Sunday, August 31, 2014


Lead me in the right path, O Lord,

     or my enemies will conquer me.

Tell me clearly what to do,

     & show me which way to turn.

Psalm 5:8

For this to happen, we've got to trust Him.

And to trust Him enough that He can lead & guide us, we've got to let go of control of our lives.

How many of us are REALLY willing to do that?

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Matthew 14

 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.

 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.

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

I wonder what the disciples said to Peter when he got back in the boat?

If you had been there, what would YOU have said to Peter when he got back in the boat?

But before we judge Peter too harshly...

     How many of us have "jumped out of the boat"...

     ...iow, done something incredibly daring or way out of the ordinary simply because we believe Jesus guided us to...

     ...& we get really, REALLY scared once we're in the middle of our huge step of faith?

Friday, August 29, 2014


You, O Lord, are a shield around me,

     my glory,

     & the One who lift my head high.


here's the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir singing this psalm.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

our assignment

"My life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus...

     ...the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness & love."

Acts 21:24

This was spoken by Paul, the apostle, right before he left for Jerusalem where he would finally be arrested & spend years in prison.

I think Paul speaks to the universality of a calling we all have - to share w/ those around us about "God's wonderful kindness & love."

Iow, the way Jesus made for us to connect to God.

I have heard this verse used to get people to "go to deepest, darkest Africa" (or wherever) as missionaries.

And I suppose for some that would be God's desired expression of their servanthood.

The thing is, we all are to be "missionaries", no matter where we are or what we're doing.

In short, we are to live our lives loving God & loving people.

And that can be in Blairsville, Bogota, Bombay, or Beijing.

That can be as a missionary, a nurse, a retail worker, a HVAC installer, a teacher, a retired person, or whatever.

Because it's not what we do as a job or where we live that are the operative constraints.

No matter where we are, or where we're working, each of us has the same mandate - to share the scandal of grace we can experience connecting to God because of Jesus.

And before anyone thinks otherwise, think about the people who have had the most influence on you & me to become Christ followers...

Weren't they for the most part just ordinary people who loved God & love people?

And do we think that those who were the greatest influencers in our lives have a clue they were?

Probably not, unless we've told them.

We run into people all around us all day, every day, that need us to let God channel His love through us to them.

This is NOT Bible banging, hardcore witnessing.

This is the natural sharing with people through normal conversation & contact the love of Jesus.

It's like if we go to a good movie, or eat at a great restaurant, & find a really effect way to get cat yark off the carpet...

We naturally tell others about it - it's not something we decide to do - it's just something that naturally flows because of our experience with it.

It's something we want to share with anyone because it's meant something to us, & we know it can mean something to the person we're talking to...

     ...or at least we hope it would.

That's the kind of sharing I'm talking about should be our aim in sharing what we've experienced as a Christ follower.

(Is any of this making any sense?)

Anyway, think about this.

Let what you've experienced as a Christ follower just come out - don't filter it.

And ask God to somehow channel the love He has for all of us through us to the people we have contact with each day.

And one more thing...

Before any of us say we can't do this, think about this...

     ...what if the people who influenced us the most to follow Jesus had been afraid to, or didn't think they do a good job of it, or any number of neurotic reasons, & hadn't connected with us about Him?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Then Jesus said,

     “Come to me,

        all of you who are weary

        and carry heavy burdens,

     and I will give you rest.

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.

For my yoke is easy to bear,

     and the burden I give you is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30)

How many of us are just worn out?

     maybe with a situation in our lives?

     maybe with someone in our lives?

     or maybe with the pace of our lives?

     or perhaps the whole entirety of our lives?

How many of us are carry all kinds of stuff around inside us?


     unresolved issues?



     abuses - inflicted, or self-inflicted?


     scary pasts?

     scary presents?

     scary futures?

How many of us, as Thoreau said in "Walden", live "lives of quiet desperation"?

No matter what load we carry today, Jesus says 3 words...

"Come to Me..."

Absorb that... Jesus says "come to Me".

