As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into.  Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us. We look away from the natural realm and we focus our attention and expectation onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. (Hebrews 12:1,2 TPT)

Over the years I have seen many sincere Christians in positions of influence who started well (some amazingly well) but who tripped and fell along the way. Nearly every incidence involved some sort of false idol adopted to comfort an old unhealed wound. Nearly every public figure I know who has fallen lost sight of Jesus and began to compare themselves to other runners. They lost their focus. None of them planned for things to go that way, but the pressures of ministry and the desire to maintain a good appearance or material security put enormous pressure on an unhealed wounded heart. The result was sin like an Argentinian gaucho’s bolo that wrapped around their legs and brought them down –face first.

How do we run this race set before us? First, we need to admit our woundedness and seek the Lord’s healing. We may fall and rise and fall and rise again, but with healed hearts, with passion and determination, and with focus on Jesus Christ, faith gains strength and speed.

A cloud of witnesses who longed to be where you are right now is leaning over heaven’s balcony and cheering you on. Run!

Creative Meditations for Lent, Word prompt: Run.


You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:5,6 NKJV)

Frequently when the Bible uses the word watch, it means to be awake, vigilant, and attentive. Paul wrote these words to the believers in Thessalonica about discerning the times they were living in. He reminds them that no one knows when Christ will return, but they are capable of discerning the significance of what is happening around them if they watch.

Watching to understand the times requires us to see with lenses that are not tainted by our own fears, doubts, and priorities. We need to see the way Jesus sees, through his eyes. We need to pray the way he is praying, with his thoughts.

There are so many distractions and flashing messages right now saying, “Look here and not there!” We need the lens of hindsight, the lens of foresight, and especially the lens of insight. These lenses are available to those who ask and are awake, walking in the light, seriously wanting to understand, and paying attention.

Ask. Watch. Pray.

Creative Meditations for Lent, Word Prompt: Watch


Creative Meditations for Lent. Word prompt: Carry

There are so many ways I could go with the word carry. Carry out, carry through, carry on, carry over, carry away, carry around…  What I hear in my heart is a line from a song by Selah called “Audrey’s Song.” The part of the song I keep hearing is “I will carry you.”

The song is sung by a mother to her child in the womb. Doctors told the parents that the baby had anomalies incompatible with life and recommended abortion. Instead, the they chose to love their child and honour the life she had, how ever short it would be. (Warning, it’s a tear-jerker.)

I Will Carry You (Audrey’s Song) by Selah from the album “You Deliver Me”

There were photographs I wanted to take

Things I wanted to show you

Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes

Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I’m not

Truth is I’m barely hanging on

But there’s a greater story

Written long before me

Because He loves you like this

I will carry you

While your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

Through the coming years I will carry you

All my life

And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me

To carry you

Such a short time

Such a long road

All this madness

But I know

That the silence

Has brought me to His voice

And He says … I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning

Walked her through the parted seas

Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes

Who could love her like this?

I thought about others in the faith who died young. I have often wondered why Jesus chose James, along with his brother of John – the other half of the sons of thunder— and Peter, to be his three closest companions. Jesus would have known that James wasn’t going to live long. King Herod had him “put to the sword.” In a manner all too common in political machinations, when he saw favourable numbers in the local population’s response to his handling of the disruption caused by these Jesus followers, Herod decided to kill some more of them. Peter was miraculously delivered from prison, but James hadn’t been. James was killed.

Why would Jesus invest so heavily in someone who wouldn’t be around very long? Who can say James’ life was of less value than the life of John who lived to a very old age? Jesus obviously loved him and could have rescued him. James obviously had faith and he was surrounded by the same faithful people who prayed for Peter to be released.

Somehow, we have adopted the idea that a successful life is a long life, that people ought to be valued for accomplishments, or at least potential accomplishments. Baby Audrey lived outside her mother’s womb for only two hours, but I believe God saw her life was as valuable and he loved and appreciated her as much as a 100-year-old woman with many accolades.

