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God’s Grace

Today’s Reflection

WE ARE CREATED with a deep need to be loved. There are two radically different kinds of love: conditional and unconditional. Conditional love involves bargaining, and there are conditions that we must meet in order to receive love from others. … Such conditional living is exhausting, involving a treadmill of constant doing in order to earn and maintain love. …

Unconditional love is radically different, involving a conversion of our motives. The Christian dynamic is “not that we loved God but that he loved us” (1 John 4:10). Unconditional love is a gift in which the initiative is God’s and not ours. … Human love always expects something in return, yet God’s love does not. Grace is the name for God’s incredible love. … God loves us because of who God is, not because of who we are or what we have done.

– W. Paul Jones
Becoming Who God Wants You to Be

From pages 54-55 of Becoming Who God Wants You to Be: 60 Meditations for Personal Spiritual Direction by W. Paul Jones. Copyright © 2013 by W. Paul Jones. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Can human beings love unconditionally? Can we love as God loves? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:29-30, NRSV

This Week: pray to be an instrument of God’s work. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Alice Paul (July 09).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Jill July 9, 2017, 5:36 am

    We are unable to offer purely unconditional love this side of Heaven. We can fix our eyes on Our Saviour and strive towards more unconditionality, but our sinful nature prevents us from fully fulfilling that quest. We can continually surrender and align our desires with Him – but we know our limitations here on Earth. But we mustn’t cease striving.
    I love the sentence above…”Grace is the name for God’s incredible love.”
    Father – thank You for the example of Your Son, His commitment to people, His life of Love.
    Robert – sorry for the loss of your uncle. How good that you were able to attend the committal service. I have never heard of that phrase…committal service. But I like the image it conjures in my mind. Such assurance for those left behind – a loved one in The Lord’s Presence.
    Grateful for a lovely summer day yesterday. Moderate temperatures, no humidity. My parents and I went to an art and craft show in a park and had lunch. Blessed to have this time with my parents. Attended a new church last evening. Not sure I could become comfortable with church service not being on a Sunday morning. I am trying to take my time with this process.

  • Joyce Proctor July 9, 2017, 6:34 am

    For me, unconditional love can also be painful due to choices others make in their lives. And choices we ourselves make. In those times it seems that we find ourselves digging deep within our hearts for that love which could only come thru God’s grace.

  • robert moeller July 9, 2017, 7:12 am

    We are asked to love unconditionally, to love our enemies, those who persecute us. We can try, again and again, but not being divine, I agree with Jill, we are not able. Perhaps parents come the closest caring for their children, but only God is love. We do a lot better with Christ in us, the Holy Spirit guiding us.

    In the service for my uncle the deacon reminded us that Jesus has prepared a place for us, that God sent people to as, and we are sending them back to God.
    It was my first time at a Catholic graveside service. The deacon asked if Mass had been said for my uncle. The answer was no, thus he conducted the service he did. My uncle passed away last year, was cremated, only now were my aunt and cousin able to bring him to the family plot quite some distance from where they live.

    Thankful for unexpected time with my son, a visit to an inn in a nearby town, the kind of inn he hopes to have one day. Had a nice dinner afterwards.

    Plans for the last part of my move are firming up with moving truck reservations and loading help. Thankful for some help from my daughter to male this possible and the help my son will provide unloading. Soon I will be fully moved to a town that neighbors on the towns where I was first conceived and then born. After 48 years I’m back in my home state.

    Hope you find a church, Jill. Messianic Jews still worship on the Jewish sabbath even though they recognize Jesus as Christ, the Messiah. Seventh Day Adventists worship on Saturday. Tradition, habits, what we are used to play a bigger role than they should sometimes. There have been posts here about prayer beads, and crossing one’s self, both recognized as Roman Catholic practices. One day the church will be one and these differences will no longer separate us.

    Have a wonderful day in the Lord. Blessings to the UR family.

  • Betsy July 9, 2017, 7:15 am

    God’s love to us is unconditional. I agree we are not capable of giving that love becaus of our human nature. Maybe that’s why we have such a hard time understanding God’s grace that is freely given to us. It is a gift. Thank you, Lord.
    Grateful for worship this morning and a beautiful day today. Blessings to this body of believers.

  • Julie July 9, 2017, 7:54 am

    I agree that as mortals and while on earth we are incapable of true unconitional love. The love of some parents for their children is the closest we experience n earth. Hence, the Biblical analogy of God loving us with the love of a Father. I also believe that our inability to truly give such love is why we have such a difficult time understanding and experiencing the depth and breadth of God’s love for us while here on earth.
    I understand your reticence Jill. I am still unable to decide which church to even begin trying in my search. So I don’t attend any and that bothers me. I have tried severalin the past with bad results. It is difficult to deviate from what we are familiar with and in which we find comfort.
    Blessings to our small community of believers and strivers and helpmates.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling July 9, 2017, 9:47 am

    Thank you God for your grace and example of unconditional love.

  • Pam July 9, 2017, 12:39 pm

    I agree with all, as almost always!

    Robert- LOVED your sharing of “someday differences will no longer separate us”

    Just like all of us here are different but so much the same, I have found THIS to be my “Church”.

    Jill, if you “miss” the singing and Preaching you can always listen to as many Church Services ON LINE as you wish.

    Blessings, all!

  • G. Weeks July 9, 2017, 1:09 pm

    As humans , some have more of a capacity to love than others. I feel that humankind is not truly able to love unconditionally because of so many weaknesses. However, because of Gods’grace we can always STRIVE towards unconditional love for others. I think that’s great news!

  • Andrea July 9, 2017, 4:32 pm

    A Catholic sister I knew, my spiritual director for a number of years, used the word “agency” to describe a person’s capacity for compassion, eg. one person might have a greater agency than another. I think varying circumstance can also have an effect on a person’s capacity for compassion – burnout from stress might have a temporary negative effect.

    I don’t think we humans have the capacity to love as God loves, though we may grow in compassion with time. We can ask God to help us act compassionately.

    Gracious God, thank You for this faithful, prayerful community – those who post comments as well as those who visit primarily to read and pray in silence. Thank You for the Upper Room staff who make this holy online space possible.

    To God be the glory.

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