Do you love a good story? I know I do. Give me a good novel, and I can be lost for hours at a time. Today’s podcast guest, author Katie Powner, is a gifted storyteller, and it was an absolute joy to talk with her about her debut novel, The Sowing Season.
During our conversation, Katie shares about how she inherited her love of story-telling from her grandmother. We talk about the long and arduous road to publishing her first book and what the Lord taught her along the way. We also chat about how she is incorporating soul care into her daily life.
Katie lives in Montana with her husband and children. Her family is passionate about foster care, and we talk about her journey into fostering and adopting during the episode as well. Katie also shares a Scripture passage that is meaningful to her and that she incorporated into her book, The Sowing Season.
If you’d like to know more about Katie, read her blog, or find out more about her book, visit her website: katiepowner.com. This conversation is rich and encouraging, and I hope it inspires you to not grow weary in the good that you are doing in the world. If something about this podcast resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.
On this week of Thanksgiving, I want to count my blessings. I want to publicly document all of my abundance. Normally, giving thanks comes easily for me, and this year is no different. I can always find much to be thankful for. It’s just that this year, my gratitude comes mixed with sorrow, more like a broken hallelujah. Often we separate and juxtapose joy and sorrow, but together they are powerful. (If you don’t believe it, go watch Inside Out!) The Psalmist writes songs mixed with lament and gratitude, and thus his praises are not just beautiful, but authentic. So, before I begin my thanksgiving, I want to reflect on the difficult changes that have occurred this year.
My husband and I made the choice to transition our children to public school this school year. In fact, we announced this change to our children approximately two weeks before the pandemic began last March. At the time, two of our children were in private school and two were being homeschooled. Then, almost without warning, Covid-19 rapidly changed the end of their school years. My children were sent home from their school and homeschool co-op abruptly, unable to truly say goodbye to their friends.
Being practically homebound last spring felt like a gift at first. Usually, I found myself driving all over the county, keeping up with work, school, church, piano, and karate schedules. Now, I was given permission to work from home, watch church from home, and stop all of the extracurricular activities. The quiet felt like a much-needed break. However, as the months dragged on, I found that I was losing energy. My extroverted self was missing relationship. It turns out, my kids were feeling this lack of connection as well.
As school began this fall, my children transitioned beautifully into public school. Still, it was hard for them to form new relationships while wearing a mask, sitting six feet apart, and only going to school two days per week. They grieved their old friends, their old life. All of the children and youth activities at our church were placed on hold, and they missed their old social outlets. I had planned to be an active parent at their new school, volunteering and forming new relationships of my own. The pandemic changed this plan as well. Instead, I met most of their new teachers virtually.
I also found, as the pandemic wore on, that parenting became much more difficult. Navigating puberty, school transitions, brotherly competition, loneliness, and boredom has made parenting extraordinarily challenging. All of the feelings of grief, it seemed, were being turned into anger, and our house felt (and still feels) like it will implode with the power of it.
My counseling work changed as well. Practically overnight, my counseling practice of 13 years went from in-person counseling to virtual counseling. Although on the positive side, I was able to work from home much of the time and wear jeans and tennis shoes to counseling sessions, I quickly learned that counseling via videoconference is exhausting work. At the end of the day, I left feeling depleted: emotionally, mentally, and physically. Like many other helping jobs which have transitioned from in-person to virtual, I found that an element of the relationship goes missing through a computer screen. It takes more work to be understood, to be felt, and to create safety.
Through the pandemic, I have learned a lot about myself. A couple of years ago, I discovered the Enneagram, and it has been so valuable to me in this season. It has helped to give language and understanding to the way I am experiencing the pandemic. As an Enneagram 2, I am wired to see the world through emotion. It can be a super power to understand the feelings and needs of others and be able to help and provide understanding. It certainly is helpful as a counselor. However, the flip side is that I expect to receive love and appreciation back for my efforts. Well, this year, there has been little good feedback and positive interpersonal interaction with which to refill my cup.
Whereas normally my job is rewarding through person to person connection, now the connection feels tenuous through screens and phonelines. Whereas normally I can get together with friends on a regular basis, this year I’ve had to work harder and be more creative to make that happen. Although as a parent I know that my children give little positive feedback, this year, their negative feedback towards each other and myself has felt almost demoralizing. Even my podcast, which I spend hours and hours working on for the purpose of encouraging others has had less listenership since the pandemic began. In other words, it feels like all of the places that I am usually most “helpful,” are places that this year I have received little reward for the effort.
