I Lived to Tell the Tale

Some days are great and some days are terrible. Some days just are. This was one of them.

It wasn’t great. It wasn’t terrible. It just was.

Still, it’s got a few things going for it that make it a good day in my book.

I woke up this morning, so that’s a win.

I managed to breathe in and out and my heart kept beating all day. Another win.

I didn’t go hungry or thirsty or naked or cold. Still another win.

I woke up to God’s new mercies and I’m going to bed under His everlasting grace.

I’d call it a very good day, wouldn’t you?


Mondays Are Rude

“Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings” (Ephesians 3:16-19, The Voice).

Mondays are just rude. They come barging in at some ungodly hour of the morning, interrupting your nice, relaxing weekend, making all sorts of demands, sucker-punching you in the face, forcing you to interact with life before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee. Of all the nerve.

Mondays are typically the days when your passwords suddenly don’t work, you spill that beloved cup of coffee on all your papers, and your inbox blows up.

Sometimes, it can feel like Monday can last a lot longer than 24 hours. It can seem to go on for days, weeks, and even months. You don’t feel adequate to handle all that Monday brings.

Relax. Remember this.

God doesn’t just give you enough grace and mercy to get by. He doesn’t just give you enough love to sustain you until Tuesday mercifully arrives. He doesn’t dole out peace with stingy fingers and a dour face.

Your cup runneth over with God’s provisions. You don’t just get enough. You get much,much more.

You get God. Not just what’s leftover when everybody else has gotten their share. You get all of God.

You get so much grace, mercy, love, and peace that it’s like trying to catch the ocean in a thimble (with thanks to Mike Glenn for that image). There’s so much that it overflows your capacity to receive and pours out on those around you, those in the places where you live and work and play.

Honestly, all Mondays come to an end. They seem to last forever, but they’re just 24 hours, like the other six days in the week.

All of God’s grace and mercy and love and peace will never end. Long after Monday is over, those will still be with you. God will still be with you.

And there’s always more refills of coffee.


A Good Word from Micah

Quick question: when was the last time you heard a sermon from the little book of Micah? Or from any of the minor prophets? Just wondering.

I was reading Micah this afternoon in my quest to read through the Bible in a year (this year, I’m reading from the New English Bible). I’ll admit that most of what I read today wasn’t the most happy-go-lucky sort. After all, God was speaking through these prophets to a wayward and rebellious nation who refused to repent and come back to the God who had brought them out of Egypt and through the wilderness to their promised land (not that there are any parallels to this country, right?) But not all of it was dark and gloomy.

Here’s one section I read that I hope will uplift and encourage you as it did me.

Where is the god who can compare with you—
    wiping the slate clean of guilt,
Turning a blind eye, a deaf ear,
    to the past sins of your purged and precious people?
You don’t nurse your anger and don’t stay angry long,
    for mercy is your specialty. That’s what you love most.
And compassion is on its way to us.
    You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing.
You’ll sink our sins
    to the bottom of the ocean.
You’ll stay true to your word to Father Jacob
    and continue the compassion you showed Grandfather Abraham—
Everything you promised our ancestors
    from a long time ago” (Micah 7:18-20).

Note: I quoted from The Message a) because Bible Gateway doesn’t have the New English Bible as a translation and I was too lazy to type the whole thing and b) because Eugene Peterson’s rendering is pretty powerful in and of itself.


Severe Mercies


“God never withholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — ‘severe mercies’ at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better” (Elisabeth Elliot).

I saw where you entered through those gates of splendor you had written about all those years ago. I read where your own suffering had ended, that ‘severe mercy’ that God gave you to bear, Alzheimer’s disease, was finally over.

You taught me that the mark of a man is in being both tough as nails about what he believes and fights for and tender toward those he fights for.

You shared the words that your first husband, Jim, wrote, before he was martyred for his faith: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

You showed me that faithful obedience and surrender to Jesus aren’t the keys to joy. They are the joy, that a heart given over completely to God is a heart at rest.

