Featured Post

Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Thursday, December 26, 2019

why to shepherds

why to shepherds 
and not to kings

was there something about your coming
that was only able to be perceived
by those who were aware of their own need
those not jockeying or posturing or climbing
those not too busy or too consumed or too caught up
in their own spinning

the preoccupied had no room for you
no eye to see the shining star
no ear to hear the heavenly host
no feet that hurried to the manger

not a lot has changed 
in two thousand years
the lowly are still more attentive
the humble more open
the empty more willing to receive

when you come today
(and you will come)
will i even notice
or will i continue to 
be swept up in a frenzy of activity
unable to see the star 
shining in the night sky
unable to hear the heavenly anthem
echoing in the world 
within and around

oh to be content 
to be a shepherd
rather than constantly trying
to be a king

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

a christmas prayer

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  we have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

O Living Word, now made flesh, become flesh in us this day, and thus be born into this dark and broken world once again.  Amen.

Monday, December 23, 2019

a new thing

See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." ~Isaiah 43:19

God: I am doing a new thing, something deep in your heart and soul.  Something so deep that you may not even be able to perceive it yet, but it is there.  I am waking something up in you.  I am coming alive in you in some brand new way.  All you have to do is pay attention, be open, make room for it to grow and take root, and then fully receive it.  I will do the rest.  What do you think about that?

Me: Yes, please!

Monday, December 16, 2019


The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35)

What an absolutely beautiful phrase: The power of the Most High will overshadow you!  It is the essence of the spiritual life; Mary shows us that.  The angel comes to her and says that the power of the Most High God will overshadow her, and her response is simply, “I am the Lord’s servant.  Let it be to me as you have said.”  She recognizes that her life is not about her, but about God.  He is the one writing the story, and a far bigger story than she can possibly imagine.  A story in which he is the focal point—his holiness, his character, his love—and she is simply the willing recipient.  We would do well to follow her lead.  

For some reason, we continually try to make it all about us.  We are deeply resistant to the idea of being overshadowed.  And the world in which we live reinforces that resistance.  Our world encourages us to never let anyone or anything overshadow us.  Be heard!  Be seen!  Demand that those around you take notice of you!  Yet the life of the Spirit encourages the direct opposite of this.  Be last.  Be lowest.  Be least.  That is the life Jesus calls us to.  That is the life in which the work of the Spirit is on full display.

Mary was willing to be overshadowed.  The Greek word used here is episkiazō, which means to cast shade upon, or to be enveloped in a haze of brilliance.  It is the same word used to describe what happened at the Transfiguration when the disciples were enveloped by the cloud (Luke 9:34).  Simply put, Mary was willing to disappear into God, to be completely enveloped by him.  She was willing to give up all rights and expectations and demands for herself because, ultimately, she was the Lord’s servant—his desire, his life, and his glory was what really mattered.

What about me?  Is it the same for me?  Am I willing to be overshadowed by the power of the Most High?  Am I willing to live the overshadowed life?  Am I willing to disappear into God, that he may live his life in and through me?  Thanks be to God that Mary was willing to be overshadowed.  I pray that I will be as well.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

he sighed

There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hands on the man.
     After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus out his fingers into the man’s ears.  Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue.  He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him “Ephphatha!”  (which means, “Be opened!”).  At this the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.
     Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone.  But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it.  People were overwhelmed with amazement.  “He has done everything well,” they said, “He even make the deaf hear and the mute to speak.”(Mark 7:32-37)

There is so much I love about this story!  I love that there were some people who cared enough to bring their friend to Jesus.  I love that these people were so certain that Jesus could do something to help, or to heal, their friend that they begged him to place his hands on the man.  I love that somehow they thought that if Jesus just touched him, then something magical would happen.  They were right.

