My hope is that this blog will be a conduit for conversation between you and me, between you and others, and most importantly, between you and God. Experience has shown me that my best conversations with the Lord and with others come coupled with the stillness of morning and a cup of coffee. Whatever your experience has been, I hope you will join me as I share what God puts on my heart.

Friday, December 16, 2011

When I am weak, I am strong.

Sometimes I have sobering moments where I become intensely conscious of my weaknesses. For me, realizing my limitations is somewhat painful because it reminds me that I am weak; that I am inadequate. 

We all are.

And recently my prayers have been repetitive: “Lord I cannot do this but for You; Lord, if I am capable of this, it is only through You; Lord, this has to be You because I am helpless.”

But it always has to be God.

When we realize our limitations; when we realize our weaknesses, we do not have to wallow in an abyss filled with our lack of abilities.  Rather, we become beyond capable through Christ.  Realizing our weaknesses and imperfections emphasizes that which makes us able.   And that which makes us able is the power of Christ that rests on us.

When we are weak, we are strong. 

But we are not strong on our own right.  We are strong only because being aware of our weaknesses causes us to rely fully on Christ.  Relying fully on Christ means Christ’s power rests on us.

Christ does not make us solely capable.  Christ equips us beyond what we need.  It would be impossible to recount the times that I have cried out to the Lord because I am unqualified, inept, incapable, or weak.  During these times, I become acutely aware of Christ’s power in me.  And it feels surreal.  And I act surprised as if it has not happened before.  It is during those times that I become more capable than I ever could be on my own.  It is during those times; it is during my weakest moments that the Lord’s work through me exponentially increases. 

What an absurdity: when we are at our weakest point, we are at our strongest point.  What a beautiful reality that denying ourselves means receiving that which is far greater than ourselves.  Christ’s power rests on us in its fullest measure when we are keenly aware of our utter helplessness without Him.  Were one to externally assess these situations where I have been entirely helpless, one would think that it was I who caused the situation to end positively.  In reality, those were the times when I was wholly aware of my reliance on Christ.  While it is certainly true that we are always wholly dependent on God, we are not always wholly aware of that dependence. 

If it is our weaknesses; if is our limitations that propel our awareness of this dependence, then we must praise God for them. 

Christ’s power rests on me.  Christ’s power rests on you.

And so I will rejoice in these weaknesses, even when it hurts.  I pray you rejoice too.      

“But he has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”   (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 NIV).

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. . . .”  (Ephesians 3:20, 21 NIV).

Speaking of my weaknesses.  Hello, sugarfreepeppermintmochacreamer.  Get in my mouth.

Much love to you,


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Casting gains context.

I sometimes strain through life.  And I define every potential problem I may have, delineate every solution available, and often dwell on the worst outcome.  And when I have come to terms with whatever outcome I decide is most probable, I feel relief but for a moment before I quickly move on to another problem.  And maybe you do this too.  And we live our lives with fluctuating, but always existing, anxiety as if anxiety were our security blanket.  

But I want God’s perspective.  And we need God’s perspective.  Because in God’s perspective, in the light of God’s purpose for us, most we strain about becomes inconsequential.  It is not that our Lord does not value our anxieties--He certainly does care for us.  It is more that our anxieties become peripheral to us in God's light. 

We must see matters as our Lord sees those matters.  When we cast our cares on our Lord, our Lord graciously opens our eyes to the context of our cares.  By deliberately casting our cares on the Lord, we place those cares in the light of God’s presence.  The context of God’s presence becomes what matters.  God’s presence reminds us of His promises.  We gain the perspective that God is in control.  

And we gain the perspective that if we are seeking God, God’s purpose for our lives cannot be frustrated; no anxiety, no circumstance, no horrific outcome, no plot of the enemy, no failure, and no pain can thwart the will of God in my life.  And in your life. 

We do not have to claw through life from anxiety to anxiety because God's perspective compels us to rest in Him.  

Why do we struggle to cast our cares on our Lord?  Perhaps it is my pride.  Maybe I want to control the solution to my problem because I somehow think I can obtain the outcome I want; I can obtain the best outcome; I am the solution.  It is not that I manifestly believe these fictions; these fictions are tangled in the deep roots of my problem--they are likely subconscious, but they are no less a problem.  Perhaps these fictions pervade your thinking.

Before we can enjoy this blessing of peace in our Lord, we must give up control.  Casting, by its very nature, is relinquishing control.  We must recognize that we cannot find solutions in ourselves; we cannot find peace in ourselves. 

