To Tell the Truth

She’s new on the job. It’s her second week. She’s deep in the throes of training. She got the job because her friend works there. So she’s in. She’s in the cool girls group already. She didn’t have to earn a spot. She just showed up the first day and took her place. Oh. If only life was so easy for everyone.

But I’ve heard rumors. I’ve noticed things. She has a flaw that could prove very harmful down the road. Once she’s on her own doing this job, she’s going to have trouble if she doesn’t pay attention. Literally. She sits in training glued to her phone. Texting. Back and forth with I don’t know who. Sure. She has kids. But I’m sure she doesn’t micromanage them or their sitter all day every day. Does she? So then. Who is she texting? What is more important than paying attention and learning this new job? Beats me.

I mentioned this to a friend. They gave me a good word of advice. Someone needs to set her straight early on. If no one does, then she will think that what she’s doing is acceptable. I agree. I just don’t feel called to share that message with her. So I’m in a quandary. I want to say something to her. I really do. Well. I want someone to say something to her. Just not me. I’m not sure it’s my place to do so. How do I know if I should be the one to break the news that she’s setting herself up for trouble, when I have no authority to say those things?


Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31


Who wants to be the bearer of bad news? Who wants to give criticism to someone else, even if it is constructive? Who ever wants to provide feedback when it isn’t positive? Certainly not me.

But what if the feedback is the truth? Wouldn’t she want to hear it from someone who isn’t going to berate her? Wouldn’t she prefer it to come from a friendly face instead of from someone who might hold it against her for a very long time? Wouldn’t she rather know now than wait until she’s too far in to be told? Wouldn’t she wonder why no one ever said anything?

Wouldn’t I?

Oh. She might be grateful for the advice. Who knows. She may think I’m crazy. She may run to her group of cool girls and throw some shade my way. Should I care? I know those cool girls already talk about others. I’m sure I’m a regular topic of conversation with them.

I think of Jonah. He was in a similar predicament. Only his included eternal circumstances. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and announce God’s judgment on the city. The people of Nineveh were wicked and had turned their backs on God. It was time to repent or die.

That would be a tough message to share with people you didn’t know. How would they respond? Would they kick him out or kill him?

Jonah didn’t want to share the bad news, so he ran in the opposite direction. No way was he going to tell an entire city that they were going to be destroyed. Not Jonah. He was asked to do a very difficult job, and he said no. He was reluctant to obey God, because he didn’t know how his message would be accepted. He also didn’t seem to mind if the city was destroyed or not.

Of course. He did end up going to Nineveh. He took the long way there. He did share God’s message. And the people of Nineveh repented and turned to God.

I have to ask myself. Do I care what happens to my coworker? Do I want her to succeed at her new job? Do I want what’s best for her, instead of what’s easy for me? How would I want to be treated if I were in her place?

We Have the Hope

She walked into my office and sat down. I don’t think I can do this job. She said. I understood where she was coming from. Just a few short months ago, I was saying the same words.

I told her there was hope. Things will click. It just takes time.  You will get there. I continue to give her words of encouragement, because I know she’s capable. I know if she sticks to it, she will have more than hope. She will have a newfound confidence that comes only through perseverance. I know that eventually she will be able to encourage other new ones who come behind her to persevere in their time of learning.

The thing is. I can’t rescue her from the difficulties she is facing. I can’t relieve the fears she feels in her insecurities. I can’t do the job for her. I have my own work to do. She must face the uncertainties and newness with boldness and strength. She must be willing to do the hard work in order to see the results. I hope she is willing.

But fear is a thing to be reckoned with. It can overtake. Overwhelm. Overrule our good intentions. It can pull us under if we don’t think rationally about the reality of the situation. Oh. It’s ok to be fearful. But fear doesn’t have to rule our lives and thoughts and actions. Fear is a liar.

There is hope. Without hope, we crumble. We fall. We lose our way. But when hope surfaces, the sun shines brighter. The flowers are prettier. The breathing is clearer. The day is worth living.

We all need something to hope for. Something to get us out of bed in the morning. But what is it? What do I hope for? What is my deepest longing?

I have given Christ countless reasons not to love me. None of them changed his mind. Paul Washer

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?


No power in the sky above or in the earth below — indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39


I’ll tell you what gives me hope and quiets my fears.

Nothing can separate me from God’s love. Not even trouble or calamity. Not even persecution or hunger or poverty or danger. Not even if I’m threatened with death. God loves me even in the hard times.

