel lost her life giving birth to Benjamin, and Jacob lost the woman he loved the most. Centuries later, the infant Jesus (who would heal the world’s brokenness, and open the doors of eternal life for Jacob and Rachel) traveled to his birth, probably over that same road. In what ways have you seen God bring hope and life even out of painful, heartbreaking circumstances?

Prayer

Lord God, while Jacob mourned his beloved wife, you were at work through him and his descendants to bring Jesus into our world. Help me, even when tears streak my face, never to lose hope in your steady redeeming work. Amen.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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SUNDAY 11.27.16 – Prayer Tip: A Carpenter Named Joseph

Daily Scripture

Matthew 13:54-56: When he came to his hometown, he taught the people in their synagogue. They were surprised and said, “Where did he get this wisdom? Where did he get the power to work miracles? Isn’t he the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother named Mary? Aren’t James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas his brothers? And his sisters, aren’t they here with us? Where did this man get all this?”

Prayer Tip

Tis’ the season… for PRAYING OUT LOUD! Just in case the holidays and family dynamics didn’t make this time stressful enough, I am here as the Pastor of Prayer to encourage you to practice what might be an anxiety inducing exercise this season: PRAYING OUT LOUD MORE OFTEN.

Now my husband and I are both United Methodist pastors, my sister and her husband are in ministry as well, and do you know who says the Thanksgiving and Christmas prayers? You guessed it—my dad. I pray in front of the church each week, but my dad just has this special/tradition-filled way of blessing the meal that has always intimidated me. I share this confession because I want you to know it is totally normal if you have dodged this responsibility for years. I’ve heard that around 75% of people have a fear of public speaking. When you add in the fears we have surrounding God-talk—saying pretty-sounding God things—this number might sky-rocket to 95%.

The thing that sticks out to me about this time of year, though, is how many people need a prayer. Some of our friends and family only pray once or twice a year—around the holiday table. Some are approaching the holiday feeling lonely, fearful and depressed. Some are facing sickness and loss. Praying out loud isn’t just important at holiday meals. It becomes important when we bump into other congregants in the narthex, or meet up with our friends for lunch, or when we get a call from a friend facing the holiday season, or when we see someone at the grocery store in distress. Maybe more than any other time of the year, people need a word of hope through prayer.

My charge to you this week is to have the courage to be willing to put aside those awkward societal norms in order to share the love of Jesus with them through praying out loud for them. Scripture promises God will show up when we pray… even if we feel like Jesus dorks. Romans 8:26 reads: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Pray from the heart—pray with the voice God has given you—God will show up.

Still have questions, want tips/tricks or want me to look over a prayer you want to share with another? Feel free to email me at katherine.ebling@cor.org.

 – Rev. Katherine Ebling Frazier, Pastor of Prayer


Join us for worship today click here for information on worship times and locations. If you are not in the Kansas City area, you can take part in our worship via live Web stream at rezonline.org.

Download a printable version of this week’s GPS.

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SATURDAY 11.26.16 – When did I last speak to someone about my faith?

Material in this GPS is mainly drawn, or slightly adapted, from The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith, by Chris Folmsbee, to be published by Abingdon Press in March, 2017.

Daily Scripture: Matthew 28:19-20

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

When John Wesley challenges us with the question, “When did I last speak to someone about my faith?” he is directly encouraging us to take up the challenge Jesus gave his disciples in Acts 1:8ff, to be his witnesses or storytellers. In Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15-16, Luke 24:46-49, and John 20:21-22, we also read that Jesus challenged his followers to continue the mission and message of God’s work. To respond faithfully to Wesley’s question is to live a life of going, obeying and listening to the Holy Spirit, realizing that each one of us is sent into the world to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  • When did you last speak to someone about your faith? Do you show your faith more through your words or deeds? How can you balance both of those sides of the gospel “coin” in your day-to-day life? Think through your story of personal transformation. How has your faith in God changed your life and made you a better person, who has a better effect on the lives of others? Spend some time writing your story down.

Prayer

God, you sent Jesus to show us the way. I pray that I would profess my trust in the saving grace of the gospel with courage and direction from the Holy Spirit, helping you draw my family and friends to your transforming love. Amen.

Family Activity

John Wesley’s rule stated, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” As a family, talk about each of these phrases. What does the word “all” mean? Are there any exceptions? Compare Wesley’s rule to Jesus’ greatest commandments found in Matthew 22:37-40. Identify ways your family can grow to follow Jesus’ and John Wesley’s rules more completely. Share and celebrate your stories at the dinner table or at bedtime. Pray and ask God to help you love others as God loves you.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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FRIDAY 11.25.16 – Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold resentment toward or disregard?

Material in this GPS is mainly drawn, or slightly adapted, from The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith, by Chris Folmsbee, to be published by Abingdon Press in March, 2017.

Daily Scripture: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

4 Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, 5 it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, 6 it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. 7 Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. As for prophecies, they will be brought to an end. As for tongues, they will stop. As for knowledge, it will be brought to an end.

Read other translations at Biblegateway.com or youversion.com.

Reflection Questions

Today’s question covers a lot of ground. Taking into account the people we fear, those we feel disdain or indifference towards, and the people we resent can add up to a few people, or for some of us, many. We cannot fully live the Christian life, as Jesus meant us to, until we are at peace not only with God and our self, but also with others.

  • Have you created or kept separation between yourself and another person because you simply don’t like them? If so, ask yourself what is driving this dislike. More broadly, would you say you are at peace with God, self and others? Why or why not?
  • Read Romans 12:9-17 (aloud if possible). Reflect on how living out those Scriptural principles can produce a positive response to today’s question. As first steps, sometime in the next week, if the occasion presents itself, speak with a person who “rubs you the wrong way.” Find a moment today to say something kind to someone you dislike or have intentionally steered clear of.

Prayer

Lord, change me. Replace comparison with compassion in my heart and mind, and make me more like Christ is—loving to all. Amen.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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