WholeLife Church

DEVOTIONAL

a monthly path toward worship

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WholeLife Daily Reflections

September 2021

Preparation for worship on September 25

Love is . . . Patient & Kind

What are you willing to suffer for another person? Patience is defined as being “able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.” Certainly, this is something we see displayed in Jesus' life. Today, Jesus is asking his family to be patient with family members who make life difficult. The Good News is this is a gift of the Holy Spirit for those who ask.

Friday, September 24

Devotional: 3 Ways “Love is Patient Love is Kind” is More Radical Than You Think

1 Peter 3:8-9

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. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.

 

Holy Lord, you think so highly of those you created. You have commissioned them to love, to be kind and patient, and to care for their world. You would only expect that of which you know your creatures are capable. I want to fulfill what you expect of me, that of which you know I am capable. Please live through me in kindness and love to others. Amen.

 

Music: World Outside Your Window

Thursday, September 23

Devotional: Patience

Psalm 27:14

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

 

Lord of Promise, you are not delayed, and your timing is perfect. Your plans will be fulfilled exactly as you desire. Fill my heart with hope of a holy reunion but with patience and humility, remembering my purpose is only to bring your kingdom of love to my world. Amen.

 

Music: Nothing Comes Close

Wednesday, September 22

Devotional: Love is Patient

2 Peter 3:8

But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.

 

Kind Teacher, patience is your nature, and it is offered with compassion. You constantly seek good for every person and in every situation. Even when answers seem to come slowly and resolution unseen, help me to trust your timing, your wisdom, and your love. Amen.

 

Music: Everlasting Arms

Tuesday, September 21

Devotional: A Sermon On Love

Galatians 5:22-23

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

 

Extravagant Lover, you go to the greatest lengths to show your love for your children. You came to earth to walk in humanity, and you continue to inhabit their hearts. Lead me to bathe in the unending affection you have poured on my sinful soul and splash its grace on my world. Amen.

 

Music: You Are the Lord

Monday, September 20

Devotional: Shiny Shoes & Real Love

Colossians 3:12

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

 

Gracious Helper, you are always available for kindness, care, and wisdom. You are the promised Comforter who shares the gift of compassion so that it may be shared throughout the world. Help me to find peace in stillness so that I am aware of those around me in need of love. Amen.

 

Music: Without Love

Sunday, September 19

Devotional: Christians Need to Recover the Lost Art of Patience

Proverbs 16:32

Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.

 

Patient Sovereign, you wait with great persistence for the resolution of sin. You desire that every person is present to celebrate the redemption you provide, and you never grow weary in your pursuit. Tune my heart to the rhythm of your grace so that my life is lived in harmony with Jesus. Amen.

 

Music: Land of My Father

Preparation for worship on September 18

The Messy Middle

Instead of giving answers, God places us in complex, messy, fraught relationships and tells us, “Love and trust me as I have loved and trusted you . . . and love and trust each other.” It’s not for us to help God achieve his goals; it’s our job and privilege to love each other, to hold one another’s hand in the pain, the joy, the confusion . . . in the mess.

Friday, September 17

Devotional: Fearfully and Wonderfully Mended

 

Isaiah 41:9-10

For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

 

Healing God, you mend broken hearts and soothe wounded souls. Your care and wisdom are greater than human comprehension, and your presence offers something more powerful than earthly restoration. I am shattered in places only you can see, but I trust your strength to make me whole. Amen.

 

Music: He Is

 

Thursday, September 16

Devotional: Snot-Nosed Children, Insecurity, and the Lap of God

 

1 Timothy 1:15

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.

 

Unwavering Savior, you never doubt your actions. Those you created fail you, yet you give yourself willingly to restore the relationship. You watch as those you call your children deny you, ignore, even curse you. Yet your forgiveness knows no end, and you eagerly reach toward them with mercy and grace. I am the greatest of sinners, yet I know you offer all these things to me on a daily basis. Thank you for your love that exceeds my guilt and shame. Amen.

 

Music: River of Life

 

Wednesday, September 15

Devotional: Red Rover, Red Rover

 

Ephesians 4:2-3

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

 

God of Mercy, you are approachable and welcoming. You alone are holy, and yet you do not reject those who fail continuously. You call them child and wrap them in your love. Give me the humility and grace to see others as greater than myself and their wellbeing as my highest goal. Amen.

 

Music: We All Need Jesus

 

Tuesday, September 14

Devotional: Messy and Connected

 

1 Peter 5:7

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

 

God of Redemption, you embrace those who fail. You joined humanity to confirm your great love for those who struggle and fall. You invite each person into community, knowing strength, connection, and freedom are found together rather than in separation. By your grace, help me to accept others and allow myself to be accepted in return. Amen.

 

Music: In the House

 

Monday, September 13

Devotional: Why the Beatitudes are Still so Revolutionary

 

Hebrews 10:23-24

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

 

Gentle Savior, the words you speak are words of love, forgiveness, and healing. You display a God who showers mercy generously and removes all shame. Fill me with your Spirit of compassion and grace as I interact with others today. Amen.

 

Music: All Are Welcome

 

Sunday, September 12

Devotional: Jesus Gives the Greatest Commandment

 

1 Corinthians 16:14

Do everything with love.

 

Lover of All People, you created individuals rather than groups and gave each one a mind to process and choose. In each heart you placed a yearning for love, and life is only experienced to its fullest when that love is returned to you and to others. I open my heart to your Spirit today so that I may live the life of love you have planned for me. Amen.

