Saturday, May 31, 2014

Matthew 11

28 Then Jesus said,

   "Come to Me,

       all of you who are weary

       and carry heavy burdens,

   and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you.

Let me teach you,

     because I am humble

     and gentle at heart,

  and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy to bear,

      and the burden I give you is light."

How many of us need a place & a person to whom we can go & find some sanity in our life,

   or rest from the stresses that run us crazy,

   or refuge from the people who haunt us,

   or relief from the abuses from others or from ourselves,

   or the unrelenting pain of living,

   or the craziness of our lives,

   or the cluelessness of our life's direction

   or whatever drags at us, holds us down, or wears us out?

To all of that, & the infinity of whatever else we can think of, Jesus says 3 simple words...

   3 words not spoken by any other diety in any other religion...

   3 words that changed the whole of the relationship concept of & to God...

   3 words...

Come to Me.

Friday, May 30, 2014

clinging 2.0

If you cling to your life,

     you will lose it;

but if you give it up for Me,

     you will find it.

Jesus speaking in Matthew 10:39

Don't cling to your life.

That's what God whispered to me over & over & over in 2008.

This morning, I thought about one other thing about this verse that I didn't remember yesterday morning...

2008 was the year God started talking to me about moving House of Grace (the 20something ministry I was a part of) from Christ Chapel out off Bass Rd to someplace downtown.

He also started talking to me about starting a satellite service of Christ Chapel on Sunday mornings downtown, too.

These were 2 HUGE things that I really didn't see how in the round world that was going to happen.

Well, it did.

We moved HOG downtown January, 2009.

We started the satellite congregation in the summer of 2009.

But it also meant physically leaving the building that housed Christ Chapel & basing operations somewhere else.

It meant leaving behind a safe environment & starting something new that had never been tried before.

My life was pretty snug at that time, pretty safe, & comfortable.

What God was compelling me to be & do was none of those things.

Each time I started thinking about what I was leaving behind, God would gently whisper, "don't cling to your life"

So, I would let go of the comfortable of my life a little more.

To say that our days downtown in The Warehouse were halcyon is a bit of a gross understatement...

     they were days I'll always remember & cherish as wild days of experiencing His favor.

And then, in a step of unimaginable faith for me, in September, 2010, we moved to Blairsville.

And God is still gently whispering to me, "don't cling to your life"

He continues to gently compel me to let go of the life I've had & move into the reality of the life I now have.

I continue to be His servant.

And as a servant, I serve.

I am & do what I am led to be & do.

And I embrace where & what life with Him & His leading takes me.

Lots of times these days, it doesn't make sense.

But I know one thing - I'd rather be here, serving Him in ways that don't always make sense, than not be.

There is no greater peace or sustaining grace than to be & do what He wants me to be & do.

So, I say to any of you who are where I've been, or where I am now...

     don't cling to your life...

     be & do what He wants you to be & do.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


if you cling to you life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for Me, you will find it. Matthew 10:39

don't cling to your life.

if we keep the life we have, or get the life we think we need or want, the God can give us the life He dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.

how many times have I said that sentence?

how many people have a seen decide to let go of their lives & completely trust God with their lives?

I've seen a few do that.

I've been trying to do that in deeper & deeper ways since especially 2008.

It's been crazy sometimes.

It's been hard sometimes.

A lot of people (most) haven't understood.

But I guess it all comes down to trust - do I trust God with my life, or don't I?

I choose to not just operate outside the box of my (& others) preconceived ideas about what my life should look like.

I choose to throw away my box altogether...

     ...and trust myself, & my life, to the God of the universes.

Because this verse has a promise...

If we trust Him with our lives, if we don't cling to our small, finite concept(s) of what our life should look like, then God is freed up to express Himself through our lives.

And that makes things pretty unpredictable - because God is very creative.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


...our God will make you worthy of the life to which He called you. (Paul, writing in 2 Thessalonians 1:11b)


Matthew 9

9 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth.

"Follow me and be my disciple," Jesus said to him.

So Matthew got up and followed him.

  10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,

        along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners.

11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples,

        "Why does your teacher eat with such scum?"

