Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Amazing Paradox

Read Romans 3:21-26

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” (James 2:17 NLT)

AmazingParadoxI think if you were to ask people what their favorite Christian hymns are most people would have “Amazing Grace” some where on that list. I wonder how many people actually know the story behind that hymn. No doubt, some people will have seen the 2006 film that was named after the famous hymn. For those who have seen that film, which details William Wilberforce’s fight for the abolishment of slavery in Great Britain, this story is something they are already familiar with; however, even if you are familiar with the story, it is still good to hear it again.

The hymn was written by John Newton, who was a slave ship captain. He never had any religious upbringing while growing up and so, as you can imagine, he didn’t have any real religious sensibilities as a slave ship captain; however, that all changed in 1748 when is ship was nearly over come by a terrible storm off of the coast of County Donegal, Ireland. In the midst of the storm, for fear of his life, John Newton found himself doing something he had never really done before: he was praying to God for life. It was in that moment that Newton converted to being a Christian and he penned the first verse while waiting for his ship to be repaired. While Newton did not stop being a Slave Ship Captain right away, by 1754 or 1755 he had completely given up his career and began studying Christian theology.

From there, John Newton went on to be ordained in the Church of England and became curate of Olney, Buckinghamshire. The rest of Amazing Grace was completed in order to illustrate a sermon on New Year’s Day, 1773. While this hymn didn’t take off right away, the Second Great Awakening in the United States gave birth to it’s popularity. John Newton, a former slave captain, also became an influential proponent of the abolishment of slavery. After experiencing a conversion to Christian faith, William Wilberforce sought spiritual counsel to see if he should remain in politics. Newton encouraged him to stay in politics and became an ally of Wilberforece’s in his quest to abolish slavery from Great Britain. By 1807, both Newton and Wilberforce’s dream of the downfall of the slave trade came to pass.

What’s important to note about both Newton and Wilberforce is that in both of them we see the true nature of God’s Grace. In today’s Christianity, the focus on God’s grace is how FREE it is. While it is true that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace, and while it is true that Grace is a gift from God to us, to focus solely on Grace being FREE is to miss a profoundly powerful paradox. Here’s the deal, God’s grace maybe free for us to accept; however, it comes at the highest of costs. As John Newton and William Wilberforce both came to realize, accepting God’s amazing grace meant that they were selling their souls and their lives to God. Nothing…absolutely nothing…would remain the same again.

The same is true for us, if we want God’s free and amazing Grace, we have to be willing to pay the cost. It will change who we are from the inside out. It will push us to uncomfortable places we never imagined ourselves going. It will call us to forsake our own wills for the will of God. It will compel us to stand up against oppression, against injustice, in order to fight for the “least of these” and for the souls of those who are seeking release from captivity (physical and spiritual). While this change, as in the case of Newton, might not happen overnight…it will most certainly happen! Because those who are possessed by God’s Spirit, and filled with God’s amazing grace, cannot continue living lives that are antithetical to God’s love. So, sing it! Sing Amazing Grace at the top of your lungs and be transformed by God’s amazing paradox.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Cheap grace is the enemy of the church. We are fighting today for costly grace.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Cost of Discipleship”.

PRAYER
Lord, fill me with your costly grace and transform me in ways that produce transformative change in the world around me. Amen.

Princes and Princesses

Read Psalm 31:19-24

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT)

Cinderella-2015-film-reviewBack in March, my family and I went to see Disney’s long awaited live-action film adaptation of Cinderella. As can be expected with anything Disney, it was simply magical. The film was very true to the spirit of their original animated classic; however, they updated it with more background and more context which led the audience to better understanding of who girl was and how she got the name “Cinderella”. Lily James was brilliant as this rags-to-riches princess and the entire cast added depth to their characters.

