Category Archives: Daily Meditations

Divine taproom

there was no place for them in the inn. ~Luke 2:7

Looking for a place for the Son of God to be birthed. Would you believe there were no rooms available? Joseph and Mary don’t yell at anyone, or force their way in. They simply move on to wherever there was room for them.

And this is still how it is for Jesus today. It’s been said that we can have as much of His Spirit as we want or will allow. It depends on how much space we make available. Jesus typically doesn’t barge in and start moving your stuff out of the way. He politely asks and waits. Do we make space for Him? A mind filled with worry or what’s next or what people think leaves no room for the Son of God to come in, let alone have a place to sit and actually stay a while. He doesn’t yell, or force His way in. He simply lodges where He’s welcomed, where there is a vacancy.

The room we allow for the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to tap into the spiritual power and energy of Jesus, thus the “Divine Taproom”. Without divine power, this world will crush you. Do you have any vacancies? Or are all your rooms booked up with human ideas and influences? It is imperative, and extremely challenging today, to make space for Jesus to fill us with His mind, with Himself. To do this, we must have times of evacuation. Some people call this a “brain dump”. The only way I have found to do this is to be still and silent, to let all thoughts settle and drift away, then simply listen to what the Lord may want to say to me or show me. This can be done with Scripture of course (lectio divina), a prayer word (centering prayer), while taking a walk, staring at a tree, or just sitting in a silent room. It’s difficult to overstate the peace, refreshment, guidance, and energy I gain from this oh so simple practice that anyone can do. To clear out a space for Jesus to come in and sit and talk–there’s nothing better, for there is no better house guest.

The one thing

“…you are troubled and concerned about many things.” ~Luke 10:41

One of the very basic lies of the world is this:

You should really care about, and give lots of energy to, all these things that don’t have much, if any, relevance with your actual day to day life.

Now of course the lie isn’t packaged like that–all telegraphed and easy to sidestep, but that is the core of what’s going on.

We live in an age and culture of readily available information overload to a degree which we probably cannot even fathom. With this sensory assault tends to come a nonsensical pressure to care about more than we could ever have the capacity for in twenty lifetimes, let alone this one that we’re living now.

There’s only a relatively small amount of causes I can genuinely care about, indeed only a few I should care for, yea perhaps just one–according to Jesus–that I need to tend to, for it will take care of all the others.

When someone tells me, “Hey, three people were shot in Chicago!”, you know what the first thought I have is?

I need to go to Kroger today.

Because that’s my life and where I actually live. It’s not that I don’t care about the people up in Illinois, it’s just that I have quite a limited capacity, and most all of it, relationally speaking , is taken up already.

Funny, I was thinking through all of this at the laundromat about a week ago (story for another day), and I glance down at the newspaper beside me to see this headline: INDIANA BATS NEED SUMMER SAFE SPOT with the subheading of: GROWTH AROUND AIRPORT REDUCES ROOSTING SITES. Now, again, it’s not that I don’t care at all about the bats God made, but it just made me chuckle and wonder where I could possibly find the space to devote care to Indiana bats’ roosting sites.

For me, the priority every day is time with God, sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to His Spirit. Then, I needs must work to be a decent husband, then a present father while our daughters are still in our home. After that, there’s a couple people we help who can’t help themselves. Also, a good practice I have found, is to pray for five or six of my closest people everyday, as well as a rotation of a few others. And of course there’s those many necessities like going to Kroger and doing laundry…All that to say, there’s not really quality space left over to devote to the plethora of things the world would have me devote myself to. My neurological reall estate is way too valuable to allow the world to manage it for me.

My encouragement to you today is to not allow the world to dictate what you devote your energy, especially your precious thought life, to. Always give God that wonderful privilege. If you listen, our Lord will direct your path, and it will always be in the way of righteousness.

Heard Him Ourselves!

STAY! Just a little bit longer

John 4:39-42

Several Samaritans from that town believed in Jesus because of what the woman said in evidence about him: “He told me everything I did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them. And he stayed there two days.

Many more believed because of what he said.

“We believe, too,” they said to the woman, “but it’s no longer because of what you told us. We’ve heard him ourselves! We know that he really is the one! He’s the Savior of the world!”

This is the “aftermath” of Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well. I love this. There’s a lot going on here.

It is one thing to believe. A very, very important thing that we do indeed believe. Yet it must be followed up with going directly to Jesus.

the Samaritans came to him

Many people believe in Jesus, but rarely if ever go to him with reckless intention.

To not only go, but to stay. To ask Jesus to hang out.

they asked him to stay with them

Stay. Abide. Remain. This Greek word (meno) has the connotation to lodge. To stay overnight. To shack up for a bit. To continue, dwell, endure, be present. To stay in a given place, state, relation, or expectancy. Stay in one’s company.

There’s no sense of hurry here. No rush. No checklist mentality. It’s more like what Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs sang long ago: “STAY! Just a little bit longer.”

And he stayed there two days.

I bet that was an incredible two days.

Because there’s something powerful about hearing of God’s work through someone’s story, but it’s a whole other deeper level when you hear directly from God yourself, amen?

We’ve heard him ourselves!

And this is what can so beautifully happen in the distraction-free, unobstructed time given unhurriedly to simply abiding in Christ for a while. When you take your overnight bag and stay, as opposed to doing a drive-by wave.

I believe Jesus loves it when we do this, and rewards us a hundredfold in it. And I have come to believe recently that the enemy’s number one goal, for us who believe, is to do whatever it takes to keep us from constant communion with our Father. Disrupt that, and you disrupt our supply line for spiritual Life.

One way I describe this “meno” is to have some amount of time everyday in which the only thing on your mind is God. This could be 4 minutes, or 40. Think about it though, just 4 minutes straight of nothing within your attention but God alone—that’s no small thing. So much competes for our awareness, that a relatively small amount of intensive focus can go a very long way throughout the day.

Remember, Christianity is not merely a topic to be discussed, but a Life to be experienced and lived.

Frustrations & Judgments

I have found that if I confess every single frustration and each judgmental thought, and give them over to Jesus in real time—as in, immediately when they arise—no matter how many I may have per hour, that my day is about two hundred times more peaceful than if I just let those frustrations and judgments stew inside of me like a toxin marinating in my bloodstream.

Good Friday-It Is Done For You

So much was done on the cross.

It is the high point of John’s gospel account.

How difficult to comprehend this act, this turning point of the universe….Unable to speak profoundly on this profundity, I resonate with these words recorded by Gabrielle Bossis as she heard them from Jesus in 1939:

When the love of the cross sinks deep into a person, he lives in a joy that the world can never know. For the world has only pleasures, but joy belongs to Me and Mine, My friend.

The cross–it is finished. About all we can do is let it sink in, deeper and deeper and deeper. And you will experience more and more and more Life. Then you will be unable to suppress a response to it.

Along these lines of being overwhelmed with the love of the cross, and pondering the fact that there’s so much we cannot do-because we would have to be God to do it, I’d like to share this “Prayer of Contentment” that has spoken to me in the unique season of life I have been in the last year and a half. I hope that something from it will be an inspiration for you too.

May I simply do whatever I can, each day, and be content and satisfied in that. Leaving what is unfinished in Your hands, trusting in You to complete what I am unable to. Tho I want to get to everything, I know that I cannot, nor should I because I’m not meant to. Thank You for seeing to running the universe, and for entrusting a very tiny but important portion of it to me that only I can do. Please keep me in my place, relying on You, doing what I’m made to do. All glory, praise, and honor to You for creating me as one of Your imagers. Clean the mirror of my soul that it may more and more clearly reflect who You are. Guide and instruct me to remove all obstacles blocking a clear reflection. All for the sake of Him who suffered and died for me, who knows me best, who knows best. Amen.

Lazy Effect

Proverbs 18:9

A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.

When you are lazy, you affect so many besides yourself.

You rob others of blessing that YHWH would love to bestow upon others through you.

Sitting around, keeping to yourself, takes away from community, from relationships.

I bet the enemy loves this.

We are made to thrive & grow via relationships.

