Thursday, December 17, 2009

Proverbs 4:18-19

Our world's history is marred by scorn and contempt. And the darkness of humanity is like the blackest of nights. But one night a light pierced the darkness, pushing back the sting of scorn and contempt and ushering in the light of hope and peace. It was a pivotal moment in our history when God reached down from heaven by sending his Son.

"The path of righteousness is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble." -Proverbs 4:18-19

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

John 14:6

Are you a Bridge Builder? Do you narrow the gap between two different people groups?

Bridge Builders teach the value of linking the well-fed with the hungry.

Bridge Builders embody what it means to extend grace to those who do not know how to receive it.

Bridge Builders love their neighbors as themselves regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, culture or economic status.

Bridge Builders also check their foundation so that the structure is trustworthy and strong.

Jesus Christ is our ultimate example of what it means to be a Bridge Builder. He not only narrowed the gap between humanity and God when he died on the cross, he removed the gap completely. Jesus says "'I am the way and the truth and life. No one comes to the Father except through me." ( John 14:6)

Are there any gaps God is leading you to fill today?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Today's Woman at the Well

Today’s Woman at the Well

She stares out the window remembering a different time when showers were apart of her daily regime. Now they seem like a luxury. She envisions her favorite pair of black high healed shoes-the ones that looked great with that black miniskirt she used to wear to her favorite restaurant. Now she wears flats and eats at McDonald’s. But her personal favorite used to be Saturday mornings when she slept in till noon. Now she wakes up at 6:30 to an infant tugging at her breast.
Small grunting noises emerge from the tiny frame, all bundled up in pink, resting cozy in her arms. “But you’re beautiful,” she whispers, “and 100 percent worth it.” Her baby girl came into this world just two months earlier, and has taught her some new things about the lifestyle of infants; they scream like rock stars, and stay up all night like college students.
“It’s quite different from the days when I screamed like a rock star and stayed up all night as a college student,” she recalls.
“For the longest time I thought I needed to find myself, so I embarked on a journey, searching. I like to call it Tour de Me. And for some of the time I knew who I was, but for most of the time I traveled incognito. I couldn’t even recognize myself. So I found it easier to let people tell me who I was. Many men called me Available. But I know that God saw me as Too Vulnerable. Some men called me Tender, but God saw me as Meek. Those men knew me as Lover, and God, you knew me as Daughter. But I did not know you-yet.
Then one day after my journey had taken me far away, I hid from the scorn of society, but you found me. It was a time when the world accused me, but you loved me. At first I thought you were just another man, but when you struck up a conversation with me that day, I knew you were no mere man, but the Messiah. And I discovered that you were not trying to take something from me, like the others, but instead you wanted to give me something: mercy, grace, forgiveness, and salvation.

I found myself the day I found you, Jesus.

So my journey came to an end, but at the same time, it began.

Now I sit here today, redeemed and restored. I have returned to my first love and found new love in the process-love expressed in the shape of a cross, love expressed in the shape of a golden circle on my finger, and love wrapped in a tiny pink package.”

John 4:6-26
Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Please give me a drink."8 He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.* She said to Jesus, "You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?"
 10 Jesus replied, "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."
 11 "But sir, you don't have a rope or a bucket," she said, "and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?12 And besides, do you think you're greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?"
 13 Jesus replied, "Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life."
 15 "Please, sir," the woman said, "give me this water! Then I'll never be thirsty again, and I won't have to come here to get water."
 16 "Go and get your husband," Jesus told her.
 17 "I don't have a husband," the woman replied.
 Jesus said, "You're right! You don't have a husband—18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren't even married to the man you're living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!"
 19 "Sir," the woman said, "you must be a prophet.20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,* where our ancestors worshiped?"
 21 Jesus replied, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem.22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews.23 But the time is coming—indeed it's here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."
 25 The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
 26 Then Jesus told her, "I AM the Messiah!"*

Monday, December 14, 2009

Matthew 6:33

Sometimes the root of our complacency can be that we are laboring in an area in which God has not crafted us to work. Do you know your strengths and your weaknesses? What are you passionate about? Perhaps it's time to revamp things a bit as you look to make some new year's resolutions in the weeks ahead. Just always remember to keep God at the center of your decision making.

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." -Matthew 6:33

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Isaiah 40:31

I walked in the cool of the morning.

A large hawk flew in the sky overhead like a shadow contrasting with the white puffy sky above. And just as he flew directly above me, he began to soar. The wind sustained his altitude and he lingered there before a gust of wind carried him away.

I wondered, Can I be content to just be carried and to soar?

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Le Grande Maison

My name is Jake English. I live in a French Colonial Cottage pained vintage blue. I bought the home a few years back in hopes of transforming the property into a Bed and Breakfast. I am not a man born of French heritage but rather my bloodlines can be traced back to the Mayflower. My wife, Katie’s heart sings Stars and Stripes Forever. Her eyes and hair are the color of chestnuts, and she looks as though she has just stepped out of a scene from an American picnic.

But the romantic French enthralls me, so I chose to take a few entrepreneurial liberties and open a French establishment in the heart of the American countryside. At one point I hired a French chef whose culinary skill could match the distinctly French name of the B&B: Le Grande Maison. Nevertheless, my efforts to appease my identity crisis of somehow existing as an American owner of a French business inevitably failed. The chef turned out to have a temper as fiery as crème brulee, and given that my patrons would not recognize the French countryside if they were visiting France itself, business flopped.

