Wrestling in the Night

READ
Genesis 32:22-32
 
THINK
Reread the passage, but aloud this time and pause after each of the questions in the text (verses 27 & 29). Jacob, whose name means ‘manipulator’, had made elaborate plans to reconcile with Esau in a generous, peaceful way. Then he stayed behind, which  was uncharacteristic of such a quintessential deal maker. There with the night sounds and the smell of the brook, Jacob encountered ‘a man’. Was the man an angel, a God-man, Jesus? (It’s OK that we don’t know for sure.)
 
Picture yourself in this passage. Are you Jacob? Are you an invisible bystander watching it all?
 
What moment in this passage resonates with you the most?
 
Do you find yourself wanting desperately to be blessed?
 
Do you want desperately to know more of God?
 
PRAY
Depending on what resonated with you, pray about what you desperately want from God. To avoid letting your mind wander, try writing down your prayer, listening for words form God in response.
 
LIVE
Sit quietly before God, imagining the night sounds and the smell of the running stream. Try to be comfortable with God in this wild atmosphere. What does it feel like to trust and to reveal the desires of your heart? Be honest if you feel uncomfortable. What would you like it to feel like? Rest in that. 

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Praying for Afghanistan

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.  – Luke 9:23
 
The Gospel of Jesus reached Afghanistan by the second century, but today there are no physical church buildings in the country. This ancient central Asian country is full of cultural and religious opposition to the gospel that, along with the serious lack of security, continues to greatly challenge all missions efforts. Indigenous, near-culture Persian and expatriate believers are using every possible opportunity to see believers gathered, discipled and integrated into house churches. A unique unity exists among Christians laboring here. Church growth has been slow among more than 50 unique people groups. However, there has been significant Christian growth among the Hazara people.
 
Afghans who are followers of Jesus must hide their faith and cannot worship openly. Evangelism is forbidden. Waves of Christians have emigrated to neighboring countries in order to worship openly. Still, Afghan house churches continue to grow. A small number of believers are martyred every year but numbers are not published as Christian converts from Islam are often killed by family members or radicals before legal processes are utilized.

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Desire for Reconciliation

READ
Genesis 3:1-10
 
THINK
For many of us, these are familiar verses. The first two chapters of Genesis speak of God’s amazing Creation. Chapter 3 speaks of the rebellion of humankind. And the remainder of the Message details God’s intricate and loving plan to redeem, restore and reconcile creation back to

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