Daily Bread April 23

Share the Love of Jesus Christ
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA

I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love…  -Hosea 11:4

A routine, annual neighborhood meeting quickly turned disastrous when a loud voice challenged the leaders. Attempts to bring calm were drowned out. Many in the room sat in stunned silence as, one by one, board members rose from their seats and left, followed by the association manager. Sad, confused people who had come intending to do the necessary business that evening slowly vacated the building. Some quietly whispered they would not come again. Outside, a few continued spewing their negative comments saying they would “run” the meeting next time (an impossibility without proper voting). Over the next days and weeks, they became more resolute in their destructive comments as they looked forward to the next meeting where they planned to “rule.” Others turned to prayer.

When a sickness seems set in concrete, our challenge is to stir up healing. Our world is full of negatives, not just in neighborhood board meetings, but sometimes sadly in our congregations. We tend to focus on what’s wrong with individuals, or our world, rather than center our attention on what we can do to promote Jesus. There have been able ministers whose ministry was cut short because of darts aimed against them. There have been those who might have been a part of this body, but they heard not the love of Christ, or peace and joy. Instead, their ears were subjected to other matters loudly proclaimed, which seemed dearer in the hearts of God’s witnesses than the gospel. I have tried and sometimes failed miserably to practice my mother’s teaching, “If you can\’t say something nice, don\’t say it at all.” But I keep trying. Psalm 19:14 says, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O, Lord.”

Individuals loved and respected may lose favor as they loudly proclaim their destructive views in one form or another. No matter our present positions, it is more important to communicate in word and deed the love of Jesus. He brought to a standstill those with rocks in their hands, poised to kill a lone figure on the ground. He quieted the twelve when their contentions were less than honorable. When Jesus saw cultural, political, or societal inhumanity, he raised people to a higher level of understanding by offering them joy, hope, and peace if they would but follow His way of love.

I will never forget the good counsel that came to us many years ago: “Speak the love of Jesus Christ and you will never go wrong.”

Prayer Phrase

Are we moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One?

Spiritual Practice

Moving Toward the Peaceful One

As Jesus was nearing the final days of his life, he wept over the city and proclaimed, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” (Luke 19:41-42).What are the things that make for peace in our lives, communities, and around the world? As we move through the Easter season, spend time in silent refection or journaling each day to notice: Am I moving toward Jesus, the peaceful One? Pay attention to your attitudes, actions, and relationships this day. When did you most embody the peaceful One in your daily living? When were your thoughts or actions contrary to the peace of Jesus Christ? How might Jesus, the peaceful One, who is always near to you, be inviting you to draw nearer to him through your daily living?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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