Monthly Archives: September 2008

Pressing In

Pressing In

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14).


It’s an old truck that has been in the family for over fifteen years now, passed down through the hands of a father to his son, to his daughter, to her son, and then to another one of her sons. Four generations of a family have sat behind the wheel of this ’93 Chevy pick-up truck.

The world would level its worth as little more than scrap metal—old and washed up and one step away from a junk yard’s grave. But to my family, well, we level its worth a bit higher. Not because of its beauty, but rather because of its bloodlines. This truck originated with my Grandpa Al. He would only drive it a year before he passed away. My father then took ownership of it for several years until my eldest son was eligible to drive.

It seemed reasonable that he be allowed this “junker” to serve as his training ground for better things … better rides down the road. It did and has now been passed onto his younger brother who has given our treasured piece of family history a good and steady workout. Through all generations, the truck has been faithful to render its services whenever and wherever needed.

So what does one do with this faithful servant who’s been…

driven hard,
regularly neglected,
taken for granted,
looked upon with little regard,

until finally an accident causes its bumper to be pried away from the frame? What does one do with a fifteen year old vehicle that’s logged in over 100,000 miles, whose air-condition no longer works, and who hardly seems worthy of an expensive repair?

What do you do with an old faithful truck that’s in need of some servicing, even though the bank account dictates otherwise? I’ll tell you what you do.

You press it into an old faithful tree—one that can absorb the shock and that can realign the bumper back alongside its original frame.

It may not be picture perfect, but the tree coupled with the willing obedience to “press in”, yields a drivable vehicle that will service this family for a season longer, perhaps even a generation somewhere down the road.

As it is with our truck, so it is with me; perhaps, even with you.

What do we do when our frames begin to show the weary of a hard drive? A regular neglect? A taking for granted? A little regard for our necessary when so much more is needed?

What do we do when an accident pries our hearts away from the original frame—the Author of our frames? How do we respond when we know that a heart’s servicing is necessary, but when the bank account levels empty and incapable of such a transaction?

I tell you what I did.

I pressed into an old faithful tree—one that absorbed the shock on my behalf over 2000 years ago and Who is more than capable of my realignment every time that I am willing press into a necessary obedience.

It may not yield a full perfection at this time. But it’s coming. If not here, then there. And the time lived in between the two—my now and my next—I’m pressing in and I’m pressing on to take hold of everything for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of me. I am not sure what my “everything” looks like; in fact, I am fairly confident that God means for much of it to remain veiled. Why?

Because that which remains unseen is that which grows my faith.

When I cannot see beyond the fog that surrounds me, tree pressing becomes my required necessary. When my plans cannot be managed or manipulated by my well-intentioned will, God presses the issue by urging me toward an intentional pause and by asking me to trust him with a fast from the world’s noisy insistence.

There is strength to found in the silence, my friends. Deeply rooted strength that comes with spending time at the foot of God’s tree. I’ve found his strength again this past week, as I have waited before him in silence. It’s never been absent or unavailable to me. But I have been.

Absent and unavailable.

In part, because my priorities have been derailed. But mostly, in part, because I have traded in the sweet sound of his voice for the resounding gongs and clanging cymbals of the world’s shout.

It sometimes takes a fast to recognize the difference. And by pressing into God’s tree this week, I have witnessed the profound extreme between the two. I am no longer willing to make that trade because the melody that I recovered in this time is the sacred chorus that claimed my heart as a child. It has kept my singing for nearly four decades now and will keep me drivable—in good working order—and will service this heart for a season longer, perhaps even for the generation that is soon to follow.

I don’t know how your truck is driving this week, but if you are feeling a bit old and worn and pried away from your sacred frame, let my lesson be yours. If God is urging you toward an intentional pause, press into his tree and then press in some more until he re-aligns your heart with his. He can absorb our pain; this has always been the intention of the Calvary tree that he planted on our behalf over 2000 years ago.

Press in, child of God. Press on. Move on and take hold of all of that for which Christ Jesus has taken hold of you. Glorious perfection. Yours and mine, and thus I pray…

Pause me in silence, Father, each and every day for the sweet revelation of your voice. When I allow the world’s noise to drown out your melody, shut me down and bring me to surrender at the foot of your cross. Strengthen my frame for holy submission and press into my flesh the splintered reminder of the price you paid for my re-alignment. May I never lose the wonder of your cross and the glorious participation of your presence in my life. Never again, Father. Never again. So be it. Amen.

Copyright © September 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.


