Pause

When I am a wasteland, you are the water. When I am the winter, you are the fire that burns. When I am a long night, you are the sunrise. When I am a desert, you are the river that turns to find me. What have I done to deserve love like this?

from “Love Like This” by Lauren Daigle (2018)

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Listen

“You have heard that it was said to those who lived long ago, Don’t commit murder, and all who commit murder will be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment. If they say to their brother or sister, ‘You idiot,’ they will be in danger of being condemned by the governing council. And if they say, ‘You fool,’ they will be in danger of fiery hell. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make things right with your brother or sister and then come back and offer your gift.”

Matthew 5:21-24

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Think

Some things slip through my memory, but I can make this claim with confidence: I remember every single time I murdered someone. Not impressed? Well, you shouldn’t be. I have never murdered anyone. That makes it pretty easy to check the box that reads “Thou shalt not murder” when I’m making a sin inventory. If only it were that easy.

I don’t do quite as well when asking myself whether I’ve let my anger toward someone else linger too long in my life or take up too much space in my spirit. I have held a grudge against someone thinking that my anger toward them will hurt like they hurt me. Yeah, that will show them! All it really does is get me angrier, make me think about checking that previous box differently, and color the world I see around me with tones that don’t look like the God I serve.

I think Jesus is saying here that we don’t work well, can’t even worship well, when anger, grudges, and rivalry take places they don’t deserve in our lives.

Byron Vance

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Pray

God, I might try to hide my anger from myself but I know I can’t hide it from you. So please receive it and lead me to places of healing for me and ones around me. Amen.

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Go

So many things attempt to take priority in our lives. They each have their place.

Only one stands at the heart of things. Follow the voice of this One, our Lord, calling you today.

Byron Vance

Byron Vance is a United Methodist minister serving as Senior Pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Pell City, Alabama. He gets to share life with spouse Kelly, two teenage boys, a dog, a cat, and the occasional squirrel in the crawl space.

Fallow Ground

Carter Harrell

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