Thursday, April 30, 2015

just a good man?

This is part of what Jesus said to Martha, the sister to Lazarus. Lazarus had died, & Martha had gone out to meet Jesus when He arrived at her town.

John 11

 Jesus told her,

     "I am the resurrection and the life.

      Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.

     26a Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die.

I find it difficult to connect with the thinking of some that Jesus was just a good man (not the son of God) who had many kind & loving things to say that we need to incorporate into our lives.

But Jesus clearly says something here that a man who says wise & meaningful things I would think would not say.

To my way of thinking, Jesus lays it out in these 2 verses that there is life after an earthly death.

He says we "will live, even after dying", & if we live & believe in Him we "will never die."

Either Jesus was who He said He was, or He was a nut case.

There are too many instances of things Jesus said that would point to that premise.

If He was just a wise & wonderful man, then He would only say & be quoted as saying wise & wonderful things.

But telling us something He clearly thought was the truth...

     ...that we will continue to live on after our life here on earth ceases...

     ...would have to either come from someone who knows what He's talking about...

     ...or it would come from a crazy man.

My point?

I believe Jesus is the Son of God, sent by God to make a way for us to have connection with God.

Jesus was not just a wise & wonderful man.

Only 1 of 2 kinds of people would say & do the things He said & did...

     ...the Son of God...

     ...or a crazy man.

I believe He is the Son of God.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015


No matter how we translate it, it always comes out the same - Jesus came to give us a richer, fuller life.

The "thief" that Jesus speaks of here is the devil.

John 10:10

The thief's (the devil's) purpose is to steal, kill, & destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. (NLT, 1st ed.)

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

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

The thief comes only to steal and (A)kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (ESV)

The thief comes with the sole intention of stealing and killing and destroying, but I came to bring them life, and far more life than before. (J. B. Phillips)

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

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NASB)

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


"All of us must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the One who sent Me..." John 9:4a

This is Jesus speaking here.

This statement of His says these things to me...

God has some specific things He wants me to be & do while here on earth.

Then if that is true, the the God of the universes must be aware of me, a nano-speck in the cosmos.

If He has specific things He wants me to be & do, then He must trust me at some level & know that I can be & do them.

If God trusts me to be & do these things, He must know me through & through.

If the God of the universes has certain plans for me, then what I am to be & do, at some level, must be important to Him & important to the overall overarching plans He has for humankind.

Does this encourage anyone else besides me?

Monday, April 27, 2015

come into the light

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,

     "I am the light of the world.

      If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness,

          because you will have the light that leads to life." 

John 8:12

This world we live in is so dark.

There are always evil people trying to be & do evil things to us & with us.

(That sounds a little paranoid, but you know what I mean.)

All we have to do is look around & see how people are being so incredibly sinful.

And all we have to do is look inside ourselves to see plenty of sinfulness.

But Jesus says if we follow Him, not only are our sins forgiven, but light & life pours into our lives.

Is there anybody reading this who could stand a little light in their lives.

Anybody reading this who needs to cast off the dark, dead way(s) they're living & move into an existence that is really & truly living?

Jesus says here that if we follow Him we won't be living in that dark place we are now, that ours will live in a light & open place.

How many of us live in darkness right now?

We all know who we are.

Come out of that dark place by believing what Jesus said about Himself & us...

     ...that the power of the Holy Spirit will empower us to turn away from the darkness we live in...

   ...and then let's decide to follow what He said in His Word, & in the things He will say to us as we walk along with Him.

Come out of the darkness into the Light.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

livin' the new life

Paul sets down some practical advice one how to live the new life we find when we follow Jesus.

There's some tough stuff in here.

But there's also a lot of good stuff.

Colossians 3

 Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven,

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

2 Think about the things of heaven,

      not the things of earth.

3 For you died to this life,

     and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

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

Have nothing to do with sexual immorality,



     and evil desires.

Don't be greedy,

     for a greedy person is an idolater,

     worshiping the things of this world.

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

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

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


     malicious behavior,


     and dirty language.

