Thursday, October 31, 2013


Psalm 71

5 O Lord, You alone are my hope.

     I've trusted You, O Lord from childhood.

6 Yes, You have been with me since birth;

     from my mother's womb You have cared for me.

9a Now in my old age, don't set me aside.

17 Oh God, You have taught me from my earliest childhood,

     & I have constantly told others about the wonderful things You do.

18b Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation,

     You mighty acts to all who come after me.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

say what?!

Luke 1:38a Mary responded,"I am the Lord's servant, & I am willing to accept whatever He wants."

That's what Mary, the mother of Jesus, said to angel, Gabriel, when he appeared to her & told her she, a virgin, would have the child Jesus.

Notice she said "...whatever He wants".

I think we have a tendency to make our plans & then hope, or expect, God to bless them.

I think it's supposed to be the other way around.

We ask God what He wants us to be & do, & then we be & do it.

Mary just basically said "whatever".

How many of us are like that when God tells us to be or do something?

Or do we have to know why He wants this,

     where it's all gonna lead,

     when it's gonna happen,

     what kind of costs will this entail,

     what it's gonna be like along the way,

     & how will we look & feel about it?

Can you imagine Mary asking Gabriel those questions?

     Say what?!!!

     Now, how is the "Holy Spirit coming upon you" thing gonna work?

     What am I supposed to do when my friends (or Joseph!) goes off the chain about me being pregnant before getting married?

     And I'm gonna need some sort of something to show people that I haven't lost my mind when I tell them I'm pregnant "by the Holy Spirit" or they're gonna think I'm nuts!

     Speaking of Joseph, what am I supposed to tell him?!

Yeah, I think if Mary had come out with all that, Gabriel would have told her, "never mind..."

But that's how we talk to God when He wants us to be or do something.

What's it take to be like Mary & say, "whatever..." to God?



Think about that today.I know I'm gonna.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Revelation 3:20

Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. (NLT)

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. (NKJV)

Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. (The Message)

Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me. (The Voice)

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you. And you will eat with me. (ETR)

So what is Jesus saying here?

I believe these are the possibilities...

Jesus is always seeking to connect with us - that's the "knocking at the door"
- He's always trying to establish a relationship w/ us.

Think about that - Jesus is saying that He, the God of the universes is always trying to get us to come to Him.

And id we let Him into our lives, it won't be a casual thing - He will come & share life w/ us, do life w/ us, not just be a part of our life but will be in the very center of the important parts of our life - hence the "sharing a meal" thing.

The new Living Translation (which is the one I read from every day) takes it one step further. It says "we will share a meal together as friends."

So if we let God into the innermost part of our hearts & lives, the resulting relationship will be as friends.

So, the God of the universes offers us not a distant connection but a friendship, something close, something intimate, something strong.


Am I reading more into this verse than is there, or does this bear witness to your spirit as being spot on?

Monday, October 28, 2013


Psalm 68:5

Father to the fatherless,

     Defender of widows...

this is God, whose dwelling is holy.

6 God places the lonely in families;

     He sets the prisoner free

        & gives them joy.

19 Praise the Lord;

        Praise God our Savior!

For each day He carries us in His arms.

Our God is the God who saves!

The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death.

Father to the fatherless...

In a world where SO MANY people have "daddy issues" or terrible fathers or fathers they don't know, how can people relate to God as a father.

These next few thoughts aren't original w/ me - they are what I've heard others offer...

Think of what you would consider to be the perfect father...

Don't rush this process...

Just think about all the many facets & layers you would consider a man who is a perfect father would be & what he would do...

Now comes the part that takes a step of faith...

Now think about the fact that God, who is perfect, is that perfect father, & infinitely, INFINITELY more than that...

And He wants to be THAT Father to you...

All you have to do is accept it.

Do it.

You'll never, ever be sorry.

Trust Him that it's true.

You WILL find Him as the perfect Father.

I know this is true. I've experienced it. I live in it. You can trust Him on this.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

big picture

The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong.” (The Message)

 I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the very beginning and the very end,] the One who is, the One who was, and the One who is coming: the All Powerful. (The Voice)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord God, He Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty (the Ruler of all). (Amplified)

The Lord God says, “I am Alpha and Omega, the one who is and was and is coming. I am God All-Powerful!” (ESV)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

soak it up

Sometimes, ya just gotta read something that puts it all in place...

