Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Time to Say Goodbye

Nothing is new under the sun and so to say that life is full of twists and turns is simply to repeat what anyone who is living knows already. When I first started writing my meditations on certain verses back in January of 2008 the turn of my life at the time prompted me. The following three years provided the appropriate twists and turns dealing out copious fodder for meditations. It remains fascinating, after all these years, to see how pertinent, how fresh, how spot on, are the lives of the Old Testament, the ministry of Jesus and the epistles to the turbulence of life today.

But just as life events prompted my writing I find that life events are prompting me to stop posting anymore writings. It has been a tremendous experience and I am grateful to all who took the time to read my musings - some of you even commenting on them! So, it is with a great deal of sadness and yet peace that I sign off from writing anymore On Crooked Knees.

Thank you again. My life has grown and changed for the experience. As you continue with your journey I hope that you will make new discoveries in how God intersects with your life. He is not absent in his silence. May we all live in the fullness of the knowledge that we are created in His image.


Monday, March 21, 2011

On Vacation

Hi! I'm leaving town on Tuesday and will be gone for the week to celebrate my daughter's 21st birthday! What fun! Look for new writings next Monday!


Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Time to Jump

But for you that honor my name, victory will shine
like the sun with healing in its rays, and you will jump
around like calves at play.

Malachi 4:2

On any given day there are times when I don’t feel very playful. My spirit is depleted and even a sun shinning day doesn’t dispel the grayness. And as far as feeling victorious, well, some days I’d feel more comfortable walking around with a capital “L” on my forehead.

At these moments I become desperate for relief.

God expects a lot when He demands honor in the middle of adversity. However, I do find hope in the word but. God promises that He will deal with the arrogant and evildoers, but my true pleasure will come when I give Him the glory.

During desperate times victory will come in due time. The sun will shine again and leaping with joy I’ll finally walk out of the darkness into the sun’s warmth. So today I stand in His presence. Calf jumping will come later and no doubt when I least expect it.

Jesus, help me to live each day in a way that honors You.
I trust that when it is time for jumping
my spirit will be ready.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Doing Church

But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.

Matthew 9:17b

In ten weeks I have worshipped at eight churches. There’s a lot of talk about “doing church” differently but so far I haven’t seen any significant change. Flashing images have replaced crosses, drums pound in lieu of organs vibrating, shirt tails instead of suits are the norm but the structure has essentially stayed the same. This truth I learned, on a recent Sunday, as I sat after singing a few songs, and listened to an hour sermon.

When the Jordan waters dripped from Jesus a genuine change happened. The traditionalists became aware of an uncomfortable sensation - change. Rituals and structure began to crumble under the words, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” They flailed about as their religious “plates” shifted, unceremoniously dumping them into the unfamiliar. Jesus brought a new paradigm, a different way to “do church” in the world. Very little of his ministry happened in the synagogue. Most of it was spent on dusty roads, amongst pressing crowds, crowded dining tables, rolling hills.

If I want Jesus’ new wine paradigm to influence my world I guess that I need to chuck "the way it used to be" wineskins and start making new ones. As uncomfortable as it may become, I’m going to move beyond the way “church” used to be, because the world isn’t the way it used to be.

Jesus, you transcend time, cultures and centuries.
Help us to be paradigm shifters, showing You to the world in a new way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Here is a portion from the Inward Journey by Gene Edwards.

I have observed through the years that most Christians have little understanding of the word 'season'. Our Lord is a seasonal God; He comes, He departs. his faithfulness never changes, but His seasons do! There are seasons when the tree is green, there are seasons when it is dry, and seasons when, for the life of us, the thing looks dead. Now, does this mean you are serving some capricious God who comes and goes by whim? Or, could it be, that it is only through 'seasons' that true growth may come?

Paul said, 'Does not nature teach us?' Fruit from a tree comes to us as a result of three or four seasons. The Christian and the Lord's body both need rain and sunshine, cold and hot, wind and doldrums.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

But. . .

