Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the Good News in essence

Romans 5
1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. 2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.

  3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

  6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. 9 And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God's condemnation. 10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

  20 God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Psalm 106:24 The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn't believe His promise to care for them.

This is such a singularly difficult verse to read.

What the psalmist is talking about is when the Jews refused to enter Canaan the first time because they believed what 10 of the 12 spies told them about the Promised Land - that they couldn't conquer it.

Iow, they didn't believe that if God said they could & would conquer it, then that's exactly what they could & would do.

They didn't trust Him.

These were the people who'd seen plagues in Egypt that brought about their release from slavery of 400 yrs.

These were the people who'd seen the Red Sea part & then walked across it on dry land.


As a result, God didn't let them go in. He let them wander in the wilderness for 40 yrs until everyone who had said no to God was dead.

That's pretty still punishment.

But before we come down hard on the Jews at this time, how many of us are the same way?

How many of us simply don't trust Him to do the things He says He will?

The longer I live, the more I realize that with God, it's about trust.

We either trust Him, or we don't.

And to be frank,most of the time, we don't.

Am I right, or what?

Now I'll tell ya, right now, after 20 months of "circling the field" (as Lynn calls it) it's getting wearisome being so clueless. But trusting is what brought us to this place in this season. What else do we have but trusting to bring us through it.

And ya know, it's interesting - more & more I understand that the trust (& faith) that brings you to a place ain't the level of trust (& faith) that will keep you there. And it surely ain't the trust (& faith) that will move you to the next season.

I've said all that to say this - trust Him - we may miss your Promised Land as a result.

Do we want to come to the end of our lives & realize we could have had ____________ (you fill in the blank) simply because we didn't trust Him & walk toward it?

Monday, May 28, 2012


Psalm 105:19 Until the time came to fulfill His word, the Lord tested Joseph's character.

Think about that...

Maybe that's what God's doing to you...

   ...& me

Sunday, May 27, 2012

the results of faith

This still blows me away...

     read it slowly...

Paul is talkin' not just about himself & peeps back then, but about you & me

Romans 3
22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

   And this is true for everyone who believes,

        no matter who we are.

  23 For everyone has sinned;

        we all fall short of God's glorious standard.

24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.

He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.

       People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,

     26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.

God did this to demonstrate his righteousness,

        for he himself is fair and just,

        and he declares sinners to be right in his sight

             when they believe in Jesus.

  27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God?


             because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law.

            It is based on faith.

28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

  29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only?

     Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles?

          Of course he is.

30 There is only one God,

         and he makes people right with himself only by faith,

          whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law?

Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Psalm 103

I've read thru Psalms quite a few times in the 9+ years I've been getting up early to read.

(It's said that Billy Graham reads a psalm & a proverb every day - if it's good enough for Billy, it's good enough for me!)

I find something new all the time. And something speaks to me regularly about where I am, or what's going on, or what I'm thinking & feeling.

Psalm 103 has lots of stuff in it. Take the time to read it. It's just 22 verses. But there's lots of stuff that we've all heard people quote from it.

Psalm 103
1 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
  with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

2 Let all that I am praise the LORD;
  may I never forget the good things he does for me.

3 He forgives all my sins
  and heals all my diseases.

4 He redeems me from death
  and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

5 He fills my life with good things.
  My youth is renewed like the eagle's!

6 The LORD gives righteousness
  and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

7 He revealed his character to Moses
  and his deeds to the people of Israel.

8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
  slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

9 He will not constantly accuse us,
  nor remain angry forever.

10 He does not punish us for all our sins;
  he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
  is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

12 He has removed our sins as far from us
  as the east is from the west.

13 The LORD is like a father to his children,
  tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

14 For he knows how weak we are;
  he remembers we are only dust.

15 Our days on earth are like grass;
  like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
  as though we had never been here.

17 But the love of the LORD remains forever
  with those who fear him.

His salvation extends to the children's children
18   of those who are faithful to his covenant,
  of those who obey his commandments!

19 The LORD has made the heavens his throne;
  from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the LORD, you angels,
  you mighty ones who carry out his plans,
  listening for each of his commands.