Still, I am an optimist at heart. So, I started a second business to cater to my American clientele, called the White Pickett Fence Company, building custom made fences that satisfied any idealist’s dream. Despite my efforts, I have not constructed a fence so ideal as to land its design on a magazine cover. Now it’s nearly Christmas and as I stand outside my home on this crisp December night, my dreams also stand here beside me, like ghosts shivering in the night. From inside Katie turns off the lights, unaware I had slipped out in the cold to evaluate my ambitions.

It’s hopeless, I whisper and tramp through the slush, making my way back into Le Grande Maison. The night is dark and still.
Suddenly, I hear the footsteps of someone making their way through the slush behind me. You think you’ll keep her going, or you think you’re gonna fold?
What? I ask, half startled, turning around. The big house? Is it a go? Inquired an old man, partially balding with white hair that curled down over the collar of his trench coat.
I don’t know. I stammered, feeling stripped of my own self-confidence.
What if I told you I got some real estate real nice like this-A beauty of a place? I can give it to you for free. He offered with a smile.
What’s that, for free? You been drinking tonite, Mister?
No. Not at all. See, there’s a place where the streets are made of gold and there are mansions even more beautiful than you can imagine.
Naaa, not tonight. That’s not for me.
All right, but if you ever change your mind, it’s yours.

Jake! Suddenly Katie calls from inside the house. Jake. Jake . . . . ..
But then the tone of her voice blends with a deeper one . . .
Jake, Jake, wake up. Hey, English! The Preacher is here. It’s the Christmas Eve service. Remember, you said you would go.
Jake lay there in a shabby bed. His body once longed for the soft flannel sheets of Le Grande Maison, but instead his now aged body lay dead and motionless, not in a B&B but in the Federal Prison. His cellmate, Frankie stood by shaking his cold shoulder.
We called him English because he always walked around with a notepad and pencil writing things down, and talking with fancy words, like a professor or something. He musta died in his sleep. Guess he couldn’t live to see another Christmas in the Big House. No one really ever knew what he was in for-just know it happened many years ago. See Preacher, look here. I think he wrote something from the Bible. What’s it say?
Frankie handed the small notepad to the kind gentleman, who read the note aloud,

He wrote down Luke 23:39-43:

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’
But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’
Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’
Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

What’s that mean, Preacher? Frankie asked.
It means he could be in the Big House tonight. But not like one you or I have seen, it’s a greater one called Paradise.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Luke 2:7

Can you remember a time in your childhood when you had a crisis of belief upon discovering the truth about Santa? Did you feel frozen in a state of disappointment, or were your hunches merely confirmed?

Now fast forward 10, 20, 30 or 40 years to today: Christmas 2009. Is it possible that you once again find yourself frozen in a crisis of belief? Only this time you haven't lost faith in Father Christmas, but in God the Father.

Perhaps it is time to revisit the faith of your childhood, only not just in a myth, but in a man: the Son of Man.

" . . . she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." -Luke 2:7

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Luke 2:16-19

The nativity is more than painted ceramic figurines adorning a table, or a set of plastic dolls dressed as lawn decor. And while this Christmas symbol serves as a good reminder of the very first Christmas, how many times do we merely unpack the pieces from boxes stored in the attic without giving it a second thought. Does the nativity just get lost in the shuffle with the Christmas village and the Santa dolls?

I confess I have been guilty of decorating on a whim without reflecting on the depth of the nativity's meaning.

"So they (the shepherds) hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." -Luke 2:16-19

Monday, December 7, 2009

Romans 12:2

The demand for change overwhelmed me. It called to me incessantly. So I finally rose to the challenge. I answered the call, then watched as parts of my life went underwent transformation. I saw the severity of my chronic character flaws: perfectionism, defensiveness (both of which are mere manifestations of pride), and procrastination. The new light shed on these lingering flaws did not hold me to an empty, abandoned condition. Instead, I took it to the Lord. I asked him to clean me up-to renovate the condition of my heart. To make my life new, welcoming, inviting, not just to Him, but to others as well.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2

Saturday, December 5, 2009

1 Peter 4:8

During the holidays, family disfunction can yield to God's redemption.

Imagine the softening of a heart that is otherwise uptight and controlling, or the reunion of estranged loved ones, or an orphan adopted into a loving family.

This Christmas season, no matter how great your need is, God is greater still.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." -1 Peter 4:8

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Philippians 4:12

Fact: The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.

But today did you find yourself standing on your tiptoes, trying to get a better view of the landscaping? Did the shrubs appear neatly arranged among decorative pavers with a patio furniture set from Pottery Barn?

We tend to imagine our lives to look like they are staged and ready for a catalogue photo shoot. But as we go through life, we realize that suddenly we are not so photogenic. Am I right?

Or can we claim to be more like Paul, who writes; "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
-Philippians 4:12

Monday, November 30, 2009

God clothed in an infant's frame

Frosted windows glow. Inside a hearth burns brightly. The cold night air confirms it is Christmas time as little twinkling lights compete with the stars.

I cannot imagine the first Christmas when my Savior took his first breath in the night air of an old dusty stable. Lord, did you shiver in the cold when you stepped out among humanity-God clothed in an infant's frame.

Lord, did all of heaven look down to earth from the warmth of cloudy, frosted windows? I cannot fathom that you left the comforts of home for the sake of me and for all humanity. Yet, on the night you came to earth, they pushed you to the outskirts of town.

Lord, I pray that we will welcome you today, and not push you to the outskirts of our lives, even on our darkest and coldest nights.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Revelation 3:8

At this time of year, mistletoe hangs in many doorways, inviting expressions of peace and goodwill. They seem friendly and warm, while they contrast greatly with darkened doors reminiscent of Scrooge and Marley, whose appearance alone cries Bah Humbug! And then there are doors that serve a divine purpose, not in the sense of nativity scenes and Christmas choirs, but the kind Jesus speaks of in Revelation 3:8; "I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word, and have not denied my name."

