WholeLife Daily Reflections

June 2021

Preparation for worship on June 26

This Is Us: Acceptance

Friday, June 25

Devotional: Welcome to the Banquet

 

Romans 15:5-7

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

 

Master of the Banquet, you have prepared a feast. The food you offer is mercy, compassion, and acceptance. The table is full, and there is an unending supply of seats. Your invitations are sent without discrimination, and you are anxious for a full house. Thank you for welcoming me, your precious child, home. Amen.

 

Music: Ready or Not

 

Thursday, June 24

Devotional: The Reverse Missionary

 

Psalm 36:7-9

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings. You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights. For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

 

Extravagant Redeemer, you need no protection, and there is no scarcity to your love. By your design, there are no limits on who is welcome into your Kingdom. Your grace flows freely and is balm to the broken soul. Forgive me for believing there is a fence around your mercy when I have enjoyed it so freely. May I be your gospel of good news today. Amen.

 

Music: Simple Gospel

 

Wednesday, June 23

Devotional: Put On Your Sunday Best

 

Romans 15:5-7

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

 

El Roi, God Who Sees Me, nothing is hidden from your view. You are unmoved by forms of godliness and empty words. You have laid your heart open and revealed it beats through justice, mercy, and compassion. Clothe me in your life-giving love for others. Amen.

 

Music: In the House

 

Tuesday, June 22

Devotional: What Rejection Teaches Us About How God Made Us

 

Romans 12:9-10

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

 

Tender Heavenly Parent, your love is a warm embrace offered without condition or cost. You see the best in your creation, and the scars of sin never lessen your affection. As your child, may I reflect to others the unconditional favor you have given to me. Amen.

 

Music: Over and Over

 

Monday, June 21

Devotional: Where We Go Wrong in Finding Acceptance

 

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Creator of Beauty, you see into the heart and soul. You know those you have created, and you find delight in them. You speak healing to those who are wounded, comfort to those who are broken, and acceptance to those who feel shame. And you call each one your beloved. I know that I am loved, and I will leave behind the insecurities that keep me from embracing your tender care. Amen.

 

Music: Unconditional

 

Sunday, June 20

Devotional: The Truth About Sheep

 

Galatians 3:26-29

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

 

Gentle Shepherd, you call your sheep with a voice that is kind, encouraging, and compassionate. Sometimes it is a soft voice – gentle and protective, careful in your approach to the wounded. Sometimes it is a loud voice – strong and persistent, desperate to warn of danger or harm. But it is always a voice of love, and it cannot be silenced. Open my ears to hear your voice, know your language, and trust your words. Amen.

 

Music: Rise Up

Preparation for worship on June 19

This Is Us: Love

Friday, June 18

Devotional: Lord, Increase My Capacity to Love

 

1 John 4:7-8

My loved ones, let us devote ourselves to loving one another. Love comes straight from God, and everyone who loves is born of God and truly knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.

 

Sovereign Lover, you love perfectly. Your love expresses itself in the beauty of nature and the strength of belonging. You love lavishly, completely, and redemptively. Your love is given without measure or cost, without precondition or limits. Lead me to love as you love. Amen.

 

Music: Nothing/Something

 

Thursday, June 17

Devotional: A Lament and a Love Song

 

John 6:28-29

They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?” Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

 

Breaker of Chains, you release the slaves of sin and embrace them in mercy. You conquered death and revealed the heart of a loving and forgiving God. Purify my heart with an understanding of your deep grace so that I seek no more than to love as you do. Amen.

 

Music: Second Chance

 

Wednesday, June 16

Devotional: No Longer Slaves

 

John 15:15-17

I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.

 

Spirit of God, your command is simple: love. Your presence fills the world with hope for today and tomorrow. You have relieved guilt and set aside shame so that those who are called by your name are free to follow your command: to love. Invade my heart with the peace of your acceptance so that I may do as you command: love. Amen.

 

Music: No Longer Slaves

 

Tuesday, June 15

Devotional: If Jesus Was Your Preacher

 

John 1:14

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

Sufficient Savior, you are all in all. Redemption and salvation are complete in you. There is nothing lacking that needs to be accomplished for you to reclaim the world you created. I want to be a part of bringing your kingdom to my world, and I will proclaim your unconditional love in my words and actions today. Amen.

