Tag Archives: Don’t Waste Your Life

One door away from heaven

I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven in recent weeks, wondering what it will be like to step through the door from this life I know, to my new and forever life in heaven. Will I take one last look at this world I’ve enjoyed and then turn away to the welcoming arms of Jesus? Or will my eyes remain fixed on loved ones I’m pained to leave, bidding them to follow as I simply fall backward into the arms of my Lord and Savior?

What will it be like to walk through heaven’s door?

Of course, you realize there are also many doors between us and heaven’s gates. There is the door of realizing that there is a God, and we’re not him! There’s the door of realizing we need the saving grace of Jesus who paid the price for our sins. There’s the door of baptism, the public profession of our faith, not something hidden in the shadows of our life. There are doorways we cross over to learn patience, kindness, faithfulness, and other qualities we want to mark our lives. We walk through these doors once and continually evaluate the purpose and passions of our life as identified by that passage. Having passed through the door of salvation, how do I now live this “new life in Christ”? How is my life transformationally different because of this?!” After all, what is the point of passing through a door if I don’t intend to enjoy and participate in what’s on the other side?

There are doors of friendships that bring us closer to heaven. They open to reveal God’s grace and truth. In these relationships, we share life as it really is, without pretense. We encourage each other to seek the best, God’s best, and to live purposeful and rewarding lives as we wait for heaven. Chit-chat easily gives way to meaningful and cherished sharing of what’s most important to us. Who knows, the door of one friendship might be “One Door Away From Heaven.” Dean Koontz, author of the book by that name describes it like this:

“What will you find behind the door that is one door away from Heaven? If your heart is closed, then you will find behind that door nothing to light your way. But if your heart is open, you will find behind that door people, who, like you, are searching and you will find the right door together with them. None of use can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into the light.”

I see it actually as God’s hand of grace and forgiveness that leads us out of the darkness, not our own doing. The gift of heaven comes only by faith in Jesus who offers it. But isn’t it also true that we all play a part in opening doors for those around us by our encouragement and daring to be real with them? Don’t these deepest of friendships open the door that is one door from heaven? I think it’s how God designed us to belong to each other as a community of caring people.

No doubt, we all have lots of speculation about what heaven will be like. While the bible doesn’t tell us everything, reading it reveals much about heaven that should appeal greatly to each of us. No more sorrow, no more pain. Sharing forever with the one who loves us most. Reuniting with loved ones who’ve gone before us. Beauty quite literally beyond our imagination – life as it was designed to be from the beginning.

More and more, I am discovering these truths from God’s Word bless my day in the most practical ways. Focusing my energies and passions on relationships that open doors to heaven keeps me from wasting my life on so much meaningless chit-chat and activity. I hope this for you too. Live with hearts open to the purpose and passion God speaks to you. Be intentional about the doors you open for others.

Am I denying God or affirming I know his love?


If you were sending a letter of instruction to someone setting out into the world, what would you write? Maybe you would reflect on some of the life lessons you’ve learned along the way. So would I. Maybe we’d give words of encouragement and words of warning that we’ve learned. That’s what God did in writing his love letter, the bible, to you and me. And that’s what Paul did in his mentoring letter to Titus. He talks about many things, including to remember:


  • Our life role is to be servants who are truthful in all our ways.
  • Our main job, before ministering to others, is to make sure WE are holding onto OUR own faith firmly, SO THAT we can encourage others with that same truthful faith and also defend it against those who try to persuade us with false teaching.
  • He warns Titis (and us) to not get tripped up with meaningless talk. In the hospital, I’ve found where people are in extreme painful situations, either as a patient or family member, or more often as a staff constantly dealing with people in pain and sorrow, there are often open opportunities for simple conversations to become doorways for gospel conversations. Once, I approached a stranger waiting by the elevator, and asked “How is your day going?” One simple question led to a discussion of his wife’s cancer, his Muslim faith, and a time of prayer with him, to then his inviting me to come to his house to share with him and his wife. There are many opportunities for God encounters if we simply put an end to meaningless talk and exchange them for opportunities to build relationship bridges with people that lead to meaningful gospel conversations and prayer.
  • Paul gives a warning to Titus – and us – about people who “claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” Oh my prayer, is that this not be a warning about me. I can look back in life and sometimes even now, and see times when I claim to know God but my own actions don’t reflect it. In fact maybe they actually deny God when I choose meaningless chit chat over meaningful time with others, my own comfort and interests instead of reaching out with practical expressions of God’s love. Recently a friend offered to do yard work for us while I am in the hospital. Another is going to change a car battery for Marcia. Their simple acts of compassion affirm they do know God who wants to encourage us through the simple yet generous actions of his servants.


