Reading from the Gospel according to John  3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.  Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.  And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed.  But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.  The Gospel of the Lord.

(This I can really relate to.  I always thought of Jesus dying on the cross, to save us all, as not really very personal. He saved us all, we are all saved as long as we believe in Him and obey His commandments, etc.  However, during one of the hardest times of my life when I was with friends at a campground, listening to a preacher at an outdoor worship service, I heard something personal. You know, when it actually hits you?  He said the same thing I have heard all my life except he said:  “JESUS CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS FOR YOU,” (use your name here) Connie, to save you  Connie.” And then he went on, I actually started to cry, and my very good friend and business partner put her arms around me.  I can still picture this 20 or so years later and I can still remember the feeling of knowing that Jesus died for ME.   Have you had an experience like that?  Have you thought about Him dying for YOU?)

PRAYER:   GOD OF MERCY, you poured forth upon us the Spirit of the freedom of the children of God.  As you opened the prison cells to which the first disciples were condemned, open every gate that stands between us and the freedom to love you and our neighbor, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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