And I love that Jesus took him aside, away from the crowd.  For far too long, and in the worst possible way, this man had been the center of attention everywhere he went—and not the kind of attention that is normally seen as positive.  He had been the object of points and stares and whispers.  The target of shame and disgust and scorn.  He had been seen through the eyes of judgment, the eyes of disdain, and the eyes of pity.  And now Jesus simply wanted him focused on the Eyes of Love, so he took him aside, away from the crowd.  There is a lesson to be learned here: If you want to have an intimate and healing encounter with Jesus, it is most likely to happen away from the crowd.  Our problem is that typically we play to the crowd far more than we focus on Jesus.

I love that Jesus put his fingers in the man’s ears, and then spit and touched the man’s tongue.  Jesus identified the very areas that had brought this dear man so much pain and brokenness and ridicule, and put his hands right on those very places.  That’s how Jesus works.  He gets his healing hands of love and he places them directly on our most wounded, broken areas.

But it is what comes next that I love the most: Jesus looked up to heaven and then he sighed.  “Okay, so what’s the big deal?” you might ask.  “So he sighed, so what?  What’s so significant about that?”  Well, I’ll tell you what is so significant about it, it wasn’t just any ordinary sigh.  This was not a bored sigh, or an indifferent sigh, or even a delighted sigh.  It was actually more of a groan, the kind of groan that is talked about in Romans 8 and 2 Corinthians 5.  A groan as in the pains of childbirth.  This wasn’t any old sigh, it was a groan that came up from the core of Jesus’ being.  It was a groan of sadness and pain and frustration; a groan that bemoaned the fact that life was not intended to be this way.  It was a groan that recognized the deep brokenness and pain of God’s once beautiful, completely whole creation.  It was the groan of a God who is heartbroken over our brokenness—a God who groans right along with us, until the day when everything will be made whole and new.

Now that’s a God I can get excited about.  No wonder the people responded the way they did: They were overwhelmed with amazement and said, “He has done everything well.  He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”  Thanks be to God!

I stand amazed, Lord Jesus, that you care enough about my pain to groan.  I stand amazed that you care enough about my pain to reach out your healing hands of love and touch the most broken places in my heart and life.  Touch me with those hands today, that I might offer your healing touch to others in my life and world who desperately need to know you care.  Amen.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

no pain, no gain

Simone Weil once said: “There are two things that pierce the human heart.  One is beauty.  The other is affliction.”  If you are like me, you are ready, willing, and able to sign up for the beauty part right here and right now, but not so sure you are up for the affliction part.  I mean, what kind of person would wish, or welcome, pain upon themselves, right?

Somehow we need to get over the notion that pain is some kind of cosmic accident that is always bad and should be avoided at all costs.  This way of thinking hinders our growth and maturity in significant ways, because pain always has intent.  God subjected us to this kind of a life in order that we might be liberated from bondage to decay and be brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:20-21)  Pain has purpose.  Somehow it is through affliction that we come to know real love, and it is through bondage that we come to know true freedom.  God uses our pain and sadness to deepen and widen us, so that we might be able to receive even more of him.  Thus, avoiding pain is avoiding God, and embracing pain is embracing what God is trying to do in and then through us.

The crazy thing is that God actually uses our pain and our unmet longing to arouse and expand us within.  Just listen to the words of Eugene Peterson: “All around us we observe a pregnant creation.  The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.  But it is not only around us; it is within us.  The Spirit of God is arousing us within.  We’re also feeling the birth pangs.  These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.  That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than it diminishes a pregnant mother.  We are enlarged in the waiting.  We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us.  But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” (Romans 8:22-25, The Message

So help us, O God, to stop running.  Give us the grace and the courage to stop trying to avoid and escape pain and suffering and brokenness at every opportunity.  Help us to actually embrace it, so that we will receive the gifts that it has to offer—becoming more like you in the process.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Get Ready for Advent

Watch and Wait: A Guide for Advent and Christmas

Just wanted to remind you that if you (or any of your friends, family, or coworkers) are looking for a companion to journey with you through the seasons of Advent and Christmas, you might want to try Watch and Wait.  It is available on Amazon.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


There is a preparing (Isaiah 40:1-5) that must be done in Advent, but it is not the type of preparing that one might expect.  This preparation has more to do with stopping and slowing down and coming to stillness.  It has more to do with sitting and pondering and reflecting.  This preparation has more to do with being than it does with doing.

