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April 2023

What's in a Day?

Days of miracles and wonder
More than You Think
Take today, for instance.
Hugh and Catherine
This is the feast day of St. Catherine of Sienna, who She was a mystic, activist, and author who had a great influence on literature and the Church. She was born in 1347 and, early in life, began to desire a life dedicated to the service of God. It is also a day to remember Hugh the Great, Abbot of Cluny from 1049 until his death. He was one of the most influential leaders of the monastic orders from the Middle Ages. Also, remembered in the church on this day, are Endelienta, Robert of Molesme, Torpes of Pisa, and Wilfrid II.
Look them up.
It is the birthday of many notables. Born this day in:

1745 – Oliver Ellsworth, American lawyer and politician, 3rd Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1807)


1783 – David Cox, English landscape painter (d. 1859)

1818 – Alexander II of Russia (d. 1881)

1847 – Joachim Andersen, Danish flautist, composer and conductor (d. 1907)

1848 – Raja Ravi Varma, Indian painter and academic (d. 1906)

1858 – Georgia Hopley, American journalist, temperance advocate, and the first woman prohibition agent (d. 1944)

1863 – William Randolph Hearst, American publisher and politician, founded the Hearst Corporation (d. 1951)

1887 – Robert Cushman Murphy, American ornithologist (d. 1973)

1888 – Michael Heidelberger, American immunologist (d. 1991)

1891 – Bharathidasan, Indian poet and activist (d. 1964)

1891 – Edward Wilfred Taylor, British businessman (d. 1980)

1899 – Duke Ellington, American pianist, composer and bandleader (d. 1974)

1901 – Hirohito, Japanese emperor (d. 1989)

1917 – Celeste Holm, American actress and singer (d. 2012)

1933 – Rod McKuen, American singer-songwriter and poet (d. 2015)

1933 – Willie Nelson, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer and actor

1938 – Bernie Madoff, American businessman, financier and convicted felon (d. 2021)

This is the Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare (United Nations). The date April 29 was chosen for this observance because it was when the Chemical Weapons Convention came into force.
"The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is an occasion to pay tribute to those who lost their lives or suffered from these heinous weapons; to assess our progress in preventing their use; and to renew our commitment to achieve a world free of chemical weapons."
-António Guterres
Happy Roget Thesaurus Day!
Synonyms for Thesaurus
reference book
language reference book
storehouse of words
treasury of words
word list


No photo description available.

Born this day in 1854 – Henri Poincaré, French mathematician, physicist, and engineer. Poincaré became the first person to discover a chaotic deterministic system which laid the foundations of modern chaos theory. He is also considered to be one of the founders of the field of topology. From descriptions of his work habits, it seems he was genius with ADHD who managed it well.


No photo description available.

On this day in 1945 – Dachau concentration camp is liberated by United States troops.


A Prayer for Cities Where Violence Reeks Havoc

Thank you, God, for a peaceful night in our own homes.

Yet, there are cities where the havoc of violence puts all on edge today.

Choose such a city and Pray

Build and rebuild trust and truth, order, mutual respect, love, grace, and the shalom of that city.

Might can restore for a moment and we are grateful for the legitimate exercise of authority, but lasting peace is built out of reconciling relationships and a passion for justice and righteousness.

May that be the heart of the city that emerges as You empower the people of goodwill to work together to build their city and create a model for the rest of us.

May this be a day of turning for that city.



William Wallace Denslow's illustrations for Three Wise Men of Gotham, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose

Who Is the Fool?


First, this verse is not really or primarily about atheism, because it is not about an intellectual conviction or doubt. It is an assessment of a heart inclination that knows one thing and behaves in an oppositional manner toward truth. There are many theists who have said in their heart that there is no God.

Second, it is not about intellectual deficiency. The biblical context for use of the word, "fool" is almost always the absence of wisdom and moral discretion. In fact, it self-defines in this verse as, "they are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity."

In other words, "You act as if there were no governing truth or Governor of truth in the universe. You live your life in contempt of God."

I used to call this "practical atheism."

Some of my friends would argue that morality and theology have no correlation and I would remind them that I am preaching to the choir who feels that because their theology is sort of OK, that they are OK.

But then, it gets more inclusive than that. Do you like inclusiveness? Try this:

"There is none who does good."


Is it psalmistic hyperbole, the exasperation of a godly soul who is fed up with all the ungodliness or is it the reality of human depravity and universal susceptibility?

Maybe both.

Does he include himself?

I do not know, but I count me among those who have worn the jester's hat and played the fool.

Every time I forget my Center, I am among the company of spiritual, oral, and ethical idiots who are saying in their hearts (mission control of the decision-making process) that there is no God.

"The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity;
there is none who does good."
-Psalm 53:1 ESV

And Pomp

We get so impressed with ourselves, our titles, positions, and curricula vitae. We adorn ourselves with fading splendor and gaudy honor. We fancy our bodies indestructible and our minds bright and permanent.

            Yet ...

No matter how differentiated in minutia our DNA may be from that of the beasts, we fade, we falter, we fall, we die.

We go down to the pit of death with all of our confidence, boasting, and self-deception for we are dust and our pomp is but the costume jewelry of our silly make-believe games of childhood.

If it is all we have, we have nothing. Death is our shepherd.

But God has something else in mind for us, a rescue from Sheol, a ransom of our souls, a renewal of our lives, and an ignition of our significance and reason for being.

His intention is to receive us.

He is a receiving God.

" Man in his pomp will not remain;
he is like the beasts that perish.
This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd,
and the upright shall rule over them in the morning.
Their form shall be consumed in Sheol, with no place to dwell.
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me. Selah"
- Psalm 49:12-15 - (ESV)




Friends of the Groom


In the more traditional weddings, with all the frills and proper etiquette,  ushers are trained to inquire of those entering the chapel, "Friend of the bride or friend of the groom?"

Friends of the bride are escorted to the left and friends of the groom, to the right.

These days, it is more likely to be both.

At the cosmic wedding, set at some future and/or eternal date, it is also both.

We are entering the season of weddings.

Love is in the air and young lovers’ eyes are glazed over with anticipation of their marriages. They have chosen their brides and grooms and, with eager anticipation, await their nuptials.

Jesus was born for an arranged marriage.

He is the bridegroom of a precious bride, betrothed by his Father from the foundation of the earth and adorned in beauty and regalia. He is the husband of the church. His eyes glow with love for his bride.

His presence is of such value that the members of the wedding party mourn while he is away and rejoice when he arrives. The hosts of Heaven understand this and even nature responds with glee at his arrival.

The earth was darkened when he died, and his friends grieved with despair. His resurrection brought unspeakable joy and his ascension was no source of pain for with it, he sent his Spirit to abide with and in us forever. he is always present as he promised in his Great Commission.

We are cast in this drama as both the collective bride and friends of the bridegroom. In both roles, we have within ourselves the desire to adore him. It may disguise itself as something else.

The flesh will distort that desire and pervert it, but the essence of desire is that we would desire him. Mourning comes in his absence. Joy is in his presence.

The essence of our worship, meditation, prayer, contemplation, celebration, and experience of God as we, Christians, know God in the face of Jesus, is presence. Intimacy with God is found in our celebration of the presence of God. Anything that brings a sense of absence, depletes us and diminishes us. Anything that causes us ton be drawn near, is bliss and satisfaction.



Note: Noel Paul Stookey wrote this piece as a wedding gift for his friend, Peter Yarrow

Prayer for the dark places of the land



What percentage of our prayers reflect this level of desperate, corporate cry from the community?

How many of ours are sugar-coated and listless?

Do I dig deeply into my soul to pray with honesty?

Do I allow myself the passion of knowing and giving voice to my own pain and the pain of the people with whom I walk this planet?

We have permission to pray our hearts, emotions, and anger to God. He can sort it all out and replace our vindictiveness with compassion.

But if we try to hide our negative thoughts from God and ourselves, they will grow and fester as well as working themselves out in passive and active aggression. I do not believe the psalmist is praying the heart of God, but he is touching the heart of God with his own broken heart.

" Have regard for the covenant,
for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence.
Let not the downtrodden turn back in shame;
let the poor and needy praise your name."
(Psalm 74:20-21 ESV)


Harper Lee and One Book

Portrait from the first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) (photo by Truman Capote)

Portrait from the first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) (photo by Truman Capote)

"I'd rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you'll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.“Your father's right," she said. "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."

Born this day in 1926, Harper Lee. She had one book published in the first portion of her lifetime, just one, but oh, what a book! It was one of the major formative reads of my life.

She introduced me to Atticus Finch in the 7th grade and, for a time, I wondered if I would serve God and humanity best as a preacher or criminal lawyer or both.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" was one of the three most influential books of my youth.

Gregory Peck once said that people would approach him and say, "I became a lawyer because of your portrayal of Atticus.

If I could leave only one thing behind, I would hope that it could be as impactful as what Miss Lee left.


On Ultimate Value

Tillich ultimate

Bear with me as I meditate on the meaning of the treasure in the field and the pearl of great price. I am preaching on this very simple and profound passage tomorrow. My thoughts have led me down several paths to a place of focus.

If there is ultimate value in the world than that value has implications.

Those implications are found in the changes that come to our lives as a result.

If I believe that something is "ultimate concern" (Paul Tillich's definition of faith and religion), then I must rethink all of my other concerns.

" ... ultimate concern was always my main concern," Tillich said in the interview I am posting. He was misunderstood because he used the language, "God is dead," while referring to traditional views of God. What he believed about God himself was somewhat unclear. Tillich found it necessary to articulate his commitments in unorthodox ways.

The problem of "what's the meaning of my life," was the driving force behind his own seeking and thought. While he came to different conclusions than I would, he raised questions that continue to challenge us to do something about the treasures we find in the field and those pearls of great price for which we sell all in order to gain what we see as most valuable.

What I declare as ultimate concern in my life is the Kingdom of God as embodied in and taught by Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.

You may be on a different path. Perhaps you can still apply this principle of ultimate commitment arising out of ultimate concern. For me, the call is a clear and certain and the One making the call is real and personal.

So, what do I do? What must I do?

If I truly believe, as I do, that I have found the greatest treasure, I cannot honestly walk away from it unscathed and unaltered.

If I rethink everything, then I must rethink with an eye toward reorientation. If my orientation changes, it affects the view of everything else in my view. What was primary becomes peripheral. Some things simply fade into a dark background.

The reorientation, as implied, grows out of a refocus. The eye on the prize for a person of faith is an eye on the person who is "the Other." This "Other" is Holy/Wholly Other." (See Rudolph Otto - "The Idea of the Holy")The "Other" is different from us and that uniqueness impresses us into reverence. But this "Other" in the gospels is also one of us and, in leaving us, sends yet another to walk alongside us as Spirit and guide.

Tillich says that the most convincing evidence of any faith is the transformation of those who commit to it.

So, I refocus and that means I must reorient. What follows is redirection of the movement of my life, reevaluation of what is important, revisiting all my commitments of time, energy, and money, and restructuring all my beliefs and priorities.

Jesus said, and it is quoted in Matthew 13:44-45, that those who found treasures in the field and pearls of great price were willing to sell all to gain that one thing.

The great question in genie lore is what will you do with the three wishes if you have only three. I was told I was in violation of the genie code (though it was not stated at the outset) when I expressed my intention to first request unlimited wishes.

It seemed valid.

Whenever you have only a few choices you choose the choice that brings more choices. You buy the option machine. It is good business and it is good religion.

He said that the kingdom was like that.

Perhaps he calls the "narrow way" also the way of freedom and unlimited possibilities.

Jesus never proclaimed the Kingdom of God as being bad news. It was always good news. The bad news was all outside of that kingdom. His message was essentially and consistently positive to all but a few.

And those few were those who sought to impose religion from the outside and conform people into the image of God through coercion. Jesus taught transformation through the serendipitous discovery of pearls and treasures of ultimate value, concern, and joy.

He had bad news for the stubborn, for manipulators, and oppressors of people. It was bad news for those who refused to become like children, who saw reality and called it something else. It was bad news for those who, once convinced that He was the One, manufactured reasons not to believe. Doubters were welcome, even the one who said, "I believe; help me with my unbelief."

But change, Jesus knew and proclaimed, would not come through the oppressive structures of institutions.

Even when Paul wrote about conformity, it was a call and desire to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. Conformity to the world, which is most of what we know in religion and secular society, is to be shunned and contrasted with transformation through the renewing of the mind.

It begins with finding the treasure, the pearl of great price that turns the lights on inside of us and compels us to divest ourselves of everything else.

I had posed the question: What are we willing to lose in order to gain everything?

More examples of this principle seem to surface in the world of success literature that in the annals of the church, though some in the world of success are first and foremost, people of faith.

The tragedy is, if I am not willing to lose donuts to gain health, an impulsive purchase to gain financial stability, or a few hours a week to gain financial freedom, am I willing to lose everything for an invisible kingdom?

If the message of the good news of the Kingdom of God is true, if life change (repentance) is possible, if eternity is what is being offered, and if divine help in making changes to our desires, attitudes, and behaviors is available AND if I am at least somewhat convinced that it is true, how can I ignore that? How can I place it on the back burner? How can I consign it to some insignificant corner of my life?

If it is ultimate concern, it calls for radical attention.

Somewhere along the line, I became convinced of the reality and viability of the Good News (gospel) and if that reality began to transform and refocus my thinking. It has been the dominant theme of my life for decades.

However, I sadly suspect that I have yet to sell all. How about you?

No Recess for Entrepreneurial Dreamers or for Visionaries







There is always talk of impending catastrophe among those who forecast economic change. Whether it is recession or inflation, the predictions are ominous.

Now Is the Time! Recession Is No Excuse for Recess!

Contrary to the human tendency toward flight in times of danger, these are days for entrepreneurs to venture forth into the unknown and strut their creative stuff.

Read more at -


Everything Must Go

Everything must go
"What am I willing to lose in order to gain all?"

The parables of the treasure in the field and the pearl of unspeakable worth all lead to the question.

Everything must go?

What does that include?

What is best? What does your heart desire most? Who are you made to be? What are you made to do? What is worth more than everything else in your life?

What is in the way of you becoming who you really are?

It is one thing to say that I sell it all and divest myself of all my other treasures. That I do in the most generalized possible way. It is a broad stroke, without any threat.

But then I start digging into the piles of specificity and it hurts to part with old ideas, false concepts of who I am, preferences, amusements, possessions, attitudes, and patterns of living. These have been my treasures for a long, long time.

