At the testing of the thorn, divine grace turns my pain and tears to peace and joy.
I remember a bitter cold night in Missouri when I threw a cup of boiling water into the -20 degree air and saw it instantly turn to snow. The immediate transformation was amazing! The testing of the thorn produces a similar effect in us … something new and remarkable created from the ordinary and plain. Just as with the boiling water and frigid air so too must the conditions be right for the transforming work of grace. We must have a desperate need and a surrendered heart. Continue reading “Surviving Isn’t Enough”
Child, child, love the Rose. Embrace your thorn as faithful friend.
If ever there were opposites it would be thorns and roses—pain and pleasure. Loving the Rose is one thing but embracing thorns as a friend … now that’s something entirely different. How could I ever relate the pain of our thorns with the blessing of a faithful friend? Continue reading “Wounds of a Friend”
Only in hurt … that soil of weakness and brokenness, will the lovely rose grow, will My grace bloom.
Suffering is a crucible for our faith because it brings us to the end of ourselves. It takes what we cherish and steals it away. Broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken dreams … this is the soil of suffering. However, despite its appearance as a dismal wasteland, this ground is incredibly fertile for growing our faith. Continue reading “The Soil of Suffering”
The next several weeks of blogs will be based on the animated reading posted last week. To read the full text of the poem or see the video again, click here.
We all love roses, we all hate pain but for every thorn there is a rose.
It was during a summer morning walk when I saw the rose bush and suddenly I had words for the strange reality I had been experiencing … a dichotomy of sorts—thorns and roses … pain and joy. It was on this morning I first understood the redemptive power of “thorns.” Continue reading “Redemption in Disguise”
This week we launch our second animated reading. The next four weeks of blog posts will draw from themes in the poem. If you like the video, please share with others.
Continue reading “Animated Reading: For Every Thorn There is a Rose”
These are the ones who rightly fear, not the truth of their position or circumstance thereof, but the One who is Sovereign and Ruler of all.
As a child, I had nightmares. I’d wake up in a cold sweat, paralyzed with fright. I eventually outgrew those terrors only to have them replaced by others. Such is the human condition, learning to deal with the reality of fear. Continue reading “Fear Wisely”
We are all beggars, all beggars indeed. But, the beggars who live are those who learn where to find the bread and water, who know the Hand that feeds us all.
“I’m not a beggar … I’m a child of God!”
“Why all this talk of begging when God has given us the privilege of sons and daughters? Isn’t Christian salvation more about elevating than demoting our standing before God?”
These very questions reflect how much our perception of salvation is skewed by an unyielding focus on ourselves. Continue reading “Facing Beggar’s Shame”
Embrace me not as the unfortunate place of the unlucky few, a place for others but not for you.
After we lost our baby girl, Isabella, I remember thinking, “This shouldn’t happen to us. We’ve devoted our lives to God. We’re good people … we don’t deserve this.” I was stunned that God allowed it … and angry He hadn’t intervened. Continue reading “The Merit Trap”
On this ground the masquerade of our condition is revealed for the farce it is, While our broken reality is finally exposed… fully laid bare.
The place of brokenness is the ultimate equalizer. Whether rich or poor, strong or weak, loved or hated each one has come to the end of their road… such is the naked truth of brokenness. Until then we fight tooth and nail to keep up our pretenses that all is well… that this world is enough. Continue reading “A Necessary Deconstruction”
Over the next several weeks, we build on the theme of spiritual brokenness through reflecting on last week’s video, The Place of the Broken Beggar. To read the full text of the poem or see the video again, click here.
When all is said and done… when nothing else remains… when all is stripped away, there I stand naked and alone… naked and alone.
Continue reading “The Emperor’s New Clothes”