For we cannot manipulate God into coming; we cannot demand or manufacture the how and when and where of that coming.  All we can really do is prepare the way; it is up to God to do the rest.  Fortunately, if we are faithful to do our part—whatever that may be—he is faithful to do more than his.  “And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,” say the words of the ancient text.  That is the promise of Advent.

So let us make space, make time, be still, be quiet, watch, wait, listen, and pay attention—for these are the “activities” of Advent.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, that the how and where and when of your coming is not up to us, all we are called to do is to prepare the way.  Help us to know what that is supposed to look like during this season of Advent.  Amen.

Monday, December 2, 2019

God will come

The promise of Advent is that God will come (Isaiah 35:1-10), not just once, but always again.  It’s just who he is.  He cannot stay away from his beloved.  And when he comes, he will bring life. 

But in the meantime we wait.  We do not, however, wait as people without hope.  We wait in the full assurance that he will, indeed, come.  It is not a question of if, but a question of when.  Therefore, we can strengthen our feeble hands and our knees that give way.  We can thrive in our waiting and hoping and groaning, rather than merely trying to survive.  We can live in hope instead of fear.

We can live in the assurance that one day this wilderness in which we live will be turned into a place of pools; dry sand will become bubbling springs.  That is simply how the life of God within and among us is—it gushes forth.  It is not a trickle, as it sometimes feels like in this life, but a torrent.  It is a wellspring of life and love.  Jesus called it living water, David described it as a cup that continually overflows, and Paul described it as being filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

We get but a tiny taste of that on this side of eternity, but one day we will get it in full.  One day we will be filled with a fullness we never imagined possible.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait.

Thank you, O God, that you are, and have always been, the God who comes.  It is just who you are.  Fill our hearts and souls and minds with the joy and the hope of that coming, so that we might live our lives in this world in a way that anticipates, and even participates in, the life to come.  Amen.

Sunday, December 1, 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!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

a litany of gratitude

we are grateful, O God,
for who you are
and for how you love us

we are grateful that
your heart is good
and will never change

we are grateful
that you are both
strong and loving
so that we can fully
trust in you and
rest in you

we are grateful
that even though we get so
involved and distracted
with our everyday lives
and continually forget you
you never forget us
even when we feel forgotten
you are always with us
in ways we cannot
perceive or imagine

we are grateful
that you alone
are the giver of all good gifts
the greatest of which are
your love and your grace
which you shower upon us
every minute of every day
though we don't deserve it

may we be captured this day
by the depths of
your great affection
and may we live in such a way
that others may be
captured by it as well

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

i see you

i see you

there you go again
down that old familiar road
listening to the voices
telling you you’re not enough

lost inside yourself again
unable to find your way out
of the lies that you believe
about who you really are

when will you let me show you
when will you let me tell you
when will you finally believe the truth
that there’s nothing in my heart but love
when i see you

i see you when you’re hiding
i see you when you’re fighting
i see you when you’re doubting
i see the mess inside

i see you when you’re playing a part 
i see you when you’re trying so hard
to make everyone believe 
that there’s something in you
worth loving

when will you let me show you
when will you let me tell you
when will you finally believe the truth
that there’s nothing in my heart but love
when i see you

i see you when you’re tired
i see you when you’re worn out
from trying to be everything to everyone
i see the you that i made you to be
a beautiful expression of my own heart
and i’m just wanting for the chance
to remind you of who that is

when will you let me show you
when will you let me tell you
when will you finally believe the truth
that there’s nothing in my heart but love
when i see you

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

as he went along

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.” (John 9:1)

Most of us, it seems, like to imagine that following Jesus means we are called to go to exotic places and do heroic things.  And while that might be true for some, it is more likely that our call contains more humble beginnings.  In fact, it starts right where we are, with whoever is in front of us at the moment.

