December 2, 2010

Dec. 2: Becoming more vulnerable

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By Maria Koshmider, a sophomore elementary education major from Dundee, Ohio
SCRIPTURE: Romans 15:4-13 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
What does love really look like? Jesus Christ is God’s perfect image of love. Jesus befriended even the lowliest. He was a friend to sinners. God calls us to “glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” with “one heart and mouth.” We are stronger united as followers of Christ Jesus; lifting and building each other up, challenging each other and holding each other accountable. God calls us to love one another to build this unity within his kingdom.

By giving our time, thoughts and affections to God, we become more in tune with his will, becoming more like Christ. Following Christ’s ultimate example of love, we can begin to share that love with others, building relationships and community. I believe vulnerability within relationships is one of the greatest acts of love. It is at our most vulnerable moments that God stretches us the most.

How can we be healed and set free from our strongholds if we never allow ourselves to deal with them? We can be so quick to push away our burdens and forget about them. We no longer feel like they are hurting us because we aren’t dealing with them directly. Without even realizing it Satan can take those hurts and struggles and use them to pull us down and pull us away from what God has planned. Until we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with ourselves and with others, we can never truly be set free. Confrontation and reconciliation within ourselves and with others sets us free and leads to relationships overflowing with deep love and understanding that only comes from God. Trust in God to lift those strongholds from your heart. He will bring you peace and joy.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

SCRIPTURE: Romans 15:4-13 (NRSV)

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name”; and again he says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people”; and again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him”; and again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.”

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Comments (6)

  1. Maria, you have challenged us! When you ask “How can we be healed and set free from our strongholds if we never allow ourselves to deal with them? “….well, my heart went “OUCH!” You have touched at the heart of the difficulty. Thanks for this Advent challenge.

    debbie December 2, 2010 |
  2. Good insights.
    The language that addresses our own responsibility a bit more is to refer to our fallen self as “false self” ilo satan.
    The practice of Contemplative Prayer via Thomas Keating and others helps to flesh out those domains of our unevacuated selves which continue to burden us.
    Very nice contribution– thnak you. p.

    Peter Kufeke December 2, 2010 |
  3. I didn’t read this until this evening, but it was certainly what I needed to hear today. Thank you for this blessing and encouragement.

    Arlene December 3, 2010 |
  4. Living in hope is my goal for this advent season so I was glad to read your response to the Romans’passages and add these verses to my list of living in hope. Thank you, Maria.

    kathrynlsherer December 3, 2010 |
  5. Thank you, Maria, for your courageous thoughts. Pray for me to live up to them.
    Blessing you with Advent joy.
    Mervyn

    Mervyn Carapiet December 4, 2010 |
  6. Thank you for your reminder to us. It is great to see your participation in this ministry.

    RandRandy Zimmerly December 5, 2010 |