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.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

take heart

In the world you have tribulation

     and trials

     and distress

     and frustration;

but take heart [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]!

For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

(Jesus speaking - John 16:33b, Amplified version)

All of us have bad stuff happen to us.

But Jesus says here He knows that but that He will sustain us through it.

     It won't get the better of us.

And He doesn't say that He'll take care of us in most of it, but there's some stuff that's pretty nasty, so He can't cover us in.

He's gonna sustain us through any & all of it.

Why don't we believe this?

Because if we did believe it, we'd live it, & our lives would show it.

What have we to lose if we just trust Him & believe Him?

Doesn't mean the bad stuff will disappear.

But what it does mean is that we can walk through it w/ more dignity, power, & grace.

Why not just take His hand & believe it, even if what we're dealing with seems scary, daunting, &/or impossible, & just trust Him w/ our lives & the crap we have to deal with?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

just read this...

I seldom write two posts, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to share 17 pretty amazing verses from a pretty amazing chapter.

Read it slowly...

John 15

1 "I am the true vine,

     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.


John 15:16 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.

1 John 5:14 We can be confident that He will listen to us whenever we ask Him for anything in line with His will. 

15 If we know He is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that He will give us what we ask.

So, the God of the universes has chosen to connect with us, individually - not the other way around...?

And the God of universes listens to us, individually...?


If that is true, how then should we live?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

loving 2.0

Yesterday, I talked about how the world should know we are Christ followers by the quality of our loving others.

John talks about it further here in his first letter...

John 14
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another,

     for love comes from God.

Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.

8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

  9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world

        so that we might have eternal life through him.

10 This is real love;

       not that we loved God,

       but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

  11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

12 No one has ever seen God.

        But if we love each other, God lives in us,

        and his love is brought to full expression in us.

  13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.

14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.

15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them,

        and they live in God.

16 We know how much God loves us,

        and we have put our trust in his love.

  God is love,

        and all who live in love live in God,

        and God lives in them.

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.

So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment,

      but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

  18 Such love has no fear,

        because perfect love expels all fear.

If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment,

     and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

19 We love each other because he loved us first.

  20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar;

         for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.

Monday, October 21, 2013

how do they know us?

John 13:34 So now I am giving you a new commandment:

     Love each other.

Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.

35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.

1 John 3:18 Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.

I wonder, when people think of Christ followers today, do they think of us as people who love?

Does that Muslim we know think of us as people who love?

Does that black person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that white person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that Asian we know think of us as people who love?

Does that Latino we know think of us as people who love?

Does that Republican we know think of us as people who love?

Does that fat person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that Democrat we know think of us as people who love?

Does that fit, slender person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that uber-self centered person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that gay person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that Tea Party person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that straight person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that person we know who "works the system" think of us as people who love?

Does that gossip we know think of us as people who love?

Does that poor person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that abused person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that rich person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that arrogant twit we know think of us as people who love?

Does that abuser we know think of us as people who love?

Does that ungrateful person we know think of us as people who love?

Does that person we know who would knife us in the back at the first opportunity think of us as people who love?

Does that sex offender we know think of us as people who love?

Does that person who lives next to us think of us as people who love?

Does that person we know who has wronged us, betrayed us, abandoned us, or neglected & ignored us think of us as people who love?

Do our children think of us as people who love?

Do our parents think of us as people who love?

Does that person we know who's bullied us think of us as people who love?

Do our relatives think of us as people who love?

Do our friends think of us as people who love?

Does that person we know that we used to bully think of us as people who love?

Does that addict (drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, food, etc.) we know think of us as people who love?

Does anyone we know think of us as people who love?

If I'm honest, there are lots of people on that list who haven't a clue I'm a person who loves.

How about you?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

for such a time as this

Esther 4:14b ...who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Before we denigrate & castigate ourselves, before we think we just a nano-speck in the cosmos, consider these words spoken to Queen Esther by her uncle, Mordecai.

The Jews faced being annihilated when the King Xerxes, Esther's husband, had been tricked into decreeing the slaughter of the Jews..

Mordecai has just asked Esther, a Jew, to plead her peoples case before Xerxes. Read the book of Esther to find out how is all comes out.

Each of us figures into the overarching plan God has for humankind. Yes, some of us have great & glamorous things planned for us by God, plans that are quite grand.

But most of us are people who fulfill but a small segment in that plan.

