Friday, September 28, 2012

Rest with Him

“Rest.  Rest.  Rest in God’s love.  The only work you are required now to do is to give your most intense attention to His still, small voice within.”  -Madame Jeanne Guyon*

Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we rest in God’s love and respond to the ways He invites us to follow Him into it.

Jessica :)

*I discovered this quote as I was reading Richard Foster’s book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. 

This photo is thanks to my dear husband, Jason.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

With Confidence Unashamed

On Thursdays I have been sharing a little bit about what I have been learning as I read through 1 John.

We are ending a section where John talks about the unity of the body and the unity of the believer with the Father and the Son.  A word that keeps coming up again and again is “remain.”  These ideas are countered against the adversaries of Christ who do not “remain” and are neither unified with the body of believers or the Father and Son. 

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”  1 John 2:28 NIV

Over the last several weeks we have explored the word menō a number of times.  We have learned that it is translated remain, abide and live.  It carries with it the idea of “taking up residence.”  It will keep appearing throughout 1 John from time to time.  In this verse, it is translated continue. 

When I read a word over and over again in a passage like this it makes me think that it is important.  John keeps repeating it for a reason.  I think it is because he has come to know that abiding is central to what it means to be in relationship with God.  It is the lifelong task of the believer to walk in step with the Spirit.

When I continue in him I live dependent on Christ.  I look for the ways that He is at work around me.  I embrace the opportunities that cross my path to love others.  I listen for His guidance in the midst of conversations.  I seek Him in the midst of choices that need to be made in my life.  I notice when I am living outside of the Spirit’s influence and ask Him to help me find my way back to a surrendered place.  It is living a life of learning to respond to the Holy Spirit in faith.

John tells the believers, “continue in him so that when [Jesus] appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”

John tells the believers Jesus is coming back.  When he does, those who abide will be confident and unashamed before him.  I think about how this verse, in context, is in a section that discusses those who have not remained.  It seems as though with this concept of continuing in him there is an allusion to the idea that some will not be confident and unashamed when he appears because they have not abided.

In Greek there are two words for confidence and two words for unashamed.  Confidence is echo + parrēsia.  It means “to have” + “the absence of fear.”  Unashamed is aischynomai + mē.  It is “the feeling of shame arising from something that has been done” + “not” (suggesting nonexistence when existence was possible) (VINE’S Expository Dictionary).

It is the thought of shame that brings to mind a passage of a book that I read last fall, talking about the difference between shame and guilt.

“When we sin, guilt is the right response.  Guilt is used by God to show us our need for him.  Guilt is not our problem.  If all we felt were guilt, we would admit the wrong and run to God for help.  But that is not what we do.  We feel guilty for not measuring up, but then we feel shame on top of that.  And shame is a different thing altogether. 

Guilt says I did wrong.
Shame says I am wrong.
Guilt deals with behavior.
Shame deals with identity.
Guilt leads to repentance.
Shame leads to hiding […]

Guilt is a good thing, a God-reminder when things aren’t right and an opportunity to change them.  Shame is what happens when we let guilt fester and sink deeper and don’t deal with it.  Shame seeps into our skin when we aren’t looking and takes our spirit hostage.” (p.117)

When I “continue in him” I do not live in shame.  Instead, I deal with my guilt.  I recognize that I have messed up, in so many ways.  I admit it.  I run to God for help.  I turn to walk in a new way, in dependence on him. 

This is what gives confidence before him—knowing that where sin had left a crimson stain on my life, Jesus has washed it white as snow.  It is through relationship one moment at a time with the one who truly knows how to live that will allow me to stand before him with confidence unashamed. 

This is the journey of a lifetime; and it is full of becoming.

Join me in singing a prayer that we might abide today?


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek to continue in Christ.  As we allow guilt to lead to repentance and change, may we find that we do not live in shame.  May we find this kind of Spirit-led life leads us to living confident and unashamed bringing grace and peace to others as we come and go.

Jessica :)

P.S.  If you are curious about the Greek for the words appears and coming, I explored those too. 

Appears is phaneroō.  It means “to manifest” or “to be manifested.”  It is more than to appear.  To be manifested is to be revealed in one’s true character.  “To make visible, clear, manifest, known.”  “To uncover, lay bare, reveal.” (VINE’S Expository Dictionary).

Coming is parousia. Literally “a presence.”  para “with”  and ousia “being.”  It denotes both the “arrival” and a consequent “presence with”  (VINE’S Expository Dictionary).  John Stott’s commentary says this word “was the usual expression for the visit of a King or Emperor.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Place of Atonement

Today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish, Day of Atonement.  I think of a poem I wrote a few summers ago as I was listening to Revelation Song on a Sunday morning in the middle of worship.  Around me, people sang; I wrote.  I remember thinking about the Day of Atonement and how Jesus is our atoning sacrifice, perfectly fulfilling the law.

The mercy seat, place of atonement
His sacrifice flows down, beside cherubim
Trickle of sticky red, down gilded law
Blood, making right the brokenness of ages
For all who seek the perfect, spotless Lamb
Him with wounded hands and pierced side
Holy One, resurrected from sin’s deathly tomb
Living God, opening wide the Inner Chamber
To the Holy of Holies, relationship reconciled.

 "If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.  he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world."  1 John 2:1-2 NIV

Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we recognize in Jesus the perfect atoning sacrifice that fulfilled the Law.  May we come to him ready to confess.  As we do, may we receive the mercy that His life won for us with great joy, relationship reconciled.

Jessica :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Grace for Tough Days

It was early when I woke up, ready to face the day.   

Yet, the only thing that happened the way I’d hoped was that I slept on my pig tails and they still looked okay.

I changed my clothes, brushed my teeth and washed my face. Then, I took the laundry down to stick it into a washer.  When I made it to the laundry room there was one washer left, enough to start, but not to do both loads in my basket. 

This is what happens when you decide to hit snooze a time or two, instead of getting up to your alarm, I thought to myself. 

I loaded my washer and then went to return upstairs.  It was as I stood before the gray box with the solid red light that I realized I had forgotten my key fob in the apartment.  This is a mistake I occasionally make, but as it was before our building’s office hours, I couldn’t sheepishly walk in to ask for help.  Thankfully, another tenant was returning from walking a dog and I was able to catch an elevator up to my floor with her.

It was a half hour later, as I was starting my next load of laundry, when I realized not only had I forgotten a bit of laundry and my quarters, I had left my key fob in the apartment again.  I dashed back into the hallway, hopeful, but there was no dog walking tenant.  I waited, finally saved by someone heading to work for the day. 

When I came back down, nearly an hour later, to pull my first set of laundry out of the dryer I panicked thinking I had put my dry flat, grey sweater in the dryer.  Rooting around with my head in the dryer, I couldn’t find it.

It has been getting easier to laugh at myself.  Yet, thinking about the mistakes piling up during the first few hours of the morning, I was becoming discouraged.  Often, this would set me in a bad mood, but somehow I was earnestly seeking to abide in Christ and it helped.  I wasn’t laughing, but I hadn’t reached the depths of despair either.  It was only laundry, after all.

To combat the frustration, I prayed the honest prayer of the moment as I stood in the laundry room. Lord, you know that one thing after the other is just not going the way I hoped today.  I am making one silly mistake after the other.  Please meet me here.

I moved the first set of dry laundry into the basket.  Then, I opened the washing machine to move the wet laundry to the dryer.  Right on top, I found my grey sweater.  It had not gone through the dryer after all.  Sweet blessing!  Thank you, Lord, I said aloud. 

He does see, I thought to myself.  He does care.  He cares right now, about this small detail.  He is walking with me in this moment—extending undeserved grace.

The day did not end here.  It would have been a nice and tidy story if it had.  Yet, how often is life really that way?  Life is more often filled with mess.  And some days are just tough.

The biggest mistake of the day hadn’t even happened yet. 

Forgetting a key fob is bad.  Forgetting the time you’ve set to meet a friend is worse. 

Yet, that is exactly what happened. 

