Pause

The love of God has always caught people off-guard.
When we expect micromanagement,
God loves us expansively.
When we expect to be ranked and rated,
God loves us impartially.
When we expect to be found guilty,
God loves us unconditionally.
When we expect to be excluded,
God loves us with arms wide open,
ready to draw us in.

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Listen

O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.

The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.

He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody.

Psalm 98:1-5

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Think

Ancient literature is filled with stories of gods who demonstrate their power on earth, controlling the forces of nature and determining the winners of wars. They require sacrifices to keep them happy, and depending on their mood swings, they may help or hurt those who worship them.
Our God — the One True God — has a relationship with us that's completely different from those ancient myths. God doesn’t manipulate nature or decide battles just for the sake of showing off divine power. God doesn’t demand worship in order to satisfy God’s self-esteem, and God doesn’t help or hurt us on a whim.

Our God loves us steadfastly — faithfully, stubbornly. This love is the beginning and end of all God’s work in the world. Every new thing God does, every marvelous deed, every victory is an act of God’s love.

When we feel loved, we can’t help but respond: we turn toward the Source of Love, we lean in closer and trust Love to hold us, we sing our own love back to God in songs of praise.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

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Pray

Thank you, God, for loving me and for loving the world you have made! Amen.

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Go

When we let God surprise us
with expansive,
impartial,
unconditional,
all-embracing love,
we cannot help but carry that love
to our world.
Let our message catch people off-guard:
that God loves them beyond belief,
and so do we.

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair

Nikki Finkelstein-Blair is an ordained Baptist minister, wife to a US Navy chaplain, and stay-home mom to two little boys. In every new duty station, she participates in church life from VBS to pulpit supply, and is regularly involved in women’s ministries and writing. She blogs seasonal devotions at The Ordinary Times.

Nothings Ever Really Gone

Clay Mottley

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