Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


They say home is where the heart is, but I reckon that wasn’t written by someone living in a sub-letted condo in downtown Atlanta that, as it turns out, wasn’t allowed to be sub-letted in the first place and would eventually force the occupants to move out under the cover of darkness for fear of being discovered as imposters in a condo with water coming up through the floor. At times like that, home is easily defined as any place where a knock on the door doesn’t bring a cringe with it.

Home is far deeper at times. Home is the place we return to when we need someone who loves us for who we are. Home is the place where we feel supported and loved, where we recharge and relax. Home is a blessing.

In our busy lives, home is more concept than reality. Home is a sense within our soul, a longing for something more, something deeper, than the transient times we often share with those we love in the midst of our turbulent, hectic lives. In the last month I’ve seen lines of cars stretched as far as they eye can see, each waiting to tour some department store in hopes of finding just the right gift, each driver with a wearied look, longing for home.
Christmas brings forth so many memories of home. We gather around a tree, around the table, singing old songs and telling the old, old story. We do so at home as well as here at church. We return to this familiar place, each of us changed by the previous year and longing for the constancy we find in the Christmas story. It is an old, beloved blanket we pull over ourselves on a cold winter night, and we are instantly warmed by its love.

In that first Christmas story, it was a time of searching. Mary and Joseph left behind what they had called home to travel to another home, the little town of Bethlehem, because that was the town of his ancestors. For three days they traveled, longing for home, Joseph and his pregnant bride passing the difficult miles with expectations of what was beyond the next rise. Would the baby come here? Could they make a new home? Would everything work out?
What was to come?

When they finally arrived, they didn’t even find a home to rest. There was no room in the inn, so home brought them to a manger, with sheep and oxen nearby, the scent of the farm heavy in the air as the baby came into the world, bringing them home in this homeless town.
We share the walk of Mary and Joseph, for we, too, are traveling home. We don’t always recognize the milestones between here and Bethlehem, but we know the call of the Savior, and our feet carry us homeward. Our lives are lived on the journey, somewhere between Nazareth and Bethlehem, and we mark the milestones on this journey, each of us going home, wandering together over difficult mountains and flat, broad plains. They journey is different for each of us, yet we all walk the same line, yearning for Bethlehem yet filled with so many questions on the journey.

For we are all headed toward Bethlehem, toward Christ, toward home. We’re all going home, to the only place where we are truly home, and we are following a path marked by those who have gone before us. We recognize many of the milestones, and we gather on evenings like this to celebrate the journey, to remember why we go.

We’re going because of the baby, because in Bethlehem all things are made new once again. Mangers become thrones, stables become palaces, unwed teenagers become treasured by God. If you look closely, you can see the twinkling jewels placed in the sky as the angels sing and shepherds, those lowly, uneducated shepherds, are suddenly seen as princes in the kingdom.
We’re going because of love, because of an infinite love we don’t understand yet recognize when we see it. A love that spoke the world into being and fell in love with its fertile grounds, a love that came into the world so that we might recognize those moments of home, a love that transformed us from lowly sinners into saints of God.

God is calling us home, and we hear the voice of the baby reminding us of the journey. We have spent so much time walking at we sometimes forget where we’re going, we forget that we’re not alone. The light dims as we turn our heads, wander astray, get lost in the mountains. So the church gathers to hold the candles high, to let light pour through us, to show the way home. We’re all going together, to the place we’ve always known yet never been, to the one place where, when the world has turned its back, they’ll always take you in. Home is waiting, calling to the soul.

This Christmas Eve, may we remember home, and remember that we never go there alone.
Let us pray.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Holy God,

This world is covered with a layer of ice, tiny crystals, each unique in its beauty, making a blanket which the world has yet to shake. All is still, holy.

Your grace covers us like the dew, and we spend our lives shaking it off, trying to live on our own power, when you call us to accept your love and give our lives to you as your children. Teach us to be still, to be loved, to be treasures of God, holy because you are holy. Teach us to shake off those idols we turn into gods, so that we might worship you and you alone. You are love, pure and holy, and I love you.


Monday, December 21, 2009

God's Love is Like...

Wood Stain

Why? Well, I just used a bunch of it, and it occurred to me while I was staining that it has something in common with God's love. (Perhaps it was the fumes talking. The warning labels on those cans are pretty scary.)