Is there an open door God has placed before you this holiday season?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High." -Psalm 7:17

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

James 1:17

I am a social drinker . . . when it comes to coffee. I do not care to darken the door of a Starbucks alone. I prefer the good company of a loved one or a friend or a good book. But on a rainy day like today, the day before Thanksgiving, I am enjoying the comforts of a good cup of coffee at home curled up on my couch watching a movie with my family.

"Every good and perfect is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows." -James 1:17

Monday, November 23, 2009

Luke 2:11

My heart swells in anticipation of what this holiday season will bring.

My six year old helps to usher in feelings of thanksgiving; in her first grade class at a public school, she wrote a story about how thankful she is for Jesus. Her child-like faith bears a depth I admire.

Meanwhile, my three year old waits for the day when we can decorate the house for Christmas, after having very little memory of Christmases past.

And I look forward to spending quality time with family and friends in the midst of all the festivities that deck the halls of our lives with beauty and busyness.

But even when the demands of this holiday season come knocking at my door, I will remember that most of all, my heart swells in anticipation of celebrating the birth of our King.

"'Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.'" -An angel of the Lord, Luke 2:11

Friday, November 20, 2009

I want to share with you today one of my favorite poems:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference

-Robert Frost

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Matthew 14:29-31

I would like to say I live like Jesus, but in reality I walk like Peter. I have the faith to get out of the boat, but I also have the doubt to sink.

Yet even as the waves toss me around so I can barely tread water to keep my head from going under, Jesus always throws me a lifeline. That lifeline may look like a worship song or a quirky statement made by three year old or a kind word from a friend, but it always looks like Scripture.

"'Come,' he (Jesus) 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?'" -Matthew 14:29-31

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Special thanks to Jenny Schmitz for inviting me to participate in the Women in Ministry Blog Series. Check out my blog entry for today at

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mark 10:45

Choosing a life of serving can lead us to a life of surrender. When we serve others, our focus becomes those who we are serving, not ourselves. And when our focus is not on ourselves, it makes it easier to be selfless. I think that is just one of the many blessings I receive by answering God's call to serve others. It's amazing to see a life enriched when God reaches out his hand and touches the life of someone else through mine.

"For the Son of man also came not to b served but to serve . . . " -Mark 10:45

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunset at Treasure Island

A copper sun sinks from the clear blue sky, dropping a deposit into a giant piggy bank painted ocean blue.

Now the moon boldly shines, after waiting all day for his turn to take the stage. The stars come out one by one, eagerly awaiting his performance. Tonight the moon masquerades as a giant sand dollar dancing across a quiet sea. There is a hush over the night until all that can be heard is the quiet clapping of the ocean's tide.

After several hours, the show comes to an end and the Stage Director calls, "Encore!" before waiting for His glorious display to happen again tomorrow.

"The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor." -1 Corinthians 15:41

Friday, November 13, 2009

The God of the Bible who appears as a burning bush now burns passionately and personally today. He kindles a fire in the souls of men and women that may start out reminiscent of the tune This little light of mine, but it grows and burns brightly. You see, we have the luxury of experiencing God, not as a burning bush from a distant desert in the middle east, but in the closest confines of our own hearts.

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our 'God is a consuming fire.'" -Hebrews 12:28,29

Philippians 1:3-6

I see you making your way; a woman-to-be wrapped up in the heart of a girl. Toting dreams around in your purse while wearing your heart on your sleeve. I wonder who you will grow up to be? A wife, a mother, a daughter-in-law? A doctor or a missionary or even a rock star? And still my heart overflows with thankfulness for who you are today.

"I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." -Philippians 1:3-6

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Hard times can produce hard hearts. And dreams can wilt like flowers scorned by the sun. The pressures of this life can drive us to extremes; the loss of a life, the loss of a career, the loss of a hope and a future.

But what if the Author of all life pens that there is still more to the story? Even though there is conflict, there can still be resolution.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." -Jesus Christ (John 16:33)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ephesians 6:18

Prayer Warriors serve as silent soldiers in unseen battles. They combat the captains of dark armies. They devastate dark horses with their powerful weapons of war. Their prayers light up the night sky like bombs bursting in air.

Praying for love tucked cozy into bed across the hall or across the world. Praying the prayers of faith for babies grown or babies not yet born. Praying for leaders whose decisions affect where we are today, and where we are headed tomorrow. Praying for peace. Praying for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Praying for the sick, the poor and the brokenhearted. Praying for shifting shadows to be brought into the light.

These are my heroes. They travel through this life, sometimes radiant with the Spirit, sometimes incognito, touching our lives in ways only heaven can see. Meanwhile the rest of us slumber across the hall or across the world . . .

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for the saints." -Ephesians 6:18

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Romans 12:11

Perspective. It is a loaded word, isn't it? It can be a skewed perception of reality. It can be positive and optimistic or it can be negative and dismal. Our perspective impacts the ways we think, the ways we act, even the ways we relate to others, including God.

There was a time when my perspective could have been characterized as that of a worldly rogue, but now I like to think of myself has having the perspective of a spiritual renegade, passionate for Jesus!

How about you? What is your perspective?

"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord." -Romans 12:11

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Psalm 118:24

I relish lazy evenings when darkness is my only deadline for turning in, and the sun peeks through tall oak trees while a breeze rustles crisp autumn leaves. A new sense of perspective rushes in with the dusk; Perhaps the stresses of the day were larger than what they appeared. I like to think of them now as faux giants.