I was all set to meet my friend at noon.  Then, at 11:15, while I was cleaning around my home, I began to wonder if noon was my lunch date for next week.  It was.  I was supposed to meet this friend at 11:00.  I began to panic, rushing to get out the door.  I called apologetically to let my friend know that I was on the way to my car.  She was very gracious.

As I sat in front of the parking lot gate, I watched it slide slowly to the left, clearing the way for my car.  I thought about God’s grace and began to receive it.  As I did, the pile of guilt that had been forming moved to the side clearing the way for a prayerful drive.  I walked in to lunch, humbled by His goodness in the midst of my brokenness, thankful and very aware of His love.  

It wasn't a perfect day.  But it was a day filled with His grace and love. 

“Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” Ephesians 6:24


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we receive His grace.  May we live in it.  May we find that it puts our hearts into a good place, even on days where nothing goes the way we hope.  May we find that we are better able to extend His grace because we know what it is to receive it. 

Jessica :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Morning Prayer

Bill Hybels was the final speaker at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. 

He talked about how the local church is the hope for the world. 

That is me.  That is you. 

We are the church. 

We are the hope of the world. 

He ended by inviting us to pray a prayer for thirty days. 

I am still praying this prayer. 

I would invite you to join me in praying this prayer at the start of each day. 

Download it here.  Print it out.  Place it by your bed. 

Begin the day by offering God your best. 


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we recognize what a privilege it is to build the church with our gifts, talents, and energy.  May God grow us and change us as we place all we have, all we are into His hands, trusting He will accomplish much more than we would if we held tightly to these things. 

Jessica :)

P.S.  The prayer graphics and printable are made available by the Willow Creek Association.  Both have been used by permission.

Friday, September 21, 2012

All Shabbat

As I pull out Settings of Silver to make sure my memory is remembering the prayer and blessing rituals of the Sabbath correctly, I pause to read a little bit.  I scan over the familiar and find myself swallowing hard and my pulse beating a little faster as I read hopeful words that I don’t remember at all.

“There is saying that the Messiah will not come on Shabbat because he is already here.  The Time of the Messiah is described as one that will be “all Shabbat.”  As Shabbat departs there is hope that the Messiah will come and the Shabbat will not have to end” (126).

The time of the Messiah “all Shabbat?”  When Messiah comes Shabbat will never end?

My mind is racing. 

I begin thinking about how the central claim of the gospel is that Jesus is Messiah.  He is the fulfillment of God’s prophecies and promises to Israel and it is His resurrection that validates His authority as such. 

I think about the words on the page in front of me. 

The time of the Messiah will be “all Shabbat.”  When Messiah comes Shabbat will not have to end.

I think instead:  The time of Jesus will be “all Shabbat.”  When Jesus comes Shabbat will not have to end.

I begin to wonder about this.

In the Gospels, Jesus does a lot of healing on the Sabbath.  Jesus even calls himself “Lord of the Sabbath.”

Could there be something in the midst of all of these words that is very real and present and available to me now?

Luke writes:

One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and his disciples began to pick some heads of grain, rub them in their hands and eat the kernels.  Some of the Pharisees asked, “Why are you doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?”

Jesus answered them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat.  And he also gave some to his companions.”  Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Luke 6:1-5 NIV

In the Pharisees eyes the disciples were clearly breaking at least two of the thirty-nine categories of work.  The disciples were reaping, by picking grain.  They were, also, threshing by rubbing the grain.  The Pharisees saw them working on the Sabbath, which was a big no-no especially for the disciples of a rabbi.  So they question Jesus about it. 

Jesus responds to them in an interesting way.  He talks about David eating the consecrated bread.  In  doing so, David violated not the Sabbath law, but a different law.  Then, he goes on to tell them “the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

The Son of Man is a term Jesus frequently uses of himself.  It is a phrase that is used in the Old Testament and would have had a particular connotation with the Messiah.  The prophet Daniel writes, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).  This Messiah has power and authority that has been given to him by God.

The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.

In a commentary about Luke, Leon Morris writes, “In the Gospels Son of man invariably refers to Jesus.  He is surely referring to His Messianic function.  It may be significant that this follows a reference to David’s action.  It is the Son of David who is Lord.  If David could override the law without blame, how much more could the much greater Son of David do so?” (123).

