Discrimination in the Church

As people we have many beautiful differences, some of which are race, role, and gender. These differences have been ordained by God for His glory and for our good. Together, they form a more complete and intricate reflection of God and are a witness of His love and beauty to the world. Though there are ways in which we are different, in the body of Christ we are one (1 Corinthians 12:27, Romans 12:5, Galatians 3:28). Our differences, no matter what they may be, do not change our value or importance to God and should not change our value or importance to each other or ourselves. It is because of the great value that God places on us that he intricately wove us together our in mother’s womb with those things that make us different from one another. It is his handiwork and creativity on display through us.

Sadly we have allowed the world, the enemy, and our sin to turn blessings from God into things that divide us or are used as a reason to mistreat one another. What should be a cause for celebration and a more full expression of worship to our God is hijacked for a host of reasons.

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Daily Devotion: Pray Expectantly in the Presence of the Lord

“Listen to my words, Lord,
    consider my lament.
Hear my cry for help,
    my King and my God,
    for to you I pray.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness;
    with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
    in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
     you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
    you, Lord, detest.
But I, by your great love,
    can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
    toward your holy temple.” – Psalm 5:1-7

It is said often and with good reason, that David–the writer of this psalm and many others–was very imperfect. Despite his failings, he has strong words for wrong doers saying that they “are not welcome” and “cannot stand in [God’s] presence”.

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Daily Devotion: When we don’t understand

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’

Jesus replied, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’

‘No,’ said Peter, ‘you shall never wash my feet.’

Jesus answered, ‘Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.’

‘Then, Lord,’ Simon Peter replied, ‘not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!’

Jesus answered, ‘Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.’ For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” – John 13:3-17

The lesson and imagery of Jesus, the Son of God, washing His disciples feet as a servant is immensely powerful. In the midst of this example and teaching moment, Jesus utters a phrase that is especially worth hanging onto when we don’t understand what may be going on in lives.

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Daily Devotion: What truly brings Peace

During the Triumphal entry, this scene occurs when Jesus sees the city.

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” – Luke 19:41-44

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Daily Devotion: The Sign of Jonah

As the crowds increased, Jesus said, ‘This is a wicked generation. It asks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also will the Son of Man be to this generation. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom; and now something greater than Solomon is here. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and now something greater than Jonah is here. – Luke 11:29-32

The sign of Jonah refers to the connection between the three days Jonah was was in the belly of the great fish and the three days Jesus would be in the tomb before He rose from the dead.

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Daily Devotion: Shameless Audacity

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’

‘He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

‘Father,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
And lead us not into temptation.

Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.

‘So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:1-13

When the disciples ask Jesus how to pray, He gives them a word-for-word example to use, then He tells them a story, and finally He finishes with analogy and examples.

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Daily Devotion: Fear not

“Fear not, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10-11

Scripture is filled with the command to God’s people not to be afraid. It may be phrased in different ways and the reasons given why we are not to fear may be slightly different, but the message is the same. 

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