Filtering by: Daily Devotions for RCL
Sep
17
12:00 AM00:00

1 Corinthians 2:6-16, The True Wisdom of God

Key Verse

But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
— 1 Corinthians 2:7

RCL Daily Devotion for Day, Date

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Skyler was a great fisherman even though he was still young. He had a good teacher. Skyler had been fishing with his father since the time he could walk. Books, the internet and videos were also tools that Skyler used to develop his fishing technique, but there was more. Skyler had a gift for fishing. He understood the fish. It was something that could not be gleaned from a book or even from watching a demonstration.

As disciples of Jesus we have many tools that can help us in our Biblical knowledge and theological understanding. The life of faith, though, is more than reading, listening and small group discussion. The Holy Spirit is present in our lives. It is the Spirit’s presence in our lives that enables us to grow in our faith, deepen our commitment, expand our love and sharpen our insight.

The Spirit is God’s gift to us. The Spirit is God’s presence in our lives and it is through the Spirit that we experience God’s power. There’s more to the Spirit’s work, though. The Lord wants us to experience the fullness of an abundant life that comes through a relationship with God. The Spirit moves within us so that we experience such a life.

How does the Spirit move in you?

 

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1 Cor. 2:6-16

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Sep
16
12:00 AM00:00

Jeremiah 8:18-9:3, Mourning for the People

Key Verse

O that my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of my poor people!
— Jeremiah 9:1

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, September 16, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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What a passionate God we have! Growing up I learned of a God that was loving, but in a cool, calm, emotionless way. It’s hard to connect with a God that takes everything in stride, that shows no emotion, that stands above the passion experienced by human beings.

But these words come from a God that is crazy sick with love. God loves so very deeply, that when people betray God, it burns God’s heart. God weeps “a fountain of tears” for God’s people. We are God’s people, too.

For us, God’s heart burns with fiery passion. God weeps fountains when we walk away from God. This is a God that is willing to feel deeply, even when the feeling is grief. Because the flip side of grief is a love so deep, it brings a joy that nothing else can produce. God loves us with fire and frenzy, and God will never love any less.

May I never forget that you love me fiercely, O God! Amen.

 

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Jeremiah 8:18 - 9:3

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Sep
15
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 15:1-10, True Welcome

Key Verse

And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
— Luke 15:2

RCL Daily Devotion for Day, Date

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: God welcomes every single one of God’s children into God’s kingdom; none is more valuable than another.

The Pharisees were angry with Jesus for eating, speaking, and working with “sinners.” But we learn that God does not see “sinners” and “saints.” To God, all people are worthy of God’s time. It is not enough that God welcomes in most of God’s children. God wants us all. Every. Single. One.

I have family and friends in California, where the state is quickly becoming more of a Spanish-speaking state than English. The transition makes me want to learn Spanish, so I can become even more involved with the cultures of the world that are coming to my doorstep. I have friends, however, that find the transition a nuisance. “If they (“us and them” language? Really?) come to America, they should learn to speak English. If they want to speak Spanish, they should stay in Mexico.” What a sad, self- centered, ignorant, and divisive attitude! If we listened to Jesus, we might see that the strength of an emerging culture isn’t in its homogeneity, but in its diversity. Instead of expecting “outsiders” to conform, we can blossom as human beings if we receive with open arms and open hearts the diverse gifts that others bring. That is how cultures survive and thrive.

May I be a candle in the night when it comes to welcome, O God. Amen.

 

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Ephesians 5:6-20

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Sep
14
12:00 AM00:00

John 10:11-21, Folded In

Key Verse

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
— John 10:16

RCL Daily Devotion for Saturday, September 14, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

God is not exclusive. There is no in-crowd, no elite. No one person is above or below anyone else, and everyone, and I mean everyone is welcome in God’s family. Jesus called his disciples to go out beyond the confines of Israel and share the good news with people far and wide, and there were no criteria for who was worthy to receive God’s redemption and grace.

Growing up, I was never part of the in-crowd. I just wasn’t cool enough. I was bookish, not athletic, socially awkward, and I couldn’t dance. I mean at all. But in my church family, I was just that: family. Loved unconditionally for who I was no matter what.

This is the beloved community, the body of Christ, in which all are welcome. There is one flock, one shepherd, and everyone is equally cool in God’s eyes.

How can I extend God’s welcome to someone who isn’t like me?

 

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John 10:11-21

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Sep
13
12:00 AM00:00

Jeremiah 4:1-10, Gloom and Doom

Key Verse

If you return, O Israel, says the Lord, if you return to me, if you remove your abominations from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives!’ in truth, in justice, and in uprightness, then nations shall be blessed by him, and by him they shall boast.
— Jeremiah 4:1-2

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday, September 13, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Jeremiah is a tough book to read. It’s chock full of dire warnings and condemnations against Israel for having fallen so far away from God. Verse after verse, page after page of predictions of disaster, bloodshed, total destruction, and all brought on by the people’s corruption.

