Tuesday, December 31, 2013

favor 2.0

2 Corinthians 12:9

(God said to Paul...)

"My gracious favor is all you need.

"My power works best in your weakness."

So now I  (Paul) am glad to boast about my weaknesses,

     so that the power of Christ may work through me.

vs 10c For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Y'all have no idea how much I needed to read this this morning...

There's so much I'm facing, so much I'm trying to decipher, that I don't know how I'll navigate it.

And in that worrying & fretting, I get up & read this.

All I need is His favor.

When I'm weak, & know I'm weak, & acknowledge I'm weak, that's when I get out of the way & God is able to work, unencumbered by me trying to run the show, control things, & be so cotton-pickin' successful.

When I accept my weakness, my inability to make things happen, it makes me step aside & depend completely on Him.

And it's in that paradigm God is able to bring it all together, because I'm not in the way.

Maybe these verses spoke to you. Let me know if they did.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is useless.

Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it w/ sentries will do no good.

How many of us decide to be or do something & then tell God we need Him to bless it?

Well, maybe you haven't, but I have - far too many times.

Why don't we do the simpler thing - just say, God what would YOU like me to be or do?

We both know why...

   ...because that give God ALL the control & us none of it.

And we GOTTA have control.

The longer I live, the more I realize that it's all about favor - God's favor.

Unless God favors what we try to be or try to do, we're just spinning our wheels.

How do I know that?

How do you think?

Life's been a lot simpler, especially these last almost 14 years, since I've been doing that.

Now, has my life been safe, easy, or made sense all the time?

Well, no.

Would I go back to being & doing things like I used to?

Well, no.

But so much of the weight of responsibility is no longer on my shoulders.

All I have to do is be obedient.

(did I just say "all I have to do" HA! Like that's easy!!!)

All I have to do is be obedient.

Everything else is on God's shoulders - results, timing, opportunity, funding, wisdom, etc.,etc., etc.


Because this is HIS gig, not mine.

I'm just being or doing what He says to be or do, no matter what it looks like.

It can get pretty strange...

     remember that in Isaiah 20, God told Isaiah to strip naked, which he did - and Isaiah walked around naked FOR 3 YEARS!

(Gosh! I hope that's not on the list of things God gonna tell me to do! ;-)

Anyway, you get my drift.

We miss so much of the adventure God dreamed for us a gajillion years ago if we try to figure out what we should be & do.

Life gets much simpler when we just ask, "what would You have me be or do".

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Psalm 126:5 Those who plant in tears will harvest shouts of joy.

6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,

        but they sing as they return with the harvest.

What does these two verses mean in YOUR life?

Saturday, December 28, 2013


Some mornings I read a lot of really good stuff in the bible.

This morning I read in Isaiah 4, Psalm 125, John 8, & @ Corinthians 9.

Like I said, there was a lot of good stuff in there.

But sometimes, amidst all the stuff, very little stands out.

What I mean by "stand out" is God seems to whisper something to me about it, or just kinda presses in so I'll pay attention to it.

Here's what stood out this morning...

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

After I read this, I wondered this...

If we REALLY believed this, how then would we live our lives?

Tell me what you think...

Friday, December 27, 2013


John 7:37 On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds,

"Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!

38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!

       For the Scriptures declare, 'Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'"

39 (When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit,

         who would be given to everyone believing in him.

         But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

We are all thirsty.

Iow, we all long for "something"

We all try to quench that thirst. All we have to do is look around us at people, let alone look within our own selves, to see the seemingly infinite ways we try to quench that thirst.

That thirst, that longing, I believe, is a longing we all have for intimate contact with God.

We may quantify it in many different ways, we may call it by a plethora of names, but that's what it all boils down to.

As we close out this year & move into another, let's open our hearts & lives to God, who will end the longings & thirsts we all have, & find a home w/ Him.

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Every once in a while, it seems that the various places I read in the Bible on a given morning seem to string together verses that have a thought.

What is God saying to you if your string these together?

Isaiah 3:22 Stop putting your trust in mere humans. They are as frail a breath. How can they be of help to anyone?

Psalm 123:2 We look to the Lord our God for His mercy;

     just as servants keep their eyes on their master,

     as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.

John 6:35 Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life.

     No one who comes to me will ever be hungry again.

