Thursday, July 26, 2018



MERE APPEARANCES


It's funny how we are invited to live in two realities and yet we spend most of our life focused only in the one that is fleeting. We live as if we are totally convinced that what we can see and feel is the real deal. I'm not sure if you have noticed, but much of what we can see and feel is a real disappointment...it's far inferior to the reality we are called to live, move and have our being in. Most of us have it upside down! We are convinced that we are a mere 'Physical Being', who sometimes has a spiritual experience such as a Sunday morning worship service. Yet the reality lying clearly before our eyes is that we are a 'Spiritual Being' having a mere physical experience.

Let that sink in! We live in the tension between the 'greater' and the 'lesser' reality. Even Jesus seemed to remind Himself of this while He too walked out His physical experience on planet earth.  In the book of John, as Jesus is headed to the cross and telling the disciples of what was about to take place He told them a time was coming when fear would drive them each into their own homes. "You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for My Father is with me." (John 16:32). The "lesser reality" was He would be abandoned by his friends and left all alone in the moment of His greatest need.  But the "greater reality" was that He would never be alone because the Father was with Him.

Many times we are overwhelmed by the facts of our situation rather than the truth. One of the definitions for "truth" in the New Testament in relation to facts is it "denotes the reality clearly lying before our eyes as opposed to a mere appearance, without reality." Do yourself a great favor and read that last sentence again. Truth is there is a lesser reality that only has a mere appearance...and then there is the greater reality and if we are looking with our spiritual eyes we will find it is lying clearly before us. Jesus' lesser reality was his friends would leave Him high and dry in His greatest crisis...but that was only a mere appearance. The greater reality was His Father never left His side.

We will have the experience and the joy of the reality we choose to focus on. If we remember that we are a 'Spiritual Being' have a physical experience we will look at our life using our spiritual eyes...and that will make all the difference!


 "...he persevered because he saw him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27)









Friday, June 22, 2018



CHURCH IS NOT A BUILDING

I had the most amazing experience a few weeks ago. I can't count the number of times I have stepped inside of a church...but this time was like none other. In fact, it wasn't a church at all. I had stepped into a "Transition" ceremony at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. One whom I have loved and have gone before the Throne of God many times for, was celebrating his new birth of sorts and I was blessed to partake. I had no idea how in a moment, in a rural country setting where men come and hope to leave changed forever,  would forever leave me changed. I don't pretend to know what went on behind closed doors there ...all I know is that it was holy. 

I watched grown men, some old enough to be great-grandfathers, bear their souls in a way I have never observed. There was NO pretense. No hyperbole. No lies, but rather the rawest form of truth I think I've ever seen. The kind of truth one is finally at peace of sharing as if they had just stared death in the face and by the grace of God were given a second chance to live. We can spend our whole lives running from that sort of truth. But there was something so beautiful about sitting in a room where no one was running. Not only had they stopped running but they also had the strength and courage to tell their own stories...the stories you would hope would never be told. And when the last details were disclosed there was acceptance. There was empathy. There was understanding. There was "real church". No one pointing the finger, because they had already told their own truth and had no desire to pick up a stone.  

Could it be that we are all running because there is no safe place to stop? We run through life as hard and furious as we can hoping no one will see what it is we are running from. It looms behind us like a maddening shadow. But these men had stopped. No one is more courageous than the one who stops and stares the haunting shadow in the face. Eye to eye, live or die...but refusing to run any longer.  Refusing to keep their story silent any longer, no matter how haunting.

I watched these men, who had become brothers, do something both the world and the church so desperately needs.  They didn't rehearse my loved ones broken story...rather they called out all of the treasure they saw in him. They rehearsed the times he got it right. With great honesty and passion they spoke of his true character and potential...as if their eyes had been reborn during their time there. They saw the good...the very good and they weren't ashamed to declare it so...one man to another. 

I walked away from that moment on my time-line and couldn't help but wonder what would the world look like if we all stopped running and pointing the finger and just simply began calling out the good in another...not focusing on where they hadn't gotten it right...but declaring where they had. How much truth would prevail if we all told our own stories and refused to judge another when they finally had the courage to share their own. We are all on a journey...and we all get there one step at a time. We all know failure. We all know shame. What if we stopped acting like we didn't? Our words are a gift we give to others.We can withhold them and add to the shadows of life or we can learn a lesson from a group of brothers, who have come to realize the value they call out in one another makes them more in touch with their own. These men were far from minimizing the pain of their past, both their pain and the pain they had caused others...but it was no longer their prison. We build our futures with words of hope and aspiration...the same way we help others build theirs. So go ahead and speak life with abandonment and watch it begin to grow! Church is not a building, but a building up of the beauty we each carry and when we stop to recognize that beauty and speak into it...it can't help but grow! Imagine how beautiful the world would become!