Whether you are a faith walker or a just an honest lover of truth wherever it is found, there is a principle that can aid you in your journey. There is only so much you can carry with you toward your purpose, goal, and ultimate destiny. You have to let some things go in order to gain what you most desire and require.

You have to give up a great deal of good on the quest for the best.

For Jesus followers, this is the kingdom of God. For everyone, it is something and it is right in front of you.

The Anointed One

"...he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor ..."

Spas_vsederzhitel_sinay (1)

The oldest known icon of Christ Pantocrator – Saint Catherine's Monastery. The halo is a representation of the divine Logos of Christ, and the two different facial expressions on either side emphasize Christ's dual nature as both divine and human.


“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,   To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” - Luke 4:18-19

“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: …” Acts 10:38 

To be anointed is to be a messiah. To be a messiah means to be anointed. Kings were anointed in Old Testament times. Saul was anointed as was David. The prophets told of an anointed one who would be the ultimate Messiah of Israel.

Jesus came as King, but, in Him, Messiah meant much more. Kings can be benevolent or malevolent. They can carry a concern for the larger family of humanity or be entirely parochial in their concern. They can lean toward violence or toward peace.

Jesus would first be a servant and a savior. His anointing was as redeemer, liberator, healer, and announcer of good news. His message would be, first, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but that was merely to set the stage for something larger and more universal.  

The Spirit of God upon the one who had emptied himself, was the source of his power. He is the King who humbles himself in obedience.

He is the Master who serves.

He is the Lord who liberates.

He is the Anointed One of God.

Jesus is Messiah, to the Christian, God’s anointed. The word “Christ” in “Christian” means Messiah in Greek.  

The name speaks of his character, his calling, and his mission and has implications for who we become as we align with Him.

In Nazareth, his hometown, Jesus takes up the mantle of a revolutionary liberator but refuses to use violence or coercion to accomplish his righteous ends. He wears the garb of a radical populist but refuses to be swayed by the fickle politics of His times.

He is, from beginning to end, God’s Anointed on God’s mission using God’s means and bringing God’s message.

And the truth is that God cares about the poor, the brokenhearted, the captives, the blind, the bruised, and those so heavily in debt to life and sin that only a Year of Jubilee (the acceptable year of the Lord) will free them.

We must take these words somewhat literally and apply them at a higher level. When he speaks in the synagogue, he is talking about those who are oppressed in this world, but he elevates the meaning to include all of us who are bound by sin and absorbed by the constrictive cares of this dark world.

He includes the people who were excluded from the family of ancient Judaism and holds them up as examples of faith.

For that, people who were cheering him on, suddenly want to stone him for his offense.

They had begun to define themselves by comparing themselves to a common enemy. Jesus was ripping that from them. Anger burns when our sense of supremacy or normalcy is threatened.

One of the implications of the larger context of this story is that we must deal with Jesus. We cannot consign Him to a benign manger and silent angelic scenery. He is the backdrop to no landscape. He is the ONE anointed by God as the agent of reconciliation and redemption. Avoid Him and avoid life.

Jesus, Messiah, I need Your liberating power in my life today.

Bonds and Boundaries

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
The early church struggled with shaking the bonds and extending the boundaries created by nationalism, cultural-ism, racism, and religious chauvinism.
In extending its own reach and embrace, there needed to be an accumulation of defining moments, lived-out stories, and expanding relationships infused by manifestations of the Holy Spirit at work among people groups that were outside the original disciples' comfort zones.
The patience and systematic workings of God exceed mine by far, but this is how the church became an international movement, indigenous in every culture where it was planted.
We are still working on this, but there was a time and have been times when it really worked.
This is the missional movement and moment.
Acts 10:46b-47:
" Then Peter said, 'Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?'”


Alexandra-mirghe-b1qKzqSe2Rc-unsplash (1)

Photo by Alexandra Mirgheș on Unsplash

I do not use the ANGRY button on social media much.

Is it because I never get angry?

No. I get angry.

I just do not stay hot and angry. My body does not take the temperature well and I do not have the energy to sustain it.

I process it. I let it do its job. I allow it to motivate me to change things. I do not let it get its claws and teeth in me and suck the blood out of my veins..

Anger is a very useful emotion if we use it and do not let it use us.

It can be a helpful visitor, but I am not about to let it move in and use up room that I could use for something more productive.

How do I manage to have an attitude like that?

It is not by being a super-human or a pious monk. It is, in fact, somewhat selfish. I don't like the way anger makes me feel.

So, I remember that, in the history of my life, if I could last longer than any attacker, I won.

Also, if I stood for truth long enough, the truth would show itself.

Furthermore, critics do not get a vote in the lection where my value as a human being is determined.

Next, I do not have to answer those who object to my opinions, the course of my life, or my choices. I do not have to argue, convince, or relent.

I have come to realize that we are all flawed and I expect myself and others do acted, sometimes, in a manner consistent with those flaws, to be selfish, to be arrogant, to be cruel, to be closed-minded, and to be undependable. I just try to do better.

I expect that those flaws will lead to systemic injustice and for that reason, I prefer that most of my corrective energy be spend fixing the systems, loving the people, and bringing the good news of God's grace and love to both systems and people.

The thing that makes me most angry is when people use anger as an excuse for harming others or being destructive. I am not angry at them for being angry, just for contributing to a culture where anger justifies evil.

And, even that anger that I feel, must be processed because solving problems is more important than ranting about them.

Back to Bethel

1280px-El_sueño_de_Jacob _por_José_de_Ribera
Depiction of Jacob's dream at Bethel, by José de Ribera.

“And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.” – Genesis 35:15

Back in the 1930s, B.B. McKinney penned a hymn that reminisced on the experience of Jacob at Bethel so many centuries before and the experiences of many a young man and woman who at their own Bethel, encountered the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He wrote:

“Back to Bethel I must go,
Back where the rivers of sweet water flow,
Back to the true life my soul longs to know,
Bethel is calling, and I must go.”     
© 1931, renewed 1959 Broadman Press

“Bethel” is taken from two Hebrew words, “beth,” which means “house,” and “El,” which means, “God.”

Bethel is then, the House of God.

Where is your Bethel?

Is it a physical or geographic location? Perhaps it was the little country church of your youth, a Christian coffee house, or a campus Bible study. It is that time in your life when you first met Jesus.

Perhaps it was a conversation or event or merely a vague, but very real memory.

What happened to you at Bethel?

What made the difference in your life? What opened your eyes? What commitments did you make there? What would it take to return to that place in your heart and mind and renew your first love for Jesus?

As Jacob marked the place where  he met God, never forget that place in your own life.

It is sacred.

Times and Seasons

Times and seasons

“And he changeth the times and the seasons … “- Daniel 2:21a

Life goes on. The seasons of life proceed in progression. The secular envelopes the sacred in the culture.

Seasonal and holiday decorations come down; Plants and flowers start turning brown; songs of the season decrescendo; greetings change.

We move so quickly from, “Merry Christmas,” to “Happy New Year.” Then, all we hear is, “Hi!” replaced by “Happy Easter.”

Then, there is something else.

On it goes.

Life goes on. Time passes. Seasons change.

It is a let-down.

For some, it is a time of depression and disappointment.

For others, it is a time of embrace. With open hearts and wide-eyed anticipation, they look back on the year past and reflect. Then they look forward to the new year and dream.

And somehow in the midst of the secular movements and worldly wisdom that is flung about we see God. We realize that there is no secular time or season, that God is always moving in history, that new years, new months, new days, and new seasons are all a part of His plan.

He changes the times and seasons and makes Himself known.

At the head of the year or at any time of the year, God is calling us to know him, worship him, and commit our times and seasons to him.

Aimless No More


Have you ever felt aimless? You're going somewhere, but you're not sure where you are moving in one direction or another, but it's not necessarily taking you where you want to go. In fact, the question is, where do you want to go? There is a cure for aimlessness.

Most of us are aimless when we don't aim. In fact, that's the essence of aimlessness. We don't aim at anything. And therefore the dictionary definition is we are flailing without purpose, without direction, and without gratification. So what is the cure?

What is the solution that takes us from the place of no purpose, no direction, and no gratification? It is this. We decide, we focus, and we take aim.

Decide, focus, and take aim.

Decide on a direction, a destination, a place where you want to be, when you get where you are going.

The second is focus on how you will get there and develop a plan.

The third is take aim daily and moment by moment and make every shot count.

Don't waste your arrows on things that won't land on the bullseye. Work with a coach or with your journal or with a friend to make a plan to do these three things. Decide on your destination. Focus on how you will get there and take aim. Then, make every shot count.

You will be aimless no more.

You will find that when you wake up in the morning, it will be with purpose. When you start to move, it will be in a reasonable and purposeful direction. hen, you will find that when you lay your head back down on your pillow in the evening, it will be with a sense of gratification that you've made another day's journey for where you are going to that place

That is the end result of your decision, your focus and your aim. It is one of the great things in life to come to that place where we know where we're going and we know why we're going there, and we spend our energy to get there.

All the best to you on this next leg of your wonderful journey.


Seeking Hearts

Psalm 119, Aleph-Gimel


Whole-Hearted Seeking

Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. - Psalm 119:2

There are countless blessings in God’s Word, but they don’t jump out from between the leaves and into our hearts. They come to those who seek God in His Word with wholehearted passion. They come as a result of digging for the treasures that are to be found in the pages of the Bible. God is found by those who most earnestly desire Him and look for Him.

God testifies of Himself and, in so doing, He sets forth His expectations for us. His purposes are higher and greater than those we have for ourselves. His calling is loftier and grander than any we can imagine. His very presence and nature compel us to come forth and enter into fellowship with Him.

We are truly blessed when we seek Him with the whole heart.

Wholeheartedness for God is a rare thing indeed. It is the deer panting for water. It is the hunger that knows no satisfaction apart from the manna of God’s truth. It is the little baby that can find no consolation apart from the comforting embrace of her mother. It is full engagement and absolute focus on seeking Him.

The psalmist knew what he was looking for every time he opened the scriptures. He was not seeking information or even inspiration. He was seeking God himself. He was looking for encounter and nothing else would do.

This is not a question of superficial concern. It is the great question of our lives: “What am I seeking and what am I willing to invest of myself to find it?”

In the answer lies the secret to our spiritual success. The answer must be: “God and everything.”

The Power of a Positive Intention

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. Psalm 119:9

By living according to God’s Word a young man can keep himself pure. That is no small thing. If there is any creature on earth prone to impurity, it is a young man. For that reason, Solomon spends no small amount of energy and no few words in the Proverbs instructing young men on this very matter.

The psalmist asks the question with the intention of learning and complying with the answer and God inspires the answers that flow in the verses that follow. All revolve around the one great call to live according to God’s Word.

By seeking God wholeheartedly, verse 10 assures us, we will avoid straying from His commands.

By hiding God’s Word in our hearts, verse 11 promises, we will not be as likely to sin.

By asking for guidance with praise, according to verse 12, we will have God Himself as our teacher.

By speaking the Words of God, according to verse 13, we will be voicing what He has first voices.

By rejoicing in God’s statutes, as stated in verse 14, we shall be adopting a positive attitude which will recognize the immense treasures of His truth.

By meditating on God’s precepts, as commended in verse 15, we will be considering His ways.

By delighting in what He has said by decree, verse 16 suggests that we will not neglect His Word.

It is really a rather simple matter. We can pursue purity in our lives by living according to the Bible, seeking God in it, absorbing it into our hearts and minds, asking God’s guidance through it, speaking it with our lips, rejoicing in each new nugget of truth, meditating deeply upon it, and delighting in everything it says.

Temptations abound, but God’s Word is always available to purify our hearts as we seek Him with all that we have and all that we are. If it is a young man’s or young woman’s intention to live a holy and pure life, they way is provided.

Praying Over the Bible

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. “ Psalm 119:18

Before you read, pray.

This grand and simple prayer is an expression of expectation and faith. Our level of discovery in scripture will seldom exceed our level of expectation. It is seekers who find according to Jesus. David expected wonderful things from the law of God. He, in turn, found wonders beyond anything he could have dreamed.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.”

Dr. King, approached the scriptures to be instructed and informed. As he formed his philosophy of non-violence from the example and teaching of Jesus, so we must be willing to be shaped and molded by words we have never read along staircases of truth we have never traveled.

Dr. King also said on the night before his death, “I just want to do God's will”

In the same way, we must approach God’s Word in search of His will with a desire to receive it and do it whatever it may command.

Dr. King once wrote, “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Much worse is willful ignorance and arrogant stupidity. Our prayer over scripture and our reading of the same must not be arrogant and all-knowing. We come to God for instruction and apart from that instruction, we remain willfully ignorant. We must come humbly, willingly, and prayerfully. The psalmist speaks of his own longing for God’s Word in verse 20 and of God’s rebuke for the arrogant who think they already know it all in verse 21.

In verse 24 he speaks of God’s laws as his counselors. Because that is so true, we bow before God before we even open his Word, asking that He guide us and teach us. Martin Luther King, whose birthday we commemorate tomorrow, is but one example of what God can do through the life of a person who comes prayerfully to the scriptures for instruction and enlightenment.


א Aleph

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
    who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
    and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
    but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
    that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
    in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
    when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
    as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
    do not utterly forsake me.

ב Beth

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
    By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
    do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, Lord;
    teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount
    all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes
    as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts
    and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees;
    I will not neglect your word.

ג Gimel

Be good to your servant while I live,
    that I may obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
    wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
    do not hide your commands from me.
My soul is consumed with longing
    for your laws at all times.
You rebuke the arrogant, who are accursed,
    those who stray from your commands.
Remove from me their scorn and contempt,
    for I keep your statutes.
Though rulers sit together and slander me,
    your servant will meditate on your decrees.
Your statutes are my delight;
    they are my counselors.