Death or life can’t separate me from God’s love. Neither can angels or demons. The fears of today and the worries of tomorrow can’t make God stop loving me. The powers of hell can’t separate me from God’s love.

There is no power in the sky above or in the earth below that can remove God’s love from me. Nothing in all of creation will ever be able to separate me from God’s love.

Jesus Christ is mightily loving his people with omnipotent, moment-by-moment love that does not always rescue us from calamity but preserves us for everlasting joy in his presence even through suffering and death. John Piper

The good news is this. God’s love is forever. It is eternal. His love is so deep and so wide. It encompasses everything. No matter what I do or what I say. God will still love me. He can’t stop loving me.

That’s why he paid the ultimate price by giving his Son in my place. That gives me a hope that never runs dry. God’s love is forever. And therein lies my hope.

This Little Light of Mine

It was Good Friday. She walked into my office and sat down. So. She said. It’s Good Friday, so that’s when Jesus died. Right? And then he ascended on Easter Sunday. No. I said. Jesus died on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday, he arose from the dead. Then he ascended to heaven 40 days later. Oh. She said. I never get this straight, and I just want to make my mom proud.

The thing is. She and I have never had conversations about faith or the church or spiritual matters. Yet she walks into my office and asks me these questions as if she knows that I would know the answer. Why didn’t she ask someone else? Why would she think I knew the answer?

She is the one who speaks insults to others. She uses the f-bomb as casually as any other word in her vocabulary. She has a very poor work ethic. She bends the truth to suit herself. She gossips as if life depends on it. She has lived with boyfriend after boyfriend trying to find the one true love. She lied to her landlord about the dog living in her apartment. She’s unsettled. She’s looking for something to satisfy the deepest longing of her soul. She’s looking for something more. And yet she’s unaware that she’s looking.

I’m not judging her. I’m just stating the facts. But she’s watching. She’s listening. She’s paying far more attention than I gave her credit for. Oh. She sees what I do and what I don’t do. She hears what I say and what I don’t say. She knows that the two of us have little in common. Yet she comes to me with these questions.


Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16


I realize my life is on display. I’ve asked God repeatedly why he has me in this place. I’ve questioned the reasoning of his wisdom. He says stay. You are needed in this place. You are equipped to be there. Perhaps it’s not the work itself that has the most value for me. Perhaps it’s the light I bring into a dark corner of the world that is needed the most. Perhaps I am the instrument of peace and hope.

I find that in order for my light to shine in that small place, I must continually run to Jesus with my shortcomings and doubts. And perhaps in the midst of my frail humanity, others see a strong reliance upon the One who holds the whole world in his hands. Yet he also holds me at the same time.

I must never take for granted the work that I do. Or the place that I’ve been called to. God has a purpose. A plan for me that is bigger than my dreams or plans. I need to be obedient and willing to do as he asks. To share his love with the lost and lonely and hurting. With those who need his love and peace more than they need anything else.

This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine;
this little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine;
this little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine;
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

The Best of Me

We were asked to fast. Fast. As in give up food for 24 hours. What kind of request is that? Why would I give up food? Why? Here’s the thing. I love food. I. LOVE. FOOD. It’s my thing. I’m always planning my next meal. Even as a child, I hated to be hungry. I always wanted to eat when I wanted to eat. I still do. Some people eat to live. I live to eat.

And now. We’re being asked to give up food for 24 hours. I just don’t know if I can do that. Honestly. I don’t want to. Oh. I’ve done it before. And I didn’t like it. But everything isn’t always about me. So maybe I should shift my focus.

I think of the reason we’re being asked to fast. Instead of eating, it’s the turning to God and his word. To dig deeper in the well of God’s love. To recognize the sacrifice of a beloved Son whose sole purpose in life was to save my soul. To prepare our hearts to receive communion representing the broken body and spilled blood of our Savior. What am I willing to sacrifice?


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16


When Solomon built the temple, he used the best wood and gold that money could buy. He didn’t skimp on anything. That temple was elaborate and ornate. He built that temple to last for many years. It was the house of God. The place where God lived.

When Solomon became king, he was a humble man. God told him that he could have whatever he wanted. Do you know what he chose? Wisdom. He asked God to make him a wise man. So God did just that. Solomon wanted to have God’s heart. So God honored his request.

