Have you ever wanted to just feel welcomed? Have you ever wanted to feel like you fit in? Like you belonged?

I remember when I started ninth grade I wanted to fit in. It was a new school for me. There were new faces, new facilities, new groups of people, and new teachers. I was excited, but nervous I wasn't going to belong anywhere. I had been in band in middle school and I wanted to join the marching band in high school.

So my summer before my freshmen year, I joined the marching band at my new high school. I wasn't sure of how things would go. I honestly wanted to quit when I found out I would be out in the 90+ degree Georgia heat for a week during band camp.

I know. Band Camp. Lame, right?

But I stuck with it. And before I knew it, I had met so many new people who were accepting me for the freshmen goober I was. I built friendships with a ton of people and some I even have to this day. And most importantly, I found a group of people that I could I belong to.

Just like marching band, Christ welcomes us to His family. Unlike band camp, you don't have to work hard or sweat all of your weight off, you can just be...you.

Paul understood this when he said, "But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ." No matter what you've done, who you've slept with, how many drugs you've done, Jesus accepts you and welcomes you as you are. And in his family, you can belong.

Prayer: Father, thank you for accepting me. Thank you for having a people and a family for me to belong to. There is no greater family I rather be apart of than yours. I consider everything I have done and everything I have nothing when it comes to You. May I continue on this journey with You Jesus. Amen.

This is what the Lord says—
    he who made a way through the sea,
    a path through the mighty waters,
who drew out the chariots and horses,
    the army and reinforcements together,
and they lay there, never to rise again,
    extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:
“Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.
The wild animals honor me,
    the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland,
to give drink to my people, my chosen,
    the people I formed for myself
    that they may proclaim my praise.

Isaiah 43:16-21

...though I myself have reasons for such confidence.

If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:4b-14

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
John 12:1-8