Thanks to the Enneagram’s insight, knowing my own underlying proclivities, and getting to the end of my own rope, the Lord is leading me through some really good soul work in this season. He is rooting out pride and digging up humility. He is unveiling sins that I can normally dress up or quickly move past. He is teaching me to “pare down,” and cling to what is good. I am learning how to be more intentional in my relationships, even my relationship with Jesus.
This brings me, finally, to my thanksgiving. In a year where many lost their lives, I am thankful for my health and my family. In a year where racial dynamics have risen to the surface of our country, I am thankful for my adopted son, and how his presence in my life is teaching me to see racial differences and injustices I would have previously overlooked. I am thankful that through a major life transition, the Lord has sustained my family. I am thankful that though many are without jobs, my husband and I have good, meaningful work. I am thankful that though some days of parenting are exhausting, the Lord has given me four beautiful boys which, in faith, I believe will grow into Godly men. I am thankful that I have learned to be more intentional about relationships, no longer taking them for granted. I am thankful that the Lord is honing my skills and creativity. I am thankful that I am growing a true appreciation for peace: relationally, mentally, and spiritually. I certainly have much to be thankful for.
Thank you for coming to my Thanksgiving TED talk.
Pause: Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Find a comfortable position, and read Psalm 103, taking note of the Psalmist’s gratitude.
Renew: Music can help us reflect and move words and thoughts from our brains to our hearts. I love Ellie Holcomb’s music, which often reflects Scripture. In this song, she sings through the first few verses of Psalm 103. Listen to her song: Don’t Forget His Love and reflect on the Lord’s goodness.
Next: What about you? Do you have much to lament this season? What are you thankful for? Think, pray, or journal through your experience over the past year and how you’ve seen the Lord’s provision in your life.
May we be people who learn to lament, and still lift our eyes and hands to praise the Father for all of His good gifts.
This is the 50th episode of the Pause, Renew, Next Podcast, and what better way to celebrate than with a listener request episode! Over a year ago, I received a comment from a listener who noticed that many of the people interviewed on the podcast listed their mothers and grandmothers as the people who most inspired them. It was requested that an episode be focused on cultivating good and healthy mother/daughter relationships.
Because of a pandemic, it has taken awhile to have this beautiful, generational conversation, but I’m so happy that it came to fruition. Sandy Hoffman, Julie Underhill, and Kaley Brown graciously agreed to be interviewed on today’s podcast episode about their relationship. It was a privilege to sit down with three generations of women and hear about the gifts and the legacy that has passed between them through the years.
Today’s episode is a sweet one. We talk about motherhood, family traditions, living out faith in front of our children, and how to cultivate healthy mother-daughter relationships. Even if you’re not a mother yourself, or you’re a boy-mom like yours truly, I guarantee you will still come away encouraged by this conversation. Enjoy!
When I was a senior in college, I made a risky and naïve class choice. With extra P.E. electives left to take before graduation, I decided to try my hand at something I’d never done before: choreography. I took an entire class called Choreography. Yes, I really did.
Now, to add a little context to this out-of-left-field class choice, I will note that I have always enjoyed music and performing. In high school I was in multiple school and church musicals. I was also on the Color Guard team of my high school marching band. I absolutely love moving to rhythm, and I instinctively knew I had real talent, though the talent was definitely raw and undeveloped.
It was so undeveloped, in fact, that I had literally never taken a formal dance class. So, again, enrolling in a class titled Choreography should have made me apprehensive. Instead, I optimistically took the class, hoping that I would gain the tools I had long seen in others and come out on the other side of the class knowing more about dance.
On the very first day of class it was apparent that all of the other class participants had spent their entire childhoods taking all forms of dance training: from hip hop to ballet. Then, there was me, with all of my “raw talent.”
To be fair, the teacher and my classmates were generous in their treatment of me. They were not unkind. Although I’m sure they were flummoxed about my inexperience and maybe even inwardly judgmental about my abilities, outwardly they were only kind. I survived most of the semester with my pride intact.