You helped me see that trust doesn’t always require explanations or answers or reasons why. Faith is its own reward and God above all is enough.

You defined true femininity when you wrote these words: “. . . my plea is let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is”.

I hear God saying to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into your rest.”

I and so many others will carry on your legacy you left behind in your books and speeches and letters. We are your legacy.

So thank you. May all who come behind us also find us equally faithful.

All is Grace


“This book is by the one who thought he’d be farther along by now, but he’s not . . . the dim-eyed who showed the path to others but kept losing his way . . . the disciple whose cheese slid off his cracker so many times he said ‘to hell with cheese ‘n’ crackers’ . . .”

But, this book is for the gentle ones . . . who’ve been mourning most of their lives, yet they hang on to shall be comforted . . . the younger and elder prodigals who’ve come to their senses again, and again, and again, and again . . . because they’ve been swallowed by Mercy itself . . . [and] dare to whisper the ragamuffin’s rumor—all is grace. (All is Grace, 27)

Have you ever had a book that you’ve been wanting and waiting to read for a long time? I’m finally getting around to reading a book like that. It’s called All is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir.

As you’ve probably figured out by now, my blog derives its name from a Brennan Manning book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, for which he is most famous. But I can vouch for all his other books, which are equally grace-drenched and read-worthy.

All is grace. I love that idea. Everything that’s ever happened to me– the good, the bad, the ugly– is all grace because it has either reaffirmed what I knew about the goodness of God or driven me into a deeper dependence on that same God who works all things together for good. Because of that grace, nothing is ever lost or wasted or useless or in vain. Absolutely nothing.

I believe now that the life of faith works in reverse from the ordinary life. As babies, we’re born totally dependent on others and grow more and more into an independence of being able to stand on our own two feet. In the spiritual life, we start out as independent strangers from God and grow into a complete and total dependence on God.

As of this writing, I’m on page 100. I’ll probably be posting more about this book as I get farther into it, so remember you have been warned.


Keep Calm and Keep Believing



We’ve all royally messed up when it comes to relationships. Maybe you’ve lost only a few friends along the way or maybe you feel like you’ve run everyone away. Either way it never gets easier when someone finally gives up on you.

It’s easy to become resentful and bitter, but in the long run forgiveness feels better than being weighed down by all that anger. So choose to forgive, not because the other person deserves it but because you need it.

Only forgiven people can forgive and only those whom God has forgiven can really and truly forgive those who have hurt them.

Of course forgiveness doesn’t mean automatic restoration of trust. That has to be earned. Some relationships will never be like they were before. But still forgiveness is always right and always good and always worth it.

I recommend eating something chocolatey after forgiving someone. It helps. Sorta like eating chocolate after fighting off a dementor. Yes, I just went Harry Potter on you.

You forgive because you know you fail. You know you will inevitably need forgiveness yourself from just about everyone you know. It happens. Treat others like you would like to be treated when you deserve rejection but find mercy instead.

Don’t forget the chocolate.

A Simple Prayer


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
LORD Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord JESUS Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus CHRIST, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, SON of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son OF God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of GOD, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, HAVE mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have MERCY on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy ON me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on ME, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, A sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a SINNER.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Those Little Moments


I found out something that broke my heart tonight. I can’t share specifically what the details are, but I can say that it made me very sad for a good friend of mine. I have some takeaways (none of which are new or original) to pass along and which I hope to practice more in the future:

1) Never take those you love for granted, whether they’re blood-related or not. As morbid as it sounds, it is true that you never know when or if you’ll see that person again in this lifetime. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

2) If possible, err on the side of telling family and friends you love them TOO much rather than not enough. By that, I mean tell them every time you see them or call them or text them.

3) Practice forgiveness and mercy and grace. Forgiving someone may be hard, but not as hard as living with the regret of words not spoken and the knowledge that you’ll never again have the chance to say “I’m sorry, forgive me” or “I forgive you”.

4) While you never fully appreciate anything or anyone until you look back in hindsight, you can choose to value those around you and let them know how much you value them.

