“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today…” Exodus 14:13


I’ve been mulling over a situation that has caused substantial grief in my world. Some of us have acted in ignorance; others have been wounded; there are those who have been misunderstood; and all of us are grieving. I’ve spent time and prayers trying to discern God’s way to healing and peace. I’ve walked around with a heavy heart and a determination not to make the issue a topic of public discussion.
For days I’ve carried this weight. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t roll it on the Lord, but I did. And then I tilted the prayer so that it rolled right back on me. How could I possibly resolve an issue I didn’t create but in which I was inadvertently caught up? And so I turned this about in my mind for too many days.
I’ve continued to pray and to ask our Father for a way forward. This morning, I read, “This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged… For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (II Chron. 20:15). For days I’ve been wrestling with this divisive issue and not finding any way to turn; then God speaks. “This is MY battle, not yours. Release the worry, the concern, your impotence, and trust me.”
How many battles did the Children of Israel face that seemed insurmountable? There was the crossing of the Red Sea under Moses; the capture of Jericho under Joshua; the defeat of the Midianites under Gideon; fighting the Philistine champion Goliath; and on and on. These were all God’s battles, and he would be victorious when he was trusted and obeyed.
Isn’t this a simple and happy way to move forward in confidence—eyes on Jesus and heart trusting him. We can let go and let God do the impossible. It’s his battle. Time to chill and watch him win.


Father, I forget sometimes that you’re in charge, and I’m not. It’s your battle, and you are Lord. Lead on. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory. I Timothy 3:16


I’ve always loved mysteries from Poirot to Miss Marple to Sherlock Holmes to J. B. Fletcher. And, of course, there’s Father Brown.  On family visits to London, we never miss a viewing of Agatha Christie’s Mousetrap that has run continuously for over 60 years.  I just love searching for clues and putting them together to finally discover what should have been obvious from the beginning, if one had eyes to see (or ears to hear).

So, with all this experience in the format, why am I so often slow in understanding what Jesus told his disciples about life in the Kingdom? He even said that “it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven…,” so I’m certain it must be true. (Matthew 13:11)

I heard lots of things in Sunday school such as give Jesus all your worries (I Peter 5:7), don’t be afraid (I Timothy 1:7), God will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19), God will make you what he wants you to be (Philippians 2:13), and on and on. Essentially, I learned that everything I will ever need in my lifetime has already been given me by my heavenly Father. And the same applies to all his children.

Here we’ve lived with a plethora of words that are waiting to become activated by the Living Word. He’s promised, but we have to access. Isaiah even warned us (45:15) that God hides himself. Curious, isn’t it? In other words, God’s just not handing out truths and transformation as a weekend special. He’s waiting for those who are intent on digging out the mysteries of the kingdom; those who are willing to take him at his word; and those who will take breathtaking leaps of faith. Makes no sense at all, Lord, but you said it, so I’ll try it. We soar out into the abyss in complete surrender and find that underneath ARE the everlasting arms.

And that’s the way the mysteries are solved. Every time we get a road block in life, we search for the clues, and we untangle them. Lord, what are you saying here? What am I to do? We obey, and the way becomes clear. We continue in obedience, and understanding follows. It’s really that simple. It’s always been so. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL thy ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

Mystery solved.

Father, remind us that you give understanding as we rely totally on you. Following Jesus is not as hard as we make it. Help us to just give up. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.


For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


What’s the first thing you think of when someone mentions God’s will? What’s your first emotion? Do you cringe? Are you filled with dread? Do you wonder, “What’s he going to do to me?”


Even in Jeremiah’s passage (above) God says to his people that his plans are to prosper and not to harm… Astonishingly, it appears that God has to reassure his own children that he intends good for them instead of evil. What sort of Father do we envision him to be?  Must we be convinced that he’s not there to punish us or injure us?


Imagine going into your child or your grandchild’s room, and his reaction is to cower and visibly cringe before you. Surely, those we love don’t react to us in this manner. “It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. Just relax.”


And yet, when we contemplate the will of God, we’re sometimes filled with misgivings. If I abandon myself completely to him, what dreadful thing will he require? The truth is more like, “I will lead you in green pastures where there are still waters. You won’t need anything, and being with me will refresh you. Yes, you’ll go through times of difficulties, but there’s no call to be afraid because I’ll always be there. Not only will I meet your needs, but I’m the God of abundance. The cup-running-over God. And I’ve already prepared your place with me for eternity.”


Have you ever noticed the lies that are couched in fear? What if? What if I trust him with all my heart? What if I cast myself on him? What will happen? And the lies rush in filling us with dire images of anything but a loving Father. Away with them all. Move into truth.


“…whoever does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:17). Romans (12:2) describes the will of God as good and acceptable and perfect. Let us carelessly fling ourselves onto our Father relishing and enjoying his love and, in turn, giving him great joy in our abandon.


Father, with the psalmist, I delight to do your will. Your law is within my heart. Be exalted. Be blessed. In your Son Jesus’ name. AMEN.



“God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” Romans 2:24


I am part of a team going to explore Navajoland in response to an invitation of the bishop there. We will look and listen and learn from the Navajos and see how we can partner with them to do God’s work. In preparation for this marvelous opportunity, our team has been reading extensively and researching the history and culture of Native Americans.
To my distress I have read that:
“The Navajo’s concept of religion is so total that it can be said that there is no such thing
as religion in Navajo culture because everything is religious. Everything a Navajo knows—his shelter, his fields, his livestock, the sky above him and the ground upon which he walks–is holy. The Navajos for the most part, have long resisted Christianity. They look upon it as a ‘part-time’ religion where a man’s god is available to him for only a few hours on Sunday and then has to be sought out in a special house where his spirit dwells.” (Locke:  The Book of the Navajo)


Even though this may be a broad generalization, it seems that the Navajo are not the only ones who hold this opinion. These “part-time” Christians could be called “nominal,” Christians in name only or, perhaps, they are believers who have not yet been discipled. Nevertheless, that those who call themselves Christians do such a poor job of representing the Son of God, the Light, the Truth, and the Way is heartbreaking.


As true followers of Jesus, we are to lift him up so that when people see us, they glorify God. Our actions are to reflect hearts of love and integrity and bless and bring the life of Christ to our world, especially those around us. We have centuries of misperception to undo, and it can only be done by abandonment to Jesus Christ, scrupulously following the crucified Lord, and abiding in his resurrected life.  All the while depending totally on him…


Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see a massive global turning to Jesus Christ through the witness of his children who are walking faithfully with him?


Father, forgive us for our selfish, flawed portrayal of our idea of Christianity. Convict us and work within us that those who do not yet know you might hunger and thirst for you because of the Jesus they see in us. Humbly, I pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN.