love fuels God’s kingdom

So now what? You are utterly free. Because of my grace, there are no demands on you. You may do whatever you wish because the law has no bearing on your salvation. If what I say is true, does that mean you should continue in self-centeredness and pleasure-seeking? Beloved, if you choose to live that way, I will love you no less, but my Spirit will continue the work of changing your affections. As you internalize my message of grace, your motivations will begin to change. You are already moving from self-centered hedonism to other-centered service. Servanthood is the fruit of my love growing in you. Do you want to know how to follow every rule and regulation written in my word? Simple. Love your neighbor as you love yourself.. Love is the fuel that runs my whole kingdom. When you are stuck in self-centered living, do not be surprised when you are the one who loses it all.

Galatians 5:13-15
Letters to the Beloved

come to the river of mercy

Beloved, you are blessed by the work of my Son on your behalf and blessed by my Spirit’s presence with you. I know your journey is long, and you get tired. The grime from life in a broken world covers you. Come and wash up in my river of mercy and be refreshed by my love. I welcome you in my kingdom. My Spirit invites you to eat as you wish from the tree of life and experience eternal life exactly as I intend.

Revelation 22:14-15, Letters to the Beloved

the beauty of generosity

My Son quickly dealt with their words, saying, “Why are you trying to cause trouble for this woman? What she did to me is lavish and beautiful, flowing from a heart of love. There will always be poor and needy people among you, and even if you have all the money in the world and give it all away, you will still come up short. Mary loved me right in the present moment, and trusting what I said about my impending death, she was getting a head start preparing me for burial. Wherever the good news is shared, people will hear about her because she is such a good example of other-centered love.”

Many believers are suspicious of extravagance and beauty because it seems to be an unwise use of resources. Child, you saw evidence of these conflicted attitudes after the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned. Some generous donors came forward, offering hundreds of millions of dollars to help the rebuilding efforts. Still, people were quick to criticize, saying, “They could use that money to feed the poor.” Beloved, I care about each image-bearer and every church, but do not begrudge the generosity of others. There is far too little charity in the world, and there is far too little beauty. Together, beauty and charity give you a glimpse of my generosity.

Matthew 26:11-13, Letters to the Beloved

follow the children

Until you turn from self-glorification, you will not find your way to heaven’s kingdom. Follow the children instead. They know their dependence. If not for the provision and shelter provided by their family, they are hopeless. They live with openness and curiosity in my kingdom. They do not seek to manage every circumstance because they cannot. Embrace your status as my child, living vulnerably before me, with openness and curiosity about where I have placed you.

From Matthew 18
Letters to the Beloved

invest in love

Do not become obsessed with amassing material wealth. When you spend your life accumulating stuff, it takes the focus from relationships with me and others. All those things you acquire end up falling apart, or they get taken from right under your nose. Then what? These things serve no kingdom purpose. Beloved, invest yourself in something that has lasting significance: love. Loving other people, loving me, loving yourself–these are eternal investments. Valuing things over people will break your heart, but treasuring people is a sure sign of wholeheartedness.

Matthew 6:19-21
Letters to the Beloved

season’s readings

My youngest daughter reminded me that Christmas is exactly one month away, which means you still have time to order copies of my books for yourself or your loved ones. In fact, why not both?

I published my first book, Soil of the Divine, in 2017. It is a collection of 150 poems and prayers based upon the psalms. (Paperback = $8.99; Kindle = $3.99).

My second book, Living in the Larger Story: The Christian Psychology of Larry Crabb, came out in 2019. I was the editor of this wonderful volume published by the Gideon Institute for Christian Psychology and Counseling. In addition to the chapter I wrote with Bryan Maier, there are excellent chapters from experts in Christian Psychology. (Paperback = $12.95; Kindle = $9.49).

Books three and four came out together in 2020. Notes from the Upper Room: Lessons in Loving Like Jesus, and an available devotional filled with unique content, focused on Jesus’s last meal with his disciples discussed in John 13 to 17, which is often known as the Upper Room discourse. (Book: Paperback = $9.99; Kindle = $7.99 / Devotional: Paperback = $5.56; Kindle = $0.99).

One month ago, I released my most ambitious writing project, Letters to the Beloved, which I worked on for six years. In this devotional commentary, I wrote through the New Testament verse by verse as though God was telling me about it in letter form. (Paperback = $24.95; Kindle = $9.99).

Each of the books is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. However, a limited number of sets are also available directly from me, though I will order more if I run out.

Altogether, the five books are nearly $65.00 on Amazon, though if you order all five from me, I will sell them for $50.00 plus shipping and handling. If you are interested in some other combination of titles, reach out, and we’ll see what we can figure out.

Season’s Readings!

you are wholehearted

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Many of my followers have taken Jesus’s words here to mean that you should work hard for holiness, but that interpretation misses my Son’s point. Striving to become like my Son is undoubtedly wise, but you cannot achieve purity independently; I grant it. In my Son, you are already wholehearted. When you recognize that you are already whole, you will have eyes to see that I have been with you all the time.

Matthew 5:8
Letters to the Beloved

loving well

Keep the end in view. Practice godliness. Control your passions with the help of my Spirit. Pray fervently for believers and unbelievers alike. Seek to love well. In the world, the concept of love has been diluted. Recapture what it means to love as my Son loves, with seriousness and service. True love wills another’s good, even when they fail you repeatedly. Open your home and your heart without complaint. I have given you so much, but I did not provide so that you could hoard my gifts. I gave lavishly so that you also could share generously and thus glorify me. When the abundance and variety of my gifts are shared freely, it pleases me. When you speak, speak my truth. When you serve, serve in my strength. In doing so, you reflect Jesus and glorify the Trinity.

1 Peter 4:7-11
Letters to the Beloved

growing up

Beloved, as my Spirit continues to transform you into the image of my Son, there will be concepts, ideas, and beliefs you think are accurate, but you will begin to recognize that they do not align with the way of Christ. You will outgrow some things, and others you will seek to destroy before they destroy you. I will give you the strength to overcome every stronghold; all you need to do is ask.

Letters to the Beloved