God loves us for who we are. He loves us because he loves us. Nothing we do or don’t do can make him love us any more or any less. Can we also take the risk of loving someone who may be leaving life on earth shortly? Being separated from a loved one is extremely painful, but not eternally painful. I admire those who can risk the pain of loss and love freely, carrying another person in their heart because they know they are loved by Love Himself.

He will carry them too.

Why the photo of spring flowers on the windowsill? These words in 1 Peter inspired me.

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 

For, ‘All people are like grass,
    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
     but the word of the Lord endures forever.’

And this is the word that was preached to you. (1 Peter 1:22-25)


Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” (Acts 2:43 NIV)

Today’s word for Creative Meditations for Lent has taken me in a different direction than I expected. I started thinking about awe in the above verse.

I’ve decided my definition of awe (like most other people’s, I suspect) has been entirely inadequate. We use it so casually as in, “You did an awesome job, kid.”

Other translations of the Bible use the word fear instead of awe. I looked it up. The word in Greek is phobos, the root of ‘phobia’ –a fear so strong it makes us want to run away (like the Children of Israel wanted to run away when God showed up on Mt. Sinai.)

Phobos appears in this passage as well:

People will faint from terror [phobos], apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Luke 21:26)

If we use the word awe instead of fear it gives a sense of how much the word awe has been devalued.

People will faint from awe.

For years I have sung “Our God is an awesome God” with the same fervour as if the lyrics had been, “Our God is a pretty impressive God.” Some of us have hit the other ditch in reaction to the sermons about a wrathful, vengeful God that neglected emphasis on his overwhelming love, mercy, and grace. Have we gone too far the other way? We can’t ignore the scripture about awe/fear of a God more powerful than we can imagine. Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

We have no idea what awe really means. But I think we are about to find out.


Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
 (Psalm 32:9 NIV)

There have been times when I felt the Lord was telling me to wait but I took off like a skittish horse. Fear pushed me into do something, anything mode. I then found myself in circumstances where there was nothing I could do but wait.

On the other hand, there have been times when I could see (in hind sight) the Lord was telling me to move, but I didn’t pay attention. Instead I stood my ground like a stubborn mule. That can’t be right, I thought. Sometimes I confused loyalty to people with loyalty to God. And sometimes I was just comfortable where I was, thank you very much. I then found myself becoming object of a divine loving shove.

It may still take me a while, but I’m learning to listen and respond sooner, if not immediately. I still hate making apologies for backing out after over-committing or after showing up late though. Thank God for grace.

Creative Meditations for Lent, Word prompt: Wait


“I leave behind with you—peace; I give you my own peace and my gift is nothing like the peace of this world.” – Jesus (in John 14:27, Phillips paraphrase)

Most people think of peace as the absence of hostilities or of war. Even when we talk about personal peace, we often mean the absence of things like annoying interruptions, chaos, lack of resources, or worries that something will interfere with our priorities. I wonder if the peace that Jesus offers is not like that. I wonder if his peace is not the absence of something but the presence of something.

What if peace is more like completeness? What if the peace he left us means having all the tools necessary for a task, or being so convinced that God will provide everything we need that we can not only survive storms, but walk into them with assurance that it’s going to be alright?

What if this perfect peace creates an appreciation of divine priorities. What if this peace that passes understanding comes with complete trust that God loves us and allows us to engage with him in his purposes? What if we become aware of perfect peace flowing through us and allow it to help us to perceive the direction of the wind of the Holy Spirit?

What if the peace that is nothing like the peace of the world means Christ has made more available to us than we ever imagined?



But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.  For this reason it says,

“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.

So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:13-15 NASB)

It’s becoming more obvious to many people that we live in perilous times where evil abounds. More people, despite great efforts to remain in the denial that surrounds their personal peace and prosperity like a white picket fence, are waking up. Evidence of evil piling up on street corners and in graves around the world is becoming more difficult to ignore.

Some leaders, trying their best in the face of suffering, can offer only a cruel compassion, with more tools of destruction, with a flip of victim/oppressor roles, or even with medically induced death marketed as a solution.

