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March 2023

Confidence in Prayer

Confidence in prayer

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened… If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? - Luke 11:9–10, 13

Jesus raises two issues. One is concerning what sort of praying people we ought to be. The other is what sort of God is it to whom we pray.

We are called to persistence and consistency in prayer. We are to be like the desperate and audacious friend who goes to his neighbor at midnight seeking bread to feed his guest. That kind of boldness gets God’s attention. He wants to develop that in us.

If we ask, we will receive. If we seek, we will find. If we knock, the door will be opened. E.M. Bounds says that God has placed himself under the law of prayer. He is Sovereign. He can do that. It is His choice. He has chosen to respond to prayer for His own reasons.

One may be the change that it affects in our own lives and the intimacy that is facilitated when we enter into partnership with God concerning the things that concern Him.

Jesus says that the neighbor, who is just a man and subject to sinful motivations, responded to the boldness of his friend and not to his friendship. By contrast, God is our Heavenly Father who is always waiting up for us. His light is always on and His delight is to give us good gifts.

That is who God is and His greatest delight is to give us the Holy Spirit, who incidentally, teaches us to pray from within and prays for us and through us.

We have two very major reasons to pray boldly: because bold prayer gets action and because we have a generous God who happens to be our Heavenly Father.

Habits of the First Half of Life


"It seems, in fact, that, the second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half." - Fyodor Dostoevsky

As much as I love Dostoevsky, I am not buying that ... at least not for my personal collection of life artifacts.

I can see where one might make the observation and where it might be the norm. However, I want to defy it.

One must grant that the resistance to reinventing oneself is heavy and the force of habit is strong. The road to establishing new patterns of thought and practice is uphill and treacherous. But there exists such a path and one can choose to take it.

We preach resurrection hope on Easter Sunday. That means that we do not have to be defined by inertia whether we are objects at rest or in motion.

Centrifugal force is only as strong as our commitment to break free while relying on a Power that is far greater than ourselves.

May your second half be your best.




Airports and Access

I was at the Richmond International Airport transitioning back to California time, which was frightening because it was 2:50 A.M. there and I had been up for hours. From the airport, I had access to points worldwide.

We have grown so accustomed to that convenience of modern times -- and we like it free and fast.

Another case in point: internet access. Free and fast access -- to information, news, email, friend updates ... the world.

I have grown to depend upon it and cherish it. But there is another sort of access that I more deeply cherish.

I had it, that day, at 3:00 A.M. EST before I had even thought about turning on the laptop. It was the access I enjoyed as I sat on the side of the bed with an open bible and an open heart.

It was the access I had as I laid my head on the pillow the night before and all through the night.

It was the access that continually transitions and transports me beyond time and space. It remains, years later, the access that I have had for so many years to One who knows me, accepts me, loves me, and walks alongside me.

"Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body ... " -Hebrews 10:19-20

Catch Up on Video Messages

Remrandt prodigal

(Luke 15:6 )  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost… (Luke 15:9 )  And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost… (Luke 15:23b-24 ) … Let us eat and be merry. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.


“We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus Saves! Spread the tidings all around. Jesus saves! Jesus saves!”

So that grand hymn of faith calls us to “give the winds a mighty voice.”

How sweet the sound? Oh yes. The lost has been found. It is the sound of laughter and merriment. It is the sound of praise. It is the sound that rings through the streets of Heaven and even the angels sing. It is the sound that warms the heart of God. It is the sound that ought to flow from our voices daily and throughout the day, the song of gratitude, of joy, and of love.

Whereas I was lost, I am now found. I am no longer lost, no longer hopeless, no longer guilty, alienated, or dispossessed. I am no longer unworthy, no longer useless, no longer an orphan. God no longer sees me as a sinner, but as a son. I have a hope. I have a future. As He did with Jeremiah of old, He knows the plans He has for me.

I am found.

Do you know the joy of being found? Or have you forgotten. The truth can be seen in your attitudes toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, whether you are patient and forgiving or irritable and judgmental? The truth is revealed in your attitudes toward the lost. Are you charitable and seeking or critical and aloof? The truth is seen in your attitudes toward new believers. Do you rejoice or rebuff? Do you step aside and move over or do you guard your established territory? Do you join the celebration, feasting with the friends of the father or do you stand afar off as the son who feels he never left home?

You will never be at home as long as you cling to the notion that you never left. You will never experience the full joy of redemption if you forget that you were lost in slavery to sin when grace found you. You will be unmoved at the singing of Amazing Grace if you forget that the wretch saved was you and the lost one who returned was also you. You have been found! Rejoice!

Just Dust

Photo by Kunj Parekh on Unsplash
We must consider dust
As the world does rust
And every gust of wind
And every latent lust
Descends upon us.
Just dust.
Just dust.
From dust, we came.
To dust, we return. 
Dust  (
1: fine particles of matter (as of earth)
2: the particles into which something disintegrates
3 a: something worthless
   b: a state of humiliation
We are dust.
Our frame barely holds together.
We are flaky and falling apart on our good days.
No surprises to God.
He knows our frame and dustiness.
He looks down and says, "I can use that one."
"I can shape him."
"I can pull her together."
"That one is perfect for what I want to do."
"I'll take him; I'll take her."
Hands form us. Breath enlivens us.
We become. Bless the Lord, oh my soul.
"For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust." (Psalm 103:14 ESV)

"You will turn back into the dust of the earth again, but your spirit will return to God who gave it" - Ecclesiastes 12:7 New Century Version (NCV)

"...we therefore commit this body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life.." - Book of Common Prayer

" started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt.” - Genesis 3:19, The Message

But, alas, there is more.

 Dust is dust,  beneath our feet,
Pressed down into the sod.
But spirit lives; its song is sweet.
Before the very throne of God.

Finding Balance

Balance no competition

Sometimes it is not a competition.

How to you find balance?

You have multiple time demands.

You have numerous projects.

Your thoughts are jumbled and racing.

There are unsynchronized voices calling out for your attention.

Team members are grabbing at your shirttails.

I'm frequently asked how I strike a balance between this activity or another activity, and the assumption that seems to be built into the question is that the two activities are in competition with each other and that both priorities cannot exist in the same space. Further, it is assumed that the goal for which we're reaching is somehow requiring us to make a choice between doing this thing or doing that thing.

The reality is we may not be able to do that thing without doing this thing. We may not be able to do this thing without doing that thing.

The answer I think, is in one word: integration.

Integration requires that we return to our understanding of our mission and of our goals and our priorities, and sometimes build a bigger umbrella. 

It also requires that we differentiate between the end result and the means we use to arrive at the desired destination. 

When those ideas are fully formulated and when our thoughts are integrated, when our minds are balanced by the supreme weight of the vision and the mission and the essential goals, the balance will find itself in our priorities, in our calendars, in our timing, and in our thinking about these matters. 

I make it sound easier than it is.

I do not intend to do so. I know that it is a job, but the work needs to be done on the backend where we fully understand the mission and we renew our commitment to the mission every day.

That's where I find the balance.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself and your team:

  1. What is the simplest way we can state our vision and our goals?
  2. Can that be broken into components that serve the central idea?
  3. What goals do we have that serve our mission and vision? How do they serve?
  4. Are they effective or are they a distraction?
  5. What are the activities we are doing now in service of our goals, vision and mission?
  6. Are they effective or are they a distraction?
  7. If we draw a chart with each component represented by a box, what activities and goals would we place in each?
  8. Are there any "orphan" activities?
  9. Can we justify our "orphans" or do we need to let them go?
  10. Assign priorities and give them time allotments tentatively. Put these note aside and come back to them with the group or with a coach or mentor.

These are thought starters and will hopefully have that benefit for you.


Palms of Rejoicing

Entry into Jerusalem  by Giotto  14th century
Anticipating Palm Sunday
“ … Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” – John 12:13
It was not the first time that the children of Israel had employed palms in their worship of God. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the palm was to be one of other implements for rejoicing and celebrating the goodness of God.
”And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.” - Leviticus 23:40
One day, the King came to Jerusalem to prepare for his crowning with a crown of thorns. One sort of tree would welcome him. Another would suspend him between earth and Heaven and time and eternity as the sacrifice for our sins.
But as He entered the city, the people welcomed Him as a hero and so He was and is.
Before the week could end, he would die.
After the Sabbath, he would rise again.
And then, ascended into Heaven, His people would remember the Sunday of Palms throughout the generations and even till today. We remember why he so resolutely set his face toward Jerusalem and what he would face there. We remember that he knew far more about His fate than the masses, yet he entered without hesitation or reservation.
We see palms again in the scriptures as history begins the process of coming to fruition. It is in Heaven that the palms are waved in rejoicing and praise. This time, no crucifixion or contradiction of sinners awaits Him. This time, he is the genuine object of the praise of those who understand fully who he is and why he came.
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”- Revelation 7:9

When We've Been at It for So Long

We Have Worked All Night

"Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." - Luke 5:5, NIV

Been there!

I've done my best. I am sure I've exhausted all the possibilities, expended all the energy, and exercised all the faithfulness possible with no results.

It is as if reciprocity has evaded us and the laws of nature have been suspended to deny us just recompense for our efforts.

It is the dark side of light, the defining moment of discouragement. We have worked all night for nothing and we are ready to quit. We could not muster another moment except ... and then ... and until ...

...comes Jesus ...

Infuriating and inspiring Jesus comes and bids us cast our nets one more time.

One more time!

We would not do it for anyone else, even ourselves. We don't want to try again. We don't even really believe ...

But your word!

At your word, if you say so, we will.

And that is all it takes!'

We let down the nets one more time and this time, only this time, they are filled.

What will we do today, with feeble hands, faltering faith, and failing history, simply and wearily at the word of the Master? Even if we have no hope of success, we will drop our nets and let Him fill them as He will.


Typhoid Mary

On this day in 1915 – Typhoid Mary (Mary Mallon), the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States is put in quarantine for the second time, where she would remain for the rest of her life.
Either Mary did not believe she was a carrier or she did not care.
She was believed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died. She was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. She persisted in working as a cook and was twice forcibly isolated by authorities.
She died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.
Was she treated unfairly? Could there have been a better way to deal with her?  Or was it the only way to prevent her from infecting the whole country?
Life is full of ambiguity and contradiction.
One impression about her is that she seemed to have no sense or concern about the impact of her behavior on the rest of the world?
That pattern of attitude seems to be alive and well today and  just as infectious as Typhoid Fever.
Today, "Typhoid Mary" is a colloquial term for anyone who, knowingly or not, spreads disease or some other undesirable thing. 
What would we call the iconic carrier today?

EACH Step Matters

Each step matters 2023
Each Step Matters
I learned this six years ago in physical therapy. i think it applies to all progress.
E.A.C.H. step on the road to greater strength and renewed health (in this case, PT) involves:
E for Effort
A for Accountability
C for Coaching
H for Hope
E A C H. It is a process.
It is not one giant leap, but an accumulation of ever increasing steps.

Sermon on Election

The vote

I preached this sermon/Bible study on election from Romans 9 years ago?

Have my views changed or evolved?


However, I see no problem presenting this here as a jumping off place for thought and discussion.

It was my best thinking at the time.

The video comment is from today.


Romans 9 – Election and The Sovereign Mercy of God 

1 -I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit— 2 -I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 - For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, 4 - the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 - Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised!   Amen.


  • The BIAS of every Christian is for the salvation of one’s community. That is the kind of heart that God wants us to have toward our neighbors. It is the sort of love that we see in Jesus Christ who actually did what Paul could not do – alienate Himself from God in order to bring many to God. Isn’t it amazing that only God could do that? Paul loves His brothers, the people of Israel.

It is impossible for me to understand how any Christian could ever be anti-Semitic.  That is such a contradiction. In the movie, “The Hiding Place,” Corrie Ten Boom’s father makes this remark about the Nazi’s who would eventually imprison and murder him for hiding Jews in Holland during the Nazi occupation, “I pity them, for they have touched the apple of God’s eye.”

Israel has never stopped being the apple of God’s eye.

