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In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

-Acts 20:35

Mail Call -  

This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder

 

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. —Proverbs 25:25

 

In March 1860, William H. Russell, an American transportation pioneer, advertised in newspapers as follows: "Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over 18. Must be expert riders willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred."

 

As one can assume from the above advertisement, working as a mail carrier for the United States Pony Express in the mid-1800s came with a fair share of danger. There was no guarantee of safety or even the guarantee of arrival at the designated post. However, for the one who dared risk his life, a reward awaited him. Not only was he paid a fair wage, he experienced the joy and anticipation of those receiving long awaited news from friends and family back East. In those days, communicating by mail over long distances contained risk – at least for the mail carrier!

 

In the present day of email, instant messaging, text messaging, and virtual conversations, communication is immediate, but there is another, real risk involved. The personal touch in communication is being lost. E-cards replace birthday cards, voicemail messages replace live conversation, abbreviations replace words, and our souls are quietly hungering for intimacy lost and a touch of humanity through person-to-person communication.

 

An old jingle gave this invitation: “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, Make this world a better place if you can.” Today, go the extra mile, so to speak, and talk to someone face to face. It will do the other person’s soul – as well as your own – some needed good.

 

GOING DEEPER:

Identify one person you will contact today with a personal note or phone call.

 

FURTHER READING:

Proverbs 12:25; 16:24; Ecclesiastes 12:11

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Make Me an Instrument -  

 

He said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." —Matthew 9:37

 

Francis of Assisi was a wealthy, highborn man who lived hundreds of years ago. He felt that his life was incomplete, and even though he had more than enough wealth, he was a very unhappy man. One day while he was out riding, he met a leper. The leper was loathsome and repulsive in the ugliness of his disease. Something moved Francis to dismount and fling his arms around this person. In the arms of Francis, the leper's face changed to the face of Christ. Francis was never the same again.

 

Francis of Assisi spent the rest of his life serving his Lord Jesus Christ. He wrote these famous words as a prayer to God from the heart of a man who had a deep desire to be an instrument of God's will on this earth:

 

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

 

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

 

where there is injury, pardon;

 

where there is doubt, faith;

 

where there is despair, hope;

 

where there is darkness, light;

 

and where there is sadness, joy.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. Matthew 9:37 tells us there are many people who still need to know the peace, love, faith, hope, light, and joy of Jesus Christ. Are you willing to put in the work necessary to tell these people about Jesus?

 

2. How does it make you feel to know that God wants to use you as an instrument of peace?

 

FURTHER READING:

John 4:35; Luke 10:2

Jim Burns is President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family @ Azusa Pacific University. Jim speaks to thousands of people around the world each year. He has over 1.5 million resources in print in over 25 languages. Jim’s radio broadcast is heard on over 800 stations a day and heard around the world via podcast at HomeWord.com. 

Some of his recent books include: Faith Conversations for Families; Teenology: The Art of Raising Great Teenagers, Closer: 52 Devotions to Draw Couples Together, Confident Parenting, The Purity Code and Creating an Intimate Marriage. Jim and his wife, Cathy and their three daughters Christy, Rebecca, and Heidi live in Southern California. 

More of Jim Burns: www.homeword.com

Loving Others: Not a Role, But A Lifestyle -  

This devotional was written by Jim Liebelt

“A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”  - John 13:34

I saw a church advertisement in a newspaper that read something like the following:

First Church

“God’s Love Offered Here”

One Sunday Only, June 12

Special Musical Guest…

Reading this, I laughed out loud. My mind had put the second and third lines together instead of the first two lines, creating “God’s Love Offered Here – One Sunday Only, June 12.”  I’m sure the church didn’t intend for anyone to walk away with the message that they would only offer God’s love on one special Sunday, but that’s what I came away with! Still, reflecting further on the ad, it occurred to me that withholding God’s love from others is all too common for us, who consider ourselves to be followers of Christ.

If you are at all like me, it seems far too easy to compartmentalize our lives into the different roles we play: employee, student, father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, consumer, teammate, neighbor, Christian.

 

Do any of the following sound familiar?

 

• On Sundays, many families who have been arguing all morning arrive at church, put on their smiles and turn on their best behavior – because it’s SUNDAY – where everyone is supposed to act happy and show that they’re filled with God’s love.

 

• On Mondays, many students who have spent hours with fellow Christians over the weekend in their youth groups, performing service projects, and participating in church services arrive at school and instantly transform into their school personality – where they turn selfish and unloving, picking on or ignoring the “un-cool” kids around them.

 

• Throughout the week, millions of Christ followers won’t utter a single word to their next door neighbors – not because they won’t see their neighbors – but because it’s too inconvenient, or the neighbors seem strange, or they don’t take any initiative to get to know “us.”

 

Jesus didn’t call his followers to play a role on Sundays or to love others when it is convenient. His own example shows us time and again that love is a lifestyle to be lived 24/7. He took time out from his teaching to reach out and heal a crippled woman. He singled out a despised tax collector from the crowds to build a relationship with Him. And ultimately, He suffered a criminal’s death to offer forgiveness of sins to each one of us.  No, Jesus does not call us to play an occasional loving role, but rather He calls us to live a lifestyle of love. Today, may you take up the challenge to love at all times.

 

Going Deeper:

1. Do the people in your world see you as loving? What would your family say? What would your coworkers say? What would your neighbors say?

 

2. What action steps can you take this week to intentionally demonstrate God’s love at work in your life?

 

Further Reading:

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

Looking Toward the Son -  

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

 

Jesus answered, “I am the way and truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” —John 14:6

 

Isn’t it amazing how sunflowers follow the sun? This phenomenon is a result of the sunflower being a phototropic plant. Meaning the sunflower follows the movement of the sun from east in the morning to west in the afternoon. The flower constantly looks towards and depends on the bright, radiant sun for life.

 

The Christian life should be like the sunflower. We should have our eyes focused on Jesus. It is when we aren’t dependent on our maker or when we get caught in the shadows of sin that we, like the sunflower, fade. The sun does not move in the sky. It is the world that rotates and moves. In your life, no matter how the world changes keep your eyes focused on what is constant - Christ.

 

We must always keep our eyes on the Son, our source of life.

 

GOING DEEPER:

1. What does it mean that Jesus is your “source of life”?

 

2. With so much change in this world, why is it so important to keep your eyes focused on Jesus?

 

FURTHER READING:

Philippians 2:3-11; Hebrews 12:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

This devotional originally appeared in “HomeWord with Jim Burns” on Crosswalk’s Family Devotional section. For more information about HomeWord with Jim Burns devotionals, please visit us online.

More of HomeWord with Jim Burns: http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/homeword/

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