Photo Credit: Martin Sattler

Sunday, April 1, 2018


 Easter Forever Changed My Life

I remember the first time someone called me a melancholy. I felt my soul and all of it's heaviness had been hung up for everyone to see. I think until that moment I thought I had hidden it pretty well behind a smile and kindness and concern for others. It was at a Ladies Bible Study and I had somehow just had the huge success of getting three toddlers fed, dressed, dressed again and put into car seats and then hurled into their assigned classrooms. We were quite the show everywhere we went. Three little blondie's with matching bows and shoes and socks and a raggedy mother who hadn't slept all night in over 5 years. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

But melancholy, really? It sounded so depressing...and I was. To be honest a heaviness of sorts had followed me since my earliest memories. Childhood in my own home growing up was not always the easiest. We were to be seen and not heard. The introspection of a melancholy can get real deep when there is no release. Deep feelers and thinkers need safe sounding boards. Maybe it was just me...but I always felt I was just a little "too much" for others so I held on to myself and my intense feelings pretty tightly. I think I still do. It wasn't until the true story of Easter morning had settled into my heart that I finally felt I had met Someone who was capable of handling me, all of me. The real me. For the first time I felt truly known. Truly accepted. Free just to be me. I was made for the deep things of God and I finally felt my ship had found it's harbor. 

It's taken Us a good thirty years to work through most of my messed up identity and value, but Love refused to let me stay where I was in my shameful confusion. To say He has become my very best friend would actually be an understatement. He has become my life! He gets me. He really gets me! I can be in a room of a hundred loved ones and I am still so very alone with Him. He's the quiet lover who waits patiently for me as I run to and fro in the bustle of being a caregiver to others. Waiting to walk me home under the silence of moon light after another beautiful day has come to a close. As I pull the covers up over me after another long day His breath lies close to mine and We dream together. I wake and find myself longing to run to the Love Letters He wrote me so long ago. I read them, over and over and they never lose their mystery, they never lose their ability to move my heart to places unknown. I could talk of His love and the million ways He makes Himself known to me on a daily basis for the rest of my life...and never have said enough. This world has very little to offer me in comparison to what He has already bestowed upon me. He's the wildest lover I have ever known! Thirty seven years of bliss and I still can't get enough of Him. It's the love story of eternity. The love story of all love stories. He's mine and He's yours. 

Everything changed that first Easter morning...Love came back from the dead with a vengeance, to find you, the real you...the "too much" you that no one else could handle, if you were to be the really real you. Don't leave Him waiting! It's so much more than just the romance of just a lifetime...it's the romance of an eternity!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017



Across the Waters

Looking out my window the earth is dark, and I see only occasional car lights headed to punch in on a time clock. The depth of silence seems deafening. The only heartbeat I hear is my own and its rhythm seems out of sync. I know the sun will rise and prove that the droplets of sadness falling from the sky is actually rain and not my tears only. I should have expected rain this morning. I should have pulled the flower pots out away from the porch so they could sit under the nourishing mist. Maybe I should take my soul out there and lie below the heavy laden branches of the cypress trees and allow the mist of heaven to nourish my soul this morning…my mourning soul. It’s been a year since I last held your hand or kissed the sweetness of your face. I’m so grateful I was intentional the last years to spend time lingering in the fragrance of your hugs.  What I would give for one more embrace. There are many of us left on this big ball of dirt that would give almost anything for one more of your hugs and sweet smiles.

Looking out the window I begin to see the outline of the pond. Even though there is no sun in the sky, it apparently has risen. But the heaviness of the clouds has it hidden from sight. I’m reminded they have you hidden as well. The cypress branches seem to be breathing in the breaking of dawn, in rhythm they dance to a wind that I cannot see, yet cannot deny is there. My heart is stirred as they make their way gently bowing and rising as if grateful for one more morning to praise their Maker. 

