Monday, June 30, 2014

right living

James 4

7 Humble yourselves before God.

Resist the devil,

     & he will flee from you.

8a Draw close to God,

     & God will draw close to you.

10 When you bow down before the Lord & admit your dependence on Him,

     He will lift you up & give you honor.

17 Remember,

     it is sin to know what you ought to do

     & then not do it.

Don't know who that's for this morning, but for whatever reason you were supposed to read & hear that, follow that leading.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

being led

Psalm 123

1 I lift my eyes to you,

  O God, enthroned in heaven.

2 We keep looking to the LORD our God for his mercy,

  just as servants keep their eyes on their master,

  as a slave girl watches her mistress for the slightest signal.

I wonder how different our lives would be if we were all that attentive to the subtle signals, leadings, & directives from the Lord?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

4 words

Mark 12

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

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

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

29 Jesus replied,

     "The most important commandment is this:

     'Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD.

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

     31 The second is equally important:

             'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

No other commandment is greater than these."

32 The teacher of religious law replied,

     "Well said, Teacher.

     You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.

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

     and to love my neighbor as myself.

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

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

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

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

So there you have it - the whole thing, wrapped up in just 4 words.

4 words...

Jesus said it Himself - the 2 most important things to remember in our connection with God.

4 words...

Love God, love people.

there ya have it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

my help

Psalm 121

1 I look up to the mountains—

  does my help come from there?

2 My help comes from the LORD,

  who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;

  the one who watches over you will not slumber.

4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel

  never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The LORD himself watches over you!

  The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.

6 The sun will not harm you by day,

  nor the moon at night.

7 The LORD keeps you from all harm

  and watches over your life.

8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,

  both now and forever.

Copy & paste this in your browser - it uses the words of this psalm in an incredible song...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

like a child

Mark 10

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them.

        But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

  14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples.

He said to them,

     "Let the children come to me.

     Don't stop them!

     For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.

     15 I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God."

16 Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

So, what does it mean to have the faith of a child?

One of my sons, Kevin, said it best.

We were in a meeting once a few years back. We all were sharing stuff from our lives. While this was going on, Kevin was looking on his computer at pictures of his youngest son, who was a preschooler at the time.

(I'm wondering, Kevin, what are you doing?!)

When it was his turn to share, here's something of what he said...

"I was looking at pictures of my son & me. I noticed in all of them, he looking at me.

"He's not looking around. He doesn't know or care where we're going, when we're gonna get there, who's gonna be there when we get there, why we're going where we're going, or how long it takes.

"All he cares about is that he's with me.

"I wanna be more like that again with Jesus.

"When I first became a Christian, all I cared about was being with Jesus. That's all that mattered.

"I didn't care where we were going,when we were gonna get there, who would be there, why we were going, or how long it would take.

"I was just with Jesus.

"Now it seems I need answers to all those questions when Jesus says to me, 'C'mon, let's go...'

"I need to know the who, what, where, when, & how of everything.

"I wanna be more like my son - I just wanna be with Jesus."

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

so, continue


     take a new grip with your tired hands

        & stand firm on your shaky legs.

Mark out a straight path for your feet.


     those who follow you,

        though they are weak & lame,

     will not stumble & fall

     but will become strong.

Hebrews 12:12 & 13

Back in the fall of 2013, I really felt like God was impressing me to accept this as one of the passages to hold on to during 2014...

     ...btw there are 4 passages this year, not one. hmmmmm

The first sentence is so appropriate for me - at 63, tired hands & shaky feet are kinda sorta something ya live with ;-)

I remember feeling like God was speaking to me in a very intimate way in that first sentence.

He knows the tiredness & shakiness that I live with.

It seemed like God was telling me to hitch up my drawers & keep on keeping on.


Because there's people who follow me who will fall by the wayside if I don't?

Now, excuse me, but there's people following me?


Are they hiding in the bushes?

Maybe it's my success orientation kicking in, or something like that?

These last 4 years have been such a puzzlement.

I've learned more these last 4 years about servanthood & serving & the realities of both than probably what I've learned about both in the last 15 years.

But who are these people who are following me?

Not sure who they are or where they are.

But God seems to be telling me they're there, & I guess this year I need to hitch up my pants & get on with it, so they can continue to continue,too.

