Tuesday, March 31, 2015

a chunk of stuff

Here's what stood out in 3 of the 4 chapters I read in this Bible this morning.

Some mornings there's not as much as there are this morning, & some times there's more.

One of my sons preached a sermon this past Sunday about knowing how & when God speaks to us.

I don't have a problem knowing how & when - haven't since January of 2003.

God speaks to me all the time - I read the Bible every day, w/o fail.

I'm not trying to be prideful or arrogant - I'm just stating a fact.

I don't have much of a problem getting God to speak to me - good grief! sometimes I almost want Him to shut up!!! ;-) LOL

And the same thing will happen to anyone else - yes, that means you!

If you read the Bible everyday, w/o fail, God will speak to you - no, God will mess with you!

And He will mess with you in the very areas of your life you don't want Him to mess with!

Anyway, here's a bunch of stuff that stood out today...

Psalm 37

 Don't worry about the wicked

  or envy those who do wrong.

 For like grass, they soon fade away.

  Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good.

  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

 Take delight in the LORD,

  and he will give you your heart's desires.

5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.

  Trust him, and he will help you.

 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,

  and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

7a Be still in the presence of the LORD,

  and wait patiently for him to act.

8b Do not lose your temper—

  it only leads to harm.

12 The wicked plot against the godly;

  they snarl at them in defiance.

 But the Lord just laughs,

  for he sees their day of judgment coming.

16 It is better to be godly and have little

  than to be evil and rich.

23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.

  He delights in every detail of their lives.

 Though they stumble, they will never fall,

  for the LORD holds them by the hand.

25a Once I was young, and now I am old.

  Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned

34a Don't be impatient for the Lord to act!

  Travel steadily along his path.

He will honor you by giving you the land.

35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people

  flourishing like a tree in its native soil.

 But when I looked again, they were gone!

  Though I searched for them, I could not find them!

39 The LORD rescues the godly;

  he is their fortress in times of trouble.

 The LORD helps them,

  rescuing them from the wicked.

He saves them,

  and they find shelter in him.


Luke 5

 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.

 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 guests also ate with them.

 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.

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

     but those who know they are sinners and need to repent."

(How many of us would be willing to hang with non-believers to the point our Christian friends wondered why we were hanging with  "such scum"?)


2 Corinthians 6

 God is ready to help you right now.

3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us,

     & no one will find fault with our ministry.

 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God.

We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
5 We have been beaten,

     been put in prison,

     faced angry mobs,

    worked to exhaustion,

     endured sleepless nights,

    and gone without food.
6 We prove ourselves by our purity,

     our understanding,

     our patience,

     our kindness,

     by the Holy Spirit within us,

     and by our sincere love.
7 We faithfully preach the truth.

God's power is working in us.

We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.

 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us,

     whether they slander us or praise us.

We are honest,

     but they call us impostors.

 We are ignored,

     even though we are well known.

We live close to death,

     but we are still alive.

We have been beaten,

     but we have not been killed.

 Our hearts ache,

     but we always have joy.

We are poor,

     but we give spiritual riches to others.

We own nothing,

     and yet we have everything.

(How many of us prissy & precious "American Dream" Christians would live a life like Paul? Not many, I would guess.)

(Paul wrote 2 Corinthians to the Christ followers in Corinth. He didn't live a Club Med existence as a Christ follower or as a minister...

     ...neither did he ask people he'd been instrumental in converting to provide him with a $65 million jet plane! ;-) LOL)

18 I will be your Father,

     & you will be my sons & daughters,

     says the Lord Almighty

(Paul was quoting in the verse from 2 Samuel 7:14 - yes, he'd read the Old Testament! ;-) LOL)

Monday, March 30, 2015

a chunk of stuff

There's just so much in this chapter.

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

There's 2 sections - read them both slowly.

I don't use a whole chapter very often.

I just felt like there were people who might need just the 1st section,

     others who might need only the 2nd,

     while maybe others who might need to read both.

2 Corinthians 5

 For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down

        (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body),

     we will have a house in heaven,

     an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.

2 We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing.

3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.

4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh,

     but it's not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us.

Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.

5 God himself has prepared us for this,

     and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.