     Those who believe in Me will never thirst.

vs 44a people can't come to me unless the Father who sent Me draws them to me...

2 Corinthians 7:1 Because we have these promises,dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything than can defile our body or spirit.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

that night

Luke 2:8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.

9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them,

     and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them.

They were terrified,

     10 but the angel reassured them.

            "Don't be afraid!" he said.

            "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

12 And you will recognize him by this sign:

        You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."

  13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in highest heaven,

          and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."

  15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other,

           "Let's go to Bethlehem!

            Let's see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

  16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.

And there was the baby, lying in the manger.

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.

18 All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished,

        19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

20 The shepherds went back to their flocks,

        glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.

It was just as the angel had told them.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

my help


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.

Monday, December 23, 2013

pressed on every side

I don't know who needs these words of encouragement from Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth.

But here they are - these are for you...

2 Corinthians 4

7 We now have this light shining in our hearts,

     but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.

This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.

  8 We are pressed on every side by troubles,

        but we are not crushed.

We are perplexed,

        but not driven to despair.

9 We are hunted down,

        but never abandoned by God.

We get knocked down,

        but we are not destroyed.

10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus

     so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

16 That is why we never give up.

Though our bodies are dying,

     our spirits are being renewed every day.

17 For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.

Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now;

        rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.

For the things we see now will soon be gone,

     but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

standing out

These are some verses that stood out in the different places I read today.

Some of them I dated during some interesting times in my life.

Others are verses that simply stood out for me when I read in these places before.

I feel like some of you reading this now need to read some of these verses, to give you hope,or encouragement, & to use as a lifeline in what feels like an impossible place.

Psalm 119:116 Lord, sustain me as You promised, that I may live!

Do not let my hope be crushed.

vs 133 Guide my steps by Your word,

     so I will not be overcome by any evil.

John 2:23 Because of the miraculous signs He did in Jerusalem at the Passover's celebration, many people were convinced the He was the Messiah.

24 But Jesus didn't trust them,

       because He knew what people were really thinking.

25 No one needed to tell Him about human nature.

2 Corinthians 3:5 It is not that we think we can do anything of lasting value by ourselves.

     Our only power & success come from God.

vs 17 Now the Lord is Spirit,

     & wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, He gives freedom.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

2 things

John 1

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.

  The Word was with God,

  and the Word was God.

2 He existed in the beginning with God.

3 God created everything through him,

  and nothing was created except through him.

4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,

  and his life brought light to everyone.

5 The light shines in the darkness,

  and the darkness can never extinguish it.

  10 He came into the very world he created,

        but the world didn't recognize him.

11 He came to his own people,

        and even they rejected him.

12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.

Well, I guess that kinda kicks in the head the worldly concept that all paths (iow, all religions) lead to the same God


2 Corinthians 2

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.

16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.

But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. 

It kinda tickles me as I watch especially middle class white Christians try to be popular, influential, alpha leaders, champions of right, & think they are the yardstick by which everyone's just dying to be measured.

Like it or not, we are NEVER gonna win any popularity contests.

We stink to those who aren't Christ followers.

We are everything that is odious.

It has always been that way - it always will be.

As uncomfortable as it may be in these days many think of as yes-we-christians-are-kool-&-hip, to the rest of the world outside of a connection to God through Jesus, we have been & always will be a STARK reminder that they are terribly out of sync with the eternal.

The world would never come out & say it like that - I don't think they would quantify it that way.

They would say we are intolerant, or judgemental, or non-inclusive, or whatever is the current buzz word that succinctly expresses that we're just NOT who they are, therefore WE are the ones out of sync, NOT them.

We must never forget in our prissy little existences that as far as the world is concerned, WE STINK!!!

So, what do we do?

We love people well & point them to Jesus.

What else can we do, really?

Friday, December 20, 2013


Matthew 29:19-20



     and make disciples

        of all the nations,

 baptizing them in the name of the Father

     and the Son

     and the Holy Spirit.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

And be sure of this:

     I am with you always,

        even to the end of the age.”

It seems that for the last 5 years the operative word in my life has especially been "go".

This is Jesus talking to His disciples right before He went back to heaven.

The most important word here is "go"

As His disciples int he present world & time, He says the same thing to us...


Most of us haven't.