So I keep on.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

what's important

Mark 8

34 Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said,

        "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ambition & ways,

        take up your cross,

        and follow me.

35 If you try to hang on to your life,

        you will lose it.

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

        you will save it.

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

     37 Is anything worth more than your soul?

Reread verses 36 & 37...

In view of what those two verses say, I wonder what Steve Jobs would say to us today, if he could speak to us?

     or Paul Walker?

     or Ruby Dee?

     Casey Kasum?

     Ann B Davis?

     Shirley Temple Black?

     Pete Seeger?

     Nelson Mandella?

     Michael Jackson?

     Heath Ledger?

     Amy Winehouse?

     Saddam Hussein?

     Osama ben Laden?

     Hugo Chavez?

I just wonder what kind of perspective they could give us on what is important in life, & what is just so trivial & unnecessary to even think about or consider.

I wonder what they would say to us, if they could?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Your Word

Your word is a lamp for my feet

     & a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

In January , 2003, I started waking up at 5am.

This was odd, because I LOVE to sleep. It wasn't normal for me to wake up then.

And we're talking AWAKE here.

I asked Lynn about it. She said it might just be part of the aging process (oh, yippee.)

But she also said that maybe God was trying to tell me something.

So the next morning, when I woke up @ 5am, I asked God if there was something He was trying to tell me.

A voice inside my head seemed to say,"Get up & read."

So, I did -  got up & read in the Bible.

And I've been doing that ever since.

And, btw, God wakes me up- I don't have to set an alarm.

Up until that point (at the age of 52 1/2) my Bible reading could be best & most generously described as higgledy-piggledy.

I don't remember the last time I missed getting up & reading.

Where do I read?

I'd heard that Billy Graham reads a psalm every day.So I figured if it was good enough for Billy, it's good enough for me.

I read it sequentially, from 1 - 150, then read through Proverbs, then back through Psalms.

I read a chapter in the gospels - I read them sequentially, 1 chapter after another starting in Matthew, ending in John, then repeating.

I read the est of the New Testament, sequentially, starting in Acts through Jude, then repeat. I read Revelation once a year or so. I'm a little clueless in Revelation

I also read a chapter in the Old Testament, Genesis through Malachi, then repeat.

I want to tell you that my life has been turned upside down as a result of reading the Bible every day.

I would NEVER have done some of the things I've done these last 11 years.

I would NEVER have see the MASSIVE changes in my heart & life if I hadn't read every day.

People say to me often that they just don't seem to hear God very often.

I always ask if they read the Bible every day. Usually they don't.

I always tell people that if you read the Bible EVERY day, you will have no problem hearing from God - in fact, it will be difficult to get Him to shut up! ;-)

I will warn you - if you read the Bible every day, GOD WILL MESS WITH YOU.

And He will mess with you in the very areas you DON'T want Him to mess with.

And He'll start w/ the very last, last, last last, last area you want Him to shine the bright light of His attention on.

(I speak from experience)

He will lead you to be & do things you would NEVER be do.

You life will never be dull.

It will be more than a little scary.

You will regularly think you can't pull something off unless God comes through.

And you will know & communicate with the God of the universes in a way you cannot imagine.

If someone asked me if I could make 1 statement, & only one, to the entire world, what would it be?

Read the Bible EVERY day, without fail, no matter what.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


The verses I feel God gave me for 2014...

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.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

dead things

Don't be afraid. Just trust Me.

     Mark 5:36b

This is Jesus speaking to Jairus.

Jairus had come to ask Jesus to come to his house to heal his daughter who was deathly sick.

And Jesus was walking with him to his house.

Some of Jairus' servants had just come to tell him that his daughter had died.

     So there was no need to worry Jesus further.

But Jesus spoke those few words to Jairus & continued walking to Jairus' house.

To make a long story short, Jesus went to Jarius' house, took Jaruis' daughter by the hand, & restore her back to life.

As I was reading that, this thought dropped into my head...

I wonder how many of us have something dead in our life that we need Jesus to bring back to life?

And we don't think He, or anybody, can do anything about it.

Jesus says to each of us, no matter what that dead thing is, "Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

And it we trust Him, He will come, take it by the hand, & bring it back to life.

I don't know who it is that may need to hear that this morning- that is, besides me.