 

Music: The Truth

 

Monday, June 14

Devotional: The Problem with “Finding Christ” in the “Least of These”

 

Isaiah 3:14-15

The Lord comes forward to pronounce judgment on the elders and rulers of his people: “You have ruined Israel, my vineyard. Your houses are filled with things stolen from the poor. How dare you crush my people, grinding the faces of the poor into the dust?” demands the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

 

God of All, you view all of your creation with joy, knowing the intentionality with which you made each atom and molecule. There is no “lesser” or “lowlier” in your eyes. Your love, forgiveness, and embrace reach across all human boundaries. Forgive me for believing there is any status where I rise above another, and break my heart with an understanding of the worth you have given each individual equally. Amen.

 

Music: Walls

 

Sunday, June 13

Devotional: The Opposite of Love

Today’s devotional was written by Tatiana Perez-Oh, AdventHealth Chaplain

 

What is the opposite of love? I don’t think it is hate, for hate indicates that there is some sort of attachment. And I suspect that a lot of hate stems from love that has been deeply hurt. It can be easier to say “I hate” someone rather than admit that I love someone who wounded me, and thus feel like I’m allowing myself to still be vulnerable to hurt.

           

I agree with the popular notion that the opposite of love can be indifference because that means there’s no emotional attachment. But I wonder if some people say they are “indifferent” when, in reality, they may just be numbing the pain of hurt, or the fear of being hurt. I’m not sure I could be 100% indifferent to someone that I’ve cared for before (even if I’m mad at them). And I believe that all it takes for indifference to turn into love is having the courage to move in a little closer.

           

For me, at least as it pertains to my ability to give love, I believe that the opposite of love is fear. Fear = the dread of getting hurt and being scarred. The feeling of being unsafe. It creates this awareness that I could get hurt, or am being hurt, and the desire to protect myself from pain by pulling back, withdrawing, building up emotional walls and doing whatever necessary to protect myself.

           

Fear can be a gift. It can be a very useful tool in many situations. It’s used for survival and I believe important to pay attention to because it can help us find a place of safety. And we all need safety. Developing healthy boundaries is key in managing fear in a healthy way and creating the safety in relationships necessary for love to grow. Setting boundaries can sometimes be the most loving thing to do. But when fear holds us back from doing what we know in our hearts to be right, this rock in our path can be a stumbling block, instead of a steppingstone. It can cause us to stumble, fall and be stuck instead of pause and reflect, so we can find firmer ground to bridge the gap.

           

Fear can become a barrier to love. I have found myself so afraid of getting hurt again that I’ve been tempted to withhold love from those who have hurt me. I haven’t felt completely safe. It’s been hard to let go of the desire for a different past (one in which I wasn’t hurt so deeply). It’s been hard to feel safe in the here and now. And it’s hard to let go of the need to predict or control the future outcomes, wanting so badly to know if it’s going to be safe again in the future for me to give my heart today. And even though I know this desire for control is as futile as thinking that I could control the waves, I still struggle.

           

And yet, I sense God whispering, “Just love them. And leave the rest to me.”

           

I want to choose love. For in the end, it’s the only way to truly live.

           

Lord, help me to have the courage to let go of that which I can’t control. Courage to be vulnerable. Courage to love. Help me to use my fear as a tool, a motivation to gain wisdom on how to love. And help me to step out with confidence, knowing that You are the firm foundation of Love that I can walk on.

 

“Perfect love casts out fear.”  - 1 John 4:18

 

Music: Jesus

Preparation for worship on June 12

This Is Us: I Am Ken Wetmore . . . We Are WholeLife Church

 

Friday, June 11

Devotional: Is Jesus Really Enough?

 

2 Peter 1:2-3

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

 

Sufficient Savior, you are everything. Knowing you brings joy and peace. You reveal the heart of God, and it is a heart of compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Redirect my mind when I make things more complicated than to simply love and be loved. Amen.

 

Music: More Than Enough

 

Thursday, June 10

Devotional: Love is a Person

 

Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

 

Maker and Redeemer, in you, hope is secure. Nothing shakes your foundation nor weakens your passion for your creation. Your forgiveness is sure, and it guarantees that shame has no place. You are merciful and just, patiently revealing yourself in acts of compassion and peace. I will respond to your grace by living my life to reveal your kingdom of love today. Amen.

