Bankrupt Without Love {14 Days of Love}

How would you define love?

Is love a feeling? A choice? Is love weak or strong? Can we live without love?

Bankrupt Without Love: Day 1 from "14 Days of Love: A Devotional Journey in 1 Corinthians 13" (click through for your free PDF!)

 

Our culture (even within the church) idealizes and idolizes romantic love. The love Paul is talking about in 1 Corinthians is agape, the love of God (“for God so loved the world…”) and our response of love to God and one another (“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another…”).

My expository dictionary’s entry on Agape says: “Love seeks the welfare of all, Romans 15:2 , and works no ill to any, 13:8-10; love seeks opportunity to do good to ‘all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith,’ Galatians 6:10.” (Hogg & Vine)

In your life and history, which have you valued more, romantic love or this agape love? Why?

 

 

Think about the different activities that take up your time throughout any given week. Your job, your classes if you’re a student, errands you run, tasks you accomplish, relationships in which you invest.

What does it look like when you’re doing those things

With love?

 

Without love?

 

 

And maybe the most important question I could ask:

Do you believe you are worthy of being loved? Really loved, unconditionally, success or failure, for who you really are? Why or why not?

 

Taking a break today from the NO FEAR series to post day 1 from “14 Days of Love: A Devotional Journey through 1 Corinthians 13.” Get your free copy when you sign up for the Reemail, my weekly update newsletter.

Spend a couple of weeks thinking about God's love, and asking how you can RECEIVE God's love and OFFER love to others.

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Looking for Love in all the {RIGHT} Places

Happy first day of February!

LOVE is in the AIR!

I want to spend some time in this, the month of love, looking away from the Hollywood version of love, love that can be summed up in chocolate candy hearts and over-priced red roses.

When I was in college and a brand new believer I had a poster of 1 Corinthians 13 (now that I think about it, it might have been my first Christian-ese, Family Christian Stores type purchase?) I loved that thing, but after a while I came to see 1 Corinthians 13 as kind of trite, commonly chosen as a reading for weddings by people who may or my not have known anything about Jesus. In other words, I got snotty and decided I was too advanced for Paul’s words about love in 1 Corinthians 13.

OH THE HUBRIS.

1 Corinthians 13 Printable from reemeyer.com

I have repented and returned to this beautiful description of love in the years since those young & prideful days. But I’ve never studied them in depth, I’ve never worked my way slowly through it. So this February, that’s what I’m doing.

Want to join me?

Each day of the devotional focuses on one aspect of love from 1 Corinthians 13. Most days include other verses on that topic, and some have a few thoughts from me. Every day there are a series of questions to think about and some practices to try, in order to RECEIVE love from God and OFFER love to others.

The content is appropriate for men or women, married or single, happy or sad in your love life. I am a sucker for romance, and I love love – but the point of this devotional is to think about real love, not romantic love, or the Hollywood version of love. I think you’ll enjoy it, wherever your love life finds you in this present moment.

The cover art is pretty & feminine, because I love these particular graphics & have been wanting to use them, and because LOVE. I know this  devotional will be read by men as well as women, and I don’t want to scare the fellas away with all the flowers. I thought about using something less feminine…but really there are not a lot of love-related graphics that aren’t floral or overtly valentinesy. And then I remembered that women read and study books with masculine covers all the time, and we can handle it. I’m sure our gentlemen friends can handle the reverse.

It’s a PDF, so you’ll get the devotional all in one download (I don’t have time to set up daily emails like I did for the Advent devotional right now, but if that is something you would prefer, let me know for the future!)

14 Days of Love is a FREE GIFT when you sign up for my weekly Ree-mail (I still can’t type that without laughing – too cheesy??)

When you subscribe to my REEMAIL list (hee hee), you’ll immediately get an email with a link to download YOUR FREE COPY! Click the pretty graphic below and you’ll find yourself in the right place!

YES! I want a copy of 14 Days of LOVE!

Waiting Patiently on God

Waiting Patiently on God

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him… Psalm 37:7

Does patience come easily to you, or is waiting a struggle?