9 Don't lie to each other,

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

10 Put on your new nature,

     and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator

     and become like him.

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

     circumcised or uncircumcised,




     or free.

Christ is all that matters,

     and he lives in all of us.

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

     you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy,




     and patience.

13 Make allowance for each other's faults,

     and forgive anyone who offends you.

Remember, the Lord forgave you,

     so you must forgive others.

14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love,

     which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

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

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

And always be thankful.

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

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

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

17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,

     giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

a wholelot of stuff

Here's some verses that stood out when I read @ Samuel 7 & Psalm 62 this morning. I feel like someone just needs to be comforted by them today.

What more can I say? You know what I am really like, Sovereign Lord. 2 Samuel 7:20

I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He along is my rock &my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5, 6

O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8

Now, here's what stood out in Colossians 2...

Colossians 2

 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.

7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.

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

     and you will overflow with thankfulness.

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

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

     rather than from Christ.

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

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

       who is the head over every ruler and authority.

11 When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure.

Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.

12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized.

And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God,

     who raised Christ from the dead.

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.

Then God made you alive with Christ,

     for he forgave all our sins.

14 He canceled the record of the charges against us

      and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities.

He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

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

How can we do this?

Read the Bible every day, without fail.

I know y'all get tired of hearing me say that.

All I know is all I know.

If we read the Bible ever day, God talks to us.

And the longer we read the Bible,& the more we listen out for what He may say through what we read, the deeper & deeper our roots end up growing down into Him. It's just the way it is - I speak from experience from reading the Bible every day, without fail, since January, 2003.

If I was going to have a headstone - I won't because I'm gonna be cremated - I would have carved on it these words: "Read the Bible every day, without fail."

If you remember anything about me when I'm gone, remember i loved you, & "read the Bible every day, without fail."

"you also are complete through your union with Christ..."

"You were dead because of your sins..."

"God made you alive with Christ..., for he forgave all our sins."

The older I get, the more aware of how really sinful I am.

But Paul says over & over that our sins are forgiven.

And that because our sins are forgiven, God starts the process of making us new again, giving us new life ("For I make all things new." Jesus)

The infinitely holy God of the universes chooses to forgive our sins (& forget them) & make us knew.

Here's a song that goes along with that last thought - I know it's kinda old school, but hey, listen to it anyway ;-)

And here's the lyrics..

Morgan Cryar – What Sin Lyrics

It happened so long ago
And I cried out for mercy back then
I plead the blood of Jesus
Begged him to forgive my sin
But I still can't forget it
It just won't go away
So I wept again, "Lord wash my sin,"
But this is all He'd say

What sin, what sin?
Well that's as far away
as the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

The heaviest thing you'll carry
Is a load of guilt and shame
You were never meant to bear them
So let them go in Jesus name
Our God is slow to anger
Quick to forgive our sin
So let Him put them under the blood
Don't bring them up again
Cause He'll just say

What sin, what sin?
Well that's as far away
as the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

Lord, please deliver me
from my accusing memory
Nothing makes me weak this way,
Then when I hear you say

What sin, what sin?
Well that's as far away
as the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

Friday, April 24, 2015

holy & blameless

Here is one more towering statement by Paul about who Jesus is.

And there's something towards the end that will know anybody's socks off!

Colossians 1

 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

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

 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see

  and the things we can't see—

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

  Everything was created through him and for him.

 He existed before anything else,

  and he holds all creation together.

 Christ is also the head of the church,

  which is his body.

He is the beginning,

  supreme over all who rise from the dead.

  So he is first in everything.

 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,

 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.

He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth

  by means of Christ's blood on the cross.

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

You were his enemies,

     separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.

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

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

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

  23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.

Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News.

"holy & blameless"

Here's what Paul is saying...

Because Jesus made a way for us to connect with God, part of that includes God forgives us of all our sins...

     ...wipes the slate clean...

     .....forgives them, & forgets them.

So,when God looks at us, He doesn't see our sinfulness.

He sees us as clean, restored people.

Let that sink in for a minute...