However, the principle here is the bias that we as Christians and as a church are to have in all of our programming and prioritizing for the salvations of our communities at home and around the world. Nothing in a balanced doctrine of election relieves us of the burden and responsibility for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world – and using words when necessary as St. Francis said.

 6 - It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 - Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." 8 - In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. 9 - For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son."


  • The BEGINNING of election is the promise of God. As sacred history proceeded, God narrowed the scope of His promise and covenant. He did not nullify that which He made with those who were excluded from the next level because He has a purpose for every person – even the wicked for the day of destruction according to Proverbs. Rather, in narrowing His focus, He began to fashion a peculiar and elect people who would carry out that mission. I do not believe that this scripture or the rest of the Bible teaches a replacement theology where the church usurps Israel. However, Paul is saying that the church is included in the promises of Israel to the point where she becomes the focus of His mission to bring the good news of salvation to the rest of the world.

 10 - Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11 - Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God's purpose in election might stand: 12 - not by works but by him who calls—she was told, "The older will serve the younger."13 - Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."


  • The BOTTOM-LINE of election is the purpose of God. Election is not primarily about who goes to Heaven and who goes to hell. It is about who God is using and in what way to accomplish His purposes. Careful Bible reading reveals that God’s purpose in electing Israel was a missionary purpose. That is the purpose of Christ being God’s elect and the church being elect in Him – to bring salvation to the world, not to hoard it to themselves.

The theology that seeks to understand election and predestination merely in terms of personal salvation – who is and who isn’t saved, is quite man-centered. The doctrine of election is 100% God-centered and focused on His purposes. In our system of government, not everyone can be elected to high office. Yet, every citizen has a purpose and a rkole.

 14 - What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 - For he says to Moses,
   "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
      and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."


  • The BANTER of the world is that God is somehow unjust in His exclusivity. Man’s reaction goes to fairness and lack thereof. It is a child’s reaction. No offense to our precious children, but one chant we hope that they all grow out of is the whine, “It’s not fair.”

They want some sort of justice that they deem just. Micah 6 says that we are to DO justice, but love mercy and walk humbly with our God.

The bottom line of fairness is that God is God and He can do as He pleases. When He determines to show mercy, that is a gigantic bonus.

16 - It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. 17 - For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." 18 - Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.


  • So, the BASIS of salvation is the mercy of God. What if God’s mercy hardens someone’s heart? It can happen. Can’t it? You have seen it. Have you ever tried to make a wait-person nicer with a big tip? Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on many factors. The overtures we make toward loving someone may harden them if they are so inclined.

This is not about God being manipulative. This is another application of the same principle we found in 8:28 – God causing everything to work together for the good of His people and His glory. God’s purposes will be fulfilled whether or not we receive His mercy.

 19 - One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" 20 - But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?' " 21 - Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?


  • The BEAUTY of election is in its rarity - not all receive it. It is precious. One illustration of this would be when I write devotionals for our people to take home and read. I write them with contradictory assumptions. In the forefront of my mind is the idea that everyone will read them and use them because God has given me a word for His people and everyone will be eager to receive it. The other assumption is that not everyone will take them and of those who take them, most will not read them. That is a reality I know – yet I always write with the idea that everyone needs this and the knowledge that it may only be received by a few.

It is for mass distribution in terms of availability, but, in ultimate reality, it is written only for those who will choose to read it. The blessings contained in the scriptures to which I point will only be received by the “elect” who elect to receive and apply them. That is election.

God has chosen to save mankind though His Son. He offers that gift to all, but not all will receive it. He knows that, but proceeds as if all will.

It is like a mother cooking a meal for her large family. Somewhere inside of her, she knows that not everyone will show up for dinner, but she prepares plenty of food and sets the table with every member in mind. I think that is how it is with God.  Some will want to make their own plans and will show up an hour late or the next day, but the meal is served when it is served and God has the right to determine the conditions.

 22 - What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 - What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 - even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 - As he says in Hosea:
   "I will call them 'my people' who are not my people;
      and I will call her 'my loved one' who is not my loved one," 26 - and,
   "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
      'You are not my people,'
   they will be called 'sons of the living God.' "


  • The BOUNTY of election is that some unlikely souls do receive it. The God who is ready to judge the unrighteous is reluctant to do so – yes for their sake, but also for ours who will ultimately come to Him. He bears with people because unlikely people, the kind Brennan Manning calls ragamuffins, will, come.

God is a bountiful God in His mercy and generosity. He is unwilling for any to perish. He calls people into inclusion who have been excluded. He uses folks that the world discards. He is an amazing God, who, through the mystery of election, calls the unlovely, unlikely, and unimpressive to be more than they ever imagined they could be.

Unfortunately, some who have felt entitled on false premises miss the boat. God has chosen Jesus Christ as His elect and the church as the Body of Christ. In future weeks, we will show how Israel continues to be part of God’s plan for the earth, but for now, we focus on this narrowing of the call upon the church to broadcast, as unlikely messengers, the Word of salvation to the world.

 27 - Isaiah cries out concerning Israel:
   "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea,
only the remnant will be saved.
 28 - For the Lord will carry out
      his sentence on earth with speed and finality."

 29 - It is just as Isaiah said previously:
   "Unless the Lord Almighty
      had left us descendants,
   we would have become like Sodom,
 we would have been like Gomorrah."

 Bad News

  • The BAD-NEWS is that we might out. Just like the remnant who read my stuff, there is only a remnant who are saved.

We ask, “WHY?” And the answer is shrouded in MYSTERY.

Let us spell it and see if we can understand it:

M –

MERCY is God’s mysterious way of plucking brands from the burning.

YESTERDAY is all we have available to help us understand the mysteries of tomorrow. So, we are given examples from the past to illustrate election. These are helpful, but inadequate by themselves.

SALVATION is not the main issue here. The main thing is our place in God’s plan. We always gravitate toward a man-centered understanding. That is inadequate. Nevertheless, our willingness to receive the gospel determines our salvation.

THANK God for the mystery of your inclusion. We have a debt to Israel according to verse 5.

EYES have not seen what God has in store for those who love Him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

REALITY and REVELATION teach us that greatness is a RARE commodity, but everything and everyone has a purpose. (V. 21 and Proverbs).

YEARNING for the salvation of others is a God thing and, therefore, a good thing. (I Timothy 2:1-6)

  1. This is the beginning of a long train of thought where Paul struggles with the seeming displacement of Israel’s place in God’s plan through the inclusion of the Gentiles.
  2. It culminates with 10:13 (as well as 10:9-10) and continues from there.
  3. It begins with yearning for the salvation of all Israel.
  4. It ends with the hope of salvation for all.
  5. It places a choice in our laps. Will we follow the many to destruction or will we choose the narrow road which is Christ? 

 30 - What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 - but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32 - Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." 33 - As it is written:    "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

 What is your choice?   

This week, we will suffice to say that we can choose between faith and works. When we choose faith, we come into the glorious election of God not only for service, but for salvation. We choose between Jesus Christ being our cornerstone or the stone we trip over.

Stop now and behold the stone that God has laid in Zion. You must deal with Him now or later. How about now.

Bow your heads with me.

When You Hear the Voice

Out on a limb

We see God where God shows us God, sometimes in our own thoughts, words, and creative expressions.

God comes into the scattered dust of our existence and there is something metallic in us and magnetic in Truth that draws us from randomness to reality and purpose.

Sometimes, it is an angel voice that calls and sometimes our own random seeking that draws, but always, always, always, there is an invasion of divinity into our little conclaves of humanity that speaks with clarity.

If we will hear, we will hear.

Angela Maria Autsch

She heard and became a conduit for that voice:

Born this day in 1900 – Angela Maria Autsch, German nun, died in Auschwitz helping Jewish prisoners (d. 1941) .

While in prison, she sought to encourage and cheer her fellow inmates. It was said of her that she was "a ray of sunshine in deepest Hell".

E a housman

He heard, and passed it on as verse:

Born this day in 1859 – A. E. Housman, English poet and scholar (d. 1936).

"The house of delusions is cheap to build, but draughty to live in, and ready at any instant to fall."

"Oh who is that young sinner with the handcuffs on his wrists?
And what has he been after that they groan and shake their fists?
And wherefore is he wearing such a conscience-stricken air?
Oh they're taking him to prison for the colour of his hair."

"Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle,
Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong."

"The troubles of our proud and angry dust
Are from eternity, and shall not fail.
Bear them we can, and if we can we must.
Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale."

"Good-night; ensured release,
Imperishable peace,
Have these for yours,
While sea abides, and land,
And earth's foundations stand,
And heaven endures."

Ruth in Boaz's Field

He heard and painted:

Born this day in 1794 – Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, German painter (d. 1872)

Camp david accords

They heard and made peace:

On this day in 1979 – Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter sign the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in Washington, D.C..
The courage and perseverance of three world leaders meant that the peace between Egypt and Israel has lasted since the treaty went into effect, and Egypt has become an important strategic partner of Israel.

The peace remains fragile, but it is peace.

Is it urgent

Is it urgent? If so, what is the source of the urge? Is it essential? Then of what is it the essence?

Things are not always as locked in as they seem. This is the soil in which I will prayerfully dig at the crest of a new day.

Perhaps I will hit bedrock.


From Weeping to Life

Raisinglazarus5ghut193 (1)

"God grabbed me. God’s Spirit took me up and set me down in the middle of an open plain strewn with bones. He led me around and among them—a lot of bones! There were bones all over the plain—dry bones, bleached by the sun."

"He said to me, 'Son of man, can these bones live?'”

Ezekiel 37:1-2 (The Message)

Can these bones live again?

 It is the old question. It is new. It is real, It is ours.

We own it.

Even our own bones seem and feel dried up, but the bones around us ...

Oh, the bones around us!

We can psych ourselves up artificially and temporarily and we can walk around, but their bones have no visible life. And, when we are truthful with ourselves, we understand that our days of faking it through life are numbered.

It is when we speak to the dry bones around us that we know it is Spirit that brings life.

Flesh decays.

This is spiritual work and this is hopeful work.

We do little but speak. God breathes and when God breathes, life happens.

But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, then the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

I Am!

“…"I am the resurrection and the life…” – John 11:25

Can these bones live again?

That was the question was posed to Ezekiel in the Valley of Dried Bones.

If a man dies, can he live again?

Job wrestles with that question.

If you had been here, my brother would still be alive is the plea of Martha for Lazarus. And she reiterates that she knows God will answer any prayer he prays.

Jesus tells the sisters that their brother will, in fact, live again.

Martha thinks he is talking about some time in the far-off future, the Day of Resurrection in the Last Day.

Last Day hope is real and powerful and permanent, but Jesus was present in the moment.

So, Jesus proclaims, “I AM!”

“I AM the resurrection and the life” in the present, right now, right here.

"Jesus wept." - John 11:36

No two words are as precious as these.

The Lord of glory so identified with our suffering that He came to weep with us - and those tears led directly through Jerusalem and His triumphant entry on Palm Sunday to the Mount of Olives where He prayed through the agony of humanity, to the cross where He bore our sins.

Our Savior weeps with us and for us. He knows our sorrows and cares. And His heart is broken over every lost soul. “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Yet, life was and is active and prevailing wherever Jesus is.

Those who live, live forever in him even if they die.

He proves it. He walks to the grave with tears in his eyes and confidence in his voice.

He stares into the heart of death and cries out, “Lazarus, come forth.”

And Lazarus comes forth.

Jesus is the present, active, overcoming, all-powerful Lord of life and death.

He is the resurrection. He is life.

He who lives and believes in him, shall never truly die.

So, what is this life that comes out of a three-day inhabited tomb?

"Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?'" - John 11:25-26

Long before spring, God says there will be spring.

Even before his dying, Jesus says, “I am the resurrection.”

To make it plain he declares, “I am the life!”

To make it personal, he asks if we believe.

When it is still winter, God gives us signs of the coming of sunshiny days whose power would be less if it were not for the death and preparation that winter brings.

