Saturday, August 31, 2013


Matthew 18:1 About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,

     "Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?"

  2 Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them.

3 Then he said,

      "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

       4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

  5 "And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

          6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

  10 "Beware that you don't look down on any of these little ones.

For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father.

humble, according to

1. not proud or arrogant; modest: to be humble although successful.
2. having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience, etc.: In the presence of so many world-famous writers I felt very humble.
3. low in rank, importance, status, quality, etc.; lowly: of humble origin; a humble home.
4. courteously respectful: In my humble opinion you are wrong.
5. low in height, level, etc.; small in size: a humble member of the galaxy.

You have to hand it to the disciples - they had some guts.

Asking the God of the universes which one of them, the disciples, is greatest in the Kingdom.

As my wife says, "Don't ask the question unless you're prepared for the answer."

I doubt the disciples were prepared for the answer Jesus gave.

Jesus starkly pointed out that those who simple & humble, like children, are those considered great in the kingdom.

Hmmmmmm... I wonder... if they REALLY absorbed that piece of information & owned it, how do you think that would make someone like Joseph Prince feels?

Or Benny Hinn?

Steven Furtick?

Rick Warren?

Joel Osteen?

Creflo Dollar?

Joyce Meyer?

Eddie Long?

Pat Robertson?

Jimmy Swaggart?

John Haggee?

And I'm sure the humility is the standard by which greatness is accredited in the Kingdom would come as a great surprise to most of us, too - you & me - if we really let it sink in.

I'm afraid we have a much bigger success orientation attached to who is great.

We've adopted the idea that big is better,

     that a "healthy self concept" (which, when I was growing up, was called an overblown ego) is preferable,

     and that greatness is measured by

           how many,
           how much,
           how brilliant,
           how smooth,
           how ____________ (you fill in the blank)

Jesus says here that the real measuring stick for greatness is a little bit different.

How should we then live is what Jesus said is true?

Think about it.

I'm going to.

Friday, August 30, 2013


Paul, the apostle, who wrote half the new testament, always wrote a lot of practical instructions about how to live the life of a Christ follower. Here's some he wrote in Colossians...

Colossians 3:12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves,

     you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,




     and patience.

13 Make allowance for each other's faults,

        and forgive anyone who offends you.

Remember, the Lord forgave you,

     so you must forgive others.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love,

        which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.

        For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

  16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.

Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives.

Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.

17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,

        giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jesus is blunt

Jesus speaks bluntly to his disciples (& us) about our lives...

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.

There's a whole lot of difference in a person who "believes" in Jesus & someone who "follows" Jesus.

Satan & his demons believe in Jesus, but they don't do what He says.

We not only have to believe Jesus is the Son of God, but we have to be & do what He told / tells us to be & do.

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 find true life.

How many people do we know (besides ourselves!) who try to hold onto their lives, their own dreams, their own picture of what they think their life should look like?

I did that for way too many decades. Since I've truly let go of my life,& my own selfish concepts of what it should look like, my life has been VERY interesting. There's been a lot of times I've been totally clueless about what's going on & why I'm being & doing what I'm being & doing. But living a life of following / obeying Him sure beats anything I could come up with.

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

        Is anything worth more than your soul?

How many people do we know who are like that - people who have spent their lives gathering stuff, or fame,or power, or control?

What good does it do them now?

There are SO many people in my life that I've either said that verse to, or certainly want to.

And how many times do WE spend way too much time trying to accrue "the American Dream", or recognition from our friends, or just the trappings our friends & we think are important.

These are just some things I was thinkin' about as I read these verses....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

who He is

Paul makes an extremely definitive statement here about who Jesus is & what He's about...

Colossians 1

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,

16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see

  and the things we can't see—

      such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.

17 He existed before anything else,

  and he holds all creation together.

18 Christ is also the head of the church,

  which is his body.

He is the beginning,

  supreme over all who rise from the dead.

  So he is first in everything.

19 For God in all his fullness

  was pleased to live in Christ,

20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.

He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth

  by means of Christ's blood on the cross.

