Be still. Take a breath. Slowly – in and out.

Picture God stepping off the highest throne, reaching out to you, and drawing you close.

Feel the deep embrace of God and hear God saying, “You are loved.”

You are loved.

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The soldiers also mocked him. They came up to him, offering him sour wine and saying, “If you really are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Above his head was a notice of the formal charge against him. It read “This is the king of the Jews.”

Luke 23:36-38

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The guards placed a sign above Jesus’s head, labeling him the “king of the Jews.” They continued to taunt him to save himself, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they began to serve him sour wine. A typical king would always have the best of everything, including wine, and yet Jesus had none of it, and he didn’t save himself. He was not looking for earthly approval or to meet humanity’s expectations, but was here to serve a higher purpose.

It can be tempting to fall into what the world expects of us; to fit into the role of sports star, smart kid, underachiever, popular crowd – or whatever label is placed over our own heads by others. And yet, we can follow Jesus’s example and look to God for our purpose, as we strive to live for more than the labels placed on us.

What labels are placed on you? And how can you shift your focus to God’s purpose for your life instead of those labels?

Melissa Kessler

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Dear God, help me to ignore the labels placed on me by the world and live in your purpose for my life. Help me as I strive to be more like you in everything I do. Amen.

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God’s kingdom is nothing like we would expect, and Jesus acts nothing like the king that everyone was waiting for.

Because of that, we are able to live our lives in a way that the world least expects – forgiving, praying, serving, and loving those around us.

Go and live differently. Live the life to which God calls you.

Melissa Kessler

Rev. Melissa Kessler is Associate Pastor at Grandin Court Baptist Church in Roanoke, VA. She loves working with children and youth and helping everyone find their gifts to serve God. She has lived all over the world and really wants to go to every continent – and yes, that includes Antarctica!

24 Preludes, Op. 28: No 20 In C Minor

Garry Bailey

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