The God who is present in the here and now, present in our less-than-ideal circumstances, and very near to us in time of trouble knows more about the promise of tomorrow than we do.

He knows that there is a better day ahead.

He knows because he is making a better day and he will make sure it happens!

In the middle of winter, God is fashioning spring.

God is giving the hibernating creatures rest and he intends to awaken them.

God is giving the dormant vegetation time to germinate and recuperate.

God is preparing a springtime like nothing we can imagine.

In the meantime, he gives us clues and previews.

While it is still winter, we stumble upon a sign of new life and we are reminded that a new day is coming.

Shirley Erena Murray  wrote:

Beauty will break through rotted leaves and ashes,

joy will erupt and

life will leap free!

Eternal Life

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. - John 17:3

Fullness of Life - It is life in its completeness of significance, purpose, joy, and fulfillment..

Faith in the Lord of Life - It is believing and trusting, and knowing God in Jesus Christ.

Forever Living - It is life that endures and never ends. It defies death. It transcends death. It transforms death

It is yours for receiving.

Say, "Yes."

Facebook Message

Notable Events on March 25 - from Scottsboro to O'Conner

Back and Forth inn History


On this day, in what would become one of history's major travesties of justice, in 1931 – The Scottsboro Boys are arrested in Alabama and charged with rape.

It is a long and involved story, but it is part of our history and we must not repeat it. Read it here.

Theodocius iii

On this day in 717 – Theodosius III resigns the throne to the Byzantine Empire to enter the clergy. He was Byzantine Emperor from 715 to 717. He and his son both entered a monastery. Theodosius became bishop of Ephesus, and died at some point after.

John yoko

On this day in 1969 – During their honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel (until March 31).

John asks a pretty good  implied question: 

What would happen if we gave peace a chance?

Catherine of Siena

Born this day in 1347 – Catherine of Siena, Italian philosopher, theologian, and saint (d. 1380).
She, as a laywoman, was associated with the Dominican Order. She was a mystic, activist, and author She was canonized in 1461, she is considered a Doctor of the Church.

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire!"

Variants on One Quote:

"The path to heaven lies through heaven, and all the way to heaven is heaven." - Attributed by Dorothy Day

"All the way to Heaven is Heaven, because Christ is the Way."
"All the way to heaven is heaven, for Jesus said, I am the way."

Flannery oconner

Born this day in 1925 – Flannery O'Connor, American short story writer and novelist (d. 1964).

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."

"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them."

"I don't deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it."


Light That Lights Life

True light

The Unknown Light

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: “ John 1:9-12 KJV

The lights on the trees are synthetic. Though lovely in their appearance, they are temporal and will fade away, burn out, or be immediately extinguished as they or their power source is broken. They are not true lights.

They do not shine universally, but only within the close proximity of those who light them. There are dark places where their ambiance is not known. There are pockets of despair in the world where the lights of Christmas have never been lit.

But the true light shines on every man while in pervasive blindness, there are many who do not and will not see. Hardness of heart and bitterness of spirit obscure the view of those for whom the light is intended.

We live in a land of shadows and distortions where every ray of light is filtered through our prejudicial thinking and blind ambition. We stumble in our assumptions and trip over our own dark thoughts oblivious to the Light that has come into the world and is already shining on us.

Many there are who do not recognize him when confronted by Him, who sing the songs of Christmas, hang the decorations on their trees, gasp at the beauty of the colors of the season, and greet one another with manufactured cheer. Yet they do not see him to whom all the signs and symbols point.

Those who do become the children of God, and playfully unwrap their spiritual gifts around the tree of life.

With which company of celebrants will you number yourself this Christmas?

Incarnation View

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” - John 1:14 KJV

There is a vision without which, we are blind and lifeless.

It is the vision of one who sees us as we are and envisions our world from the inside out and the outside in.

The Incarnate Lord made His dwelling among us. Literally, He pitched His tent here.

I had read about California all my life, seen it on TV and in the movies, but I only truly experienced it when I moved here many years ago.

But the vision message of this verse is not that God learned to experience our life by becoming flesh, but that He made it possible for us to experience Him and to behold His glory.

We have a new vision of God because of Jesus and can now view the world through His eyes because He dwelt among us as one of us.

So, must we dwell among the people, indwelt by Christ that they may behold His glory as we see then through His eyes.

The Miracle of Incarnation

Again, we read:

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. “ John 1:14 KJV

As God speaks, flesh is formed, holy flesh, incarnate divinity, whimpering wonder, tiny testimony to His love and presence. It is a miracle. God spoke in this little bundle of flesh and blood as helpless as He was with more profound clarity and unmistakable volume than in all of history. God performed the miracle of Christmas.

One night in Bethlehem, as the light shone in the darkness, the Word, eternal and perfect, became flesh and began to dwell among us.

He began as we begin. He grew as we grow. He struggled as we struggle. He was tempted as we are. He overcame as no man ever has before or since. In all ways, He was like us, yet without sin.

And we saw something in him we have never seen before in any man as we saw it in Him, the glory of God.

It had been reflected off the face of Moses, but it emanated from Jesus the Christ. The people could not look at Moses and live. We live by beholding Jesus.

It was the glory of the unique, only begotten of the Father, the eternal Word of God. It was real glory we saw, real light, and true life. It was glory that is full of grace and glory that is full of truth.

No where else in the drama of the cosmos have grace and truth been so compatible in one event. Truth lands on earth with the piecing weight of uncompromising reality and shouts, “Here I am.” This is it!” Grace creeps into our lives and settles our hearts. It injects truth into our souls without sting or invasion and speaks compassion to our hearts.

Truth may seem harsh, but grace and truth are as welcome as Christmas and are, in fact, what Christmas is all about. This is the miracle of Christmas, in any month of the year. It is that the truthful, loving Word of God has become incarnate in human form and we can see Who God is in all of His glory and live.

All Things

No photo description available.
What Jesus called us to lay down to follow - everything.
What he called us to grab - a cross -for him, it was and is, and always will be ... the burden of others.
The pain, sin, guilt, heartbreak, brokenness, sorrow, loneliness, and emptiness of others.
For him and for us.
Oscar Romero took the example and example of Jesus seriously and sought to follow the Good Shepherd as a loving under-shepherd. He could not be like the hireling and run away when his people were suffering, being oppressed, and being murdered by the state.
On this day, in 1980, he laid down his life for the sheep of El Salvador.
"We have never preached violence, except the violence of love, which left Christ nailed to a cross, the violence that we must each do to ourselves to overcome our selfishness and such cruel inequalities among us. The violence we preach is not the violence of the sword, the violence of hatred. It is the violence of love, of brotherhood, the violence that wills to beat weapons into sickles for work." - Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love (1977).
Hear the bells rock their heads of bronze as if to say:
Melt the bullets into bells, melt the bullets into bells.
—Martín Espada
No photo description available.

Romans 8:28-39

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.

. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then are we to say about these things?

If God is for us, who is against us?

He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?

Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?

Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Beyond Futility

Prayer Spirit Factor

Beyond Words as well!

Praying by Grace in the Spirit


And Grace, My Fears Relieved

 “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last …”

- Revelation 1:17

 “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

– Romans 8:15

It is not enough to learn to fear. Once we have learned the hard lesson of reverence, grace relieves our fears and comforts our troubled, weary souls.

We fall as dead before His magnificence; then He touches us in compassion and commands us to fear not.

First, we go down into Egypt and experience bondage. There we learn to know him, and, in the wilderness, we learn his Name. We are slaves to sin and then to the law, but we are redeemed and released. And we are adopted. And in that adoption, we learn to cry, “Abba.”

Bondage brings fear and God uses the bondage of the law as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. Bondage informs us of what we are missing because our longings become the pangs of want. Somewhere in the process of learning fear, we come to grips with the deepest desire of our hearts. If we are honest and open, we realize that our desire is for God who alone can meet our needs and grant us redemption and freedom.

Grace taught my heart to fear, and my fears relieved many years ago. Yet, I must return to that turning point again and again, sometimes in the singing of the song of Amazing Grace. There I remember. In that moment, I give thanks. In those chords I am realigned with his purposes communicated through His loving kindness which is better than life.

Grace, my fears relieved. I cannot begin to describe the relief, the pure, sure calm that has come over my soul. That can be yours as well.

Grace and Spirit take us beyond futility and fear in prayer and in life.


Life and Prayer in the Spirit also takes us beyond words.


I Still Meme It!

There may or may not be a common theme in these.  If you see one, great. if not, take them as they come.
No photo description available.
No Worries!
At some point, we join Alfred E. Newman in declaring, "What? Me worry?" We do it for different reasons but by following the same logic trail, ours on the premises of truth. The answer is that nothing can be done to us by man that can destroy us."
" The LORD is on my side; I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The LORD is on my side as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me."
-Psalm 118:6-7 ESV
A pastoral theologian must sometimes be prophetic.
A prophet must sometimes be pastoral.
A disciple must always follow and invite, "Will you come along with me?"
Pastoral or prophetic strength goes to personality and gifting.
Discipleship is more about our common calling.
It's not very difficult to avoid passing any profound judgment on you when I understand my total lack of qualification to do so or even to judge myself with finality. Ask my opinion or interpretation or scripture? You can have it. Ask for infallibility and you are out of luck.e me,
Be patient.
No one has read the last chapter of it all.
Last chapter
But God always has the last word.

Last chapter
Attitudes can be chosen, managed, and cashed in for great profit.

Last chapter
Now it has been five years, but it is still funny!

Last chapter
An urge is not equivalent to urgency and urgency is not the same as priority. Sometimes, they overlap. Often, they doo not. That is why decisions are  in the hands and minds of people who make them,

Last chapter


How much wasted time, energy, goodwill, and friendship is wasted on arguing moot points? How much more do we lose when we enter into verbal combat without building premises on common ground? Volume does not correlate with capacity to convince. Some arguments are never won in a meaningful way. Some are won, but to no effect because the score is simply on paper and not in the heart.

I stink

I write, therefore I think.

I think, therefore I write.

I get it out, look at it, and evaluate if it rings true.

I stink, therefore, I am.

If it smells like me, it might be me.


I wrote all of these in the past so that I could use them again here and now.



Retirement from What?

Balance plus


We are here today, standing on a rolling ball, trying to maintain our balance yet balanced by an unseen hand.

We are suspended between the ground beneath and the sky above and somehow unimpressed.

We are ever bumping into one another and looking the other way with muttered apologies for living.

We see through and around and over and under with the illusion of our own invisibility.

We are witnesses to what we are and what we know and who we know and choose to live in anonymity.

And we live on, day after day, moment after moment in the drudgery of routine and the ritual of sameness moving steadily toward some undefined goal we call "retirement."

Retirement from what?

Indeed we are tired, but not from engagement, not from work. Work never wearied a soul engaged in purposeful pursuit. Work invigorates, regenerates, and illuminates our lives for what they are and are to be.

We are called, chosen, and unfrozen to be instruments of peace, God's peace, to sow seeds of love, kindness, joy, and healing.

And if we ever get caught up with that, we can talk about retirement.

So get up, get connected, feed your face, wash your teeth, and move out.


Anne Hutchinson and Religious Freedom

No photo description available.


Lest you suppose the Puritan's came to the new world to establish religious freedom for all, be reminded that on this day in 1638, Anne Hutchinson was expelled from Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious dissent.

She was a Puritan religious reformer with strong religious convictions that were at odds with the established Puritan clergy in the Boston area.

The Puritan Pilgrims were not committed to individual religious liberty as much as their freedom, as a community, to practice their convictions.

Hutchinson was put on trial in that community. She was tried and convicted, then banished from the colony with many of her supporters.

She is a key figure in the history of religious freedom in the colonies and the history of women in ministry.

