All Praise – September 11

Today we remember the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on our nation.  In the first public memorial service following the attacks, actor James Earl Jones told the crowd at Yankee Stadium we are still One Nation, Under God.

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

As the White Witch is trying to cast her net for the 4 Pevensie kids by filling Edmund with a bunch of Turkish Delight, & though Edmund doesn’t think much of his siblings…she knows who they really are.  & she baits the hook by telling him…

It’s a lovely place, my house.  I’m sure you would like it. I want a nice boy whom I could bring up as a Prince & who would be King when I’m gone.

& yet, when it comes down to it, she didn’t want just one.  She wanted them all.  It’s those half-truths we must guard our hearts against.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Why does it seem so hard to remember the Maker loves us?

In The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge writes…

We can’t just talk about our story, we have to live it.  Run our race, as Hebrews says, before a great cloud of witnesses, & when we face a decision to fall back or press on, the whole universe holds its breath.  Will anyone trust the great heart of the Father, or will we shrink back in fear?  The little decisions of the heart reveal to the world our true identity.  We are the sons & daughters of God.


Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

Metaphors in relationships are often economic.  We value people.  We invest in people.  Relationships could be bankrupt or priceless.   The problem with Christian culture is we think of love as a commodity.  We use it like money.  With love, we withheld affirmation from the people who did not agree with us, but we lavishly finance the ones who did.  When the church does not love its enemies, we fuel their rage.  It makes them hate us more.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

You don’t need to know everything when you’re with someone you trust.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

A light too bright for our eyes to see.  We may not be able to look directly into its brightness, yet in this divine light we find the source of our being.  We live even when we cannot grasp it.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

Jesus was led into the desert by the Holy Spirit for his test – not the devil, not by a trick.  Why was Jesus tested?  God could not have feared he would fail.  It had to be part of the journey.  So these deserts we go thru are rites of passage, like guideposts, preparing us for something better. 

Ronald Ragotzy ~ Raising Abel

Understanding faith is like solving a Sudoku puzzle.  At first it’s hard to see how everything will work out, but as you start filling in numbers, more answers are revealed.  & there’s often more than one route to the answer.  It wouldn’t be a puzzle if you could see the whole picture at the beginning.


1 John 5:4

1 Corinthians 15:57

Acts 20:24

Isaiah 35:5

Psalm 118:15

All Praise – September 4

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

As our heroes are trying to beat the White Witch to the Stone Table, Mrs. Beaver is busy packing up.  The gang tries to hurry her along, but she tells them …

Don’t get to fussing, dear.  Just get half a dozen clean handkerchiefs out of the drawer. ‘Course we got a hope. We can’t get there before here but we can keep under cover & go by ways she won’t expect.

Raise your hand if you had a grandma like that.  Sometimes the one that’s not panicking is the one with the right answers.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

We always hear about the proverbial “Light at the End of the Tunnel.”  That light is heading somewhere.

In The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge says…

No matter what our creeds may tell us, our hearts have settled into the winter of this world.  If I told you your income would triple next year you’d be hopeful, but our ideas of heaven aren’t all that desirable.  Whatever it is we think is coming, we don’t think it’s worth getting all excited about.

As Pascal once said…

We make an eternity of nothing & nothing of eternity.


Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

When we worship God, we worship a Being our life experience does not give us the tools to understand.  If we could, God would not inspire awe.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

I think direction is the point.  He wants followers, not just onlookers or people taking notes.


Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

He has a single relentless stance towards us: He loves us.  He is the only God man has ever heard of who loves sinners.  False Gods despise sinners.


Galatians 3:28

Ezekiel 1:27-28

Deuteronomy 28:47-48

Isaiah 28:22

Luke 11:52

All Praise – August 28

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

Edmund has led the charge that took down the White Witch, but he lays dying in the field. Aslan tells Lucy to bring her vial, & she dabs some on Edmund’s lips – but when Aslan tells her to leave & go help others, she tells him …

Wait a minute.  Aslan looks & says Daughter of Eve, others are also at the point of death. Must more people die for Edmund?

In other words, I’ve already told you what this vial holds .. trust me.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

What did God mean when he meant you?  In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge writes…

We at least know this: We are not what we were meant to be. Most of us spend our energy trying to hide that fact, through all the veils we put on & the false selves we create. Far better to spend our energy trying to recover the image of God & unveil it for his glory.

He goes on to remind us of James & John.  Simple fishermen.  Their buddies called them idiots .. but they were actually the Sons of Thunder.


