Monday, September 30, 2013

say what?

Psalm 40:17a I am poor & needy, but the Lord is thinking about me right now.

I remember reading this verse for the 1st time 10 yrs ago.

The NLT (1st edition) is the only translates it exactly that way.

When I read it that morning in early 2003, it literally hurtled up at me off the page.


Because I was presented with the inescapable thought that the God of the universes was thinking about me at that very moment.

That our omnipotent, omniscient, holy, all-living God, who keeps the universes in sync, looks after gajillions of persons in his creation & knows about all their "stuff", is also thinking about me.

Iow, He knows about me.

He knows what I'm going through at that very moment.

And in the center of that inexplicable immense mind, He's thinking about me.

Yeah, those last 8 words in that section of the verse rocked my world, and changed my life.

 I knew I was never alone again bc the God of the universes is thinking about me right now - like right now, this morning, at 4:32 a.m., wherever He is, whatever He's doing, part of that is that He's thinking about me.

And He's thinking about you...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

just remember

sometimes, when we get to feeling we're all that, & a bag of chips, perhaps we should consider where we fit into the arch of eternity...

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,

  for someone else to spend.

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

  My only hope is in you.

Friday, September 27, 2013

God's care

Psalm 37 has a lot of good stuff in it, most of which is how God takes care of the godly & protects them from evil & evil people.

The verses I've selected are ones that have stood out to me over the years as I've read it.

There's some verses here we can really hang on to - read them slowly ;-)

Psalm 37:1 Don't worry about the wicked
  or envy those who do wrong.
2 For like grass, they soon fade away.
  Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good.
  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD,
  and he will give you your heart's desires.

5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.
  Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
  and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

7a Be still in the presence of the LORD,
  and wait patiently for him to act.

8 Stop being angry!
  Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
  it only leads to harm.

12 The wicked plot against the godly;
  they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
  for he sees their day of judgment coming.

16 It is better to be godly and have little
  than to be evil and rich.
17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered,
  but the LORD takes care of the godly.

23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
  He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
  for the LORD holds them by the hand.

25 Once I was young, and now I am old.
  Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
  or their children begging for bread.

34 Don't be impatient for the Lord to act!
  Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
  You will see the wicked destroyed.

39 The LORD rescues the godly;
  he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them,
  rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them,
  and they find shelter in him.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

the Word

Psalm 36:5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;

  your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

  your justice like the ocean depths.

You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.

7   How precious is your unfailing love, O God!

All humanity finds shelter

  in the shadow of your wings.

8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house,

  letting them drink from your river of delights.

9 For you are the fountain of life,

  the light by which we see.

I talked about how much I believe we all should be reading the Bible EVERY day, w/o fail.

I think I've also quickly added that if we do, God will mess with us, BIG time,placing His finger & the bright light of His attention on the various areas we do NOT want Him to look at.

But it is from reading the Bible every day that we connect to the strongest mode of communication from Him.

Here's what the writer of Hebrews (Paul?) has to say about it, bearing out what contact with the Word of God is all about...

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and powerful.

It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword,

     cutting between soul and spirit,

     between joint and marrow.

It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.

Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes,

     and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

keeping on

Hebrews 3:14 For if we are faithful to the end,

         trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed,

   we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

It's all about taking it 1 day at a time,

   keeping on,


   continuing to listen for instructions,

   being &/or doing whatever it is He says.

Life as a Christ follower is kinda like jumping into a BIG river.

   Our job is simple...

   Don't fight the current - let it take us wherever it will.

   And don't let our feet drag the bottom, impeding our progress.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


maybe today you need a little encouraging.

maybe you're afraid - fear seems to be your constant companion.

maybe you're just clueless.

maybe the load of your life s just too heavy today.

maybe you just need to know there's someone out there who's got your back.

Or maybe you're just __________________ (you flll in the blank)

This psalm is full of stuff about all those kinds of things. It's a psalm for me this morning, & I bet it can be a psalm for you, too.

Psalm 34:1 I will praise the LORD at all times.

  I will constantly speak his praises.

2 I will boast only in the LORD;

  let all who are discouraged take heart.

3 Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness;

  let us exalt his name together.

4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me,

   freeing me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;

  no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

6 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;

  he saved me from all my troubles.

7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard;

  he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good.

  Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

9 Fear the LORD, you his godly people,

  for those who fear him will have all they need.

