Friday, June 1, 2018

the blue book is now available on amazon

Exciting news!  The Blue Book is now available on Amazon! And not only that, but it also has a bunch of new content!  I've been working for the past year or so to write an opening reflection for each chapter and I'm really excited about the end result.  I hope you will be too.  So please spread the word.  Tell your friends that the strange blue devotional book that has always been so hard to find, is hard to find no more.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you alone hold the power to demolish the strongholds in our lives.  Will-power won’t do it.  Good old-fashioned grit and determination won’t do it.  All of our best efforts and intentions won’t do it.  We’ve tried all that—over and over—and found it woefully lacking.  Only you can give us what we need; the grace and the strength and the power and the courage to face our real enemies head on and overcome them with your truth.  Thank you that your truth, Lord Jesus, is the only thing that can set us free.  Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Journal: What are the strongholds in your life?  What are the narratives underneath your sinful patterns and behavior?  How will you make time and space for Jesus to overcome those false narratives with his truth?

Reflection: I used to think that strongholds were certain behaviors that I just could not overcome.  But now that I'm a little older, I think it goes way deeper than that.  Sure the behaviors are destructive, and not at all what God wants for me, but the real problem lies underneath.  For underneath every behavior is a goal, and under every goal is a belief.  And every belief is fueled by a narrative.  If we are willing to dig down far enough, we will eventually uncover the reason for the behavior, and the narrative that fuels it.  If we truly desire to change; if we truly desire to eliminate the dysfunctional behavior, we cannot merely cut it off at the surface (for it will eventually grow back), we must uproot it completely.  We must uncover the narrative that lies underneath.  That is the stronghold.  
     In order to destroy the strongholds in my life, I cannot just decide to behave differently.  I don't know about you, but I've tried that over and over and over again.  It just doesn't work--at least not for long.  Real change comes when I begin to change the way I think.  I must uncover the narratives that drive me to certain behaviors, and then I must make space and time for the Spirit of God to reveal the truth, which sets me free. I must change my narratives in order to change (long term) my behavior.  
     That's where the taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ comes in.  I must dig down to what I really believe, to the narrative that I am allowing to guide my thinking, and hold it up to the light, to the truth of Christ--the narratives of Jesus.  For only then will I be able to know what the truth really is.  And only then will that truth be able to set me free.


Closing Prayer: Set us free, Lord Jesus; today and every day.  Amen.

Monday, March 19, 2018

will you really

Opening Prayer: Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess, Thou hast given me: I surrender it all to Thee to be disposed of according to Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace; with these I will be rich enough and will desire nothing more. Amen. ~St. Ignatius

Scripture: John 13:36-38

Journal: “Will you really lay down your life for me?”


will you really

will you really
lay down your life
for me

will you really
lay aside
all privilege
and power
and preference

will you really
place yourself
totally and unreservedly
in my hands

will you really
empty yourself
of self
that you might
be full of me

will you really
surrender all
that you have
and all
that you are
to my rule
and my care

will you really


Closing Prayer: Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you. I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures. I wish no more than this, O Lord. Into your hands I commend my spirit; I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I do love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands, without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. Amen. ~Charles de Foucauld

Sunday, March 18, 2018

ordering our affections

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, be my one thing, be my first and truest affection.  May nothing else in all of creation compare to the love and affection I have for you.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 10:38-42

Journal: What are the greatest affections of your heart and life these days?  How do they compare and/or relate to your affection for Jesus?

Reflection: There is a created order to all things; an intentional design.  When that created order is followed, life is the result.  But whenever that created order is not adhered to, there is chaos.  That's why Jesus, when he was asked by "an expert in the law" in Matthew 22 which commandment was the greatest, immediately responds (from Deuteronomy 6:5): "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."  For there is even—and most particularly—a created order to our "loves."  Unless we love God with all of our being first, we can never truly love anyone or anything else with the love that we were created to love them with.  As Henri Nouwen put it years ago, "The second love, can only be a reflection of the first."  
     Therefore, when we love something or someone more than we love God we have gone against the created order—which produces all kinds of disorder and chaos.  The saints and the poets knew this well and have discussed it in detail through the ages.  In fact, centuries ago Ignatius spoke of this very phenomenon when he used the term disordered affections.  It is a phrase that has really had some life in me lately. 
     I actually think that's what Jesus was getting at when he was talking to the rich young ruler.  He looked at him and loved him because He realized that the real issue was that this young man's affections were disordered.  And Jesus wanted so much more for him than that.  That's why He tells him that there's still one thing he lacks.  One thing.  It is the same one thing that Martha lacks here in Luke 10.  That one thing is making Jesus our one thing.  That one thing is having Jesus as our first and truest affection.  For if Jesus is our first and truest affection, then the other things (or the many things in the case of Luke 10:41) of this life seem to fall in order.  Our lives become centered on and rooted in the love of Jesus.
     Unfortunately disordered affections can be a very difficult thing to recognize.  Because the things that end up occupying most of our time and energy (which is a very good way to tell what's really in the center of our lives) are often very good things: jobwork, accomplishments, reputation, service, ministry, achievements, hobbies, exercise, even family activities.  But Jesus was pretty direct in saying that when anything takes precedence over our affection for him, we have made that thing the center of our lives--a spot that was designed only for Him to occupy.  So the questions we are left to answer regularly are: What occupies most of our time and energy and focus these days?  What is our one thing right now?  And what does it really look like to hold Jesus as our first and truest affection?  The answer to these questions can give us a pretty good idea about whether our lives, and our affections, are properly ordered.