The bad news is we have so many opportunities to become distracted by meaningless activities, that in the end amount to nothing and waste our lives, while others go about their lives without God or discouraged in their walk with God. In our self-absorbed loves we become unfit for any good work.


BUT THE GOOD NEWS is that we have so very many opportunities to let God’s Spirit help us see every day practical ways of expressing his love and thereby affirming that we really love God and are coming to know him more and more.


How do you want to live your life?



Endurance is not just holding on – it’s letting go


Sometimes life takes us down unexpected paths that twist and turn in directions we hadn’t considered taking, even those we would never ever have chosen to take. If the path is difficult and unpleasant, we often try to find a way out, an escape from the pain. It’s our basic nature to want to avoid pain and seek pleasure. You’ve been there, right?


At the same time, we recognize the truth in the popular adage, “No gain without pain.” And so we endure and persevere as long as we can see a better outcome at the end of the road. Most parents are faced with enduring the really tough parts of childrearing, trusting that our enduring efforts will help guide the maturing our our children. We don’t like surgery but we endure it because we believe in the good outcome it will produce. Nobody chooses chemo as a recreational drug but we endure it because of its potential to kill the disease that threatens to kill us.


But enduring is not just holding on. It’s learning to let go.


As Marcia and I were recently reading about “enduring” suffering, we found it interesting that the Spanish translation used the word “resisting.” It reminded us that enduring is not just clenching our teeth and impatiently waiting for pain to end. Enduring involves resisting the temptation to cling to what works against us. It means letting go of:

Feelings of hopelessness
Our sense that we can control everything
Self pity
…and more.


When you’re facing difficult times, aren’t these some of the things that cause you stress and maybe even make you feel like throwing in the towel? But when we seem to be at the end of our rope and we have no strength to hold on, there’s hope. God promises to never leave us alone in our troubles. He brings a certain strength to our weakness. He promises that he will show us peace even while the storm rages around and within us. He shows us the path to confidence that endurance pays off. He shines his light on a path of faith that leads us out of the valley of fear. The truth of his light exposes the lies we’re tempted to believe. He proves that even when our lives our spinning wildly out of control, he holds the whole universe in balance, and He reminds us that even the end of our lives are really just the beginning. He brings perspective where we only see confusion.


When we let go we can let God.


I’m writing this on my first day of my most recent chemotherapy, reflecting also on my “very first day of chemo” from nearly three years ago. Here’s the truth I’ve experienced throughout this unexpected journey, truth that I think is relevant to each of us who are enduring some level of hardship:

The weight of pain and suffering seems great, but an enduring faith reveals a greater joy yet to behold. This pain is light and momentary. It won’t last forever.

Not even pain can separate us from God’s love, unless we let it.

God is able to work good through ALL situations, if we let him.

Fixing our focus on him allows us escape the bondage of focusing exclusively on our problems.

Faith is like a bank account. You have to make deposits before you can take withdrawals.

Pain and suffering reveals who we really are and also who we want to become.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is your life. Don’t waste your pain or sorrow. Enduring pain and resisting the lies our feelings tell us maximizes our potential to grow closer – to each other and to God.


Let’s resist the impulse to quickly pray away every pain and sorrow, and instead ask for the strength and grace to endure it while we draw closer to God and closer to others on the unexpected path we share. Let’s not only hold on. Let’s let go of everything that trips us up and keeps us from God’s best.