See, wood stain changes the wood it's painted upon. It soaks into the grain and you no longer see the plain wood, but rather the wood as it has been changed by the stain. It's a new color, despite being the same piece of wood.

Christ does the same for us. Christ's love for us is so deep that, even in our sinful state, he came to earth and died for us. When we give our lives to Christ, he soaks into us, changing us, so that when God looks at us he sees not us, but Christ. Our sin is gone, broken by the power of Christ, and we are born anew through the blood of Christ. We can marvel at this miracle for every moment of our lives, and I believe we will still fail to understand the grace of it. We simply have to accept it--we are changed through Christ. We are no longer sinful, but rather covered in the grace of God, forever beautiful in God's eyes because of what was done on the cross. Sin has lost its sting, death has no victory--we are one in Christ, forever. Amen!


Interesting. That's not the first word that comes to mind, but maybe the best. I heard about this a few weeks ago. I wonder, if they stopped doing this, how many people would still come? I wonder how many people come solely because of it? I wonder so very many things about it...

Monday Morning

God of heaven and earth,

Speak in gentle voices,
through loved ones far and near,
that I may be inspired
And hold each one as dear.
May I treasure every moment
Whisper words of thanks
And offer up my daily bread
With an attitude of praise


Friday, December 18, 2009

Come Thou Fount

Come Thou Fount

Posted using ShareThis

Merry Christmas!

Why no, I don't have words to describe how awesome this is.

And this one's for Rachel


God of glory,

Come down. Be a blazing fire on the mountains, that we may see your presence and be awed by it. Invite us into your presence, that we may realize how great your majesty is and worship you. Be the voice within our hearts, calling us to live as your children, your hands and feet in this world. Surround us with your love when we weep, and may angels join in our songs of rejoicing. You alone are Lord almighty, and we give you thanks and praise.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Scots Confession, Chapter XIV

The Scots Confession, Chapter XIV

The Works Which Are Counted Good Before God

We confess and acknowledge that God has given to man his holy law, in which not only all such works as displease and offend his godly majesty are forbidden, but also those which please him and which he has promised to reward are commanded. These works are of two kinds. The one is done to the honor of God, the other to the profit of our neighbor, and both have the revealed will of God as their assurance. To have one God, to worship and honor him, to call upon him in all our troubles, to reverence his holy Name, to hear his Word and to believe it, and to share in his holy sacraments, belong to the first kind. To honor father, mother, princes, rulers, and superior powers; to love them, to support them, to obey their orders if they are not contrary to the commands of God, to save the lives of the innocent, to repress tyranny, to defend the oppressed, to keep our bodies clean and holy, to live in soberness and temperance, to deal justly with all men in word and deed, and, finally, to repress any desire to harm our neighbor, are the good works of the second kind, and these are most pleasing and acceptable to God as he has commanded them himself.

Acts to the contrary are sins, which always displease him and provoke him to anger, such as, not to call upon him alone when we have need, not to hear his Word with reverence, but to condemn and despise it, to have or worship idols, to maintain and defend idolatry, lightly to esteem the reverend name of God, to profane, abuse, or condemn the sacraments of Christ Jesus, to disobey or resist any whom God has placed in authority, so long as they do not exceed the bounds of their office, to murder, or to consent thereto, to bear hatred, or to let innocent blood be shed if we can prevent it.

In conclusion, we confess and affirm that the breach of any other commandment of the first or second kind is sin, by which God’s anger and displeasure are kindled against the proud, unthankful world. So that we affirm good works to be those alone which are done in faith and at the command of God who, in his law, has set forth the things that please him. We affirm that evil works are not only those expressly done against God’s command, but also, in religious matters and the worship of God, those things which have no other warrant than the invention and opinion of man. From the beginning God has rejected such, as we learn from the words of the prophet Isaiah and of our master, Christ Jesus, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching the doctrines and commandments of men.”


I believe it's important to notice that in the section above, sin is defined not only as things we do but also as those things we fail to do, such as turn to God alone when we are in need. Sin is every instance in which we fail to rely upon and worship God alone. It is so easy for me to label and notice those things in my life which are definitely sin, but it can be so difficult to notice the sins of omission I commit, the times when idols stealthily replace the worship of God.

