Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, April 5. Read 2 Samuel 5:1-5. 1) What did the leaders of Israel say to David? What did this signal about their relationship to him? 2) What was David’s response to them?
Tuesday, April 6. Read Genesis 13:8. 1) What kind of relationship existed between Lot and Abram? 2) What did Abram say about it, and what did he offer? 3) If human beings today, modeled the same kind of relationship as Abram offered, what would be the result?
Wednesday, April 7. Read Romans 12:9-13. 1) What does Paul say about loving and pretending to love? 2) What do you think a person does who REALLY loves another?
Thursday, April 8. Read 1 Corinthians 1:10-12. 1) What does Paul say about “living in harmony? 2) What did the people in Cloe’s household report to Paul about the state of relationships at Corinth? 3) What do you think Paul was telling them to do?
Friday, April 9. Read Hebrews 13:1-4. 1) What did this writer say our relationships with one another should be like? 2) What surprises are in store for a hospitable person?
Saturday, April 10. Read Psalm 133. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Father of Unity, Spirit of anointing oil, God who calls us into community. May we give ourselves to one another like the oil flowing over Aaron’s head and beard. May we bear the aroma of unity in our lives with one another. May we be a sweet savor to those who observe us. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
How Sweet, How Heavenly Is the Sight
by Joseph Swain, 1781
How sweet, how heav’nly is the sight,
When those that love the Lord
In one another’s peace delight,
And thus fulfill His word.
When each can feel each brother’s sigh,
And with him bear a part;
When sorrow flows 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.
When love, in one delightful stream
Thro’ ev’ry bosom flows;
And union sweet, and dear esteem,
In ev’ry action glows.
Love is a golden chain that binds
The happy souls above,
And he’s an heir of heav’n who finds
His bosom glow with love.
Devotional Article of the Week:
by David Smith
“Love…always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV
Of all the qualities of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, perhaps this one is the most challenging because it’s always easier to quit than to continue. It’s ever easier to fold than to forge on. It’s simpler to throw in the towel than it is to fight the good fight of faith. For the way to hell — the way to lovelessness — is dreadfully e-a-s-y.
Of all of love’s qualities, perhaps this quality, refusing to stop loving, is one of the greatest marks of spiritual maturity. Continuing “uphill” with your brother isn’t “natural.” If anything, it surely involves the supernatural fruit of God’s Holy Spirit in terms of “patience” and “self-control.” (cf. Galatians 5:22-23)
Of all people, Christians must be people who persevere with each other, not just circumstances. Believers ought to be people who put up with each other, not get put out and leave. The church ever needs to be a body of disciples committed to going the distance with each other, come hell or high water.
Are you willing to love like that? What are you willing to do to because a person whose love doesn’t stop? “Love…always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV
Love continually pours itself out for others — not conveniently, but continually. Real love can do this because it’s goal is not merely to cope with life, but to conquer it. The goal of true love is to make life subservient to it, for life on the loose without love as it’s guide is meaningless at best and wicked at worst. A life lived without love as its master is misguided and ungodly, for God, the giver of life is love. Life was never intended to be lived without love. And so, of course, love must persevere, as long as life is.
And so we ought to “endure” in love for each other. As people of God, our calling is to be like Him. We ought to persevere when we find someone else is trying our patience or standing on our nerves — for how often do we ourselves try God’s patience or make him say to himself, ‘Would you look at that! That’s isn’t what I had in mind. Why do they do such things?’
So where’s the application in this passage “love always perseveres.” Persevere in finding the application in your life!
You may find at times that someone who should appreciate your work and efforts on the job simply doesn’t. Fine — love them anyway. Don’t stop doing good and don’t stop loving them. “Love keeps on keeping on.”
You feel like someone down at church has slighted you or insulted you? Great — love them anyway. Refuse to let the devil have the last say. Persevere in brotherly love. “Love always endures.”
Let me dwell on this thought about “things down at church” a little longer. Commenting on the original setting of 1 Corinthians 13:7, the early church in Corinth, Wendell Willis once observed: “When Christians differ with each other, what they need most of all is to persevere in working out the problems. I suspect that the strong Christians who disregarded those who would not eat the idol meat gradually grew tired of hearing their objections and said, ‘That’s it. I’m through fooling with you.’” (A Place to Belong: A Study of Church Life in 1 Corinthians, p.118)
That captures the essence of the thought perfectly. People of God simply must rid themselves of dealing with each other like so many spoiled children who pick up their toys and go elsewhere to play when things don’t go our way or when people chaff our nerves. “Love…always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV
Does someone at home “give you your space” more often than you ask for it? You feel neglected and a bit ignored? Consider it an opportunity not to become cold and distant, bitter and resentful, but to practice perseverance in love. “Love doesn’t quit.”
At school, someone has blamed you for something you didn’t do and you’ve suffered for it? Don’t begin to harbor hate in your heart. Do good to that someone no matter how they treat you. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Persevere in love. “Love keeps going.”
“Love…always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 NIV
Father in Heaven, thank you — thank you! — that your love for us never ends! Make us more like you. Amen.