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Love one another!

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring Jesus' life through the book of John. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpcdevo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

About the author: Ann Gamble and her husband, Jim, have been members of the ZPC community for 32 years. They are fortunate to have their daughter Jessica, her husband Jeremiah, and their four children living in Indianapolis. Ann is a past Deacon, sings in the choir, and is involved in Home Groups, Soul Sisters Bible Study, Great Banquet and 2nd Half Adventurers. 

Scripture: JOHN 19

Today’s devotional, Chapter 19 of the book of John, focuses on the agonizing story of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. But within this chapter of Jesus’ pain and darkness, verses 26-27 give us a picture of the loving son that Jesus is. When Jesus sees his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved (John), he said to her, ‘Dear woman, here is your son.’  And he said to this disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from then on this disciple took her into his home. (NLT)  Even in his brutal final moments, Jesus was concerned about someone caring for his mother and he took responsibility for making that happen. He was faithful to his family obligations and he calls us to do the same. Jesus entrusted his mother to John, a dear friend and one who stood by him at the cross, instead of one of his own brothers. Imagine how honored John must have felt to be Mary’s adopted son!

One of Jesus’ most well-known commandments tells us to Love each other (John 15:17 NLT).  As we all know, this isn’t always an easy task, especially with some of our family members. But as difficult as this may be, our families are gifts from God and we are called to love and care for them in all circumstances just as Jesus did. And, when God tells us to love one another, he is not just talking about our families. He wants us to show love, caring, and grace to everyone. 

During this Christmas season (or anytime really), there are things we can do to show kindness to others that do not take a lot of time or money: visit a shut-in; write someone a note telling them you are thinking of them; invite someone to church for a holiday event or service; offer to babysit; deliver treats; be friendly to a store worker…the possibilities are endless.

Jesus came into our world to be a light. It is our calling and privilege as Christians to keep that light burning in any way we can. Examine your heart. Listen to Jesus. Go out and be a light for him. 

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for sending your son to earth to be a light in our dark world. Thank you that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and by doing so, gave us eternal life. Help us to be a light for you always and especially in this season of Jesus’ birth.
In your name we pray, Amen.

Posted by Ann Gamble with

Let every heart prepare him room

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring Jesus' life through the book of John. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpcdevo to 39970. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

About the author: Merry Christmas! My name is Sarah LaPlante and I am married to Robert LaPlante. We became members of ZPC this past year. We have 3 daughters ages 4, 4, and 2 and we live in Westfield. I am a part-time ABA therapist for children on the autism spectrum and Robert is a Middle School Special Education teacher in Brownsburg. Thank you for being such a welcoming community for our family! 

Scripture: John 18:15-27 

Throughout the Christmas season, I often find myself getting distracted with the “hustle and bustle” of it all. Our December calendar quickly fills with events and activities and while our extra busyness is all in the name of Christmas, I notice how easily these distractions can deny our focus from Christ. We are living in a time where busyness is a badge of honor, social media is a tool to show a desirable life, and our material needs can be met as quickly as a press of a button from our Amazon list. We can swiftly deny ourselves true joy by clouding our everyday lives with distractions. 

In this passage, we read about how Peter denies Jesus 3 times. Peter, who was one of the closest humans to Jesus, invalidated his relationship with him. While we are not typically faced with a life or death situation as Peter was, how often do we deny the invitation to God’s love? Our distractions can sometimes lead us to denying Jesus with our thoughts, words, and actions. We can honor our relationship with Jesus this season by consciously inviting him in every circumstance: long lines at the stores, office Christmas parties, unexpected circumstances, etc. We choose to share light and love with those around us when we don’t deny ourselves a relationship with Jesus in every element of our lives.

Peter was motivated by fear to deny his relationship with Jesus. What are our motivations? Are they drawing us nearer to him or leading us astray? Every day, we face opportunities to honor our relationship with God. In this Advent season, we too can prepare room for Jesus in our thoughts, words, and actions.  

Activity:

I am a  “list maker, calendar keeping" kind of person. Next to each scheduled event we have this season, I write 1 word of how I can honor God. Think of upcoming plans. Write or reflect on a word you would like to exemplify and bring into that occasion. 

Prayer:

God, 
We thank you for this season of hope. We ask for guidance as we prepare room for you in every aspect of our lives. Let us not deny ourselves of the joy a relationship with you brings. 
Amen

 

Posted by Sarah LaPlante with

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