My patience is subjective and situational. Now that my daily life doesn’t involve 3 year olds who insist on doing everything themselves, I find it easy to wait on a toddler who wants to zip her own jacket.  It is harder, but I choose to be patient with my kids (most of the time) when they’re acting their age. And I try to practice patience when waiting in line, as a driver, all the normal patience-testing parts of being alive.

But I am not so patient with myself. I get frustrated and discouraged to struggle with the same issues year after year. I know I’m growing and changing, but it’s so much easier to see how far I have to go, rather than how far I’ve come.

And it’s never actually occurred to me that I need to be patient with God. But that is the command in Psalm 37: Wait patiently on the Lord.

The instruction to rest in the Lord and wait patiently on Him sounds quite passive to me. But the psalmist isn’t telling us to sit out of life and do nothing. The Hebrew words translated here are active words. The word for rest does mean to be silent and still. But the word translated “wait patiently” has child-birth undertones: travailing, bringing forth. Birthing is definitely not a passive image of waiting.

What are you waiting on God for?Are you waiting patiently?

I think about the things that make me anxious. Things I’d like to manage or control, outcomes I’d like guaranteed. I think about the unknowns in my future, about the uncertainties in my present. I think about advent and the kind of Christmas season I’d prefer to have (but may not even be a reasonable expectation, given my family and circumstances.)

In those things, what would it look like for me to be silent before God?

In those things, what would it look like for me to wait patiently on God to work, like a mother bearing down as she gives birth?

I don’t necessarily like my answers to these questions, and I don’t love the idea that waiting on God is like childbirth. Because birth involves pain, and silence doesn’t come easily to me.

However.

If I really believe that what God is doing in my life is good… If I believe in His presence and goodness, if I believe the outcome of my waiting is new life, joy, relationship, love…. If I trust God, can I choose to wait patiently?

The people of Israel waiting for generations for the promise of the Messiah to show up in the person of Jesus. Are we willing to wait?

Open up before God, keep nothing back; He’ll do whatever needs to be done:

He’ll validate your life in the clear light of day  and stamp you with approval at high noon. Quiet down before God, be prayerful before him. (Psalm 37:5-7, The Message)

 

Journaling Prompts:

How do you respond to the idea of patient waiting as being work, active, like childbirth? Is this helpful imagery, or hard to get your mind around? Why?

What are you waiting on God for? Is it easy or hard for you to be patient in this waiting? Why?

What in God’s character and your history with Him helps you to wait patiently on HIm?

 

This is today’s devotional from Waiting on God: A 4 week Advent Devotional, which started last week. If you’re interested: You can purchase the Ebook here, or SIGN UP HERE to receive it for free via email (starting with tomorrow’s devotional).

I’ve been amazed and encouraged that so many have purchased or signed up, it is such a gift to be on this journey with so many!

Waiting on God in Silence

Waiting on God in Silence (1)

My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation… Psalm 62:1

Historically Advent is a season of quiet waiting. God’s people wait in stillness for His arrival, His coming, God-With-Us. We will conclude Advent singing of silent wonder. It is one of my favorite memories of Christmases past and present: A quiet church with voices, and perhaps candles, raised, singing “Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright.”

The irony of that song in what we’ve made of this season never fails to get my attention. Sometimes it is funny and sometimes heartbreaking. Silent Night, Holy Night? If I want any quiet at all during the Christmas season, I have to fight for it, and fight hard.

Because Christmas can be LOUD.

This season is a cacophony of lists, lists of things we want, lists of things to buy, lists of good deeds to do, lists of gatherings to attend. December clangs with the music of parties, the raised voices of maybe more family time than anyone needs, the strident call of all the obligations and expectations we put on ourselves. For some of us, this season is also loud with the wail of unspoken pain. Lost loved ones, lost hopes and dreams, loneliness.

What would it look like, in the midst of this loud season, to carve out some quiet for your soul? Can you choose a regular daily time to step out of your lists, to turn off the noise, to take your pain or your joy and sit in silence with God?

Can you reserve some moments at the beginning or end of your day to sit with Jesus and wait? Perhaps over your lunch hour, or your littles’ nap time?

