Closing the Gap 4.23.18

Week 16 “Live in Harmony with One Another”

Day 1

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Rom. 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Reflect:

Love that it is real, with substance, cannot hang in midair with no foundation.  Many try to begin their definition and expression of love with love itself. Love must have a foundation and that foundation is God.  He describes what love is and he prescribes how it should be expressed. How do we know what love is? We look to God, because he is love.  How do we know how love is expressed? We look to Jesus, because he shows us how. “This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for each other” (1 John 3:16).  Because love begins with God, he is love’s moral foundation. Love hates what is evil and clings to what is good. Love does not keep a record of wrongs, but love is not blind to what is wrong. Love judges actions and attitudes that are a threat to its health. It is clear-eyed in its assessment of evil and it clings desperately to what is good. Love always protects, not self, but the relationship. Begin your judgment with yourself.  Those attitudes of self-pity, or defensiveness, or pettiness that keep you at a distance from loved ones, judge them. Those words that are not in line with love, judge them. Those acts of selfishness that put you first over those you are called to love, judge them. Judge all of these – your attitudes, words, and selfish acts – as the enemies of that which is most valuable, love. Then, judge the threats to love that you see in your friends and family.  Do not judge the people; judge the threats. How you do this will vary from person to person and from situation to situation. It will be complicated at times to know how to judge the threat without condemning the person. But, if you begin with the right heart, you will be positioned to come to the right conclusion. Begin here: Jesus Christ laid down his life for others. And we must do the same.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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