Monday, December 30, 2013

Communication Gone Bad

Reading (and sometimes participating in) theologically related threads where commentators are as precise with their words of debate as they can possibly be, yet with entirely no resolution, reminds me of why I think written language is such a crazy thing.  We who attempt to rely upon words on a page, rather than face-to-face dialogue are bound to severe frustration.  Consider the following sentence as a case in point:  “All the communication he had had had had no effect.”

Let me suggest that the next time you wade into written, computer screen debate, theological, political or whatever, that you remember the God-made-incredible human you’re addressing.  The person on the other side of the screen is no more your handiwork than you are his.  Write what you think, and trust Jesus to be “the way, the truth, and the life.”  He’s pretty good at all that, right?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks

In a word, “Saving Mr. Banks” is superb.  It’s one of the best, most complete and satisfying films I’ve seen in a long time.  There was so much to the story of “Mary Poppins” that I didn’t know, and I was willingly and happily caught up in how it was told.  The acting is outstanding and I am grateful for the excellence of the cast.  I cannot imagine anyone other than Emma Thompson playing the author’s role—she’s that believable.  Finally, the importance that forgiveness plays in the movie painfully and beautifully mirrors what it does in our lives—something many will find deeply moving, as I did.  While I would not recommend it for children (there is a lot of mature subject matter), I strongly recommend it for everyone else. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post-Christmas Difficulty

The day after all of the hustle and bustle of Christmas can be difficult. Right?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

"Yeah, BABY!"

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Today's paraphrase: "Yeah, BABY!"

Monday, December 23, 2013

What Do You Think Of Me?

“Father, what do you think of me?”

That’s the biggest question there is. Not many ask it for fear of what they’ll hear. Yet the One who has made them perfectly well off with himself—the very purpose of Jesus’ coming—loves to give people true and good news. He has a pretty good track record of doing that, don’t you think? We’ll celebrate it in a couple of days.

Luke 2:13-14 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Why should proclaiming angels know what you do not know? “Fear not!” they would say. So ask. Read. Talk with someone who knows God’s love, and ask them to tell you what Love is really like. And pay attention to your deepest yearnings for love; God’s works there.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

And whatever you do, do not make a practice of assuming His love and, therefore, not bother to ask Him to tell you what He thinks. I'm not talking about His approval—you may assume that you have all of that, since Christ gave you that as a gift. I continue to ask, "Father, what do you think of me" on a regular basis, because I deeply enjoy knowing Him, and there's often something new, some different aspect of His love for me I've yet to know. Or perhaps a lie has taken hold of me, and He's really good at getting rid of that for me. I like that a lot.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Just Sayin'

Most important to me is that, through the preaching of the gospel, faith came to me and God was pleased to reveal Jesus Christ to me and in me, in such a way as to profoundly and purposefully affect the rest of my days and beyond. Because of Him, I am forever forgiven and free of sin, and I am new and holy and united with Him. He has made me His witness, and I cannot help but offer the same gospel by which He saved me. Just sayin’.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Days & Life

I recognize in my flesh a reluctance to “need Jesus,” again and again and again.  I don’t want to break down or break up and need Jesus to fix me up, again and again and again.  But that’s how my days go.  That’s not how my life goes, that’s how my days go.  The difference is important.  Jesus is my life, and what He does with me is all about real life meeting my days.  The break-downs and break-ups are major attraction events for His life with me.  However my days go is not my life.  Jesus is my life.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What Drives You Crazy?

From God’s perspective (and that's most likely accurate, right?), what drives you crazy?  Absolutely nuts?

I think it’s this:  we go crazy if we accept the blindness of seeing people only as they appear, only as they do, or only as they speak, rather than how they have become because of what God did for them through the cross and resurrection.  I know it was an event that happened many years ago, but the effect was massive, far-reaching and perfect, and it gives Him great joy and satisfaction even today.  And tomorrow.  It shapes what He thinks and does.

The increasingly crazy view—the one that drives you nuts—holds people accountable for how they appear, how they behave, and what they say (or write, as in my case, and everybody else who posts on Facebook and blogs and what have you), rather than holding them accountable or measurable to Christ’s cross and resurrection.  It’s not that how we appear, how we behave and what we say is entirely unimportant.  It’s that focusing upon those things slowly obscures our view of the seminal moment in human history:  the cleansing of sin and the gift of life in Christ.

