Daily Devotions

Open Our Eyes and See

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"Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” (John 1:26b-27)

 

These were religious leaders who were grilling John the Baptist about his actions and intentions. Not only did they not know who John was, they were even less aware of the Messiah's presence in their midst. It isn't a stretch to claim we live in similar circumstances today. Through the Holy Spirit, God is present to us in intimate and transformative ways. Yet, so many around us choose to question and deny "the one who is coming after" John.

 

Where can we go to "see" the one John was preparing us for? Gee, the church, maybe? The Holy Spirit moves through the sacraments, that are not found apart from God's Church. The Messiah is found in a community gathered to honor God, and bring hope and justice to the world.

 

The Church is so close, yet people look everywhere else but "the body of Christ." People try finding the Messiah in nature, in crystals, in incantations, on Ouija boards, even through Scientologists' space aliens. There is something almost supernatural about humanities blindness toward the Messiah. Two thousand years ago, very few of the "chosen people" could "see" the Messiah in their midst. Today, very few choose to "see" Jesus, the Messiah.

 

Today, pray for the world to "see" Jesus as the Messiah. If people could "see" Jesus as the Messiah, their lives would be free and joyous. I don't mean that knowing the truth about Jesus makes life easier, but it is freeing and joyful. The freedom and joy comes in knowing God's free gift of grace. Jesus is the only one who can resurrect us and bring our lives eternal meaning. We don't even need to earn the right to be joyful. That is a message worth sharing, so all can "see" the Messiah, Jesus the Christ.

 

 

Only God is Self-Made

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"From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace." (John 1:16)

 

You can't buy it. You can't earn it. Celebrities don't get extra. The poorest and the richest have the opportunity to get it. Everyone gets the same amount. Grace. Grace is the gift worth more than Super Bowl tickets, or even Kim Kardashian's stolen ring. Yet, few people take advantage of this amazing gift.

 

In his extremely helpful book, New Testament Words, William Barclay speaks of grace, "It is not as if God chose us because we stood out because of special goodness or special attainment. It is out of the goodness of his heart that God calls us who never deserved to be called." When we get beyond the layers of self-deception and denial, we come to recognize there is little in this world we deserve. We didn't create ourselves. Our intellect, physical or mental health, where we were born, or who raised us are beyond our control. Each of those decisions came from God. There is no such thing as "the self made man!" Even our level of disciple is more influenced by outside factors, than by our inner determination.

 

Our lives, our blessings, our loves etc. etc. etc. all come from God's grace. Today, think about the ways God has blessed you with grace. It requires you to think about your shortcomings and outright sin. Then, contemplate the idea that in spite of the most horrifying recesses of your being, God loves you and reaches out to you with loving and affirming grace. Then, thank God for the gift you don't deserve, but must simply accept. Finally, since God so freely accepts you, strive to accept yourself, horrors and all!

 

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