Daily Devotions

A Loving Parent

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“’The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…” (John 10:13-14)

 

The day my daughter was born was one of two happiest days of my life. I am unable to choose between that day and the day of my marriage. Both days changed me. From the day of my marriage, my life no longer centered on me. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have selfish moments, but it did mean I had the responsibility to focus on more than just myself. This change of focus continued to change as I, like many of you, became a parent. I was filled with joy, awe, and anxiety all at the same time. It was, and is, an expectation I would never change.

 

Parenting is an act of love and commitment. There is a reason we use parental language for God. While I agree that patriarchal language for God is inappropriate, so is addressing God as “Creator.” God is our loving parent. Just like a good and loving parent, God would do anything for us. God loves us, knows up by name. God worries about us and wants the best for us. There are times that God needs to reprimand us, just like any good parent creates expectations and holds their children accountable for good behavior.

 

If God was no more than a “creator,” God’s commitment would probably been primarily to keep the creation moving forward through evolution. God would be less interested in the individual, than in the overall process of creation evolving. God is so much more than a “creator.” God is a caring parent who knows us by name, and the number of hairs on our head. God makes decisions based on each one of us individually, as well as for the overall good of creation. God does not treat us as a burden, the way a hired hand might. God treats us as a loving parent who will do anything possible for God’s children. God will do anything possible, out of love for you.

Abundant Life

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“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:9-10)

 

This isn’t just a promise about the afterlife. Jesus wants us to have an abundant life here and now! Too often we treat our lives as a required martyrdom, while we wait for perfection in heaven. This was not God’s intention. God intends for us to have a joyous life, where all people experience abundance in all areas of their lives. God is not the reason our lives are often less than abundant.

 

Jesus talks about a “thief, who comes to steal and kill and destroy.” Now, people have misinterpreted who the “thief” is in our world. The “thief” is not the devil, with pointy tail, horns, and a pitch fork. The “thief” is sin, and each one of us has the potential to be the “thief” in any given situation. Each of us, at one point or another, has stolen, killed or destroyed the joy in someone else. On a larger scale, we humans have been thieves to one another throughout history.

 

Today, grab the newspaper, or get online, and pray for the situations locally, nationally, and around the world where people are suffering injustice at the hands of “thieves.” We can quickly find thieves in the pharmaceutical business, grossly overcharging helpless people. Politicians more concerned with their self-interest, rather than the people they were elected to serve. Just about every day, there are “thieves” stealing the lives of others through gun violence and terrorism. We have much to pray for in our lives.

 

Yet, we are blessed with a God who cares about our lives and our world. God, who created our world, also redeemed and is sustaining our world. The “thieves” of this world may win a few battles, but they will ultimately loose the war. We will continue to pray for the “thieves” around the world. But it is also important to pray for the potential “thief” in our own heart. It takes constant vigilance and wisdom to live abundantly and not hurt ourselves or others. God will bring abundance now and always. Hold on to that promise!

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