Wednesday, February 28, 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).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

i see you

I have a friend who used to play high school football for the team I have been fortunate enough to hang out with for the past fifteen years.  Back in his day, one of his favorite phrases to repeat during practice, as he tried to encourage his teammates who were working hard but not getting much recognition, was, "I see you."  He would see a young defensive back do something that helped the team in a hidden sort of way and say, "I see you, Dom.  I see you."  And it never failed to bring a smile to the face of the one who was seen.

We all long to be seen.  We all long for someone to look our way, look deeply into our hearts and souls, and say, "I see you."  It does something wonderful within us. 

Jesus was a master at seeing people.  Everywhere he went he saw people; really saw them.  Not just their outward appearance, but way down into their hearts.  He knew oh so well how deeply we all long to be really seen and really known.  So he took time to see people, and to let them know they were seen.  Whether a woman at a well, or a man by a pool, or a bunch of brand new disciples who had just started to follow him, he saw them all.  And he let them know that.

And he sees you.  Wherever you are.  Whatever is going on in your life right now.  Whatever the state of your heart and soul.  Whatever your level of loneliness or desperation or pain, he sees you.  And he wants you to know that.  You are not alone.  He is with you.  He loves you.  He sees you.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

they make it

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the Valley of Weeping they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength until each appears before God in Zion. ~Psalm 84:5-6

It appears that this pilgrimage we have set our hearts on, this journey through the Valley of Weeping to the place of springs and pools, is, to some degree, what we make of it.  Notice in the text that it is not God who makes one turn into the other, it is us.  "They make it a place of springs," says the psalmist.  It is those who travel the road who get to choose.  They determine how they will travel, and the attitude or perspective they will take as they do so.  I suppose they could weep and weep and weep as they travel along this highway.  Or they can simply choose to make it a place of springs.  They can choose to see it for what it is; an opportunity to be made more and more into the image of God.  It all depends on how they (we) choose to travel.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.  As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. (Psalm 125:1-2, NIV)

If being shaken is the number one way on knowing whether or not we are really trusting in the Lord, I’m in big trouble.  I mean, I get shaken all the time.  My anxiety shakes me.  My insecurity shakes me.  My circumstances shake me.  The list goes on and on.  Does that mean I am not really trusting in the Lord?  Maybe, maybe not.

I think the thing I’m learning about trust is that it is not a one and done type of thing, but a continual process.  I might be able to trust God fully with one thing and then not really trust him with something else.  I might be able to trust him one minute, and then not the next.  The key seems to be in the turning—turning back to him, time and time again.  The word for trust in the Hebrew is batach, which means to hie for refuge.  To run to him again and again and again.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think that there is a way to live in God to the point where we are able to trust him in all things; I just haven’t arrived there quite yet.

So for me, as I learn to live more and more in him, it is a process of running to him in every situation and circumstance.  It is a choice I must make each and every time something comes along that disrupts my life or challenges my faith.  Who knows, maybe through running to him over and over and over, I will eventually learn to never leave.  I will eventually learn that I cannot handle this life on my own, and I should stop trying to do so.  Maybe someday trust will be something I do naturally, rather than something I have to remind myself to choose.  In the meantime, I guess I will just keep myself running back to him.

O Lord, it is easy for me to say that I trust you, but my anxiety and insecurity continually tell me otherwise.  Help me to REALLY trust in you, for only then will I REALLY have your peace.  Amen.

Monday, February 12, 2018


live fully where you are
and do not yearn for another land
lest you miss the treasure
that is buried in your own
lest you miss the One who
buried it

this field
this place
this season
holds treasure to unearth
if we are willing to search for it

so find the treasure that is buried
in every place and every season
even if it be a difficult one

for the difficult treasures
are the most valuable
holding the promise of
deep and lasting change

he has made everything
beautiful in its own time

so unearth the beauty
of the season
hallow the ground
upon which you stand

Saturday, February 10, 2018


mark 1:35-39

if we start
with what
we make a 
grave mistake

for our what
must be formed
by our why

and our why
must be formed
by our who

and our who
must be formed
by our prayer

that is the
grand design

Thursday, February 8, 2018

a new land

Genesis 13:17-18 : "Go and walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you."  So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.

I have a suspicion that God longs to lead each of us to a new and beautiful land, if we would simply be willing to follow.  But all too often our refusal to let go of the old, safe places and patterns and ways and habits and seasons keep us from being willing, or able, to fully embrace and enjoy all that he is trying to do in and through us.  Fear or comparison or complacency or cowardice takes hold of us, and keeps us from entering into this new place or vocation or season.  Thus, we end up sacrificing our future because of our past, and we lose out of all that God has in store.  Could it be that he is trying to nudge us into a new way of seeing and of being?  One that will make us realize that we can either lead safe, comfortable lives, or we can fully enter into all that is being offered us.  May we all embrace the new land and the new season that God is offering us.  O God, give us the grace and the courage to do so.  

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

a god directed life

Mark 1:35-39 - Very early in the morning, while it was still dark.  Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him they exclaimed, Everyone is looking for you!"
     Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come."  So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Jesus is up till the wee hours healing; the whole town gathered at his doorstep.  And yet, early the next morning, while it is still dark, he sneaks away to a solitary place to pray.  And somehow, during that time of prayer, his direction is set for the day ahead. 
So even as his disciples come to him, imploring him to come back because “Everyone is looking for you!”  Jesus responds with clarity:  “Let us go somewhere else, to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also.  That is why I came.”
Somehow, in his time with the Father, he is reminded of who he is and why he came.  He is guided by something far bigger than whim and opinion and circumstance.  And so, in spite of enormous pressure for him to return to Capernaum, he heads elsewhere.
And the lesson that follows is so important for us to understand.  The lesson is that prayer comes first.  It is prayer that helps to remind us of who we are.  And it is who we are that helps us to know why we are here.  And it is why we are here that is meant to determine what we are to do.  The order is significant: prayer, who, why, what.  When we get this out of order we operate at the mercy of opinion, pressure, and circumstance, not the Spirit.  For if we are not clear about our who and our why, we will never be clear about our what.

Maybe the reason we do not really know who we are is because he have not really learned how to pray.  God is dying to tell us, if we will just listen.

O God, help my what to always be determined by you—not me, not others, not needs, not circumstances.  Guide me this day.  Remind me of who I am and of why I am here.  I pray this in your name and for your glory.  Amen.

Monday, February 5, 2018

he sat down

hebrews 10:11-12

day after day
every high priest stands
performing his duties
offering sacrifices
again and again
because his work
is never done

but when jesus
our great high priest
offered his sacrifice
he sat down
at the right hand of god
because his work
was completed

why is it
that we spend our lives
constantly trying to achieve
something that has
already been 
for us