And so I begin again in grace, hoping that my feet might not find the edges of the path, trying to humbly walk in the light of Christ, moving forward on the paths of Truth and righteousness. Trying to love God, trying to love neighbor, always serving both before self. It is so easy to say, yet so hard to walk. As Paul says at the end of 1 Corinthians 12: But strive for the greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

In God, there is always more. The depth of his love and the wideness of his mercy exceeds our capacity to test them. We live in the richness of eternal love. How great is our God!?!?


Lord Jesus,
As we draw near to Advent, draw near to us. There are so many reasons that previous baby should be first on our mind, but we seem to set out in search of other distractions, of other idols. We turn from you, not out of malice, but rather out of habit. We are a sinful people, dwelling in the darkness of sin, rather than emerging into your glorious light.

Teach us once more how deeply you love us. Remind us of your grace and mercy, so that this day might be a holy offering to you.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday Morning


Your beauty wins. Despite our attempts to ignore or destroy it, masking it with our handmade idols, your beauty shines through. It is so brilliant in its majesty and so perfect in its creation. From the sunrise this morning to the unfolding of the poinsettia's flower, your beauty is abundant and always points to you.

Remind me that I am your beautiful creation, also, and that my life is meant to point to you. May your grace sustain me, may your power uplift me, and may your Spirit ignite the passion I have for you so that the light of your beauty might shine through me.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Prodigal God

I keep meaning to read The Reason for God, by Timothy Keller, but simply haven't gotten around to ordering it yet. Instead, I found The Prodigal God, in which Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, uses the parable of the Prodigal Son to discuss our failings as younger and elder brothers, as well as our hope in Christ.

It is superb. I wasn't so sure at first. I didn't know what I was getting into, and at first I wasn't completely sold on it, but by the time I arrived at the end of the book I was thoroughly convicted not only of my sin but also of the grace of God.

In this book, Keller focuses on the shortcomings of both the elder and younger sons in the Prodigal Son parable. In most discussions, the author (or preacher) picks one to highlight, but here Keller is quick to mention that neither son is living in the fullness of grace the father offers. Each one spurns the grace. The younger does so by his pursuit of the pleasure of the flesh, but the elder does the same, only by pursuing a life lived by rigid rules rather than free grace. The Father loves each boundlessly, but they see that love in different ways.

Keller spends quite a bit of time convicting the elder brothers of their sins. It is easy to see the elder brother as the faithful one, but in the brother's response to the father Keller sees a life lived without a full acceptance of grace. Keller views the elder brother as the one who tries to earn grace by following all the rules to the letter, despising those who have failed.

Keller concludes with a discussion on grace. I kept reading portions out loud to Rachel, not simply so she could hear them, but also because I wanted to enjoy the sensation of reading and hearing ideas so packed with grace. An excerpt:

She had never heard the message she was now hearing, that we can be accepted by God by sheer grace through the work of Christ regardless of anything we do or have done. She said, "That is a scary idea! Oh, it's good scary, but still scary."

I was intrigued. I asked her what was so scary about unmerited free grace? She replied something like this: "If I was saved by my good works--then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with rights. I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if it is really true that I am a sinner saved by sheer grace--at God's infinite cost--then there's nothing he cannot ask of me."

This book is full of tiny moments like this, when the grace I thought I understood is revealed to be deeper still. Thanks be to God for expanding my vision once more!


God of Every Moment,

You have held me in your arms all night long. I go to bed and trust I will wake up in the morning, uncertain of what the day holds but filled with faith that I will still be here in the morning. You have sustained me for one more day on this beautiful creation--today will unfold with chances to love and opportunities to serve. May this day be a day where I do not duck, but rather live with eyes open to the needs of the world and ears open to the voice of my heart, your Spirit, calling me to be your beloved disciple and child.


Monday, December 14, 2009


Holy God,
It is so very cold outside. The wind whips at my neck, reaching with icy fingers into my being and f0rcing its way into my heart. I wrap myself in you, but it still invades my life. I fill with despair, afraid of its wretched cold.

Surround me with your warmth, and create in me the peace to listen to your voice that is already speaking inside me. You have not abandoned me to the icy depths; you are with me, your love is inside me; I have merely chosen to ignore it in favor of other, louder voices. Be my wisdom and my true love, so that all of life will be ordered around you and your abiding presence.