It’s so good to be back with you; that being said, you can expect that I come back with some new parameters for blogging. You can expect to see me here twice a week, unless I have a spectacular urging from God that refuses my silence! I will be over to see you too, but with a much more reasonable approach. Thanks for your prayers. God’s been so faithful. You are all wecome here, and I value your presence in my life! Shalom.

An Intentional Pause

“‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.’” (John 15:5-8).

Rest. Renewal. Remaining in relationship.

We all need it. We all crave it, but rarely do we ever take the necessary steps to receive it. If not guarded and carefully tended to, our soul’s can crack with the dry and withered weary from our well-intentioned doing.

I’m there, friends. And my necessary and much needed portion requires that I step away from the computer in intentional pause to find some…


for my journey.

What good would I be to God or to you if I didn’t heed the urging that he’s been scripting into my soul for over two weeks now? What hypocrisy would be lived in me if I urged you toward peace in your journey but refused the steps to find my own?

I want my talk to match my walk, and so for the next week or so, I will be selectively guarding my time and tending to my “remaining” and my “attachment” to the Vine. It’s not that I don’t want to be here with you; it’s simply and profoundly because my desire to be with Him is greater. Some days, those desires coincide and weave together in beautiful measure. These are times of wonderful fruit bearing; but when the fruit bears less, it’s time to step back.

To re-evaluate and to refresh.

Seven months ago, I began this blogging journey; I couldn’t have imagined then what it would birth inside of me. The growth I have known on a personal level has yielded an orchard! It’s been fun to watch, and even greater to write. From its earliest inception, Peace for the Journey, has always breathed with the intention of allowing readers to pause from the ordinary and to partake of the Extraordinary—a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Jesus is our Peace, and the only way we will ever walk in his peace, is to tend to our souls. Keeping our lives on the journey toward peace means keeping to Jesus. The easiest way that I have found to do this, is to be in his Word. Daily. Learning and striving to implement his Word at a deeper level that roots rather than blows away with the first sign of conflict and confusion.

I’ll be honest. It would be easier to write about other things on this blog. I could rant and rave about a great many things (from the mundane to the complex), but one more voice simply adds to the noise, and quite frankly, nothing from my kitchen or my chaotic life would warrant your need to take notes. The world is noisy enough, and my life is simply not that exciting. Writing about it would put me to sleep.

It would be easier…require less of me…but friends, I’ve spent the better part of my 42 years walking my easy and my less. I am no longer content to do so. Does it make me popular in blog land? Perhaps not. But blog land is not my end. Jesus is, and I am done making apologies for my trying to lead you toward his end.

Thus, when I return, you can expect more of the same. My focus will not change. My parameters—my boundaries for doing this thing called “blogging”—have to change. It’s become too important to me, and it has consumed far too much of my time. That being said, I will be back. As my dear friend, Judith told me the other day on the phone…

Elaine, you write to live! I celebrate that God-given gift and will continue to honor it via my words for as long as my Father allows me the pen.

I want to personally take a moment to thank my friends who have taken some time this week to speak words of life over my weary spirit. Lisa, Judith, Joy, and Pastor Guillermo (aka: “preacher Billy”; further aka: “my man”) you have been the breath of Jesus to me, and I am forever grateful for being able to share my journey with people who aren’t afraid to reach beyond blogging and to get their hands “dirty” with the likes of me. God bless you each with a rich sense of purpose as you continue to minister to others on the journey. He’s allowed you some fruit bearing upon the soil of my heart this week.

One final thought, readers (I feel like a mother getting ready for a vacation—leaving you a “checklist” in my absence)…

Never fear tending to your soul. Never worry about what might be required of you. Your temporary sacrifice is worth the forever gain that comes with seeking Jesus. Don’t be afraid to step away from the table and to get down to the business of your heart. God’s never been after your performance. He’s after your personal.

Your rest. Your renewal. Your remaining in relationship with Him. All of which can be cultivated and found as we pause to embrace his Peace…

for the journey. Yours and mine.

I will see you soon. In the meantime, for those of you who are willing, I would appreciate your prayers on my behalf as I seek my Father’s face and his intentions for my “next.” As always…

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Setting the Table for Communion (part six): A Worthy Proclamation

For a final time (at least as far as this series is concerned), please read our Scripture focus, Luke 24:13-36. May God bless the reading of his Word as only he can.
“They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, ‘It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.’ Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread. While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’” (Luke 24:33-36).

What do you do with Truth?

You’ve walked toward Him. You’ve boasted in Him. You’ve listened to Him. You’ve invited Him to share your table, and finally, you’ve received from Him the feeding that fills and the truth that lasts. What then, do you do with that Truth?

