Posted by: Bob Clark | May 7, 2019

Tenderhearted

Tenderhearted.

A word I don’t hear much anymore. I want to hear it more.

A quality I don’t see much anymore. I want to see it more.

A life I don’t live much anymore. I want to live it more.
Tenderhearted.
A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life; a hardhearted person lives a hard life” (Proverbs 28:14 MSG).

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 6, 2019

A time for silence

About six weeks ago I found myself in a conversation that drifted into a topic that made me a bit uncomfortable.

I listened carefully and at one point thought I was going to have to respond, or more accurately, push back. But just as I was preparing to make my case, I had a strong gut feeling that I should remain quiet.

And that is what I did.

One day last week it became clear that staying quiet was exactly what I needed to do.

There is a time to speak out, no doubt; but there is also a time for silence.

I’m thankful I got it right, at least this time.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 3, 2019

Laying down my life

I need courage, and lots of it, to lay down my life. Sometimes I need that courage day by day. Other times I need that courage hour by hour. But if I am being honest, most days I need that courage minute by minute. Today is one of those days.

Almighty God,

Give me courage to lay down my life, right now, in this moment.

In Jesus’s name,

Amen.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 2, 2019

Always

Yesterday I was reminded how much I have to learn, how much I have to grow.

That kinda discouraged me for a while, but then it hit me–I never want to stop living and learning, stretching and growing.

Always living and learning.

Posted by: Bob Clark | May 1, 2019

The practice of prayer

This week I was reminded of David’s practice of praying seven times per day (Ps 119:164), Daniel’s practice of praying three times per day (Daniel 6:10), Jesus’s practice of getting up at dawn to pray or even pull an all-nighter in prayer (Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12), and Peter’s practice of observing hours of prayer (Acts 3:1; 10:9).

Reading these practices reminded me that having a plan to practice praying can be good, healthy, and soul-nourishing.

It also reminded me that we make time for what we value.

And oh yes, it reminded me that without a plan to practice prayer, it is easy to fail to pray.

Want a more enriching prayer life? Plan a practice of prayer.

Posted by: Bob Clark | April 30, 2019

A morning prayer

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

BCP

Posted by: Bob Clark | April 29, 2019

You Can’t Handle It Now

“I have much more to say to you, but you can’t handle it now.” John 16:12 CEB

In his “farewell discourse” with his disciples, Jesus lets them know there is more, much more, that he would like to say to them, but they can’t handle it at the moment.

How awesome is it that Jesus knew his friends well enough to know their limits and respected them enough to hold off on saying some things to them?

How many times have I unloaded words on people when they were already up-to-here and unable to handle more?

How many times has Jesus wanted to tell me something, but knew I couldn’t handle it?

The discourse continues with some assurances about the role “the Companion” (CEB) plays in communicating. While you can’t handle it “now,” God is already preparing for the moment when you can handle it.

Thanks be to God.

Posted by: Bob Clark | April 26, 2019

Giving Back

“What can I give back to the Lord for all the good things he has done for me?” Psalm 116:12 CEB

Finding this question in the middle of my Psalm of the day made it impossible for me to quickly read and move on with my day.

While I realize I can never repay God for all God has done; at the same time, I hope I never stop asking this question.

It seems the natural reaction to an awareness of all the goodness God has done is to ponder how to give back.

So if I stop asking this question, perhaps I need to seriously consider whether I have lost my awareness of how good God has been.

God has been so good. What can I give back?

Posted by: Bob Clark | April 25, 2019

What Kind of Christian?

So I was introduced to someone the other day and after some small talk the ensuing conversation led me to identify myself as a Christian.

Normally I would self-identify as “a Jesus follower” rather than as “a Christian,” but the conversation path led to my saying, “I am a Christian.”

Immediately I was asked, “Well, what kind of Christian? Are you a ‘hate-Christian’ or a ‘love-Christian?'”

I am not exactly sure how I replied because I was so shaken by the question. I’m pretty sure I responded with something about Jesus saying that his followers are known by love, but I can’t be certain it made much sense.

I just kept thinking, “This is what it has come to? Really?”

A few days have passed and I am still frustrated at the current reality. But after some reflection, I am more concerned about being able to authentically claim to be “a love-Christian” in an age where people are very familiar with “hate-Christians.”

Posted by: Bob Clark | April 24, 2019

Stuck in my Heart

Sometimes getting a lyric stuck in my head is annoying. An “ear worm,” we sometimes call it.

But today I got a lyric stuck in my heart, and it turned out to be a good thing.

It’s a line from “Jesus Paid It All,” and probably not the one you would expect.

“Sin had left a crimson stain….”

Instead of all those lines about Jesus, grace, and forgiveness, it was this line about sin that got stuck.

And, for me, on this day, it was a good thing. Because after taking some time to consider and remember the toll sin has taken on my life, I can better appreciate Jesus, grace, and forgiveness.

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