Then came the class project that would serve as our final grade: a fully-choreographed dance taught to and performed by the dancers of our choosing. I had to not only choreograph a song but also hold try outs, teach a routine, and have it performed in front of an audience. The very best dances would be showcased in a live performance later that year.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t almost lose my nerve. It was very anxiety-provoking, but throughout the process I remained quite idealistic and naïve. I continued to hope that my inner desire and hidden talent would prove that I was good as I just knew I could be.
Well, I wasn’t. Granted, given the whole scenario, the result could have been much, much worse. I was able to make a good grade in the class. I even managed to escape the class with minimal damage to my self-esteem. However, it was humiliating to discover that I was the only class participant whose choreography was not chosen to move on to the dance performance later that year.
My teacher’s feedback was gentle. She sincerely offered that the performance looked like it belonged on a church stage. She asserted that I needed to break out of my confinements and use the entire stage, dreaming bigger and using the space more effectively. It was true. It was kinder feedback than I perhaps deserved. Still, even now, when the song that I used to choreograph my dance plays on my car stereo, I feel shame. I remember how it felt to not be good enough: to not belong among those whose talent was greater.
Shame. Just the thought of it elicits an immediate, visceral response. Besides love, it is the one common emotion that all humanity has experienced, starting way back in the garden of Eden. Brene Brown has called shame “the swampland of the soul,” and I certainly can’t think of a more accurate description.
Shame is the embarrassment of being found out. It is humiliation. It is a dropped gaze and flushed cheeks. It is a heavy burden and an upset stomach. It is the remembrance of something thought long forgotten. It is the gnawing worry that eventually we’ll be found out for the frauds we really are. All of us, every member of the human race, knows the experience of shame, even before we have words to describe it.
Although my choreography experience was only one of countless experiences that have created shame in my lifetime, I think it serves to share how shame hardwires its way into our memories and narratives. I graduated college over a decade ago, yet even now I feel embarrassment and humiliation when those memories present themselves. Interestingly, when our brains retrieve shame-filled memories, we experience it like it is happening in real time. So even acts long forgiven can be re-experienced as shame in our minds and bodies as we remember.
How then can we change the narrative around our moments of shame?
We can retell the story and thereby change the narrative.
I can remember my choreography experience and tell myself that I never was a good dancer and never will be. Or, I can give myself grace and retell the story differently:
“That was a hard learning experience. It took bravery and courage to take a class I was unprepared for. No one in my life thought less of me for not making it big as a choreographer. I came out of the class wiser and more experienced.”
Retelling our stories in the presence of safe people also helps us reprocess our stories. Shame makes us reflexively drop our gaze, trying to avoid seeing disappointment in the eyes of others. Sadly, this dropped gaze also keeps us from receiving grace, understanding, and safety from those in our lives who will love us through moments of shame. It takes courage to expose our “swamplands” to others, but in safe places, with safe people, our narratives can change.
Pause, Renew, Next: What about you? How does shame affect your life and your inner narrative? How might you want to change the stories you’re telling yourself? Meditate on the above verse and ponder how the security of having a relationship with Christ can serve as a safe place to change your shame narrative.
If you’d like to read more about shame, I highly recommend the book, The Soul of Shame, by Curt Thompson, MD.
May we have the courage to lay down our shame and retell our stories with grace.
You know the kind of friend, who, when you spend time with them, leaves you feeling closer to Jesus? Well, today’s guest, Kelly Hostetter, is definitely that kind of friend. After listening to today’s podcast episode, I’m sure you’ll agree. In this conversation, she talks about her life as a wife and mom of 8 children and her passion for hospitality. She also shares a faith story that will certainly leave you feeling encouraged about obeying the Lord. Additionally, we chat about Kelly’s favorite Scripture passages and how she practices soul care while caring for so many in her home.
This conversation was incredibly encouraging to me personally, and I hope it inspires you as well. If something you heard in today’s podcast resonated with you, I’d love to hear about it. Comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. Also, please subscribe so you don’t miss an episode!
My husband’s 40th birthday was last weekend. Forty is a big milestone and deserving of a worthy celebration. His original plan for celebrating his birthday was cancelled due to Covid, so I threw together a new birthday plan at the last minute. I pondered and thought about what he would most enjoy and settled on a weekend getaway.
Years ago, my husband mentioned that he would love to drive the whole Blue Ridge Parkway. So, armed with good intentions and a downloaded phone app, I began to plan his grand adventure. I even bought a portable DVD player for our van to help keep our kids occupied for the long journey. My idea was to drive him through Virginia to the northernmost point of the Parkway, then announce my grand plan, giving him the driver’s seat to explore the Parkway to his heart’s desire.
