Friday, April 25, 2008


Psalms 46:10 (NIV)
10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Be still
Feel His presence
Listen to your heart

Cause For Joy

Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)
16 Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.

Jesus told us that He is the Bread of Life. We celebrate and remember this when we participate in the Eucharist. We symbolically ingest the body of Christ through the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine (or juice), which is the Word Incarnate. This is an outward sign of that which is within us, and that we are included in the body of Christ. The Incarnation continues in us through the Holy Spirit. As such, we are sons and daughters of the Lord God. We are of His house and carry His name.

Is this not cause for joy?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Then We Are Ready

So we find ourselves here
Immersed in this place and time
Given to speculation and wonder
Wrapped in reason and rhyme
We look for meaning
In the things we see and touch
Only to find something missing
They really don’t mean that much

Then we are ready

To look beyond the horizon
To fix our eyes on the unseen
It is there we find what satisfies
And understand what all this truly means

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Three Things

It takes an open mind to leave room for the majesty and mystery of God,

a courageous heart to seek the Creator,

and a humble soul to embrace God and self.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Am Well Pleased

Mark 1:9-11 (NIV)
9 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
10 As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

Even Jesus came to be baptized by John. He says elsewhere that this is to be done to fulfill scripture. This marks the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. His journey in the new kingdom begins with this act. Not only does He open the door, His actions show us the way to follow. Heaven is torn open just as the temple veil is torn upon His death. In both instances we are shown the access to God the Father. Repentance and belief in the Son enable us to come before God.

Jesus comes out of the water after John’s baptism and the Holy Spirit descends on Him. Because of what He has done, the Holy Spirit descends on you and me when we turn to God and believe. We are able to connect with and experience God in a new way. In the same way that Jesus came out of the water of His baptism, He comes up out of the water of man, His incarnation, and returns to the Father in a new way. He is the slain sacrifice on which the judgment of our sins has been satisfied, but rises to become our Lord, our King, and Savior.

God speaks to Him. I love You and My delight is in You.

God speaks those same words to you and me when we enter in the new way, the way of Christ. I love you and I am well pleased.

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Authentic Life

Mark 1:5-6 (NIV)
5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
6 John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

Why was it that everyone went out to see this man in the desert? What was it about him that compelled them to leave their homes and listen to his message? I have to believe they saw a man speaking with conviction and whose life matched the words he spoke. Here was a man that was not after status or the praise of men, but was focused on his mission and message. The people saw something quite different in this man. They heard from his lips of the new thing that God was about to do. They recognized from this authentic life words that were truly spoken. God used John in a mighty way, pointing others to Christ.

Authentic lives still speak today. Nothing speaks louder to others or is more likely to have an impact on some else’s life than the way we live ours day to day. We are just as much in a desert as was John long ago. There is a great need and thirst for the word of God, the living water, in our world. Today your life will speak to someone. The question is: What would you have it say?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gospel Beginning

Mark 1:1-4 (MSG)
1 The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here,
2 following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you; He'll make the road smooth for you.
3 Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God's arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!
4 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins.

Mark 1:1-4 (NKJV)
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You."
3 "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.' "
4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.

The gospel of Mark starts with the announcement of what this story is about and why it is important. The good news is that the very Son of God has come for us speaking the word from God. This account will unfold before our eyes and hearts as we hear the words of someone who was there, who lived with and followed this man Jesus.

Mark is believed to be based on the experiences and preaching of Peter. Mark tried to capture Peter’s words as he proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ. This account offers a simple and straightforward story of God coming among us. He took on our humanity, with all the inherent frailties that come with the flesh, showing us the way to salvation and life.

John is sent before the Son of God, to prepare the people with the clear message of the repentance that needs to take place before sins are forgiven. He speaks of a life-change and there is one coming. Life will be changed indeed! Things will never be the same!

Thursday, April 17, 2008


God chooses to make Himself known to man. God chooses us to know Him. Why? The only answer I can come up with is love. He created us to love, to receive His love and to be capable of loving Him.

Love is the one thing that God did not create and cannot be demanded. It must be freely given, else it wouldn’t be love. He created us with the capacity to receive and give love. Then He gave us the freedom necessary for love to exist.

His choice has already been made. He has freely loved us, giving His Son out of that love. This is love: that He laid down His life for you and me.

Our love is shown the same way, in the giving of our life to Him. We then are assured of eternal life. We cannot out give God.

We can choose to love Him or not, but His love is there and waiting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our View of God

God is not to be defined and regulated by our needs, desires, ideas, or perceptions. He says to Moses to tell pharaoh “I Am” sent him. It is in Him that we move and have our being. We are defined by Him. Meaning for that which is created lies with the Creator. There is only one God. We see many versions that appear out of our attempts to explain Him or justify ourselves. Our unique perspectives act as prisms, taking the same light and casting different colors.

He is love, offers peace and comfort, but He is Holy, His justice and righteousness is unwavering. He should evoke trembling and awe, even as He holds us in His hand. To lose sight of either understanding diminishes our view of God.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

From The Inside Out

Mark 1:7-8 (NIV)
7 And this was his message: "After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Mark 1:7-8 (MSG)
7 As he preached he said, "The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life.
8 I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out."

John’s baptism was on the outside, signifying a change of mind, a change of heart. The cleansing water of the baptism was an act not unlike the rituals at the temple. It documented and confirmed this change of heart, but it was performed by man and therefore imperfect.

