an arrow attached to a tree

More Random Thoughts

(A two-minute read or a lifetime of pondering)

God can breathe on anything I offer and make it into worship – if my heart is right. This is one way I exhibit God’s glory.

Be Like A Child

Does Jesus hint that only the childlike have true discernment? Dozens of his disciples had just returned from miraculous ministry, recounted in Luke 10. He then said, “I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants.” 1

Consider this hand-in-hand with “Truly I say to you, whoever will not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will in no wise enter it.” 2

Don’t Pretend

Every question the Lord asks cuts to my essence, revealing where I fall short. Any explanation or justification means I’m busy reviewing my sin and unbelief. This does not exalt Him. It’s one reason I read scripture.

God put all things in subjection to those of us who believe in Him. And yet, we can’t see them all. That is why Jesus came, so that instead of striving to see what we’re unable to see, we simply see Jesus, and He is enough. That’s because He sees all, has known all, knows all to come and exists in perfect harmony with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Undeserved grace

I was sired by circumstance, raised by happenstance and saved by sovereign grace. My life was like a worn-down tire, which can only be patched and recapped so many times before it needs to be discarded and replaced.

Jesus can take a re-tread and build a new wheel from the inside out.

My life was an old stele covered with moss, which needed to be scraped and cleaned to reveal the words chiseled into it years before, and still could only be read by producing a rubbing of the surface.

Jesus cleanses down to bare rock so everything is readable.


Take heart: Even if you walk in the wrong direction, you’ll eventually come back to where you started and can turn around.

You can be swept away in the River of Life but cannot drown in it. When you let go and have the current sweep you along, you always reach your destination.

If you tell the Lord it’s deeply satisfying to know Him the way you do today, He will tell you it is deeply satisfying to Him to be known by you this way.

Your life is currency. Decide what you can afford and spend wisely.

Even when you know who you are, it is still most profitable to ask God to show you who you are not.

1. Luke 10:21
2. Luke 18:17

man in small boat

Flotation Device

When I consider my sinful past, I review a dead man’s life.1

It’s sifting through the ashes of a burned body, really. I see the molecules rise up and re-form. This isn’t like the mighty army in Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones.2 Rather, the smoke that appears is from past fears, demons and oppressions that threaten to haunt me when I forget who I am:

Delivered. Redeemed. Sanctified. An adopted child of God.3

How can I be threatened by this pile of ash? Even if it were to rise up into a specter of death, the wind would blow it away.

My declaration is, in truth it has to be that the past is of no effect. My past didn’t get me to where I am today. It’s God’s breath on that dead past that brought it to life.4 His redemption of my past makes me who I am today. Only that.

I am who God says I am, and that is much, much more than the sum of my parts.

When I veer from the Lord’s narrow path 5 it’s not an expression of identity. It’s my momentary captivity to a lie, to the enemy’s misdirection. Sometimes, the devil’s siren song lures me toward the rocks of self-destruction. I dashed my fragile craft there so often for so many years.

But after salvation, those dangerous shoals are only momentary. I always launch again, navigating for far deeper waters, where God the Father leads me.

Sailors don’t use a map to navigate; they use a chart. A map shows the lie of the land, as it were: only the surface. A chart takes a deeper look, below the surface. And, it adds in experience from lives lived there.

As I sail in God’s deeper waters, I have confidence they are not uncharted. Through every storm, along every rocky shore, Christ has gone before, and sailed out again. And many saints have followed, leaving a trail for me.

Their banners fly high in the breeze.

1. Romans 8:10-11 – “And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit that lives in you.”
2. Ezekiel 37:7-10
3. 1 John 3:1 – “Consider how much love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.”
4. Genesis 2:7 – “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man because a living being.”
5. Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Image via Pexels

The Shoreham Cross

In Memoriam

(A four minute read – originally published December 2020)

It’s not every day one sees a giant cross overhanging a valley. When it burst into view as we walked up the River Darent, we stopped in our tracks. But that comes at the end of the story, not the beginning.

The beginning of the story was the Great War.

Men suited up and shipped out, knowing death might await them. We remember them now: the sons, the brothers, the fathers, the friends.

Some of the elderly among us undoubtedly remember specific ones. Perhaps he was a grandfather or someone more removed by blood, yet perhaps even one whose hand they once held.

For us younger ones, they are pictures in dusty albums, whispering their stories in quiet voices that drown out the thunder of the cannon that flung death across the blasted wastelands of Verdun and the Somme.

They whisper to us from Flanders fields, from the names etched on a hundred cenotaphs. Far away in memory, but still close to the heart.

As an American living in Britain, I’m touched by these memorials in perhaps a different way than the native-born. I moved from a nation that celebrates its patriotism in arguably vulgar fashion to one that lives comfortably within its own history. It’s quite a shift. For me, every walk here is a walk back through time.

An unusually chilly October Saturday found my wife Melanie and me paying our respects at St. Peter & St. Paul’s Church in Shoreham to kick off a weekend ramble. It’s astonishing and humbling to stand in a place full of 800 years of prayer.


St. Peter and St. Paul’s held the runway for our ramble: A brickwork walkway; a corridor through trees sheltering the cemetery.

Shoreham is not on the shore; it’s in the middle of Kent, 50 miles from the Channel. As we walk, we travel further back in time as we head uphill through Dunstall Woods. The name seems Saxon: Dunn staell, probably ‘brown building’. Just like Shoreham: scor ham, possibly ‘dwelling at the foot of a steep slope’, that same slope now graced by a memorial cross.

OS Maps showed us more history descending to the river: a tumulus, a Roman villa site and where a Palace once stood. I was sad about stupidly forgetting the lunch, but pleased that a fine Otford establishment was open to give us fare.

It was full of steam, hot coffee and the type of conversation that’s an eavesdropper’s dream. Small towns are the same the world over. Full of intertwined lives and drama to match. There are no secrets there.

That reality undergirds the memories, and explains the memorials. Lives intertwined.


We lingered, thinking on the loved ones’ blood spilled for freedom: earthly freedom in a free land, and our heavenly freedom in Christ.

Let us never forget man’s sacrifice, nor the Son of Man’s. Ours may change history; His changed eternity.

Photo of soldier: Library of Congress, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons