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Daily devotions and thoughts from Cypress Meadows


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Week 1 - Love of God

Feb. 1-7

Day 1

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I begin to understand your great love for me such that I may respond with a similar love for You and then share it with others.

 

Scripture:

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh.  -Matthew 2:11

 

Reading:

The presence of God is powerful. It moved the wise men to kneel and worship. Then they presented Jesus with gifts. I am moved by God’s love for me and for every person who is living on our planet, Earth. When we are with God, His love draws us to worship and serve. He lets us know that we are each worthy of love and belonging. The power of the Love of God. -Jacque Poole

 

Reflection:

Lord, open our eyes to see Your presence and our hearts to receive Your love. We worship you. Thank you for showing me that I am loved and that I belong.

 

Blessing:

May the Lord convince your soul in an unshakeable way that you are loved and cherished by God Himself. And may this knowledge that the love of God surrounds, upholds and fills you…assure you of your value and make you a conduit of His love to others. Amen

Day 2

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I begin to understand your great love for me such that I may respond with a similar love for You and then share it with others.

 

Scripture:

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

 

Reading:

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. - St Augustine

 

Reflection:

It is hard for me to understand God’s love for me. But as I allow Him to show it to me each day, I can respond only in love for Him. Let God love you today.

 

Blessing:

May the Lord convince your soul in an unshakeable way that you are loved and cherished by God Himself. And may this knowledge that the love of God surrounds, upholds and fills you…assure you of your value and make you a conduit of His love to others. Amen

Day 3

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I begin to understand your great love for me such that I may respond with a similar love for You and then share it with others.

 

Scripture:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

Dear friends, since God loves us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. -1 John 4:7-12

 

Reading:

Love is not God, but God is love. It is who He is, His very identity. And God does not love us with liking us – through gritted teeth – as ‘Christian love’ is sometimes thought to do. Rather, out of the eternal freshnesss of His perpetually self-centered being, the Heavenly Fahter cherishes the earth and each human being upon it. And the first act of love is always the giving of attention. -From The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

 

Reflection:

God cherishes you and so you have His full attention…what are you going to do with it today?

 

Blessing:

May the Lord convince your soul in an unshakeable way that you are loved and cherished by God Himself. And may this knowledge that the love of God surrounds, upholds and fills you…assure you of your value and make you a conduit of His love to others. Amen

Day 4

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I begin to understand your great love for me such that I may respond with a similar love for You and then share it with others.

 

Scripture:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:35, 37-39)

 

Reading:

“I like to compare God’s love to the sunrise.  That sun shows up every morning, no matter how bad you’ve been the night before.  It shines without judgment.  It never withholds.  It warms the sinners, the saints, the druggies, the cheerleaders—the saved and the heathens alike.  You can hide from the sun, but it won’t take that personally.  It’ll never, ever punish you for hiding.  You can stay in the dark for years or decades, and when you finally step outside, it’ll be there.  It was there the whole time, shining and shining.  It’ll still be there, steady and bright as ever, just waiting for you to notice, to come out, to be warmed.” From Carry on, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

 

Reflection:

What an amazing gift to know that we are so unconditionally loved by our Father…through the peaks and the valleys….in our joy and our pain…when we’re thriving and when we’re struggling to survive.  His love is so great and so deep and so wide that it covers us through every situation, in every circumstance, ALL of the time.  It isn’t dependent on who we are, but is because of who He is.  We just need to show up, as we are, and allow His love to go to work in our lives.  In what ways are you taking notice of God’s love these days?  Are you able to truly bask in His gift on a daily basis?  Or are there some ways you can create space to “notice, to come out, to be warmed”? 

 

Blessing:

May the Lord convince your soul in an unshakeable way that you are loved and cherished by God Himself. And may this knowledge that the love of God surrounds, upholds and fills you…assure you of your value and make you a conduit of His love to others. Amen

Day 5

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I begin to understand your great love for me such that I may respond with a similar love for You and then share it with others.

 

Scripture:

“Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,” says the Lord, who has mercy on you. - Isaiah 54: 9-10

 

Reading:

Jesus seems to often find love in people who might not have received much love themselves. Perhaps their deep longing for it became their capacity to both receive it and give it.  - From Richard Rohr’s Falling Upwards

 

Reflection:

We all get angry at the injustice, the violence and the hatred that is an unavoidable fact of human life. We cannot control what happens to us. We can only control how we respond to it. Will you let your own scars help you participate in the healing of others?

 

Blessing:

May the Lord convince your soul in an unshakeable way that you are loved and cherished by God Himself. And may this knowledge that the love of God surrounds, upholds and fills you…assure you of your value and make you a conduit of His love to others. Amen

Day 6

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father, may I begin to understand your great love for me such that I may respond with a similar love for You and then share it with others.


Scripture:

Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me. –Psalm 139:17-18 TPT


Reading:

Your religion is what you do with your solitude. – Archbishop William Temple


Reflection:

How overwhelmingly awesome is it that we are constantly on God’s mind and what’s true for God is certainly true for us. What do you most like to think about? What do you most enjoy daydreaming about? What gives you the most comfort to fantasize about? Where our thoughts go our hearts are sure to follow.


Blessing:

May the Lord convince your soul in an unshakeable way that you are loved and cherished by God Himself. And may this knowledge that the love of God surrounds, upholds and fills you…assure you of your value and make you a conduit of His love to others. Amen

Week 2 - Love of Self

Feb. 8-14

Day 1

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:
Heavenly Father help us to understand how much you love us, even with all our faults, so that we might begin to love ourselves and fulfill your purpose and plans within us.

 

Scripture:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

 

Reading:
Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do. Brene Brown

 

Reflection:
With all my faults and failures, it is easy to believe I’m not worth very much. However, as I allow God to speak truth and life into me, I begin to transform into the human God intended for me to be and see my value in the mission He has for my life.

 

Blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Day 2

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father help us to understand how much you love us, even with all our faults, so that we might begin to love ourselves and fulfill your purpose and plans within us.

 

Scripture:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God…  -Psalm 46:10

 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.  -Psalm 23:1-3a.

 

Reading:

The truth is we are all sort of winging it, trying to learn self-love and respect, trying to be present and live lives of meaning and joy. We all have to be reminded to “put your own oxygen mask on first” and that “NO” is a complete sentence. We’re learning NOT to chase the mechanical rabbits at the Greyhound Race Track, of fame, drama, achievement and multitasking. We’re learning NOT to keep putting off the people and things that really matter until the youngest leaves home or you retire. My pastor once told us that you can trap bees in jars without lids, because they look straight ahead, muddling around, panicking on the floor of the jar, bumping into the glass sides because they don’t stop and look up. If they did they could fly to freedom. Be still, look up and know that He is God. Rest is a spiritual act. Love everyone…including yourself.

-From The Big Picture by Anne Lamott

 

Reflection:

Be still for a moment… then ask: Is the way you are doing life draining the life out of you or filling you with life? What is one thing/person you need to say no to…so you can say yes to what fills you with life?

 

Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Day 3

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father help us to understand how much you love us, even with all our faults, so that we might begin to love ourselves and fulfill your purpose and plans within us.

 

Scripture:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 

 

Reading:

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure.  It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us.  God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made.  And then, leaning over us, he whispers, “Let’s go do that together.”” - From Love Does by Bob Goff 

 

Reflection:

We are so cherished by God that He created us for a soul-filling journey, and He invites us, each and every day, to live out that joy and purpose.  To the artist He beckons you to create…to the mathematician He nudges you to solve…to the advocate He calls you to empower…to the light-maker He summons you to shine.  What are those things that call to you…that speak your language…that feel so deeply ingrained in your soul that the thought of them makes you come alive?  

 

Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Day 4

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father help us to understand how much you love us, even with all our faults, so that we might begin to love ourselves and fulfill your purpose and plans within us.

