Forgiveness Wins

Emanuel AME Church

Our souls fell to their knees at the news that nine beautiful church members in Charleston, SC were shot at a Bible Study by a racist gunman.

As we wept, the world expected rioting. Forgiveness wins.  The Holy City, the world UNITED in the unconditional love of  Jesus Christ. Beauty from ashes.

The tragedy may have happened in a church.  The peace, forgiveness, unity and love happened because of Jesus in the church. Because of Jesus in our hearts.

“…and upon this Rock I will build My church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” –Matthew 16:18b NLT

“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 loves us by sending His one and only Son into the word so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love…” –1 John 4:7-10a NLT

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

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Finding the UNITY in CommUNITY

The word “unity” has been pounding on my heart and my mind recently. The first name of the country we are blessed to be born and live in says it all: UNITED States of America.

Just a few minutes reading the newspaper or watching the television news, though,and division seems to be the central theme–from divisive political parties, race relations, sports teams, schools, churches, even Christian denominations. How discouraging.

I was so encouraged this past weekend to be part of The Response South Carolina (www.theresponsesc.com) event, held this  past Saturday at the North Charleston Coliseum. What a refreshing time of gathering at least 4,000 people to pray for our nation, our state, our city, our churches, our schools, our families, our court system, our media and arts, and our own hearts. This day of prayer was modeled after similar events in Texas and Louisiana. No political parties or denominations or even names were mentioned from the stage. Only God was glorified.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley showed much courage to allow and orchestrate such an event and even kicked off the event with a prayer.  It revived our hearts and spirit to focus and what we have in common, not what pulls us apart.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called in one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over and through all and in all.” –Ephesians 4:3-6 NIV

May we all be challenged today and every day to find the unity in the UNITED States of America and in our own commUNITY!  Let’s unite in love.

Reflect

–What circumstances in your life are you united or divided on with others? Please comment.

–How may your response be different? Please comment.

Renew

–“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” –Colossians 2:2 NIV

–“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” –Matthew 5:9 NIV

Recharge

–Consider three people this week with whom you will extend the bond of peace.

Resource

www.theresponsesc.com

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