 

Music: Known By Love

Preparation for worship on September 11

Great Question #4:

Considering, the story of Hagar and Sarah:  In the Genesis version, there is a lot of difficult complexity - for instance, God sends Hagar back into bondage then tells Abraham to listen to Sarah and cast Hagar and Ishmael into the wilderness. Then, Paul does a REALLY horrible retelling of this story in Galatians. He makes a point we all like - that faith trumps the law - but he does it in a way that has resulted in much Inter-religious strife, gender oppression, etc. Why do all of these horrible things seem sanctioned by, or even motivated by, God?

Friday, September 10

Devotional: God is On the Bathroom Floor

 

Psalm 46:10-11

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.

 

Immanuel, God With Us, you were not content to be separated from those you created, so you chose to enter humanity. Your heart is heavy with love that is not always understood. When you seem hidden, help me to know that it is only that I cannot see your compassionate presence next to me. Amen.

 

Music: Never Run Dry

Thursday, September 9

Devotional: Is God Really “Vengeful?”

 

Colossians 2:8-9

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

 

Savior of My Soul, you are good. You show the fullness of God’s character, complete in love, mercy, and grace. Though I will never fully comprehend my Creator, I will continue to look to Christ as the richest expression. Amen.

 

Music: Hope Builds

 

Wednesday, September 8

Devotional: The Incomprehensible God

 

Job 42:5-6

I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.

 

Incomprehensible God, you cannot be fully known, yet you reveal yourself through Jesus. As much as the human mind can comprehend, your Son displays your glory and grace. I will trust your goodness and rest in the hope of one day knowing you as I am known by you. Amen.

 

Music: Known

 

Tuesday, September 7

Devotional: The Looming Specter

 

Psalm 5:11-12

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy. For you bless the godly, O Lord; you surround them with your shield of love.

 

Forgiving Father, you patiently acquiesce to the imperfect understandings of your children, and your Spirit reminds all that you are seen most clearly in your Son. You are a God of peace, mercy, and love without condition. May the words and actions I bring to this world reflect this truth. Amen.

 

Music: Truth Is

 

Monday, September 6

Devotional: God’s Non-Violent Ideal

 

Matthew 26:52

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.”

 

Holy Peacemaker, violence and brutality have no place with you. You are neither the author nor the condoner of human war for your way is forgiveness, love, and humility. Create in me a clean heart, O Lord my God, so that I may walk in your steps of peace. Amen.

 

Music: Still/Peace

 

Sunday, September 5

Devotional: Did God Really Say, “Show Them No Mercy?”

 

John 14:9

Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?”

 

Almighty God, you have revealed yourself in the beauty of creation, the unexpected comfort of your Spirit, and the countercultural grace of Jesus. When I struggle to understand concepts and situations, bring me back to the truth of your continuous mercy and unconditional love. Amen.

 

Music: 1,000 Names

Preparation for worship on September 4

Great Question #3:

(Part 1)

How do we, as a church, stay focused on Jesus when so many in our denomination believe that our mission is to fixate on major doctrinal issues, political hot potatoes, and/or cultural preferences?

(Part 2)

As someone not raised Seventh-day Adventist, I have embraced the warmth and freedom I have found at WholeLife church. However, I have heard that our church is different from other Adventist churches. What am I missing if this is not the norm?

Friday, September 3

Devotional: How One Sentence Saved My Faith

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

 

Open and Gracious God, you desire to be found by those who seek you. Though knowing you is the hope of your children, you cannot be fully comprehended in this life. Help me to understand that faith can only be experienced when questions remain, and doubt is not an enemy. Thank you for the journey of faith and the multitude of things you will teach me on the way. Amen.

 

Music: The Vow

Thursday, September 2

Devotional: You Need Jesus . . . and . . .

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

 

Sovereign Lord, you are enough. Love is found complete in you. Forgiveness knows no limits with you. Mercy is abundant and full in you. You are all I need, and I will rest in your grace. Amen.

 

Music: Reveal Yourself

Wednesday, September 1

Devotional: Sentness – Safe Places

Luke 10:2-3

These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.

 

God Who Sends, you understand the frailty of humanity and experienced it firsthand. Those who follow you have no need of tricks nor manipulation. Your mercy, your grace, and your faithfulness are the only things that need to be spoken by those you have sent. May I speak of, and may I live, in the one thing you require: love. Amen.

 

Music: Send Me

Tuesday, August 31

Devotional: Argument Culture, Not Conviction, Threatens the Church

Proverbs 29:22-23

An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin. Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.

 

Humble and Holy Servant, you taught with mercy and kindness. You brought new understanding to a world fixed on a tragic and angry view of God. You revealed that your way is through love, and I seek to follow your path. May my every thought and every word bring edification to you. Amen.

 

Music: Simplicity

Monday, August 30

Devotional: A Kite String

Colossians 2:6-7

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

 

God of Purpose, you are an anchor that provides stability and strength. Though safety is not guaranteed, you bring goodness from all things. Give me the courage to keep my eyes focused on you, knowing your love and grace never fail. Amen.

 

Music: Close

Sunday, August 29

Devotional: What’s in a Word?

John 14:12-14

I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

 

God Who Saves, through you, redemption is complete. The grace you offer is not bound by condition, and it flows freely through your love. I believe I am who you created me to be, and I want to live out my life as a reflection of you. Amen.

 

Music: Jubilee