How’s That Working Out!

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. Philippians 2:12-13, New Living Translation

If you’ve ever attempted to work out consistently, you know that proper nutrition and sleep are necessary. Pure determination will only sustain your sessions for a short time. The same principle is crucial in this passage.

The working out is dependent on the working in!

It is not solely your determination, but His desire that initiates and ignites this efficacious model. Your fleshly attempts will ALWAYS fail because they ignore your utter inadequacy and flawed motives.

Your flesh naturally craves divine or lessor approval. But your spirit will erupt with a dawning delight as you uncover the power and purpose that God alone initiates and implements in you to cultivate the Salvation He gave.

Today could be your best workout ever!

Have you been trying to work it out without His working it in? How does that look? How can you begin to surrender to His in working to witness the outworking of His purposes?

In 2015 I made a trip to the San Jose area to visit family and friends. Arriving to pick up the promised checks for work I had done, they apologized profusely for the misunderstanding in having mailed the checks earlier. Having no credit cards, I had to navigate that week with another small amount they did give me.

I left Auburn, just missing my one Christmas present, an incredible edible arrangement, courtesy of a friend. But what a delight it was with family and friends! Sunday, at the singles group, with whom I have a decade old connection, a spontaneous offering was collected in appreciation for my website work. I was stunned by this unexpected display of giving! Needless to say, I made it through the week and arrived home to the awaiting promised checks and was able to pay bills, etc.

What occurs to me today is this: being in a condition of NOT being able to give gifts, I realized I had given the best gift, my PRESENCE! And they granted their presence. And Jesus gave HIS presence! It is the greatest gift one can bestow. Someone once said, “The best things are not things!”

It is difficult, though possible, to extricate ourselves from the expectations of people, tradition and the magnet of marketing. What people most want is for an authentic listening ear. When you give them your presence, give them your ear, more than your voice.

The best present we can offer is our emotionally healthy spirituality. Can you begin to show up with, as someone described, “…nothing to hide, lose or prove”? That will be the best version of your presence.

Sometimes our PRESENCE becomes the bargaining chip for acceptance. There is nothing we should have to do or give, other than ourselves, to be God’s best gift to others. Then, authentic giving WILL follow authentic living!

So, let’s GIVE ourselves to God anew this season. Then let’s let Him GIVE us back to each other: humbled, grateful, speechless. Perhaps then pure joy will erupt from our innermost being!

Authored Christmas 2015

Presents or Presence?

FAUXNY (FO-nee): Mercenary hired to influence political consensus by spreading a false narrative.

For example, craigslist has run an ad for “actors” needed in Charlottesville. One eyewitness insisted that so-called “opposing parties” came off the same bus. There is mounting evidence that the public discourse is being co-opted by paid “persuaders.”

Fauxny (Phony)

I’m glad He came through humble means;
Amid the din of daily scenes.
And not arrayed for royal reign;
To live, then die with poignant pain.
He paid the purchase price for me;
With Him, I’ll live eternally.
So now I live this daily grind;
Assured my future’s sealed and signed!

Humble Beginnings

Like David, the Psalmist I’m glad when I hear, “Let’s go to the house of the Lord.” In the context of a nearly sleepless night, I decided to “attend” Menlo Church online to listen to John Ortberg.

His sermon describes the “church” process as one of coming out of the huddle (gathering together in Shalom) and into the game (taking Shalom into our chaotic world), with an emphasis on ministering to others.

But often I misunderstand that my sole purpose on this orb is to glorify God. My ministry to others is but one expression of that glory. There are instances and seasons when I just need a touch from God.

It appears that frequently I leave the huddle of His Shalom into the mind-blowing muddle of adversity instead. In that circumstance, I need his restorative touch.

But how wise of God to use me even in the midst of my muddle to minister to others, in spite of or even in light of my struggle.

He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 New Living Translation (NLT)

September 25th, 2017

Muddling Through

Thursday night at a weekly singles meeting, I went up to receive communion, anointing with oil and prayer. I hobbled into the meeting with severe pain in my right hip area. I had suddenly developed what I believe to have been severe tendonitis in the right hip the day before. The reason I concluded that it was tendonitis is that I had it in my left hip some years ago. It lasted for what I remember as weeks. Sometimes I could barely get into my car.

By this morning ALL PAIN AND DISCOMFORT are gone! I don’t even remember who prayed for me, but she also had a strong word over me about new things beginning. It was just yesterday that I also sold a fine art print, the first in years!

I’ve been a believer since I was seven! I’ve always believed in healing, even physical! I pray, almost daily, for my litany of ills: Nearly deaf left ear, right foot drop (from a skill saw accident at 18), arthritis in neck, sleep apnea, and even the repopulation of my frontal thinning hair! Yeah, I do that!