  12 When Jesus heard this, he said,

        "Healthy people don't need a doctor—sick people do."

13 Then he added,

       "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:

           'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.'

For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous,

    but those who know they are sinners."

How many of us do as Jesus did - hanging out with people that the "holy" people of the day considered the scum of the earth?

Obviously, Jesus possessed such a kind & loving spirit that these "scum of the earth" actually wanted to be around Him.

How many of us are like Jesus in that respect?

Not many of us are, I would say.

So how do we become like Him in that way?

If we see them as He sees them.

Jesus knew people through & through.

     He knew them for all they were, & for all they were not.

He saw each person as a valuable & delightful creation.

My predecessor in the very first church I ever served (Central UMC, Fitzgerald, GA) was a lady named Annabelle Cheeseman.

     She told me something that I've tried to remember my whole life...

     "No one is ever that obnoxious on purpose"

Iow, there's ALWAYS a reason why people are the way they are - and they are seldom that way for the reasons we think.

If we ever take the time to listen to people & find out the "why" of their life, actions, & thinking, we will know & understand the real person underneath all the stuff we see & hear coming from them.

And ya know, Annabelle said that to me probably close to 40 years ago.

And it's just as true today as it was then.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

no matter what

No matter what happens,

     always be thankful,

 for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Monday, May 26, 2014


Matthew 7

1 "Do not judge others,

        and you will not be judged.

2 For you will be treated as you treat others.

The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

  3 "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?

4 How can you think of saying to your friend,

     'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,'

     when you can't see past the log in your own eye?

5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye;

     then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

We do a lot of judging.

Yeah, we do.

We look at other people & form opinions about them

     from little to know knowledge of who & what they are,

     what they've been through,

     or what their lives have been or are now like.

Last time I checked, it would seem our job is to LOVE people.

To care ABOUT people.

To care FOR people.

And let the judging be done by Someone who is infinitely better qualified.

I think an important thing that Jesus mentions in this passage is that if we go around judging people, we in turn will be judged, not only by Him, but by the people around us.

It supports that old adage,"what does around, comes around".

iow, if we are quick to point out what's wrong with people, those around us will not hesitate to point out the sinful stuff going on in our own lives.

And I don't know about you, but I don't think I want my sins highlighted by those around me. I figure they're obvious enough without someone showcasing them to the world!

What then should our behavior be?

You tell me, in the comments below.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


Jesus said a mouthful here...

Matthew 6

25 Don't worry about your everyday life...

        whether you have enough food and drink,

        or enough clothes to wear.

Isn't life more than food,

     and your body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds.

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

      for your heavenly Father feeds them.

      And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?

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

28 "And why worry about your clothing?

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.

     They don't work or make their clothing,

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

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

Why do you have so little faith?

31 "So don't worry about these things, saying, '

     What will we eat?

     What will we drink?

     What will we wear?'

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,

        but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,

        and live righteously,

        and he will give you everything you need.

34 "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today

Saturday, May 24, 2014


When Jesus said this, He was mandating a radical thought process.

As long as humans could remember, they held it as a virtue to hate their enemies.

When Jesus told them about a new way of loving, it was so way out of the box for everybody who heard it.

And of course, even today, we think the same way as they did back then.

Love your enemies?! Are you kidding?!!!

I wonder what our world would be like if we did this?

Matthew 5

43 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy.

44 But I say, love your enemies!

        Pray for those who persecute you!

45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good,

     and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?

        Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?

        Even pagans do that.

48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Friday, May 23, 2014

trust in the storm

Don't know who this is for, but when I was reading this, I felt like I needed to put this psalm in my blog for someone who REALLY need to read this one this morning.

So, whoever you are, this one's for you.

Psalm 91

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High

  will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 This I declare about the LORD:

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;

  he is my God, and I trust him.

3 For he will rescue you from every trap

  and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with his feathers.

  He will shelter you with his wings.

  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,

  nor the arrow that flies in the day.

6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,

  nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

7 Though a thousand fall at your side,

  though ten thousand are dying around you,

  these evils will not touch you.

8 Just open your eyes,

  and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the LORD your refuge,

  if you make the Most High your shelter,

10 no evil will conquer you;

  no plague will come near your home.