A Prayer of Turning

Turn around
Intercession and Prayer of Repentance
I went to sleep earlier this week, with a concern and awoke with it as I reached for the news. less shocked, absorbed, and indignant than usual, I felt I was --- and that worried me.
I thought I might do an essay on it, but decided to make it a prayer.
This is my prayer of that day and this day.
Father, in the light of all that has happened and is happening, I am at loss.
I want to say that I am shocked, dismayed, disgusted, indignant, sorrowful, grieving, broken, and horrified. What bothers me most is that I am not ... not the way I think is appropriate, not enough to keep me from going about my business or considering my own trivial concerns.
Oh, I am all those things, but not to the degree that I was at the first words of so many other tragedies, travesties, and unspeakable events. Why not? Lord?
Do not let me lose my capacity to be shocked. Lord, grant that I will not establish some new "norm:" in my heart where I begin to accept the unacceptable as normal.
We want to be unshakable people, Oh God who cannot be moved. We want to be a people, and may we be a people, God of Strength, who cannot be terrorized by terror and terrorists. That is your promise again and again.
But, oh God of Compassion, Justice, and Truth, whose heart can be broken, who chose to be vulnerable in Jesus, who offered Yourself and emptied Yourself to walk with us and wept over the city, may we not lose our ability to be there with our neighbors and be touched by their pain, outraged by atrocity, and stunned by violence.
Our neighbors around the world are near, Dear God, our neighbors in all the world, our neighbors, are suffering violence every day and we have been lulled to complacency.
We pass by such news to the national news and, when that is too disturbing, we focus on the local and now, now, our local news is filled, daily with local violence.
And we come, Dear God, we come to a new equilibrium. God, don't let us settle into such a pattern.
Everywhere is our back yard. Egypt is just down the street. Pakistan is a short walk. Africa is across the rive. Minneapolis and Chicago are next door.
Keep our emotions a bit fragile that we will have to cry out to You for peace. Keep us tender that we might always fall to our knees in prayer and hurt for those who are in pain and shock.
Fill our hearts with love for our neighbors and love for our enemies so that we find it hard to imagine how a sweet little baby could be born into a world of wonder and grow into an instrument of violence.
We pray for those who might grow to accept such options as a means of redress of injustice perceived or real, or as a way of exorcising personal demons. We pray for divine and human intervention in their lives sufficient to turn around their thinking before it is too late. May we work to create just societies and peace on earth and may we never tolerate what is intolerable.
May we continue to reject violence in all forms and may we always hate, despise, and be adamantly opposed to the senseless taking of life.
Perplex us Oh God. Keep us perplexed because these things should not make sense and must not be accepted.
Why am I not more badly shaken and preoccupied?
Why am I not desiring to be there in the thick of it bringing Your grace and love to the city?
Have I thrown up my hands in resignation?
No ... but I am still bothered ...
Why could I sleep so well? Well, maybe 2 hours is not so well. Maybe I am shaken but a bit calloused. Maybe I am preoccupied. Maybe this is just a new level of reception of such news the likes of which we keep hearing ... from schools and shopping centers and streets. Maybe we cannot live in a constant state of horror or indignation and maybe we are called to be present ... present to be, in whatever way we can be, part of the solution, part of the compassion, part of the intercession for our neighbors.
For our neighbors, I pray, Lord, God. Grant them shalom. Grant them shalom. Grant them shalom .... and healing and grace and mercy and perspective and courage and strength.
Thanks You for the helpers, for the brave and courageous helpers who arrived quickly and served when they did not know if the danger had passed.
Help folks to find some rest.
Shut us up when we start to pontificate and capitalize on these events, Father. Stop us from being "know-it-all"s. Dissolve our party lines. Fade our red-blue divides into obscurity. Fill us with Your love.
Let us be neither complacent nor terrorized.
Let us neither be settled nor disturbed.
Let us be neither indifferent nor obsessed.
Let us be neither detached nor co-dependent.
Let us neither be accepting of evil nor vengeful.
Let us not be tempted be consumed with anger nor overwhelmed by grief. We need the mind of Christ in these days. We need resolve and courage. We need wisdom. We need guidance.
We cannot fix everything or everybody and we cannot enact any policies or extract any justice that will make this right. Nothing can make this right, but You, Lord, can enter in and redirect the negative energies of those possessed by evil intentions to bring good and glory in some mysterious way, through some gentle touch, and with Your leading hand of grace.
I come to You, my Father, as a follower of Jesus, asking You for Your grace to follow Him into the dark places today with His mind in my mind, His heart in my heart, His Word on my lips, His love flowing through me, His tears in my eyes, His steadiness in my responses, His grace, Your grace, in everything I do or say. And I pray this for people everywhere who will meet hurting, broken, wounded, worried people and seek to bring them hope.
With much more on my heart to pray and continuing to pray, I pray these things in Jesus' Name. Amen.

Nothing New Here, and Yet ...

Love one another graphic

Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. - I John 2:7

There is nothing particularly new about love. It is, as John says, an old commandment. Jesus identified the call to love God and neighbor as the core of all the law and the prophets.

John closely correlates walking in love with walking in light. God is light. God is love. If we walk in one, we walk in the other. Knowledge without love is cold, dead, harsh, and simply, not true. Love without truth is without substance, backbone, or reality. You cannot separate the two.

The person who speaks the truth, must do so in love. The person who truly loves, must not speak falsely or deceive.

That is why "enabling" behavior is unhealthy and not loving. It is not a loving gesture to coddle an alcoholic.  Nor is it an act of love to turn one’s back entirely on such a person.  Love and light bring balance to our lives.

We must love because it is the truthful and deliberate command of God. It is not an emotion, and it is not beyond our control. We can choose to love and God will supply all the love capacity we need to follow through on our commitment.

We must love because, in the marvelous "logic" of God (from "logos," the word), love is the  only way of life that makes sense. It silences our detractors and amazes the skeptics. It disarms great enemies and warms lonely hearts. Love is the greatest spiritual force in God's universe.

If we walk in love, we walk in light. If we walk in light, we will learn to love. God is the source. He provides then force and leads us on the course.

This is nothing new and it is not rocket science - but it is a prerequisite to every other life course in which you will ever enroll. Learn to love and practice what you have learned. Start now.


Quiet Time Is Sometimes Noisy


"I remembered you, God, and I groaned. I meditated and my spirit grew faint." - Psalm 77:3 (NIV)

What about the comfort, assurance, and peace pour quiet times are supposed to give us?

What about the nurturing, loving, contemplative moments that we are told we will experience daily through the spiritual disciplines?

This sounds like work. It sounds soul-wrenching, agonizing, and spiritually surgical? Groaning? Fainting?

Read on in the psalm to see doubting, complaining, and restlessness.

The psalmist wrestled with his heart in prayer to God. He went deeper. He dug into the rocky soil of his soul and extracted ... dirt!

But every geologist knows that dirt isn't just dirt. It is minerals and organic material. It is microscopic life. It is nutrients.

You can't grow much of a garden in a sanitized pool of water.

So, the question is: Do you want to grow something inside of you, and thus, grow yourself or do you want to lulled, rocked, and soothed?

What do you want from your quiet time? If you meet God, you might also bump into yourself. There might be a collision. There might even be a transofrmation.

I don't often call it a "quiet time" any more. It is a devotional time. It is "dropping anchor." It is a meeting with God. It is all those things, but it is not always quiet within me. I get disturbed, shaken, rattled, and inspired. I also get shaped and encouraged.

God wins and the psalmist is ultimately comforted and encouraged.

But it wasn't easy.

How Great, How Small


No photo description available.

The cure for my stubborn and inflexible dogmatism is a glimpse of a vision of the glory of God in Jesus Christ.

Psalm 19:1 - The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Nature is God’s troubadour announcing His glory to humanity. The activity of God in creation is true to His character and there is much to be known of Him through observation, meditation, and contemplation prompted by an appreciation of all that He has made.  The old adage that we must stop and smell the roses is an appropriate reminder to look for examples of the glory of God in the work of His hands. Open your eyes and heart today to His voice in all that is around you.

Psalm 19:2 - Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

One of the characteristics of God’s disclosure of Himself in nature is the consistency of the message. One of the characteristics of human beings as receptors of His message is our inattention and inconsistency in seeking Him through all He has offered us. Make up your mind to seek God today in the smallest things and He will show Himself clearly. There is much to be gained by reading the handiwork of God.

Psalm 19:3 – There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

God’s truth, as disclosed in the cosmos, is universal. It is not given in isolation or exclusion. It provides a common language for humanity to talk about God and explore His ways. It provides a meeting place and point of contact for seeking His deeper and more specific revelation through His Word and through His Son. Prayerfully be on the lookout today for opportunities to seek God more deeply with others to whom He has spoken through His handiwork in creation.

Psalm 19:4 - Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

Even in creation, God is busy about the work of evangelism. His purposes are inclusive and magnanimous. He makes provision for every necessity and extends His reach to every man, woman, boy, and girl. He pavilions the sun to shine on all humanity. He sends forth His Word of life to every corner of the earth. If we are to join Him in His own work, we will adopt His priorities and mission.

Psalm 19:5 - …which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

The sun, sheltered against the backdrop of the cosmos, does not remain cloistered in its pavilion of safety. It emanates; it extends, it goes forth with purpose and clarity to fulfill its mission and run its appointed course. God made it to do so and to be so and He has made us to be a people of extended purpose and profound significance. As part of His creation, our voices are available for His voice to reveal Himself through us and in us.

Psalm 19:6 - It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

Consider the orderliness of God’s creative work in the cosmos. The rotations of the planets, moons, and stars proceed with a sense of direction that is consequential and graceful. Out of seeming chaos emerges an order that is indisputable. The changing relationship of the earth and the sun for example, forms a pattern by which we set our calendars and our clocks and order our lives. The heat of our private star brings light and life and through it, God speaks. How is your life radiating God’s warmth today in its appointed rounds?

Psalm 19:7  - The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

Having noted the general manner in which God shows Himself to every person, we bring His very specific and personal self-disclosure into focus. Though present in creation in all of its truth, the written and spoken Word of God speaks with a clarity and grace that cannot be ignored. It marshals the forces of language to revive the soul and make wise the simple. In His Word, God describes and defines what He has made and why and shows us how to come into proper relationship with Himself and His creation.

Psalm 19:8 - The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

When things are right, they do not constrain but liberate us. Truthful precepts do not introduce legalistic bondage to our lives, but exuberant joy because they inform us who we are and how we relate to God and His truth. When God commands us, the lights go on, we no longer stumble in ambiguous darkness. Seek God’s truth in His Word today and expect radiant joy and you apply those truths to your life guided by the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 19:9  - The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

There is fear and there is fear. Fear can be irrationally muddled and deathly or pure and life giving. Fear of God is not a cowering dread or a fleeing terror as much as an awesome recognition that He is Other and in His holy brilliance, we are consumed but for His merciful grace. And that kind of fear never wears off. At the same time, what God orders can be counted as sure and certain and absolutely right. Bank on God today and turn from anything that views with Him for attention with  extreme prejudice.

Psalm 19:10  - They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.

Again, the psalmist is describing God’s ordinances, His disclosure of Himself through His revelation of covenant expectations. When God makes demands upon our lives, they are indications of His own holiness and they are precious, sweet, and nurturing. They are signets of His love and call to us. He sets standards for us that are high because His esteem for us is high. We cannot attain to them in our strength, but He intends to come live them out Himself, in us and through us. This psalm is, after all, about God showing Himself.

Psalm 19:11 - By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

There are two functions of God’s ordinances toward us that are equally valuable and precious. One is to warn us. God’s warnings are not the results of His desire to “get us” or trap us in untenable situations. He deeply desires that we will avoid the pitfalls that He sees ahead of us in our sinful pursuits. The second is similar. The rewards of keeping God’s commands are intertwined with the deeds themselves. Obedience is self-rewarding because it draws us into a closer and more intimate love relationship with God.

Psalm 19:12 - Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.

Search as you will and you will find no place of error with God. There is no basis for correction in anything He has done or said. He is simply always, infallibly, right and all that He does is in plain view even though His purposes may at times be hidden. To the contrary, we of human seed work our sinful deeds under the cover of darkness. Like Adam, We hide our faults and ourselves. Our healing comes when we come into the light and acknowledge our need of mercy, hiding nothing from God. Begin today to be set free.

Psalm 19:13 – Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

The problem with willful sin is that it takes on a life of its own and come to think of itself as the ruler of our lives. They begin to dominate us addictively. Willfulness then, obliterates our free will and we need divine deliverance. I am not certain what the great transgression might be but I suspect it is that place of no return where we stop praying the prayer of this verse and seeking the help of the only One who can keep us from sin, blameless, and innocent.

Psalm 19:14 - May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Without a doubt, this is one of the great prayers of the scriptures. In its words, if we mean them and allow our spirits to pray them, is all the power and grace needed to face any day. Words and meditations lead our deeds. The centering point for our lives is the pleasure of God.  When we get to the place where this is the deepest, most delightfully resounding prayer of our hearts, we will find that God is our Rock and Redeemer. As fearfully holy and demanding as He may be, His presence is mercy, grace, and love to us.


Blessed Are You Who Have Believed

There is a peace, hope, mission, and fresh breath of living in the presence of the Risen Jesus!

Shalom to You!

National Cath Mosaic Jesus Thomas


Sermon Transcript (Warts and All)

Our focus today is on belief out of John chapter twenty versus nineteen through thirty one we'll also touch to Peter sermon from x two fourteen and then twenty two through thirty two not going to read that Psalm 16, which is the text of Peter sermon, and then an application from Peter in 1st Peter, three through nine. But the focus is on John. What John said. Really the focus is on Jesus obviously. And so let's pray to prayer. He taught us to pray.

Our Father which are in heaven, Hell would be Thy name, Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil for Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory. For ever and ever, Amen.

I want to welcome those of you who have joined us across the country, across the miles, across even time zones, and even across time on the 2nd Sunday of Easter. And I'm going to take a sip of coffee just to let you know that today

It is a conversation about believing.

If you start with the 1st chapter of Matthew and begin to walk through the Gospels, reading all the Gospels, you will encounter about 30 verses that use the word believe 30 verses. It's a pretty big deal, isn't it? Then when you get to the Gospel of John there will be at least a stop counting at 80. At 80 versus they use the word believe, and then as you come to the verse thirty one John is telling you that if he were to record all the things that Jesús said and did that there would be no library that could contain all the books that would be written but he did say these are written so that you may come to believe that.

Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing, you may have life through His name. So Jesus gives you the power to believe through John's Gospel, and John gives you the words and the witness to help you believe, to help you believe and come to believe, that He is the Anointed One of God, and that. He is the Son of God, and that if you believe, you will find life through His name. And this is what Peter admonished the people to do. The Book of Acts, chapter two in his Pentecost sermon, Believe in Jesus and pray the prayer of Psalm 16.

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge, and to believe in the path of life that the Psalmist spoke of, there where the presence of God is revealed, and in that presence there is fullness of joy, and in God's right hand pleasures for evermore. Later he would write to the Church and say, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By His great mercy He has given us a new. Birth into a living hope, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead into an inheritance that is.

