Friday, September 30, 2011

My Friend Jennifer - Faith Shining in the Dark

Today let's give a big welcome to Jennifer Slattery, who is here with a guest post on faith. Jennifer is a lovely woman who has followed the Lord into various avenues for her writing, and I have great admiration for all she's doing. I hope you are blessed today by her words. Please see the end of the post for information on this month's giveaway.

And now, here's Jennifer!

Shining In the Dark
By Jennifer Slattery

It is easy to live in self-protection mode. It is comfortable to surround ourselves with Christians, seated in a nice, safe, predictable church pew. But as I read the Bible, I never see God calling Christians into seclusion. Consider Joseph in an Egyptian prison. Egypt was a pagan land. How many prisoners, enslaved by darkness, watched Joseph pray day after day? And what about Paul? One of our favorite stories is of Paul singing in prison. How brightly did his light shine surrounded by inmates?

When our daughter was young we lived in Southern California. Life in California is unique in many ways. It is not uncommon for a child to go through life without ever touching snow. You can live on top of your neighbors and not know them. You’ll spend hours in your car, not moving (rush-hour traffic). You’ll drive forty-five minutes to find the hiking trails cut in center of the city. You’ll sit in your back yard, which will likely be covered in cement or gravel, and stare into the night sky in search of those ultra-bright stars that somehow manage to outshine the city lights.

One evening, we wanted her to see the night sky without the “dimming” city lights, so we drove to the desert. We lived on the edge of the Mojave, so it didn’t take long, but once we got there, the view was spectacular! The stars that appeared so faint at home blazed, and numerous stars that were previously out-glimmered by streetlights, dotted the sky.

This image often comes to mind when I pray for guidance. As new opportunities come my way, my first reaction is always self-protection—to remain tucked in my nice church pew, surrounded by brightly shining Christians, waiting…just waiting for that occasional non-Christian to trickle in. And yet, where does our light shine the brightest? In the dark. God’s love is extravagant, initiating, self-sacrificing. God’s love penetrated the darkness.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:1-5).

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness cannot, does not, will not overcome it. So, carry your candle and run to the darkness.

~*~

Jennifer Slattery is lives in the midwest with her husband of fifteen years and their thirteen year old daughter. She prefers peanut butter sandwiches to juicy burgers, likes eating ice-cream for dinner, and devours “issue” novels with authentic characters. She writes for Christ to the World Ministries, The Christian Pulse, and Samie Sisters and is the marketing manager of the literary website, Clash of the Titles. You can find out more about her and her writing at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

~*~

Please leave a comment for Jennifer in order to be entered in this month's giveaway for the 2011 WhiteFire lineup. You can also enter by leaving a comment here.

7 comments:

  1. I've only been to CA twice...but it does seem like a whole different world...even among Christians.

    Thanks for the reminder of God's love and light shining in the darkness.

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  2. I'm a Southern California native who escaped (almost literally LOL - may have to share the story some time) 17 years ago. And yes - it is COMPLETELY a different world.

    Great thoughts - Jennifer is an amazing lady. Love that girl!

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  3. Roseanna, thanks for the kind intro!

    Annette, I think each city and state has it's own sub-culture. California is unique, to be sure, although we enjoyed our time there and fellowshipped with a wonderful family of believers.

    Joanne, my sweet devo-writing partner and fellow LBG host, I'm starting to think you're my personal cheerleader! You always encourage me! Although I've gotten to know you well enough to know I'm not alone in this blessing. You seem to sprinkle joy on everyone you come into contact with. Must be an overflow of that abundant life Jesus tells us about. :-)

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  4. Hi, Jennifer! We're in the same KC group, although I think we've only been at the same meeting once, back when Sally talked about time management.

    What a wonderful post. When reading how God regularly pulled His people into situations with pagans, I had never before given much thought to what that means for my life. Great insight. One that deserves some serious thinking!

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  5. Not sure if this contest is over yet since it is in the side bar. If it is still open, I'd love to win these books! Thanks! :)

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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  6. Ditto to Nancye. I want to win! This is an amazing giveaway.

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  7. I would love to win thanks!

    Margaret
    singitm@hotmail.com

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