The scripture doesn’t say “Arise and panic,” or “Arise and shoot back,” or “Arise and declare evil the winner.”  This passage calls the listener to arise from deep sleep and orient to the Light of Christ.

In Isaiah 61 the phrasing is, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the Lord will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you.

Those who follow the light of Jesus Christ are meant to reflect his light, to be the opposite of darkness. Reflecting more darkness is rather pointless. If, instead of focusing on evil, we focus on Christ we will reflect his beautiful light, the light that seems counterintuitive to our “normal.” We will hear the Holy Spirit’s words of wisdom. Oh, how we need wisdom! Don’t be afraid to ask for wisdom.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

Walk carefully, but walk in the Light.

Creative Meditations for Lent, Prompt word: Arise


After their last supper together, Jesus asked Peter to let him wash his feet. Peter protested.

Peter looked at Jesus and said, “You’ll never wash my dirty feet—never!”
“But Peter, if you don’t allow me to wash your feet,” Jesus responded, “then you will not be able to share life with me.” (from John 13 in The Passion Translation)

Jesus confronted him sternly. This was important. This was so important that Jesus said Peter could not be a part of him if he did not let Jesus wash his feet.

On that evening full of important parting instructions, he also said, “So this is my parting command: Love one another deeply!” (verse 17)

Loving one another deeply requires mutual submission. Submission is not a word I like. Surrender is even worse. By confronting Peter he gave the clear message: Unless you are willing to accept help — my help — you can’t be a part of this.

This is the aspect of submission that I’ve missed for so many years. Submission doesn’t mean being a doormat to someone who would take advantage. Submission means saying, “How can I extend myself to help you to become all Christ means you to be?” Submission also means surrendering to Christ when he says, “Let me help you.”

Submission means becoming vulnerable to God’s goodness.

Experiencing God’s goodness is a prerequisite to loving one another.

Creative Meditations for Lent, Word prompt: Let


Today’s prompt for Creative Meditations for Lent was the word “Red.” The final verse of my favourite hymn comes to mind when prompted by red. From “Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by George Matheson:

O Cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be.


I took a photo of a plant outside the building for today’s creative meditation for Lent. The word prompt was “Belong.” The bold striped leaves have thrived despite everything a discouragingly cold winter could throw at it. Each leaf is growing in a different direction, but all are connected to the same root. All receive sustenance from the same source. It reminds me of belonging.

In the time when Jesus and the disciples walked the earth, belonging to a family or tribe or nation was important. None of this lone ranger, I-did-it-my-way stuff. Losing your place in a community was (and for most still is) a terrible punishment. Shame was both the cause and result of rejection. A person who brought shame on the family by an act considered to be disloyal was expelled. That’s why leprosy was a disease feared more than most. “Leper” has become a word synonymous with the opposite of inclusion.

For the majority of the world’s people, (and increasingly so in the West) belonging is more important than being right or wrong. It’s all about your connections, your family name, or your tribal identity. (Which may help explain why some people with extremely loose interpretations of the law are voted into positions of power.)

We call it “cancel culture” or “boycotting” now, but rejection has had many names in the past. Historically, those who failed to honour the group were banished, shunned, excommunicated, or disinherited.  It’s an effective tool for maintaining power and control. Various religious institutions have used it for ages. We see an example in the Bible when the parents of the man who Jesus healed of blindness were afraid to respond during the temple leaders’ inquest lest they be thrown out.

Jesus told his followers they could expect the same kind of treatment he experienced. What greater rejection could there be than the “honour killing” calls of “Crucify him!” that the mob in Jerusalem shouted?

Jesus took time to assure his followers they did belong. They belonged with him. Those who trust in him now also become part of the family of God and members of the household of faith. They are the called-out sons and daughters from every tribe and every nation who become one as part of the body of Christ. They grow from the same nourishing root.

Through Christ, we are not only forgiven, but welcomed into the family of God. One day we will be welcomed as the honoured, shame-free, guilt-free bride without spot or wrinkle at the marriage supper of the Lamb. This is where we truly belong. The Lover of our souls will never leave us or reject us. He promised.

For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. (1 Corinthians 12:13 NIV)