Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of LivingFree.org

Friday, January 11, 2013

Today's Scripture
"And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Romans 15:4-6 NLT

Thoughts for Today
As God teaches each of us patience and encourages us, helping us live in harmony with one another, let's find practical steps we can take as a church or group to build visible togetherness among one another. Here are just a few ideas to consider . . .

  • Create a way for members to share common experiences one with another. Volunteer to facilitate a Living Free group. Or perhaps an informal fellowship time at lunch or dinner (maybe even a breakfast group!). A campus group or a home Bible study. Provide a safe atmosphere for people to discuss their challenges, fears, needs, what they are learning, praises, and more.
     
  • Create a mechanism for knowing one another's needs and concrete ways of meeting those needs. One possibility would be a phone chain in which each member calls another member to "check in" and see how he or she is doing. If a need is expressed, the caller can notify other group members to help meet the need.
  • Create opportunities for group members to spend time with one another both in worship and fellowship - perhaps a small group fellowship time or telephone conference prayer time once a month.

Possibilities are endless.

Consider this …
Don't just wait for someone else to develop ways to help build unity and support in a group of believers. Pray about what God wants you to do. As your church or ministry group follows the example of the early church, growing in unity and loving support, you can experience the same results they did: souls added to the Kingdom.

Our world is in chaos. Many people are frightened. Multitudes are suffering financially. Around the world believers are being persecuted. From day to day we wonder what horrific headlines we will read in the news. But as we band together in unity, sharing Christ's love with one another, troubled people will be drawn to the love and peace they sense in us - and will find the unconditional love and saving power of Jesus.

Prayer
Father, show me what you want me to do. What action I should take. I truly want to make a difference - an eternal difference. Help me grow in love and step out in faith. In Jesus' name . . .

These thoughts were drawn from …



One Nation Under God: Toward Race Reconciliation
by Donna Saunders, Ph.D. and Jean Leak, MS, RN. This study discusses barriers between people and shows how to make Christ visible through love in action. This guide also offers the way to strengthen and bond relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website. Thank you!


 

 
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©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of LivingFree.org

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today's Scripture
"But concerning brotherly love [for all other Christians], you have no need to have anyone write you, for you yourselves have been [personally] taught by God to love one another." 1 Thessalonians 4:9 AMP

Thoughts for Today
God calls us to love one another. He has taught each of us this truth. His Word tells us many ways to show love - "one-another" scriptures. Today let's look at just a few of those (all taken from the New Living Translation).

Serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. (Ephesians 4:2)

Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

So encourage each other and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. (1 Thessalonians 5:15)

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)

Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. (James 5:9)

Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another. (Galatians 5:26)

Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10)

Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory. (Romans 15:7)

Share each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16)

Consider this …
Prayerfully consider these scriptures and any other "one-another" scriptures that come to your mind. Ask God to show you areas he wants you to work on. And then write down at last one step you will take this week to show love to someone - his kind of love.

Prayer
Father, thank you for showing me areas in my life where I need to grow in love. Help me take the needed steps. In Jesus' name . . .

These thoughts were drawn from …



One Nation Under God: Toward Race Reconciliation
by Donna Saunders, Ph.D. and Jean Leak, MS, RN. This study discusses barriers between people and shows how to make Christ visible through love in action. This guide also offers the way to strengthen and bond relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website. Thank you!


 

 
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©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of LivingFree.org

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Today's Scripture
"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Galatians 3:28 NIV

Thoughts for Today
Yesterday we looked at Jesus' prayer for his followers to be one as he and the Father are one. In today's scripture the apostle Paul talks more about that unity. He makes it clear that in the body of believers no distinction is made because of race, social standing, or gender - that we "are all one in Christ Jesus."

Complete unity means all parts, though differing in background, function, and appearance, act as one unit. As a body of believers, we act as one unit in making Christ visible to the world.

Is that what we are doing? Does the world look at us and see loving unity? Or do they see jealousy, competition, gossip, backbiting, bickering . . . and more.

Consider this …
Denominational differences can tear us apart. The Pharisees and Sadducees fought about doctrine. Doctrine they developed. Rules. Traditions. They cared much more about power and about being "right" than about love. Love for God. Love for one another. Love for others. Are we doing the same thing? The gospel is vital. We cannot compromise on that. But what about all these other dos and don'ts we have developed. The differing interpretations of isolated scriptures? Can't we agree to differ on that and focus on the gospel?

Sometimes ministries compete with one another instead of working together to accomplish God's plan.

And personal differences. "Sharing" prayer requests can become a veil for gossip. Personality conflicts or pride issues lead to bickering and unforgiveness. Racial or social distinctions separate us.