11 For he will order his angels

  to protect you wherever you go.

12 They will hold you up with their hands

  so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.

13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;

  you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me.

  I will protect those who trust in my name.

15 When they call on me, I will answer;

  I will be with them in trouble.

  I will rescue and honor them.

16 I will reward them with a long life

  and give them my salvation."

Thursday, May 22, 2014

hang time

Live wisely among those who are not Christians,

     & make the most of every opportunity.

Let your conversation be gracious & effective

     so that you will have the right answer for everyone.

Colossians 4:5 & 6

How many of us hang with non-believers,on purpose?

How many of us purposefully decide to befriend & connect with people who are not followers of Jesus?

How many of us only really have friends who are as holy & pure as we are?

And where would ANY of us be if the people who influenced us to follow Jesus were as lame & uninterested as we are in sharing about His love & the life He brings?

hmmmmmmm... yeah...

Just a thought...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

practicalliving advice

Practical words from Paul, the apostle, about living the life of a Christ follower that he wrote in his letter to the new believers in Colossae.

Colossians 3

1 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ,

     set your sights on the realities of heaven,

     where Christ sits in the place of honor at God's right hand.

2 Think about the things of heaven,

     not the things of earth.

3 For you died to this life,

     and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world,

    you will share in all his glory.

  5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you.

Have nothing to do with sexual immorality,



   and evil desires.

Don't be greedy,

     for a greedy person is an idolater,

     worshiping the things of this world.

6 Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.

7 You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world.

8 But now is the time to get rid of anger,


   malicious behavior,


   and dirty language.

9 Don't lie to each other,

     for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.

10 Put on your new nature,

     and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.

11 In this new life, it doesn't matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile,

        circumcised or uncircumcised,




        or free.

Christ is all that matters,

     and he lives in all of us.

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

     you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,




     and patience.

13 Make allowance for each others faults,

        and forgive anyone who offends you.

Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

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

For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.

And always be thankful.

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

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

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

17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

sinking roots

Colossians 2

6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord,

     you must continue to obey him.

7 Let your roots grow down into him,

     and let your lives be built on him.

Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,

     and you will overflow with thankfulness.

8 Don't let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense

     that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world,

     rather than from Christ.

9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.

10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ,

     who is the head over every ruler and authority.

"Let your roots grow down into him,  & let your lives be built on him. "

So how do we let our "roots grow down into him"?

Read the Bible every day.


Because it is God speaking to us.

Wouldn't it make sense that if we believe the Bible is the Word of God, then it would be a little stupid NOT to read it?!

Of course, I was pretty stupid for 52 1/2 years.

Ya see, until I was 52 1/2, my Bible reading could best be described as higgledy piggldy.

Yeah, I'd been a "professional Christian for almost 30 years. (iow, a church staff person)

It all started in January, 2003.

In the first few days of 2003,I started waking up at 5am - not just waking up, but HELLO! I'M AWAKE!

Now you must understand, I LOVE to sleep, especially in the early morning hours.

This went on for a couple of weeks.

I asked Lynn, my wife, what she thought was going on - she's a nurse practitioner.

She said, "maybe God's trying to tell you something."

So, the next morning, when I woke up @ 5am, I said,"God are you trying to tell me something?"

I heard inside my head, "Get up & read."

I knew that was the Bible He was talking about.

So I got up & read Psalm 1 - I'd heard Billy Graham reads a psalm every day - I figured if it was good enough for Billy, it was good enough for me ;-)

And I read somewhere in New Testament.

And I've been getting up every day & reading the Bible ever since. I don't remember the last time I didn't get up. Boy! Am I holy, or what?!!! LOL

Btw, I've expanded my reading. I read a psalm every day, I read a chapter in the Old Testament, the Gospels, & in the New Testament - just 4 chapters - nothing more.

And I write down every day in a journal at least where I've read, bc I can't remember from day to day exactly where I've read. And I write down anything that may stand out on the page, too.

Of course, God started messing with me.

An He messed in the very last areas of me that I wanted Him to mess with.

And He ain't stopped messing with me.