What is it like to celebrate one year of being in heaven? Are the streets of gold in a frenzy with saints getting all of the final details of festivities ready to celebrate your heavenly birthday?  Is there a sense of joy and expectancy and jubilant celebration not known to those of us who can’t peer inside? Do you finally feel known and loved and celebrated like never before? How I wish I could be there. I could live a thousand lifetimes off of the mere joy it would bring me to see your joy, from being truly celebrated and loved for who you are and always have been. To see the fullness of your joy, would give me mine.

Then I realize just the thought of your present joy, does brings me mine! I lost it there for a few moments, waking up to the silence of missing you. One more morning of waking up to only one heartbeat after having shared yours for fifty five years. As I glance out my window I see now the light has come and all of the details of the pond are visible. As I watch the tiny waves dance and shimmer I feel like I can hear a sound coming from the other side. It sounds like singing and laughter. There is the faintest sound of music, a melody not of this world. My soul leans in. For a moment I hear your voice full of delight and gratefulness for the heavenly gift of acceptance and celebration. In my mind’s eye I see your sweet face, still a little timid, but rallying in the undeniable love you feel. You are right where you were created to be…in His presence…in His love…in His joy! How can I too, not celebrate! Happy Heavenly Birthday sweet Mama, I’m sending you kisses from across the waters. Tell Jesus how grateful I am for loving you!

Sunday, April 10, 2016



DOES LOVE STILL HEAL?

We were created for 'the more'. As early as I can remember, I have known this. I trust you have known it too. Yet, it was a stumbling in the dark kind of journey, until Love came to live on the inside of me. That was thirty-five years ago. I’ve never regretted that decision. Since that time I have made it my pursuit to live in 'the more'.

It’s funny how Love doesn’t seem to be as concerned with time as I am. I spent the first twenty-five years of my honeymoon with Him thinking that my experience was reality. I would read about the miracles of Jesus and of the early church, and felt that was for a time that had passed. I looked all around me and all I saw were the experiences of others that looked very much like my own. I had seen some of my prayers answered…but truth be told, they were simple prayers. I never was taught a three point sermon to not believe in the miraculous. Nor, do I remember every having a conversation of such. It went unspoken. Like a silence that haunted my soul. I would sit on the pew week after week looking at those next to me…wondering if they knew something I didn’t. My spirit longed for 'the more'. I would read the Word daily and wonder what it must have been like to be alive in those exciting times when Jesus and His disciples literally changed the world around them.

About ten years ago I found myself in the middle of the worst crisis I could have ever imagined. Suffice it to say that I found my heart literally torn into, over the brokenness of someone I would have given my life for. In a matter of moments our lives had fractured. The fear of the unknown is always the loudest. Fear tracked me constantly, but His grace was more. I would fight for time alone with Him and pour out all of my pain. I would seek His face and remind both Him and myself how big He was. The grief was almost beyond my ability to stand. I remember Him asking me “Do you trust Me?” Through my sobbing I answered Him, “You know I do Lord…but what do I do with the pain?” On two other occasions when I poured my heart out to Him, He asked me that very same question, to which I again answered, “You know I trust You Lord…but what do I do with the pain?” Three times He had asked me that same question. Three times I had given Him the same answer. Little did I know that Love was setting the stage to answer my prayer for 'the more' that I had been longing for.

I wouldn’t want the pain of that season to ever visit another living soul. It was the lowest of lows and it was on that canvas that Love chose to show me a glimpse, behind the veil into 'the more'. I sat on a pew of an unfamiliar church wiping tears and mascara away as we sang the last hymn before dismissing. A woman’s voice from somewhere in the back of the sanctuary, began to project over the crowd. I had never experienced this before and I listened carefully. She was speaking as if she were speaking on behalf of the Lord. I hung on her every word because I was desperate to hear His voice. You see, I had prayed…no...I had begged, that before sunset on that day He would give me confirmation about what we were to do with our situation. It was not one of my simple prayers but one of bold proportions. One like I had only rarely prayed. I had to hear from Him or feared I could not survive.

As she began speaking there was a power released that I had never felt before, like a knowing that Love was speaking directly to me, even through a perfect stranger. She said “I was there when you were young and you fell off of your bike and scratched your knee. I was there when the words of others hurt you...and now you find yourself in a much harder season, a season where once again, I am with you…and as if He stood on His tip-toes, she shouted as if from the heavens “Trust Me, Trust Me, Trust Me – with the pain!” He used a total stranger to speak a word of knowledge to my broken heart. A word no one could have known other than the Lover of my soul. Love had used a total stranger to prophetically speak into my life. A new measure of peace came over our situation and I realized for myself that day, that 'the more' was and is available.