Imperishable, eternal, undefiled, unfading, kept in heaven for you. And he talks about joy being the outcome of our faith, the very salvation of our souls. So there are a number of themes that are woven together in the preaching of the resurrection. But John takes to the experience of the resurrection the eyes of the disciples, and especially through the eyes of Thomas. And I'd like to read this passage to you, and then look at some themes that flow from it. When it was evening on that day, the 1st day of the week, John tells us in chapter 20 versus 19 in following, And the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, Peace be with you.

As he said thus, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord Jesus, and said to them again, Peace be with you as the Father has sent me, so send I you. And when he said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit if you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. But Thomas, who was called the twin one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, We've seen the Lord, but he said to them, Unless see marks the nails hand, put my finger the mark the nails, and my hand in his side, I will not believe.

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, Peace be with you. Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here and see my hands reach out your hand and put it in my sigh. Do not be doubt, but believe. Literally, Do not be unbelieving, Do not be Do not apostasy. Jesus answered him, My Lord and my God. No written record that he had to actually follow through and put his hand there. It's not said.

Jesus said to him, Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet come to believe. Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in His name. It's not all written, but what is written is enough to give us a basis for believing. Do you believe everything you read?

Do you believe everything you hear? Do you believe everything you think? Do you believe everything you believe? Our lives are filled with beliefs and assumptions. Every day we assume some things and seldom do we question our beliefs. Some of our beliefs are toxic, some of our beliefs are unhealthy. If we have been told what we cannot do and cannot accomplish because we are this or we are that, and we've come to believe that, the lab, the labels that others have imposed upon us all of our lives, those may be debilitating beliefs, those may be toxic beliefs, those may be beliefs that we should question.

Jesus gave Thomas the opportunity to verify his beliefs. And when he said to Thomas, Don't doubt, it's really don't engage in active decision making to doubt and disbelieve, that is the clearer message in the literal sense. Do not make up your mind ahead of time that you will not believe. I think in the same way with toxic beliefs. One of our toxic beliefs may be, I will not believe in the things matter, I will not believe in Jesus, I will not believe in hope, I will not believe in eternity, I will not believe in anything I do not understand, or, as Jesus addresses in this passage, I do not believe in anything that I do not see with my own eyes.

Well, you can contradict that right away. You believe in many things you do not see with your own eyes. I'm a great believer in science, and then the scientific method. But the conclusions of science are not things I have seen. I have not looked in the powerful microscopes, I've seen pictures. I have not considered all the variables of the various theories of the universe. I have looked many of them, I have heard many of them, but I do not have the background to fully understand to see them, and yet I believe them.

I do not see how atoms interact with each other and make what appears to me to be a solid surface and a solid foundation, but I put my weight on those foundations. Nor do I understand the even simpler. Concepts of architecture. But I walk in places that I've seen others walk and a confident they will hold me up. Blessed, Jesus says, are those who have not seen and yet believe, who have found this place where they are open to believing that there is a God who loves them and who has sent His Son to redeem them.

Jesus brings peace and hope to bolster belief.

Thomas wasn't there, but Jesus shows up at a time when He wasn't there, and the introductory words are, Peace be with you, shall lone be with you, and then He says it again in that context, and then He goes away, and He comes back, and He says it yet again, Peace be with you. Chalon, the settling of things. Shalom, the hand of God over the affairs of humanity and over our own hearts. How many times Jesus spoke the words Peace. So many times have people spoken the words Shalom. That has become a common greeting.

But in Jesus's mouth it is even more. John tells us that He is present and in His presence. He is among them as He is among them. Their belief is bolstered by the belief and the peace that He brings to the situation. He becomes the pivotal point of all of their heart. Cry for Shalom and for peace and for settling and for meaning. Shalom be with you. That's the 1st great movement and concept and word that comes out of the out of the bolstering of belief that Jesus brings to our life situations, a belief that leads to hope.

Peter talks about that enduring hope, that lively hope. The King James calls it the living hope that lives among us. Because when there is peace and we believe, the peace and re. The peace and accept the peace as a subtle matter. It's not that we don't challenge all the beliefs that gather around it, but it's that we are willing to believe. In the foundation of the peace that Christ brings, and to invest in that peace, and to throw ourselves on the mercy of the court, as it were. Then we have a basis for hope.

Jesus breathed on the disciples and says, Receive the Holy Spirit. What about the breath of God throughout the Bible as a means of belief, as a foundation of belief, and as a means of peace and order? In the Book of Genesis we read that the world and the earth and the cosmos was toho a boho, without form and void that there was an original chaos in creation that nothing seemed be working together or making sense, and that God said, Let there be light. And then when it comes down to earth creation.

The writer of Genesis says The breath of God was on the face of the waters, the Ru. The Spirit of God, the wind of God. Look at Ezekiel in the valley of dry bones, and in the valley of dry bones God says to Ezekiel, Preach to them, let my breath through your breath fall upon them, and they will rise up, a great body of people. Resurrection will come to this valley of dry bones through the Spirit breathed witness of the Word. And Jesus breathes on them because they need the breath of life.

They need something more to bolster their belief, and it is the Spirit, God's Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus. The Holy Spirit, and He breathes on them. But with that breathing comes as a s e n d I n g, a Sending, and that sending is as the Father has sent me. Well, what has He been through? It may not have seemed that attractive. He was sent into the world as a Servant, as Messiah, as a Savior, as the Suffering Servant, as the Crucified One, and now as the Resurrected One. All of these qualities are to be in your life of belief.

Your believing is a receiving of these things. Your believing is bolstered by peace, but thro it comes peace and hope. And now I have sent to you. And he goes a little further. He says, If you forgive any sins, they're forgiven if you retain them, they retain. Struggle with this. What do you mean? Jesus giving us His disciples? Power to forgive Well, the ultimate power to forgive is gods, but on the cross Jesus says, It is finished. And so he's coming to a group of people and he's saying to them, The work of forgiveness done.

And so it's in your hands. It's in your hands. How forgiven would you be, or would you experience forgiveness if you didn't know you were forgiven? What if you had committed a crime 20 years ago and it was covered by the statute of limitations, and yet you didn't know about the statute of limitations and you were still in hiding? About the one or two soldiers that were in the Japanese army. One in particular hid in the forest, in the jungle, for all those years until he was found, because he had not received orders indicating that the war was over.

About the prodigal son, who did not know that the arms of his father, if he returned home, were there to welcome him rather than to rebuke him. He would not benefit from the forgiveness And so he would be as one from whom forgiveness had been withheld. I believe that we, as the people of God, are fully authorized to say to the world Your sins are forgiven. Not just authorized, but mandated to say over the Internet, without even seeing your eyes, without even knowing your circumstances, without even knowing how deep your guilt is, without even knowing what horrible things you have done, your sins have been forgiven.

Here's the check. Are you gonna cash it? Are you gonna? Continue those things, carry those things in terms of your relationship with God. It doesn't nullify human accountability to the laws of humanity. And a society, and it does not mean that we do not have a responsibility to make amends to the people we have hurt. It just means that the door to a relationship with God is unhindered. Sin is not a hindrance because the account has been settled.

I hate dumb this down this way, but through a deal we made with another thrift store when we were in the thrift business', through our non profit organization, we received a stack of coupons.

We were not selling clothes anymore. People would come into our store needing clothes and we would explain we don't have them, but here is a gift certificate. If you take this gift certificate to this store, you can receive in clothing the value of the amount that is written on that gift certificate. Now it's up to you to go there and, and shop and, and turn it in. But here it is it's paid for. It's yours. It's available to you. If we had not passed out that certificate, they would not know, they would not receive it, they would not be able to cash it in.

But if we do it? There it is. Your sins forgiven. Now, what are you gonna do with that certificate, that gift certificate? I would suggest you cash it in that impediment. Now to follow Jesus in disciple ship. It involves that turnaround. You're not going in the direction of that storm. You need to go that direction. And then the commitment to the lordship of Christ in your life is an ongoing process. You truly become a disciple and a participant in God's kingdom as you follow the way of the kingdom.

It's a process, but your forgiveness, here it is. Your sins are forgiven, my friend, your sins forgiven. In other words, don't have any excuse, and I don't have any excuse for not passing it on. God didn't really come up with another plan for getting the word out. So would you please, as you go, tell others. Your sins are forgiven. And all that leads to is a result of and is shored up by belief. Jesus sees Thomas. And he says, Thomas, come here stop unbelieving, stop your predisposition unbelief.

Thomas I will not believe he I can't believe, I don't He said, I will not believe. So I've made a pre decision, I've made a pre judgment not to believe. Try me. He just had to see him. And here is a voice. In doubting, Thomas became confessional. Thomas. I heard that this week from some brothers talking about this text, he became the 1st to make this grand declaration My Lord and my God. And I think that's what we ought to remember him by. And Jesus said, to them and to you.

Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.

The Lord bless you and keep you the Lord make His face to shine upon you the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and be gracious unto you, and give you Shalom through Jesus Christ our Lord. A man, and a man, and a men again.


Bonus Message

Psalm 16


Psalm 16:1 - Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.

Never separate the two parts of this prayer or you will diffuse its power. The first part is a request made in faith. The second is a declaration of faith upon which every request is made and in which our confidence resides. Safety, in and of itself, is of limited value. We are safe from what and for what?  The end and the means are the same here. We are made safe by abiding that we might safely abide in Christ. If God is our refuge, that is enough to say. It is an end in itself. To be in Christ is the end that brings every new beginning. Where is your principal residence in this life? Every anxiety and discomfort is addressed by the answer of faith. If you reside in God and take refuge in Him, then rest in Him and abandon all concern for safety from that which you cannot control. God is in charge.

Psalm 16:2 - I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

This is so very important! First, we must recognize that to say “Lord” is not just to utter a religious word or to speak with respect toward our chosen deity. In the naming of God as Lord is a relinquishment of every other value, treasure, and prize. It is to acknowledge Him as Supreme Master and to render everything else in our lives as valueless apart from Him. It is in acknowledging Him as the source of every good gift that those gifts have worth. It is in knowing Him that every other vision fades in importance and takes its place in His court as subservient to His will.

Psalm 16:3 - As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.

One of the great privileges of the new birth is that we are born into a family of saint with whom we can associate and in whose fellowship we can delight. To be a saint is to be separate, holy, and dedicated to a particular function. That function, for the Christian, is the praise and glory of God. In one sense, it is not a mysterious or otherworldly thing to be a saint. In another sense, it is to profoundly embrace a mystery that we can never fully understand and be apprehended by a world far beyond our reach in these mortal bodies. If one is a saint indeed, one loves other saints because, in them, we see God’s face as clearly as possible in this life –even among those who dwell in the land.

Psalm 16:4 - The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.  I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.

Today, we join the eternal chorus of welcome as the Lord Jesus Christ enters into our consciousness as the King who comes in the Name of the Lord. He is the Prince of Peace and righteousness. His Kingdom comes with glory and praise, but also with a cross of pain and disgrace. Yet, He willing enters into the sphere of time, space, and judgment to face whatever stands between Him and His mission to bring all who welcome Him into eternal fellowship with the Father. Let us lift our voices in worship as we worship Him.

Psalm 16:5  - Lord, you have assigned my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.

God is righteous. That means that everything about Him is fully integrated into His holy character – He is 100% pure truth, love, goodness, and holiness. There are no contradictions in God – except those that we contrive in our own misunderstanding of Him. He loves justice. His heart delights in seeing things set aright. He loves consistency in our lives. He takes joy when His truth is integrated into the loose dimensions of our lives and we come into right relationship with Him. There is a promise in this verse, that the upright will see His face. What a glorious affirmation! The more we seek Him, the more our hearts are changed by His power within us and the clearer our vision of Who He is becomes. We can see God. His grace in Jesus Christ removes the scales from our eyes so that we may have a glimpse in this life and the hope of full disclosure in the life to come. Let that truth sink into the pores of your being today and celebrate it as you walk through the maze of confusing messages and distorted truth. You can see God.

Psalm 16:6 - The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

Do you feel alone in your spiritual journey? Do you imagine that you are the only person in your school, workplace, or neighborhood that desires the things of God or seeks after His will? Do you wonder if there is even one other person who will stand with you for truth and righteousness? Are you overwhelmed by the loneliness of solitary seeking? Do you even wonder if the psalmist was somehow transported out of his time to speak of ours? Things have not changed that much have they? We all look back on better times when we were sure that there were more righteous and earnest people living among us and compare those times with our “todays.”

We conclude that we are alone and that no one else is godly or faithful. While that is not true in every sense, it is in one. “There is none that is righteous, no not one.” We are indicted by that statement and must include ourselves among the number of the “no more” who have “vanished from the earth.” From God’s perspective and standard of perfect holiness, no one measures up. Then Jesus Christ enters the picture and He alone stands for truth. Our only hope is in Him and in Him we are not alone. Consciously align yourself with Him today and allow God to flush away that sense of “aloneness.”

Psalm 16:7 - I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.

If you can’t trust a compliment, what can you trust? The psalmist has had it with flattery. He is discouraged over the tendency of his neighbors to use speech only to manipulate and deceive. We ought to develop that same level of disgust with untruth because all lying and falsehood are at odds with a God who is truth. Pretty lies are no better than ugly lies. Lies are lies and they are dark and dismal. Ask God to fill your heart with truth today and with a love for that truth so that whenever you would tell yourself a lie, you would immediately appeal to the God of truth and be rescued. Whatever urge you may have to be hard on your neighbors, start first with yourself and let God’s grace fill you and change you.

Psalm 16:8 - I have set the Lord always before me.  Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

First, consider this on Maundy Thursday – praise and flattery met Jesus upon His entry into the Holy City.  “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord,” they cried and most likely meant what they said. Is it possible that some of those who praised Him on Sunday cursed Him on Thursday evening when He was arrested and brought to trial? Could it be that some who praised Him were seeking to manipulate Him for their own ends and to triumph with their tongues, even to co-opt Him for their own causes? Is it even possible that some that welcomed Him with their lips retained no sense of responsibility for their words beyond themselves? We see ourselves as masters of our words whenever we refuse to submit ourselves, body, soul, and spirit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the upper room and took the role of a servant. With His words and deeds, He offered His body and blood for the redemption of lost men and women. He emptied Himself and held nothing back. His words are truth and love. Let us bring ourselves and our words to Him in that same spirit. If possible, find a place this day to partake of communion with other believers and remember the sacrifice of Jesus and be reminded of His gracious words.

