Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 verses

These were the verses for 2015.

It was a year I took one day at a time – sometimes 1 hour at a time - & sometimes 1 minute at a time.

It was a year in which I let go of huge portions of my life – as in released them to God – not because I was all that spiritually mature (or holy!), but because I didn't have any other alternative that was viable.

I learned that being a senior adult is a full time job.

I also began to suspicion that God was doing stuff through me without my knowledge – iow, He was using me in ways I didn't see.

Life is all about serving – and sometimes that serving doesn't make a lick of sense.

I also realized that there no danger of me peeing holy water anytime soon.

And as it says in 1 Corinthians 13, I see through a glass darkly – sometimes it has been very difficult to see the big picture.

Our daughter, Hannah, became engaged to Lance, a guy we really, really like.

And I think I worry less today that I did a year ago.

I held on to some of these verses every day.

Some of them I didn't exercise fully.

Some of them kept me from losing my mind some days.

Many days this year I thought I'd go nuts – but God gave me enough strength to keep on moving forward.

Let me make one thing crystal clear – if the power of the Holy Spirit had not sustained me ever second of every day this year, I wouldn't be here today – I am NOTHING without His limitless support – nothing.

And tomorrow, I share with you the verses for 2016.

Don't worry about  anything;

     instead, pray about everything.

Tell God what you need,

     & thank Him for all He has done.

If you do this, you will experience God's peace,

     which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand.

His peace will guard your hearts & minds

     as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

You will keep on guiding me with Your counsel,

     leading me to a glorious destiny.

Whom have I in heaven but You?

I desire you more than anything on earth.

My health may fail,

    & my spirit may grow weak,

but God remains the strength of my heart,

He is mine forever.

Psalm 73:24-26

No matter what happens, always be thankful,

for this is God's will for those who follow Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

For 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 greatest desire is that you will keep right on loving others as long as life lasts,

     in order to make certain that what you hope for will continue.

Hebrews 6:10-11

With God's help, we will do mighty things,

for he will trample down our foes.

Psalm 108:13

And when you are old, I will still be there, carrying you.

        When your limbs grow tired, your eyes are weak,

    And your hair a silvery gray, I will carry you as I always have.
        I will carry you and save you.

Isaiah 46:4

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

3 things

This is Paul speaking in his second letter to the Christ followers in Corinth...

2 Corinthians 12

7b To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh,

a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.

9 Each time he said,

"My grace is all you need.

My power works best in weakness."

So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses,

so that the power of Christ can work through me.

10 That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses,

and in the insults,



and troubles that I suffer for Christ.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Think about these 3 things Paul says,

2 things he says the Lord spoke directly to him about,

1 thing Paul evidently surmises on his own...

The 2 things the Lord spoke directly to him?

"My grace is all you need.

My power works best in weakness."

And the 1 thing Paul surmises?

when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Think about how the reality in those 3 statements could impact our everyday lives.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

keep on

 Luke 11

9 "And so I (Jesus)tell you,

keep on asking,

and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking,

and you will find.

Keep on knocking,

and the door will be opened to you.

10 For everyone who asks,


Everyone who seeks,


And to everyone who knocks,

the door will be opened.

11 "You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead?

12 Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion?

Of course not!

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

how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

It was probably a year ago I was reading this passage when 2 words struck me as 2 important ones...

keep on”

God seemed to whisper to me to “keep on” - don't give up.

Jesus basically reminds us to keep moving forward, to not give up, for what we are moving toward will finally come to us.

How does that apply to us?

Each of us is moving toward something God has for us. Sometimes we don't know what that is, sometimes we do.

Jesus would seem to tell us here to keep moving forward with Him (& not look backwards). The destination may not be clear, the purpose may escape us, how we'll get there may not be evident.

But one thing is clear – Jesus will be with us as we “keep on”.

Is that interpretation of those few verses a bit of a stretch?

I hope not. It has helped me through this particular season.

Many of us may have a hard time connect with the concept of God as Father because our experience with our earthly fathers was not what it should be.

Louie Giglio preached a 3 part sermon series about God as a perfect father.

One of the many power statements he made was to those who don't have good father models.

Louie suggests that we think about what we would consider a perfect father to be like.

And then realize that God, who wants us to think of Him as our Father, is INFINITELY more a perfect Father than we can consider or conceive.

That was a REAL “ah ha” moment for me – maybe you too?

Monday, December 28, 2015

4 words

Luke 10

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question:

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

  26 Jesus replied, "What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?"

  27 The man answered,

"'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.'

And, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

  28 "Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you will live!"

It's all boiled down to just 4 words...

Love God, love others.

4 words...

I wonder what would happen if we started telling people that?

I wonder what would happen if we all started living like those were the two paramount mandates from God,

and laid aside all the trappings, expectations, & cultural traditions that we added as we've institutionalized our connection with God.

Think about this today...

Jesus in more than one place in the gospels indicates the essence of what it is all about...

Love God, love others.

Sunday, December 27, 2015


Luke 9

23 Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd,

"If any of you wants to be my follower,

you must turn from your selfish ways,

take up your cross daily,

and follow me.

24 If you try to hang on to your life,

you will lose it.

But if you give up your life for my sake,

you will save it.

25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?

Would it be safe to say that we really don't absorb what Jesus said in verse 25?

Because we seem to be on a headlong attempt to get as much as we can – we are such ridiculous consumers.

We seem to continue all through our lives on this quest for “more” ________________.

We can each fill in the blank as to what we each want “more” of.

And Jesus says here that the constant pursuit of “more” is fatal.

He says that meaning in life comes from letting go of “more” & accepting what He hands us.

2015 is winding down, 2016 lies ahead.

Perhaps it would be prudent as we approach a new year to open our hearts to what God says defines our lives & less to what we or the world says defines our lives through an unrelenting, unending search for “more” of the things that don't last.

(I hope all this made sense – sometimes I wonder if I express & explain what is going on inside my head.)

Saturday, December 26, 2015

the wise men

Matthew 2

1 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.

About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,

2 "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him."

  3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this,

as was everyone in Jerusalem.

4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked,

"Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?"
  5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they said, "for this is what the prophet wrote:

6 'And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
  are not least among the ruling cities* of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
  who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.' "

  7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared.

8 Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child.

And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!"

  9 After this interview the wise men went their way.

And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem.

It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.

10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!

11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.

Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

  12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route,

for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Luke 2

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.

9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them.

They were terrified,

10 but the angel reassured them.

"Don't be afraid!" he said.

"I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!

12 And you will recognize him by this sign:

You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

14 "Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased."

  15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other,

"Let's go to Bethlehem!

Let's see this thing that has happened,

which the Lord has told us about."

  16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph.

And there was the baby, lying in the manger.

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.

18 All who heard the shepherds' story were astonished,

19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.

20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.

It was just as the angel had told them.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

what if we lived like this?

I know of late I've done less editorial comment in this blog & let the scripture speak for itself.

I know that may seem strange, & maybe a bit tiresome or tedious.

But here's how I look at it – the Bible is the Word of God – iow, it is God speaking to us, both in general, & in specific.

It seems that it would be a better idea to let the God of the universes speak for Himself rather than have me (a mere mortal nano-speck in the cosmos) speak for Him! ;-)

Anyway, consider this POWERFUL words of Jesus – what would our world look like – the one close at hand as well as the one at a distance – if all we who claim to follow Jesus actually started living out His words that follow here?

(you'd better brace yourself ;-)

Luke 6

27 "But to you who are willing to listen, I say,

love your enemies!

Do good to those who hate you.

28 Bless those who curse you.

Pray for those who hurt you.

29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also.

If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.

30 Give to anyone who asks;

and when things are taken away from you, don't try to get them back.

31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

  32 "If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that?

Even sinners love those who love them!

33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit?

Even sinners do that much!

34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit?

Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

  35 "Love your enemies!

Do good to them.

Lend to them without expecting to be repaid.

Then your reward from heaven will be very great,

and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High,

for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.

36 You must be compassionate,

just as your Father is compassionate.

37 "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.

Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you.

Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.

38 Give, and you will receive.

Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.

The amount you give will determine the amount you get back."

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Luke 5

27 Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector's booth.

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

28 So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

  29 Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor.

Many of Levi's fellow tax collectors and other notorious sinners also ate with them.

30 But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus' disciples,

"Why do you eat and drink with such scum?*"

  31 Jesus answered them,

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

32 I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."

I've always found this passage very convicting.

How many times do we neglect to try to connect with the “sinners” all around us because we worry about what other people will think of us.

You know who I'm talking about – all of those tons of people we know who aren't connected to God through Jesus.

We're afraid people will think we're really like “them” & not “holy” like those who look down on us for hanging out with “sinners”.

But like I've said before in this blog, where would you & I be if the people who influenced either of us to follow Jesus had been too scared to connect with us because they were worried about what their friends would think about them out with sinners like us?

Think about that today...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Paul's faith

Paul makes a bold statement of faith, a faith that hold him together when things get rough.

Maybe if we could connect with the realities of faith that Paul talks about, perhaps we too would have something to hold on to when the troubles of life flood our lives.

2 Corinthians 4

6 For God, who said, "Let there be light in the darkness," has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
  7 We now have this light shining in our hearts,

but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.

This makes it clear that our great power is from God,

not from ourselves.

  8 We are pressed on every side by troubles,

but we are not crushed.

