Closing the Gap 10.22.18

By October 22, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 42 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:

Matt. 5:23-24 Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Reflect:

The Lord gives an example in action of what John gives us in principle.  “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).  Jesus describes a situation where someone has gone to worship and while in the act of worship remembers, or the Lord brings to mind, someone they have sinned against. The intuitive thing would be to finish what you are doing, complete your time of worship, and then go make things right with the other person.  But the Lord frequently gives direction that is counter-intuitive. We are prone to trust our “intuition” but that is often a mistake. We must learn to trust the Lord and to do as he says. The principle in practice here is that it is not possible to be in right relationship with God if we are not in right relationship with others.  We must continually do all we can to maintain clear relationships with others. There are, of course, times when this is not possible because others refuse to have relationship of any kind with us. But when it is up to us and as far as possible, we must live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). Maintaining clear relationships is an ongoing, lifelong process.  This should not be a surprise because virtually everything about our lives requires ongoing maintenance. Your home, your physical health, your clothes, your car. All these things and more require regular attention and energy. If we do not maintain them, they will fall into disrepair and become even greater burdens. Passivity is one enemy of clear relationships with others.  If we believe that relationships can run on “auto-pilot” and that we do not have to devote regular efforts to keeping them healthy, then they will stop “running” at all and they will become “sick.” The regular efforts required to maintain good relationships with others is nothing at all compared with the enormous cost of having broken relationships, especially when those relationships are the ones who are supposed to be the closest to you.  You see how important clear relationships are to God; they must become as important to you as well. God does not hold you to account for the choices of others, only for your own. If others do not respond well to your efforts, leave them to God. But you must put forth appropriate and consistent effort. Does this sound hard and tiring? Again, it is a very small price to pay for a great treasure, a life of clear relationships and a clear conscience before God and others.

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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