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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 ...

Saturday, July 30, 2022

the bizarro world

The Psalm 131 I know and love: “My heart is not lifted up, O Lord, my eyes are not raised too high.  I do not occupy myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.  But I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.  O Israel, put your hope in the Lord now and forevermore.”

The Psalm 131 I usually see: “Look how hard I try, O Lord, to do awesome things and make everyone think I’m awesome—for you, of course (wink, wink).  If anything great and marvelous is going to happen, I must be a part of it.  I am a driven workaholic, and proud of it.  So I keep running and I keep pushing because everything will fall apart if I don't.  O God, aren’t you glad I’m around to do your work for you?  Lucky you!”

To truly follow Jesus, I must lay down my pride, my agenda, my opinion, my need to be right, and my sense of indispensability.  I must let go of my need to be needed and my desire to be applauded.  After all, is trying to be liked by everyone really kindness at all, or just needy manipulation in a clever disguise—self-love?

Still and quiet my soul, O Lord, and wean me of all that is no you.  Forgive me when I get things backwards and begin to think that this life is all about me, rather than all about you.  Amen.

Friday, July 22, 2022

on his terms

“I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God.  Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19)

We tend to live life on our terms, when life with Jesus is really about living life on his terms—a life of total and complete surrender, not merely using him to make ourselves bigger.   If we are truly following Jesus, we don’t get to determine the nature, content, or direction of our lives, that role belongs exclusively to him.  We can either follow him, or follow ourselves, but we can’t do both.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022


All the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life.  Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung.  I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. (Phil. 3:7-8)

Life with Jesus always challenges our addictions.  It asks us to let go of the things and the patterns and the ways we have grown used to and familiar with, in order to receive something new and beautiful from him.  Most people, in fact, miss the new because they are unwilling to let go of the old. 

Help us, O Lord, to drop any plans and agendas and comforts and preferences that keep us from be fully and completely yours.  Help us to consider them rubbish—dog dung—compared with the surpassing value of knowing you.  For how can I ever expect to be made new, if I am unwilling to let go of the old?    

Saturday, July 16, 2022

why me

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)

Why me, O Lord?  

Why did you choose to lay your hand of love on me?  Why did you give me this amazing life?  Why did you grace me with deep intimacy and love?  Why do you continually draw your mouth close to my ear and whisper words of delight and affection?  Why did you give me this beautiful and loving and incredible woman to share my life and love with?  Why did you give me such wonderful children, and now grandchildren, to love and be loved by?  Why did you bless me with such deep, rich friendships and such vibrant, life-giving ministry over the last 45 years?  

And why on earth do you desire relationship with me in the first place?  Why do you allow me to share your very life?  Why do you choose to actually live your life in and through me?  Why do you allow me the intimacy and the privilege of sharing in your suffering?  Why do you want me to live in ecstatic union with you?  

Why me, O Lord, why me?

Sunday, July 10, 2022

clothe me

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness....” (Isaiah 61:10)

We spend most of our lives trying desperately to look a certain way, in order to convince ourselves and our world that we are actually worth loving.  This “dressing ourselves,” as John so beautifully described it (John 21:18), takes many forms—appearance, performance, possession, etc. 

The problem is that anything we can dress ourselves with—no matter how beautiful or expensive or hard earned—is really nothing more than “filthy rags” or “fig leaves.”  It is merely a covering, a hiding place, camouflaging what really lies underneath.  Thus, we spend our lives living falsely, desperately hoping that we will never be found out.  Needless to say, living this way is utterly exhausting.

The beauty of the gospel, however, is that we do not have to dress ourselves; God offers to do it for us.  All we have to do is take off all of the falseness and pretense, stand naked before our God, and allow him to clothe us.  God says, “I will dress you.  Let me clothe you in the garments of salvation and a robe of righteousness; they fit you perfectly.  They make you who you were created to be.  Thus, when you allow me to dress you, instead of constantly trying to dress yourself, it will result in you living a life of joy and delight, rather than a life of fear and shame.”

Forgive me, O Lord, for always trying to dress myself.  Forgive me for trying to make people believe that I am something more than I really am, which really makes me less.  So much less.  Forgive me for all of the ways I pretend and posture and project.  Help me, O Lord, to have the courage to stop dressing myself and allow you to dress me.  Clothe me, O Lord.  Amen.

Friday, July 8, 2022


“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is make perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

“My grace is sufficient for you.  It really is.  Whatever you are going through, whatever burden you are carrying, whatever situation you are struggling with, whatever thing you cannot fix.  Whatever uncertainty you are facing, whatever battle you are fighting, whatever challenge is before you.  Whatever demon you can’t conquer, whatever pattern you can’t break, whatever hole you have dug for yourself, there is always hope because my grace is sufficient for you.  I can take your weakness and your powerlessness and your brokenness and your vulnerability and display my power.  Trust me.” ~Jesus 

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

survival mode

psalm 90:12

when our goal
is simply survival
we have missed
the point of life

we have settled
for much less
than the life
God wants with us

we have allowed
our fears and
our agendas and
the expectations
others have put upon us
to determine our course
the tail has officially
begun to wag the dog

for no matter
how it feels
there is a choice
a choice to live
and grow
and thrive
and flourish
rather than simply
tread water