21 Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels
  who serve him and do his will!

22 Praise the LORD, everything he has created,
  everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the LORD.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Here's some selected verses that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome found in Romans 1...

4 Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised Him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit.

7 God loves your dearly,He has called you to be His very own people.

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes.

Romans is a major statement of faith for Paul. The first 7 chapters are pretty tough reading,where Paul lays out our sinfulness as humankind. But when you get to chapter 8 - wow!!! - things take off!!!!

Read it - I recommend it  ;-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

right living

Though written so long ago, think about this psalm in light of our world today...

Psalm 101

1 I will sing of your love and justice, LORD.

  I will praise you with songs.

2 I will be careful to live a blameless life—

  when will you come to help me?

I will lead a life of integrity

  in my own home.

3 I will refuse to look at

  anything vile and vulgar.

I hate all who deal crookedly;

  I will have nothing to do with them.

4 I will reject perverse ideas

  and stay away from every evil.

5 I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.

  I will not endure conceit and pride.

6 I will search for faithful people

  to be my companions.

Only those who are above reproach

  will be allowed to serve me.

7 I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house,

  and liars will not stay in my presence.

8 My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked

  and free the city of the LORD from their grip.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Psalm 100

1 Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!

2   Worship the LORD with gladness.

  Come before him, singing with joy.

3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God!

  He made us, and we are his.

  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

  go into his courts with praise.

  Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good.

  His unfailing love continues forever,

  and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

weakness & strength

2 Corinthians 12:9 He said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,

     so that the power of Christ can work through me.

10 That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

cut & paste this link to hear a song that goes with this:

Monday, May 21, 2012

selected verses

Galatians 6:9 So don't get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged & give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time

1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.

And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

2 Share each other's burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

  4 Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else.

     5 For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

  6 Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them.

  7 Don't be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God.

        You will always harvest what you plant.

8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature.

     But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

God speaks

Psalm 97:11 Light shines on the godly, & joy on those who do right.

I know sometimes there's just a verse or two in these missives I write, with little to no comment.

I know some of you wonder why.

I think part of it may be that if God spoke to me as strongly through His word every day as He does some days, there's a good possibility I'd just short circuit mentally. I think that high level of impact would be too strong for me.

I think sometimes He doesn't speak loudly through His word because He's waiting for me to process something He told me the day before - or the week before.

And maybe sometimes there is the possibility that there's something more pressing going on in the universes that may be a little more important than giving me a spiritual goosing.

Or it could be any of a gajillion reasons.

I just looked back at the last week in my journal. There were verses that came up off the page every day. I wrote them down.

Some of them were pretty heady stuff.

Some days it was just quiet assurance.

The important thing is that He speaks through His word - sometimes it's pretty spectacular - sometimes not - but the miraculous thing is that He speaks.

Yesterday we were in Macon, clearing out more of the house down there. We don't have wifi there, so I couldn't get online to write a blog.

Yesterday's verse was Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," say the Lord. They are plans for good & not for disaster, to give you a future & a hope."

The words that stood out were "plans for good & not for disaster" & "give you a future & a hope".

As you know the last 20 months have been a pretty clueless time for us. It's made us wonder what in the round world is goin' on.

And yet, out of the blue, in my sequential reading each morning,God spoke very quietly letting me know, again, that the plan for us is good, that there is a future ahead for us, & something to hope for.

As Guy Fieri would say on "Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives", "That's money."

We're still clueless, but He let us know that it's all good.

The thing that's paramount here isn't so much what I'm getting each morning. The important thing here is the basic truth that we all need to read the Bible EVERY DAY.

It's a major, tangible way God speaks to us.

Read the Bible every day - I'd be lost without it - I don't think you're that different from me.

Friday, May 18, 2012

hard hearted

Psalm 95:8a The Lord says, "Don't harden your hearts..."

It's so easy to harden our hearts.

Especially when things don't go the way we think they should.

Especially when things don't turn out the way we think they should.

But we only see what's right in front of our faces.

We don't see the big picture.

We don't see what's ahead.

We don't see - period.