Since most people have seen the original Cinderella, I cannot really spoil the story since the film follows the same basic plot. This film centers on a girl named Ella. She was pretty well off and she lived in a home with her father and her mother. It was a happy life and she was a happy child but, as is always the case, happiness is fleeting and soon that happiness came to a bitter end. Ella’s mother fell ill and the first of many dark shadows was cast over her life. In her dying moments, her mother looked up at her and uttered these words, “Have courage and be kind.” With that, her mother breathed her last.

Those words inspire and define Ella throughout her life; however, they would become more and more challenging to live by. Her father ends up meeting another woman, one who is looking to be upwardly mobile, and this woman has two daughters of her own. They are cruel, prissy, and spiteful like their mother, and they treat Ella poorly. What’s worse, her father never returns home and dies while out on a business trip. Ella’s world comes crashing down around her and it seems like the darkness has finally won. Her wicked step-mother and step-sisters enslave her and make her live in the attic. They mock her and abuse her. It is because she looked dirty as a result of being made to literally do all of the dirty work, that she got named “Cinder” Ella…hence the name, Cinderella.

But this Cinderella does not give up hope…ever. Nor does she let her step-mother and her step-sisters change who she is. Rather, she keeps on remembering her mom’s last words, “Have courage and be kind.” While she does learn to stand up to her abusers, and she does eventually find away to leave them and their abuse (as the abused should never, ever, put up or stay with an abuser), she never stops having compassion on them. She loves them even though she doesn’t like them. She never let’s them control who she is. While she didn’t have control over anything else, she had control over who she was and who her mother (aka God) called her to be.

I would say that in her death, Ella’s mother parted the greatest gift to her child: LOVE. It is true that it takes courage to love and to be kind. Ella had that courage, and like Ella God is calling us to have the courage it takes to LOVE and to be kind. If you are abused or in an abusive relationship have the courage to do what it takes to get out of that relationship, seek help from anyone who will give it, even if that means going to the authorities if need be. Have courage and be kind and love yourself. God does not want you to be abused. Even for those of us who are not abused, we all have circumstances in our lives that can easily alter our call to have courage and be kind. Don’t let the dark days of life snuff the bright, bold and warm days of LIVING. God calls us all to have courage, to be kind, and to LOVE. Like Cinderella, we may have cinder and soot on the outside of us; however, within us are the princes and princesses of God’s glorious kingdom.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia

PRAYER
Lord, I want to utilize the courage you have given me in order to be kind and to love. Guide me in this, I pray. Amen.

Boiling Point

Read Ephesians 4:26-31

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.” (James 1:19-20 NLT)

Boiling PointWhen I was a teenager, I could really get angry sometimes. I was not one who got that mad often; however, I have always been the type of person who would hold things in, bottle it up as it were, and not really let anyone know I was upset in a constructive way. I was kind of like a soda bottle. You could shake it a little, then a little more, then a little more. Following the first slight shake, not much happens. But with each subsequent shake, more and more pressure builds up until, at some point, the cap bursts off the top and the soda come-a-flyin’ out like a volcanic eruption.

Often times, by the time I got that upset, it was usually something relatively silly that ended up bringing me beyond the explosion point. This may be shocking to people who know me because I am typically an easy going guy; however, everyone has that point that they reach where they get so angry they can’t contain it. I remember this one time I got angry while I was hanging out with friends. To be honest, I don’t remember what I was angry over. I am sure that I had gotten into an argument earlier with my parents. I know that there were other things going on that I was holding in as well. Again, I can’t remember what made me mad at that particular moment, but I remember punching the wall out of anger. Now, this was not a smart move…at all…because the wall was made of cinderblock. I didn’t break anything, thankfully, but boy did my hand let me know how utterly foolish I was in my anger!!!

