It’s an interesting phenomenon. What I expect to see is exactly what I see. If I expect someone to act a certain way, they often do. If I expect to have a bad day, I usually do. If I think things are going to work out, they mostly do. It’s not that I have magical powers. It’s that my filters impact what I see, feel and experience. In fact, this is such a powerful reality that another person with different filters standing right by me at the same time could see, feel and experience the exact opposite of me. So today I expect to see, feel and experience that God’s grace is the most powerful force in the world, that Jesus’ is at work transforming people from the inside-out and that there are signs of hope all around me. And I bet I will.
On the one hand, Jesus tells you to take the focus off of yourself by making it a priority to love God and your neighbor with everything you’ve got. On the other, he also spends a lot of time stressing how important it is for you to focus on yourself. Actually, these two seemingly opposite go hand in hand. Jesus wants you to focus on those things about yourself that keep you from loving God and loving your neighbor fully. Like when you fixate on the stick in the other person’s eye and ignoring the log in your own. Or when you want to try to eliminate as many people as possible from being your neighbor instead of being a neighbor. Or when you want to be the first to throw stones at others for their sins when you already have committed a bunch yourself. So today make sure you make it about you in order for you to be able to make it about God and others.
Your love is the foundation of life – including my life. Your grace is abundant everywhere – including my life. Your presence is seen so many ways – including my life. Your hope pervades even the worst realities – including my life.
Thank You, Lord, for all Your blessings. Help me recognize them more clearly. Help me revel in them more deeply. Help me be transformed by them more profoundly.
But most of all, help me to give You all honor, praise and glory. For, indeed, You are worthy. Today. Tomorrow. And forever more.
I pray this in the strong name of Jesus.
You either always have something to do or you’re resting because what you already did has worn you out. It’s the cycle of life; at times mundane and at other times overwhelming. You may think you have to temporarily stop this cycle in order to carve out time for God. But that misses the point since God is part of every part of your life giving you just the grace you need at just the time you need it in just the way you need it. Some days it may be comfort. Other days prodding. Still other days a challenge. On some days vision. And some days, it may be a kick in the seat. All of it is grace. All of it comes from God. And all of it is a gift to you.
Jesus loves you so much he freely left his rightful place with God in order to bring you back to God and the life God has created you to live. Now of course, that’s a bit over-simplified because in reality life is quite complex. But it’s also the truth. And it means that of all the things you do in life, of all the responsibilities you have, of all the passions you pursue and of all the things that matter, this is the one thing that matters most and shapes everything else. So today as you do all the things you do, make sure the most important thing you do is to embrace Jesus and the life he offers you. It literally will change you and it literally will change your life.
The skies were so dark and threatening all day yesterday that it was clear a storm was coming. Eventually, it did. As it was growing dark, however, the sun began to break through the clouds and filled the sky with beautiful colors. This morning the sky is blue, the air crisp and the temperature delightful chilly. This contrast is exactly what your life is like. There are stormy times, but eventually they clear out and are replaced by beautiful weather. It would be easy to say that God shows up to end storms when they arise. But the fact of the matter is that the gift of life God gave us includes the inevitably of storms, even though God is not responsible for creating individual storms. This may be disturbing, but it’s true. However, it also means that God is present in everything that happens even though God doesn’t cause everything that happens. And because God is always present – whether what’s going on is good, bad or ugly – grace is always abundant.