Psalm 16:9 – Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,

God saw the oppression of the weak and heard the groaning of the needy, bound in the chains of sin and wickedness. Thus, He came to us as a man among men. He arose and took upon Himself of a lowly servant, He emptied Himself and became obedient unto the death of the cross. (Philippians 2) He identified with us completely, yet without sin and became our protector and  deliverer from sin. God has always been the champion of the weak and needy. The Christ-event and the passion of the cross make it clear that every man, woman, and child is in need of a savior. We are all oppressed – even if we are oppressors. We each writhe in agony for someone to intervene in our darkness and bring us into the light. Friend, the cross, was, is, and always will be for you. Spend some time today meditating on it. Seek out other believers with whom you can worship in wake of Calvary. Get alone with God and thank Him for remembering you on the cross. Do not let this day pass as any other.

Psalm 16:10 - because you will not abandon my to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.

Oh, precious words, flawless, pure, beautiful in their refined glory. God’s words stir the soul, comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable, and pierce the heart with divine truth and brilliant light. On that dark Saturday between the cross and the resurrection, the disciples had only the remembrance of His words. What would they have meant to you in such an hour? What have they meant to you in your darkest hours. After the resurrection, Jesus would meet men on the road to Emmaus and remind them of His words and those that the Father had spoken over the centuries through the scriptures. He would bring them new meaning and their hearts would burn within them. Let Jesus apply all of God’s words to your heart in the darkness of death from the place of resurrection. We can never fully visit the despair of that bleak Saturday, but we can enter into our own darkness with the flawless Word of God to comfort our souls.

Psalm 16:11 - you have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

What a pointless prayer this would be divorced from resurrection truth! Without the resurrection we are exposed, vulnerable, and unprotected. If Christ were not raised, we would be as Paul said, “still in our sins (I Cor. 15).”  We could not expect help in the onslaughts of wicked and violent people or non-human forces from a dead and powerless God. Prayers would be futile attempts to feel better about our miserable circumstances. Compliance with ethics would be fruitless acts of legalistic compulsion if not overwhelmed by a dynamic conviction that God can raise the dead and thus, protect, deliver, and save. God raised Jesus from the dead and pronounced the death sentence on death. He is alive and brings to life all who trust in Him. Celebrate! The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

"Start by doing what's necessary, then do what's possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - -- Saint Francis of Assisi




Manna and Work



When we have a diet of manna we are tempted to think that we work for it.

We sink into the assumption that our efforts are indispensable

We cover our minds with forgetfulness that every day, manna is a gift.

We turn legitimate work ethic into work ego.

We need rest from that -- a day of utter dependence.

We need a day of emptying, releasing, and reflecting.

"See the LORD has GIVEN you the sabbath."

Yes, it was a specific gift to a specific people, but it was also a broad principle for humanity.

The story is a lesson for living and the law is a sign-post for eternal and temporal truth.

When we live off yesterday's manna, we are reminded that today's manna fell from heaven and all we did was gather it.

It expands our hearts of humility, generosity, and trust.

We can engage in futile arguments over calendar questions, definitions, and fine points of interpretation or we can embrace the gift and lesson of sabbath rest ... and enter in.

You will have a sabbath whether or not you observe one. You will either die early of stress or lose years to anxiety, and unproductive flailing in an effort to create manna that only God can give.

So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today. Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” So the people rested on the seventh day.

The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’”

So Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the Lord to be kept for the generations to come.”

As the Lord commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna with the tablets of the covenant law, so that it might be preserved. The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.

(An omer is one-tenth of an ephah.)



Great Faithfulness to Those Who Suffer

Great Faithfulness
Remember the agreement you made with us,
because violence fills every dark corner of this land.
Do not let your suffering people be disgraced.
Let the poor and helpless praise you.
- Psalm 74:20-21, New Century Version

One cannot escape the recurring theme in the scripture of justice for the poor.

We are admonished to be fair and compassionate in our attitudes and actions toward the downtrodden and marginalized.

This is the work of God and God works through us. At the same time, there is a theme of acknowledgement that we are all, somehow, in some way, poor ourselves. So, what we wish for them, we wish for ourselves.

The prayer in Psalm 74, possibly from the days of exile, intermingles praise and lament in a cry of hope for the oppressed.

Tables turn, sometimes for the worse, sometimes for the better. It is crucial that we invest our confidence in what is worthy of our confidence.

Real estate, once thought to only increase in value, can become a bottomless pit of devaluation. Stock markets fluctuate and individual stocks in companies with great assets and greater possibilities, can plummet to near zero. People may fail us; they may move away; they may die. Careers may crumble. Our carefully honed skills may become obsolete. Guarantees made my insolvent guarantors gravitate downward to an abyss of worthless promises.

But there is a covenant that is sustaining and sustainable. There is a guarantor that will never lose power, authority, and ability to remember that covenant of love. There is One who is faithful and whose providence emerges amidst a backdrop of hopelessness to lighten our loads and lift our broken souls. The poor and helpless join the chorus of praise because they are not disgraced.

Violence fills the dark corners of our planet and seeps into hamlets of perceived safety and isolation. There is no isolation from the decadence of our day, only insulation. Our bodies may be bruised; our purses may be emptied; our homes may crumble with our false securities, but the covenant of hope and grace continues because the One who made it is strong and faithful.

Great is God's faithfulness. This season of days growing longer lengthens our perception of the degree to which our God will go to reach us, teach us, and redeem us from destruction.

God descends into the darkness and illuminates our spaces and places with abundant graces. Like the psalmist, we are invited to cry our in utter honesty, but also to affirm faith - audacious and irrational - the kind that activates our side of the covenant, reis thy faithfulness which is to receive with gratitude, the gift. of hope.

Great is God's faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father.There is no shadow of turning with Thee.Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not.As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Great is Thy faithfulness.Great is Thy faithfulness.Morning by morning new mercies I see.All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest.Sun, moon and stars in their courses aboveJoin with all nature in manifold witnessTo Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
Great is Thy faithfulness.Great is Thy faithfulness.Morning by morning new mercies I see.All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth.Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.
Great is Thy faithfulness.Great is Thy faithfulness.Morning by morning new mercies I see.All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness.Lord, unto me.
- Thomas O. Chisholm

It Is Time to Do Something

My Times Are in Thy Hands

Life is passing. With every hour and every moment, time is being spent, for finite time is a reality for those who live within the confines of time.

We trust God with our times, but at the same time, we must take responsibility for our use of it.

William F. Lloyd was born in 1835 and most we would agree that his times have passed. Yet, he understood the ultimate secret of time management when he penned the words that would become a beloved hymn.

Inspired by Psalm 31:15. Lloyd expressed the peace and resolution that is available to believers who are harried, worried, and hassled by life.

We make the best we can of our time management skills, but we always affirm that God, outside of time, yet present within, is the Lord of time.

My times are in Thy hand;
My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul I leave
Entirely to Thy care.

My times are in Thy hand;
Whatever they may be;
Pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
As best may seem to Thee.

My times are in Thy hand;
Why should I doubt or fear?
My Father’s hand will never cause
His child a needless tear.

My times are in Thy hand,
Jesus, the crucified!
Those hands my cruel sins had pierced
Are now my guard and guide.

My times are in Thy hand,
I’ll always trust in Thee;
And, after death, at Thy right hand
I shall forever be.

How deeply these words encourage us as we juggle our dreams and responsibilities with the pressing needs of the hour.

Spurgeon summarized these sentiments with a grand doxology in his sermon on this theme:

"My times are in thy hand," and therefore the end will be glorious. My Lord, if my times were in my own hand, they would prove a failure; but since they are in thy hand, thou wilt not fail, nor shall I. The hand of God ensures success all along the line. In that day when we shall see the tapestry which records our lives, we shall see all the scenes therein with wondering eye; we shall see what wisdom, what love, what tenderness, what care was lavished upon them. When once a matter is in God's hand it is never neglected or forgotten, but it is carried out to the end. Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.

I have not been able to preach on this text as I hoped to do, for I am full of pain, and have a heavy headache; but, thank God, I have no heartache, with such a glorious truth before me. Sweet to my soul are these words — "My times are in thy hand." Take the golden sentence home with you. Keep this truth in your mind. Let it lie on your tongue like a wafer made with honey. Let it dissolve until your whole nature is sweetened by it. Yes, dear old lady, you that have come out of the workhouse this morning to hear this sermon, say to yourself, "My times are in thy hand." Yes, you, dear friend, who cannot find a situation, and have been walking the shoes off your feet in the vain endeavor to seek one: you also may say, "My times are in thy hand." Yes, my dear sister, pining away with consumption, this may be your song: "My times are in thy hand." Yes, young man, you that have just started in business, and have met with a crushing loss, it will be for your benefit after all; therefore say, "My times are in thy hand." This little sentence, to my mind, swells into a hymn: it buds and blossoms into a psalm. Few are the words, but mighty is the sense, and full of rest.

The hands of time are God's hands. Do your best, but in doing so, trust in the one who knows the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end.


I am as efficient at the art of procrastination as anyone I know. I know that you can put off a decision until it is irrelevant. That way, you never have to say "no" or commit to a "yes."

I am proficient at avoiding a task until the last minute and renegotiating my schedule with myself many times a day.

I also know that this lifestyle is stressful and often, unproductive. For that reason, I have been working on the issue.

For instance, there is an emerging sense of the power of a moment to whittle away at a long term task, the energy of a few minutes focused on a job that may even facilitate completion. I can do something now that will have far-reaching benefits. I don't need a full hour for every task, nor do I have to schedule it in the future.

II Corinthians 6:2 puts it all in a theological context,

"...I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation."

I was playing with my calendar this morning and had spent considerable time scheduling small an d large jobs, appointments, and events. In frustration, I realized that I had not scheduled a significant time slot for writing my blog and had, in fact, missed several days.

Then, there was that inner voice whispering in my ear, saying, "What about now?"

"But I don't have enough time?"

"You have some. Do what you can."

So, here you are. That was 11 minutes and I am glad I posted something.

Now, it is off to the races.

Do something.

Words Matter

Words matter

Words matter. They're alive. They live within us, and they have a life independent of us. Words matter.

Words can wound, words can heal words. Fitly spoken can express a great idea without being the idea themselves. Words matter. Words live in our minds. Words live in our hearts. Words live on our lips. Words can be dramatic and words can be set to music.

Some words combined with freshness and vitality are music themselves, but words always matter. Choose your words. Use your words and never abuse your words or the ones who hear your words, because words and the people who speak them and the people who hear them matter.

Words matter because, in some mysterious way, they have lives of their own,

"Logos," is defined most often as "word," but it is also "principle," "idea," "truth," or "the things spoken of." It is also the act of speaking.

It is both in-transient and dynamic.

You speak a word, with our without intent, and the DNA of that word plants itself in the soul of the hearer. There, is is influenced by biases and that soul's own hunger. It takes root and bears fruit.

We ought to choose our words so that they are clear, compelling, compassionate, and consistent with what we truly want they to convey and accomplish.

We ought to choose them before we speak them. Choose them with intent and purpose. Choose them knowing that after we release them, we will no longer have control over how they are received or what they will do in the lives of others.

We need to remember that words matter and that they can build up or tear down.

Let us speak to edify.

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." - Proverbs 25:11


Vance Havner on Sparrows

Vance Havner Preacher
This is a classic from Vance Havner.
The sermon is SPARROWS and this is his voice, preaching it the way I remember him delivering it in Roanoke Virginia back in the 70s.
I just added some music, background sounds and video of birds.

Unedited Transcript:

I've had an odd experience this morning. I meant to preach a sermon and somehow I can't get away from token of all things about sparrows Three times in the word. We have some very wonderful things said about sparrows. And so I, I, if I was going to say the to ought to be out here in the hillside with the trees and the birds and the mosquitoes. Here I am in a regular congregation like this, and yet I feel like, say an word from this direction. The Bible refers to nature many, many times. Now, Lord used many illustrations from that field. You have to watch these Bible scholars though. I, I prepared a sermon on the spider, take a hole with her hands and his in king's palaces.

Then I learned from the Bible scholars wasn't the spider to was a lizard, so I had to throw away homeless spiders and start working on lizards. <laugh> never have got up a sermon on lizards yet, and don't think ever will <laugh> John stock is quite a bird watcher. Uh, he sometime ago, announced as his takes consider the fouls of the air, and he said, that means watch birds. Well, that sounds like a bird watcher for you. And he's on a vacation now, I think.

And he says one thing he wants to do, catch up with his bird watching. I grew up in the hills and I mean way back in the hills. And I remember the mama always sent me up that little old dirt road to the little bitty, uh, grocery store with about a dozen eggs in the basket. We traded eggs in those days and chickens and anything. And, uh, I, uh, was told, she said, now if there's any money over, if eggs are gone up and was over, you can buy candy with what's left. I went up there just practically praying that the price of eggs would go up, <laugh>, but if we had candy, it was just steak candy, very ordinary looking candy. But that was, I'd beat all the fancy stuff I've eaten in the last few years and, uh, arm and hammer soda had a bird card in every box in those days, and I started collecting them. And that started the fever, the bird fever, and I got a bird guide and my father didn't see much sense in a thing like that and birds plentiful and didn't buy a book about it. But, uh, then that led on to binoculars, one thing after another. Now I've got all the parana still listening to the birds.

But, uh, there's always been something about the spar. Of course, you have plenty of English sparas, they're everywhere. Uh, they're town birds. They don't care for the country and they have some of the characteristics of town folks, <laugh>, you know, a country boy can learn town ways, but a town boy just can't learn country ways. You've got to be born there and grow up to know anything about that.

Well, we are reading the word of God. Our Lord tells us that, uh, two spares are sold for a farthing and five spares for two farthings. Now, if you pay two farthings, you get a bargain, yet an odd bird, you yet an odd spare. And what in this world is more inconspicuous and apparently more unimportant than an odd spare of all things. And yet our Lord uses it to say that God knows when the odd spare holds. Think about the odd spare. There are other kinds of course, but, uh, the one I like most is not the white throat, although he sings, starts off, some of the bird lovers think that it's the first few notes of the wedding.

March lifted several lochte, and it does have that sort of similarity. And then the song Sparrow who sings all day long. And, but my favorite is always the field spar because when I was a boy and working in that hot field with corn or cotton or whatever it might be, the other bird's always stop. But the er it got the better. The field spara like it me sang for me all day long. I developed an appreciation for him. But here we have the odds, pout, God cares for what seems unimportant.