6 So we are always confident,

     even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord.

7 For we live by believing and not by seeing.

8 Yes, we are fully confident,

     and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies,

     for then we will be at home with the Lord.

9 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body,

     our goal is to please him.

 For we must all stand before Christ to be judged.

We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.

11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord,

        we work hard to persuade others.

God knows we are sincere, and I hope you know this, too.

12 Are we commending ourselves to you again?

No, we are giving you a reason to be proud of us,

     so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart.

13 If it seems we are crazy,

        it is to bring glory to God.

And if we are in our right minds,

     it is for your benefit.

14 Either way, Christ's love controls us.

Since we believe that Christ died for all,

     we also believe that we have all died to our old life.

15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.

Instead, they will live for Christ,

     who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view.

At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view.

How differently we know him now!

17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.

The old life is gone;

a new life has begun!

18 And all of this is a gift from God,

      who brought us back to himself through Christ.

And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.

19 For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them.

And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.

20 So we are Christ's ambassadors;

God is making his appeal through us.

We speak for Christ when we plead,

     "Come back to God!"

 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin,

        so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Sunday, March 29, 2015


These are some verses that stood out this morning in 1 Corinthians 4.

The apostle, Paul, did not live a Club Med existence,

     as a follower of Jesus, he did not live the "American Dream".

But he wrote these encouraging words to the young church in Corinth

Maybe you're like me this morning - need some encouragement?

2 Corinthians 4

 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.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

take heart...

This is for anyone who is discouraged...

    or feels alone...

    or feels hedged in &/or put on the shelf...

    or worries about having enough...

    or just plain worries about everything...

    or feels overwhelmed...

    or is clueless...

    or finds their life so confusing & inconsistent with what they thought life was gonna be...

    or all of the above, or none of the about...

Psalm 34
2b ...let all who are helpless take heart.

4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me.

  He freed me from all my fears.

 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;

  no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;

  he saved me from all my troubles.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good.

  Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!

 Fear the LORD, you his godly people,

  for those who fear him will have all they need.

 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,

  but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right;

  his ears are open to their cries for help.

17 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.

  He rescues them from all their troubles.

 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;

  he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,

  but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.

22 But the LORD will redeem those who serve him.

  No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Friday, March 27, 2015

we stink!

1 Corinthians 2

 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.

 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.

These 2 verses have helped me understand why people react the way they sometimes do.

I doubt they would say it quite like Paul - that we stink ;-)

But what I think we need to understand is that Christ followers in many ways are repugnant to non-believers just by being believers.

It isn't something that we intentionally do.

It just that we have the Holy Spirit inside of us.

As a result, non-believers find being around someone with the Holy Spirit inside them to be a very repugnant thing.

Because in many ways, the Holy Spirit is repugnant to them.

Like I said, a non-believer would never express it that way.

They simply react negatively to something they sense about us that is different from them, & it makes them uncomfortable.

Remember it is the Holy Spirit's job to convict - & He does a pretty good job of it, even when, or especially when, people come upon Him in the heart & life of a Christ follower.

Now this doesn't let us off the hook for bad, ill mannered, judgemental, or obnoxious behavior.

What it does explain is that some people will react negatively towards us simply because we have the Holy Spirit inside us.

So what must we do?

Ask God to channel His love through us, & understand it is what it is sometimes with people.

I hope all this makes sense. It's softly raining outside & is lulling me a bit. So if this missive is a bit fuzzy it's because I'm a bit fuzzy-headed myself this morning ;-)

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Mark 16:15 And then he told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone."

This is Jesus talking to his disciples right before He went back to heaven.

He told the disciples to "go".

Go tell people about the new life they can now have because of His death & His coming back to life.

And they did - and the world has never been the same.

I continue to believe that Jesus says the same thing to us...


For some reason, in our present paradigm here in America, there is this thinking that once we become Christ followers...

     we're supposed to start living the "American dream", have success (as the world would interpret success) in whatever we do,

     & that we should insulate ourselves from the world by surrounding ourselves with Christian friends,

     trade with Christian businesses,

     go to safe churches,

     vote a certain way,

     & stay away from non-christians so as to not be polluted by their sinful behavior.