So if you’ve gone a little crazy lately, it’s likely because your eyesight is impaired.  As we say around my house, “You’ve got junk in your eye,” and you can’t see because of it.  Maybe you need some glasses.  (I’m sort of thinking of starting a new line of eye wear:  “Cross Cleaned.”  The stylish specs would help us to see each other through the lens of the cross.  Think it would sell?)

By the way, this is not an appeal to niceness or to getting along with everyone as best you can in every situation, but to accuracy and sanity.  Wouldn’t that be good?

Think of Christ’s lovingly severe act of the cross and resurrection, the thing you cannot see but which is most-importantly true, and consider people from there.  You’ll begin to see again. . .and that’s not crazy, that’s healthy for you and everybody else.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “What Drives You Crazy?” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Last Chance Opportunity!

If you’ve been thinking of ordering my book as a Christmas gift, this is it, your final opportunity. In order to get it to you by next Tuesday, December 24, you’ve got to order by noon (12:00) tomorrow, December 18. For information and ordering (shipping is FREE in the U.S., and you’ll save a couple of bucks over amazon and barnesandnoble), go to: and click on Ralph’s Book.

What Drives You Crazy?

Got 3 minutes?  There are a lot of things that drive us crazy, I know.  But what if you asked, “Father, what drives me crazy?”  What do you suppose He’d say?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

It's About Time

(From my friend, John P. Cwynar.)

Graced Time After Time

For the first time and the last time
For the best time and the worst time
For the fast times and the "when will it ever end" time

For the time in and the time out
For the 'time was' and the 'time will be'
For the timely and the not so timely times

For wasted times and memorable times
For quality time and time that never was
For these times and those other times

For when you're running outa time or just in time
When you're behind the times... or way ahead of your time
Or when time is up... and you're not

I will be with you time and time and time again
Even for a lifetime of times

And then in no time at all
I will be with you... for the Time of your Life...
Our Time... after time
Your Permanent Time Out... with Me.

Friday, December 13, 2013

God's Biggest Problem

One of the biggest and most common stumbling blocks of faith is that we do not believe that God can overcome us.  Ourselves!  We’re it, God’s biggest problem child.   If you think you’re THE ONE, God’s biggest problem, raise your hand with me.  It’s actually me, however—I win.  I know that I’m a bigger problem for God than you are.  We can argue about it later, but in our minds, evidently, we sometimes entertain this thinking.

Frankly, we believe that our sovereign will cancels His.  Ours is bigger!  Stubborn and stupid creatures that we are, we’ll never get past our ability to screw things up, and, wringing His hands in heaven, God is the loser for it.  Follow that thinking, and we make Him out to be the biggest loser.  Poor, sub-sovereign God. 

Well, today I’m not buying it.  Our will, your will, my will is never beyond the influence of His, and I think He’s got the ultimate edge.

Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with (and here comes our big contribution, for which God is depending upon us) fear and trembling (We’ve got plenty of that, right?), 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.  (Italics mine.)

Evidently, will bows down to purpose, and to the One whose purpose is perfect.  He will not fail to bring about His purpose!  Consider that you are His—on purpose.  Your great contribution of fear and trembling not withstanding, you’ll enjoy great moments, maybe even whole days of secure rest as He “works in you” to want and to behave in order that His purpose will come to pass. 

You’re not God’s biggest problem, and He’s not the biggest loser.  It’s win-win for you both.

(This is a transcript from yesterday’s video, “God’s Biggest Problem,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, click, or scroll down this page.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Work of God

You are not your own workmanship. That’s not easy to accept, particularly when we’re not certain what God will produce in us, nor what we will look like. It’s common that we get awfully nervous when pressed to accept our role of work-ee, rather than work-er. The truth is, however, we’ve been made for Him. He is the only thing that works, and it seems to me that what we get is the best prize I have ever found: knowing God Himself. Not just knowing about Him, but knowing Him. And that’s way better.

