November 19, 2018

Don't Kill Your Family This Thanksgiving

Romans 15:4–7

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For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

In Context:

1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. 3 For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” 10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 11 And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.” 12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

Don't Kill Your Family This Thanksgiving



Bio | Erin McLaughlin

Howdy! I'm Erin, and Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love hosting, but I'm not always prepared for the influx of people in my kitchen.

You could consider me a "Watermark Lifer." I'm one of those young adults who has had the opportunity to grow up at Watermark and see my family transformed by Christ and community. After graduating from Texas A&M, I came back to Dallas and made Watermark my home. I serve on staff with the Single Adults Ministry. When I'm not with my community group, I'm probably working through the large stack of books on my nightstand.

Central Truth

Reminding yourself and others of the instruction, encouragement, and truth the Scriptures hold should be the easiest thing you do this Thursday. 

Devotional | Romans 15:4–7

These verses remind me a lot of trying to host Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you split up the cooking and tasks between family members or you do it all yourself, there's always tension simmering, waiting to rise as...

These verses remind me a lot of trying to host Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you split up the cooking and tasks between family members or you do it all yourself, there's always tension simmering, waiting to rise as soon as you catch a whiff of something going wrong. Maybe you forgot to turn on the oven for the turkey at 8 a.m. like you'd planned; your kids start fighting two minutes before guests arrive; or conversation turns to that "one topic" that must not be mentioned.

The very purpose of this passage is to inform the reader that we can be encouraged and reminded not only of God's goodness and endurance, but that the Scriptures are full of truths and instruction on how to be unified. At the end of Romans 14, we are told to "pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding" (Romans 14:19). In Romans 15, we see this theme continue in verses 4-7. Paul reminds us that that we have hope through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures. We can have harmony and unity with each other because we serve a God who gives us endurance and encouragement through His Word. 

Here are four ways to help you combat frustration and seek truth this Thanksgiving:

  1. Pray for each person you will be engaging with and for each conversation that will happen around the table (Ephesians 4:29).
  2. Don't be so proud that you can't ask for help (James 4:6)!
  3. Find a way to bring uncomfortable conversations to a gentle close and speak the truth in love to those around you (James 3:17; Ephesians 4:15).
  4. Leave room for error (Colossians 3:13-16).

When I am in a situation that throws me off, I forget that my number-one priority should be welcoming people into my home and speaking truth into their lives. These ideas and Scriptures can help bring unity and endurance during this holiday season. Don't let the business or busyness of the holidays distract you from the gift of encouraging one another.

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Discussion Questions

1. What Scriptures do you go to when you need endurance or encouragement? (We would love to see your answers in the comments!)

2. Will you be hosting someone in your home who may need to be encouraged by God's truth? Someone that you should have a hard conversation with so that your relationship can grow and become healthier? (Practice Matthew 7:5 and Matthew 18:15-17.)

3. What causes you to forget your role as a peacemaker during a busy holiday season? Share this answer with someone who can keep you accountable to grow or improve in this area over the next few weeks.

4. Which of the ideas above will you use this week to prepare for Thanksgiving? Do you have any other ideas that our Journeyers would benefit from?

10 Comments available

Ronnie Oldfield about 7 hours ago

Your devo is a Great start to this holiday week Erin. My Q 1 scripture for your readers today is 2 Peter 1:4-8. Here Peter informs us lust is a great corruptor (v 4); that our hope comes from our faith (v 5), and he gives us a step based process to be able to love others as Christ loves us (v 6,7). Peter’s recipe, when followed, will render us useful and fruitful in the true knowledge of Jesus. How can I look around me to see hurting people who might want to hear this great Thanksgiving recipe so that they too might have hope indeed. Father I pray my eyes and ears will be tuned to you so that I can love others fully. Thanks Erin!!!

Michael Scaman about 8 hours ago

Rm 15:4 is a reminder here of how what was written in the Old Testament is an encouragement to us for our hope and also to help us please others ‘for their good’

Psalm 69 is quoted (we should live for ‘the good life’ of others an important phrase for the city and culture of Rome going back to the philosopher Cicero- summum bonum - a goal of the greatest good; the ultimate importance, the singular and most ultimate end which human beings ought to pursue.)

Coming up (spoiler alert) the short 2 verse Psalm 117 will be referred to at least as many times as it has verses. (short and sweet, an invitation to the gentiles to enjoy the good life in Christ) and the greater good that the summum bonnum Roman people longed for is really found in Christ.

Ginni Beam about 8 hours ago

Erin, when I saw your name in my inbox, I knew it was going to be a good one! This is full of wisdom and so, so timely for me today. Thanks for some great reminders.

greg jones about 8 hours ago

Thanksgiving, there will be some sports talk going on at the ones I attend. I imagine 2000 years ago along the edges of the near east and Europe people debated which gods would be favored if they went head to head in war.

Today don’t kill your family for thanksgiving is a figurative title, I think Paul was trying literally to promote that thought. Verse 8 Christ is a servant to his people and is a contrast to the way God is described in Pslams 18 referenced by verse nine.

Great devotional to start off thanksgiving week.

Kathy Hempel Cox about 8 hours ago

John 16:33, Philippians 1:6. Mark 5:36, Hebrews 12:1, Habakkuk 3:19, 1 John 4:19

Shawn Foster about 8 hours ago

Thank you Erin! I love lists. The scripture taught in equipping disciple - 5 assurances are a mainstay. As is Joshua 1:9 “Have a not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go .” Certainly I want to pray in advance for family & friends whom we’ll encounter. Thanks again and have a meaningful week of worship!

Kristi Lichtenberg about 8 hours ago

I really thought #4 was “leave the room” at first. Ha ha Actually, though, if I could take a second to disengage and pray instead of sinking my teeth into an argument like a bull dog, I could remember the end goal, which is to share the gospel / love of Christ - not win the argument.

Sue Bohlin about 9 hours ago

Super devo, Erin! And one of my favorite titles this year!

I love Paul’s phrase “the God of endurance and ebcouragement.” Our world has become so permeated by convenience and instant-everything that it’s easy to crumple into wimpiness. The God of endurance says to us, encouragingly, “Don’t give up! Press into Me for strength and stick-to-it-iveness! Hang in there!”

Lindsey Driscoll about 10 hours ago

Erin, what a great devo to welcome us to thanksgiving week! Q2- Not hosting this year, but I will be with family and we will be missing my older brother that recently went home to be with the Lord. What a joy that we can give thanks together in the middle of pain; For God’s provision is not limited by our pain or feelings on this earth. Romans 14:4 is to true that all scripture is for teaching, encouragement, and draws us constantly back to the hope we have in Christ.

Hugh Stephenson about 12 hours ago

Whenever I see the word “therefore” it makes me want to read backwards. Usually, “therefore” starts a passage about application - so I want to know what the lead-in is.

How has Christ welcomed me? Welcome is “proslambanō” - (paraphrasing) “accept, to take as one’s companion, to take by the hand in order to lead aside, to take or receive into one’s home, with the collateral idea of kindness, to grant one access to one’s heart to take into friendship.”

Working backwards (paraphrasing) - Glorify God with one voice because I live in harmony - for God granted this to me through the encouragement I get from knowing His Word - which gives me the endurance to have hope and that I need to persevere when tempted.

This “one-another” passage reinforces for me how much I need His Word, His Spirit and His people to give me hope and perseverance.

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