9.10.15–>”Humanity 2.0″


John 12:24

I’m telling you the solemn truth: unless a grain of wheat falls in the earth and dies, it remains all by itself. If it dies, though, it will produce lots of fruit.

Jesus sealed a new human nature, ready-made and prepared for us to receive.


Or perhaps we could even go further and say, “Recognize.” Recognize what already is.

This sounds very tricky for many.

Do we obtain or attain the rebirthed new nature?

Or neither?

We definitely cannot attain it. We’re too weak. We must stop trying. Stop working hard to make it happen, to be perfect, to stop sinning.

Obtain is much closer. Receive what already is. Recognize what has already been done and prepared for all people. A preparation we can in no way bring about ourselves.

We can live a new Life of love and peace only by means of fellowship and union with the One who lived fully empowered and animated by God–Jesus of Nazareth. His life is actually imparted to us. It is already within us. Instead of attaining something, it is more a tuning into it, and this through oneness with Jesus, the mediator of the Life of God with humanity. The His Spirit takes over. Everything.

Become one with Jesus, and you will become one with God. When you start doing every single act of your day for the love of God and in fellowship with Jesus, empowered then by the Holy Spirit, you are living the Life Jesus actually lived. Mysteriously, His Life is our life, in our own bodies. This is what keeps bringing me back to the brilliance of the life Brother Lawrence lived. If there is a secret, I believe that to be it. Let us be careful not to exalt Brother Lawrence or put him on a pedestal. We could talk of others–Jean Pierre de Caussade, Frank Laubach, Meister Eckhart. Good examples of living a life animated by God’s love every moment.

Die to your own desires, and live for God’s. Then there will be many Jesuses on earth.

Christ died, not that we might be able to form an holy nature in ourselves, but that we might receive one ready prepared and formed in Christ for us, by union and fellowship with Him.           -Walter Marshall

9.9.15–>”Listen for Simplicity…and…a Word on Diet Pills”

diet pills

2 Corinthians 11:3

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

“Listen for simplicity.”

This is what I heard in my time of listening to Jesus this morning.

Listen for those basics before straying off into the complex. First establish a baseline, assessing whether certain foundational beliefs and practices are in place before discussing problems, issues, and conundrums.

We convolute and complicate everything. And we are confused and unhappy for it. I am more and more convinced that we looooove to convolute and complicate. Perhaps due to an underlying laziness/ lack of desire and motivation to do the simple basics.

If someone who is a follower of Jesus is troubled, listen for their mention or lack of mention of prayer, Scripture, Jesus, rhythms, Sabbath, spiritual friendship, use of their time, solitude and silence.

We tend to move on without first establishing these foundations as vital before we can think of that which is beyond the basics. It is so very difficult to talk about anything of depth without some foundational practices in place. This is due, at least in some part, to foggy, skewed, and inaccurate vision. One cannot even see the real problem clearly, if at all.

It’s very tempting to wanna dive in and help someone, but first we must check belief, vision, rhythms, and mind and soul training. After some basics are firmly established, we are more able to see clearly and interact with the world as it is, not just as we wish it would be.

This hearkens to the person who would ask if there was a diet pill they could take to lose weight after telling me that they workout once every week or two, and down three glasses of wine and half a cheesecake right before bed every nite.


There’s no pill for that as far as I know.

I am sure we’ve all had those times when we’re struggling with someone (or something), going off, and a friend simply asks, “Have you prayed for them?”

“Shut up.”

“Well maybe try that first.”



At breakfast with a friend yesterday, we were talking about orthopraxy and what not, you know, pretty standard Labor Day breakfast conversation. And in the midst of discussing methods available to us and ways of life, he prophetically proclaimed, “But Jesus is the pre-incarnate Word, present at creation, through whom God brought everything we know into existence.”

Or something like that.

It was a real prophetic word, like Spirit just totally took over him for a few seconds. It trumped everything we were ruminating on. Stopped it. Even though we were talking about good things, there was an authority that seems to render it all as utter weakness.