 

Scripture:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. - 2 Timothy 1:7

 

Reading:

The familiar and habitual are so falsely reassuring and most of us make our homes there permanently. The new is always by definition unfamiliar and untested, so God, life, destiny, suffering have to give us a push - usually a big one - or we will not go. Someone has to make clear to us that “homes” are not meant to be lived in - but only to be moved out from. - From Richard Rohr’s Falling Upwards

 

Reflection:

We are not made for small things. We are created in the image of God. We are called to participate in creation. To be a creator working alongside The Creator, we need to think and believe bigger things for ourselves. You are more than just your current situation.

 

Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Day 5

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father help us to understand how much you love us, even with all our faults, so that we might begin to love ourselves and fulfill your purpose and plans within us.

 

Scripture:

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence!

You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength. Psalm 139:1-6

 

Reading:

We are told we should ignore the world’s opinion of us and only concern ourselves with what we think we are. Neither works. If we make our own standards we won’t live up to them or our parents, friends, spouse’s standards. We can’t meet any of them. And low standards don’t work either. Self-esteem is a trap. – From The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness by Tim Keller

 

Reflection:

The key to loving ourselves is found in God’s view of us not in our own esteem or in someone else’s perspective. God has made his attitude about you clear in the bible and in His creation. Who’s opinions about yourself do you believe and value?

 

Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Day 6

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Heavenly Father help us to understand how much you love us, even with all our faults, so that we might begin to love ourselves and fulfill your purpose and plans within us.

 

Scripture:

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:4

 

Reflection:

Most of my life, I equated love of self with “selfishness.” But the Psalmist makes it very clear that we are each a masterpiece created by God...worthy of love. Worthy of self love. Create a list of 10 of your characteristics that remind you that “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” Use that list to thank God for His wonderful work in you. You are worthy of love...even love from yourself.- Jacque Poole

 

Blessing:

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26

Week 3 - Love of Neighbor

Feb. 15-21

Day 1

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:

Lord allow us the privileges of pouring out your love on those around us no matter how simple or hard it may seem.

 

Scripture:

…so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” – Luke 10:29 (from the story of the good Samaritan) 

 

Reading:

“Won’t you be my neighbor?” Mr. Rogers

 

“Do not waste time bothering whether you “love” your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” – from The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis

 

 

Reflection:

If our neighbor is everybody then its kinda nobody. I think for Americans Jesus is calling us to love our actual neighbors. Statistics from artofneighboring.com say that 10% of people can name their eight closest neighbors, only 3% know a fact about these neighbors (where they work, origins, hobbies…) and only 1% know any in-depth information (dreams for future, any pain, faith…). Where do you fall in these percentages? What will you do today to grow in knowing and loving your actual neighbors? 


 

Blessing: 

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! –Romans 15:5-6 MSG

Day 2

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:

Lord allow us the privileges of pouring out your love on those around us no matter how simple or hard it may seem.

 

Scripture: 

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3 

 

Reading: 

“Is life not full of opportunities for learning love?  Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them.  The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom.  Life is not a holiday, but an education.  And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.” Henry Drummond 

 

Reflection: 

Think about your “love language”, those things that make you feel most loved.  Do you feel most loved through words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time, and/or physical touch?  How might you use some combination of these “languages” to express love to your tribe this week?  What small, tangible thing can you do today that will allow you grow in your expression of love for others?

 

Blessing: 

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! –Romans 15:5-6 MSG

Day 3

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord allow us the privileges of pouring out your love on those around us no matter how simple or hard it may seem.

 

Scripture:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself” Leviticus 19:18

 

Reading:

When I read the law in Leviticus, I am aware that there is a deep connection between the word “neighbor” and the word “to pasture”.  Does that tell you anything about how to love your neighbor?  My “neighbor” is the one God gives me to “shepherd”.   When I am called to shepherd (the role of the leader), I am expected to nourish my neighbor.  It is the flock at hand that is my first assignment as a representative of the King. Dr Skip Moen

 

Reflection:

God has people cross your path for a reason. May we be aware of those people and treat them with the respect they deserve.

