8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Daniel 11:2-35
1 John 3:7-24
Psalm 122:1-9
Proverbs 29:1

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

1 John 3:14-15 (NLT): “If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”

Reflections from Scripture:

Unfortunately, too many churches are known for their quarrels. I live in the southeast United States, and it sometimes feels like there is a church on every corner. 

But, when we consider why there are so many congregations, it only takes a little bit of historical study to realize that many of our churches started because of disagreements. Folks leave one church and form another one. Eventually, a conflict arises in the new congregation, and folks leave to form another church.

Maybe the disagreement was worth having since it was over doctrine or serious sin. However, many of the conflicts occur for much lesser offenses that are essentially trivial.

On a smaller scale, sometimes individual members get upset and leave. They don’t form a new church – they simply start attending the church down the street. Something happened that ruffled their feathers and, rather than trying to work things out in a loving way, they just left. And the disagreement never gets resolved. Hurt feelings, gossip, slander, unforgiveness, disunity, and so many other things prevail.

This is remarkable when we consider how Christians are supposed to behave. We are called to love each other. It is inevitable that we will hurt each other from time to time with our words and actions, but love allows us to easily and quickly ask and receive forgiveness to resolve the issue.

1 Peter 4:8 (NLT): “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

But love doesn’t simply create a pleasant environment in which we all can flourish. It also shows the eternal condition of our hearts. Just look once again at the verse I have chosen for today.

1 John 3:14-15 (NLT): “If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”

This is not a small thing. It isn’t an ‘extra’ to Christianity. On the contrary, it is the essence of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. If we are holding onto animosity toward a fellow believer and refusing to love them, then we are living in direct opposition to the life Christ has called us to live.

We readily embrace the love that God has for us in spite of the fact that we, all too often, break His laws and stray away from Him. We can always count on the fact that He is loving us and will gladly take us back.

Since we are daily recipients of that kind of love, let’s give that love to each other.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for the unconditional love and forgiveness that You daily shower upon me. Yet, I am all too aware that I sometimes find it difficult to give that love and forgiveness to others. Help me, Lord Jesus, to share with others what You so liberally give to me. In so doing, I will demonstrate that I truly belong to You. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo by Thiago Barletta on Unsplash