Then, it is no longer about the solution to our problems; it is about the process of giving control to God.  Because once we do that, our responsibilities are complete.  Giving control to God is truly the only element of the peace process that lies with us.  Our problems are far too big for us, but they are not too big for our Lord.  Any peace we find within our own solutions will be temporary and superficial.  If we do not realize our limits, we will never realize our Lord’s peace.  

I pray for humility that propels us to give control to God.  And this humility often hurts because it means realizing our own limitations.  I pray we deliberately cast our anxieties on our Lord.  This is not a passive activity that happens on its own.  Praise God that our Lord wants to carry our burdens.  Praise God for the freedom that comes with Christ’s perspective.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”  (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”  (Psalm 94:19 NIV).

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIV).

Oh, Eggnog coffee.  You hurt me so good.

Much love to you,


Friday, December 2, 2011


I praise the Lord for His presence.  Although sometimes our Lord’s presence is more real than other times, it is no less real and no less available to us always.  This is something I have been dwelling on as this Christmas season is upon us:  That Christ’s presence on earth enabled us to have Christ within us.  And I do not want to take this lightly.  Because this one aspect of the Christmas story coupled with the subsequent event of the cross is everything to me.  It is everything to us—that our Lord came into the world, and that our Lord has come into our hearts.

Our Lord is here among us, as our Lord always was.  But even more, our Lord is within us.  And this emanated from our Lord’s life on earth. 

The Lord is here.  He is here. He is here.  Our Lord is here. 

And I have been saying it over and over again to myself as of late. And I want to remind you of it.  That our Lord wants to reside within us is unimaginable to me.  And the more I try to understand it, the more our Lord’s love overwhelms me. 

Let it overwhelm you.

It is like this newfound joy to remember that the birth of Christ initiated the events that enabled us to have Christ's presence within us.  It is not just that we are new creations because of Christ.  It is not just that our Lord makes us new and leaves us to ourselves. It is that we are new creations with the Lord within us. 

How can I remain dismal; how can I remain distracted; how can I remain unmoved in light of this glorious reality? And I understand that I am dwelling on what may seem like an obvious aspect of Christ’s life on earth--His presence.  But it is the Lord's presence that is the condition precedent to everything He has done for us.

Do we realize that God has called us?  Do we realize that when we respond to God, we receive the presence of God within us?  For our God is always present without, but how magnificent that our God is present within. 

Do we truly realize that God, our Lord Jesus Christ; the Creator of Life; our Sustainer; our Redeemer; our Peace; our Joy, is present within us?  It is not that we must pursue some distant being to obtain all of these things; for our Lord is all of these things for us because our Lord is here.   

Our Lord is here.  Our Lord is here. Our Lord is here.

I pray we dwell on this reality.   If you have not responded to our Lord’s call and have not experienced the marvelous presence of our Lord within you, I implore to you to do so.  I pray that if you have responded to our Lord’s call, that this season is a reminder of the presence of Christ on earth.  I pray this season is even more a reminder of our Lord’s presence within us.  Praise God that our Lord would make His home within our otherwise decrepit hearts. 

"'The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' (which means 'God with us')."  (Matthew 1:23 NIV) (emphasis added).

"Jesus replied, 'Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.  My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.'"  (John 14:23 NIV).

"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you."  (John 14:26 NIV).

"Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. . . ." (Galatians 4:6 NIV).

Ode to you, Christmas cup.  It's finally time for you.

Much love to you, 


Monday, November 28, 2011

My times are in Your hands.

I want to control my schedule.  By controlling my schedule, I can control my satisfaction in what I think I should be accomplishing.  By finding my satisfaction in my to-do list, I also derive peace from that to-do list.  By finding my peace and satisfaction in my to-do list, I control my life. 

And when I believe this, I believe a lie.  And maybe you believe this lie.

Our schedules may be ours, but time is not ours.  Our Lord is the creator of time.  Our Lord is the keeper of time.  And our Lord is the owner of time.  Surely the creator, keeper, and owner of time can manage our schedules better than we can. 

The Lord wants my schedule.  And the Lord wants yours.

I am sorry that it took this frustration with my schedule for me to give control to God.  Yet, this frustration reminds us that we must entrust every aspect of our schedule to the Lord.  And I believe this requires that we stop believing the lie that time is ours.  Because when we stop believing the lie that time is ours, we stop expecting our schedule to be ours.  When we stop expecting our schedule to be ours, we stop becoming frustrated when our schedule is altered. 