10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,

  but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me,

  and I will teach you to fear the LORD.

12 Does anyone want to live a life

  that is long and prosperous?

13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil

  and your lips from telling lies!

14 Turn away from evil and do good.

  Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right;

  his ears are open to their cries for help.

16 But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil;

  he will erase their memory from the earth.

17 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.

  He rescues them from all their troubles.

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;

  he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,

  but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.

20 For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous;

  not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,

  and those who hate the righteous will be punished.

22 But the LORD will redeem those who serve him.

  No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Monday, September 23, 2013

in charge

Here's some selected verses from Psalm 33, ones that stood out to me this morning...

Psalm 33:1 Let the godly sing for joy to the LORD;

  it is fitting for the pure to praise him.

4 For the word of the LORD holds true,

  and we can trust everything he does.

5 He loves whatever is just and good;

  the unfailing love of the LORD fills the earth.

6 The LORD merely spoke,

  and the heavens were created.

He breathed the word,

  and all the stars were born.

10 The LORD frustrates the plans of the nations

  and thwarts all their schemes.

11 But the LORD's plans stand firm forever;

  his intentions can never be shaken.

13 The LORD looks down from heaven

  and sees the whole human race.

14 From his throne he observes

  all who live on the earth.

15 He made their hearts,

  so he understands everything they do.

18 But the LORD watches over those who fear him,

  those who rely on his unfailing love.

19 He rescues them from death

  and keeps them alive in times of famine.

20 We put our hope in the LORD.

  He is our help and our shield.

21 In him our hearts rejoice,

  for we trust in his holy name.

22 Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD,

  for our hope is in you alone.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

do what is good

This is Paul, writing to his good friend, Titus...

Titus 3:3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient.

We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures.

Our lives were full of evil and envy,

     and we hated each other.

  4 But—"When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love,

        5 he saved us,

               not because of the righteous things we had done,

               but because of his mercy.

He washed away our sins,

     giving us a new birth

     and new life through the Holy Spirit.

6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

8 This is a trustworthy saying,

        and I want you to insist on these teachings

        so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good.

These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

Friday, September 20, 2013

a couple of things

His anger lasts for a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Psalm 30:5b

The longer I live,the more I believe than anything we are or do that has impact on others is not because we're clever, holy, or do all the right things - it's simply a direct result of the favor of God.


Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.

12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living

        and sinful pleasures.

We should live in this evil world with wisdom,


     and devotion to God,

     13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin,

        to cleanse us,

        and to make us his very own people,

            totally committed to doing good deeds.

We live in a time when Christians try to "blend in" in our society & culture.

But I think we forget that we're always gonna kinda stick out bc the way we believe the Bible indicates we should live is so diametrically oppose & different from the way our world thinks we should live.

So as we move through our lives,maybe we need to understand that many people are never gonna understand who we are, or what we're about, & lots of the time either aren't gonna like what we are or do or thinks we just nuts - or both! 

Don't know who that's for this morning, besides me.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

soak this up

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 both precede 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!

If this is all true, how then should we live?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

keep on...

What would we write in a final letter to our child?

That's what 2 Timothy is - Paul's last letter to his adopted son, Timothy.

Paul says some poignant things...

      4:9 Timothy, please come as soon as you can.

      4:11a Only Luke is with me.

      4:11b Bring Mark with you when you come...

      4:13 When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.

      4:21 ...come before winter.

Small things, stuff we'd only say to our child.

But Paul also gives him simply & strong direction, probably for the last time - I would think we would reserve some of the most important at a time like that.

Paul said,

     4:2 Preach the word of God.

     Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.

     Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

     4:5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation.

     Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord.

     Work at telling others the Good News.

     Complete the ministry God has given you.

"Complete the ministry God has given you."

Good words for the adopted son of the man who wrote half the New Testament.

Good words for you & me, too.

Keep on...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


There is a traditional presentation type song that uses many of the verses in this psalm. It's one of those BIG songs that you use a BIG voice to sing it.

I used to sing it, back in the day when I was a traditional music minister. It kinda makes me laugh that I used to sing like that. It seems SO long ago. It's been 13+ years since I moved into the current, contemporary, 21st century type of church & worship.

Last Sunday, Sept 15, marks 40 years in ministry for me. In some ways it feels like just yesterday I drove into Fitzgerald, GA in that blue, 2 door Dodge Dart (w/ no air conditioning!). And in other ways, it feels like a long & colorful time. Maybe it's both.

