top of page


The Upper Room Devotion for Monday, June 26, 2023, was written by Paul Benjamin of New Jersey.



43 "You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matthew 5:43-48 NRSV



We had just planted a few vegetable seedlings when our town had continuous cold and rainy days for a week. Tender sprouts of green beans were just peeking out of the ground. But because of the cold weather, nothing showed any sign of further growth. Sadly, some leaves were curling up due to the cold spell in the middle of spring. I was concerned about my garden. Would it survive without the warmth of the sun?

As I looked out one morning, the sun was shining and the birds were singing! Surely, the day looks different, I thought. I stepped out to see how it felt outdoors. What a nice warm day! I felt good. When I looked at the plants in my garden they seemed to feel good too. What a difference the sun had made! The warmth of the sun made me realize my gratitude to God, whose warmth embraces me in all weather and circumstances. What’s more amazing is that God’s rain and sun benefit all people, whether they are righteous or unrighteous. I also remembered the faith of the displaced Israelites, who affirmed, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning:" (Lam. 3:22-23). Let us give thanks for God’s never-failing love.




We all need the warmth, grace, hope, joy, and love of God to mature as followers of Christ. Much like the plants in Paul’s garden, when we find ourselves in inclement circumstances, absent the nourishment of daily communion with God, we wither and stagnate. Daily time with God provides us the spiritual nutrients we need to control our selfish behavior, overcome our negative mindsets, humble our prideful hearts, and stifle our pious arrogance. May we all take time to bathe in the warmth of God’s presence that we might grow as beacons of hope for the world.

-Pastor Anthony



Loving God, we receive your gifts with joy. We are grateful that your blessings are assured for us always. Amen.

- Paul Benjamin


bottom of page