When the world seems to be shrouded in chaos,

When a hurdle on the road in my privileged life

Seems too much to bear,

When my emotions threaten to crush me,

I take a breath

And turn to Him

The One who took me in His arms

And forgave everything,

Who gifted mercy when I didn’t deserve it,

Who flooded me in grace when I did nothing to earn it,

Who, even today, loves me with a love so high,

So deep, and so wide I will never understand it.


Sometimes I feel it, cloak myself in it, abide in it.

So I give thanks,

Not just today

But every day

To Him who changed my mind,

To Him who changed my heart,

To Him who transformed my life

Because His love is in my bones,

In my thoughts, in my words, in my feet, in my hands.


I am His daughter, never again alone,

And when I allow His Spirit to lead me,

To work in me, to remind me

Of the words of Jesus,

My heart is full of His love,

My eyes are full of His tears,

And the chaos and the hurdles

And the crushing burdens

Which threaten to destroy me

Seem to float, seem to lighten

As He lifts them and takes them on

And replaces them with

His lighter burden,

The only one He asks me to carry.


To love. And show others His.




So much death and so much sorrow

Strength from You I need to borrow

On my own can’t face the morrow

Beaten down my heart is grieving


Hate, rejection from all corners

Infiltrate, bombard the careworn

Instilling fear does God’s love scorn

Tongues continue their deceiving


Media sparks partisan slant

Talking heads shout fiery rants

Incites shunning immigrants

Creates worldly, skewed perceiving


One another we divide from

Caught up in the devil’s maelstrom

‘stead of praying for Spirit’s calm

Where grace and peace bring receiving


This fog lets us see not a trace

The brilliance of His watching face

But asking, we could be embraced

With His measure of reprieving


Today is not well with my soul

Tomorrow I may feel more whole

I know Jesus holds and consoles

I in Him keep on believing


“You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.” (Exodus 22:21-22)

 “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” (Leviticus 19:33-34)

A Line in the Sand

or – Our Three Denials

Line in the Sand

Often, we Christians draw a line in sand around political issues we mistake for biblical issues. Abortion, homosexuality, gun control, Muslims, Israel. Certainly we can find isolated Bible verses that support our position; we quote them often enough. I admit I have.

But I’m here to tell you I’m a red-letter kind of gal. And when I want Truth, I go back to those red letters in my Bible time and time again. And as I reread them and ask the Spirit for clarity to understand them, I continue to see, over and over, the three lines in the sand Jesus drew.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45, Luke 6:27)

As we continue to vilify all who are not like us, treat “them” like groups who need to be condemned, isolated, in some cases obliterated, we act in fear. But Jesus calls us to act in love. He calls us to pray for enemies, whoever we might consider to be a foe, whether a rival, assailant, detractor, terrorist or sinner. We are called to be more than our basest instincts chain us to be.

“I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me into your homes. I needed clothes, and you didn’t give me anything to wear. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t take care of me. They, too, will ask, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or as a stranger or in need of clothes or sick or in prison and didn’t help you?’ ‘I can guarantee this truth: Whatever you failed to do for one of my brothers or sisters, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you failed to do for me.” (Matthew 25:42-45)

Exactly how many starving immigrants do we have to deny from our warm, spacious homes? How many millions of refugees fleeing for their lives will continue to wander in deserts, in oceans with no opportunity for safety? How many hundreds of thousands of children have to die before we allow the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and minds from fear to love?

“So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34-35)

How can we say we love Jesus if we turn our backs on His words? How we can we say we follow Him if we refuse to stand with Him? Peter denied Jesus three times, but that was before he knew what we know. Before the Holy Spirit took up residence in him. Before Jesus allowed him to declare his love three times face to face to repent of those denials.

We need to stop condemning, stop finger-pointing and extend the same loving, grace-filled invitation Jesus extended to Levi the tax collector. And break bread at the same table.

In the face of those lines in the sand, will we continue to deny Jesus three times over and over knowing what we know?

Lessons from the Greatest Generation

Susan Irene Fox:

Tears in my eyes. So unexpected. Thank you, Jarret, for sharing this.

Originally posted on Downward, Upward, and Forward Behind Jesus:


Every weekday morning, a small group of retired men meet at Bojangle’s inmy small townand gather around what they call “the Round Table.” The men, mostly in their late eighties and nineties, meet to discuss politics, religion and how old they are getting over a cup of coffee and a sausage or cheese biscuit. All of the men attend church regularly somewhere in town, although none of them are members of the church where I serve as pastor. Nearly all of them served our country during World War II or the Korean War. I would describe them as “conservative,” “patriotic,” and “Christian.” And maybe a little “grumpy.”

As a pastor in the community, I have learned that “the Round Table” is the place to go in town to get the latest news, a good laugh, and yes, even some gossip. I can always count on them to speak their mind…

View original 412 more words

Fearing Love

©Angelo Cavalli

©Angelo Cavalli

Why do we fear God’s love so much?

