Thin Places

"Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it." - Genesis 28:16b

“Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it.” – Genesis 28:16b

There are places on this planet, where the separation between heaven and earth seems very thin and, in those places, it is said that you can hear God more clearly and feel God more closely than anywhere else. Some see the mountains as thin places, where the peaks reach toward heaven and the majesty of God is revealed. Certain traditions have recognized thin places where people have met God powerfully through the ages. Retreat centers, churches, and monasteries often are cited.

I believe that we can create our own thin places:  For one of my friends, it was her daily hour-long walk where she could talk to God without interruption. For another, it was under the stairs in her home, and another tells me she has her best sense of Jesus’ presence on her backyard deck. For me, it is the couch downstairs where I can open the blinds and wait for the dawn as I read His Word and listen for His voice.

We all need a place where we can go to meet God, leaving everything else behind so, without distraction, we can connect with our Creator. Of course, we can meet Him anywhere along life’s path (and we do!), but for those of us who have been on the journey for awhile, we find there are sacred spots where God seems to break through with ease. Do you have a place like that? If not, I hope you will create one as an invitation to sacred encounters in this new year!

“Until we are able to have at least a little silence every day, both outside and in, . . . we have no hope of coming to know either God or ourselves very well.” – Joan Chittister



The Voice


All your desire to encounter Christ is embraced, transformed by His desire to come towards you.”

There were announcements of Jesus’ coming birth to Joseph and Mary, and shepherds. But in the darkness of the Bethlehem stable, the most amazing announcement of all came directly from the swaddled newborn boy as He stirred and His cry broke the silence of that night. That baby’s cry was the voice of God Himself.

That cry shook the world of angels and demons. Eons ago, they had heard it break the silence as it called the world into being. They knew it as the voice that cast Satan and his angels out of heaven. That voice was now coming from a small bundle of humanity. Could it be? What power was contained in that cry! What foreshadowing of what would come in His life. What hope for the world, created perfectly, now fallen. God had not sent a prophet this time or a king or an angel. He had come Himself and the world would never be the same.

The voice of God still speaks today for those who will hear. As we sit before Him in worship and wonder, we listen, waiting to hear again the voice that broke the silence of that holy night. Then we hear it: His voice resounds in the deepest recesses of our heart through His Word and through His Spirit. Receive!

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!”

Quote taken from a Pray-as-You-Go meditation. Thanks to Deb Karish for posting the Christmas pageant photo from 1980!




At the time of Jesus’ birth, an angel announced, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”


“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12

That joy is for us, too! Have you found it? If so, you know it is not in the right gift under the tree, the perfect meal, or even the year-end bonus. These things delight for a time, but don’t give the deep-down, long-lasting, more-than-emotional, bubbling-over joy the angel was talking about.

The angel-announced joy was about an entirely new way of life that Jesus would bring – a life lived out moment-by-moment with Him. When we are in touch with our Creator, sensing His nudges, feeling His comfort, realizing His wisdom, and obeying His direction (even when it’s hard), there is joy.

True joy is recognizable by its awakening within us a desire for something that is beyond ordinary – maybe hearing music that sings to your soul, maybe in particular relationships, maybe in a resonating phrase or idea in a book you are reading, maybe in a neon sunset or a starry sky, maybe . . . what is it that makes your heart overflowingly happy?

Do you recognize God in your beyond-ordinary moments? He is there. We know authentic joy only because of relationship with the Eternal. Thank You, Jesus, for being the joy of Christmas and every day thereafter!

“Joy is God in the marrow of our bones.” – Eugenia Price




Pause for Peace


“Sacred is the pause that draws us into stillness. Nourishing are the moments when we step away from busyness. Teach us the wisdom of pausing. Reveal to us the goodness of stopping to breathe.” Macrina Wiederkahr

We are now in busiest, most pressured time of the year for most of us.

Knowing that, let’s think about how we might find ways to pause, to reconnect with our Creator, and to breathe in the peace the angels promised (and we so often miss!) on that first Christmas day.

Many of us begin our day in a devotional connection with God, but a few weeks ago, I decided to try what I call “a holy experiment” by adding two spiritual pauses in each day – one at about noon and another just before dinner in the evening.

I stop, read a devotional thought or a psalm and pray, just briefly. With minutes, I am refreshed. Then I re-enter my day with a new attitude and already thinking about when I get to pause again. The result? Awareness of God and His presence permeates my day. And where He is there is peace.

How about you? Are you looking for calm in the busyness of this season? Try a holy experiment of your own: Take a short break, in your mind’s eye look into the face of the only One who can give you peace, and let Him in. He’s just waiting to be asked.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Thanksgiving Continued

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Now our challenge is carrying the attitude of thankfulness day-to-day. After all, God places great value on gratitude.

"I have never been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day." - A. J. Jacobs from The Year of Living Biblically

“I have never been so aware of the thousands of little good things, the thousands of things that go right every day.” – A. J. Jacobs from The Year of Living Biblically

He is the penultimate Giver and, as such, He deserves and expects our thanks. Besides, being thankful is good for us. It makes us more positive, more loving, more generous in spirit.

With that in mind, let’s think about just two ways we might learn to make gratitude a natural outflow of our lives:

1. Invite the senses: We can live with more intensity when we consciously engage the senses. It’s like jumping into the lake instead of skimming over it in a sailboat. Jump into your sensory life. Feel the sun on your skin, really taste the food you eat, drink in the beauty of a single bloom. Our bodies need to be part of our experience of God’s gifts. Swim, don’t skim.

2. Savor the moment: Some of us tend to go through life on auto pilot, doing things without even thinking. But taking a little more time (a) to connect with someone, (b) to experience that emotion we are running from, or (c) to pause to ask for God’s insight develops awareness of the moments and not just the passing of the days.

Why are senses and savoring important? They help us become more attuned to the many gifts we are constantly being given. And then, we begin to realize we have Someone to thank. Gratitude naturally flows out of a life lived mindfully. Try it.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17