Five Summer Binges for the Soul

sea-1349860_640It’s summertime and that means it’s time to binge. People indulge in all sorts of binges during vacation time. We binge on the beach, the sun, the surf, on fruit, fresh corn, Netflix, novels, and sleep. Nothing wrong with that but with summer bringing a change in routine, why not also indulge in some binges for your soul?

Binge on the Bible:

Break out of your “verse a day” habit by spending all your free time for one week, reading large portions of the Bible in one sitting. This Scripture feast can freshen your perspective on God’s Word, improve your understanding of the context of verses, and remind you why you fell in love with the Bible in the first place. Here are some summer Bible binge plans:

  1. Using a chronological Bible, binge read the sections that include Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The history of the kings and the dispersion of the Jews interspersed with the relevant prophecy will shake up your perspective on biblical times but also on the days in which we now live.
  2. Read all four gospels and the book of Acts in one week. That’s about seventeen chapters per day. For a different experience, try listening to an audio version, this will make it easier to keep scripture in your ear throughout the day’s activities.
  3. Read the Psalms in one week, that’s approximately 21 Psalms a day. Try reading one or two per hour or seven at breakfast, seven at lunch, and seven at dinnertime. Continue Reading →

Where Did Following Jesus Take You (Or Jesus Through the Looking Glass)

the-tardis-263153_640Portals and doorways fascinate us, not because they are so engaging in themselves but entirely because they lead us somewhere.

When Alice slipped through the looking glass, she stuck around to explore Wonderland. When Lucy walked through the back wall of the wardrobe, she explored Narnia. When Dr. Who invites passengers into the Tardis, they expect a journey to somewhere fantastic. When Dorothy opened the door of her house after a hair-raising twister ride, the world literally changed from sepia to technicolor and beckoned her to follow the yellow brick road. The truth we know that emerges in the stories we tell is that doors, portals, passages, and gates should lead us to somewhere. Continue Reading →

We Are Not of Those Who Shrink Back and Are Destroyed

heart-905598_640In the light of a new day, facing more headlines, another body count, more cries for war and tears for peace, we will be tempted to lose heart. And we would, in fact, lose heart, if not for Jesus Christ. For in these times when we grieve, we lament, we keenly feel our mortality, our frailty, the brief candle that is the wisp of a single life, it really comes down to this – how will you live today?

Will you live intentionally with gratitude, with purpose, with a heart open to love, with words full of light, with a mind set on eternity, and a strength drawn from the wellspring of life? You have received the gift of a new day, how, then, will you live?

“Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-12

 So we do not lose heartThough our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light eiffel-tower-1209157_640momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,  as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Hold fast, loved ones. Press into Jesus. Don’t fall prey to the schemes of the evil one. Live well. Love hard. Go in the strength you have, mighty warriors.

I have no clever words, no poetry, nothing of my own to offer you today for I am like you, I’m so weary of the death and sure there is more to come. But our God has the words of Life and it is His I share freely. Know you are all in my prayers this day as I offer prayers for the world, ”

“For you have need of ecastle-195105_640ndurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.” Hebrews 10:36-39

Race you to the fortress, loved ones. I’ll meet you there.  A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Message me, loved ones, or comment here if you need to be mentioned to our God in prayer because your weariness is more than you can bear. Remember you can download for free (for personal use or use with your church group) Free to Face the Headlines (thirteen proven strategies for consuming the news without being consumed by the news.)

I Don’t Want You to Read This Blog Post (a lesson in backfire)

fire-8837_640The world is ablaze with righteous indignation. Arrows fly and I’ve grown weary of dodging them. Haven’t you?

Weary of headlines. Weary of blog posts, Facebook updates, tweets, and op eds. Weary of debates in the lunchroom and at the dinner table, over coffee after church. We volley the blame ball from one hand to another like artful dodgers who occasionally get in a good spike on the other side.

The enemy knows if we blame blaze one another, he can continue waging war in the shadows. And we play his game, don’t we? Blame the whites, the blacks, the cops, the gunmen, the system, the politicos, the church, the world. Volley and return as if it’s a game but it’s not, is it? We’re at grave risk of losing heart. Continue Reading →

Rock, Paper, Scissors, Spock, Lazarus (or truth when facing death)

graffiti-1015952_640Dead things hold little promise. Death is a line that, once crossed, carries a weight worthy of holy pause.

