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November 2017

Burn the Ships if It Is Worth the Risk!


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There are two roads to life. They have many expressions and characteristics, but I want to focus today on one dimension of choice: Playing it safe or risking everything.

Most people agree that “stupid risks,” those made in a stupor of pleasure seeking irrationality, are worthless and possibly evil. That is because they have no meaning, purpose, or long-term advantage. 

Risking what is not yours to risk is likewise beyond any redemptive purpose. There is no honor is taking three drinks, getting in a car without buckling one’s seat belt, and driving 110 miles per hour down the road against oncoming traffic.

There are no monuments to men who caused multiple fatalities in 100 car pile-ups because they were brave enough to take a risk.

When Jesus says that we must deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him, He is calling us to live sacrificially, redemptively, and adventurously for a purpose.

That is why He so strongly utters these words in Matthew 16:24-26:

“ 24Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?”

We can lose life by clinging to it.

William Barclay said, “The man who plays for safety loses life.”

There was a very cautious man

Who never laughed or played,’

He never risked, he never tried.

He never sang or prayed.

 And when he one day passed away,

His insurance was denied.

For since he never really lived

They claimed he never died.

- Anonymous (quoted by John Maxwell)

 Irrational clinging to what we think is life is as without merit as throwing it away needlessly and foolishly.

We fail to move forward and conquer what lies ahead.

Julius Caesar landed in England about 2000 years ago to conquer the Celts, numbering about a half million with 50,000 Roman warriors. His men were not fully committed and many would have retreated given the opportunity and overwhelming odds that lay ahead. So Julius Caesar burned the ships.

The Romans stayed, conquered, and established a long-term Roman presence and permanent influence in England.

In  1519, Cortez did the same thing off the coast of what is now Veracruz. Now, all of South America speaks Spanish.

In the book of Exodus, the children of Israel were tempted to return to slavery rather than face the hardships of the desert. 40 years later they entered the promised land and well over 3000 years later we have a nation called Israel, a people called Jews, and a heritage that brought our Savior into the world.

Jesus went before us and gave us the gift of assurance after His death that life can extend beyond the grave. Because He died and rose again and gave His disciples 40 days of constant contact to verify it, They bore witness to it and we have the biblical record today.

And we have the Holy Spirit within us.

Yet, following Jesus is risky.

John the Baptist was imprisoned in a dungeon, dark and cold. He had been the first to identify Jesus as the Lamb of God, but in that dank place, he doubted and sent word to that he needed reassurance. "Are you the One or do we look for another?"

Jesus met him in the darkness and reassured him.

Sometimes we cry out to God from dungeons of despair. As we wait for an answer, we keep on keeping on.

C.S. Lewis gave us a great gift in the fantasy land of Narnia with the Christ-figure, Aslan to point us to truth that even emerges in fiction.

In “The Silver Chair,” by C.S. Lewis, one of the characters says.”I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I am going to live like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.”

We have assurance and hope, but we still need faith and we must decide to exercise it and live by it.

We can win by losing.

That is Jesus’ message.

Whoever loses his life FOR HIM will find it. One might also say that losing one’s life IN Him means finding it … not just for now, but for eternity.

After ignoring a warning, Homer’s  hero, Odysseus and his men launch their ships on a voyage that is certain to end in doom. They had no experience with losing, but this day would be different as they crashed between some unmovable rocks in a harsh current. While his ship and all his men are being sucked into the sea by a whirlpool, Odysseus is somehow propelled upward and grabs hold of a fig tree on one of the crags nearby. He was washed ashore on the island of the enchanting Calypso, a strange and powerful woman who compelled him to remain as her lover for seven years before escaping.

Then, his journey continues … but first he had to be stripped bare of everything upon which he falsely depended. All he had left was who he was … his character.

Sometimes we have to shed our false dependencies.

Stalin is said to have taught his Communist operatives, during the Cold War, to think of themselves as dead men on furlough. As long as they thought of themselves that way, they would have nothing to lose.

Jesus teaches us to think of ourselves as men and women who cannot ultimately die and whose final outcome is victory, and who will see the His glory.

It is a pretty good trade-off.

So it worth the risk?



Share the Air

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Air or DespAIR?

"Where there is despair, [let me sow] hope." - Prayer of St Francis

Oh God, there is so much despair in the world.
Desp-AIR, taking the wind out of our sails, the bounce from our steps,
The rhythm from our souls.
Airless we gasp for something to breath ...
Let us breath in hope, Oh God of hope.
Let us, then, breathe it out into the world where we all ...
Share the air!
And out of despair, repair our own resolve to live ...
One more day,
And then another and another until ...
You take away our breath and ...
Breathless, we stand before you.
This is our hope eternal,
Eternal God.



Tom Awake

Being awake is more than a condition, it is a command for living.

So, I am musing over it "acroymically."

A=ATTENTION - I've heard this as a command as you have. It usually sounds like a short "a" with a dramatic "TEN," followed by a profound "HUT!" It means, "Come to a state of attention mentally, spiritually, and physically." Only then do we begin to awaken.

W=WATCH - Sometimes awakening just means watching for what is next. We awaken with a sense of wonder and "not knowing" about the day. This morning, I woke up and spent some time in a morning "watch" as I considered the day, prayed, and meditated.

A=ADJUSTMENTS - We begin to adjust our thinking, schedules, and even muscles (translation - STRETCH) as we prepare to be awake for a day of opportunity and productivity.

K=KNOWLEDGE - We need it. We need more of it. We need to gather it, assimilate it, and use it. If we are truly awake, we will be growing in knowledge. If we grow in knowledge, it will help to keep us awake. It is a cycle.

E=Energize. Do it. Drink your green tea; read your bible; pray; listen to some news; pray some more (The news will do that for you); eat a healthy breakfast; exercise; keep praying; work on your to-do list; pray some more (Do you see a pattern here?). Get energized for the day and then, start spending it.

Wake Up!

Thoughts on Psalm 135

The vicious downward cycle of idolatry is that we construct gods in our own image that decay at a rate faster than we do. In worshiping them, we become like them through imitation, complacency, and decay. Then, the next round of idol making is more decadent than the one before and on and on until we are worshiping debauchery, violence, and human ugliness as well as our own self-interests. That is why each generation (and more often than that) of God-fearers, must check in with its roots of faith and with the God who roots faith to renew authenticity and ask hard questions about its forms, rituals, and assumptions. The "old time religion" is what we need --- as long as it is OLD ENOUGH and not just built on the errors of the interim-past.

"The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them."

(Psalm 135:15-18 ESV)

Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.

