As children of God, we often feel like there is a clear-cut list of dos and don'ts. But in reality, we live our days in gray areas where the rules are not always evident. We create great expectations and routinely let ourselves down. Perhaps we should go back to the source and look beyond our own expectations to the One who calls, claims, forgives, and loves us to the end. Let's journey together to see how this might look for us today.

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When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22:34-40

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Checking in with this devotional site is a wonderful practice and tool for connecting with God each day. Well done! Oftentimes, prayer and devotion can be an after-thought or something we feel like we should do but are not, in fact, doing on a regular basis.

Spending time in quiet prayer and reflection and staying connected to God’s word gives us what we need to encounter the world. We are asked to engage our hearts, minds, and bodies in prayer and meditation and love for God. We need to passionately pursue God’s word and make daily practices that allow us to grow deeper in our faith in Christ. As these practices become part of our daily rhythm and our minds and hearts are set upon Jesus Christ, our actions will begin to be directed by these heart and head strings. Our prayer and meditations can guide us into deeper and more life-giving relationships with one another as a reflection of Christ in community.

Passionately pursue God’s word and God’s people today and see where the Lord takes you next. Then spend some time in reflection on how God moved in you and these relationships.

Leslie Manning

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O God, thank you for this quiet space. Thank you for creating sacred space for me to connect with you. Guide my mind and heart as I set my focus on you. Help me to connect with the Holy Spirit throughout the day and to be in prayer in all things and at all times. Amen.

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“Go forth into the world in peace.
Be strong and of good courage.
Hold fast to that which is good.
Render to no one evil for evil.
Strengthen the fainthearted.
Support the weak.
Help the afflicted.
Honor all persons.
Love and serve the Lord, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit
and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit
be among you and remain with you now and forever. Amen.”

—The Rt. Rev. Duncan M. Gray, II

Leslie Manning

Leslie Manning currently serves as the Director of the Sawyerville Day Camp ministry for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama. Prior to this role, Leslie served at a number of parishes and the diocese as a youth minister. Leslie also serves as a consultant for the national consulting firm, Ministry Architects. Leslie is married to the Rev. Bentley Manning and has a three year old daughter, Mary Bentley, and two smelly dogs. They all reside in Birmingham.

Speak to Us, Oh Christ

Ken Medema

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