As night slips in, I drop my sling and my stone and rest in the luxurious descent of the evening, knowing that tomorrow will begin anew.

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." -Psalm 118:24

Monday, November 2, 2009

James 1:27

She wishes upon a star in a velvet night sky illuminated by a silvery moon. She waits for her time to become . . . to become the apple of her father's eye. Instead she longs even just to be a thought fleeting through her father's mind. Her father may not be dead, but she is dead to him. She is an orphan. And she looks like you. And she looks like me. She looks like the girl in the check out line. She looks like the girl at school. Will she remain unnoticed in the black of night, or will we come alongside her and point her to a Father who listens and cares?

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." -James 1:27

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Life is . . .

This perfectionist says, "Life is not a box of chocolates, that would be too messy and too fattening!" Can I control my life in such a way that it can be artificially sweetened, then kept cool enough so it won't melt in my hands? Don't get me wrong, I think there is a time and a place for self-control, but what if God wants to say, "Go ahead, taste life!" Am I okay with taking that risk? If I am honest, sometimes I am, and sometimes I am not.

How about you?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ecclesiastes 3:11

Life should be about meaningful conversations, not mindless chatter; about making eternal investments, not just taking on earthly interests. But in order to get there, it is imperative that our relationships don't get lost in the shuffle of our everyday lives. Let's be careful to pay attention to the people God has entrusted us to have relationships with, because He may want to use us to nurture those individuals.

It is possible to reach out and touch a life for eternity. What kind of impact will you make today?

"[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men . . . . " -Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hebrews 12:1,2

Life is a tightrope. A fine line on which to balance. Lean a little too far to the right or to the left and you may fall off. So you concentrate. And you give. And you take. So let me ask you this: What is your focus? We all need a focal point, don't we?

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus . . . " -Hebrews 12:1,2

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hebrews 13:8

I came to you, empty handed, and you put your hand in mine. I came to you, broken, and you mended me. I came to you, sinful, and you offered forgiveness.

I still come to you, empty handed, and you still put your hand in mine. I still come to you, broken, and you still mend me. I still come to you, sinful, and you still offer forgiveness.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." -Hebrews 13:8

Monday, October 26, 2009

Unlikely Sanctuary

Unlikely Sanctuary= a quiet place of worship outside the four walls of tradition. My unlikely sanctuary happened to be my back patio on Sunday morning. After spending the night caring for my sick child then waking with a migraine, I found retreat and solace amongst a choir of birds and a congregation of trees. We all sat in quiet reverence to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, October 23, 2009


There is an advantage to blooming later in life. Late bloomers don't run the risk of sprouting too soon. Somehow, they have an innate understanding of saving the best for last, or for later. They realize that life is not about the science of blooming, it is about the art of becoming.

Who are you in process of becoming?

Or who have you already become?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Philippians 4:7

I can sip serenity from a cup of coffee. I can relax to the slow rhythm of a good song. But I can't create peace, whether it be peace of mind or peace in my heart.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


A tension rubs against us when we so desperately want to fit in with the culture, but we perpetually fail. Could that tension be like iron sharpening iron?

Perhaps the tension remains because we should desire the things of God, not the things of this world. Is that truth a reality for us? Not always. Is it ideal? Yes.

So if the post-modern culture says, "If it works, then it's true" . . . where does that leave us? I think we need to revisit God's idea of culture starting today!

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rains came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock."
-Jesus, Matthew 7:24-25

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dream Catchers

Has God put a dream in your heart? I am not talking about the Disney variety that includes a wish upon a star or prince/princess charming knocking at your door. No, I am talking about the defying-all-odds type of dreams. I am talking about those dreams in which you are the hero who conquers the villain, whether that villain be world hunger or sex slavery or illiteracy or homelessness.

Has God put a dream in your heart? Is He ready for you to wake up and start living it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Make a Mark

Leaves fall in a cascading shower of red, yellow and brown. At this time of year a jacket is a necessity for some. But for this Floridian a jacket is a novelty. It almost becomes a fashion statement.

And I wonder if it's the same with Christianity? Do we sometimes wear religion as a necessity or a novelty, depending on what kind of statement we want to make?

So I pull out my pocket knife to carve my initials on this tree called life. I want to make my mark, but not for my own namesake. I want to glorify Christ with my life through a love relationship with Him, so I keep on carving:

L.S. + J.C.

Do you want to take a turn? Go ahead, make your mark!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Isaiah 6:8

Sometimes we think that if we surrender fully to the will of God, then he is going to send us to the farthest ends of the earth where there is absolutely no civilization (Ok God, if you send me, can I pack a lifetime supply of Starbucks in my suitcase?). But if we can set our fears aside, I think we will see that perhaps that is not always the case. In fact, I would like to take it to the other end of the spectrum and say that sometimes God doesn't abruptly transplant us, but instead he eases us into it through a slow transition. When we submit to Him, it can be more of a gentle nudge here or a soft invitation there so that once He has prepared our hearts, we feel compelled to say, "How can I sign up?"

"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?'" And I said, "'Here am I. Send me!'" -Isaiah 6:8

Thursday, October 15, 2009

1 John 2:25

Shadows shift and hope dawns on the horizon. It is a new day filled not just with optimism, but with promise. After all, optimism can only take us so far. It is temperamental. It is conditional. Optimism is the wind that blows in our sail, but sometimes leaves us stranded on a still, glassy sea. But the promises of God can be trusted. They are filled with certainty. They are steadfast and unconditional. They are not as uncertain as the winds swooping across the sea, but they are more certain than the sea itself.