Now, if we’re all honest, there is nothing really shocking about me getting angry…especially as a teenager. Teenage angst is not a new thing. The real problem was not that I was getting angry, but that I was not communicating well what I was getting angry over. I was pretending like I wasn’t angry until I couldn’t pretend anymore. Once that point was reached, there was no turning back. I would explode over something relatively petty and it almost always resulted in the wrong person taking the brunt of my anger. The fact is that, if I had addressed my being upset to those who were actually hurting me, or at the very least talked about my being hurt with those who loved me enough to listen, I wouldn’t have EVER gotten to the boiling point.

When I look at the United States of America today, and when I look at our world, I see people who have reached their boiling point. They’ve been holding in their hurt, their anger, their rage, and now everything (big or small) that happens sets people off into explosive, and often violent, behavior. Whether we are talking about the riots going on around the country, or work place violence, or other explosive situations, I see a world gone mad in the hurt it has been trying to, or forced to, contain for so long.

Christ is calling us all to lay down our swords and to be agents of love and peace; however, the only way we can begin to do this is to begin to communicate with the people. We need to be honest with others when we feeling hurt or upset, and we also need to be good listeners, slow to speak and quick to listen to those who are feeling hurt and upset. This is not easy work. In fact, it can be quite trying and painful; however, if we are ever to move beyond the realm of pain and of a violence that only creates more hurt and pain, then we will have to begin to be honest with ourselves and with others. We will also have to begin to be humble enough to learn compassionate listening. I pray we are all up to the challenge.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha

PRAYER
Lord, help me to be honest about my hurts and pains, to be humble enough to be a good listener for others, and allow me to be a peacemaker within myself so that I can make peace in the world around me. Amen.

The Modern Prometheus

Read Psalm 14

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness; they chatter on and on. No one really knows what is going to happen; no one can predict the future.” (Ecclesiastes 10:13-14 NLT)

FrankensteinOne of my more favorite books, as a fan of Gothic Horror, is Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s “Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus”. Inspired by a group of friends who were all competing to see who could write the scariest horror story, Shelley penned Frankenstein about a doctor who would use science to create human life. Shelley’s world was one that had gone through the age of enlightenment and scientific knowledge was growing in leaps and bounds. There was seemingly no limit to human potential and it seemed as if humans could achieve anything if they so willed it. All it took was scientific discovery. As has happened ever since the Age of Enlightenment, scientific discovery got more and more narrowed down to physical and/or natural sciences, such as medicine, biology, anatomy, physiology, ecology, etc.

But Shelley also lived in a world that still held on to the other sciences as well. The word science comes from the Latin word scientiae, which means “knowledge.” Therefore, the sciences were avenues to attaining knowledge. Whether it be the knowledge of the physical/natural world, of wisdom (philosophy), of the mind (psychology), or even of God (theology), people have been in pursuit of such knowledge. Thus, the physical and/or natural sciences are no more or less science than philosophy, sociology, psychology, archaeology, and theology. All of these are avenues to knowledge…all of these are sciences.

In Shelley’s novel, Dr. Victor Frankenstein abandons himself to the physical sciences in order to attain something that the other sciences such as theology and philosophy might warn against. He attempts to leave the realm of humanity and starts to play God. The results are catastrophic, as one can imagine. Instead of creating another human being, Dr. Frankenstein creates what he ends up considering to be a monster and an abomination. In reality, the creation (who refers to himself as “Adam” in order to draw a parallel between himself and the first man created in Eden) is not the real monster…rather, Victor Frankenstein is the one who becomes monstrous in creating and abandoning “the Adam of [his] labours”, as well as for the hell he brings upon his household and his people.

Shelley’s novel is one that intentionally warns the reader about the danger of abandoning the sum of knowledge for just one of its parts. While we have learned a great deal about the world through the physical and natural sciences, that is not the whole of the knowledge we have to learn. Just as one who ignores the knowledge we have gained of ourselves and of the world through the physical sciences is considered to be foolish, so too is it foolish for one to ignore the knowledge we have gained of God, of the cosmos, of creation and of our relationship to all of the above through theology.

