Work to be a Reconciler

Should you behave any differently because of your relationship with your Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, than you otherwise would in the midst of these days of deep divide, increasing polarization and a highly partisan presidential campaign? Of course! Live in the Kingdom of God that already is all around you rather than the culture of social media and 24 hour cable news. Seek to understand why people believe what they believe rather than writing them off. And speak the truth in love with deep humility rather than demonizing those who don’t agree with you. Will this change the world? Maybe. But even more importantly, you’ll be responding to the Apostle Paul’s call in 2 Corinthians 5 to be a reconciler rather than yet another divider. 

Your Divine Identity

Describe who you are and you’ll come up with a long list of things that make you the unique you that you are –  gender, age, occupation, faith, marital status, hobbies, physical characteristics, political leanings and affinities. Indeed, you are a complexicated and wonderful person. But deep inside, you have a divine identity that shapes everything else about you. You are created in God’s image, saved by the blood of Jesus, a disciple, a Jesus-follower, a bearer of unique spiritual gifts, someone being transformed by the Holy Spirit, part of the Body of Christ and someone who can live joyfully, compassionately and hopefully because you know that even the worst thing imaginable will never separate you from God’s love in Jesus Christ. Today God longs for you to hang onto this divine identity and live into it with every breath you take.  

Take Time to Remember

There are so many reminders about how difficult life is that you really do need to take time to remember God ultimately defines your life, not what is going on in the world around you. This means one of the most important things you can do every single day is to take time to remember. Take time to remember that God has created you in God’s own image – this is who you are. Take time to remember that Jesus came to save you and show you the way – this is your destiny. Take time to remember that the Holy Spirit offers you power to live in God’s Kingdom right now – this is the new life you can experience with every breath.  

“Experience Deeper Joy”

Sometimes it’s tempting to treat God like a cosmic wish-fulfiller. Want something, get God to take care of it. Got a problem, let God fix it. Need something, pass it on to God. But while it’s tempting to treat God like this, you also know it’s a dead end. So what if you spent more time trusting God who wants what’s best for you rather than demanding so much of God? Entrust yourself to God. Seek God’s will. Ask the Holy Spirit to transform you. Follow Jesus. Discern what God’s already doing. And discover how you always experience deeper joy when you let God take the lead than when you try to lead God. 

A Sunday Prayer

Holy One,

I awakened this day touched by Your grace I need so much, Your invitation to receive it as the gift it is and Your beckoning to live into it. Thank You, Lord!

I awakened this day knowing this grace does not come without a cost to You, that I cannot earn it and that it keeps coming regardless of what I do or don’t do. Thank You, Lord!

I awakened this day longing to have Your grace define who I am, how I think and what I do and realize it is Your grace that accomplishes this in me, not me. Thank You, Lord!

I awakened this day trusting that Your grace will allow me to live into Your kingdom today, and enable me to experience Jesus’ promise that it is becoming as real on earth as it already is in heaven. Thank You, Lord!

Yes, thank You, Lord!

Amen. 

Something Far More Powerful

Wildfires rage up and down the west coast. Polarization rages throughout our nation. The Covid-19 Pandemic rages around the world. This is the reality of human life. And it can be so overwhelming we lose hope. But there is something far more powerful than the painful hope-canceling realities of life. It is Jesus’ faithfulness. 

Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

“They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.

We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us. (Romans 8:35-39 The Message)