Saturday, December 31, 2011

looking ahead

A few years ago, Marianna Warren went to IHOP KC. She brought me back a kool tan & black journal from there that has the IHOP logo on the front.

At the beginning of 2010 I was needing something to write down where I was reading everyday in the Bible & keep track of what comes up off the page. I've been journaling like this since 2003, when I started getting up early, reading the Bible, & listening out for whatever God has to say.

After 2 years, I've finally filled it up. I'm gonna be using a new journal tomorrow. Here's what I wrote in my last entry today.

"This journal has taken me through 2 of the most difficult years of my life. There is so much of the why of these 2 years that I don't understand. But in it all I have really tried to be & do what God seemed to want me to be & do. I never would have chosen on my own to do any of it.

"What's ahead? I do not know.

"All I can do is follow & see where He takes me."

As a servant, sometimes we don't get to know the why. Sometimes we're just called to be & do what we're told. That's the unglamorous part of servanthood they don't tell you about.

Waiting is no fun.

Obedience is sometimes tough.

But what it all comes down to is trust - do I trust Him? Through all of these 2 years that is the thing He's kept whispering to me - "Trust Me."

So, I'm trusting, even though I cannot see what this is all about, nor what may be ahead.

During these 2 years I've held on to some scripture passages that I believe He gave me. I'll list them below. I've literally held on to these some days with a death grip. I know beyond a shadow of doubt that if He hadn't given these to me I would have lost my mind, more than once. The last one is the first (the only?) passage He's added for 2012.

As I end 2011, & using this journal Marianna gave me, I continue to hold on to these verses.

I continue to trust Him, & wait.

2010 / 2011 verses

1 Thess 5:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful; for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Pro 3:5 (The Message)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
   don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   He's the One Who will keep you on track.

Pro 4:25 Look straight ahead,
      and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
      stay on the safe path.
 27 Don’t get sidetracked;
      keep your feet from following evil.

Heb 10: 35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.


Is 41:9b For I have chosen you & will not throw you away.
   10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
   Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
   I will strengthen you.
   I will help you.
   I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

2012 verses

Matthew 6 The Message

33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.

Don't worry about missing out.

You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

 34 Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
         and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Friday, December 30, 2011


Sometimes, all ya got is all ya got...

Matthew 6:33 The Message

Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.

Don't worry about missing out.

You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
         and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Jesus prayed for us

Read this slowly...

John 17
1 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.

  6 "I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.

  9 "My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.

  13 "Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I'm not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.

  20 "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

  22 "I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

  25 "O righteous Father, the world doesn't know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them."

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


John 16:33b Here on earth you will have many trials & sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

This came up off the page for me today.

I've tried to write something for it, but can't seem to.

I feel like it's for someone else out there.

All I can say is for whoever you are, read it, & take heart.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

grape vines

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.

As many of you know, I grew up on a small farm in southern Ohio. We had a grape arbor at the edge of our back yard, next to one of the large vegetable garden areas. Everyone in our neighborhood had one. We all liked grapes!

Each year at the end of the growing season, the vines would get trimmed back so that next year they would bear fruit. If we didn't trim the back vines back each year, the plant would end up putting all its energy into growing vines & not fruit.

Some years the vines got trimmed back severely, to just this kind of main stalk. It helped the plant get rid of vines that were not efficient, or may have become diseased, or weren't putting out new vines enough.

All this trimming, pruning, & severe cutting back was done for one reason, & one reason only - so we could have lots of big, fat, juicy grapes. The grape vines existed for one reason & one reason only - to serve us by producing grapes. If a vine didn't, it was chopped down & replaced by one that would.

Now you're no dummy. You see the parallels.

The thing is, I've never enjoyed being pruned back. It hurts. And trust me, when the severe pruning happens (a.k.a. the last 16 months), it's not a pleasant thing.

But all the pruning is done for one reason & one reason only - so we can bear new, greater, more abundant fruit.

(Will someone remind me of this, regularly?)

Here's the same passage in the ESV (Hannah gave Lynn & I the new study ESV Bible for Christmas - kool). I've also included the passage in The Message, for a different slant.

 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

The Message
1-3 "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
 4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
 5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

Monday, December 26, 2011

I AM here

John 14:27b Don't let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

vs 6 I am the way, the truth, & the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.