The truth is that you and I will go places today, and we will see people as we go.  The question is: Will we really see them?  Or will we merely pass them by in our haste to get to the next thing?  Jesus saw people.  And he saw them as he went.  It didn’t take an exotic location or an important person to get his attention.  He wasn’t, it seems, out to do heroic things.  He was more concerned with simply showing up and loving whoever was in front of him at the moment.  

We would be wise to do the same.  For all of ministry starts where we are.  We are sent first to Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)  So let us pay great attention, not to our “to do” list, but to where we are going and to who will be there as we go.  Stop.  Look.  Listen.  Engage.  Ask God what he is up to and join in to that.

“As you go, see people.  Really see them.  They are dying for that.  And as you see them, look for what I am doing within and around them.  Be aware of where I am already at work and join me.  What could be more heroic than that?”

Help me, Lord Jesus to see those who are in my path as I go about my day today.  They desperately need to be seen and loved.  Help me to do just that.  Help me to enter in to what you are doing within and around me today.  Amen.

Saturday, October 26, 2019


Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing. . . ." (Philippians 2:5-7, NIV)

When I try to make myself something, I am no longer following the Jesus who "made himself nothing" and calls me to do the same.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

do you see this woman?

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman?” (Luke 7:44)

Okay, I get it.  Seeing is always a two way street.  How we see things is always determined by our own inner dynamics at the time.  In order to be able to see things, and people, the way they really are, we must first be truly seen by the One who made us, the One who knows us, and the One who loves us.  Without first being seen, known, and loved by Him, we will always be far too consumed and concerned with the way we are seen by others.  We will always live in order to prove our worthiness, rather than living because the One who made us has pronounced us worthy.  We will always live in order to achieve an identity, rather than living because he has already bestowed an identity (as his beloved) upon us.

That was certainly the case with Simon the Pharisee.  He was so consumed with himself that he was unable to see who and what was right there in front of him.  He was so full of his own fears and insecurities that he had no room to see the beauty of what had just taken place between Jesus and this sinful woman.  He was so busy criticizing and comparing and trying to convince himself and his world that he was more worthy of love, that he was unable to see the passion and the affection and the beauty of her gesture.  Because when you are consumed with yourself, you can never see others for who and what they really are; they become threats and competitors rather than fellow travelers and pilgrims in this amazingly complex journey.

Simon could see nothing but himself, so Jesus had to take a moment to help him see the situation for what it really was.  He pointed out the beauty of the woman’s act of love, as well as the contrast of Simon’s lack thereof.  In helping Simon see the woman, Jesus had also helped Simon see himself.  For only after we have been seen do we having any hope of seeing others the way God intended for us to.

You see me, Lord Jesus.  Wherever I am, and whatever I am doing, and whatever is going on in my life, help me to always realize that you see me, you know me, and you love me. And because of that I have the freedom to see, know and love others.  Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Friday, October 11, 2019

let us

“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, 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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Let us.  Did you get that?  It’s not let me, or let you, or let him, or let her, but let us.  Such a small, subtle change, but an incredibly powerful one.  I mean, with one tiny little phrase there comes a complete change in perspective.  With two little words we are able to make a major paradigm shift.  A shift from “I am all on my own” to “We are in this together.”  Let us takes us from isolation to community, from loneliness to togetherness, and from scarcity to abundance.  Maybe that’s why the author of Hebrews uses the phrase so often, he realizes that the power of us is way stronger than the power of just you or just me.