5) Pray for those you love and let them know you’re praying for them. Nothing means more to me than knowing family and friends are praying for me.

6) Choose hugs instead of handshakes. Choose the people you’re with instead of your social media friends. Choose today to reach oit to someone you’ve lost touch with or had a falling out with or neglected in recent months.

That’s all I have. I am as always thankful for you. God bless.

PS Those little moments will be the ones you treasure and remember most fondly. Not the accolades or awards or promotions or titles or accomplisments. It will be the time you spent with those you love.

Forgiveness and Grace in January


“Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family” Henri J.M. Nouwen).

Have you royally messed up with a friend (or at least felt like you have)? Have you ever had someone “let you have it,” verbally blasting you with a post or a text?

Maybe you deserved it. Maybe not.


Or maybe you’re the one who did the telling off. Maybe you got way upset with someone and spoke in pure anger and frustration. Maybe that person deserved it.

I have some questions for you and me.

1) Since when is the life of a believer about giving people what they deserve? Isn’t it supposed to be about giving those in your life the benefit of the doubt and extending grace?

Which leads to my second question:

2) Would I want Jesus treating me as I deserve? Would I even stand a chance?

I know the answers to the second question are: no, not long, and a snowball’s chance in hell.

Maybe I need to drop that stone in my hand and look in the mirror. I may look just like that person I intend to cast that proverbial first stone at. I may not struggle with the same sins, but my sins would make me just as guilty in the eyes of a holy God if not for grace and Jesus.

It’s one thing to call out a person in love when their actions don’t match their professed beliefs. It’s another to blast someone and assume sinful motives, which I’ve done too many times. And in this case, once is one time too many.

You will lose friendships through misundestandings. You will have “friends” who show their true colors when you act in the slightest unloving way or slip in the least. You will have those who will stick with you even when you yourself would have bailed on you.

I’m glad God doesn’t ever give me what I have coming to me or treat me as my sins deserve. Even on my best days, I’d still be in trouble. Because of my favorite word– grace– God looks at my filthy rags of good intentions and best efforts and sees the perfection of Jesus.


Gosh, I do so love grace!

PS You will need to forgive yourself at some point. All of the above still applies if it’s you needing the forgiveness from yourself.

Random Thoughts on a December Friday


I think I mentioned a few posts back that I was tired. I still am. That’s what working 10+ hour days will do to a person. Especially when you’re talking six days a week of those long hours.

The good news is I have a job and I have money. I’m no Donald Trump about to go buy another island, but I can pay my bills and not have to worry about the next meal. That’s what I call blessed.

I haven’t forgotten that half the world’s population lives on $2 a day or less. Most of them will go to bed hungry, malnourished, and sick from water-b0rn illnesses caused by drinking unsafe water. Half the world’s population has never made or received a phone call, something I take for granted on a daily basis. Who am I to complain about working a few extra hours here and there?

When I get tired, I get cranky. Sometimes, I get sarcastic, although I very rarely let those kinds of comments out into the open air. I’d probably have way less friends and even less of a chance of dating than I do now.

I also get way self-absorbed and a little paranoid. I don’t think so much that people are out to get me, but rather they’re out to abandon me at the first opportunity. Fears that seem irrational during the day can seem very real at night. In the same way, thoughts that I would never entertain for a second when I’m well-rested seem to take root when I am exhausted to think clearly.

It’s a good thing God loves me in all my moods and in all my phases of life and through all my ups and downs. His grace covers it all. That same God that meets me where I am and loves me where I am won’t let me stay there. I’m thankful I’m a lot less self-centered and fearful than I used to be.

I get to sleep in tomorrow. It may not seem like such a big deal to you and normally it wouldn’t to me, but when you’ve had to be at work at 6 am for the past three Saturdays, being able to sleep past 8 am is a welcome change.

I love that when I wake up in the morning, God’s mercies will be new and His faithfulness will be just as fresh as that dew on those flowers in the spring. God is good like that.