Pause

Think of this for a moment: We are all foreigners in the kingdom of God. No one is native to the place where God reigns; we are all invited and, by grace, we are made citizens.

We do well to keep this in mind as we encounter every person along our way. Each of them is no more "the other" to God than we are.

This inclusive God invites you again today to stand in the Presence, to dwell in God's land.

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Listen

After Jesus had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death. When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders to him, asking him to come and heal his slave. When they came to Jesus, they appealed to him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy of having you do this for him, for he loves our people, and it is he who built our synagogue for us.”

Luke 7:1-5

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Think

They came to Jesus and said, “He is worthy.”

The beauty in this story is that people found value and worth in some unusual relationships. They brought their friend’s request before Jesus even though the friend technically was a foreigner. He came from a different place, different culture, different tradition and religion. They could have found fault and judgment in his sins and differences. But they did not. The story tells us that they had love in their hearts for one another.

Our culture has created a lot of foreigners. Most of the time we tend to jump to fear and judgment of those we do not know or understand. Today our text is challenging us to find value and worth in some unusual relationships. Let love and compassion win over fear and judgment so we no longer see anyone as a foreigner. Let humanity, friendship, and love connect us to the unknown. Let no differences keep us from bringing someone before Jesus in love.

Brenda Thompson

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Pray

Jesus, open my eyes to see love instead of difference, value instead of judgment, worth instead of sin. Lord I bring my friends and strangers before you because I know you are what they need. Amen.

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Go

Travel through this day
Knowing there is no confining
The love of God,
And no borders to cross
Between you and God's presence.

Pray that your life might also be
So open
That God's love in you knows
No barriers,
Providing free passage for others.

Brenda Thompson

Brenda Thompson is currently working as a missionary on the Island of Eleuthera with Bahamas Habitat. She has served as a youth and missions minister in North Carolina, and is a graduate of Duke Divinity School.

Wondrous Love

Ken Medema

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