Devotions

Love Your Neighbor

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NIV 

When I read this passage of scripture, I find myself asking the question, “Who is my neighbor?” I know the people who live in proximity to my house, and my neighbors are easy to love! However, I believe Jesus is giving us a broader scope of who are neighbor might be. My mind jumps to Luke 10 and the parable of The Good Samaritan. Jesus tells a story that, ultimately, answers the age-old question defining our neighbor. Jesus says our neighbor is “the one (in the story) who showed mercy.” 

Knowing this prompts me to think about those who have shown mercy to me. Knowing this prompts me to think about who I need to show mercy. The thing about studying God’s word is that it is fresh and new each time we experience a passage. I know it is because the Holy Spirit is working in us constantly teaching us throughout our days. However, I also believe it is because with each passing day, we grow more into the person God has created us to be if we are seeking him. 

This week, I pray you will consider who your neighbor might be. In doing so, may the Holy Spirit prompt you to love your neighbor well and seek ways to show expression of your love. I am grateful for the love I receive from the Lord, and I look forward to participating in the exercise of becoming more aware of my neighbor. 

Posted by Betsy Butler
Tags: devotion

Celebrating Transformation

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 

The old adage says “change is constant.” It’s always happening and often surprising. I remember turning 40 some years back and thinking I was so old! I’m much much older now and have a healthier perspective on aging. I’ve learned the value of each day whatever age I happen to be. Change is always coming, but it doesn’t guarantee a transformed heart. Jesus is the one who offers us that kind of change. In the light of Jesus Christ, I have experienced love in its highest form and I rejoice at the deep meaningful changes his grace has led me to make. Every good change in my life has come from Jesus and I celebrate his ongoing work of transformation. 

Have you heard the story of how John Wesley was robbed as he returned home from a worship service one night? Wesley handed over what little money he had and some Christian literature. As the thief began to run away, Wesley called out, "Stop! I have something more to give you." The surprised man stopped. "My friend," said Wesley, "you may live to regret this sort of life. If you ever do, here's something to remember: 'The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!'" The thief hurried off, and Wesley prayed that his words might bear fruit. Years later, Wesley was greeting people after a Sunday service when a stranger came up to him. This visitor shared that he was now a believer in Christ and a successful businessman then he confessed that he was the one who had robbed Wesley years before! "I owe it all to you," said the transformed man. "Oh no, my friend," Wesley exclaimed, "not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ that cleanses us from all sin!" 

Take some time this week to consider how Jesus has changed your life and be thankful! Celebrate the ongoing transformation! We are meant to be new creations and don’t forget that everyday is a fresh opportunity to be more like our Lord. Let’s start this new year celebrating the beautiful and meaningful transformation Jesus brings into our lives.  

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