Depression, fear, worry, stress, neuroses, demonic attack, psychoses - stuff that fills our lives, our culture, our world.

Jesus basically says, "don't let those things bother you."

How can He tell us this is unequivocally?

Because He is here, with us - the God of the universes is among us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Psalm 131
1 LORD, my heart is not proud;
  my eyes are not haughty.
I don't concern myself with matters too great
  or too awesome for me to grasp.
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
  just as a small child is quiet with its mother.
  Yes, like a small child is my soul within in.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Psalm 130
5 I am counting on the LORD;
     yes, I am counting on Him.
  I have put my hope in His word.

6 I long for the Lord
     more than sentries long for the dawn,
  yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.


John 12
44 Jesus shouted to the crowds, "If you trust me, you are trusting not only me, but also God who sent me. 45 For when you see me, you are seeing the one who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 yrs

On 12/23/09 I got up at my usual time to read & listen out for whatever God had to say to me.

I was reading in 1 Thessalonians 5 that day. When I got to verse 18, it came up off the page.

"No matter what happens, always be thankful; for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."

And the restlessness started in my heart - usually when that kind of restlessness comes along from God, it means change is coming. Little did I know...

Then in January, 2010, He gave me 3 more passages...

Proverbs 3:5 (The Message)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
   don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
   He's the One Who will keep you on track.

Proverbs 4:25 Look straight ahead,
      and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
 26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
      stay on the safe path.
 27 Don’t get sidetracked;
      keep your feet from following evil.

Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.

I didn't know what was coming, but I knew something was.

In April, the day after I turned over House of Grace & Christ Chapel Downtown to Dave White, He gave me this passage...

Is 41:9b For I have chosen you & will not throw you away.
   10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
   Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
   I will strengthen you.
   I will help you.
   I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

And so, to make a long story short, we moved to Blairsville September 1, 2010.

For the first 8 months of 2010 we were plummeting into whatever God had "next" for us.

But on 9/1/2010 we came to a stand stlll.

And we've been at a stand still ever since.

A couple of months ago, He gave me this passage...

Matthew 6:33 The Message Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.

Don't worry about missing out.

You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

 34 Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,
         and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Have the last 2 years been hard?


Do you understand what's going on?


I'd best describe us now as clueless.

What am I getting these days? The same thing I've been getting for 16 months...


"Trust Me."

Everything you have thought or might think, we have thought of dozens of times over the last 16 months.

Every scripture you could quote, we have read, dozens of times.

And whatever advice you might give, we've been given &/or thought of ourselves, & considered it dozens of times.

We try to remember that we are servants. Servants are told what to be & do, & sometimes aren't told why.

(btw, anyone who says, "All I want to be is a servant of the Lord" usually hasn't been one.)

(& anyone who quickly quotes to you the verse, "They that wait upon the Lord..." probably never has had to.)

Does the last 16 months make any sense?


For around the last 4 decades both of us were going at about 100 mph in ministry.

Now we are standing still.

We are clueless.

And we constantly listen out for further instructions from God.

I think it's important for people to know, now, what it's like living during this season of our life, not when we've moved on to the next season with God. It's so easy to look back & talk about how dauntlessly we followed the Lord through it all, cheerfully & giddily. Sometimes being a servant, following, & trusting, isn't quite as glamorous as it seems when we've come out of it & moved on to some more glittering ministry opportunity.

These 2 yrs have been the toughest in our lives. And we don't have a clue what it all means. And what 's more, we don't see an any end in sight for this season we're in.

But this season wasn't our idea, it was God's. We're not responsible for making it happen. He is. We're just responsible to serve Him as He leads us.

And so, we wait, & trust.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The real test isn't to believe this when times are good.

The real test is to believe this no matter what the times are.

Psalm 128
1 How joyful are those who fear the LORD -

  all who follow his ways!
2 You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
  How joyful and prosperous you will be!
3 Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
  flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
  as they sit around your table.
4 That is the LORD's blessing
  for those who fear him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Psalm 127
1 Unless the LORD builds a house,
  the work of the builders is wasted.
Unless the LORD protects a city,
  guarding it with sentries will do no good.
2 It is useless for you to work so hard
  from early morning until late at night,
anxiously working for food to eat;
  for God gives rest to his loved ones.