O house of Israel, bless the LORD!
O house of Aaron, bless the LORD!
O house of Levi, bless the LORD!
You who fear the LORD, bless the LORD!
Blessed be the LORD from Zion,
he who dwells in Jerusalem!
Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 135:18-21 ESV)

The Moral of the Story

"'Tut, tut child,'" said the Duchess. 'Everythings got a moral if only you can find it.'" Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland


We are not all stuck in a Carollian Wonderland.

Or are we?

We are all observers of the stories of others as they intersect with and pass by our own.

There are thousands of stories within our reach and somehow, one big story comprised of layers and strands of weaving themes.


And everything has a moral ...

IF you can find it.

Today, as I live, part of and outside of the hectic hubbub of harried, hurried masses, I am looking for the moral of the story.

I want to hear the music and sing along.

I am searching for the meaning, anchored to the greater meaning thaqt anchors me, I want to hear the Message.

I do not believe that the Author and Composer orchestrates every event; He invites us to participate as co-authors in that process. However, I do believe He orchestrates the symphony of meaning that emerges from the dissonance of our bleating attempts to find the right notes and join the rhythmic pulse of the ensemble.

He makes it beautiful and weaves it into the eternal story that we might find the moral of the most mudane.

If I can find it!

I shall consult my composer/conductor who, like every conductor for whom I have ever sung, keeps reminding me not to keep my nose buried in the score with these words, often shouted ...


TODAY = Time, Opportunity, Definition, Action, and YES!


Image result for todayJust an acronym for TODAY:

TIME - Today is certainly a matter of timing. It is now, the time you are in, the only time you can be sure you have. Use it or abuse it; it is what it is.

OPPORUNITY - There are opportunities today that did not exist yesterday and may not exist tomorrow. Will you embrace them or let them pass? What will you do about them? We are well into today. Decisions must be made. Make them now and follow through.

DEFINITION - TODAY is easily defined. Everyone knows what it is. It needs no explanation. If I say I will do something today, it means before midnight. Tomorrow is another matter. What will you do today? It is a matter of integrity to DO what you say you will do within this well defined moment in time.

ACTION - Attitudes drive actions, but actions reveal our real attitudes. Now is the time to decide on a course of action that will drive you to the next level of movement toward your objectives.

YES! Say , no shout YES to your hopes, dreams, and challenges today. Embrace today and squeeze every ounce of life out of it that there is. Then rest tonight and rise for a new day tomorrow!

How to Sing to God


“Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.” – Psalm 33:3

There are three things that God reminds us of today that He would like for us to offer Him in worship.

The first is newness. He wants a new song.

Now an old song can be a new song if it is fresh and quickened by new awareness of God Himself or of some spiritual insight that has captured our hearts. He is not interested in innovation; He is concerned that we are being born anew in every act of worship toward Him.

He wants us to come to Him today with the same sense of wonder as when we first knew Him.

The second thing is He wants us to play skillfully. That means He wants the best we can offer.

God is not impressed with mediocrity when we can do better. He is not enamored with improvisation when it substitutes for preparation. He loves spontaneity, but He also loves and desires our full engagement of all our abilities and senses in truly worshipping Him as One who is worthy of the best we can offer.

The third thing is volume. That does not mean being loud for the sake of being loud. Nor does it mean fake volume of the sort that can be artificially produced by turning up the dial of our amplification systems.

It means engagement of the whole instrument in praise whether that is a piano, harp, guitar, or vocal mechanism. If we sing, we are called to sing with our whole bodies and souls.

It is for God and it is to God. Let us hold back nothing.


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"To climb steep hills ... requires slow pace at first." - Shakespeare

The bard was right. Climbing is difficult and arduous, but it is the only way up.

Whether we climb quickly or slowly, it is a process. As Jonathan rallied his armor bearer to climb the mountain and to take on the Philistines, so we have hazardous climbs ahead of us. It is good to know when to climb and how to climb.

Just thinking about climbing and recalling both painful and exhilarating moments in the process, I wondered if an acronym might emerge.

C - Constant clarity and consciousneess of a calling to a higher purposeand the courage to complete the journey - These are the "c"s that seize us for the climb. Perhaps CLARITY and COURAGE are the key "c"s. We must know where we are going and be willing to pay the price to get there. This is where we start and is where we mist stay connected.

L - We need to be liberated from all that holds us down. The liberty to pursue our dreams is vital to our ability to climb higher. We have to loosen our loads and lose our unnecessary burdens before we are free to climb. Assess what is necessary and what is adjunct. Lose the adjunct baggage and lighten yourself for the journey.

I - We must be inspired. Inspiration is as necessary as respiration. It means "spirit within." We must breath in life and breath out all that is not life. God is the ultimate source of our inspiration because it is He who first breathed into us the breath (wind, spirit) of life when we became living souls or persons. Hope inspires. Feed your mind, heart, and spirit constantly with ideas and spiritual food that inspires because after the I comes the M:

M - Mundane monotony is in your future if you choose to climb higher. That is hard because climbers are ofter people whose minds are very busy and whose hearts gravitate toward fresh ideas and new challenges. A commitment to persevere through the boredom of putting one foot in front of the other will move us closer to our goals. Monotony is, sadly, a key word. There will be much adventure, variety, creativity, and room for self-expression along the climb, but there will also be some sheer drudgery. Endure it and keep climbing.

B - Be encouraged to be the best at climbing. Be busy. Bbold. Bbrazen without being rude or cruel. Some will always think you to be out-of-line and audacious when you openly attempt great things. Ignore the criticism and opinions of others when that drag you down and BE who you are and who God has called you to be. Get used to the fact that you will be thought odd and worse. You have been fashioned for a purpose. Be willing to invent your own life with God's guidance and to live it.

C = Clarity & Courage; L= Liberty; I = Inspiration; M = Monotony; B = Be

Keep Climbing!

Still Thankful

I am grateful today and thus I humbly pray.
This latitude of gratitude capacity endued
Shall follow on my way, post Thanksgiving Day.
Throughout this time of sublime reminder,
May the God of grace make me kinder, gentler,
Giddy in the belly, curious, reflective,
Welling with wonder and swelling with appreciation.
And not just today, yea, e-very-day, singing,
Bringing thanks, appreciating what God is creating
In me ... in you ... in His unfolding purpose
For all He has made and allowed to discover itself
And Himself.
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Leaning In

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"By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped, leaning on top of his staff." - Hebrews 11:21 (NKJV)

He worshiped, leaning ...

Faith, in itself, is a kind of leaning. Blessing others, we lean into them. Proclaiming the blessing as if already accomplished, is a leaning into the future with faith. Worshiping is leaning into God.

"Leaning on the everlasting arms," we need a bit of support. Jacob had a staff.

It worked, but still, he was dying.

But aren't we? We live with dying and we die with living.