But if that's you, Jesus is saying to you to trust Him with that dead thing.

     He can bring it back to life.

Friday, June 20, 2014

2 different things

I couldn't decide which of these to share, so I decided to share them both ;-)

Mark 4

  24 Then Jesus added,

"Pay close attention to what you hear.

The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given;

     and you will receive even more.

25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.

But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them."

I have a Life Application Bible. The note at the bottom of the page for these verses say this...

     it's not what we have or been gifted with that is important - the important thing is what we let God do with it.

iow, the important thing to remember is it's all about God's favor - the older I get, the more I realize that it's all about God's favor.

Makr 4

35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples,

      "Let's cross to the other side of the lake."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. "Who is this man?" they asked each other. "Even the wind and waves obey him!"

Wouldn't you have loved to have been in the boat AFTER the storm dies down & they're all sailing along on this quiet sea?

I wonder what all the disciples were thinking.

Talk about an awkward moment! ;-)

Now you & I throw the disciples under the bus for being so stupid & being afraid in the storm when they had the Son of God in the boat with them.
But before we do that, think about this...

God has hauled our butts out of trouble time & time again (most of the time it's trouble of our own making!).

But whenever we get our butts in a sling, or life deals us a pretty bad blow, we sound just like the disciples.

We start yelling & screaming to God to come save us, and insinuating that he's asleep at the switch, not taking care of us, while we're fixin' to go down with the ship of our prissy, precious lives.

When all along, God has been right there with us.

And He takes care of us, again - even though we had just be hysterical about the "terrible" situation that we were sure was gonna wreck our lives.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


God is not unfair.

He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him

     & how you have shown your love to Him by caring for other Christians,

     as you still do.

Our great desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts,

     in order to make certain what what you hope for will come true.

Then you will not become spiritually dull & indifferent.

In stead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God's promises

     because of their faith & patience.

Hebrews 6:10-12

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

notorious sinners

Mark 2

13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him.

14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth.

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

So Levi got up and followed him.

  15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,

        along with many tax collectors and other notorious sinners.

        (There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.)

16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples,

       "Why does he eat with such scum?"

  17 When Jesus heard this, he told them,

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

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

        but those who know they are sinners."

I've often wondered what it took to be a "notorious sinner" back then.

Of course, I think our world is sufficiently wicked right now to say we've produced some pretty wicked people.

I think the important fact is that these "notorious sinners" wanted to be around Jesus.

Iow, there was a quality about Jesus in His connection with people that even those who had "hearts that were black with sin" (as some super Christians LOVE to say) - I digress - people who were pretty sinful wanted to be around Jesus...

        ...and Jesus wanted to be around them.

Jesus went so far as to say that He had come specifically for those kind of people, not the upright & holy church folks.

Don't you know that dropped a clod in the punch bowl of the church folks?!

My question is this...

Are you & I so connected with Jesus that His personality & heart naturally comes out in our personality & dealings with people that the "notorious sinners" around us WANT to be around us...

        ...and that we WANT to be around them?

Are we so kind, loving, caring, interested, & compassionate toward people that they WANT to be around us.

Or are we so ever lovin' "holy" that we don't want to be around such folks, nor would they want to be around us?

Where would we each be if the people who influenced us to become Christ followers had had the same attitude we have about hanging around sinful people?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

His Word

Hebrews 4

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful.

It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword,

     cutting between soul and spirit,

     between joint and marrow.

It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.

Everything is naked

     and exposed before his eyes.

This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done.

I'm a great believer in reading the Bible every day, without fail.

I believe it's one of the major way God speaks to us - if not THE major way God speaks to us.

And in using the Word in our day to day contacts with each other, many times God speaks through His Word through us as we share it with people.

As much of an advocate as I am for reading the Bible every day, I always warn people what will happen if they do...

     God will mess with you.

     And He will mess with you in the areas of your life you LEAST want Him to touch.

So why read every day?

Because in doing so, God speaks to us, directly, through His Word.

Who wouldn't want to personally hear daily from the God of the universes?


Hebrews 4

14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven,

        Jesus the Son of God,

        let us hold firmly to what we believe.

15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,

       for he faced all of the same testings we do,

       yet he did not sin.

16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.

       There we will receive his mercy,

       and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Even though God see & knows everything about us, Jesus is our advocate.