And after He started messing with me (& I started letting Him change me), He started telling me to do things - things I would NEVER of chosen to do.

They were scary things, things I didn't think I could do, & things that were pretty risky.

But I kept saying yes - my life's been pretty crazy ever since.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, read the Bible every day.

Warning: God will wreck you.

He will change you.

He will challenge you to be & do things that are scary & seemingly impossible.

And you will connect with Him on a very basic, intimate level - yeah, you & I, nano-specks in the cosmos, can connect with God on an intimate level each day by just reading the Bible every day.

Trust me, if you do it for 6 weeks, you'll never stop.

And you'll never be the same.

Monday, May 19, 2014

holy & blameless

Paul, the apostle, writes to the young Christ followers in Colossae a definitive description of who Jesus is & what it's all about.

The last half of the last sentence is a real zinger!

Read this slowly & absorb it, will ya?

Colossians 1

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

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

16 for through him God created everything

  in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see

  and the things we can't see—

such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.

  Everything was created through him and for him.

17 He existed before anything else,

  and he holds all creation together.

18 Christ is also the head of the church,

  which is his body.

He is the beginning,

  supreme over all who rise from the dead.

  So he is first in everything.

19 For God in all his fullness

  was pleased to live in Christ,

20 and through him God reconciled

  everything to himself.

He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth

  by means of Christ's blood on the cross.

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

         You were his enemies,

         separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

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

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

     and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

iow, because of Jesus & His sacrifice, God doesn't see us as sin-soaked, fallen people.

He sees us as "holy & blameless"

Let that sink in...

God doesn't see our sins.

He sees us as a holy...

Think about that....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

all kinds of stuff here

There's just SO MUCH  in this chapter.

Paul is writing his friends & fellow believers in Philippi.

There's just so many towering truths he speaks in this short passage.

Here's a few that stand out to me...

Philippians 4

4 Always be full of joy in the Lord.

I say it again—rejoice!

How many of us rejoice & how many of us are always whining & complaining?


5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.

    Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

"...considerate in all you do."

That's not me. I am not considerate or kind or gentle with people.

They don't call me the Terminator for nuthin'...


6 Don't worry about anything;

     instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need,

     and thank him for all he has done.

7 Then you will experience God's peace,

     which exceeds anything we can understand.

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

Verses 6 & 7 were the verses God gave me for 2005.

For a whole year This was the verse I held on to & tested over & over again.

I know from experience in that one year the immutable truth he writes here.

EVERYTHING he says in verses 6 & & about the nature of our relationship with God & interacting with Him are ABSOLUTELY & POSITIVELY true if we put them into practice.


8 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.

The older I get, the more I realize that the stuff I think about when I'm alone, or still, or unengaged reflects the real me.


11b I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.

     12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.

     I have learned the secret of living in every situation,

     whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

We are SO prissy & precious. We feel like we have to have everything we want when we want it, & we want it NOW!

We live in the richest nation in the world & are never content with what we have.


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

One of the biggest statements of Paul about livin' the life in 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.

We worry & fret (I worry & fret) about the day to day.

All the while, as Paul points out, God is taking care of me / us.

It's all about trust.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Paul's perspective on life

This is the apostle, Paul, writing to the believers in Philippi...

Philippians 3

1a Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord.

5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old.

I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one!

I was a member of the Pharisees,

     who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.6

I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.

And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

7 I once thought these things were valuable,

     but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

For his sake I have discarded everything else,

     counting it all as garbage,

     so that I could gain Christ

     9 and become one with him.

I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law;

     rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.

For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead.

I want to suffer with him,

     sharing in his death,

     11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!

13b I focus on this one thing:

        Forgetting the past

        and looking forward to what lies ahead,

        14 I press on to reach the end of the race

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

our focus

Paul, the apostle, clearly loved the people who were a part of the body of believers in Philippi.

And is his letter to them he offers practical advice, encouragement, correction, & hope.

In the first half of this passage, Paul kinda takes them to task about their self-centeredness.

But then he offers the way Jesus lived His life as an example of how to be more others oriented.

I think the power statement is "Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too."

The longer I live, the more I realize that follow Jesus boils down to 4 words: love God, love people.