 

Music: He Is

 

Wednesday, June 9

Devotional: How Jesus Grasped Equality with God

 

Ephesians 3:18-19

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

God With Us, you are near because you cannot bear to be separated from those you love. You are present with those who know you as well as those who don’t. Your heart yearns to be found and understood for its compassion and grace. May my life bear a resemblance to your merciful beauty. Amen.

 

Music: The Servant King

 

Tuesday, June 8

Devotional: Knowing Who We Are

 

1 John 3:2

Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is.

 

Spirit of Truth, you speak wisdom and hope. You are known in words of grace, mercy, and compassion. You are seen in lives of service, gratitude, and humility. I will view myself with your eyes, knowing I am a loved, precious, and treasured child of God. Amen.

 

Music: Holding My World

 

Monday, June 7

Devotional: What Does God Really Look Like?

 

Psalm 86:15

But you, O Lord, are a God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

 

God of Deepest Affection, your every move, your every act is from a heart of unfailing love. You are the Giver of mercy and the Restorer of hope. You have not hidden yourself nor disguised your compassion. I will trust my life in your hands, fully dependent upon your grace. Amen.

 

Music: God Is Love

 

Sunday, June 6

Devotional: Name Builder

 

Galatians 2:20

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

One True God, you are alone in majesty. Your holiness transcends anything humankind can envision of what is pure and good. You have chosen to make yourself known through a body of believers. You have invited the forgiven to share your mercy. You have invited the broken to offer healing. You have invited those who fail to offer hope. I am all of these things. Please give me strength to live my life so that others have an authentic understanding of your amazing love and grace. Amen.

 

Music: Jesus Over Everything

Preparation for worship on June 5

Eyes of Empathy

Friday, June 4

Devotional: Christian Humility

John 13:34-35

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

 

Majestic and Holy Sovereign God, you are above all. There is no other way to find redemption and salvation outside of your mercy. You know the hopelessness of the human condition, yet you love the unlovable and restore the broken. Help me to view others through the perspective of my dependence upon your daily unconditional grace. Amen.

 

Music: Morning by Morning

Thursday, June 3

Devotional: Perspective and the Hairy Grease Monster

1 Peter 3:8

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.

 

God Who is Present, you inhabit the praises of your people, and you see within the heart of each one. You know the journeys taken, lined with successes and failures—those whose life has been with privilege and those who have fought a daily battle. Each one holds a special place in your heart. Help me to see others with your eyes and to realize each unique perspective as valuable. Amen.

 

Music: We All Need Jesus

Wednesday, June 2

Devotional: In a World Gone Mad, Sympathy is Not Enough

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

 

Servant Savior, you chose the places of the humble, and you approached others with selfless interest. In your presence, the outcasts felt valued and the marginalized felt respected. You shared the truth of a loving and caring God who seeks the lost and embraces the prodigal. Fill my heart with empathy so that I may silently sit in a place of compassion for others. Amen.

 

Music: Kindness

Tuesday, June 1

Devotional: Heart Preparations

Colossians 3:14-15

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

 

God of All Nations, the earth is your creation, and you call each person your own. You do not play favorites, and each individual is your precious child. Your plan was for a world without grief and war, and one day you will restore what was intended. Until then, help me to respond in my world with humility and grace. Amen.

 

Music: Heart’s Cry

Monday, May 31

Devotional: An Invitation to Empathize

Ephesians 4:31-32

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

 

God of the Broken, you live in harmony. You created relationships for eternity, and you made the ultimate sacrifice to restore what sin separated. Your mercy reaches across valleys of regret, and your grace binds the open wounds of shame. Thank you for restoring my soul and for offering me the peace of your love and acceptance. Amen.

 

Music: There Is A Time

Sunday, May 30

Devotional: The Astounding Empathy of Jesus

John 11:33-35

When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.

 

God Who Understands, you chose to live a life. You chose to be open and vulnerable. You chose to listen to the stories of the broken. You chose to heal, include, and break down walls created by a culture. Fill my heart with your love today so that I am quicker to empathize than judge and more willing to embrace than exclude. Amen.

 

Music: Breakthrough