I am convinced our souls need more silence than this loud world provides. Don’t wait for Christmas Eve to enjoy a silent moment.

I invite you to join me during this season of Advent, to set aside time to intentionally, purposefully wait on God, in silence.

My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.

On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Journaling Prompts:

What feels loud in your life right now?

As you step into this advent season, where can you set aside some time to be quiet, to be with Jesus and learn to wait on God?

What is your hope this Advent season? What do you want from God, for what are you waiting?

 

This was day 1 of my 4 week Advent Devotional: Waiting on God, which started on Monday. If you’re interested:

You can purchase the Ebook here, or

SIGN UP HERE to receive it for free via email (starting with tomorrow’s devotional).

I’ve been amazed and encouraged that so many have purchased or signed up, it is such a gift to be on this journey with so many.

Where Am I Looking for Security?

Deuteronomy 33:12 About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”

I love the picture in this verse of the one who is LOVED by the Lord, living in safety, shielded by the Lord, resting between His shoulders. But all too often, my life is not reflective of this picture of security – I don’t live this truth.

Too often my experience is insecurity.

A few years ago, the Lord had me on a journey finally really doing battle for security. It lasted months, and in many ways I am still learning. I’ve found the roots of insecurity in my search for validation of my worth and value from the world and those around me. I want acceptance, so I think I need to earn it.

I know I am not alone in this. From childhood we learn expect the world outside us to reflect security, value, worth back to us.

If I’m looking to something for my value, my worth, my identity, I’d better make sure it’s something that’s going to accurately reflect where my security comes from.

I am learning that Jesus (who He is and what He says about me) is the only safe place for me to look for my value, worth and identity. Jesus is the only accurate reflection, the only source of security I can trust.

One thing I’ve learned in the search for security: Our focus on externals is a big trap.

HOW HAS FOCUS ON EXTERNAL THINGS CREATED AREAS OF INSECURITY FOR YOU?

I think you can begin to see some of these things by thinking about what you were complimented or criticized for when you were a child.

If you were criticized for something as a child, it makes sense that you’d grow up with that as an area of insecurity – something that makes you feel bad about yourself.

What areas did you feel criticized for, things about you that didn’t measure up? For me, this was my appearance (no one in my immediate family ever said this, but I grew up feeling like my sister was “the pretty one” and I was “the smart one.” Unfair to both of us.) Also, my weight – looking back, I was not overweight, but I was the biggest member of my family, built curvier and sturdier than my mom, stepmom or sisters. Add to that the fact that my mom, stepmom, and sisters were all chronic dieters and it was a recipe for insecurity.

Does it seem strange to you that we might develop insecurity about things we’re complimented for? Sometimes the areas we receive positive feedback about can become needs and feed drives. Little girls who receive a lot of attention for being pretty can begin to believe their appearance is the most important thing about them, and can become unhealthy in areas related to their bodies and appearance. Children who are complimented for their grades and achievements can become unhealthily driven to succeed.

What are the areas you were complimented on as a child, areas where you learned to find security? For me, this was being obedient, a good girl. Being a good student, an achiever, a pleaser – I did what was expected of me, and to this day the feeling of being “unapproved” by authority figures is a giant insecurity trigger.

What would it look like for us to let go of everything for which we are criticized and complimented? What if instead of looking to the world to affirm our worth or value, we looked to the one who made us?

What if we began to listen to His whisper to each of us that we are beloved of the Lord? Can you see yourself resting between His shoulders?

Deuteronomy 33:12 About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.”

 

 

Photo used in title image by Rab Fyfe on Unsplash

 

Surprised by Jesus

I spent the last 5 days with 124 amazing students, in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, talking about meeting God in ordinary and surprising ways. I got to lead a meditation on one of my favorite Bible stories…about a woman who went looking for Jesus but was still surprised by Him.

But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. (Luke 8:43-44)

In her culture, this woman would have been unclean, untouchable. I imagine she was lonely, and I am sure she dealt with shame.  In Mark’s account of this interaction, he adds the detail: “she had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse…”

Lonely, ashamed, exhausted. Helpless and hopeless, she goes looking for Jesus.