We spend our time trying to attain "the American Dream"

   and / or trying to become "successful".

When will we ever learn that "go" means go.

Let's not shy away from this basic command of Jesus.

He said "go".

So we need to go.

All we have to do is follow - He'll lead us where.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Don't know what's ahead for 2014. But when God seems to give more than one verse for a year, it usually means it's gonna be a doozie!

Hebrews 10

35 So don’t 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,

      (dan note: patient endurance? seems like I've been patiently enduring for quite a few years now!)

      so that you will continue to do God’s will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

       (dan note: all? all of whatever is it? hmmmmmm...)

Hebrews 12

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands

     & stand firm on your shakey legs. 

     (dan note: at my age, I identify A LOT w/ the tired hands & shakey legs part)

Then those who follow you, 

     (dan note: those who follow you... who are they & why are they following me?)

     through they are weak & lame,

     will not stumble & fall

     but will become strong.

Ephesians 3

20 Now all glory to God,

        who is able,

            thru His mighty power at work w/n us,

        to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask

            or think.

(dan note: infinitely more? than would mean a whole lot more? hmmmmmmm...)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

know the truth

Psalm 119:29 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.

"keep me from lying to myself"

how many of us lie to ourselves all the time?

how many of us  make ourselves think we're "all that, & a bag of chips" or we're "nothing anyone would ever want"?

how many of us whisper back to ourselves the bad stuff people say to us?

Stuff like...

     you'll never amount to anything.

     you're so stupid.

     you're nothing but a screw up.

     you're ugly.

     you're fat.

     you're an idiot.

     who's gonna ever love & want you?

     ____________________________ (you fill in the blank)

The only person who gets to define who we are is God.

And He doesn't lie.

And He takes GREAT delight in each & every one of us - no exceptions

Let's not lie to ourselves - let's listen to the truth as it comes from Him.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

when did we see You?

What does this have to say when juxtaposed w/ the current attitudes about the poor?

Matthew 25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

  34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, '

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry, and you fed me.

I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.

I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.

36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing.

I was sick, and you cared for me.

I was in prison, and you visited me.'

  37 "Then these righteous ones will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?

Or thirsty and give you something to drink?

38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality?

Or naked and give you clothing?

39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

  40 "And the King will say,

'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'

  41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say,

'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

42 For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me.

I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink.

43 I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home.

I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing.

I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'

  44 "Then they will reply,

'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'

  45 "And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'

  46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

Monday, December 16, 2013

song 2014

Feel like this might be the song I need to sing through 2014. Don't know why it may be.

It's from Elevation Worship, the worship arts ministry of Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC

Here's a link to the vid - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IxhoUzsasI

Grace So Glorious - Stephen Furtick, Israel Houghton, Chris Brown

Vs 1
Beneath the cross of Jesus Christ
No shadow remains for shame to hide
Redemption shone for all to see
Perfection bore our penalty
With a grace so glorious

Vs 2
Immortal day the veil was torn
When mercy donned a crown of thorns
As law gave way to liberty
And freedom for humanity
With a grace so glorious

Oh the glory of the Savior's love
Surrounding our surrender
To know forever
We are welcomed home

Crowned in glory to glory
Worthy is the Lord of all
The glory forever
Holy is the Lord (2x)

Vs 3
Triumphant praises without end
All hailing the King of righteousness
And every eye beholds the One
Our hearts were undeserving of
With a grace so glorious

Vs 4
O wondrous day when I will see
The face of Him who ransomed me
I'll fall in worship at His feet
And rise to reign eternally
In a grace so glorious

Sunday, December 15, 2013


Here's a list of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

I know some are very uncomfortable thinking about them - I used to be that way, too

Letting the Holy Spirit express Himself through us with these gifts doesn't make us weird.

The working of the Holy Spirit is orderly, if nothing else.

Just read the list, and then ask the Holy Spirit if any of His gifts are earmarked for you.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained...

I Corinthians 12

1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us.

I don't want you to misunderstand this.

2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.

3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus,

        and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.

  4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.

5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord.

6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

  7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice;

to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.

9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another,

and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.

10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles,

and another the ability to prophesy.

He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit.

Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,

while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.

11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts.

He alone decides which gift each person should have.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

4 words

Matthew 22

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.