21 This includes you who were once far away from God.

       You were his enemies,

            separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body.

As a result, he has brought you into his own presence,

     and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him

          without a single fault.

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.

        Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Philippians 4

6 Don't worry about anything;

     instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need,

     and thank him for all he has done.

7 Then you will experience God's peace,

      which exceeds anything we can understand.

His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Yeah, I'm a worrier.

And I've been married for 31 years to someone with the gift of faith.

Worry is basically a lack of trust.

In the final analysis, we just don't believe God will come through.

God gave me these 2 verses to especially hang on to during the year 2005.

Boy, did I ever need them that year.

I can't tell you how many times I did exactly what those verses say to do.

And you know what?

God did just what Paul writes that He would do.

I think the key for me was thanking Him ahead of time for what He was gonna do.

Now, God didn't turn into a vending machine that year - or since.

But strangely enough, if we do what these 2 verses say to do, God does what these 2 verses say He'll do.

Now, have I stepped into a super-dooper higher level of holiness since experiencing these 2 verses active in my life in 2005?

Well, if you know me, you know better.  ;-)

But I DO worry less.

And when I tell Him what's on my mind & trust Him with it, His peace does follow.

The disconnect is if I don't trust Him with it, the peace doesn't follow.

Lynn & I are fixin' to step into another act of faith (like, this doesn't happen on a regular basis?!).

We're gonna have to...

     ...not worry,

     tell God what we need,

    thank Him ahead of time, (important component)

    & wait for His peace to carry us through.

I'll get back with ya on how that all plays out...

Monday, August 26, 2013

keeping on

Philippians 3:12b I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:

Forgetting the past

and looking forward to what lies ahead,

14 I press on to reach the end of the race

and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

For some reason, it would seem the words, "keep on," are being whispered to me these days.

And it would seem that the basic sentiment of "keep going,"  "move forward,"  "go," & "don't quit" are being impressed upon me.

What does it mean?

We all know that I've kinda sorta been livin' in the land called "Clueless" these last few years.

So I have no answers - only what I believe is being impressed upon me.

We'll see what it all means when I come out on the other side.

Anybody else feeling these things in there life?

All I can encourage you to be & go is to keep moving forward.

And let me know what's going on in your life when you know what's going on in your life.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

as Jesus

Philippians 2:1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?

     Any comfort from his love?

     Any fellowship together in the Spirit?

     Are your hearts tender and compassionate?

2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other,

     loving one another,

     and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don't be selfish;

     don't try to impress others.

Be humble,

     thinking of others as better than yourselves.

4 Don't look out only for your own interests,

     but take an interest in others, too.

5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

     6 Though he was God,
       he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

  he took the humble position of a slave

  and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,

8   he humbled himself in obedience to God

  and died a criminal's death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

  and gave him the name above all other names,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

  to the glory of God the Father.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Yeah, this is for me today.

Who is it for besides me?

Jesus, eternal God of the universes,says to you, & me, "Come..."

That's pretty amazing...

So, let's come to Him.

Matthew 11

28 Then Jesus said,

Come to Me,

     all you who are weary

      & carry heavy burdens,

   & I will give you rest.

29 Take My yoke upon you.

Let me teach you,

    because I am humble

        & gentle,

     & you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke fits perfectly,

        & the burden I give you is light.


Here's how it is paraphrased in The Message...

28-30 “Are you tired?

             Worn out?

            Burned out on religion?

Come to me.

     Get away with me

        & you’ll recover your life.

I’ll show you how to take a real rest.

Walk with me and work with me;

     watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

Keep company with me

     & you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Friday, August 23, 2013


If you cling to your life,

     you will lose it;

but if you if you give it up for Me,

     you will find it.

Matthew 10:33

I distinctly remember when God spoke this verse into my life at the end of 2007.

It was to be one of 4 verses He was going to have me hold on to during 2008 & 2009.

I didn't want it to be a verse I was to carry with me through whatever was ahead.

All I ever thought this verse meant was we have to give up everything.