I find this very interesting.  Jesus, as the son of David, the Messiah, is claiming authority over the Sabbath. 

In Mark, the Lord of the Sabbath tells the Pharisees, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.” 

There is a sharp contrast between the Pharisees and Jesus here.  Alan Cole writes, “[The Pharisees] had […] quite forgotten that in origin the Sabbath was God’s merciful provision for man. […]  If the Sabbath was made for man’s spiritual and physical good, and not vice versa, then the Son of man is Master of the Sabbath and can interpret its regulations with reference to need” (Commentary on Mark, 74).

By interpreting the Sabbath with reference to need,  in contrast to the way the Pharisees had determined needs, by categories of work, Jesus seems to suggest he understands need better than they.  Their way of celebrating the Sabbath creates burden.  His celebration of the Sabbath leads to blessing.  This appears to be what is important. 

Jesus heals many on the Sabbath.  Each time it raises the anger of the Pharisees.  Each time it blesses the one who is healed.  As he does so Jesus, lives as Lord of the Sabbath—each act seeming to indicate “He regarded the Sabbath as his by right.” (Commentary on Mark, 74)

All this makes me think Jesus knew something the Pharisees didn’t about rest.

In the verses just prior to calling himself Lord of the Sabbath in Matthew, Jesus says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Jesus invites all who are tired to come and find rest.  He tells them it is by taking His yoke and learning from Him that they will find rest for their souls.  It is almost like he is saying that rest is available now.  It is through Him that rest comes.

Could it be that Jesus was saying that the time of the Messiah had come?  Was he inviting the people toward a Sabbath that will not end?  Could it be that in obedience to Christ rest is found?  Could it be that no matter where I am or what I am doing I can find rest through reliance on Him?

I think that rest from activity is important.  God has created us that way.  This is Sabbath as I usually talk about it. 

Yet, I think that there is a different kind of rest that comes when we realize that we don’t have to make the big decisions in our lives alone.  We can surrender them and find rest.  Christ will make them and we will find rest by letting him lead and following obediently.  We can begin living “all Shabbat.”

It is after I get this that the first line of the Settings of Silver quote makes sense to me.  "The Messiah will not come on Shabbat because he is already here." 

Jesus is here, ready and waiting for us to come.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we come to the Lord of the Sabbath seeking to live under the yoke of Christ.  May we find that when we walk in step with Him, we find rest even in the middle of the busiest of days.  May we find that Sabbath can be found in His presence.

Jessica :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tenacious Dependence

On Thursdays I have been sharing a little bit about what I have been learning as I read through 1 John.

I have been sharing about a paragraph at a time.  Now I am nearing the end of a section where John talks about the unity of the body and the unity of the believer with the Father and the Son.  A word that keeps coming up again and again as I read and share is “remain.”  These ideas are contrasted with the adversaries of Christ who do not “remain” and are neither unified with the body of believers or the Father and Son.  The section continues:

“I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray.  As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you.  But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.”  1 John 2:26-27 TNIV
A few words about “those who are trying to lead [the believers] astray.”  These are the ones John has identified as antichrist.  They are adversaries.  They are opposed to that which they "have heard from the beginning" (v.24).  He counters this warning with truth. He reminds them that the adversaries don’t have what the believers do—the Spirit that remains in them and the truth the Spirit confirms.

Once again, the word remain is key to what John is trying to convey to the believers.  Often, this word is translated abide.  However, in Greek, the word menō means “to take up residence” (Present Perfect, 34).  This is why at times we see it translated “live.”

What might it be like to read the beginning of the passage this way?  “As for you, the anointing you received from him has taken up residence in you.”

The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the believer.    

Rather than revisit the words of John about the Spirit, as we did a few weeks ago, I’d like to explore what it might look like to live aware of the Spirit that resides in the believer.