We only see what we want - & we want what we want - and we want it NOW!!!

Walking by faith isn't the ooshy-gooshy, touchy-feely tihing our current Christ pop culture makes it look like.

It isn't tagging along holding the hand of our "daddy-God".

Sometimes it's tough, or weird, or crazy, or just makes ya look like a fool.

We don't see the big picture. We just see now.

Here's Jeremy Camp's "Walk by Faith" - copy & paste it, watch & listen. It pertains.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

a lifeline

Psalm 94:19 When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope & cheer.

Since Dec. 23,2009, God repeatedly has given me some scripture verses & some scripture passages to hold on to during this season.

If you read these notes with any kind of regularity, your read them & about them.

Quite simply, I know I would not have survived up to this point without them.


Read the Bible every day. It's God, speaking to us.

Trust me on this - will ya?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

lifestyle evangelism

Acts 20:24 My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus - the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness & love.

Many would think this means we're supposed to become what we euphemistically called "Bible bangers" when I was growing up - people who would stand on the street corners waving big, black Bibles, banging them on the tops of cars for emphasis to their speaking, or a someone who would hit the pulpit with the same kind of big, black Bible for the same kind of emphasis.

The interesting thing to me is that most of the evangelism going on when Paul said this was NOT revivalism - it was lifestyle evangelism. Iow, a person would come into a place, live there, work there, be there, build relationships, share the truths that God provided through His Son, Jesus, & encourage people to embrace the grace, mercy,& love God is extending.

(Hmmmmm... kinda sounds like what we're doing up here in Blairsville. Interesting. I hadn't thought about that until now.)

Revivalism didn't come in until almost 2000 yrs later.

Worship services weren't where the evangelism happened. People weren't reached for Jesus that was,& the overwhelming majority today aren't reached that way.

People are reached for Jesus by one person telling another person the deal about Jesus - 1 on 1 - word of mouth - while doing life with people.

That is what defines our lives - the level at which we simply & humbly share with others the new life, the new way prepared for us to connect with the Father.

All the rest is just secondary.

So that means, each & every one of us has an opportunity & a mandate to share the life we found - no, we're assigned that challenge - in our day to day lives, with the people around us - the ones we live with & around, the ones we work with, the ones we run into on a regular basis, the occasional person we see.

This week, I challenge myself & you to do 1 thing - asked God to give us opportunities to share what we've found in our lives with God the Father through Jesus.

Now I will warn you - if we pray this, He'll bring people into our lives to talk to. Better brace ourselves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the godly

Psalm 92
12 But the godly will flourish like palm trees

  and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.

13 For they are transplanted to the LORD's own house.

  They flourish in the courts of our God.

14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit;

  they will remain vital and green.

15 They will declare, "The LORD is just!

  He is my rock!

  There is no evil in Him!"

Monday, May 14, 2012


Although much of this is for me today, I feel like this is for someone else out there...

Psalm 91
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

  will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 This I declare about the LORD:

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;

  He is my God, and I trust Him.

3 For He will rescue you from every trap

  and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with His feathers.

  He will shelter you with His wings.

  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,

  nor the arrow that flies in the day.

6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,

  nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

7 Though a thousand fall at your side,

  though ten thousand are dying around you,

  these evils will not touch you.

8 Just open your eyes,

  and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the LORD your refuge,

  if you make the Most High your shelter,

10 no evil will conquer you;

  no plague will come near your home.

11 For He will order His angels

  to protect you wherever you go.

12 They will hold you up with their hands

  so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.

13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;

  you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love Me.

  I will protect those who trust in My name.

15 When they call on Me, I will answer;

  I will be with them in trouble.

  I will rescue and honor them.

16 I will reward them with a long life

  and give them My salvation."

Sunday, May 13, 2012

making the most of it

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

a summer mission trip

Acts 16

16 One day as we were going down to the place of prayer, we met a demon-possessed slave girl. She was a fortune-teller who earned a lot of money for her masters. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved."

  18 This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and said to the demon within her, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And instantly it left her.

