Friday, January 31, 2014

do we believe this?

Do you believe what this verse says?

By His mighty power at work within us

    He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

 Ephesians 3:20

If you do, how does that show in your life?

I really would like to know.

Will you share with me the evidence that this verse is evidenced in your life?

Thursday, January 30, 2014


I feel like someone needs this verse today (besides me, that is).

This isn't a verse that was a part of my reading. It was printed on a 3 x 5 card that someone gave me a few years ago that I use for a bookmark.

today I need to rely on the truth that is in this verse.

And whoever needs this today, He's speaking to you right now through it. I wouldn't have picked this verse today to write about if I hadn't felt prompted when I read the bookmark.

I know that all sounds pretty weird, but all I know is all I know.

I put the verse in a bunch of different translations. It's very interesting what part of the truth is highlighted in each different translation.

But let's not get away from the central thing here: we can trust God to take care of us.

2 Samuel 22:31

God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. (New Living Translation)

“As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him. (New International Version)

This God - his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. (English Standard Version)

What a God! His road
    stretches straight and smooth.
Every God-direction is road-tested.
    Everyone who runs toward him
Makes it.  (The Message)

As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried. He is a Shield to all those who trust and take refuge in Him. (Amplified)

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. (King James Version) (dan note: a buckler is a small shield.)

This God—how perfect are his deeds,
    how dependable his words!
He is like a shield
    for all who seek his protection. (Good News Translation)

God’s way is perfect.
    The Lord’s promise always proves to be true.
    He protects those who trust in him. (Easy to Read Version)

God has made an upright way;
        the promise of the Eternal rings true;
        He stands and shields all who hide in Him. (The Voice)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

hangin' on

The other day someone told me they thought I was mature & wise.

I wanted to laugh out - you know, one of those big ol' donkey laughs.

I thought I wonder if they'd say that if they could spend 10 minutes inside my head.

It's not pretty inside of there.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot going on inside my head - it's just not mature, wise, well put together, or something that's very well organized or efficient.

Sometimes, I'm just hangin' on.

Sometimes it feels like I'm just blindly putting one foot in front of the other.

And when someone tells me how much they get out of these notes I write every day, it helps me believe that the age of miracles hasn't passed!

I'm NOT trying to be deep, mature,wise, or whatever else others may think.

I'm literally writing what I read & what comes to mind.

It's crazy to think I'm trying to be something - most of the time I'm just hanging on.

So,I hope as you read this that you realize that these missives are just what I see & hear - if they speak to you, it is because God decides to favor it & the Holy Spirit decides to speak through my feeble words.

Not bein' falsely modest right now - just bein' real.

This morning, I'm just hangin' on - hangin' on to these 4 passages - just hangin' on...

I hope these 4 passages can give you some hope, or encouragement, or whatever you're needing today.

Some days, like today, they keep me from going crazy.

(I know,I know - I heard all of you whole just thought "crazy?! you mean CRAZIER, don't ya?!!!)

Hebrews 10

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

        no matter what happens.

Remember the great reward it brings you!

36 Patient endurance is what you nee now,

        so you will continue to do God's will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

Hebrews 12

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands,

        & stand firm on your shakey legs.

13 Mark out a straight path for your feet.

Then those who follow you,

        though they are weak & lame,

     will not stumble & fall but will become strong.

Ephesians 3

20 By His mighty power at work within us,

         He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

Psalm 125

1 Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;

        they will not be defeated, but will endure forever.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

costs of following

What does this have to say to each of us today?

Luke 18

18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question:

        "Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"

19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him.

"Only God is truly good.

20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments:

     'You must not commit adultery.

     You must not murder.

     You must not steal.

     You must not testify falsely.

     Honor your father and mother.'"

  21 The man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young."

  22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, "There is still one thing you haven't done.

         Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

         Then come, follow me."

23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.

  24 When Jesus saw this, he said, "How hard it is for the rich 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 Those who heard this said, "Then who in the world can be saved?"