Now and then there are words of promise, reminders that it’s not too late, that God forgives and restores and that disaster isn’t unavoidable if only the people will change!
Honestly, it’s hard for me to see what’s happening in the world and not fall into a Jeremiah-like despair. I need a word of promise, a word of hope that change is possible. It begins if I only return to God, re-center myself in what it is that God is calling me to do. I can begin by changing myself, and ask for the courage to work toward changing systems that harm others.

Have I wandered from God’s call? How can I begin to change?

 

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Jeremiah 4:1-10

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Sep
12
12:00 AM00:00

Psalm 14, Righteous Refuge

Key Verse

You would confound the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
— Psalm 14:6

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, September 12, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

God is not happy with God’s people in this Psalm. In looking down on them, God finds not one who does good. Not one. Yikes.

Yet God still has compassion for those without power. God seems far more angry with those who are calling the shots, who “eat up my people as they eat bread,” or who “confound the plans of the poor.” To me, that means those of us with privilege, who live comfortably in ignorance while many around us suffer want.

God is the refuge of those who are oppressed, and those who know and love God are called to extend that refuge in loving action.

Gracious God, call me to be the hands and feet of Christ in a suffering world. Amen.

 

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Psalm 14

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Sep
11
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 18:18-30, Rich Ruler (Q & A)

Key Verse

A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
— Luke 18:18

RCL Daily Devotion for Wednesday, September 11, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Question: What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Answer: Nothing. You can't.
Question: But aren't I a good person?
Answer: Even if you follow all the laws and rules, give away everything you own, and live as perfectly as is humanly possible, you will still fail to earn it.
Question: So, how do I earn it?
Answer: You don't. It's a gift. Impossible for you to earn. Only God's to give.
Question: So, why be good?
Answer: Goodness fosters goodness. Positivity fosters positivity. Be good because it's good to do so.

Accept the gift of eternal life because God offers it freely.

 

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Luke 18:18-30

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Sep
10
12:00 AM00:00

Psalm 2, Follow the Leader?

Key Verse

Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain?
— Psalm 2:1

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, September 10, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Whether you are politically conservative or liberal, I think you will agree that the American presidential election of 2016 was the most divisive in modern history. President Trump stirred up in people a vast range of emotions from hatred and fear to hope and trust. Whether you are a Trump supporter or not, it is clear to me that the election glaringly showed a desperate need for someone to follow -- a deep longing for a leader we can place our trust in.

I think our longing will never be satisfied as long as we are placing our trust in people. People are fallible. People are flawed. People will fail us. Maybe it is time to shift our allegiance from people to God.

What might this world look like if we placed our trust and faith in a God who does, in fact, lead?

What if we followed a leader (God) that is fiercely loyal, who loves radically, and who takes risks for the sake of justice?

 

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Psalm 2

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Sep
9
12:00 AM00:00

1 Timothy 3:14-4:5, Mysteries and Wanderings

Key Verse

Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great: He was revealed in flesh, vindicated in spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among Gentiles, believed in throughout the world, taken up in glory.
— 1 Tim. 3:16

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, September 9, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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“Mystery” is a big theme in the New Testament. It’s because in the early church the people dealt with competing religions and everyone was trying to figure out what it meant to be “Christian.” In fact, the term itself “Christian” wouldn’t be used for centuries. Most people who followed Christ stated they were a part of the Way.

Mystery religions were the dominant form of “alternative” religions in the first few centuries after Jesus’ death and resurrection. We can see in many New Testament writings that the writers used some of the same vocabulary as the competitive religions at the time. It’s not surprising—any organization wanting dominance over the others will frequently co-opt the language from the competing groups.

So what we see from today’s reading is that Christians were trying to figure out who they were and how they were different from others. In many ways, we would do well to continually ask ourselves the same questions those people of old were asking.

Who are we?

Whose are we?

What is life about?

How does the Infinite One fit in?

It’s okay to redefine your beliefs. They do not have to be static or crystallized in a certain form. And you can even make mistakes you look back on and say, “Whoa! I believed that?”

The permission-giving nature of our faith dictates that we can dwell in the mystery and search. It’s all right and so are you.

God, may I forever be questioning and living in relationship with you. Amen.

 

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1 Timothy 3:14-4:5

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Sep
8
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 14:25-33, Preparation for God's Work

Key Verse

Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’
— Luke 14:27-30

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, September 8, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: Jesus asks that we fully prepare ourselves for the ministry he has laid out for each of us.