I don't think that's what Jesus had in mind.

Right off the bat, we should see the fallacy in that thinking because if the people who influenced us to become Christ followers had adhered to that thinking, we'd both be still on the slippery slope to hell!

Jesus said go.

Go to world that is going slam to hell.

And before you say, "iow, go to 'deepest, darkest Africa' as missionaries?!"

(Interestingly enough, since Lynn WAS a missionary in Africa for almost 9 years, & she's taken me there, we'd both get on the next plane for Africa if that's what we thought God wanted us to do!)

What I believe Jesus was talking about was go to people wherever He leads us to be.

That can be right where we are now, in our homes, workplaces, where we trade, where we eat, where we work out or hang out - essentially, everywhere we go.

But it is also quite possible that God might have us move somewhere to be salt & light, pointing people to Him. (I'm living that - for the last 4 1/2 years!)

That could be to the next town over, somewhere else in the state or nation, or overseas.

God is very creative - He will place us & use us wherever that may be - if we're willing to go.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


These are four things that stood out today.

"Be strong & courageous" is phrase that seems to be standing out in the past few days.

I'm not sure exactly what they may mean for me.

I guess time will tell.

Or as a friend of mine in Macon, Ga would say, "I guess we're fixin' to find out!"

Be strong & take courage, all you who put your hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24

You have done so much for those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world. Psalm 31:19b

For there is a wide-open door for a great work here, & many are responding. But there are many who oppose me. 1 Corinthians 16:9

Be on guard.

Stand true to what you believe.

Be courageous.

Be strong.

And everything you do must be done with love.

1 Corinthians 16:13, 14

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


...nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. 1 Corinthians 15:58c

who besides me needed to hear that this morning?

Monday, March 23, 2015

don't worry about anything

Don't worry about anything;

(yeah... I know... we could stop right there)

Don't worry about anything;


     pray about everything.

(everything? like, in every thing?)

Tell God what you need,

     & thank Him for all He has done.

(I've always kinda gotten the feeling the being thankful is important.)

If you do this,

     you will experience God peace

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

(that sentence is one of those "if you do this, this WILL happen" kind of thing - it leaves no "if", "and", or "but" lingering in the background.)

His peace will guard your hearts & minds

     as you live for Christ Jesus.

(another statement leaving no "if", "and", or "but".)


Don't worry about anything;


     pray about everything.

Tell God what you need,

     & thank Him for all He has done.

If you do this,

     you will experience God peace

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

His peace will guard your hearts & minds
     as you live for Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6, 7

Now, ya know, Paul wrote this, to the Christ followers in Philippi.

Paul ought to know the truth of these 2 verses.

I mean, he'd hardly been livin' the American dream since that road to Damascus thing.

If anyone could have some validity & intergrity behind words like "don't worry about anything", well, Paul ought to have it.

His was not a Club Med existence.

If anyone had enough life experience to put some punch behind these 2 verses, it was Paul.

So, what would our lives be like if we did just exactly what Paul said to do, & probably just exactly what Paul actually did in His day to day life.

I mean, what do we think held Paul together as he faced the awful treatment he dealt with through his years as a Christ follower & missionary?

So, let me ask it again, what would our lives be like if we did this?

Let's try it today...

Every time we have a worrying thought, let's talk to God about it.

This should happen frequently for me - yeah, I worry a lot - and yes,I know it's a trust issue.

But let's try it for today...

     and let me know how it went for you?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

it's all about love

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."

So Jesus boiled it all down to 4 words...

     Love God. Love others.

And here Paul writes an eternally power statement about what the nature of love is...

1 Corinthians 13

 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.

 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

 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.

 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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

gifts & giftings

I'm not gonna comment much on this.

Read this slowly - it's got a LOT of important stuff in it.

Don't imbue it with any expectations or prejudiced - just take it for what it is, at face value.

1 Corinthians 12

 Now, dear brothers and sisters, regarding your question about the special abilities the Spirit gives us.

I don't want you to misunderstand this.

2 You know that when you were still pagans, you were led astray and swept along in worshiping speechless idols.

3 So I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus,

     and no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit.

  4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts,

       but the same Spirit is the source of them all.

5 There are different kinds of service,

      but we serve the same Lord.