  27 He replied, "What is impossible for people is possible with God."

  28 Peter said, "We've left our homes to follow you."

  29 "Yes," Jesus replied,

"and I assure you that everyone who has given up


     or wife

     or brothers

     or parents

     or children,

for the sake of the Kingdom of God,

     30 will be repaid many times over in this life,

     and will have eternal life in the world to come."

Monday, January 27, 2014

3 passages

Luke 17

7 "When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, 'Come in and eat with me'?

8 No, he says, 'Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat.

        Then you can eat later.'

9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do?

     Of course not.

10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say, 'We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'"

So much for a success orientation toward servanthood, as well as an entitled expectation of glory & praise.


Luke 17

 As Jesus continued on toward Jerusalem, he reached the border between Galilee and Samaria.

 As he entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance,13 crying out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"

  14 He looked at them and said, "Go show yourselves to the priests."

And as they went, they were cleansed of their leprosy.

  15 One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God!"

16 He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking him for what he had done.

        This man was a Samaritan.

  17 Jesus asked, "Didn't I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?

18 Has no one returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?"

19 And Jesus said to the man, "Stand up and go. Your faith has healed you."

We live in a world where a simple "thank you" seldom or never is spoken or heard.


2 Thessalonians 1:11b ...God will make you worthy of the life to which He has called you.

It's amazing how over & over & over in our lives we have been placed in situations that we KNOW there's no way we can pull it off on our own.

But so many times, the Holy Spirit comes through & raises us up to a level that makes us adequate for the time,place, &/or season.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Above all else,

   guard your heart,

for it affects


you do.

     Proverbs 5:23

This is the life verse of one of my most wonderful sons.

He's had it tattooed over this heart.

And he really does guard his heart.

And it shows.

One of the definitions for the word, "guard" on is "to keep safe from harm or danger; protect; watch over".

We live in a world & culture that is saturated with all kinds of things that we should keep ourselves "safe from harm or danger."

Think of the things that assault us every day in our world & culture...





     performance based love,






     success orientations,

     the constant pursuit of "the American Dream",

     sharp hateful political mouthings,















     __________________________ (you fill in the blank)

All of this is vying for our attention, trying to get a foothold in our hearts & lives.

When a friend of mine is confronted by something that assaults his heart & mind, he just looks away for a moment, or longer.

He says if he doesn't look at it, there's less of a chance it will suck him into some sort of hypnotic absorption with it.

Maybe we'd all be better off if we just looked away sometimes - if we just simply turned away from something or someone who's trying to suck us into something that we know isn't of God &/or consistent to who & what He is.

Easy to say, hard to do.

But the psalmist says that our hearts, or the center of our very essence, is affected by what we allow into our psyche - affecting everything we are & do.

How do you guard yourselves from all the dark forces all around us.

Sometimes I just don't go to place where darkness resides, whether that's within my own heart & soul, or in the world.

As John Wood says sometimes, "It's hard to get shot in Atlanta if you're not in Atlanta."

Maybe we should mute the commercials & look away from the TV or computer screen.

Maybe we should just turn away from a lot of things.

Tell me what you think we should do to "guard our hearts".

Maybe it will help me to guard my heart more & better.

And it may help someone else who reads this blog.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


These verses are probably familiar to many. They're quoted a lot by a lot of people in a lot of situations.

It's interesting how different people translate the same thing. Take a look at these I tell me what you see...

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;

    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do,

      everywhere you go;

    he’s the one who will keep you on track. (The Message)

dan note: I think this one is my favorite one. "...don't try to figure out everything on your own" sounds like me, pretty much


Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

    do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek his will in all you do,

    and he will show you which path to take. (NLT)


 Lean on,

   trust in,

     and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind

     and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.

In all your ways know,


     and acknowledge Him,

and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. (Amplified)


Trust the Lord completely,

     and don’t depend on your own knowledge.