Jacob chose faith in his dying days, he envisioned a future, and he fell upon his staff and found God supporting him. Thus he worshiped.

I am not exactly sure how this day will unfold, but I am leaning toward a faith that shall not falter with faith that cannot fail because it leans forward on a Father who receives my faith as an expression of worship.

The Secret of Endurance

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The secret of endurance as discovered by Moses ...

"he endured as seeing Him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27b, NKJV) 

Seeing the invisible God. It really goes to the heart of faith for people of faith. We deal in that realm that an outsider might legitimately view as subjective ... and yet we see.

All people of vision, whether people of faith or not, see things that others do not see.

Some see the future. Some see possibilities. Some see realities too small or far away for the naked eye to surround.

If it can be captured and perceived through the optical nerves, it may not be faith and it may not be enough to produce endurance.

If it requires a leap into the uncharted unknown, one has lengthened the distance of vision and shortened the gap between what is and what can be through the Eyes of the One Who Is.



What Is Speaking Truth to Power?

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"A phrase coined by the Quakers during in the mid-1950s. It was a call for the United States to stand firm against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism ..." -

What is speaking truth to power? And what are the characteristics of it and the people doing it?

It is always non-partisan even though we all have our own affiliations.

It sometimes means criticizing your own candidate.

It is about accountability and people who speak truth to power know that the people are the authorities to which elected servants must answer.

It does not calculate, but it does negotiate.

It does not equivocate, but it does recognize that we live in a broken world with broken people.

It recognizes that God uses broken things and people. Therefore, we pray for hearts to turn and lives to change.

It praises the good things opponents do and encourages them to do more of the same.

It is usually dangerous and often decisive, but it seeks neither decisiveness not frivolous danger. It aims toward reconciliation.

It stands with the oppressed, disenfranchised, and unpopular people.

It makes us unpopular, but if we are consistent and truthful, we will be heard. We will make friends with our opponents because, out of respectful dialogue may common solutions.

It need not be rude or disrespectful. It may require civil resistance and disobedience to unjust laws, but those resisting will not seek the harm of others and will not resist the consequences of their stands for righteousness.

It listens to other voices.

It is rooted in love.

It aims for love.

It is bathed in hope. It is difficult to sustain despair. We believe that change is possible.

It is our calling as citizens and as followers of Jesus.

Listen to this!

Moral courage is a rare commodity!



How Do I Get Blog Ideas?


Woe works
It is a good question: Where do the ideas come from.

Before you answer ...

    ... and before I answer ...

            ... I acknowledge that there is no one nor easy answer.

But some come from social media.

Some come from conversation.

Some come from interesting sounding combinations of words like ...

    "Some Come."

Others come by accident in the middle of a conversation like one a few minutes ago.

It was a combination typographical error and candid observation, but it came to ...

"Woe Works When Wow Won't."

I meant to respond, "Wow," but posted, "Woe."

But it worked I would love to write about it, but I have to think first ...

... and thinking is never a particularly easy task.

Thank You


So much to be thankful for
Thank you.

Thank you for the capacity to recognize that I did not get here alone.

Nor will I stay here on my own.

Nor do I wish to be alone.

But, alone with you, I find refreshment in my soul.

Thank you for the alone times that draw me out of myself toward others.

Thank you for the people who surround me with hope and promise.

Thank you for precious stones, promising seeds, and profound sentiments.

Thank you for the gift of wonder, the grief of waiting, the grace of all your ways.

Thank you for food and fulfillment and the hunger that causes me to appreciate them more.

Thank you for the slight pains I have endured on the path to healing that i might know your healing mercies.

Thank you for the hope that has always kept my eyes open for possibilities in the midst of despair.

Thank you for always providing, even when it was not on my schedule.

Thank you for a family that has grown into a community and is more than I deserve.

Thank you for a community that has grown into a family and is also more than I deserve.

Thank you for friends in real time and cyber time whose words and thoughts challenge and inspire me.

Thank you for the gift of words. Teach me to use them with gratitude and grace.

Thank you for a reason to get out of bed this morning.

Thank you for rest and for this day of rest.

Thank you for things to do and places to go and people to see.

Thank you that I may, from time to time, retreat from these activities.

Thank you for moments with you and for your listening ear, but also, your voice that speaks to my very heart.

Thank you for the bible. It has been one of the greatest treasures of my life and never grows old to me.

Thank you for the church, flawed as she is and yet, always lovely, always a home for me wherever I go.

Thank you for pastors who have been my brothers, and sometimes my sisters for so many years.

Thank you for parents and grandparents who helped to make me, guided me, loved me, and expected the best of me.

Thank you for a wife who has been an example to me, a rock, a reason, and a best friend for so many years.

I thank you for my sons and my grandchildren and their families, extended and creative.

Thank you for the tea I have been sipping and the honey that has sweetened it.

Thank you for renewed health. I am younger today than I was ten years ago. Anyone still reading this can scratch their heads at that.

Thank you for the warm socks on my feet and the clothes on my body ...

For this very computer upon which to type my prayer that is truly for you, but also a call to prayer for anyone who wishes to read.

This is my closet, but you are welcome. I pray that this will not be one of those long prayers on the corner designed to impress that Jesus warned us about.

But I am openly grateful, Lord and could and will go on and on and on all day.

I have nothing that you have not given me in some way.

Even what it seems I have acquired is because you gave me the gifts I have and placed me in the right places with the right people at the right times to exercise them.

I have a head full of hair, albeit thin, a body full of energy, a mind full of thoughts and ideas, a heart full of love and joy, and enough challenges and irritations to keep me from ever getting complacent.

And thank you. You have given me a mission and a ministry and a passion to serve and a heart that breaks for the brokenness of the world with renewed energy to do something about it.

Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me new life. For your great sacrifice, I thank you. For calling me to serve, i am grateful and humbled.

Thank you that you are teaching me even now how to pray and how to give thanks and I offer these thanksgivings to you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Let Us Give Thanks

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Let us give thanks!
Let us give and in giving, let us be thankful.
Let us be thankful, and in our thanks, give.
May we hold all that we hold with a loos grip and
In and open hand.
May we walk through life, light loaded and love lifted.
Giving and thanking and loving and laughing and living.



Waves sweeping,
Ship sinking,
Footholds giving way,
Still the music plays.
Resistance tempers strings,
Prompts the resonating vibrations.
Art without pain,
Music without suffering,
Oxymoronic monotonic
Titanic dangers surround the emerging sound
Of sweet assurance ...
Nearer, my God, to Thee.

Dreaming and Living

Death is natural. Some things should die. All things shall die. But that which dreams is still alive.

If there is even a flicker of a dream, fan it to a flame. As long as you are dreaming, you are living. As long as you are living, keep moving.