...as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Colossians 3:13b

My husband recently had the temerity to tell me that I find it difficult to forgive. Well, I can tell you, I’ll never forgive him for that bit of marital honesty! But, I guess I am a “little” like Paul that I can’t seem to do what I want to do and instead do the very thing that I try to avoid – hold accounts of hurts and wrongs. With every fiber of my being I want to be able to forgive without the bind of strings. I want to be like Jesus.

Even at His death Jesus forgave, Father, forgive them (Luke 23:34). It translates that if I am a Jesus follower, forgiveness is an absolute. Jesus didn’t hold accounts of the repeated hurts, rejections, betrayals that were hurdled at him. Even knowing their true characters he kept Judas on as a disciple, never wavered with Peter, and showed compassion for the uppity desires of James and John. Forgiveness was just a part of Jesus’ DNA.

Here’s the rub, if Jesus forgave so freely, why do I find forgiveness so difficult? My slow dawning awakens me to the reality that I don’t want to take ownership of my actions, choices, and responses that need forgiveness. My emotional DNA is lacking and this inward look isn’t pretty. Forgiving a person who has caused me so much hurt is to admit, in the eyes of Jesus, that the difference between us is empty space. To forgive is to accept my need for forgiveness.
This is why my husband may be right, as much as I cringe to admit it. But. . .in my defense, I am getting closer to understanding that when I forgive, I accept the abundant forgiveness that Jesus gives me.
Jesus, thank you for instinctively forgiving me.
I need a forgiving "second" nature. I’ve been hurt
but help me to be like You, not holding on but forgiving
in the same way I have been forgiven.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Are My Prayers Heard?

Caleb said to her, "What do you want?"
She said to him, "Give me a blessing.
Since you have set me in the land
of the Negev, give me also springs of water.
And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Judges 1:13b - 15

For years I’ve wrestled with the purpose of prayer. Truthfully asking, “does God hear my prayers” or would the same thing happen if I hadn’t prayed at all. Reflecting back on a couple of my “pray without ceasing” themes I have to say, they were not and have not been answered. Many would tell me, “well that is God’s answer!” Personally, I’m not satisfied with that response for the reason that I was praying how Jesus taught me to pray.

For some this may be very unsettling and for that I apologize. My faith is one of constant wrestling and struggle. And, it seems that the older I get the more complex it becomes. It’s for this reason that Achsah’s prayer to Caleb is so intriguing.

Not satisfied with her wedding gift of miles of dry, worthless desert Achsah high tails it to her father. "Give me a blessing–I can’t live in the desert without water." It’s a prayer, a cry, a pleading from a daughter to her father. She isn’t asking for anything more than she needs but only for what will give her the ability to live. Caleb responds with abundant alacrity giving Achsah the upper AND lower springs.

That’s really all I want, is to be able to have what I need to live in the desert. I cling to the generosity of Caleb as a symbol of God’s potential generosity. Perhaps I don’t possess the boldness of Achsah but I am beyond expecting that life in the desert will end. Over and over I read this conversation between a daughter and her father and hope that my prayers could be heard in the same way.

Father, I am your child!
Hear my cry!
I am not asking for the desert to be removed
Hear my voice!
Bless me with your living waters.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thomas Merton on Forgiveness

If the unity of Christians in One Body makes the Church a sign of God in the world, and if men tend unfortunately to conflict and division by reason of their weakness, selfishness and sin, then the will to reconciliation and pardon is necessary if the Church is to make God visible in the world. Nor can this pardon, this communion in forgiveness, remain interior and invisible. It must be clearly manifest. So the mystery of the Church demands that Christians love one another in a visible and concrete way...Christ will not be visible to the world in His Church except in proportion as Christians seek peace and unity with one another and with all men. But since conflict is inevitable, unity cannot be maintained except in great difficulty, with constantly renewed sacrifice, with lucid honety, openness, humility, the readiness to ask forgiveness and to forgive.

Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Supersize Me

The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"

Luke 17:5

When I watched the documentary “Supersize Me” I was repulsed. Our culture thrives on bigger is better, even if it’s hamburgers! From houses to toilet paper "mega" is the operative word. Consequently, seeing the minuscule becomes a challenge when surrounded by the gargantuan. And yet, I’m surrounded by tiny bits that become "mega" important–a molecule of water for a start.

The disciples figured that bigger was better. In the days and weeks of following Jesus they had clued in on the fact that their "new life" was going to require something more. Jesus tells them that "temptations to sin are sure to come" and they beg–Increase our faith–bigger is better!

Faith doesn’t have to be big to be worthwhile. In the process of following Jesus, faith changes size. My faith didn’t start off the size of a California redwood. It began minuscule but was no less effective. Nurtured through prayer, Bible study, silence and Christian community faith grows. Difficulties, disappointments, discouragements water the seedling. Nevertheless there are times when I am certain that my faith isn’t big enough to get me through.

Bigger isn’t better. Flooding is a result of too much rain, causing destruction. The flip side is that a steady fall of raindrops can fill a reservoir, providing for the future. I pray that my reservoir of faith will be steadily filled, replenishing my seed during seasons of plenty and drought.

Jesus, You said that faith the size of a mustard seed
is where I can begin. Help me care for my faith seed
as consistently as I care for all the other things
that are important to me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Break the Bank

...as he was reclining at table a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.

Mark 14:3b

My husband and I celebrated twenty-five years of marriage by living on opposite coasts. It wasn’t by choice! And a year later, when twenty-six rolled around, Bill moved to my coast. Arriving at the restaurant the hostess walked us to an empty table, “Oh no, this isn’t your table,” she said, “your table is over there.” And “there” was a table, set for two, colorfully stacked with twenty-six gifts hand picked by my husband as he drove across the country to join me. I was blown away!

The Bethany woman who anoints Jesus blew the roof off with her gift! Whether the ointment was specifically purchased or was in her closet her gift probably stressed her bank account. She believed that Jesus deserved the very best, even if the cost was future stability.

I have a fairly lengthy list of what I consider "valuable." They don’t all possess a monetary value but it’s certain that losing or giving them away would be painful. I like my things!

Jesus didn’t ask for her gift. It is given unexpectedly, willingly and generously. Her generosity convicts me and I ask, “How generous am I in showing my love for Jesus?”

From jobs, to homes, to stuff, to children, to spouses, to retirement accounts--whatever it may be that I hold valuable, am I willing to pour it generously over the head of Jesus?

Jesus, I love you with all my heart, soul and mind.
And while I want to give generously to You, I struggle.
Help me to remember the woman from Bethany
each time my fingers tighten around all that I consider valuable.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No Second Guessing

Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
Your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,
“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)

Every morning I am offered a choice to hear or be deaf. Some days I am more eager than others. There are days, as much as I eagerly listen, I hear only silence. But even the silence is God’s voice. When I am open to His voice, hearing His words, living His silence, I have a greater possibility of becoming His hands, feet and mouth to the world.

I’ve been thinking about how we actually hear God’s voice and in hearing, do we really trust His voice to guide us in our conversations. I am haunted by second guessing my responses, reliving my conversations and kicking myself for “why didn’t I say. . .?” Even more guilt inducing is wondering whether I have been a good “witness” for Jesus Christ.

In my work I am daily confronted with individuals who have little or no religious background. They need to know their Creator. But worrying about saying the “right words” could very well stop me from saying anything at all! I want to put aside “right words” and accept His words. He knows what needs to be said and what should be left unspoken. With this confidence I step boldly into the unknown and be Christ to the people He brings. If afterwards I experience self-doubt as to how well I did, I have to trust that the words spoken and the “truths” covered were what God wanted.

Thank God that He is able to take my verbal bumblings and shape them into This is the way; walk in it.