Give this passage a read, & give it some thought...

Philippians 2

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?

     Any comfort from his love?

     Any fellowship together in the Spirit?

     Are your hearts tender and compassionate?

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

     loving one another,

     and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don't be selfish;

don't try to impress others.

Be humble,

     thinking of others as better than yourselves.

4 Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

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

6 Though He was God,

  He did not think of equality with God

  as something to cling to.

7 Instead, He gave up his divine privileges;

  He took the humble position of a slave

  and was born as a human being.

When He appeared in human form,

8   He humbled Himself in obedience to God

  and died a criminal's death on a cross.

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

  and gave Him the name above all other names,

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

  in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

  to the glory of God the Father.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

what was He thinking?

Right before Jesus was arrested & the whole sequence of events that led to His murder, He was in the Garden of Gethsemane, praying.

A big chunk of His is recorded in John 17.

He knows what's ahead of Him.

And in this prayer He prays this...

I am praying not only for these disciples

     but for all who will ever believe in me

     because of their testimony.

My prayer for all of them is that they will be one,

     just as You & I are one, Father,

     that just as You are in Me & I am in You,

     so they will be in us,

     & the world will believe You sent Me.

(John 17:20-21)

In what must have been a pretty terrible moment in His life, Jesus, God incarnate, was praying for all of us who were going to believe in Him.

That's you...

     ...& me.

Think about that as you move about your day.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

holding on

These are 4 passages I feel like God's given me for 2014.

Yes, I've shared these before.

But not everyone has seen them.

For those of you who don't know,or are new friends, each year since 2003 I asked God for a verse for the year to hold on to.

Most years there's only been 1 verse.

A few years there's multiple passages - that usually has been during years that had BIG risky changes in them.

So, yeah, there 4 passages this year.

Nothing big has happened, yet - it's just mid-May.

Anyway, here they are - maybe one or more will speak to you, something you can hold on to, too as you pass through this year.

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, May 13, 2014


Having grown up on a farm, I understand all this stuff about pruning.

Remember that we only pruned the vines in our grape arbor that were vines that produced good fruit.

We cut off & threw away the vines that didn't produce well - they were a drag on the vine.

The vines that did produce good grapes, we wanted to trim because we knew they'd produce even more, & sometimes even better fruit.

Maybe that will help to know the next time God decides to prune us back?

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.

Monday, May 12, 2014

2 verses, 6 translations

Just take a look at the different ways these 2 verses have been translated  & see what the common threads are for each verse...


Paul to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 4:1b

...lead a life worthy of your calling,

        for you have been called by God. (NLT) a life worthy of the calling you have received. (NIV) the way God’s people should live,

        because He chose you to be His. (ETRV) walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called (with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service...) (Amplified)

...walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called... (ESV)

...Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you.(The Voice)

...I want you to get out there and walk...

        ...better yet, run!

        ...on the road God called you to travel.

I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands.

I don’t want anyone strolling off,

        down some path that goes nowhere.(The Message)


Paul to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 4:3oa

Do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live.

Remember He is the One Who has identified you as His own.

   guaranteeing  that you will be saved on the day of redemption. (NLT, 1st ed.)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,

     with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (NIV)

And don’t make the Holy Spirit sad.

God gave you his Spirit as proof that you belong to him

     and that he will keep you safe until the day he makes you free. (ETRV)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him],

     by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured)

     for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin). (Amplified)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,

     by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV)

It’s time to stop bringing grief to God’s Holy Spirit;

     you have been sealed with the Spirit,

     marked as His own for the day of rescue. (The Voice)

Don’t grieve God.

Don’t break his heart.

His Holy Spirit,

     moving and breathing in you,

     is the most intimate part of your life,

     making you fit for Himself.

Don’t take such a gift for granted. (The Message)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

infinitely more

Some days, all I can suggest is that you read a section from where I read this morning.

Have a good Sunday, y'all...

Ephesians 3

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God's presence.

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,

        15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.

16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.

17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him.

        And that your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.

18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should,

        how wide,

        how long,

        how high,

        and how deep his love is.