3 Children are a gift from the LORD;
  they are a reward from him.
4 Children born to a young man
  are like arrows in a warrior's hands.
5 How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them!
  He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

some things to ponder

John 8

vs 12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,

   "I am the light of the world.

         If you follow me,
              you won't have to walk in darkness,
              because you will have the light that leads to life."

vs 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him,

     "You are truly my disciples if you obey my teachings.
   32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

vs 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Psalm 125
1 Those who trust in the LORD are as secure as Mount Zion;
  they will not be defeated but will endure forever.

2 Just as the mountains surround Jerusalem,
  so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever.

4 O LORD, do good to those who are good,
  whose hearts are in tune with you.

If we believe this, how then should we live?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

lots of stuff

John 6:44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me...

Iow, when we feel anything about God, it's not us creating those thoughts, it's God reaching out to us.

So God is always reaching out to us, we're just responsible to respond.


God touched me a couple of mornings ago with the psalm. I'm still not completely sure why I reacted so emotionally to it. Here it is in 3 different versions.

Psalm 121

New Living Translation
1 I look up to the mountains—
      does my help come from there?
 2 My help comes from the Lord,
      who made heaven and earth!

 3 He will not let you stumble;
      the one who watches over you will not slumber.
 4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
      never slumbers or sleeps.

 5 The Lord himself watches over you!
      The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
 6 The sun will not harm you by day,
      nor the moon at night.

 7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
      and watches over your life.
 8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
      both now and forever.

The Message
1-2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
   No, my strength comes from God,
      who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

 3-4 He won't let you stumble,
      your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
   Not on your life! Israel's
      Guardian will never doze or sleep.

 5-6 God's your Guardian,
      right at your side to protect you—
   Shielding you from sunstroke,
      sheltering you from moonstroke.

 7-8 God guards you from every evil,
      he guards your very life.
   He guards you when you leave and when you return,
      he guards you now, he guards you always.

New King James Version
 1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
         From whence comes my help?
 2 My help comes from the LORD,
         Who made heaven and earth.

 3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
         He who keeps you will not slumber.
 4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
         Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

 5 The LORD is your keeper;
         The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
 6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
         Nor the moon by night.

 7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
         He shall preserve your soul.
 8 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
         From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Friday, December 16, 2011


John 4:35 (Jesus said) You know the saying, 'Four months between planting and harvest.' But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.

We are surrounded, all the time, by people who have no connection with God.

It's always amazing to me how people will respond to a gentle, unobnoxious sharing of what I've found through Jesus.

Usually it's the people that I think probably won't listen who end up being the ones who listen the most.

Ya just never know.

We all are so hesitant to share the new life we find intrusting Jesus as our means of connecting with God.

I think we're just afraid, or lazy.

But then I think about this - what if the person(s) who shared about their lives as Christ follower with us had been afraid, or lazy, & hadn't told us all the stuff we needed to hear that eventually encouraged us to follow Him.

Scary thought, huh?


And please remember one other thing...

Forever is a VERY long time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

my help

Please go to this link & listen to this - this is all I got this morning...

Psalm 121
1 I look up to the mountains—
  does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
  who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;
  the one who watches over you will not slumber .
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
  never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The LORD himself watches over you!
  The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
  nor the moon at night.

7 The LORD keeps you from all harm
  and watches over your life.
8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,
  both now and forever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Psalm 120
1 I took my troubles to the LORD;
  I cried out to him, and he answered my prayer.
2 Rescue me, O LORD, from liars
  and from all deceitful people.
3 O deceptive tongue, what will God do to you?
  How will he increase your punishment?
4 You will be pierced with sharp arrows
  and burned with glowing coals.

This passage is for someone today - don't know who.


John 2:23 Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. 24 But Jesus didn't trust them, because he knew human nature. 25 No one needed to tell him what mankind is really like.

I know this makes Jesus sound harsh, but He simply knew everyone's heart & knew how sinful, self-absorbed, & faithless people were, and are.

These verses don't suggest that Jesus didn't trust people, & that we shouldn't trust them either. What I do think it means is that we, like Jesus, should just understand who & what we're working with when we relate & connect with people.

People, including you & me, will always let each other down. In the final analysis, the only person who completely faithful, always, & who we can completely trust, in all things, is God.