Today’s challenge is for us to move away from being like Frankenstein and toward a more holistic understanding of reality. We are not just physical beings, but we are also emotional, intellectual, psychological and SPIRITUAL beings as well. We cannot be one without the others. We cannot be one part without the whole. When attempt to be apart from the whole, we end up becoming hollow, shadowy caricatures of our former selves; when we abandon the whole of knowledge we often, in our willful ignorance, end up becoming monstrous and dangerous to the larger community around us. Christ is calling us from that to humility, curiosity, and open-mindedness…values that any true scientist would eagerly embody.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor.” (Ecclesiastes 10:1 NLT)

PRAYER
Lord, teach me to be open to all of the possibilities so that I may grow in knowledge, as well as in wisdom. Amen.

Stoned

Read John 8:1-12

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8 NLT)

Glass HouseOne of the most powerful testimonies to the kind of compassionate, merciful, forgiving nature that Jesus embodied, is the story of the adulterous woman who was brought to him as way of his opponents to test both his understanding of Scripture as well as his commitment to the Torah. Under normal circumstances, according to the Law of Moses, the law demanded only one thing: the woman must be stoned. Yet, with that said, these were not normal circumstance and the religious leaders were, indeed, setting a trap for Jesus.

First, it is important to note that while the Law of Moses demanded that adultery be stamped out (via stoning) of Israel, it seems that by the time of the prophets, there may have been a more merciful way of handling adultery: divorce. There adulterer was divorced, and shamed  before the whole community, as a way of both punishing and correcting the sin. This precedence is alluded to in Hosea 2, Isaiah 50, and Jeremiah 3…though the prophets themselves are referring to the adultery of Israel against God. Second, the Law found in both Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22-24 requires that there be two witnesses that can testify against the adulterers, and that both adulterers (as it takes two to tango) be stoned if convicted of the crime.

The religious leaders believe that they have this Jesus, this simpleton from Nazareth, in a proverbial pickle. They couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus answers to them, “Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.” Well, who is without sin? Not one person could rightfully throw the stone at this woman after that. But not just because we are all, theologically speaking, sinners. The people trying to trap Jesus were found to be committing the sin by their not following the Law in a just manner. First off, if there were any witnesses to her act of adultery, they did not bring these witnesses to Jesus. For all Jesus knows, this woman could be falsely accused. Second, they did not bring the person she committed adultery with. If she had committed adultery, the Law is quite clear that both her and her illicit partner need to be stoned. Where was he? These religious leaders were sinning by the very act of handling the trial the way they did, and Jesus knew it…as did they!

What’s most important is that in the face of the rigidity of the law, Jesus opts for grace, for humility, for compassion and for mercy. How often do we, like the religious leaders, uphold the law in a way that favors us over others? But, by the very act of doing so, we bring the law down upon our own heads. While it is easy for us to stand above others we think are wrong, we are wrong by standing above others as their judge, jury and executioner. Christ has called us to live by the heart of law, which is living in right relationship with God and with each other. While adultery does not live into the heart of the law because it breaks the covenantal bond within the marital relationship, neither does holding others to a standard that we ourselves cannot, and do not, live by.

Here is what Jesus is telling us. If we are to receive love, let us love. If we are to receive forgiveness, let us forgive. If we are to receive mercy, let us be merciful. If we are to receive compassion, let us be compassionate. If we are to receive respect, let us be respectufl. If we are to receive justice, let us live justly. For to live by the law is to die by the law. If we want to receive the law and all of the consequences of not following it, then we are on the right path when we judge others, for we will be judged according to the same standard with which we judge. Let us ever be mindful of that as we continue to live out our lives in the name of our righteous, holy and just God.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“One who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones.” – Unknown

PRAYER
Lord, help me to be loving, merciful, graceful, compassionate, just and certainly humble. Amen.

