I keep thinking about something I heard in a Kairos sermon. Basically, the gist is that the best gift you can give to a loved one, more than presents, is presence.

More than going to a store and picking up something that may or may not end up being regifted or donated to Goodwill, maybe the best gift you can give is you. Your time. Your attention.

Who in your life needs to see your actual face (and not just your profile picture)? Who needs a reminder that you haven’t forgotten them?

Is it a relative? Is it a friend?

You can send a Facebook post or a text, but the best is to have a face-to-face conversation, one in which you aren’t distracted by your phone or tablet, but where you fully engage the other person and actually listen to what they are saying.

Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Not to be morbid, but you truly never know when it will be too late to have that conversation.

That’s really all I have. Maybe it’s something I need to do myself. Maybe I can find someone I haven’t seen in a while and try to reconnect.

Oh, and may all your traffic lights be green and all your checkout lines be short. Amen.


Storms Revisited

“Never dread any consequence resulting from absolute obedience to His command. Never fear the rough waters ahead, which through their proud contempt impede your progress. God is greater than the roar of raging water and the mighty waves of the sea. ‘The Lord sits enthroned as King forever’ (Psalm 29:10). A storm is simply the hem of His robe, the sign of His coming, and the evidence of His presence.” (F. B. Meyer)

Wow. I never thought of storms that way. Either literally or figuratively.

I always thought of God going before the storm, being with me during the storm, and waiting for me after the storm. I never thought of the storm itself being a sign of His presence.

I’m wondering something else. Whenever I picture a storm, I see grieving parents hovering over the coffin of their dead child or a father holding foreclosure papers in his trembling hands. But maybe storms come in less noticeable ways.

Could a storm be that dull dread day after day that never seems to depart? Could a storm be the rut you’ve been stuck in for years that never seems to alter or change?

Some storms come and wipe off the land. Some come and go with no evidence they were ever there. But they are felt just the same.

Storms end. Dark clouds give way to sunshine. The waters eventually subside. Yet God remains.

I had some grand way I was going to tie all this together so that you would think me ever so wise, but it never materialized. All I know is that for every storm that comes, God is just as present. And He’ll still be there after the storm leaves.

These are not the most profound words I’ve ever written, but maybe someone out there who is holding on for dear life or merely dreading the monotony of the next day, these words will be something to cling to. I don’t know.

I know God is bigger than any storm. He still speaks and the winds and waves still have to obey. That’s all I know for now.

My New Daily Prayer (Stolen from Mother Teresa)

“Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.”

A Daily Prayer of Mother Teresa

mother teresa

I found this in the booklet that came with a Natalie Grant CD I bought today.

“Dear Lord, help me to spread your fragrance wherever I go.

Flood my soul with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of yours.

Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with my feel your presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me, but only you, O Lord!

Stay with me, then I shall begin to shine as you do; so to shine as to be light to others. The light, O Lord, will be all from you; none of it will be mine; it will be you shining on others through me. Let me thus praise you in every way you love best, by shining on those around me.

Let me preach you without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to you.


I would only add that while it is great to show God’s love by example, it will always be necessary at some point to use words, for how can anyone believe who has not heard? I think the point that Mother Teresa and Saint Francis of Assisi made was that you need both. Not just words without a loving example and not just a loving example without words. Lord, help me to be both today!

Amen and amen.