 

Blessing:

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! –Romans 15:5-6 MSG

Day 4

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord allow us the privileges of pouring out your love on those around us no matter how simple or hard it may seem.


Scripture:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. - 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3


Reading:

Jesus touched and healed anybody who desired it and asked for it, and there were no other prerequisites for his healing. - From Richard Rohr’s Falling Upwards


Reflection:

Nothing I do strictly for myself brings glory to God, to others, or really, even to myself. If I am out to get what I deserve in this life, I will probably find it, but if it is at the expense of others, then I have accomplished worse than nothing. I will seek to always offer a handshake and hand up to all I meet.


Blessing:

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! –Romans 15:5-6 MSG

Day 5

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:

Lord allow us the privileges of pouring out your love on those around us no matter how simple or hard it may seem.

 

Scripture:

A new command I give you. Love on another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. -John 13:34, 35

 

Reading:

Jesus came into this world for one purpose. He came to give us the good news that God loves us for God is love. And He said these words: “Even as I have love you so love one another”. It is easy to love those who live far away. It is not always easy to love those who live right next to us. Let your love start there. Do not worry about doing great things, just do small things with great love. Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. They will know God loves them when we love them, for we are His hands, feet and voice. And this is where you and I fit into God’s plan.  -From Come Be My Light By Mother Teresa

 

Reflection:

Today you will cross paths with people and in the process send a message to their souls…will they leave you feeling unnoticed and unwanted or loved and valued? Who needs you to connect with them today?

 

Blessing: 

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! –Romans 15:5-6 MSG

Day 6

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:

Lord allow us the privileges of pouring out your love on those around us no matter how simple or hard it may seem.


Scripture:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark‬ 12:30-31‬ NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

https://www.bible.com/111/mrk.12.30-31.niv


Reading:

When asked what is the most important commandment, Jesus responds and then emphasizes the second, as well. Our love isn’t just for God or for ourselves. We are to love God with all that we are, but don’t stop there. God wants us to love ourselves, then love our neighbors with that same intensity. Neighbors are those people you meet throughout your day...love them. There is no greater command than these.- Jacque Poole


Reflection:

Today start a new habit. As you see your neighbor be open and share love. Remember your neighbors are those people whom you meet throughout your day. Love your neighbor.


Blessing: 

May our dependably steady and warmly personal God develop maturity in you so that you get along with each other as well as Jesus gets along with us all. Then we’ll be a choir—not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus! –Romans 15:5-6 MSG

Week 4 - Love of Enemy

Feb. 22-28

Day 1

Contributed by:

Keith Killen

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace. Amen.

 

Scripture:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, John 13:34

 

Reading:
If God’s display of ahav is the standard, then ahav cannot be about loving those like us.  God loved us while we hated Him.  God’s love is the perfect display of ahav (agape) because it is all about enemies…. Jesus says the same thing (surprise, surprise) when He describes love toward those who are hungry, thirsty, naked or abused.  Until we treat our enemy with the same regard as we take care of ourselves, we have not understood or practiced ahav.  - Dr Skip Moen

 

Reflection:
Without knowing the love of God, it is impossible for us to truly display love (Greek: Agape, Hebrew: ahav) toward our neighbors, all those around us including our enemies.

 

Blessing:
May you experience the love of God so strongly, that you will allow it to flow through you and into your neighbors, both friend and foe.

Day 2

Contributed by:

Marq Caughell

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace. Amen.

