Wednesday, January 18, 2017

when things get crazy

Sometimes, when the world gets too crazy to handle, ya just gotta read Psalm 139.



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!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!
  Get out of my life, you murderers!
20 They blaspheme you;
  your enemies misuse your name.
21 O LORD, shouldn't I hate those who hate you?
  Shouldn't I despise those who oppose you?
22 Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies.

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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

huge stuff

Paul wrote really HUGE stuff in his letters to the followers of Jesus that were scattered across the Roman empire.

This 1st chapter from his letter to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus is a great example of that.

Paul a number of pivotal things in this chapter that directly relate to the day to day life you & I live.

Read it more than once – you'll miss too much if you read it just once.



Ephesians 1

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.

4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.

This is what he wanted to do,

and it gave him great pleasure.

6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

8 He has showered his kindness on us,

along with all wisdom and understanding.

  9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ,

a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.

10 And this is the plan:

At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ - everything in heaven and on earth.

11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,

for he chose us in advance,

and he makes everything work out according to his plan.


  12 God's purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.

13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you.

And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago.

14 The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised

and that he has purchased us to be his own people.

He did this so we would praise and glorify him.


15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God's people everywhere,

16 I have not stopped thanking God for you.

I pray for you constantly,

17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called;

his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.


  19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him.

This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.

21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else;

not only in this world but also in the world to come.

22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

23 And the church is his body;

it is made full and complete by Christ,

who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Monday, January 16, 2017

chapter 15

John 15 is just jammed with all kinds of stuff.

This is Jesus speaking here to His disciples one the night before He died.

I'm sure He was trying to jam as much important things during those closing hours with them.

Read these few verses more than once & see where God speaks to you as you read them...



John 15

1 "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.

2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit,

and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.

3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you.

For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine,

and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

  5 "Yes, I am the vine;

you are the branches.

Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.

For apart from me you can do nothing.

6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.

Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.

7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.

This brings great glory to my Father.

  9 "I have loved you even as the Father has loved me.

Remain in my love.

10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love,

just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.

Yes, your joy will overflow!

12 This is my commandment:

Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

13 There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends.

14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves.

Now you are my friends,

since I have told you everything the Father told me.


16 You didn't choose me.

I chose you.

I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit,

so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

17 This is my command:

Love each other.


18 "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.

19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it,

but you are no longer part of the world.

I chose you to come out of the world,

so it hates you.

20 Do you remember what I told you?

'A slave is not greater than the master.'

Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.

And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

21 They will do all this to you because of me,

for they have rejected the one who sent me.

22 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them.

But now they have no excuse for their sin.

23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.

24 If I hadn't done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty.

But as it is, they have seen everything I did,

yet they still hate me and my Father.

25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures:

'They hated me without cause.'


  26 "But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth.

He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.

27 And you must also testify about me

because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

selected verses

This is Jesus speaking here to His disciples one the night before He died.

In that kind of situation, I would think He would not mince words, but be speaking plainly.

Here's some of what stood out to me of what He said in chapter 14 of John's gospel.

Just read them & absorb the truth...



John 14

1 "Don't let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God, and trust also in me.

2 There is more than enough room in my Father's home.

If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you,

so that you will always be with me where I am.

4 And you know the way to where I am going."

  5 "No, we don't know, Lord," Thomas said.

"We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

  6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No one can come to the Father except through me.

7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.

From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"

  9b Jesus replied, Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!

  12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done,

and even greater works,

because I am going to be with the Father.

13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it,

so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!


15 "If you love me, obey my commandments.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate,

who will never leave you.

17a He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.


18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.


21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.

And because they love me, my Father will love them.

And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them."

  23 Jesus replied, "All who love me will do what I say.

My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.

24 Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me.

And remember, my words are not my own.

What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.

25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.

26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative;

that is, the Holy Spirit;

he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.


  27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.

And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.

So don't be troubled or afraid.



And here's what Paul said to the followers of Jesus who lived in Galatia about what behavior changes the Holy Spirit will make in us...


Galatians 5

22 But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will product this kind of fruit in us:

love,

joy,

peace,

patience,

kindness,

goodness,

faithfulness,

23a gentleness,

& self control.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

new commandment

This is Jesus, talking to his disciples, the night before He was crucified.



John 13

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment:

Love one another.

35 Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.



Ok, what was it Jesus said was the new commandment?


Go out & judge everybody?

No...


Tell people they're going slam to hell?

Don't think so?


Embrace the American dream?

SMH


Go whoring for political power or influence?

Not!


Be a success?

Guess again...


Accruing wealth is a sure sign of His blessing?

Huh?


Be a white evangelical in America?

That might prove problematic for some...



No, folks... Jesus said...

love one another...

...like I've loved you.”



iow, the quality of our LOVE is to be the hallmark of our identity in Him.


It's the one thing that will prove TO THE WORLD that we are His disciples,

His followers,

people who have been changed, impacted, & influenced by Him.


Hmmmmm...


Me thinks we've missed the boat on that one.

Friday, January 13, 2017

1/13/17 2.0

Woke up at 4:30am, couldn't get back to sleep.

Got up, read Psalm 37.

Here's what stood out – I don't know why they stood out – maybe it's just for me – maybe it's for others.

This is only the 2nd time I've written 2 blogs in one day – whut up?! ;-)



Psalm 37

3 Trust in the Lord & do god.
Then you will live safely in the Land & prosper.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
& He will give you the desires of your heart.


5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust Him, & He will help you.


7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
& wait patiently for Him to act.


8a Stop your anger!


10 In a little while the wicked will disappear.


23 The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord.
He takes delight in every detail of their lives.


27a Turn from evil & do good.


28b (The Lord) will never abandon the godly.
He will keep them safe forever.


33a The Lord will not let the wicked succeed.


34a Don't be impatient for the Lord to act!
Travel steady along His path.


35b I saw proud & evil people thriving like mighty trees
36a but when I looked again, they were gone.


38 The wicked will be destroyed;
They have no future.


39 The Lord saves the godly,
He is their fortress in times of trouble.

focus

Galatians 3

23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law.

We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.


  24 Let me put it another way.

The law was our guardian until Christ came;

it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith.

25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.


  26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ,

like putting on new clothes.

28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,

slave or free,

male and female.

For you are all one in Christ Jesus.


29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham.

You are his heirs,

and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.



...you are all one in Christ Jesus.”


I think we've all forgotten that.


It seems we spend an inordinate,

unnecessary,

counterproductive,

& unwise amount of time majoring on what divides us,

as believers

& just as people,

& spend mercy little time on the things that bind us together.


Pity.


The world is going slam to hell,

& we are all anal retentive / obsessive compulsive about so many things

that in the long run won't make a lick of difference.


Time is short, & getting shorter all the time.

We are surrounded with people who have no connection or interest in God.


If we are who we say we are,

& believe what we say we believe,

I would think it would make sense that we should be a whole lot more proactive in getting more people connected with God

rather than spending our efforts garnering political or social power,

protecting our rights,

&/or accruing so much wealth that someone else will fight over & spend after we're gone.