I didn't want to do that.

But God very slowly let me see the whole verse.

If we let go of our lives, He is free to express in our lives the dreams He dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.

But it can only happen if we let go of our dreams for our lives.

I can't tell you how many times during the transitions of those 2 years this voice inside my head would whisper...

        "don't cling to your life."

Iow, let go of that thing, that situation, that security, that expectation, that dream, that person, that whatever...

Let it go...

So that God can implement His plans & dreams for our lives (however crazy it may sound).

Looking back now, would I be & do it differently?


The life He brought me then was WAY BEYOND anything I could imagine or hope.

But He couldn't have done it w/o me letting go of the life I had.

And ya know, He's never stopped whispering those words to me since...

     "don't cling to your life."

Has & is my life crazy, seemingly?


Would I be or do it differently?



"don't cling to your life."

If you do, God will implement into your life the life He dreamed for you, which fits perfectly the you that is you.

Will it be scary?


Can you do it on your own?


But God is responsible for your life this way - not you.

And who would you rather have responsible for your life?

     finite, vulnerable, fickle, selfish you?

     or the infinite God of the Universes?

There you have it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

each season

Psalm 1:1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,

  or stand around with sinners,

  or join in with mockers.

2 But they delight in the law of the LORD,

  meditating on it day and night.

3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

  bearing fruit each season.

Their leaves never wither,

  and they prosper in all they do.

4 But not the wicked!

  They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.

5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment.

  Sinners will have no place among the godly.

6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly,

  but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

"They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do."

"...bearing fruit each season"

We have such a success orientation about our lives as servants of God.

I remember reading those words during a season in my life when I thought I was doing nothing for God except simply existing.

I remember how He brought those words up off the page as I read them that morning, reminding me that in EVERY season of our life - good, bad, busy, boring, active, circumspect, or whatever - that our lives have a ripple effect, whether we see it or not.

We all have times in our lives when we don't feel like we amount to much - iow, we're just taking up space.

Maybe in those 2 sentences God is whispering to us that no matter what may seem to be going on in our lives, or not going on in our lives, He is up to something through our lives.

Today,I start reading through Psalms again.

Back in January of 2003 God started waking me up at EARLY to get up & read the Bible & listen out for Him.

I know that sounds crazy, but it's true - He wakes me up every morning. It started at 5am, but it's been 4am for quite a few years.

Now, don't think I'm some sort of Super Christian - God knows if I don't read the Bible every dayI'll run right off the cliff into lots of sinning during the day.

Besides, He has something to say to me most mornings.

I read a Psalm every day, sequentially. Around the time I started reading every morning, I heard that Billy Graham reads a Psalm every day. I don't know if that's true or it's just an urban legend. But I figured if it was good enough for Billy, maybe it's good enough for me.

Psalms is 150 chapters. I then read through the 31 chapters of Proverbs. So you can do the math. I read through Psalms & Proverbs twice a year.

So I figure I'm starting to read through Psalms for the 22nd time.

I said all that to say this...

It is incredible how many mornings what I read in a psalm speaks to what what's happening in my life. Now, some mornings it doesn't - especially in psalms like the ones where David asks the Lord to bust out the teeth of his enemies!

But there is a richness in Psalms that never goes away. Some of its richness just reminds me of how God used that in the past to encourage, caution, & empower me in a particular situation. And sometimes,Psalms will speak to something VERY current in my life.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

lead a life...

Every once in a while, Paul the apostle (who wrote half the New Testament) will be writing along when all of a sudden he comes out with a few short sentences that are just fat with truth.

These next few verses are a prime example of that. Read them slowly, think about what he's saying, & how that truth impacts our own individual life.

Btw, Ephesians is a book that is upber-fat with truth. If you have never read it,or haven't read it lately, read it! ;-)

I will warn you, though...

...God will mess with you!

Ephesians 4:1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to...

lead a life worthy of your calling,

     for you have been called by God.

2 Always be humble

     and gentle.

Be patient with each other,

     making allowance for each other's faults

         because of your love.

