There is much that brings us comfort in our faith. It is encouraging to know that God is near.

But there is much about faith that is demanding too. We can't simply "sleepwalk" through life, believing that God is only caring.

In these next moments, consider what God really and truly wants you to be and wants you to do.

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"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous."

Matthew 5:43-45

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Dinner parties are fun. When the smell of food fills the room, when the cake is ready to be cut, and when laughter becomes music, life becomes a celebration. So it’s unfortunate to have an empty chair at a dinner party.

And it’s tragic when there is an empty chair at a party that honors God.

It is difficult to love those who reject us or ignore us. It is difficult to pray for those who are ugly to us or mock us.

But grace is meant to be shared. Jesus tells us that everyone is invited to the party with God.

It’s difficult to invite those who hurt us into our lives, but faith demands that we do.

Ed Stallworth

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Lord, life can be a struggle and people can be difficult, but even when I am challenged, help me remain an instrument of your love. Amen.

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God is love, it's true.
And to follow God is to grow in love.

Watch along the path of your life today
For opportunities to yield to love.
To give in;
To place yourself at risk
For that human and most divine virtue,
The most demanding of all.

Ed Stallworth

Ed Stallworth is the youth director of Simpsonville United Methodist Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina. He is blessed with an amazing wife, Jennifer, whom he met through Passport Camps, and has a beautiful daughter named Vivian.

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Ken Medema

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