"And this is the promise that he made to us---eternal life." -1 John 2:25

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recovering Perfectionist

I confess I have to strive daily to not reach an imaginary standard of perfection looming over me. Sometimes I feel confident in my attempts, making light of that standard as I limbo beneath it . . . How low can you go? Then there are times when I can barely clear it, and like a hurdler I make a mad dash for the finish line.

Jesus calls me to perfection, but not by any standard I can set. I know I am in a healthy place when He crashes my party, asking me to hand over the limbo stick, or when He blows the whistle and calls the race. But even then, He doesn't ridicule me like I am a delinquent teenager, or chew me out as though I have knocked over all the hurdles and lost the race.

Instead, He puts His arm around me and gently says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Monday, October 12, 2009

John 10:10

When I first met Jesus, I traded in my sarcasm for sincerity.
I traded in my disappointments for dreams.
I traded in my fears for faith.
I traded in my blues for blessings.

What do you need to trade today?

Or better yet, who do you still need to meet?

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -Jesus (John 10:10)

Sunday, October 11, 2009


He was born in a stable, not in a hospital. He grew up the son of a carpenter, not the son of a prominent leader. He sometimes gravitated toward quiet places-He didn't always hold public forums.

I think we ought to learn from his example.

When our society values overnight success, our Savior values humble beginnings. When our society tells us to pursue success at all costs, our Savior reminds us of the cost of discipleship. When our society points us toward praying to God knows what, our Savior points us toward praying only to God.

Whose example are you following?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Matthew 6:34

I stood over the stove in my kitchen, cooking dinner. From there I overheard my children interacting in the living room. My six year old made a very wise statement that I think we adults sometimes forget. She profoundly explained to my three year old, "The future is not something you go to!" And then she sought confirmation from me, "Right, Mama?" I felt blessed by the honest truth of her statement before affirming her.

How many of us are living for tomorrow?

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Jesus (Matthew 6:34)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

1 Corinthians 13:13

When I submit to God, he keeps me in a position where I need to rely on Him. I have no confidence in my own efforts, which allows him to stretch me and grow me.

And there are times when I question my own sanity. And there are times when I want to run from reality, while other times I embrace it.

But I always keep faith tucked in my pocket while holding onto the hand of hope.

And He keeps his love tattooed on my heart.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

2 Peter 3:9

Perhaps I was not actively seeking you, but still you found me. Perhaps I did not pursue you, and yet you never stopped calling. Surely I never acknowledged you, even though you never stopped saying my name . . .

But when I realized I was an orphan, you adopted me. And when I realized I was a stranger, you welcomed me.

When I realized I was wrong, you forgave me.

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." -2 Peter 3:9

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Phillipians 4:5-7

Last night I saw my life collide with two potential crises, but I watched the Lord move in those situations and restore the damage. Did I feel shaken? Yes. Did I feel uncertain? Yes. But out of His goodness, God made two seemingly broken things whole again and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude!

Do I believe in the power of prayer? Absolutely. Do I believe God cares about what we are going through? Absolutely.

"The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hears and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:5-7

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Psalm 40:2,3

Jesus met me one day as I sat on a curbside with my hair disheveled, my clothes stained and my shoes worn, while the world left me on the side of the road, without a ride home. Stranded. But Jesus came walking by and extended his hand. I accepted his invitation. I received his love.

Has the world left you stranded? Maybe it's time to take Jesus' hand . . . to let him pick you up and take you home . . . but not to the home you've always known.

Maybe it's time for a new start?

"He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God." Psalm 40:2,3

Friday, October 2, 2009

Divine Appointments

I find myself gazing up at puffy white sailboats floating across a bright blue sky, while the Captain of the open blue calls to me, desiring to speak of his love. And I am reminded of how we can experience divine inspiration in the midst of an ordinary day-maybe in a late afternoon walk outside or at the breakfast table over coffee.

Have you had any divine appointments lately?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Joshua 1:9

There is a careful balance between living life on the edge versus having a fear of falling off the edge. You see, God does not call us to be comfortable, he calls us to be courageous; there is always excitement and adventure when chasing uncertainty. But there is not always a safety net . . . or so it seems. In the Bible, the Lord charges Joshua to lead the Israelites across the Jordan River to inherit the land promised to them; "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go'" (Joshua 1:9).

Are you living a life led by God's invisible hand or is your hand holding onto what appears to be safe?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

1 Timothy 6:6

Choosing contentment means being at peace with our circumstances even when they are not ideal. Paul's contentment is a song of praise in a prison cell.

Choosing contentment means being at peace when things do not go as planned. Contentment is Jonah's decision to finally accept God's direction instead of running from it.

Do your circumstances have you feeling trapped as in a prison cell or in the belly of a whale? Perhaps it's time to sing God's praise or to answer his call on your life? Perhaps choosing contentment is the vehicle that can get you there.

1 Timothy 6:6 "Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment . . ."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Colossians 3:23, 24

Do you ever feel like your life is a list? I know there are times when I do:

Dinner dishes at midnight. Send out group text for ministry at noon. A spontaneous burst into song with children in late afternoon. Watch my daughter swim freestyle across the pool. Snuggle. Give. Bake. Love. Friday night dinner and a movie with my husband. Spend time with Jesus. Quality time with a friend. Level 8 on the Stairmaster for 30 minutes. Scroll through pictures for the scrapbook. Talk with Dad on the phone. Help with homework. Cook dinner. Disciple. Lead Bible study.