The Voice translation reads:  “You have an anointing.  You received it from [Jesus], and His anointing remains on you.  You do not need any other teacher.  But as His anointing instructs you in all the essentials (all the truth uncontaminated by darkness and lies), it teaches you this:  Remain connected to Him” (v.27).

The Spirit leads us in alignment with God’s Word, the Bible, and it leads us to maintain our connection with Christ.  This life in the Spirit is what characterizes the life of a Christ follower—attention and submission to the Holy Spirit.

This past winter, I read Present Perfect by Gregory A. Boyd.  In it he discusses different ways to focus on being attuned to the Spirit in every day moments.  He begins by sharing his conviction 

“I’ve become absolutely convinced that remaining aware of God’s presence is the single most important task in the life of every follower of Jesus.  I’m convinced this challenge is implied in our commitment to surrender our life to Christ, for the only real life we have to surrender to him is the one we live each moment” (15-16).
Remaining connected happens moment by moment.  Just as we either love the world or love God in a moment, we also remain connected or live outside the flow of the Spirit one moment at a time.  These things do not co-exist. 

When I realize that “every moment is a chance to live in the flow of the Spirit” I can be intentional about the way I live (The Me I Want To Be, 53).  Rather than going through the motions I am able to be open to the day before me with purpose. 

This moment, right now, is filled with opportunity to bring glory to God—whether it is sitting with a class of wide-eyed youngsters eager to learn, serving a table of frazzled men and women in suits over lunch, or changing a diaper.  Each conversation, is a moment filled with opportunity to listen to the person I am sitting with and be listening for the voice of the Spirit to respond.  Each moment is an opportunity to worship.

Mark Buchanan writes that “life in the Spirit involves [an] alignment of my thoughts, my words, my deeds with the heart of Jesus.  It’s that alignment, the in-ness, that produces fruit that will last” (Spiritual Rhythm, 210).

This is what happens when we are yielded to the Spirit.  We are transformed—moment by moment.  Our thoughts.  Our words.  Our actions.  When we are surrendered to the Spirit, we become more like Christ.  This is what abiding looks like.  Moment by moment.  Day by day. 

We live full of life—a breath of fresh air to a world that desperately needs it.

Hear these words of Mark Buchanan from Spiritual Rhythm:

“The only fruit that glorifies God stems from abiding in Christ, and he in us.  It’s a life of faith and faithfulness.  It’s a life of utter dependency and yet, strangely, daring initiative.  Put another way, much and yet nothing depends on me.  What depends on me is my tenacious dependence on Christ.  I must do that thing which exposes my utmost bankruptcy of all my doings.  Apart from me, he clearly said, “I can do nothing.”  I depend on him for exactly everything.  If I fail in this one thing, this tenacious dependency, I fail entirely.  And yet the other side of this is what Paul proclaims in Philippians, the secret, he says, of being content in any and every situation: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  I can do everything, or nothing, all hinging on one thing: being in Christ or not” (209-210).

Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we abide, as we surrender to the Holy Spirit that resides in us.  May we find in tenacious dependence on Christ a life of fruitfulness that begins in our lives and radiates outward.  May we praise God for his goodness to us in all of it.

Jessica :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seek the Peace

I was tired with an early morning ahead of me.  So, when she asked if I still wanted to watch the movie I had brought over, I asked if the three of us could just enjoy our tea and coffee with conversation.  My mother-in-law and our family friend both agreed that visiting would be just as pleasant as the musical sitting in its case on the countertop.

We sat sipping our warm beverages around the kitchen table and began to talk.  Somehow the topic that found us was politics.  I have grown to enjoy these kinds of conversations in our family, because no matter whether our opinions are similar or very different, we manage to listen respectfully and learn so much in the process of considering viewpoints different from our own.

We talked about the recent DNC and RNC and the campaign ads and what facts we want to explore between now and Election Day.  We talked about our frustrations with the gridlock in congress and our failure to carry on civil dialogue between extreme opinions.  We talked about how leaders make decisions and try new ideas.  They see what works and what does not work and make changes.  They realize sometimes we have to experiment to find out what works well.  They have to be willing to fail.  We discussed how career politicians don’t seem to leadm because often their desire to be re-elected holds them captive from making bold decisions. 

