If you believe Jesus is your Savior who is also Lord of your life…. If you trust he loves you so fully he transforms you from the inside-out…. If you are convinced he calls you to share this love and to witness to God’s vision for the world through how you live…. If you live in the hope Jesus loves you so powerfully nothing in life or in death will possibly ever separate you from God’s love…. Then you already are experiencing life in the Kingdom of God right now regardless of what’s going on in the world or in your life – not because you have created it, but because you have received it as the gift it is.
Some days I just try to survive. Others I get distracted and spend my time wandering aimlessly. But then there are those days when the Holy Spirit so fills me that I find myself in a holy place not of my own doing.
Today is one of those days.
I give You thanks and praise because You are worthy of it. I give You thanks and praise because my heart can do no other. I give You thanks and praise because it truly is the most important thing I can do in life.
I ask You to search my soul and clean out anything that erects a barrier between me and You, me and others, and me and myself. Look deeply into the depths of my being and dissipate my need to be in control so I live in Your will. Examine my mind and heal all those things that keep me from living as a faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
I long for You to prepare me to live in the fullness of Your grace. Hone my heart until I truly believe that Your grace alone is sufficient for anything and everything I encounter. Grow me in Your love every single day in every single way.
I pray all of this in the strong name of Jesus, my Savior, Lord, Brother and Friend.
Humility. It’s something we Christians lift up as a virtue, yet simultaneously seem to relegate to that pile of other virtues we admire but never seriously work on. Or maybe it’s just me, because I really do struggle with humility. In part, it’s because I’m afraid I’ll be forgotten, left behind or overlooked. But it’s also because I know it’s a tough world and if I don’t take care of myself, who will? Sadly, this approach to life has negative consequences since it makes it really hard to love God, love my neighbor and live as Jesus’ disciple. So the question for me is how I can embrace humility as a way of life, especially since I’ve discovered it’s certainly not a character trait I can cultivate. I need to delve deeper into my faith because, ultimately, humility is the fruit of trusting Jesus enough to live every day believing he is giving me everything I need. Because when I live in his abundant and generous grace, I no longer need to make it all about me.
The Glory of the Lord shines all around you. You see it in nature, in the amazing creativity of human beings, in worship and praise, in quiet moments of prayer, in simple acts of compassion, in those seeking God’s justice, in the patient and enduring work of the Holy Spirit that melts, molds and fills human beings, in the smile of a baby, in teachers who care for students’ minds and souls, in all who care for others in real ways in the midst of real life, and in billions of other ways. It doesn’t necessarily come with a flashing neon light that says, “Here’s Glory.” But if you have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a soul to feel, you will see it as clearly as the shining sun on a clear April day. And then, regardless of what’s going on around you or in you, you will be able to say, “It is well with my soul!”
Grace is God’s free gift given unconditionally, fully incarnated in Jesus Christ and continuously renewed through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Grace is the ultimate reality that shapes all of your life, even when its seeming absence makes you wonder whether it has dried up and blown away. Grace embraced you before you were born and has never let you go. Grace can be ignored, but can never be escaped. Grace brings you to saving faith in Christ, heals your hurts, fills your empty spaces, convicts your conscience, grows your compassion, humbles your spirit, and increases the love of God in your heart and your life. Grace carries you beyond the grave into the heart of God for all eternity.
I always find it helpful to get back to the basics when life is most crazy and chaotic. So here are some things I hope you remember today. Not to gloss over the bad or go through the day in denial, but to embrace what matters most about your life. God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good. Jesus died to redeem, heal and transform you; not just on your best days, but every single day. The Holy Spirit is giving you just what you need in just the ways you need at just the times you need.