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.

Matthew’s account tells us she thought to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be healed.” Helpless and hopeless, she goes looking for Jesus, hoping, expecting to be healed.

By Jewish law her uncleanness made her untouchable, but still she entered this pressing crowd (I picture it like leaving a Husker game where you’re pressed together like slowing moving sardines. By pressing in with the crowd, she made them all ceremonially unclean, something they surely would have resented.

This was a brave act, but she was desperate.

Where is the surprise in our story? She went into the crowd expecting that if she could just get near enough to Jesus she would be healed and she was. No surprise. Yet.

And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?” And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.” (Luke 8:45)

Peter basically says, “Dude, everyone is touching you!”

But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.”

When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. (Luke 8:46-47)

This bleeding woman expected to touch Jesus and be healed.

But she WASN’T expecting to be noticed by Him.

She wasn’t expecting a personal encounter.

This woman wanted what Jesus had for her. But she wasn’t expecting Jesus to see her. She wasn’t expecting to be noticed.

She wasn’t expecting to have to tell her story. And she tells it publicly, in front all those people she made unclean. What is it about Jesus that made her brave enough to do that?

I don’t know for sure, but I do know what He said to her:

And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:48)

 

Can you put yourself in this woman’s place? Picture yourself, wading into a crowd of people around Jesus.

This woman had a hemorrhage, a 12 year health problem that had exhausted all of her resources. A great shame. Think of your own greatest shame. Your greatest need for healing. What do you want from Jesus?

Are you brave enough to push into the crowd around Jesus? Do you believe that He has what you need?

What do you need from Jesus? Picture yourself reaching out to touch Him, asking, needing, wanting.

Are you surprised that He sees you?

And friend, He DOES see you. You have not escaped His notice.

Picture Him, seeing you. Searching all the crowd for yours.

Are you afraid?

The woman was afraid, she came forward, trembling. I think she was terrified. She came trembling and fell down before Him.

Picture the expression on Jesus’ face as He looked down on her. What do you think she found in His eyes? Judgement? Condemnation? Disgust?

Or mercy? Kindness? Love.

To the woman’s great surprise, He called her daughter. DAUGHTER.

Picture yourself, trembling and terrified, bringing your shame, your hurt, your need before Jesus.

What do you see in His eyes, as He sees you? What does He say to you?

Can you hear Him calling you daughter? Son?

Jesus sees you. He calls you son, He calls you daughter.

Are you surprised?

Surprised by Jesus: A Devotional Meditation on Luke 8:43-48

 

Photo in my images by John Price on Unsplash

When You Don’t Have What it Takes {A Devotional on the Feeding of the 5,000}

I’ve been afraid of not having what it takes as long as I can remember.

As a child I was desperately afraid of failure, of trying out for something and not making it, of being told “you’re not good enough.”

In a world where girls tell everyone who their crush is, hoping it will get back to him, I never told anyone who I liked. Because the idea of anyone knowing I liked someone who didn’t like me back felt like the end of the world to me.

In college I finally got brave enough to apply for things I wanted to do, but I never told anyone (so if I didn’t get it, no one would know I wanted it.)

In my twenties I missed (or nearly missed) job opportunities because I waited to be asked. I assumed that my desire to be included was understood by everyone, desperately afraid to communicate what I wanted for fear of not being chosen, being told I wasn’t good enough.

Even to this day I wonder if there are dreams, opportunities, hopes I won’t even admit to myself because of this fear of being told no, or WORSE, trying and failing, finding out once and for all that I don’t have what it takes.

It’s so much easier to stick with sure things, never admit what I want or need, never take on more than I can handle.

Do you relate?

I am helping lead a Bible study this Fall for a precious community of women who are studying the table scenes in the book of Luke, looking at the way Jesus treated and interacted with people. Our study is called “The Radical Hospitality of Jesus”, and I’m learning more every week how much more radical Jesus was than I ever realized.

 

Learning about the radical hospitality of Jesus is stretching my boundaries, stretching my understanding of God, pushing against my ideas about who is in and who is out. The radical hospitality of Jesus is making me uncomfortable.

