Featured Post

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 work...

Friday, November 29, 2019

trying versus trusting

Opening Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you sat down.  Thank you that your sacrifice on the cross is sufficient for us—we do not need to add a thing.  Help us to live in gratitude and thanksgiving for your sacrifice.  Amen.

Scripture: Hebrews 10:11-14

Journal: How are you trying rather than trusting these days?  What does it mean that Jesus sat down?  How does that impact what you do on a daily basis?  How can you move from trying to trusting?

Reflection: “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties: again and again offering the same sacrifices” because his work is never done.  But when Jesus “had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” because his work was complete.  When he said “It is finished!” he really meant it.  His one sacrifice was sufficient for all, “because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.”  That’s you and me.
     But unfortunately, we do not live like that is true.  We tend to live like the priests, rather than living in the completed work of Jesus.  We just can’t seem to sit still, because we are so busy trying to justify ourselves and make amends for our sinful ways, trying to earn the affection and approval from God that has already been given to us freely—so busy trying, when we should be trusting.  Jesus sat down, and because of his finished work, so can we.  It really is finished.  We just need to live like it is.


Closing Prayer: Forgive us, Lord Jesus, when we fail to trust in your finished work.  Forgive us when we get so busy trying that we are no longer trusting.  Thank you that you sat down.  Help me to do the same.  Amen.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

a litany of gratitude

we are grateful, O God,
for who you are
and for how you love us

we are grateful that
your heart is good
and will never change

we are grateful
that you are both
strong and loving
so that we can fully
trust in you and
rest in you

we are grateful
that even though we get so
involved and distracted
with our everyday lives
and continually forget you
you never forget us
even when we feel forgotten
you are always with us
in ways we cannot
perceive or imagine

we are grateful
that you alone
are the giver of all good gifts
the greatest of which are
your love and your grace
which you shower upon us
every minute of every day
though we don't deserve it

may we be captured this day
by the depths of
your great affection
and may we live in such a way
that others may be
captured by it as well

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

stop AND rest

Opening Prayer: My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  (Psalm 62:1-2, NIV)

Scripture: Exodus 20:8

Journal: How do you practice Sabbath these days?  Why?  Is it restoring and life-giving or oppressive and legalistic?  How do you stop each week?  Do you?  How do you rest?  How are you stopping, but not yet resting?  What does it mean to truly rest in God alone?  Will you?  What do you think God’s intention was behind this commandment?

Reflection: It is easy, at times, to abide by the letter of the law and completely miss its intent.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the practice of Sabbath.  I don’t know about you, but for years and years I was bombarded with don’ts and shoulds that took all of the life and joy right out of the practice.  And, quite honestly, still can to this day if I let it.  I do not think that was God’s intent.
     The Hebrew word for Sabbath is shabath, which literally means “to stop.”  In six days God created the heavens and the earth, we are told in Genesis 2, and then he stopped.  On the seventh day he stopped from his work of creating.  Thus, he set aside the seventh day and made it holy—a holy day—that we should stop from our work as well.  
     But he doesn’t tell us to stop just for the sake of stopping, it is meant to be something much more than that.  It is meant to be a practice that is renewing and restoring and life-giving.  That is why Exodus 20 is so helpful.  In Exodus 20, God tells us that the intent of stopping (shabath) is so that we might rest (nuwach).  God is letting us know that stopping, in and of itself, is not enough.  We stop in order to rest.  
     The word nuwach (which is used in Exodus 20:8, but not in Genesis 2:2) means to settle in, or to take up residence within.  The whole point of stopping is so that we might rest.  We must stop and rest.  We stop, and then we settle into that stopping.  We take up residence in the space and time—and life—it offers.  It is a warm, rich, inviting, recreating space that we are invited into.  But in order to receive the benefit, we must enter into it.  It is possible to shabath and still miss the point, unless we also nuwach.  I guess God knew we would get legalistic and petty about the stopping part and miss the point of it altogether—the resting.  And he would never want us to miss that, it’s the best part.  


