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Saturday, March 31, 2018

holy saturday 2018

Opening Prayer: As we stand between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Lord Jesus, help us to remember that you are always at work, even when it appears like nothing is happening.  So grateful for that!  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 23:50-56

Journal: Where do you feel in-between right now?  What do you think God is up to?

Reflection: But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Luke 23:56)
     We make a great mistake if we skip over Holy Saturday in anticipation of Easter Sunday; for there is great care and intention in the timing of it all.  Space and time for rest and reflection are such necessary parts of the spiritual journey--and ones that are often neglected.  How can we possibly hope to grasp the depths and the beauty of what God is up to if we don't make time and space to consider it?  The fact is that God does some of his very best work when it appears that nothing is going on, and if we are not paying careful attention we are likely to miss it.  So let us make time and space this day for rest and reflection, knowing full well that God is up to something even in (and especially in) the in-between times.


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that you are always at work, even when we cannot see it.  Work your good work in and through us this day.  Amen.

Friday, March 30, 2018

good friday

Opening Prayer: Father, hear our prayer and forgive us. Unstop our ears, that we may receive the gospel of the cross. Lighten our eyes, that we may see your glory in the face of your Son. Penetrate our minds, that your truth may make us whole. Irradiate our hearts with your love, that we may love one another for Christ’s sake. Father, forgive us.

Scripture: Isaiah 53:4-5

Journal: What does Good Friday mean to you?  Tell Jesus about it.


     good friday

you took up
our calamity
you carried
the heavy burden
of our pain
you were nailed through
for our rebellion
you were beaten to pieces
for our perversion
the many blows
that brought us wholeness
were reigned down upon you
you were torn apart
that we might be
sewn back together
by your wounds
we are healed
that is what makes
this friday good


Closing Prayer: Eternal God, in the cross of Jesus we see the cost of our sin and the depth of your love: in humble hope and fear may we place at his feet all that we have and all that we are, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

follow me

Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I am still so divided.  I truly want to follow you, but I also want to follow my own desires and lend an ear to the voices that speak about prestige, success, popularity, pleasure, power, and influence.  Help me to become deaf to those voices and more attentive to your voice, which calls me to choose the narrow road to life.  I know this will be a very hard road for me.  The choice for your way has to be made every moment of my life.  I have to choose thoughts that are your thoughts, words that are your words, and actions that are your actions.  There are no times and places without choices.  And I know how deeply I resist choosing you.  Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place.  Give me the strength and courage to live my life faithfully, so that I will be able to taste with joy the new life which you have prepared for me.  Amen. (The Road to Daybreak by Henri J.M. Nouwen)

Scripture: John 21:18-19

Journal: Where and how is God leading you to places that you would rather not go?  What does following Jesus look like for you these days?


     follow me

someone else will dress you
and lead you where
you do not want to go

jesus said this to indicate
the kind of death
by which peter would 
glorify god

then he said
follow me

the aged 
it seems
are our guides
providing an image
of what it looks like
to really follow you 
lord jesus

it is a life
of total dependence 
and complete surrender
a life where
i can do nothing
apart from you

i go nowhere
unless you push me
i wear nothing
unless you dress me
i eat nothing
unless you feed me
i am only clean
when you bathe me

this is the life
you want for me
this is what it looks like
to really follow you
give me the grace
and the courage
to do so


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, give me the courage and the faith to truly follow you, wherever it may lead, whatever it might cost.  Let me give myself fully to your care and your control.  For your glory.  Amen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

dying to self

Opening Prayer: O God, this call to die is so scary and unnerving; no wonder I try to control it.  The truth is that I can’t possibly die to self if you do not give me the courage and the grace.  Yet, that is exactly what you call me to.  So help me to surrender myself completely into your hands and trust you, wherever it may lead.  In the name of your Son, our Savior, Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Scripture: John 21:18-19

Journal: How is God asking you to dying to self these days?

Reflection: We try to control everything, don’t we?  Even our dying.  So when Jesus calls us to die to self, we immediately spring into action and start trying to figure out how we can do that.  The problem is that we are the ones trying to figure it out.  Thus, we are the ones trying to choose (or control) how and when and where we will do this.  Which is actually is a large part of our problem  
     Apparently, as you can see in this interaction with Simon Peter, we do not get a say in that process.  God does not ask for our vote and then act accordingly.  Dying to self is all about surrender, not control.  Therefore, he is the one who gets to determine what this dying needs to look like, as he did with Jesus.
     Dying to self—as modeled by Jesus—is neither selective nor discriminating.  I do not get to choose who or whether, the call to “Follow me” takes all judgment and discretion out of my hands.  Mine is just to die and to die and to die again.  Not out of begrudging obedience, but out of the deepest possible affection.  That is the goal—loving submission to whatever God desires.