Jesus was traveling the countryside preaching, teaching, healing, performing miracles, and casting out demons. But he did none of it until he had fully prepared himself for the task of ministry. He started his ministry with baptism, followed by 40 days of fasting, self-reflection, and temptations in the wilderness. Only after he had fully prepared his body, mind, and spirit, did he embark on his 3-year earthly ministry.

Jesus knew he was asking his followers to embark on a difficult journey. He warned them to be prepared in body, mind, and spirit for the task ahead. His words, though, sounded harsh and cold. “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

This is not about hating people. This is about taking an inventory of your gifts and challenges, so you know whether or not you are prepared to embark on the journey God has laid out for you. God’s work can be hard. Maybe the work God has called you to do requires patience and inner strength. Maybe it requires time and money. Maybe it requires humility or self-awareness. Before you accept the challenge, it might be prudent to take a self-inventory. Do you have what you need? Are you prepared for the task? Maybe you need to do some work before you have all that you need. What could you do to move yourself closer to doing God’s work?

Incidentally, you will never be completely prepared for every contingency. At some point you have to accept that you’re as ready as you can be, and jump in despite the bumps and bruises that you will get on the journey. It’s ok. Just go.

You’ll get what you need when you need it.

 

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Luke 14:25-33

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Sep
7
12:00 AM00:00

Matthew 10:34-42, Welcome Wagon

Key Verse

Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
— Matthew 10:40

RCL Daily Devotion for Saturday, September 7, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

This is part of a really tough passage. In it, Jesus warns us that following him is going to prove divisive in our lives. We’re called to go against the established order, the ingrained culture, and it’s going to ruffle feathers.

I don’t love conflict, and I grew up quite the adept people-pleaser. I am learning as I get older that this isn’t helpful to anyone, least of all those of my neighbors who suffer oppression, which is a lot of them. If I’m going to serve and follow Jesus and work for justice, I’m going to have to be willing to be uncomfortable, and even disliked.

There are words of encouragement here. Words of welcome. There is a community for us, a community of those who welcome one another, and by doing so welcome Jesus to be among us, leading us in love and hope into the work of justice in the world.

Lord Christ, may I always welcome others in your name. Amen.

 

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Matthew 10:34-42

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Sep
6
12:00 AM00:00

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18, Wonderful Works

Key Verse

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.
— Psalm 139:14

RCL Daily Devotion for Friday, September 6, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

What a beautiful psalm! A song of praise to our God who made us and knows us intimately, knows our thoughts and the desires of our hearts.

Wonderful are God’s works; this we know very well. I am reminded daily of the incredible beauty of God’s creation, in the singing of a bird, the blooming of a flower, the laughter of a child. In times of uncertainty, it is a great comfort to remember that God has known me from the beginning of my being and is with me in all things, surrounding me with evidence of God’s love in all of creation.

Where do I see God’s wonderful works around me today?

 

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Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

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Sep
5
12:00 AM00:00

Jeremiah 15:10-21, Rebellion Rebound

Key Verse

Therefore thus says the Lord: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them.
— Jeremiah 15:19

RCL Daily Devotion for Thursday, September 5, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by R. Fergus Moir from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Jeremiah complained a lot. It wasn’t easy being God’s prophet. He had lots of hard things to say to the people and the people didn’t like it. They even plotted to kill him. It’s no wonder, then, that Jeremiah wanted to throw up his hands and rebel against God.

Following God isn’t easy. We are called to speak truth to power. We are called to say what isn’t popular. It’s easy to get discouraged, to get angry at God, to want to walk away.

Yet God offers a word of grace and a word of hope. No matter how we rebel, God will always take us back, always love and support us. God strengthens and encourages us, and promises that God’s truth will stand.

God, call me back into your service and strengthen me for the journey. Amen.

 

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Jeremiah 15:10-21

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Sep
4
12:00 AM00:00

Hebrews 9:23-28, Christ's Sacrifice Et Al (Is It Enough?)

Key Verse

[S]o Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
— Hebrews 9:28

RCL Daily Devotion for Day, Date

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

All this talk of sacrifice!

No more! I can’t take it!

Sometimes scripture is meant to move us from a comfortable place where we are unchallenged. It then moves us to consider that there are other ways to see God.

Today, I’m reminded that the world is not a friendly or nice place, particularly. We have disease, environmental degradation, racism, inequality, violence, lack of adequate care, etc, etc. The list goes on.

In order for God to make God’s self ONE with us—at-one-ment (atonement)—God must sacrifice a part of God’s self to enter into our world of pain, so that we might not experience as much pain.

For that, I’m thankful. And I have grown a bit today.

Thank you, God, for giving of yourself. Amen.