3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit,

     binding yourselves together with peace.

4 For there is one body

     and one Spirit,

     just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

5 There is one Lord,

         one faith,

         one baptism,

         6 and one God and Father,

               who is over all

               and in all

               and living through all.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

a couple of things

I usually write only 1 blog a day, but I needed to publish the last third of The Sermon on the Mount, plus I got some other stuff to say about what I read this a.m....

Lynn & I are making some tough decisions about some stuff right now. I feel like God used Matt 7:7 & 8 to encourage me as we walked through these decisions. He just seemed to say, "Keep on..." when I didn't much feel like keeping on.I was more like ready to quit.

Anybody else ever feel like that? Then vs 7 & 8 are for you, too. Take heart. Keep on.

Matthew 7

7 "Keep on asking,

        and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking,

       and you will find.

Keep on knocking,

       and the door will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks, receives.

Everyone who seeks, finds.

And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

And here's a stinger to vs 7 - it's kind of a gentle "hello!" in regards to our concept of God...

Matthew 7

9 "You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?

10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake?

        Of course not!

11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.



And I read this verse in Ephesians this morning. I needed to remember the infinitely more part...

infinitely more than we would DARE to ask or hope.

I'm a little short on hope these days. And I don't ask for much anymore, either.

Maybe I should ask & hope more?

By His mighty power at work within us, God is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would dare to ask or hope. Ephesians 3:20

last third

Here's the final installment of The Sermon on the Mount - just another 5 minutes of reading - you can do it!

Matthew 7

Do Not Judge Others
1 "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

  3 "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

  6 "Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

Effective Prayer
7 "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

  9 "You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

The Golden Rule
12 "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

The Narrow Gate
13 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

The Tree and Its Fruit
15 "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

True Disciples
21 "Not everyone who calls out to me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, 'Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' 23 But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God's laws.'

Building on a Solid Foundation
24 "Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn't obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash."

  28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2nd third

Here's the 2nd part of The Sermon on the Mount - a pivotal teaching of Jesus'. This will roll your socks down like chapter 6.

Don't worry - it'll take maybe 5 minutes to read...

Teaching about Giving to the Needy
Matthew 6:1 "Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Prayer and Fasting
5 "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6 But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

  7 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!9 Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
  may your name be kept holy.
10 May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
  as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today the food we need,
12 and forgive us our sins,
  as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
13 And don't let us yield to temptation,
  but rescue us from the evil one.

  14 "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

  16 "And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Teaching about Money and Possessions
19 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

  22 "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

  24 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

  25 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday 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.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

1st third

Very few of us have ever read "the Sermon on the Mount" _ it's SO full of many of the basic stuff Jesus taught.

Chapter 5 of Matthew is the 1st third of it. Go ahead & read it - it'll take 5-8 minutes- it'll change your life.

Remember this was pretty radical stuff back then. We've grown up w/ this kind of thinking. Jesus presented a distinctly radical way of thinking when He said all this.

Matthew 5:1 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
3 "God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
  for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
  for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
  for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
  for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
  for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
  for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
  for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
  for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

  11 "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Teaching about Salt and Light
13 "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

  14 "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Teaching about the Law
17 "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God's laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

  20 "But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Teaching about Anger
21 "You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

  23 "So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

  25 "When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won't be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Teaching about Adultery
27 "You have heard the commandment that says, 'You must not commit adultery.' 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce
31 "You have heard the law that says, 'A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.' 32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Teaching about Vows
33 "You have also heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.' 34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, 'By heaven!' because heaven is God's throne. 35 And do not say, 'By the earth!' because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, 'By Jerusalem!' for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, 'By my head!' for you can't turn one hair white or black.37 Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Teaching about Revenge
38 "You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile,* carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

worn out

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.  (Galatians 6:9)

This is a verse I believe God specifically gave me in regards to a relationship I have. I've been holding on to it as a promise for many years now. I've sorta got the feeling I probably won't see it's fruition until we all get to heaven.

But as I typed it this morning, I got the feeling this is for someone(s) else, too.

