Maybe I’ve resisted asking because I knew the answer. Thankfully, honesty leads to grace.

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Photo by Dan LeFebvre on Unsplash

There is a lake in the northern part of our county where I enjoy walking. Surrounded by mountains, it is a beautiful place to slow down, pray, listen, and just be. This past week on a journey around the three-quarter-mile footpath, I question entered my mind that stopped me in my tracks.

Do I love Jesus?

Silly question. I am a pastor. Have been for almost twenty-six years. Of course I love Jesus.

But how do I know that I really love him? And how do you know if you love Jesus?

I’m not sure I had ever stopped to…


It is not about you. In fact, what if their anger reveals their wounds, their insecurities, and their unmet desires more than your deficiencies?

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Photo by Blake Meyer

This could be a game-changer.

In The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miquel Ruiz makes a compelling case that there are principles that, if put into practice, will change someone’s life so dramatically that they would feel like a crab that abandons his old shell for a new one. While Ruiz is not coming from an intentionally “biblical” perspective, the wisdom he unlocks from his Toltec ancestors dovetails with the truth God has woven into the moral universe. I discussed these “four agreements” with my family over dinner recently and they agreed: these four concepts are simple but potentially revolutionary.

While…


What if that which I am most tempted to hide would become a blessing if exposed, confessed, and taken to Jesus?

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

THIS SIDE OF EDEN

If there is one word that describes life on this side of Eden, it is broken. Material possessions break and need repair. Friendships fracture. Marriages crumble. Promises get broken, dreams shatter, and hearts break.

From computers to HVAC units and everything in between, on this side of paradise, everything is breakable. Few things work as they were intended for very long.

How does it feel when something breaks? Try to capture the emotion. When you turn the ignition, and nothing happens.

Is it frustration? Anger? Maybe self-pity? My reaction is usually all the above. …


Not because it is a command or because it is next in the order of service. It is something much deeper.

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Photo by Andy Holmes

Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.

— Psalm 51:14–15

MUSIC UNLOCKS THE HEART

David wasn’t only a King. He was a musician/songwriter. We call his songs Psalms. These Psalms cover the waterfront of emotion, from lament and sorrow to thanksgiving and praise. He is not afraid to ask honest but unanswered questions in song. Sometimes, he expresses trust in the darkness. Fear, hope, peace, joy, sadness, grief, anxiety, faith, hope, and love. It is all there.

There is something about singing that allows what is deep within the heart to come out a bit more easily. Things we may not say out loud with normal speech flow supported by a tune. Maybe this…


If so, what should you teach them about God?

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Photo by Lgh_9 from Pexels

“Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.” — Psalm 51:13

A TURNING POINT

One of the secrets to the success of Alcoholics Anonymous is how someone who have been helped is encouraged to help someone else as a sponsor. Sponsors walk fellow alcoholics through the twelve steps of recovery, enabling them to discover and enjoy a new life of sobriety, free from the enslaving grip of addiction. Hands down, recovering alcoholics will tell you the sober life is the better life by far.

In Psalm 51:13, David is taking on the role of sponsor. He’s been at rock bottom and has personally experienced the…


Understanding the biblical concept of the scapegoat will help.

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Photo by Ray Aucott

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. — Psalm 51:11–12

PRESENCE AND POWER

David’s petition in Psalm 51:11–12 has caused some confusion among biblical scholars. Is David saying it is possible to lose the Spirit in the sense of losing one’s salvation? Is being cast from God’s presence the fear of condemnation? The short answers are no and no.

If you have ever fallen into grievous sin that weighed upon your soul like a massive boulder threatening to crush you to death, then you understand what he is feeling. David knew that the Lord would be faithful to forgive all his sin. He has made this abundantly clear in the previous verses of…


We will welcome scars for Jesus because he welcomed them for us.

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Photo by Alejo Storni

THE SUMMER OF ‘89

I spent a couple of months in the summer of ’89 taking language classes in Europe. Several other students joined me a few days early to do some sightseeing. As we walked down a crowded street, several locals began pointing at us and saying words I didn’t understand.

It was an awkward moment, to say the least. And it got worse. When we passed by, they spit on us and berated us in unfriendly tones. One of the girls in our group knew the language and was able to translate. They were cursing us for being from the U.S.

The…


And is the only way to “walk in the ways of the Lord” with a motive not driven by guilt, fear, or self-righteous pride.

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Photo by Chandan Chaurasia

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” — Psalm 51:10

In his Psalm of repentance, David teaches us a lesson about humanity that defies everything man-made religion assumes. Man-made religion is inherently moralistic. Meaning that rightness, reconciliation, and peace with God is determined by the degree to which I purify myself from human corruption.

The ancient Egyptians believed that when a person died, his heart was weighed on a scale by the god of the underworld, Osiris. On one side of the scale was a feather. If the individual’s heart was pure, it would be lighter than the feather, allowing the soul to pass on to eternal blessing in the…


How forgiveness goes wrong and what we can do to fix it.

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Photo by Kevin Schmid

Actions vs Words

“Burying the hatchet” is a helpful image of forgiveness.

I imagine a Sioux Indian chief and a Colonel in the U.S. Cavalry meeting upon a hill on the southern plains. The Native American wielding his tomahawk and the officer, his pistol. Both parties represent warring factions that have been inflicting wounds upon the other for years.

But the moment has come for peace.

This is why the ceremony upon the hill would be such a critical factor in the process. After all, simply shouting I forgive you across the valley would accomplish little. Words easily spoken tend to be cheap…


Doing so just might change the world… or at least your marriage and maybe even your kids. All it takes is resting in someone else’s rightness.

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Photo by George Becker

A Stunning Admission

In his book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins relates a story from when he was an undergraduate at Oxford. While I do not embrace Dawkin’s atheistic assertions, the anecdote is profoundly instructive for believers, particularly with regard to how Christians may reach the seemingly unreachable with the gospel.

Here is the story.

A visiting lecturer from the States arrived in England to give a talk on the Golgi apparatus, a microscopic organelle found in plant and animal cells. An elderly member of the Zoology Department at Oxford University, who had asserted for many years that the Golgi apparatus was a…

Rest for the Weary

Daily Scripture meditations designed to help Christians live all of life in view of the cross

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