It seems the bigger the challenge and the higher the stakes, the more we fight each other. Sadly, this trend is intensifying. Red versus blue in politics, progressives versus traditionalists in the church, and young versus old in culture. Sure, one side or the other will prevail in the short term. But that just intensifies the warfare, and the problems are not solved but only get worse. Jesus makes it clear in the Beatitudes, the parable about the Good Samaritan, his words about praying for one’s enemies and so many other places that it’s time to replace this growing selfishness with selflessness. It may seem like a naive way to live in a rough and tumble world, but that’s okay because it’s Jesus’ way. And if we don’t have enough faith to do it, who will?
So much of what you encounter on social media or cable news is bad news, trivial, belittling or divisive. If you spend too much time exposed to it, you will absorb it to the point that this is how you begin to see everything in life, regardless of what’s really going on. That’s not good. For you, for others or for God. But there is an alternative. Be a ‘glory sighter’ who looks for where God is at work and celebrates it! It may not change the world. But it sure will remind you of the way things really are.
Jesus has, is and will give everything so you can experience the grace that you absolutely need, but can never get on your own. This is how much Jesus loves you. It is the Good News of the Gospel. It is a free gift. It is your ultimate hope. And it is the single most important reality in your life. So it doesn’t matter who you are, what’s going on, how you feel, how your portfolio is holding up, what others say about you or what you think about yourself. There’s really only one question you need to answer. What are you going to do with Jesus’ generous gift of grace today?
We give You thanks for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who lived with integrity and conviction, but also sought to bring people together.
We give You thanks for family members who have sacrificed so much for us because they love us more than themselves.
We give You thanks for first responders who repeatedly put themselves in harms way for people they do not know.
We give You thanks for teachers who give day-in and day-out so that our nation’s children can have a better life and craft a better world.
We give You thanks for the silent saints who simply follow Jesus every day in the midst of whatever it is they are doing.
But most of all, we give You thanks that You are God and nothing that happens in life or death can ever separate us from Your love in Jesus Christ.
We pray this in the strong name of Jesus.
You don’t need to do a whole lot of things. You don’t need to impress God because God already loves you. You don’t need to prove how righteous you are because God has taken care of that by Jesus’ death on the cross. You don’t need to win God’s approval because God’s already given it. But you do need to do something. You do need to love God with everything you’ve got. You do need to live every day in response to God’s love. You do need to keep growing deeper in your life as a Jesus’ follower. Why? Doing something to gain God’s love is a dead end; doing it because you have experienced the fullness of God’s love is the way to life.
The reality of life’s painful moments cannot be ignored or explained away. But Jesus talks about another reality that exists in the midst of your painful realities – the Kingdom of God. While he is clear it is something that will be fully manifested at some point in the future, he also says you can experience this Kingdom reality right now because it already dwells in you. It is not something you construct. Rather it is something you recognize through trusting eyes of faith and claim as your reality. Sure, you’ll still experience how hard life can be. But you can also begin to live in the Kingdom of God right now. So what are you waiting for?