I have a friend who would always pray that we would be made uncomfortable. That God would “mess us up to rebuild us stronger.” One day, I told my friend that I had had enough of that prayer request. Instead, I’d like to pray to be comfortable, settled, easy. He smiled and said something like, “nobody grows their faith when they’re fat and happy”.
Before 2020 it seemed like individual trials came and went. There were some trials that we faced as a larger community, but nothing like today’s trials. We have been bombarded with one event after another. We seek understanding amidst chaos. We try to support one another virtually and at a distance. There are too many odd disturbances to mention, but you all know what I mean.
I am grateful that there is someone we do not have to social distance from. Someone who we can not infect and who can not infect us. Our ever present help in time of need. The one who calls us to trust in Him alone. We are hungry for truth and we are hungry for a shelter we can count on. We trust you Jesus. We wait for your help as we reach out, in creative ways, to help each-other.
Thank you for this day that you have made, we will rejoice an be glad in it.
Many people in my life, including me, are dealing with inner weariness. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard (or said!). “I’m all done”. Tired of navigating the confusion around us. Worried about what “might happened”. Nervous to go out and be around people. Maybe you’ve hit your saturation point as well. You are in good company.
As I have been focussing on exploring our identity in Christ, I have been looking for a remedy to my weariness. John 15:9 caught my attention and caused me to pause and ponder its’ truth.
“I love each of you with the same love that the Father loves me. You must continually let my love nourish your hearts.”
LET my love nourish your hearts.
We have all we need, when we can stop and LET Jesus nourish our hearts. He gives us what we really need, and what those around us need as well. Love.
To approach the throne of God requires a brave level of humility. To admit we are powerless over sin. To expose our hearts. To bow our heads. To stand still before our God.
Maybe we avoid approaching God’s throne because of how we have been treated by other people. Maybe we were judged harshly by others. Maybe we have been shamed and ridiculed by those we trusted. Why would we go to God, who is more powerful, would we receive harsher treatment?
But when we do find our way to the throne, we are welcomed by grace. We are accepted for who we are. God is not surprised. We can bravely open our hearts to Him, find forgiveness and the help we need.
I believe that the most important transactions of our lives happen here, at the throne of God. When we come as we are. We will find the help that we need. Sin will lose its power. Our broken hearts will be repaired. Our souls will be restored. He will make all things new.
The verse, Roman 8: 1, had a powerful impact on our lives in 2015. In August of that year, our nephew, Jon, was hanging out with us for the day. He was living with the complications of heart failure, struggling to find the right blend of medication to live outside the hospital.
He attended church with us, on and off for many years and we frequently spoke together of Jesus and our Christian walk. On this day, he was expressing the desire to hear from God and wasn’t sure he was hearing anything. We talked through different ways we believe we hear from God and then we put God on the spot. We gave Jon a list of bible verses that outline our identity in Christ. We asked him to read through it to see if one verse popped out at him – as if God was highlighting it for him. He picked Romans 8:1.
My husband grabbed some bibles and together they read through Romans 8, studying the meaning of this verse. Then we prayed it over Jon. Before he left that day,, I wrote the verse on a slip of paper for him and he tucked it in his wallet.
A few weeks later, Jon was back in the hospital. During his stay, a chaplain came to visit him. During their discussion the chaplain said he felt lead to share a verse with Jon. He read Romans 8: 1. Jon smiled and said, “you’re not going to believe this”. He reached into his wallet to retrieve the verse. God was so faithful to continue to emphasize for Jon, in his final days, that he was free from condemnation, in Christ his sins were forgiven. Jon died in November.
We are comforted, through this verse, to know that Jon is with Jesus in heaven today. ❤️
Before entering a gathering of people, my husband often looks at me and says. “Whatever happens in there, we have a better chance of surviving if we stick together.” He loves to quote his favorite movies and I believe this quote comes from Gladiator. I often told my boys to stick together as they were leaving our house. I knew that together they were both clever enough to solve any problem they may face, but apart, they may not be as strong.
As believers we are all given the gift of the Holy Spirt by Jesus. Jesus’s sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit give us direct access to the Father. We are never again alone, never again without the full resources provided in the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is ever present, sticking with us through thick and thin.
I started working when I was 15 because I wanted to earn my own money. I was a car-hop at A&W. A change machine on one hip and a tray of frosted mugs full of root beer on the other. I can still hear the jingle sound of the change machine that rattled as i walked. I learned a lot that summer, root-beer is sticky, there is an art to using an ice cream machine, co-workers are fun people and I loved working and earning. I still do.
In Paul’s letters, he refers to Christ followers as saints. He describes a saint as somebody who is chosen by God and given undeserved grace. As an “earner”, who strives to achieve, it’s hard to fully grasp what it means to be called a saint and to be given undeserved grace. If you’re like me, most of your experiences in receiving something “undeserved” has been mainly negative and painful. Receiving a gift of such magnitude from God is humbling.
My great-grandmother, Florence, sewed several quilts, most of them by hand. All her quilts were made with scraps so there were many colors and patters to enjoy. As she assembled her squares, she would give them names; Snow on the mountain, peas and carrots. sunny skies. As kids. we would try to guess which one was which, and then we’d pick the square we’d want to be and the one we wouldn’t want to be. But, regardless of our opinion, the quilt was a complete work of art, each square adding its own charm.
When I read Paul’s analogy of being part of the body of Christ, I often think of being part of a beautiful quilt. What piece do I want to be? And stepping back to see the beauty and purpose of all the pieces together.
