Black Spirituality Religion : Christian Devotionals

Matthew 5:
[46] For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
[47] And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?

Luke 6:
[32] For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
[33] And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

Vulnerable Strength
Suzie Eller
January 14, 2014

Do you meet aggression with aggression and call it strength? Sometimes I do and it leads me to a place I never intended.

Not long ago a friend told me someone had revealed her secret, and she wondered if I knew who it was. Though I told her no, she asked again. And yet again. Finally I realized she suspected I was the leak.

My first reaction was surprise, then frustration.

If you really knew me, you’d know I don’t tell secrets.

I didn’t do anything wrong.

I answered your question. Why are you still asking?

There were many things I could have done in that instant, but somehow proving I was right was more important. Though I didn’t raise my voice, it was clear in my stance and terse response that I was angry.

Moments later, the Holy Spirit began to show me the bigger picture. My friend’s questions were borne out of frustration and fear as the spilled secret could have created damage. Sadly, rather than have a conversation, I took a stand.

Often, our default in these types of situations is to defend ourselves by meeting aggression with aggression. To throw a punch when we feel punched, whether that is verbal or passive aggressive.

But is this really strength?

In Luke 6, Jesus is teaching the disciples a hard truth. Life is not always fair. You might be accused unjustly. You might take a punch that hurts. Someone may move from friend to frenemy and it won’t feel good.

It’s easy to respond in love in comfortable situations and with people who are kind. But what about the harder places? Jesus is showing the disciples that rather than aggression, there’s a vulnerable strength that can heal conflict and lead to resolution.

Vulnerable strength isn’t a verbal assault. You speak the truth in love, but you let it settle rather than hammer it in.

Vulnerable strength isn’t an emotional outburst, rather it’s working through misunderstanding.

Vulnerable strength isn’t one-sided, but it’s stepping into another person’s shoes for a moment to expand your understanding of the conflict.

But this is the hard part. You might still get punched verbally, and you might still be at odds. Vulnerable strength doesn’t guarantee a happy ending.

When aggression is met with aggression, there are bound to be casualties. Vulnerable strength reduces the potential for casualties and paves a path for resolution. And if not, then as Luke 6:35 says, “you will truly be acting as children of the Most High …” (NLT).

Wouldn’t it be unfortunate if we made it to the end of our lives and only loved those who loved us? What might we miss in those harder places of our faith?

As I changed my approach to vulnerable strength rather than aggression, my friend and I worked through that painful conversation. Thanks to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I have an opportunity to move the focus from what I think someone does wrong, to what I can do better.

Dear Lord, I have been focusing on what others said or did, instead of asking for Your insight. I have called aggression strength, whether it’s been passive, or lashing out, or shutting out. Today, may I love others who seem unlovable with vulnerable strength. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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A UPS driver delivers at least 400 packages a day.
By Dr. Melvin Banks September 8, 2014

The United Parcel Service takes pride in how well their drivers deliver parcels. To do it, they follow a regiment. The driver always makes right turns, steps from the truck with the right foot, carries parcels under the left arm, and walks three feet per second. Supervisors check them and enforce the rules. That regiment works for UPS. Sadly, people in some religions think they have to follow rigid rules to please their god. The Apostle Paul explained the difference Christ makes when people submit to Him. He contrasts God’s new covenant with the old one. Under the old covenant, people were to keep God’s moral law and when they failed, they had a guilty conscience and no real forgiveness for their failure. But under God’s new covenant that Christ set up by paying our sin debt on the cross, God pardons us when we trust in Him to save us. In 2 Corinthians Chapter 3, Paul said the new covenant is better because it comes from God’s Spirit. Under it, God acquits us instead of condemning us, forgives us when we repent; and places us into His family to become co-heirs with His Son. Our relationship with Him lasts forever because Jesus, who paid our sin debt, lives forever to intercede for us. Under the new covenant, we can enter God’s presence any time and enjoy a warm welcome. And these are just a few of the benefits of God’s New Covenant for all who accept His Son.
Bob Hoekstra :: Day By Day By Grace :: September 10th
Living According to God's Word
You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word.(Psalm 119:65)

David was a man who basically lived by grace (that is, by depending on the Lord to work in his life). Consequently, he trusted in the word of God ("the word of His grace"-Acts 20:32). David lived according to God's word. Psalm 119 bears substantial testimony of what can happen when one lives in this manner. "You have dealt well with Your servant, O LORD, according to Your word." The strategic phrase ("according to Your word") has two implications: living in line with God's word and living by the provisions of God's word. Therefore, those who live according to God's word not only find their direction in the Scriptures, they find resource there as well.

Many respected Bible teachers are convinced that David was the human instrumental author of Psalm 119. Whether this is true or not is incidental to our present meditation. In this majestic Psalm, the Holy Spirit (the ultimate author) depicts the all-inclusive nature of living according to the word.

Every person on earth begins life with a sin problem (guilty, condemned, alienated from God). If a person wants to have his life cleaned up spiritually, he must have that accomplished according to God's Word. "How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word" (Psalm 119:9). Anyone who will pay close attention to the message of the Scriptures will find therein God's provision of forgiveness and salvation. "Let Your mercies come also to me, O LORD-Your salvation according to Your word" (Psalm 119:41). God's merciful salvation (from sin and unto godliness) is enjoyed by those who call upon Him wholeheartedly, as declared in God's word. "Ientreated Your favor with my whole heart; Be merciful to me according to Your word"(Psalm 119:58).

Every person who has found new life through the Lord's merciful salvation needs revivingat times. When the difficulties of life seem to choke all spiritual vitality out of us, it is time to call upon the Lord and turn to His word. "I am afflicted very much; Revive me, O LORD,according to Your word" (Psalm 119:107). Sometimes, the battle is so intense that our inner man seems to be smashed face down in the dirt. Again, it is time to seek the Lord in His word. "My soul clings to the dust; Revive me according to Your word"(Psalm 119:25). Yes, in God's word, we find direction for our lives and replenishing of our lives.

Dear Lord of the Scriptures, I praise You for giving me new life according to Your word. Now, in the afflictions and battles that I face, I ask You to revive me according to Your word.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014

1 Corinthians 16:5-9

Uppermost in God’s thoughts is man’s salvation. He expects Christians to have the same mindset. We've been charged with advancing His kingdom by sharing the gospel and discipling others. As His servants, we’re to focus on His agenda, not preoccupy ourselves with earthly concerns (2 Tim. 2:4).

To achieve His plan, God will open doors of service for each of us—in local churches, neighborhoods, workplaces, or foreign lands. Our part is to watch for opportunities and be ready to take an active role. Spiritual preparation includes prayer and a daily quiet time, plus accountability with other believers. Whether God assigns us major tasks or smaller ones, we must be in position and all set to say yes. When we answer His call, we will discover He has equipped us with everything that we need to fulfill our mission (2 Pet. 1:3).

The most important work in our world is to help with the Father’s redemptive plan: He is rescuing people from the power of sin, adopting them into His family, and transforming them from rebellious, self-centered beings into reflections of His obedient and loving Son Jesus. Those of us who have been the beneficiaries of God’s saving work have an obligation to assist in His plan to rescue others. We have a responsibility to prepare ourselves—by surrendering our desires for His, committing to know Him better, and obeying His directions.

The Lord has prepared work for each of us to do (Eph. 2:10). How is He asking you to use your spiritual gifts and abilities to fulfill His plan?


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