‘Day One’ Blog

The Trouble With Forgiveness

photo by Tommy Coomes (Tbillisi, Georgia | 2014)

For we do not wrestle
against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers,

against the authorities,
against the cosmic powers
over this present darkness,
against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

I can’t imagine there is one of us exempt from invitations to succumb to our PROFOUND fatigue from COVID-life and the pervasive national civil unrest. Let’s guard our hearts against the mounting temptation to engage in peripheral ‘hot-spot’ conversations. They end up dividing Christians when unity is of paramount importance.

Unforgiveness can root before we know it, and then we are essentially off the grid-of-effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. The song below reminds me of my DEEP need to cry out to God for mercy. May each of us, especially now, keep short accounts with the Lord and with one another, and may compassion ABOUND!

Peace in the Storm,

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Three Rings of Peace ~

COVID19 hit and the Lord ignited my heart concerning PEACE. It’s as indispensable to the inner-person as air is to the body. What is this intangible? Where do I get it? Can I lose it once I find it? Are there a variety of sources for it or just one? How dangerous are the counterfeits? Can I live without it… because it doesn’t seem like I can? It sure isn’t easy to get my hands on it, or hang onto it once I do.

Never in my lifetime has PEACE been so sought after or so elusive (depending on where you’re looking for it). As I Christ follower, I believe unreservedly that PEACE is found in a single being; that God alone is the source of PEACE and is Himself PEACE, (Ephesians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:16). As one of His followers, you ought to recognize it in me and be able to get it from me.

This is what I’m coming to discover about PEACE (however rudimentarily). It’s set itself up in my mind in the form of three concentric rings.

  • INNER RING: the PEACE of God in me

God gave me His PEACE when I became a follower of Jesus Christ, (John 14:27; 16:33). It’s one of many gifts He gives to His children. It’s a deposit from Him that I can either draw upon or not, but it’s there for me and there is no end to the supply of it. I’ve been reminded anew that PEACE is not the absence of difficulty but a gift that comes to bear in the midst of hardship and acts as a steadying agent, (Philippians 4:7). It is used to keep me upright when a storm would topple me. It bears clarifying: this is God’s PEACE in me.

  • SECOND RING: PEACE, the fruit of the Spirit on me

PEACE is also a fruit of the Spirit of God, (Galatians 5:22-23). I’m meant to bear it just like a fruit tree would bear fruit. I’m actually meant to have branches laden with it if indeed God is truly LORD of my life (John 15:5,8). This is not ornamental fruit. It supposed to do what fruit does: feed and nourish hungry people. That means you. If you are in need; if you are hungry for PEACE, you are supposed to be able to come to me and find it in abundance. It is God’s PEACE (produced by God the Spirit). Not incidentally, this is also the fruit that should come to bear when I’m doing my best to be at peace with others, (Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18; 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 3:11; 2 Peter 3:14).

  • OUTER RING: the gospel of PEACE from me

In the grand scheme, I am also called to be a peacemaker, (Matthew 5:9). I am at PEACE with God through faith in Christ, wearing His gospel of PEACE like shoes on my feet that go wherever I go, (Ephesians 6:15). I am never more like His child than when I am an agent of the gospel of PEACE, proclaiming the VERY good news that PEACE with God is possible for anyone who would put their trust in Him. I am God’s emissary, charged, and equipped to be a peacemaker.

PEACE… IN me and ON me and FROM me. This is meant to be one of the hallmarks of my life. I’m grateful to the Lord for inviting me to sit awhile under this lovely umbrella of the PEACE of God. He offers PEACE. So does the world. Jesus is keen that I understand there is no comparison whatsoever, (John 14:27). Only His PEACE anchors the soul (Hebrews 6:19), steadying it regardless of how tumultuous and uncertain life becomes.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself
give you peace at all times in every way.
The Lord be with you all.
2 Thessalonians 3:16

A very special thanks to Stacy DeWitt,
Michele Telfer, and Dr. Laura Cavarretta
for their invaluable partnership
in Conversations About Peace .
It was a key component
the Lord used to solidify these thoughts.

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ZOOM Stones –

As you come to Him, a living stone
rejected by men but in the sight of God
chosen and precious,
you yourselves like living stones
are being built up as a spiritual house,
to be a holy priesthood,
to offer spiritual sacrifices
acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
I Peter 2:4-5

I have had enough ZOOM chats since the onset of COVID19 to “see” small squares with faces in them when I close my eyes. That’s a little odd but not unwelcome. I have thrived in this aspect of isolation, being able to meaningfully connect with people in a way that has been surprisingly intimate and comfortable.

It occurs to me that I am experiencing an aspect of what it means to be the LIVING STONES the Apostle Peter spoke of. If indeed we are each a stone in what would be a spiritual building for the Holy Spirit to indwell, how meaningful to “see” the face of one of my spiritual siblings upon each one. How highly personal and familial is that building of which I am but one stone. How intimate and close we all are, providing indispensable support for one another, with our Beloved Savior as the Chief Cornerstone!

There are treasures hiding for us within this trying time we are all navigating. This is one for me. When you’re on your next ZOOM chat, see those faces as a portion of one of the walls of THE spiritual house! Be encouraged brothers and sisters. God is near and continuing to gift us in creative, unexpected ways!

Strength For the Journey,
~ Anne

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Peace Agents

photo by sunyu

Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled
and do not be afraid.

John 14:27

As the world responds to the life-altering implications of COVID19, Christ-ones have the unprecedented opportunity to be agents of the PEACE of God. We have His PEACE because He gave it to us, (John 14:27), and if we’re going to honor Him as His children, we need to be ready to be agents of His PEACE, (Matthew 5:9).

Like innumerable gifts He gives to us, the PEACE of God is ours to steward. It’s meant to grow on the branches of our life so that hungry people can take and eat and be nourished. People today are desperate for it and if they don’t get it from us, they will be left to embrace the world’s version of it… which will do them no good at all.

In my own pursuit of being ready to care for people, I asked a few wise and trusted friends to chat with me about PEACE. I recorded our six-sessions together and offer them to you, praying the Lord will speak to you as He did to us. You will find them in either of the following locations:
Conversations About Peace.

Peace In The Storm,
~ Anne

“I have told you these things,
so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


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I Know Too Much About the Lord to Tank…

Photo by Juan Gomez

I know too much about the Lord to tank right now.” I piped up with that statement in our community group ZOOM chat last week and was encouraged to briefly elaborate. I fall within the majority of the population who has been impacted by COVID19 but is NOT suffering significant hardship. Even so, there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not invited to embrace fear and anxiety as I look out into an unknown future.

Two simple things fuel my “I know too much…” statement. When I look forward to the future, I remember those things that are sure (the promises of God) and try very hard to attach expectations to those and nothing else. Secondly, I look to the past to see the winding trail of the faithfulness of God, not only to me, but to humanity all through the ages. The promises of God are as solid and factual as my testimony of His faithfulness to me is. And that trumps the invitations to let anxiety take root.

I pray that you too will lay hold of His promises and let the memories of His faithfulness linger so that your response to all things related to the pandemic reveals your steadfast trust in God!

Peace in the Storm,
~ Anne

As for You, O Lord,
You will not restrain Your mercy from me;
Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness
will ever preserve me!
Psalm 40:11 (ESV)

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