The first memory I have of feeling alone was when I was six. I went for a walk in the woods with my brother and two of our friends. As we headed home, we came to a fork in the path. I was confident that the path home was to the left. The other three thought we should go right. My stubborn self set off alone to the left.
As my companions voices began to fade, I was sure I would beat them home and I began to run. Pretty soon the familiar path became surrounded by unfamiliar trees and sounds that I was sure I had never heard before. I was too afraid to turn back and too unsure to go forward. Where am I? I was lost. I felt so alone. I sat down and cried with fear.
One of my friends came looking for me when he heard me crying, and lead me home. My hero, Todd.
When we belong to Jesus, we are made one with his spirit. He is always with us. He continually leads us towards a better life and towards our forever home with him. Never will he leave us, never will he forsake us. Our truest companion.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
I’m ending my love series with the powerful promise packed into verse 13. A reminder that our relationship with God begins with His love – and never ends. Love welcomes us, approves of us, and stays with us, now and forever. The perfect shelter for any storm. The ever-present comfort that never wears out.
Focussing of God’s love over the last 25 days has changed me. I tested every verse against my experience of Jesus. Where have these words been true in my life? Kind of like when you test a company’s mission statement against your experience with them. In this exercise, however, I found way more love than I was looking for. My understanding of God’s love has broadened and I have a new degree of freedom to just be me. I am loved.
Lord, thank you for your love. A love like no other. May we all continue to seek you and grow in our understanding of who you are and who we are in you. You are our good good father. Amen
I have carried this verse with me all weekend. Mulling it over, and looking for its presence in my life. How would i describe this verse – as it lives and swirls around me.
To me it holds a complete description of the unfailing love God has for us – and – a the description of the love we all seem to crave. Does this describe the God-sized hole we all have in our hearts that only God can fill? A love that endures the circumstances we struggle with. A love that carries a banner of hope for us to follow. A love that upholds a faith in us, that we will find our way through the sins we struggle with. A love that never gives up on us. With this ever-present love encircling us – how can we fail? I am so grateful.
“Always” statements make me nervous because if it refers to a good quality – I immediately feel like I’ve failed. Love always protects refers to the kind of love God has for us. The kind of love we can try to emulate, returning it to Him and extending it to the people in our lives. Although we won’t be perfect, He will be. He will weather the storms of our lives with us, loving us through all of them.
Thank you Father God for loving us, believing in us and sticking by us. Amen.
There’s a song by the Superchicks called, We Live. A line in the song is engraved on my heart. “We live, we love, we forgive and never give up.” I think of it when I am tempted to make a record of a wrong someone has done to me, or, when I get tired of carrying a thoroughly written list around with me. Forgiveness erases the negative records in our hearts and frees up space to record our blessings. If it’s true that we will find what we look for, let’s gather blessings and fuel our hearts to love.
Lord, help us clear out the negative records in our hearts by prompting us to forgive, as you have forgiven us. Give us eyes to see the blessings around us. Amen. #jesuschrist #fathergod #holyspirit #dailydevotional #bibleverse #loveis #forgive
Often when I find myself “easily angered” it’s because I am overwhelmed. I have either taken on too many tasks or I have made the achievement of a task vitally important. My focus on my task prevents me from truly seeing the current situation clearly and I may react with anger. If I catch myself and take time to put all matters in their true perspective, I am better able to react in love. The holy spirit is brilliant in this situation and helps me expand my vision and gain a healthy perspective. My prayer today is that we will each learn to hear the holy spirit as he prompts us and eagerly desires to help us be better lovers. ❤️ Amen.
In my series on love, this is my verse for today. I have been quietly staring at it throughout the morning. There is so much to say and so little to be said. My heart is troubled and sad. The last several weeks have been so painful here in Minneapolis. My prayer is that love will grow up through the ashes. ❤️ Amen.
Love is never proud. Another way to say this is – love is willing to put another person’s needs before your own. We bump into pride when we start to think “that’s beneath me”or,“I have more important things to do.”
Three years ago, I lost my central vision and my whole life changed. I needed help and didn’t want to ask for it. I was fiercely independent and built my life in a way to not be dependent on others. I was stuck in a prideful conundrum. As I began to experience my family and friends making adjustments in their lives to help me, I experienced love, in a richness that I had willfully avoided before. When love is not proud, it is life-giving. ❤️
Lord, help us see inconvenience as a prompting to adjust our plans to lend a helping hand and show love to those around us. Amen
Lord, help us let go of our selfish desires and our focus on what others have and instead open our hearts to be filled with your love. You know what we need and will be faithful to fill our hearts. ❤️Amen.
Recently I was standing in a checkout line, mask on, feeling awkward and uncomfortable. I heard a man’s voive two rows over. He was asking the cashier how they were fairing and then encouraging and thanking them. It affected my heart, even though he wasn’t talking to me, his kindness set my heart at ease. That moment has been with me for days and it inspires my prayer today. Lord, show us how we can move in the opposite direction of fear, isolation and frustration. Prompt us to greet others with a kind word, lend a helping hand, and give up our place in line for another. Help us sow kindness, as you have sown kindness. Amen.
I am dedicating this month to my 3 year-old grandson, Luke. He has been accusing us of not loving him when he gets into trouble. I told him that love is something way bigger than “never getting into trouble.” As I refresh myself on what love really is, so I can better speak words of life to Luke, I know that together, we will all find blessings in these words. Lord, today we stop and think about how we can experience love through patience. You are our highest and purest example of patience, remind us of how this is true between you and each of us. We thank you for loving us and want to extend patience to those we love. Please help! Amen.