This earthly tent


Do you like tent camping? It used to be a passion of ours to camp in some primitive or semi-primitive area, away from life’s busyness and surrounded by the full extent of God’s creation. But sometimes, it wasn’t all we had hoped for, like the time near Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, when we discovered a two man mountain tent wasn’t really built for two people, especially when Marcia was pregnant with our first child! Or the night at Jindabyne, Australia where we found ourselves surprised by an unpredicted snowfall (Yes, it was the Snowy Mountain range) and we groaned all night as our teeth chattered. Or at the Craggs, Colorado, near Pike’s peak when we discovered our tent wasn’t nearly as waterproof as we thought. Or the night in South Dakota when the tornado siren went off and we were wondering if the tent pegs would hold firm in the storm. Yes, sometimes tenting was fun, but sometimes we groaned a lot and longed for our permanent home!


Actually, that is precisely how Paul describes our present life, as an “earthly tent” that groans and longs for our “heavenly dwelling”, our permanent “building from God.” It was actually God’s design that we live here for a “short” while.  Just as we never dreamed of making our tenting site our permanent home, God doesn’t intend for us to become too attached to “home” in this world. Why? Because it isn’t our real home! (2 Corinthians 5)


But what we do with our bodies and our lives does matter to God. In fact, Paul writes there will come a time when all believers will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. It will be a time of giving account of how we lived our lives (2 Corinthians 5:10, Romans 14:10-12). Rather than being a time of judging salvation, maybe it’s best to think of it as a time of rewards for a life lived well. It will be a measuring of our faith in serving Christ, in being his ambassador, in carrying out his Great Commission, in disciplining ourselves to achieve victory our sin’s temptations, and how well we controlled our tongues when we interacted with others. Everything that we wasted in life will be consumed and destroyed, but everything that was done intentionally for God will stand the test and be preserved.


If you’ve ever wondered, “What is my purpose in this life?” Paul answers it clearly in this passage in 2 Corinthians 5. We are called to pitch our earthly tent on the mountain of God so we can be reconciled to him, and once reconciled to make it our focus to implore others to do the same. God doesn’t force us into submission to his way and so neither are we to coerce others. But rather we should live intentionally in such a manner to bear witness to his power to make us into “new creations” transformed by his mercy and grace.


We’re advised to not become too comfortable in this life. Our earthly tent is not our permanent home. The degree to which we’re overly comfortable here dulls our sense of longing to be fully at home in the Lord. If we sometimes groan in this earthly tent, it is for a reason. We don’t belong here. Our full reward and greatest joy is yet to be experienced in heaven.


But while we are here, “we are Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)


Don’t waste your life. Live well, filled with his purpose and passion.


The time of your life


Life is better together. It was the hallmark of the very first churches; people reaching out to live life together. It’s still our call for living today.


Last Sunday, eight churches in our community bonded together in an effort called “Reach Out.” Some 1000 volunteers spent 3+ hours throughout the community cleaning gutters, picking up trash, hauling away junk, painting, trimming, visiting and praying…and more. It was a good time of the church BEING the church. Sadly, not everyone knows that the church is not a building. It’s not a set of doctrine. The church is the “body” of believers who are called to live their faith as expressions of love. (Galatians 5:6) Oh that we would express this not just with one great reach out event but daily throughout our lives.


Pastor Cory shared the analogy of winning a daily prize. Imagine if you won a prize that awarded you with $86,400 every single day. You could do a LOT with that kind of blessing, right? But there’s a catch. The prize comes with three rules:
1. You have to spend it all every day. What isn’t spent is lost.
2. You can’t transfer it to another account in hopes of hoarding it.
3. The prize might end any day without notice.


How would you spend your daily allotment of $86,400 every single day? You could buy a bunch of cars, extra properties, and all the latest doodad technologies. You could eat the finest foods and travel to the most expensive places. Or you could feed a lot of people, pay for the tuition for endless students eager to learn if they just had the opportunity. You could provide homes for the homeless and jobs for the jobless. With $86,400 a day, you could have “the time of your life!”


The truth is we are all winners of that very prize, except instead of dollars, our prize is time. Each day we are given 86,400 seconds to spend however we choose. We can indulge ourselves or “spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry” (Isaiah 58:10). The time is ours and granted everyday. We can’t save it and we aren’t guaranteed that we’ll have it renewed tomorrow. We just have today to invest as we choose.


