The Presence of God

The mystery of God’s existence is deep, stretching from before the beginning to after the end. But our own existence makes us wonder as well. We ask, “Why are we here? What is the meaning of our being?” Our lives find their deepest meaning when we are intimately connected to the One who made us and is making us still. Watch for God to be revealed to you, close to you, in your moments apart here today.

The Word of God

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Galatians 5:13-14

Devotion

Free! What a great way to start the New Year. Throughout the book of Galatians, Paul asserts that Christians do not have to be slaves to the law; they are to live under the freedom of the Holy Spirit. “No more rules,” Paul says, “You’re free.” Happy New Year! 

Paul is convinced that this is the way for the church to move forward, but he also knows how dangerous it is to turn people loose with no guidance. He quickly warns the Galatians not to use their newfound freedom as an excuse to indulge themselves. Instead he says, “Choose to become slaves to each other.” WAIT!! You are given freedom and then choose to become a slave? Has Paul lost it? No, Paul knows that the greatest joy in life comes from willingly giving ourselves to God and in service to others, from loving our neighbors as we love ourselves. We can only do that when we are free to listen to the voice of the Spirit. As you look forward to the New Year, can you see someone God is calling you to serve? Be free and go!

Conversation with God

God, thank you that through Christ you have set me free – free to hear your voice and free to give myself in service to others. Help me to be a willing servant, loving others as I love myself, for then I will be free indeed.  Amen.

Benediction

Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 1:7-8

Writer of this meditation is Tracy Hartman, a professor of homiletics and practical theology at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in Virginia. She has served as a staff member and interim pastor to several Virginia churches and enjoys preaching throughout the region.  The writing is taken from Following the Star which is an online devotional site found here.  I strongly encourage readers to tune in daily.  It is a thoughtful and spiritual space-building site!

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