Closing Prayer: Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:5-8)

Thursday, November 7, 2019


Opening Prayer: How long will you assault a man?  Would all of you throw him down—this leaning wall, this tottering fence?  They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies.  With their mouths they bless but in their hearts they curse.  Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:3-6, NIV)

Scripture: Psalm 62:3-6

Journal: How are you being assaulted today?  What lies are you believing about yourself, about your world, and about your God?  What effect are these lies having on your soul?  How will you remind yourself of the truth?  How will you find rest in God alone?

Reflection: In order to live the spiritual life we must constantly disrupt our old patterns and habits—and the voices that feed them—and open our ears and our hearts to the Voice of the One who calls us Beloved.  
     This is not an easy task, especially when our enemy is constantly barraging us with a message that is quite opposite.  He would have us believe that we are not Beloved at all, but merely a leaning wall and a tottering fence.  You see, his desire is to topple us from our lofty place, to snatch us away from the safety and security of the strong and loving embrace of our God.  Therefore, day and night, he continues his assault.  
     But we are not defenseless in this battle.  We have the truth on our side, and we have the Spirit within us to constantly remind us of that truth.  As Jesus so beautifully reminded us, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)  And the truth is that our strong and loving God has given us our belovedness and it can never be taken away.  Therefore, we can stand firm in the truth, and not allow ourselves to be overcome and overwhelmed by the lies of the enemy.  It doesn’t mean that the assaults will go away, but it does mean that we can stand up under them.  In fact, we can even find rest in God—alone.
     I think that’s one of the reasons I love this psalm so much; it is a declaration of the truth.  We can—in God alone—be assaulted, yet at rest.  Fear and anxiety can continue to barrage us, but we can stand unshaken in him.  It is not merely wishful thinking, but a declaration of truth—one that we need to remind ourselves of continuously.  One that we need to pray and claim out loud as often as we can: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone!”  It is a refusal to allow the voice of the enemy to determine the state of our hearts and minds.  So fight back.  Don’t just stand there and allow yourself to be assaulted.  Claim the truth and be set free. 


Closing Prayer: Strong and loving God, I claim my rest in you this day.  Hold me fast in your loving embrace that I might not believe—and be battered by—the voices of the enemy.  I am not a leaning wall.  I am not a tottering fence.  I am your Beloved.  In you alone is the rest and the peace and the love and the security that I most deeply long for. You alone are my rock, my salvation, my fortress, and my refuge.  I find my rest in you this day.  Amen.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

i see you

Opening Prayer: Lord God, thank you that you always see me through the eyes of Jesus—through the eyes of love.  Help me to see myself that way.  Only then will I be able to see others that way as well.  Lord, have mercy.  Amen.

Scripture: Isaiah 62:5

Journal:  How do you think God sees you?  What goes on in his heart when he thinks about you?  How do you need to be seen by him these days?  What do you think he wants to tell you?  What would it mean if you could really believe that he rejoices over you the way a bridegroom rejoices over his bride?


i see you

there you go again
down that old familiar road
listening to the voices
telling you you’re not enough

lost inside yourself again
unable to find your way out
of the lies that you believe
about who you really are.

when will you let me show you
when will you let me tell you
when will you finally believe the truth
that there’s nothing in my heart but love
when i see you

i see you when you’re hiding
i see you when you’re fighting
i see you when you’re doubting
i see the mess inside

i see you when you’re playing a part 
i see you when you’re trying so hard
to make everyone believe 
that there’s something in you
worth loving

when will you let me show you
when will you let me tell you
when will you finally believe the truth
that there’s nothing in my heart but love
when i see you

i see you when you’re tired
i see you when you’re worn out
from trying to be everything to everyone
i see the you that i made you to be
a beautiful expression of my own heart
and i’m just wanting for the chance
to remind you of who that is

when will you let me show you
when will you let me tell you
when will you finally believe the truth
that there’s nothing in my heart but love
when i see you


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, my Heavenly Bridegroom, help me to see the love that is in your eyes—and heart—for me today.  For only then will I be able to believe that it’s true.  And only then will I be able to love others the way you made me to love them.  Amen.