And my conditions pale in comparison to friends and acquaintances whose needs range from near death to cancer. But God is not keeping score of our needs compared to other people’s needs. And most of the time He chooses not to heal us physically. And, no, it is mostly NOT because we had too little faith or too much sin!

His desire revolves around wanting to REVEAL more than to HEAL! At times He chooses to HEAL to REVEAL. And at other times He REVEALS and HEALS! And most of the time I don’t know WHAT He is doing!

But I do know that He enjoins us to trust Him for DAILY manna and not to be caught up in storing up His provision for the rainy day. He promises to rain on us daily. That rain may not contain the sustenance we had hoped and prayed for, but it is PERFECT for His PURPOSES on any of those particular days!

So let us not begin a new movement based on what His latest provision is to us. Let us merely rejoice that He showed up with a glimpse of glory to remind us of His loving intentions in bringing us into more profound connection with Him and each other.

“Thank You, Lord, for healing my right hip. Thank You for reminding me of Your new purposes in my life today. Thank You for this new, loving body of single believers. Amen!”

14-16a If anyone is ill he should send for the Church elders. They should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name. Believing prayer will save the sick man; the Lord will restore him, and any sins that he has committed will be forgiven. You should get into the habit of admitting your sins to each other, and praying for each other, so that if sickness comes to you, you may be healed.

16b-18 Tremendous power is made available through a good man’s earnest prayer. Do you remember Elijah? He was a man like us but he prayed earnestly that it should not rain. In fact, not a drop fell on the land for three and a half years. Then he prayed again, the heavens gave the rain and the earth sprouted with vegetation as usual. James 5:14-18, J.B. Phillips New Testament translation

(edited 6/28/2016)

The Revealing, Healing God

One indicator of spiritual/emotional maturity is that more satisfaction results from understanding than in being understood. It is revealing that admiration of features (appearance, gifts, talents or performance) merely indicates an acknowledgment and appreciation of them, not a love for that person.

Facets are the authentic expression of one’s person (humor, empathy, loyalty, and temperament).

It becomes apparent that when one loves or is loved dearly and deeply, features are less critical than facets.

Features display performance, while facets, favorable or flawed, convey authentic character. Features may attract your attention to that person, but facets should be the basis for the relationship.

WhittledWord for 2/4/2015; edited 6/28/2016, 3/9/2018

The Package vs. the Person

He takes the bitter and makes it sweet.
He takes the broken and makes complete.
He stores your tears in a heavenly vase;
Turns them to joy by amazing grace.
Trade in your doubts, those tattered seams;
He will then weave them to brand new dreams!

2010; edited 7/2020

In early 2010 I joined the celebration of this sweet wedding on the beach in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was such a poignant picture of the Holy Spirit showing up to bless this union between two imperfect people brought together by God’s grace. They were ministers at a local congregation. I added the dove and blurred the periphery to illustrate the focused presence of God that day. Several days later I surprised them with a framed photo. To this day I can’t recall their names, but the memory remains indelible.

Beach Blessing

The Poem that became the basis for my writing!

Whittled words, fitly fashioned;
       Hesitant but impassioned.
Breath of God, humble desire;
      Touch these words with holy fire.


In 1998, while navigating a challenging life event, I crafted this poem that now serves as a poignant reminder, guideline, and overarching description of my writing: Whittled Words. These chiseled words are intentionally fitted for sound and sense.

Whittled Words

I’m a Human Being, not a Human Doing!

“Look what I did; see my work!”
       Pride, though present, doubts still lurk.
“You can do it,” many said.
       “Just step out; just go ahead.”
“I can’t do it, it won’t be.”
       Used to be my doubter’s plea.
Still, inside, my deep desire,
       Wanting so to soar much higher.
“You can do it. Yes, you can!”
       Masked discreetly as my fan.
“Wow, your talents, they’re so great!
       Come on go; it just can’t wait!”
Fear and terror filled my night,

       Desperate now to get it “right.”
Stepping out, I faltered then,

       Proving that I could not “win.”
I had failed to reach the goal.
       Falling short, I crushed my soul.
I’d believed I’m what I “do;”
Missed the truth about my “who.”
I’d believed it must be so;

       That I’m only what I “know.”
Will they ever really see!
       See the one authentic “me!”

“Oh, it’s clear now; stop your fight.
       For a while, you lost your sight.
Let me tell you, make you see,

       This is what you’re meant to be.”
Soon the voices rose so loud;
       Could be heard amidst the crowd.
Telling clearly what they thought.
       From their life, they proudly taught.
Soon the revelation came:

        “I’m the one; they’re not to blame.
I must find just who I am,

       Spill the truth–break down the dam.”
Open now, I sensed the thrill;
       I had swallowed freedom’s pill!