35 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:

36 "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"

  37 Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 A second is equally important:

'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

How many of us have heard great theologians, preachers, thinkers, or anyone who thinks they know everything there is to know about anything wax eloquently about "the essence of the gospel."?

How many of us have read countless books about how to live a life as a follower of Jesus?

Maybe we're overthinking this whole thing?

Here in this short passage - 6 verses - Jesus sums it all up.

And we can sum up what He said, too.

So here's the deal, here's what Jesus basically said...

Love God.

Love people.

Yep, 4 words...

Love God. Love people.

So, let's be about what  Jesus said - loving God, loving people - and perhaps the rest of our lives will fall more into place.

Friday, December 13, 2013


1 Corinthians 10

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.

And God is faithful.

     He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.

     When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.

uh oh...

So much for "the devil made me do it"?

So, iow, we don't have any excuses, do we?

If this is true, & God "shows us a way out", we sin as we do because we choose to?

The sin & the devil don't "overwhelm" us?

We choose to do something sinful, be something sinful, or just sin outright?

That if we just turn a little bit toward God in a sinful situation, we'll see the way out of it?

Think about that today...

Thursday, December 12, 2013


How then should we live if, like Paul, we are all things to all people?

1 Corinthians 9

19 Even though I am a free man with no master,

        I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.

20 When I was with the Jews,

        I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ.

When I was with those who follow the Jewish law,

     I too lived under that law.

Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.

21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,

        I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ.

But I do not ignore the law of God;

     I obey the law of Christ.

  22 When I am with those who are weak,

          I share their weakness,

          for I want to bring the weak to Christ.

Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.

23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

  24 Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?

          So run to win!

25 All athletes are disciplined in their training.

        They do it to win a prize that will fade away,

        but we do it for an eternal prize.

26 So I run with purpose in every step.

I am not just shadowboxing.

27 I discipline my body like an athlete,

        training it to do what it should.

Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Psalm 112

7 (Those who are righteous) do not fear bad news;

        they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

8 They are confident & fearless

        & can face their foes triumphantly.

9 They give generously to those in need.

        Their good deeds will never be forgotten.

        They will have influence & honor.

I dated these verses in my Bible on 12.4.2012 as a day when they particularly spoke to me, that God had somehow impressed these verses onto my thinking at the time.

It is interesting to note that in view of all that has happened in the last year.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

lone wolves

Are verses 7 & 8 saying something about the lone wolf workaholic, who spends all their time working, with no time for themselves or others?

And what does verses 9 - 12 say about us lone wolves who "do it my way" all by ourselves?

I know the CORRECT answers to these questions.

But what are the REAL answers?

Ecclesiastes 4
7 I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun.

 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can.

But then he asks himself,

     "Who am I working for?

      Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?"

It is all so meaningless and depressing.

  9 Two people are better off than one,

        for they can help each other succeed.

10 If one person falls,

       the other can reach out and help.

But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.

11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.

        But how can one be warm alone?

 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated,

        but two can stand back-to-back and conquer.

Three are even better,

        for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.

Monday, December 9, 2013

a time

We only hear the first few lines in this passage. We seldom take into consideration the whole passage.

Read the whole thing & think about it's implications.

It is fairly well accepted that Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 3:

1 For everything there is a season,

  a time for every activity under heaven.

2 A time to be born

        and a time to die.

  A time to plant

        and a time to harvest.

3 A time to kill

        and a time to heal.

  A time to tear down

        and a time to build up.

4 A time to cry

        and a time to laugh.

  A time to grieve

        and a time to dance.

5 A time to scatter stones

        and a time to gather stones.

  A time to embrace

        and a time to turn away.

6 A time to search

       and a time to quit searching.

  A time to keep

        and a time to throw away.

7 A time to tear

        and a time to mend.

  A time to be quiet

        and a time to speak.

8 A time to love

        and a time to hate.

  A time for war

        and a time for peace.

And here's a couple of verses that bear consideration...

Ecclesiastes 3: 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time.

He has planted eternity in the human heart,

     but even so,

  people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

vs 14 And I know that whatever God does is final.

Nothing can be added to it or taken from it.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

let go

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples,

"If any of you wants to be my follower,

     you must turn from your selfish ambition,

     take up your cross,

     and follow me.

