“I don’t think you can write that word in a devotional?”

(All cloud formations used in these devotionals have actually been seen by the author.)

            Beth was shocked. Of course, she knew her best friend Hattie was a little peculiar.  “I don’t think you can write that word in a devotional,” she said to Hattie.

            “Why not?  It’s in the Bible.  At least it’s in the King James version.  And, besides, that cloud looks to me like a horizontal bowel.”

            “I’m pretty sure,” Beth replied, “that the word is not used in the sense you’re thinking about.  It means more like a “gut feeling.”

            They looked up the word on the Internet. (The Internet certainly does provide us with a lot of information.)   They were surprised to find how very many times the word was used in the Bible, but they concentrated on Philippians 2:1, which in the King James says, “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, …verse 2….fulfill my joy, that ye may be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” 

            Beth tried to solve the problem of the meaning. “The RSV translates the ‘bowels’ as  ‘affection and sympathy.’  I think,” Beth continued, “the dictionary defines bowels, as the inner most part of something.  Paul is trying to exhort believers to dig deep down inside of themselves, to find their true affections for each other.  Or, as some commentaries say, ‘seek the inward love,’ or ‘pathetic directness,’ or ‘tender emotion’.”

            “I think I’m beginning to understand,” Hattie replied.  “Some people today say what they think you want to hear, they don’t tell the truth about what they are really feeling, deep down inside.” 

            Beth continued, “Paul wanted unity.  Can you imagine what a congregation would be like if each individual truly expressed affection for each other, compassion, and love, and if they trusted Christ for everything through the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The group would really be ‘of one accord’.”

            “That would insure peace and cooperation, and would bless the church.  It would make evangelism effective.”

            “So,” Beth summarized, “we need to search deep down inside of ourselves and find our true thoughts.  And, really work at being of one accord.  That way, we can share the blessed truths of the faith with believers and others. That’s the picture Christ wants to see for His church.”