Be still. Take a breath. Slowly – in and out.

Picture God stepping off the highest throne, reaching out to you, and drawing you close.

Feel the deep embrace of God and hear God saying, “You are loved.”

You are loved.

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Come, see the Lord’s deeds, what devastation he has imposed on the earth— bringing wars to an end in every corner of the world, breaking the bow and shattering the spear, burning chariots with fire.

“That’s enough! Now know that I am God! I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!”

The Lord of heavenly forces is with us! The God of Jacob is our place of safety.

Psalm 46:8-11

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To so many around the world, winning wars and having the best weapons are seen as signs of power. And yet, today, we are reminded that God’s power is so very different. In God’s power, wars come to an end and instruments of war are destroyed. All these signs of earthly power mean nothing to God, who is greater than all of it.

What signs of earthly power do you hold on to? Things like popularity, the best grades, the most trophies – to be the smartest, fastest, most creative, or most praised? None of these things are bad on their own, but when they become our main motivation they can hurt us and our relationships with others.

Living as God desires us to live requires that we see our world, not as a place to grab for power, but as a community – a place of give-and-take between all of us, as we all strive to be the best versions of our faithful selves that we can be.

Melissa Kessler

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God, help me to let go of the things that hold power over me. Help me to live in community with those around me – not striving to be just the best me, but helping others become the best of themselves, too. Amen.

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God’s kingdom is nothing like we would expect, and Jesus acts nothing like the king that everyone was waiting for.

Because of that, we are able to live our lives in a way that the world least expects – forgiving, praying, serving, and loving those around us.

Go and live differently. Live the life to which God calls you.

Melissa Kessler

Rev. Melissa Kessler is Associate Pastor at Grandin Court Baptist Church in Roanoke, VA. She loves working with children and youth and helping everyone find their gifts to serve God. She has lived all over the world and really wants to go to every continent – and yes, that includes Antarctica!

24 Preludes, Op. 28: No 20 In C Minor

Garry Bailey

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