Since that time Love has spoken encouragement to me through dozens and dozens of His children. Many times, as confirmation of what He has been speaking quietly to my heart. I have also had the privilege to speak into the lives of others, only things the Lover of their soul would have known. The first time He used me to encourage someone in this manner is still etched in my mind. I was working with a client in a medical office who had recently been having problems with high blood pressure. She had come to the office that day with it being almost at stroke level. My job was to evaluate the situation and let the doctor know if we should call an ambulance. I heard Love ask me, to ask Him, why her blood pressure was so high. So I did. I heard Him say to my heart "her brother". I didn't even know if she had a brother! I really knew nothing personally about her. But, feeling prompted by Love, I chose to step out on the word He had spoken. So I asked her if she had any idea why she was struggling with high blood pressure recently. She thought about it and then responded that she thought maybe it was because of the stress she was dealing with over two of her dogs who had recently been warring with one another, and she was not sure how to resolve the issue without having to give one of them away. Well that didn't help me any, so I just dared to trust what I felt Love had put on my heart, and with fear and boldness all wrapped up together, I asked her if she thought it might be about her brother.

Immediately she looked into my eyes and asked "which one?" I had never been so happy to hear, that someone had a brother! She began to share that she had several, and in the past year had lost two of them as well as a brother in-law. Tears began to roll as she shared how it had been a really hard year but losing her baby brother had been the hardest, and she was going to have to sell the home she had bought for him, close to her own home. Selling the home was overwhelming to her as it was the only thing she had left of him. Through her sobbing she asked me how I knew she had a brother. I told her that the Lord had impressed me to ask her and that He was letting her know that He sees the pain and sorrow that she had been walking through and His heart was grieved for hers. He wanted to tell her she was not alone and she was going to be alright. That today was about making sure she knew how deep His love was for her, and how He longed to comfort her.

I will never forget the look on her face as she realized that somehow, in some strange way, Love had entered that room and had made His intimate love for her more than apparent. Her blood pressure began to return to normal within the next hour, and for the next year that I had the opportunity to see her, it had never returned. His presence and love had healed her both physically and emotionally.
I share this story to encourage you to believe that as wonderful and unimaginable as the gift of salvation is...it does not stop there. When we look at the life of Jesus we see Him not only rescuing the lost from the depths of a very real hell, we also see Him healing the sick and delivering those who were oppressed by the enemy. The Christian life becomes an exciting adventure when we realize we all get to partner with Him and what He is wanting to accomplish in someone's life. For the longest time in my journey, all I had ever been exposed to was the message of salvation, yet my heart knew there was 'more'.

Luke 9:10 tells us "For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost. The original meaning of the word 'save' is 'sozo'. Sozo in the Greek means to "save, heal and deliver", which is exactly what Jesus was busy doing while He walked upon the earth. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He continues even today to use His disciples to bring Heaven to Earth and make His name renown! His Gospel really is the good news!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016





THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME

I remember as a child wishing that I could be a Hollywood Movie Star. Who hasn't wanted to live out the role of someone beautiful and engaging? To so immerse oneself in the role and personality of another as to convince an audience that we are in fact that person, even if not in looks, in deed.

An actor or actress will spend countless hours researching even the tiniest details and nuances of the character they are going to portray. No stone is left unturned. They purposely take their old man and sit him aside as they put on the new man. Their goal will not be accomplished if they continue to focus on the old man and neglect the new. They intentionally see themselves and begin to think of themselves as the new man. The more they do this, the more convincing their role becomes.

Hollywood's Big Screen grows pale in comparison to the role God has asked us to throw ourselves into. Paul tells us to "put off the old man and to put on the new man". In Romans we are told to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ". 'Put on' in the Greek is the word 'endyo' and it means to "become so possessed of the mind of Christ as thought, feeling, and action to resemble Him, and as it were, reproduce the life He lived".

God has called us to play a major role in the most epic film of all time...History, which is really 'His-story'. He has cast us to portray His most beloved Son. The language He uses to coach us into our new role is a language of great intensity. He commands us to "become so possessed of the mind of Christ...as to reproduce the life He lived". We are called to become so one with His character that it is impossible for others to see where we end and He begins. We have been called to represent Him on earth, that is to re-present Him on earth. No stone should be left unturned. In every scene of our life we are called to be Jesus to a hurting and dying world all around us.