Monday, November 4, 2019


Opening Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, that your grace is sufficient for me.  Help me to fully learn what that means, and then help me to live accordingly.  Amen.

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Journal: What would it look like in your life to stop trying to be strong and to embrace weakness?  How would this give God the opportunity to be strong in and through you?  

Reflection: It is amazing to me, as I look back on my life, how much time and energy I have invested in trying to appear strong.  I don’t know, maybe it is my insecurity, the deep-seated fear that I am not strong, that actually drives me in this direction.  Or maybe it is my immense need for affirmation, the overwhelming desire that lives within me for others to at least think that I’m strong, even if I know the truth.  Who knows?  Whatever the case, a good bit of my life has been lived in an effort to prove to myself and my world that I am strong—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  But it is a charade that I cannot possibly keep up.

     I guess that’s why these verses scare me to death.  I do not like weakness.  In particular, I do not like my weakness.  Thus, much of my life has been lived with the commitment to never let anyone see me as weak.  Therefore, I only tend to operate in my areas of strength.  The problem is that when I do that I miss out completely on the ability to fully experience the power of God and the sufficiency of his grace.  If I am taking up all the room, there is no room for him to move and to act.  If I am sufficient, I never need him to be.  And everyone thinks I’m awesome in the process.

     But what a life that leads to—always trying to prove my own sufficiency so I will never really be in need of his.  Trying to prove that I am enough, while, at the same time, always knowing at my core that I am really not.  It is absolutely exhausting.  But I would rather be exhausted, it seems, than admit that I am weak, that I am in need of God’s strength, and that my only sufficiency lies in the sufficiency of his grace alone.

     So I am trying to embrace—rather than resist, ignore, or deny—my weakness these days.  After all, it is the only avenue to experiencing God’s power and strength.  For in God’s economy, it is only when I am weak that I am strong.  Kind of makes me wonder why I spend so much time and energy trying to convince myself and my world otherwise.


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, I am so tired of trying to prove that I’m strong, when I know otherwise.  I am weak.  And that weakness is actually the path to life.  It is the way I experience your power and your love and your strength.  Help me, Lord Jesus, to learn how to embrace my weakness, that one day I might actually learn what it means to live by your strength.  Amen.

Friday, November 1, 2019

what was lost

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me when I reduce the work of the cross to just how it affects me personally—it is so much bigger and more beautiful than that!  For your work on the cross doesn’t just take away my punishment, but also restores and renews and redeems all things.  It recaptures all things and all people, and remakes them into exactly who and what they were intended to be when you first dreamt them into being.  It makes all things new.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.  

Scripture: Luke 19:1-9

Journal: How has Jesus come to seek and save you?  How has that taken shape in your life?  How has Jesus come to seek and save all things, and to restore them back into the fearful and wonderful creations they were intended to be?  How do you see that taking shape around you?  How can you contribute to that?  What things do you still long to see made new?

Reflection: I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency, at times, to reduce the work of Jesus to “he took away my punishment.”  Which is great, and certainly true, but falls far short of the depth and the beauty of what really happened at the cross.  For Jesus didn’t just come to take away my punishment—he didn’t just come to save those who were lost—but he also came to restore and redeem all things; to seek and save what was lost at the fall.  All of the people and the things and the relationships that were broken and marred and distorted and crippled and disfigured by the entry of sin into the world, will one day be renewed and restored to their creation intent by the One who dreamt them into being.  In other words, Jesus came to reverse the effects of the fall.
     The salvation that came to the house of Zacchaeus that day wasn’t merely about punishment being taken away, but about things—and people—becoming who and what they were intended to be.  The restoration of all that was taken away by the fall.  Relationships were made right once again.  Healing and wholeness had re-entered the picture—financially, socially, and spiritually.  All a hint and a foretaste of life as it was intended to be.  Thanks be to God!


Closing Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all you accomplished through the cross, and all that still will be accomplished in our lives and in our world, until we are with you again in Paradise.  O heavenly day!  Amen.