With every step you take,

     think about what he wants,

     and he will help you go the right way. (Easy To Read)


Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

    and do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge him,

    and he will make straight your paths. (ESV)


Place your trust in the Eternal;

     rely on Him completely;
never depend upon your own ideas and inventions.

Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish,

    and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead.
(The Voice)

Friday, January 24, 2014

humility & the poor

Jesus talks here about true humility in any situation, but especially in a social paradigm.

But in the last 3 verses, He talks about the poor. How does what Jesus say stand up when juxtaposed w/ our current attitudes about the poor?

Luke 14:7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:

     8 "When you are invited to a wedding feast, don't sit in the seat of honor.

     What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?

     9 The host will come and say, 'Give this person your seat.'

     Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

10 "Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table.

        Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, 'Friend, we have a better place for you!'

        Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.

  11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

  12 Then he turned to his host. "When you put on a luncheon or a banquet," he said, "don't invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors.

     For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward.

13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.

        14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you."

Thursday, January 23, 2014


The Lord still waits for you to come to Him so He can show you His love & compassion.

For the Lord is a faithful God.

Blessed are those who wait for Him to help them.

Isaiah 30:18

When I read this verse this morning, I particularly thought of one of my sons this morning who is waiting for the Lord to come through on some stuff.

He must really be my son, because he doesn't like waiting any more than I do.

I hate to wait.

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, it's my last name.

But I don't.

I sometimes think that even I'm chronologically 63, I act more like someone who's 3.

I want what I want when I want it, & I want it NOW!

I was talking to this son the other day about waiting. I told him that I was 32 when I got married.

Iow, I was single for 9 years after I graduated from college.

Now, since y'all know I am SO holy, wise, surrendered, & magnificently laid back, I passed through those years of singleness in a manner that was an inspiration & example for all.


But, as I told my son, was the wait worth it?

Well, look at who God gave me to marry.

Yeah... uber-glad (thankful & blessed) that I waited on Him.

But ya know what?

Lynn & I were simply not gonna meet until January of 1980 because she wasn't gonna come back from Kenya until January, 1980.

Right now, I'm waiting for God to lead me into something I'm feeling drawn into.

I'm waiting on Him to say "take the next step" & lead me into that next step.

How will I know?

Well, this ain't my first rodeo.

When it's time to take the next step, He'll let me know.

And trust me, God is short on subtlety.


If you're waiting on something w/ God, just continue to wait.

Yeah,I know it's hard.

Yeah, I know you wanted it yesterday.

But just wait.

"For the Lord is a faithful God."

(Someone remind meof this the next time I get my whine on about something I wish He'd make happen?)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

don't worry

Luke 12:

22 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said,

     "That is why I tell you: don't worry about everyday life...

           whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.

23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing.

24 Look at the ravens.

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

           for God feeds them.

And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!

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

26 And if worry can't accomplish a little thing like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?

  27 "Look at the lilies and how they grow.

          They don't work or make their clothing,

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

28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.

Why do you have so little faith?

  29 "And don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink.

          Don't worry about such things.

30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world,

        but your Father already knows your needs.

31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,

        and he will give you everything you need.

  32 "So don't be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

  33 "Sell your possessions and give to those in need.

This will store up treasure for you in heaven!

And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes.

Your treasure will be safe;

     no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.

34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

My mischievous nephew, Aaron Barth, would probably say that we could stop reading in verse 22 with the words, "don't worry about your everyday life."

And the longer I know him, & watch him walk in the grace & mercy of God, the more I see his life reflect that truth.

Will you go back through those 12 verses & reread them? There is SO MUCH within them that Jesus says that should quiet our worries & calm our fears.

I should know - I'm a world class worrier.

WHy do we worry?

It's a trust issue.

Either we should believe Him & that He'll take care of us,

     or we should at least admit to ourselves that we don't believe the God of the universes when He says He'll take care of us.