How do we change? How do we unify? How do we become one? By allowing the Holy Spirit to unite us in heart, in mind, in spirit, and in motivation. Otherwise, we will never succeed in overcoming our differences.

Prayer
Lord, forgive me for being motivated by pride, unforgiveness, and prejudices. Help me remember that Christ calls us to be one in him. Help me be sensitive and obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and become part of the solution instead of part of the problem. In Jesus' name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …



One Nation Under God: Toward Race Reconciliation
by Donna Saunders, Ph.D. and Jean Leak, MS, RN. This study discusses barriers between people and shows how to make Christ visible through love in action. This guide also offers the way to strengthen and bond relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website. Thank you!


 

 
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©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of LivingFree.org

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Today's Scripture
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:35 NIV

Thoughts for Today
Christ calls us as his followers to be one in unity. Our unity is made visible to the world by the love we show for one another.

We read in Acts 2 how the early church showed remarkable unity. All the believers were together and shared what they had with one another. They took care of one another's needs and spent time together in worship and in fellowship. They ate together in one another's homes.

And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity — all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. (Acts 2:44-47 NLT)

The result of this loving unity? "Each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved."

Consider this …
Each day people were being saved! Not once a month or every few weeks. Daily! Why do you suppose the love these believers had for one another convinced the world around them to believe in Jesus and become a part of his body?

Nowhere on earth - in the past or the present - do people see this kind of love among people of different backgrounds. Such loving treatment among such a diverse and large group of people can only happen by supernatural means. Jesus living inside each believer causing them all to love and take care of one another. Consequently, the world around these early believers became convinced that the Christ about whom they testified was alive and real.

The same principles apply today. Unconditional love is attractive to a world that is lonely and filled with despair. Are we willing to set aside our differences to help one another and demonstrate unconditional love to the world? Are we willing to let them see Jesus in us?

Prayer
Father, help me live in such a way that others can see the love of Jesus in me. Help me to love others unconditionally. In Jesus' name . . .

These thoughts were drawn from …



One Nation Under God: Toward Race Reconciliation
by Donna Saunders, Ph.D. and Jean Leak, MS, RN. This study discusses barriers between people and shows how to make Christ visible through love in action. This guide also offers the way to strengthen and bond relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website. Thank you!


 

 
Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Living Free Every Day®
A ministry of LivingFree.org

Monday, January 7, 2013

Today's Scripture
"I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one." John 17:11 NIV

Thoughts for Today
In one of his final prayers before going to the cross, Jesus prayed that his followers would be one just as he and the Father are one.

As one as two entities can be, Jesus does, thinks, and feels everything the Father does. Electricity and light provide a picture of oneness. When you turn the electric switch on, the bulb is lit; when you turn the switch off, the light goes off. Let the electric switch represent the Father and the light in the bulb represent Jesus. These two entities work so closely together we can't tell where the electricity stops and the light begins. Lighting a room is possible because electricity and light act as one. Jesus prayed that we as believers would experience that kind of oneness.

Consider this …
We sometimes allow our preferences, likes, and dislikes to hinder oneness with other believers. Personality conflicts. Denominational differences. Racial prejudices. Cultural disparity. But Jesus wants us to put all that aside. To become one, putting him and his plan first in our lives. Allowing others to sense Jesus' love by viewing our love for one another.

As we view the world in conflict, the moral decline taking place, the growing intensity of natural disasters, we sense the stage being set for the last days. We need one another. To stand against adversity. To help one another through challenging times. And to reach out to a hurting world with the love of Jesus.

Are you willing to put personal differences aside as together we step out to do what God has called us to do? To be one as Jesus and the Father are one? To put love in action - together?

Prayer
Father, I know I sometimes get sidetracked by focusing on differences between me and some of my fellow believers instead of letting the barriers fall so we can become one in serving you. Please forgive me. Help me to remove every barrier that would hinder me from joining with others to become all you want us to be and doing what you have called us to do. In Jesus' name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …



One Nation Under God: Toward Race Reconciliation
by Donna Saunders, Ph.D. and Jean Leak, MS, RN. This study discusses barriers between people and shows how to make Christ visible through love in action. This guide also offers the way to strengthen and bond relationships. Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.


We hope these devotions are a blessing to you and to others in your life. We are happy to provide them for you at no cost, but thought you might want to consider a donation to help our ministry with the expense involved. You can safely donate through our website. Thank you!


 

 
Living Free Facebook Community
Visit us on Facebook!


©Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day® devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN, www.LivingFree.org. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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