     No disclaimers,

     no "get your act together"

     no "clean your life up & then come"

 no nuthin'



And why should we come?

Jesus says He'll give us what we long for the most...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


If you cling to your life,

     you will lose it;

but if you give it up for me,

     you will find it.

Matthew 10:39

This makes sense.

If we hold tightly to our lives & never let God have any control over them, the very kind of life we hope we find & have will never come about.

(Did that sentence make sense?)

But if we let go of the control of our lives, then God is able to fully express the life He dreamed up for us a gajillion years ago when He dreamed us up.

Sometimes that looks like the lives we thought we'd have, & sometimes we wonder.

I still sometimes have a success orientation when it comes to what a life of servanthood should look like for super Christians like me (LOL!!!)

But the bottom line here is that if I surrender my life to God to do with as He pleases & as He leads, then He does.

And often times, it doesn't turn out to look like the glittering ministry we thought it would be or maybe used to have.

Sometimes it's just being & doing what we feel Him leading us to be & do.

I woke up this morning thinking about my life.

A lot of the time, if our lives aren't glittering, exciting, glamorous, & filled with short term fulfillment or quick results, we think we're on the shelf, or that God is done with us.

And then, it was like God dropped this thought into my head, or whispered it to me in a still small voice...

"Paul, the apostle, wrote a chunk of his letters that ended up being in the New Testament while in prison."

I googled it.

He wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, & Philemon while in prison.

The first 3 are short letters - 4 or 6 chapters - but they are fat with incredible truth.

And Paul mentions how the men who were guarding him & others around him were coming to believe in Jesus.


think about that today...

I know I am...

Monday, August 25, 2014

reaching out

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.

 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."

 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 intentionally seek out people who do not have a relationship with God through Jesus?

Or do we keep away from people like that?

Are most of the people we connect with Christ followers, or are they people who don't claim or seem to want anything to do with Him?

Are we afraid to be around people who don't follow Him?

Are we afraid people will think we are non-believers?

Or do we just not care?

And where would you & I be today if the people who were most influential in us choosing to follow Jesus had the same attitude toward non-believers as we do?

Matthew 9:35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom.

And he healed every kind of disease and illness.

36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless,

     like sheep without a shepherd.

37 He said to his disciples,

     "The harvest is great,

      but the workers are few.

 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest;

        ask him to send more workers into his fields."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

depending on the emphasis...

Ephesians 3:20 By His mighty power at work within us, (God) is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

BY HIS MIGHTY POWER at work within us, (God) is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

By His mighty power at work within us, (God) is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ASK OR HOPE.

By His mighty power at work within us, (God) is able to accomplish INFINITELY MORE than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

By His mighty power at work within us, (GOD) is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

By His mighty power AT WORK WITHIN US, (God) is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

By His mighty power at work within us, (God) is ABLE to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.

By His mighty power at work within us, (God) is able to accomplish infinitely more THAN WE WOULD EVER DARE to ask or hope.

It's interesting what truth comes through in this verse depending on what our mind emphasizes...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

keep on

These 4 verses were for me this morning.

Sometimes quit looks good.

But the operative words in these 4 verses for me are "keep on..."

Maybe for you, too?

Maybe sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other is all that's required?

Maybe just remaining faithful 1 more day is enough sometimes?

Maybe just keeping on without knowing why is our highest act of obedience?

Maybe we should just trust Him with our very selves, who we are, & what we're do?

Btw, this is Jesus speaking here...

Matthew 7

 "Keep on asking,

     and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking,

     and you will find.

Keep on knocking,

     and the door will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks,


Everyone who seeks,


And to everyone who knocks,

     the door will be opened.

  9 "You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread,

     do you give them a stone instead?

10 Or if they ask for a fish,

     do you give them a snake?

Of course not!

11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children,

     how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.

Friday, August 22, 2014

don't worry about your life

If you've ever read these verses before, forget that you have - today they are brand new.

Now then, don't read them with all the portent that we have when we read something from the Bible.

Instead, pretend you're sitting somewhere with Jesus.