I try to choose each day that I will believe Him (it's a choice, ya know)

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

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

keep on

 Luke 11:9 "And so I tell you,

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.

10 For everyone who asks,


Everyone who seeks,


And to everyone who knocks,

     the door will be opened.

The operative words here for me is "keep on".

In what way?

keep on when we're tired.

keep on when no one seems to listen.

keep on where there seems to be no way.

keep on when all hope is gone.

keep on when what we are or do seems fruitless.

keep on when all is lost.

keep on even when under attack.

keep on when people think we just young, or inexperienced, or naive, or overeager, & stupid.

keep on even if what we're being, saying, & doing is thought to be "just a phase we're going through" or seen as a "midlife crisis"

keep on even when people think we're old & useless.

keep on when the ones we love the best abandon us.

keep on even when we've made a mess of things

keep on in success, perhaps the hardest paradigm in which to keep on keeping on.

keep on until we see Jesus.

keep on __________________________________________________ (you fill in the blank.)

I think Jesus was telling us to keep on keeping on because He's with us & for us, all the way, no matter what.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Luke 10:3a Go now...

It seems God has been saying "Go..." to me for at least 4 years now.

If I look back in my journals, it may be longer than that - maybe 6 years. defines "go" these ways...

     to move or proceed, especially to or from something.

     to leave a place; depart.

     to keep or be in motion; function or perform as required.


yes, so has been my life these many years.

do I regret taking up His mandate to "go"?



because I know we are all doing one of 2 things in life - we are either moving forward or we are dying.

(it's based on a basic farming principle: plants & animals are either changing & growing, or they are dying.)

we can never stand still - we can never maintain a static place or position.

God bids us to always go.

When we hear that, many of us think that means "go to deepest,darkest Africa"

(which, ironically, in view of Lynn 9 years in Kenya as a Southern Baptist medical missionary, that's exactly what we'd LOVE to do!!!)

But we equate going as doing something odious & loathsome.

I think that concept of God stinks.

Go can mean go to the next cubicle at work.

     or the house next door,

     or to the person on the treadmill next to us,

     or to someone or something or somewhere, nearby, close by, a little ways away, or far away.

Proximity is not the issue in going.

Going is the issue in going.

It's about saying yes.

It's about not knowing who what where when or how.

It's about trust.

It's about not know all the answers.

It's about love.

It's about dying.

It's about truly being a servant.

It's about being feet & legs to a mandate to move freely & willingly from this place or point in our lives to another, just because He said so.

My life is no different from yours, or anyone else's.

God has the same mandate for us all...


Sunday, January 19, 2014


Isaiah 26

3 You (the Lord) will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You,

     whose thoughts are fixed on You.

4 Trust in the Lord always,

     for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.

If this is true, if this is something we can count on, how should these simple truths impact your life?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

sowing seeds

Luke 8

4 One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him:

5 "A farmer went out to plant his seed.

As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath,

     where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it.

6 Other seed fell among rocks.

     It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture.

7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants.

8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil.

     This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!"

When he had said this, he called out, "Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand."

  9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant.

10 He replied, "You are permitted to understand the secrets* of the Kingdom of God.

But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

'When they look, they won't really see.

  When they hear, they won't understand.'

11 "This is the meaning of the parable:

    The seed is God's word.

    12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.

    13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy.

           But since they don't have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.

     14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message,

           but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life.

          And so they never grow into maturity.

15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people

        who hear God's word,

        cling to it,

        and patiently produce a huge harvest.

I feel like maybe God whispered to me that this may be the nature of much of what our life will be like as we continue to just be who we are & minister to those around us here in Blairsville.

Read it again - maybe God will whisper something to you about what ministry will look like for you during this season of your life?

Friday, January 17, 2014

chapter 4 stuff

Here's just some great stuff from Philippians 4.

Verse 6 & 7 were one passage God gave me for 2005. Ya know, I found out time & time again that what Paul says in those 2 verses REALLY IS true.

