Saturday, June 26, 2010


Our part of the covenant:

"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment (shemah). And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." - (Jesus sums it up - Matthew).

God's part of the covenant:

I am your shield, your very great reward. - Genesis.

all nations on earth will be blessed. - genesis.

I will help you speak and teach you what to say. - exodus.

the Lord your God himself will fight for you. - deuteronomy.

for the Lord your God is a consuming fire. - deuteronomy.

For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete. - deuteronomy.

I will never leave you nor forsake you. - joshua.

the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. - joshua.

I will never break my covenant with you. - judges.

the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you with power. - 1 samuel.

For the Lord is righteous, He loves justice. - psalms.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence. - psalms.

He restores my soul. - psalms.

the Lord blesses His people with peace. - psalms.

He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him - proverbs.

He has also set eternity in the hearts of men - ecclesiastes.

He will teach us His ways, so that we may walk in His paths - isaiah.

I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder. - isaiah.

He rises to show you compassion. - isaiah.

I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. - isaiah.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. - isaiah.

Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. - isaiah.

I am bringing righteousness near, it is not far away; and my salvation will not be delayed. I will grant salvation to Zion, my splendor to Israel. - isaiah.

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. - isaiah.

I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand - isaiah.

yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed. - isaiah.

My spirit, who is on you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will not depart from your mouth, or from the mouths of your children, or from the mouths of their descendants from this time on and forever. - isaiah.

Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart. - jeremiah.

For I am your husband. I will choose you. - jeremiah.

I will give them a heart to know me. - jeremiah.

I know the plans I have for you. - jeremiah.

I have loved you with an everlasting love. - jeremiah.

At the end of your days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance. - daniel.

I am now going to allure her. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. - hosea.

I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness - hosea.

I will heal their waywardness, and love them freely. - hosea.

for I will pass through your midst. - amos.

He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing. - zephaniah.

And I myself will be a wall of fire around it, and I will be its glory within. - zechariah.

I will defend my house. I am keeping watch. - zechariah.

Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. - malachi.

My words will never pass away. - matthew.

You will be satisfied. You will laugh. - luke.

You will be sons of the Most High. - luke.

Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom. - luke.

I have prayed for you. - luke.

I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. - john.

I am the gate for the sheep. - john.

and my words remain in you. - john.

Ask, and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. - john.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son. - john.

The God who gives life to the dead and call things that are not as though they were. - romans.

For in Him you have been enriched in every way. - 1 corinthians.

He will keep you strong to the end. 1 corinthians.

when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out, so that you can stand up under it. - 1 corinthians.

this is my body, which is for you. - 1 corinthians.

we shall see face to face. - 1 corinthians.

He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His spirit in our hearts, as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. - 2 corinthians.

I will live with them and walk among them. - 2 corinthians.

My grace is sufficient for you. - 2 corinthians.

we will reap a harvest. - galatians.

He chose us in Him before the creation of the world - ephesians.

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach the throne of grace with confidence. - ephesians.

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. - philippians.

The Lord is near. - philippians.

He has qualified you to share in the inheritance. - colossians.

The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it. - 1 thessalonians.

God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline. - 2 timothy.

God's word cannot be chained. - 2 timothy.

He saved us through the washing and rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured our on us generously. - titus.

He, too, shared in their humanity. - hebrews.

the word of God is living and active. - hebrews.

I will put my law in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. ezekiel/hebrews.

their sins and lawless acts, I will remember no more. - hebrews.

we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. - hebrews.

He gives generously to all without finding fault. - james.

you, who through faith are shieled by God's power. - 1 peter.

the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know what is true. - 1 john.

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life. - revelation.

I am coming soon. - revelation.

but the lamb will overcome them because he is the Lord of lords and the King of kings - and with Him will be his called, chosen, and faithful followers. - revelation.

Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. - God's invitation and promise to all people - revelation.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I have a knack for turning faith into a very selfish thing.

It's this human gunk in me, this constant pull I have inside to turn everything in life back on myself and make it about me.

I pray things like, "God, help me to be strong in faith," or "Lord, help me to get this or that job," or "Lord, I would really love to go to a Ray Lamontagne concert, and I know you have connections..."

You know. All that mememe stuff.

I am constantly asking Jesus to change me or make me better or give me an extra dose of patience, kindness, tenacity, etc. etc.

But I read something in Oswald Chambers' Utmost today that started me thinking that maybe all those "character development prayer requests" of mine might just be a waste of time, or even a subtle form of selfishness and disbelief.

Oswald writes,

"A pitiful, sickly, and self-centered kind of prayer and determined effort and selfish desire to be right with God are never found in the Christian Scriptures. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is actually a sign that I am rebelling against the atonement by the cross of Jesus....There is a great deal of prayer that comes from actual disbelief in the atonement. Jesus is not beginning to save us -- He has already saved us completely. It is an accomplished fact, and it is an insult to Him for us to ask Him to do what He has already done."


Jesus has already saved us completely.


Perhaps, then, my prayer life should start to look a little differently.

Perhaps, then, my thoughts should be focused in another general direction. One that is moving outward, away from myself.

David H. Stern says that "true humility implies having neither a higher nor lower opinion of oneself than one should," but maybe humility goes even further than that.