(C'mon... work with me here!)

Imagine you're sitting quietly somewhere with Jesus, & He turns to you and says this to you

How are you gonna think about your life & all those things you worry about?

I worry about some things these days - given the state of our world right now, I think we'd have to be dead from the neck up to not worry.

This morning as I came to read, I was fretting about some things.

And then I read this section in Matthew 6 - it was the chapter I was slated to read this morning in my sequential reading of Matthew.

Interesting I would read it this morning as I was fretting - hmmmmmm.....

My mischievous nephew, Aaron Barth, said something very profound to me back in January of 2008.

He'd been studying chapter 5, 6, & 7 at that time, & he said this to me...

"ya know, you don't have to read that who section - it's all summed up in what Jesus says at the beginning...

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

I can't tell you the countless times over these succeeding 6 years God has whispered to me those 5 words.

Something tells me He's gonna keep whispering those words to me for a long time.

Ok, we're imagining we've never heard this before, that we're sitting quietly with Jesus, & He turns to us & says...

...don't worry about your 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?

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?

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

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,

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

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?

So don't worry about these things,


     'What will we eat?

     What will we drink?

     What will we wear?'

These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,

     but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,

     and live righteously,

     and He will give you everything you need.

So don't worry about tomorrow,

     for tomorrow will bring its own worries.

     Today's trouble is enough for today.

(Matthew 6:25-34 NLT)

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Matthew 5, 6, & 7 are what is mostly known as the Sermon on the Mount.

It's Jesus speaking to a large crowd.

In it Jesus outlines a LOT of major ideas, ideas that at the time were astoundingly radical.

I think they still are ;-)

Try reading through those 3 chapters slowly because they are fat with ideas, concepts that are major pillars of our thinking.

Here's the last few verses of chapter 5 with concepts that are just as radical today as they were 2000 yrs ago.

Matthew 5

 "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.

What would our lives & world be like if we did this?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Proverbs 25:21-22

If your enemies are hungry,

     give them food to eat.

If they are thirsty,

     give them water to drink.

You will heap burning coals on their heads,

     & the Lord will reward you (NLT)

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy him lunch;

    if he’s thirsty, bring him a drink.

Your generosity will surprise him with goodness,

    and God will look after you. (The Message)

If your enemies are hungry,

     give them something to eat.

If they are thirsty,

     give them some water.

This will make them feel the burning pain of shame,

     and the Lord will reward you for being good to them. (ERV)

If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat;

    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink,

For your kind treatment will be like heaping hot coals on his head,

    it may cause a change in heart,

    and the Eternal will repay you. (The Voice)

I wonder what our world would be like if we did this... our personal lives, where we live, where we work, our city, our state, our country, our world?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Here's the context for one of the other verses for 2014 - verses 12 & 13 are the key verses I feel like God gave me for 2014.

Hebrews 12

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

     let us strip off every weight that slows us down,

        especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

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

2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,

      the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

Because of the joy awaiting him,

     he endured the cross,

     disregarding its shame.

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

3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;

     then you won't become weary and give up.

 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

  5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children?

He said,

"My child, don't make light of the LORD's discipline,

     and don't give up when he corrects you.

 For the LORD disciplines those he loves,

      and he punishes each one he accepts as his child."

7 As you endure this divine discipline,

        remember that God is treating you as his own children.

Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father?

8 If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children,

     it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.

9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us,

     shouldn't we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits,

     and live forever?

10 For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years,

     doing the best they knew how.

But God's discipline is always good for us,

     so that we might share in his holiness.

11 No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful!

But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands

     and stand firm on your shakey legs.

 Mark out a straight path for your feet.

     Then those who follow you,

          though they be weak & lame,

      will not stumble & fall

      but will become strong.

Monday, August 18, 2014

it's all about trust

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.

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

Either we believe what He says, or we don't.

Either we trust to follow where He seems to lead, or we don't.

We either trust Him to take care of the mundane things of our life, or we don't.