It begins by being possessed with the mind of Christ, to think like He thinks and see as He sees. It seems impossible to the human mind, and with the human mind it is. It is a working of His Spirit that dwells on the inside of us. Because He lives on the inside of us we have complete access to Him and His ways. He came to dwell on the inside of us not as a small reservoir but as a great river. He lives on the inside of us, but He is longing to get out! Not to leave you, but to be released to others through you. It's what we were created for, to re-present Him to a world that longs for His appearing. His-story is still being written...it's never too late to play the role He has cast you in! It is the role of a lifetime and all of heaven waits to arise and give a standing ovation.


You were taught, with your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by it's deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 2:22-24

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill it's lusts. Romans 13:14








Monday, March 21, 2016







SHE FOUND HIM WHO HER SOUL LOVES

I lost a precious loved one this last week. It doesn't seem real. It's the place on our time line when Heaven and Earth seem to collide. It happens so fast. Heaven extends it's ladder down to touch earths broken places and without a sound, our beloved takes flight. We will not enjoy her beautiful smile again, until we too, make our journey beyond the gates of Heaven, where she and all of those who have gone before us, must excitedly await our arrival.

She fought a good fight! To our human eyes and our broken hearts it may appear that she lost...but truth be told, she lost nothing, in fact, she gained everything her heart has ever longed for! In the twinkling of an eye, she stepped out of her worn and tattered earth suit and into her heavenly robe of glory.  For the first time she will see Love, face to face. She will "know" even as she has been known.

The One who gave her her very first heartbeat and knows every thought she ever had, will embrace her with an unfathomable love that has pursued her, every step of her life. But there, on streets of gold, with no earthly distractions or disappointments, she will for the first time KNOW how wide and long, how high and deep His love has been for her. (Ephesians 3:18) In that moment she will have divine clarity and seeing her life played out before her with all of it's broken pieces and disappointment, she will shed a tear for having looked at it so long while on earth and getting so lost in it, when for the first time ever she will clearly see that Love was there with her every step of the way. Those will be the last tears she will ever cry. She would plead with those of us left behind to fix our eyes on things above. To feast on His love even while we make our way through the famine we call our lives. She would beg us to stop and as if searching for our next breath, to search for His fingerprints in our lives. She would beseech us to strain to peak beyond the veil that separates us from where she is and to cling to His hand as we make our way through the days that make up our lives.

We have been called to live in the tension of here and there. He has told us to live in the world but not to be of the world. We live in the realm where we see with our eyes and believe "this" is reality. Yet truth be told, there is something inside each of us that is always longing for something we can't find...always searching for something to satisfy that craving within us. Many times we spend a lifetime trying to fill that craving with a plethora of things that always fall short. Only He satisfies the longing of our hearts! Only He can satisfy the craving.

Truth in the New Testament is derived from the Greek word "aletheia". Aletheia denotes "the reality clearly lying before our eyes as opposed to a mere appearance without reality." Much of what we are convinced is our reality here on earth is actually just a "mere appearance without reality". His reality always trumps ours. We have been given breath on this earth to come into agreement with His reality instead of our own. We have been called to live in the tension of them both...and war to align ourselves with His truth and not the one that is a mere appearance. We are in a tug of war between what our soul "thinks" is reality and what our spirit "knows" is reality.

As long as we live on this side of the veil of Heaven we will have to war against the pain and disappointment that finds itself rooted in the depths of "mere appearances without reality." We will have to take every thought captive and cast down vain imaginations that are contrary to the finished work of the cross. We will have to purpose to set our minds on things above, for things which can be seen are temporal and those things which can't be seen are eternal. We must continue to ask Love to help us see our reality through His eyes and not our eyes of flesh. The tension between these two realms is very real. We were created for the more and that is why the longing and craving of our souls continues. Our soul knows that "this" reality is not where we were created to dwell...but we were created to live from heaven to earth...not from earth to heaven.

My loved one, now knows this truth in full measure. Where she is, there is no more longing, no more craving of her soul. She has found the one that her soul has always longed for. She is for the first time, completely satisfied. She is more alive than she has ever been. She is once again dancing...but this time on streets of gold. She is finally home!


"...When I found him whom my soul loves; I held on to him and would not let him go..." Song of Solomon 3:4

"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Cor. 13:12