So whether we find ourselves in the midst of writing the list or simply checking things off, what is the attitude of our hearts in the process? Who are we doing it all for?

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ." -Colossians 3:23, 24

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Matthew 17:20,21

It’s difficult to discover a life more fulfilling than the life that follows in the footsteps of faith.

Do we dare to live like Abraham who had the faith to choose obedience and sacrifice? Or do we merely desire to reap the blessing of counting stars?

Do we fight our own battles with the faith David held onto as he faced Goliath? Or do we simply close our eyes and make a wish for victory?

Do we cling to a faith that commands mountains to move? Or do we live with the kind of faith that keeps mountains standing still?

“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” –Jesus Christ (Matthew 17:20,21)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

What do you think?

What do you think of when you read the term "steely determination"? I have some ideas of what you may be thinking . . .

1. I lost my steely determination my freshman year of college.
2. I found my steely determination my sophomore year of college.
3. Every morning I wake up and pour a good strong cup of steely determination before heading
out the door.
4. Just a spoonful of steely determination helps the medicine go down.
5. I feel the need . . . the need for steely determination.

Is there something in life you're trying to accomplish?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Romans 1:16

I am a closet geek who used to masquerade as a party girl for the longest time. These days I can't walk into a bookstore without getting an adrenaline rush, and I am not afraid to tell you that! But I would have never admitted this ten years ago. I also love to write, but when I do, I write out of an overflow of my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

A friend recently asked me, "You are a Jesus girl, aren't you?"


But the thing is, I know who I am. Whereas I think some of us have an identity crisis. Do you feel like you are trying to figure out where you fit in? Perhaps you are like me- you enjoy reading, but you're afraid to come across as "too geeky"? And perhaps you are like me in the sense that you love Jesus, but maybe you are afraid of looking too spiritual?

If that's the case, I want to encourage you today to be who you are, but be who you are in Christ!

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes . . . " Romans 1:16

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Go. Do.

When God's hand is in something, we cannot always see what the outcome will be. We do not know in advance the end result. We can only obey the prompting we feel to act for today. We can only respond to that still, small voice that says Go. Do. It may not always make sense, but once you obey and go there or do that, then the burden lifts, does it not?

Has God been prompting you to do something? Take a step of obedience today. You may feel uncertain because you cannot see the outcome, but be certain that God can!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


In the midst of experiencing God’s faithfulness to me, I can see clearly that true contentment can come out of suffering. After all, contentment is not something that is fabricated, but rather it is birthed. It emerges from the deep fibers of the human soul after all that soul has endured. It is a taking off of the cast of what was once broken, and allowing rehabilitation to begin.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The waiting place

The waiting place . . . for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

NO! That's not for you! Somehow you'll escape all that waiting and staying. You'll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.
-Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You'll Go!

Isaiah 9:2

Can you see in the dark? Or do you scramble for something to light your way? Are you afraid of the dark? Or do you no longer sleep with a night light? Do you live among shifting shadows or do you walk in the sun? Maybe it's time to turn some lights on. Or maybe it's time to be sure your lights don't burn out.

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined." Isaiah 9:2

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Does heaven have a travel agent? Because if it's possible, I would like to make reservations now for my heavenly home. You'll find me living at a beach front property with a choir of angels who sing hymns of praise to a reggae beat. I would also like to request an eternal supply of Cold Stone ice cream in the freezer and Starbucks coffee in the coffee maker . . . and top it all off of course with God's constant company. Wanna come over for a visit?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Song of Songs 8:6,7

To be rescued from self by love, to be saved from bondage by love, and to be delivered by love from everything that is deadly to my soul is an opportunity that Christ extends to me, so why would he not also extend such a love to someone else? What if he wants to use me in the process? One of my favorite passages of scripture comes from Song of Songs as the author describes the depth of love; “love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away” (SOS 8:6,7).

How does God want to use you?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Philippians 4:7

Sometimes tears come like rain, relentlessly driving hard, and emotion's tide is a tsunami: all-consuming. Other times, tears come slowly, even hesitantly, as if emotion just peeks out from a corner of the heart. But this time the tears stop altogether. It's no longer time to cower in the rain, but it is time to basque in the sun. It's not the time to run from the sea, but it is time to wade in its shoreline.

Stop hiding behind your heart, and start letting the peace of God guard your heart.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:7

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Describing or Defining?

Details. Deadlines. Dreams. Delays. Daring. Driven. Destinations. Doorways. Dilemmas. Do any of these words describe your life? Or do they define your life? I feel like at any given moment, any one of these words could be the status quo. How about you?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Psalm 40:1-3

In college, I remember singing a song called “Shout to the Lord” and feeling so empty, small, helpless and broken. It was during that song that I said, “Lord, I surrender my life to you” and I immediately felt a huge weight lift off my body. I let go of all that I had been clinging to for so long that I began to shake. It was a huge experience that changed me for eternity. It was wild and it was radical. How could I go from singing the words of Tom Petty, “You don’t know how it feels to be me . . .” to Shout to the Lord, and all in one weekend? Because by the grace of God I stumbled upon a new beginning, not just a new song.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God." Psalm 40:1-3

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God is the Great Architect who unfolds his blueprint for love. It bears a unique design with patience and kindness as pillars welcoming anyone who will come and choose to stay. It is a sturdy framework that remains trustworthy so that when hurricane winds blow or disaster strikes, the design still stands.

Is your blueprint for love a carbon copy of this original, or do you need to make some changes?

