Closing the Gap 11.27.18

By November 27, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 47 Day 2

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:

1 Cor. 11:17-26 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not! For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Reflect:

Being thankful moves our thoughts away from ourselves and towards God.  As our thoughts and the corresponding emotions move away from self, we begin to “see” others around us.  Often, without a heart of thanksgiving, we see others as sources of annoyance or as means to our own ends.  They are roadblocks to our own desires or pathways, to be walked upon to get what we want. When our hearts are full of gratitude to God, then our lives will more fully move in love towards others.  If we are not closing the gap on loving others, then we can be sure we are not closing the gap on moving towards God in faith and thanksgiving. It is not possible to move towards God in faith and thanks and not, at the same time, find our hearts and minds moving towards others in love.  Imagine this, you are at a dinner designed by the Lord for the church to help them remember. What are we to remember? We are to remember the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us. It is a meal of thanksgiving, remembering to be thankful for what Christ had done. Now, as you are participating in this meal of remembering, you find people “grouping up.”  Over there are the ones who take pride in what they have, they are enjoying a potluck made of richer fare and they are not about to share it with those who brought more meager items to what is supposed to be a common meal. Then, there are also those who take pride in their ability, or their knowledge, or their nationality…you get the picture. Everyone has formed factions designed to set themselves apart as unique and special and to keep others out of their inner rings.  At what might have been a beautiful meal, the ugliness of selfishness destroys and distracts. All people must eat. If they do not eat, they die. Rich, poor, all nationalities, and all levels of intellect…still, all people eat. In the eating of food we should remember what we have in common. We, all alike, are not self-sufficient; we are needy beings. As the church comes together in community, all the temporal, and ultimately meaningless, distinctions should melt away like the mists that they are.  In the bright light of the Son of God we see clearly what is true about us. We are all hungry, needy people who need our daily bread, but yet we do not live on bread alone. We live by the very Word of God. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. Start with being thankful to the Lord Jesus for what he has given. Then look at your neighbor and respond accordingly. When you find yourself acting without grace towards others, your root issue is that you do not love God. If you love God, if you are nurturing a heart of thanks towards him, you are at the same time nurturing a heart that loves 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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