#11 Gifted to Change

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For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

– John 3:16, NASB

All journeys are made for a reason. We usually begin one to achieve or earn some item, some recognition, some reward of value – a treasure.

But what if the treasure came at the beginning of your journey, given without being earned first? Would you then disregard your travels, having already received the award, or would you be motivated even further by this gracious gift?

Grace, itself, is a gift – a little idea with such consuming power that it can transform hate into love, anger into joy, and enemies into friends. It is a present that requires nothing of us, but because of its worth, its immeasurable value, its beauty – it becomes the reason for the journey and that which sparks us forward, not out of duty of hope for gain, but out of something more pure: gratitude.

Pray | Ask that you’ll respond to God’ grace in a transformative way

Read | Meditate on these verses this week: Jeremiah 29:11 / Romans 6:1-2 / 2 Corinthians 5:17 / Romans 12:2 / James 2:14-26

Act | Think about Christ’s sacrifice and do loving action in light of it

#2 Returning Love

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You took the broken pieces, and made them whole.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God

– Ephesians 2:8

Romantic relationships sometimes feel like purchasing a product.  If the item is broken, or not as advertised, or fails to live up to our expectations in any way, we return it and get our money back.  When a problem occurs during dating, we might consider “returning” our mate and starting again.  The more difficult the issue or the more issues there are, the more likely we are to call it quits and say, “this transaction just didn’t work out.”

Unfortunately, this idea extends beyond dating.  Cohabitation, marriage, friendship, and even family can break down when people disappoint, hurt, and otherwise fail to meet expectations.  And what happens when we’re treated like a purchase?  When we’re dumped, passed over for a promotion, or ignored by friends, as if we don’t matter?  It’s painful to be on the receiving end because it makes us feel like a defective product.  Who could love me?

Real love is not a transaction.  It’s not “I’ll give you this if you give me that.”  Instead, it’s about loving a person for who they are, no matter the circumstances and at great personal expense.  Scripture tells us that this is how God approaches His relationship with us.  Even though we failed Him, over and over again, He loves us to the utmost expense, to the point where He came to die in our place.  God bought us, defects and all, but decided this: He’ll keep and treasure us forever.

Pray | Tell God about the broken relationships in your life and thank him for his enduring love for you
Read | Read and meditate on these verses this week: Zephaniah 3:14-17 / Psalms 86:15 / Romans 8:37-39 / Luke 12:6-7 / Ephesians 2:4-10
Act | Take a step toward healing a broken relationship this week through a message, phone call, or something more