How many times have you or I seen or known people, or have at times ourselves, trusted people more than we should have - trusted them as much, or more, than we should trust only one person - God?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

read it all

Psalm 119
1 Joyful are people of integrity,
  who follow the instructions of the LORD.
2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
  and search for him with all their hearts.
3 They do not compromise with evil,
  and they walk only in his paths.
4 You have charged us
  to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
  reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
  when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
  I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your decrees.
  Please don't give up on me!

9 How can a young person stay pure?
  By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
  don't let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
  that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O LORD;
  teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
  all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
  as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
  and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
  and not forget your word.

17 Be good to your servant,
  that I may live and obey your word.
18 Open my eyes to see
  the wonderful truths in your instructions.
19 I am only a foreigner in the land.
  Don't hide your commands from me!
20 I am always overwhelmed
  with a desire for your regulations.
21 You rebuke the arrogant;
  those who wander from your commands are cursed.
22 Don't let them scorn and insult me,
  for I have obeyed your laws.
23 Even princes sit and speak against me,
  but I will meditate on your decrees.
24 Your laws please me;
  they give me wise advice.

25 I lie in the dust;
  revive me by your word.
26 I told you my plans, and you answered.
  Now teach me your decrees.
27 Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,
  and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.
28 I weep with sorrow;
  encourage me by your word.
29 Keep me from lying to myself;
  give me the privilege of knowing your instructions.
30 I have chosen to be faithful;
  I have determined to live by your regulations.
31 I cling to your laws.
  LORD, don't let me be put to shame!
32 I will pursue your commands,
  for you expand my understanding.
33 Teach me your decrees, O LORD;
  I will keep them to the end.
34 Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
  I will put them into practice with all my heart.
35 Make me walk along the path of your commands,
  for that is where my happiness is found.
36 Give me an eagerness for your laws
  rather than a love for money!
37 Turn my eyes from worthless things,
  and give me life through your word.
38 Reassure me of your promise,
  made to those who fear you.
39 Help me abandon my shameful ways;
  for your regulations are good.
40 I long to obey your commandments!
  Renew my life with your goodness.

41 LORD, give me your unfailing love,
  the salvation that you promised me.
42 Then I can answer those who taunt me,
  for I trust in your word.
43 Do not snatch your word of truth from me,
  for your regulations are my only hope.
44 I will keep on obeying your instructions
  forever and ever.
45 I will walk in freedom,
  for I have devoted myself to your commandments.
46 I will speak to kings about your laws,
  and I will not be ashamed.
47 How I delight in your commands!
  How I love them!
48 I honor and love your commands.
  I meditate on your decrees.

49 Remember your promise to me;
  it is my only hope.
50 Your promise revives me;
  it comforts me in all my troubles.
51 The proud hold me in utter contempt,
  but I do not turn away from your instructions.
52 I meditate on your age-old regulations;
  O LORD, they comfort me.
53 I become furious with the wicked,
  because they reject your instructions.
54 Your decrees have been the theme of my songs
  wherever I have lived.
55 I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD;
  therefore, I obey your instructions.
56 This is how I spend my life:
  obeying your commandments.

57 LORD, you are mine!
  I promise to obey your words!
58 With all my heart I want your blessings.
  Be merciful as you promised.
59 I pondered the direction of my life,
  and I turned to follow your laws.
60 I will hurry, without delay,
  to obey your commands.
61 Evil people try to drag me into sin,
  but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
62 I rise at midnight to thank you
  for your just regulations.
63 I am a friend to anyone who fears you—
  anyone who obeys your commandments.
64 O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth;
  teach me your decrees.

65 You have done many good things for me, LORD,
  just as you promised.
66 I believe in your commands;
  now teach me good judgment and knowledge.
67 I used to wander off until you disciplined me;
  but now I closely follow your word.
68 You are good and do only good;
  teach me your decrees.
69 Arrogant people smear me with lies,
  but in truth I obey your commandments with all my heart.
70 Their hearts are dull and stupid,
  but I delight in your instructions.
71 My suffering was good for me,
  for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.
72 Your instructions are more valuable to me
  than millions in gold and silver.

