Sunday, March 31, 2013

John 15:1-17

John 15:1 "I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.

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

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

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

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

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

     and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

  5 "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches.

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

     For apart from me you can do nothing.

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

     Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.

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

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

     This brings great glory to my Father.

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

         Remain in my love.

10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

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

     Yes, your joy will overflow!

12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

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

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

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

     Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.

16 You didn't choose me. I chose you.

        I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

17 This is my command: Love each other.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2 verses for someone

These are for someone out there reading them. They were for me. If they were for you, let me know,will ya?

John 14:18 I will not abandon you.

     I will come to you.

27b the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives.

   So don't be troubled or afraid.

Friday, March 29, 2013

2 things

Psalm 41:1 Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor.

The Lord rescues them in times of trouble.

2 The Lord protects them & keeps them alive.

He gives them prosperity & rescues them from their enemies.

How does this square with the seemingly prevailing attitude here in America that the poor are slackers, lazy, "working the system," or some sort of a lower life form, thereby undeserving of our help & hard earned money>


1 Corinthians 15 58b

 ...nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (NLT 1st ed.)

...your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

Be sure that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted. (J.B. Phillips)

...nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (The Message)

Been kinda holding on to this lately...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


In our rush to be successful,

     or as we pursue "The American Dream",

         or as we strive to build glittering, powerful lives, let us think on these words...

Psalm 39:4 "LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.

  Remind me that my days are numbered;

  how fleeting my life is.

5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.

  My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;

  at best, each of us is but a breath."

6 We are merely moving shadows,

  and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.

We heap up wealth,

  not knowing who will spend it.

7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?

  My only hope is in you.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Jesus contrasts the devil's purpose & His purpose

John 10:10 The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give give life abundantly.

1. present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient: an abundant supply of water.
2. well supplied; abounding: a river abundant in salmon.
3. richly supplied: an abundant land.

Jesus says He came to give us THAT kind of life.

Think about it...

Monday, March 25, 2013

walking it out

Just read these verses that stood out this morning, & think about them today...

Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the Lord.

     Trust Him, & He will help you.

7 Be still in the presence of the Lord,

     & wait patiently for Him to act.

     (dan note: I would translate this "shut up & wait")

23 The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord.

     He delights in every detail of their lives.

     24 though they stumble, they will not fall,

     for the Lord holds them by the hand.

34 Don't be impatient for the Lord to act!

     Travel steadily along His path

     He will honor you...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2 passages

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.' "

We live in a world & culture that is so thirsty for something safe, permanent, good, fulfilling, & sustaining.

And yet, we don't want to connect with the only One who can really, eternally quench our thirst.

What would our lives be like if we depended solely on Him to be all He claimed He could be for each of us?


This is Paul's passage where he talks about being all things to all people - read it & absorb it, will ya?

all things to all people - what would that mean if YOU or I tried that on a daily basis?

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.

Friday, March 22, 2013

take heart

take heart (from something) (

     to receive courage or comfort from some fact.

     to start to feel more hopeful and more confident.

     to feel encouraged

for all of us who may be carrying a heavy load today, here's a word maybe for us...

Psalm 34:2b ...let all the discouraged take heart.

vs 10b ...those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing.

     (dan note: something good to know for any facing their "golden years" )

vs 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;

     He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

2 passages

 John 4:34 Then Jesus explained: "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.

35 You know the saying, 'Four months between planting and harvest.'

        But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.

36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life.

What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!

37 You know the saying, 'One plants and another harvests.' And it's true.

All of us are compelled to help with the planting, cultivating, & harvesting of people for God.

Where would you & I be if the person(s) who were suppose to plant, cultivate, & harvest us for God had been reluctant to do it?

Not a pretty thought.

As I read this this morning, the thought dropped into my head - maybe we've been planting or cultivating here in Blairsville.


I find it alarming how many people I know who call themselves Christ followers yet are having sex with their fiances, girlfriends, boyfriends, or sometimes with someone just because.

Here's what Paul says about that...

1 Corinthians 6:
12 You say, "I am allowed to do anything" - but not everything is good for you.

And even though "I am allowed to do anything," I must not become a slave to anything.

13 You say, "Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food."

(This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.)

But you can't say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality.

They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies.

14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead.

  15 Don't you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?

Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute?


16 And don't you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute (dan note: or anybody else), he becomes one body with her?

For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one."

17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.

  18 Run from sexual sin!

            No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.

    For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.

19 Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit,

          who lives in you and was given to you by God?

You do not belong to yourself,

       20 for God bought you with a high price.

So you must honor God with your body.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

keep moving

Psalm 31:24 be strong & take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord!

