Devotions

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Beloved

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1 
 
My husband always used to call me “Beloved” when he spoke to me or left a voicemail. It is an incredible memory I cherish. What a gift to have someone think of you that way. I know he didn’t arrive at that understanding of love on his own. His faith was a key part in how he met the world with love. Whenever I encounter this letter from John, I am reminded how deeply we all long to be loved and what a blessing it is to know we are the beloved children of God. 
 
Experts often talk about how human beings need love and most of us believe that our happiness is tied to whether we feel loved and cared for. But it’s not just our own need for love that matters, we also have a deep need to love and care for others too. In fact, an experiment took place where various small amounts of money were given to participants, anywhere from $5 to $20. They could choose to spend it on themselves or spend it on others. When surveyed about their choices and the level of satisfaction they felt once they’d spent the money, those who had spent their money on others expressed greater happiness. As I reflect on being beloved by God, I see more clearly there is beautiful daily opportunity to pay that gift of love forward. This divine love we are given in Christ is meant to fill our lives and overflow into the lives of others. 
 
Love divine, all loves excelling 
Joy of Heaven to Earth come down 
Fix in us Thy humble dwelling 
All Thy faithful mercies crown 
Jesus, Thou art all compassion 
Pure, unbounded love Thou art 
Visit us with Thy salvation 
Enter every trembling heart 
 
Breathe, O breathe, Thy loving spirit 
Into every troubled breast 
Let us all in Thee inherit 
Let us find that second rest 
Take away the love of sinning 
Alpha and Omega be 
End of faith, as its beginning 
Sets our hearts at liberty 
 
Come almighty to deliver 
Let us all Thy life receive 
Suddenly return and never 
Never more Thy temples leave 
Thee we would be always blessing 
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above 
Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing 
Glory in Thy perfect love 

Martha  Aenchbacher

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Making Life Beautiful

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 
 
I’m a big fan of unsung heroes. They are the kind of people that donate their time and resources quietly with delight. These people will do what needs to be done and give what needs to be given. They don’t seek reward or medal or spotlight. They find joy in making life better for someone else. You’ll find them strapping on an apron long before someone asks them to put one on. They sign up fast and sweep up when everyone else has gone home. They’ll sew the masks and deliver them without anyone realizing they stopped by. They’ll provide the food, pay the bill, and send the card just because. They see organizing a spreadsheet as Kingdom work and will drop what they’re doing to help you dream holy dreams into reality. I’m thinking of those who lift our wings and hold us all up. They have in their heart a deep desire to serve without any strings attached to their offering. There’s a lesson in their approach. We get a glimpse of Jesus and what selfless servanthood looks like. 
 
When I consider what happens to a person when they follow Jesus, I think of all the unsung heroes. They’ve completely given themselves to the cause of Christ. They don’t seek to be noticed, but I want to notice something about them. They get it. They understand what Mark 10:45 says about Jesus and they make beautiful choices to serve as a result. I’m thankful that Christ took a bowl and basin and with humility washed feet. I’m thankful his sacrificial life moves us to engage in humble service. I’m thinking of you when you paid for the order of the person behind you in the drive thru. I know the young person at home who loaded the dishwasher before you were asked. I love the way that husband and that wife worked extra hard to make the tough days good ones for each other. I see you standing at the window so you can visit your loved one safely. I saw you get in your car and go to the frontlines again despite being super tired. Someone told me how you picked up that burden to give someone else a break from a heavy load. I heard how you went the distance to help a stranger. No one saw you on your knees praying at midnight, but we felt it. Thank you and please keep up the good work. Every act offered in Jesus’ name is significant. He has made us beautiful. Some people look for a beautiful life, others make life beautiful. 

-Martha  

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