Helen Keller

Only thru trial & suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, & success achieved.

Donald Miller ~ Blue Like Jazz

When we reduce Christianity to math we defile the Holy.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

A couple of buddies & I decided to lose a little weight.  On the first morning I reached for a bagel with cream cheese .. it tasted like the low-fat kind.  I thought “Maybe if I put more of the fake cream cheese on my bagel it might taste a little more like the real thing.”  (I ate a whole bar of Crisco lard).  That kind of thing happens to me all the time in my faith – stuff that masquerades as the real thing but it’s not.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

You don’t need a shovelful of salt to preserve a slab of ham; a dusting will suffice.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

When I conclude that I can now cope with the awful love of God, I’ve headed for the shallows to avoid the deeps.  I could more easily contain Niagara Falls in a teacup that I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God.


Hebrews 12:28-29

Hebrews 2:14-15

Isaiah 53:2

Acts 4:12

1 Chronicles 21:24

All Praise – August 21

A Year with Aslan from Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Sometimes we see love in the most unlikely places, from the most unlikely sources.

As Eustace has gotten tired of being a dragon, he even hates seeing his own reflection in the water as he’d fly.  While Reepicheep had been one of his biggest critics, oddly enough in his time of distress Reep was also his closest companion.  It says..

The mouse would creep away from the merry circle at the camp fire & sit down by the dragon’s head, & explain that there had been more than a hundred examples of emperors, kings, dukes, knights, poets, lovers, astronomers, philosophers & magicians who had fallen from prosperity & recovered to live happily ever after.  It didn’t seem so comforting, but it was kindly meant & Eustace never forgot it.

Sometimes the greatest of God’s wonders .. is a friend.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

There is power in Jesus’ name, but there’s also direction.  In The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge says…

This life ought to be spent only as a journey towards heaven. That’s the only story worth living now.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began & finished this race.  Study how he did it.  He remembered where he was headed, & that memory & desire will make all the difference in our journey too.


AW Tozer ~ Worship: The Missing Jewel

Worship rises or falls depending on the attitude we take toward God, whether we see Him as big..or little.  If there’s any disease in the Church, it’s that we don’t see God as great as He is.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Beauty is fragile.  Touch it too roughly & it’s gone, grasp it too firmly & its petals fall away.  It must be held onto lightly & gazed on attentively or it slips away.  You can’t analyze it or pull it apart to see what it’s made of or how it got there, if you want to experience the flower in the field.  So, too, are our lives.

Bob Goff ~ Love Does

He wants us to bring all of the faith we have to Him, even if it’s just a dime.  & He promises that He will trade up with us – because He himself is what we have the chance to trade for.

Derek Sivers ~ CD Baby

The key to starting a movement is not the first person, but the second – the follower.  The follower legitimizes the first & convinces the crowd that the activity is worthwhile.  Movements don’t start with 1 person – they start with 2 or more.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

For the Christian, the second journey usually occurs by a second call from the Lord Jesus.  A summons to a deeper, more mature commitment of faith where the naivete, first fervor, & untested idealism of the morning have been seasoned with pain, rejection, failure, loneliness, & self-knowledge.


Psalm 149:4

Proverbs 18:10

Luke 24:13-35

Hebrews 10:16-18

1 Corinthians 9:1-18

All Praise – August 14

A Year with Aslan from The Last Battle

Have you ever felt embarrassed after doing something you knew you shouldn’t do?  In the Last Battle, Puzzle shows himself again after a rather uncomfortable episode where he had dressed up like Aslan.

& even though he felt ridiculous, & nervous about meeting Aslan, he was met with grace .. & the words from Queen Lucy, …

            You’ll find it will be all right when you really do.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Because God is alive, we can face tomorrow .. but resurrection means so much more.  In Waking the Dead, John Eldredge says…

We’re enchanted by tales of transformation. The Phoenix rises; Cinderella becomes queen; The Ugly Duckling becomes a swan; Pinocchio becomes a real boy.  It’s the essential part to any story, because it’s the secret to Christianity.  You must be born again.  Keeping the law, following the rules won’t do.  We need transformation.


AW Tozer ~ Faith Beyond Reason

If I can learn what you admire, I will know what you are .. for people are what they think about when they are free to think about what they will.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

Contemplation looks not so much at things as through them, into their hearts, into their centers, to discover the whole world of spiritual beauty.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

It’s in that vast mutual rescue that we find the places of suffering that are unreached by goodness & God’s grace.