Sometimes as Christians we can fool ourselves into thinking following Jesus is all rainbows and unicorns, that it will happen naturally, when we do what is most comfortable to us.

But when we look at the life of Christ in Scripture, we see a path we may not even want to follow, and that I certainly don’t feel equipped to follow.

 RADICAL Hospitality.

I see Jesus welcoming outsiders and social outcasts and I am overwhelmed. I can’t even manage to make time for my neighbors.

Jesus crossed political and economic and social boundaries and I can’t even handle following my crazy relatives on Facebook.

I do not actually have what it takes to practice the radical hospitality of Jesus.

Which is not a surprise to God AT ALL. He knows that sometimes the Radical Hospitality of Jesus will require more than we have to give.

Our passage this week is like a breath of fresh air.

Jesus took them away, off by themselves, near the town called Bethsaida. But the crowds got wind of it and followed. Jesus graciously welcomed them and talked to them about the kingdom of God. Those who needed healing, he healed.

As the day declined, the Twelve said, “Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

“You feed them,” Jesus said.

They said, “We couldn’t scrape up more than five loaves of bread and a couple of fish—unless, of course, you want us to go to town ourselves and buy food for everybody.” (There were more than five thousand people in the crowd.)

But he went ahead and directed his disciples, “Sit them down in groups of about fifty.” They did what he said, and soon had everyone seated. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread and fish to the disciples to hand out to the crowd. After the people had all eaten their fill, twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered up. (Luke 9:11-17)

Of the 8 table scenes we’re discussing in our study, this is the only one where Jesus is actually the host. He’s welcoming the crowd, and ultimately He provides for them. But He invited the disciples to participate with Him in welcoming and providing.

Jesus is inviting them into the life of dependence that offers God our human not-enough, offers what we have to God with thanks and prayer, and sees Him bless, break and give.

I believe this miracle, this sign can be a way of life for us as well. A life of dependence on the Father that offers our not-enough and sees Him make it more than enough.

I don’t think God is calling us to live limitless, boundary-less lives. We have to say no, and we have to recognize our humanity. He is God, we are NOT. If I am the answer, then He’s not, and that is a problem.

On the other hand, I tend to look at what God is calling me to through the lens of my own resources.

Forget about big miraculous callings, just simple life and motherhood and being a wife and friend and person in this hurting world is more than my resources can take.

I don’t have the wisdom, I don’t have the energy, I don’t have the patience, I don’t have what it takes to be who God has called me to be in the world. I don’t have what it takes to practice the radical hospitality of Jesus.

 

Which is not a surprise to God AT ALL. He knows that sometimes the Radical Hospitality of Jesus will require more than we have to give.

BUT.

What if I do what the disciples do in this story: What if I offer God my not enough?

My not enough wisdom, my not enough strength, my not enough time, my not enough love?

What if I give Him my fear – fear of what others will think, fear of rejection, fear of failure? What if I give Him my fear of not having what it takes?

What if I offer Jesus just what I have, my own self. What if I offer what I have in prayer, lifting my eyes to Him, and let Him bless and break and give me out.

What if He can take my not enough and make it more than enough?

 

When You Don't Have What It Takes Insta Quote

You are Invited.

As a young believer learning to share her God story, I was taught to describe the process of entering relationship with God as “inviting Jesus into my life.”

As a more mature believer teaching Sunday School and VBS, I’ve used the words, “Ask Jesus into your heart.”

Over these years of wanting more of God, asking Him to break out of what I think of Him and show me where my God view doesn’t match up with who He is in the Bible and reality, I’ve moved away from talking about relationship with God in this way.

I’m not sure I have a great suggestion for replacement words, but I have enough of an issue with the concept of inviting Jesus into my life/heart that I won’t use this wording with my own kids.

Because “I invited Jesus into my life” makes it sound like I initiated the relationship. It can fool me into thinking I made the first move. And however you want to describe the beginning of your relationship with Jesus, God went first.