But then. Life got in the way. Solomon married women who didn’t believe in this one true God. They served lesser gods. They worshiped idols. They offered sacrifices to fake gods. They pulled Solomon’s eyes off of the God of the universe. Solomon stumbled. His priorities shifted. He fell out of step with God. He lost his way. He quit offering his best to God.

I see myself in Solomon. Oh. I’ve never built a temple. I’ve never been the wisest person. But I do ask God for wisdom. I do seek God. I start off with great intentions. But life gets in the way. There are times I find myself looking away to lesser gods. To momentary pleasures that take my eyes off my Lord and Savior. I look to other things for comfort. For fulfillment. For happiness. But those things leaves me wanting more.

I must ask myself. Where is my best effort going? Is it going to God or to myself? If I’ve given myself to live for God, then he is living in me. Am I giving my best self for him? Right now we’re celebrating our Savior risen from the dead. And I can’t even give him my best. Why do I reserve the best part of me for things that don’t matter? 

Jesus gave his best for me. Why can’t I do the same for him? I know I’m not worthy. But he paid the ultimate price. For me. Can’t I offer the best of myself? Can’t I offer my simple sacrifice? Can’t I spare a day’s worth of food?

It’s in the breaking of the bread. The drink from the cup. In remembrance. We do this. We offer our humble, simple best. It’s all we have. Mixed with the brokenness of our humanity.

Perhaps my hunger. My empty stomach is just the turning point. Maybe in the surrender of the fast, I find that I do turn to this God who gave his only Son for me. My focus must shift to higher things. To unworldly things. To the one who died on that cross for me. He gave his life. Can’t I give up food for one day?

Fellowship of Suffering

What does it mean? The fellowship of suffering? I thought fellowship was a coming together of like minds. Enjoying the company of common ground. A friendly association with someone of like interests. But suffering? I’ve not really bought into that.

Honestly. The suffering that I’ve experienced probably isn’t true suffering. Compared to what I see and know of others. My life is mild. Oh sure. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. Fears. Loss. Discouragement. Trying times. Typical life difficulties.

But I’ve never hung on a cross and died. For myself or for others. I’ve never been spat on. I’ve never been stripped naked and forced to carry a heavy cross on my raw beaten back. I’ve never worn a crown of thorns. 

I’ve never received a life altering diagnosis.  I’ve never been handcuffed and stood before a judge.  I’ve never been served papers.  I’ve never been beaten.  I’ve never lost everything. Oh.  I’ve lost.  I’ve lost family members.  I’ve lost jobs.  I’ve lost friends. 

So what do I know of suffering?

I’ve never been put on trial for crimes I didn’t commit. And then sentenced to death. My mother never wept for my cruel death. 

Oh. I’ve been betrayed by those I thought I could trust. I’ve been handed over to others who carried out their own plans for me. I’ve had cruel words spoken to my face. I’ve been bullied.

But have I really suffered? Is it suffering when someone publicly outs me for words spoken in private? When I’ve felt safe to express my opinion but then publicly called on the carpet for it?

Where is the glory in suffering? Where is the fellowship? Is my suffering a product of my own doing? Or of my own undoing?


And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:17


Elisabeth Elliott says that suffering is never for nothing.  There are hard lessons to learn during the time of suffering.  She says that suffering is having what you don’t want or wanting what you don’t have.

I have to wonder if I’ve caused some of my own suffering. Am I my own thorn in my side? Do I blame God and others when I need to remove the mote from my own eye? Is my suffering another name for the thorn in the side I’ve been given? And can I get past the bitterness in order to use that thorn as a source of ministry to others just like me?

Will I look back on these days in awe and wonder that I survived without a scratch and thank my heavenly Father that I didn’t really suffer? Or will I realize that what I thought was suffering was not even a drop in the bucket of misery?   Only time will tell. 

What if my suffering is still in front of me. What if my current state of suffering really isn’t suffering at all.

I have to ask myself the question. What does my suffering produce? Does it lead to anger and bitterness? Lashing out at others about the unfairness of God? Trying to punish God for treating me so poorly? How could a loving God allow this? Or do I surrender in knowing that my God is carrying me through the depths of pain and loss and uncertainty? Do I find joy in a closer relationship with a God who loves me even when unexpected twists and turns come in life? Do I allow myself to be wrapped in the sweet arms of Jesus and just be held?

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? Romans 8:35

It’s in the surrender and acceptance of my situation that leads me to fellowship.  Once all the thought of getting even or standing my ground passes, the knowing of God’s love gives the sweet peace that nothing else matters.  The pain.  The loss.  The heartache.  The hurt.  The healing.  The new normal.  The surrender of my will to a loving God brings a sweet fellowship that surpasses everything else.  The trust that God will be with me every step of the way gives a calming peace to my soul.

