Lord, we thank You for the gift of waking up to another sunrise and the privilege of coming into Your presence one more time. As we hear Your story today, we pray that Your glory would be revealed to us because freedom is more than just a word. It is an experience.
Don’t let us forget You. Don’t let us forget those who followed You and led us to this moment. We can’t forget that we stand on the shoulders of those believers who have gone before us and sacrificed so much so that generations after them would be able to know God.
Life has always been and will always be about connecting with God, but the miracle that we all share is that God chose to connect with us. He connects with us through His Son, on the cross, as He paid the price by becoming guilty for our crimes and redeemed us in His resurrection and glory.
Lord, empty us of our ego and fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we can stop pretending that we can handle this life on our own because we can’t. We cannot rely solely on our own strength or the strength of others because we will grow weary, but the Word of the Lord shall endure forever and shall eternally be the source of our strength and the strength of our life. Love is patient and love is kind. Love is Jesus, the living Son of God.
Lord Jesus, You make the impossible possible. You transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. You breathe life into what was once dead. You see us, and You know us more than we know ourselves because You knew us before we took our first breath and You will be there with us when we take our last.
You, Jesus, are amazing, and we ask that whatever truth we need to hear from Your word, in this moment, be given to us as a gift from God. Let Your words just fall down from heaven and touch our hearts. “For, all people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:24)
Move us, right now and right here, so that the words that we hear and say today will match the way we that live out our lives. Take away the hypocrisy of religion and pride by calling on all of us to love with the same love that forgave and released us from our own regrets, hatred and shame. Through You, Jesus, we are now free to love because You first loved us. That same love, the love of God, is present now and is available/accessible to us now, today and forever. So Lord, speak into our hearts so that we can also love all and condemn no one.
Yes, this life is challenging as the enemy stares us down, “but greater is He that lives in all of us than he that is of the world.” (1 John 4:4) Here is the reality that we can all embrace: The crucified and resurrected Christ frees us all from yesterdays mistakes so that we can be brave, we can be courageous, and we can truly and whole-heartedly live in the abundance of God’s favor, grace and love.
It’s never too late to accept Christ. It’s never too late to experience His love. All of the chaos in this world is silenced by His eternity for “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:37-39)
Why is grace so amazing? It is amazing because it is a gift. A gift that is given in sacrifice and mercy. A gift that allows us to simply let go of any condemnation or judgement for any mistakes that we have made in the past because Jesus bore all of our sins at the cross. “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
So many questions circle our minds as we walk through life’s valleys. We wonder why do we have to face these obstacles, we question God’s purpose and we limit God’s love. But in those times, we should remember that “the will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us” (Billy Graham) for we are never alone. The love of God is the same love that lives within all of us. It dwells in our hearts and it sustains us, throughout all of the good and bad times, so that we can trust in the truth of the Gospel that there are no limits to this divine love that even death could not hold back.
We often attempt to tackle life’s mountains on our own shoulders, but the reality is that we cannot rely solely on our own strength as we face these giants. We foolishly pull away from God as He reaches evermore for us, but He is there for us, to lean and depend on, as He guides us through all of the joys and sorrows. Yes, we must walk through the valleys, but we do not stay there.
This song, “Amazing Grace” is a prayer that has touched the hearts of generations and nations because it gives voice to exactly what God’s love is: a gift. A gift so unimaginable that it cannot be contained by the limitations of this mortal world. We are given this gift so that we can live, and the gift of life goes beyond our first or final breath because our chains are gone and we have been set free by our God, Savior and Friend. So let’s join in one voice and sing His praises.
Several years ago my best friends mom made these origami for me. She is no longer with us and I can now return these gifts to my best friend for her wedding.
