God’s unconditional love has no bounds, is unchanging and without limitations. It is given freely, no matter what. Each of us has sinned, and sin brings separation from God. Nevertheless, God loves us. It doesn’t mean He loves all that we do, but He loves us. In fact, He loves humanity so much that He made it possible for the breach caused by our sins and wrongdoing to be bridged through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”1
Have you ever felt like life took you down the wrong road, or that things just weren’t meant to work out for you? There was a time when my life didn’t seem to make any sense, like the tangled threads on the back of a tapestry.
A serious case of scoliosis, or curvature of the spine, left me depressed as a child and then heightened the usual teenage worries about the future. By the time I was 15, I was on drugs. It was a wonder that I managed to make it through those troubled years when I couldn’t have felt more lost and helpless. God was the furthest thing from my mind.
The Land of Beginning Again
I wish there were some wonderful place
Called “The Land of Beginning Again,”
Where all our mistakes
And all our heartaches
And all our poor selfish greed,
Could be dropped
Like a shabby old coat at the door
And never put on again.
“This humanitarian work you do—is there some religious motivation? If it’s religious, I’m an atheist.” The old bum tugging at my arm looked more like a beast than a man. His shriveled body bore all the marks of extreme alcoholism, but his eyes were alert and pled with mine.
“I was once an atheist, too,” I told him.
We had just finished a program for 300 teenage inmates at a correctional center in northern India, and many of the boys gathered around us. The theme of our program that day had been the importance of faith in the face of difficulty. That had been something they all could relate to, especially the difficulty part.
Christmas can be likened to a Christmas gift, where the giver is God, the gift is Jesus, and the recipient is both the whole world and each of us personally. The analogy is based on what is probably the best known and most important verse in the Bible, John 3:16. I’d heard the analogy many times over the years and even used it myself, but the following email from Paloma Sridhar in Bangalore, India, added a surprising twist:
If there is anything that Easter reminds us, it is that “salvation”—God’s wonderful gift of peace with Him in this life and in the life to come—is not something we achieve by what we do. It’s something that has already been done for us. Jesus died on the cross for our sins; He rose again on the third day. He did it, not us.
I was eight years old when I lost my grandfather at the age of 65. My family is very close knit and this was a big blow to all of us.
I remember kissing Nanu’s cold cheek and bidding him farewell. But something inside told me this was not a permanent goodbye. I always had a fervent hope of reuniting with him one day.
“I am the bread of life”1 is one of the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. …
Bread is considered a staple food—i.e., a basic dietary item. … Bread is such a basic food item that it becomes synonymous for food in general. We even use the phrase “breaking bread together” to indicate the sharing of a meal with someone.
My mother often cooked something special on Sundays. I can still remember the big open window in the living room, the unfolded table spread in the center, the delicious food, and the joyful family conversation.