 

Scripture: 
If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner. If you see that the donkey of someone who hates you has collapsed under its load, do not walk by. Instead, stop and help. - Exodus 23: 4-5

 

Reading: 
At this stage [spiritual maturity], I no longer have to prove that I or my group is the best, that my ethnicity is superior, that my religion is the only one that God loves, or that my role and place in society deserve superior treatment...I now realize that I have been gratuitously given to - from the universe, from society, and from God. I try now, as Elzabeth Seton said, to “live simply so that others can simply live.”  - From Richard Rohr’s Falling Upwards

 

Reflection: 
I have to work so hard to NOT want my enemies to fail. Sometimes it is easier to start loving by loving something small and demonstrating that small love. A great oak of love has to start as a small acorn. My job is to plant the seed of love and keep nurturing it so that it can grow

 

Blessing:
May you experience the love of God so strongly, that you will allow it to flow through you and into your neighbors, both friend and foe.

Day 3

Contributed by:

Melissa Schultz

Cypress Elder

Opening Prayer:
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace. Amen.


Scripture: 
But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.  Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Luke 6:35 


Reading: 
“If I’m only willing to love the people who are nice to me, the ones who see things the way I do, and avoid all the rest, it’s like reading every other page of the Bible and thinking I know what it says.” Bob Goff 


Reflection: 
God instructs us to be love in this world.  And while it might be easier and more convenient to love the people that we’ve chosen to be in our lives, that’s only obeying a piece of His instruction.  We are instructed to show love to ALL people…to find ways to be love in this world…to those that feel easily loveable and with those that feel difficult.   


When you hear the phrase “difficult people”, does a person or situation come to mind?  How might you change your heart to respond in love in your next interaction with this person/situation?  In what ways might your changed heart soften the interaction while glorifying His command?   


Blessing:
May you experience the love of God so strongly, that you will allow it to flow through you and into your neighbors, both friend and foe.

Day 4

Contributed by:

Taylor Fletcher

Worship Leader

Opening Prayer:
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace. Amen.


Scripture: 
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. – Matthew 26:3-4


Reading:
 “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” – Abraham Lincoln


Reflection: 
Jesus encountered and made enemies just about everywhere He went. He also made it clear that if we follow Him we will as well. Who are your enemies and how are you loving them? If you can’t name an enemy, ask God to reveal them to you or show you how to be more like Jesus?


Blessing:
May you experience the love of God so strongly, that you will allow it to flow through you and into your neighbors, both friend and foe.

Day 5

Contributed by:

Jacque Poole

Cypress Tribe Member

Opening Prayer:
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace. Amen.

 

Scripture:
“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:44‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

 

Reading:
Love is what we are called to do...and Jesus wants to be sure we understand that our love is not to be hoarded or withheld from anyone. Our enemies are to be included in our love. They are fearfully and wonderfully made just like you and me. Love them. Pray for them. - Jacque Poole

 

Reflection:

Think of the person or persons who are most difficult for you. Ask God to help you be the loving person who can demonstrate love to them and pray for them. Stop right now and pray for someone who behaves like an enemy to you.

 

Blessing:
May you experience the love of God so strongly, that you will allow it to flow through you and into your neighbors, both friend and foe.

Day 6

Contributed by:

Douglas Poole

Pastor

Opening Prayer:
We pray for our enemies and those who oppose us.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, may all people learn to work together
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace. Amen.


Scripture:
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. For you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. -Proverbs 25:21-22


Reading:
Love is not a faucet to be turned on or off at will. God Himself doesn’t just love me or you, He is love. That is His identity and explains why He loves individuals, even when He is not pleased with them. We are called to love as Jesus loves us. Love is not something one turns on or off for this or that person. Its orientation is toward life as a whole. We must understand the fallacy of saying “I just can’t love so and so,” and with that stop and give up on love. The aim is not to try and love that person but try to become the kind of person who would love them. Our aim is to become a person possessed by love, so I do not come to my enemy and then try to love them, I come to them as a loving person. - From The Nature of Agape Love by Dallas Willard


Reflection:
Who behaves like an enemy to you? The question is not what do they need to do so it is easier for you to love them. But what needs to happen in you so you find it easier to love?


Blessing:
May you experience the love of God so strongly, that you will allow it to flow through you and into your neighbors, both friend and foe.