Why don't we REALLY believe this & put it into practice?

After experiencing 1980 & the winter/spring of 1981, as well as the winter of 2011 in Blairsville, I know in a fuller & different way the truth behind verses 11 & 19.

Verse 13 is one of the most naked truths of my life.

And verse 8 is all about controlling our thought lives.

Philippians 4

 6 Don't worry about anything;


  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.

19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches,

        which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

11 I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.

13 For I can do everything with the help of Christ, who gives me the strength I need.

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.

     Fix your thoughts on what is true,

    and honorable,

    and right,

    and pure,

    and lovely,

    and admirable.

Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

rich & poor

The first 2 passages are very curious.

How can we juxtapose them in the current cultural view of the rich & the poor?

And then, how does the third passage relate to the first two?

Luke 6
20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,

"God blesses you who are poor,

    for the Kingdom of God is yours.

21 God blesses you who are hungry now,

    for you will be satisfied.

God blesses you who weep now,

    for in due time you will laugh.

24 "What sorrow awaits you who are rich,

  for you have your only happiness now.

 What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now,

  for a time of awful hunger awaits you.

What sorrow awaits you who laugh now,

  for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.

 What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds,

  for their ancestors also praised false prophets.

46 "So why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say?

 I will show you what it's like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it.

48 It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock.

        When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.

49 But anyone who hears and doesn't obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation.

        When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

how many of us...

How many of us feel like Simon Peter in verse 8?

And how many of us who read this have felt like Jesus was saying verse 10 just to us as individuals?

And how many of us feel like we should be like Simon Peter, & James & John, in verse 11?

Luke 5

1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee,

     great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God.

2 He noticed two empty boats at the water's edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.

3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water.

So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

  4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,

      "Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish."

  5 "Master," Simon replied, "we worked hard all last night and didn't catch a thing.

        But if you say so, I'll let the nets down again."

6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!

7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat,

     and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

  8 When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said,

       "Oh, Lord, please leave me—I'm too much of a sinner to be around you."

9 For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him.

10 His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

  Jesus replied to Simon,

      "Don't be afraid!

       From now on you'll be fishing for people!"

11 And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

we are the project

I don't know who this is for today, but I got a strong impression someone(s) need to read this verse for where they are right now.

Here it is in a bunch of different verses, but no matte how we translate it, they all say the same thing.

We all need to remember that we are the project - each of us. God loves us way too much to leave us like He found us. He is ALWAYS working on us, & will continue to work on us, until we get to heaven.

Lemme know if this is for you, & why, will ya?

Philippians 1:6

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT)

he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV)

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (The Message)

I feel sure that the one who has begun his good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ. (J. B. Phillips)

I am sure that the good work God began in you will continue until he completes it on the day when Jesus Christ comes again. (Easy to Read Version)

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world. (The Voice)

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. (Amplified)

Monday, January 13, 2014

gearing up

Paul was in prison when he wrote Ephesians, so closing words in a letter from him would be some of his most important.

This section this morning nudged me further down the towards the direction He seems to be leading us here.

Maybe it a nudge for you too? Let me know if it is, & would you share with me what He's nudging you towards?

Ephesians 6

10 A final word:

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,

        but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world,

       against mighty powers in this dark world,

       and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

           (dan note: BOY, HOWDY!!!)

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor

        so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.

Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

14 Stand your ground,

        putting on the belt of truth

        and the body armor of God's righteousness. 

            (dan note: notice it says "God's" righteousness, not "our" righteousness?)

15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News

        so that you will be fully prepared.

16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 

   (dan note: anybody besides me feeling an ever increasing "fiery darts of the devil' in their life?)

17 Put on salvation as your helmet,

and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

   (dan note: iow, READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY!!!)

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.

Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

crammed full

Ephesians is SO crammed full of GREAT stuff.

Read this slowly. It's all about living in today's world...