Let us run together, with perseverance, the race marked out for us,” is a whole lot different than “Let me run by myself, with as much perseverance as I can muster on my own, the race marked out for me.”  There is strength in numbers.  That’s probably why Ecclesiastes reminds us that “Two are better than one because if one falls there is someone there to help him up.  But pity the man who falls alone.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) There is just something about the throwing off of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles that was always meant to be done in the context of community.  I mean, we can continue try on our own if we want to, but we will always end up right back in the same old place.  It’s like trying to pull yourself up from the bottom of a hundred-foot well. 

There is just something beautiful and life-giving about living life in community.  There is something good and right about doing whatever we do with the great cloud of witnesses, not to mention our closest friends and fellow pilgrims.  It is easier to actually run the race with perseverance when you have your nearest and dearest running right beside you; at times your faith will sustain them and at times their faith will sustain you.  Four (or more) eyes fixed on Jesus are far more attentive and accurate than two.

So let us begin to ask ourselves what running the race together—as opposed to alone—is supposed to look like.  Let us dream a little and talk a little and make some commitments to each other.  And then let us start to actually do it.  At every given opportunity, let us choose communion over isolation.  I think you will find that you are able to journey together to places in life and faith where you could never journey alone.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

who's waiting on who?

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.  My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. (Psalm 130:5-6)

I have a suspicion that waiting for the Lord is not as cut and dried as it seems to be.  For while we are waiting for God to move or to speak or to act, he is also waiting for us.  He is waiting for us to finally come to the end of ourselves and fully depend on him.  He is waiting for us to stop trusting in our own gifts and abilities and efforts, and, instead, trust fully in him.  He is waiting for us to stop trying so hard to manage and manipulate and control everything, so that space can be made for him to move and to act.  He is waiting for us to finally let go of our self-sufficiency and prayerlessness and cry out to him in desperation and surrender.

How long, O Lord, how long?  How long will it take for us to finally realize that we cannot do it on our own, and fully turn to you?  Lord, have mercy! 

Forgive us, O Lord, for our self-sufficiency and prayerlessness.  Humble us, and help us to pray and to seek your face and turn from our wicked ways, that you might hear our prayers and forgive our sins and heal our land.  Amen.

Saturday, October 5, 2019


“The Lord is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, NIV)  

As long as we keep trying to do it ourselves—even just a little bit—we will continue to get in the way of what God wants to do in and through us.  It’s not until we come to the end of ourselves, until we get to the point of total surrender, that we are out of the way enough to offer him the time and space he requires to move and to act.  Finally waving the white flag is a necessary act if we ever want God to be the one to lead and guide—and help.  He typically doesn’t step in while we are still trying to help ourselves. 

I guess that’s why Eugene Peterson translates the first Beatitude (in Matthew 5:3) as: “You are blessed when you get to the end of your rope.  With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (The Message) Or as a wise saint said many, many years ago: “So long as you hold on to even a little hope of achieving something by your own powers, the Lord does not interfere.  It is as though he says: ‘You hope to succeed by yourself—Very well, go on trying!  But however long you try you will achieve nothing.’”  

There is no such thing as letting go half way.  When will we ever learn?

Forgive me, O Lord, for continually trying to do it on my own.  Forgive me for my refusal to fully let go of control—as if I ever had it to begin with—and totally surrender to your love and care.  Help me to fully trust in you, no matter how scary that might be.  Lord, help!  Amen.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

God is enough

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  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 I am well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12, NIV)

God is enough.  He is everything we need.  Evidently Paul learned this, although it probably didn’t come easy.  Paul knew that circumstances didn’t determine his life, but God did.  And if God determines everything about our lives, then we don’t need circumstances to be pleasant, convenient, comfortable, or favorable.  That’s how Paul could write, “I have learned the secret of being content whatever the circumstances.”  The Greek word used here (in Phil. 4:11) is autarkēs, which means sufficient or enough.  Thus, we are only able to be truly content when we really believe that God is enough.

