The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.

—Abraham Lincoln

Forgiveness is the foundation of my faith. The fact that we need it, and that it has been freely given is what Jesus followers refer to as the Gospel, or Good News, because, well, it just is! Maybe the best news ever.

When I first read Jesus’ teaching in the gospel accounts nearly 30 years ago, I was wholly unfamiliar with the Christian faith. As a professing, and articulate atheist, I hated what I believed to be the hypocrisy of Christianity and that I was unable to name things that Christians were for, while I could make a long list of what they were against. I was 23 years old, sincerely searching for the meaning of life, yet that search was made harder by what I had witnessed of God’s followers. It astounds me that He allows this to happen. Even still.

For about a year, I studied numerous world religions, and while I mean no offense to any of my beautiful friends who adhere to a different faith than I do, I found nothing I personally would count to be supernatural in many of the most popular ones. Christianity was the last religion I studied in pursuit of God – I was biased against it and yet I found things beyond my understanding there – in the person of Jesus.

So this brings me back to forgiveness.

I forgive others because I myself have been forgiven by God so great a debt, as to be immeasurable. No one had to tell me how broken I was when I met Jesus, and that I myself had broken a great many things around me as well. What I didn’t know was how to fix anything.

When I read over and over again in the gospels, the simple, but costly invitation to follow Jesus, it wasn’t difficult to understand what God was asking of me. He wanted control of my life so He could set me on the best possible course. Of course, control was the hardest thing for me to give up!

This request came with a tremendous gift, and the gift cost nothing but my belief and surrender. Not unlike the monkey who has his hand stuck in the narrow neck of a jar because he won’t let go of the “treasure” he has laid hold of, we often miss out on the free gift of forgiveness because we refuse to let go of past hurts or wrongs when God knocks on our heart and asks us to let go. We simply won’t. It could be anything really, but doesn’t it strike you as odd, that we would clutch at unforgiveness (something we’d all agree is negative) as tightly as we would real treasure.

God’s forgiveness comes freely. Having received it, I wanted nothing more but to follow Him, and it was then that I (the monkey) opened my hand and dropped the meager treasure of what I had a “right to,” and reached instead for the inheritance that was promised to me by the King of Kings.


If you’ve ever found yourself on the side of needing it, you know what a precious gift it is.

That’s the whole Jesus thing. We need it and it comes at too great a cost for us to ever purchase. Then, at some glorious point in our lives, we discover that THIS was the very gift that Jesus died to give us – forgiveness for everything we’ve ever done, or will do, wrong – and by receiving that gift, we are adopted into the family of God. It is quite literally the Cinderella story we’ve all dreamed of. Being adopted by the King. That’s why we call it Good News friends.

Now, if you’ve ever found yourself on the side of having to GIFT someone with forgiveness, who may or may not deserve it, you’re still in the right place.

Jesus told this great story (His stories were so awesome they were referred to as parables) about a man who owed his king an impossible amount of money. After much pleading, the king generously forgave the whole of his debt and sent him on his way. But as this man left the king, he passed by a friend who owed him a very small amount, and he demanded that he be paid in full immediately or he would have him and his whole family thrown in jail. When the king’s servants heard about this, they ran and told him, and the king had the man brought before him again. The king was furious. He had this ungrateful servant thrown in jail along with his whole family for being so cruel to his neighbor – demanding from him at cost, what he himself had been freely given. (Matthew 18)

As a Jesus follower, I forgive because I am forgiven.

If I do not forgive others, I am acting just as the ungrateful servant in the parable did. I do not want to test the consequences of this. Even though it’s unlikely I’ll find myself in a debtor’s prison, I will find myself in bondage. I grew up in an abusive home. My childhood was a nightmare, and like so many people today, I bear the wounds dealt to me by wounded parents who were attempting to raise a child while fighting their own demons. They were addicts and codependents. They did not know Jesus or the joy of His forgiveness. They knew only the unbearable weight of their own shame, unescapable bondage, and the full time work of keeping all the secrets.

One apologized. The other did not. Both needed my forgiveness whether they named it or not.

I needed to grant it, even in the absence of an acknowledgment or request, because my heart was wilting as it tried to carry the weight of all my anger, hurt, and disappointment. It could not go on.

I forgave because I was forgiven. I forgave, because God tells me that’s how I will be set free.

If you’ve decided to forgive someone, I would humbly suggest you endeavor to do so in this way:

Always begin by asking God to help you do it. Tell Him you want to, but don’t know how, and that you realize it’s an impossible thing apart from His help. Nonetheless, you are committed to doing it.

THEN, the next time you think of the offense, OR the next time they commit one, you should take it straight to the Lord in prayer and again ask that He help you do what you have committed to.

Forgiveness is not the act of a single moment. It is a long, and arduous journey. Especially if the hurts are ongoing.

It is all the more possible, though, if you yourself have been forgiven all you will ever do wrong. It inspires in a way that I cannot articulate.

I will be honest, that I found it to be a much easier task having received forgiveness beyond anything I could have ever asked for or imagined. Being set free gives you a generosity of heart that extends to almost everyone in your acquaintance.

Do forgive. Do it every time you think of the past offense. Do it for your own healing. If you’re a Jesus follower, think how selfish it is not to forgive, even the unforgivable. We are so much worse than we think we are. And God is much more generous than we could ever imagine.

These are just thoughts for the day, but in the arena of life, few things matter more than our relationships. When they are mended, and open to flow freely, it is a joy to everyone.

I would suggest it be done one day, or even one moment, at a time.

Love to you!

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Run to Him

CryingeyesSo when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him but Mary remained seated in the house.  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.”  And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him.  Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there.  Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.

And Jesus wept.