The hairs of your head are numbered, the lilies of the field, God knows what the stock is in his story, knows what's on every shelf in the story, the store of the universe. And he never loses anything. Nothing disappears. And the cynic says, well, so what you see, spares lying dead.

What's that got to do with God and caring about us when we get into trouble? That sounds very cynical, but it says God knows about it no matter what happens. Even the smallest detail never escapes his notice. Nothing ever goes out of existence anyhow. They move around and change, uh, appearance and change form. You burn a stick of wood in the fireplace and some of it goes up in smoke and some of it remains in ash in the ashes, but everything's around somewhere and they just changed forms.

The whole world does like that. And uh, I read that my tears, Psalm56, 8 are in God's bottle. Did you know God's in the bottling business? And then he's keeping bottles of your tears. Uh, VELS, who's a newspaper religious writer down in Florida, told me sometime ago, she got overexposed in a TV studio to the bright lights and her eyes gave her trouble, and she went to the eye doctor and he said, you know what the best formula for the eyes is in the world.

No, he said, tears. We don't know how to make them. But that's the best formula of all because God made it. And sometimes you learn your best lessons and see your best visions through the tears.

Nothing goes outta business. We're fearfully made. After all, I've never seen you, you've never seen me. Yeah, we see each other walking around with us who their clothes on, but we look at each other's eyes, the windows. And that's the nearest, do you ever yet, uh, your eyes can't see you, see you with your eyes and something behind all this little apparatus.

And when it goes outta business one of these days, they bury it, but they don't, uh, bury you for keeps because you are going to live forever and your heirs don't hear you here with your ears. Your tongue can't talk. You talk with your tongue. You take your tongue out. Lead on the table. What we did talk about <laugh>, you do the talking. And when the tenant, when when that little tenement that you've been living in these years goes to pieces or an automobile and puts it out of business or something and they lay it away, what happens to the tenant when the tenement is disposed of?

Well, the Christian goes to be with Jesus. And that ought to be enough for the present. There'll be a lot more discovered later on. But remember, friend, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And I I I spend a lot of time wondering about those dear ones. And you do too.

The Bible doesn't tell us an awful lot about the Christian between dead and the resurrection. What, what does he look like? Uh, and the old bodies in the grave, he doesn't have the resurrection body. And folks say, well, what form of manifestation does he take when I'm not getting into all that?

But God will take care of it. I guarantee you that. Well, we know our loved over there. Well, you don't think we'll have less sense over there and than we've got over here there yet <laugh>. I expect to know them. And I think that, and we won't all be like eggs in the cra Oh, just alike.

I think that the, uh, peculiarities of personality to some extent, no doubt will be made affairs. And remember that he's not the God of the dead. He's the God of the living and all live unto him. Nobody's dead the side of God. Everybody's alive as far as he's concerned, that oughta cheer us up and we are waiting for the final restoration. And there won't be any odd pieces.

Everybody's going to be somewhere. Every niche shall bow first and every tongue confessed that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. That's not universal salvation, but everybody will be accounted for. They'll all have to recognize that Jesus is Lord and whoever's lost, that's for the garbage heap in the where the worm dies, not in the fire, is not quenched, but accounted for, not non-existent. I have a wonderful friend, great Presbyterian brother David Petty in Greensville.

We get together ever little while the other dangers laid something down the table when I was eating at his house. It's from Halah, the writer who probably is not a Christian at all, but this believer, speaking of hell, said, oh, we laughed today at it. We make our right remarks about it. We use it as a byword. But he said, between here and there, there's a great gov.

If we could see over it, there would be millions of millions of millions of faces and not a smile on one of them that moved me somewhat. And yet from an unbeliever, that's a strange but true comment, it seems to me. Does God care for the fallen spare? Does God care for you when the Misha comes? And then there's the lonely spare.

The psalmist wished in Psalm 102, seven said, I'm like a spare alone on the housetop. Now when the spares alone up there, probably the nest has been destroyed or the maid has been killed. And when sometimes in your life there comes that day when the nest has been destroyed and the maid killed, you know what this means? I know what this means.

I walk down these streets many times. I see two going along. I assume man and wife, and I say, well, they still have each other. And then I sort of grip that hand, uh, as though reaching out for one that isn't there. But, uh, I know that as I've told you before, I haven't lost her because I know where she is.

<laugh>, but Holmes, Robert G. Lee, oh, when my dear one passed away, that great preacher wrote a great long two page letter to me. And, uh, he used to say it, the la the latter part of his life. I'm not going home now. I'm just going back to Memphis. So Saturday I'll be leaving not for home, I'll just be leaving for Greensboro. And so here's the spar on the housetop and like that grand old spiritual that our, that the Black Saints have given to us, sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

Oh, that's a tremendous thing there. And I remember down in Florida one night, they brought out the kids from my children's school and the little folks saying, and that's, uh, the song I came, can't quote it here, but, uh, I'm glad I belong to the family of God. And in that family of God there aren't any orphans. And because, uh, uh, God has made arrangement about all that, they asked me over to Travis Avenue, that great Baptist church in Fort Worth some years ago for a conference. And when they got there, some of the folks came to me and said, there's one thing we'd like for you to talk about. Now they seem to have everything. We had our first meeting in the country club and it looked like they didn't like a thing in this world.

Pretty well fixed, most of 'em. But they said, talk to us about loneliness. Do you realize that with all our amusements and all our entertainment today, we've got more lonesome folks than we've ever had on the face of the air? Uh, they've got plenty, but that doesn't meet the need.

We're like little Amy lying in the hospital. And she was kind of unhappy that day. Little Annie said, why don't you pray? She said, how would God know it's me? Annie said, put your arms out on the counter pain and say, Lord, I'm the little girl with her arms out on the counter pain that might identify you. Oh, you ever feel that way? Sometime when trouble comes and hits heart, God's got trillions of stars to look after and billions of people.

How can he ever take time out to think about me? Well, it's because he's omnipotent and omni nation, the omnipresent. And those big long words mean that he's everywhere, knows everything and can do anything he wants to. And you can leave all that with him. Just settle this one question in your head, is God infinite? If he's infinite, then you don't put any stops anywhere because God's infinite. And that's what the a experi means.

And my Lord, when he was on earth, I have wondered so much about the fact that he didn't mix with the upper crest much. Why didn't he go to Roman Alexandrian Athens and say, I'm the son of God. Why didn't he start in this poor little country, no bigger than New Jersey, over there across the sea? And why did he, when he had only 40 days left to stay after he came back from the grave, wouldn't you have thought he would've gone and said, I'm back. I'm the only person who ever died and came back and I'm here.

No, all he does is comfort. A poor weeping woman of the Spriker have dinner with some Lonesome Es disciples and tell some poor fishermen those disciples and fish Don Knight and Cohan. That's one fish tale I believe. And tell 'em how to fish.

Lord, couldn't you abuse your time those 40 days? That something No, no. That leads me to believe that he's interested in the little things that I do and the little things that you do. And there's a place for it in the economy of God after, uh, the resurrection just went about as usual in many ways, and yet not as usual.

I'm glad his eyes on the spar and I know he watches me. Ethel Waters used to sing that in the Billy Graham meetings. Oh, she blessed her. So she'd sometimes sang at his eyes on the little bitty spar. Well, she wasn't little bitty herself <laugh>, but somehow, somehow we said, I don't care. She knew what she was saying, Bible the spirit she had.

And then finally, Psalm84, 3 tells about the spirit that builds in the temple. And uh, that is a refreshing thought and the temple of the Lord. Now God dwells not in temples made with hands, but the psalmist said Here, I want to abide. I want to stay in the temple of God. Uh, the heart of man still longs for a hiding place. Jesus lover of my soul.

Let me to I bosom fly rock of ages for me. Let me hide myself and leave He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. You'll never, you can't hide from God, that's for sure. Except in one place you can hide from God. When you are in God, that's when he's your home. When you are home in God. I think of the mother of Augustine who wanted to go with him on a trip and she was old and he said, mother, you mustn't go.

It's a long trip and you might not make it. You might die away from home. And she said, no, I, my life is hid with Christ in God and I'm home in God. And when your home's God, you can't die away from home. That does me a lot of good because I'm a lonely poral for eight years now wandering around over the country and staying in motels. And the other night when the preacher and his wife wrote me up to that when she said, the Lord will be a special me in heaven for traveling preachers who have actually live in motels and go in and turn it door, nobody there stare at the wall, wake up in the middle of the night and the old it's human to say what would happen to me? I went on in situation like this and a thousand folks can come to you.

But, uh, somehow beloved, out of all this in the past eight years, you come the richest period of my life, I wrote that little book that every nearly every other person has bolt. I think though, I walked through the valley and they call me and they write to me from everywhere saying, we buried our son. I buried my wife. We've lost this one. That <inaudible> and your little book.

Somebody gave us your little book or I've got your little book. And sometimes I'm, I sit down and get kinda low sometimes cause you never do. But I get a little low sometimes. Feel like the last rose of summer in the hailstorm sometimes. And about the time that I do, why sometime ago I was sitting in my room and I wasn't in the best position.

The phone rang and some dear brother at the other side of the country went to all the long distance trouble to call up and said, doesn't have anything to ask of in particular, just going to tell you, you've been a blessing brother. That's the best paycheck a preacher ever gets. That's the best paycheck anybody ever gets. Does anybody?

You don't have to be a preacher. Does anybody tell you you've been a blessing? You ought to be. Everybody can be a blessing. That's one vocation that's open to all of us and we can get into it. But you cannot rest in God until you nest in God.

Two words in the Bible that keep reminding me, abide, abide, abide. That means you set it down and don't go running. Just when you get in the jam, he's gracious and loves you and he'll help you then but you, it'll mean a lot more if you just stay there. Abide in the secret place and the others dwell, abide, dwell. Put some stay with it there. And doesn't mean you got to be a recluse or a hermit.

The spare doesn't stay in the nest all the time goes about his business. But uh, the Savior is not only our savior, he's our sustenance. And uh, we must feed upon him and, uh, meet every need. Si.

Lanier lived down on the last days of his life, dying of tuberculosis near Brunswick, Georgia. I had meetings there sometime ago in the First Baptist Church and cross across the marshes, had a great, uh, meeting ground old fashioned Methodist campground. And the tree out here were Lan that wrote his wonderful poems about, uh, the marsh. Him secretly builds her nest on the watery bees, on the greatness of God. That's good place to stay. And you think of Mr.

Penny as the great millionaire when he was very hell. You've heard it, you've read it. We've already dozens and dozens of times and I'd like to read it again. And then he heard some, some of the saints singing down below his room in the hospital got up and put his robe on one down there.

And there were some be not dismay. What every time God will take care of you had any more good than all appeals. He'd been taking all those weeks at the hospital. Oh, it's a good thing to remember with Madam Gaon to me remains nor place, nor time.

My country is in every climb I can be and free from Carol Shore since God is there and you have learned in whatever states you are to be contended. Romans 8 28 doesn't say, we understand how all things work together for God doesn't say that, understand it or not. It says we know it now, can you quit worrying about understanding? He can get around to knowing it. Understand it or not. I don't understand how a black cow can eat green grass and give white milk, but it's still like ice cream <laugh>. I'm not putting it all together. I know a few things and I can enjoy them.

Oh God, this is greatness flows around our incompleteness, round our restlessness, his rest. And I recall that well, the other day I was in New Orleans Baptist Seminary for some days and along with the others who came up to shake my hand was one of the faculty, a dear man of God. Sometimes we get on Bible conferences together, but I didn't know the latest. And I preached on why.

And I want to talk about that one time here. Not that I can explain why, but thank God there is a word in the book that it's all wrapped up in one great big why in this book. My God, my God. Why?

That's selfishly. And he said, didn't you not good considering the fix I'm in? Well, I didn't know what kind of a fix he was in. He'd been away holding a meeting and some keen broke into his home and murdered his wife.

Now that's something to come home to, uh, explain it. I can't, I don't know how to, I don't know why I couldn't tell him of course, but thank God to you the Lord. And in an hour like that, it's might a good thing to be home in God. And when you're home with him, uh, yours is the forgotten b attitude because my dear one went to heaven at two 15 Sunday morning and I preached at 11 and I didn't know whether I could or not, but it did. You heard me tell it maybe before John the Baptist in jail and sending of all things a delegation to Jesus.

Are you the one or do we start looking for somebody else? Now that was a low mark for John the Baptist man who had stood on the banks of the Jordan. Behold the lamb of God, that rugged man with his camel's hair, garments in his grasshopper, sally that he lived on. What a character.

And yet now he's in the dumps, he's in jail. And it's one thing to stand on Jordan and give it and another thing to stay in jail and take it. And he couldn't take it very well. Jesus didn't bowl him out. He didn't bowl out old Simon Peter for denying him. He just asked him, do you love me?

He didn't ask him, do you love sheep? Ron Dunn, my dear friend, this coming young preacher, said, when my dad and mother, dad lived, mother loved cats, but dad couldn't stand cats. But he said, after mother died and went to heaven one night we were all in front of the fireplace talking. And the old cat came in, tailed up in the air, very happy, came around, rubbed up against every one of us. When he got to dad, guess what dad did?

Picked him up, held him on his lap and stroked him. Oh, you in the rest of the conversation said, dad still wasn't fond the cats, but mother had been fond, the cats. And dad loved mother Jesus said, if you love me, you'll love the sheth. You try to work up a love for this miserable these wolves today.

Some of them, apart from that, you won't get very far. But Jesus said, go tell him. Go tell John the Baptist that I'm running on schedule <laugh> blind sing there for hearing la walking poor, having the gospel preach and then the forgotten the attitude. Nobody ever knows this one.

Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me. Blessed is the man who he never gets upset by the way I run my business. Now, if God's business involves something you can't figure out and you say, Lord, you must have been looking the other way. Where were you? No, no claim.

The forgotten attitude in the word. Then after all this, I had two years of my life and I couldn't sleep. I, I don't know how I lived and nervous, exhausting, and depression. And, uh, I hadn't learned what Martin Lloyd Jones, being a doctor and a preacher, both and speaking from both standpoint said, don't let yourself talk to you. You talk to yourself, <laugh>, that's a terrific thing.

Start raising all these awful questions. Stand up and say in the name of Jesus Christ, sit down. I'm going to live it. Whether I feel it or not, something will happen.

Learn. And my doctor, after I was left alone, he gave me a bottle of Valium and said, brother, if you can't sleep, take this. Well, I, I said, now Lord, I'm not gonna become a Valium. I'm not getting hooked on that stuff.

