Welcome to the JCPC Daily Reflections Blog. Reflections are daily devotionals authored by JCPC pastors, staff and members and provide insight, guidance and comfort to help you make it through each day. If you’d like to receive Reflections each day via email, provide your email address.
Pastor and writer Eugene Peterson had the opportunity to hear a lecture by Swiss physician and highly respected pastoral counselor Paul Tournier. Peterson had read the doctor's works, and admired his approach to healing. The lecture left a deep impression on Peterson. As he listened, he had the feeling that Tournier lived what he spoke and spoke what he lived. Peterson chose this word to describe his experience: "
Congruence. It is the best word I can come up with."
Congruence-it's what some refer to as "practicing what you preach" or "walking your talk." The apostle John stresses that if any of us "claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister," then we're "still in the darkness" (1 John 2:9). In essence, our lives and our words simply don't match up. John goes further to say such people "do not know where they are going" (v. 11). The word he chose to describe how incongruence leaves us? Blind.
Living closely aligned to God by allowing the light of His Word to illuminate our paths keeps us from living blind. The result is a godly vision that gives clarity and focus to our days-our words and actions match up. When others observe this, the impression is not necessarily that of someone who knows everywhere they're going, but of someone who clearly knows who they're following.
Prayer for Today
Jesus, I want my words and actions to match up. There are times I fall short, but my desire is to grow more consistent each day. Help me, please, so that everyone listening and watching my life will be drawn to You. Amen.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
This week, 16 youth and 8 adults from JCPC have labored in Rasarito, Mexico to build a house for a single mom, Ita, and her three beautiful sons.
Today, while the family is out shopping for groceries, the team is assembling new furniture and setting the kitchen to make that house a home, ready for that family.
The youth and adults have worked, talked, and laughed with the Apreza family for three days. Today is the day we call, "the day we cry." We will welcome the family back to the site, present them with gifts and the keys to the house, each of us taking a turn to share heartfelt words of gratitude, memories, and hopes.
There is a plan for the house and its construction, the needed materials, and all the workers necessary, as well as our master builders who lead us. However, there is room for creativity and personalization. The family chose where to place the windows and door, various personal details, and then...from us, a few surprises. The builder helped us craft an overhang for the front door. Several of our guys and girls constructed and decorated a flower box for the front window.
We have a few more days ahead of ministry work that includes a visit to the family whose house we built 2 years ago, an orphanage, a rehabilitation ranch, and service breakfast at the mission in Tijuana to the homeless population.
Pray for the people we serve, our team, and that God's love and hope will shine in the days ahead. Thank you for your prayerful and financial support. Thank you for helping us realize God's plans and our creative answer to God's call.
Prayer for Today
God, be with our team serving in Mexico. Open my eyes and ears and heart to answer your call and live and serve into your plans for my life. Amen.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!
-Isaiah 55:1, NIV
Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. We will see many symbols that remind us to give thanks for our nation and all that is good about it. One of the symbols we often see this time of year is the Statue of Liberty. It stands there in New York City and for years it has welcomed those seeking a new country. It has welcomed those who were looking for a new start, or for those who valued the principles on which this country was built.
In 1883 Emma Lazarus wrote a poem that was largely ignored for many years. It was a sonnet to the Statue of Liberty that was discovered after her death. A patron arranged to have the last five lines become a permanent part of the statue itself. By 1945, all fourteen lines of the poem were placed over the Statue of Liberty's main entrance. The last five lines go this way:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
I think about how those words sound similar to the words of Isaiah: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come buy and eat!" (Is. 55:1, NIV) What would it be like for us to become a nation that focused on what really mattered? What would it be like to open our arms to those in need, in the same way the words of that poem inspire us to think about? Maybe in response to God's amazing grace, we need to refocus our lives on those things that really matter - the things that show God's love and grace to all who thirst. Jesus said, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." (Matthew 25:35, NIV)
Prayer for Today
Gracious God, we thank you for quenching our thirst for you. Use us to quench the thirst of others in your name. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.