As we journey through life, we are often shackled by metaphorical chains that hold us back, tie us down, or slow our progress.

However, we find in God’s abundant love and grace the hope that can free us.

So raise your hands high, liberated to receive the many gifts God has for you.

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As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Psalm 42:1-6a

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I love to play sports. In fact, there is no sport I will not try if I have the opportunity. However, playing sports can be extremely challenging at times. One of the worst feelings while competing is being in the middle of a game and experiencing extreme thirst. You feel as if you are being weighed down and are about to pass out. Your body yearns for the sweet release of liquid that will quench your thirst, and free you from your feeling of helplessness.

God provides that same sweet release for us. The writer of today's psalm has it right: “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.” Our souls pant for the sweet relief of the presence of God, because in God we find hope of freedom from our chains.

James Blay

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Thank you, God, for providing me the hope that in you I can find freedom from whatever chains bind me. Amen.

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Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

James Blay

James Himie Blay is a Liberian and works as servant leadership coordinator at Ricks Institute in Virginia, Liberia. He is a 2012 graduate of Mercer University and a prospective (Fall 2013) student of the McAfee School of Theology. James has worked several summers in different capacities with Passport camps.

The Love of God

Ken Medema

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