6 God works in different ways,

      but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.

  7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice;

     to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.

     9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another,

     and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.

     10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles,

     and another the ability to prophesy.

     He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit.

     Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,

     while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.

 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts.

He alone decides which gift each person should have.

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body.

        So it is with the body of Christ.

13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free.

But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

  14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.

 If the foot says, "I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand," that does not make it any less a part of the body.

16 And if the ear says, "I am not part of the body because I am not an eye," would that make it any less a part of the body?

 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear?

Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?

  18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.

19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part!

20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.

21 The eye can never say to the hand, "I don't need you."

The head can't say to the feet, "I don't need you."

  22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.

23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care.

So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care.

So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity.

25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.

26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

  27 All of you together are Christ's body,

        and each of you is a part of it.

28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:

first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.

  29 Are we all apostles?

Are we all prophets?

Are we all teachers?

Do we all have the power to do miracles?

30 Do we all have the gift of healing?

Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages?

Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages?

Of course not!

31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.

Now, read it again.

Friday, March 20, 2015

as a child

Mark 10

 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 tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't 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.

And so, this section begs the question...

What is the faith of a child like?

You tell me...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

no excuse

Remember that the temptations that come in your life are no different from what others experience.

And God is faithful.

He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can't stand up to it.

When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No excuses.

We have no excuses.

We can never say we were overwhelmed by temptation.

We don't have to do the things we do.

God will provide us a way out.

Boy, does this verse kick our butts, or what?!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

all things to all people

Here is the classic "all things to all people" teaching of Paul.

How does this apply to us today, when so much of the Christian community tries to keep itself separate from the world in which it lives?

1 Corinthians 9

 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.

20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ.

When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law.

     Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.

21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ.

     But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness,

       for I want to bring the weak to Christ.

Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone,

     doing everything I can to save some.

23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

24 Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?

       So run to win!

25 All athletes are disciplined in their training.

They do it to win a prize that will fade away,

     but we do it for an eternal prize.

26 So I run with purpose in every step.

       I am not just shadowboxing.

 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

our job

1 Corinthians 8

1b ...while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.

2 Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn't really know very much.

 But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.

In the last few months, I've seen a thought process appear more & more often...

"It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict.

"It is Jesus' job to redeem.

"It is God the Father's job to judge.

"And it is our job to love."

An oversimplification?

I don't know...

I do know that amongst some Christians, there seems to be a lot of effort judging others.

And there seems to be a lot of energy spent trying to convict others of their own sinfulness.

When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was (amongst a Jewish religion that has a vast number of commandments) Jesus basically boiled it done to 4 words...

Love God, love others.

The longer I live, the more I see how tings work in this life, the longer I watch the lives of people, the more I think our job is to love.

Monday, March 16, 2015


Isaiah 46:4

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. (The Voice)

I will be your God throughout your lifetime;

    until your hair is white with age.

I made you, and I will care for you.

    I will carry you along and save you. (NLT)

I’ve been carrying you on my back

    from the day you were born,

And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old.

    I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray.

I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,

    carrying you on my back, saving you. (The Message)

Even to your old age and gray hairs

    I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you;

    I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

I will still be carrying you when you are old.

Your hair will turn gray,

     and I will still carry you.

I made you,

     and I will carry you to safety.

Sometimes, old farts like me, in our "golden years," need to read stuff like this.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

fear / trust

Mark 5

 Jesus got into the boat again and went back to the other side of the lake, where a large crowd gathered around him on the shore.22 Then a leader of the local synagogue, whose name was Jairus, arrived. When he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet, 23 pleading fervently with him. "My little daughter is dying," he said. "Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live."

  24 Jesus went with him, and all the people followed, crowding around him. 25 A woman in the crowd had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding. 26 She had suffered a great deal from many doctors, and over the years she had spent everything she had to pay them, but she had gotten no better. In fact, she had gotten worse. 27 She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe. 28 For she thought to herself, "If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed." 29 Immediately the bleeding stopped, and she could feel in her body that she had been healed of her terrible condition.

  30 Jesus realized at once that healing power had gone out from him, so he turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my robe?"

