Monday, December 31, 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, September 18, 2018

word

Opening Prayer: How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalm 119:103)

Scripture: Proverbs 4:20-22

Journal: Where and how has God’s word been sweet and life-giving to you lately?  What is he saying to you today?

Reflection: All his words contain supernatural mysteries and are full of heavenly sweetness, if only they have a diligent reader (one who knows how to suck honey out of a rock, and oil out of the hardest stone). —Bernard of Clairvaux

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Your word, O Lord, is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens.  Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.  Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.  If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. (Psalm 119:89-93)

Sunday, September 16, 2018

detachment

Opening Prayer: To you alone, O Lord, do I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. (Psalm 25:1-2)

Scripture: Psalm 62:1-8

Journal: What are you demanding from friends or family that only God is able to give?  What would it look like if you let go of that demand and trusted God to be the one to fully meet that need for you?  How would you be better able to love?

Reflection: Because we have been clinging to friends for support, we have left ourselves open for defeat and dismay.  The detached love of Christian friends is other than that.  I love you, I say, but I do not need you to tell me who I am.  For the Lord Himself does that, when He whispers His love in my ear every day.  Every day He creates me anew and sharpens my identity by grace.  From him comes strength.  He gives me my confidence, my self-assurance.  He awakens my sense of destiny.  Because of Him, I know the future stretches ahead, and he is calling me to find it.  And even when I walk together with Him, even when I can’t see my hand in front of me, I am sure.  And you, my friend, may walk together with us—with my Lord and with me.  And we will share our love generously with you.  But I will not lean on any human being for God-support.  When God sends his grace through another person, I will remember God first for that.  I will praise God first for that.  I will cherish the friend who was my channel of grace.  But I will not, dare not, make a god of her or him.  I will not lean too hard on my friends.  I know their frailties and I know my own.   (Clinging by Emilie Griffin) 

Prayer

Closing Prayer: For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope comes from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.  (Psalm 62:5-6, ESV)

Thursday, September 13, 2018

continuing on

Opening Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to always live life by the power of your Spirit, not by the works of my flesh.  Amen.

Scripture: Galatians 3:1-3

Journal: How are you “continuing on” in the life of the Spirit these days?  Where and how are you tempted to revert back to the ways of the “flesh?”

Reflection: I hardly know a more solemn warning in God’s Word than that which we find in the third chapter of Galatians, where Paul asked: “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”
     Do you understand what that means?  A terrible danger in Christian work, just as in a Christian life that begun with much prayer, begun in the Holy Spirit, is that it may be gradually shunted off on to the lines of the flesh; and the word comes: “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”  In the time of our first perplexity and helplessness, we prayed much to God, and God answered and God blessed, and our organization became perfected, and our band of workers became large: but gradually the organization and the work and the rush have so taken possession of us that the power of the Spirit, in which we began when we were a small company, has almost been lost.  Oh, I pray, note it well!  It was with a new prayer and fasting, with more prayer and fasting, that the company of disciples (in Acts 13:1-4) carried out the command of the Holy Ghost.  “My soul, wait thou only upon God.”  That is our highest and most important work.  The Holy Spirit comes in answer to believing prayer. (Absolute Surrender and Other Addresses by Andrew Murray)

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.  Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy.   Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.   Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be holy.  Amen. —St. Augustine


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

nothing

Opening Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help me to always remember your example, that the way to becoming something is by making ourselves nothing—for you.  Give us the grace and the courage to do as you did.  Amen.

Scripture: Philippians 2:5-11

Journal: ow are you trying to make yourself something these days?  What would it look like to make yourself nothing for Jesus?  Will you?

Reflection:

     irony

it is indeed
a sad irony
that i spend
most of my days
believing i’m nothing
but desperately trying
to become something

while God says
i am something 
who constantly needs
to make himself nothing

yet the only way
i can make myself nothing
is to truly believe
that You say
i am something

Prayer

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to follow you by making myself nothing, that you might be seen as the Ultimate Something.  Amen.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

overflow

Opening Prayer: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.  (Psalm 23:1-3, ESV)

Scripture: Psalm 23:5

Journal: What is your cup doing these days?  What is the state of your soul?  How, and to where, is the Good Shepherd trying to lead you?

Reflection: Those who are wise will see their lives as more like a reservoir than a canal.  The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then pours forth the overflow without loss to itself.  They know that a curse is on those who allow their own property to degenerate.  And if you think my opinion worthless then listen to the one who is wiser than I.  “Fools,” said Solomon, “come out with all their feelings at once but the wise subdue and restrain them.”  Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare.  So urgent is the charity of those through whom the streams of heavenly doctrine flow to us that they want to pour it forth before they have been filled.  They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves.
     I am convinced that no degree of charity that leads to salvation may be preferred to that suggested by the Wise One, “Have pity on your own soul, pleasing God.”  Listen to what a prudent and vigilant charity advises.  “This does not mean that to give relief to others you ought to make things difficult for yourselves.  It is a question of balancing.”
     The reservoir resembles the fountain that runs to form a stream or spreads to form a pool only when its own waters are brimming over.  The reservoir is not ashamed to be no more lavish than the spring that fills it.  He who is the primal Fountain of Life, full in himself and filled with himself, gushed forth and danced into the secret places of the heavens about him, to fill them all with his favors.  And having endowed these remotest heights and recesses, he burst upon our earth, saving humans and beasts through his munificence, multiplying his mercies everywhere.  When he had first filled up the secret places, his teeming mercies billowed over.  They poured upon the earth and drenched it, to multiply its riches.  You must imitate this process.  First be filled and then control the outpouring.  The charity that is benign and prudent does not flow outward until it abounds within. (On the Song of Songs by Bernard of Clairvaux)

Prayer

Closing Prayer: You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (Psalm 23:5, ESV)

Friday, September 7, 2018

silence

Opening Prayer: For God alone my soul waits in silence. (Psalm 62:1, ESV)

Scripture: Psalm 62:1-6

Journal: What role does silence play in your spiritual journey?  How might the practice of silence nurture the life of God within you?  When, where, and how will you incorporate some silence into your life?

Reflection:

     silence

there is a pattern
woven into the 
fabric of creation

first silence
then God speaks
and finally
things are set 
into motion

why then
do we so often
start with action
rather than silence

action taken
without silence
is action taken
out of context

words spoken
without silence
are words spoken
out of context

for God alone
my soul waits
in silence

may that be true 
of me today 
O Lord

Prayer

Closing Prayer:  For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:5, ESV)