19 May you experience the love of Christ,

        though it is too great to understand fully.

Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

  20 Now all glory to God, who is able,

          through his mighty power at work within us,

      to accomplish

         infinitely more

       than we might ask

          or think.

21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

3 things

We are God's masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

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

Ephesians 2:10

think about these 3 things today...

1) God thinks of you & I as a masterpiece of His creations.

     Think of all the things He's created in our universe & other universes, & He thinks we're an ultimate created being.

2) He renews us, thru Jesus.

I don't know about you, but I needed to be made over when I become a follower of Him.

Well, let's be truthful - I need an overhaul on a right regular basis.

3) He has plans for us, that He made a long time ago.

It's hard for me to realize that the God of the universes was thinking about me, individually, when He dreamed us all up a gajillion years ago.

But He did, & still thinks about me, & you, all the time.

Think about all that today...

    and how you, & I, should live our lives in view of all that.

Friday, May 9, 2014


I pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of His power for us who believe in Him.

This is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead

  & seated Him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 1:19-20

Paul is talking about the Holy Spirit here.

     The Holy Spirit is the 3rd Person of the  Trinity - powerhouse of God

And after Jesus left earth & went back to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to live in us.

A taste of the kind of power we're talking about here is that the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead.

And that same power lives in us.

Let that sink in.

So, the power that brought Jesus back to life is the power that gives us strength to be & do what God leads us to be & do.

Do any of us really believe this?

Because if we did, wouldn't we live differently, more triumphantly, w/ a whole lot more confidence & humility?

Or should we continue to limp along in our neurotic feelings of insecurity & inferiority?

What would happen in your life & mine if we REALLY believed this?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

giving up

So don't get tired of doing what is good.

Don't get discouraged & give up,

     for we will reap a harvest of blessing

     at the appropriate time.

Galatians 6:9

Anybody ever get sick & tired, or bone weary, of being & doing something,

     or dealing with someone,

     or facing a seemingly impossible situation,

     or just "keeping on keeping on"?

I feel like God has given me this verse especially for some of my relationships.

When I remember the first time He poked me with this verse, the words, "don't get discouraged & give up" really stood out.

     You have no idea how many times I've wanted to give up on these people.

     In more than one instance, I was ready to just give up on them, turn loose of them, & let them go.

     And once again God reminds me - don't give up.

And then, "don't get tired of doing what is good"

     I was SO tired of dealing with these people.

     it was like banging my head against the wall.

     nothing seemed to impact them.

     nothing seems to be happening with one of them, while there may be the smallest of changes in others.

And then "reap a harvest of blessing, at the appropriate time" stood out.

     iow, something will happen, sometime.

     I've accepted the fact that some of the things I hope for with these people won't happen until we get to heaven.
     That may be my "appropriate time".

I don't know what you're facing today.

But whatever it is, all I know is was it says in this verse.

     don't give up...

     the results of our keeping on will show up.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

living in the Spirit

Paul is writing here to the Christians in Galatia. He talks about freedom, & living in the power given us by the Holy Spirit.

Just read all of it. It's great stuff.

I'm curious... is this the 1st time you've read this passage? Comment below if it is. What did you think?

Galatians 4

13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.

But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.

Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command:

      "Love your neighbor as yourself."

15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out!

      Beware of destroying one another.

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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Galatians 4

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

     born of a woman,

     subject to the law.

5 God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law,

     so that he could adopt us as his very own children.

6 And because we are his children,

     God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,

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

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

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

"Abba" in Hebrew is the familiar way of addressing our earthly fathers.

Some folks feel this is translated "Daddy".

I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that - it seems a bit trite for the God of the universes.

But what do I know?

I prefer to think of it more of a word like "papa" - it's a familiar word, but one where there is a feeling of respect, too

I know, I know it's just a matter of semantics...

The really important issue here is this...

     we are able, through the sacrifice of Jesus, to have a relationship w/ the holy, omnipotent God of the ages;

     a relationship on such intimate terms with Him that we can address Him with a familiar, tender term as "papa".

What other religion offers that kind of intimacy with the god they worship?

Monday, May 5, 2014

2 passages

You will keep on guiding me w/ You counsel,

     leading me to a glorious destiny.