  31 His disciples said to him, "Look at this crowd pressing around you. How can you ask, 'Who touched me?'"

  32 But he kept on looking around to see who had done it.33 Then the frightened woman, trembling at the realization of what had happened to her, came and fell to her knees in front of him and told him what she had done.34 And he said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over."

  35 While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, "Your daughter is dead. There's no use troubling the Teacher now."

  36 But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, "Don't be afraid. Just trust me."

  37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn't let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, "Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn't dead; she's only asleep."

  40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl's father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, "Talitha koum," which means "Little girl, get up!" 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

This is what Jesus is saying to me this morning through this section in Mark's gospel...

And no matter how I emphasize the different words, it's all what He says every time I read it.

"Don't be afraid. Just trust Me."

"DON'T be afraid. Just trust Me."

"Don't be AFRAID. Just trust Me."

"Don't be afraid. JUST trust Me."

"Don't be afraid. Just TRUST Me."

"Don't be afraid. Just trust ME."

"Don't be afraid. Just trust me."

Over & over again in my life, God shows me I don't have to live in fear & worry, because He's got my back.

Neither do you.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Mark 4

 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples,

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

 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 so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?"

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified.

       "Who is this man?" they asked each other.

        "Even the wind and waves obey him!"

So, the disciples were in the boat in a storm, with Jesus asleep in the back, & they were afraid they were gonna capsize.

Capsize with the son of God asleep in the back?

Like God was gonna let them all drown, even God's son?

Yeah, we see the absurdity of that thought process - now.

But I wonder if we'd have thought that if we had been there at the time?

Ya see, we know the end of the story - we know that Jesus died & rose again - we know He's the son of God.

These were raw boned fishermen, with not a lot of education or life experience.

Even though they'd seen a lot of miraculous stuff & heard Jesus talk about all kinds of things, they'd only been disciples for 4 chapters in the gospel of Mark.

And can you imagine what they thought when this guy they'd been eating, sleeping, walking, & talking with, gets up & tells the storm to cut it out - & the storm stops?!

But we know the end of the story of Jesus' life. We know He's the son of God.

But how many of us live lives of fear & worry?

Worry & fret, paralyzed to be & do anything...

Those two sentences of Jesus' really put a finger on me this morning.

Why am I so afraid some times about things in the present, and in the future, too?

God put His finger on that part of me that is afraid, or worries, or frets, or is scared.

And He just whispered "why are you so afraid?"

It's a trust thing...

     I'm so afraid because I don't trust Him...

     I don't think He'll come through...

     I think if I worry & fret & try & figure things out & try to work things out,

        then maybe everything will turn out ok &/or the way I want them to.

I'm afraid because I don't trust Him.

I'm afraid that even though I believe He's with me & is aware of what's going on, that He's not gonna do anything about it.

But I don't need to be afraid.

The person who is with me is the God of the universes.

In my head I know He can take care of my prissy little life.

I just have to believe it in my heart, completely.

Yeah, God put His finger on me this morning...

Anybody else out there afraid?

Friday, March 13, 2015


Who needs to hear this today besides me?

You (God) 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

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 great 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 come true.

Hebrews 6:10-11

Thursday, March 12, 2015

who do we hang with?

Mark 2

 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.)

 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."

For some reason, most of us, once we become Christ followers, insulate ourselves from "notorious sinners".

We fill our lives with fellow Christ followers, & end up seldom having friends who aren't Christ followers.

We don't hang with them, nor do we spend time connecting with them.

I wonder if we're just afraid of what other Christ followers might think of us if we hung out with other "notorious sinners".

But where would any of us be if the people who influenced us to follow Jesus had been afraid to hang out with us before we became Christ followers.

Mark also mentions that there were a lot of "notorious sinners" who followed Jesus around in those days.

It makes me wonder why they did that - what was it about Jesus that made these people want to be around him, even though they were probably treated badly by other followers of Jesus who weren't "notorious sinners".

The other thing that makes wonder is if I am a follower of Jesus, & supposedly allowing Him to morph me more into being like Him, then wouldn't it follow that I should becoming someone "notorious sinners" would want to hang out around?

And shouldn't I encourage them to do that?