The Dream Giver is prompting you, step by step, to move in a direction that will surprise and delight.

Never stop.

When it is time to die, the Dream Giver will let you know and take you by the hand to lead you to the that which is next - the Dream that never dies.

The Unveiled Face of God

This is called, "A Prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD."

Surely, many here have had days when the cry sounded something like this, first to be heart, and then to be answered:

" Hear my prayer, O LORD;
let my cry come to you!
Do not hide your face from me
in the day of my distress!
Incline your ear to me;
answer me speedily in the day when I call!"

(Psalm 102:1-2 ESV)

"Do not hide ..."

How do you know that an invisible God who rarely manifests His presence directly and obviously in your life is really hearing and answering? Sometimes it is in the subtleties; often it is in the coincidences; frequently it is in the irrational peace or the unexplained strength and faith that arises in our hearts as we trust and follow.

So often, it is in joy and in the joyful reality of community that becomes the presence of God to us.

We experience God's presence as we brutally pour out our hearts to God in the full range of human emotion, despair, and frustration:

" For my days pass away like smoke,
and my bones burn like a furnace.
My heart is struck down like grass and has withered;
I forget to eat my bread.
Because of my loud groaning
my bones cling to my flesh.
I am like a desert owl of the wilderness,
like an owl of the waste places;
I lie awake;
I am like a lonely sparrow on the housetop.
All the day my enemies taunt me;
those who deride me use my name for a curse.
For I eat ashes like bread
and mingle tears with my drink,
because of your indignation and anger;
for you have taken me up and thrown me down.
My days are like an evening shadow;
I wither away like grass."

(Psalm 102:3-11 ESV)

You know through hope and you know through the acting on feeble faith. This God who regards and hears the prayers of the destitute will not despise your prayers:

"But you, O LORD, are enthroned forever;
you are remembered throughout all generations.
You will arise and have pity on Zion;
it is the time to favor her;
the appointed time has come.
For your servants hold her stones dear
and have pity on her dust.
Nations will fear the name of the LORD,
and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.
For the LORD builds up Zion;
he appears in his glory;
he regards the prayer of the destitute
and does not despise their prayer."

(Psalm 102:12-17 ESV)

This God manifests Himself and, in due season, manifests Himself to you. He appears in His glory, even if only in glimpses and hints, even if only in flashing moments of self-disclosure, He lets you know.

Furthermore, He reveals Himself in worship as one who attends to our prayers and in the words of those who record His deeds and share together, in community, their experiences of grace:

" Let this be recorded for a generation to come,
so that a people yet to be created may praise the LORD:
that he looked down from his holy height;
from heaven the LORD looked at the earth,
to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to set free those who were doomed to die,
that they may declare in Zion the name of the LORD,
and in Jerusalem his praise,
when peoples gather together,
and kingdoms, to worship the LORD."

(Psalm 102:18-22 ESV)

It is our witness of one another of His witness to each of us.

Comparing our notes, we realize that there really are no coincidences.

" He has broken my strength in midcourse;
he has shortened my days.
“O my God,” I say, “take me not away
in the midst of my days—
you whose years endure
throughout all generations!”"

(Psalm 102:23-24 ESV)

He has His ways of bring us to the place where we can experience His grace in healing ways, but they sometimes seem like the breaking of our strength in the middle of our lives. We are moving toward a grand goal and suddenly, we are interrupted.

Perhaps our interruptions are necessary for refocus - at least sometimes ....

But in the meantime, go ahead and register your complaint to God.

Our struggles with faith land on faith. Believers' doubts, fears, and frustrations are real, but they are differentiated from the ordinary because they land on faith. They settle on solid ground. They come to rest where they have always rested in that confidence that simply will not go away, that stubborn trust in the one who upholds all things including our own feeble lives:

" Of old you laid the foundation of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you will remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
but you are the same, and your years have no end.
The children of your servants shall dwell secure;
their offspring shall be established before you."

(Psalm 102:25-28 ESV)




We Have Enough Faith -- We Need to Use What We Have


Let me see if I get this flow correctly from Luke 17:1-10, and follow the implications, the conversation might be something like this:

1) First - Jesus says to avoid sin, never be a stumbling block for others, and seek reconciliation and offer forgiveness as many times as necessary whenever we are offended.

2) Then, the disciples say. "We need more faith for that; give us more faith."

3) Jesus replies, "You have enough faith already; if you used all you had, you have no concept of all you could accomplish; you just need to obey and do as you are told! Then your faith will increase and you will do mighty things."

We need to stop making excuses and start rebuilding reconciled relationships!

The Scriptures from Luke 17:

"And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”"

"The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you."

"“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”"

(Luke 17:1-10 ESV)

Day Prayer

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Lord of this morning,
Light of this day,
Master of the darkness that daily dies,
God of night and light and all that is,
I come ...
Empty handed, I come.
I bring to the morning and the day, nothing,
Nothing, but me ...myself .... my self,
Undone, unfettered, unconditionally empty.
I come.

Our Father ....
My loved one's Father .... Ours ...
Father of my dearest friends and most adamant enemies if I have any ....
Ours ... Father of the nations scattered,
Father of the stranger ...
Ours ....

 Hallowed be Thy Name.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God Almighty. Thy name is Holy.
Thy Name ... vast, uncontainable, unfathomable, yet ...
Revealed to us as "I Am." 
You ARE ... Hallowed be THY NAME.

 Thy Kingdom ... Thy rule .... Thy dominating, liberating, rejuvenating Kingdom of Love, of Life, of Wonder ...
I come. Thy Kingdom Come ...
Come to this house, to this body, to my church, my city, my nation ...
My world. 
WE come, OUR Father ...
Send forth Thy Kingdom in us and through us.

Thy Will, which we know in part, in tiny part, Thy will, perfect and all-knowing will of grace and power, of holiness and kindness,
Thy will be DONE!!!
Start here and now with me, Oh God.
Straighten up my calendar. Schedule my appointments. Prepare my words. Master my thoughts. Guide me in Thy paths. Thy will be done.
On earth ... on the ground upon which we walk as in Heaven.
Heaven! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear hear, neither hath it entered into the heart of man ..." what You have prepared for us who love you.
Heaven! Your will! Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!

 Give us, this day, our daily bread ....
As You have every day of our lives.
Thank you!
And you will again! Thank You!
I trust you. I don't know how you are going to do it ...
And I am not sure when, but You always provide.
Thank you.
And You are OUR Father, so,
So, Dear God ...
Daily bread of healing for my friends who are sick ...
I name them before You...
For those in prison....
In distress....
On the streets ....
Struggling with decisions ...
Burdened with depression ....
Tortured for their faith ...
On battlefields ...
On mission fields .....
Just far afield ....
And those waiting for a word of encouragement ... maybe from me ...
And those waiting to hear the good news of repentance possible in Your Kingdom of turn-rounds ...
And those ...
Lost in a wilderness of ambiguity.
You are our provider.
You provide for Your work and for Your people.
Thank You.