She has been called "the most famous—or infamous—English woman in colonial American history"

She is an ancestor of U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

It Is in Dying - Tuesday Meditations

"It is in dying that we are born to eternal life." - Prayer of St. Francis
So, let me die today and die daily.
There is nothing in my instincts to pray such a prayer.
But then, there is nothing in my instinctual drive to cling ...
... to extinct-ual or
... extinguishable
"living" that
lives beyond the moment.
I pray to resist that drive, that urge, that urgency to
survive that
extinguishes life.
Some day, that will mean laying down my body, but,
today it means ...
laying down this body of sin,
of self,
of sensual necessity that says,
"I am thee," but
is not me.
Nor is it Thee in me, Oh God who knows
and gives
and lives
in and through
all who die this way.
I prayed, "Kill me," and
Thou didst not...
and would not.
You said, "Just die and live," and
I tried it and I did and there You were!
You handed me a cross and said,
"Go carry it."
And I asked, "What is it?"
And You said,
"It is the pain and suffering and pain and disgust,
and ugliness, and bad choices, and bitter gall,
and nasty words, thoughts, and accusations,
and hateful hurts of those You will meet today."
And I said, "Why should I?"
And You said, "Because I did and do and you said that
You wanted to follow me and this is what we carry."
And I said, "The burden is too heavy."
And You said, "I know."
And I asked, "So?"
And You said, "Go ... I am with you."
And so ...
I did ... at least that day and then I asked,
"What do I do with them?"
And You said, "Bring them to me,"
and I replied, "But You already have all of these,"
and You said, "Mind Your own business, I've got it handled."
I said. "OK, You are the Master,"
and You smiled and said, "I know."
Master, this really feels and lot like living and You said,
"I know. I told you so. What you though was living,
was not.
It distorts your view because the lens is sprinkled with mirrors
always pointing back at you and
seeing life and events and people from
ego and self-interest and it is not in your
self-interest to be
that interested in yourself.
Die to Deadsville and live!"
And so, Lord, I die today,
I nail Deadsville and my citizenship there with all my credentials and investments to
Your cross.
Thanks for my cross. It fits me.
I sort of like it.
I know I love this new life You have given me and
I really love these people You keep bringing into my life.
Help me to bear their burdens until I can get them to You and ...
Thank You for bearing them and mine.
I am starting to get it ...
It is in dying that we are born
To eternal life.
I look forward to seeing You face to face some day,
When I have laid down this body of flesh and this cross.
Thanks for the invitation and for paying the admission price.
Thank You, my Jesus,
My Lord, my Savior, my Friend, and My Brother,

"A community is the mental and spiritual condition of knowing that the place is shared, and that the people who share the place define and limit the possibilities of each other's lives. It is the knowledge that people have of each other, their concern for each other, their trust in each other, the freedom with which they come and go among themselves." - Wendell Berry

"The only sustainable city—and this, to me, is the indispensable ideal and goal—is a city in balance with its countryside." - Wendell Berry

"It may be that
when we no longer know what to do
that we have come to our real work."
- Wendell Berry

"The secret of my identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God. "- Thomas Merton

"Ultimately the only way that I can be myself is to become identified with him in whom is hidden the reason and fulfillment of my existence ." - Thomas Merton

"O death, when you seized my Lord, you lost your grip on me."  - Augustine

'Twas reading of roses
On Poetry Day .
Other than color,
There's not much to say.


I guess I should stop
This incessant silliness.
Whether I do or not ...
Take an educated guess.

As the psalmist cries out for vindication, mercy, and help, he also let's this slip,

"O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you."
-Psalm 69:5 ESV

What could be more liberating than an honest relationship with God where we have nothing to hide and no need to hide anything?

World Poetry Day - Write One, Read One, Share One

World poetry day words worth
It is World Poetry Day
So - write a poem today.
Write now, right now.
Do not ask, "Will it be fine?"
Ask only, "Will it be mine?" Write because something is in you,
Something that must emerge.
Wait now for a proper venue.
Wait now for a mighty surge. Write. Write. Write.
Write what is in your sight.
Write in the day. Write in the night.
Write in the light.
Write in the fight,
But write.
The poetry is there. See it and record it.
Speak it. Sing it, but
Most of all, experience it.
And share it.

Happy Beautiful Life and Birthday


Photo by aniestla on Unsplash

Life Is Beautiful
So is Keb Mo's music!

Just in case today is your birthday or you have a birthday some time this year, let's all celebrate today!

Together! All of us! One Big Party!

Happy Birthday - Whenever It Is!

The perplexing poles of gratitude and regret,
Pictures in the mind we cannot forget,
Unwritten sonnets, unsung songs,
Unfulfilled wishes, un-righted wrongs.
Tempered and enveloped by words aptly spoken,
Mended hearts which once were broken,
Loves requited, love extended,
Hearts united, truth defended.
All of life is blended in a stew
Of all and everything that comes to you.
Blended and seasoned by all you believe,
Life is all your heart will receive …
By faith, willing, hopeful, and eager.
All that is impressive and all that is meager
Is life, and life is very, very good.
Have a happy, happy birthday. You should.

I Bow My Knees

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash
Ephesians. 3:14-21
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ  Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen
I am weak, Lord. I am lowly.
I bring nothing in my hands.
I offer no credentials, no reputation, no resume worth reading.
My track record is checkered. My focus is scattered.
My mind is here and there and everywhere.
I am easily distracted and frequently tested to the core.
Yet, God, you are my God. Yet, God, you love me, value me, invest in me, and show grace and mercy to me daily.
I am unworthy.
You are worthy.
All my value is that you regard me.
Why, oh why?
It does not matter why because You are the Why of all things and of my existence
and You have engraved Your love into the fabric of the universe.
Your love, Oh LORD, is the only true reality, standard, and truth that bleeds through all of our opinions about ourselves and others.
Your wrath is against all that is not love.
Why then, if I am not judged, can I ever stand in judgment against my neighbor?
I shall not. He and she are Yours.
You see in them that which is precious even as You see something precious in me.
Give me glimpses today of the wonder in my neighbors eyes and the love in his or her heart that I may view my neighbor through the lenses of Your redemptive and reconciling grace and lay all of my prejudices and agendas aside.
And may my neighbor join me in this cause and his neighbor and her neighbor.
I pray this, as the only solution to our divisions in the Name of Jesus who divided us in order to unite us, who showed us hard truth in order to reconcile us to Himself and to one another, who bore all pain, sin, and alienation upon Himself in order to introduce us to You as Your long lost children who have come home.
Give us the heart of the prodigal's father.
Give us Your heart and the heart of Jesus, Your Son.

Called from darkness where we wandered.
Called to follow brilliant light.
From the lives that we squandered.
From our blindness, hearts ignite.

We have heard the distant voice
Growing closer by the hour.
We have made the desperate choice.
We are consumed by gentle power.

He has said now, "Follow me."
We have answered, "Yes. We see!"

Heart Cry for Freedom

Photo by Gautam Krishnan on Unsplash

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1 KJV

In my country, Americans celebrate July fourth, as Independence Day.

I usually take time to thank God for the freedom of religion that is guaranteed by our Bill of Rights. I am grateful for the Baptists of Virginia and Connecticut who lobbied for it and for the statement who championed its cause.

But mostly, I am grateful to God for having the idea in the first place.

God created us in His own image with the freedom to choose Him or reject Him.  Otherwise, we could not have come by faith, in love, and through conversion. God’s design presupposes freedom. Salvation requires the work of the Holy Spirit regenerating the human heart that receives Him willingly. Coercive conversions are no conversions at all. State sponsored religion creates an unregenerate church membership.

God has given men and women a deep desire for freedom. True freedom is only realized fully in Christ. If the gospel is to be proclaimed freely, it must not be supervised by human agencies. Nor can man dictate the way that God will work with a human heart.

Jesus said,

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:8

That is the essence of soul freedom and the best guarantee that government can give for such freedom is to stay out of the way. And that is what our Constitution does for us and for that I am grateful.

Let us honor those foresighted fathers of our country who respected the inherent dignity of each person before God and fashioned our national liberties on that basis. Even though many of them did not realize the full meaning of “all people,” they opened the door for universal application.

As we ring the bells of patriotism every Independence Day, let us sing with renewed zeal,

America, America,
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood.
From sea to shining sea.
(Katharine Lee Bates, 1893)




Photo by Marissa Grootes on Unsplash

These things I must do today:

1. Regulate my thoughts. Rejecting that which is unworthy, I will be focusing on the real longing of my heart for God to show up in my life in a fresh way.

2. Walk in my own house with integrity - In the place of my most intimate relationships and relaxed behaviors among those who know me best and must put up with me most, I must have integrity.

3. Watch  what I watch and how I feed my brain when I am alone and unaccountable to anyone but God. Worthless things pay no dividends but destruction and decay.

4. Hate  that which is the fruit of unfruitful labor. In other words, I am called to reject the products of rebellion against truth and the God of truth. They appear attractive and they lure us with the promise that they are shortcuts to success, but they are not worthy of our efforts,

" I will ponder the way that is blameless.
Oh when will you come to me?
I will walk with integrity of heart
within my house;
I will not set before my eyes
anything that is worthless.
I hate the work of those who fall away;
it shall not cling to me."
(Psalm 101:2-3 ESV)


Take It from a Blind Man Who Sees

Seeing Clearly

Seeing clearly


Today's Scripture Readings and Messages

Part I of the Sermon

Part Two


David anointed 3rd century


Clarity Comes from Seeing as God Sees

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.”

And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do, and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”

Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?”

He said, “Peaceably. I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.”

And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely his anointed is now before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him, for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”

Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”

Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.”

Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”

And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.”

And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him, for we will not sit down until he comes here.”

He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him, for this is the one.”

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Twenty-Third Psalm-Frank Wesley

Art Courtesy of Estate of Frank Wesley,


Clarity Brings a Sense of Calling

Psalm 23 - The Shepherd's Call

A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.


Photo by Bayarkhuu Battulga on Unsplash


Christ is the Crisis That Clearly Calls for Awakening

Ephesians 5:8-14

... once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.

Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.

Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness; rather, expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly, but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”



Challenges Come for the Clearly Called in Crisis

John 9

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent).

Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?”

Some were saying, “It is he.”

Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.”

He kept saying, “I am he.”

But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?”

He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.”

They said to him, “Where is he?”

He said, “I do not know.”

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.”

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the Sabbath.”

Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?”

And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.”

He said, “He is a prophet.”

The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?”

His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind, but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.”

His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.”

He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?”

He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?”

Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.”

The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?”

And they drove him out.

Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”

He answered, “And who is he, sir? Tell me, so that I may believe in him.”

Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.”

He said, “Lord, I believe.”

And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see may see and those who do see may become blind.”

Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?”

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

Scriptures from New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVUE)Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I Was Blind

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. - John 9:1

They asked a silly question as they looked down on the blind beggar, “Who sinned?”

Was it his parents? Or was it him?

They had read parts of the scriptures, but not all. They had left out vast portions that spoke of the mercy of God who, while having the right to inflict pain and suffering upon disobedient people, had so often, in mercy, relented.

And they had not read the book of Job or so many passages that revealed the suffering of the righteous.

But Jesus knew that this blindness, unlike the blindness of those who were critical, was so that the glory of God might be revealed in a poor beggar man. Other eyes, spiritual eyes could also be opened, but it would require a miracle from God and the willingness of the recipient.

That man had his eyes opened, but other eyes remained closed. There is a blindness that is, without a doubted, rooted by sin, perpetuated by sin, and symptomatic of sin. That is the blindness that obscures the vision of grace, that clouds our view of God’s nature, and causes us to stumble through life without direction or purpose.

It is that blindness that Jesus is ever ready to heal.

He does so regardless of our theological sophistication or worthiness. Of course, the man was a sinner, but that fact was not relevant that day, because Jesus was viewing him through the eyes of mercy and grace. His new sight would bring glory to the Father even as yours will evoke the praise of men and women for Him.

I don’t know,” was the answer the man gave to the question of Jesus’ authenticity. “I just know I was blind and now I see.

Later, with new eyes, a willing heart, and deep gratitude, he would joyfully believe and follow. Like this man, you did not become a believer because of your wisdom or theological sophistication. All that you are today comes from a time when a gracious Lord opened your eyes.

But Now I See

He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. - John 9:25

I see,” we say, and we mean that we understand.

