Friday, June 1, 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



Sunday, February 18, 2018

Journey to the Cross



If you are looking for a companion for Lent (for yourself, your family, your friends, your staff, etc.), my Lenten devotional guide Journey to the Cross is available on Amazon.  Spread the word.  This year, Lent begins on February 14 (Ash Wednesday).

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

yeast

be on your guard
against the yeast
of the pharisees


no yeast
not even a trace
nothing that taints
or mars 
or contaminates
will be tolerated

sweep every corner
clean every nook
and cranny
for if any is present
it will work its way
through the whole lump

search the dark
and hidden places
of your heart
expose every area
of your soul
to the light

let nothing reside within
that is not of him
let nothing live on
that must be eliminated
for he wants all of you
and will not settle 
for anything less

Sunday, January 14, 2018

staying

"Martha, Martha," Jesus said, "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." (Luke 10:41-42)


This morning I had a bit of an epiphany, which is totally appropriate given the season, I suppose.  I realized that I normally do not have trouble coming to Jesus to sit at his feet and listen to what he says, as Mary did, I just have trouble staying there.  Even when I am worried and upset about many things, as Martha was (and as I am pretty regularly), I know the answer--take it all to Jesus.  My problem is that once I take it to Jesus, and find some measure of comfort and presence and peace, I do not stay there.  I allow my anxieties to lure me back into the dark country of fear and angst once again.  My problem is not in the coming, but in the staying.  I guess that's why Jesus went to such great lengths in John 15 to tell us the spiritual value of staying (abiding).  Coming is easy, but staying is much more difficult.

"Why do you allow anxiety and fear to constantly beat the hell out of you?" he asks.  "You know the answer.  You know the way to peace and love.  And yet, so often you don't go there, or stay there.  Come to me; that is the beginning.  That is the easier part.  For when you come, I will meet you with my love and affection and care.  But don't just come, that is only a small part of the battle.  You must also stay.  So often you come, but you do not stay with me, even though I am always with you.  You turn right around and allow anxiety to lure, or to drag, you back into a dark and fearful land.  Come to me, and stay with me, then you will know--and live inside of--my peace.  For you will be living in me, even as I live in you.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

eyes

In the spiritual life, where we fix our eyes is everything.  If we allow our eyes—and thus, our hearts—to be consumed by our own surroundings and struggles and circumstances, we are in for one wild ride.  But if we are able, by God’s grace and strength, to fix our eyes on the bigger picture, and not on whatever trouble we may be experiencing at the moment—if we are able to take out eyes off of ourselves and fix them on Jesus—then everything changes.  Oh, the circumstances themselves may not change much, but the spirit we have in the midst of those circumstances, and our quality of life as a result, will change immensely.  I guess that’s why the scriptures talk so much about it:  I lift my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. (Psalm 123:1)  So we fix our eyes not on what is see, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrew 12:2-3)

It is really not that complicated—in theory at least.  But it is a little more difficult in practice.  For when my eyes are consumed with myself, and my little life and my little world, I find that I am filled with insecurity, anxiety, and fear.  It is a downward spiral that is incredibly difficult to break free from.  I don’t know about you, but I have the tendency get stuck inside myself at times.  But when I am finally able to fix my eyes on God instead, something beautiful happens within me.  Somehow he gives me the ability to climb out of the dark pit of self and come into the light of love.  It is an invitation that is always open to me.  Look at me,” says my God, “and you will be able to experience the joy and the life and the peace that I desire for you, rather than trying so hard to provide it for yourself.”  I pray that he will give us all the grace to do that more and more.


O God, sometimes I get stuck inside myself, consumed with my own life.  When I do this my life is filled with insecurity, anxiety, and fear.  But you want more for me.  Fix my eyes on you, O Lord.  Let love conquer insecurity, let peace replace anxiety, and let trust overcome fear.  In the name of Jesus I pray.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

truth

It seems like a significant part of living the life of faith involves trying to figure out which voices to listen to.  It can be really confusing.  There are so many different voices vying for our attention these days, both within us and around us.  At times it can be really hard to figure out which ones are telling the truth.  The problem is that often the voices in our lives that are most dominant and prevalent are the very ones that are least reliable. 

Therefore, it is imperative that we figure out how to give space for the good voices (truth) to take root and shape within us, while minimizing the space and the impact of the bad (lies).  But telling the lies from the truth can be difficult.  Sometimes the differences are very subtle, and their arguments very convincing.  We can easily get sucked into believing some things are true simply because it feels like or seems like they are.  But looks (and feelings) can be deceiving.  We need much more than that.  We need something more substantial, something more solid and stable. 

That is where the Word comes in.  And that is where the practice of immersing ourselves in the Word of Truth comes in.  If we are continually immersing ourselves in the truth, then it will be a lot easier to recognize the lies when they come a long, no matter how convincing they are.

Jesus is a perfect example of this.  On the glorious day of his baptism he hears the voice of his Father speaking the beautiful truth of who he is: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well-pleased.”  (Matthew 3;17)  And immediately after that he is led into the desert to be confronted with the other voices, voices that are trying to get him to believe something very different from that.  Voices that are trying to get him to doubt the truth of who he is.  “If you are the Son of God,” they whisper, “then prove it.”

But Jesus is not swayed by the lies.  Why?  Because we knew the truth.  Just listen to the way he answers each of the three temptations.  He answers each with the words: “It is written.”  Jesus was so familiar with the Voice of Truth that he was easily able to differentiate it from the subtle lies of the enemy.  And if we are to have any hope of being victorious in that same battle, we must do the same.  We must immerse ourselves in the Word of Truth so that we can be able to identify and overcome the lies of the enemy.  For if we “abide in his word, we are truly his disciples, and we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free.” (John 8:32)  Let’s not delay, our freedom is at stake.


O God, I must confess that at times it is easy to believe the lies because they are so loud and so prevalent within and around me.  Help me, instead, to listen to your voice and to believe your Truth.  And help that Truth to set me free.  Amen.

Monday, January 1, 2018

new years

o lord, in this new year
help me to be more concerned

with being than with doing
with what you want than with what i want
with loving than with judging
with making myself nothing than with trying to be something

with descending than with ascending
with obscurity than with notoriety
with being hidden than with being seen
with serving than with being served

with compassion than with competition
with contentment than with comparison
with fruitfulness than with productivity
with the things of god than with the things of this world

with what you think than with what others think
with making you awesome than with making me awesome
with growing smaller than with becoming larger
with being least than with being the greatest

with the one thing than with the many things
with silence than with noise
with giving than with having
with your kingdom than with my own

this is my new years prayer