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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, January 29, 2023

first love

“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.  Yet I hold this against you: You have left your first love.” (Rev. 2:2-4)

“You have substituted busyness for intimacy.  You have confused being busy for me, with being in love with me, and that makes me really sad.”

Sing your song of love deeply and tenderly into my heart and soul this day, O Lord.  Draw me into your divine embrace and seize me with the power of your great affection.  Lord Jesus, may you always be my first love; may you always be my first and truest affection.  May my life always be an overflow of your divine love.  Amen.

Friday, January 27, 2023

too busy

“After six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.  There he was transfigured before them.” (Mark 9:2)

Nowadays, it seems like the biggest enemy of encountering Jesus and seeing his glory is incessant busyness.  Sadly, this is particularly true of those in ministry.  And why not?  After all, we are working for kingdom purposes here, right?  Well, maybe...and maybe not.  Sometimes our unbridled busyness has more to do with us—our egos, our need to be needed, our perceived indispensibilty, and our insecurity—than it does to do with Jesus.

The problem is that if we never encounter Jesus ourselves, how can we ever hope that those under our care will?  We must relentlessly make time and space in our lives for ongoing encounter with Jesus.  But the sad truth is that all too often we fail to see the glory of Jesus, simply because we are too busy to follow him up the mountain.

Lord Jesus, free us from the addiction of busyness.  Help us to never love the things we do for God, more than we love the God we do them for.  Help us to never get too busy to follow you up the mountain.  Amen.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

left alone

“So Jacob was left alone and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” (Gen. 32:24)  

Community is a beautiful and necessary thing, but it is the nature of life with God that some battles must be waged alone.  Especially battles of identity.  Because as nice as it is to have people around you, encouraging you in the fight, we often use those very people, and that very encouragement, to fortify the false self.

Jacob had to be left alone, because God was going to strip away every bit of false from him, so that he could be exactly who and what God made him to be.  All of the props needed to be removed, until it was just Jacob, vulnerable and naked before God.  You see, the battle of identity requires a stripping away of all the ways we feed the beast of the false self.  And the only way to kill it is to cut off its food supply.

God was about to give Jacob a new name, a true identity, but first he had to wrestle away all that was false.  And Jacob must have known this, because once the wrestling began, he refused to let go until the process was complete.  Only then he was able to walk away—or limp away—a new man.  He was no longer Jacob, he was now Israel, because he had struggled with God and with men and had overcome. 

But in order for this transformation to take place, he first had to be left alone.  I, for one, am grateful for his courage.  I am afraid enough to cut myself off from all of the things and the voices that feed the false within me, let alone to be wrestled down to what is really true.  O Lord, give me the courage and the strength and the grace enter into that transformative space with you…alone. 

Monday, January 23, 2023


“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.” (Genesis 28:16)

How often have I had eyes but failed to see and ears but failed to hear?  How often has God come to me with a dream, or a vision, or a word, and I was too preoccupied to notice?  How often has he tried to give me a gift, but I was too busy to receive it?  How often has he tried to show me something glorious and I was too consumed to pay attention? 

Surely, O Lord, you were in this place, and I did not know it.  Please forgive me. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

leaving the crowd behind

"That day, when evening came, 
he said to his disciples, 
‘Let us go over to the other side.’ 
Leaving the crowd behind, 
they took him along, 
just as he was, 
in the boat.” 
(Mark 4:35-36)


i love that Jesus never seemed 
to have any trouble 
leaving the crowd behind 
i wish i could say the same

Monday, January 9, 2023

it's not about me

“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.” (Mark 1:2)

There is a huge difference between preparing the way and getting in the way.  Luckily, John the Baptist understood that.  Me, not so much.  

I tend to have a hard time remembering that this life is about him, not about me.  My role is to prepare the way for him, not vice versa.  I am not the way; I am just called to help prepare the way.  In fact, my main job is to stay out of the way.  Unfortunately, however, I do somehow manage to get in the way more often than I would care to admit.  I start inserting myself into settings and situations out of my own need and insecurity, and things just go south from there.  It is a sad day when I try to take up all of the room that was meant for him.  Maybe one day I will learn.  A man can dream, right?