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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 ...

Sunday, September 25, 2022

waiting and trusting

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me up out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)

The connection between waiting and trusting is an undeniable one.  In fact, it is impossible to wait for the Lord, much less wait patiently for him, if we do not trust him.  Quite often, our biggest excuse for not waiting for the Lord is that we do not have enough patience to do so, but our ability to wait, or our lack thereof, is not as much about patience as it is about trust.  Our ability, or willingness, to wait is directly proportional to our level of trust.  If we do not truly believe that God's heart toward us is good and that he will take care of us, then waiting becomes impossible, because we will always be busy trying to arrange and control our lives and our circumstances.  Thus, if we cannot, or will not, wait for the Lord, then we do not have a patience problem, we have a trust problem.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

wait for the Lord

Wait for the Lord
does not mean
wait until you get
your desired result
or wait until
your circumstances
change for the better
or wait until
takes place
it simply means
Wait for the Lord

for in the waiting
there is a becoming
that could happen
in no other way
so stop straining
and start waiting

Saturday, September 10, 2022

how to hear God's voice

Slow down
Shut up
Be still

I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (Psalm 131:2)

Thursday, September 8, 2022

ulterior motives

“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48) 

It’s sad how often I come to Jesus with ulterior motives.  And it’s comical to think that somehow, I’ve convinced myself that he doesn’t see right through it.  And yet, like Judas, he loves me anyway.  Amazing Love!  How can it be?

Lord Jesus, you kiss us with the kiss of divine affection, and yet we kiss you with a kiss of betrayal or manipulation or demand.  Forgive us.  Help us to give you the love and adoration you deserve, this day and every day.  Amen.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

let him kiss me

“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” (Song of Songs 1:2)

There is a big difference between kissing someone and being kissed by them.  One expresses my desire for intimacy and affection, and the other expresses the desire and delight of the One who loves me.  It feels really good to be desired, doesn’t it?  It does something beautiful in us.  That’s why I’m so glad that this line of poetry from the Scriptures is worded the way it is: “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth.”  For in this Divine Romance, he is the active one, not me.   He is the initiator; I am the recipient.  He is the pursuer; I am the pursued.  He is the lover; I am the beloved. All I can do is open myself up to his passion and his embrace, which requires a beautiful vulnerability. 

So, kiss me with the kisses of your mouth, O Lord, and give me the courage and the passion to receive them.

Friday, September 2, 2022

speed kills

“Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” (Proverbs 19:2, ESV) He who hurries his footsteps errs. (Proverbs 19:2, NASB) Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes. (Proverbs 19:2, NLT).

Who, or what, determines the direction you go each day?  And who, or what, determines the pace at which you go that direction?  These are big questions, but questions, I’m afraid, that we spend far too little time reflecting upon.  Somehow, we have bought into the lie that bigger and more and faster are better.  We have gotten so caught up in trying to do everything, that we actually accomplish nothing of eternal significance.  The most important things, and processes, in life cannot be rushed.  They cannot be manufactured; they can only be grown over time.  If we want to know God deeply and well, it is just going to take time.  “A long obedience in the same direction,” as Eugene Peterson so beautifully stated. 

Simply put, hurry is the enemy of spiritual life.  When asked what someone must do to have a relationship with God that is vibrant and fruitful and alive, Dallas Willard once said, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.”  Or, as the psychologist Carl Jung once put it: “Hurry isn’t of the devil, hurry is the devil.” 

In other words, speed kills.  Speed breaks down and burns out.  Speed is reckless and sloppy.  Speed keeps us from being able to see what we need to see and hear what we need to hear.  It keeps us from being able to notice and pay attention.  Speed makes us miss the point; it keeps us from being able to enter into what God is doing, both within us and around us.  Ultimately, speed is all about us, and not about God.  If we do not watch our speed, eventually we will end up in big trouble.

Jesus, though he did so much, was never in a hurry.  That is why he was able to enter into conversations with people even though he was being pulled in a million directions.  He let the Father determine what he did and did not do, who he did and did not spend time with.  It wasn’t determined out his own of need—or theirs, for that matter—but out of the larger purposes and direction of the Father. 

That’s why he was able to stop in the middle of a crowded street to hear the story of a nameless, bleeding woman, even though he was in route to heal a dying little girl.  That’s why he was able to wait four days after he heard his friend Lazarus was on his deathbed.  That’s how he could show up at a pool filled with hundreds of desperately needy people and only heal one of them.  That’s how he had time to go through Samaria to have a long conversation with a woman at a well, who no one else in her town would talk to.  That’s how he could respond to his disciple’s statement that “everyone in town is looking for you” with the statement, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come.”  That’s why he could wait until the fourth watch of the night to go out to the disciples on the raging sea.  And I could go on and on.

Jesus did not allow hurry to take his life captive.  And neither should we.  If we want to have any hope of being his presence and his hands and his voice in this dark and desperate world. It will be because we took the time to be with him, and listen to him, first.  And if we never slow down, that is not possible.

Slow us down, O God, so that we can do the work you have given us to do, and not merely our own.  Amen.