I see,” we say, and indicate that something which was formerly behind a cloud has had the light of day shine upon it.

I see,” we say, and breath a sigh of relief because the struggle to comprehend has ended and the fog of confusion has lifted.

I see” we say, sometimes with slight embarrassment because it was so simple all along. That with which we wrestled is no longer an obstacle, but a friend. That which was such a barrier to truth has become the key to all mysteries.

Now I see,” and we do not speak it, but sing the joyful news.

No longer need we wander. No longer must we be the slaves of those who lead us along, but who are also blind. No longer must we repose in darkness without the light of blessed hope.

Why do we crawl back into the darkness now that Christ has brought us light? Why do we sleep through the daylight hours? Why do we act as if we have no direction? Why do we keep bumping into the same obstructions on our path to truth? Why do we shut our eyes and flounder in a haze of existential ambiguity? Why are we attracted to dark things?

We have a choice. There is still within us the memory of blindness and sin and it holds some sort of nostalgic appeal to us. But we must remember that the misery of it all was always greater than its perverted pleasure. It was pleasurable for a season, but those seasons got shorter and shorter and less and less pleasurable.

We can see now, and we can choose. We can say to Jesus, “Tell me who He is and I will believe in Him.” He will point to Himself and we can follow Him. He has opened our eyes and we are without excuse.

I was blind, but now I see.

Small Group Discussion Questions

What insights do these scriptures give us into spiritual blindness?

What examples of spiritual blindness have you experienced?

In what ways did an encounter with God make a difference in these passages?

How can it make a difference today?


Same Sermon, but YouTube

On March 18 - A Digest

First_issue_of_the_Reader's_Digest _February_1922 (1)

First Issue Cover - Public Domain

I have always been a big fan of Reader's Digest as they recycled articles.

Here is my digest for some things I posted on this day through the last 15 years.

I think they may still be of some value - at least to me.


As our island of knowledge grows,
so does the shore of our ignorance.
— John Wheeler


I set urgent goals, make urgent plans, play urgent roles,
Pray urgent prayers, seek urgent interventions for my urgent cares.
God quietly, silently, patiently hears my cries, my fears, my sobbing tears.
God speaks and cage-rattles as silently and patiently to my rage- battles.
And urgency gives way to intentionality ....
And rush to order ...
And I step into a different time-line where all that was slow
Is fast
And all that was fast
Is slow
And everything
Is right on time.
"Hear my prayer, O LORD;
give ear to my pleas for mercy!
In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!"
(Psalm 143:1 ESV)
No photo description available.

I have a habit, sometimes, of engaging speech before thought.
Writing slows me down a bit and requires me to think.
But it is not fool-proof, fools and foolishness being so resourceful.

I need reminders.

Here is one:

"Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
to busy myself with wicked deeds
in company with men who work iniquity,
and let me not eat of their delicacies!"
(Psalm 141:3-4 ESV)

Our Refuge



When We’ve Been There Ten Thousand Years Bright, Shining as the Sun

 “  For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” – Psalm 90:4

 “  But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day”. – II Peter 3:8 

Where will you be a thousand years from now? Ten thousand? A million? A billion?

We live in time and space and are subject to the limitations of such. Time, as we know and experience it, is depleted and never regained.

Not so in our Father’s house.

There will be no wasted moments or years. There will be no waiting, no boredom, and no hurry.

Time will be turned upside down, inside out, and all around. It will be but a faded memory. Eternity, of which we are now at least somewhat ignorant, will be as real as the second hand is today. What is incomprehensible will be comprehended.

What is vast will remain vast, but our capacity to experience it will be transformed.

We may not comprehend it, but we don’t have to be ignorant of it either. We can at the very least, know this: There is so much that we do not know now, but someday will know fully even as we are now fully known.

It is about becoming eternally minded, living every day with eternity in our focus, in our hopes, and in our hearts. We are called to live on a different plane with an attitude of amazement.

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen…” is how Paul put it in II Corinthians 4:18.

It is a matter of choosing our view and sticking with it.

Can you imagine bright shining as the sun for eternity? I can’t either, but I can wait a little longer for it with the wonder with which a child waits for Christmas. Now is the time to make decisions for eternity because this is all the time anyone will ever get.

This is all the time that ever will be. We are about to step out of this realm into the timeless expanse of eternal glory. We are about to leap into God’s everlasting day.


Under Siege

Cover their faces with shame, O Lord, 
that they may seek your Name.


Photo by Mojtaba Mohtashami on Unsplash

It may be that, as we pray against the aggressor, we pray against ourselves. So be it.

It is the heart of God to reach the aggressor and those oppressed with a redemptive hand.

Toward the end of Psalm 83, the Psalmist is praying against oppressive aggressors, invaders, and tyrannical forces that tread and trespass on the rights of innocent people and, thus, become enemies of God.

"O my God, make them like whirling dust 
and like chaff before the wind;
Like fire that burns down a forest, 
like the flame that sets mountains ablaze.
Drive them with your tempest *
and terrify them with your storm;
Cover their faces with shame, O Lord, 
that they may seek your Name.
Let them be disgraced and terrified for ever; 
let them be put to confusion and perish.
Let them know that you, whose Name is Yahweh, 
you alone are the Most High over all the earth."

It makes me think - What good is it for them to be simply defeated if they do not sense the shame of their deeds or identify their defeat with their injustices perpetrated on people?

I reiterate:

"Cover their faces with shame, O Lord, *
that they may seek your Name."


Buried in the prayer for retributive justice is a redemptive plea.

Even the Psalmist, whose primary interest is his own people, has a hint of the heart of God for all the nations.

This  may be  a prayer  of retributive redemption or of redemptive retribution. It depends upon the need where the emphasis goes. The end is restoration.


Photo by Lerone Pieters on Unsplash

We can point our fingers at the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a modern example, and rightly so. We must stand with the the people under siege at any time of history. But most nations with power have exercised unjust power over less-empowered peoples throughout history.

An example pops up today:

On this day in 1968 – Vietnam War: My Lai Massacre occurs; between 347 and 500 Vietnamese villagers (men, women, and children) are killed by American troops.

Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr. played a major role in ending the Mỹ Lai Massacre and later testified against the war criminals responsible.

Healthy cultures and nations own their dark past and commit themselves to not repeating the same atrocities.

My lai masacre

Then, on this day in In 1190, Massacre of Jews at Clifford's Tower, York. 150 local Jews were killed in a pogrom in the castle keep; most of them committed suicide in order not to fall into the hands of the mob.

No photo description available.

What is our next move?

My tribe has a checkered history with forced conversions, violent power-grabbing, and militaristic exercise of religious dominance. To deny that is to deny history. To not care is to ignore scripture. We are flawed in our common humanity and sin with a lust for power that we are willing to exercise with violence and coercion.

Our religions, no matter how legitimate or illegitimate can be illegitimately co-opted as an excuse for that power-lust and every evil methodology we can muster to acquire what we want and think we deserve.

At the moment, the world is experiencing an extreme and frightening expression and demonstration of this. It is not the first in history and probably will not be the last.

Everyone has a different name for it and the names are debated, but it is all one thing throughout history.

There are political and military battles that shall be waged, but the most important battle is unseen; it is timeless; it is the most real. It is waged in the secret place of prayer, the public place of speaking truth in love, and the relational place of living the life of faith to which we have been called - to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

No photo description available.

May I suggest a prayer of our lives in this regard?

May we pray it and live it all at the same time. May our intent be strong and our resolve solid.

May our hope exceed our expectation and may our expectation exceed our present reality.

Any prayer for  retributive redemption or of redemptive retribution, rooted in a prayer for restoration is amplified by our desire to become the embodiment of that prayer, which makes it a prayer for peace.

Cover their faces with shame, O Lord, 
that they may seek your Name.


Cover our faces with shame, O Lord, 
that we may seek your Name.

One Voice for Peace




A lone voice or peace, a lone voice or peace to be for peace is a choice. It’s not always an easy choice. Surrounded by war, cries and hostilities, the voices calling for calm are often muffled and malign.

Dissonant is the music of the drum beat. It’s thunderous is the rhythm of the, of the boots on the ground, marching forth to battle for power, for dominance, for supremacy, for prestige, for wealth. And they bring all forms of harsh criticism.

Furthermore, your motives may be questioned. If you stand for peace. At best, you might be considered unrealistic at worse, disloyal. David says in Psalm 120:5–7:

Woe is me, that I am an alien in Meshech,

that I must live among the tents of Kedar.

too long have I had my dwelling

among those who hate peace.

I am for peace;

but when I speak,

they are for war.

Imagine his frustration, his despair, his sadness, his sorrow. A sure way to invoke the wrath of those who are for war is to speak for peace.

It will take all your prayer, all your strength, not to break with your resolve, not to lash out and, and not to wish Ill upon those who wish ill upon you.

Your tormentors rage. Their anger can be strong, and their condemnation can be chilling.

You have your marching orders from a higher commander, and you’re declared to be blessed by the Prince of Peace who said, in the midst of a storm to the storm, speaking directly to the storm in, but also to the storm within our hearts, “Peace. Be still”

He still speaks peace

to the trouble in the world,

to turmoil,

soil of fear,

toil of tears,

but my soul can be still sided

with by the one who walks beside.

When I cried, he heard,

when I sighed, he spoke the word.

Nothing has changed.

I am not shaken.

These are days of grace.

I think of the melody Finlandia by Sebelius, words translated from the German work Katharina von Schlegel, a Lutheran who wrote during the pietist period of the 18th century,

With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

Be for peace in a time of war. In a time where voices cry for hostility, whether that’s formal war or just the hostilities among people whose words are intemperate, whose intentions are suspect, whose anger is volatile, whose lust for conflict is greater than their desire for peace.

That requires the grace of God. But in giving that grace, our Lord, Jesus speaks to your soul and says, “Peace, Peace, Peace b still.”

Finally, I have a prayer for those who seek to destroy life and who take pleasure in the misfortune of others.

It is a prayer that they would find righteous shame in their actions and disgrace in their attitudes …

That they might seek grace in its only true source.

“Let them be ashamed and altogether dismayed who seek after my life to destroy it; let them draw back and be disgraced who take pleasure in my misfortune. “ — Psalm 40:15

Peace Words and Thoughts

“How radically new my life would be if I were willing to move beyond blaming to proclaiming the works of God in our midst.” Henri Nouwen

Words for the Wind



Addictive words

Whooshing over our heads

Rousing us from our beds





Forming shapes

Transforming landscapes

Words and Wind

From norm to storm

They disturb us and

They create us

Peace comes by them and

In the midst of them.


Moses the Reluctant

Guido Reni - Moses with the Tables of the Law - WGA19289.jpg
Moses was so reluctant to do this mission that he came up with a series of excuses that I summarize this way:
I am unlearned.
I am unable.
I am unbelievable.
I am unwilling.
Each one was answered except the last.
At the end, God kicked him in the hind parts and said, "Get going. I am not asking you; I'm telling you."
Those are my paraphrases.
Here are some of the actual words:
" But Moses said to the LORD, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”
Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”
But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.”
Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him. And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.”"
(Exodus 4:10-17 ESV)
Rosa Parks was a less-reluctant Moses of her day.

No photo description available.
A Prayer to Say:
I am Available!
No photo description available.

π for Everyone


What is your favorite recipe for pie? How about pi (π )?

π r² is a recipe where π is the basic ingredient, but it is not the only one. It is, however the one that makes a perfect are of the circle, the kind that holds a delicious cherry, chocolate, or  coconut pie.

But what is the recipe for π itself? It is often described by:

There is a point here.

Everything is formed from something else. Mathematicians could cite prime numbers as an exception, but physicists would dispute that in their realm.

So far, all that we have attempted to view as irreducible in history has proven to be reducible. Now we speak of particles and waves and quarks and things I do not understand at all.

Theology enters the conversation and declares that God is the Irreducible One while, at the same time, being that which greater than can not be conceived (Anselm).

