Pause

Bad news seems to be all around us. We hear grim predictions about the economy and the environment, learn about hostilities and divisions within communities, listen as our friends tell us their troubles. Everywhere we turn, the news seems to be negative. Even the prayer list at church can get us down.

But our faith in Christ speaks of good news – good news for the poor and oppressed, healing for the sick and broken, freedom for captives, redemption from sin, and hope for us all.

How do we discover and experience this good news that Christ has come to proclaim? And once we have found it, how will it make a difference for us and for all the world?

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Listen

Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.

1 John 4:7-10

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Think

Several years ago my mother, my niece, and I were visiting New York – three generations of our family in a place no one else knew us. As we were leaving a store, the cashier said, “I don’t know how you all are related, but those are strong genes!”

Has anyone ever told you that you look just like your mother or father, sound just like one of your grandparents, or remind them of a relative when they were younger? Family resemblances can be strong and can be important for how we understand ourselves and how the world sees us.

The writer of 1 John tells us that we are connected to God’s family, not because of our DNA, but because of God’s love. God loves us enough to send Jesus into the world for our sake, and if we love others, we are born of God. We are all invited into God’s family because God loves us, and that is good news for the whole family!

Elizabeth Jones Edwards

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Pray

Dear God, thank you for loving me enough to send your Son and for making me a part of your family. Help me to resemble you in my words and actions so that others can see your love through me. Amen.

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Go

“Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.”

From “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” by Isaac Watts

Elizabeth Jones Edwards

Elizabeth Jones Edwards has served as Associate Minister for Youth and Christian Education at Lakeside Baptist Church in Rocky Mount, NC, for the past 13 years. She lives with her husband and two sons in Nashville, NC, and enjoys poetry, cooking, and cheering on the Demon Deacons.

Jesus, Giver of All Good Things

Jim McConnell

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