There's a whole lot things in these few verses that challenge the way we live & interact with the people around us who as yet have not decided to follow Jesus.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

mind meld

It is curious to me how we erroneously quote sections of this passage & apply them to ourselves.

The verses from 9b - 16a point to the world around us, but do not apply to us.

The very last sentence in the 2nd half of verse 16 is the real kicker - the mind blowing truth Paul was trying to get us to see applies to us, NOT verses 9b - 16a.

Give it a read - don't read the last sentence until you've read the stuff before hand.

1 Corinthians 2

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
  and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
  for those who love him."

  10 But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit.

For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God's deep secrets.

11 No one can know a person's thoughts except that person's own spirit,

        and no one can know God's thoughts except God's own Spirit.

 And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit),

        so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.

  13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom.

Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit,

     using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths.

14 But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit.

It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it,

     for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.

15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things,

        but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

16 For,

"Who can know the LORD's thoughts?
  Who knows enough to teach him?"

But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

That's the kicker!

We can understand what the God of the universes is thinking because we have the Holy Spirit operative in our lives!

So, as a result, we have the cognitive skills of Jesus - iow, we have available the ability to think like Jesus!

Iow, our minds are hooked up with the mind of the God of the universes!!!

And how many of us allow ourselves to live infinitely below that???!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

what stood out today

Here's some verses that stood out to me this morning...

yes, I know they reveal a lot about the state of mind I'm in right now.

All I know is all I know.

Maybe some of them stand out for you, too?

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to You for refuge. Psalm 16:1

I said to the Lord, "You are my Master! All the good things I have come from You... Psalm 16:2

I will bless the Lord who guides me. I know the Lord is always with me; I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. Psalm 16:7a, 8

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence... Psalm 16:11a

Go and make disciples of all the nations,

     baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.

And be sure of this:

     I am with you always,

     even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19, 20

You have been given every spiritual gift you need... 1 Corinthians 1:7a

He will keep you strong right up to the end... 1 Corinthians 1:8a

God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. 1 Corinthians 1:27a

God chose things despised by the world,

     things counted as nothing at all,

     & used them to bring to nothing what the world considers as important,

     so that no one can boast in the presence of God.

1 Corinthians 1:28, 29

Monday, March 9, 2015


God is able to make you strong...

     Romans 16:25

That is one of the last things Paul said in his letter to the Christians in Rome.

It's a simply 7 word statement. We don't know why Paul put it in. Maybe it was tough times for Christians in Rome. I would imagine so.

Maybe Paul felt like he needed to remind them that their strength doesn't come from within themselves - that God is the one who gives us strength to be & do what it we must be & do, or be & do for Him.

I needed to hear those 7 words today.

Maybe someone else needed to hear that today, too.

If so, let me know in the comments.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


My ambition has always been to (bring) the Good News where the name of Jesus has never been heard,

     rather than where a church has already been started by someone else.

I have been following the plan spoke of in the Scriptures, where it says,

     "Those who have never been told about Him will see,

      and those who have never heard of Him will understand."

Romans 15:20, 21

How many of us feel the same way as Paul did as he was writing to the Christians in Rome?

Saturday, March 7, 2015


In America today, the people that Jesus talks about in this passage are looked down upon as losers, lazy, moochers, con artists, drainers, & burdens - in short, lower life forms who could have better lives if they just tried harder.

When He spoke these words 2000+ years ago, Jesus, being God, was not ignorant of what our attitude would be in the mid-2nd decade of the 21st century.

What's more, I seriously doubt that the people He talks about in this section were any different then than they are now.

And perhaps it would be instructive to remember that each of us are probably about 6 months with no income, &/or 1 major illness away from joining this demographic that Jesus talks about here.

Read this & think about it,

      & then consider how we all should then live...

Matthew 25

 "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.'

 "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?

 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."

Friday, March 6, 2015


This is a very curious passage in one of Paul's letters to fellow Christians.

Let's give it a little context...

When Paul wrote this, all the places he went to or lived in were ruled by the Roman Empire - to say this empire was decadent would be a significant understatement.

It was led by a totalitarian dictator / emperor. These men were not nice people.

If a person was a Roman citizen, there were certain laws that could help or protected them.

