Devotional for July 20th, 2021
2 Kings 4:42-44
A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’” He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.
When we read this text our mind automatically goes to the Gospel story of when Jesus fed 5000 with a young boy’s lunch. That is a bigger and grander miracle with which we are more familiar. But let’s stay with this smaller miracle to be reminded that just because there are fewer people involved, a miracle is a miracle. The 100 people who were fed by the man from Baal-shalishah were saved from starvation and re minded that they are precious in God’s sight.
It is tempting to search for grand gestures of faith and monumental acts of generosity. But when we do so, we might very well miss the small ways God is blessing us or using us to be a blessing for others.
In any given day we can find ourselves with the person who has what God wants us to share – or we can be the hungry soul who needs what God wants to give. Open your heart and mind to either/both today.
God bless you!
Devotional for July 15th, 2021
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it.
So, he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So, then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
Have you ever felt far from God? Have you ever felt disconnected, lonely, or maybe even unwelcome? I think we all have felt this way from time to time. During the pandemic, we probably felt this way more than usual. Sometimes we feel this way because it is true – we lost our job; we moved away from family; someone very close to us passed away; a relationship fell apart…
Other times we are just having a bad day and our emotions get the best of us.
In these times it is good to be reminded of this passage from Ephesians. God sent Jesus into our world to bring us into the grace-filled presence of a loving God; and to restore our relationships with one another. We are not whole if we are divided.
We are not complete if our relationships are wounded.
Jesus is at work in our lives restoring peace between strangers and friends, building a holy temple in the Lord. Jesus includes you in this gift of peace and reconciliation. Jesus includes those with whom you have been cut off or separated. Let’s join Jesus in this work and in our prayers.
Devotional for July 13th, 2021
The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Throughout Scripture we hear that Jesus had compassion for people who were sick, lonely, or outcast. Anytime I read that phrase, I know that hurting people are going to be cared for in a very meaningful way, and a certain feeling comes over me. It is hard to explain exactly what that feeling is – but it feels good. It is a feeling of assurance that someone’s life is going to be OK. Do you know what I mean?
I like that Jesus cares for hurting people, listens to their voices of suffering, and reaches out to bring healing. That is what our “Savior” does! Sometimes I rely on the compassion of Jesus without thinking deeply enough about its cost. The word compassion is used very specifically when referring to the actions Jesus takes towards us. It literally means “to suffer with”.
Jesus did not stand back, looking at the crowds from a distance and somehow order healing with the wave of a magic wand. Jesus suffered with every person he came into contact with. He eventually took every pain and sickness; every disease and abuse; every lonely moment and insult with him to the cross where his suffering (our suffering) was put to death.
There was tremendous cost to the compassion Jesus showed.
If you have a moment, take time to reflect on what Jesus does for you and in you every day (today) when offering you forgiveness and healing.
If you have a moment, ask yourself how willing you are to offer compassion to the people God brings into your life today.