Gratitude Changes Everything

This is our privilege – through us blows his sound.

Gratitude is a quality we often assume we’ll have when we finally get what we want. Yet, time and again, rather than grateful, we find ourselves frustrated and disillusioned after the gaining of our goods. Like any other virtue, gratitude requires the intentional investment of time, energy, and resource. The grateful heart has learned to slow down and resist the restless urge of more in order to cultivate the necessary space needed to appreciate what has already been given. Yes, the change we need begins with gratitude. Continue reading “Gratitude Changes Everything”

Empty Promises

I must soak you and scrub you and scour you smooth – then, only then will you be what I made, an uncluttered channel of My mercy and grace.

Fortunes are risked, friendships jeopardized, and families destroyed when selfishness rules the heart. Whether obvious or hidden, our addiction to self-interest is irrationally stubborn to change … even when it is detrimental to our well-being. Selfishness is deceptive because it promises what it can’t deliver—fulfillment apart from God. Self-centeredness is no respecter of persons. It infects babies, the young, old, rich, poor, bright, and dull. No one is immune to this deceptive vice. Continue reading “Empty Promises”

Hijacked by Doubt

For the sealing of its holes made it sadly deceived, claiming the echo inside was the real thing indeed.

Have you ever felt totally confident and content one moment and the very next, overwhelmed with uncertainty? How is this possible? You’ve been hijacked by doubt. Such ambushing is especially true in our relationships because doubt challenges the very trust on which they are built. This is the story of the flute and I think it is often ours as well. As Christians, the festering question takes root in our hearts and threatens our faith, “Is God really enough?” Continue reading “Hijacked by Doubt”

Surviving Isn’t Enough

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”

Wounds of a Friend

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”

The Soil of Suffering

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”

Redemption in Disguise

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”

Fear Wisely

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”

Facing Beggar’s Shame

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”