It’s a “choose your own adventure,” I told him. “You’re in charge of where we stop, where we hike, where we linger, and how fast we get home.” Truly, at this point I meant every word. My altruism was high, and I was looking forward to a fun, social-distanced, mini-vacation.
Five miles into our journey down the Parkway, my husband stopped at his first chosen destination: a picnic area with a scantily-mapped trail. We decided to take a risk and hike it. Because the trail was not well marked, my ever-techy husband brought his phone along to track it with GPS. We hiked until our pathway met up with the Appalachian Trail, and I figured it was time to head back. Instead, my husband, staring intently at his phone, announced that it looked like there was a small gravel road just through the trees to our left. He decided that it would be fun to try to find the gravel road and use it to hike back to our van.
Oh no. I seem to always forget that the Detweiler family doesn’t hike trails. They like to walk off-road, take short cuts, and blaze their own trails. Although I don’t like to think of myself as a rule-follower, when it comes to hiking, I generally feel safer following marked pathways.
“Are you sure you want to leave the trail? How can you tell there’s a gravel road?,” I cautiously asked my husband. He whipped out his phone to show me the directions. At this point, our children were whooping with glee, taking off through the woods to the aforementioned destination. Only I remained hesitant.
“Okay,” I gave in. “I did say it was your weekend to choose your own adventure. I just didn’t know it would come so soon.”
As we hiked through leaves, briars, and over an old stone wall, my boys and husband were delighted to explore. They were off on a grand adventure. Meanwhile, I felt my own attitude souring with anxiety and annoyance.
My beautiful trip idea had just met reality. It turns out I am not quite the adventurer that I wanted to be. I quickly discovered that when I am not the one in control, adventures are less fun and more anxiety-provoking.
I feel exactly the same way about my faith walk with Christ. Signing up for a life of faith is reminiscent of being on a “choose your own adventure” story where Someone else is deciding the adventure. In my heart and with good intention, I usually think that I’m ready for an adventure with Jesus. Then, when reality hits, when adversity hits, or when I can’t see where the trail is headed, I find myself questioning Him rather than trusting His plan.
Are you sure, Jesus, that this is what you called me to?
Is this really the path you’re leading me down?
What if it isn’t safe?
What if your plan doesn’t take me to the place I thought we were going?
What if this is harder than I thought it was going to be?
Oh, friends, I have a long way to go in my trust journey: with my husband and with the Lord. I have known both of them long enough to understand that they have my best in mind. They always have my back. Maybe this struggle says less about my husbands choices, or God’s plans, and more about my own heart? My own anxiety? My own discomfort? My own desire for control?
The life of faith is rarely a mountaintop experience. When our faith walk does happen to lead us up for a beautiful view, the climb is often arduous to get there. No, most of our lives will be spent on scantily-marked trails, walking step by step in faith through the mundanity of ordinary life. Either way, in the mundane or in the extraordinary, the Lord has a plan. We can trust Him. After all, He writes the very best adventure stories.
Pause, Renew, Next: As you look back over your faith journey, when have you found it hard to trust? How did those adventures turn out? Journal about the times that the Lord was faithful even when you weren’t sure exactly how the situation was going to turn out. Looking back at the Lord’s faithfulness gives us the ability to trust Him for the next adventure.
May we trust the Lord’s plans and may He make our paths straight.
I can’t wait to introduce you to today’s podcast biography subject: Katharina Luther. Her husband, Martin Luther, is one of the most famous men of church history. There are books and books written about his life, but his wife is written about much less often. However, she was incredibly important to the Reformation as well. So, in today’s episode you will hear plenty about Martin Luther (believe me, he is definitely a fascinating character), but we are really going to dive into the life of his nun-turned-wife, Katharina. Her faith and bravery are inspiring.
Katharina was important because the Reformation Movement may have looked very different were it not for Luther’s marriage to her. She and her husband are perhaps the most famous couple of Christian history. Katharina’s relationship with her husband helped him live out his theology and learn how to love. She was a bold woman who came from hard places and continued to have difficult circumstances her whole life: abandoned as a child, ostracized by the church and gossiped about, living through the death of two children, and then widowed as a young woman. She raised a family and held a property together at a time when women were not respected or left in charge. Still, through life’s adversity, Katharina’s bold faith sustained her.