If you're in a place w/ a relationship, a situation, a desire, or something, & you're thinking about giving up - don't!

Claim this verse.

As God if this is a promise you can claim for whatever the thing is that you're so weary of.

If this verse was for you, will you let me know - you don't have to tell me what it is that's wearing you out, just that this verse spoke to you, & you, like me,are not gonna give up.

Friday, August 16, 2013

who we are shows

Galatians 5:19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear:

     sexual immorality,


     lustful pleasures,

     20 idolatry,





     outbursts of anger,

     selfish ambition,



     21 envy,


     wild parties,

     and other sins like these.

Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

  22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:








     23 gentleness,

     and self-control.

There is no law against these things!

  24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there.

25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit's leading in every part of our lives.

26 Let us not become conceited,

        or provoke one another,

        or be jealous of one another.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

children 2.0

Galatians 4:1 Think of it this way.

If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had.

2 They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.

3 And that's the way it was with us before Christ came.

     We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.

  4 But when the right time came, God sent his Son,

        born of a woman,

        subject to the law.

5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,
     so that he could adopt us as his very own children.

6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,

     prompting us to call out, "Abba, Father."

7 Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child.

        And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.

His heir...

Another translation expresses it as "everything He has belongs to you."

Think about that...

What does that mean, in practical terms, in every day situations, as we go about doing the mundane things of
our lives?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Galatians 3:26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

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

        like putting on new clothes.

28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,

        slave or free,

        male and female.

For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

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

You are his heirs,

        and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Just let all that sink in...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Mark 16:15 And then Jesus told them,"Go into all the world & preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere."

This is at least some of the very last things Jesus said to His disciples before He ascended into heaven.

The operative word may be "go".

Most think "go" means "go to deepest,darkest Africa" as a missionary.

Lynn & I would LOVE that! ;-) LOL

But that "go" means more than that.

That "go" for some may mean developing relationships with the people across the street, or in the neighborhood.

It may mean trying to connect with people at work.

It may mean people in our extended families.

Or maybe it could mean the people we are "gym buddies" with, or the servers at the restaurants we frequent, or the workers at the businesses we go to.

"But I couldn't tell people about Jesus! I'm too _________." (you fill in the blank)

Think about this...

What if the person who most impacted you or me to give our to Jesus had been too ________ ?

Where would we be right now?



Monday, August 12, 2013


The Lord says,

     I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

     I will advise you.

          & watch over you.  (Psalm 32:8)

Sometimes it's good to just sit & think about the overarching ramifications of short,simple verses in the Bible.

How do people live their lives w/o reading the Bible every day?

I know, I know - I should talk - my Bible reading was higgledy piggledy, at best, until January, 2003.

After the last 10+ yrs of reading every morning, I don't want to think what my life would be like if I didn't get up & read.

Just sayin'...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

4 verses from Proverbs

Here's a few verses I read this morning from Proverbs 21...

vs 13 Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.

In view of some of the current attitudes toward the poor & the working poor in America, this verse might be something to be pondered.

vs 23 If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble.

Honest to goodness, that's what it says!

vs 30 Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised,cannot stand against the Lord.

An interesting verse to think about in a culture that encourages the supremacy of the individual & the "make a plan, work your plan" mentality.

vs 31 The horses are prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Iow, say & do all you can, & make finely tuned plans out the wazoo, but in the end, it's all about God's favor.

How do I know?

I've been livin' it for quite some time now.

Now matter what plans I've made, no matter how "holy" I think I get, in the final analysis, whether something is what it is, & does what it does, is fully dependent on how much God decides to cover it with His favor.

And don't give me the "well, then why make plans if God's gonna do what God's gonna do."

You know what I'm talkin' about. Yeah, we should make plans, & yeah, we should live right, but in the end, it all works out right because God favors it with right-ness.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

2 sections

Proverbs 20:24 How can we understand the road we travel? It is the Lord who directs our steps.

boy, howdy!