Perfection would come by the one he said would come. His baptism would be of the Holy Spirit, of God Himself. This would not be water symbolizing cleansing on the outside, but an immersion of the heart in God’s very Spirit. Something totally different takes place. Instead of God being present in the one temple, He comes to reside in the hearts of every person through the Holy Spirit. There is no way change does not take place when that happens. As the Message says, it “ will change you from the inside out.”

May His fire burn within us
To melt away the things that hinder us from God
Let us feel the warmth of His love and grace
That we may see His light to show us His way

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Road Smooth And Straight

Mark 1:1-5 (MSG)
1 The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here,
2 following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. Watch closely: I'm sending my preacher ahead of you; He'll make the road smooth for you.
3 Thunder in the desert! Prepare for God's arrival! Make the road smooth and straight!
4 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins.
5 People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life.

John proclaims that God is coming and that people need to get ready. There is a life change that is on its way that is new and radically different from the past. It is the life contained in the man known as Jesus, the Son of God, who has come to offer that life to all that would partake.

What does it mean to make the road smooth and straight? John preached a change-of-life, a turning away from things that serve as obstacles which separate us from God, or, as often worded, repenting of our sins. That is how we prepare to meet God, by acknowledging our weakness. John’s baptism was a public proclamation by the individual of that turning to God that leads to the forgiveness of sins. John could hear their confessions but he would not be able to grant forgiveness. But the one whose coming he proclaimed would and does.

It is for each of us to do a little road repair everyday. Potholes will appear, and if left unattended can cause great damage. Make the road smooth and straight.

Friday, April 11, 2008

His Face Would Glow

2 Corinthians 3:13 (NIV)
13 We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away.

After Moses spent time with God, his face would glow from having been in the presence of the Lord. He would wear a veil in front of his people so they wouldn’t be afraid. That radiance, that light of the Lord would gradually fade away.

When we accept Jesus and the Holy Spirit comes, we are graced with a light that does not fade, but grows brighter as we follow in His steps. Unlike Moses who covered his face, we are to let that light shine forth. This light dispels fear through the love and grace of the Father above. It is there for all of us. We all ought to live in a way that others can see from our lives that we’ve been with Jesus.

Let us be warmed and glow as we reflect the light which He has most graciously shined upon us.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Psalms 37:1-4 (NIV)
1 Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong;
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

There is quite a difference between what results from trust and that which is promised to come by delighting in the Lord. Trust to me implies belief and commitment which brings safety and peace. But delight implies a whole hearted, passionate enjoyment of the life made possible by following Jesus. This moves us beyond mere existence to the fulfillment of the desires of our hearts. Chief among those is our universal need for a relationship with God. From there we are then able to fully express our individuality. Delighting in the Lord brings delight. That is the way it is with Him.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Praise That Matters

"12:42 Nevertheless, even among the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they would not confess Jesus to be the Christ, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue. 12:43 For they loved praise from men more than praise from God." NetBible

Wanting to fit in, to be part of a group is a powerful need for most of us. It starts at an early age, this seeking of approval and confirmation. I suspect it is part of our makeup. Our soul longs for God and is made for God, no matter what we may believe or deny. It can be easy to fill that need with the wrong things.

That was the case here. Even worse, it says these leaders believed in Jesus but would not say so because they would lose their position and all the associated trappings. They were used to the admiration, respect, and praise of men and they just couldn’t give that up. Even with their knowledge of God and recognizing Jesus as the Son of God they were unable to place God before the idol of self. Doesn’t it seem ironic that responding to God would place them in danger of being thrown out of what is supposed to be God’s house of worship?

The world’s power, approval and praise can be a subtle and strong temptation. One of the temptations that Satan brought before Jesus was these very things. But Jesus overcame that temptation by focusing not on himself, but looking only to God. He looks for us to follow Him.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

For Your Benefit

John 12:27-30 (NIV)
27 "Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.
28 Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again."
29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
30 Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

Some things never change. Jesus confirms God’s voice from heaven and that it came for the benefit of those around Him. What a wondrous and awesome event to witness. Yet the crowd does not get it. They do not recognize the voice. Many say it was just thunder. Others do perceive a voice but don’t understand it. I wonder how many actually heard the words and knew who was speaking.

Many today only accept an explanation of creation, of life and death, which fits within their perception of the natural and what makes sense to them. No room is given for God. No credence is given for anything outside self and man.

The most awesome act of Jesus overcoming death, His resurrection by God and the gift of life for those who choose to accept this grace, is viewed by many as so much noise. Just as the crowd then said those words from heaven were only thunder, the crowd today will tell us this story of resurrection is a myth.

When God speaks do we hear Him? Are we at times so dull or worn down that we are only aware of thunder?

Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Whatever He Hears

John 16:13 (NKJV)
13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

Jesus speaks of another one coming from God after He goes back to His Father. Like Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes from God and only speaks the word of God. They do not speak from themselves, but in complete obedience to God; they pass on to us that which is of God, the source of life and truth.

Is it not astounding to consider that this Holy Spirit comes to each of us? The Spirit that knows the deep things of God is within each heart that places its trust in Jesus. Just as the one man conquered death and sin for all, the one Spirit comes to unite us in the truth and life of Christ. God comes to us individually and the multitude is made one.