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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 ...

Monday, September 27, 2021

i want to see...i think

I once was blind, but now I see is not a “one and done” proposition; it is a continual process.  In fact, most of our spiritual growth involves being able to see in new ways, and that takes time.  Blind spots remain.  I might be able to see on one level, but still be completely blind in other areas of my life and heart. 

Being able to recognize these areas is a significant part of the equation.  I mean, how can I ever confess my sin, if I haven’t yet recognized it as sin in the first place?  Oftentimes, we have grown so comfortable and familiar with our own patterns of sin and dysfunction that they seem perfectly normal to us.  In fact, there are times when we can be so misguided that we actually begin to call them virtue.  Oh sure, we can easily see the sin and dysfunction in the lives of others, but we have grown blind to it in ourselves.

That’s where silence and solitude and prayer come in.  They allow God the space and time—the access, if you will—to work within us in such a way that our eyes are opened to our part of the problem.  No wonder we tend to avoid them.

That’s also where the words of this ancient prayer are so helpful: “Search me, O God, and know me; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) It is a scary prayer to pray for sure, because if we are, indeed, sincere in praying it, God will be faithful to give us exactly what we have asked for.  He will show us those areas of our lives and hearts that are not congruent with all he desires us to be, and then he will bring those areas into conformity with his heart and his character and his will.

O Lord, help me to see, to really see.  Help me to see the blind spots in my life and heart.  Help me to see the ways and the places where I have grown so comfortable and familiar with my own sinful patterns that they seem normal to me.  Help me to see how and where I have even begun to call that sin virtue.  Forgive me, O Lord, for how easily I can be led astray.  Forgive me for how easy it is for me to see those things in others and yet fail to see them in myself.  Help me to see, O Lord, help me to really see, and then give me the courage to follow you in the way everlasting.  Amen.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

new jerusalem

What is this new heaven and new earth you are bringing about within me, Lord Jesus? (Rev. 21:1-5) This New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven, or coming up from the depths of my soul, or coming about in my life or ministry, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  Preparing me for her and her for me, until the time of consummation has arrived.  For you, O Lord, are always making all things new, even me.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

it's not about me

When I finally begin to understand that life is not about me, then maybe, just maybe, I will begin to finally make some progress in the spiritual life.  Only then will I start being the person God made me to be—someone meant to reflect his glory and embody his love, rather than being consumed with myself.  For in the kingdom of God, we find our lives by losing them.

“Don’t get consumed spinning around in your own little story,” Jesus is telling us, “but get swept up into the grand narrative of all that God is doing in time and eternity. As long as life is about you, you’re going to live such a tiny, limited, miserable existence, and I am inviting you to so much more than that.  I am inviting you into a life so much bigger and so much more beautiful and more noble than you could imagine.  Don’t miss it.”

Forgive me, Lord Jesus, when I somehow become convinced that life is more about me, than it is about you.  Help me, this day, to learn what it means "to lose my life, in order that I may find it."  Amen.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

be still

“Keep moving,”
My fears keep telling me,
“For you are only as valuable
As the last thing you’ve done.”

But from deep within
I hear your voice saying,
“No, my beloved,
Be still and know that I am God.
Your value and worth
Can never be achieved,
They can only be bestowed.”

Friday, September 17, 2021


when i am still
i meet the loneliness
that lies within
and i let it scare me away
from the beautiful invitation
that silence has to offer

for on the other side
of the darkness and fear
lies both light and life
the stillness but a doorway
into a what i most deeply desire
a life lived in you

but only if i dare
to not stop short of it

Wednesday, September 15, 2021


“Overwork makes for restless sleep.  Overtalk shows you up as a fool.” (Ecclesiastes 5:3, MSG)

Leave it up to us to turn a vice into something praiseworthy.  Deep inside our broken and dysfunctional hearts, we carry a secret pride—although we never would admit it—in our overwork.  In our hidden places, we think of it as something noble and heroic.  In fact, we tend to wear it like a merit badge. 

Yet, truth be told, overwork always comes down to two things—fear and insecurity.  Either we don’t think God can do it without us (whatever it may be), or we’re terrified that he will.  And I’m not really sure which is worse.

Our tendency to overwork is an addiction of the highest degree.  It comes from a desperate need to prove to ourselves and our world—and even our God—that we are worth loving.  It comes from an attempt to make our name great, rather making His name great.  It comes from our propensity to try and make ourselves bigger, rather than smaller.  And, in the process, it robs us of life and health, joy and peace.  It leaves us so worn down and burnt out that we have nothing of substance to offer those to whom God has entrusted to our care.

Maybe it’s time to “work smarter, not harder.”  Maybe it’s time to really trust God the way we say we do.  Maybe it’s time to allow him to direct our steps and order our days.  Maybe it’s time that our lives became about his kingdom and his glory, rather than our own.  And it all starts with coming first to him.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

sharpen the ax

“Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade.  That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10, NLT)

Sometimes the most godly thing we can do is just take a day off; to take some time away to renew and restore and recharge—to sharpen the ax so that we can be more fruitful and effective in the work God has given us to do.

But, for some reason, we resist and refuse rest.  Could it be that somewhere along the line we have convinced ourselves that everything actually depends on us?  Breaking that mentality is a very difficult thing to do because it requires a healthy dose of humility.  And humility is not something we are drawn to.  Humility involves becoming smaller, and most of our time and energy is devoted to becoming larger.  Humility requires us to admit, or come to terms with the fact, that it does not, in fact, depend on us at all, but on God.

The sick part is that somehow we really want it to depend on us.  Maybe that’s what keeps us from rest in the first place.  For there is a terrible fear that goes along with being unnecessary.  And, unfortunately, making ourselves more necessary than we really are is one of the primary occupations and temptations of the life of ministry.

O Lord, forgive me when I refuse to stop and rest.  Forgive me when I have made myself so important that I have allowed the blade of my soul to grow so dull that it is simply not fit for the life of ministry you have called me to.  Teach me what it means, O Lord, to sharpen the ax.  Not only for my sake, but for the sake of your kingdom and your work.  Amen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

i don't need a thing

“God, my shepherd!  I don’t need a thing.” (Psalm 23:1, MSG)

If our deepest needs for love and impact are not being met in Jesus, we will try to have them met elsewhere.  And when we need the very people we are called to love and serve, it’s a recipe for disaster.  Only prayer can free us from the need to be needed.

Free me, O God, from the need to impress and achieve and perform.  Free me from the need for applause and affirmation and response.  Free me to love and serve, rather than to demand and manipulate.  Help me to live my life from a place of love, rather than a place of need.  I can only do this in you.  Amen.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

we are free

galatians 5:1

our problem
is not that
we're not free

it’s that we
don’t know how
to stand firm
in the freedom
that is already
ours in Christ