Ephesians 5

1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do,

     because you are his dear children.

2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.

He loved us

     and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

  3 Let there be no sexual immorality,


        or greed among you.

Such sins have no place among God's people.

4 Obscene stories,

foolish talk,

and coarse jokes...

     these are not for you.

Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

5 You can be sure that no immoral,


     or greedy person

  will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

  6 Don't be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins,

        for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.

7 Don't participate in the things these people do.

8 For once you were full of darkness,

     but now you have light from the Lord.

So live as people of light!

9 For this light within you produces only what is good

     and right

     and true.

  10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.

11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness;

        instead, expose them.

12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.

13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,

       14 for the light makes everything visible.

This is why it is said,

"Awake, O sleeper,

  rise up from the dead,

  and Christ will give you light."

15 So be careful how you live.

Don't live like fools,

     but like those who are wise.

16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

17 Don't act thoughtlessly,

        but understand what the Lord wants you to do.

18 Don't be drunk with wine,

        because that will ruin your life.

Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

     19 singing psalms

     and hymns

     and spiritual songs among yourselves,

     and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Just let this sweep over you...

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!

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, January 9, 2014



A masterpiece, according to is:

     a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind.

So, according the Paul, we who have found new life & unencumbered connection with God through Jesus Christ are the consummate example of the excellence of God?

Think about that as you read this...

Ephesians 2

1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.

2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil

     the commander of the powers in the unseen world.

     He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.

3 All of us used to live that way,

     following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.

By our very nature we were subject to God's anger, just like everyone else.

  4 But God is so rich in mercy,

        and he loved us so much,

        5 that even though we were dead because of our sins,

        he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.

       (It is only by God's grace that you have been saved!)

6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.

7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us,

     as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

  8 God saved you by his grace when you believed.

And you can't take credit for this;

     it is a gift from God.

9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done,

     so none of us can boast about it.

10 For we are God's masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

26 words

Galatians 6

9 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.

26 words...

26 very POWERFUL words.

words that on MANY occasions have kept me from losing hope.

they are 26 words I REALLY feel like God gave me in regards to 1 particular person in my life.

but these words are appropriate for me, if they are words that were written for God to use with me, then they are 26 words that are for you, too.

I don't know what your thing or things in your life you're hanging on to hope for.

But if you are, these 26 words are for you, too

don't get tired...

don't get discouraged...

don't give up...

because what you & I continue to hope for is coming, one day...

at the most appropriate time.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Galatians 5

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives.

        Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves.

17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants.

And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires.

These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

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.

Let's not enumerate how few of those fruits we each presently exhibit.

And let's not count how many of those results from following our sinful nature are evident in our lives.

Talk about stealing your joy...

Let's just quietly keep on keeping on, mindful that none of us pees holy water

Sunday, January 5, 2014

trials & sorrows

John 16:33b

Here on earth you will have many trials & sorrows.

But take heart,

     because I have overcome the world.

All of us have "stuff" happen to us.

Some of us have really gosh-awful stuff happen to us.

And some of us seem to have stuff happen over & over & over again - like there's no let up.

In this short verse, Jesus is talking to his disciples on the night before he was crucified.

These are the last things he told them.

I doubt that He was trying to be subtle.

He was probably cutting to the chase about a lot of things, giving them bullets of truth,

     things they could hang on to in the days, weeks, & years ahead.

Jesus knew what was ahead for them all.

He knew the "trials" & "sorrows" they'd each have  in their brief lives.

Jesus knows all the trials & sorrows so far that have been in each of our lives.

And He knows the ones to come - for each & every one of us.

And in all that, He says to His disciples, & to all of us, the same thing...

Take heart (iow... hang on, or don't be afraid, or don't have a meltdown)

I've got you covered.

Do we each believe this?

Do we REALLY believe it?

If we do, then how should we live our lives?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

verses fat with meaning

This speaks to me in so many ways & at so many levels.