  19 Her masters' hopes of wealth were now shattered, so they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the authorities at the marketplace. 20 "The whole city is in an uproar because of these Jews!" they shouted to the city officials. 21 "They are teaching customs that are illegal for us Romans to practice."
  22 A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. 23 They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn't escape. 24 So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks.

  25 Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. 26 Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! 27 The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. 28 But Paul shouted to him, "Stop! Don't kill yourself! We are all here!"

  29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

  31 They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household." 32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household. 33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized. 34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

Ok, let's pretend here for a minute...

Let's say you & I go somewhere on a 2 week summer mission trip.

It's somewhere where Christ followers are in the minority.

While there, we keep bumping into this person who's demon possessed (there still are people like that today!), & this person keeps telling everyone in a loud voice that we're Christ followers & we're going to show everyone the way to new life.

Now we don't want this to go on because we're in a place where the predominant religion takes a dim view of Christ followers. We're trying to keep our presence on the down low so we can talk quietly with people about Jesus.

Well, after a few days we realize we gotta do something to quiet this demon possessed person or everyone's gonna know what's going on. So you decide we gotta cast out the demon this this person to shut them up.

Well, the folks who know this person get really made at us for casting out the demon & go tell the local government authorities about us.

We get arrested.

They then strip us of ALL our clothes - that's right - butt naked.

Then they beat us with wooden rods - severely beat us.

Then they take us to the deepest, darkest part of the jail, still butt naked & prolly bleeding badly & having a had time moving.

And then they chain our feet to the wall so we won't get away.

So, what would we do then?

Well, we prolly be calling for the embassy to be notified,
     we be yelling for an embassy person to get their butts down there & get us out,
     then we'd be threatening to have the authorities arrested, prosecuted, & put in jail,
     & we'd prolly sue for payment of medical bills & a big chunk for pain & suffering.
     And we'd NEVER go back to this place,
     nor would we EVER go on a mission trip again,
     & we'd tell everyone about our terrible experience,
     write a book about it that would end up on the New York Times bestseller list,
     appear on lots of talk shows, garnering LOTS of sympathy.
     There's prolly be a MAJOR international incident about the whole thing.
     Mission trips would quit going there.
     Everyone would be scandalized by our experience.


What did Paul & Silas do?

They were beaten severely, bleeding, who knows what kind of injuries they had sustained, & were chained to the wall butt naked.

They prayed & sang worship songs.

And the other prisoner were listening.

The Lord sent an earthquake, everyone was freed, the jailer tried to commit suicide, Paul stops him, the jailer & his peeps (maybe some of the prisoners?) become Christ followers.


It ain't in the good times that who we are in Christ is revealed.

It's in the terrible time that who we REALLY are, & what we REALLY think, simply comes out.

Think about it...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

some selected verses

Psalm 86

1 Bend down, O LORD, and hear my prayer;

  answer me, for I need your help.

2 Protect me, for I am devoted to you.

  Save me, for I serve you and trust you.

  You are my God.

3 Be merciful to me, O Lord,

  for I am calling on you constantly.

4 Give me happiness, O Lord,

  for I give myself to you.

5 O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive,

  so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.

6 Listen closely to my prayer, O LORD;

  hear my urgent cry.

7 I will call to you whenever I'm in trouble,

  and you will answer me.

9 All the nations you made

  will come and bow before you, Lord;

  they will praise your holy name.

10 For you are great and perform wonderful deeds.

  You alone are God.

11 Teach me your ways, O LORD,

  that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart,

  so that I may honor you.

12 With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.

  I will give glory to your name forever,

13 for your love for me is very great.

  You have rescued me from the depths of death.

15 You, O Lord,

  are a God of compassion and mercy,

slow to get angry

  and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

16 Look down and have mercy on me.

  Give your strength to your servant;

  save me, the son of your servant.

17 Send me a sign of your favor.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

thrown away

Isaiah 41:9b I have chosen you & will not throw you away.

Do any of us ever feel thrown away by God? Do we ever feel like there's nothing going on in our life, that no matter how we search, beg, listen, or seek,there's just nothing happening?

Someone very wise once told me that if I could figure out what was going on in my life, don't trust so much what I feel is going on - trust what I know about God through experience & what I read in the Bible about His identity.