π Day is one of my favorite holidays because it π  has no known end to its sequence and the very notion introduces the concept that is beyond conceptual: a vast unknown.

Where there is the unknown, there is wonder and where there is wonder there is imagination and a glimpse of divinity which is beyond the mystery.

It is also a day for cute jokes and plays on words.

Enjoy your pie today!'

Pi day 2

Pi day 3

While you are having some fun, consider, also, the circular nature of your existence and the circles of people in your life who bring wonder and joy to your routine journeys around the sun.

And, as promised, a recipe for my favorite:

Lemon Chess Pie

Lemon Chess Pie


Pray As You Will

Just pray

Pray as you will, standing, sitting, eyes closed, eyes open, head bowed or heads raised to Heaven, hands folded or hands open.

Pray in church, in nature, in your room, in the shower, on the bus, but pray. Pray out loud or silently. Pray in song or from a prayer book. Pray scripture or pray spontaneously. Pray with Spirit-led improvisation or pray with deep and coherent thought. Pray the "right words" or pray no words or any words that come to mind, but pray.

When asked how to pray, Jesus gave us the simplest conceivable prayer of all.

Keep it simple. Keep it real. Let it go deep. Pray.

Do not judge your prayers. Do not try to impress God or yourself. Certainly, do not pray to impress others.

Prayer gathers our scattered thoughts and hidden anxieties. Prayer gives voice to the voiceless within us. Prayer centers us in God prayer opens the door for the possibilities we may not readily see. Prayer is God's invitation to participate in what He is doing.. None of us are really ""good at it," but the good news is that we do not have to be. We just need to enter in and meet God.

Let us pray.

Father, I gather with my friends who choose to gather with me this morning to meet you. I come in the name of my Master, Jesus who invites all to meet you. I am grateful for the invitation. I bring the souls and lives of many whom I love, who suffer, who are confused, depressed, broken, destitute, and overwhelmed with opportunity. They are with me, Our Father, in my heart. I do not know what to say or how to intercede for them, so I bring them to You. You already know and love them so much and are already working in and around them.

Thank you for your welcome, You who are Mighty and Holy and Other than myself. Your grace, You have showered upon me. By Your mercy and sacrifice, You have saved and forgiven this poor sinner. Thank You. Thank you. Keep me free of the strong inclination than draws me into self indulgence and narrow thinking of myself.

I view the day before me with more questions than answers. I do not need to have each question answered, but I need to be set upon the right course for the day. Help me dive into the stream of Your perfect purpose and live purposefully as a redemptive, gracious, loving, forgiving, and encouraging soul this day among the people I meet.

Cause me to measure my words, center my thinking, temper my actions, and be energized in my being to do Your will.

I rest in Thee and I rise in Thee.

Help me to meet the right people today who will be encouraged by having walked a mile by my side and then, I will leave them in Your care.

Measure my movements that I might close this day and mark it fruitful.

My heart, my soul, my life, my family, my dreams, my goals, my day, I bring to You and trust to Your care. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

The Queen of Freedom

No photo description available.

From MS. Magazine


She looks like a reigning queen in this photo.

And she was.

Harriet Tubman died on March 10 1913. Known as Moses to the more than 300 slaves she helped find freedom, Tubman was a fighter for abolition and women’s suffrage.

Frederick Douglass often worked with her and admired her, writing,

“The difference between us is very marked. Most that I have done and suffered in the service of our cause has been in public, and I have received much encouragement at every step of the way. You, on the other hand, have labored in a private way. I have wrought in the day—you in the night. … The midnight sky and the silent stars have been the witnesses of your devotion to freedom and of your heroism.”

(Digital restoration by Lise Broer)

Stand in the Gate


“Stand in the gate of the LORD's house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD.” - Jeremiah 7:2

Hear the Word of the LORD!

Throughout the world, any given weekend, millions of souls will enter through the doors of houses of worship. Most of them will be greeted by some unsung hero who stands in the doorway and hands them a worship folder. They will receive a smile, a handshake, and a greeting.

Later, someone will rise to the platform and utter words like, “Welcome to worship!”

There will be a call to worship, a prayer of invocation seeking the presence of God, and a song of praise exalting the Lord. At some point, someone will rise to read from the scriptures and may declare these words of the psalmist, “Hear the Word of the LORD.”

Are you ready to hear?

Are you ready to act on what you hear?

When we enter the gates of God’s house whether at home, at church, or in nature, it is the readiness of our hearts that determines whether or not we truly hear what God has to say. It is as much a matter of choice as our willingness to receive a good meal.

The extent to which we hear, internalize, and are changed by scripture depends more on our receptivity than on anyone’s delivery.

As you sit and prepare for worship, willingly make yourself available to God for what He has to say to you.

Say with Samuel of old, “Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth.”

A March 12 Magazine of Rehashed Thoughts


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A word to "sensible people" is to run away from false gods (including the superstition that idols have any power over us ---like the idols of materialism, commercialism, sensual-ism, nationalism, racism, and self-ism) and and live without giving unnecessary offence to anyone.

It comes down to defining our true loyalties and zeroing in on or core values. Seek God's glory. Seek the good of others. Imitate Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:14-11:1
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

"All things are lawful," but not all things are beneficial.

"All things are lawful," but not all things build up.

Do not seek your own advantage, but that of the other.
Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience, for "the earth and its fullness are the Lord's." If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, out of consideration for the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience-- I mean the other's conscience, not your own. For why should my liberty be subject to the judgment of someone else's conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why should I be denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.

Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many



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What the gospel writers did not and, sometimes, could not record, but first century readers knew, was the smile on Jesus' face, the chuckle in his voice, and the irony in his words as he provoked the faith response of an unlikely faith-heroine, and opened the ears of the deaf man with spit. Jesus was dramatic because drama drives home more than didactic teaching can communicate.
Grace is a very, very big deal.

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I would like to apologize to all the women named "Karen" who have been typecast, stereotyped, maligned, and put down.

Q: A group of cows is called a herd; a group of owls is called a parliament; a group of geese is called a flock. What's a group of "Karens" called?

A: A privilege.

I would also include the uncles named "Tom" (like me) along with the innocent cats, turkeys, and peepers.

Whatever your name is, it is your character that determines its reputation.

Wear it well and proudly, Karen, Tom, and whoever.




Three things I must do in the morning if nothing else (Psalm 5:3):

1. Make my voice heard before God.
2. Lay my requests before God.
3. Wait expectantly before God.

Which of these three is the greatest challenge for you?
Which brings you the greatest joy?

Followers of Jesus, we must not relinquish our identity or voice to the hateful, bigoted, resentful,, condemning, nationalistic, judgmental, racist, partisan, or graceless voices among us. Our message is defined by our Master as is our true identity. We must not surrender that.


An Issue with God

When people tell me that they have an issue with God, sometimes a complaint, sometimes real anger, I often ask, "Have you discussed it with God? Have you told God how you feel?"

"I could not do that," they might respond.

"Why not?" I ask.

"I am afraid to do that. God might get angry back at me."

Not so, not for that. God's anger is what we experience when we resist the fierceness of unrelenting love. We are in a storm and we can ride the storm or wage war against the storm, but we cannot ignore the storm.

Jeremiah, like the psalmist, invites us into the arena of honest prayer where we wrestle with ourselves and speak honestly with God. He prays throughout the book his scribe recorded. It is not always pretty, but often comes to this:

" I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself,
that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Correct me, O LORD, but in justice;
not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing."

(Jeremiah 10:23-24 ESV)

He puts it out there and is willing to be corrected. He trusts God that God can correct Him in justice and not in anger.

I want to be corrected. Don't you? Why would I ever want to continue in a course of unproductive, destructive thinking or behavior? I want to be set upon the right track. My days, like yours, are numbered and I want them to count.

Looking back a few verses, he prays the prayer of as disillusioned man:

" Woe is me because of my hurt!
My wound is grievous.
But I said, “Truly this is an affliction,
and I must bear it.”
My tent is destroyed,
and all my cords are broken;
my children have gone from me,
and they are not;
there is no one to spread my tent again
and to set up my curtains.
For the shepherds are stupid
and do not inquire of the LORD;
therefore they have not prospered,
and all their flock is scattered."

(Jeremiah 10:19-21 ESV)

Prayer is a process. Indeed we pray with the news around us in one hand and the Bible in the other and we are shaped by our dialogue with One who hears and cares.

Whatever you feel, pray.

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It Hurts So Good

Few things happen TO us. Many things that happen do involve us. Most of those things provide and opportunity for us to step out of our subjective skin, look on, and learn from that character that looks like us and wears our skin. - Tom Sims

"It is our responsibilities, not ourselves,
that we should take seriously."
--- Peter Ustinov
"Perhaps I am stronger than I think." - Thomas Merton
The three rules of presentations Levity, Brevity, and Repetition. Let me repeat that...."" Daniel Pink
"I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong." - Frederick Douglass

Sometimes the message you most need to hear on a given day is the one you are being called to write or speak.

Water of Life

From Meribah to Sychar

The Woman at the Well

Cool water

John 4:5-42 and Exodus 17:1-7

Short Version Preached on Facebook

Preached Live at Valley Springs Church

There is nothing like water on your tongue when you are thirsty.

I have been thirsty in two ways.

On one hand, I have been dehydrated where I have needed to receive fluids through an intravenous drip. That brings a feeling of weakness and inability to function or even think clearly.

On the other hand, I have been hot, dry, and deprived of water on my tongue. That comes with a certain desperation and burning desire to drink.

Then, there have been sometimes when I could not take anything by mouth, but I was receiving adequate fluids in my arm. My mouth was thirsty, but my body was OK.

We go to the desert in Exodus 17:1-7. The people felt thirsty before they dehydrated. Yet, they were in grave danger.


From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink.

The people quarreled with Moses, and said, "Give us water to drink."

 Moses said to them, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?"

But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?"

 So Moses cried out to the LORD, "What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me."

 The LORD said to Moses, "Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink."

 Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

 He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the LORD, saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"


That was a place with two names.

Massah means "testing" and Meribah means "quarreling."

The people were tested by the lack of water and thirst, and they responded by quarreling with Moses and, ostensibly, with God.

God supplied them water.

In Psalm 95:6-11, the Psalmist reflects on that moment and, musically, calls for people to be responsive rather than resistant to God:


O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. O that today you would listen to his voice!

Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,

when your ancestors tested me, and put me to the proof, though they had seen my work.

For forty years I loathed that generation and said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they do not regard my ways."

Therefore in my anger I swore, "They shall not enter my rest."


The test is in the questions:

  • Is God able to bring water from a rock and care for our basic needs?
  • Is God willing to do so?

It takes faith to adequately answer the question:

Romans 5:1-2 says:


Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God.


Verse 3 continues the thought and lays out the process of being tested without quarreling.


And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.


Notice that we are moving beyond physical thirst to the deepest sort of spiritual thirst. It is the thirst for real life which is eternal.


Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.  But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. Much more surely then, now that we have been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.  But more than that, we even boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


The two questions. God can and God does care enough to do so.

God can quench our thirst and desires to do it because of divine love. It is sacrificial love. It is the love of God in Jesus Christ.

Yet, we quarrel. We set ourselves as enemies of God and we make enemies of others as well.

By the time of Jesus, for a variety of reasons, descendants of Jacob/Israel were divided into two people groups: Jews and Samaritans. Samaritans were a mixed group of people who had settled in what had been the Northern Kingdom and developed a hybrid form of Judaism.

The Jews were the purists who came out of the great Exile and did not mix the Law and the Prophets with the teachings of the nations.

These two groups did not get along.

They were both thirsty for what only God could give them, but they did not regard each other as worthy of God's love.

John 4:5-42 describes an encounter between Jesus, a Jew, and someone who had three things going against her.

She was a Samaritan.

She was a woman, and that was a disadvantage in Jesus' world.

She was a moral outcast, a woman of tarnished reputation.


4:5 So he came to a Samaritan city called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.

4:6 Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired out by his journey, was sitting by the well. It was about noon.