Friday, December 11, 2009


Thanks, God.

You created a beautiful sunrise this morning, painting the morning sky with a brilliant hue to remind us of your artistry.

Thanks, God.

You gave me a good night's rest and sustained me for another day. May I live this day with gratitude.

Thanks, God.

You have surrounded me with wondrous people who love me deeply, even if I don't deserve it.

Thanks, God. I love you.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Scots Confession, Chapter XIII

The Cause of Good Works

The cause of good works, we confess, is not our free will, but the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, who dwells in our hearts by true faith, brings forth such works as God has prepared for us to walk in. For we most boldly affirm that it is blasphemy to say that Christ abides in the hearts of those in
whom is no spirit of sanctification. Therefore we do not hesitate to affirm that murderers, oppressors, cruel persecuters, adulterers, filthy persons, idolaters, drunkards, thieves, and all workers of iniquity, have neither true faith nor anything of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, so long as they obstinately continue in wickedness.

For as soon as the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, whom God’s chosen children receive by true faith, takes possession of the heart of any man, so soon does he regenerate and renew him, so that he begins to hate what before he loved, and to love what he hated before. Thence comes that continual battle which is between the flesh and the Spirit in God’s children, while the flesh and the natural man, being corrupt, lust for things pleasant and delightful to themselves, are envious in adversity and proud in prosperity, and every moment prone and ready to offend the majesty of God.

But the Spirit of God, who bears witness to our spirit that we are the sons of God, makes us resist filthy pleasures and groan in God’s presence for deliverance from this bondage of corruption, and finally to triumph over sin so that it does not reign in our mortal bodies. Other men do not share this conflict since they do not have God’s Spirit, but they readily follow and obey sin and feel no regrets, since they act as the devil and their corrupt nature urge.

But the sons of God fight against sin; sob and mourn when they find themselves tempted to do evil; and, if they fall, rise again with earnest and unfeigned repentance. They do these things, not by their own power, but by the power of the Lord Jesus, apart from whom they can do nothing.


My initial reaction is disdain for this selection. Surely I can choose to do good, right? Surely there is some part of my will that is not so stained with sin that I am constantly falling, constantly failing to do what the Lord wills. Right?

Then I come to the realization that I simply cannot choose what is right on my own. I look back on the history of wrecks caused by my poor decisions and recognize that sin, be it pride, greed or some other failing, indeed stains my decisions. I am not proud of it, but it is part of who I am.

I believe it is important to recognize this reality. Without the realization that sin is a part of everything, there isn't an accompanying need for grace. If we can choose to live correctly, what need is there for a Savior?

But we are stained by sin, and thus in desperate need of a Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ comes to save, to liberate, to illuminate. Christ sends his Spirit to strengthen us, to encourage us to fight the fight, to struggle onward, to choose the Spirit over the flesh. Christ does not remove temptation or sin from our lives, but rather promises a better way, a higher way, an eternal way. Christ promises true life, and the Spirit moves within us, imploring us to fight on.

Thursday Morning

Dear Lord,

You have created the sun and set it in the sky. It warms the earth and provides light for our lives. You have given us so many other people in our lives that do the same. Thank you for a community that gathers around us to love and support us. Thank you for others who have the courage to lead us, to speak the truth, to humbly serve. Thank you for Christ, who lights our path even when we aren't walking it, always working in us to guide us by the Spirit so that we might walk in Truth.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Morning

Dear God,

On this day, Lord, give me the strength to see light where I focus on darkness.

On this day, grant that hope may reign in places of fear.

On this day, God, may my words point to you rather than myself. May my time be an offering, rather than a hoarding. May my attitude be one of gratitude, rather than selfishness. May all the earth know that you reign as Lord and King.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

I finished up In the Sanctuary of Outcasts lately, a book with deep Biblical ties through the centrality of leprosy. Neil White's memoir revolves around the time he spends in a unique prison near New Orleans. He is there for bank fraud, but it is not only a prison, but also a home to lepers. For years they have lived there, dwelling quietly in this sanctuary. It is an odd combination, especially since no one is truly sure how leprosy is passed from one to another or who gets it and why.

