Scripture readings for today

Isaiah 49:8-15
Psalm 145: 8-9, 13cd-14, 17-18
John 5:17-30
My favorite verse of the reading from Isaiah today is “I will never forget you”.  That just gives me chills! To think that the God of the entire Universe, who has plenty of other things to be concerned with, is concerned about me. He could have said, “I will never forget the human race” or “I will never forget your nation”, but He doesn’t. He makes it personal.

Possibly my favorite way to pray is to imagine the person of Jesus Christ just gazing at me. Whether He is on the cross, walking by my side, sitting in the pew with me, or sometimes even sitting on top of the tabernacle or altar, I imagine the look on His face when He sees me. I see the deep love in His eyes, which 3-18almost have tears in them because of His love for me. I see the smile on His face, the willingness to give up everything just for me, the real thirst for my soul. And then I hear Him saying the one thing I can guarantee He is telling me every moment of my existence, “I love you”.
I really can’t do anything but sit there and smile back at Him. And that’s the point! We need to get back to the basics of the Christian life by letting God love us. I can get so caught up sometimes in what I need to be doing to do God’s will, how I can be better, how I can work on this sin or that. I get so wrapped up in living the Christian life, I forget to just let God love me, which is what He is literally dying to do.
So I would encourage you today to first, let God love you. Imagine the gaze of love He is giving you. And then, smile back at Him! How often do you smile at God? Why wouldn’t we smile at God? Not only has He given us everything in our lives to smile about, but He delights in our smile!
A genuine smile usually implies happiness, and we are God’s precious creation. He wants to see us happy! Mother Teresa says, “The smile is the beginning of love”, so smiling at God is the beginning of loving God. Let that fact put a smile on your face directed toward your loving God who delights so much in you and will never forget you.

Stephanie is a first year FOCUS missionary at the University of Kentucky. She is currently in Guyana, South America on a mission trip with four other FOCUS missionaries and 17 college students from across the nation. She would appreciate your prayers for the safety and experience of her group and the people of Guyana.