Jesus! Help me to hear Your voice!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Holy Climb

Moses said to the people, "Do not fear,
for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.

Exodus 20:20

My husband, a rock climber, says that when rock climbing it is important to keep an element of fear in your back pocket. It’s fear that keeps you from doing crazy moves. It’s fear that helps keep you focused on the rock. It’s fear that actually keeps you moving forward.

Too often my life has been paralyzed by fear, preventing me from moving out and living God’s life. In the past I have figured that if I kept things in control and obeyed the teachings of Jesus my life would be smooth. I have found just the opposite. More times than I can count my route up the rock has lacked proper hand holds and my feet haven’t found traction. But, instead of using Fear to my advantage I uncontrollably shake.

A decision to live fearing God gives me the courage, in the midst of the worst, to grab His hand and begin the climb again. Accepting that there will be challenges on this holy climb, I claim a healthy fear of God to help me choose the best route up. It’s this fear that helps me know the joy and sorrow of this adventure and that nothing can prevent me from reaching the summit of God’s plan.

Father God, help me.
You go before me.
I don’t want to make this climb without Your presence.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Eating with Misfits

...'the next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors,
the kind of people who will return the favor.
Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits
from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be–and experience–a blessing.

Luke 14:12-13 (The Message)

It is a luxury to be able to choose "safe", like-minded friends. My social bubble popped while living in a small, eccentric to the max, alternative life-style town for ten years. Hardly anyone "looked" like me! Arriving in town I began to cast about for friends who "fit" me. I found myself empty handed. Then I began to open myself to the town’s supposed "misfits.” Soon my friends became individuals that definitely would not have crossed my path if we had been living in a more populated area. My life, however, was richer, deeper for their "misfit" involvement.

Jesus didn’t seek out "safe" people. He intentionally hung out with the "misfits.” His disciples often tried to blow a protective religious bubble around him - he burst it every time. Jesus wanted to talk, eat, and socialize with the people who didn’t "fit." What difference would he have made if he had stuck with people who thought like him?

For every time you invite a "safe" friend to dinner think about the "misfit", the individual who doesn’t "fit" that could be invited as well. You’ll be–and experience–a blessing.

Jesus, I want to live like You lived, outside the bubble.
Help me to stop looking at who "fits" with me,
looking instead for unexpected friends.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Without a GPS

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden...

Isaiah 58:11a, b

I don’t think that very many people in my community have a GPS. We don’t give directions by streets but by landmarks. If planning a trip out of town we Google or Yahoo the route. And while my father told me I needed to be able to read a map if I was going to learn to drive that “talent” now seems antiquated.

How I wish I could plug in GPS coordinates while traveling the Jesus road. Even if I could the response would probably be “unknown location.” Nevertheless without any map I walk, not knowing the direction and ending up in places of desolation along with vibrant gardens.

I know that in some weird way I have been led to now. Glancing back I see that I have somehow passed through scorched places and discover that in my wanderings I am stronger. Looking ahead I don’t see much but I feel stronger, ready for new directions!

Without GPS or Google maps I am completely out of control. It is unsettling. I like maps, seeing where I am going. But in attempting to control my route and destination I could very well miss hidden surprises, breathtaking views and ultimately lose my way altogether.

Jesus, you are the guide through the scorched places!
Thank you for making me strong along the way.
Without any clear directions I am following you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Which Door to Choose

This morning I want to share a reading from my own readings during my silent time today. I pray it is as encouraging to you, as it was for me.

Related scriptures--Psalm 139:15-17; Isaiah 66:3-4; Hebrews 11:24-25

The future is not a foregone conclusion. But when we give God permission to intervene and bring about His will in us still again and again He offers us choices, perhaps between one good and another. This is so that we can create through our choices, enabling Him to bring into being things He had long ago planned for us. He constantly plans for me in love, and in His mercy he never allows me to see the might-have-beens that only He could see.

Celtic Book of Prayer