We either trust Him with the BIG, earthshaking, hard to understand, hard to handle, awful, extraordinary, out of no where, boy-I-didn't-see-that-one-coming things in our lives, or we don't.

Btw, don't ask God to help you trust Him more - He'll send you things, people, & situations that will scare you & trusting Him will be just one more BIG step of faith.

It's kinda like praying for patience - God will send crazy people into your life!

So the question is a simple one for each of us as we pass through today & face whatever comes across our paths....

     do we trust Him, or not?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

no matter how we translate it

Proverbs 22:22-23

Don’t rob the poor just because you can,

    or exploit the needy in court.

For the Lord is their defender.

    He will ruin anyone who ruins them. (NLT)

Do not exploit the poor because they are poor

    and do not crush the needy in court,

for the Lord will take up their case

    and will exact life for life. (NIV)

Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,

    or crush the afflicted at the gate,
for the Lord will plead their cause
    and rob of life those who rob them. (ESV)

It is easy to steal from the poor,

     but don’t do it.

And don’t take advantage of them in court.

The Lord is on their side.

     He supports the poor,

     and he will take from those who take from them. (ERV)

Do not cheat poor people just because they are vulnerable

    or use shady tactics in court to crush those already suffering;

For the Eternal is ready to take their case,

    and He ruins anyone who is out to ruin them.
(The Voice)

Don’t walk on the poor just because they’re poor,

    and don’t use your position to crush the weak,

Because God will come to their defense;

    the life you took, he’ll take from you and give back to them.
(The Message)

No matter how we translate it or paraphrase it, it always comes out the same...

We don't need to abuse, use, or neglect the poor.

Because if we do, bad things will happen to us.

In view of our present thinking about the poor in this country, we in for a serious butt kickin'

Saturday, August 16, 2014

choice verses

Here's some good stuff I read this morning from the 21st chapter of Proverbs...

Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need. (vs 13)

These days it seems much of the current thinking of sections of our demographic is taken from the writings of Ayn Rand & her socially acceptable selfishness. This has engendered an increasingly unsympathetic & judgemental attitude attitude toward the poor.

The writer of Proverbs didn't quantify "the poor" when he wrote it so it would fit into our current thinking. He simply said what he said.

Whoever pursues godliness & unfailing love will find life, godliness, & honor. (vs 21)

How many people do we know who are really trying to be godly & loving? (How many of us are really trying?!)

If you keep your mouth shut, you will stay out of trouble. (vs 23)

Well.. there you have it...


Human plans, no matter how wise or well advised, cannot stand against the Lord. (vs 30)

Iow, I guess we don't need to feel so ever lovin' omnipotent.

The horses are prepared for battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. (vs 31)

You get what that means, don't ya?

Friday, August 15, 2014

words of wisdom

I realize that not everyone has read the book of Proverbs.

I'm embarrassed to say how old I was before I read all 31 chapters.

If you haven't. read a chapter a day for a month - it'll change you perspective on a lot of things.

Here's selected verses from chapter 20, the chapter I read this morning.

This can give you a pretty good idea what the book is like.

Proverbs 20

1 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.
  Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
  only fools insist on quarreling.

4 Those too lazy to plow in the right season
  will have no food at the harvest.

5 Though good advice lies deep within the heart,
  a person with understanding will draw it out.

6 Many will say they are loyal friends,
  but who can find one who is truly reliable?

7 The godly walk with integrity;
  blessed are their children who follow them.

9 Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart;
  I am pure and free from sin"?

10 False weights and unequal measures —
  the LORD detests double standards of every kind.

11 Even children are known by the way they act,
  whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.

12 Ears to hear and eyes to see —
  both are gifts from the LORD.

13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty.
  Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!