Above All Else

God knew David. He knew the good. the bad. the ugly. God called David a man after his own heart. Even when David sinned. And he sinned badly. But what sin is good? But oh. David stole someone else’s wife. She became pregnant. So he had the husband killed. Lust. Adultery. Premeditated murder. And after all that, God still said that David was a man after God’s own heart.

And God was right. He always is. David is the only person who God says is a man after his own heart. For God knew that David would always do what God wanted him to do. Read it for yourself.

God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’’ Acts 13:22

To be the only one God mentions in that way says something. Oh. God knows everything. So he knows. He knows the intentions of your heart. Even before you do.

God knows if you will do everything he wants you to do.

I have to ask myself. Do I have a heart that runs after God? Do I seek him above all else? Where do my interests lie? Will I do everything God wants me to? Is it even possible? I mean. I want to. But. What are the choices here?

Oh sure. David was human. He messed up multiple times. He did things out of turn. But every time he found himself outside of God’s graces, he admitted it and ran back to God. He was God’s and God was his. No matter what. David served only one God.

Oh. David had his faults. But he had strengths that continued to draw him to God. He was loyal. He loved fiercely. He was humble. He was honest. He had inner strength. He took risks. He served only one God. He spent time alone with God.


How great you are, O Sovereign Lord ! There is no one like you. We have never even heard of another God like you! 2 Samuel 7:22


There is something for us to consider.  When we fail.  When we disobey God.  When our sins are made known to us.  Who do we run to?  What god do we turn to?  Do we automatically run back to the God of the universe?  Or do we run to the god of the credit card?  Or the god of the bottle? Or the god of the trashy novels?  Or whatever that fake god is we run to to soothe our hurting hearts.

And does it work? That running to false gods? Does it take the pain away? Does it solve the problem? Does it lessen the anxiety? Does it pay the debt? Does it heal the relationship? Does it remove the sadness and unloved feelings?

If you’re not running after God’s own heart, then whose heart are you running after?  Your own?  Most likely.  Who else’s heart would you turn to?

Where could I run to?
Where could I go?

Even then. There is a choice to make. We can always choose to run back to God even after we’ve run far from him. Even when we’ve committed those sins that break us. Even when we’ve hurt others and ourselves. God continues to love us and beckon us back. We can choose to have a heart for God. We can choose to run back to him. We can choose to do everything God asks us to do. We can.


A New Thing

That new thing coming your way. Oh. It may be a miracle of God. Do you accept it? Do you believe it? Will you trust it? Amid all the uncertainty and unfamiliarity and newness. Will you allow God to work in the ways that he sees best?

I say let’s let God do that new thing. Even when its hard. Because new isn’t always easy. It’s in the letting go and allowing God to work that makes the newness work. Newness means giving up the old for something different. Something uncomfortable. Something that teaches new lessons. And that can open new doors if we will just walk through them.

I’m preaching to myself here. Newness for me is now eight months in the making. It still feels uncomfortable. There are still days I want to run in the opposite direction.  But God continues to lead me down the new path.  I sometimes wonder why he brings me to a new thing that is really hard. and then leaves me there.

I have to admit. There are rewards and blessings in this new place. I can’t deny those. But there is also discomfort. Anxiety. Uncertainty. Doubt. Doubt in myself. But I know I must continue to trust God. and follow his lead. For he is doing a new thing.

If I’m in charge of the newness, well. Everything is ok.  I’m all in. If someone else is calling the shots, it’s a different story. I have to choose to cooperate. Oh.  Newness is hard.


For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:19


Isaiah reminded the Israelites of all the newness God had provided for them for over 400 years. He delivered them from Egypt. He performed miracle after miracle just to provide for them. He parted the Red Sea. He provided manna for 40 years so they could eat every day. He kept their clothes and shoes from wearing out for 40 years. He parted the Jordan River. He fought their battles. He won their battles. As long as as they were obeying him.

But the Israelites still doubted God. They still turned their backs on him. They forgot the newness he gave them. And that was when they lost the battles with their enemies. They became slaves once again. And when they had had enough of being beaten up by their enemies, they would crawl back to God and ask for forgiveness. And every time. Every time, God would pick them up. Dust them off. And forgive them. He would welcome them back. And start the newness all over again.