Thirsty, tired Jesus is traveling. He did not, like almost all of his countrymen, avoid this region. Normally,a Jew would go the long way around Samaria. Jesus plowed through. He must have known he had an appointment in Sychar.

We get tired. He got tired.

We get thirsty. He got thirsty.

We are tested. He was tested.

We quarrel. He seized an opportunity to reach out to another human being.


4:7 A Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink."

4:8 (His disciples had gone to the city to buy food.)


I am sure he said it politely even though it is translated as a demand. The woman makes it clear that she considered he was asking for a drink.  We do not need to parse the details and culture. The message comes clearly in the next verse:


4:9 The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" (Jews do not share things in common with Samaritans.)


She is not offended by his request.

She is astounded, perplexed, and overwhelmed. This just did not happen.

Jews and Samaritans shared nothing, not even water. They had no common ground. They had no interaction. They did not recognize each other's dignity, humanity, and in this case, thirst.


4:10 Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."


Here is how we know why Jesus had to ask. He had no bucket.


4:11 The woman said to him, "Sir, you have no bucket, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?


But he was also there to ask, to break a wall, and to start a conversation. He also had no barriers, animosity, or shame in asking.

He wanted this encounter. Rather than perpetuate a quarrel, he was there to build a bridge. It would turn out to be a big bridge. It took no time at all for him to introduce the idea of spiritual thirst.

Jesus spoke first, he seems to say, but if you had known who I was, you would have asked and i would have given, living water.

Jeremiah called God the spring of living water. Jerusalem was known as the soource of living water. Living water is fresh, clean, and, by virtue of effect, sweet to the tongue and refreshing to the soul.

Water is a source of life.


4:12 Are you greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us the well, and with his sons and his flocks drank from it?"


Jacob was their common ancestor. He was honored in both of their traditions. He was revered by the Samaritans as their father. It is a rhetorical question that the woman asks, rather snarky perhaps.


4:13 Jesus said to her, "Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,

4:14 but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life."


I think he is making it clear that the discussion has moved from the world of sand, sun, and water to the world of the Spirit. What we do not know is whether or not Jesus has gotten the cup of water by now. I like to think he has.

In the God well, you do not have to lower you bucket by a rope. God's water springs up. God's water results in eternal life.

This woman has come to the well on off-hours for years- not with the other women. They shun her. She is a threat to their homes. She is not a friend.

It is drudgery to survive sometimes in this world. You must do so many things just to get by.

It feels that way spiritually sometimes too.


4:15 The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, so that I may never be thirsty or have to keep coming here to draw water."


I think she is getting it. They are in metaphor land. They are talking about big things, deep things, eternal things. She is playing along. Jesus has touched a nerve. She is interested. She says.

"Give me this water. I am tired and thirsty."

What makes you tired?

What makes you thirsty?

What makes your soul ache?

What remains unsatisfied in your life?


4:16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come back."

4:17 The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband';

4:18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!"


Don't you love it, and don't you hate it when Jesus gets personal?

This woman has blown through 5 husbands. She does not even bother any more. She just moved in with this guy. That was not common in her time. She was continually lowering her bucket into the well of love and acceptance and it kept leaking. She had to keep coming back for that which never satisfied.

She must have felt rather defeated by life. But she was a survivor. She kept going to the well

She is amazed at Jesus' insight and knowledge of her and declares:


4:19 The woman said to him, "Sir, I see that you are a prophet.


A prophet proclaims truth from God. Jesus spoke truth. But she sees more and that is about to become obvious.

She is fully immersed in this interfaith, cross-denominational discussion by now and brings up the historical quarrel between the Jews and Samaritans: Where to worship and how:


4:20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you say that the place where people must worship is in Jerusalem."

4:21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.


Jesus declares a day to come when none of the quarrels will matter. In that that day, God will address the real source of our common human thirst for life, for meaning, and for truth. All the sources of our divisions and argents will fade.

He continues:


4:22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.


He does not play down the truth. He does not diminish the role of Judaism. Judaism contributes a knowledge of God to humanity. It possessed the Covenant, the Torah, the Name of God, and the most complete descriptions of God's character according to Jesus.

But even so, they both worshipped the same God.

Jews were worshipping a God they knew.

Samaritans, Jesus said, were worshipping an unknown God.

But all of that was about to change in the coming of a new hour of the spirit, a new era, a new time of refreshing when living water would flow to all.


4:23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.

4:24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."


That is a mouth full. That is profound. That is game-changing, Let it sink in.

Sip it.

Guzzle it.

It is Living water for a Thirsty soul.

Notice a few verses back when he said, "He would have given it."

First, the Father is seeking worshippers, He is seeking them everywhere, even at a well in Sychar in Samaritan country. It is not about going to God anymore. It is about God coming to us. A seeking God.

Then, this God is spirit. He is wind. He is breath. He is moving. He is invisible. He is everywhere.

Finally, if we are going to be true worshippers of God, it will not be through quarrelling over water, or altars, or theological concepts, but in spirit and in truth.

At this point, the woman introduces another plot of common ground. Jews and Samaritans believed in a coming Messiah.


4:25 The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming" (who is called Christ). "When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us."


Messiah or Christ means, the one anointed by God. It has a long prophetic tradition and many traditions and beliefs associated with it. The woman is fishing for more information and Jesus gives it. It becomes very plainspoken about an area where he has been very vague.


4:26 Jesus said to her, "I am he, the one who is speaking to you."


Catch it while you can because you will not hear it much.

Now, there are only two people in this conversation.

Who told John?

Was it the woman or was it Jesus?

If I knew, I would tell you.

One thing we know is that it was about to be broadcast widely.


4:27 Just then his disciples came. They were astonished that he was speaking with a woman, but no one said, "What do you want?" or, "Why are you speaking with her?"


They could have chosen the taboo to shock them. They chose the fact that Jesus was breaking protocol by having a serious conversation with a woman.

But this is Jesus.

He has no respect for tradition barriers of culture, lineage, reputation, religion, or gender.

For Jesus, what matters is:

All the people are thirsty.

Living Water is for all.

God is seeking worshippers who are longing for a life of truth in the spirit.

If that is you, then God is seeking you.

Hint: If you are fully honest, you know that it is you.


4:28 Then the woman left her water jar and went back to the city. She said to the people,

4:29 "Come and see a man who told me everything I have ever done! He cannot be the Messiah, can he?"


Let's follow the woman for a moment:

She left her jar. Are we too attached to our water pots to carry the call of Jesus to our cities? Are we so fixated on our trivial tasks that we cannot leave them to bear witness to His power, grace, and truth?

Maybe that is a stretch of interpretation, but it is right there. She abandoned her menial task to go back to the city with this news.

Here was a woman with the worst reputation in the village and she went to the very people with whom she had made her reputation.

To the men of the city, with whom she had no credibility at all, she declared the credibility of Jesus. At least they would talk to her. And she did it without the slightest hint of intimidation and completely undistracted by the unfinished mission that had taken her to the well in the first place.

Who cares about two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen when you can have living water?

Washing clothes can wait. Cooking can be done later. Even drinking water can be postponed. It’s not everyday that you have a chance to meet a man who can tell you everything you have ever done – and in such a way that you feel love, forgiveness, and acceptance rather that shame, guilt, and fear.

This woman had been summoned to a new mission, a higher calling. She received the call and bore the call with passionate conviction and urgency. The call is upon us and on our lips, but if it is to be heard by the people of the cities, we must leave our water pots and deliver it in person.


4:30 They left the city and were on their way to him.


At the very least, they were curious. At the most, they were thirsty.


4:31 Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, "Rabbi, eat something."


They were concerned for him.

They knew how absorbed Jesus could get in these conversations.

In many ways, they were stuck in the mundane elements of the moments and unaware of the intensity and significance of those moments.


4:32 But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about."

4:33 So the disciples said to one another, "Surely no one has brought him something to eat?"

4:34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.


We have moved from water to food.

Our essential thirst being quenched, we must still eat. we need nourishment. It is not, for most of us, quite the emergency of going without water, but it is a human need. It is an urge for days before it becomes truly urgent.

Jesus takes the opportunity for another great lesson.

The work of the Father feeds his soul.

That conversation was worth more to him than a 5 course meal. I doubt that he could have eaten in that moment if he had tried. He was basking in the wonder of the encounter and waiting for the next wave that was coming as the townspeople would arrive.

Don't distract us with food when we are eating a real banquet of purpose.


4:35 Do you not say, 'Four months more, then comes the harvest'? But I tell you, look around you, and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.

4:36 The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

4:37 For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.'

4:38 I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."


This is harvesting time, he declares!

I am here reaping a harvest!

Others has been part of it. God has been working for some time.

We can all rejoice in it.

You are going to be part of it too!

It is a feast of joy.

In a thirsty world, what could be more gratifying than offering fresh water?

ILn a hungry world, what could be more rewarding than offering food for the soul?

In a needy world, what could be more fulfilling than being part of God's work in God;s Kingdom?

We are the Jesus team!


4:39 Many Samaritans from that city believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I have ever done."


Many lives were changed that day.

Many thirsty souls found living water.

Something began at Masah and Meribah with thirst and testing and quarreling.

That day, in Sychar, water flowed from the rock!


4:40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.

4:41 And many more believed because of his word.


Jesus did not generally stay that long. It says something about his motives, his heart, and his purpose.

Not all the divisions would be healed in two days, but he knocked a hole in the wall and extended the flow of the river of life.


4:42 They said to the woman, "It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is truly the Savior of the world."


Let that sink in.

Powerful words.

Real encounter with God is very personal and experiential.

Jesus had sought these people. The conduit was one woman. She was the link. Many came to believe. Many became disciples.

He was and is the Savior of the world. The whole world. Not just one side of a quarrel. Not just one tribe or people. The world!

We return to Psalm 95 for an admonition."


“Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” - Psalm 95:8


Thirst is a powerful drive. Water is a basic human need. To be without water is a hard test. To trust God for water is a profound demand.

At Massah, also called, Meribah, the children of Israel quarreled with Moses and tested God. They doubted God’s presence and provision. They did this because they were thirsty.

They quarreled; they doubted; but God provided in spite of their hard hearts. The water came from the rock. Psalm 95 admonishes us to praise God who is the rock of our salvation and not to harden our hearts toward God.

Hard times test us to the core. Paul tells the believers in Rome, in Romans 5 that suffering, filtered through faith, brings endurance that leads to character and hope. God helps us. God provides.

God quenches the deepest thirst of our lives.

We can trust God.

Jesus delivers this message to the woman at the well. In his conversation with her, he reminds her that whoever drinks from Jacob’s well will thirst again. However, he will give water that will satisfy forever.

She understands the metaphor. She looks at her life of dissatisfaction and at Jesus and she believes Jesus. Her heart is not hard.

She runs home to her Samaritan village and invites everyone to come see a man who knew her completely when he did not know her at all.

Come see him!

Many came. Their hearts were not hard. They believed also.

It is amazing what God can do with a soft and receptive heart.

No matter how thirsty you are, you can open your heart to God and drink from the well that never runs dry.

Come and See

Go, Figure.

Relinquish Your Hold


Let It Go!

Photo by Ankush Minda on Unsplash

"Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple….So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions." - Luke 14:26, 33

It is a provocative statement.

Did it work?

Did it get your attention?

Is it hyperbole?

Doesn't it contradict almost everything else Jesus said?

Many "yes" answers emerge, but there is also a "yes" to the unasked question. What is the unasked question?

What does it mean to turn one's back on everything to focus on one thing? What kind of hate is this that is absolutely compatible with unconditional love? What kind of dying is this that culminates in eternal living and what kind of emptying is it that fills us?

Everything is redefined in Jesus.

Every value is reordered.

Every love is reoriented.

What looked like love is revealed as dysfunctional, self-serving, enabling much-mush when compared to the true love that transforms us and causes us to live out the Great Commandment -- not only better, but from a new perspective.

This sort of hate and abandonment is the gateway to true love and fulfillment.

How can it be?

Go figure.


In case you are still stuck.

What If This Day Had Never Been?