15 Wise words are more valuable
  than much gold and many rubies.

17 Stolen bread tastes sweet,
  but it turns to gravel in the mouth.

18 Plans succeed through good counsel;
  don't go to war without wise advice.

19 A gossip goes around telling secrets,
  so don't hang around with chatterers.

20 If you insult your father or mother,
  your light will be snuffed out in total darkness.

21 An inheritance obtained too early in life
  is not a blessing in the end.

22 Don't say, "I will get even for this wrong."
  Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.

23 The LORD detests double standards;
  he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

24 The LORD directs our steps,
  so why try to understand everything along the way?

25 Don't trap yourself by making a rash promise to God
  and only later counting the cost.

27 The LORD's light penetrates the human spirit,
  exposing every hidden motive.

29 The glory of the young is their strength;
  the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail. Proverbs 19:21

You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose WILL prevail.

YOU can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

You can make MANY plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

You CAN make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

You can make many plans, BUT the Lord's purpose will prevail.

You can make many PLANS, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

You can make many plans, but the Lord's PURPOSE will prevail.

You can MAKE many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail.

You can make many plans, but THE LORD'S purpose will prevail.

You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will PREVAIL.

It's all about how you look at it....

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

holding on

These are the verses I feel like God has given me to hold on to during 2014.

I am...

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, August 12, 2014

He was thinking of us, too

On the night before Jesus was killed, He prayed for you & me...

John 17:20 "I am praying not only for these disciples

     but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.

21 I pray that they will all be one,

        just as you and I are one;

        as you are in me, Father,

        and I am in you.

And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

Monday, August 11, 2014

some stuff I read this a.m.

Proverbs 16

 Commit your work to the Lord,

     & then your plans will succeed.

9 We can make our plans,

     but the Lord determines our steps.

33 We may throw the dice

        but the Lord determines how they fall.

I may think I'm in charge, but I think these verses poke some major holes in that thinking for me, & you too.


Proverbs 16:25 There is a path before each person that seems right,

     but it ends in death.

There's a lot of thinking that seems to be built primarily on our perceptions - iow, "our own truth".

Truth that goes completely against what is plainly spoken about in the Bible.

Unfortunately, more & more the Bible isn't considered the basis of our thinking, the moral center for our lives.

Once we decide that the Bible isn't our compass, we descend down a slippery slope to all kinds of thinking.

To be fair, if the Bible is discounted, then the basic thinking many have which is based on "other truth" lines up consistently with that different "truth".

So it's easy to understand why many are convinced, & sometimes rather militant, about what they see as truth & how that should apply to all our lives.

But there seems to be less & less tolerance for those who make the truths expressed in the Bible their moral center.

But then, hasn't that been fairly truth throughout history?


Here on earth you will have many trials & sorrows.

     But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

John 16:33b

I wish someone would text or tweet me this every day.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

chock full

This is Jesus, the night before he was killed, talking to his disciples.

I would think that this is some of the most important, last minute stuff Jesus wanted them to remember.

It would be fluffy stuff, but stuff He'd want them to carry with them into the future.

There 17 verses are fat with important stuff.

There's some verses in it that speak directly to me, I think.

I hope there's some stuff that speaks to you, too.

Go to church today - be with God's people & worship together.

John 15

1 "I am the true grapevine,

      and my Father is the gardener.

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

     and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit

        so they will produce even more.

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

4 Remain in me,

     and I will remain in you.

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

     and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 "Yes, I am the vine;

      you are the branches.

Those who remain in me,

        and I in them,

     will produce much fruit.

For apart from me you can do nothing.

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

Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.

7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you,

     you may ask for anything you want,

     and it will be granted!

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

     This brings great glory to my Father.

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

     Remain in my love.

10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love,

        just as I obey my Father's commandments and remain in his love.

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

        Yes, your joy will overflow!

12 This is my commandment:

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

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

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

15 I no longer call you slaves,

        because a master doesn't confide in his slaves.

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

16 You didn't choose me.

        I chose you.

        I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit,

        so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for,

           using my name.

17 This is my command:

        Love each other.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Right off the bat  in verse 2 Jesus says we're gonna live with Him.

So, I guess verse 6 poke a whole in the thinking that all different religions are the same, leading to God?

And what does Jesus mean in verse 12 by we will do greater works than He did?

John 14

 "Don't let your hearts be troubled.

       Trust in God,

       and trust also in me.

 There is more than enough room in my Father's home.