Pastor Cory shared that there are two Greek words for time: “kronos” which signifies the time we measure with a ticking clock, and “kairos” which is a period of opportunity. This “kairos” time is what is mentioned in Colossians 4:5-6:

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”


Elizabeth Kubler Ross said that it’s only when we truly understand that we have limited time that we will live fully. Make the most of every opportunity. Live fully. Don’t waste your life. That’s the “kairos” moment you and I have today, and each day…while there is still time remaining. How do you get started?


You could put a sticky note up with the number 86,400 written on it to remind you on the limited time opportunity you have today; the gift you’ve been given to “live wisely.” You could set up a recurring appointment in your calendar to remind you to give daily thanks for the time you have and the wisdom to use it wisely. You could set up an appointment every week or every month to intentionally encourage someone with a note, a phone call, or a gift of service. Go help a neighbor who is sick. Mow their lawn. Bring them a meal or a milk shake. If someone has a big project, offer to help. Send an anonymous gift to someone who is struggling financially. Share the love of God without judging others. There are lots of ways to seize the opportunity and use the time you have for the most impact.


For Christians we have this one call to tell people about the love of Jesus and to live lives that demonstrate that love in practical ways. . . to build the kingdom of God starting right where we are, with the time that is given us.


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolkien


It’s the time of your life. Live it wisely, my friend.


It’s not enough to be sorry


I remember Don Knight speaking words of wisdom to a group of men at church years ago. He encouraged us all to speak “those three little words” every woman desperately longs for a man to say. You’re probably thinking he was going to remind us the importance of saying, “I love you.” But according to Don, the three little words most important and most cherished by women are those spoken by the man who admits, “I was wrong!”


The popular movie, “Love Story” became famous for it’s punch line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Even the actor who spoke the line looks back and says, “What rubbish!” Love means admitting you’re wrong and saying you’re sorry. It’s sometimes hard to say it because quite truthfully we want to be right. But as perfect as you might be, there will come a time when you will not be right and it will be best to swallow the pride and say “those three little words.”


But it’s not really enough, is it? We can’t just say “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” Something more is required. The purpose of admitting being wrong and sorry is to change our thinking and our behavior so we don’t find ourselves in that same situation again! The spiritual word for this is repentance, which means to turn away from wrong and change.


Some folk complained to Jesus about other “sinners.” Jesus’ response was that there aren’t some who are worse sinners than others and that “unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3)


The truth is, we all fall short. (Romans 3:23) None of us hit the mark. Maybe some days, we aren’t even aiming at the right target. We aim too low in pursuing personal ambitions and filling our sense of self-worth. We aim to “keep busy” rather than to live with purpose. We set up goals that really won’t satisfy us at life’s end. Sometimes we don’t even set up any goals, but just coast through life as it happens to us. Our lives, while designed to be fruitful in spiritual ways, encouraging to others and honoring to God, sometimes may be barren of any good and lasting value.


A couple retired and sold their home. They purchased a boat and spent all their last days collecting sea shells. Piper asks, “How will they answer God when he calls them home and asks what they did with the life he gave them? “I collected sea shells?!” What a waste!”” (John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life)


Jesus tells the story of a man who had a fig tree that never bore fruit. Year after year it remained barren. He was going to have it cut down. But the man who took care of his vineyard pleaded with him, “Leave it alone for one more year and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not then cut it down.” (Luke 13:6-9)


It’s not enough to be sorry that our lives are so barren of God’s love, joy, and peace. It’s not enough to feel regret that we lack patience, kindness, or goodness. We can admit we have too little faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But it’s not enough. We can’t produce fruit by working harder or doing more good things. But while time still remains, today is the day to dig in and fertilize our lives with the nourishment of God’s truth. This is the day to soak up his promises and let them feed the very root of our lives. That’s when fruit will come, by changing our life so it stays connected to God, the very creator of life. And THAT is enough.


The past, the future, and today


Much of God’s Word talks about learning from the past, living intentionally today, and preparing for the future. Learning from the past involves paying attention to ‘lessons learned’ and changing our behavior to better impact today. Living intentionally today means paying attention to where we are right now, to those around us, and to what God is now doing. Planning for the future leads us to consider our mortal lives and prepare for what awaits us for all eternity.