Closing Prayer: When at last I cling to you with all my being, for me there will be no more sorrow, no more toil.  Then at last I shall be alive with true life, for my life will be wholly filled by you. (Confessions by St Augustine)

Saturday, March 17, 2018


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to consider all else rubbish compared to my desire to know you.  Be the center of my life and my affections in all that I do.  Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 3:7-14

Journal: What do these words of scripture stir up in you today?  How do they speak to your life?  How do they inspire you?  How do they disturb you?  How do they challenge you?

Reflection: The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.  
     I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
     I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. Philippians 3:7-14 (The Message)


Closing Prayer: O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. ~Book of Common Prayer

Thursday, March 15, 2018


Opening Prayer: Each day may I remember the source of the mercies Thou hast bestowed on me gently and generously; each day may I be fuller in love to Thyself. ~Carmina Gadelica

Scripture: Mark 10:17-31

Journal: Where is your treasure?  What do you treasure?  Do you treasure Jesus above all else?  Who, or what, is his biggest competitor in your life?  If you were the one standing before Jesus, rather than the rich young ruler, what would he ask you to give up in order to fully follow him?

Reflection: Let me talk very intimately and very earnestly with you about Him who is dearer than life.  Do you really want to live your lives, every moment of your lives, in His presence?  Do you long for Him, crave Him?  Do you love His presence?  Does every drop of blood in your body love Him?  Does every breath you draw breathe a prayer, a praise to Him?  Do you sing and dance within yourselves, as you glory in His love?  Have you set yourselves to be His, and only His, walking every moment in holy obedience?  I know I’m talking like an old-time evangelist.  But I can’t help that, nor dare I restrain myself and get prim and conventional.  We have too long been prim and restrained.  The fires of the love of God, of our love toward God, and His love toward us, are very hot.  “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and mind and strength.”  Do we really do it?  Is love steadfastly directed toward God, in our minds, all day long?  Do we intersperse our work with gentle prayers and praises to Him?  Do we live in the steady peace of God, a peace down at the depths of our souls, where all strain is gone and God is already victor over the world, already victor over our weaknesses?  This life, this abiding, enduring peace that never fails, this serene power and unhurried conquest over ourselves, outward conquest over the world, is meant to be ours.  It is a life that is freed from strain and anxiety and hurry, for something of the Cosmic Patience of God becomes ours.  Are our lives unshakable, because we are clear down on bed rock, rooted and grounded in the love of God?  This is the first and greatest commandment. (A Testament of Devotion by Thomas Kelly)


Closing Prayer: Lord, you are my Lover, it is you whom I desire.  You flow through my body like a stream, you shine on my face like the sun.  Let me be your reflection.  Amen. ~St. Mechthildis

Monday, March 12, 2018


Opening Prayer: Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!  And behold, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you, and in my deformity I rushed headlong into the well-formed things that you have made.  You were with me, and I was not with you. ~St. Augustine

Scripture: Mark 12:28-31

Journal: How do you love God with all of your heart?  With all of your soul?  With all of your mind?  With all of your strength?  Which one is most difficult for you?  Why?

Reflection: Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” Mark 12:28-30 (The Message)

Before anything, love Me.  Just love Me.  It's as simple as that.  In fact, that is the one thing I really want from you, your love.  And I want all of it.  I want you to love me with everything you've got; all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength.  Every bit of you.  And I want you to love me for Me, not for the sake of anyone, or anything else.  I must be the end, and not just a means to some other end.  So love me because that's what I made you to do.  And when you do what I have made you to do, you will know joy and fullness like you have never known it before.  Then, and only then, will you be able to truly love others; for then you will be free from needing them to come through for you in some strangely dependent way.  This freedom from needing them will allow you to truly love them, rather than to try and manipulate love out of them.  For this second love can only be a reflection of the first.


Closing Prayer: I feel your love as you hold me to your sacred heart, my beloved Jesus, my God, my Master, but I feel, too, the need I have of your tenderness, and your caress because of my infinite weakness. ~Charles de Foucauld