Friday, August 31, 2018

the blue book is now available on amazon


Exciting News!  The Blue Book is now available on Amazon!  And not only that, but it also has a bunch of new content!  I've been working for the past year or so to write an opening reflection for each chapter and I'm really excited about the end result.  I hope you will be too.  So please spread the word.  Tell your friends that the strange blue devotional book that has always been so hard to find, is hard to find no more.

*Update: Thanks for the great response!  Glad to see the book still seems to be helpful to so many in making space to hear God's voice and know of his great affection.  Since the book has been released on Amazon I do, however, find that I miss the contact with many of you.  I miss hearing the stories of how God has used the book in your life or ministry.  So, if you have the time, I would love it if you would just leave your comments here, or drop by Amazon and give a review.  And, as always, feel free to email me with your Blue Book story if you'd like.  I love hearing them. Blessings, Jim



Tuesday, June 19, 2018

the death of i

     Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.  The man who loves his life in this world will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will also be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.
     "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'?  No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.  Father, glorify your name!" (John 12:23-28)


to live in the i
is to never become
what we were
intended to be

the i must die
else there will
always be only
a single kernel

however if the i
falls to the ground
and dies
more is possible

the single kernel
becomes many seeds
death becomes
the avenue to new life

life that is about
more than just i

so let us learn
to die to i
that much more
might be born

for like jesus
this is why
we have come
to this very hour

now is the time
father glorify your name

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

context

here and now
is but a tiny speck
of beauty and struggle
in the ocean of eternity

thus the present moment
although pregnant with God
is but a small part
of an enormous whole
a tiny thread
in a grand tapestry
of life and love

no moment
or circumstance
or experience
can be understood
while separated
from the whole

every time
and every season
is only rightly seen
when taken in context

when viewed through
the lenses of
all God has done
and all that he
promises to do

in life and faith
context is everything




Friday, June 1, 2018

approval

approval
is an illusive creature
a mythical beast
that can never be fully captured
regardless of how continuous the pursuit

every time we think we have him
he somehow wiggles free from our grasp
and disappears from our sight once again
it is an exhausting pursuit
that never stops

for approval is a fleeting thing
sweet to the taste
but unsatisfying to the soul
it is turkish delight
all sugar and no substance

until given by the one
who made us and loves us
a free gift that cannot be
achieved or wrestled away
but only bestowed and received
when we are finally willing enough
or exhausted enough
to stop the chase and accept the gift
then and only then
will we find rest and peace







Saturday, May 26, 2018

loved

We love because he first loved us. ~1 John 4:19


There may be no more important verse in all of the scriptures than this one.  It lays the foundation for how everything else lines up.  It reminds us that the only way we can truly love God is to be completely captured and transformed by his love first.  Our love for God can never precede the reality (and experience) of our being loved by God.  For we can only love God—and others, for that matter—in direct proportion to how well we understand and experience the depths of being loved by him.  That is how our lives—and our souls—are designed to function.  We love because he first loved us; not, God loves us because we first loved him.  All too often we get it backwards.  Being loved always has to come first, otherwise we have no genuine love to offer others—only our desperate need to be loved.
  
Which begs the question: Do I love God because I have first been seized by the power of his Great Affection?  Do I love him because I am should, or do I love him because I do?  Is his love the driving force behind my life?  Is is—as J. B. Phillips once beautifully said—the “springboard of all my actions?”  Is his love the reason for my obedience?  Is his love the motivation for my service?  Is it the fuel for my ministry? 
   
We cannot start with loving God; we must start with being loved by God.  Until we begin to understand how deeply we are loved, we will never be able to love God in the way—and with the passion—he desires to be loved.  And we can never love others in a free, unconditional way.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

free

free
lord jesus
you make us free

free to love
rather than control or manipulate
free to give
rather than desperately grab
free to accept
rather than judge, mock, or criticize
free to let go
rather than hang on for dear life
free to be my true self
rather than some manufactured
or fabricated version
free to offer compassion
rather than compete for affection

ah free
what a great word


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

lay down your life

The laying down of a life (1 John 3:16) is a tall order; one that I’m not sure can be accomplished by grit and determination.  Because the laying down of a life—at least the laying down of it as Jesus calls us to—is not a one-time event, but a perpetual lifestyle.  I can’t consistently choose you over me on a regular basis; I need Divine assistance.  Only when I make this realization is it possible to make consistent progress in the direction of self-sacrifice.  I cannot make myself like Jesus, no matter how hard I try.  Only Jesus can make me like Jesus.  I must simply surrender myself to him and put myself in his hands.  He is my only hope of ever really living a life of laying down my life.  Which, in wild irony, is the only way to become my true self (by abandoning myself altogether).  Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.

O Jesus, I am so terrible at laying down my life.  It runs so against my nature.  Yet that is what you call me to.  Teach me to love like you.  Give me your heart.  Make your heart, my heart.  Amen.