If a person wasn't a Roman citizen, well, that could be pretty problematic.

Corruption was common at every level of government.

It was a nasty time in a nasty empire.

And Rome was considered the most civilized government of the time.

So imagine what fun places the countries outside the Roman orb must have been!

And Paul was writing this to the Christians in Rome, the capital of this empire - a place that felt like they'd seen it all & done it all.

So, read what he wrote about governments.

And then consider all he says in light of today.

No comments, please - I'm afraid there could be some flaming in any discussion.

Just read what Paul says & think about it...

Romans 13

 Everyone must submit to governing authorities.

For all authority comes from God,

     and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,

     and they will be punished.
3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right,

     but in those who are doing wrong.

Would you like to live without fear of the authorities?

     Do what is right,

     and they will honor you.

 The authorities are God's servants,

     sent for your good.

But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid,

     for they have the power to punish you.

They are God's servants,

     sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.
5 So you must submit to them,

     not only to avoid punishment,

     but also to keep a clear conscience.

6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons.

For government workers need to be paid.

     They are serving God in what they do.
7 Give to everyone what you owe them:

     Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them,

     and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

so much stuff

This is another chapter in Romans that's got lots to say about a lot of things.

There is SO MUCH in this chapter that is completely opposite from what the world tells us to be & do.

I wonder what our world would look like if we truly lived out half of the stuff in this chapter?

Romans 12

...give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.

Let them be a living and holy sacrifice;

     the kind he will find acceptable.

     This is truly the way to worship him.

2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world,

     but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.

Then you will learn to know God's will for you,

     which is good

     and pleasing

     and perfect.

 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning:

     Don't think you are better than you really are.

     Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves,

        measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.

4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,

     5 so it is with Christ's body.

We are many parts of one body,

     and we all belong to each other.

 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.

So if God has given you the ability to prophesy,

     speak out with as much faith as God has given you.

7 If your gift is serving others,

     serve them well.

If you are a teacher,

     teach well.

8 If your gift is to encourage others,

     be encouraging.

If it is giving,

     give generously.

If God has given you leadership ability,

     take the responsibility seriously.

And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others,

     do it gladly.

 Don't just pretend to love others.

     Really love them.

Hate what is wrong.

Hold tightly to what is good.

 Love each other with genuine affection,

      and take delight in honoring each other.

11 Never be lazy,

      but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

12 Be glad for all God is planning for you.

Be patient in trouble,

     and keep on praying.

13 When God's people are in need,

        be ready to help them.

Always be eager to practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you.

     Don't curse them;

     pray that God will bless them.

 Be happy with those who are happy,

       and weep with those who weep.

16 Live in harmony with each other.

Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people.

And don't think you know it all!

  17 Never pay back evil with more evil.

Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.

18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge.

        Leave that to the righteous anger of God.

For the Scriptures say,

"I will take revenge;
  I will pay them back,"
  says the LORD.

20 Instead,

"If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
  burning coals of shame on their heads."

21 Don't let evil conquer you,

      but conquer evil by doing good.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

4 words

Matthew 22

 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.

 One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question:

     36 "Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?"

  37 Jesus replied,

     "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.'
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 A second is equally important:

       'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

There you have it.

What Jesus said in verses 37-39 can be boiled into just 4 words.

Love God.

Love others.

A friend of mine has those 4 words tattooed in BIG letters on his forearms.

"Love God" on one forearm.

"Love others" on the other forearm.

I've seen those two tats - they're impressive.

But there you have it - what it's all about, as far as Jesus is concerned.

Love God.

Love others.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Romans 10

 For "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?

And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?

And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?

That is why the Scriptures say, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!"

As Christ followers, we are all under a mandate to "go".

All of my life, I've heard these verses used in missions conferences as a basis for challenging people to consider whether God is calling them to a life of telling people in foreign countries about Jesus & the life-giving connection with God that He makes possible.

I think it's a very valid passage to use for that purpose.

For some reason we think that people are missionaries if they go to foreign countries.

Not true.

You & I - all of us - are challenged to be a person who reaches out to the folks around us w/ the idea that thru Jesus we have that life-giving connection.