Maybe true humility is forgetting ourselves entirely.

Perhaps humility is getting lost in the identity of this man, Jesus, and letting his character cover each part of our meagar selves - the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

Because getting lost in Jesus allows for an amazing thing - being others-minded.

It plants in us outward focus.
It roots in us selflessness.
It grows in us humility.

When Jesus cloaks us in His character, it not only lets us forget ourselves, but it also springs up in us a desire to share the experience of it with those around us.

Because losing yourself in Jesus is a beautiful and a freeing thing, and coming into His presence, really and truly, is something impossible to keep to ourselves.

It bubbles up, it overflows, it transcends.

And I am finding that sometimes the best thing I can do, really, when I am facing a crisis or I am having a hard time liking myself (or I am feeling a little guilty for how much I truly dislike Sarah Palin) - sometimes the best thing I can do in moments like those is to pray for someone else.

To get outside of myself and be about something other - someone who is

Offering a prayer for someone else has the power to right my mind to things that are true - like who God is and what He's capable of - and that this life of mine is not really about me at all. It's about something so much bigger and more powerful than my lack of a job or how much money I have in the bank or the fact that I would really like to live in Israel (...but I mean, God, that's still a viable option, right?).

Also, there's the pure and simple fact that generosity always opens up the door for hope to flow in. Every time, it does this.

Generosity sheds light on the dusty, selfish places in our hearts and shakes them out like a rug that has been too long indoors, reminding us of beauty and the miraculous and light.

Generosity uplifts us to a higher place. A place of truth. A place of reminder. A place of purpose.


So, perhaps humility doesn't really look like us being down on ourselves and obsessively working, striving, and praying hard hard hard to be better.

Perhaps true humility is recognizing the fact that already, we are better, because of nothing else than the incredible gift of God's grace and Jesus' sacrifice -

And then, because of that belief, humility motivates us to get to the task at hand - drawing near to the character of Jesus, letting Him cover us, and then bringing that same Jesus out into the world as we wear His name, bringing others near to it as well.

And the exciting thing is that what follows humility is usually grace. And when we get to grace, we're able to see people entirely better, with a lot more love.

Because that's what grace is, isn't it?

Choosing to see people as they could be.

I mean, that's what God does.

He chooses, every day,
not to see us as we are,

but as ones


under the wings of grace.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


"Perhaps everything terrible is, in its deepest being, something that needs our love."

- Rainer Maria Rilke.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010



So often I limit you with my fears.

I try to stuff you in a little box in my mind so that I can understand.

I make you into my image rather than the other way around, because it's easier and not as risky and raises less questions.

It requires much less of me, making you small.

But you are BIG.

Your works fill the universe farther than my eyes can see or my mind can comprehend.

And the power that crafted this earth you use also to craft my life.

You are in the details of it, working to make me into something new, something like you,
something full of love.

And not my kind of love. Not the watered down kind that's mixed up with emotions and hurts and selfishness and pride.

No. I'm talking about your kind of love.

The big, astounding, limitless kind.

The pure kind.

That's the kind of love you work with. The kind that can't really be explained and doesn't make sense, the kind that changes lives.

The Joyful, life-giving kind.

And I want to work with that brand of love, too - I want the good stuff.

So, today I'm asking for a little assistance.

Help me.

Help me not to keep you from that work by making you small in my life.

Help me to break through my skepticism and give you credit where credit is due.

Help me to EMBRACE your promises.

Prepare my heart to see them, recognize them, trust in them. Make me soil ready for change. Give me strength to believe.

Astound me today, Lord.

Make me into a person who is ready and able to be astounded.

And fill me, break me, empower me, with some of that limitless, abounding love.

Monday, June 7, 2010



I ask today, not for strength.
Niether do I ask for guidance or provision -
no, not even for joy.

Today, my King, I ask for this -

that you would grant me a heart of worship.

Teach me, show me, train me,
how to live a life of praise.


For your presence and your nearness alone, I stand before you,

full of joy.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I used to picture Jesus whispering His final words - "it is finished" - on the cross before His death. I used to see him, through his exhaustion and his pain (and feeling the separation from God so intensely), voicing those words in thanks that the suffering was finally coming to an end.

It was almost over.

But my picture of His last words is starting to change.

Because I think maybe he yelled them.

I think maybe Jesus lifted Himself up with all the strength he could muster, and in triumph, through blood, sweat, and tears, shouted them with all His might.

Because He knew.

He knew that love was breaking forth - He felt the power of it ripping apart that curtain, rushing us to the feet of the Father and unleashing God's presence into the world in a new and mighty and beautiful way.

He knew that

death had no power there,
sin had been crushed there,

and that

It was finished.

And I want my life to shout it too.

I want to feel the power of agape love coursing through my veins, ripping apart anything that keeps me or those around me from experiencing the presence of an Almighty God.

I want to daily pick up my cross and, dying to my own sin, allow God's will to reign in my life so that this story of mine will be a witness to the world - a witness that love really does win in the end, and that it is worth it.

I want the world to see in my surrender that

the last really shall be first
and that
the love of Jesus really does change people
and that
we really can approach the throne of God's grace with confidence.


With our surrender we shout out that It is finished.

With our thanks we witness to the world that