But we should never forget that our past of the plan is just as important in God's eyes as those entrusted w/ the great, grand, glittering, & glorious parts.

So that means that Lynn & my presence in Blairsville is "for such a time as this"?

And does that also mean that where you are - in the town in which you presently reside, in the house & neighborhood in which you presently live, in the job your presently hold, or in the unemployment in which you find yourself, in the relationships in which you now walk, in the places you go to on a regular basis, in the places you shop, trade or buy stuff from, in the doctors you see, in the Facebook / Twitter / Linkedin contacts we have - in short, in all the places that you & I make contact w/ other humans we have been strategically placed by God "for such a time as this"?

Before we scoff at such a grand mandate, think about this...

God spoke through the psalmist in Psalm 32:8 when He said, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you."

That doesn't sound like our lives are a haphazard thing.

But you say you're not necessarily following God all that closely?

Hmmm.... consider this then...

Do you think that any of who you are & what you do comes as a great surprise to God?

Do you think the angel, Gabriel,woke God up the other day and said, "Uhm... oh great & mighty, omnipotent, holy, omniscient  Creator of the universes, ___________ (fill in your name) just __________ (fill in what you did)"?

Maybe God knew what we'd be & do when He dreamed us up a gajillion years ago & figured that in when He dreamed His dreams for each of us & how that would all fit together into the overaching plans He has for humankind?

Think about it...

"...for such a time as this."

Friday, October 18, 2013


John 10:10

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (KJV)

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (NLT)

I came to bring them life, and far more life than before. (J B Phillips)

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (Amplified)

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (ESV)

I have come that they might have life, & have it to the full. (NIV)

I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (The Message)

I came to give life with joy and abundance. (The Voice)

No matter how you translate it, Jesus came so that we could have a life with God that is infinitely huge.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

far more

Sometimes, a verse is so powerful, ya just need to absorb it through more than one translation.

Ephesians 3:20

Now all glory to God, who is able, thru his mighty power at work w/n us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (NLT)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, be glory forever. (NIV)

Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine—to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen! (J. B. Phillips)

God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (The Message)

Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us, be all glory forever. (The Voice)

 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory forever. (NKJV)

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory forever. (ESV)

 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams] - be glory forever. (Amplified)

 I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. (CEV)

With God’s power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. To Him be glory forever. (ERV)

(Btw, I think this might be the 3rd passage I'm supposed to carry w/ me through 2014. Multiple passages usually mean it's gonna be a dozzy of a year!)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

strong stuff fromJohn & Peter

Here's some strong stuff I read this morning, first from John 8...

John 8:

12 Jesus said to the people, " I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't be stumbling through the darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.

(dan note: we live in a dark, dark world. Bc of the sin in our lives, we contribute to that darkness. And in turn our hearts & minds are darkened by the sins we commit. But Jesus' very nature & presence in our lives chases away that awful darkness.)

vs 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, You are truly My disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. 

( dan note: Whoop, der it is! It's all about obeying)

vs 32 And you will know the truth, & the truth will set you free.

vs 36 S0 of the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

(dan note: and how many of us live lives that are bound up in all kinds of sin, hangups, hurts, & dysfunctions. Because of the very nature of Jesus, with Him having control over our lives brings an astounding amount of freedom.)

And in 2 Peter 1, Peter says he doesn't have long to live (so I would guess doesn't want to mince words) & shares with Christ followers some pretty strong stuff about life & living.

2 Peter 1

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.

We have received all of this by coming to know him,

     the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.

4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises.

     These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature

     and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

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 Konwing God better leads to self control.

Self-control leads to patient endurance, & patient endurance leads to godliness.

7 Godliness leads to love for other Christians, & finally you will grow to love everyone.

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

9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind,

      forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.

10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen.

        Do these things, and you will never fall away.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

givin' it up

1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries & cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you.

I wonder what our lives would be like if we really, REALLY believed this was true?

Because we both know that we don't trust Him w/ our worries & cares, because we don't trust Him.

I wonder what would happen if we tried something today...

What if today, every time we worried about something - now, don't pretend you don't worry - I do! So do you!

What if, today, every time a worry crossed our minds, we just talked to God about it & decided to ask Him to take care of it, or at least acknowledged it worried us?

And what if today, every time we thought of something we've been fretting about lately, we'd just say to God that we'd like for Him to help us out?