 And lead us not into temptation ....
Not that you would ...
It is a jungle out there and there are many snares.
We need You to handle some of those for us and the rest ...
In us and through us.
People are tripping up all the time, discrediting Your name and work.
I could, God forbid, be one of those.
I am weak and susceptible to temptation.

 Deliver me for Thy Names' sake.
Give us strength and deliver us from evil.
I will not be preoccupied with such. You are my deliverance.
I will not fear for You, Oh Lord are able to ....
Deliver us from evil.

Forgive us. We have wandered into territory that is not ours to traverse. We have crossed lines.
We have trespassed against you.
We have trespassed against others.
They have trespassed against us.
We forgive them.
Forgive us.
Our grip on our sin is loosened.
We hold no hope or revenge in our hands.
We are ready to receive and move on.

 And again I ask ... lead me away from those snares that have snare us in the past ...
Lead us away in the future You have prepared for us ...
And handle any evil that may threaten me.
Thine is the kingdom! It is not mine ...

Except that Your Son has invited me to participate.
Thine is the Power ...
And You have shared much of that with me! 
Thank You! I praise Your Name!
Thine is the Glory!!!!
Glory!!!! Glory!!!! Glory !!!!
And this part amazes me Lord of Amazing things ....
FOREVER .... and ever ... and ever .....

And I pray in the Name of the One who taught me to pray this way ...
And teaches me daily ...
And today ...
In Jesus' Name.

Steps to Stepping Out


Getting ready to be ready is as important as getting ready

Sometimes it is the best you can do.

There are 197 instances of the words, "prepare" and "preparation" in the NIV Bible including this reference to Yahweh's preparation:

"You prepare table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows." (Ps. 23:5)

Mark 14:12 offers us an insight into taking steps toward stepping out when the disciples ask, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

In this case, they were making preparations for a preparation. The Passover was one of the last steps in preparing Jesus for the cross and the finding a location for the meal was a preparation for that.

You will not arrive where you are going in a single leap. Whatever your goals may be, they will be reached systematically and patiently or not at all.

Step back to step forward and begin to take the steps that will lead toward stepping out.

God Is Watching - GOOD!

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People say "God is watching" as if it were a reality from which to recoil in utter dread, as if it were a threat. I do not recoil. I take it as a promise.

I am ever aware that God is watching my every success, failure, strength, and flaw. It causes pauses of reverential fear, but it is of the sort that brings weight and glory to every moment, even the moments of frivolity and folly that come so often.

Grace. Mercy. Peace. These are the comforts and joys of His knowing gaze, watchful eye, and guiding hand. He sees and breathes purpose into my scattered days. I am known. I am loved.

Like the experience of Peter before and after his major failure and denial, Jesus knows all things about me and He knows, even better than I do, that I love Him.

We are bundles of contradictions, but thank God He is watching.

And when I feel utterly unworthy to feed sheep, I remember that.

No One Knows.

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When no one knows; when no one suspects; when there is nothing on your face and your eyes divert the gazes, then, the song arises, a medley of blended songs of sadness and joy, of despair and hope.

No one knows.

If they knew, they could not fully know or understand.

It is present in some untouchable place that touches you deeply and persistently. It resides in the secret place of unspent tears and words that have not fully formed, groans that cannot be uttered.

It is your pain, your passion, and your hope bundled into a package of faith and anticipation and you know exactly what I mean even though I have said it badly.

You know.

God knows ...

... and cares.

From "On This Day" - Random Posts from Earlier Years

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This, I believe, was my last gout attack about seven years ago. Before 2009, I had them fairly regularly. I have had some rough times since then, but few things as intensely painful - and all concentrated in one joint at a time.
If someone tells you that their toe hurts and they hurt all over believe them.
So it is with society and humanity. If there is a pain somewhere, there is a pain everywhere.
We must work together to make a difference

Grow and Keep Growing

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GROW Acronym -- I had to throw together a speech for a parenting class and for a parenting educators a few years ago. Both were graduating. The applications were slightly different as were the illustrations, but the outline was the same. Keep growing. You can't be of much use to anyone, your children or your students, if you are not growing as a person and growing professionally.

Not to grow is to die. When cell division ceases in an organism, death comes quickly.

G - Give. Growers are givers and givers are growers. Some things can only multiply if you give them away.

R - Reach out. As someone said, and I believe it was Ken Blanchard when I heard it, "If you ever see a turtle at the top of a pole and he tells you he got there on his own, he is either lying or he doesn't understand the nature of things, or both." We need others in order to keep moving forward.

O - Overcome Obstacles by allowing them to become Opportunities. This is an old one, but it is so true. The building blocks of your life are the same things that other people use as excuses for not moving forward.

W - Work on it and work at it and work it out!!! Growing is a 4-letter word; WORK. you have to put some energy behind this thing. It will not happen unintentionally or without effort.

I - Intentionally Invest in yourself and the process. That means work too, but also time, resources, sacrifices, and whatever it takes to become the person you were made to be. Growth is costly. We must decide we are willing to pay the price.

N - Negotiate with people. The word literally means "to carry on business." In the broader sense it reminds us that a big part of our personal growth happens as we develop the people skills necessary to work with, learn from, and collaborate with other people. It involves the mindset that enables us to lose some ground in order to gain a lot more ground.

G - Get up and Get Going!!!! This is not just about the future. It is about now! You can't wait for a big inspiration or motivation. You must motivate yourself and there is no better time than the time you see on the clock in front of you. Get on with it!!!!!

Do you have that? Good. Can I throw away the napkin now????

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We cannot love our neighbors as ourselves if we refuse to take the effort to see the world through our neighbors' eyes or try to imagine life in his or her skin.

We cannot love our neighbor without learning to sing the songs of lament and the entire book of Lamentations. We cannot love our neighbor by telling him or her what he or she should be or not be feeling. We cannot love our neighbor without tears. We cannot love our neighbor by having an answer for every word our neighbor speaks in fear or frustration. We love our neighbor more with our ears than our words.

When we do use words, we love our neighbor more by what we speak on behalf of our neighbor than what we say to that neighbor. We cannot love our neighbor by taking our scripts from Job's friends and having all the trite answers organized and ready to spout.

We cannot love our neighbor without working at it and putting aside our own interests and opinions long enough to understand. We cannot love our neighbor while belittling our neighbor.

