Friday, May 02, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 5/2/08

Galatians 6:2
Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

I saw the neatest film clip today. It was from a college softball game out west. A girl hit a home run to win the game, but when she got to first base, she blew out her knee and couldn't keep running. By rule, she had to circle the bases for the winning run to count, but her teammates weren't allowed to help her or even touch her or she would be out. Two girls from the other team came over and carried this girl around the bases, costing themselves the game and a chance for the playoffs. In the process, they aptly demonstated the heart of this verse. They fulfilled the "law" of the game by carrying another person (literally in this case). What burden can you carry for another today?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 5/1/08

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Compassion is an important part of love. In fact, some people think the term synonymous with love. When true compassion is demonstrated, it is felt as love. Compassion is the sharing of another's suffering and hurt. I was reading a story about Steven Covey in a book. One Sunday morning, he was riding the subway in New York. It was a quiet and peaceful morning on the train, until one stop where a man boarded with three young children. The children immediately transformed the peace and quiet into chaos and noise, yet the father seemed to not notice and made no move to correct the kids. The other passengers were getting pretty annoyed and Covey was as well. Finally, he leaned over and asked the man if he was going to do something with his kids to restore order in the car. The man replied, "I know I should do something. We just came from the hospital. Their mother died an hour ago. I just don't know what to do." When we have compassion on someone and understand where they are hurting, forgiveness and grace follow naturally behind. This isn't always easy, but it is always Christlike.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 4/30/08

Romans 5:6-8
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Several years ago, one of my favorite songwriters/singers had a song that referred to the "reckless, raging fury that they call the love of God". There were quite a few people at the time that took exception to characterizing God's love as reckless. For many it seems the idea of recklessness goes against what we think God's character should be like. But in reflection, it is a wonderful way to picture the love that God lavished on us. Think about it. Who in their "right mind" if you will would be willing to die for their worst enemy. Yet, God willingly sent His Son and His Son willingly laid down His life for you and for me, "while we were still sinners". Even those who choose to spit in God's face and curse His name, like the Roman soldiers and those who crucified Him, experienced the depth of this reckless love when He said from the cross, "Father, forgive them."

Monday, April 28, 2008

More Than Bread Devotional for 4/29/08

1 John 4:7-8
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Did you know that we were given a litmus test for ourselves? This is not the only place in Scripture that tells us this, but we are defined primarily by our loving attitude and behavior. The world has even been given permission by Jesus Christ to judge our Christianity by the way we show love. You know that song that goes, "they will know we are Christians by our love"? There is a lot of truth in that statement. God loved us, and that in turn enables us to love others. First our brothers and sisters in Christ and then the rest of the world.

More Than Bread Devotional 4/28/08

1 John 4:10-12
10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

I have been doing a lot of thinking the past few days about God's love. I have a feeling that we really never have a very firm grasp on the love that God has for us and what it does in our life. Sometimes I think I have it, and I know I am continuing to grow in this, but then I see that there is so much more to learn and to understand. I asked my son, Jonathan, about 1 John 4:10 Sunday morning before church. It is his favorite verse and I asked him why that was. He told me that it was because this is the verse that led him to want to ask Jesus into his heart. Imagine that. As a four year old kid, he heard about the love of God and responded to it. Jesus said we have to come to Him as little children ourselves. Could it be that sometimes we just need to hear and understand the love of God and respond to it?