Easter Devotion -April 19

PAUL CALLS FOR UNITY, ENCOURAGEMENT IN FAITH
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
“But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith
and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation
through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we
are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore
encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you
are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11
It seems that divisiveness is an overused but fairly accurate term to
describe us lately. We can focus on all that divides us, all that makes us
different: race, denomination, favorite sports teams, music or political
preferences, and the list continues. Does what makes us different have to
divide us? But unity in Spirit doesn’t necessarily mean uniformity, does it?
There are things that will divide us, even our faith. Any time the Gospel is
presented, or the truth about Jesus Christ is given, there could be division.
Light exposes darkness. But there is also a supernatural bond that unifies
believers beyond all human understanding. Paul’s words in this passage,
“we belong…together with him… encourage one another,” sharpens our
focus. We are united with our fellow believers from Paul, and beyond, to
the person we’ll run into at the grocery store, work, or school function that
when (or if) we are brave and bold enough to open our mouths and share
our faith, we may experience this indescribable bond immediately. We may
also experience rejection. Jesus knows this and prayed for his disciples and
for all believers in John 17: 20-21:
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in
me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you
are in me and I am in you.”
THE PRAYER: Dearest Jesus, What words can truly give you thanks for
taking my wrath? Control my thoughts, words, and actions, as I cover
myself daily with your sacrificial gifts of faith, love and certain hope. May I
only build and encourage, for apart from you, I can do nothing. Amen.
THE AUTHOR: Lisa Schmelder, just another branch on His vine praying to
bear good fruit.