     He lived here & understands how tough it is.

     And even though one day we will stand butt naked before God & face down the sum total of our lives,

        Jesus will stand with us, with His life & death the an exchange for our sorry lives, so that we can have God's mercy & grace, even in the face of all our sins.

(boy, that sounded REALLY churchy! But you understand what I mean there, don't ya?)

Monday, June 16, 2014


All you who respect, love, & follow the LORD, trust the LORD!

  He is your helper and your shield.

The LORD remembers us and He will surely bless us.

Psalm 115:11-12a

How many of us have something we fear or are afraid will happen?

We all do.

When I read this psalm this morning, those words stood out.

It felt like He was saying, "trust Me with that thing your fear. I'll take care of you."

It's all about trust, isn't it?

So, all I have to offer this morning is to any of you who have a fear, a worry, a something-that-scares-you...

God says the same thing to us all...

"Trust Me with that thing you fear. I'll take care of you."

Sunday, June 15, 2014

no compromise

In a world constantly trying to squeeze us unto it's own ideas as to what is right & wrong, maybe this chronicle of 3 young men will be helpful.

Daniel 3

1 King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

2 Then he sent messages to the high officers, officials, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates, and all the provincial officials to come to the dedication of the statue he had set up.

3 So all these officials* came and stood before the statue King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

  4 Then a herald shouted out,

"People of all races and nations and languages, listen to the king's command!

5 When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments, bow to the ground to worship King Nebuchadnezzar's gold statue.

6 Anyone who refuses to obey will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace."

  7 So at the sound of the musical instruments, all the people, whatever their race or nation or language, bowed to the ground and worshiped the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

  8 But some of the astrologers went to the king and informed on the Jews.

9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar,

"Long live the king!

10 You issued a decree requiring all the people to bow down and worship the gold statue when they hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes, and other musical instruments.

11 That decree also states that those who refuse to obey must be thrown into a blazing furnace.

12 But there are some Jews—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—whom you have put in charge of the province of Babylon.

They pay no attention to you, Your Majesty.

They refuse to serve your gods and do not worship the gold statue you have set up."

  13 Then Nebuchadnezzar flew into a rage and ordered that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought before him.

When they were brought in,14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them,

"Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?

15 I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments.

But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace.

And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?"

  16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied,

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.

17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us.

He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty.

18 But even if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up."

19 Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage.

He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual.

20 Then he ordered some of the strongest men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.

21 So they tied them up and threw them into the furnace, fully dressed in their pants, turbans, robes, and other garments.

22 And because the king, in his anger, had demanded such a hot fire in the furnace, the flames killed the soldiers as they threw the three men in.

23 So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell into the roaring flames.

  24 But suddenly, Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his advisers,

"Didn't we tie up three men and throw them into the furnace?"

  "Yes, Your Majesty, we certainly did," they replied.

  25 "Look!" Nebuchadnezzar shouted.

"I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed!

And the fourth looks like a god!"

  26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came as close as he could to the door of the flaming furnace and shouted:

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"

  So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire.

27 Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them.

Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched.

They didn't even smell of smoke!

  28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said,

"Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego!

He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him.

They defied the king's command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

29 Therefore, I make this decree:

If any people, whatever their race or nation or language, speak a word against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego,

they will be torn limb from limb,

and their houses will be turned into heaps of rubble.

There is no other god who can rescue like this!"

  30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

those who obey..

here's an interesting psalm where the writer talks about those who obey God...

Psalm 112

1 Praise the LORD!

How joyful are those who fear the LORD

  and delight in obeying his commands.

2 Their children will be successful everywhere;

  an entire generation of godly people will be blessed.

3 They themselves will be wealthy,

  and their good deeds will last forever.

4 Light shines in the darkness for the godly.

  They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.

5 Good comes to those who lend money generously

  and conduct their business fairly.

6 Such people will not be overcome by evil.

  Those who are righteous will be long remembered.

7 They do not fear bad news;

  they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.

8 They are confident and fearless

  and can face their foes triumphantly.

9 They share freely and give generously to those in need.

  Their good deeds will be remembered forever.

  They will have influence and honor.

10 The wicked will see this and be infuriated.

  They will grind their teeth in anger;

  they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.