Portions of this psalm are a part of that song I used to sing. The words are even more true today as they were back in the day.

Here's a link to a youtube vid of the song -

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation,

  so why should I be afraid?

The LORD is my fortress, protecting me from danger,

  so why should I tremble?

2 When evil people come to devour me,

  when my enemies and foes attack me,

  they will stumble and fall.

3 Though a mighty army surrounds me,

  my heart will not be afraid.

Even if I am attacked,

  I will remain confident.

4 The one thing I ask of the LORD—

  the thing I seek most—

is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

  delighting in the LORD's perfections

  and meditating in his Temple.

5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come;

  he will hide me in his sanctuary.

  He will place me out of reach on a high rock.

6 Then I will hold my head high

  above my enemies who surround me.

At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,

  singing and praising the LORD with music.

7 Hear me as I pray, O LORD.

  Be merciful and answer me!

8 My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."

  And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."

9 Do not turn your back on me.

  Do not reject your servant in anger.

  You have always been my helper.

Don't leave me now; don't abandon me,

  O God of my salvation!

10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,

  the LORD will hold me close.

11 Teach me how to live, O LORD.

  Lead me along the right path,

  for my enemies are waiting for me.

12 Do not let me fall into their hands.

  For they accuse me of things I've never done;

  with every breath they threaten me with violence.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the LORD's goodness

  while I am here in the land of the living.

14 Wait patiently for the LORD.

  Be brave and courageous.

  Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Monday, September 16, 2013

being of use

In 2 Timothy, Paul writes his last letter to Timothy, Paul's friend, brother, coworker, but most of all, someone Paul considered his son - not just his "son in the faith" but his really & truly son.

This last letter has so many final instructions - things a person would tell his son.

Here's what stood out in chapter 2 this morning as I read it....

 2 Timothy 2

20 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver,

       and some are made of wood and clay.

The expensive utensils are used for special occasions,

     and the cheap ones are for everyday use.

21 If you keep yourself pure,

       you will be a special utensil for honorable use.

Your life will be clean,

     and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

  22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.

Instead, pursue righteous living,



     and peace.

Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

I think I'd want to be a utensil for everyday use.

How about you?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

my help

Sometimes something in the Bible can speak to a lot of things all at one time.

As Lynn & I move forward into His adventure for us in N GA, there's a lot of things that stand out for us in the psalm.

I also know there's a lot of you out there who need to read & hear some of the things in this psalm.

I've underlined some of the verses that have stood out for me today, or in the past.

This psalm speaks to me in all kinds of ways, but this psalm is also for you.

Psalm 25

1 O LORD, I give my life to you.

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.

6 Remember, O LORD, your compassion and unfailing love,

  which you have shown from long ages past.

7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.

  Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,

  for you are merciful, O LORD.

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.

11 For the honor of your name, O LORD,

  forgive my many, many sins.

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 on the LORD,

  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.

  Forgive all my sins.

19 See how many enemies I have

  and how viciously they hate me!

20 Protect me! Rescue my life from them!

  Do not let me be disgraced, for in you I take refuge.

21 May integrity and honesty protect me,

  for I put my hope in you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

practical living

Timothy was someone Paul, the apostle, considered his son, even though Timothy had no biological link to Paul (I think I understand that kind of relationship ;-)

So Paul is telling Timothy just some practical things here on how to live as a Christ follower.

I think it resonates with us today, too.

1 Timothy 6:

11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all evil things.

Pursue righteousness and a godly life,

     along with faith,



     and gentleness.

12 Fight the good fight for the true faith.

Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you,

    which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.

15 For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

16 He alone can never die,

        and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him.

No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.

  17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money,

             which is so unreliable.

Their trust should be in God,

     who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

18 Tell them to use their money to do good.

             They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need,

             always being ready to share with others.

19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

  20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you.

Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.

21 Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.

Friday, September 6, 2013


Lynn & I have come to believe that God is not finished with us in Blairsville.

So, today, we close on a house not far from where we used to live @ the farmhouse & will be "moving the cat" Saturday.

It's interesting that I was scheduled to read 2nd Thessalonians 1 this morning.

Here's what stood out on the page...

2 Thessalonians 1

11 So we keep on praying for you, that our God will make you worthy of the life to which He called you.

May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.