White was a successful businessman, always chasing the next dime and self-importance. Fancy boats, houses, cars and offices were the objects of his desire, as well as the cause of his downfall. The check kiting scheme is too difficult for me to explain here, but he is sent away for 18 months in this unique jail while his family must deal with the debt and humiliation left behind. It is in jail his understandings of life and people begin to change.

There, in prison, he begins to overcome his fears and interact with the patients, in particular an elderly woman in a wheelchair named Ella. It is these people, voluntarily living in this sanctuary, hidden away from society while their bodies are often ravaged, who teach him what it means to be free. He evaluates his measures of success and the importance of family. He gains a new understanding of the sacrament of communion. He sees people who live simply, honestly, with integrity, and begins to ask himself difficult questions. He struggles with family issues, plans for success, and so many other core issues in his life.

I enjoyed White's book because it focused on the struggles we have. We all ask big questions; it doesn't take being arrested to do that. In a unique setting White uncovers true beauty in each of the patients as well as some of his fellow inmates. He looks deeper, beyond the first layer of fabric of ourselves, and realizes how much depth and beauty there is in each of us.

It's a quick read, and an entertaining one. Maybe it'll bring up some big questions you've been meaning to ask yourself...

Tuesday Morning

Dear Lord,

May I see your grace in those who surround me, and may I be a window to your cross. Your love is deeper than I can ever know, and yet I come face to face with it so many times through the witness of your children. May your Holy Spirit open my heart and mind on this day so that I will look for the best in every individual I meet. May my life today be a witness to your incredible love.


Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7

New WWII monument in Boynton Beach to honor the 'day that will live in infamy'.

I still remember sitting in the car on December 7, 1991, listening to the 50th anniversary ceremony on the radio. It was heart-breaking. I am not related to an individual who died in that horrific attack, but it is still tragic to think of what happened. For some reason I seem not to notice or observe this day as much anymore. Perhaps I am numbed by the recent wars. Maybe it has something to do with my recent focus on the European front. Maybe I am simply growing more insular everyday.

I don't know why I don't pay much attention to December 7. I am grateful for all those who serve in uniform, those who place their lives at risk. I am grateful for those who went to fight afterward. I am hopeful that such things will never happen again. May the peace of Christ wash us all clean, ridding us of our warring ways and our stubborn hearts.

Serious Christmas Lights

Amazing Grace Techno - Computer Controlled Christmas Lights from Richard Holdman on Vimeo.

We have four strands of Christmas lights up, thanks to Rachel's diligence. There is no music, but they do flash. We do not have anybody handling traffic in front of our house, except for the stop sign.

A Bear Named Winnie

I cried. (I know--big surprise, right?) I didn't expect to, but there we both were, at the end of the movie, wondering why animals get to us that way. What a great movie.

A Bear Named Winnie is the story of the bear that inspired the Winnie the Pooh stories. This bear's mother is shot at the beginning of the movie and is bound for the same destination when a young soldier from the vetinary corps of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on its way to France in WWI decides to save it. He brings it back on the train and proceeds to break every rule possible in order to keep this bear in his company.

The bear seems to have an endless amount of love and affection for everyone. It wins hearts I didn't expect it to win, and the love and devotion of this bear, and of the soldier, simply made me cry. It was heartwarming.

I think the wonderful thing about this movie is the depth of the love shown between a man and a bear. I was watching this with a cat curled up on my lap, and these examples of great love between humans and animals often bring out the best in us. Animals show us how they can love, simply and purely, while we get the chance to love an animal that wants nothing more than some food, water and our affection. It's a fun movie if you get the chance, especially if you are Winnie the Pooh fans. It doesn't discuss Winnie the Pooh, but it's neat to know the origin.

Monday Morning

Dear God,

You bring water from rocks. You transform cold, unfeeling, uncompassionate rocks into a life-giving source of cool refreshment. You plant hope in soil that once grew nothing. You breathe light into rooms that know only darkness. You create love where hatred once dwelled.

You are the God of wonders and creation, of redemption and transformation, of great love and tremendous mercy. You open our eyes to the wonders around us and love us even when we don't acknowledge you. While we were still sinners, you died for us.

