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Years ago my husband and I heard a message from Tim Elmore.  Growing up in church and going to a Christian high school and college I have heard many, many speakers.  But there are a few whose words have seared into my heart and taught me life lessons I have never forgotten, nor have I stopped attempting to implement their truths into my daily life.  Tim Elmore is one of those speakers.  He gave a talk on the Tree of Life at our church and encouraged us to live in it so as to show life to those who so desperately seek it.  He gave four branches with very simple concepts that have changed my heart, how I look at life, and how I live it.  A diagram hangs in my kitchen for our family to view daily.  The first branch is simply, “Be Grateful.”  When you approach your day or situation or entire life being grateful for who Father God is and how He has manifested His HOLY presence in your life, it changes your perspective.  It will change the vocabulary in which you describe your circumstances or situation.  It’s incredibly difficult to become or remain bitter when you are thanking your Holy Abba for all He is, what He’s given you, and what He will do and be in your life.  Try it, I promise.  I promise!

…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.   I Thessalonians 5:18

John 17:20-26

“My prayer is not for them alone.  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and  I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:  I in them and you in me.  May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.  Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

I remember the first time I read this passage.  I was floored that our Jesus prayed for me.  I love that.  He prayed for each and every one of us that calls Him Savior.  There is such a warmth about hearing the words, “I’m praying for you.”  And here, God has even given us the words Jesus prayed.  And as I pour over His prayer, I realize that His request is not complicated.  He asked Father God that we would love each other so the world would see the love the Father has for the Son.  Are we loving each other?  Are we united in that love for Jesus and each other?  I’m sad to say that the differences between us often speaks louder than the love we share.  So I ask Father God to help me love the way that Jesus has requested and rely on Him for His love for my fellow Christ  followers.  I cannot accomplish this apart from Him.  In order to show His love, I must abide in His love; seek Him daily to be filled so I can share it. 

Sweet Jesus, keep me close to You always, and give me Your love for Your people.  Apply Your healing balm when I’m wounded and help me forgive with the same forgiveness granted to me.  Help me give Your grace daily to those around me, particularly those who claim You.  Thank You for Your grace and Your precious prayers.  Amen.

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