25 If you try to hang on to your life,

        you will lose it.

But if you give up your life for my sake,

        you will save it.

26 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?

        Is anything worth more than your soul?

So, how does that all work?

We just let go of our lives - iow, we let go of what we want.

And we say yes to the " -ever's "...






Worth it?



Because if we say yes to the " -ever's ", that frees God to implement fully in us the life He dreamed up for us a gajillion years ago.

And who, in the long run, should we let guide our life - the God of the universes, or very finite us?


Saturday, December 7, 2013

oh my

1 Corinthians 4

10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools,

      but you claim to be so wise in Christ!

We are weak,

     but you are so powerful!

You are honored,

     but we are ridiculed.

11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty,

        and we don't have enough clothes to keep warm.

We are often beaten

     and have no home.

12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living.

We bless those who curse us.

We are patient with those who abuse us.

13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us.

Yet we are treated like the world's garbage, like everybody's trash—right up to the present moment.

Paul was having a rough go of it.

I couldn't help but think our prissy our "faith walk" here in America is compared to his, or now anywhere else in the world.

I wonder how many of us would be Christ followers if following Him brought that kind of life for us & our families?

Friday, December 6, 2013

looking at the right thing

Matthew 14
22 Immediately after (the feeding of the 5000),

     Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake,

     while he sent the people home.

23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen,

        and they were fighting heavy waves.

25 About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified.

        In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!"

  27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!"

  28 Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water."

  29 "Yes, come," Jesus said.

  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves,

        he was terrified

        and began to sink.

"Save me, Lord!" he shouted.

31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.

        "You have so little faith," Jesus said.

        "Why did you doubt me?"

32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

33 Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed.

We're all like Peter - we're willing to jump out of the boat - iow, do something daring.

But all too soon,

    we start seeing the impossible nature of our situation,

    or the difficulties it brings,

    or all the reasons that this ain't gonna work,

    or how failure is so plausible,

    or we just get scared & don't think God's gonna come through for us.

That's me right now about something I think God may be whispering to me about.

Maybe you too?

Well, we've started moving toward whatever it is God wants us to be &/or do.

Maybe we could encourage each other to keep trusting Jesus to come through for us as we be &/or do what looks pretty scary or impossible?

Thursday, December 5, 2013


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

This refers to when Moses led the children of Israel to Canaan, the Promised Land.

Be the people wouldn't go in because they thought the task of taking the land too much.

They thought the Canaanites were too big, their cities too awesome, & the whole enterprise seemed all too overwhelming.

Iow, they didn't trust God to take care of them & make it all happen.

So, God made them wander in the wilderness of Sinai for 40 yrs until all of them were dead.

Before we judge them too harshly, think about this...

How many times do we not become something, or we not do something, because we see it as too overwhelming.

Iow, we don't trust God to take care of us as we head into it.

I feel like I'm in a similar spot as the Hebrews.

It feels like God may be leading in a certain direction about something.

But the thought of it is WAY too overwhelming.

So, I stand at the threshold...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


  1 Corinthians 1

26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters,

        few of you were wise in the world's eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.

27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.

And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

28 God chose things despised by the world,

        things counted as nothing at all,

     and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

  30 God has united you with Christ Jesus.

For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself.

Christ made us right with God;

     he made us pure and holy,

     and he freed us from sin.

31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say,

        "If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD."

There's a saying that goes something like, "God sometimes doesn't call the prepared, but He always prepares the called."

There's been more than one time in my life that I thought what God was calling & leading my into (or sometimes dragging kicking & screaming into!) when I knew I was completely unprepared for.

But, to everyone's surprise - especially mine! - somehow He was actually able to work in me & through me.

I know what it's like to feel like "what the world considers foolish" because many times it felt a little foolish to be & do what He was leading me to be & do.

So what am I saying today?

Well, as I look ahead, I wonder how the path(s) He has me on will all work out. He's gonna have to provide the power, wisdom, wealth, & favor to be & do whatever it is He wants me to be & do as the years pass.

I've seen Him come through for others.

I've experienced Him coming through for me.

One things for sure - whatever I face ahead will be made possible only by HIS power, wisdom, wealth, & favor.

If that is true for me, that's true for you.

I don't know what kind of situation you're in right now.