12 Then the name of our Lord Jesus will be honored because of the way you live,

        and you will be honored along with him.

This is all made possible because of the undeserved favor of our God and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So, the adventure continues...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2 verses

Just 2 verses this morning - the first one God gave me on December 23, 2010 to carry with me into this season of my life.

The other verse is the one He gave me to carry through this year, 2013

Just think about them both today...

1 Thessalonians 45:18 No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus

Psalm 32:8 The Lord says, I will guide you in the best pathway for your life. I will advise you, & watch over you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2 passages

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."

Iow, Jesus basically is saying here that the whole deal can be expressed in 4 words...

Love God,love others.



1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you.

You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more.

2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.

  3 God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin.

4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor—5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.

6 Never harm or cheat a Christian brother in this matter by violating his wife,

     for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before.

7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives.

8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God,

        who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

I find it disturbing that many of the people I know who believe themselves fairly hooked up with Jesus are also having intercourse w/ their boyfriends or girlfriends - like, & not married to them.

And they don't seem overly concerned or convicted about it.

I believe this passage would indicate that God does not thing that kind of activity is in sync with His thinking.

I see far too many young Christians having sex - iow, creating a bond, a connectedness, a oneness, that isn't meant to happen except in a committed relationship of marriage.

And I see these same young Christians going through the pain, & the jading,& the tearing apart of that oneness every time they walk away from their sexual partners.

It ain't good.

Y'all stop it.

I've lived too long, & see far too often, what having sex outside of marriage does to people.

It ain't good.

And eventually, the farm principle will kick in...

We reap what we sow.

Just sayin'...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

fill in the blanks

Matthew 21:21 Then Jesus told them,

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and don't doubt,

     you can do things like this and much more.

You can even say to this mountain,

     'May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,'

     and it will happen.

22 You can pray for anything,

        and if you have faith,

        you will receive it."

This doesn't imply that our God is a vending machine for stupendous miracles.

At the same time, I think it also says something about whether we REALLY believe God will come through for us.

I think the latter is what's really going on here, not the former.

Is it too much of a stretch to say that the real problem for us is that don't have any difficulty believe God can be or do __________ (you fill in the blank).

What the real issue amounts to is we don't think He'll come through for US.

We know full well & are completely confident that He'll come through for _________, __________, or __________ time& time again. (you fill in the blanks)

But we don't think He'll come through for us.

Why do we believe that?

Bc believing for others is easier bc there's no responsibility in it for us if He doesn't come through, while we know there's a better than average chance that He will come through?

But at the same time we just don't think He'll come through for us, personally bc ___________ (another blank for you to fill in).

Any of this make sense?

And how should we then live is we really, REALLY believe what Jesus just promised here?

Monday, September 2, 2013

who's first,really

Many who are first now will be last then;

    & those who are last now will be first then. Matthew 20:16

Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,

     & whoever wants to be first must become your slave.

For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others,

      & to give my life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:26b-28

What Jesus is doing here is on one hand telling us that who & what we think is important to our earthly, finite thinking ain't all that important.

And on the other hand, He's telling us that God's yardstick for measuring greatness is a whole lot different than ours.

God doesn't have an earthly success orientation - it completely heavenly, infinite, & big picture oriented.

Maybe we should be that way more?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

1 thing we lack...

Matthew 19:16 Someone came to Jesus with this question:

     "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"

  17 "Why ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied.

             "There is only One who is good.

"But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments."

  18 "Which ones?" the man asked.

  And Jesus replied:

     "'You must not murder.

      You must not commit adultery.

      You must not steal.

      You must not testify falsely.

      19 Honor your father and mother.

      Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

  20 "I've obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. "What else must I do?"

  21 Jesus told him,

          "If you want to be perfect, 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 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

God may want us to literally let go of all our "stuff" and follow Him.

He may want us to simply let go of our lives, our dreams, our wants, our concept of what our life should look like, & following His leading, being & doing things that are only understood by Him & seldom if ever understood by us, or our authenticators.

Either way, it's a dying to ourselves.

Because only when we die to ourselves, when we let go of the things we hold dearest, is He released to express in & through our lives His dreams for our lives.

Most of us only look at what we're giving up.

Maybe we instead should look at what we're getting - the infinite God of the universes expressing what He dreamed up for us a gajillion years ago.