Today’s biography episode came from the following resources:
I am encouraged by Katharina’s story, and I hope you are too. What stands out to you about her life and her faith? I’d love to hear about it! Drop a comment under today’s show notes or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.
This fall I have found a new favorite show to enjoy with my husband: the History Channel series, Alone. If you haven’t seen it, the show is all about wilderness survival in harsh and desolate climates. Ten contestants are dropped off in remote locations with limited supplies, and they compete to see who can live off the land longest using their own survival skills. They do all of this, you guessed it, alone.
The fact that I like this show is surprising given the fact that, for me, being alone anywhere for days or weeks at a time sounds like a nightmare. This extrovert enjoys alone time in short chunks only, yet there’s something almost therapeutic about watching people use their skills in the beauty and majesty of nature’s wilderness. Without having to leave the comfort of my living room, I can vicariously experience a little piece of nature. A few moments of solitude. (Nevermind that there are wild animals, starvation, and injuries…the idea of the wilderness is therapeutic anyway!)
The Lord keeps bringing me back to this idea of quiet and solitude. In some ways I find myself craving it. However, practically the minute that I find myself in silence, I immediately begin filling the space with noise or busyness. There’s always a to-do list to accomplish, a podcast to listen to, an email to write, a playlist to create, a message to respond to, or a social media app to check. Quiet and solitude just do not come easily to us humans, especially not in the modern age where there are distractions at every turn.
I’m coming to realize that the practice of solitude is something I’ll have to cultivate.
Jesus lived many years before cell phones or social media, yet he was a popular and wanted man. Everywhere he went, crowds gathered. From the time he woke up to the time he went to sleep, busyness could have enveloped him. Really, if anyone had an excuse to be busy, it was Jesus. After all, He understood that He only had 3 years to accomplish His ministry on earth. Still, in Luke 5, we see that He intentionally took time to slip away to quiet places to pray.
Jesus cultivated solitude. He carved out space and time to commune with His Father alone.
In no way can I relate to crowds following me from town to town like Jesus experienced. I can however, relate to four children needing me from the time they wake up to the time they go to bed. I can relate to being present for clients who are in crisis. I can relate to writing and podcasting for the edification of others and sometimes feeling depleted myself. That’s what servant leadership is all about: being poured out and continually refilled. It seems that a key part of the refilling process which keeps us from burning out is the practice of solitude.
In the quiet hours with Jesus, He restores my soul.
In his book, The Way of the Heart, Henri Nouwen writes: “We have, indeed, to fashion our own desert where we can withdraw every day, shake off our compulsions, and dwell in the gentle healing presence of our Lord. Without such a desert we will lose our own soul while preaching the gospel to others.”
As a mother, I can attest that there have been seasons when I have had little to no solitude. When you are the mother of littles, naptime may be the only quiet time you get the entire day. The days of caregiving can be long and exhausting, and the few moments of quiet you have may easily turn into a short snooze. Yet, even in those quickly snatched moments of rest, the Lord has restored my soul. Sometimes solitude may look like rest.
In no way am I writing this blog post as an expert on solitude. Far from it. I am at the beginning of learning how to cultivate solitude in my own life. As I embark, I hope you will join me in turning off the noise when it becomes too much. In going outside and taking a breath and enjoying nature. In talking to Jesus in the quiet spaces of your day. I can’t wait to hear the creative ways you incorporate solitude into your life rhythm.
Pause: Take a deep belly breath and slowly exhale. Take a moment and consider Luke 5:16. What stands out to you about Jesus setting aside time to be in the wilderness to pray?
Renew: What is hard for you about solitude? Is it the idea of being still and quiet? Is it the demands of the day? When you are able to sit in stillness, what do you notice about your prayer life?
Next: Consider ways that you might carve out moments of solitude in your daily routine. Get creative! Mrs. Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley, famously put her head under her apron to escape her 12 children and pray when she needed a break!
May we learn to quiet our minds and hearts in the quiet places of solitude.
I am always happy to have my favorite person on the podcast: my husband, Derek. He and I watched The Social Dilemma recently, and on this podcast episode we talk through some of the thoughts and concerns presented in the movie regarding gaming and social media. As a computer programmer and game designer, Derek has a lot of working knowledge about the ways that games are produced and how they make money.