March 9 big day

March 9 - A Very BIG Day What would be lost if it did not exist? Why is it BIG?

What makes it a BIG day?

First, every day is.

Imagine if it did not exist? Where would we be today if there were no day today?

Over eight billion people are experiencing this day today. What if we did not have a designation for it?

That would be like 8,000,000,000 days disappearing x 24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds. 

At 12:12 PM, March 9, 2023

12-12 PM - March 9 2023

What a loss of influence, action, and creativity.

Now, multiply one day by every year of the history of humanity or, even, the world itself?

So many days that we call "March 9!"

Some events were wonderful. Some births were notable. Some things were not so good.

For some events, the jury is out. We cannot judge.

A reminder popped up on my screen of one of the reasons I am grateful for modern medicine and the people who deliver it to us ... sometimes at great risk and sacrifice ... always with great commitment.

So here I am, ready to embark on a long day of work with lots of energy, enthusiasm, and spizzerinctum!

It is the eight year anniversary of an ambulance ride which changed the trajectory of my life --- many ways, for the better.

God bless the doctors, nurses, clerks, care providers, dieticians, cleaning staff, transporters, phlebotomists, ALL who make and keep us healthier.

We've come a long way, Baby!

Don't give up!

It is a BIG Day


New ideas, people, movements, and projects are birthed daily.


Every day is an opportunity for creativity.


We grow daily. We cannot skip a day.

That is my personal reflection.

Several years ago, I reflected on that event:

No photo description available.

Apparently, a few years ago, on this day, I did some Bible teaching.

And then, there is history!



I even had the honor of being quoted in a book by one of my heroes.

What if this day

had never been?

Hand Me a Trumpet

Sound the trumpet
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;" - Joel 1:1

I don't own a trumpet; I don't play a trumpet; I can't actually, literally follow this directive.

But I do love the sound of trumpets and this trumpet sounds like one I can relate to.

The "day of the Lord!"

It is a day of judgment and that can be terrifying ... but it can also be comforting.

It all depends on how one aligns oneself.

For instance, if you are protesting an evil repressive regime and calling for justice, the trumpet might sound quite appealing. If you are suffering under the weight of that oppression, you may long for the trumpet to sound.

It is the day of setting things right.

But it is also a day of great mercy.

Trumpets sound

If you are suffering under the weight of debilitating disease, the weight of a persistent addiction, the weight of depression, guilt, shame, or financial worries, you long for the sound of the trumpet. If you wake up pondering and mourning the state of the world, you dance to the sound of the trumpet.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

You are looking, longing, and languishing for a new day. The trumpet lets us know that the day is here and now ... even as a greater day is coming.

But we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

These days of Lenten preparation begin with the ashes of grief, sorrow, penitence, and pain, but they do so against the backdrop of a trumpet announcing a new day.

Hand me a trumpet and I will do my best to play along with the band.

Hand Me a Trumpet

Sound the trumpet
"Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;" - Joel 1:1

I don't own a trumpet; I don't play a trumpet; I can't actually, literally follow this directive.

But I do love the sound of trumpets and this trumpet sounds like one I can relate to.

The "day of the Lord!"

It is a day of judgment and that can be terrifying ... but it can also be comforting.

It all depends on how one aligns oneself.

For instance, if you are protesting an evil repressive regime and calling for justice, the trumpet might sound quite appealing. If you are suffering under the weight of that oppression, you may long for the trumpet to sound.

It is the day of setting things right.

But it is also a day of great mercy.

Trumpets sound

If you are suffering under the weight of debilitating disease, the weight of a persistent addiction, the weight of depression, guilt, shame, or financial worries, you long for the sound of the trumpet. If you wake up pondering and mourning the state of the world, you dance to the sound of the trumpet.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

You are looking, longing, and languishing for a new day. The trumpet lets us know that the day is here and now ... even as a greater day is coming.

But we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves.

These days of Lenten preparation begin with the ashes of grief, sorrow, penitence, and pain, but they do so against the backdrop of a trumpet announcing a new day.

Hand me a trumpet and I will do my best to play along with the band.

Comforting Words

Comforting words

The Comforting Word

“Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” Psalm 119:49-50

God’s Word brings us life and in the gift of life, we find great hope and comfort in the midst of affliction.

Affliction is common to our humanity. It bears down upon us. It burdens us. It discourages us. It tempts us to lose focus and concentrate on our circumstances rather than the hope that is in us.

Hope runs dry in affliction and we need an infusion of new hope. That hope is found in the Word of God and brings great comfort to our souls and life to our spirits.

We feel so dead under the load of suffering. We feel alone and dismayed.

Comfort is the opposite of aloneness. The comforted one knows that someone has come alongside us and is consoling us in that deep way that companionship affords. God speaks to us and His words are words of hope.

We know it is God so we can believe what He says.

How do we know it is God?

Familiarity is the answer.

Having met him frequently in the pages of scripture and at the altar of prayer, we have come to recognize His voice and when He speaks, we know it is His assurance that is consoling us. It is His promise that is quickening us and restoring us to life.

We hear His comforting word and we sing,

“Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. “ (Verse 54)

Turning Feet

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies. “ Psalm 119:59

What can turn you around?

There is divine meeting place between you and God and you have an appointment to meet Him there. It is in that place at His appointed time where you take a long look at yourself in the light of His truth and you either walk away or experience a turning of your feet.

When have you last thought on your ways?

Introspection is unavoidable when we come regularly, honestly, and earnestly to the scriptures and read them with an open, seeking heart. We will think on our ways as we compare God’s expectations with our own attitudes and behavior.

Conviction is inevitable for real a Bible reader which is why some of us become Bible avoiders.

But our feet may be going the wrong way and they need to be turned. They need correction and we need the Word of God to bring that about in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I worry very little about the spiritual progress of those who are totally immersed in the scriptures. It is the sword of the Spirit and it pierces the hearts of all who encounter the Lord there. Jesus relied on that Word to overcome His own temptation and He often applied it to the situations he encountered daily.

The psalmist found urgency in the scriptures. The moment of conviction became the moment of turning:

“I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.” (Verse 60)

To him, the precepts of God provided the safety net for his life:

“At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments. I am a companion of all them that fear thee, and of them that keep thy precepts. The earth, O LORD, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.” (Verses 62-64)

There are those among us who have grown disgruntled, stubborn, and unbelieving – especially concerning the possibility of change in their own attitudes, habits, and lives. Friend, if you are among that company of defeated Christians, there is hope and that hope is found in God’s Word. Read it; take it to heart; and allow it to turn your feet.

Secret Wisdom and Hidden Glories

“But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory … But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.” – I Corinthians 2:6 and 9

The hidden wisdom of God, revealed in Jesus and discerned by spiritual men, is offered to those for whom it is prepared. It is the wonder of God’s purposes and glory. It is shared on a “need-to-know” basis, as we need to know.

And what we do know is that there is much that we cannot know.

We have a glimpse if we have gained it through spiritual sight. We have the earnest of the Spirit. We are gladdened by promises from God Himself. But still we see through a glass darkly. Only dim reflections illumine our insight into eternity for as yet, it is still far beyond us, above us, and other than us.

It is not that God does not want us to know or desires for us to remain in the dark; it is that we simply cannot receive the fullness of this knowledge while confined to time, space, and physical body. That is why what relatively little we know, comes by other than intellectual receptors. In the meantime, He is preparing us for the day when we can know perfectly as we are known.

There is coming a time when all the secrets will be revealed. In that day, in a finite immeasurable moment, our eyes will be opened and we shall be eternally with the Lord. Whatever we imagined about God and eternity, Heaven and glory in this life will not compare to what He has purposed to share with us.

Oh wondrous, glorious, mystery and bliss,
By grace, the moment we shall not miss,
Beyond the veil of time and space
When by His side we take our place.




Determination is when you decide when and where you will terminate your journey.

You set the arrival date and place and you keep moving until you arrive.

Jesus demonstrated it in Luke 13:32 :

“Go and tell that fox for me, ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work.’”

When the colluded powers sent their collaborating messengers to warn Jesus he was in trouble and that he was likely to be killed, his response was four-fold:
  • I am doing works of mercy and deliverance.
  • I will continue to do them until I am done. I will not be stopped. I will not be intimidated.
  • I won't die here, but I will keep moving toward the place of my death.
But there is a third day coming and no matter what anyone does or thinks they can do to me, I will move past it toward that day ... and then, and only then, my work will be complete.
Following Jesus is an act of determination.
No termination until the place and time of determination.
Determine to do so and then, do so.

Bloody Sunday On This Day in 1965 - Glory!

Bloody sunday

On this day in 1965 – Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers is brutally attacked by state and local police in Selma, Alabama.

The late Congressman John L. Lewis was among them as the crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge.

The namesake of the bridge, Judge Edmund Pettis,  was a Confederate brigadier general, a "Grand Dragon" of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan, and U.S. senator.
Fifty-eight years ago, a group of people aligned themselves with a righteous cause and went to war with no weapons. They just walked and stood against evil perpetrated by people who told themselves they were righteous.
The evil of that moment was dis-empowered as all evil shall be ultimately dis-empowered.
The weapons wounded, but did not destroy the righteous.
Selma was a turning point in the minds of many.
Selma still speaks.
Something was accomplished that day!
" Declare this in the house of Jacob;
proclaim it in Judah:
“Hear this, O foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.
Do you not fear me? declares the LORD.
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea,
a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
though they roar, they cannot pass over it.
But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
They do not say in their hearts,
‘Let us fear the LORD our God,
who gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
the weeks appointed for the harvest.’
Your iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.
For wicked men are found among my people;
they lurk like fowlers lying in wait.
They set a trap;
they catch men.
Like a cage full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
therefore they have become great and rich;
they have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of evil;
they judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
Shall I not punish them for these things?
declares the LORD,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?”
An appalling and horrible thing
has happened in the land:
the prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
my people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes?"
(Jeremiah 5:20-31 ESV)

Our Big Problem


"Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." - Romans 1:21

This indictment is about what we do with what we know. It is an offense to reason not to be thankful to God and glorify God as God. Thanksgiving is a national holiday because even non-believers have enough understanding to know that they did not create all the blessings of this world.

There will always be more left unknown than grasped with our mortal minds. We do not know all there is to know about God. We don't know a fraction. What we do know is enough to call us to worship.

People have known God through the centuries. They have known enough to treat Him like God. How is that? Worshipfully, doing what we call "glorifying."

To glorify is to recognize the extreme weightiness of a matter. In this case, it is to take God so seriously that we stand in awe, are struck down by the sheer magnitude of God’s power and are overwhelmed with the right kind of fear as we behold the divine majesty.

The right kind of reverence is the stuff that makes our jaws drop, that leaves us speechless, that causes us to tremble, that turns on the lights and lets us know that if we get this part right, we don't really have to worry about anything else.

Paul says folks who knew God failed to be

What does God want?

God wants us to take Divinity seriously.

God wants us to experience and glorify the One who is Holy with gratitude.

Only when we take God seriously, can we take ourselves seriously - or anything else for that matter.

Paul says that without the cornerstone of acknowledgement of God as God, man became and we become futile thinkers, vain imaginers. Thanksgiving is a good time to renew this important missing element of worship in our lives.

Memories of March 6

The lobes of the brain, viewed laterally

Here are some memories of this day:

On this day in 632, the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, preached The Farewell Sermon (Khutbah, Khutbatul Wada') .

"O people, your Lord is One, and your father is one: all of you are from Adam, and Adam was from the ground. The noblest of you in Allah’s sight is the most godfearing: Arab has no merit over non-Arab other than godfearingness. Have I given the message?—O Allah, be my witness. —At this, they said yes."



Asked to summarize a life,
I hesitated,
Overwhelmed by complexity,
Jaded acuity.

Then proceeding,

Necessary for me
To be me and
You to be you
Us to be we and we to be



Born this day in 1493 – Juan Luis Vives, Spanish scholar and humanist (d. 1540). His life and works are a fascinatingly study for further reading:

Primary Works

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Article