Friday, June 13, 2014

a few verses we've forgotten about

These 13 verses were spoken by Jesus shortly before His death.

I think in a time of smorgasbord middle class Christianity, we forget these verses are in the Bible.

Matthew 25

31 But when the Son of Man comes in his glory,

        and all the angels with him,

     then he will sit upon his glorious throne.

32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence,

      and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 Then the King will say to those on his right,

        'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.

35 For I was hungry,

     and you fed me.

I was thirsty,

     and you gave me a drink.

I was a stranger,

     and you invited me into your home.

36 I was naked,

     and you gave me clothing.

I was sick,

     and you cared for me.

I was in prison,

     and you visited me.'

37 "Then these righteous ones will reply,

        'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you?

        Or thirsty and give you something to drink?

       38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality?

        Or naked and give you clothing?

        39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?

40 "And the King will say,

        'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,* you were doing it to me!'

41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say,

        'Away with you, you cursed ones,

        into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.

42 For I was hungry,

     and you didn't feed me.

I was thirsty,

     and you didn't give me a drink.

43 I was a stranger,

     and you didn't invite me into your home.

I was naked,

     and you didn't give me clothing.

I was sick and in prison,

     and you didn't visit me.'

44 "Then they will reply,

     'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry

     or thirsty

     or a stranger

     or naked

     or sick

     or in prison,

     and not help you?'

45 "And he will answer,

     'I tell you the truth,

     when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters,

     you were refusing to help me.'

46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment,

        but the righteous will go into eternal life."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

practical things

Paul, the apostle, is writing to his friend, Titus, giving Titus perspective on what our identity is as well as some practical for living a life as a Christ follower...

...sometimes, Paul wasn't all that warm & fuzzy

Titus 3

1 Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers.

     They should be obedient,

     always ready to do what is good.

2 They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling.

      Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

  3 Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient.

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

        Our lives were full of evil and envy,

        and we hated each other.

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

     5 he saved us,

     not because of the righteous things we had done,

     but because of his mercy.

He washed away our sins,

     giving us a new birth

     and new life through the Holy Spirit.

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

7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous

    and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

8 This is a trustworthy saying,

     and I want you to insist on these teachings

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

These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.

9 Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees

     or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws.

These things are useless and a waste of time.

10 If people are causing divisions among you,

     give a first and second warning.

After that, have nothing more to do with them.

11 For people like that have turned away from the truth,

        and their own sins condemn them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Matthew 23:11 The greatest among you must be a servant

12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled,

     & those who humble themselves will be exalted.

The more I read the Bible, the more I see our role as someone who serves.

Servants do what they are told.

They don't have a say so in what's going on.

The person they are following isn't "lucky to have them" - it is only in serving that a servants potential is released.

Servants may not be told the "why" of their acts of service, nor may they know the outcome of their servanthood.

Servants' actions fit into the "big picture" - their part in their service may be a big piece to the big picture or a small addition.

     The impact of their service is not the issue- Their obedience to the One they serve is.

Servants serve;

     they are not held up glorious examples of all that's good & pure in the world.

Their reason for being, their reward is their service, not tangible results, because sometimes at the time there are seemingly no results.

We in evangelical Christianity have in many ways have developed this success orientation toward servanthood;

     most of the prevailing opinions about serving nowadays is the exact opposite to the things I mentioned above.

I think we're in error.

I believe we need to rethink this servanthood thing.

I think we've imbued it too much with our middle class values.

Maybe we need to give it another look, in view of how the Bible characterizes serving.

Y'all I don't know where all that came from.

I just know that I started writing this morning, & that's where I ended up.

I hope it all made sense.

Monday, June 9, 2014

keeping on

These are the words of the apostle, Paul, in the last chapter of the last letter he sent to his adopted son, Timothy.

We don't know if Timothy made it to Rome in time to see Paul before Paul was executed.

But Paul's words not only hold true for Timothy, but for us,also.

2 Timothy 4

2 Preach the word of God.

Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not.

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

  3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching.

They will follow their own desires

     and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.

4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. (dan note: sounds like today?)

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

      Don't be afraid of suffering for the Lord.

Work at telling others the Good News.

     Complete the ministry God has given you.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

gettin' ahead

Many who are first now will be last then;

     & those who are last now will be first then.