How does this relate to our everyday life?


“Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) We can and should let the bible’s lessons guide us in the decisions we make today. Worldly gain is actually loss if it compromises God’s Word. The “Flying Scot” Eric Liddell who refused to run on Sunday demonstrated this discipline. Even Robert Fulghum understood the value of early lessons when he wrote “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” When making decisions today, listen closely to your God-given conscience to make wise decisions. What is true is ALWAYS true, no matter what circumstance prevails, no matter how we feel about it.


The past is gone and no one is guaranteed tomorrow. Today is the only time you have. Tolkien wrote, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Time is the one resource that cannot be replenished. You can spend it on trivia or invest it wisely but you can never ever get it back. So how should we use our time? It is always the right time to do the right thing. Help someone in need, encourage a friend – or a stranger. Speak words that build up, not tear down. Discipline yourself to do nothing but sit in quiet reflection for a while. Give anonymously when you have no chance of being ‘paid back’. Pray; the prayers of a godly person are powerful. Can you wisely live a day without investing in these?


What does it mean to prepare for the future? We are warned against worrying about the future because most of the things we worry about never manifest themselves. Most of those that do are beyond our control to change. Worry is a great waste of time and energy that easily leads us to the sin of not trusting God. But the wise person does make preparations for the future; first for their eternal future and also for the near future. The degree to which you exercise your faith today will determine your ability to call on it in times of trouble. The moral decisions you make today have real impact not only on your life but on others. May those who come behind us find us faithful!


How do you walk the tightrope of learning from the past, living intentionally today and still preparing for the future? The bible tells us to make wise ‘investments’. How much of our passions for hobbies are really a tragic waste of time? Isn’t the most valuable legacy the one which will live on . . . forever? Don’t waste your life. Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live today fully.


‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.’ – Bill Keane



Is it a sin to waste food?


Is it a sin to waste food?


When I was a kid, I was cautioned to eat all the food on my plate…because there were starving children in Armenia! Or maybe it was Africa. All I remember is that others would be most grateful for what I had so I should be thankful too and eat it. Well, truthfully I also remember making occasional snide remarks like, “Go ahead, send it to THEM!”


Actually, if not a sin, wasting food might be a CRIME. Seattle is fining citizens who throw food in the garbage. They’re trying to encourage composting and reduce greenhouse gasses. But their “public education” campaign to mark trash cans with “Scarlet Letter” notices so neighbors can see who is composting and who is not seems a bit like a sin smear. Yikes.


Waste poses both environmental and economic problems and maybe is morally reprehensible. But is waste a sin?


Dante’s Divine Comedy considered seven ‘deadly’ sins, including:

Gluttony — Wasting food through eating too much, turning away food due to preference, or not giving food to the needy. (Mom was right!)

Greed — Always wanting more while discarding other things.

Sloth — Laziness wastes the one resource we cannot renew, time! Sloth may also be complacency of our spiritual desires, neglecting to “love God with all one’s heart, all one’s mind, and all one’s soul.”

Pride – Pride is the sin that puts MY WANTS above OTHER’S NEEDS and even above God. Pride wastes everything that matters most in the pursuit of that which matters least.


Jesus taught that all sin is on the same level; cursing a brother is likened to murder, lusting is likened to adultery. He did specifically address the waste of food once, commanding his disciples after the miracle of feeding the 5,000.

“Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” John 6:12


I think God hates waste. Consider all his warnings about:

Wasted wealth – Proverbs 29:3
Wasted possessions – Luke 16:1
Wasted treasures – James 5:1-6
Wasted life – 1 Peter 4:3-5
Wasted faith – Jonah 2:8
Wasted time – John 12:35-36; Ephesians 5:16
Wasted talents – Matthew 25:14-30
Wasted opportunities – Galatians 6:10; Colossians 4:5


I don’t think God would put scarlet letters on garbage cans so we can all see who is ‘sinning.’ I don’t think he’s keeping tabs of every morsel of food that goes to your trashcan – or compost. So what does God want?