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Revelation 3:20

As God listens, he beckons us to come and sit with Him, to hoist ourselves up in his lap and just stay for a while. Like a dear friend, He invites us to talk about what we need and want to talk about. Sometimes we laugh. Other times we cry. Sometimes we feel vulnerable. Other times we feel bold. And still there are times when we simply come with a child like faith.

He speaks to us in return with poetic Psalms. He sometimes greets us with similes and metaphors and parables found in his Word. Then he speaks to us through a friend or even a stranger, through a mentor or spiritual leader. He speaks to us through circumstances as some doors slam shut, and still other doors swing wide open. He speaks gently to our hearts.

What is the condition of your heart today? Is it wide open to the things of God or have you slammed all the doors shut?

Jesus says in Revelation 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Acts 2:17

At what point did your dreams vanish into ghosts? When did you stop chasing after them and start feeling haunted by them? Did you stop listening to the Holy Spirit only to dress Him up in a masquerade called conscience until you could no longer recognize Him? Has the Holy Spirit become a politically correct puppet that suits some selfish ambitions?

Start dreaming God sized dreams again.

"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." Acts 2:17

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

We all crave comfort, don't we? We may have a GPS so we don't get lost or AAA so we don't get stranded. We have drive-thru's for coffee, dining, dry cleaning and banking. We vacation at time shares or make appointments at the salon.

What if we turned on the GPS and brought up an inventory of our favorite places . . . or our recent places? What would it say about you? What would it say about me?

A wise person taught me that there are two things that are eternal: people and the Word of God. It's okay to spend our days comfortably, but let's be careful to also spend our days in light of eternity.

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 says, "[God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil-this is the gift of God."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Time for a change?

Change can be good. Sometimes it arrives abruptly. Other times it comes gradually. Are there changes in your life that you know you need to make, but you're afraid to? It could be as drastic as a career change or as simple as a schedule change. At what point do we stop mulling over it and take the step to actually do it? I think that is a question worth asking.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Isaiah 30:18

At one point in my life, there was too much noise in my head. It rang in my ears. Voices echoed from the past of lovers I lost or lovers that lost me, of abandoned dreams, of sound advice that once beckoned me not to go. It was a collection of hauntings that did not allow me to rest, and for this reason, I remained unsure of whether or not I could reach out and find the Great Almighty, or just end up somewhere in the great unknown. Until suddenly I felt a little push, and I lost my balance. Perhaps it is an angel, hoping I would fall into God’s lap, or a demon that devised to tip me ever so slightly into the deep, dark abyss called hell. I think it could have been either, but then maybe it was neither. Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit wooing me unto him the way a mother chases after her wandering child.

Isaiah 30:18 "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2 Peter 3:8,9

We all hear the popular clichés, “Give it time” or “Time heals all wounds”. These phrases bear some truth when set against the truth of God’s Word that says there is “a time to heal” (Ecclesiastes 3:3). But what is time, really? Is it an elusive force that winds in and out of our lives? Is it a thief that steals from us? Is it Father Time who cares for us? Is it something we can manipulate to fall back or spring forward? We all have different perceptions of time, but time only has one perception of us; it moves and travels regardless of where we stand or what we do. We all have moments we wish to preserve, and we all have moments we wish to erase.

So what do we do with time? Shall we carpe diem? Shall we concern ourselves with time since the Bible says, “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8,9). My desire is not to waste time, but to make the most of it. He has carved the truth of his word into the woodwork of my soul and I intend to display the works of his hands.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jeremiah 29:12,13

Have you ever felt like there is a large, invisible glass ceiling separating you from God, leaving you trapped like a little fly futilely bouncing across the surface of a closed window? Did you know that God is the master of opening windows and He longs to listen to what you have to say? It's true! There have been times in my own life when I wanted to pray using a megaphone because I felt like God just couldn't hear me. But God's silence does not equate to God's absence. He is always listening. The question is, are we always talking?

"You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:12,13

2 Corinthians 2:14, 15

What do you think of when you read the word aroma?

When I started dating my husband he wore Aqua Di Gio. To this date the aroma of that cologne always takes me back to the time when I first fell in love with him. It is nostalgic to me.

Earlier this week I baked chocolate chip cookies with my daughters. The sweet aroma of sugar filled our home so richly. It was an aroma I wanted to savor.

Do my experiences trigger any associations you may have with the word, aroma?

If not, perhaps scripture will. 2 Corinthians 2:14,15 says, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

What kind of aroma are you sporting with heaven? Is it nostalgic, sweet, rich? Or is it just the opposite?

Friday, August 21, 2009

1 Peter 3:3,4

What is beauty?

For me, beauty is no longer something I have to prove in the eye of my beholder. Instead, beauty is birthed in the eye of my Maker. He places a rare treasure in my heart that cannot be bought. It does not come in the shape of a Coach bag. It does not look like a new hair color. It does not feel like a new boyfriend. It is an inner confidence of God’s love for me- a sturdy sort of substance that really sticks to the heart and radiates in the eyes of others.

1 Peter 3:3,4 "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Philippians 1:6

I feel a constant tension when it comes to giving into perfectionism. There is a part of me that so anxiously wants to indulge in the ideal, the perfect, the controlled way of life like it's some delicious hot fudge sundae topped with nuts, whipped cream, and a cherry!

Then there is another part of me that says with urgency, "Wait, stop! Don't let yourself go there! RELAX!" So I drop my spoon, and push the sundae away and go for the fresh veggies instead.

We all have hang-ups, don't we? Whether yours is perfection or food or something entirely different, there is hope for us both! Philippians 1:6 says that "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I long to be present . . .

