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VotD 2/15/19

It’s not always an easy thing to translate thoughts and feelings into actions. We can sit and read devotionals and listen to speeches and sermons and feel inspired, but how long do those feelings last? How much of an impact do those sources of inspiration actually make on us? The greatest sermon anyone will ever preach is the way they live their life. The best way to witness to God’s amazing love is by living it out. Faith isn’t something cerebral, it’s belief combined with action. You don’t evaluate faith with a written test, you experience it when someone acts…
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VotD 2/4/19

Paul is being encouraging as always in this passage from Philippians – what God started, God will finish, and what God is doing in you is something good. This is a reminder to us that we are never finished. We never have all the answers, we are never masters of our domain. There is always, always, always more to learn. And also – we can never be perfectly good. We can try, we can keep doing better, but only someone who has given up doing things can say that they only do good things. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we all…
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VotD 2/1/19

This one of those overquoted passages that makes me think, “Yes, but does anyone actually take this advice?” The way that I know to take this advice is to toss out everything and focus on love. If I love others, but I get my understanding of the trinity wrong, that’ll be ok. If I love others, but I’m not on the right side of a social issue, that’ll be ok. What Jesus will ask me when I get to heaven isn’t “Did you follow every instruction I gave correctly?” Instead, I think he’ll ask, “Did you do your best to…
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VotD 1/31/19

Abide is one of those words that doesn’t have much meaning in my everyday life. I think the only time it comes up outside of church is when we’re quoting the Big Lebowski (“The dude abides!”). The dictionary definition is something like “remain, stay, or live”. So how might we rephrase this? Live in me? Remain in me? Stay in me? The Greek word here seems to be consistently translateable as “abide,” so any of these may be appropriate – or all of them. What about the context? Jesus begins this metaphor by saying that he is the true vine…
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VotD 1/30/19

There’s a hymn, “Gather Us In,” that includes the lyrics “We have been sung throughout all of history, called to be light to the whole human race.” When I first heard that lyric, I thought it was a little egotistical. It puts us, we who have gathered to sing the hymn, above all others as the ones who are the light for all humanity. But here’s the verse itself in Matthew 5:14 – “You are the Light of the world.” Does Jesus mean that we are the ones who can save the world? Not directly, but he does mean that…
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VotD 1/25/19

Galatians 5:14 is such a central verse for me, because it points to the central teaching of Jesus – that the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. A commenter on the instagram source for this image pointed out the following verse: If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.  To me, this seems like common sense. If you want to love your neighbor, you have to not attack them, you can’t try to consume or destroy them in any way. I’ve been challenged on…
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VotD 1/23/19

The translation I have (NRSV) says, “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” I like the concept of “provoking” others to do something good. But the way the author phrases it implies that we should be as will to provoke as to be provoked. This requires a relationship. In fact, all Christian interactions with others assume that there’s a relationship of some kind, even if that relationship is simply seeing the other person as God sees them. The question this prompts in me today is, “who is provoking or motivating me to do acts…
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VotD 1/22/19

Paul models a style of leadership that is focused on the needs of others. He takes his joy from the successes of others and then encourages them to do the same. His joy is in the hands of the Philippians – they can make his joy complete by having the same mind – or attitude – as Jesus Christ. What follows this verse is the Christ hymn, one of the (if not the) earliest recorded Christian hymn, that shows how humble Christ was and retells the Christ story, a story that Paul here uses to encourage the Philippians to be…
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VotD 1/18/19

What about those things that aren’t perfect? They must come from below, and I’m going to encounter them today. How will I look for what comes from God, what the good and perfect gifts are, when the less than perfect parts of life seem to be everywhere around me? God doesn’t entrap you. God doesn’t try to make evil things happen to you. What God does, God intends for good. But we live in a “broken” world, a word that we use to remind ourselves that things are not as they should be. People shouldn’t die from cancer, people shouldn’t…
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What To Do When You Don’t Like Reading the Bible

Reading the Bible intentionally takes work and dedication. Reading Scripture is only enjoyable if we are open to the changes it calls us to make. Try… [Read More] https://relevantmagazine.com/god/what-to-do-when-you-dont-like-reading-the-bible/