How often is the newness I face a result of my disobedience to God? How often is it a result of God stretching me and growing me into a deeper relationship with him?

Step aside fear and let God move. Step aside tradition and let new beginnings take shape. Step aside trouble and let healing and peace make an appearance. Step aside doubt and make way for faith. Step aside human and allow the host of heavens armies to fight for you. 

Newness. Anticipation. Fear of the unknown. Excitement. Let’s do this.

Sinful Nature

It started out so innocent. Or so it seems. They want their child to go to an elite college. So they find ways to beat the system. They find ways to bump kids who have earned their way into that school. Bump them off the list by paying for a slot for their own trust fund child. Forging college entrance exams. Posing for fake sports photos. Slipping money under the table. For what?

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. Luke 8:17

We think we’re above the law.  At least, we hope we’re always one step ahead of the law. More than anything, we hope we won’t get caught by the law.

The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. Genesis 6:5

I know someone who is quick to lose his temper. He says words others hope he later regrets. He speaks out of turn. He has a high opinion of himself. He walked out of work and didn’t return for a week. No word on when he’s coming back. Just walked out. Then walked back into work the next week as if nothing had happened.

Oh. He did it more than once. But on the third try, it backfired. He is no longer employed. He pulled the same punch one too many times. Now he is facing the consequences. Shame. Regret. Remorse. Embarrassment.

What is it that causes a person to be unkind or untruthful? What is it that causes someone to bully or hurt others? Why can’t we be good? Are we born that way? Are we born to naturally be selfish and hurtful? Can we change?


He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15


I got her text. She was asking for personal information about a former coworker. Information I didn’t know and wouldn’t share if I did. She was scheming to find out the scoop on everyone she worked with. Gossip is the name of her game. And I decided I wasn’t playing.

What is it that causes people to naturally turn toward pleasing themselves? What causes someone to want to do wrong? Are we doomed to be this way? Are our souls totally corrupt with no chance for redemption?

Oh. We are born with the desire to please ourselves. From day one, we are bent on getting our way. That one bite of fruit by Adam and Eve turned our hearts away from God and onto ourselves. Their disobedience caused a world of hurt for everyone who came after them. And boy, have we continued down a path of wrongdoing.

But that one bite doesn’t have to send us to hell. We have a way paved to heaven for us. We have a path that is narrow but it is open for all. And on that path, our sins are washed away. And that desire to sin. That desire to have the world revolve around us can be removed. If only we choose life in Christ. If only we repent and ask forgiveness of our sins.

Oh. It’s not a one man fight. It’s not a fight you can win on your own. It’s a fight fit for a king. It’s a godly fight. Really. A fight for your life. Your eternal life. And it’s a fight that has already been won. We can claim the victory in four simple steps.

  • Confess your sins to God
  • Ask God to forgive you
  • Accept his love, forgiveness and mercy
  • Reject sin and live forgiven

Oh. When we confess our sins, we don’t have to name each one. Believe me. There isn’t enough time. And God already knows them anyway. He’s just waiting for us to come clean and repent. Then he erases those sins away. As if they never happened. 

We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. 1 John 5:18-19

Thank heaven for God Almighty.

Better Together

Two churches stand poised to make history. A history of faith and obedience. Or a history of fear and rejection. Oh. That may sound harsh. But hear me out.

Both churches are in the midst of change. Both churches have been praying for a miracle. Both churches need a miracle. Just not the same miracle. But sometimes God’s miracles aren’t what we expect. Sometimes someone else’s miracle is also our miracle wrapped all in the same package. Just with different gifts inside.

One church has a beautiful property. They can no longer afford it. Upkeep has stalled. Ministries have been underfunded. The bank has come calling. They face an uncertain future. Time is running short. They need a miracle.

The other church has sold their property. When God said move, they sold their facility and began a search. Even when they had no place to move. They’ve been looking for a new location. Nothing fits the bill or the wallet. Time is running short. They need a miracle.

I know these churches. I love both churches. I’m part of one now and was part of the other in the past. Both churches have great people who love God. Both churches are filled with people who want to obey God. Oh. Yes. They’ve each been praying for a miracle. They just didn’t know what that miracle would look like.

And now. God has placed a miracle in front of us. All we have to do is reach out and accept it. Oh. It sounds so simple. And it is. Obedience is a simple act of faith. When we pray for a miracle, it’s God’s miracle to perform as he sees fit. We don’t design our own miracles. We need to step back and let God do what only God can do. And he’s doing it.

God has opened the door for both churches to come together in the one location. Sounds so simple. But it requires change. For everyone. We like to think we like change. But really. Change is hard. Change demands obedience. Change requires…well….change. For everyone. Everyone will find a level of discomfort as they adjust to the newness required of them. Bold steps of faith will be needed.


God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20-21


When God walled off the Jordan River for the Israelites, all they had to do was walk across. If they hadn’t walked across, they wouldn’t have reached the promised land. They accepted the miracle set before them.

The first church has what the other needs. The second church has what the first one needs. But that’s beside the point. Its what we have together that counts.   Together we can build a strong church that reaches a neighborhood. A city. A county. Together we can work toward increasing God’s kingdom in our corner of the world.

Gideon needed a miracle from God to defeat the Midianites. In the process of transforming the Israelite army, God told him to release all but 300 of his men. But God let him know that they would win the war. He also gave Gideon a glimpse of that victory as he slipped through the enemy territory. He overheard words spoken by the enemy that confirmed the miracle God said he would perform. And so Gideon led his army to victory. In spite of the odds. They won as God said they would. They didn’t let fear of the unknown hold them back.

We may not know what the miracle we’re praying for will look like. We haven’t been given a glimpse of the future victory. We need to open our hearts to the miracle when God hands it to us. Because it is a miracle. It is an answer to prayer.

The two churches have much in common. Both are filled with Christ followers looking to obey God. At the end of the day, both want the same thing. The common ground in doing this work of God together as a larger group is just a taste of heaven. New lifelong friendships. Outreach to the lost. New ministry opportunities. Missions trips. Working together as one body. Together we can achieve what each church can’t do separately. We are better together.

Covered with Lent

I’ve never really observed Lent. I’m not Catholic. I don’t have to. Right? I’ve never given up something that meant a lot to me for 40 days. Well. I have. I’ve done fasts and cleanses. I’ve gone without chocolate and sweets. Sometimes for longer than 40 days. But that doesn’t mean I was observing Lent.

I’ve never had a cross drawn on my forehead. I’ve never displayed my faith with ashes. Not even for a day.

I’ve read of one who draws a cross in ink on her wrist each day. It serves as a personal reminder of who she is. Whose she is. Of the death someone else died for her. But it’s a temporary reminder she places on her wrist. Each day. It’s not a permanent tattoo. She can wash it off and forget about it. If she chooses.

It’s the same with the ashes. They’re a temporary reminder of a permanent sacrifice given by someone else. Once the ashes are wiped off, no one can see the display of sacrifice. It’s easy to forget.


He must become greater. I must become less. John 3:30


I’ve taken to memorization. Scripture memorization for Lent. It’s a humble act. A laying down of my time.  A sacrificial learning of God’s redemptive plan. Romans 8. 39 verses. 40 days. Planting the seed of God’s word deep in my heart. I’m excited to see the seeds grow and blossom.

But is it truly a sacrifice? To memorize Scripture? Shouldn’t it be a continual process rather than a 40 day sacrifice?

My prayer is that this remembrance of the holy inspired words will replace other words and thoughts in my mind and heart. That God’s word will uproot negativity with positive thoughts. That it will surrender any envy of others with praise and respect. That it will dig out any root of bitterness that has burrowed its way into my heart.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

Oh Lord.  Work your word into the crevices of my heart. Into the nooks and crannies of my soul. Into those hidden places that only you can fill. Cover me with your presence. From dust I was formed and to dust I will return. Until that day, make your word come alive in me.

Oh. It isn’t easy. The learning of words in a specific order to form a complete thought about God’s love and redemption. It’s reading the words over and over. It’s placing them in front of me at all hours of the day. Trying to cement the words in my heart as an act of obedience to the One who gave his Son for me.

I’ve invited others to join me on this journey. Some say yes. Others are unsure. Perhaps some will choose to fall away from the challenge. There will be those who cross the finish line. To be honest. I’m struggling. It’s taking more time and work than I want. But I know the end result will be worth the struggle. So I continue down the path of hiding these words in my heart. It’s a temporary struggle that will result in a lifetime of remembrance.

I don’t mean to call attention to my act of learning. I’m not looking for praise or reward. This is an act of burning the dried embers of my heart into ashes of praise and thankfulness for my Savior’s sacrifice. It’s the least I can do.

I have died to myself. Daily. I do live for eternity. Daily. I’m covered with Lent.