Pause

Pssst… hey, you. Did you know that there’s a wild and wonderful God traveling alongside you, all around you, within you right now?

The Bible tells us that our God is like a shepherd who never leaves the flock for one moment. God is always with us. We are never alone, never abandoned. And no matter what we do – no matter what choices we make or what happens to us – this God is always reaching out to us in love.

So pause. Rest for a moment. Abide in the Holy. And let God’s grace transform your living and loving.

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Listen

Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence in relationship to God. We receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

1 John 3:20-22

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Think

I remember being a little scared of Santa Claus when I was a young child. Here’s this guy – a stranger – who knows what I’m doing all of the time and is going to sneak into my house at night. It’s a good thing he’s bringing presents, or else I would be pretty annoyed by the whole thing.

The Bible teaches that God, too, knows everything… which can be a little unsettling. But the first part of the teaching is that “God is greater than our hearts.” God’s heart is bigger than ours. Stronger. More loving. More caring. More open. More forgiving. God can know everything about us… and still love us. Sometimes that’s more than I can even do for myself, you know?

We are called to live boldly before God. We can rest assured that God is ready to love us, no matter what. And as we live into God’s big heart, our own heart grows, too. We are freed and challenged to love others the same way God loves us.

Caela Simmons Wood

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Pray

Big-hearted-God, how amazing it is to be fully known and fully loved. Help me to look at those around me with a strong and loving heart. May I always remember that each person I encounter is your beloved child. Amen.

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Go

Go into the day ahead renewed, restored, and reinvigorated to live out the Good News of God’s love. God, the Good Shepherd, who never leaves our side, travels with you into the day ahead – whatever it holds. May the goodness of the Holy One shine brightly from your heart on each person you encounter.

Caela Simmons Wood

Rev. Caela Simmons Wood serves as the pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Manhattan, KS. Caela is passionate about examining and dismantling systems of injustice, especially those related to race, gender identity, sexuality, and poverty. Caela lives with her husband (whom she met in youth group!), two sons, dog, and five hens (eggs!).

The Prayer: Be Thou My Vision

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