"be strong & take courage"

I'm reading this a lot lately.

I just finished reading Joshua & now I'm in Judges. God says that to Joshua & Israel a lot, & Joshua & the Judges said that a lot to Israel, too.

Is it a  stretch to think that what they are also saying is "don't be weak or give into your fears"?

It's one thing to be strong & courageous.

It's another to not be weak & fearful.

I'm feeling weak these days. There's a lot of things that scare me that lie up ahead.

But I can't give in to weakness or fear - I don't have any choice.

I have to move forward. Standing still, being weak, & focusing on being afraid is not something I can retain on my list of things to be & do right now.

Yes, I know God sends us His strength through the Holy Spirit.

And yes, I know that God hasn't given us a spirit of fear - that comes from the devil.

Sometimes it just feels like we simply have to choose to not be weak, not be afraid, & just put one foot in front of the other, until finally we have walked out of a place, a situation, or a season.

That's where I'm at these days.

Maybe you, too?

Monday, March 18, 2013


Don't know who this is for this morning...

Psalm 30

1 I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me.

  You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.

2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,

  and you restored my health.

3 You brought me up from the grave, O LORD.

  You kept me from falling into the pit of death.

4 Sing to the LORD, all you godly ones!

  Praise his holy name.

5 For his anger lasts only a moment,

  but his favor lasts a lifetime!

Weeping may last through the night,

  but joy comes with the morning.

6 When I was prosperous, I said,

  "Nothing can stop me now!"

7 Your favor, O LORD, made me as secure as a mountain.

  Then you turned away from me, and I was shattered.

8 I cried out to you, O LORD.

  I begged the Lord for mercy, saying,

9 "What will you gain if I die,

  if I sink into the grave?

Can my dust praise you?

  Can it tell of your faithfulness?

10 Hear me, LORD, and have mercy on me.

  Help me, O LORD."

11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.

  You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,

12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.

  O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Friday, March 15, 2013

all I got today

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light & my salvation - so why should I be afraid?

The Lord protects me from danger - so why should I tremble?

vs 14 Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave & courageous.

Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

if He really cares

1 Peter 5:7

Give all your worries

      & cares

        to God,

 for He cares



I wonder how many of us REALLY believe God cares about us.

Cares about the big things, cares about the little things, the mundane things, the good things, the bad things - all of it.

That He is personally engaged in thinking about us - not "us" as a group, but "us" as in you, & me- like He cares about us individually.

I don't know how many of us REALLY believe that.


because our lives indicate we don't.

because if we did, we wouldn't be worried about every little thing in our lives.

because we'd walk, talk, & live like people who are cared about & cared for by the omnipotent, omniscient, loving, Father God who created the universes.

maybe we should make a list of all the things that we're worried about

all that stuff that drags us down

what some call "the cares of this world"...

maybe we should write down as many as we can think of

and then consciously, rationally, set aside some time to talk to Him, & individually give each one of them specifically to Him

What would our lives be like if we did this?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Psalm 25 (selected verses)

1 To You LORD, I lift up my soul.

2   I trust in you, my God!

Do not let me be disgraced,

  or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.

3 No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced,

  but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.

4 Show me the right path, O LORD;

  point out the road for me to follow.

5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,

  for you are the God who saves me.

  All day long I put my hope in you.

8 The LORD is good and does what is right;

  he shows the proper path to those who go astray.

9 He leads the humble in doing right,

  teaching them his way.

10 The LORD leads with unfailing love and faithfulness

  all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

12 Who are those who fear the LORD?

  He will show them the path they should choose.

13 They will live in prosperity,

  and their children will inherit the land.

14 The LORD is a friend to those who fear him.

  He teaches them his covenant.

15 My eyes are always looking to the LORD for help,

  for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

16 Turn to me and have mercy,

  for I am alone and in deep distress.

17 My problems go from bad to worse.

  Oh, save me from them all!

18 Feel my pain and see my trouble.

21 May integrity and honesty protect me,

  for I put my hope in you.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

we belong to Him

Psalm 24
1 The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it.

  The world and all its people belong to him.

2 For he laid the earth's foundation on the seas

  and built it on the ocean depths.

3 Who may climb the mountain of the LORD?

  Who may stand in his holy place?

4 Only those whose hands and hearts are pure,

  who do not worship idols

  and never tell lies.

5 They will receive the LORD's blessing

  and have a right relationship with God their savior.

6 Such people may seek you

  and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob.    Interlude

7 Open up, ancient gates!

  Open up, ancient doors,

  and let the King of glory enter.

8 Who is the King of glory?

  The LORD, strong and mighty;

  the LORD, invincible in battle.