And what would happen if we thanked Him for how He was gonna handle our worries & cares, even though we don't see anything happening yet?

Just think about that today. I know I'm gonna do that.

And as my friend, Beth White, likes to say, "Lemme know how that worked out for ya."

Monday, October 14, 2013

some stuff from 1 Peter 4

Here's some instruction from Peter about living for God - just some stuff to think about...

1 Peter 4

8 ...continue to show deep love for each other,

     for love covers a multitude of sins.

9 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.

        Use them well to serve one another.

11 Do you have the gift of speaking?

        Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.

Do you have the gift of helping others?

        Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

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.

16a But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.

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.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

right living

1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind.

Sympathize with each other.

Love each other as brothers and sisters.

Be tenderhearted,

     and keep a humble attitude.

9 Don't repay evil for evil.

        Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you.

        Instead, pay them back with a blessing.

        That is what God has called you to do,

             and he will bless you for it.

10 For the Scriptures say,

"If you want to enjoy life

  and see many happy days,

keep your tongue from speaking evil

  and your lips from telling lies.

11 Turn away from evil and do good.

  Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,

  and his ears are open to their prayers.

But the Lord turns his face

  against those who do evil."

Peter gives some pretty succinct thoughts on living as a Christ follower.

Verse 9 talk about not getting even when people attack you.

     Anyone like that, besides me? I don't do it in an obvious manner - that would be unchristian ;-)

     But to treat them with kindness & do something to bless them?  Well........

And let not talk about "being of one mind" or "be tenderhearted" or "keep a humble attitude"!


If you haven't read 1 Peter lately, or ever, give it a read. It's toward the end of the New Testament. It's short - just a few chapters - but slam full of a lot of good stuff.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

passages for 2014

These are 2 passages it seems God has given me to hold on to through 2014.

(Will there be more? Don't know. Plenty of time for God to lead me to others.)

At this point each year, I wonder what these passages will mean for me, & how they'll prop me up as I walk through the next year.

It's never dull, I know that...

Hebrews 10:35 Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord, no matter what happens.

Remember the great reward it brings you.

36 Patient endurance is what you need now,

        so you will continue to do God's will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

(Felt led that this was one for 2014 on Oct 2.)

Hebrews 12:12 So take a new grip with your tired hands & stand firm on your shakey legs.

Then those who follow you, through they are weak & lame, will not stumble & fall but will become strong.

(Felt led that this was another one for 2014 on Oct 3.)

Friday, October 11, 2013

a call to holy living

This is just choke full of all kinds of stuff. Read it slowly,& absorb is...

1 Peter 1

13 So think clearly and exercise self-control.

Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

14 So you must live as God's obedient children.

        Don't slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires.

        You didn't know any better then.

        15 But now you must be holy in everything you do,

                  just as God who chose you is holy.

16 For the Scriptures say, "You must be holy because I am holy."

  17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites.

          He will judge or reward you according to what you do.

So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as "foreigners in the land."

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors.

And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.

19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.

20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began,

       but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.

21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God.

And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

  22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth,

           so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.

           Love each other deeply with all your heart.

  23 For you have been born again,

          but not to a life that will quickly end.

Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.

24 As the Scriptures say,

"People are like grass;

  their beauty is like a flower in the field.

The grass withers and the flower fades.

25   But the word of the Lord remains forever."

And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

all He wants?

Psalm 50:23 Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.

If you keep to My path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.

So, all this stuff we do to prove our love & devotion to God is redundant?

All He really wants is for us to be thankful for Him?

I think He's big on people obeying Him.

So if we cultivate primarily a thankful heart, & obey Him, He'll show us the way?


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

opening statement

Here's what John, the apostle, has to say in the opening verses of his gospel.

It's a pretty succinct statement about who Jesus is.

Read it slowly, absorb it...

John 1
1 In the beginning the Word already existed.

  The Word was with God,

  and the Word was God.

2 He existed in the beginning with God.

3 God created everything through him,

  and nothing was created except through him.

4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,

  and his life brought light to everyone.

5 The light shines in the darkness,

  and the darkness can never extinguish it.

  6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.

8 John himself was not the light;

        he was simply a witness to tell about the light.

9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

  10 He came into the very world he created,

            but the world didn't recognize him.

11 He came to his own people,

        and even they rejected him.

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

13 They are reborn...

         not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan,

         but a birth that comes from God.

  14 So the Word became human and made his home among us.

He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.