And ... we cannot love God without loving our neighbor.

προφητεία - Tell It Forth

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Prophecy - προφητεία - is "forth-telling" rather than just "fore-telling."

It is speaking truth forward in proclamation and even in speaking encouragement toward a future reality that is understood through insights that God gives.

It is not clairvoyance or mere prediction. It is laying out a reality and applying a scriptural promise in a setting or to a people who need the a word of hope and promise.

It is an interpretive gift that creates an "aha!" moment in the heart of the hearer who is truly prepared by God to receive the message.

True prophecy begins with what God wants to say to a person, people, or situation, usually flows directly from scripture and always in accordance with scripture, is surgically applied, and is received with recognition. It is not fortune telling and it will not help you win the lottery, but it can encourage a discouraged heart and edify a wounded soul.

The world has always been indifferent and hostile to the values of those who center their core convictions in the prophetic and merciful Word of God. That will continue and so will our mandate to speak truth to power, stand with the oppressed, be misunderstood, be in a minority, and be faithful to truth.

No political system represents us.

We are sojourners, We are peculiar people.

We pray for our leaders and pray with hope that hearts and policies can be shaped by truth. We also must hold every system accountable for justice in unpopular causes and for marginalized people who are mistrusted and hated. Whoever you supported leading up to yesterday, you have a big job ahead if you will truly follow Jesus in the areas of His biases - to pray - act- speak - and sometimes resist. Our King is in the midst and He is King.

"God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
'How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.'"

(Psalm 82:1-4 ESV)

You Know My Folly

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"You, God, know my folly;
my guilt is not hidden from you." - Psalm 69:5, NIV

I do not know your folly. I am not absolutely certain that I know my own.

God knows.

Some may consider this bad news. 

I consider it liberating and the ground upon which grace can build a house of witness in my life and an altar of honest exchange between me and my Maker.

Only secrets can feed a dysfunctional system. None exist between God and me - none of mine and He is revealing Himself to me daily and as much as I can bear. No secrets, no pretense, no enabling of my wrongs.

God knows me and God loves me.

This Lamb is a Lion

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"They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” - Revelation 17:14, NIV


It may seem like a slam-dunk to go to war against a lamb, but this Lamb does not win as we attempt to win.

This Lamb needs no traditional armaments nor alliances.

This Lamb is impervious to the gathering of powers that be and the flexing of their geopolitical muscle.

This Lamb can act quickly and decisively at any time.

This Lamb is a Lion.

I Will Keep On

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"Go and tell that fox ..."

Even in the flesh, Jesus is unperturbed by threats and plots.

He says, "I will keep on doing the good I am doing and I will finish my course."

That is all that is required ... to keep on doing what we have been placed here to do until such a time as our course has finished. 

Neither Herod nor any other external puppet power has any power to alter the course of our lives.

Live with that confidence today.

Keep on.


Bring in the King

Thy kingdom come

"Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."

Come tomorrow ...

Come tomorrow, what if Christians in our nation would make some resolutions like those I humbly and tentatively suggest below?

I can only speak to and for Christians on this matter. People of other faiths and ideologies often have similar ethics, but I am a follower of Jesus and these resolutions flow from my understanding of His directives to His followers.

We shall love, respect, and pray for our leaders whoever they are. We shall obey our laws.

If there is a law that we, in good conscience cannot obey (not just that we don't like it), we shall peacefully and respectfully resist and accept the consequences quietly and humbly.

We shall continue to love our neighbors and let our voices be heard for peace, justice, and a righteous, compassionate society beginning at the local level.

We shall work across the lines of ideology to support common causes and be willing to be distinct and different without disrespecting those with whom we differ.

We shall assume sincere motives in hearts of our opponents as a basis for reasoning with them and cooperating with them whenever possible.

We shall practice our freedom of speech, religion, and every other freedom with the assumption that those freedoms are protected, without fear, and without intimidation. We shall not expect the endorsement of civil authorities or special protections or considerations beyond that which is common to all -- even those who have other beliefs and practices.

If our freedoms of speech and religion are indeed threatened, we shall continue to exercise them no matter what the consequences.

We shall care for and advocate for those who have no voice, for the oppressed, the poor, the broken, and the outcasts.

We shall work for peace on earth and understanding among nations. We know that there shall continue to be wars and rumors of wars in the continuation of human history, but we shall do what we have been commanded to do and work for peace in our time.

We shall be friendly and winsome.

We shall guard our own personal morality and be honest in business, politics, and human relations. We shall seek to set an example of sexual purity, integrity, and fidelity. We shall conduct ourselves in our families and churches in such a way as not to discredit the Kingdom of God.

We will guard our words, temper our speech, practice the Sermon on the Mount, love God, love our neighbor, and pray for people in power as a witness to the words we speak.

We shall continue to confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior and the guide of our lives.

We shall believe in God and in the words of Jesus that He would be with us always as we follow Him and call others to follow and ...

We shall follow, making disciples as we go, teaching them to do what He taught us to to remembering that the essence of what He taught us to do was to love.

We shall continue to pray, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven," believing that if the King has invited us to pray that way, He has a plan to answer our prayer.


Thou Shalt Not Be Rattled

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"Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!"
- Psalm 74:3, ESV

Sometimes it seems hopeless; we feel invaded; conquistadors have entered the sanctuary and dismantled the holy places, desecrating all that is sacred. We complain to God because there is no where else to go. God, though indignant, is not flustered. We find that perplexing and inconceivable. Why is God not in a frenzy of hand-wringing as we are? He is not rattled; He sees beyond it. As we pour out our souls to Him, we will soon be aligned with His perspective and we will see beyond it too.

The "it" will appear different for different folks - depending upon which indignation your heart and mind prioritizes. However, the answer is the same.

God has it under wraps. Our job is to do what we do and follow Jesus into the midst of it and bear witness until He uses us, others, or some circumstance to straighten out the mess.

"Your foes have broared in the midst of your meeting place;
they set up their down signs for signs. "
- Psalm 74:4

The foes of God try to define the things of God and manipulate them for their own purposes.

That is true --- but it is temporary.

We don't like it. We should not like it. But we need not be intimidated not rattled by it.

That is because we keep reading:

"Yet God my King is from of old,
working salvation in the midst of the earth."
- Psalm 74:12, ESV

Thou shalt not be rattled.

Passion on a Shoestring


From "The Shoestring Conspiracy" - Passion

Let's face it. No ministry has enough resources to do everything God has called it to do. Churches are not goldmines. We often have to start small and do ministry on a shoestring. I have a series of chapters I have written on this subject out of experience that I call, " The Shoestring Conspiracy." This is a thought drawn from those files.