That can be with the people in our home,

     our neighborhood,

     where we work,

     where we get groceries,

     where we go to work out,

     or the coffee shop we frequent,

     or the ball teams our kids play on,

     or any place we go.

We don't like to think about that, do we?

I'm not suggesting that we all become "Bible bangers" - people who are always being obnoxious about their faith in Jesus & hitting people over the head with it.

I'm suggesting we simply open up our lives to people by loving them as individuals & simply sharing our life in Jesus with them.

     If we go to see a movie & like it, we tell people.

     If we go to a restaurant & like the food, we tell people.

     If we like anything, or don't like something, we tell people.

That's the kind of sharing of Jesus I'm talking about - not something that suggests we're better than anyone else - but a sharing that says, "this is what I've found in connecting to God thru Jesus & I want you to know about it too.

And consider this one last thing...

What if the people who influenced you or I to be a follower of Jesus had decided this wasn't something they could or should do?


We wouldn't be the Christ followers that we are today.

We are all under the same mandate - go and tell, whether that venue is close by, or far away.

Monday, March 2, 2015


For almost 30 years I was a music minister in the United Methodist Church.

Yeah, 30 years...

Very few people in my life right now know me as that person ;-)

There was an song written for adult choir using Psalm 8 by the composers, Tom Fettke & Linda Lee Johnson

I believe I led choirs in every church I served in singing this song.

Yes, it's old school.

Yes, it's hardly appropriate for the 2nd half of the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

But it IS a beautiful song & I have very, very fond memories of leading it with the wonderful & crazy choirs I've led.

I've provided 2 links to hear it.

The first one is a group of 16 men - I've never led this song with just men singing it, but it's just so gorgeous.

The second link is with men and women singing it, but PLEASE don't watch the pictures provided - they are so hokey, tacky, & just awful, & they will distract you from the beauty of the music.

The song starts at verse 3.

Just copy & paste the link into your browser...

Here's the men singing it...


And here's the mixed choir singing it - PLEASE don't watch the video- it's awful - close your eyes & listen to the music...


Psalm 8

 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

  Your glory is higher than the heavens.

 You have taught children and infants

  to tell of your strength,*

silencing your enemies

  and all who oppose you.

 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—

  the moon and the stars you set in place—

 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,

  human beings that you should care for them?*

 Yet you made them only a little lower than God*

  and crowned them* with glory and honor.

 You gave them charge of everything you made,

  putting all things under their authority—

 the flocks and the herds

  and all the wild animals,

 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,

  and everything that swims the ocean currents.

9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

God's love for us

What Paul wrote in Romans 8 may be one of the most jam packed chapters in the Bible. It contains so much of what we have deemed pivotal.

If you have never read all of Romans 8, or if it's been a long while since you have, I've put it at the bottom of this blog. Read it all of it if you want. One thing is for sure - it will roll your socks down!

I want to highlight the last 8 verses that speak about God's love for us.

I feel like someone out there besides me needs to read this today. To you I say, read it & believe it. I know it's true because I've experienced it.

Romans 8

31a If God is for us, who can ever be against us?

32 Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all,

        won't he also give us everything else?

33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own?

        No one...

        ...for God himself has given us right standing with Himself.

34 Who then will condemn us?

        No one...

        ....for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,

        and He is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love?

Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity,

     or are persecuted,

     or hungry,

     or destitute,

     or in danger,

     or threatened with death?

36 (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.")

37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love.

      Neither death nor life,

      neither angels nor demons,

      neither our fears for today

      nor our worries about tomorrow;

      not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.

39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below...

      ...indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8

 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.2 And because you belong to him, the power* of the life-giving Spirit has freed you* from the power of sin that leads to death.3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.* So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

  5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's laws, and it never will.8 That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

  9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)10 And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life* because you have been made right with God.11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

  12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,* you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.13 For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature,* you will live.14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children* of God.

  15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.* Now we call him, "Abba, Father."*16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope,21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay.22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,* including the new bodies he has promised us.24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don't need to hope* for it.25 But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

  26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers* in harmony with God's own will.28 And we know that God causes everything to work together* for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn* among many brothers and sisters.30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won't he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

  35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?36 (As the Scriptures say, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep."*)37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

  38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,* neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.