I was talking to Sheila Hayslip the other day. We got to laughing about how people think we're both crazy. (Well, we are, ya know?!)

And I told her that is nothing else, in the last 3 years, I've learned to be a little bit more comfortable with being pretty much clueless as to the why & wherefore of my life.

We all want things to add up, everything to make sense, & all parts of our lives to work out very neatly.

It ain't gonna happen.

Sometimes God will show us the big picture, sometimes not. We're in a servant role here. Just do what we're told, & trust Him.

You know it's all about trust, don't ya?


2 Corinthians 12:7b So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh,

     a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

  8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.

9 Each time 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.

How many of us would feel the same way if we experienced what Paul experienced?

I know me - I'd yell & scream, pout, crumble, & just basically be infantile - w/ a basic "I don't like this & I want it gone NOW!" kind of attitude.

But I forget so quickly that God works best through my weakness because that way I don't have as great a chance to mess things up.

Friday, August 9, 2013

4 words

Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate.

He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked,

     "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"

  29 Jesus replied, "The most important commandment is this: 'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.

          30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.'

          31 The second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'* No other commandment is greater than these."

  32 The teacher of religious law replied,

           "Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.

            33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself.

           This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law."

  34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him,

         "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."

And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

It has been said that day, Jesus summed up the whole purpose of humankind in 4 words...

Love God.

Love People.

And that everything else is secondary.

Think about it...

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

u lack 1 thing

Mark10:17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

  18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked. "Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: 'You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.'"

  20 "Teacher," the man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young."

  21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. "There is still one thing you haven't done," he told him. "Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

  22 At this the man's face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

  23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!" 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, "Dear children, it is very hard* to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"

  26 The disciples were astounded. "Then who in the world can be saved?" they asked.

  27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God."

  28 Then Peter began to speak up. "We've given up everything to follow you," he said.

  29 "Yes," Jesus replied, "and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Proverbs 16:1 We gather our thought but the Lord gives the right answers.

vs 9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

vs 19 It is better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.

vs 33 We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.

We think we're so clever, & we think that if we think of something, of course God is gonna bless it.

These verses seem to indicate that yes, we should use our brains, intellect, creativity, & reasoning, but in the final analysis, we need to offer all that up to Him in a provisio of, "well, here's what I'm thinking, but what do You think."

How many of us do that?

Or how many of us think up stuff to be & do, & then expect God to bless it?

I used to be like the latter for an embarrassingly long time, & still am sometimes. But I've also discovered t's far more productive to be the former - even though it can be kinda scary sometimes.


Mark 9:33 After they arrived at Capernaum and settled in a house, Jesus asked his disciples,

     "What were you discussing out on the road?"

34 But they didn't answer, because they had been arguing about which of them was the greatest.

35 He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said,

        "Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else."

  36 Then he put a little child among them.

Taking the child in his arms, he said to them,

     37 "Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me,

     and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not only me but also my Father who sent me."

I guess that strikes a blow against always striving to be the alpha male or the alpha female.

How is this to be fleshed out in a whole where change agents are becoming more &more alpha personalities & not group consensus & effort?

Monday, August 5, 2013

losing & gaining

 Mark 8:34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, Jesus said,

     "If any of you wants to be my follower,

         you must put aside your selfish ambition,

         take up your cross,

         and follow me.

35 If you try to keep your life for yourself,

        you will lose it.

But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News,

        you will find true life.

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

37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days,

         the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

Yesterday, I caught the end of the Bridgestone Invitational where Tiger Woods won his 79th major golf tourney. Verse 36 came to my mind as I was watching him finish the 18th hole - "And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?"

I thought the same thing these last few days as I watched all the drama w/ A Rod.

And then I thought about verse 34 - " must put aside your selfish ambition..." - and wondered how much of us (me included) continue to place our "selfish ambitions" ahead of anything or anyone else in our lives.

Jesus says more than once in the gospels that is we cling to our lives, if we try to hold on to anything w/ a tight grip, we will lose it.

That goes against ALL the current thinking in the world - it says, "hold on to what's mine, no matter what" (hence the present political & economic climate in which we now live, both here & abroad).