God says very plainly here that He will not throw us away.

Isaiah 41:10a Don't be afraid, for I am with you.

     When Moses had his encounter with God at the burning bush, Moses came up with all kinds of reasons why he, Moses, couldn't face Pharaoh (Moses was his adopted brother) & lead the children of Israel our of Egypt.
     All God said to Moses was, "I will be with you."
     God basically says there that Moses should chill & not worry about what might or might not happen when he returned to Egypt. God was with him - that was enough.
     And God says the same thing here to us - "chill... I'm with you."
     (Iow, the God of the universes is with us & in us, paying attention to us.)

Isaiah 41:10b Do not be dismayed, for I am you God.

     I will strengthen you.

     I will help you.

     I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

     No where in any of the rest of the verse does God say maybe. He says 3 times "I will."

     If you know anything about grammar, the normal word used in the 1st person singular future tense of AM is "I shall."

     But "I will" is correct to - if it is used to should considerably more force.

     So, God forcefully says "I will" here, showing the definiteness & force behind what He's saying.

This is one of the passages God gave me in early 2010 for this present season I'm in.

I have a death grip on it.

There have been days when it's kept me from going crazy (or crazier!).

You can hold on to it too.

Monday, May 7, 2012

trees & rivers

Jeremiah 17

7 Blessed are those who trust in the Lord

     & have made the Lord their hope & 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 are green,

     & they go right on producing delicious fruit.

What is the "water" that the psalmist metaphorically uses to illustrate what keeps these trees so healthy?

Could it be one type of water would be reading the Bible every day?

Could it be a connection to God all day long, a realizing that He's not one hand just when we "kneel in prayer" but is with us & in us all the time?

But how many of us simply don't make the effort to experience either?

How many of us lack the will to do this?

And why do we do this?

Is it we don't think He wants that kind of connection with someone like us?

Do we know that if we do connect thru His word & His presence the very parts of us we don't want to address will be addressed by Him?

Does it have to do with control - us being in control?

And what other reasons could it be? You tell me.

Doesn't it seem that in the final analysis it seems to be so stupid to not sink out roots deeply in Him?

If anyone has been alive any length of time at all knows that rough times are just around the bend. And ya never know when they're coming.

I wanna be like a tree living along the riverbank.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

last's & first's

I've started hearing people my age say something new - "Well, that's the last time I'll do that."

It represents to me a mind set of "last's" - a saying goodbye to life, a closing out of many of the experiences of life we all do regularly.

I don't want that to be my mind set in the years ahead.

I want my life to be defined by the "first's" I'm encountering. As long as I live, whether it be long or short, I want to be growing, questing, experimenting, saying "hello" to new things, new people, new thinking, & new experiences.

My grandmother lived to be 108. She once told me, at 104, "Danny, live till ya die."

I intend to, Granny.

a word from a while back

I wrote this in my daily blog on February 6, 2007.

It was during a very dark period, a period of great discouragement & embarrassment.

What's even more interesting is the many things that have happened since then.

But at the time, all I could see was what was right in front of me.

Don't know who that all is for besides me.

All I can say to you is what I'm saying to myself - simply hold on to it, like I am.

Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unjust.

     He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him

     and how you have shown your love to Him by caring to other believers,

          as you still do.

11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others

         as long as life lasts,

     in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

My Life Application Bible has these thoughts in the footer notes....

"It's easy to get discouraged, thinking that God has forgotten us.

     But God is never unjust.

     He never forgets or overlooks our hard work for Him.

Presently you may not be receiving rewards or acclaim,

       but God knows your efforts of love & ministry.

Let God's love for you

     & His intimate knowledge of your service for Him

   bolster you as you face disappointment & rejection here on earth."


Here's what most of the rest of that section of Hebrews 6 says...

Hebrews 6:12 Then you will not become spiritually dull & indifferent.

     Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises because of their faith & patience.

13 For example, there was God's promise to Abraham. Since there was no one greater to swear by, God took an oath in His own name, saying:

14 "I will certainly bless you,

            & I will multiply your descendants beyond number."