Ministry on a shoestring requires an elevated level of commitment. When you are short on resources, you must draw on something else, something deep and limitless. We need all that God supplies in energy, creativity, and subtantive help, but a key source of energy is passion.

Look at Jesus:

" But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd." - Matthew 9:36

Our Lord was energized and resourced by compassion, which is the kind of passion that envelops others who are suffering.

Passion means "suffering" and compassion is "suffering with." As the word has evolved, it calls to mind the kind of energy that emerges from dissatisfaction with things as they are, with the suffering of humanity, the lost condition of people or even anything less than God's best and God's glory anywhere and everywhere.

So, passion energizes us and drives us even when resources are slim.

Passion if the at the root of our energy for ministry. It is that God-given quality that enthuses us with clarity of vision and depth of conviction. Without passion, we whither. With a vibrant passion we can overcome obstacles and rise above our moods. Passion reminds us of our essential purpose and drives us forward. Here is an acronym for PASSION. Some characteristics of passionate people are:

Positive Priorities
Instead of avoidance behavior, people with passion move toward their commitments aligning themselves with those activities that support the causes for which they are passionate. They refuse to get caught up in dead-end activities, fads, or passing outrages. They are constantly plotting the take-over of the dominion of death with the power of life.

Active Attitude Adjustments
Passionate people are constantly adjusting their own attitudes and actively tuning their minds in the direction of their goals and objectives. They shake off irritations and time-draining negativity in order to focus on the changes they are involved in making as God leads and empowers them

There is no faking real passion. It bubbles up from within and is nurtured by our committed actions. It can be captured, nurtured, and expressed in faith, but it must be real. The people of passion must also be real, vulnerable, human, and authentic.

Passionate people can explain their mission to you in a few short sentences. Since it is clear to them, they can make it clear for you. They have not placed qualifiers or limiters on their mission. They can tell you, "We are out to change the world and this is the part of the world we are going to change first and this is how."

People with true God-given passion for ministry know the reality of God breathing His purpose through His Spirit into their lives. The calling is His and they are driven by that knowledge. When they say, "we will," they realize that it is only happening as God works through them. They are inspired and inspire others.

Open-Faced "Outwardness"
Not necessarily extroverts, passionate people love to talk about their mission and cause. It splashes out of their lives and is contagious. Each person is different. Some prefer to talk one-on-one, others before groups, and others through the printed word. But even shy people, when infected with passion, want others to know and to catch the vision.

People with passion are not easily deterred from a mission. It becomes one of the non-negotiable values of their lives. If one thing does not work, they try another. If they fail, they get up and try again. They may get discouraged, but they cannot be defeated. They remember that Jesus promised to build His church so powerfully as a moving force, that that standing static gates of Hades would not be able to withstand her attack. Death cannot stand against life. No lack of anything can limit the ministry of a church or leader with non-negotiable passion. We have a mission. That is a non-negotiable!

How many of you are driven by passion? How many of our churches are passionate about their mission? How many of the members of our churches share the passion of their leaders?

If you are in the spiritual doldrums over a lack of resources, people, finances, leadership, or even spiritual energy, ask God to burn a passion and compassion into your soul that is so uncomfortable that it gets you up and gets you going.

You will be surprised what you can do --- even on a shoestring.

It Is Done




"The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, 'It is done.'" - Revelation 16:17, ESV

There will come a time when "it is done."

All of it will be done.

Lots of us throw up our hands in frustration and declare, "I'm done."

This is a different sort of "done."

What we dream of is a purposeful "doneness."

All wrath is accomplished, for wrath is what happens when resistance meets an unmovable or unstoppable force.

Human stubbornness can and must be broken, but it is not broken easily. Yet, it will be broken ultimately.

The unstoppable force of God is declared in a loud voice and when it is done, it is done.

This word was and is meant as good news for any generation coming against the arrogance of wickedness and oppression. God is the God of getting it DONE!


I Have Already Come


 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  -Revelation 7:14 

 There are two powerful words joined together in the scriptures – two prepositions that together bring us hope in our trials and tribulations: out of.

We catch a glimpse of Heaven and behold the saints, on display as examples of potential victory and ultimate triumph. These are they who have come out of tribulation. You might as well say, “through.”

My wife recently underwent surgery for breast cancer. The next day she was visited by a survivor. While she had already made up her mind to be more than that – even an “overcomer,” the visit was an encouragement. Someone had come out of the struggle, through the difficulties, and over the hurdles. And out of those tribulations, there emerged good.

“I have already come.”

When we hear those words and when we speak those words, we get courage. Whether it is our experience or someone else’s, there is precedent for victory. We affirm again with Paul that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

We draw upon past victories to nurture belief for present and future challenges. We recognize the power of God’s grace in our lives up until this point. We see where we were, what we had to face, and how we emerged and we know that if we have to, we can do it again.

We don’t want to do it again, but we can.

Then we think of the saints around the throne and know that we have really faced such little hardship compared to them. And from there we look to the cross and know that we have not even approached Christ’s suffering. Then we go back to our Bibles and underscore the words, “out of,” and back to our hymnals and highlight the word, “through.”

I have already come.

Let Me Be an Instrument

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It is enough to be instruments.

Peace is the end in itself.



Peace cannot be defined by what it is not.

It is not the absence of conflict. It is more.

It is not the cessation of violence. It is that which creates an atmosphere where violence cannot exist.

Peace is well being, within and without. It is wholeness and holiness.

Peace is what we deeply desire and yet, war against within our souls and in our relationships.

Peace is desiring for others what we most profoundly desire for ourselves - the best and fullest joy and grace. It is desiring it and working for it.

Peace is about something within us before it is about something outside of us.

When peace pervades and God's peace stands sentry over our hearts, something beyond comprehension and description happens and we can become instruments of peace.

Let us sow love.

Let us proclaim pardon.

Let us nurture faith.

Let us speak and act in hope.

Let us be and reflect light.

Let us stimulate genuine joy.

Let us die to all that is death and be born to live to all that is truly life.

I have little use for a culture of anger and fear. I have little patience with bickering and polarization. I have an aversion for political fights, but I understand their place in the process.

Now is the time for men and women of good will to work together toward peace. Now is the time to do what is best by becoming what we were created to be, instruments of peace..

Let there be peace - wholeness, well-being, wisdom, and love.





Seeds and Such

 “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field … He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; “ - (See Matthew 13:24, 37-38)

The sower grabs a handful of seeds and tosses them. He does so generously and in a manner that may seem to some to be indiscriminate. It is called scattering and was a common way of sowing seeds in Jesus’ day. I have planted gardens by placing each individual seed in the ground and covering it carefully. And I have planted grass in the manner described by Jesus.

