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January 20 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 49-50; Matthew 13:31-58

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Clean Containers

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Proverbs 10:12

READ 1 PETER 4:7–11

 

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“Hatred corrodes the container that carries it.” These words were spoken by former Senator Alan Simpson at the funeral of George H. W. Bush. Attempting to describe his dear friend’s kindness, Senator Simpson recalled how the forty-first president of the United States embraced humor and love rather than hatred in his professional leadership and personal relationships.

I relate to the senator’s quote, don’t you? Oh, the damage done to me when I harbor hatred!

Medical research reveals the damage done to our bodies when we cling to the negative or release bursts of anger. Our blood pressure rises. Our hearts pound. Our spirits sag. Our containers corrode.

In Proverbs 10:12, King Solomon observes, “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” The conflict that results from hatred here is a blood feud between rivaling peoples of different tribes and races. Such hatred fuels the drive for revenge so that people who despise each other can’t connect.

By contrast, God’s way of love covers—draws a veil over, conceals, or forgives—all wrongs. That doesn’t mean we overlook errors or enable a wrongdoer. But we don’t nurse the wrong when someone is truly remorseful. And if they never apologize, we still release our feelings to God. We who know the Great Lover are to “love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

By Elisa Morgan

REFLECT & PRAY

O God, help me surrender to Your great love that covers all sins and makes me into a clean container in which You dwell in love.

What things cause you to hate? How might the hard-hearted heat of hostility eat away at our personal joy and our world’s peace?

 

 

 

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT

Ancient letter-writing followed a general formula: opening/greeting, thanksgiving, body, and closing. Each of these sections has distinct subsections and characteristics, and each serves an important function in delivering the message of the writer.

Today’s passage is part of the closing section. It’s also what’s known as a hortatory (“to exhort”) section. Here the writer gives last-minute instructions to the reader. This section isn’t always a well-organized and progressive argument; rather, it’s more like random-fire instructions of everything the writer, through the inspiration of the Spirit, wanted to say but didn’t find a place to say in the body of the letter. Here at the end of his first letter, Peter urges his readers to pray, love, be hospitable, use their gifts, speak God’s words, and serve. J.R. Hudberg

Word for the World – January 20

Word for the World devotionals from Dr. Randy White

 

Shelumiel, the Son of Zurishaddai

So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name,” (Numbers 1:17)

The tribe of Simeon was represented by Shelumiel ben Zurishaddai.

You may recognize the El in Shelumiel as “God.” You may also recognize the “i” as the personal possessive. From these two things alone, we can guess that the name is going to be “My shelum is God.” The word shelum is actually a derivative of the familiar Hebrew word shalom, meaning “peace.” Thus, when the Israelites arrive in the Promised Land, they will declare, “My peace is God!”

This is true of the Christian life in a spiritual sense as well.  When we are resting in God’s care, then God is our peace. The bumper-sticker theology that says “Know God, Know Peace—No God, No Peace” is accurate! God provides the peace that surpasses understanding when we know Him.

The name Zurishaddai introduces us to another familiar Hebrew word, shaddai. We most often see the word in the compound, Elshaddai.  The word means “Almighty” and Elshaddai means God Almighty. Again, remembering that the “i” is the personal possessive, we will expect that this name means “My Zur is Almighty.”  And Zur (or Tsur) means “rock” (remember Elizur of Reuben?).

In Egypt, Israel came to know that “My Rock is Almighty,” and in the Promised Land they would know “My peace is God.”

In His Grace,

Dr. Randy White

Wisdom from the Psalms 1/20

January 20

Psalms 9:9
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

Ellen lived in a tiny shack on the edge of a small backwater town. She no modern conveniences; no car, no electricity, no fancy clothing. She just lived a simple life, giving of herself to others, sharing what little she did have with anyone who needed it. Often people tried to help Ellen, but she just smiled and said she didn’t want for anything. When asked why she lived as she did, Ellen said, “God has made sure that I’ve had enough to get by on. I don’t need any more than that. He and I have a nice deal. When He needs me, He lets me know and shows me what I can do, and when I need Him, all I have to do is call. I’ve faced hard times, but the Lord has always given me strength and given me a place to run to.”
The Lord is our refuge and our strength. It takes a great deal of wisdom to realize that. Our lives are much more than possessions and positions. Our lives are gifts from God; given to us and to others for His glory. We need not ask what more God can do for us, but wh at we might do for God. He will surely let us know.
Prayer: Father, I sometimes need to escape: from the world, from myself, from the things that tie me down. Be my liberation and my sanctuary. Strengthen me for Your service. Amen.

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whatever you are...be a good one!!

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