9 Open up, ancient gates!

  Open up, ancient doors,

  and let the King of glory enter.

10 Who is the King of glory?

  The LORD of Heaven's Armies—

  he is the King of glory.

Monday, March 11, 2013

1 way

Well, so much for "all roads lead to God"...

1 John 5
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God.

And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

2 We know we love God's children if we love God and obey his commandments.

3 Loving God means keeping his commandments,

       and his commandments are not burdensome.

4 For every child of God defeats this evil world,

       and we achieve this victory through our faith.

5 And who can win this battle against the world?

       Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

  6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God's Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross;

     not by water only, but by water and blood.

And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony.

7 So we have these three witnesses;

     8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood;

     and all three agree.

9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God.

     And God has testified about his Son.

10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true.

Those who don't believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don't believe what God has testified about his Son.

  11 And this is what God has testified:

          He has given us eternal life,

          and this life is in his Son.

12 Whoever has the Son has life;

     whoever does not have God's Son does not have life.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


1 John 3
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning:

        We should love one another.

12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother.

        And why did he kill him?

         Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous.

13 So don't be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.

  14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life.

But a person who has no love is still dead.

15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart.

And you know that murderers don't have eternal life within them.

  16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.

So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.

17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person?

  18 Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.

20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.

  21 Dear friends, if we don't feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence.

22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.

  23 And this is his commandment:

         We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.

24 Those who obey God's commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them.

And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.

Friday, March 8, 2013


1 John 2
1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin.

        But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father.

        He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

  3 And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.

4 If someone claims, "I know God," but doesn't obey God's commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth.

5 But those who obey God's word truly show how completely they love him.

That is how we know we are living in him.

6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.

7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you;

          rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning.

This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.

8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it.

     For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

He keeps us

Don't know who this is for, besides me

Psalm 18
1 I love you, LORD;

  you are my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;

  my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.

He is my shield, the power that saves me,

  and my place of safety.

3 I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise,

  and he saved me from my enemies.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful;

  to those with integrity you show integrity.

26 To the pure you show yourself pure,

  but to the wicked you show yourself hostile.

27 You rescue the humble,

  but you humiliate the proud.

28 You light a lamp for me.

  The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.

29 In your strength I can crush an army;

  with my God I can scale any wall.

30 God's way is perfect.

  All the LORD's promises prove true.

  He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.

31 For who is God except the LORD?

  Who but our God is a solid rock?

32 God arms me with strength,

  and he makes my way perfect.

33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,

  enabling me to stand on mountain heights.

34 He trains my hands for battle;

  he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.

35 You have given me your shield of victory.

  Your right hand supports me;

  your help has made me great.

36 You have made a wide path for my feet

  to keep them from slipping.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

hold on

Psalm 139
1 O LORD, you have examined my heart

  and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up.

  You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.

3 You see me when I travel

  and when I rest at home.

  You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say

  even before I say it, LORD.

5 You go before me and follow me.

  You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

  too great for me to understand!

7 I can never escape from your Spirit!

  I can never get away from your presence!

8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;

  if I go down to the grave, you are there.

9 If I ride the wings of the morning,

  if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

10 even there your hand will guide me,

  and your strength will support me.

11 I could ask the darkness to hide me

  and the light around me to become night—

12   but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

  Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

  and knit me together in my mother's womb.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

  as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 You saw me before I was born.

  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

  before a single day had passed.

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

  They cannot be numbered!

18 I can't even count them;

  they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up,

  you are still with me!

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

  test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you,

  and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Monday, March 4, 2013

walking it out

Good stuff here - it's all about how one thing in our walk with Jesus leads to another. Nothing we have with Him is isolated.

2 Peter 1:3 As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life.

He has called us to receive His own glory & goodness!

4 And by that same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich & wonderful promises.

He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires & that you will share in His divine nature.

5 So make every effort to apply the benefits of these promises to your life.

Then your faith will produce a life of moral excellence.

A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better.

6 Knowing God leads to self-control.

Self-control leads to patient endurance,

and patient endurance leads to godliness.

7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians,

and finally you will grow to have an genuine love for everyone.

8 The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive & useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

keeping on

1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.

13 Instead, be very glad - for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering,

     so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

  14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian,

          for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.

15 If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people's affairs.

16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!

19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God,

         keep on doing what is right,

         and trust your lives to the God who created you,

    for He will never fail you.

Friday, March 1, 2013


This is for someone today - don't know who - lemme know if it's for you...

1 Peter 3

13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good?

14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it.

     So don't worry or be afraid of their threats.

15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life.

        And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.

            16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.

            Keep your conscience clear.

        Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.

17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

  18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time.

He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God.

He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.