It’s so easy for us to point out the sins of our brothers and sisters, so effortless to gossip about this one’s failings, that group’s lifestyle, another one’s fall from grace. So uncomplicated to express our self-righteous opinions on a red cup, a God-given right (when it’s my right, not yours), or the plight of refugees.

Why is it so difficult for us to accept God’s unconditional love? To really understand why His grace is called amazing? To accept Jesus invites everyone to the table, even those we’d rather not eat beside?

Because it makes us vulnerable. Because it may bring us to our knees. Because maybe we’ll discover God’s will is not our will. Because it may overflow the empty parts of our hearts with so much love the only choice left to us will be to give it away. Because maybe, just maybe, we’re afraid we’ll become diaphanous, like a dandelion blown away in the wind.

Here’s the thing about dandelions. Because of the way God created them, they’re strong. Useful. Ubiquitous. When they go to seed, they are naturally designed to create other dandelions. The wind takes those seeds and carries them to faraway places – places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to travel on their own.



The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8).

Tenacious Love



From Spirit’s power love is learned,

agape love for all concerned.

When we link people in a chain

How do we show that Jesus reigns with grace unearned?


We fail to meet “them” face to face,

one member of this human race.

When we accuse a group’s lifestyle

How do we show that Jesus’ trial was God’s embrace?


This love’s not weak; reverse is true.

Takes strength and courage, ever new.

When love occurs, one grows a thirst;

How do we show that He loved first, inviting through?


We can no longer judge, condemn

if we’re to call God’s earth to Him.

“Through love the world will know you’re mine.”

How long our Lord will we decline, turn His light dim?


This call to love will not be quelled.

To break laws chains His purpose knells;

one heart, one person at a time.

How do we show Jesus inclines to fears dispel?


The Spirit’s love we must allow

to take our heart, and do it now

Else hinder those who might avail –

How do we show His grace prevails to change endow?


So to my God I give full choice;

I pray through me He speaks His voice.

To love another is no sin;

How will we show that Jesus wins so all rejoice.

Sodom: A Follow up

I want to talk a bit about homosexuality.

And rigid beliefs.

And intractable hearts that don’t allow the Spirit to transform them.

And why we Christians seem to value sexual sin – any kind of sex, but homosexuality in particular – a higher order sin than any other.

Because I don’t think God does.

This subject piggyback’s off another blog I read a few of days ago entitled simply, Sodom.

So where do we get off thinking Sodom was destroyed for homosexuality? Well, if you have narrowness of vision, it begins and ends with Genesis 19:4-11.


But let’s go back for a moment to Genesis 18:20. “And the Lord said, ‘The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.’”

At this point, God reveals His plan to destroy the cities to His friend Abraham, who negotiates with God that if He finds even ten righteous among the city, God will not destroy it.

Enter two angels at the city gate; Lot sees them and bows down to them “with his face to the earth.” (Genesis 19:1) Lot invites the two gentlemen to his home to dine and spend the night. Here, the “all important” Genesis 19:4-11 relays the story of all the village men of Sodom, young and old, who come to Lot’s house to terrorize these visitors.

This is not about sex or relationship; this is about rape and violence. When Lot refused to hand over his visitors, he offered them his daughters to assuage their vicious craving. This wasn’t lust; it was greed. Men were worth more, and Lot offered them his possessions of lesser value to protect his celestial guests.

Now, in 19:13 the angels tell Lot to gather his family and take them out of the city because it will be destroyed. Why? “Because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

Please now, those of you ready to jump the gun and declare the sin: it is still not defined by God or the angels!

Ah, but now we come to Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 16:15-17:24 is all about being unfaithful to God – it’s about breaking the Old Testament Covenant God established with Moses. Israel continually turned away from God, looking for reasons to abandon trust with Him. In this passage, God uses the terms whore, whoring, prostitute or adulterous over 20 times. It has nothing to do with sex. It has to do with turning back to idol worship when God gave them everything. God defines the sin for which Sodom’s was destroyed – and it isn’t what you think.

In addition, God says unfaithfulness is worse than anything Sodom may have done. (emphasis mine)

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:48-50)

I mean, gosh – God didn’t even think enough about the “abomination” to name it. Like it was almost an afterthought. So what does God name as the guilt of Sodom?


Excess of food of wealth but not aiding the poor and needy.

And THIS, God declares, was not as sinful as idol worship. As breaking faith. As not trusting He will wholly and completely love and care for you. Grant you grace and mercy when you need it. Give you comfort, compassion and connection to His heart.

See – Jesus was God come to life in human form. Jesus was the personification of the Father. (“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30)

He told us what’s most important: ‘“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

He said, Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)

He said, By this all people will know you are my disciples if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

As His disciple John said, Let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18)

This message of love and hope also posted on Church Set Free