Responses vary. Perhaps you contemplate Truth for a long season, harboring him within and treasuring him as your own. Perhaps you are quick to hide Truth for fear that his exposure would warrant the world’s disapproval. Perhaps, you reason Truth away because the world’s version of truth is an easier swallow and requires less of a voice. Perhaps, you reject Truth. Some would argue that you can’t, but it doesn’t line up with Scripture and with the living witness of a societal soul that prefers to stumble along with a lie, even though Truth has voiced his portion.

For all of the possible responses that could be proffered for Truth’s revelation, there is one and only one appropriate response to the tasting of God’s eternal and living witness. Again, we look to our spiritual ancestors in Emmaus for an appropriate response. What did they do with Truth?

They pushed away from the table and took to the road. Why?

Because Truth is meant to be shared. Not harbored or hidden. Not silenced or shrouded, but rather exposed. Released. Disclosed and distributed.

And for two hearts that burned with the Truth of Easter’s resurrection, the telling of that Truth became paramount. So much so that, despite the weary of an earlier walk from Jerusalem, they commenced a seven mile hike back to its borders. Back to the place of their seeded desperation and hopelessness in order to till the soil with the truth of a tabled communion in Emmaus.

Can you picture them as they went? Can you feel their sense of urgency? The joy that spurred their steps in a hastened obedience toward that upper room, where many were cloistered in confusion? When have you known a similar compelling? When has the truth of Jesus been the overwhelming penchant of your heart, so much so that you were willing to push away from the table and voice your proclamations with the words of God’s eternal witness? To run back to the place of cloistered confusion and to shatter the chaos with the Light of Easter’s revelation?

What, friends, do you do with Truth?

It is a question that I am asking of myself this day as we bring this series to a close. In many ways, the journey we’ve taken over the past two weeks has mirrored an Emmaus pilgrimage. We’ve walked to the table with intention. We’ve boasted in Christ’s name. We’ve opened up the Scripture together and allowed Christ to teach us. We’ve urged Him to stay and to dine with us around the table. We’ve watched Him break the bread and have received a feeding from his hands, the taste of which has stoked a burning fire within for Jesus and his truth.

And now we come to a final obedience in our journey. We come to a crossroads, where a choice must be made. We can push away from the table, fully fed and well satisfied, and nap away our life as usual. Or, we can push away from the table, fully fed and well satisfied, and move into a deeper obedience that requires and charges us with the responsibility of feeding others from the overflow. Either way, we’ve been fed, and that, alone, is a very good thing.

But the great thing…the better and more sacred path…would be to share God’s Bread with a world whose hunger remains empty and deep and terribly void of eternal sustenance. To stop short of the telling of God’s Truth is to stop short of our part in the Great Commission. We limit Christ’s work in us when we refuse his work a voice through us.

It’s a selfish choice. A less than choice that always ladles partial rather than full—almost, but not quite complete.

I don’t know about you, but I am after my completion. I want God to fully use me up, and then I want him to carry me home to heaven. I don’t want to leave this world napping. I want to leave this world walking and talking and living the Truth of Easter’s resurrection out loud, boldly and with the firm conviction that the Truth who burns within is in fact…

The Way. The Truth, and the Life.

I want the last words from my lips to mirror those of my Emmaus friends so long ago.

It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to me.

In the end, there is no finer Truth that can be ladled. In the end, there is only one Truth that is of consequence. His name is Jesus, and he has painted my wretchedness with his lavish portion of Calvary’s grace. He’s allowed me forever. He’s given me his peace, his presence, and his constant and abiding love that will carry through my now and over the threshold into my next.

Nothing else matters. Nothing. And for that, my friends, I will push away from my tabled communion and take to the road just as Jesus did. He didn’t linger long in Emmaus. Once he revealed the truth of who he is, he left. He took to the road, and he charges us with the same journey. And when we walk forward in such sacred submission, we will find, even as the disciples did on that resurrection evening, that our Father goes with us…goes ahead of us, and meets us on the other side of our obedience.

“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”

Let Peace be your guide. Let Peace be your portion, and as always, let there be Peace in your journey. He is so worthy of our steps, and thus I pray…

Thank you, Father, for this time around your table. You are worth my obedience. You exceed my expectations, every time. I cannot fully imagine what it must have been like to walk that Emmaus road with you on your resurrection morning, but I’m trying…to imagine…You…even now as we walk this road some 2000 years beyond that moment. It still feels fresh. It still voices truth and peace and sears into my heart with the burning revelation of your lasting witness. Give me the strength to carry your Truth, the boldness to speak your Truth, and the wisdom to choose your Truth, despite the bombardment from the world’s version of truth. Let me live it like I mean it until you carry me home and I finally see the Truth whom I now so vividly taste. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the abiding and living Holy Spirit. Amen. So be it.


