It's really not about you. It's not.

It's about God.

Whether anyone might describe you as religious, or pious, or even good, none of these has meaning apart from the maker of all that is good and right. We are dependent on the one who made us to make us better.

But we can give in to the process; we can be willing to become more what God has in mind. Such a moment as this—now—provides one such opportunity for the change to continue.

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"And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Matthew 6:16–18

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It was P. T. Barnum, who understood something about putting on a show, founder of what would become Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, named by LIFE magazine the patron saint of promoters,  who said, "Nobody ever lost a dollar underestimating the taste of the American public."

Is it the public for whom you live? Is public taste the reward you choose for the life you live? For to live on the very surface of truth (the off-and-on awareness and interest of others), as opposed to within the depths of relationships (with the very spirit of God ever hovering, waiting to speak words of wonder and mystery, of call and creation)—to live on the very surface of truth (can you even get any more shallow, any more superficial?) is to choose, always, the lesser story. So many do.


John Ballenger

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God, in a world of shallow, take me into the deep, and make of my life so much more than the world could. Amen.

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There before you lies all the world,
Given as a gift.

Go into the world as a work in progress,
Someone who is not yet who you will be,
But someone who is on the way.

The world will be better and blessed
Because you are in it,
Growing, becoming, gleaming with
The light reflected from above.

John Ballenger

John Ballenger is pastor of Woodbrook Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland. Worrying at Scripture and wondering about life constitute one of the great joys in his life. His wife, daughters, dog, cats, congregation, and friends (all also great joys—most of the time) keep him worrying and wondering!

Reflections on the Way: I Surrender All

Ken Medema -

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