Whom have I in heaven but You?

I desire You more than anything on earth.

My health may fail,

     my spirit may grow weak,

but God remains the strength of my heart;

He is mine forever.

Psalm 73:24-26 NLT, 1st ed.

These 3 verses have a very special place in my life, which I've shared in this blog before.

If you haven't heard the story, comment below, & I'll tell you about it ;-)


And this passage speaks to what we inherit as God's children - kinda blows yur socks off! ;-)

Galatians 3

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

27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.

28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,

        slave or free,

        male and female.

For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And now that you belong to Christ,

        you are the true children of Abraham.

You are his heirs,

     and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Galatians 3:20

I myself no longer live,

     but Christ lives in me.

So I live my life in the Son of God,

     who loved me

     & gave Himself for me. (NLT)

Christ lives in me.

The life you see me living is not “mine,”

     but it is lived by faith in the Son of God,

    who loved me

    and gave himself for me.

I am not going to go back on that. (The Message)

So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me.

I still live in my body,

    but I live by faith in the Son of God.

He is the one who loved me

     and gave himself to save me. (Easy-to-Read version)

I am no longer alive—but the Anointed is living in me;

     and whatever life I have left in this failing body I live by the faithfulness of God’s Son,

     the One who loves me

     and gave His body on the cross for me.(The Voice)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

needed words

Psalm 71

5 O Lord, You alone are my hope.

I've trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.

6 Yes, You hsve been w/ me from birth;

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

No wonder I am always praising You!

7 My life is an example to many,

     because You have been my strength & protection.

9 Now, in my old age,

     don't set me aside.

Don't abandon me when my strength is failing.

17 O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood...

18 Now that I am old & gray,

     do not abandon me,O God.

Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation,

     Your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

20 You allowed me to suffer much hardship,

     but You will restore me to life again,

     & lift me up from the depths of the earth.

27 You will restore me to even greater honor

     & comfort me again.

Friday, May 2, 2014

food & harvest

John 4

31 Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, "Rabbi, eat something."

  32 But Jesus replied, "I have a kind of food you know nothing about."

  33 "Did someone bring him food while we were gone?" the disciples asked each other.

  34 Then Jesus explained:

     "My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.

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

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

     36 The harvesters are paid good wages,

         and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life.

     What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!

     37 You know the saying, 'One plants and another harvests.'

     And it's true.

38 I sent you to harvest where you didn't plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest."

I bet the disciples were puzzled a lot.

They never knew what to expect from Jesus.

It seems He had this habit of saying something obtuse.

The disciples were trying to get him to eat & he tells them he has food they don't know about.

iow, He's talking about something completely different.

I bet the disciples sometimes felt like they had to always be alert & listening bc Jesus had the habit of saying something incredibly profound in the unlikeliest moments!

I don't know why I felt drawn to share this section of John 4. Just felt like I should.

Don't know who this is for.

I hope it speaks to whatever it is that's going on in your heart & life.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

the key

We can all probably quote verse 16 of this passage.

But I bet few of us even know the rest of the verses in that section.

Take a look at the rest of it - it's all about what brings about a redeemed connection...

John 3

16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son,

        so that everyone who believes in him will not perish

        but have eternal life.

17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world,

        but to save the world through him.

  18 "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.

But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son.

19 And the judgment is based on this fact:

        God's light came into the world,

        but people loved the darkness more than the light,

           for their actions were evil.

20 All who do evil hate the light

        and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.

21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.

So many people have asked me,"Will I got to hell if I ____________?"

I think what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus is pretty plain...

     believing in God's Son as the One who is God's way of making a connection with Him possible is the key.

That's what gets us hooked up with God.

That's what gets us in the door.

Of course, believing in that kind of love & sacrifice on the part of Jesus demands one reaction...

     ...complete surrender to Him.

Now, when we get hooked up with the God of the universes, there's gonna be some significant behavior & heart changes as a result,

     which would include getting rid of a LOT of sinful behaviors.

So correct me if I'm wrong, but the key here is believing in Jesus as our Savior.

And not believing in Him is eternally problematic.

What do you think?