Charles Schulz ~ Creator of Peanuts

A whole stack of memories never equal one little hope.



Philippians 3:8

Hebrews 13:15

Nehemiah 8:10

Acts 5:41

Psalm 27:5

All Praise – August 7

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

Grace isn’t just our gift from God, it’s our gift to each other.


As the 4 Pevensie kids are wandering thru the snow, Edmund tells Peter they should head back toward the lamppost. That’s when Peter realizes Edmund lied to him about being in Narnia before, & that’s what starts the process in Edmund’s mind of paying them all back.

Just think of how justified he would have felt, if he had just told the truth in the first place. We live in a culture that wants everything now, from pop tarts to peace of mind.That’s because we’re need of a savior.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Either Jesus is our everything or He’s not.  We can’t have it both ways.  In Wild At Heart, John Eldredge says..

The culture comes along with figures like John Wayne & James Bond, & the one thing they all have in common is that they are loners. We come to believe needing anyone for anything is a sort of weakness.  From the very beginning, ours was meant to be a desperately dependent existence.  When Jesus says “Apart from me, you can do nothing”, He’s not mocking us. We’re made for union with Him.


Bob Goff ~ Love Does

When love does, love does it big.

Jay Milbrandt ~ go + do

Ambassadors don’t exist to make everyone a citizen of his or her nation.  Rather, they represent the interests of their sending country – a goal, an idea, or a vision.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

The largest & deepest reference of the Gospel is not to the world or its social problems, but to Eternity.

Henry Nouwen  Discernment

Getting answers to my questions is not the goal of the spiritual life.  Living in the presence of God is.

4th Century Egyptian Monks

A direct confrontation with the forces of evil required such spiritual maturity that few would be ready for it.  Instead of paying so much attention to the prince of darkness, focus on the Lord of light, & thus thwart the power of darkness.


Revelation 7:17

Psalm 13

1 Thessalonians 1:5

Revelation 20:6

Isaiah 52:10

All Praise – July 31

A Year with Aslan from The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe

Perhaps one of the deepest mysteries of all time is how we win by his sacrifice. That’s hard to grasp even now, after the resurrection.  Just think how tough it must have been to trust him before.

As the White Witch is accusing Edmund to Aslan, calling him a traitor, she says…

You know every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey.  The others are ready to fight, but Aslan simply says “It’s true. I don’t deny it.

While everyone is expecting him to pounce, he knows what’s going to happen.  That he’ll pay the price.

Ransomed Heart Devotion

Greater is he in me than he who is in the world .. & in Waking the Dead, John Eldredge reminds us that makes us greater, too.

We have a crucial role to play.  Neo sees himself as Thomas Anderson, but he’s the One who can break the power of the Matrix.  Frodo is the Ring Bearer.  Dorothy is just a farm girl from Kansas.  Joan of Arc was illiterate & everyone doubted her.  You see this throughout Scripture, too.  A little boy slays a giant; a loudmouthed fisherman leads the church; & a prostitute performs the deed Jesus asked of all of us.  Things are not what they seem.  WE are not what we seem.


Matt Redman ~ Mirror Ball

God doesn’t like being underestimated.  When we stay within our comfort zone & fail to trust Him for the big things, it’s dishonoring to God & disadvantageous to us.  When we trust against the world’s odds & act upon the promises of God, He will gain much glory .. & we will not be left unsatisfied.

Henry Nouwen ~ Discernment

We will not succeed if we stay in the boat.  We will not survive if we look down at the waves.  But we do not have to look down & drown.  Jesus calls us to look up & forward to the one who stands in the midst of the storm.  He is with us now, he will be with us tomorrow, & he will still be there in the future.  He is our home.

Philip Yancey ~ What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Christians may choose to enter an arena of power, but when we do we dare not leave love behind.  The kingdom of God thrives where its subjects follow the desires of the King.

Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel

The noonday devil of the Christian life is the temptation to lose the inner self while preserving the shell of edifying behavior.  Suddenly I discover I’m ministering to AIDS victims to enhance my resume.  At some unremembered moment I have lost the connection between internal purity of heart & external works of piety.

Matt Redman ~ Facedown

It’s only as we breathe in the wonders of god that we can breathe out a fuller response to him.


Amos 3:3

Ecclesiastes 3

2 Corinthians 4:18

Psalm 51:12

1 Peter 1:17-18