Evening Prayer: January 10th

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O God, as night embraces me, bring me to restfulness by the gentle presence of your Spirit. Set my heart and mind to the rhythms of your way, calling me to greater faithfulness and love. Bless me in these evening hours that as I rest, I may be refreshed and renewed for the new day that awaits. In the blessed name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

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Thoughts to Ponder from 1 John 4:19-5:4

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1 John 4:19-5:4 (ESV)

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Overcoming the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

“Everyone who loves the Father loves also the one begotten by him” (1 John 5:1)

Have you ever played this game? You lunge around with family or friends and try to figure out which of their features came from their father and which came from their mother. It can be amusing to see how parents “show up” in their children and grandchildren.

In today’s Scripture lesson, John observes that it’s not really possible to love God deeply but not love the people he has created. One reason is because the Father “shows up” in all of his children. This is especially true of our brothers and sisters in the faith, since his Holy Spirit is living in their hearts. Whether we can see it or not, he is slowly transforming them into the image of Jesus, who himself is the image of the Father. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that if we really love God the Father, we should love his children too – if for no other reason than because we see expressions of him in them?

So why can it be so hard to love other people sometimes? Perhaps one of the reasons is that it isn’t always easy to see the Father in his children. It might be a lot easier to spot a person’s faults instead. Of course, we are all far from perfect. But look at another observation John makes: “The victory that conquers the world is our faith” (1 John 5:4). Faith is the gift of being able to see what is hidden.

Sometimes the Father’s likeness in his children is just that – hidden. It calls for the eyes of faith to see that although someone may rub you the wrong way, that person is still worthy of your love and honor because God loves and honors him or her.

Are there some people you’re having a difficult time loving right now? In prayer today, try to see them with the eyes of faith. Imagine Jesus standing right beside them. See how much he loves them. Think about the special gifts God has equipped them with and the unique way they reflect his glory. Now do you see the resemblance?

Father, help me to see people with the eyes of faith. Show me how they reflect your beauty. Amen.

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