 

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Hebrews 9:23-28

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Sep
3
12:00 AM00:00

Hebrews 2:1-4, Drifting Away is Easier Than You Think

Key Verse

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
— Hebrews 2:1

RCL Daily Devotion for Tuesday, September 3, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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When I was young, our family would often travel to our family’s lake cabin in central Minnesota. I loved going there, because I could get out in the boat with my Grandpa to fish.

I loved fishing, and especially spending time with my grandfather.

One aspect of being out on a boat fishing, though, is that you often lose track of where the boat is. Since your attention is drawn to the task of fishing, often I would be surprised to discover that our boat had drifted so far from shore. I’d been thinking about fishing, and not watching where the boat was headed.

Fortunately for me, my grandfather DID pay attention; so we rarely got into any trouble on account of the proximity of our boat to a sand bar or a rocky shoal.

Drifting away spiritually is easy too. Especially when you’re not focused on keeping a relationship with God and others. Today’s devotion isn’t so much a reminder to pay attention, but a reminder that drifting away CAN and often DOES hurt us. The good news is that there is one who guides the boat we’re in and wants us to remain safe.

Remind me, God, lest I drift too far away from you. Amen.

 

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Hebrews 2:1-14

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Sep
2
12:00 AM00:00

Psalm 58, Is Scripture a Mirror or a Window?

Key Verse

The righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done; they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.
— Psalm 58:10

RCL Daily Devotion for Monday, September 2, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

American Christians like to believe that since the Bible is God’s Word, it offers a window through which to see what God “wants us to do or be like.” There’s a hint of truth to this. After all, a major theme in scripture deals with morality and how we ought to treat each other. It’s as if we’re on this side looking through the God-commissioned window-of-truth and all we need to do is keep looking through that window to see clearly what God wants.

Much of the Old Testament should be described as a mirror, though. Honestly, this psalm calling for holy vengeance, and like other psalms (see Ps. 137 for a particularly gruesome account) contemplating violence, a person can hardly believe that God really is speaking through these vicious passages. Is God the one to tell us that these things are holy?

I don’t think so.

That’s why I believe that passages like today’s RCL daily devotion are more aptly seen as a a mirror. It’s a mirror to what was going on at the time it was written, and it’s a mirror to humanity’s own thirst for violence and redemption.

In this way, the Bible isn’t so much telling us what to do. Rather, it’s focused on showing us who we really are. Other parts of scripture reinterpret and contextualize; they show us that violence really isn’t an appropriate justification for God’s will.

What do you think? Can God’s Word still be true if it isn’t to be taken literally, but instead as showing us who we really are?

————

Finish devotion with short prayer written in the first person or a thoughtful question for your readers.

 

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Psalm 58

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Sep
1
12:00 AM00:00

Luke 14:1, 7-14, Humility Without Self-Deprecation

Key Verse

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, [Jesus] told them a parable.
— Luke 14:7

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, September 1, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr.. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Screen Shot 2019-07-24 at 10.36.49 AM.jpg

Main Idea: We can be humble without beating ourselves up.

I’m going to be honest. This is a tough text for me to unpack. I was raised (maybe you were, too) to sit at the low end of the table. I was taught it’s not okay to brag. It’s not okay to exalt yourself. Stay humble and be self- deprecating. I cannot imagine sitting at the head of the table as a guest at the banquet. We are taught to apologize for everything, even things that require no remorse. “Oh, I went through the door before you... I’m sorry!” “Oops, I bumped your arm... I’m sorry!” “I spoke at the same time as you... I’m sorry!” I am quite adept at sitting so low, there is nowhere to go but up.

Far too long stories like these have been used to silence ones with no voice. Be humble at all costs. Never brag. Put yourself down. Always put others first. But I don’t think this is what Jesus meant at all. Jesus was concerned with the self-exalting of people already in power, using their power as a means to keep poor people poor, sick people sick, exiled people exiled. The Pharisees’ words were outward expressions of inward demons of selfishness, intolerance, and even cruelty. Jesus challenged them to behave better.

I believe behaving better means being better towards others and being better towards one’s self. There is no glory in beating yourself up in the name of humility. There is no good that can come from putting others first to the point you have completely lost yourself. You are one of the people Jesus asks you to care for. Be proud when you have accomplished something to be proud of. (Climbing the ladder by stepping on others is not pride-worthy, but rising to the top and bringing others with you certainly is!) Be humble when humility is warranted. Love yourself so you can be someone with the ability to love others.

My take-away would be this. It’s not okay to brag... about things that I did not actually accomplish. It’s not okay to exalt myself... at the expense of others. I can stay humble without being self-deprecating. I can hear Jesus’ words, and at the same time treat myself at least we well as I treat others.

Where do you find balance in loving yourself appropriately?

 

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