Rolled Away

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River to enter the land God promised them, it wasn’t just about giving them new land. It was about a new way to live. They walked through a Heaven-dried Jordan riverbed following the Ark of the Covenant to remind them of Who led them into their new life, Who kept His promise, Who freed them. Who fed them. No, this was not about new land. This was about new life. Our journey to the cross parallels their journey in so many ways. We have been released from a slavery that we adjusted to rather well. Self-determination is its own Egyptian slavery, but it is slavery of our own making. It made us fear more, duped us into believing we had more control t

Someone Cut Down My Tree!

Someone cut down my tree. It was a beautiful crepe myrtle that bloomed in the spring with fistfuls of confetti-white blossoms. I enjoyed the full branches as they wished me good morning while I ate breakfast. They sheltered my favorite cardinals close enough for me to see their beady black eyes looking at me. The tree was my shelter, too. Through spring and summer and early fall, we eat on our screened in porch where our open-armed tree gave us privacy. But someone cut it down. In the gated community where we live, the tree is not really mine. Decisions about which trees need to go are not mine to make, either. As I read Luke 13: 1-9, I wish a green-thumbed gardener had wanted to save m

Thirsty?

How do you know when you’re thirsty? I’m not a big water-drinker. I often quip about how dehydrated my generation must have been before water was bottled and priced by brand. Now, water, by itself, isn’t enough. We add flavors and vitamins to make water healthier! Basically, we live in culture who doesn’t really understand thirst. What we don’t experience, we can’t address. It’s true spiritually, as well. You can live without spiritual thirst, but not abundantly. You can push through your busy days and drink your bottled water and still die of a thirst you never stopped long enough to register. Reconnecting with our thirst for Jesus is one of the reasons we take this journey to the cros

Friend or Foe?

Are you a friend of the cross? It depends how you respond to surrender. Crosses make more enemies than friends. It is human nature to avoid pain and suffering. While we often sacrifice comfort or convenience for a good reason, we don’t do it easily and we want it to produce a worthy dividend. But the message of the cross of Christ is not about our pain tolerance. It is about our surrender. Jesus did not want the cross but his mission to rescue us demanded that he surrender to it as part of his mission. Still, it was not the piece of wood roped together that he surrendered to. Jesus surrendered first to His Father and His unfailing love, unlimited resources, unequaled character, and unco

Shielded!

Abram sat under the stars, away from conversations with his tribal compatriots, away from management responsibilities of how to move so many people so far: and God confirmed again that Abram was on a protected journey with a great reward waiting. How do you believe God’s promises when nothing around you makes you believe they are possible? It is the oldest question anyone has ever asked God. I think it is harder now that we are GPS people. Plug in an address and simply follow the directions. We want our answers from God to be as clearly articulated, preferably by daily text, to leave no room for misunderstanding. Uncertainty paralyzes us or worse. Uncertainty pushes us to choose for ourse

Tempted

The purpose of temptation is not to undo us.  The purpose is to help us realize how our poverty can never fill our needs by our best inventi

Return to Me

We need sabbath. We need to rest from the pushy voices that make us feel less than enough. We need sanctuary where we cannot be hunted dow

Ashes

Today we wear the ashes of our impotence and mortality. It is a day to remember who we are and who we are not. Today we bring our unedited selves to God so that we start this journey to the cross in the most honest way possible. I remember the first time I participated in an Ash Wednesday service. The reflective music, scripture, and words prepared me to receive the mark of the cross in ashes on my forehead. I felt branded, labeled, and unmasked. It was like someone had ripped off a disguise I had been wearing and they could see into my very soul. Now I understand that this humbling is necessary. Unless I recognize that I am not self-made or self-formed, I cannot stand before the cros