Jesus tells us over & over again in the gospels to let go of our lives - or just let go of everything - because then, & only then, is God able to implement His dreams for each of us into our lives, which ends up being in many ways the very things we were holding onto so tightly.


Let's let go of our lives. Why? I've never seen anyone keep anything that they held on to with a possessive grip - never.

If we let go, life gets simpler, & all that God brings into our lives is more in line with who we are & what we're about.

"But what about ________?!" (you fill in the blank)

Or, "I deserve this."

Or,"I've worked for this all my life."

Or, "If I can't have this, I'll just die!" (If you feel that way, there's a good chance you probably already have.)

Now, I'll tell ya, I've tried to implement this letting go stuff for especially the last 5-10 yrs. It's been a WILD ride. Some pretty enormous things have occurred - and there's been LARGE chunks of time during which I'm clueless as to what's going on. (been in one of those seasons the last few years.)

All I know is that life is much simpler if we let go of our self-centered hopes & wishes & truly adopt a servant role, saying, whatever, whoever, wherever, whenever, however to God.

Now,He's gonna mess with you if you do. But which, on the face of it, makes better sense:

     to hold on to what WE think is best for us (finite beings we are w/limited intelligence & insight)

     or to yield to the will & dreams of the all knowing, all powerful, all loving God of the universes who operates outside of time & sees the who picture of eternity in a glance?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

measuring up

The apostle, Paul, wrote about what his life was like as a true, honest, unbridled Christ follower.

If these next few verses are something of an indicator of what being a sold out, all in Christ follower is like, how do we all measure up in comparison?

2 Corinthians 6

3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us,

        and no one will find fault with our ministry.

4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.

We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.

     5 We have been beaten, been put in prison,

     faced angry mobs,

     worked to exhaustion,

     endured sleepless nights,

     and gone without food.

6 We prove ourselves by our purity,

     our understanding,

     our patience,

     our kindness,

     by the Holy Spirit within us,

     and by our sincere love.

7 We faithfully preach the truth.

      God's power is working in us.

We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.

8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us,

     whether they slander us or praise us.

We are honest,

     but they call us impostors.

9 We are ignored,

     even though we are well known.

We live close to death,

     but we are still alive.

We have been beaten,

     but we have not been killed.

10 Our hearts ache,

     but we always have joy.

We are poor,

     but we give spiritual riches to others.

We own nothing,

     and yet we have everything.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Just read it...

2 Corinthians 5:14 Christ's love controls us.

Since we believe that Christ died for all,

     we also believe that we have all died to our old life.

15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.

         Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.

At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view.

     How differently we know him now!

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.

         The old life is gone;

         a new life has begun!

 18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ.

        And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,

         no longer counting people's sins against them.

And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

20 So we are Christ's ambassadors;

          God is making his appeal through us.

We speak for Christ when we plead, "Come back to God!"

21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,

          so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Friday, August 2, 2013

terrible moments

Mark 5:36 But Jesus ignored their comments & said to Jairus,

     "Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

In 3 out of the 4 gospels, the raising from the dead of Jairus' daughter is recorded - Matthew 9, Mark 5, & Luke 8

In both Mark & Luke, they tell who he was - Jairus. Matthew doesn't. Matthew just says he was a leader in the synagogue.

Both Mark & Luke record the same words spoken by Jesus to Jairus when Jairus' servants come to tell the sad news that His daughter has died.

"Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

Jairus' daughter is dead - probably the most terrible moment in his life.

And what does Jesus say to him?

"Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

Could it be that at the most terrible moments of our lives, Jesus is saying to each of us...

"Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Mark 4:35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's cross to the other side of the lake."

36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).

37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

  38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion.

The disciples woke him up, shouting, "Teacher, don't you care that we're going to drown?"

  39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Silence! Be still!"

Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.

40 Then he asked them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith in Me?"

  41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. "Who is this man?" they asked each other.

               "Even the wind and waves obey him!"

Well, if You put it that way, Jesus...

I guess not.