Unfortunately, we don’t always fully believe that.  In fact, sometimes we don’t even believe it a little bit.  And it has an enormous impact on how we live our lives.  If we do not really believe that God is enough, then we have to turn to ourselves, or to others, to fill in the gaps.  That’s where it gets really ugly.  We become anxious and angry and frustrated, or depressed and driven and demanding.  We become the very worst version of ourselves.

But if we can ever get to the point where we truly believe that God is enough, then we can rest in his enough-ness.  His enough-ness, and not that of ourselves or our circumstances, allows us to truly trust in him.  If God is really enough, then we don’t have to be.  And we do not have to demand that others be enough for us.  In fact, it frees us up to be able to love them, rather than manipulate love out of them.  If God is enough, then whatever others have to offer us—if anything—is enough because we are not depending on them for our sense of well-being.  If God is enough, then we have enough—however much or little that may be.  And if God is enough, then we are enough in him.  It is his love alone that determines our value and our worth.  We do not have to jockey and posture and perform for everyone.  Our identity is securely rooted in him; it is not tied to what we do, what we have, or how we look. 

So I pray that, this day, we would all get to know the enough-ness of our God.  For until we get to know him, really know him, we will never know how enough he really is.

Friday, September 20, 2019


“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.” (Psalm 131:1)

There are no two ways about it, the occupied soul is one that has no room for God.  And it doesn’t even matter how great and marvelous the things are which occupy it.  They are taking up space that was designed for God, space that was created to be filled by him alone.  These things are consuming precious time and energy and attention that needs to be given to the life of the Spirit within and around us.

Thus, an emptying is necessary.  Or, at the very least, a stilling and a quieting must take place.  If we want to dwell with God, if we want to enjoy his presence and hear his voice and be aware of his activity in our lives, we must begin the process of calming our souls.  This is likely to involve some silence and solitude and prayer.  It is likely to require a place that is out of the normal traffic flow of our lives, one without noise and frenzy and activity.  We must allow the turbulent waters of the soul to become still and quiet, so we might be able to see what is underneath.  So we might be able to hear the still, small voice of the Spirit as it speaks to us in our depths.

The only question is: Will we make the time and the space necessary for this to happen?  If not, we should never expect that our souls would be anything other than occupied

O Lord, forgive us when we become occupied; when we get too full of ourselves that we get a little too big for our britches.  Forgive us when we fall in love with our own observations and opinions and begin to take ourselves far too seriously.  Forgive us when we begin to think that we can handle things on our own, or make things happen for ourselves.  For when we do these things, we take up all the space and leave no room for you to move and to act.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019


“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he mediates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3)

The scriptures are not merely an ancient book of wisdom, or a self-help guide, or a proof-text for a certain brand of theology; they are the very words of God himself.  They are not a text book, but a love letter.  Therefore, they must be read in a different way than what we are used to.

They are one of the most tangible places we encounter the Living God.  They are living and active, they are powerful and authoritative, they are God-breathed and God-saturated.  They are the most audible and reliable voice of God that we’ve got.  They guide, they correct, they encourage, and (by the power of the Spirit) they transform.

The words of the scriptures are deeply relevant and personal, they speak to each life specifically and to each community corporately.  They tell us what God is like and show us how to live like him.  They are like a javelin aimed at the target of the human heart, always hitting their mark with their life-giving power.

When we delight in the words of the scriptures, and meditate on them day and night, they produce the fruit of life and love and freedom within us.  They plant us in solid soil and keep us from being blown around by the winds of mood and whim and circumstance.  They make us more into the people God intended us to be.  They make us more able to love the way God intended for us to love.

Thus, when we ignore or dismiss or belittle the words of the scriptures—when we make them less than they were intended to be—we do so at our own expense.  If we untether ourselves from their power and their authority, and become the authority ourselves, we drift aimlessly into our own version of the truth, which is not really truth at all.