Thank you.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Fun

Jacob Geerlings’ blog from Kenya

A Review of The Blind Side, which everyone has told me I need to watch

All Women in the Church

News on the elections in Honduras

I never knew bagel cutting was so risky

A Reading from the Confessions

The Second Helvetic Confession 5.112


Christian faith is not an opinion or human conviction, but a most firm trust and a clear and steadfast assent of the mind, and then a most certain apprehension of the truth of God presented in the Scriptures and in the Apostles’ Creed, and thus also of God himself, the greatest good, and especially of God’s promise and of Christ who is the fulfillment of all promises.

Text for Sunday, December 6

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.

The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Monastic Moment (from The Monastic Way.)

Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all alike to everlasting life. Rule of Benedict, Chapter 72


Holy God,

On this sweet day you have blessed the world with opportunity. On this day we have a choice: we can serve you or ourselves. Quiet every voice inside us but your own, that we may hear your Spirit calling us to be your children, to live with unbounded joy and hope for the kingdom you are establishing. May we be an Easter people, remembering the eternal hope we have in you alone, filled with the peace of Christ, and among our neighbors spreading the love of God through our humble words and actions.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Scots Confession, Chapter XII

Chapter XII

Faith in the Holy Ghost

Our faith and its assurance do not proceed from flesh and blood, that is to say, from natural powers within us, but are the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; whom we confess to be God, equal with the Father and with his Son, who sanctifies us, and brings us into all truth by his own working, without whom we should remain forever enemies to God and ignorant of his Son, Christ Jesus. For by nature we are so dead, blind, and perverse, that neither can we feel when we are pricked, see the light when it shines, nor assent to the will of God when it is revealed, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus quicken that which is dead, remove the darkness from our minds, and bow our stubborn hearts to the obedience of his blessed will. And so, as we confess that God the Father created us when we were not, as his Son our Lord Jesus redeemed us when we were enemies to him, so also do we confess that the Holy Ghost does sanctify and regenerate us, without respect to any merit proceeding from us, be it before or be it after our regeneration. To put this even more plainly; as we willingly disclaim any honor and glory for our own creation and redemption, so do we willingly also for our regeneration and sanctification; for by ourselves we are not capable of thinking one good thought, but he who has begun the work in us alone continues us in it, to the praise and glory of his undeserved grace.


Sin. It's not pretty, and we have covered ourselves in it. Our efforts are stained by it. Thanks be to God for grace and mercy. Thanks be to God for the Holy Spirit, which works in our hearts and awakens us to recognize not only our own sin but also the grace of God. We cannot save ourselves, but the Holy Spirit working through us can open our eyes to the salvation we have in Christ.

I want so badly to be able to take credit for salvation. I want to be able to say that it is my one pure thought, my one good deed, that enables me to serve my Lord and God. But it simply isn't. I am such a cauldron of greed and pride that if it were left to me, I would still be vainly clawing at the walls of the pit of death that Christ destroyed so many years ago. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is at work within me, opening my eyes to recognize the wonder of God, opening my heart to receive the work of Christ, opening my life to be a conduit so that God might work through me to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God.

Thursday Morning

Awesome God,

Upon the Israelites you rained down manna from heaven. There, under the morning dew, they found the nourishment they needed to survive the day.

Holy God, I am not wandering in the physical wilderness. I do not know the pain of hunger or the fear of starvation. But I need your food. I need the bread of life, the spiritual food, to survive the day. My daily bread consists of being fed by your Son, Jesus Christ, who nourishes my soul and strengthens me in my daily walk. Give me the strength, Lord, to look underneath the dew and find you waiting to nourish me with your Word.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Lord of Lords,

We know the wilderness. We know the walls of the shadow of death and the emptiness of vast deserts. We have trod paths that lead to nowhere and sat in the fading daylight and wept.

Still, you were there. How can you be a God of light and love and still wallow in the darkness with us? How can your grace and mercy penetrate and destroy the powers of death if only life exists in you? How are you able to sit with us in our pain?

You came to earth and joined with us in our walk. You sat in the same shadows we do, walked in the same valleys, and suffered the same death. And so you know our pain and our grief, and in the midst of our weeping, you promise us hope in you. Thank you.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Tuesday Morning

Holy Lord,

On this blessed day, may the sound of my heart beating be a reminder to me that you have set my life in motion and offered me abundant riches that I did not earn.

May the feel of my lungs expanding remind me that I am invited to take part in the expanding of your kingdom.

May the sensation of touch remind me how close you are to each of your beloved children.

May my very life serve as an offering in love to you, my Savior.