Encourage someone everyday. 

The power of this is immense.

written June 2013

Let’s Go Halfsies

Luke 9:62

“Nobody,” replied Jesus, “who begins to plough and then looks over his shoulder is fit for God’s kingdom.”

Those who half follow Jesus and half follow the world are of no use in the Kingdom of God.

They are not fit.

Those who halfway train for a marathon are not fit enough to run a marathon.

If you are not single-mindedly focused on following Jesus, then you are double-mindedly focused, and a double-minded person is unstable in every way of life.

In my experience as well as many I’ve talked to, being double-minded really sucks.

written May 2013

My Voice

Proverbs 9

…she [wisdom] calls from the highest places in the town….”Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”

The foolish woman is loud….calling to those who pass by….But they do not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.

The way of life and the way of death call out to us everyday.

They will call to you today.

The less knowledge you have of the Holy One, the more difficult it will be to distinguish between these two voices.

Conversely, the deeper your knowledge of YHWH, the closer you are to Him, the clearer His voice becomes.
My sheep know my voice.

My sheep know my voice because they know me intimately, they can easily recognize it.
They’ve hung out with Me enough to hear my voice clearly even from a distance.
They can distinguish between the voice of wisdom and the voice of foolishness.

But to the untrained ear, to the one who rarely puts her or himself before Me, it is frighteningly difficult
to discern between the voice of wisdom and the voice of foolishness.

We have all witnessed this in ourselves and probably more clearly in others.
Someone feels justified in doing something foolish because they are fooled.

Listen exclusively to the superior voice of Jesus. May it drown out all other voices. Except for those who also listen intensely.

Written May & July 2013

Journal Entry

Narrowing Focus

So something different….I felt prompted to share a journal entry….and that there’s two or three of you who may be encouraged through this for some reason.

I hope.

It is important to share, to keep nudging one another closer to the Spirit through whom we live and receive what we absolutely need to actually live the spiritual life.

If nothing else, if you are prompted to look at a few pages of The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis, I know you will be inspired to live more intensely for Christ. What a sacred work that has done my soul good to revisit in bite-size morsels of loveliness.

P.S. Did you ever notice that the same letters make up the words “silent” and “listen”?

Alignment vs. Appeasement

John 15:10-11

If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commands and remain in his love.

I’ve said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and so that your joy may be full.

Changing Your Narrative On Obedience

It always saddens me when I hear that someone thinks God is someone who requires obedience for the purpose of appeasement, as if it is in the mere keeping of rules that God’s satisfaction is attained. How joyless that would indeed be. How small of a “God” is that? Obviously it is a god of our own making–pathetic and no greater than any average human. Regrettably, we often painfully pass this god on to others.

Those who believe God to be a being in need of petty appeasement have likely never really met Jesus, for he shows us that his Father is not a god of appeasement, but rather more like the “God of alignment”.

Admittedly, upon a surface glance, some Scripture passages do appear to show God as requiring obedience before giving love. But taking just a slightly deeper look reveals that it is much richer and better than “Do what I say, and then I will love you.” You will not find that message anywhere in Scripture. It must be twisted to render such a heretical interpretation.

How we read and how we listen colors how we receive.

What Scripture, and more importantly Jesus, tells us is, “You were designed to live attached to me, aligned with my good ways. My commands generously show you how to be in alignment with Me-perfect love. They are not to cruelly deprive you of anything good whatsoever.”

It is about remaining, abiding, aligning, not about earning.

“If you keep my commands you will remain in my love” not “you will earn my love.” You have that already, simply because you exist.

Will you align with that love that brought you into existence?

There’s a way things work—a way this life, and how to live it well, is designed to function properly. And it comes graciously from that design’s Designer.

The reason Jesus gave for telling us how these things work?

To keep your butt in line, not mess up, and appease his appetite for perfection?

Or…

So that you can share my joy. So that my joy may be in you. So that your joy may be full. Share my joy and you will miss out on nothing.

Meditating on all of this a couple days ago, I heard Jesus say, “I am coaxing you away from the tragedy of being distracted from, and missing out on, a satisfying life.”