step into the peace of God

I invite you to step into my peace. When it seems like everything around you is crumbling, and you feel overwhelmed, come and rest with me. Take a deep breath and lean into me. Listen to me tell you how much I love you and that no earthly problem can ever snatch you away. My steadfast love seems incomprehensible when everything seems to be falling apart, but I will never fail you. When it feels like your thoughts and emotions are getting the best of you, look to the cross.

Philippians 4:7
Letters to the Beloved

love is true holiness

“If I had not come and showed them the Father and the Messiah’s identity, they would have remained ignorant, but I have shown them, and still, they hate me. They have no excuse for their hatred now. Those who hate me hate the Father. I performed many works before them, things no one else can do, and even so, they reject me, revealing their hatred for the Father and me. Their rejection was also prophesied by the psalmist who wrote, ‘They hated me for no reason.'”

People do not want to accept the way of Christ, preferring religion built around performance, power, and position. My Son’s extravagant grace reflects my character, and still, they hate him. When you proclaim a message of love and belonging, you too will be a threat to the status quo. Many will brand you as a heretic and outside the pale of orthodox belief, but love is true holiness.

-John 15:22-25, Letters to the Beloved

all things

“All things the Father gives me will be reconciled in me, never to be broken again. I came here at my Father’s will to do his redemptive work. His will is that I lose nothing that he has placed in my charge but restore everything on the last day. It is his will that everyone who sees me believes in what I am doing and will step into eternal life in our eternal kingdom.” Beloved, if you think back to John’s opening words, you will remember that I created all things through my Son. In celebrating my Son’s preeminence, the apostle Paul said that not only were all things made through him but for him. I honestly have all things in mind concerning my Son’s healing work. Shalom will reign once again as he reconciles heaven and earth. Do not limit your vision to small things; my kingdom’s realities are far more impressive than you could imagine.

John 6:37-40
Letters to the Beloved

the red horse

The breaking of the second seal revealed the red horse. The second creature, with a loud voice, echoed the first saying, “Come.” The horse was frothy red like blood spilled upon the ground. I allowed the rider to steal peace from the earth as he wielded a great sword. The red horse, beloved, is violence and war, which stands in opposition to my kingdom.

People are often enamored by the vibrancy and power of the red horse. They come to believe that violence must be an appropriate way to establish justice. Look around you. Violence fills the world; the hoof prints of the red horse are everywhere. There are wars in every corner of the globe as nations go to battle. Violence fills your homes, your streets, and your very hearts. People use power and control to oppress, yet the people who hold power call their oppression “just.” Just war is a misnomer. There is no justice in committing violence against others.

Eugene Peterson wrote, “The perennial ruse is to glorify war so that we accept it as a proper means of achieving goals. But it is evil, and Christ opposes it. Christ does not sit on the red horse, ever.” Beloved, beware of becoming enamored by the red horse. Violence is not the way of my kingdom.

Revelation 6:3-4, Letters to the Beloved

not violence, but peace

With a surge of adrenaline waking them up, the eleven were ready for action. They said, “Lord, is now the time to strike with the sword?” Peter cut off the servant’s right ear. Jesus stopped the retaliation. Following Jesus is not the way of violence, but peace. He said, “That’s enough.” He approached the bleeding man and, touching his ear, restored him. He did not leave the servant to suffer, even though the man was part of the mob who had come to arrest him. My kingdom is always about restoring wholeness.

Luke 22:49-51
Letters to the Beloved

take risks and love big

Beloved, be committed to my kingdom, knowing that I am committed to you. Take risks, and love big. Yes, you may fail, but I am delighted when you are acting out of love for my Son. Here is the thing, I know you will not be perfect. No one is. Too many people are afraid to risk vulnerability or try new things because they are worried about my disapproval. I have given you a vibrant life. You are uniquely you, but you are not investing in love when you hide from me, others, or even from yourself. I always welcome your true self, warts and all. I want you to come and dance, even if you step on a few toes. The blessing is in the journey, not the accomplishment. I want you to show up and live.

Luke 19:24-27
Letters to the Beloved

be an ambassador

Regardless of what is going on in your life, be my ambassador. Act in love no matter what is happening around you. Be a beacon of hope in pain, suffering, hardship, affliction, and unrest. Let people see your pure heart, knowledge, patience, kindness, and genuine love, which come only by my Spirit. Speak truthfully and without qualification. Guard yourself with holiness and wholeness on every side. Seek to live an integrated life whether you are honored or dishonored, slandered or praised, rejected as a liar or accepted as a truth-bringer, living or dying, in punishment, sorrow, or loss. Keep hoping even when everything seems bleak.

2 Corinthians 6:4-10
Letters to the Beloved

clay pots

You have an infinite treasure–the light of my love–stored up in clay pots; heavenly beauty held within the stuff of earth, imperfections and all. Transformation comes because of my life in you. Daily stresses may leave you feeling battered and bruised, but my Son’s life in you means nothing can destroy you. In your suffering, be reminded of his death, but never lose sight of his indwelling Spirit, which is real life. Let every bit of pain, fatigue, and brokenness serve as a reminder of the life I have given you. Death and disintegration may be present in your day-to-day life, but your core identity is secure in my Son.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12
Letters to the Beloved

real shalom

“Do you think I came to bring peace on the earth? No, I came to divide fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers and sisters.” Ultimately, beloved, my Son is the embodiment of true peace and love, not mere tolerance. Real shalom is active and results from hard work and adversity as you work to reintegrate your divided self and your fractured homes by the power of my Spirit. Continue working and wrestling through your pain rather than pretending it does not exist.

Luke 12:51-53
Letters to the Beloved

be who you are

Instead of fumbling around in the dark, pretending to be something you are not, be who you are. Walk in the light where you will always find me. This honest, vulnerable place is where you can have real friendships with one another and with me. When you remember that my Son’s blood has cleansed you thoroughly, you will not need to hide. Come out of the shadows and be seen. When you pretend that you are better than you are or have no sin in your life, you may deceive others, but the one you have deceived the most is yourself. You cannot live long in that disintegrated state before it begins to tear you apart. Half-truths are no truth at all.

1 John 1:7-8
Letters to the Beloved