It penetrated me, the Light of Life cutting through me viscerally.

I can’t seem to get John 6:63 out of my soul lately-“The words I have spoken to you–they are spirit, they are life.” The Message version reads, “Every word I’ve spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-giving.”

Jesus’ words, His teachings, His parables, somehow impart His Life to us. They actually impart Himself into our souls. I’ve never thought of that in quite this nuanced way before.

John 1 New Living Translation (NLT)

Prologue: Christ, the Eternal Word

In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
    and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,[a]
    and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it.

The Word is the person of the Godhead through whom the world was created, who took on human nature in history and who is the source of life and light for humanity.*

John’s use of Logos, which we translate as “Word”, is that prophetic word which goes from God’s mouth to accomplish creation, judgement, redemption, and renewal.*

What I’ve been mentally masticating of late is that we cannot get too much of Jesus, His teachings, His words. They cannot be reviewed too often. They cannot be probed too deeply. “Oops, I went too far into the mind of Christ, I better back out,” is probably a phrase we shan’t ever utter.

If we follow Jesus, as the pre-incarnate LOGOS of God, who created the cosmos, how can we not feed upon His words daily, throughout the day, meditating upon them, hence, upon Him, day and night?

* from the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels page 483

9.7.15–>”Being a Sore Loser in Prayer”


Romans 8:26-28

In the same way, too, the spirit comes alongside and helps us in our weakness. We don’t know what to pray for as we ought to; but that same spirit pleads on our behalf, with groanings too deep for words. And the Searcher of Hearts knows what the spirit is thinking, because the spirit pleads for God’s people according to God’s will.

We know, in fact, that God works all things together for good to those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

A couple of months ago, I asked Zayra what I should write about, and she gave me a very nice sermonette. Last nite, I was again wondering what to write about for today. Sometimes there’s so much floating around in my mind, that I don’t know what to land on. So this time I asked Gabriela what she thought I should write about. I really like what she said, therefore, I will share it with y’all wonderful people.

We’d just finished a mean game of “Ballit.” This is a game we made up in which I sit on the floor and throw a racquetball against the wall, while Gaby and Zayra have to run across the path in harm’s way and not get hit  by the ball. Gaby was talking about what it is to be a sore loser, thus the title above, which she came up with.

Alrighty then, here are her laconic words:

If you pray about something you want to happen, but God answers it in a different way, you shouldn’t be mad at God or blame Him just because He chose the better way for you…which may not be the way that you had planned or even wanted it to be. God knows what we need more than we do.

9.5.15–>”Psychic Energy”

Sociologist Robert N. Bellah wrote that attention is “how we use our psychic energy, and how we use our psychic energy determines the kind of self we are cultivating, the kind of person we are learning to be.” Christians are called to direct that attentive energy to the One who is the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Word that was in the beginning with God. More than an attentional practice, this is soul cultivation.

-Susan Phillips from The Cultivated Life

9.4.15–>”1Thessalonians 5:11-24–4th Grade Homework”


1 Thessalonians 5:11-24

So strengthen one another, and build each other up, just as you are doing.

This, my dear family, is the request we make of you. Take note of those who work among you and exercise leadership over you in the Lord, those who give you instruction. Give them the highest possible rank of love because of their work. Live at peace among yourselves.

And, my dear family, we beg you to warn those who step out of line. Console the downcast; help the weak; be warmhearted and patient toward everybody. Make sure nobody pays anyone back evil for evil. Instead, always find the way to do good to one another, and to everybody.

Always celebrate,

Never stop praying;

In everything be thankful (This is God’s will for you in the Messiah Jesus);

Don’t quench the spirit,

Don’t look down on prophecies,

Test everything.

If something is good, hold it fast;

If something looks evil, keep well away.

Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy. May your complete spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus the Messiah. The one who calls you is faithful; he will do it.

At “Back to School” nite last nite, we found out that our fourth grade daughter, Gabriela, is memorizing this perciope this semester.

How good is that?

I’m gonna post this on the wall of our dining room for all of us to see all of the time.

I think I will memorize it with her.

