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18 November Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God! Not from the Gospel of John but from the book of First John, which reads in many ways as a love letter to the church.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Understanding comes in many forms, from academic study to learning by experience. The understanding my beloved child wrote about here is the understanding that my Holy Spirit bestows in all her wisdom; it is the understanding of the heart. This understanding can help you recognize that you are part of something so much greater than yourself, since you are in my Son Jesus just as he is in you, just as I am in you. Today I invite you to reflect on how you, my beloved child, are connected to all of the universe from its beginning to its end, through the Holy Spirit that indwells in you.

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11 November Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God! An appropriate passage always and especially after an election.

Joshua 24:15 Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’

After the battle at Jericho, Joshua invited those who had witnessed miracles to choose: remain loyal to the gods of the land they had claimed, or follow me. The gods look different today, and many people say they follow me but actually worship other things, but the choice remains the same. So today I simply invite you to reflect on how you will reject the gods in whose land you are living—reflect again on what people around you invest in and put above all else, and ask yourself whether you will intentionally reject those gods and choose me.

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4 November Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God, which this week explores a book a lot of Christians spend very little time with: Second Timothy. May you meet God in unexpected ways this week.

2 Timothy 2:16 Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety.

You may have noticed by now how many of my children writing to the early church talked about the dangers of gossip. In that new and fragile community, gossip could destroy a burgeoning movement. In your faith community, gossip can destroy people’s trust in my followers in lasting ways. How might you help your community represent me better in the world through only kind speech and only direct speech?

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28 October Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God, as imagined by Sandhya! This is one of 366 devotions Sandhya wrote, alternating between each book of the Hebrew Bible and each book of the New Testament, wondering what word of love God might have for us shaped by the Bible’s commitment to community and compassion, not just personal piety as so many devotions are written. Here’s hoping this devotional journey is a meaningful one for you as a person of community and compassion.

1 Thessalonians 4:12-13 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

So many of the letters in the early church were about resolving conflict, creating structures, dismantling pre-existing hierarchies and sometimes creating new ones. Not everyone loved giving up power and following the guidance and wisdom that their old culture and religion said now had authority. How many of the new converts from merchant cities, people of wealth, would normally have signed up to be led by a bunch of fishermen from an outlying region of little importance? My path often upsets existing power structures. This can create tension, but my faithful children can come through it. Today, reflect on where power structures need to change, who will be affected, and how unity in my Son might help people move into a new way of being.

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21 October Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God, right here every Wednesday through the end of the year!

Nahum 2:19 There is no assuaging your hurt,

   your wound is mortal.

All who hear the news about you

   clap their hands over you.

For who has ever escaped

   your endless cruelty?

My beloved child Nahum, whose name means “Comforter,” wrote words of challenge to oppressors and words of comfort to those who suffered at the hands of tyrants. He knew that my compassion resides with the suffering, and he spoke out against those who were cruel. Today I invite you to reflect on whether there is a little Nahum in you, and which tyrant you might need to speak against so that people may not suffer under their cruelty any longer.

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14 October Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God!

Romans 8:22-25 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

My precious children in the church of Rome chose to follow my Son because they were promised he would return. They believed he would return in their lifetimes. My beloved son Paul (who also believed he would live to see Jesus’ return even though he hadn’t met him in person before my Son’s crucifixion) wrote these words to comfort and encourage his flock. Today I invite you to reflect on something this world may never see, and I ask you to hope for it anyhow. Hope is how generations of faithful Christians have ended up creating glimpses of my Kindom on earth—hope followed by action is one of the most faithful acts you can perform in the face of a world that tells you something can never happen.

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7 October Liberating Love Devotion

Your weekly love note from God!

Daniel 8:18-19 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!’

How many people in your city are lifting up this kind of prayer to me? And what do those prayers seek? I keep listening for prayers seeking healing, seeking redemption, seeking a new way of being community in the days to come. I listen for prayers that are humble and confess the limitations of a people. Are your people praying the prayers that my son Daniel prayed for his people? What might your community look like if they did?

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