What a joy, friends, to close this series with you and with a fresh taste of Truth in my mouth and heart. I’ve walked and written it, even as I have lived it–with obedience, even when my flesh cried out for a nap! Thank you for walking this Emmaus road with me. I’m not sure what’s next, but whatever that “next” may be, it will be done with Jesus, for he is my peace in my journey. God be with you, be real to you, and be found by you each and every time you set the table for communion with Him. He is worth the walk and every hard and difficult step that you take to get to his feet. How I love Him and consider it a privilege to love you because of Him. Shalom!

Setting the Table for Communion (part five): A Worthy Meal

“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’” (Luke 24:30-32).

We urged Him last night.

Asked Him to come and to stay with us awhile around our tables at Bible study.

He did, for he is faithful to entertain our invitations for his presence. Where two or more are gathered in his name, he is there among us, and last night was no exception. Bible study always brings an Audience with it. We may not see him, hear him, touch him or be able to feel him, but rest assured that if he is earnestly sought, we will always taste him.

Jesus Christ, the Word—Logos—is the bread of heaven.

And while others may prefer chips and salsa with their meal, my palate prefers the loaf.

I am a bread girl. Always have been. It was a staple at our table throughout my youth and has followed me to the table in years since. I’ve grown accustomed to its presence, and I miss it when it’s not there. Mealtime doesn’t feed the same in the absence of bread.

Bread comforts. Bread fills. Bread completes a table in a way that only bread can satisfy.

Jesus—the Bread of life—completed a table in Emmaus on his day of resurrection. It was fitting that one of his first acts of revelatory fellowship would include a loaf, blessed and broken and given from his very hands. It mirrored an earlier memory, one that included the same Bread who was broken with a different purpose in mind.

Earlier, prior to the cross, the Bread was broken to redeem. On this day, following the cross, the Bread was broken to reveal. To announce truth and to sear truth’s shield over the hearts of two who burned internally from the sacred flames of its heated embrace.

Jesus revealed the truth of his identity to his followers around a table and through a loaf of bread.

Not much has changed in 2000 years. Jesus is still in the business of revealing himself. Often around a table, and always through the giving and receiving of his bread. And lest you think I’m speaking solely about our reverent act of the occasioned sacrament, let me assure you that communion with Jesus exceeds our managed and calendared attempts of remembrance.

If we depended on church protocol for our feeding of God’s Bread, we would starve. That being said, it is good and fine and perfectly right for us to collectively remember Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples. He has commanded us to do so—to remember his body that was broken and his blood that was shed on our behalf for our redemption.

But what do we do with this second table of grace? This time of further communion with Jesus in our Emmaus moments, when the focus is no longer the forthcoming cup of redemption, but rather ladles with the revelation that love’s redeeming work has been accomplished. Finished. Completed and written down as history rather than as a prophetic yearning yet to be fulfilled. What do we do with this second feeding of Bread?

Could I be so bold as to suggest that this second table of grace is where we are to live in our today? If we linger at a last supper’s loaf, we linger in possibility. We level our faith at a yet to be realized redemption. But when we move beyond the Upper Room, when we walk the truth of Calvary’s embrace and Easter’s resurrection, we no longer linger in possibility.

We live in promise.

We walk to the table knowing that the Bread who awaits us will comfort us. Will fill us. Will complete us in a way that only his Bread can satisfy. The Bread of remembrance doesn’t feed the same as the Bread of revelation, and if we stop short of this second table of grace, hunger will be our constant and abiding portion.

God doesn’t intend for us to walk away from his table hungry. He means for us to walk away well satisfied from the sacred feeding of his hands. He made us to be a people of Bread, both as partakers and as sharers of his abundance. To limit our “intake” is to limit his intention for our lives. Why would we limit Him? How have we arrived as such a pitiful conclusion about our Father’s capacity to feed us? Have we not yet tasted his bread?

Have we only…





Have we stopped short of partaking from his hands? If we have, then we’ve missed the point of his resurrection. To come to the table and to refuse the feeding is a choice to live hungry for the rest of our days. It is a foolish choice—a poorly reasoned choice—yet, one that we make every time we neglect our tabled moments with him.

I don’t know about you, friends, but I’ve grown weary with my foolish and childish thinking. It is time to move on. To fortify my frame and my flesh with the faith that walks obediently to the table, knowing that the Bread Who awaits me will fill my stomach full and feed my heart to overflow.