Start With Yourself

Read Matthew 7:1-6

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I have much to say about you and much to condemn, but I won’t. For I say only what I have heard from the One who sent Me, and He is completely truthful.” (John 8:26, NLT)

logsFor those of you who are on social media, and perhaps some of you read these devotions on some of those sites, have you ever run into comments posted that make you sit back and seriously question what in the world the people who posted them are thinking? Often times, people post things that they think are “wise beyond their years”, often decrying something they think they don’t like…yet they are no better than the people and/or the things they are bemoaning. More often than not, many of us have come across such things and have been left scratching our heads and wondering, “For the love of God, why?”

I have seen many such posts that have left me wondering. For instance, people posting to the world that they are “going to rise above” and “not let people bring them down” only to follow that up with a series of comments putting down the said people that they are supposedly “not going to let bring them down.” In this world of social media, many people have lost their filters and their self-awareness; many people end up posting things they would never say to the face of others. While there are many awesome things about social media, it is such behavior that ends up giving social media a bad reputation.

Of course, social media is not just to blame regarding this. Prior to social media there were bumper stickers (perhaps there still are) and the like that expressed the same kind of sentiment. But the truth is, that if you want to not let people get you down, you kind of need to start with yourself first. It is so easy to look across the way, point the other finger, and hold other people accountable for your you’re feeling. Yet, the truth is, it is not quite as easy for us to self-reflect and see where and how we are bringing ourselves down. What’s more, often times misery likes company and we end up bringing others down with us!

The truth of the matter is that this kind of behavior has been going on for quite some time. Jesus, during his famous Sermon on the Mount, talked about this very thing when he warned his listeners not to pull out the speck in another’s eye without removing the huge log their own eyes first. The fact of the matter is that we all play our part in viewing ourselves as the ones who are in the right and everyone else as being in the wrong. The truth is that not one of us has clear eyes or 20/20 vision when it comes to our own shortcomings and for us to act as if we have none is both disingenuous and sinful.

Christ is calling you to concern yourself with the log(s) that are clouding your vision before you even begin to point out the specks that are in another’s eyes. If you do not want to let other people bring you down, then you had better start with yourself. Once you have been perfected then you will see clear enough to judge other people. Of course that day of perfection will never come in this life and so, therefore, our judgment of others should never come either. Let us, rather, leave judgement and speck pulling up to God who could judge each of us for our faults but chooses not to. Amen.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.” (Proverbs 18:2 NLT)

PRAYER
Lord, help me to be a person who does not tear others, myself included, down; rather, let me be one who lifts people up both in prayer and in life. Amen.

SON OF GOD: Holy Saturday

Read Matthew 27:62-66

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“’Go out and stand before Me on the mountain,’ the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.” (1 Kings 19:11-13a NLT)

Jesus in the TombToday is Holy Saturday, which is the day in between Jesus’ death and his resurrection. It is on this day that his disciples sat in hiding. It is on this day that the uncertainty of death hung over them like a shroud, clouding them with the fear of the unknown and paralyzing them in that fear. They had followed Jesus for three long years and had invested all of their hopes and expectations in him. Now he was dead, gone, and the silence of the tomb echoed in their psyche about as loudly as a shrill scream in the night.

On the flip side, the powers that be that opposed Jesus were scrambling to keep the silence from becoming to uncertain. Caiaphas and other religious leaders were holding a meeting with the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, regarding what they were going to do with this dead trouble maker named Jesus. The religious leaders were claiming that his disciples might come and snatch the body in order to make false claims about some sort of bodily resurrection. Out of fear that the body might disappear, they all decided that it would be best if guards were posted at the tomb to ensure that nothing happened to the body.” These men, too, were disturbed by the silence of the tomb, for they were afraid it might remain silent. So they did everything they could to ensure that it would.