73 You made me; you created me.
  Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
74 May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy,
  for I have put my hope in your word.
75 I know, O LORD, that your regulations are fair;
  you disciplined me because I needed it.
76 Now let your unfailing love comfort me,
  just as you promised me, your servant.
77 Surround me with your tender mercies so I may live,
  for your instructions are my delight.
78 Bring disgrace upon the arrogant people who lied about me;
  meanwhile, I will concentrate on your commandments.
79 Let me be united with all who fear you,
  with those who know your laws.
80 May I be blameless in keeping your decrees;
  then I will never be ashamed.

81 I am worn out waiting for your rescue,
  but I have put my hope in your word.
82 My eyes are straining to see your promises come true.
  When will you comfort me?
83 I am shriveled like a wineskin in the smoke,
  but I have not forgotten to obey your decrees.
84 How long must I wait?
  When will you punish those who persecute me?
85 These arrogant people who hate your instructions
  have dug deep pits to trap me.
86 All your commands are trustworthy.
  Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.
87 They almost finished me off,
  but I refused to abandon your commandments.
88 In your unfailing love, spare my life;
  then I can continue to obey your laws.

89 Your eternal word, O LORD,
  stands firm in heaven.
90 Your faithfulness extends to every generation,
  as enduring as the earth you created.
91 Your regulations remain true to this day,
  for everything serves your plans.
92 If your instructions hadn't sustained me with joy,
  I would have died in my misery.
93 I will never forget your commandments,
  for by them you give me life.
94 I am yours; rescue me!
  For I have worked hard at obeying your commandments.
95 Though the wicked hide along the way to kill me,
  I will quietly keep my mind on your laws.
96 Even perfection has its limits,
  but your commands have no limit.

97 Oh, how I love your instructions!
  I think about them all day long.
98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies,
  for they are my constant guide.
99 Yes, I have more insight than my teachers,
  for I am always thinking of your laws.
100 I am even wiser than my elders,
  for I have kept your commandments.
101 I have refused to walk on any evil path,
  so that I may remain obedient to your word.
102 I haven't turned away from your regulations,
  for you have taught me well.
103 How sweet your words taste to me;
  they are sweeter than honey.
104 Your commandments give me understanding;
  no wonder I hate every false way of life.

105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
  and a light for my path.
106 I've promised it once, and I'll promise it again:
  I will obey your righteous regulations.
107 I have suffered much, O LORD;
  restore my life again as you promised.
108 LORD, accept my offering of praise,
  and teach me your regulations.
109 My life constantly hangs in the balance,
  but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
110 The wicked have set their traps for me,
  but I will not turn from your commandments.
111 Your laws are my treasure;
  they are my heart's delight.
112 I am determined to keep your decrees
  to the very end.

113 I hate those with divided loyalties,
  but I love your instructions.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
  your word is my source of hope.
115 Get out of my life, you evil-minded people,
  for I intend to obey the commands of my God.
116 LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live!
  Do not let my hope be crushed.
117 Sustain me, and I will be rescued;
  then I will meditate continually on your decrees.
118 But you have rejected all who stray from your decrees.
  They are only fooling themselves.
119 You skim off the wicked of the earth like scum;
  no wonder I love to obey your laws!
120 I tremble in fear of you;
  I stand in awe of your regulations.

121 Don't leave me to the mercy of my enemies,
  for I have done what is just and right.
122 Please guarantee a blessing for me.
  Don't let the arrogant oppress me!
123 My eyes strain to see your rescue,
  to see the truth of your promise fulfilled.
124 I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love,
  and teach me your decrees.
125 Give discernment to me, your servant;
  then I will understand your laws.
126 LORD, it is time for you to act,
  for these evil people have violated your instructions.
127 Truly, I love your commands
  more than gold, even the finest gold.
128 Each of your commandments is right.
  That is why I hate every false way.

129 Your laws are wonderful.
  No wonder I obey them!
130 The teaching of your word gives light,
  so even the simple can understand.
131 I pant with expectation,
  longing for your commands.
132 Come and show me your mercy,
  as you do for all who love your name.
133 Guide my steps by your word,
  so I will not be overcome by evil.
134 Ransom me from the oppression of evil people;
  then I can obey your commandments.
135 Look upon me with love;
  teach me your decrees.
136 Rivers of tears gush from my eyes
  because people disobey your instructions.