Loving Creator, You gave each of us a mother that gave us life. No matter what, we must honor our parents by loving them as You, our Heavenly Father, love us. We can lift them up instead of bringing them down. We can be thankful for their contribution to our lives instead of forgetting them. We can also forgive them as we have been forgiven. Each of us has the opportunity to reflect God’s love to all people. So let’s love those that gave us life and give thanks to those who have nurtured, cared for, and taught us even if we were not their children. Let’s watch over every mother who is currently with child. And let us help strengthen their faith and the faith of those around them in the truth of Jesus Christ. And for the child that yearns for a mother that is not there, we pray that the church will rise up for those that cannot help themselves. And for those who grieve for a mother that has left this world, we ask that You keep the memories of love, family and honor ever etched into the memories of their children so that the love of God, that dwells in all of us, will always connect us and bind us together from generation to generation until the end of time. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of life and for the gift of those who raised us. As we honor them, we honor You. To God be the glory.
This was my twist on the popular love song “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts that I did at church for Valentines Day weekend as a way to say thank you to Jesus for always being my side through all of the ups and downs of my life.
I believe that everything that we experience, good and bad, simply leads us to His truth for our lives which includes all of the ups and downs and everything else in between. And as I get older, I can see that all of those times, places and people that maybe were not the most pleasant to experience, were merely preparing me to help find my way back to Him. And because of Him, I can forgive others as I have been forgiven because that burden is finally freed from my shoulder, so that I can really live this life in the way that He would want me to live. A life filled with grace that is sufficient for every possibility and circumstance that we will encounter on the road called life..
Yes, the road is broken but the journey always leads us back to confront the reality of the cross and the open arms of Jesus Christ. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him (John 3:17).” So if we do not have condemnation from a God that could/should condemn us for our mistakes, then how could we condemn others? Can we forgive those who trespass against us as we have been forgiven by Almighty God? Yes, I believe that we can.
We can only share or gift something that we have an abundance of. We have an abundance of amazing grace, love and forgiveness, so let’s share that gift that was given to us on this broken road called life. We can’t run to Him by holding on to the baggage of yesterday, so let’s just let go and let God by following His truth and message; that all people are children of God, who are loved as His unique creation, and need to be treated with dignity, compassion and respect. Amen.
Lord God, we come into this place today so that we can quiet down the world and turn up the volume of Your Word for our lives. We come here today with so many questions and concerns that weigh heavy on our hearts, but there is one question that You have already answered loud and clear: Are we loved? You say yes, we are so loved by God that He sent His only Son to free us from all of the wrong choices and decisions of this world. And it is from that same love that we can have the strength to let go of what once was and be made new and alive in Christ. For there is no ceiling that can limit God’s love and there is no wall or door that can shut us out from His grace and mercy. Even as we break Your heart with our sins that tore a chasm between us Lord. It is Your Son, Jesus, who is the bridge between anything that would separate us from God. It is Jesus who is the source of our strength and the strength of our life. It is Jesus who allows us to live and dwell in the presence of the Lord. So we stand here, in the midst of our joys and sorrows, and claim Your Son as our Savior, Redeemer and Friend. Amen.
I decided to celebrate Cinco De Mayo by singing my all time favorite praise song “Shout to the Lord” by Hillsong. I sing in both Spanish and English. My spanish is not so good but I wanted to address the global body of Christ and the many languages that are used to praise His name. I wanted to use this song in particular because this is the song that brought me back to Christ.
See, I had left the church several years ago while I was still in my youth. I was angry, lost and confused. I had so many questions and just could not get the right answers. I started to go down a very dark path until one very fateful night.
My cousin and I, loved to, and still love to sing karaoke. We are filipino, after all, so that should be no surprise to anyone. Singing is part of our culture. We would stay up until sunrise singing any song imaginable. But sometimes it is in listening that we are able to be touched in a way that moves our heart and spirit.
My cousin just happened to have one of those WOW christian hits CD’s. And during a much needed break from our karaoke, she decided to play one of the songs from this CD while we were cleaning up from our two person Karaoke extravaganza. She knew that I wanted nothing to do with religion or anything of the church but she played it anyways. Sneaky but it worked!!!
This song moved me. It’s simplistic beauty and truth hit my heart like a ton of bricks and then the walls that I had built up around my heart came crashing down. I opened up my heart to Jesus that night and I have never looked back. Yes, life happens and there are still so many questions that I have. But He has answered the one question that I had been searching for: Am I loved? He says…“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.” John 3: 16-18 (The Message).