I remember sitting through one Sunday morning service behind a man who was dead by three o’clock that day. Following church, he and a fellow pilot friend took off for an afternoon flight and crashed. For days, when I closed my eyes, I saw the back of his head and felt the weight of death. Breathing one moment, breathless the next.

Permanent. Undo-able. Unstoppable. Unpredictable.

And life, this being alive thing, is large even when the creature is small. I was in the room when the vet injected our seventeen-year-old family cat with the final solution. It was time. It had been a long time coming. I was prepared – I thought – until that last breath – the final gasp when her exhale wasn’t answered with a mirroring inhalation of air.

Death. It sucks the air out of life. Like a sucker punch. A belly flop. A face plant. A dead drop. Continue Reading →

We Don’t All Get the Miracle (for my friend who is facing death)

glasses-1004311_640We don’t all get the miracle.

We know this. We know, because we’ve lived on this planet, that not every prayer is answered the way we want, that not every Christian lives a rosy existence this side of glory, that some of us die young despite every intercession.

It doesn’t sit well, though, does it?

When God’s faithful ones endure relentless trial, when they suffer, when they don’t receive the check in the mail or deliverance from the sword or cure from the disease or rescue at the last minute, we don’t handle it well. We weep, we plead, we rail, we protest, we agonize, we go silent, we grieve, and we ask questions. Why, God? Why Holy Father? Where were you for this daughter? Why did you not protect this son? Continue Reading →

The Bible Verse None of Us Believes – at First

knight-1421358_640Some days you feel like the warrior you are because of Jesus.

Your armor glints in the sun. Your soul senses the power of the risen Christ within you and you itch for a front-line assignment. The enemy is before you, ever at work, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world is the motto emblazoned on your shield and you sink your teeth into the truth of it. You follow the One of the divine pronoun and believe the lower case he is already defeated, you have only to step into your freedom to see victory.

This is not one of those days.

Today, you remember once feeling like a warrior and somehow you know it must still be true, but there is no glory where you lay. Your armor is on but it’s soiled and covered with dried blood – yours and the blood of fellow warriors. You fell, wounded, duringgothic-1228022_640 that stint on the front lines where it didn’t feel like sure victory but instead, like a mouthful of gravel, confusion, noise, discomfort, and pain. You take by faith this will not be in vain but right now the enemy whispers into your ear where your helmet has gone askew that you’ve failed your King and have become of no use in the battle. Continue Reading →

Life Without Sex – A Secret Truth Known by Millions

hands-984032_640Once I watched a zombie movie with my daughter.

Not my usual fare but it fascinated me because I saw a correlation to the times in which we live. The speed at which the zombie virus spread from person to person is similar to the rapid-fire spread of deception in modern times.

There are so many lies in the air these days that H2O has been more accurately refigured as H2O3D (D for deception).

One prevalent lie is that some people want to outlaw love when really love has never been the issue. We are all free to love. Always have been and will be throughout eternity. Continue Reading →

I Wrote This Post for You. Yes, YOU!

finger-1299243_640I wrote this post with you in mind.

Yes, you. You’ll understand why shortly.

God has given some of you ideas no one else has. Ideas for things that have never been done or read or heard or seen before. Maybe it’s a ministry to someone no one else is reaching or to a group others have tried to reach but not in this particular way. Perhaps it’s a story, a film, or a song that’s like none you’ve ever experienced but you just can’t shake the idea. It could be a plan to enact. A work of art to create. A venture that must be tried. A trip He’s impressed on you to make.

But, there’s a problem. Continue Reading →

What the World Needs Now is Better Wine

glasses-341552_640Something has always baffled me about Jesus’ first recorded miracle. It seemed so pedestrian, really. He’s at a local wedding and Jesus’ mother learns they’ve run out of wine.

This seemed unfortunate but not really a devastating circumstance. Surely not something I would imagine requiring divine intervention. It is kind that Jesus has compassion on the host and turns the water in six stone jars into wine but was His first miracle truly inspired by a desire to spare a family from social embarrassment?

For years, I’ve mulled it over, considered it, prayed about it, meditated on it, and frankly, trusted there must be more to the story.

Now, I realize, you must stick with a marriage for many years, through trial, through sorrow, through frustration, through failure, through sickness, through hard times, and through boredom to truly appreciate the miracle at Cana. Continue Reading →