Each morning during Finished Business, the people of Good Shepherd have opened their email inboxes and discovered a daily Scripture, Reflection, and Prayer delivered to them.
The written material comes from the our Finished Business Devotion Guides, still available free of charge from our church office. Each day features a different author who is connected to Good Shepherd.
Today’s author is a special guest: Paul Leeland, who is the Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Bishop Leeland really appreciates the full color vibe of our Jesus-centered church, believes in our mission of inviting all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ, likes to write, and loves the Scripture. Given all that, when we were putting this guide together, on a whim I decided to invite him to authorship.
Read: John 1:1-14
“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”
“I’m trying to listen and discover what God wants me to do,” is a familiar refrain many ministers often hear. It would be more appropriate for us to recognize that it is not what God wants us to “do,” but the way God wants us to “be.” The way God would have us to be is a natural gift bestowed on us as God’s children; it is the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).
This gift of the Fruit of the Spirit is not dependent on the way we feel. It is freely given to all who believe in Jesus; the Word made flesh, the visible image of the invisible God. The One through whom all things were created, in Heaven and on Earth (Col 1:15-16).
Call to mind any individual, group, or social concern in our community – God has given us the Fruit of the Spirit, and as Christians, we offer love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control toward all. It is the gift that sets us apart from others. No matter what others may say or do to us, we seek their highest good. It is the expression of agape, unmerited, undeserved love because we have received the unearned love of God.
Our happiness, O Lord, lies in you alone! Grant us the freedom to devote all we have to your service as we live a life of the Gospel, recognizing the sacrament of every moment.