137 O LORD, you are righteous,
  and your regulations are fair.
138 Your laws are perfect
  and completely trustworthy.
139 I am overwhelmed with indignation,
  for my enemies have disregarded your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested;
  that is why I love them so much.
141 I am insignificant and despised,
  but I don't forget your commandments.
142 Your justice is eternal,
  and your instructions are perfectly true.
143 As pressure and stress bear down on me,
  I find joy in your commands.
144 Your laws are always right;
  help me to understand them so I may live.

145 I pray with all my heart; answer me, LORD!
  I will obey your decrees.
146 I cry out to you; rescue me,
  that I may obey your laws.
147 I rise early, before the sun is up;
  I cry out for help and put my hope in your words.
148 I stay awake through the night,
  thinking about your promise.
149 In your faithful love, O LORD, hear my cry;
  let me be revived by following your regulations.
150 Lawless people are coming to attack me;
  they live far from your instructions.
151 But you are near, O LORD,
  and all your commands are true.
152 I have known from my earliest days
  that your laws will last forever.

153 Look upon my suffering and rescue me,
  for I have not forgotten your instructions.
154 Argue my case; take my side!
  Protect my life as you promised.
155 The wicked are far from rescue,
  for they do not bother with your decrees.
156 LORD, how great is your mercy;
  let me be revived by following your regulations.
157 Many persecute and trouble me,
  yet I have not swerved from your laws.
158 Seeing these traitors makes me sick at heart,
  because they care nothing for your word.
159 See how I love your commandments, LORD.
  Give back my life because of your unfailing love.
160 The very essence of your words is truth;
  all your just regulations will stand forever.

161 Powerful people harass me without cause,
  but my heart trembles only at your word.
162 I rejoice in your word
  like one who discovers a great treasure.
163 I hate and abhor all falsehood,
  but I love your instructions.
164 I will praise you seven times a day
  because all your regulations are just.
165 Those who love your instructions have great peace
  and do not stumble.
166 I long for your rescue, LORD,
  so I have obeyed your commands.
167 I have obeyed your laws,
  for I love them very much.
168 Yes, I obey your commandments and laws
  because you know everything I do.

169 O LORD, listen to my cry;
  give me the discerning mind you promised.
170 Listen to my prayer;
  rescue me as you promised.
171 Let praise flow from my lips,
  for you have taught me your decrees.
172 Let my tongue sing about your word,
  for all your commands are right.
173 Give me a helping hand,
  for I have chosen to follow your commandments.
174 O LORD, I have longed for your rescue,
  and your instructions are my delight.
175 Let me live so I can praise you,
  and may your regulations help me.
176 I have wandered away like a lost sheep;
  come and find me,
  for I have not forgotten your commands.

Monday, December 12, 2011


These verses were for me today, but there were also for someone else, especially verse 17. Will you let me know, & why, if they were for you too? I'd like to share with you why they're for me today.

Psalm 118
vs 6 The Lord is for me, so I will not be afraid.
   What can mere mortals do to me?

vs 7a Yes, the Lord is for me, He will help me.

vs 8 It is better to trust the Lord
   than to put confidence in people.

vs 9 It is better to trust the Lord
   than to put confidence in princes. (dan note: iow, government officials)

vs 17 I will not die,
   but I will live to tell what the Lord has done.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

a promise

Matthew 6:33b (The Message) Don't worry about missing out.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

some verses from Psalm 116

Psalm 116
1 I love the LORD because He hears my voice
  and my prayer for mercy.
2 Because He bends down to listen,
  I will pray as long as I have breath!

5 How kind the LORD is! How good He is!
  So merciful, this God of ours!
6 The LORD protects those of childlike faith;
  I was facing death, and He saved me.
7 Let my soul be at rest again,
  for the LORD has been good to me.

12 What can I offer the LORD
  for all He has done for me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
  and praise the LORD's name for saving me.
14 I will keep my promises to the LORD
  in the presence of all His people.

15 The LORD cares deeply
  when His loved ones die.
16a O LORD, I am Your servant;

17 I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving
  and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
  in the presence of all His people—
19 in the house of the LORD
  in the heart of Jerusalem.

Praise the LORD!

Friday, December 9, 2011

true trusting

Psalm 115:11 All you who fear the Lord, trust the Lord.