God's Biggest Problem

Got 3 minutes?  Here's the question: What is God's BIGGEST problem? What do you think?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How To Help People Breathe

Christian, you were raised with Christ. That’s a big deal! I don’t know why we pray, “Oh, Lord, be with me now,” since not only is He with us, we’re with Him—forever and always. We’re in Him, united with Him, and everyone in heaven knows it. This is one reason why you and I need regular revivals, great awakenings to who we are and where we’re from. Think of it as getting desperately needed oxygen, not because you’re so high up and there is no air, but because your earthly experience is so low down and the air is awful—and foreign.

Our interaction with Christians often has a lot to do with giving them the air from home, the oxygen of heaven. Picture a scuba diver many feet deep in the ocean of this world, and you’ve pretty much got the idea of a Christian’s experience in this lifetime. I bet you’ve felt it.

There have been many times where, burdened by the things and situations of this world, I began feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Have you ever had that? With the pressure getting to me, never once have I felt better by simply working harder. That has often, however, been the temptation. What always saved me and what saves me today is the air of my homeland—the gospel, the truth about God and the truth about me with Him, which the Holy Spirit uses to sort of oxygenate my blood. I’m revived, I feel much better because I’m breathing fresh air again, the air of heaven. That’s my air. I bet it’s yours, too.

That’s why I love the Bible—It’s pure oxygen, baby!—and why I’m always on the lookout for great Christian books and music that fill me with the pure air of heaven. Get all you can—you can’t live without breathing. (See my recommended book list at

These days are a foreign missionary experience in the depths of this world, where dangers abound and breathing is at times difficult. But I look forward to the day when I’ll pop up on the surface of heaven, mask, tanks and wetsuit removed—not needed—and take my first big breath. I know I’ll recognize the air.

(This is a transcript of yesterday’s video, “How To Help People Breathe,” and is for those who might rather read than watch. To see the video, click

Monday, December 09, 2013

How To Help People Breathe

Got 3 minutes?  If you’ve ever had difficulty breathing because of stress or fear, here’s some help with the oxygen you need.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

The God Who Is

Frankly, most of us believe in "The God Who Is Not."  Much of what He does for us, then, is to uncover and disabuse us of the lunacy that injures us by replacing it with truth and Himself.  It’s His pleasure to save us so we may know Him — “The God Who Is.”  That's a pretty good deal, don’t you think?  We really are His workmanship, and that's what He thinks our days are all about.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Christmas Gift?

For those who’ve been waiting, I just now received a new supply of my book, and I’ll begin shipping past orders tomorrow! Looking for a Christmas gift? While you could order from amazon or barnesandnoble and actually pay more with them if you want to, you can save a few bucks by ordering from me—and I’ll not only sign it but ship it to you for FREE! (Continental USA only.) For more information (reviews, etc.) and to order, go to

The Pause For Life

One of my favorite things to do is to pause in my mind and to ask the question, "Holy Spirit, what do you think?  What are you feeling?" Often I get an answer to my question, or at least a fruit, an evidence of the Holy Spirit in me—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control—which is, in fact, an answer. And I follow through on what I receive, even if it’s simply to enjoy what God is doing with me.  That’s enough, isn’t it?  He knows what He’s doing.  He’s been God for a long time now, so I don’t think we need to worry about His ability(!).  And I love the Spirit’s work of making Christ in me obvious, if even just to me. That’s a big deal.  I’ll let Him take care of working outside what He’s working inside.

This is what the apostle Paul wanted for the wavering Galatians—that Christ would be formed in them.  And this is one of the best ways by which I know that’s happening for me.  I love it.  I’ve not found anything better than knowing that God is actually in me.

If my life is indeed in Christ, then I look for it there. Otherwise, I'm just fumbling in the darkness of this world like everyone else.  But that doesn’t fit me—and maybe not you, either. I simply and deeply enjoy being attracted to what I cannot see, rather than confused by what I can.   One look keeps me free and knowing God, while the other binds and frustrates me.  You know how that feels?

Paul wrote to the Corinthians:  “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

We are eternal beings of great glory and are found in the unseen, in the invisible arena, which is what makes “momentary troubles” lighter and perhaps more navigable. 

Pause toward the Holy Spirit today—He’s all about life, yours and His.

(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, "The Pause For Life," and is for those who might rather read than watch.  To see the video, scroll down or click 

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Pause For Life

Do you ever grow weary of fumbling and knocking your way through life and wonder, “What the heck?”  Give 3.5 minutes to this and see if you don’t come away with hope and a greater awareness of God’s life for you.