Today is Sunday, the 6th of November, 2022, in the 32nd week of Ordinary Time.
I pray that the peace of Christ will envelop everyone who reads this, today!
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways.
(Psalms 119:15 ESV)
Lord our God, your kingdom is coming. Your help reaches us. However much we must suffer, we look to you, for you have given us your promise. You have promised that all shall go well with us. You have promised that while still on earth your people may have strength to trust in you and wait for you in patience and joy. So lay your hands upon us, O Lord our God, and let your redeeming strength be revealed in us. You know all our needs. You see into each heart and know how to help, as you have promised. Bless us and help us, and may your name be honored among us. May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as in heaven. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from Plough.com)
On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
(Isaiah 25:7-8 NIV)
Today I am grateful:
- for another opportunity to worship and participate in the Communion of Saints, this morning
- that no matter what things look like “out there,” in the Kingdom of God, all shall be well
- for the fruit of the Spirit, which begins with love
- that “this is the day that the LORD has made;” I will rejoice and be glad in it
- for the way that God’s Spirit unites us all and binds us together, as saints in Him
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene.
(2 Timothy 2:14-17 ESV)
Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.
(2 Timothy 2:23-25 ESV)
A Song of Ascents. Of David. I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!" For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, "Peace be within you!" For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good. (Psalms 122:1-9 ESV)
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:22-24 ESV)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV)
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
(1 John 3:2 ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
I have often wondered if it is a coincidence that Paul lists “love” first in that listing of the fruit of the Spirit. I know that I have believed, for a long time, now, that this is not a list of “individual fruits,” but a compilation of the parts of one fruit. In other words, if you possess and display the fruit of the Spirit, all of those things will be present and visible within you.
Andrew Murray seems to agree with this. “Complaints or confessions of tempers unconquered; selfishness; harsh judgments; unkind words; or a lack of meekness, patience, and gentleness is simply proof that we do not yet understand that to be a Christ is to have the Spirit of Christ, which is the Spirit of Love. Generally, we are more carnal than spiritual.” (The Indwelling of the Spirit, quoted in Power in Prayer)
Paul, in his prayer in Ephesians, prays that we would be “rooted and grounded in love,” and that we may “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”
If we know and comprehend this Spirit of Love, then it will be much easier to live by Paul’s words in 2 Timothy, where he advises the young pastor to avoid controversies and foolish arguments. I believe he even uses the word “ignorant.” It becomes painfully obvious that there are quite a few of us who have not yet mastered that characteristic.
When I was in youth, at my home church in Mineral Well, Texas (Calvary Baptist Church), there was a musical that made the round, called “It’s All About Love.” To this day, I believe that to be true. And I believe that Jesus taught us this truth. It’s in those two greatest commandments, and in that “new command” that He gave His disciples. And Paul says it in Romans, that when we love, we fulfill the law.
It’s not about how much we tithe or if we do any work on the Sabbath or if we play cards or dance or drink alcohol. It’s not about rules or dos or don’ts.
It’s all about love.
We need a love revolution!
Father, I pray for the fruit of the Spirit, beginning with love, to be visible in Your people. I pray for Your community of saints to be able to do away with foolish, ignorant arguments and controversies, and our love for quarrels. Help us to love, Father. Help us to love You first, with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; help us to love our neighbor, the oppressed, the immigrant, the refugee, the poor and needy, as we love ourselves (maybe we need a little help with that last part, too); and help us to love the Body of Christ, the Church, as Christ our Savior has loved us!
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
(Romans 13:8 ESV)
Grace and peace, friends.