Today we start the first full week of our Lenten observation, Love Actually. My kids asked me this weekend, “Dad, have you seen that movie?” I admitted I have not. Apparently, there are some scenes and themes that I might not approve of. 🤭 Well, the devil had the name long enough. It’s time for us to use it. 😂😂
Remember what we are doing.
- time in the Word. Everyday this week we read Psalm 25. Read Proverbs 22 today. Ask God to reveal some word of wisdom just for you today. And, read John 13:1-20 today.
- time in His Presence. Spend 12 minutes today in prayer. Use the Lord’s Prayer as an outline. 6 parts, 2 minutes each, 12 minutes. We will expand on that in next week.
- time FOR His people. Do something small, and perhaps anonymous, for one person today. Send an encouraging text, pay for a cup of coffee, hold open a door. I’m going to mention that in a minute.
- Start thinking about a small project you could do for your church over the next 6 weeks. God loves His Church. And a small project for the environment, like pick up trash at the local park. God loves His creation. We have time to think about that.
Now for a quick thought. There are three categories of people in the world; people we know and love, or at least like, people that we don’t know, and people that we know and don’t like, maybe because they wounded us in some way, real or imagined. Here’s the hard part of that, Jesus tells us to love all three categories. In the words of the great theologian, John MacEnroe, “You cannot be serious!”
He tells us to love our brothers, (Hear that Chonda?) Love our wives and husbands. Love our children. Love other Christians. Okay, I may forget but at least I can see the point.
Then He tells us to love the people we don’t even know. The beautiful parable of the Good Samaritan is about being kind to strangers. I was taught as a kid to pray for all the children in Africa and China. (I guess the ones in Spain and Greenland, we didn’t care about.)
But the hardest part is to love our enemies, those people that have done us wrong. That is a whole different level of love and honestly, it just seems beyond me. But in John 13, Jesus gives a physical illustration that blows my mind. In verse 2, John drops this little bombshell on us, “The devil had already put it in Judas’s heart to betray Jesus.” Then in verses 4 and 5, “So, He (Jesus) got up from the table, took off His robe, wrapped a towel around His waist, and poured water into a basin. Then He began to wash the disciples feet.” ALL OF THE DISCIPLES. Even Judas that we just found out was going to betray Jesus. And just in case there’s any question, John says in verse 11, “Jesus knew who was going to betray Him.”
One of our disciplines during this 40 Days is to do an anonymous act of kindness each day. I can think of a thousand things to do for my bride, my kids, my staff at Branches. I can even come up with a few cool things to do for perfect strangers. But do something kind for someone who has hurt me in the past? And do it anonymously so I don’t even have the “heaping coals of fire on their head” benefit? Say it again Johnny Mac, “You cannot be serious!” Oh, but I am. Better yet, He is. I challenge you this week to Love Actually.
Scripture for this week:
Read Psalm 25 Monday through Saturday Read the Proverb Chapter of the day, (on the 22nd, read 22, on the 23rd read 23, etc).
Each day, Monday—John 13:1-20, Tuesday—Matthew 10:16-42, Wednesday—John 15:12-27, Thursday—Acts 6:8-15, Friday—James 1:2-18, Saturday—1 Peter 4:12-19
watch for the video today on How to Read Your Bible.
if you haven’t yet, would you subscribe to this blog? That way you get the notices automatically in the mail.
final thing, this Wednesday the latest episode of our podcast drops, What Difference Does That Make?
Excellent…and your sermon last week was point on!