We discussed our concerns about the amount of time we are spending on our phones, as well as the addictive qualities of many of the apps we use. We also chat about how social media is causing us to spend more time in our own echo chambers. Conversely, we talk about some of the benefits of social media.
At the end of the episode, Derek and I share some of our own soul-care practices in guarding our minds and time on our phones. I hope you find this podcast episode encouraging in working out your own technology boundaries and soul-care practices.
If you you enjoyed this podcast episode, please share and subscribe. You can comment below today’s show notes, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.
Last Sunday afternoon, our church small group met at a park. As our children played on the playground nearby, the adults circled around in our lawn chairs and cracked open our Bibles. We are reading through the book of Mark, and that afternoon, the end of Mark Chapter 1 grabbed my attention. In that passage, Jesus healed a leper and then firmly told the newly-healed man not to tell anyone that he had been healed by Jesus. Of course, the man did the very opposite of this and went around proclaiming everywhere that he had been miraculously healed by this man, Jesus.
But he went out and began to proclaim it freely and to spread the news around, to such an extent that Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city, but stayed out in unpopulated areas; and they were coming to Him from everywhere.
Mark 1:45 NASB
Jesus could no longer publicly enter a city. His fame preceded Him, but He had actively tried to prevent it. What kind of a leader subverts his fame and authority by asking people not to talk about him? What kind of platform builder stays in unpopulated areas? What kind of King comes to announce himself by healing the marginalized: the women, the outcasts, the sick, and the demon-possessed?
The kind of King who comes with an upside down Kingdom, that’s who.
Much of my adult walk with the Lord has been spent carefully inspecting what I’ve been taught about Jesus and the Gospel and studying the Scriptures to discover who He is for myself. I am especially captivated with the imagery Jesus uses to describe who He is and what His kingdom is all about. He seemed to do this most through the questions He asked and the stories He told. Most of the time, it seems He left his disciples with more questions than answers, and it’s no surprise. His Kingdom is perplexing. It is upside down. It absolutely flies in the face of everything we as humans are taught about greatness, leadership, fame, and reward.
In God’s Kingdom, power is perfected in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
In God’s Kingdom, the last shall be first. Matthew 19:30
The Kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3
In God’s Kingdom, losing your life is the way to find it. Matthew 10:39
In God’s Kingdom, neighbors love each other like they love themselves. Matthew 22:39
In the Kingdom of Heaven, humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33
Members of the Kingdom of God save up heavenly treasures, not earthly ones. Matthew 16:20
In this upside down, unexpected Kingdom, the King arrived as a tiny baby in an outskirt town, raised as a carpenter’s son. He chose twelve unqualified disciples to mentor. He was wrongfully arrested and didn’t fight back. He was crucified, and rather than staying dead and buried, He had the audacity to resurrect and beat death at its own game.
The Kingdom that Jesus ushered in is by all standards a paradox. It is a Kingdom of alreadyand not yet. His Kingdom cannot be shaken, but remains invisible to the naked eye. It has been at work for 2,000 years, but is not yet glorified in its fulfilled, tangible state.
I often pray that the Lord would give me eyes to see and ears to hear His Kingdom at work.
Because it is, you know. It’s at work all of the time, whether we are aware or not.
Its evidence is rarely obvious. It doesn’t often show up in signs and wonders. Rather, we more often see it in the wide-eyed, innocent trust of small children. We can see it in the endurance of saints persecuted around the world. We can see it in the hard choices of loving difficult people. We can see it in the beauty of adoption. We can see it in lives transformed through the Gospel.
However, there is another kingdom also at work. It is an earthly kingdom where power, fame, strength, and beauty reign. In this kingdom, everyone looks out for their own interests. In this kingdom, one must manipulate or out-perform others to get ahead. In this kingdom, everyone must make a name for themselves. In this kingdom, lust and greed are not just everyday occurrences, they are glorified. Do not be deceived. These are the lullabies that rock us to sleep on our TVs, our smart phones, and our social media feeds.
As the kingdoms of this world contend for our attention, let’s not forget there’s another Kingdom at work. It’s coming is sure. We can bank on it.
Pause, Renew, Next: Take a quiet moment and consider: how does God’s kingdom differ from the way normal kingdoms are run? Where do you see His Kingdom at work around you?
Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to see where Your Kingdom is at work around us. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.