This propels us to rest in God throughout the day.  Thus, we place our satisfaction in God and not in our to-do lists.  And I am speaking just as much to myself as I am speaking to you.  Each day we trust that the Lord helps us accomplish exactly what we need.

And it is not a meaningless schedule in which we find our peace; it is our Lord Jesus Christ in whom we find our peace. 

I pray we rest in God every moment of this day.  I pray we deliberately turn our schedules over to God.  For me, this has meant repeatedly saying, "My schedule is Yours, Lord."  I pray we trust that each day the Lord and what He has for us is enough.  Praise God that the creator, the keeper, and the owner of time is most equipped to manage our time.

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’  My times are in your hands. . . .”  (Psalm 31:14, 15 NIV).

“And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light ‘day,’ and the darkness he called ‘night.’  And there was evening and there was morning—the first day.”  (Genesis 1:3-5 NIV).

“Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”  (James 4:13-15 NIV).   

Easy on the creamer this morning . . . at least for those of us who had to waddle to the coffeepot due to the Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes stuck to our booties.

Much love to you,


Friday, November 18, 2011


My Pastor has said that you will never reach God's potential for you unless you gather with other believers.  I do not want to overstress this point. 

But I will.  Because it is of utmost importance.  Because God uses relationships founded on Him as channels of God’s grace; God’s kindness; God’s encouragement; God’s voice.  Upon every step of my journey in Christ, I see a partner God sent me.  
Praise God for His kindness toward us.  Praise God that He inhabits these relationships founded on Him.  I encourage you to find a partner in faith.  One for whom you can pray; one whom you can encourage; one whom you can hold accountable; one with whom you can bear; one with whom you can grow.   One who will do the same for you.
My friend and I call these kingdom friendships. 
It is not that these relationships are flawless.  They are far from it.  They are often even more challenging because they are premised on Truth and accountability.  But it is this mutual commit to pursue God together that distinguishes these relationships.  It is Christ at the core of the relationship; it is the Christ I experience in my faith partner that gives me a glimpse of our Lord’s kingdom.    
And it is contrary to many of our superficial relationships.  And it is so refreshing.  
I pray the Lord prompts you to seek these kingdom relationships.  I promise they will change your life.  I thank the Lord for the kingdom friendships we already have.  Praise God for His kindness that He pours out through others.  
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”  (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10 NIV). 
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”  (Proverbs 27:17 NIV).
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone . . . .’”  (Genesis 2:18 NIV).

I would like to take a moment to reflect on this past week.  More particularly, I would like to reflect on the morning that I poured coffee all over the front of my drawers while driving to class. . . and proceeded to wear the pants for the entire day.  For those of us who are obsessed with coffee, the aroma of coffee coming from one’s pants throughout the day is not so glamorous. 
Much love to you,
Coffee Crotch  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the Truth will set you free.

I have an English Bulldog named Serge who is as stubborn as a mule.  If you know anything about Bulldogs, you know that stopping them once they have decided to do something is like attempting to stop a freight train.  Although we have Serge on weight-management food, he loves to eat our other dog’s food. 
It usually goes like this: two bowls of food are sitting out, and Serge has finished his quota.  I will see him sitting five feet from the other dog’s bowl.  If I see Serge even glance in the direction of the other bowl, I know he is going to go for that food.  It is a chain reaction every time.  I must constantly remind him that I will beat his rear end at that moment I see him thinking about going for the other food.  Otherwise, he is a goner.  At the point he even looks in the direction of the forbidden fruit, I must stop him. 
I imagine our minds work this way. 
A friend has told me that our feelings start with our thoughts.  Thoughts lead to feelings, and feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to habits.  And before we know it, that one thought that was contrary to Christ led to habits that are contrary to Christ.  
And this is why we must take every thought captive.  The humor in my anecdote is not meant to trivialize this principle.  Just as I must address Serge at the moment I see him even considering the other bowl of food, I must address my thoughts at the moment they are inconsistent with our Lord.  By addressing these thoughts, we also address our feelings that affect our actions that affect our habits.
And this is not a passive exercise.  This exercise is also more than combating sinful thoughts; we must combat discouraging thoughts; we must combat fearful thoughts; we must combat thoughts stemming from satan’s lies; we must combat flesh-filled thoughts; we must combat any and every thought contrary to the Spirit within us.  This exercise is more than deliberately realizing my thought is contrary to Christ.  We must then make every thought obedient to Christ. 
This is a two-step process that will not happen on its own: we recognize a thought is inconsistent with Christ, and we replace the thought with Truth.  And this requires that we know the Truth.  And this requires that we are relentless because often we are replacing the same single thought with Truth over and over and over. 
I pray we spend more time with our Lord and in His Word so that we may know the Truth.  I pray the Lord prompts us to recognize our thoughts that are contrary to our Lord.  I pray we recognize the lies that have pervaded our thinking so much so that we accept the lies as truth.  I pray we take these thoughts captive by making them obedient to Christ.  Praise God that He has set us free from mental strongholds.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
“The weapons we fight with are not weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”  (2 Corinthians 10:4 NIV).
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:32 NIV).
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”  (John 8:36 NIV).