Soon my soul had taken flight;

       Blown by winds to heady heights.
Reaching out for one to hear;
       Trying hard to keep their ear.

I had crossed the heart’s divide;
       My whole soul had opened wide.

Soon the lectures swiftly came;

       I must surely be to blame.

I must “flee the youthful lust,”

       Be assured, “in God we trust.”
“Continuity’s worth the fight;
       And you clearly know what’s “right.”
You committed for your life;
       Even though it’s full of strife.”

Then the voices faded fast;

       Leaving only shadows cast.
’Til a friend who broached no doubt;

       Stayed until I worked it out.
Not a word of judgment came;
       No advice, no casting blame.
Waiting for God’s truth to birth;
       Showing what a true friend’s worth.
Love myself is what I’ve learned;

       Not through praises that I’ve earned.
Life’s not in my “know” and “do.”
       It’s authentic in my “who.”

Written while in search of self.

“Then went king David in, and sat 
before the Lord, and he said, ‘who
 am I, O Lord God?’ ” 2 Samuel 7:18

Authored August 6, 1999; edited March 8, 2018

The “Who” vs. the “Do”

“Death, Where is Your Sting?”

Today I noticed a Facebook post inquiry from a niece asking how long my parents had been married. I remembered and confirmed their marriage of 72 years when Mom passed in 2011, at the age of 91. Dad navigated a daunting year of loneliness and confusion, and then joined her in 2012 at the age of 96.

In revisiting the memorial bulletin I had crafted, I realized that I had composed a poem for the Mom memorial. Perhaps it will touch some of you out there as it moved me afresh a few hours ago.

When death had left its final sting,
The bells in heaven’s halls did ring.

She entered whole into His love;
Her feeble frame transformed above.

And now awaits her love below,
To mount his horse and upward go.

Oh, death your senseless sting is slight,
When from this earth we take our flight.

To dwell where time has lost its grip,
To Him we love—our final trip!

Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

1 Corinthians 15:54–58, New Living Translation

Originally posted in 2018

Random Quotes

God never flatters Believers.

Love is an action, not inaction.
Display it don’t just say it.

We’re looking for serenity; God is looking for surrender!

What we need is PURE pressure; not PEER pressure!

When you make anything or anyone everything,
it or they become the only thing, and that is idolatry.

MAN may contribute to global warming,
but GOD is in charge of global storming!

God: “You can share My story but not My glory!”

Sometimes a word is worth ten-thousand pictures!

I need a Reality Renovation.

Wrestling to Rest

Be Still My Head!

I need an Attitude of Latitude.

I’m in Bewilderedness!

Chewing the crud

Age is just a state of mind if you don’t mind its state.

Malappropriate: An appropriately inappropriate word

My desire to write must be motivated by right desire.

Winds & Whims of circumstance


We are called to be FAITHFUL, not FAULTLESS!

Insinuendo = insinuate + innuendo

Your Christian life: Parrot or paraphrase?

I think I’m Brain deaf!

I wasn’t taught it but I bought it.

Brothel of Bondage

Marionettes & Minions of Misery

Prophets of Poverty

Road of Resentment

Glasses of Gloom

The father of LIES is the father of FAILURE.
The Father of LIFE is the father of a FUTURE!

God desires to FILL us in order to FULFILL us!

Perspiration is the catalyst for inspiration.

It takes two to untangle.

Jesus is our Rock between a hard place.

When praying, don’t put all your begs in one ask-it!

Pray non-stop, but also stop and pray.

The Holy Spirit is our GPS (God Positioning Spirit).

The qualm before the storm…

Enmeshment: Cursed be the ties that bind!

Biblilogical: Biblically sound, sensibly applied theology

How do cattle do math? With a cowculator!

How do you best guard a heart of gold? Goldilocks!

Advice to doctors who need surgery? Suture self.

Need vs. Want

Lord, help me see what I need before I need what I see!

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 1 John 2:16, New Living Translation (NLT)

Fragrant Flower

A woman, like a flower
awakes with morning sun.
Her smile will shine each hour
until the work is done.
But when she is offended,
by chance or by design;
Her world is then upended
she offers no more wine.
So here is my wise insight:
Embrace these words of mine.
Imbue your words with light
and once again she’ll shine.

(edited 3/6/2018)

Can I trust Him?

Can I trust when I don’t see my way?
      Can I trust Him if just for today?
Can I set all my “learning” aside;
     While believing, He surely will guide?
It is good that my mind will craft plans;
     That will surely keep busy my hands.
For it’s He Who my steps then will guide;
     For He’s sent the One called to my side.
So it’s settled I’ll trust Him today;
     For He is the Truth, Life, and the Way.

(edited 6/28/2016)