God wants us to act with justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with him. (Micah 6:8)

He wants us to honor him in everything we say and do. (Colossians 3:17)

Above all, he wants us to have pure hearts. (Matthew 5:8)


I don’t know that we need to fall to our knees in confession every time we throw away a scrap of food, let water run down the drain, or sit idly. But let’s aim higher today to keep our hearts pure and not waste the life and treasures He has given us!


“How blessed are those who are pure in heart, because it is they who will see God!” – Jesus in Matthew 5:8



Live fully awake and truly alive



“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

Chances are the engine on your airplane didn’t blow up on a recent flight. But apparently that happened on JetBlue Flight 1416 last week shortly after take off from Long beach, California. It must have been a scary event. According to passengers, the cabin filled up with smoke, many people cried and some prayed, breathing through those little oxygen masks that fall from the aircraft ceiling. Four people were injured with one going to the hospital, but a major disaster was averted.


Can you imagine what would go through your mind if you had been on board? One moment you are happily on your way to Texas, perhaps to conduct business, visit a friend, or to vacation, and the next you are wondering if you will make it home. One passenger said, “I am just happy to be alive. I don’t think I’ll be mean to anybody ever again.”


Catastrophes and near-death experiences have a way of bringing us to our senses. They serve as a wake-up call to pay attention to what is important in life. They bring to mind our shortcomings and give us motive to live better lives, or at least to make such vows.


But why wait for a catastrophe? Why not decide now to intentionally be nice to people, to greet strangers with a smile, to spend more time meditating on your life purpose and daring to live it out? Why not decide to not waste your life when things are going well? Maybe we sleep so deeply through our lives that we sometimes need a catastrophe to awake us from our slumber. Maybe the humdrum routine of our life lulls us to wearily nod our heads just as the steady drone of the jet engine lulls us to sleep.


But it doesn’t have to be so. You can live with your eyes wide open to each day that comes. You can establish a thankful morning routine that wakes you up to the importance of living this day well. You can be intentional about your thoughts and actions. You are not alone in this quest. God Himself goes with you and offers His Spirit to help and guide you.


Live fully awake today. Be truly alive. It matters.


“Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5:14

The greatest blessings



Blessings Beyond Our Dreams (excerpts)
Jonathan Parnell – The Unwasted Life


“The biggest impact, as the spiel goes, comes from the biggest dreams, and therefore, if you want your life to really count, you need to broaden the horizons in your mind. Our deficiencies are mainly in our expectations, not our competencies. Think bigger. Invest your best in what yields the maximum payoff. And then, if really true to form, there will come a string of words like “greatness,” “leadership,” and “influence.”


“When it’s sincere and given the right qualifications, big-dream messages like this are wonderfully inspiring. We should seek to listen, to learn, to grow. And at the same time, when advice like this is at its worst, and when we are at our most naive, we’ll digest faux-Christian precepts as if they were Scripture and mistake the favor of God to be in all that’s new and flashy.


“And if we’re not careful, we’ll think that God mainly cares about us gaining followers and doing action, that mainly he just doesn’t want you to waste your energy on low-impact drivel. We’ll think that God’s real blessing is found in our giftedness, in what we’re able to build and where we’re able to go.


But that’s not true.


“Undeniably, God wants us to do great things in his name, except it really matters how we define “great,” and what we’re actually looking for in it.  “Great” probably isn’t as glorious as you imagine. In fact, for those men who want to change the world, what you might need most is a wife who wants you home for dinner. Somewhere in the stuff like that is where you’ll find God’s blessing.


“Like in an infant whose diaper needs changing, and a toddler who lives for your attention — a toddler, not an audience. The real blessing isn’t found behind shiny platforms, but in the garbage bag that must be taken out. There is God’s favor, there in the mundane, when we’re stuck between two worlds, seated with Jesus in the heavenly places and bent down here cleaning floors. There is where God smiles on his children.


“The greatest blessings in life aren’t found in being a great leader, or a great communicator. The greatest blessings are found in being human before the face of God — a human forgiven and righteous in Christ. Didn’t he say that to us? “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20).


“This kind of blessing is much more quiet than the glitz we think we crave, indeed so quiet that we usually miss it, and we’d only long for it if it were gone. It’s the deep blessing that too easily evades us.”


“The greatest blessings are found in being human before the face of God.”