I threw my bottle away and I said, if I'm gonna preach, I got to sleep and thank the Lord. I've been sleeping. Sometimes it's the other way now, like that old boy out in the country country I came from, went to the doctrine and said, I'm having trouble sleeping. And doctor said, how does it work?

What I do all right of a night and pretty well in the afternoon, but seemed like of a morning I just rolled and thought so. So I just want to tell you, thank God it works. Thank God it works. If you're alone on the house top, you feel like it. You don't know where to go, people come and some of 'em don't say the right things. And all alone with the pillow wet, with tears in the middle of the night.

You can't tell folks they've got enough burdens of their own. Thank God the watchman of the universe never goes to sleep. He is neither and day on the job. And I'm like the old bishop who read that he keepeth Israel, shall neither slumber or sleep read that in the middle of the night. And he looked and said, Lord, if you're sitting up, I'm going to bed. Good night <laugh>. So all the way my savior leads me. What have I asked? Beside cannot Audis tender mercy, who through life has been my God.

Vance haver 32 flavors

Imminence, Transcendence, and Contradiction



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Contradictions, paradox, and bewilderment evoke exploration, reverence, and wonder. If what and who we worship is fully knowable, definable, and controllable, then we are worshipping idols of our own making.

Rather, the prophet Isaiah voices the message of a God whose thoughts and ways are higher than our own, thus offering a description of divinity.

We protest that we have no frame of reference for such a being.

Exactly, no frame because frames confine, no reference because uniqueness has no category, no "a being," since it implies one among others.

While a systematic theology may be useful for talking about God within the context of our experience, it is inadequate at knowing and seeking God is the vastness of Godness.

Quantum physics is helpful to my theology because it expands my appreciation of contradiction. And that is in the cosmic realm within the mysteries of space-time. The brightest of our brightest intellectual lights and professorial thinkers are as perplexed as the rest of us when their thinking is exhausted and their paradigms exploded or, in some cases, imploded.

Then, those of us who are of faith are projected into an undefined space beyond space where we affirm that there is a Thinker/Knower/Speaker-Creator/Lover who transcends even infinity into a reality we deem eternity. There we meet that which has met us in glimpses in time and space and, indeed, the smallest spaces.

That imminence is as mysterious as the transcendence.

The cosmic metaphor that best described it for this small brain is the contrast and comparison of the sub-sub-microscopic, uncharted territory of the sub atomic universe and the uncharted and overwhelming expanse of the universe beyond us.

That would be enough, within creation, to make us eternally dizzy, but then, we are told, that they are somehow woven into a web of strings and waves and particles that can almost be here and there at the same time as if time were something we had any idea about.
And any God fit to be God is greater than all of that.

And we think we can push God around with our clever labels and limitations!

What we know, we have been told, given flashes of, and seen in in the incarnate reality of revelation and meeting. It is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction, but it is enough to take us on to the next step of beholding and then, to the next.

I agree with Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg. Without a theology of contradiction, I am diluting my concept of divinity.

And, I add here, "wonder" is, in our realm, at the heart of all things wonderful and bewilderment is the price of receiving a Word from God in the wilderness where we retreat to seek God.

What Is So Special About April 11?

Perfect day

A Compilation of Thoughts, Memories, and Histories


Great Day, Great God!

In the same spirit as "the fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," we become wiser as we learn that we cannot be wise enough to fathom God.

"Great" is a strong, but inadequate adjective for God.

All superlatives in our language dissolve into the glory of His presence.

I cannot know all there is to know of God and knowledge of lack of knowledge informs me that God is God and I am not.

I may not be able to fully know God, but I can know Him because I am known of Him and He draws me closer daily.

" Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable."
(Psalm 145:3 ESV)


Closing Thought

We are designed for community. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead brings us life in so many ways. It restores our fellowship with the Father and it creates a deep and enduring fellowship among us as brothers and sisters with a common peace and a common purpose.

Come, Labor On


From the historic bronze doors at Los Angeles City Hall.

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Sent Forth in Peace

“Peace be unto you” – John 20:19b

Here is how it transpired:

John 20:19, 21 "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you…. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you."

This happened when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews. When it was quiet and dark, Jesus came and stood in the midst. His words were those of calm, comfort, and commission, “Peace be unto you," and “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”

We have been sent as Jesus was sent into the world to lift others.

Who can I lift today
From dregs or rags or rubble?

"Who will lift me?" replies the bit of me within me
Whose focus, inverted and cross-eyed causes me to
Stumble over unexpected opportunities.

"Refocus!" Shouts the me within me that can see,
Refocus and move forward and ask again the first question.

Who can I lift today and in the lifting, lift myself.
Who can I encourage?
Who can I bless?
Who can I walk alongside and with that one,
Share a burden?

Who can I love?
To whom can I give myself?
Who will be my brother or sister,
Or lifelong friend,
Whom I have never met?
Who will you bring along my path today, Oh Lord,
By divine appointment to change my life
As I give myself away?

I stand before you on tiptoe, Oh Lord,
With childlike anticipation and wonder,
Waiting for the moment and the person
That you will bring along my way
To lift today.


Alive in Christ

John 20:4 - "But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus."

When the morning was now come, and it was early, Jesus stood on the shore to make himself known, alive and life-giving.

But the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Yet, they were about to find out and life was about to take on its next level of meaning.

Those are the three movements of this scene in the act of the post resurrection drama. The disciples are out in the boat and Jesus is on the shore. Miracles were about the happen, but none more important than the reaffirmation that he was, indeed, alive and that because of his life, they were more fully alive than ever.

Even more so, the legacy of personal failure was about to be turned into a legacy of purposeful life as Peter was, himself, reaffirmed in his life mission to take care of Jesus’ Sheep.

What does it mean to be alive?

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 and
Us to be we and we to be

To serve.


Simple as That


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Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. -John 14:5-6

Picture the upper room and the somber mood of twelve friends hearing the ominous words from their Master that He will soon die and that they will soon fail Him.

“Not I,” protests Peter.

“You will,” declares Jesus, “But let not your heart be troubled …”

And then He offers hope, that He is going to prepare a place for them, that He will come again to receive them to Himself, that He will ever be with them and they with Him, and that they really do know where He is going.”

At that point, Thomas interrupts, “No we really don’t know where you are going. How can we know? Show us the way.”

Thomas felt that in order to follow Jesus, he must become more of an expert in navigational theology to traverse the diverse paths leading to God. It was a frightening prospect.

“How can we know the way?”

Indeed, how can we?

Jesus simplified the answer. He would be their compass. He would be their guide. It was not necessary for them to know anything more that Him. If they would follow Him, He would provide the way, the truth, and the life within His own person.

The message of Jesus to us as we stumble in the darkness of uncertain ambiguity is, “Follow me.”

He will lead us through the darkness. He will lead us to our eternal home. We can trust Him and follow Him.

He Is Risen Indeed

Mosaic of resurrection

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Risen Indeed

Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. - John 20:8-9

He came first to the tomb, but he did not enter at first. Whatever held him back, it was Simon Peter who ventured first into the dark place and emerged again with evidence that the Master was no longer there.

He paused. Was it for fear or disbelief? Was he frozen with shock or just unsure of what to do?

Perhaps there are people today who do not know what to do with the resurrection. It is scandalous. It is ridiculous in mere human terms. It is unbelievable and inconceivable. This disciple had been present when Jesus had predicted it, but he still had no understanding of it.

They were just words.

Then he walked in. He stared into the mouth of death and entered the sepulcher. It was not an easy thing for him to do, but he did it and I am sure, he never regretted that moment, because it was in that moment that another miracle took place.

It was the miracle of believing. He saw and believed.

Notice that he believed before he understood. Understanding would take some time. Believing took one moment.

It was a moment of encounter, a moment of realization, a moment of remembering, and a moment of seeing with his very own eyes. He had not yet seen Jesus, but he had seen enough. The miracle of belief was a spiritual transformation of his heart. It would prepare him to understand and receive all else that God would give – perhaps even to write the book of John, for many believe that this account is autobiographical.

“… These are written that ye may believe …” he would later conclude.

Step into the tomb for just a fleeting moment. Gaze into the mouth of death and you will see.

It is empty.

It is devoid of power.

The Lord is risen.


Holy Saturday Meditations

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Joseph of Arimathea Lowers Christ from the Cross .

Totally without hope one cannot live. To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante's hell is the inscription: "Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.
― Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope. Moltmann was born on this day in 1926

Holy Saturday Collect from

"O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you  and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

"The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins." - I Peter 4:7-8

Job 14:1-14 New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition

“A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last. Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgment with you? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can. Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass, look away from them and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days. “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grows old in the earth and its stump dies in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. But mortals die and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep. O that you would hide me in Sheol, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time and remember me! If mortals die, will they live again? All the days of my service I would wait until my release should come.

Sufficiency in All Things

At the end of the road, there is an unexpected bend and the road continues.


Photo by Jack Woodward on Unsplash


"And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." - II Corinthians 9:8

In the KJV, this verse reads that folks, blessed by God will have "sufficiency in all things" so that they may "abound to every good work."

In these days of perceived deprivation and desperate anxiety over economic concerns, one takes comfort in knowing that God always resources His mission. That includes His calling for you and mission for your life, for His church, for His sacred work in the "secular" arena, and for the totality of His Kingdom enterprise.

"Thy Kingdom come" is shortly followed by, "Give us this day our daily bread."

The sufficiency promised was an assurance given to a group of poor but generous believers whose hearts were touched by the needs of their starving spiritual siblings separated by miles, language, and culture. They begged to give and the Apostle Paul encouraged them that God would supply them with that ability and with their own needs.

In fact, they would abound. Sufficiency is one thing, but abundance is a step beyond.

At energy's end, resource depletion, and the deserts where new ideas are like dry river beds, God is able.

At the end of the road, there is an unexpected bend and the road continues.

At the intersection of hopelessness and despair, there is an encouraging word.

In the pits of despondency, the caves of darkness, and on the very gallows of death, God shows up with something new to renew us.

We have experienced a season on Lent, which comes, etymologically, in the lengthening of days when the doors seemed to be closing on the life, mission, and ministry of Jesus - when in reality, his reach was extending. Things are not always as they seem.

When our own capacity is spent, God is only beginning to reach into His wallet of possibilities to supply His sufficiency to abound.


On Good Friday, I will hear songs of lament, redemption, reconciliation, justice, mercy, forgiveness, and fleeting hope that somehow survives the darkness.

"Surely, he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows."

All of them.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? | by Tom Sims , Cultivator of Big Ideas | Apr, 2023 | Medium

Photo by

We have the retrospective luxury of knowing the messianic significance of this psalm in. It is messianic because the Messiah took these words to the cross as He identified with the sinfulness and despair that were already resident in humanity. He expressed the root of our hopelessness: abandonment — the awful sense that the God whom we ourselves have forsaken has forsaken us. To be separate from God is to be isolated and alone. It is the very terror of the night and it is the chief horror of the cross, which Jesus bore for us that this statement might never need to be ours again.

It is the hallmark of persistent prayer that it perseveres in silence. It is neither required nor assured that the believer will always “sense” the presence of God. What is called for is that we will remain faithful and not be silent when God is silent. In fact, God is not quieted. He is merely speaking on a frequency that we are not, at some given point in time, receiving. Keep praying — even amidst despair and doubt. Faith is found in the persistence and assurance and awareness emerge from the process. No matter how you feel about life, yourself, God, or others today, pray on!

Come to the Table

Last Supper Hungary

Join me in partaking of the Lord's Supper from wherever you are, whenever you receive this.

We have a mandate to serve, to love, and to remember.



 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” - John 17:3

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.” -Matthew 22:37-38.

The meaning of life is relationship with Jesus Christ. We have rendered such a statement trite by insincere overuse, but it is, nevertheless, true. For every lifeless, lonely soul, the message of joy and hope is found in one word: Jesus.

“This is life eternal,” Jesus said and His words were unambiguous. He defined knowledge of God always in terms of relationship and relationship always in terms of love.

Loving God is our highest calling for through loving Him we come to know Him more and life takes on a deeper meaning. As we love Him with every dimension of our being, we find significance and structure for framing our lives. We come to the center and find balance and direction.

Don’t waste your time searching hither and yon for meaning. Look unto Jesus. You can travel the world and invest in hundreds of teachers and come no closer to truth than you will at the foot of your bed in prayer, meeting Him face to face. He is not hiding from you but is ready to enter into your struggles.

Many have found him and then searched for more. You can go deeper in love, but you can never go deeper than love. Return to the place where you began. He is the meaning of life for time and for eternity.

Lord Jesus, you are the very meaning of my life. Lead me into a deeper, more intimate relationship with You in spite of my resistance and wandering attention. Amen.

Self- Care in Hard Times

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash
At the beginning of the recent pandemic, I offered this advice on social media. It is still good advice. It will always be good advice for self-care.
Go to bed at night.
Get up in the morning.
Eat regular, healthy meals.
Communicate with friends.
Read, watch, or listen to something funny.
See something beautiful.
Read more than usual or listen to a good book.
Pray, meditate, or contemplate.
Find a way to encourage someone.
Remember that your participation here is helping others.
Cry if you need to.
Journal your thoughts.
Repeat affirmations.
Find online expressions of the support groups that form your community.
Stay connected with your community of faith.
Make plans and have alternate plans.
and ...
Remember ...
Hard times do not last forever.

Last Words that Last

Last words that last

Photo by Thomas Konings on Unsplash

Photo by J. Amill Santiago on Unsplash

I used to play a game called "Last Words" with the boys in my cabin to get them to quiet down at night and go to sleep.

I went around the room and asked each for last words.

When they were all finished, they were promised a story in my most hypnotic voice.

It worked.

I have preached a number of last sermons before departing a congregation or a retreat.

You always want to make them count.

Some words truly count and keep on counting.

Martin Luther King, Jr. could not have known that he would be assassinated on April 4 when he made his last, stirring speech, really a sermon, the night before.

On that night, in 1968, he delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech; He was assassinated the next day.

It was prophetic and triumphant.

I have listened to this speech many times. It is so powerful and full of content that it is relevant to this day.

I will listen again and again as long as I live.


The Vilest Are Exalted

Meditations on Psalm 12

Are you starting to feel out-maneuvered by evil?

Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash


Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. – Psalm 12:1

Do you feel alone in your spiritual journey?

Are you starting to feel out-maneuvered by evil?