     Matthew 20:16

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

     & whoever wants to be first must become your slave.

     Matthew 20:26b-27

If what Jesus said in these two verses is true, how then should we live?

Saturday, June 7, 2014


The people refused to enter the pleasant land,

     for they wouldn't believe His promise to care for them.

Psalm 106:24

This is just a short reference about the children of Israel who refused to enter the Promised Land.

Here's a short version of the their back story...

The Jews were slaves in Egypt.

God sent Moses to get the pharaoh to let them go.

Pharaoh said no.

God sent 7 plagues down on Egypt.

Finally, Pharaoh said they could go.

They left.

Pharaoh changed his mind & came after them with the whole Egyptian army.

The Jews were on the beach w/ the army coming & the Red Sea behind them.

God opened the Red Sea & they walk across on dry ground.

When the army came through the opening in the sea, God closed it back upon them & killed all of the army.

God protected the Jews as they traveled across the Sinai Peninsula.

They finally arrived at the border of Canaan, the Promised Land.

Moses sent in 12 spies to check things out.

The spies came back - 10 said it was impossible to take Canaan, 2 said they could do it; God would take care of them.

The Jews refused to go into Canaan because even after all those miracles, the Jews didn't believe God would take care of them.

So God got so angry at them, He made them wander in the Sinai Peninsula for 40 years, until everyone who had been alive was dead.

Then God led the Jews into Canaan & they took it from the Canaanites.

So after all that, after all those miracles,

     after all those plagues,

     after Pharaoh set them free from slavery, 

     after crossing the Red Sea on dry land & Pharaoh's army all were killed,

     after being protected as they journeyed across the Sinai Peninsula

   the Jews didn't think God would protect them as they took the Promised Land.

iow, after all that, they still didn't trust God.

And so, they all died in the Sinai Peninsula.

Their descendants got to go in.

Here's my thought...

How often are we just like the Jews?

God bails our butts out over & over again.

He miraculously makes things happen.

He comes through in the pinch each & every time.

But every time we're faced with a new challenge,

     a scary prospect,

     or something we KNOW we can't do on our own,

   we whine & pout, & don't think God's gonna take care of us, that He's not gonna come through for us.

But He always does.

Quite actually, we're no better than those Jews who said they weren't gonna go in there & fight those gajillion giant people, because, ultimately, they didn't think God would pull it out for them.

We're just like them.

We don't trust Him.

What are WE missing out on by not trusting Him fully?

Friday, June 6, 2014

what's up here?

I wonder what God is trying to say to me this morning?

Until the time came to fulfill His word,

     the Lord tested Joseph's character. Psalm 105:19

Where 2 or 3 gather together because they are mine,

     I am there among them. Matthew 18:20

Guard what God has entrusted to you. 1 Timothy 6:30

God has not given us a spirit of fear & timidity,

     but of power,


     & self-discipline. 2 Timothy 2:7

With the help of the Holy Spirit

     who lives within us,

     carefully guard what has been entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14

Thursday, June 5, 2014

good stuff

Paul is writing to his adopted son,Timothy. Chapter 6 is the last part of that letter.

There's some good stuff in here, especially stuff about people with a lot of "things" - people like you & me ;-)

1 Timothy 6

6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

     7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world,

     and we can't take anything with us when we leave it.

8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

  9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation

         and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires

         that plunge them into ruin and destruction.

10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God;

      so run from all these evil things.

      Pursue righteousness

      and a godly life,

      along with faith,



      and gentleness.

12 Fight the good fight for the true faith.

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

     which you have confessed so well before many witnesses.

13 And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate,

      14 that you obey this command without wavering.

Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.

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

16 He alone can never die,

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

      No human eye has ever seen him,

     nor ever will.

     All honor and power to him forever! Amen.

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

      which is so unreliable.

Their trust should be in God,

     who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

18 Tell them to use their money to do good.

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

     always being ready to share with others.

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

20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you.

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

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

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

just read it

Psalm 103

1 Let all that I am praise the LORD;

  with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.

2 Let all that I am praise the LORD;

  may I never forget the good things he does for me.

3 He forgives all my sins

  and heals all my diseases.

4 He redeems me from death

  and crowns me with love and tender mercies.