If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you,

     so that you will always be with me where I am.

 And you know the way to where I am going."

  5 "No, we don't know, Lord," Thomas said. "We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?"

  6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is.

From now on, you do know him and have seen him!"

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

  9 Jesus replied, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don't know who I am?

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!

So why are you asking me to show him to you?

10 Don't you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.

11 Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.

Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. 

12 "I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works,

        because I am going to be with the Father.

13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it,

        so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

        14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!

Friday, August 8, 2014

what we should be known for

John 13

34 So now I am giving you a new commandment:

     Love each other.

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

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

In the '60's & early '70's there was a song that was wildly popular, - "They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love" - the lyrics are below.

I would hardly think that people today would equate the word "Christian" in the same breath as the word "love"

In a day when so many have bought into the teachings of Ayne Rand & her socially acceptable selfishness, loving in not a world closely associate with Christians.

In a world where much effort is spent by Christians condemning, relegating others to the fires of hell, &/or putting forth an ideology that champions paternalism & denigrates women, love is not a word used to identify Christians.

And as more & more consternation & intolerance is expressed by some Christians toward those who are poor, sick, homeless, in jail, or whatever some vocal Christians deem as lower life forms, love is seen as in short supply with Christians by more & more of the rest of the world.

Jesus said these two verses to his disciples on the night before He died. I hardly think they were casual words.

Who speaks casually the night before they know they will die?

And Jesus unequivocally says that "your love will prove to the world that you are my disciples"

Iow, when the world thinks of people who follow Jesus, they are supposed to think "those people are SO loving & caring".


I think we've missed the mark...

"They'll Know We Are Christians by Our Love" Peter Scholtes, copyright 1968

We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah they'll know we are Christians by our love

We will work with each other, we will work side by side
We will work with each other, we will work side by side
And we'll guard each man's dignity and save each man's pride
And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
Yeah, they'll know we are Christians by our love.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

let it go

John 12

 Those who love their life in this world will lose it.

Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.

 Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me,

        because my servants must be where I am.

And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

My friend, Beth White, says something that I'm not sure is original with her, but is still the truth.

She often says, "Salvation is free - following Jesus costs you everything."

If we continue to grasp our lives in our tight little hands, any kind of really good life will be destroyed by us holding on to it & demand control of it.

But I've lived long enough & seen enough to know that if we loosen our grip on our lives & the control thereof, God is able to then implement the life He dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.

But how many of us trust Him enough to let Him take control of our lives?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


John 11:25-26a

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life.

Anyone who believes in me will live,

     even after dying.

Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.” (NLT)

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.

He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 

And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. (NKJV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection. I am life.

Everyone who believes in me will have life,

     even if they die.

And everyone who lives and believes in me will never really die.

“You don’t have to wait for the End.

    I am, right now, Resurrection and Life.

The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live.

And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. (The Message)

No matter how we translate it or paraphrase it, it says the same thing....

If we follow Jesus, we're gonna live forever.

Forever is a very, VERY long time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


John 10:10

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (NLT)

A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. (The Message)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (NIV)

A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. But I came to give life—life that is full and good. (ERV)

The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance. (The Voice)

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). (Amplified)

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (NKJV)

This is Jesus talking here.

The thief is the devil.

Abundant (or it's derivatives) can be define thusly:

1. present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient: an abundant supply of water.
2. well supplied; abounding: a river abundant in salmon.
3. richly supplied: an abundant land.

So the life we allow ourselves to have w/o Jesus, influenced by "the world" which is polluted with the devil, his demons, & sin, is something of a dead end.

But a life surrendered in following Jesus brings what?

     life of great quantity?

     life that is more than adequate?

     life that is oversufficient?

     life that is well supplied?

     life that is abounding?

     life that is richly supplied?

Jesus didn't just speak to the people present. He knew that His words would be written down & shared forever.

He also knew that on August 5, 2014 the word "abundant" would be defined as it is above.

He knew.

He wanted us to know that following Him would bring us a life beyond what they could imagine then, or we can imagine now.