Do you imagine that you are the only person in your school, workplace, or neighborhood that desires the things of God or seeks after His will?

Do you wonder if there is even one other person who will stand with you for truth and righteousness? Are you overwhelmed by the loneliness of solitary seeking?

Do you even wonder if the psalmist was somehow transported out of his time to speak of ours?

Things have not changed that much have they? We all look back on better times when we were sure that there were more righteous and earnest people living among us and compare those times with our “todays.”

We conclude that we are alone and that no one else is godly or faithful. While that is not true in every sense, it is in one. “There is none that is righteous, no not one.” 

We are indicted by that statement and must include ourselves among the number of the “no more” who have “vanished from the earth.” From God’s perspective and standard of perfect holiness, no one measures up.

Then Jesus Christ enters the picture and He alone stands for truth. Our only hope is in Him and in Him we are not alone. Consciously align yourself with Him today and allow God to flush away that sense of “aloneness.”

When You Can’t Trust a Compliment

  They speak vanity everyone with his neighbor: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is Lord over us? - Psalm 12:2-4

If you can’t trust a compliment, what can you trust?

The psalmist has had it with flattery. He is discouraged over the tendency of his neighbors to use speech only to manipulate and deceive.

We ought to develop that same level of disgust with untruth because all lying and falsehood are at odds with a God who is truth. Pretty lies are no better than ugly lies. Lies are lies and they are dark and dismal.

Ask God to fill your heart with truth today and with a love for that truth so that whenever you would tell yourself a lie, you would immediately appeal to the God of truth and be rescued. Whatever urge you may have to be hard on your neighbors, start first with yourself and let God’s grace fill you and change you.

Consider this on Maundy Thursday – praise and flattery met Jesus upon His entry into the Holy City.  “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord,” they cried and most likely meant what they said. Is it possible that some of those who praised Him on Sunday cursed Him on Thursday evening when He was arrested and brought to trial?

Could it be that some who praised Him were seeking to manipulate Him for their own ends and to triumph with their tongues, even to co-opt Him for their own causes?

Is it even possible that some that welcomed Him with their lips retained no sense of responsibility for their words beyond themselves?

We see ourselves as masters of our words whenever we refuse to submit ourselves, body, soul, and spirit, to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus went to the upper room and took the role of a servant.

With His words and deeds, He offered His body and blood for the redemption of lost men and women. He emptied Himself and held nothing back. His words are truth and love.

Let us bring ourselves and our words to Him in that same spirit. Gather this day with other believers to remember the sacrifice of Jesus and be reminded of His gracious words.

God and the Oppressed

“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him..” - Psalm 12:5

What is the Word of God to a man or woman unjustly imprisoned for his or her faith in a land of persecution?

What message from the Lord sooths the heart of a child who has been victimized by the people, charged with his protection or the young woman beaten and battered on the streets in a senseless act of violence?

What does God have to say to the oppressed of the world and to those who labor under the weight of spiritual oppression?

God saw the oppression of the weak and heard the groaning of the needy, bound in the chains of sin and wickedness. Thus, He came to us as a man among men. He arose and took upon Himself of a lowly servant, He emptied Himself and became obedient unto the death of the cross (Philippians 2).  That is His Word, alive and viable!  He identified with us completely, yet without sin and became our protector and deliverer from sin.

God has always been the champion of the weak and needy. The Christ-event and the passion of the cross make it clear that every man, woman, and child is in need of a savior. We are all oppressed – even if we are oppressors.

We each writhe in agony for someone to intervene in our darkness and bring us into the light. Friend, the cross, was, is, and always will be for you. Spend some time today meditating on it. Seek out other believers with whom you can worship in wake of Calvary. Get alone with God and thank Him for remembering you on the cross. Do not let this day pass as any other.

Precious Words 

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” - Psalm 12:6-7 

Oh, precious words, flawless, pure, beautiful in their refined glory. God’s words stir the soul, comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable, and pierce the heart with divine truth and brilliant light. On that dark Saturday between the cross and the resurrection, the disciples had only the remembrance of His words. What would they have meant to you in such an hour? What have they meant to you in your darkest hours?

After the resurrection, Jesus would meet men on the road to Emmaus and remind them of His words and those that the Father had spoken over the centuries through the scriptures. He would bring them new meaning and their hearts would burn within them. Let Jesus apply all of God’s words to your heart in the darkness of death from the place of resurrection. We can never fully visit the despair of that bleak Saturday, but we can enter into our own darkness with the flawless Word of God to comfort our souls.

What a pointless prayer this would be divorced from resurrection truth! Without the resurrection we are exposed, vulnerable, and unprotected. If Christ were not raised, we would be as Paul said, “still in our sins (I Cor. 15).”  We could not expect help in the onslaughts of wicked and violent people or non-human forces from a dead and powerless God. Prayers would be futile attempts to feel better about our miserable circumstances. Compliance with ethics would be fruitless acts of legalistic compulsion if not overwhelmed by a dynamic conviction that God can raise the dead and thus, protect, deliver, and save.

God raised Jesus from the dead and pronounced the death sentence on death. He is alive and brings to life all who trust in Him. Celebrate! The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!

Vilest Men Exalted 

“The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.” - Psalm 12:8 

his must grieve the heart of the psalmist. David loved God so much that he could not understand the motivations of people who warred against Him. Nor could he understand their apparent triumph. Why do these things happen? How can such men be exalted? Why do the wicked prosper? These were nagging questions for the man after God’s own heart.

One might think that the psalmist had stepped out of his time and looked upon ours to offer his commentary. The repulsive sight of the wicked strutting about in impunity is and always will be a source of grief to those who love God and His truth. The deeper indignity and affront to God is that what is vile is honored among men as noble, good, true, artistic, or benevolent. Little has changed.

The values of society, left to its own devices, have always been at odds with God. We must carefully examine all that we place upon our cultural pedestals and pay homage to. God’s standards are different than that of the world.  We value what may contain a grain of truth, but it is so often distorted and ignoble.

The numerology of apocalyptic literature takes the number 6 and repeats it three times in contrast to the holiness of the complete Trinity. Thus, 666 represents the fullness of evil. The curious thing is that the number 6 is only one whole number shy of 7 – the number of perfection.

The lesson is almost hidden, but clear: That which is repugnant may be something that is very close to the truth (for instance, the devil quotes scripture and believes in God), but veers off the path of truth in a small way that is significant enough to altar everything.

It should be easy for the Christian to detect the blatant and flagrant abuses of truth, but be cautious that you are not caught up in the frenzy of honoring that which is popular just because it has an outer veneer of righteousness.

When you feel out-maneuvered, pour out your soul to God. God always anticipated the next move.


Repent or Die


Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Hear the old time preacher shouting:

"Repent or Die!"

It sounds harsh, doesn't it?

Let's look at where the statement originates and unpack it.

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.

Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?

I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?

I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.

So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’

“‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” - Luke 13:1-9, New International Version, ©2011

Jesus is confronted with the deaths of some people that His countrymen assumed were evil. They wanted to know if it was God’s judgment. He read the intent of their questions and replied that they were no worse sinners than the other Galileans, but cautioned the folks that unless they changed their living and thinking (repentance), they would die like the others.

Notice how he is always personalizing things, taking the onus off of the “other guy” and bringing it back to our choices.

Then He ups the ante and refers to some very fine people who had died. The question is rhetorical. Of course these did not have tragedy come into their lives because they were worse sinners than anyone else. That is not the meaning of tragedy – then or now.

Trouble comes to everyone, sometimes it just seems random.

Again, He points back to them with a life lesson – Indeed, however, lack of change (movement, repentance, elasticity in our lives) will lead to death. Here, He refers to death in the spiritual dimension whether He is referring to a last judgment or just to death for all intents and purposes in this life. In either and both cases, the loss is great to ourselves and to others who would benefit from our living. Above all, as He will indicate, the loss is greatest to god Himself.


  • R – Resiliency in the face of tragedy.
  • E – Effort extended when ease is expected.
  • P – Progress when it is easier to sit, wait, and let the world pass you by.
  • E - Exiting the arena of negative habits and entering the realm of new possibilities.
  • N – Nagging the part of ourselves that drifts into routine ruts of negative thinking.
  • T – Tickling and teasing our thinking so that we are always moving to the edge.
  • A – Accepting diversity and ambiguity as part of life.
  • N – Noticing the changes around us as the signs that call for adjustments of our courses and the urges through which God may be speaking.
  • C – Calling on God in confession and contrition for constant conversion to His image and purposes.
  • E – Ever energizing ourselves in the power of the Holy Spirit to be stirred, moved, disturbed and empowered to LIVE (opposite of DIE!) as people who make a difference …

OR .. we can …


We can die through …

  • D – Decline. We just die a little at a time, drifting away from the source of life and vitality into a dark abyss of disconnected despair.
  • I – Inactivity, irrelevance, inertia, or inward focus. These sap our lives in an endless loop of selfish hum-drum-ness.
  • E – Extinction of all that makes us alive to God, ourselves, and others.

BUT – Then He tells us a parable of a farmer and a fig tree. The fig tree story reminds us that God takes no joy in our death and has not given up on us. He is extremely reluctant to do so and stalls to give us ample opportunity to find the place of repentance (life and mind change).

We can change or die, but to change is far better.

The resources are available.

The grace is free.

The power is abundant.

The choice is ours … daily.

In Tragedy and Travesty


Photo by Dallas Penner on Unsplash

We get numb to the news and tragedy overload overwhelms us into dullness.

It is complicated. We cannot blame this group or that group for this manifestation of evil or desperation or delusion or all of those things wrapped into a moment of very bad choices ... yet many courses are now altered by one man's issues whose issues intersect and overlap with the issues of others and of all of us.

It is not easy stuff to handle, but that is why we are up right now ... in fellowship with one another, some of us in prayer and in fellowship with The Other.

All of us are here in common compassion and concern. Let us lift our hearts together.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

There is no hope intrinsic in our political system or in any system of human power. There will be seasons of righteousness, but they cannot command our ultimate trust and confidence. Good people come and go and represent various political philosophies, but they are and shall remain, human.

We are admonished not to put our trust in princes.

This is from the Psalms. The founder and first sponsor of the Psalmist Institution was, himself, a prince. So, he ought to know the limitations of power as well as the responsibilities of power.

His successors would also know that, for they would live to see princes who, unlike God and those who do have a heart for God see every plan of their lives perish with them. They do not create something out of nothing.

Evil, earthly princes, who lust for power, have no power to save.

Nor do they keep faith forever. Human powers are always beset with integrity issues. Even David struggled with serious character flaws.

They do not execute justice for the oppressed.

They do not give food to the hungry.

They do not set prisoners free.

They have no concern for opening the eyes of the blind.

They do not lift those who are bowed down.

Ungodly, human princes have no bias toward the righteous, but expediently align with those who can help them achieve their own ends.

God is a true independent. He is not swayed. He loves righteousness and aligns with the righteous because the righteous align with righteousness.

Evil, earthly princes have no regard for sojourners (AKA: foreigners/aliens).

They do not uphold the fatherless (AKA: those without a guardian/spokesman/protector - the powerless).

They do not thwart the ways of the wicked.

God, on the other hand, can be trusted to do the right thing and to win!

Hear the Word of the LORD and let us model our leadership after His example.

"Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD, O my soul!
I will praise the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.''

''Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.''

''Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD his God,
who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.''

''The LORD sets the prisoners free;
the LORD opens the eyes of the blind.
The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down;
the LORD loves the righteous.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.''

''The LORD will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the LORD!''
- Psalm 146


It's Not Foolish to Be Silly


Caption silly

Maybe you could write a caption for this.

Could you do the same for the silliest moments of your life?

I'd prefer to be called silly over being called foolish.

April Fools' Day or April Fool's Day (if there is only one), is a good time to be silly and then, to reflect on what true foolishness is.

First, silliness.



Happy April 1
National Misfits for Jesus Day!
Face it and embrace it!



Why, Indeed?





Spiritual foolishness is about the heart, not the intellect.

Jeremiah describes the fool that says in his heart there is no God, not as a person who has trouble believing, but as one who knows there is a God, but ignores that fact. That is also what the psalmist described - one who makes no room in his or her heart for God, for righteousness, for justice, or for truth.

In other words, stubborn and self-centered.

Spiritual foolishness is about the heart, not the intellect.

Jeremiah 16:10-21

And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you ...

"Why has the LORD pronounced all this great evil against us?"

"What is our iniquity?"

"What is the sin that we have committed against the LORD our God?"

... then you shall say to them:

It is because your ancestors have forsaken me, says the LORD, and have gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law; and because you have behaved worse than your ancestors, for here you are, every one of you, following your stubborn evil will, refusing to listen to me.

Therefore I will hurl you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have known, and there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

Therefore, the days are surely coming, says the LORD, when it shall no longer be said, "As the LORD lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of Egypt," but "As the LORD lives who brought the people of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the lands where he had driven them."

For I will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their ancestors.

I am now sending for many fishermen, says the LORD, and they shall catch them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.

For my eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from my presence, nor is their iniquity concealed from my sight.

And I will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.

O LORD, my strength and my stronghold, my refuge in the day of trouble, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: Our ancestors have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.

Can mortals make for themselves gods?

Such are no gods!

"Therefore I am surely going to teach them, this time I am going to teach them my power and my might, and they shall know that my name is the LORD."


There is no message more self-contradictory to human logic,
No act so paradoxical in its demonstration,
No sacrifice more irrational and
No statement more counter-intuitive ... and
None so true.


When Jesus Comes to Our Town

Thank God because he’s good,

    because his love never quits.
Tell the world, Israel,
    “His love never quits.”
And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world,
    “His love never quits.”
And you who fear God, join in,
    “His love never quits.”

    And now I’m telling the world what God did.
God tested me, he pushed me hard,
    but he didn’t hand me over to Death.
Swing wide the city gates—the righteous gates!
    I’ll walk right through and thank God!
This Temple Gate belongs to God,
    so the victors can enter and praise.

Thank you for responding to me;
    you’ve truly become my salvation!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
    is now the capstone!
This is God’s work.
    We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it!
This is the very day God acted—
    let’s celebrate and be festive!
Salvation now, God. Salvation now!
    Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—
    from God’s house we bless you!
God is God,
    he has bathed us in light.
Adorn the shrine with garlands,
    hang colored banners above the altar!
You’re my God, and I thank you.
    O my God, I lift high your praise.
Thank God—he’s so good.
    His love never quits!


When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet:

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
    humble and mounted on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
    Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”