I long to be present with those around me, instead of sitting like a stuffed shirt, unaware of my surroundings. I want to listen attentively, love affectionately, and live life with empathy while genuinely caring about others. I want to see my relationships as something to invest in, not just something to manage.

Does anyone relate?

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

How is it possible to receive the grace we need to delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions? It seems like a tremendous contradiction and yet it is in so many ways the crux of our daily Christian faith.

I live in a messed up world. Still I find it ironic that my so called reality is not necessarily God's reality.

I wrestle with the fact that hardships are difficult, uncomfortable, challenging, awkward, inevitable, even painful. So I need to learn to better grasp God's grace in order to confidently quote Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

"But he (Jesus) said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Can you wrap your brain around that?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Psalm 46:10

Is quiet time a stranger in our lives? Are we constantly bombarded by media of some sort: music, phone, texting, t.v., Internet? Can we handle the silence when the only interruption is the sound of our own thoughts marching through our heads? And if we have a hard time being still in the silence, then how can we be still before God?

"Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10

Thursday, August 13, 2009

1 John 4:19

What is love?

For some, love is a rug that constantly gets yanked out from underneath them. Love is a battlefield. For others, love is a language . . . it is a word of affirmation or a gift. Love is an experience. Love is romantic. Love is brotherly.

There are so many ways we package love in our lives. Like a stack of pictures, we store it in bins labeled with different categories-family, friends, spouse, children. We compartmentalize our love, sharing it with some, withholding it from others.

But what happens when we take our hands off love and experience it the way God wants us to? What if we stow away our own limited notions of love to receive God's love, and experience love supernaturally.

Then love becomes unconditional. Love becomes sacrificial. Love becomes eternal.

The Bible says "we love because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19).

What's your take on love?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Snicker doodles

There is a certain nostalgia that erupts in my life when I encounter little parts of my day that trigger sentimental memories. Last night I made snicker doodles with my children. Today, the cookbook still lays open, turned to the snicker doodle page. A smile stretches across my face as I fondly remember not just the fun I had last night, but also the fun I had baking cookies when I was a child.

What are some triggers that bring back nostalgic feelings and memories to your life?

2 Samuel 22:29

Songs of praise rise up like rays of light stealing the night away. And the darkness evaporates.

Hope rises to penetrate the heart, conquering despair, the way a soldier takes on his enemy. And the darkness evaporates.

God’s presence settles around us like a dense fog, so that no matter which way we turn, he is there. And the darkness evaporates.

“You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.” 2 Samuel 22:29 from David’s Song of Praise 22:1-51

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Psalm 1

Some say a picture can paint 1,000 words, but is it possible for 1,000 words to paint a picture?

Psalm 1 is merely 121 words but it paints a very clear picture of two very different people. The first is "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." On the other end of the spectrum, the second person is "like chaff that the wind blows away." If you were to paint a picture of your life today, which portrait would you resemble?

I know I want to bloom where I am planted instead of being blown away by any breeze that comes my way.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Matthew 6:19-21

What defines us? Financial security? Having a significant other? A great career path? A lavish home or car? A sculpted physique? All of these things can be good as long as we own them and they don’t own us . . . as long as we give them over to the Lord and don’t keep them as idols . . . as long as they are not the sole prizes we seek to obtain.

In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures I heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I think the question worth asking is, what is our treasure, or perhaps more importantly, where are our hearts?

Friday, July 31, 2009

John 19:28

What does it mean to thirst? How many times a day do you think, I’m thirsty then seek to fulfill that basic physical need. What do you drink when you feel thirsty?

What does it look like to spiritually thirst? Jesus makes several references to a spiritual thirst during his ministry; “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6), “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). On most occasions, I think of spiritual thirst as a need I take to Christ because he satisfies, he gives, he quenches, he provides.

When I think of God, I try to comprehend His union of the physical with the spiritual so that we might better relate to Him. In doing so, He relates to us in such a basic way that God himself, so holy, so perfect, so divine, would thirst. In John 19:28 Jesus says, “I am thirsty” just before He dies on the cross.

I try to wrap my brain around the fact that the God of the universe sent His son Jesus to this earth as a man, that He would thirst, so that I may thirst no more.

Are you thirsty today?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ephesians 2:10

Someone once said it takes a village to raise a child: mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, big sister, big brother, babysitter, teacher, coach. I believe the same can be said for a child of God. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” We are God’s workmanship. He is the Craftsman who shapes His craft and he does so in part by using others: mothers, fathers, mentors, disciplers, role models, friends.

Who does God use to shape your life? What are the works that God has prepared in advance for you to do?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

John 10:10

My life is a steel train rushing full steam ahead. Sometimes I feel as though I am a passenger en route to a clear destination, and life is full of meaning and purpose. Other times I feel like a box car child, running alongside the train, trying to hitch a ride. And then there are times when I sit in the comfort of my seat from the confines of the train station, watching my life go by.

I love the days when I am traveling on to a place where mountain tops collide with the sky instead of running to catch up or sitting in a lonely, stale room.

Where are you today? Are you on board this train called life?

Jesus says in John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. -Romans 1:20

The view from my home in Florida is a tropical treeline that in some ways reminds me of a Gustav Klimt piece of art with swags of Spanish moss loosely dangling over patchy green leaves, pushing their way to the front like children crowding together for a picture. In other ways, the treeline resembles the lacy hem of a dress as the triangular tops stand neatly sewn together. Who can create such a magnificent piece of art framed from within the outline of my window? Who can sew together a more beautiful garment? It is the Lord and He speaks loudly with the trees as his megaphone and the vast blue sky his arena.

But the question remains: are we listening?