I mean, if a fourth grader can do it…..


This is the Kingdom New Testament version here FYI.

9.3.15–>”A Testament to my Pathetic Dorkitude”


One of my many, many weaknesses is my utter aversion to anything that smells of a hint of responsibility.

If it’s something I have to do, or am suppose to do, I just can’t stand it, I avoid it, and have the toughest time pulling the trigger on it. OK, let’s go ahead and say it all together and get it over with–“Poor Ana!” Yes, she and all of us know that if it weren’t for her, I’d still be living in my parents’ basement today.

Moving on.

Lately, I’ve been realizing anew the sacredness of every moment, everywhere, with every person. I do believe that, but in practice, partially because I do live every day as if it is my last, I wanna make sure every single thing I do is either super fun, or super deep meaningful life-changing, or best yet–BOTH!

In some ways I’ve grown. I do really enjoy doing dishes and even cutting the grass, even though I don’t do it every single week. But doing any other responsible things is just for the birds.

Since the girls have gone back to school, I’ve really tried to embrace every task before me, seeing it as God-ordained no matter how vanilla it may seem to be. I mean, I always see God with me in everything, it’s just that, before, I would avoid any responsible task so that God and I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything boring together.

This past week has been interesting. Friday I realized that due to the putting off of renewing my license plate via the magical, easy internet, that it was indeed the day of expiration, and thought I should just go in person to the BMV. Embracing it, I employed the rule of ABAB that my friend Ellen coached me on in Ukraine–“Always Bring A Book.” So I cheerfully ABABed it to the BMV in Nora. Calmly, I took ticket #117 and noticed they were now serving #114. Wow, that’s pretty close. I sat down to read my book, getting all settled in, when they called my number before I finished a second page. Trying not to let my OCD overtake me by not finishing a page before getting up (pathetic weakness #44), I went to the lady who renewed the plate for me, and I left the BMV having been there for about a total of 6 minutes. Funny, she said they will mail me the sticker…the very same thing that would have happened had I done this at home on the magic internet device, but hey, I’m learning an experiential lesson here!

Then Monday, I actually called to make an appointment concerning a recall for my car. I was so proud of myself for making a little phone call, that I almost went on a shopping spree to reward myself. (This is the first Ana is hearing of this thought) But I refrained. Tuesday morning I took it in, ABABed with TWO books since I was told I would be there for an hour or an hour and a half. The dude there tells me it will be only ten or fifteen minutes. Yeah, right buddy, I’m not falling for that one. After grabbing my free cappuccino in the waiting room, I sat down to read my super deep awesome material. Nine minutes later–“Robert?” Done already? I was at Penske Chevrolet for like a total of fourteen minutes. Man, this responsibility stuff isn’t so bad!

Feeling confident enough now to rule a small country, I headed straight to the bank where I needed to close an account we really don’t use much anymore. I walk in like I own the place, do my business (not to be confused with “Biznass”), and was out of there in four minutes including small talk!

I’m not claiming that God made all of this easy, painless, and quick for me. That belongs to the mysteries of the universe–like what’s inside of a black hole. But I did feel God’s speaking to me and showing me that when I just embrace whatever is before me, seeing Him in it, with full acceptance and contentment, that it is not anywhere near how awful I make out to be in my morbid preconceptions or expectations.

Not only that, but that the time is indeed meaningful and can even be enjoyable if the mindset is right. More and more I see clearly how my day is good or bad according to my own perception of it waaaay more than according to circumstances, other people, or….

[suspenseful music playing]

r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s.



Romans 7:15,17

I don’t understand what I do. I don’t do what I want, you see, but I do what I hate…But now it is no longer I that do it; it’s sin, living within me.

I love old words that we don’t use anymore.

Because they cause us to actually think about their meaning. That’s why I enjoy Latin phrases. Not for pretentious reasons–“Hey, look at me using Latin, how impressively scholarly am I??” No, because it stirs thought and attention toward the purport of something. Words can lose meaning easily, and connotations can change drastically according to culture. So sometimes it’s good to go back in order to revive participative interaction with a word and its significance.