Don’t be stingy and miserly with God’s seeds. He keeps track of them and knows where each seed falls. He has entrusted them into your hands – first to His Son and now to you. He expects that you will throw them about into the wind without regard for knowing where each one lands. You can not, you need not, you may not. The Son of Man sows good seeds and sends forth His disciples to sow good seeds as well.  He does not require that good seeds fall only among other good seeds.  Not only is that not His way, it is not necessary.  Every seed eventually reveals its own true nature.  That’s what seeds do. 

He knows that some seeds will be lost to unprepared soil. Its OK, there is no shortage of seeds. Perhaps at some other time the soil will be ready. Keep sowing. The implications are double for us. We not only bear in our own lives the fruit of His seed, but we also are called to accept the challenge to be co-laborers in His field.  The call to sow seed requires us to accept the enormity of the challenge, while resting completely in His grace and trusting Him for the fruit.  We may sow freely, liberally, and with joy knowing that there is contained within each of God’s gospel seeds the power to change lives, families, communities, and nations. 

Scatter at will.

Blessing God, Tender Love, and Days as Grass - Selections from Psalm 103

Blessing God

“Bless the Lord, O my soul … and all that is within me …” Psalms 103:1

Audacity and capacity are issues that are triggered by this prayer as it is suggested to us.  It is audacious to think that we could somehow bless God. Yet, He has given us the capacity to be a blessing to His heart.

We bless God when we worship Him. He delights in our praises. He enjoys our singing and our words of adoration. He looks beyond the superficial and relishes our heart devotion as we come to Him.

He is blessed by our love response as we receive His love and return it to Him in obedience, faith, and love for our fellow human beings.

We can bless God with our words, deeds, and emotions, but God is most blessed when our lives are completely engaged in love for Him – loving Him with heart, soul, mind, and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. He is blessed when we remind ourselves to bless Him and we follow through with everything that is within us.

What is within you today? Not all of it is positive, but when you offer it to God, He is blessed because He can take it and transform it for His own purposes. Nor is everything within you negative. You cannot be the judge of that. All you can do is commit everything within you to His glory and allow Him to sort I out. It is His holy Name that must be honored and His holiness is all that can make our lives holy and acceptable as offerings of worship.

In the process, He is blessed. And that is what counts.

Tender Love

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him." Psalm 103:13

The love of God is a tender love.

It is a father’s love.

It is a patient love, understanding, compassionate, forgiving, and gracious.

The love of God for His children moves Him to desire what is best for us, what brings us closer to Him, and what develops in us the character that is in Him.

God’s love for us as His children is consistent, persistent, and generous.

He never fails us. He is always present and always true.

Like any father, He wants His children to grow and mature. He wants us to make good and wise choices and honor our family name. He offers us His support, guidance, and correction to that end.

God’s love is real. 

For that reason, it is sometimes a tough love, a love that can say “no” and mean it, but a love that delights in every opportunity to say, “YES!”

God, our Father, rejoices with us, weeps with us, and loves us even when we are unlovable.

That is because we are never unlovable to Him.

Mostly, God, our tender, loving Father carries us on His shoulders and lifts us so that we might become more, through Him, than we could ever imagine on our own.

Days as Grass

"As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.” – Psalm 103:15

For our season, whatever it may be, we flourish. Then comes the wind and we are gone. Soon, the very memory of our lives fades from the consciousness of our successors and we are thought of no more.

Such a thought might be deemed depressing were it the whole story.

The rest of the story teaches us that from everlasting to everlasting, God’s love is a constant toward us. His covenant people are never forgotten.

It goes on to tell us that God’s throne is never abandoned and that He rules over all.

He it is, according to Psalm 103, who forgives all our sin.

It is He who heals our diseases. Not one of them disappears apart from His wise intervention or creative genius.

He redeems our lives, crowns us love and compassion, satisfies, renews, and administers justice.

How comfortable it would be for us to remain as a grassy flowering meadow, but that is not the way of life. We come and go. Soon we will fade.

Our privilege and responsibility is to bloom in every place we are planted for as long as it is springtime in our lives. It is to be as inwardly beautiful for God as we can be for as many days as we can and to move through the seasons of life with grace and trust.

We may not always be green, but we shall always be loved.




A Moment Well Done

I am mediating on the power of a moment well done.

Moments create momentum without being obvious or ostentatious.

Momentous moments motion us over and envelop us like a cloud and then ...

Pass over.

Missing moments is a mournful sorrow.

Magnificent moments multiply in some invisible space called influence, but ...

Muddling moments may move us on to the next and the next and the next ...

Move in and with the moment or meddle with the muck >>>

Lots of luck with that ...

Rather, just be in that moment and be what you are intended to be for you ...

You were made for this moment and ...
This moment was made for you.
Who knows what it will bring to you and more ...
What it will bring through you and by that, I mean ...


But KNOW that NO moment well lived is ever lost and 

Nothing, nothing, nothing is ever lost to God.

This is your moment.

Live it.

Reflections on Psalm 40

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I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me 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 the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
    who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
    to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
    but my ears you have opened—
    burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.
Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
    it is written about me in the scroll.
I desire to do your will, my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
    I do not seal my lips, Lord,
    as you know.
I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
    I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
    from the great assembly.

Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
    may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me;
    my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
    and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, Lord;
    come quickly, Lord, to help me.

May all who want to take my life
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
    be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
    be appalled at their own shame.
But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
    “The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
    may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    you are my God, do not delay.




It Calls for Wisdom

"This calls for wisdom ..." - Revelation 13:18

Rather than trying to figure out who the ultimate and last deceiver, trickster, miracle worker, and en-slaver of souls is, one might be better informed to ask, "Who or what is it now?" What seeks to overwhelm me with something short of awe and wonder, something more like being extremely impressed. What is it and who is it that wants me to think that he or it is greater than God and calls for my loyalty, rewarding it with access by cornering the market on materialism.

Buying and selling can be restricted to those who are marked with loyalty to false gods. It has happened throughout history. "You want in? Join our club. Accept our ideology? Surrender your freedom before God? Align with our cult? Be wowed by our power? Take our mark."

It is 6 - not 7. 7 is perfection. 6 falls short. 7-7-7- would be the genuine, real, and eternal God-head -- triple perfection! The word for "sin" in Greek is missing the mark - even by an inch. 666 is triple that!

The rulers of deception form trinities of mark-missing, impressive systems that attract masses who want the instant gratification or fear being left out.

This word was not meant just for the generation that first received it - but it was meant for them. It is certainly not meant just for our generation or any last generation. It is meant for every generation that is apt to take some mark, some easy road to access and commercial inclusion.

It is meant for me. It is meant for you - no matter what time it might be on some eternal "clock."