We see this throughout the pages of Scripture: In the beginning, God… (Genesis 1:1)

This is the story for countless Old Testament Hebrews, some God-seekers like Abraham and Job, others running from God like Jonah and Jacob. Their stories begin  “Now the Lord said to Abram…” And “The Word of the Lord came to Jonah…”

It is no different in the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, where fishermen and tax collectors are minding their own business, doing their day jobs, and Jesus walks up and says, “Follow Me.”

I’m studying the story of Levi/Matthew’s calling this week, and I’ve been captivated by the first line:

After that He went out and noticed a tax collector named Levi sitting in the tax booth, and He said to him, “Follow Me.” Luke 5:27

He noticed a tax collector named Levi…

I spent years of my single life hoping to be noticed, longing to be chosen. I spend many of my hidden days, those family days no one sees, still longing to be noticed, wondering if what I do matters.

What does it mean to you that Jesus notices?

He noticed a tax collector named Levi…and He said to Him, ‘Follow Me.'”

The Message paraphrases “follow Me” as “Come along with Me.” Jesus’ notice is not limited to the Spiritual Elite. His attention is not reserved for those who’ve proven themselves, earned His favor.

Jesus’ invitation to live life with Him is given here to the tax collector. The rejected, the despised, the not-good-enough. The outsider.

What does it mean to you that Jesus’ notice of you is not something to be afraid of? That He’s not going to notice you and then find you not good enough?

Levi responds to Jesus’ invitation with a big YES: He walks away from his dishonest livelihood, his identity and his shame, and goes where Jesus goes.

And then Levi throws a big party for Jesus, and invites all his tax collector friends.

This is what we church people want from new believers, right? This is the perfect success story, something we could show  and celebrate on a Sunday morning video, a sinner who walks away from his sin, and introduces Jesus to all of His friends.

For all our strategies and programs, this process is usually a lot longer. It can take new believers years to turn away from their livelihood, identity and shame. And it can take even longer years before people learn (usually through some sort of “training”) how to share Jesus with their friends.

Maybe times have just changed. Maybe that’s just life, and it takes longer sometimes, and that is fine.

Or maybe it takes longer because we see ourselves as the ones inviting Jesus.

We don’t see Him noticing us. Choosing us. Welcoming us even as He knows our sin and shame. Inviting us into life with Him not in spite of these things, but because of His great love.

What does it mean to you that Jesus invites you, just as He invited Levi?

Does it change how you think of God to realize that He initiated relationship with you, that He always goes first?

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world… Ephesians 1:4

You Are Invited IG

 

Sometimes Loving Your Neighbor Means Speaking Up & Doing Something {The Call of Jesus}

On Tuesday I shared a devotional on what it means to love your neighbor. I wrote many of those thoughts nearly a year ago, and it was my plan all summer to be posting about this particular topic this particular week.

I had no idea I’d spend this particular week seeing Jesus’ call to love our neighbor misquoted and misused so frequently. My social media feeds have seen quite a lot of push back this week to the outpouring of condemnation of the white supremacy and racism expressed in Charlottesville, NC over the weekend.

Listen, white pride rallies in 2017 are a lot to process. I get that. It was shocking and surprising to a lot of people (not many people of color, I’m guessing?) I was dismayed at the outbreak of violence, I was glad to see so many Christian friends calling the rally what it is (racism and a travesty of the Biblical understanding of each person made in God’s image), I was sad that Charlottesville was not mentioned or prayed about in my church on Sunday morning.

But what surprised me was the stream of friends and commenters, over the course of the week, saying that those who are speaking up against things like Charlottesville are part of the problem. I was surprised to hear that what we really need to do is shut up and love our neighbors.

Y’all, sometimes loving our neighbors means speaking up when someone is propagating hate against them.
Continue reading

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself: A Devotional on the Great Commandment {The Call of Jesus}

 

 “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.  And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’  Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:30-37)

Which of the characters in this story do you identify with most?

The traveler left for dead, truly in need of a neighbor? The robbers who chose their own well-being at the expense of a fellow human? The priest and Levite, who prioritized their religious obligations and expectations over the needs of another? Or the Samaritan, the political outsider, shunned and avoided, who perhaps needed compassion himself, and so was able to extend it to another? Continue reading