“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (John 6:35).

And, perhaps, somewhere in our “coming” to this second table of grace, we too will recognize our Jesus for who he is and echo the stirred pulse of our spiritual ancestors…

‘Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’

I want a heart’s stir for always, and thus I pray…

Feed me, Father, with the bread of heaven. Push me past my refusal, and instead, open wide my mouth for the feeding. Let the filling from the world’s table be the starvation that leads me to yours. Burn in me a daily desire for your bread—a desire that leads me to my Emmaus table and that keeps me there until I reach the shores of my forever and dine with you face to face…at the table of grace, for always. Amen.

Copyright © September 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.

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In my next post, we will finish up this series on Luke 24:13-35. Until then, shalom.

Setting the Table for Communion (part four): A Worthy Invitation

“As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, ‘Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.’ So he went in to stay with them.” (Luke 24:28-29).

When was the last time you urged Jesus to come and to stay with you?

Urge. Parabiazomai in the transliterated Greek meaning, “to employ force contrary to nature, right; to compel by employing force; to constrain one by treaties.”[i]

It’s a strong word carrying with it, in this case, a strong invitation directed toward Jesus. Not to perform miracles. Not to soothe their ache with comforting words of untruth. Not to diminish the happenings of the past weekend, but rather, simply…

to stay.

Stay. Meno in the transliterated Greek meaning, “to remain, abide; to continue to be present; to be held—kept continually.”[ii]

What they asked of Jesus is not unlike what we ask of him in our times of deepest sorrow and confusion. They urged him to participate in their suffering through the gift of his presence. To share more of his heart with them over a common meal. To break bread and to receive the words of life from this one who spoke so eloquently about the One on whom they had hung their messianic hopes.

Everything that had transpired along the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus was ample fuel to warrant their desire for a further taste. And therein lies a truth for each one of us this day as we continue to set our table for communion with our Lord.

When Jesus Christ walks among us on our road to Emmaus and reveals the truth of who he is, a fire is fueled. Either a fire toward repentance or a fire toward rejection. If toward repentance, then our invitation for his lingering presence urges the same as it did for those disciples some 2000 years ago. If toward rejection, then our urges voice otherwise—in a safer, more sheltered direction that refuses the heat of the flames. But either way, when Jesus reveals…a fire burns, and a choice must be made.

Invitation or rejection.

The disciples chose well. They embraced the flames of this burning Truth that seared into their deep and dark with the penetrating light of Calvary’s victory. They didn’t scoff at the stranger’s words; instead they urged him toward further clarification in the matter. They didn’t dismiss him from their walk of grief; instead, they asked him to stay and to minister to their bleeding hearts and wounded confusion.

They didn’t come home empty-handed and empty-hearted. They came home with Jesus. Why?

Because our Savior is a kind a gracious Father whose agenda will never refuse an urgent invitation for his presence to be in our midst.

And so I ask you again, when was the last time you urged your Jesus to stay with you?

True and deep communion with Jesus…

Begins with an intentional walk toward the table (part one).
Continues with the worthy boast of his name (part two).
Deepens as the Word of God is revealed (part three).
Strengthens as an invitation for his presence is strongly urged (part four).

I don’t know where you are in your journey with Jesus this day, but as for me, I’m urging him for a deeper work. For more fire and more truth. Not because I desire the suffering heat, but rather because I know that God has ordained my refining process and to stop short of the flames is to stop short of my perfection.

I cannot always reason this walk between Jerusalem and Emmaus. Between spiritual blindness and sacred visioning. Between doubt and an absolute faith. Between rumors of his death and the reality of his resurrection. The struggle doesn’t make sense, especially since I’ve walked in God’s light for so long and tasted his truth at the deepest level of my being.

Still and yet, it is my struggle. But rather than walk away from God and hide in my confusion, I walk in obedience and with deliberate intention toward Him. With a worthy boast upon my lips and a worthy word within my heart because I know that my Father is faithful to come and to stay with me when my urging voices in his direction.

I’m urging Him today because he is my necessary and my very much needed. I long to sit by the fire and to break bread with him. Thus I pray,

Stay with me, Lord, at the table of my unbelief today. Linger long and with the words of truth that will reclaim my vision for all things eternal. Forgive me my doubts and replace them with the sure seeds of trust that harvest faithful and with the promise of your resurrection within. Let not my complacency be my satisfaction. Instead, stir my heart toward a greater conclusion in the matter…one that includes your magnificent imaginings for my life. Give me grace for the moment and hope for the ‘morrow. You are the sufficiency who keeps me in them both. Amen.


Copyright © September 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved.

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