What if I told you I am a coffee-creamer hoarder?  If this is a sickness, I don't want to be well.
 Much love to you,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Because the Lord sustains me.

I imagine parents are delighted when their children seek their help.  Just as any parent wants to help his child, the Lord wants to help us.  Although God does not need to be needed, we certainly need God.  By need, I am referring to more than just needing our Lord to redeem us.  That is absolutely our greatest need.  By need, I am referring to our Lord as our help in everything—especially the little things.
When we fail to recognize our need for Christ, it is no less a reality that we need Christ. 
Our Lord is our creator, our sustainer, our refuge, our provider, our redeemer, our help, our protector, our peace, our joy, our healer, our strength.
And I can go on and on and on.  Because we cannot do even the smallest act apart from God.   
Our Lord does not need our recognition of this dependence.  But, our recognition of this dependence is praise to our Lord.  Although the praise this gives God is most important, what this recognition does to the attitude of our hearts is invaluable. 
The more I recognize my dependence on God in everything, the more I ask God for help.  The more I ask God for help, the more I am  deliberately relying on Him.  The more I am deliberately relying on God—because in reality we are always relying on God—the more I am communing with God.  
And I want us to ask God for help in the small things.  And this takes humility.  But our need is reality.
Of course, it is easy for us to ask God for help in the overwhelming things.  But let us ask God for help in the minutia of life, in our everyday tasks that we have accomplished so often that we have become conditioned to think we are accomplishing those tasks.  If I cannot inhale without God, if it is God who sustains me, then I certainly cannot do one thing without God.   
I pray we recognize that our need for our Lord is so great that we cannot even perform the trivial duties of life without our Lord’s help.  I pray we deliberately ask our Lord for help—especially in the areas where we are falsely conditioned to believe we can do something on our own.  I pray we ask for help in the small things.  Praise God that He is our everything.
“I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.”  (Psalm 3:5 NIV).
“But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God.  You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.”  (Psalm 70:5 NIV).
“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”  (Psalm 146:5 NIV).

 Mmmhmmmmm.  Fall feels good.
Much love to you,

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


If you are anything like me, then you want the one who wronged you to initiate reconciliation with you.  I may have very well forgiven whomever wronged me, but whoever wronged me must lead the resolution process, must come to me to make amends. 
But Christ has always been the initiator. 
How contrary this is to our carnal nature.  That our Lord, whom we have continually wronged, would pursue us to be reconciled to God.  It is as if I have wronged you over and over and often in the same way, and every time you have chased me down to reconcile me.  And even while you were pursing me for reconciliation, I was still offending you.   
And it makes me emotional because our Lord’s love for us is nonsensical.  
It was not that we did one offensive act; we were perpetually offensive.  And He still came after me. And He still came after you.  Christ came after us while we were in the wrong.  Besides understanding the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, I want us to be this love of God to others.  
The goal is not to be right when somebody offends you; the goal is to be reconciled.  Because God was absolutely right in not pursuing us, but God cared more about reconciling us than demonstrating He is right.  May we be like this in conflict.  When somebody hurts us, may we chase down whomever has hurt us to reconcile that relationship.  It is illogical; it is humbling; it is painful because you were the one hurt, but it is refreshing; it is life-giving; it is pleasing to our Lord.  
And it is what our Lord did for me.  And it is what our Lord did for you.  And our Lord will give us strength to do it.    
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8 NIV) (emphasis added).
“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”  (Matthew 5:23 NIV).  
“Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult.  On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”  (1 Peter 3:8,9 NIV).  

Oh baby.  My first gingerbread latte of the season.   
Much love to you,