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Friday, February 28, 2020


Opening Prayer: Still and quiet my soul, O Lord, that I may be like a weaned child with its mother—safe and secure, at peace and at rest.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 131:2; Luke 12:27

Journal: What is causing you to spin inside these days?  What is occupying your soul?  How do you try to still and quiet it?  How is that working for you?  What does it mean for you to really trust God?  Will you?  How will you convince yourself that he is indeed trustworthy?

Reflection: "Like a weaned child is my soul within me." (Psalm 131:2) Don't I wish!  Yet the reality within me tells a different story.  I long for this to be true: to have a stilled and quieted soul, to be like a weaned child, safe in the loving arms of its mother.  But that is simply not my reality most days.  In fact, it's quite the opposite.  Even after praying this line every Friday for almost three years. . .not so much.  My soul is still consumed and chaotic, churning and spinning with all of the worries and concerns of this life that I simply can't seem to let go of.  Oh how I wish I could be like the lilies of the field who do not labor or spin. (Luke 12:27)  But I am not.  Instead my mind and my heart and my soul are like a broken record, constantly playing and replaying conversations and scenarios and circumstances that will probably never even come to pass.  It's maddening.
     But I'll have to admit, that even in the midst of all this spinning, I am still so grateful to have the words of this ancient prayer to offer hope that such a life is indeed possible.  That one day I will be so deeply convinced that God really is both able and willing to care for me, and all of my worries and fears, that I can actually trust him, and simply be, just like the lilies.


Closing Prayer: Lord, help me to be like the lilies, to neither labor nor spin.  For that is the kind of life you want for me.  One in which all of my trust is in your unfailing love and care.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

trust him

Opening Prayer: O Lord, only when I trust in you can I possibly experience the peace and the rest I was created for.  Give me the grace and the strength and the courage to fully trust you this day.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 62:8

Journal: How is God inviting you to trust him these days?  What does that look like?  Will you?

Reflection: “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” (Psalm 62:8, NIV)  Regardless of how hard I try to make it about something else, somehow it always comes back to trust.  I can choose to live in trust, or I can choose to live in fear.  One makes me my best, God-breathed self, and the other makes me some distorted, twisted, clingy, needy, terrible version of myself.  One that is of no use to anyone.  For when I live in fear, I somehow convince myself that it is all up to me, which makes me demanding, defensive, manipulative, controlling, and self-consumed.  But when I live in trust, I realize that it is all up to God, which allows me to live in the love and the peace and the freedom that God made me for.  Thus, life becomes all about him, rather than all about me.


Closing Prayer: So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him.  God is a safe place to be. (Psalm 62:8, The Message)

Saturday, February 22, 2020


Opening Prayer: My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. (Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton)

Scripture: John 21:18-19

Journal: Where is God asking you to trust him, even though you cannot clearly see the road ahead?  Will you?  What will that look like?


It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

                                    ~Wendell Berry


Closing Prayer: Your way led through the sea, your path through the mighty waters; yet your footprints were unseen.  You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalm 77:19-20, ESV)  Please lead me.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

prove it

Opening Prayer: I am your beloved, Lord Jesus, and I have nothing to prove.  Help me to live in that truth and that freedom every minute of every day.  Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 3:16-4:11

Journal: How and where in your life are you constantly trying to prove yourself?  What effect does it have?  What if you lived as if you had nothing to prove?  You don’t, you know.  Because of Jesus.  Just saying.

Reflection: “If you are the Son of God. . . .”  And there you have it.  The enemy tips his hand right from the start.  His chief strategy for attacking Jesus, as well as attacking us, is to go straight for our identity.  The greatest temptation Jesus faced in the wilderness was not hunger, or the loneliness, or even power, but the temptation to try and prove himself.  “If you are the Son of God, then prove it.”
     That’s why God gave him those beautiful words after his baptism, to remind him of who he really was.  Before Jesus had performed one miracle, or healed one disease, he was told by God that he was Beloved.  It was not something he had to achieve, it was not something he had to prove, it was a truth he was given to live out of.  How incredibly kind of the Father it was to remind him of the truth, because in the wilderness Jesus would encounter all kinds of lies.  The core lie being: “You are really not the Son of God.”
     Why should we expect that our greatest temptation in the spiritual life—and the biggest lie we tend to believe—would be any different?  I don’t know about you, but the doubt that I am worthy of being loved, and my desperate need to try and prove myself (and my value), infect everything I do.  And when I live out of that dark place I am not able to be the fearful and wonderful creation that God made me to be.  In fact, I become the very worst version of myself: possessive, controlling, competitive, demanding, defensive, aggressive, insecure. 
     That’s why I am so grateful that Jesus comes to each of us and says, “Do not give in to this desperate need to try and prove yourself.  You have nothing to prove!  Your identity and your value have already been determined long, long ago.  They have been bestowed upon you; nothing you can do can change that.  Live in that truth and in that freedom, because if you don’t it will keep you from being the loving, grateful, humble man I created you to be.”


Closing Prayer: Father, thank you that I am your beloved son, and with me you are well pleased.  Hallelujah!

Friday, February 14, 2020

you are loved

Opening Prayer: Still and quiet my soul, O God, in your loving embrace this day.  Help me to rest in your love, fully content and at peace in your presence.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 131:2

Journal: What is the state of your soul these days?  What are the voices that have free reign within you?  What effect do they have on your life?  What would it look like to still and quiet your soul like a weaned child with its mother?  What effect would that have on the way you live your life?  Will you do it?



you press your finger
to my lips
to gently quiet
the voices
without and within

hush now, my child
be still and quiet
my little one
just sit with me a while
and let me hold you


Closing Prayer: Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.

Thursday, February 13, 2020


Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, forgive me when I try to rely on my own giftedness and self-sufficiency, rather than totally relying on you.  When I do that, I settle for far less than the life and the love and the trust you want from me.  Help me to be courageous enough to full surrender my life to you.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 5:1-11

Journal: Where in your life, in spite of your best efforts, are your nets still empty?  Where in your life are you still grasping for control rather than surrendering it up to God?  How does a face-to-face encounter with Jesus change that?  How have you encountered Jesus through this passage today?  How has that changed you?  What does it look like for you to follow him?

Reflection:  It might well be that the biggest enemy of our spiritual lives is our own self-sufficiency.  For some reason, even if our “nets” are totally empty, we hold onto, with dogged determination, our own ways of doing and seeing and being.  Kingdom living, however, requires a total change in mindset.  So much of what Jesus taught (see the Beatitudes) was the exact opposite of how we normally operate.  
     In the kingdom of God: the poor are rich, the last are first, and the weak are strong.  In the kingdom of God: small is big, down is up, low is high, less is more, and empty is full.  In the kingdom of God: the way you gain your life is by losing it.  The kingdom of God is about dependence instead of independence, it is about fruitfulness instead of productivity, and it is about powerlessness instead of power.  In the kingdom of God we become more only by becoming less.  It is about following instead of leading.  It is all so incredibly counter-intuitive to all that lies within our fallen hearts and minds—a default that even after salvation runs deep within us.  Thus, we have to be retrained; we have to relearn the basic ways of life in the kingdom, ways of thinking and seeing and being.
     But that does not come easy.  Partly because of how outlandish it all sounds and partly because how resistant we are to actually moving in that direction.  We would much rather be strong and independent and productive.  We would much rather ascend than descend, we would much rather be served than serve, and we would much rather remain in control than have to surrender it.  Our basic MO is to operate as often as possible in the realm of our own self-sufficiency.
     If you look at the fifth chapter of Luke, you can hear it in Peter’s voice: “But Master, we have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.  I know you want us to put out into the deep and let our nets down for a catch, but that’s not how this fishing thing works.  You don’t fish at day, you fish at night—that’s how you catch fish.  We know, we do this for a living.  This is not our first rodeo.”  It went against everything he knew to be true about fishing to do what Jesus said, but fortunately he did it anyway.  He chose to surrender.  
     And in the midst of that surrender he had an encounter with Jesus that was life-altering, changing the way he saw Jesus, changing the way he saw himself, and changing the way he saw his life.  Somehow, in that boat full of fish, he saw the Divinity of the One who breathed him into being.  Somehow, in that very instant, he saw who Jesus really was—the One who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and with its breadth marked off the heavens—and it changed him.  He went from “Master, we have worked all night and caught nothing,” to “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.”  From Master to Lord, that’s a pretty big (and beautiful) leap.
     But there was more surrendering to be done still.  “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus said, “for now you are ready to catch men, your truest vocation.”  Almost as if to say, “This life of ministry I am calling you to has a certain design to it.  In order to catch men, you must first be captured by me.  And after you have been captured by me, you must surrender.  You must pull all of your self-sufficiency up on the shore, leave it behind, and follow me.  Peter, your nets will always be empty of anything of eternal value on your own.  You must abandon your own self-sufficiency and learn to follow me.”


Closing Prayer: Let me see you face-to-face today, Lord Jesus, that my life might be transformed and that I might become all you desire me to be.  Amen.