Romans 14:1-2

1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

Thank You, Father, for the gift of people. Thank You for teaching us how to live with one another. Now please help us to put Your teaching into practice so that we might live a life worthy of the calling we have received. Help us to serve one another in love, for “the entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Teach us to love one another as Christ loved the church and gave His life for our sakes.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace!

That where there is hatred, I may bring love.

That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.

That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.

That where there is error, I may bring truth.

That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.

That where there is despair, I may bring hope.

That where there are shadows, I may bring light.

That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.

To understand, than to be understood.

To love, than to be loved.

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

 

—Saint Francis of Assisi—

Romans 11:17-25

17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.

22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. 23 And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. 24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!

25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in,

Father in Heaven, I thank You for grafting me into the tree of life in Christ—for making me a part of Your church, Your people. Father, I look forward with You to the day when all of Your people will be fully reconciled to You. I praise You for Your kindness that leads us to repentance and for Your sternness with which You discipline Your children whom You love. Lord, please keep me humble so that I may live in the joy of salvation.

Galatians 1:3-5

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

O Father, I live in a world that worships wealth and power and success. But when You saw that I needed to be saved from the seductive idols of my heart, You sent a Savior. And when You saw that I needed deliverance from my own sin, You sent a Deliverer. The One You sent was Your Son, and my deliverance cost Him His life. Still You did it for me. This was Your will, Your delight. I worship You with all my heart.

Romans 10:8-17

8 But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Lord Jesus, I confess that I believe! You are the author of life, the author of our faith and the author of our salvation. Come, Author, and write Your Word on the tablet of my heart. Fill my heart with faith. Purify my lips. Give me boldness to declare the Gospel. You are not ashamed to call us Your brothers and sisters; let me never be ashamed to call You my Lord. May the prayer of Isaiah be my prayer as well: “Here am I. Send me!”

Live Eagle Hatching

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

perseverance, character; and character, hope.

And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Peace with God! The war is won! Victory is Yours, O God, through Jesus Christ. I am the reward of Your victory. I am the spoil of war! I am now reconciled to You and holy in Your sight, “without blemish and free from accusation.” What grace is mine in Christ, through His blood and resurrection! Hallelujah!

Romans 3:10-18

10 As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16     ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18     “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

O Lord, we try so hard to follow You, but the compass of the human heart is faulty, and we so easily veer off course. Our words are condemning and merciless, our actions are harmful, and the cruel tendencies within us — the jealousy, bitterness and ingratitude — eat at us like poison. There is only one condition at the heart of our problem, and that is sin. There is only one Person Who is capable of our rescue, and that is You. Come, Lord Jesus, and save us from ourselves.

Luke 2:6-20

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,

 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Lord, I cannot comprehend that You, the Creator of the universe, took on flesh and were born of a peasant girl. You, the One who spoke galaxies into existence, became a speechless newborn baby. You, the One who gave the stars their light, veiled Your own glory and slipped unnoticed into the human race. You, the One who clothed all of nature in its boundless beauty and order, came to us wrapped in rags and lying in a feeding trough. The miracle of Your incarnation is all too unexpected, too mysterious, too holy for me to understand. I can only follow the shepherds to the manger and bow in astonishment and thanksgiving, glorifying and praising You for all that I have heard and seen.

 

Romans 2:29

(Romans 2:29) No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

Lord, put Your mark on my heart – the sign that You have staked Your claim to my life. Cut away everything that keeps me from following You. You cannot be fooled by the outward signs of religion; for You do not look at the outward appearance. You look at the heart. As circumcision was the physical sign of Your covenant with Abraham, so let the circumcision of my heart be the sign of Your covenant with me.