We talked about the ideas of Alexis de Tocqueville and “the great American experiment” and the idea that many do not have a good grasp of the ideas upon which our country was founded in a deep way.  We talked about the way that our country is slowly moving toward the brink of collapse if something does not change in the culture of our politics.  We talked about how disturbing this is.  We talked about our role within the state when we identify that our primary allegiance is as a disciple of Christ. 

In the midst of all of this, the most memorable moment to me was when my mother-in-law talked of the virulence of political discourse at times on some of the talk news programs, rather than respectful dialogue.  She talked of her intuition and being aware of something spiritually dark in this manner of rhetoric.  Our friend responded back with a word from God asking what she does in these moments.  She suggested rather than just turning the programs off, tuning out or feeling frustrated and defeated that she should pray.  Just pray.

In the midst of all of the political moments that make us sick, angry, hopeful, sorrowful, frustrated or excited what would it be like if our first instinct was to stop and pray?  What if we decided to leave ranting to a friend or posting a thought on Facebook when we hear something that provokes our thoughts and tabled it?  What if we decided to commit that moment to prayer, instead? 

Might we disciples best serve our country in this way?

Jeremiah 29:7 says “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

The word “seek,” in the Hebrew dāraš, has to do with inquiring of God in prayer for direction and seeking his will.  The phrase “peace and prosperity” and “prosper” are all translations for the word šālốm.  It has to do with wholeness both internal and external, being complete (VINE’S Expository Dictionary). 

Israel was to pray for the wholeness of the city.  If the city prospered or was whole, so Israel would be whole too.  This was God’s promise to them in exile.

I thought of this and realized, as disciples, our situation is not really that different today.  Peter writes, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11).  We are exiles in the midst of this place that is our home.  What might it be like if we embraced this and our call to seek the peace of the country we live in?  What might it be like if we sought the will of God on its behalf?

Might we find that we spend time being changed by his Word as we seek His will?  Might we find that our response to the political world is one that leads us to our knees, seeking wholeness in prayer?  Might we find that we are able to have more discussions with others in respectful ways?  Might we find that we are willing to think outside the box, to try something new—even if it means we might fail along the way?  Might we find that we are more concerned with the welfare of our neighbor, whether they are rich or poor, and begin seeking their good rather than our own?  Might we find that we deal with difficult problems rather than pushing them down the road?

What would it look like if we were disciples first and allowed our discipleship to shape the way we participate in the country we live in?

In the middle of the conversation, I was convicted.  I committed to doing a better job of seeking God on behalf of my country—to pray for my leaders that are in office, for the ones that are running for office and for the changes that will prosper this place. 

I told my mother-in-law and our friend that I was feeling like we needed to bathe all our conversation with prayer.  I asked them if they would join me.  Together, we three, sat heads bowed and seeking His peace and prosperity.  We prayed one after the other, back and forth, lifting up many issues, many people and these upcoming elections. 

When we stopped, I looked at the time. 

The movie we would have watched would have long been over.  I smiled at this and thought about how I wouldn’t have traded these moments of conversation, conviction and prayer for a few hours of watching a story.  A movie would have entertained for a few hours, but that same time spent in conversation had birthed transformed hearts and the start of new habits in us.  It made me wonder how often I choose entertainment over transformation.

Maybe, just maybe, as we aliens begin to seek the peace of this country, we will be surprised at the prosperity that follows.  It will be prosperity that is not built on a consumer economy, but in enjoying others and seeking the welfare of one another pursuing wholeness, as we are changed by a loving God.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we seek the peace and prosperity of this country.  May we find that seeking the peace require seeking God in His Word.  May it drive us to a hunger for knowing Him and the story of redemption in Scripture.  May we find that as we seek the peace that we are changed—having different conversations with people--respectful, considerate, loving--about political issues.  May we find that as we call our fellow disciples to join us in prayer, that we are a holy people—winsome in expressing ourselves, loving in our actions.  May God have mercy on us for failing to do so in the past and turn his ear to our prayers as we commit to seek the peace in the present and future.

Jessica :)