5 He fills my life with good things.

  My youth is renewed like the eagle's!

6 The LORD gives righteousness

  and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

7 He revealed his character to Moses

  and his deeds to the people of Israel.

8 The LORD is compassionate and merciful,

  slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

9 He will not constantly accuse us,

  nor remain angry forever.

10 He does not punish us for all our sins;

  he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.

11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him

  is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

12 He has removed our sins as far from us

  as the east is from the west.

13 The LORD is like a father to his children,

  tender and compassionate to those who fear him.

14 For he knows how weak we are;

  he remembers we are only dust.

15 Our days on earth are like grass;

  like wildflowers, we bloom and die.

16 The wind blows, and we are gone—

  as though we had never been here.

17 But the love of the LORD remains forever

  with those who fear him.

His salvation extends to the children's children

18   of those who are faithful to his covenant,

  of those who obey his commandments!

19 The LORD has made the heavens his throne;

  from there he rules over everything.

20 Praise the LORD, you angels,

  you mighty ones who carry out his plans,

  listening for each of his commands.

21 Yes, praise the LORD, you armies of angels

  who serve him and do his will!

22 Praise the LORD, everything he has created,

  everything in all his kingdom.

Let all that I am praise the LORD.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

young & old

This is Paul, the apostle, writing to his adopted son,Timothy, in Paul's first letter to Timothy, which is part of what we call the New Testament.

Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young.

Be an example to all believers in what you teach,

     in the way you live,

     in your love,

     your faith,

     & your purity.

Until I get there,

     focus on reading the Scriptures to the church

     encouraging the believers,

     & teaching them.

(1 Timothy 4:11-13)

Many of you who are reading this are young.

Many of you aren't.

For those of you who aren't, listen to people who are young.

They sometimes see things through fresh eyes, not encumbered by tradition, preconceived thoughts, or liabilities.

They have an energy & forward motion that is long gone in many of us who are older.

And let's all remember that true change seldom comes about unless embraced by the young.

For those of you who are young, cut those of us who are not young with a little slack.

We didn't get to where we are by accident.

We got there through sheer grit & an accumulation of experience.

And as hard as it is to imagine, we were once young, just like you.

You see things differently from us - sometimes that's very good.

Just remember Paul reminds Timothy, & at the same time, all of you who are young, that we need you to show us your life in Jesus

     through the things you think & believe,

     by the quality of your life,

     in the way you love us & everyone else,

     in how much faith you show in the God of the universes,

     & the purity of your day to day life with Jesus.

The young have much to teach those of us who are older.

And those of us who have been around the block have much to share with the young.

And we should try harder to see that, understand it, reach across generations to connect, because we need each other.

Monday, June 2, 2014

get out of the boat

Matthew 14:

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.

23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

Night fell while he was there alone.

  24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.

25 About three o'clock in the morning* Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified.

        In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!"

  27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!"

  28 Then Peter called to him, "Lord, if it's really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water."

  29 "Yes, come," Jesus said.

  So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.

30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.

        "Save me, Lord!" he shouted.

  31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith,"

        Jesus said. "Why did you doubt me?"

  32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

33 Then the disciples worshiped him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed.

Think about a few things here...

Before we judge Peter too harshly, remember that Peter was the only one who got out of the boat.

Yes, Peter got overwhelmed by his situation, but as soon as he took a hold of Jesus' hand, he was safe.

And he walked back to the boat with Jesus - iow, Peter walked on the water back to the boat, with Jesus.

I wonder what the other disciples said to Peter when he got back into the boat, soaking wet.

I wonder what they thought about Peter.

I wonder what they thought about Jesus.

I wonder if they wished they'd jumped out of the boat.

And I wonder what they thought about the whole thing.

In my life, one of the things I wish I'd done differently is that I wish I taken more risks, trusting Jesus to take care of me.

Sometimes the most astounding things will happen if we trust Jesus & "get out of the boat".

Sunday, June 1, 2014

a Sunday song

I read this psalm this morning. It seems appropriate to share on a Sunday.

Psalm 100

1 Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!

2   Worship the LORD with gladness.

  Come before him, singing with joy.

3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God!

  He made us, and we are his.

  We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

  go into his courts with praise.

  Give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good.

  His unfailing love continues forever,

  and his faithfulness continues to each generation.