But it takes giving that life to Him.

It takes obeying Him.

But He most definitely says, & promises, that His coming to earth brings life over & above anything we can model today.

But it takes surrendering our lives to Him.

Think about it....

Monday, August 4, 2014


"All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent Me..."

     Jesus in John 9:4a

That's all I got this morning...

Jesus seems to indicate here that each of us has certain things to be & do during our short lives...

     things that God has ordained for us to be & do...

     pieces of the puzzle that only we can be...

So,I guess no matter what we or others may think about us, God has given us something to be & do that only we each can be or do.

Think about that today....

Sunday, August 3, 2014

what we'll have

"You truly are my disciples

     if you keep on obeying me teachings.

And you will know the truth,

     & the truth will set you free."

Jesus speaking in John 8:31b-32

Jesus didn't say...

     you are my disciples if you go as a missionary to deepest darkest Africa,

     or if you dress a certain way,

     or if you affiliate yourself to certain political thinking,

     or if you don't drink, smoke, take illegal drugs, or date someone who does,

     or if you home school your children,

     or if you espouse any of the other claptrap cultural predilections that some Christians attach to be one simple as a indicator of their own personal peccadillo.

He said that obeying Him was what defined whether we are His disciples

And He didn't say...

     we shall have the American Dream, & it will set us free,

     or that we shall be successful in all we do,

     or that we will never have any trouble in our life,

     or that our children will grow up to be a cross between Saint Teresa & Bill Gates,

     or that we'll have everything we want,

     or that we'll never be sick,

     or that life will always be fair,

     or we'll be beautiful, slender, w/ 2% body fat, & speak French,

     or anything else we've assigned to the Christian life that we think is a clear, bell-ringing indicator.

He said we will have the truth.

So much of what we assign to the Christian life is Christian - it's cultural, or something we or our friends & ancestors dreamed up.

The longer I live, the more it seems that follow Jesus boils down to just a few things...

     allowing God to so invade the secret places of my life that He's able to get the old sinful me to die so the real me He created can come out,

     and thereby bringing me to the point where I can love Him, & love His people.

If we seek Him, to know Him, & to be known by Him, all the rest of our lives will come into line with His.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me & drink.

For the scriptures declare that rivers of living water will flow from the heart of those who believe in Me.

(When He said “living water,” He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him.

(But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

John 7:37-39

All around me are thirsty people.

They thirst for a lot of things.

















...just to name a few...

Jesus basically says here that if we believe in Him, the Holy Spirit is so strong within us that He will spill out of us like a river.

How does that happen?

The Holy Spirit is the powerhouse of God.

And He imbues us through His power to be & have all those things I mentioned above, & so much more.

For His power is limitless.

Am I reading these verses right?

Am I reading too much into this?

Friday, August 1, 2014

the feeding miracle

This incident in Jesus' life has fascinated me.

It's recorded in all 4 of the gospels - Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, John 6.

Read it carefully & tell me what you get out of it, what you see.

John 6:1 After this, Jesus crossed over to the far side of the Sea of Galilee,

     also known as the Sea of Tiberias.

 A huge crowd kept following him wherever he went,

     because they saw his miraculous signs as he healed the sick.
3 Then Jesus climbed a hill and sat down with his disciples around him.

 (It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration.)
5 Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him.

Turning to Philip, he asked,

     "Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?"

6 He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do.

7 Philip replied, "Even if we worked for months, we wouldn't have enough money to feed them!"

8 Then Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up.
     9 "There's a young boy here with five barley loaves and two fish.

     But what good is that with this huge crowd?"
10 "Tell everyone to sit down," Jesus said.

So they all sat down on the grassy slopes.

(The men alone numbered about 5,000.)

 Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks to God, and distributed them to the people.

Afterward he did the same with the fish.

And they all ate as much as they wanted.

 After everyone was full, Jesus told his disciples,

      "Now gather the leftovers, so that nothing is wasted."

 So they picked up the pieces and filled twelve baskets with scraps left by the people who had eaten from the five barley loaves.