   He is your helper, He is your shield.

It's easy to trust the Lord when times are good. Anyone can trust Him when things are going well.

But true trusting comes when times are tough, when things aren't going like we think they should, or when we're clueless as to what's going on.

Here is says God's our helper & our shield.

Iow, I think this means He is the engine pulling the train of our life, protecting us as we roll along.

And it's not easy to believe that fully when things are tough. We second guess a lot, whether we're really being &/or doing what He intended.

Over these last 15 months particularly, the recurring thing God has said to me is "trust me" - I have tried to, mostly because I have no choice ;-)  He's the One who got us into this situation. I guess then He's the One who gonna have to keep us as we stay here, or lead us if we're supposed to be&/or do otherwise.

Here's the rest of the psalm, so you can get a feeling of context...

Psalm 115
1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
  but to your name goes all the glory
  for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
2 Why let the nations say,
  "Where is their God?"
3 Our God is in the heavens,
  and he does as he wishes.
4 Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
  shaped by human hands.
5 They have mouths but cannot speak,
  and eyes but cannot see.
6 They have ears but cannot hear,
  and noses but cannot smell.
7 They have hands but cannot feel,
  and feet but cannot walk,
  and throats but cannot make a sound.
8 And those who make idols are just like them,
  as are all who trust in them.

9 O Israel, trust the LORD!
  He is your helper and your shield.
10 O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the LORD!
  He is your helper and your shield.
11 All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD!
  He is your helper and your shield.

12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us.
  He will bless the people of Israel
  and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
13 He will bless those who fear the LORD,
  both great and lowly.

14 May the LORD richly bless
  both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
  who made heaven and earth.
16 The heavens belong to the LORD,
  but he has given the earth to all humanity.
17 The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD,
  for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
18 But we can praise the LORD
  both now and forever!

Praise the LORD!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

just think about this

Matthew 6 (The Message)

33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.

Don't worry about missing out.

You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

 34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now,

         and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Psalm113:1 Praise the LORD!

Yes, give praise, O servants of the LORD.
  Praise the name of the LORD!
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD
  now and forever.
3 Everywhere—from east to west—
  praise the name of the LORD.
4 For the LORD is high above the nations;
  his glory is higher than the heavens.

5 Who can be compared with the LORD our God,
  who is enthroned on high?
6 He stoops to look down
  on heaven and on earth.
7 He lifts the poor from the dust
  and the needy from the garbage dump.
8 He sets them among princes,
  even the princes of his own people!
9 He gives the childless woman a family,
  making her a happy mother.

Praise the LORD!

Monday, December 5, 2011


Luke 17:7 "When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, 'Come in and eat with me'? 8 No, he says, 'Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.'

9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not.10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, 'We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'"

Anyone who says, "All I want to be is a servant of the Lord" has never been one.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

who do we serve, really?

Luke 16:13 "No one can serve two masters.

For you will hate one and love the other;

you will be devoted to one and despise the other.

You cannot serve both God and money."

How many of us who say we are Christ followers chase the American Dream so hard find ourselves loving money more than God?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

who ya hangin' with

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!

Considering the depth of the depravity of the world at the time of Jesus, I wonder what kind of person you had to be yo be a "notorious" sinner? Ya musta had to be quite a doozie of a sinner!

But the religious establishment didn't like that Jesus did that.

I wonder if we have the strength to hang out with some people today who might be viewed as "notorious sinners". Most of us who are Christ followers tend to hang with our fellow prissy & precious Christian friends.

I wonder what would happen if more of us would hang w/ people who are clearly not Christ followers, not as another notch on our belt of "people we've saved" but simply because they, like us, are beautiful & cherished children of our common Abba Father?

And I wonder if we'd be willing to hang with such people if our prissy Christian friends took exception to it?

Just a thought...

Friday, December 2, 2011

giving up & getting

Psalm 108:13 With God's help we will do mighty things for He will trample down our foes.

Luke 14:33 No one can become My disciple without giving up everything for Me.
     And what do we get if we do?
     We get a connection with the God of the universes.
     We get the life He dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.
     So what we give up pales in comparison to what we get.
     Just a thought...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

how it all comes out

Luke 13:29 And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God.

30 And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then."