John 11:20-21, John 11:28-33, John 11:35

Who would have ever guessed Martha would be the first to greet Jesus?  

In an unexpected turn of events, Mary sat unmoved in the opening scene of Jesus’ arrival. That is until Martha returned with the message that Jesus was asking to see her.  Hearing THAT changed something.  

She didn’t just move off his direction, she ran out of the house so quickly that the Jews who were with her followed in curiosity. 

I can’t help but wonder what kept her from running to Him in the first place?

This was Mary. The one who was so enraptured by Jesus that she could not be distracted by or worried about the commotion of guests and the preparation of food. She simply sat at His feet and did the ONE thing that mattered most. And He praised her for it.

This was Mary. The one who later anointed Jesus’ head with a vile of perfume so costly that it likely represented her family’s entire fortune. She had no thought but to worship and glorify the One she loved most in this world.

She was always so wholehearted in her devotion to Him. Here we would hardly recognize her.

This was Mary.  So bound up at home in her ________ that the announcement of Jesus’ arrival didn’t move her outwardly.

She just sat there.

Certainly, in the days leading up to this, she had prayed and longed for Jesus’ arrival and been keen to know the comfort of her Savior. Yet we don’t see her move until she knew that He desired her audience. 

It was only in the moment of hearing that He was asking for HER that we sense the resurrection of her shattered heart.

And in that moment – when her heart turned back to Him – the Mary we had come to know so well returned to us. And she RAN to Jesus.  She ran so fast, that she got to Him before he’d even had time to set forth from where he had met with her sister Martha. She saw Him and fell at His feet.

Then she wept.

I know this is conjecture, but I have the distinct impression that both of Lazarus’ sisters had mixed feelings in seeing Jesus on this side of their loss. Grappling inwardly with His not being there when they needed Him most must have been excruciating. Martha and Mary’s first words to Jesus were the SAME – “Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.”  

And what they said had a note of truth in it. 

I’ve been there. Haven’t you?  Disappointed with God’s choice in a matter, I’d rather avoid him until the feeling passes than face Him down with what I’m really wanting to say.

But I can’t ever let this keep me from going to Him.

Whatever it was that held Mary (and I’ll never know her thoughts this side of heaven) the undeniable truth of this passage stands as a beacon to me today in my pain and wrestling.

It wasn’t enough to know He was present. Mary needed in this moment of raw humanity to know He was still calling out to her to join Him. And if I were to gain nothing else from this account, I must not miss this –

It was the GOING to Him that healed both the breach between her and Jesus and the brokenness in Mary herself. 

She was restored through the great gift of Jesus giving her what she needed most in her despair – Himself. 

“I am the resurrection and the Life…”

As Mary’s tears wet his feet this time, Jesus was overwhelmed with the enormity of what His friends were suffering so that God’s power might be made more broadly known. It actually moved HIM to tears.

He wept. 

Is there something that holds you fast today and keeps you from running to Him even though you sense He is near?

There is nothing you or I can ever think, feel, or wrestle with that can separate us from His love. He is not fearful of what we may say now that He has shown Himself!

If you will quiet your heart and listen carefully, I suspect you will hear Him calling out for you.

Run to Him.  Do not wait.  

Jesus stands ready not only to comfort us, but to enter into our grief and to weep with us as He prepares to move in miraculous ways.

Of two things I am sure:

  • He is working at something bigger than we can see or understand for He would never have us suffer without cause.
  • He is not done yet.

I would rather meet Him on the road, to receive the gift of His presence and be present for the miracle He has come to perform, than to only hear of it later from others who had the privilege of witnessing it firsthand.

Let’s not just sit there when the time comes.

He calls every one of us by name. My prayer is that we will always have ears to hear it.

Faith comes from hearing and hearing from the Word of God. – Romans 10:17


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148,000,000 Strides and Counting…


So, I’m thinking I’m at least halfway now. My 45th birthday passed with very little fanfare a few days ago.  Everybody joked about it being my 25th or some other such nonsense, and I just kept thinking, “Hey now! I’ve been going 45 years straight.  That’s a good long way to run. Why would I want to pretend it’s any LESS than that?”

I did the math.  Yes I did.  I’m active, always have been, and I factored in my not walking for the first year plus some sick days.  I’ve had my fair share.

I’ve averaged 9,000 steps a day. This is actually a pretty conservative number since I’ve lived and traveled extensively overseas, always opted for the stairs and spent the last eight years walking to and through my work, which seldom affords me a seat.

I rounded down.  And best I can figure, it has still added up to no small journey.

148 million steps.

One foot in front of the other.

We are all going somewhere.  Every day we’re doing it.  Even when we don’t sense the momentum or have lost our vision, by God’s grace, we remain in motion.

Even on a sickbed we are actively engaged in this thing called living.  Sometimes I think those are the miles that have mattered most in my journey.  The ones spent running hard after God in prayer and praise and study because my feet couldn’t even hit the ground that day.

He redeems it all.

Making a hard stop on my birthday this year did something for me. It gave me a moment to count strides, and in so doing, I was pretty blown away by the distance covered.

The race marked out immediately ahead of me is steep.  It’s uphill for a good long stretch.  I don’t feel equal to the task.

I’ve been having to wrestle fear to the ground before I can even begin the climb.  This is a fresh opportunity to trust the Lord.  I can always trust fear to provide that.

I’m grateful that God has allowed me a moment’s pause at base camp to reflect on the simple truth that great things are accomplished, and races are won, one step at a time.

Praying.  Praising.  Trusting.  Pressing FORWARD.

Putting toes in the water, even if it hasn’t parted yet.

One foot in front of the other.

It’s all moving me towards Him.

“My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child He loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects.  God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children.     Hebrews 12: 5-7  (the Message)

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