Tuesday, December 31, 2019

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



Thursday, February 28, 2019

Just Released





















Hi friends.  Thought you would want to know that my new book Teach Us to Pray has just been released on Amazon.  Tell your friends!
























Wednesday, February 13, 2019

find rest

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” 

I don’t know about you, but finding rest comes hard for me.  Maybe it is the constant need I feel to try and prove myself.  Or maybe it is the deep sense of anxiety that consumes my heart and soul on a regular basis.  Or maybe it is a combination of a lot of things.  Whatever the reason, the presence of an abiding rest and peace within me is a bit of an elusive creature: hard to find and, once found, hard to keep.

Maybe it was that way for King David as well.  In fact, maybe that’s the reason he wrote this prayer in the first place.  Maybe it was through repeating these very words—over and over and over again—that he hoped, someday, to arrive at the rest and the peace his heart and soul were most deeply longing for. 
  
And maybe it could be the same for me.  Maybe if I plant these words deep in the soil of my soul, they will, one day, grow into something beautiful and substantial.  Maybe they can help me to really believe that God is both strong and loving.  And maybe that belief can lead me to the place of genuine trust in him.  And maybe, just maybe, that trust will one day allow my heart and soul to find their rest in him.  A man can dream, right?

O Lord, help this prayer take root deep within me, that it might become more and more the reality of my life.  Amen.  

Thursday, February 7, 2019

empty nets

“But Master, we have worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything.” (Luke 5:5)  

What a haunting phrase.  I mean, it is such an easy trap to fall into, right?  After all, isn’t it a part of our DNA to do it on our own?  To take matters into our own hands, and make it happen—whatever it may be.  We got this, right?  Wrong!  In the end all we have to show for our efforts is a bunch of empty nets and a worn out body and soul.  Ever been there?  I sure have.  And I’m sure I will be there again in the not too distant future.  When will I ever learn?  My own efforts—however heroic they may be—apart from Jesus, will always net me absolutely nothing.  And maybe that very realization is the beginning of learning what it means to trust Jesus in a whole new way.  It certainly was for Simon Peter and his fishing buddies.

Lord Jesus, how come I usually only trust you as a last resort; when my own plans and efforts have not produced the results I’d hoped they would?  Help me to learn how to trust you first, rather than after I have worked hard all night and caught nothing.  Amen.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

abound

“And this is my prayer: that your love would abound more and more.” (Philippians 1:9)

What a great prayer!  Paul is praying that we would be so full of Jesus, and his love, that there would be no room for anything else.  Just imagine if you were so full of the love of Jesus that it simply flowed from your heart and life at all times—every thought, every act, every word.  Imagine how different life would be.  Instead of being full of myself and my worries and my insecurities, I would be full of peace and patience and kindness and gentleness and self-control—and love.  Lord Jesus, please make it be so!  Let your love abound in me, today and every day.

Lord Jesus, fill me so full of you, so full of your love, that there is no room for anything else—no anxiety or insecurity, no comparison or competition, no impatience or frustration, no shame or condemnation.  Fill me to overflowing, Lord Jesus, with your life and your Spirit.  Let your love abound in me.  Then I will be more like you.  Amen.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

the thief

“The thief comes to kill and steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

The thief.  What a perfect description of who our enemy is and how he goes about his business.  He comes when we are not looking, when we are not paying attention, when we least expect it, and he kills and steals and destroys.  Notice it doesn’t say he kills or steals or destroys.  It says he kills and steals and destroys—all of the above.

He kills our dreams and our hopes and our faith by convincing us to believe his lies.  He steals our joy and our delight and our trust by making us believe things about ourselves and about our God that are simply not true.  He destroys our peace and our love and our gratitude by getting us consumed with ourselves and our circumstances—filling us with anxiety and insecurity and frustration.  And most of the time we don’t even realize that he is the one behind all of these things.  It’s simply masterful.

So when Jesus draws our attention to the thief, and to his ways, it causes us to stop and say, “Hey, wait a minute.  What’s going on here?  Why on earth am I allowing this “thief” to come and go as he pleases?  Why do I continue to allow him to wreak havoc in my life?”  For if we were to realize that it is indeed the thief that is behind all of this carnage, we would not continue to allow him to operate unhindered.

Maybe that’s why Jesus calls himself both the gate (John 10:9) and the good shepherd (John 10:11) in this passage, because he knows we are in desperate need of both.  We need Jesus to keep the thief out and keep him from coming and going as he pleases.  And we need Jesus to continually speak to our hearts and remind us of the truth of who we are in him.  We need his protection and we need his affection.  We are his sheep.  And his sheep must recognize his voice and run away from the voice of the “stranger.”  The voice of Jesus, our good shepherd, calls us by name and leads us out, into the truth.  The truth that sets us free.

So today I must say yes to the voice of the good shepherd and I must say “no, not today” to the voice of the one who comes to kill and steal and destroy.  That is the only way I will be able to experience the life and the abundance that Jesus promises.

Lord Jesus, thank you that you do not steal and kill and destroy, but that you give abundant life.  Empower me now, O Lord, to stand against the thief who is constantly trying to rob and deceive me, and help me to listen to your voice of truth, which alone can set me free.  Amen.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

being and doing

I have a dear friend who likes to say, "Being is more important than doing, and doing is really important."  I like that a lot.  It takes into account that there are so many necessary things in need of being done, while, at the same time, remembering that the only way to do them well is to do them from a full heart and soul--to do them from a place of overflow and abundance, rather than a place of desperation and scarcity.

It is the tension we live in when we are confronted with the words of Jesus to Martha and her sister Mary in Luke 10:41-42: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her."  Or, in other words, "Don't get so busy doing things for Jesus that you forget to spend time with Jesus."  It is the being with that gives the doing for its power and fruitfulness.

 So let us consider, this day, how and when and where we will be with Jesus in a way that empowers and enables us to do things for Jesus.  Let us not allow the "many things" to distract us from the "one thing."