The silence of death and the tomb affects each of us in many different ways. It seems so final, yet so uncertain, and we are left feeling not only loss by a sense of hopelessness. And I need not be talking about the physical death of any one person, but death in the broader sense. Throughout life, aspects of our lives die off. We come to identify ourselves one way, or another, and for a season that identification endures; however, there comes a point when that identity, that aspect, that part of us dies off and we are with a tremendous sense of loss and of fear. Who are we? How do we respond to this particular loss? Do we, like the disciples, hide in the shadows afraid of what lies next? Or do we, like the religious and political leaders of Jesus’ day, place guard over the tomb to make sure nothing is out of our control?

Both of the above questions are pathways that we can take? Both seek to hang onto whatever control we have left. Paralysis and overreaction are on the opposite side of the same coin of control. However, there is a third option. We need not hide in the shadows or overreact in some outlandish way or through some sort of crazy power grab; rather, we have the option of letting go. We have the option of allowing the silence of the tomb to speak for itself. We have the option of letting go of control and allowing God to work resurrection in our lives. The reality is that no matter what we do, whether we hide in the shadows or stand guard over the tomb, that stone will be bursting forth with or without us. The question is not “if”, but “when.” When the Son of God sparks resurrection in your life, will be open to it or will you let it pass you by? The silence of the tomb gives you ample time to reflect on that very question. May that reflection be rich in the darkness and the silence of the tomb.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” – Steve Jobs

PRAYER
Lord, prepare me for the death in life, and for the death of life, for I know that all ends are the beginnings of something new. Amen.

SON OF GOD: Holy Monday

Read Mark 11:12-14, 20-22

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“He put before them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.’” (Matthew 13:31-32 NRSV)

fig_tree2Have you ever been in an apple orchard, or in a strawberry field, or in a garden and really desire to eat the food you come upon? One of my favorite things to do is to eat the fruit fresh from the tree. I get hungry walking through the orchards and the fields and, for whatever reason, the fruit tastes so much more fresh and desirable when freshly picked. There is nothing like it.

I can only imagine that Jesus, heading in to Jerusalem on that Monday morning nearly 2,000 years ago would have felt the same way as he passed that fig tree. The only difference is that, as he was passing, the fig tree was not in season to grow fruit. It only had leaves on it. Jesus surely knew this and understood it, yet when he arrived at the tree he cursed it upon the sight of it not having fruit. Odd, right? His disciples must have thought so.

Then this Jesus headed into Jerusalem, and went straight to the Temple. It is there that he began teaching against the religious establishment of his time period. You see, Jesus felt that they had become more focused on upholding their power and status, rather than being servants of the people. Rather than leading the people closer to God, Jesus felt the establishment was crushing the very people it was meant to serve. Jesus did not parse words as he levied the indictment of those who stood to gain from the establishment. On the way out of Jerusalem on the morning after that long and tense day, the disciples had noticed that the tree had withered and they remembered the curse Jesus had pronounced against the tree.

The tree is a symbol, a metaphor, and it represents the religious establishment and all of those who would claim to be God’s. When God comes, when God shows looking for fruit, we had better be bearing some. There are no excuses that will fly. We cannot claim to be out of season, or unaware of the coming of the Lord. Rather, we are called to ALWAYS be bearing fruit and we are not only called to bear fruit for some…but for ALL!

The question for us, as it was for those in Jesus’ day, is this: are we bearing fruit, or are we just a tall trunk with leaves? Are our branches far reaching, do they reach out to all who are in need of the fruit they bear, or are short and sparce? Are we like the great tree that grew from the mustard seed that shelters all of the birds of the air in its shade? Or are we a tree that shelters only the few and privileged? The Son of God wants us to bear fruit. The Son of God is calling us to recognize that all are children of God and all are chosen to receive the fruit of God’s love…the fruit of God’s hope, healing and wholeness. All we need to do is to root ourselves in God’s unfailing love and grow.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 7:18-19 NRSV)

PRAYER
Lord, produce in me a clean heart. Prune away the dead branches and nurture me into a strong tree that produces much fruit for your Kingdom of hope, healing, wholeness, love, peace, justice, compassion, mercy, and humility. Amen.