John 15:8-17 (NRSV)

8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become  my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants  any longer, because the servant  does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.   

Romans 8:26 (NRSV)

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes  with sighs too deep for words.   

DEVOTION – Daniel R. Nelson (North Carolina)

For three decades, adults with special needs, along with many volunteers, have attended Grace in the mountains of North Carolina.  At his “family reunion” I have found the campers’ love for one another and their love and acceptance of me very moving.  The highlight is Saturday’s talent show in which nearly all the campers select a talent to share.

Susan, who rarely speaks, usually dances.  However, this year, she wanted to sing “Jesus Loves Me.”  She stood, quite anxious, in front of the microphone and said, “Hi.”  As our accompanist quietly tried to prompt her with the words, she said “hi” again.  Then, voices began to arise from Susan’s Camp Grace family, until we were all singing “Jesus Loves Me,” softly and sweetly, on her behalf.  Susan grinned as she received our love and affirmation and knew she was not alone.

Through the Holy Spirit, God was illustrating Romans 8:26.  When Christ ascended, he left us a Comforter who intervenes for us with God when we struggle.  As we lifted Susan’s song to God, we were bearing the fruit of God’s Love.  (See John 15:16-17.)

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:Jesus loves me.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, help us to bring your comfort to others in their times of hardship.  Amen.