But whatever your situation, remember this didn't come as a surprise to God.

The angel, Gabriel, didn't wake God up the other day & say,"Uhm, excuse me, God, but while you were asleep, ___________ (fill in your name) just ___________ (fill in what happened)."

Iow, God's got our backs - in the final analysis, He's all we got as backup.

Whatever happens, what ever comes up,

     the only One we can totally depend on is Him to give us the power to be & do what He wants us to be & do,

     plus the wisdom for it,

     the means for it,

     & the favor for it it all come out like He planned.

How do I know?

I'm livin' it right now.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Matthew 11:28 And Jesus said,

Come to Me,

     all of you who are weary

     & carry heavy burdens.

   & I will give you rest.

Sometimes it's miraculous how what I read in the Bible each morning is exactly the thing I need to hear from God.

Maybe this is for you today, too?

Monday, December 2, 2013

give it up

Matthew 10

39 If you cling to your life,

        you will lose it;

  but if you give it up for me,

        you will find it.

What I'm gonna share is something I started to learn in 2008 & 2009, when God gave me this verse as one of a few to hold on to during those years.

But ever since then I've also lived daily with the truth of what I learned during those 2 years - of how it's just as true today as it was back then.


I used to think of this verse as one that majored on giving up everything, & sacrificing...

     iow, basically letting go of everything to the point of having nothing.

And it is true - if we hold tight to the things WE think are necessary to our lives, our tight grip will probably strangle the life out of them.

And when we quit clinging to our lives, we're basically start saying yes to the " 'ever's "






"Whatever" God wants, we're up for it.

"Whenever" He wants to act, change, redirect, favor, lead, we're ready.

"Wherever" means wherever God wants us located - here, there, across town, somewhere else in the state, some other state, overseas, in a boring place, in a glamorous place, in a dangerous place, - anywhere He decides to lead us.

"Whoever" is a tough one - God usually doesn't send us to people who are easy to love - who is, after all? It may be someone we intentionally go to, it may be someone who passes through our lives, it may be the very last person we want to connect with, it may be fam or friends, it could be anyone anywhere anytime.

"However" is trusting God to favor us in the "making it happen" department. We do our part, but in the end, He's the guy who pulls the rabbit out of the hat, He's the one who pulls it off - never early, but always on time.

But until 2008,I always saw this verse in regards to what I had to GIVE UP.

Starting in 2008, & ever since, God's been showing me what I GET.

I get the life He dreamed for me a gajillion years ago when He thought me up.

And in the final analysis, which life do I want - the life I can think up for myself, designed using my hopes & dreams, built upon my concepts of what real living is?

Or do I want the life that the God of the universes,

     Who is infinitely smarter than me,

     Who sees the BIG picture,

     Who knows me better than I know myself,

     Who designed me in intricate & marvelous ways that I know nothing about,

     Who loves me completely,


          full out,

          wide open,

          nothing held back?

If I keep a choke hold on my life & demand what I want, the life I really want ain't gonna show up.

But if I let go of my life, let go of my hopes & dreams, wishes, desires, direction, & let the God of the universes take control, I'll find He's free to implement the life HE dreamed for me - a life that fits me juxtaposed to how He created me, a life more abundant, free, crazy, exciting, risky, & wild than I could ever imagine.

(Sorry, I got to typing this morning & couldn't shut up ;-)

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Matthew 9

9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth.

      "Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.

      So Matthew got up and followed him.

  10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,

         along with many tax collectors and other notorious sinners.

11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples,

        "Why does your teacher eat with such scum?"

  12 When Jesus heard this, he said,

          "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do."

13 Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:

        'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.'

For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous,

     but those who know they are sinners."

I'm curious about something...

Back in the day, the Roman world - well, the world in general - was a pretty nasty, sinful place.

(And this world isn't as sinful & nasty a place as back then - or worse?!

Taking that into consideration, what kind of person would these people in this passage have to been to be considered "notorious" in their sinfulness?

They must have been some kind of uber-sinners!!!

Anyway, we all understand what Jesus is saying here...

He knew he needed to hang with the people who were "notorious" sinners - He knew they were FAR MORE receptive to His unconditional love.

He also knew that those guys who questioned Him on hanging w/ sinners had hearts of stone because they thought of themselves as uber-holy - so holy that they regularly singed people with their halos!