15 Then Abraham waited patiently, and he received what God had promised.

(dan note: how long did Abraham wait for the promise of children? 20 years?!)

  16 Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it.

          And without any question that oath is binding.

17 God also bound Himself with an oath,

        so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that He would never change His mind.

18 So God has given both His promise and His oath.

       These two things are unchangeable

            because it is impossible for God to lie.

Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence

     as we hold to the hope that lies before us.

19a This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

Friday, May 4, 2012

what it takes sometimes

Acts 8:1 Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen.

A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem; and all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2 (Some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning.) 3 But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church. He went from house to house, dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison.

4 But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. 5 Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah. 6 Crowds listened intently to Philip because they were eager to hear his message and see the miraculous signs he did. 7 Many evil spirits were cast out, screaming as they left their victims. And many who had been paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.

It's a fairly accepted idea that God used the persecution He knew would happen to scatter the new believers around the countryside. And as it says in verse 4, as a result, they started telling people about Jesus, just because that's who they were.

Now, I want to be very careful what I say next...

Sometimes, it seems to me & has & is true in my life so far, that God uses some of the difficult things or periods in our lives to accomplish His purpose for us, or to refine our walk with Him, or to bring about more of the completion of the BIG picture.

It's hard to figure out sometimes the why behind all that. The persecution back then included the killing or imprisoning of Christ followers, which hardly seems as part of God's plan. But He used that persecution to motivate people to get off their butts & spread the word about Jesus.

Could it follow that He would do the same with us? Could He use the negative, terrible, or inexplicable things & seasons of our lives for a whole slew of things?

Do we truly believe that "all things work together for them that love the Lord & are called to His purpose."

Think about it...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

what would we do?

Acts 7

51 "You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That's what your ancestors did, and so do you! 52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn't persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. 53 You deliberately disobeyed God's law, even though you received it from the hands of angels."

  54 The Jewish leaders were infuriated by Stephen's accusation, and they shook their fists at him in rage. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God, and he saw Jesus standing in the place of honor at God's right hand. 56 And he told them, "Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God's right hand!"

  57 Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him 58 and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul.

  59 As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 He fell to his knees, shouting, "Lord, don't charge them with this sin!" And with that, he died.

As I read this section about the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, I wondered what I would do if faced with certain death simply because I believed Jesus was the Messiah.

What would you do?

Considering how willy-nilly, wishy-washy - let's call it what it is: cowardly - we can be in our prissy, precious little easy street lives, I just wonder if we'd have the guts to stand up to that kind of evil, no matter if it cost us our lives through a rather ugly way to die? Stoning is up there in the 10 ten worst ways to be killed - it's pretty brutal.

Furthermore, how many of us could ask the Lord to forgive them as we were being killed?!

Is our faith in Jesus just part of our lives, or is our relationship the very essence of our liives, the core of who we are, there is nothing - nothing - that would cause us to make something even as important to us as our very existence less important than our connection with Him.

But how many times a day do we already put something, or someone, more important to us than our relationship to Jesus? How many secret sins do we harbor, or missed opportunities to be or do what He wants us to do or be do we ignore?

Think about it...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

breathe in

Sometimes we simply to breathe in what we know in spite of what we see or feel.

Matthew 6

33 Steep your life in




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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

not so new

Psalm 78:7 So each generation can set its hope anew on God, remembering His glorious miracles & obeying His commands.

8 Then they will not be like their ancestors - stubborn, rebellious, & unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.

I'm so thankful for the hunger for the things of God that I see in this present young adult generation, called Millenials by many. They have a quality of following God in the deep places that is such an wonderful refreshing thing. Who know what & where this passion will take them.

Acts 5:38 "So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!"

I remember the days in the early 1990's when we started the move from traditional worship to what became contemporary worship. It was a struggle we lived through in that decade.

But thankfully we have moved into a 21st century form of new worship & doing church - one that is appropriate for our culture.

As the naysayers continue to denigrate & castigate new way of being, doing life as a Christ follower, & expressing that following in a 21st century paradigm, I would remind all these words of Gamaliel to the Sanhedrin.