Monday, April 26, 2010

The Weight of Glory.

(Ancient well near Arad - Abraham most likely stopped at this spot on his journeys - Israel, 2009).
"The sacred writer spares us a close-up of the agony that night on the slopes near Beersheba when the aged man had it out with his God, but respectful imagination may view in awe the bent form wrestling convulsively under the stars. Possibly not again until One greater than Abraham wrestled in the Garden of Gethsemane did such mortal pain visit a human soul."
- A.W. Tozer.
The Hebrew word for glory is Kavod. It comes from the root word Keved, which means"heavy."
And to me, that is such a perfect word to describe what glory is.
Because not only do we give weight in our lives to the One that deserves glory, but also, to honor him, sometimes it requires us to make weighty decisions - hard sacrifices.

Think about the people in the Bible who went before us - the ones that are written about that God has given us as examples...
Elijah. Noah. Moses. Mary. Miriam. Ruth. Esther. Paul. Peter. Abraham. Jesus.
And who better to give us a picture of the weight of what God sometimes requires of us than the two men spoken of in the quote above, Abraham and Jesus?

They were men who walked with God intimately.
They were men of obedience.
They were men willing to sacrifice.

And from both of them, much was required.

In fact, the weight of what God asked of these two men was almost more than each of them could bear.

- Abraham, wrestling with his God under the stars, feeling the weight of his love for Isaac battling against the weight of his respect for God.

- Jesus, wrestling with God in the garden, the weight of His life and His fear battling against the weight of His responsibility to His Father.

Both of these men are now known for their righteousness, because in the end, the heaviness of God's glory outweighed any other priority in their lives.
Their obedience (to the very end) shows us that.

Through their choices, God's glory becomes known in even greater depth to those of us who are blessed to come after them and read their stories.

It was not until each man made the choice to allow his own desires to be ripped out and pulled from his heart, not until then could God's glory manifest fully in their lives.
Because God's glory has to take priority and preference over everything else, and that is not easy. fact, it is the hardest thing a person can choose to do.

He requires much of us.

And so often, the weight of it, the burden of it, is heavy...
But in return for our choice to put God first, an even greater weight,

the weight of His glory,

covers us and surrounds us and is made known.

The blessing comes after the burden. Always.

And I want to wrestle like those great men and women
who went before me.
I want to conquer like my Rabbi.
I want to do my part -
to carry my share of this burden.

The weight of His glory.
Because where His glory is,
there He is also.
And He is enough.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


(Gamla Synagogue - Chief seats, Bema, and Moses Seat. Israel 2009)

Rabbi Yeshua.

Today, I ask for your wisdom and your bravery.

Fill me up with each, that I might serve you.

And help me never to live one without the other.

Friday, April 16, 2010


(Caves of Adullam, where King David cried out to God. Israel, 2009).

In the Bible, a person's name was given with great importance and signifigance.

It was thought by the Israelites that a name was divinely inspired by God, and that it worked to prophesy about the life of the one who bore it.

That is why, in many stories of the Bible, when God calls someone to a special mission, He gives them a new name.

A name of explanation.

A name of purpose.


I was thinking of this idea when something dawned on me...

The Bible states that the Jews are God's chosen people.

And God, in His great understanding and purpose, gave a very meaningful and important name to the ones He chose to call His own...



(Modern word Jew comes from Biblical Judah, the 12th tribe of Israel. Hebrew form = Yehuda).

Do you know what Yehuda means?






To live as God's chosen means having a grateful heart.

It's means being aware of the fact that we. are. blessed. no matter how messy or chaotic or lonely life can feel.

Because despite what this world throws at us, good or bad, nothing can change the fact that

we have been chosen.

God has extended His hand of grace

to us.

We bear the name of the Holy One, Blessed be He.


And when we let the world and its worries rob us of the truth and the power behind that fact...

when we allow people and circumstances to make us forget the ways that

God has lavishly

poured out

His grace...

that is the moment when we lose sight of our calling, step off the path that God has set before us, and cease to have a witness as His people.

We are here first, to praise.

And we praise the One who loves by loving well.

We thank the One who looks past weakness by meeting others in their own (and being honest about ours too).

We exalt the One who meets our needs by serving others.


Being grateful in the deep and

hidden recesses of our souls

shows a broken world that we trust

in the fact that

God keeps His promises,

that He will save us,

and that He offers a real and sufficient and powerful grace.


Because if we have God alone and nothing else,

there is

still room for praise.

He is sufficient.

He is all.

He is One.

He is more than enough.


He chooses us

as His people

and He gives us the chance

each and every day

to choose Him back.


That's something

we can always



and be



Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Very End.

(Masada - Herod's desert palace and location of the Zealots' last stand in the Jewish Rebellion against Rome. Israel, 2009).

I ran my first half-marathon on Saturday.

And while I was running, I noticed something.

When it comes to people

who cheer me on,
there are two types:

there are those people that

recognize my pain,

empathize with my exhaustion,

and offer me

words of comfort.


And then there are
those people that
smile at me,
look me in the eye,

and tell me

that they believe in me.

Those people who

remind me that

I am stronger than I think.

Those people that

tell me

again and again

with confidence

that I can make it to the end,

and that

I have what it takes

to end well.


Both types are good.


But which type,

do you think,

helps me to

run faster,

fight harder,
feel stronger,
and perservere
to the very end?

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Story.

(Sha'aryim Gate, overlooking the Valley of Elah. Israel, 2009).
"When Yeshua at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward-- in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continued weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link."
- G.K. Chesterton, Heretics.
I am weak.
This I am reminded of each and every day.
In my feeble attempts to do right, to love, to offer myself, to understand others.
I am constantly missing the mark and failing to be good, to walk with purpose, and to love people well.
But despite all that, I do know this: I serve a God who uses the broken.
A God who not only heals, but who also lifts up.
A God who manages not only to love this weak and bumbling person I am, but also to find purpose in me.
He has a way to use me for His good.
This broken, chaotic story of mine has the power to bring shalom to others.
Because we are all weak.
Each and every one of us.
Especially me.
And all I can do is recognize that frailty in myself, look up to my Provider, and ask for strength from above.
And then tell my story.
Because my story is His story.
And where I am weak...He is strong.
And the world needs to see that. To know it. To experience it.
And maybe they can, in a small way, if I am just willing to be honest. vulnerable. true.
My story is broken. And so am I.
And that is powerful.
Because within me, God is creating a new story.
And it ends with redemption.

Friday, April 2, 2010

By His choosing.

(Capernaum stones, Israel 2009)

The only thing in my life that I am certain of at this very moment, is that I serve a Rabbi who never stops leading me in faithfulness.

My life is not constant. Not even close. Hope washes over me, fear overtakes me. My step is sure, my step falters. I see the light before me, I stumble through the darkness. Spirit and flesh, love and selfishness.

Ever-changing, this life of mine.

But He...


He...Yeshua, kind and wise Rabbi from Nazereth, does not change. He is always before us, always speaking to us in His sure and quiet way...reminding us that no matter what happens, there is one thing that we can know...We are His.




And even better? We are His

by His own choosing.


Every day, every moment, every breath, he chooses us...again, and again, and again.

He calls us forward as His own...

beckons us as sons and daughters, disciples and heirs.

And His choice, His call, is constant.

He is faithful in it.


And for a life that is ever-changing, shifting, growing, breaking, and so utterly unknown...being chosen is a powerful truth to stand on.

to rest in...

hope for...

cling to...

leap from...


Yes. It's true.

We are His.

And by His choice.


What a beautiful gift...

What astounding grace.