For a whole variety of reasons, you can begin to think that you have to do just the right things to deserve to have God show up in your life. This can cause you to give up on the idea that God can be part of your daily life when you feel exhausted, stressed, think you’re not worthy or know you’re incapable of being good enough to earn God’s love. But the thing that’s so important to embrace – even if it’s hard to understand – is that God’s love is not dependent upon you. It’s free. A gift. And absolutely unconditional. However, there is a catch. Actually a wonderful catch. You will only experience the fullness of God’s love if you trust it enough to give yourself to it and let it re-form you from the inside out. When you do, you’ll discover that you’re not losing anything essential about you. You’re becoming the you Jesus came to free you to be.
There are so many chasms between so many people – rich and poor, liberals and conservatives, old and young, and on and on and on. While it breaks my heart, I know it breaks Your heart more than I can ever begin to comprehend.
Fill me with the Holy Spirit’s power so I can lead with Your love in everything I think, feel, say and do. Walk a mile in others’ shoes before I judge. Understand in new ways when my usual way of thinking needs to be challenged. Get on board with You when I want to be in charge of my own life. Change when I need to do things differently. Speak boldly on Your behalf even when that is uncomfortable. And join in working with You until Your will is just as real on earth as it already is in heaven.
Hear my prayer, Lord.
Take to heart my prayer, Lord.
Help me live my prayer, Lord.
I pray this in the strong name of Jesus,
Freedom is a precious gift from God. It’s at the very heart of our identity as Americans. We believe in it so much that we will make great sacrifices to protect it. Sadly, however, we live in a time when too many Americans wrongly think that freedom is simply all about doing whatever they want whenever they want – regardless of their impact on others. This is why it’s important on this July 4th to remember the four cornerstones of true freedom. First, true freedom is a gift from God and can only be fully experienced in relationship with God. Second, true freedom is found in choosing to do the thing that honors God, others and yourself. Third, true freedom is a great responsibility because “to those to whom much is given, much is expected.” And fourth, true freedom involves a commitment to ensure that as many people as possible experience its blessings. So celebrate your freedom today. Give thanks for those who have sacrificed so much that you may experience it. And enjoy this gift God has given you.
You learn lots of important things over the course of a lifetime – from feeding yourself to math to driving to being in a relationship to the latest technology. There is one thing, however, that is far more important than anything else you’ll ever learn. To learn how much God loves you and longs for you to fully experience it. This is a love that is tender, compassionate and relentless. It is a love meant to bring you joy, hope and abundant life. It is a love that shapes everything else in life. And it is a love that embraces you even knowing everything about you. Maybe, just maybe, today is a good day to learn some more about God’s love.
The state of your soul can be influenced by many things, including your health, relationships, stress level and the state of your relationship with God. So how is it with your soul today? It may be content, unsettled, turbulent or possibly longing for something more. That’s all part of being human. But another part of being human is your relationship with God who has the amazing capacity to heal, deepen, trouble or give your soul peace. This is why it’s so important to remember that when you are in a relationship with God, God is going to give you what you need even if you don’t know what that is or think you know better. After all, when all is said and done, God is far better at soul-tending than you or I will ever be.
It may be the ongoing Covid pandemic, your recent insight about the depth of racial injustice, the fact that children still go to bed hungry every night in America or the diagnosis you’ve just received from your doctor that offers little hope. Life happens, and it’s often painful, overwhelming and devastating. And when it happens to you, it’s tempting to think you’re on your own. But you’re not. And you never will be. Jesus loves you – regardless of what’s going on in your life. Jesus is with you – regardless of what’s going on in your life. And Jesus is offering you abundant life – regardless of what’s going on in your life.