Monday, September 26, 2016

survival

Jeremiah 17

7 "But blessed are those who trust in the LORD
  and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
  with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
  or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
  and they go right on producing delicious fruit.



I have lived for 66 years. Life has change so much since 1950.

Significant change came much more slowly back then.

Then the 1960's came along & massive change occurred.

Somewhere along the line, maybe in the 1990's, life started picking up the pace in significant changes.

Now our culture & world has crucial shifts every 2 to 3 years.

I thought the chaos of the '60's was pretty radical – that is, until 9.11.2001.

Our world & our culture has plummeted into unbelievable disarray.

And the last 2 years have moved things from chaotic & disarrayed to very, VERY scary.

I do not know what the future holds.

In the days ahead, perhaps it would behoove us to remember these 2 verses from Jeremiah.

Not that we will be spared the drought, but that in some shape or fashion, in some level of existence, we will survive it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 things

Luke 15

1 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.

2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them!



It is a curious thing that “notorious sinners” WANTED to hang around Jesus.

Back then it was socially acceptable to treat such people very badly.

But even in the face of mean & abusive treatment, these “notorious sinners” still came to see Jesus & listen to Him teach.


But what's really equally incredible is that Jesus seems to WANT to be around them.

He wanted to be around them so much He would even each with them!

Back then, if you hung around sinner you could be deemed ritually unclean – iow, you couldn't go to the temple.

So not only did Jesus hang out with them, He even ate with them, which was unheard of because that would make you uber-unclean.


And the holier-than-thou people of the day (the Pharisees) made it abundantly clear they didn't like Jesus hanging out with sinners.



These 2 verses beg 2 questions for us today.

Is there something about the quality of our treatment of others that is so attractive to the “notorious sinners” of our day that they WANT to be around us?

And do we see such people just as valuable to God as we are, so much so that we WANT to be around them, not as some do-gooder, but as someone who actually likes them & cares about them?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

a fair exchange

Luke 14

25 A large crowd was following Jesus.

He turned around and said to them,

26 "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison;

your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters;

yes, even your own life.

Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

  28 "But don't begin until you count the cost.

For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?

29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

30 They would say, 'There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!'

  31 "Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?

32 And if he can't, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.


33 So no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.



I have heard my friend, colleague, & sister, Beth White, say more than once...


Salvation is free, but everything else costs you everything.

What Jesus is saying here is not that you have to hate your family & friends, & even yourself.

He's saying that the person who is His disciple, a person who has decided to follow Him, has to make Jesus the highest priority.

Whatever He says for us to be & do has to be the first consideration.


And there's a lot of us who can't seem to make that priority change.

We always put family & friends first – what they think & want supercedes what God may be saying to us.


That ain't the way it works.

We're either gonna follow God or not.

We can't follow God a little bit any more than we can be a little bit pregnant.


Jesus does tells us to think about it before committing to follow Him.

He doesn't want us to follow Him just because.

He wants us to follow Him because we've looked at what following Him means & made the conscious choice to be His disciple.


Yes, we have to give up everything to follow Jesus.


But in return, we get all of Him.


I think that's a fair exchange.


;-)

Friday, September 23, 2016

my fav

Psalm 139 is my fav.

Yes, more fav than Psalm 23.

There's just so much in it.

Every time I read it I find something amazing in it.

Read it slowly – it's hard to catch all the subtleties if we read it too fast – or if we read it just once.

So here's to you the amazing truth contained in an amazing psalm...



Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up.

  You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

  You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

5 You both precede and follow me.

  You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!

7 I can never escape from your Spirit!

  I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
  if I go down to the grave, you are there.

9 If I ride the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
  and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night – 12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

  Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

  Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born.

  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

  They cannot be numbered!

18 I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

  test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
  and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

fears & worries

Luke 12

6 "What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins?

Yet God does not forget a single one of them.

7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.

So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.



In the 12th chapter of Luke account of Jesus' life, he quotes Jesus as saying “don't be afraid” or “don't worry”

In verse 4,

In verse verse 7,

In verse 11,

In verse 22,

Twice in verse 29,

And in verse 32.


That's 7 times in the first 32 verses.


Clearly, it was something Luke thought was very important to include in his account of Jesus' life.


And clearly Jesus felt it was important to communicate in the 32 verse span in a single talk He had with a crowd one day.


If Jesus never had said “don't be afraid” or “don't worry” ever again in any of the other Gospels, I would think these 7 times recorded in Luke 12 would be enough to quiet our fears.


If Jesus says He's got our 6, He's got our 6.


And yet we are afraid a lot, & we worry a lot.


Why?


Could it be that deep down we don't trust Him – we don't think He'll come through for us in the tight place.


We just don't trust Him.


Is there EVER a time when Jesus doesn't come through on who & what He says He'll be & do?


No....


Is it a trust issue or is it a control issue.
We don't feel in control unless we're expressing our concerns about something...

Like, our puny & prissy strength will make that much difference either way?!


What would our lives look like,

& what would our world look like,

if we who claim to follow Jesus actually did not live from fear to fear,

or spend a lot of time worrying about stuff that never happens?


Think about that today.

And as you face your fears & worries today (just like I will), what if we just said to those fears & worries that we're gonna trust Jesus just a little bit more to take care of that situation that scares us or worries us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2 words, for you, or me?

Luke 11

9 "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking, and you will find.

Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.


10 For everyone who asks, receives.

Everyone who seeks, finds.

And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.



I've said it before in this blog, whenever I read this, there seems to be 2 operative words here:

keep on...”

This time, I went to BibleGateway.com & checked what other translations or paraphrases had to offer.

Interestingly enough, they all pretty much came out with the same words:

asking, seeking, & knocking.


So, I don't know who is supposed to be reading this blog today...

(for all of you who do read this pretty regularly: you need to get out more! ;-) LOL )

Anyway, you may need to hear those 2 words Jesus was saying here & take them to heart in your situation.

Jesus says, “keep on...”

You may be in an impossible place.

You may be thinking that “quit looks good.”

You may see no hope in sight.

You may be clueless about your life or circumstances – I've been there for 6 years – join the club! ;-)

You may be standing on the cusp of a GREAT adventure with God through a stupendously risky & seemingly impossible or illogical action.


To all of us in any of those situations - & a gajillion other possibilities – Jesus just may be saying to you (& me) those 2 words...


keep on...”


If that's resonates with you, & you feel comfortable, let me know by commenting below.

I'd really like to know.



And keep on...

;-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

just read it

Paul wrote 2 letters to the followers of Jesus who lived in Thessalonica.

Here's a few verses from the 2nd chapter of his 2nd letter to them.

Just read this & remember it...



2 Thessalonians 2

1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him.

2 Don't be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun.

Don't believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us.

3 Don't be fooled by what they say.

For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed - the one who brings destruction.

4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship.

He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

  5 Don't you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you?

6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes.

7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.

8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

  9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles.

10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.

11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies.

12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.