Forest Lake Talks

December 20 Advent Devotional

December 20, 2020

“Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.

Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit.” 1 John 4:7-13, Common English Bible

This Sunday, we light the Love Candle on our Advent wreath. As a church, we have spent this Advent focusing on our international mission partners with Ministry of Hope (Nancy Dimmock and Mamonyane Mohale), Frontera de Cristo (Mark Adams and Miriam Maldonado Escobar) and RECONCILE (Shelvis and Nancy Smith Mather). Our international partners do amazing work in different parts of the world. And today we focus on local mission.

I am grateful our church family focuses our time and money on local mission as well as international mission. The need is great around the world and in Columbia. When I visited the Ministry of Hope home in southern Africa earlier this year I found 26 children living in a small 3 bedroom, one bath home. There was great need there. When I worked at Windsor Elementary here in Columbia, I saw children come to school hungry, dependent on the 2 meals they would receive at school that day. There was great need there.

But what I found in Africa, as well as Windsor was great Love. Real Love that doesn’t turn away, too busy, unseeing. Love that stops and listens and looks hunger in the eye. Love that responds with what it can, which may be a hug, or a check, or volunteer support. I have seen that Love at work in Cooperative Ministry, serving the working poor, Senior Resources, meeting the needs of seniors in Columbia, Family Promise, Oliver Gospel Mission, Transitions, serving the homeless in our city. And many, many other local organizations.

Sometimes, I stop to remember the name my mother gave me at birth. Jodi Love Weiss. Love was her maiden name. But it is a reminder to me it is part of who I am. It is the way I am to think, speak, act. If I don’t live out of Love, then what am I doing?

Submitted by: Jodi Beckham

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