Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, August 10. Read Galatians 5:13-15. 1) There are ten commandments and lots of other subordinate laws in the Law of Moses. What does Paul say summarizes them all? 2) Look at the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. Why do you think they may be summarized in the way Paul says?
Tuesday, August 11. Read John 13:31-35. 1) What did Jesus do for the apostles earlier in this chapter? 2) How does the act in verse 35 demonstrate the virtue in verse 35? 3) Why do you think this was iconic for the Christian way?
Wednesday, August 12. Read Galatians 5:22-26. 1) What contrast is Paul drawing in this text, compared to verses 16-21? 2) What virtue leads his list in this text?
Thursday, August 13. Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. 1) What does Paul describe in this text? 2) What are the premier qualities of this virtue in verses 8-11?
Friday, August 14. Read Colossians 3:12-17. 1) What does Paul clothe ourselves with as seen in this text? 2) Can these virtues be practiced alone? Or are they community virtues? Why?
Saturday, August 15. Read Colossians 3:12-17. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
O God, you have taught me to keep all your commandments by loving you and my neighbor: Grant me the grace of your Holy Spirit, that I may be devoted to you with my whole heart, and united to others with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
How Sweet, How Heavenly is the Sight
by Joseph Swain, 1796
How sweet and heavenly is the sight
When those who love the Lord
In one another’s peace delight,
And so fulfill his word!
Oh! may we feel each brother’s sigh,
And with him bear a part;
May sorrows flow from eye to eye,
And joy from heart to heart.
When, free from envy, scorn, and pride,
Our wishes all above;
Each can his brother’s failings hide,
And show a brother’s love.
Let love, in one delightful stream,
Through every bosom flow,
Let union sweet and dear esteem
In every action glow.
Love is the golden chain that binds
The happy souls above;
And he’s an heir of heaven who finds
His bosom glow with love.
Devotional of the Week:
Surprised by Love
Could this be the greatest love story of all?
by Phil Ware
Oh, how can I give you up …?
How can I let you go?
How can I destroy you …?
My heart is torn within me,
and my compassion overflows.
… for I am God and not a mere mortal. (Hosea 11:8-9 NLT)
Sentimentalists, don’t get your hopes up by this title; this isn’t a “chick flick” worthy story. It is, however, about the truth that underlies every single one of those stories that has value. In some ways, what we discover together here is far more important than any other story no matter how sentimental. This is the discovery of truth — the surprising, experiential, multi-faceted, ever-repeating reality — about love and all genuine love stories.
Love is unpredictable. There you have it. That’s it. That’s a truth you can bank on!
Love is unpredictable. Love does the unexpected. Love is full of surprises. Love is new even in the face of mind-numbing monotony. Love twists when rationality says go straight. Love forges ahead when logic says make a major change. Love doesn’t budge when conventional wisdom says run. Love moves like the wind when common sense says “Be still and hide!” Love does the unexpected!
O I know that is not the exact definition of love in Scripture (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 for example). I can’t quote a verse as a proof text that really summarizes what I’m saying … at least not one verse that says it exactly. But I can get you proof.
God is love. He shows it instead of just saying it. Or better yet, he says it by doing it. He can be tough or tender. He can be patient or pushy. He can rage and he can whisper. He can show his power and he can hide in the quietness of his creation. He can punish and he can suffer under the scourge. He can thunder and he can weep for a dead friend and his sisters. He can demand allegiance, but he can also risk everything to win our hearts.
God is not unpredictable. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yet his actions will always appear a bit unexpected and surprising if we do not humbly recognize that he is driven by one truth that trumps all others … his love for us … his gracious, undeserved, and unexpected love for us.
That’s not to be confused with sappy emotions without gut wrenching sacrifice. It should not be mistaken for spoken intentions without follow through. This love should never be reduced to politically correct sounding speech with hollow character. We’ve let baby boomer sappiness and TV driven sentimentality replace the real grit and authenticity of true love … unexpected, undeserved, sacrificial love. God will do the unexpected to reach the undeserving … to reach us. He always has. He always will. That’s what his book is about. Even more, that is what his ultimate message, Jesus is about. And that is what he is at work doing in your life and mine … even when the unexpected turns of our life leave us ripped up and full of questions.
… will you trust that whatever he is up to in our world, your world, its about finding a way to reach you and your heart even when you can’t understand all the why’s of life?… will you join him in his passion to touch everyone — even the ones most of us can’t stand or wouldn’t waste time to reach — and change them by his love?
So how has God demonstrated his love for you?