How many of us are like Jesus - we hang with people who live pretty sinful lives, lives that have no connection with God?

And how many of us are more interested in surrounding ourselves with Christians so we don't "get poisoned by the world" when all we really care about is making sure our prissy & precious Christian friends don't think there must be something wrong w/ us since we hang w/ "those kind of people"?

Where would any of us be today if the people who impacted our lives to follow Jesus had been afraid of what their friends thought & didn't reach out to us?

Saturday, November 30, 2013


Roman s 13:14a Let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of you...

The apostle, Paul, wrote those 7 words in his letter to the Christians in Rome.

They lived in a city considered by the western world at the time to pretty much be the center of the world's activities.

It was an unbelievably wicked place in an equally unbelievably wicked world.

And Paul tells them to let Jesus take control of their lives.

What would our lives look like if we REALLY did that?

If we let go of our hopes, dreams, desires, & wants...

If we relinquished control of our present, our past, & followed Him into our future...

If we became & did what He led us to be & do...

What do you think that would look like?

What do you think it would be like for you, or for me, or anyone for that matter?

Friday, November 29, 2013

keep on

Who, besides me, needs to be told this morning to endure, persist, hang on, persevere, continue, last, or finish?

Why did these 2 two verses stand out today as I was up early reading this morning?

I've gotta think about how the overarching truth of these verses applies to me right now.

But I also felt like these 2 verses are for more than just me.

Maybe they're for you, too.

Read them, & see if God speaks into your life through them.

When you see the repeated parts, emphasize the words in caps (I'm not shouting ;-) .

Matthew 7:7 - 8

Keep on


        & YOU will be given what you ask for.

        & you WILL be given what you ask for.

        & you will be GIVEN what you ask for.

        & you will be given what YOU ask for.

        & you will be given what you ASK for.

Keep on


         & YOU will find.

         & you WILL find.

         & you will FIND.

Keep on


         & the DOOR will be opened.

         & the door WILL be opened.

         & the door will be OPENED.

For everyone who asks,


Everyone who seeks,


And to everyone who knocks,

     the door is opened.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

don't worry

Matthew 6

25b ...don't worry about your life...

     whether you have enough food and drink,

     or enough clothes to wear.

Isn't life more than food,

     and your body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds.

        They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns,

        for your heavenly Father feeds them.

     And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?

27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

  28 "And why worry about your clothing?

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.

     They don't work or make their clothing,

     29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today

        and thrown into the fire tomorrow,

     he will certainly care for you.

Why do you have so little faith?

  31 "So don't worry about these things, saying,

     'What will we eat?

     What will we drink?

     What will we wear?'

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,

but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,

        and live righteously,

        and he will give you everything you need.

  34 So don't worry about tomorrow,

          for tomorrow will bring its own worries.

     Today's trouble is enough for today.

My mischievous nephew, Aaron Barth,came to staff prayer one morning.

He told me that he had been studying Matthew 5-7, called by some as the Sermon on the Mount.

And he said something remarkable...

"Ya know, that whole section about the lilies of the field & the birds of the air? Jesus could have stopped at the very beginning of all that & just said 'don't worry about your life'. He didn't need to say the rest."

What he said rocked my world.

It still does.

And it's just as true now (if not more) than it was then.

I'm a worrier.

Yeah, I know that worry is really just a full blown lack of trust.

But anyway, I'm a worrier.

And Jesus whispered to me then, & continues to whisper to me...

"...don't worry about your life..."

How then would we all live if we truly believe what Jesus said?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Romans 10

9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord

        and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,

you will be saved.

10 For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God,

        and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.

11 As the Scriptures tell us, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced."

12 Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.

        They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.

13 For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?

        And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?

        And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

       15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?

       That is why the Scriptures say,

            "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"

Think about this...

Setting up a connecting with God is so simple - not easy, but simple.

And that connection is usually brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts AND the active participation of Christ followers who are in anyone's life.

What if the people who impacted you & me & encouraged you & me to make a connection & commitment to Jesus had been as iffy & wishy-washy about it as you & me are?

What kind of state would you & I be in?


God says "Go!"

So, let's "Go!"

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Hebrews 10

35 Don't throw away this confident trust in the Lord,

        no matter what happens.