Read it slowly & see what God has to say to you through it...

John 15
1 "I am the true grapevine,

        and my Father is the gardener.

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

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

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

4 Remain in me,

     and I will remain in you.

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

     and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

  5 "Yes, I am the vine;

        you are the branches.

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

For apart from me you can do nothing.

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

     Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.

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

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

     This brings great glory to my Father.

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

        Remain in my love.

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

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

        Yes, your joy will overflow!

12 This is my commandment:

        Love each other in the same way I have loved you.

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

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

15 I no longer call you slaves,

        because a master doesn't confide in his slaves.

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

16 You didn't choose me.

        I chose you.

        I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit,

            so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

17 This is my command:

        Love each other.

Friday, January 3, 2014

who He is

There are all kinds of attitudes & opinions as to who Jesus was. Some people & spiritual groups think he was just a really good guy ,or even maybe a great man. Other religions & persons say He was a great prophet.

I've always kinda wondered where that kind of thinking comes from.

Because, as far as I'm concerned, after reading just this chapter in John & absorbing what Jesus is telling us here, I have to believe this...

Either Jesus is the Son of God, or He's utterly & completely insane.

Just read this & judge for yourself...

John 14:1 "Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father's home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going."

  6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"

  8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied."

  9 Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? 10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. 11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.

  12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

15 "If you love me, obey my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. 19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. 20 When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them."
  23 Jesus replied, "All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. 24 Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. 25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. 26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

  27 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid. 28 Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. 29 I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Jesus said this to his disciples during the last Passover meal he shared with them before His death...

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."

What does "love" mean?

Jesus was speaking of "agape love" - unconditional caring, that focuses on the other person, desiring & hoping for the very best for that person, not so much an emotion but a choosing to be "for" that person & seek the very best for them.

There are pages & pages written about what this kind of love is.

Jesus said that the way we love people will be a constant reminder to them that we are His followers.

My question is this...

Do the people you & I know identify us a Christ followers because of the way we love them?

In America's current cultural & political climate, do people identify Christ followers first & foremost as unconditionally loving people?

And as people in the rest of the world of other religions, cultures, countries, ethnic groups, etc think about Christ followers - ones they know, & just generally all those who claim Jesus as Lord - does the first thing that come to mind, "mmmmmmmm... those people know how to REALLY love"?

I think we all know the answers to those questions.

And in view of the answer to all those questions, what can you & I do, as we enter this new year, to be in our own lives someone the people around us would identfy as Christ followers simply because of the quality of our love for them?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Ok, here's the verses for 2014, I think. ;-)

I need you to know that when I've had years when there were multiple verses in multiple place, it usually ends up a year with BIG changes, BIGGER challenges, & all kinds of things coming from out of nowhere.

I don't know what to make of what looks like another year of multiple passages.

It's kinda scary (when hasn't my life been kinda scary in the last 14 years?!!!).

So, here's we go, y'all.

Don't know where this is gonna all lead in 2014.

Maybe nowhere, maybe somewhere, probably NOT in the direction(s) I think it will.

We'll see...

Hebrews 10

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

        no matter what happens.

Remember the great reward it brings you!

36 Patient endurance is what you nee now,

        so you will continue to do God's will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

(I feel like God was giving me this verse for 2014 on October 2, 2013.)

Hebrews 12

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands,

        & stand firm on your shakey legs.

13 Mark out a straight path for your feet.

Then those who follow you,

        though they are weak & lame,

     will not stumble & fall but will become strong.

(This one appeared on the radar screen for 2014 on October 4, 2013)

Ephesians 3

20 By His mighty power at work within us,

         He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

(This one stood out on October 17, 2013 - I didn't write it in my journal, but in my document on my computer of verses for 2014 that's when I wrote that I felt led to this verse for 2014.)

Psalm 125

1 Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion;

        they will not be defeated, but will endure forever.

(This one snuck in on December 28,2013)