And we have seen his glory,

      the glory of the Father's one and only Son.

  15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds,

          "This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'"

  16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.

17 For the law was given through Moses,

         but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.

18 No one has ever seen God.

         But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart.

He has revealed God to us.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

our guide

Psalm 48:14 For this is what God is like.

He is our God forever & ever.

And He will be our guide until we die.

If this is REALLY true, if everything in those 3 sentences is absolutely true...

if every bit of the overarching implications of those thoughts are the pillars of our relationship with God... then should we live?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

straightforward words

James is a tough book / letter to read. On one hand it can be very affirming, while on the other, it can really kick your butt. Here's a few things that stood out from chapter 1 this morning...

James 1

2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

     3 For you know that when your faith is tested,

     your endurance has a chance to grow.

4 So let it grow,

     for when your endurance is fully developed,

     you will be perfect and complete,

          needing nothing.

  5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God,

        and he will give it to you.

        He will not rebuke you for asking.

6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.

      Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

      7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

            8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world,

            and they are unstable in everything they do.

  9 Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them.

10 And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them.

           They will fade away like a little flower in the field.

            11 The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away.

            In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

  12 God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation.

Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, "God is tempting me."

        God is never tempted to do wrong,

        and he never tempts anyone else.

14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

15 These desires give birth to sinful actions.

         And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

16 So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters.

17 Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens.

        He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.

       18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word.

       And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters:

        You must all be quick to listen,

        slow to speak,

       and slow to get angry.

20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives,

        and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts,

        for it has the power to save your souls.

  22 But don't just listen to God's word.

          You must do what it says.

          Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

23 For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.

     24 You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.

     25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free,

     and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

  26 If you claim to be religious but don't control your tongue,

          you are fooling yourself,

          and your religion is worthless.

27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means

        caring for orphans and widows in their distress

        and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,

     let us strip off every weight that slows us down,

         especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,

      the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross,

     disregarding its shame.

Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne.

"...keeping our eyes on Jesus..."

what does that mean?

One of my sons, Kevin Eakins, who is the youth pastor at Christ Chapel Warner Robins, once said this in a combined staff meeting...

"I was looking at pictures of me & my son, Trey. (he was a preschooler at the time.)

"In every one of them, he was looking at me. He was looking ahead, he wasn't looking around. He didn't care where we were going, when we'd get there, or what we were gonna do when we got there.

"All he cared about was that he was with me.

"I used to be like that w/ Jesus.

"I didn't care where we were, where we were going, when we'd get there, or what we'd do when we did.

"I just cared I was with Him, & all I wanted to do was look at Him.

"I'm not like that now. I feel like I need to know, & deserve to know what's going on.

"I wanna get back to what I used to be - a person who just cared he was w/Jesus."

I wanna be more like that, too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

a life of faith

Hebrews 11

35 But others were tortured,

        refusing to turn from God in order to be set free.

       They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.

36 Some were jeered at,

        and their backs were cut open with whips.

Others were chained in prisons.

37 Some died by stoning,

        some were sawed in half,

        and others were killed with the sword.

Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats,


     and oppressed

     and mistreated.

38 They were too good for this world,

        wandering over deserts and mountains,

        hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

In first 34 verses of this chapter of Hebrews, the author lists people who were renowned for things they did as persons of great faith - and who had somewhat glittering lives as a result

But those listed in verses 35 - 38 seem to me to be more of what occurred in most of the lives of people over the years.

Iow, those mentioned in verses 1 - 34 who had glittering lives of faith were the exceptions in life, & those who are mentioned in verses 35 - 38 were the rule.


We tend to think that a life of faith is an easy one. It is not.

A dear friend of mine, Beth White, is given to saying, "Salvation is free. Everything else costs you everything."

A life of walking in faith does cost us everything. We have to let go of our lives & follow Him, wherever that may lead.

Why then should we?

Because we will be in sync with, & walking with, the God of the universes, in sync with His plans & dreams for us & the whole of humankind.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

keeping on

Philippians 3

13 Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. 14 I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven. (Easy-to Read Version)


12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. (The Message)


13 Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. 14 I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. (The Voice)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


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

  The LORD rescues them when they are in trouble.

2 The LORD protects them

  and keeps them alive.

He gives them prosperity in the land

  and rescues them from their enemies.

3 The LORD nurses them when they are sick

  and restores them to health.