Augustine used this word “concupiscence” way back in the third or fourth century. It’s meaning was very deep to him (much more so than the simple definition you may find today in your online dictionary). It refers to these innate weeds within us, sabotaging our efforts to do what is good and live in accordance with our sincerely held beliefs and values.

“Within the core of our being, we discover pre voluntary incentives to sin that often carry us in a direction we do not consciously want to go and that continually undermine the authority of our reason and will.”*

Concupiscence is a universal condition, the result of a tension with what we are now, and what we have the potential to become. You could say it is the resistance of our human nature to our will. A resistant force against our efforts to follow Christ.

It just is. It’s there.

You could try to wish or pray it away, without making the effort to rise against it, I guess.

Let me know how that goes for you.

But it is by struggling against this dominance  that our Christian character is formed. Human nature resists any course of action that summons transcendence, transcendence to following Christ. It is only through training that we can live out the demands of the Gospel and a life of grace. Because those demands are simply too much for our human nature alone. And yet the training is so simple. It is simply putting yourself in place to hear and be filled with God consistently. To receive power from on high in order to live the Gospel life.

But that concupiscence thing will fight us more vigorously the more we give energy to the Christian life. It operates concurrently in three channels whenever we incline to some virtuous act:

  1. It tries to distract us by waving before our noses a more attractive and less noble alternative
  2. It lowers our energy levels and inclines us to let the opportunity pass
  3. It contaminates the moral quality of the action by connecting it with unworthy motivation.

I find it very helpful to see these three exposed, like pulling the curtain back on the enemy a little. Once you’re aware of these, it is much easier to resist them. It would be quite frustrating to have a cage fight with the invisible man. So this is like someone gave you a bucket of paint and you threw it on him, and you’re like, “Yeah! Now I can go to town!”

*Michael Casey, from his amazingly insightful book Fully Human, Fully Divine


9.1.15–>”What Should I Think About All Day?”


Philippians 4:6-9

Don’t worry about anything. Rather, in every area of of life let God know what you want, as you pray and make requests, and give thanks as well. 

And God’s peace, which is greater than we can understand, will keep guard over your hearts and minds in King Jesus.

For the rest, my dear family, these are the things you should think through: whatever is true, whatever is holy, whatever is upright, whatever is pure, whatever is attractive, whatever has a good reputation; anything virtuous, anything praiseworthy. 

And these are the things you should do: what you learned, received, heard, and saw in and through me. And the God of peace will be with you.

What should I think about all day?

Well I’m glad you asked! Here are some healthy thoughts we as Christians would do well to dwell upon throughout the day, everyday:

  • The recalling of scenes from the life of Jesus, perhaps establishing links between what we are experiencing and particular incidents.
  • Pondering the meaning of the good and bad examples with which experience and reading provide us.
  • Retracing some stages of our own life’s journey.
  • Counting our blessings.
  • Seeing the hand of God at work in the beauty of creation.
  • Trying to understand the deeper significance of daily events.
  • Being open to receiving a word of life from anyone we meet.
  • Being mindful of death.
  • Reactivating our hope in eternal life.

Do not think that what your thoughts dwell upon is of no matter. Your thoughts are making you. -Bishop Steere

When we can actually choose the direction of ours thoughts instead of just letting them run along the grooves of conditioned thinking, we become the masters of our own lives.   -Eknath Easwaran

Conditioning–The process of habitual thinking that significantly determines what people think, feel, and perceive. The more people entertain a thought or a particular kind of thought, the more their minds are prone to generate thoughts of that nature.

We can actually choose how we feel more than we realize.

The ancient monks were encouraged to never leave their reading time before they had selected a short text to carry with them throughout the rest of the day to chew on. This way they could be led into the deeper meaning of the text, giving the Holy Spirit room to work on them and reveal more and more layers of Truth. It would also be there at the ready for any events of that day.

What is a word or phrase of truth you will now choose to keep with you and recall throughout the next 24 hours?

think good thoughts