A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children. Proverbs 13:22
Dr. Willis B. Dobson was a good man. He was also my (JCD’s) uncle. He earned his Ph.D. in Shakespearean English at the University of Texas and taught for more than forty years at a small Christian college. He worked for peanuts compared to what he could have earned at a state university, but he had other priori-ties than acquiring wealth. When his beloved wife succumbed to cancer, Uncle Willis rededicated his life to the service of others. At age seventy he began a taxi service for what he called “old people.” He set up a refreshment stand in front of his house for the trash collectors. One frigid night in December, Uncle Willis and his son, Bill, walked past a drunken man sitting on a curb. My uncle suddenly stopped, went back, and placed his overcoat around the man’s shoulders. “Why did you do that?” asked Bill. “That coat is brand-new.”
“Because,” Uncle Willis replied, “I have two coats and that man has none.”
Willis B. Dobson was simply following the command of his God (see Luke 3:11). He never received great acclaim for his selfless commitment to others, but he was remembered with deep affection by his family and was a role model for me. I hope I can leave that kind of legacy to my family.
Before you say good night…
Are you modeling an attitude of service to your kids?
What were your most selfless acts in the last week? In the last year?
How can you do more for others?
Dear Father, the months and years speed by so quickly. Help us to live purposefully, remembering that our legacy to our children has little to do with money—and everything to do with how we heed and obey Your Spirit. Amen.
Unity in Our God
We have a great High Priest who constantly intercedes on our behalf. The Son of God and Man loves you more deeply than you can fathom. He prays for you, that you might walk in the abundant life his death affords you. And in John 17 we get a glimpse into the fullness of his desire for all those who would believe in him. As we dive deeply into the riches of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer this week, may your heart be awakened and your life be transformed by the riches of God’s love.
Scripture:“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me,that they may be one, even as we are one.” John 17:10-11
We were created for unity with fellow believers. It’s in the pursuit of unity that the bonds of selfishness and pride are often broken. It’s in the surrender of opinion and selfish ambition that we find the abundant life that comes through sacrificial living. And most importantly, it’s in unity that Jesus is most glorified.
Jesus says in John 17:10-11, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.” Unity between two humans is only truly possible by the working of the Holy Spirit. Apart from God dwelling and transforming man, we will never be able to live sacrificially with any level of consistency. It’s for that reason that Jesus is so glorified through our unity. And it’s for that reason that pursuing unity between believers is of the utmost importance.
What are we declaring to the world when we bicker, slander, and give up on unity with fellow believers? Why would the lost want anything to do with a group of dramatic, hateful, judgmental, and selfish Christians? Christ has charged us with the command to be his hands and feet. He’s commanded us to make disciples. And our ministry is nothing without love. When we pursue our own pride and gain over unity, we are directly disobeying the commandments of Scripture. When we allow strife and pride to place barriers between us, we hurt the cause of Christ to which we are all called.
Scripture is clear in its command to pursue unity. Unity isn’t a suggestion that we don’t have to adhere to because people can be difficult. It’s a command straight from God, and it’s of the highest importance. Ephesians 4:1-3 says, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Romans 12:16 says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” And 2 Corinthians 13:11 says, “Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
You are called to be a carrier of peace. The Holy Spirit dwelling within you longs to make you a person who pursues restoration, comfort, agreement, and peace with fellow believers. He longs to fill you with love, honor, patience, and respect for the fellow believers he has placed in your midst. When you feel dissension arise within you, choose to serve your brother or sister out of reverence for God. Choose to pursue peace at all costs. And in doing so you will bring glory to Jesus and declare to the world the wonderful transformation that comes only through salvation in Jesus.
1. Meditate on the importance of unity in the body of believers.
“All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me,that they may be one, even as we are one.”John 17:10-11
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3
“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
2. What is keeping you from pursuing unity with believers around you? What thoughts or perspectives keep you from loving other Christians well? What work does the Spirit want to do in you today to help you pursue unity?
3. Surrender any pride or negativity that is keeping you from pursuing unity. Ask the Lord to give you the courage to fight for peace and choose a life of sacrifice rather than selfish ambition.
Loving others always has to start with you. You can’t expect others to change before you choose to love them. The Lord doesn’t call us to wait for others to get their lives sorted out before we pursue unity. He’s asking us to choose obedience to him by loving others even when they don’t deserve it. Choose love today and discover the abundant life and purpose within unity between believers.
Extended Reading: Ephesians 4
For more information on today’s devotional click here!
“The winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:25
Yesterday we talked about being committed to your partner for better and for worse. Another way to look at this issue was once related by the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer. He described the bridges that were built in Europe by the Romans in the first and second centuries A.D. The bridges still stand today, despite the unreinforced brick and mortar with which they were made, because they are used for nothing but foot traffic. If an eighteen‐wheel semi were driven across those historic structures, they would crumble in a cloud of dust and debris.
Marriages that lack an iron‐willed determination to hang together are like those Roman bridges. They appear to be secure and may indeed remain upright for many years—until they are put under heavy pressure. Then the supports split and the structure crumbles.
Is your marriage constructed to withstand unusual stress as well as normal wear? Take the time to install a proper foundation—the Lord Jesus Christ. Then build your relationship on habits and attitudes that will sustain it under heavy pressure.
Just between us…
Father, we turn to the unshakable truths of Your Word and the unfailing promise of Your presence to hold our marriage together. Thank You that we can live and love securely—even under stress—because You are in this marriage with us. Amen.