We are perplexed,

but not driven to despair.

9 We are hunted down,

but never abandoned by God.

We get knocked down,

but we are not destroyed.

10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

16 That is why we never give up.

Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.

17 For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.

Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!

18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now;

rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.

For the things we see now will soon be gone,

but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Monday, December 21, 2015

8 verses

Just 8 verses, but, oh what those 8 verses say...

Here's a link to a tremendous vid that goes along with those 8 verses...

Someone besides me needs to read these words really badly.

You can hold on to them – I have, am, & will – they can be trusted.

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.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

we stink

2 Corinthians 2

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.

16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.

But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

Remember the last time you were somewhere & you encountered someone with significant body odor?

Remember what you thought?

Remember what you felt?

And remember how strongly you wanted to get away from it & them?

I think these 2 verses may explain why some people may react to those of us who follow Jesus.

Of course, I doubt if they would quantify it like that.

They may explain it as a reaction to what they perceive as an odious attitude, a narrow viewpoint, or just pure craziness – or any number of other reactions.

And these are quite normal reactions because by letting God make us more & more like Jesus puts us at odds at the way the world operates or thinks.

Look what Jesus' behavior, thinking, & lifestyle got for Him...

      He was so repugnant they killed Him.

So as we move about our own little corner of the world, maybe we should do so with a little more gentleness...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

5 words

2 Corinthians 1

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.

When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

5 For the more we suffer for Christ,

the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

I've lived too long & seen too much.

I've come to understand that one of the greatest gifts we can give anyone is to say these 5 words to them...

I understand. I've been there.”

Most of the time, people don't want 10 cents worth of Bible verses.

They certainly don't need trite, hackneyed little sayings like:

Just let God & let God.”

God never closes a door unless He opens a window.”

God never gives us things we can't handle.”

(and my personal fav) “God is still on His throne.”

And they definitely don't need unasked for advice!

Most of the time, people just was us to be there, with them, listening to them, holding them up.

And if we can say truthfully “I've been there” because we really have, that's a extra special gift.

Just a thought...

Friday, December 18, 2015

a reminder


when life is overwhelming,

or doesn't go in the direction we preconceived it should go,

it might be a good idea to take a cue from Jeremiah, believed by many to be the author of the book of Lamentations.

He had seen the destruction of Jerusalem by the enemies of the Jews.

He had been imprisoned more than once,

had been treated pretty badly by his own people,

& was almost killed more than once.

And yet, he said in verse 21, “I still dare to hope when I remember this...”

Maybe some of us feel like we're the victims of our own discipleship.

Maybe, as Jeremiah did in the following passage, we should remind ourselves of what we know about God.

Lamentations 3:

22 The faithful love of the LORD never ends!
  His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
  his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, "The LORD is my inheritance;
  therefore, I will hope in him!"

25 The LORD is good to those who depend on him,

  to those who search for him.
26 So it is good to wait quietly
  for salvation from the LORD.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


1 Corinthians 15:58

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (NLT)

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose]. (Amplified)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. (ERV)

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)

And so brothers of mine, stand firm! Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord’s work. Be sure that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted. J B Phillips)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (The Message)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. (The Voice)

No matter how it's translated, or by whom, it always comes out the same...

Nothing we ever do for the Lord is useless.

Think about that today as you move about your life, connecting with people, & with Him.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Jeremiah 17

7 "But blessed are those who trust in the LORD
  and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
  with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
  or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
  and they never stop producing delicious fruit.

It's all about trust.

And whenever trust is mentioned in the Bible,

       the promises for it & the results of it are always positive.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


This passage is considered the most towering statement about love – real love.

Paul wrote it to the Christ followers in Corinth in his first letter to them.

Read it slowly.

There is A LOT of stuff in these 13 verses.

Read it slowly...

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels,
but didn't love others,
I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I had the gift of prophecy,
and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge,
and if I had such faith that I could move mountains,
but didn't love others,
I would be nothing.

3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;
but if I didn't love others,
I would have gained nothing.

  4 Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous
or boastful
or proud
5 or rude.
It does not demand its own way.
It is not irritable,
and it keeps no record of being wronged.
6 It does not rejoice about injustice
but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.
7 Love never gives up,
never loses faith,
is always hopeful,
and endures through every circumstance.

  8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.
But love will last forever!
9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete,
and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!
10 But when the time of perfection comes,
these partial things will become useless.  

11 When I was a child,
I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.
But when I grew up,
I put away childish things.
12 Now we see things imperfectly,
like puzzling reflections in a mirror,
but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.
All that I know now is partial and incomplete,
but then I will know everything completely,
just as God now knows me completely.

  13 Three things will last forever:
and love
and the greatest of these is love.