Saturday, February 26, 2011

even the whole world.

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."

-john 21.


my friend Shea and I have had a theme for this past year: crooked.

this theme is rooted in the idea that we, on our own, are crooked and off-centered and in desperate need of guidance from someone much wiser than ourselves.

in need of a God who creates paths for us that are straight and hearts for us that are true.

oh, how deep is this need in all of us, for truth.

and sometimes it can feel so exhausting - this striving to be true.

in fact, the past year has felt in many ways like an unending battle against the crookedness of my own heart, constantly wrestling with the things I think I desire in order to line them up with the will of God.

and I have had so many moments where I just want to give up, give in, and let my crookedness win.

this straightening out business, it hurts.

and I am tired of hurting.

so very tired.

but bless God, He knows when this heart of mine needs a boost.

and He has such interesting ways of refreshing it.

Like tonight.

In one of my Biblical commentaries, I came across the following:

The name Jacob means "crookedness."

A name which God then changes to Israel, which means "he who strives with God."

A name that is taken from the root verb SARAH, which means "God will prevail."

crooked. to striving. rooted in the promise that God prevails.

and the whole thing wrapped up in two names that saturate and identify my heart.

Sarah. and Israel.

What a beautiful reminder from this gracious God.

He knows my crooked heart, and yet He calls me by a new and better name - a name that I in no way earned and absolutely do not deserve.

A name rooted in the truth that this God we serve, the One who calls us and lifts us up, will not fail.

we are crooked. we will battle and strive. and our God will prevail.


above all.

"She had wit, she had grace, she had beauty; But above all, she had truth."

-leo tolstoy.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

consumer to steward.

Augustine said that the way to resist is not just to stand up against the onslaught of advertising - the way to resist is to learn a new set of desires.

The problem does not lie in the spending, but in the wanting.

We have to drop down into the level of the soul and recognize that long before anything is paid for, it is wanted.

And so the process of moving from consumer to steward is the process of rewiring the desires that drive the disciple.

-steve deneff.

the Lord is my portion.

Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed.
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning.

great is Your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "the Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him."

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him.
to the one who seeks Him;

It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

-lamentations 3.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


"Moses hasn't uttered a word yet. Impressed, deeply moved, he waits. God informs him of a critical situation, so he listens. For the moment, it is his only duty: to be there and open his ears."

-elie wiesel, regarding the call of God to Moses.


This little passage served as a good reminder for me today. Life isn't always about going, doing, achieving for God. Sometimes obedience merely looks like being still, letting God speak.

It reminds me of Henri Nouwen's advice; we need to learn how to be silent and useless before the Father, allowing ourselves to be open to His voice.

And today I hear Him whispering, reassuring, calming with it's tenderness:

"Be still. My child, be still."

My experience thus far has taught me that there is no greater healing force than the act of being still before the Father.

His presence alone is enough.

be still.

be still.

be still.


What is conversion in reality?

a rupture of being.

a breakdown of existing structures.

a reorientation of the will.

a metamorphosis of the soul.

a transfusion of memory.

-elie wiesel.

Monday, February 21, 2011

in the waiting.

My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
I am feeble and utterly crushed;
I groan in anguish of heart.

All my longings lie open before you, Lord;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.

I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
like the mute, who cannot speak;
I have become like one who does not hear,
whose mouth can offer no reply.

LORD, I wait for you;
you will answer, Lord my God.

For I am about to fall,
and my pain is ever with me.
I confess my iniquity;
I am troubled by my sin.

LORD, do not forsake me;
do not be far from me, my God.
Come quickly to help me,
my Lord and my Savior.

-psalm 38.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

and more so.

"For a humble person, even the most obstinate sinner deserves respect, for we do not know the essential truth about someone else. Therefore I am unable to put myself in his or her place. Truth, in its totality, is known to God alone. And He desires to be humble in going down to the level of His creatures - and joining his people in exile. From this we learn that though it is not included in the list of the biblical commandments, humility is implicit in them, for it is written "ve'halakhta bi'drakhave" or "imitatio dei": man must follow in God's ways. Just as He is humble, we must be. And more so."

-elie wiesel.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


"And I shall betroth you forever; yes, I shall betroth you unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, and in grace, and in compassion. I shall betroth you in faith, and you know the Lord." -hosea 2.

It is God who makes this vow.

All we are called upon to do is to echo His words and allow them to penetrate our very being and to make them a part of our own.

-elie wiesel.

The very words of God.

(Gamla Synagogue - Torah Closet. Israel, 2009).


"The Lord your God commands you this day to follow these decrees and teachings. Carefully observe them with all your heart and all your soul." Deut. 26.

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119.


In Biblical times, a Torah scroll was a rare and sacred thing, and one of great value. Generally priced at an extremely high cost, a normal Biblical city would have only one, and sometimes not even that.

There was great ceremony and joy associated with the scroll. At the beginning of the gathering, the keeper of the synagogue would remove the scroll from the Torah closet, open it, and slowly make his way around the people, holding it out for all those present to touch. Each person would place their fingers on the precious scroll, dancing before God and praising Him because His words were still there.

The very words of God, before them.

I got to mimic this ceremony and celebration while standing in the ruins of the ancient city of Gamla, in one of the oldest synagogues left in Israel. To dance with joy amongst other believers in celebration of the words of God was a beautiful and life-changing experience, and one that I will never forget.

This same attitude was true in other religions as well. I was told by one teacher that in Biblical times, people of the world would pay extravagant amounts of money, wait days and weeks and months outside of temples, and do just about anything possible in order to be given a word from the gods. They pursued with great fervor any guidance they could receive from the powers above.

They understood that a word from a god was a valuable and precious thing, and they would go to incredible lengths to receive one.

Even one.

one. little. word.


A book FILLED with His blessed words.

His guidance.

His love.

His story.

His law.

His desires.

His will.

A whole book.

A Book that was carefully constructed, passed down, and preserved, for our benefit.

Do we read it?

Do we know it?

Do we seek it out morning, noon, and night, pouring over it like precious silver and gold?

We have it! His Words are STILL HERE.

Dance for joy.

His words.

The very Words of GOD.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


"True, Saul suffered. But suffering is no excuse. He was wrong in making others suffer. David too suffered, but he used his suffering to create songs and generate joy."

-elie wiesel.

judgement is God's.

"You shall recognize no face in judgement. You shall hear out the small person like the great one. You shall have no terror of any man, for judgement is God's."

-deuteronomy 1.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


"Of course, one could invent all kinds of excuses to whitewash our matriarch. We have mentioned a few. Hagar's arrogance, the bad influence Ishmael had on his little brother, the fate and future of Israel: if we try hard, we can exonerate Sarah. But apologies no longer have a place in our tradition. We are sufficiently mature to admit our shortcomings - especially since Scripture itself chooses not to conceal them. The patriarchs are neither infallible saints nor angels. They are human beings with impulses of grandeur and weakness. They love, they know fear, they hate and say so, they try to go beyond their condition and share in God's vision of creation. When Sarah is hurt, she admits it; when she is jealous, she shows it. Whatever she is, she is no hypocrite."

-elie wiesel, wise men and their tales.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

מקרא - Mikra.

"Mikra, which is Hebrew for "read," can also be translated as "appeal." To approach a Biblical passage is to respond to its call, its interpretation, while exploring the depths of its multiple meanings, some of which are immediately understandable, and some enveloped in dazzling mysteries."

-elie wiesel.