12/11/2017: Remembrance Day
Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Psalm 46: 1-3
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
Psalm 121: 1-2
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Devotional Bible Reading and Thought for the Week
5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.
6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
7 One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even
what is bitter tastes sweet.
8 Like a bird that flees its nest is anyone who flees from home.
9 Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a
friend springs from their heartfelt advice.
10 Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to
your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbour
nearby than a relative far away.
11 Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone
who treats me with contempt.
12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and
pay the penalty.
13 Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in
pledge if it is done for an outsider.
14 If anyone loudly blesses their neighbour early in the morning, it will be
taken as a curse.
The Ultimate Act of Friendship
It is such a privilege to have good friends. The greatest privilege of all is the friendship of Jesus. He calls you his friend and shed his blood as the ultimate act of friendship. Jesus said, ‘Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’ (John 15:13).
This section of Proverbs is all about the importance of friendship: ‘Better a nearby friend than a distant relative’ (Proverbs 27:10, MSG). The advice of a friend is a great blessing: ‘Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul’ (v.9, MSG). Loyalty to your friends is very important: ‘Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your parent’ (v.10).
A good friend will not only say nice things: ‘Better is open rebuke than hidden love’ (v.5). The writer of Proverbs goes on to say, ‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted’ (v.6). True friendship involves more than unquestioning approval. I am so grateful to my good friends who have confronted me with painful truth from time to time – always out of love and with great sensitivity and grace.
‘Wounds’ is used here figuratively, in the sense of causing emotional pain or grief to a friend for their good, out of love. However, I cannot help thinking, in the light of today’s theme, of the fact that ‘wounding’, in the literal understanding of the word, means ‘shedding blood’. In the case of Jesus, he did not shed our blood, but his own. ‘He was wounded for our transgressions’ (Isaiah 53:5). His blood was shed for you in the ultimate act of friendship.
Lord, thank you so much for friends and, most of all, for your great friendship. Thank you that you were willing to lay down your life and shed your blood for me.