There’s probably something in your life right now that’s incredibly painful. You’ve already done everything you know how to do to fix it, but nothing’s worked. And you’re beginning to wonder whether you’re going to make it. Don’t lose hope – even in your moment of deepest despair – because nothing ever can separate you from God’s love in Jesus Christ. This reality gives real hope in real life for real people. And it’s God’s gift to you. So claim God’s hope right now. Hang onto it. And never let go.
I’ve realized something. To be truthful, this is not the first time I’ve had this insight. In fact, it happens quite regularly. But still, it’s true. It is so easy for me to get distracted from You and default to me. And as You know so well, the outcome is absolutely heartbreaking every time it occurs.
So turn me upside down if need be in order to make it about You. Immerse me in Your unconditional love, passion, vision, joy and hope. And help me get back to You, give myself to You and live for You with every breath I take so I can receive what I’ve been looking for all along.
I pray this in the name of Jesus my brother, friend, Savior and Lord.
Life is filled with surprises, overwhelming at times and, too often, filled with unexpected tragedy. That’s why it’s important to make time for God – every single day. Make time to give thanks – every single day. Make time to enjoy those you love – every single day. And make time to serve – every single day. Making time will help you grow closer to God, gain a new perspective about what matters most and keep the most important things in life truly the most important things. Besides, it’s how God has created you to live all the time.
And so it begins, even though it began weeks ago and culminated in today’s Black Friday that actually started in some stores nearly a week ago. Sound confusing? It is. But the confusing part is not that people want good deals for their money and stores want to sell as much as possible. That all makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is how the focus on stuff at Christmas is being solidified as the centerpiece of Christmas. It’s a cultural reality that – like all things cultural – deeply shapes faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. So here’s a challenge. Be counter-cultural this Christmas. Put Jesus at the center of the celebration. Share God’s compassion that we experience in Jesus. And be so filled with the joy of Christmas that people want what you’ve got.
It’s Thanksgiving! But what gives me pause on this day of giving thanks is how often I don’t feel like doing it because I’m so focused on the negative, what I don’t have or simply just feeling sorry for myself. But that’s not reality. Reality is how much I have to be thankful for. Family who loves me just the way I am (like two granddaughters climbing up on my lap to play and delaying the posting of this devotional!). Friends who bring help and joy. A nation that offers so many blessings. Food, shelter, health and, Lord knows, more stuff than I need. A calling on my life that brings me the deepest meaning. And, most importantly, God’s unconditional, invitational and transformational love in Jesus that is the ultimate reality in which I live regardless of what might – or might not – happen. So today I will give thanks all day long for what matters most. And I hope you will, too. And because life is far from perfect, I also pray you will give thanks for experiencing just the grace you need in just the way you need it at just the time you need it.