Closing Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for showing us what dying to self really looks like.  May we be more like you today.  Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2018

glorify your name

Opening Prayer: Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. (Psalm 115:1)

Scripture: John 12:23-28

Journal: What do your prayers look like these days?  How do these verses challenge that?  What does “Father, glorify your name” look like in your life right now?

Reflection:  Here is the true lesson of prayer: life is not about us.  It is so tempting, as we pray, to ask God to save us from this hour, whatever this hour may be.  To pray that God would deliver us from the hard things of this life.  But Jesus does not do this.  In fact, he does just the opposite.  If the hard things are the things that are apt to glorify God the most, then by all means bring them on.  God's glory is the point, not our comfort.
     It would be wise of me to learn this lesson as well.  I need not to pray that God would take away my suffering, or make my circumstances better, or easier.  I need to pray that He would be glorified, whatever it takes, whatever the cost.  Holy Week is evidence that it is the most difficult things of this life that tend to bring the most glory to God.  Maybe that is because it is so easy to glorify ourselves when things are going well.
     So next time my soul is troubled, what will I say?  Will I say, "Lord save me from this hour," or will I say, "Glorify your name!"


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for reminding us that life is not about us, and our glory, but about you and yours.  Help us to glorify your name in all we do, think, and say.  Amen.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

holy week

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, today we join you on your ride into Jerusalem.  Today we hear the shouts of Hosanna!  Today we lay our coats and our palm leaves on the road, but we both know that once we get to Jerusalem everything will change.  For we know why you are going there.  You are going there to die.  And you invite us to do the same.  
     Give us the courage to ride with you this day and to walk with you this week.  Give us the strength to stay awake with you in the garden, to not abandon you in the melee, and to follow you closely all the way to Golgotha.  It is Holy Week, O Lord, so may we walk with you this week in full awareness of all that will take place—and why.  Amen.  (Journey to the Cross by Jim Branch)

Scripture: Mark 1:11

Journal: How are you feeling as Holy Week begins?  What is stirring within you?


            holy week

o jesus
as holy week begins
i find myself
anxious and afraid
of all that will
be required of me
in the days ahead

help me
lord jesus
to not just focus
on the dying
but also on
the being raised
to new life

help me to
always remember
that in the end
life wins


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, what was in your heart as you rode into Jerusalem?  What was on your mind?  What were your thoughts?  What were your prayers?    
     As we begin this Holy Week, may we be good companions to you on this journey of love.  Thank you for the depths to which you were willing to go in order to show us how deeply we are loved.  Amen. (Journey to the Cross by Jim Branch)

Saturday, March 24, 2018


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you that life with you is really not that complicated.  You call us to listen to you and to follow you, even as you head toward the cross.  Give us the strength and the grace and the courage to do just that.  Amen.

Scripture: John 10:25-30

Journal: What does following Jesus look like for you these days?  What does it look like for you this season?

Reflection: Make no mistake about it, following Jesus always lead to a dying to self that cannot be avoided.  There is no following Jesus without following him all the way to the cross.  As we sit on the edge of Holy Week, what will this mean for you?  How is he asking you to die to self?  How is he inviting you to take up your cross?


Closing Prayer: Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess.  Thou hast given all to me.  To Thee, O Lord, I return it.   All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me. ~Ignatius of Loyola

Thursday, March 22, 2018


Opening Prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me.  I leave myself with you.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Scripture: Matthew 14:22-33

Journal:  Where and how is God growing you in your spiritual life these days?  Where is he asking you to trust him and not be afraid?  Where in your life are you choosing comfort and ease over growth? 

Reflection: Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
     Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
     But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
     “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
     “Come,” he said.
     Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
     Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
     And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

     Sometimes in this life we get tossed into the raging sea.  There is no choice involved; we are not invited by Jesus to step over the side of the boat and dance with him on the wild and chaotic waters.  No, sometimes circumstances make that choice for us, and we suddenly find ourselves out there, whether we want to be or not, just trying to survive and keep our heads above water.
     The beauty is that, whether we have chosen it or not, Jesus still comes out to us, walking on the lake.  He still utters the words, “Take courage!  It is I.  Don’t be afraid.”  He still reaches out his hand and catches us, and sets our feet back on solid ground.  He still asks that we fix our eyes on him and not the wind or the waves around us.  You see, he is always about doing a deeper work in us.  He is trying to grow our faith and our trust.  Jesus is not about our comfort and ease.  He is not so much concerned with whether or not we like our circumstances, but is concerned with whether or not we will trust him in the midst of them.  His desire for our growth is greater than his desire for our comfort.  Ease and comfort are actually two great enemies of the spiritual life.  Which makes me wonder why I pursue them so diligently.  Lord, have mercy.  


Closing Prayer: Grow, dear friends; but grow, I beseech you, in God’s way, which is the only effectual way.  See to it that you are planted in grace, and then let the divine Husbandman cultivate you in His own way and by His own means. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

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

Friday, March 9, 2018


Opening Prayer: O Lord, you who searches our hearts and knows our every thought, give us, by your Spirit, a wholehearted devotion and a willingness of mind, that we might truly seek you, and, thus, be found by you.  It is the deepest longing of our soul.  In the name and power of Jesus we pray.  Amen.

Scripture: 1 Chronicles 28:8-10

Journal: What words in this passage capture your attention?  Why?  What does it look like to serve God with a whole heart and willing mind?  What is the current state of your heart?  What is the current state of your mind?  What would it look like to seek him this day?

Reflection: When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself.  The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation.  In the and lies our great woe.  If we omit the and we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing. (The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer)


Closing Prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me.  I leave myself with you.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Opening Prayer: God unto whom all hearts are open and unto whom every will speaks, and from whom no secret thing is hidden, I pray You to cleanse the intent of my heart with the ineffable gift of Your grace, that I may perfectly love You, and worthily praise You.  Amen. ~The Cloud of Unknowing

Scripture: Isaiah 1:18-20

Journal: How do the words willing and obedient strike you today?  What is the relationship between the two?  How well do they describe your life these days?

Reflection: No man receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test by it.  We disobey and then wonder why we don’t go on spiritually. (My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)


Closing Prayer:  Lord God, make us willing and obedient this day, that we might eat the fruit of salvation, to the glory of your name.  Amen.

Friday, March 2, 2018


Opening Prayer: Lord God, open my ears to hear you this day.  And cause me to truly listen to what you have to say, even if it is a difficult and challenging thing to hear.  Amen.

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 3:1-11

Journal: What do you think God wants to say to you today?  Are you willing or unwilling to listen?  Is there something difficult or disruptive that he needs to address within you?  Are you willing to receive it?  Are there places in your life right now where you are hard headed or stubborn hearted?

Reflection: The journey through Lent is a difficult one.  It involves coming face to face with things we would rather not see, and hearing truths we would rather not hear.  It is like someone showing us a picture of ourselves that is exceedingly unflattering; and, unfortunately, there is no delete button to hit so we can wipe it all away.
     I don’t know about you, but I am not usually good at hearing the hard truth about myself.  In fact, I go to great lengths to avoid it, and to try to make sure that no one will be able to uncover it either.  Sometimes I do this by going on offense; spending my time and energy making my case, trying to convince myself and my world that the truth about me is not so ugly after all.  And sometimes I do this by going on defense; trying to avoid or escape or deny the truth by rationalizing, comparing, medicating, or running away into extreme activity or busyness.  One of my “go to” strategies when I have hard, unpleasant truth about myself that I need to face is to race off into my world to manipulate affirmation out of anyone and everyone I meet.  It is pathetic really.
     But God loves us much too much to allow us to get away with that for long.  At some point he comes into our life—or world—and speaks with such clarity that the truth simply becomes unavoidable.  But God’s intent in this process is always love, making us into the people he dreamt for us to be.  Anything less that his creation intent for us will not do.  So he comes and he speaks.  And, if we are wise and courageous, we will listen and heed.  Because the hard things that he might have to say will always lead us to what we most deeply desire—freedom, joy, and peace.  And the very taste of those things will be as sweet as honey in our mouths.  Thanks be to God!


Closing Prayer: You called, you cried, you shattered my deafness.  You sparkled, you blazed, you drove away my blindness.  You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for you.  I tasted and now I burn with longing for your peace. ~St. Augustine