36 Patient endurance is what you need now,

        so you will continue to do God's will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

Hebrews 12

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands

        & stand firm on your shakey legs.

13 Then those who follow you,

        though they be weak & lame,

     will not stumble & fall but will stay strong.

4 verse I believe God's given me to hold onto during 2014...

As I absorb them for next year, here's some of the stuff running through my head...

What could they all portend?

What could "no matter what happens" mean?

"Patient endurance" means it's gonna get tough, or it's gonna take a long time? Or both?

I can't figure out what "promise" it's talking about.

Well, I certainly have tired hands & shakey legs!

Who's following me?

Yes, I know this sounds neurotic, but welcome to the inside of my head! ;-)

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how these 4 verses are ones I'll need next year.

Monday, November 25, 2013

epic stuff

Sometimes the apostle Paul gets to writing & the Holy Spirit gets a hold of him, and all kinds of incredible stuff comes pouring out.

That's what Romans 8 is like.

I'm sharing the verses I've underlined - verses that for one reason or another have stood out as I've read this chapter over the years...

Read it slowly...

Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

So God did what the law could not do.

He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.

     And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

  5b...those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

  9a But you are not controlled by your sinful nature.

          You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

10 And Christ lives within you,

        so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.

11 The Spirit of God,

        who raised Jesus from the dead,

       lives in you.

And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

  12b ...you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

13b ...if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,

              you will live.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

  15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.

Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.

     Now we call him, "Abba, Father."

16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.

17 And since we are his children,

       we are his heirs.

In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory.

But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

  26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.

But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying,

        for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?

If God is for us,

   who can ever be against us?

32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all,

        won't he also give us everything else?

  35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?

Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?

37 No,

despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.

Neither death

     nor life,

neither angels

     nor demons,

neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow; 

     not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.

39 No power in the sky above

        or in the earth below;


     in all creation

    will ever be able to separate us from the love of God

        that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Psalm 95:1 Come, let us sing to the LORD!

  Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving.

  Let us sing psalms of praise to him.

3 For the LORD is a great God,

  a great King above all gods.

4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth

  and the mightiest mountains.

5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it.

  His hands formed the dry land, too.

6 Come, let us worship and bow down.

  Let us kneel before the LORD our maker,

7   for he is our God.

We are the people he watches over,

  the flock under his care.

I know that we all have it tough sometimes.

At the same time we aren't thankful enough for what we do have.

Perhaps it is a greater virtue to be thankful for what we have rather than being sorrowful for what we don't have or what we've lost.

Does that last sentence make sense?

As we approach our national holiday of thanksgiving, maybe we should ask ourselves if we TRULY are thankful for what we have, what God has done for us, & how He continues to "watch over" us.

Think about it...

Friday, November 22, 2013

strong passage

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.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

giving thanks

Psalm 92
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD,

  to sing praises to the Most High.

2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,

  your faithfulness in the evening,

3 accompanied by the ten-stringed harp

  and the melody of the lyre.

4 You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me!

  I sing for joy because of what you have done.

5 O LORD, what great works you do!

  And how deep are your thoughts.

6 Only a simpleton would not know,

  and only a fool would not understand this:

7 Though the wicked sprout like weeds

  and evildoers flourish,

  they will be destroyed forever.

8 But you, O LORD, will be exalted forever.

9 Your enemies, LORD, will surely perish;

  all evildoers will be scattered.

10 But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.

  You have anointed me with the finest oil.

11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;

  my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.

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!"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


I don't know where some of you are in your lives.

If you're scared, worried, stressed out, or in an impossible place, read this psalm slowly.

God may be speaking to you through it,like He whispered to me this morning.

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 dangers of 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."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Grace So Glorious

right now, I can get enough of this song.

copy & paste it in your browser.



Monday, November 18, 2013

tough stuff

Romans1:16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ.

It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.

17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight.

This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.

     As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."

18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them.

        20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky.

        Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature.

        So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

  21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks.

And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like.

As a result, their minds became dark and confused.

22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools.

23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.

  24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.

          As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies.

          25 They traded the truth about God for a lie.

          So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.

        Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.

        27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other.

        Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

  28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.

29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.

30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful.

They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents.

31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.

32 They know God's justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.