We all know who we really are - that person we each know & see that no one else knows or sees.

And that person is pretty sinful, & tainted by that sinfulness.

But because God is able to forgive us of all those sins, & cleanse of of all that tainting, He sees us as He created us - as being whole.

Think about that today & what that means as far as being able to come to God completely, to be able to make direct contact with the God of the universes, with nothing between us & Him.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Fix your thoughts on what is true & honorable & right.

Think about things that are pure & lovely & admirable.

Think about thinks that are excellent & worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8b

We live in a world that assaults us from every angle with thoughts & images that are pretty awful.

And now smart phones, tablets, & laptops, we can carry all this stuff anywhere & everywhere, & connect with it any time we want.

How do we avoid all the negative stuff that's out there.

The longer I live, the more I believe it is simply a choice as to whether we absorb it or not.

Iow, just don't look at it,listen to it, read it, or watch it.

Just don't be the person or do the things our culture & our world tells us we have to be & do.

Just don't.

Is that an oversimplification?


But what would any of us suggest otherwise.

Connecting with "the things of this world" is a choice - we can either choose to connect, or we can choose to not connect.

That's what Paul is saying here - choose what your absorb.

Remember where Paul wrote this - Rome. I'm sure they had every sin known to humankind there,

     & they were actively thinking up new ones!

Even though Paul was in prison when he wrote this, he'd been out & about in the world - he knew what kind of bodaciously sinful place it was.

And he says to his Christ follower friends in Philippi, make the choice to absorb with good.

How to we come in line with his thinking?

I would say it's a process of forming a habit of not absorbing the negative, sinful part of our world.

Iow, we just start saying no to connecting with it - and each time we say know to it, it becomes easier to say no the next time.

(on the other hand, if we say yes to connecting, it will be easier to say yes the next time.)

So today, let's be aware of what we expose ourselves to & connect with,

     & let's start choosing to not connect with the sinful stuff today & connect instead with the things around us that are "good, true, honorable, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, & worthy of praise".

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

looking forward

Philippians 3

...I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could.

        Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!

5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old.

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

I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.

 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church.

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

7 I once thought these things were valuable,

     but now I consider them worthless

     because of what Christ has done.

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

For his sake I have discarded everything else,

     counting it all as garbage,

     so that I could gain Christ

     9 and become one with him.

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

     rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.

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

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

I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,

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

12 I don't mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection.

I keep working toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for & wants me to be.

13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I am supposed to be,

but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing:

     Forgetting the past

     and looking forward to what lies ahead,

     14 I strain to reach the end of the race

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

"Forgetting the past..."

If anyone had a past, it was Paul.

He had thrown into jail Christ follower.

Jail was not a Club Med experience back then.

There is every indication these people he imprisoned were treated badly there, & some died or were killed.

Yeah, Paul had a lot to forget.

But he goes on to say that because of Jesus, Paul can look forward, not backward, knowing he is made right with God because of Jesus.

And so, he presses on to be & do what God had designed for him to be & do.

And remembers - Paul was in Rome, in prison, when He wrote this letter to the Christ followers in Philippi.

And we see the parallels - we've all got a past.

We all have things we've been or done that we wish we could forget - stuff that's not pretty, stuff that's pretty sinful.

But that was then, & this is now.

And the now is that we are made right with God through faith in Jesus as the way made for us to reconnect with God.

And now we are forgiven.

And now we have the Holy Spirit inside of us, Who was the Powerhouse that raised Jesus from the dead.

Yeah, we've all got lots to forget.

But God says to come follow Him, move forward, & quit looking back, because He has.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Paul, writing from prison, to one of his favorite groups of Christ followers, talks about attitude...

     what our attitude should be in a world diametrically different from us.

He talks about what kind of attitude Jesus had, equally diametrically opposed to what the world says it should be.

The question here is how do you & I walk out what Paul says here, in a world that says at every level to "look out for #1"?

Philippians 2
 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?

     Any comfort from his love?

     Any fellowship together in the Spirit?

     Are your hearts tender and compassionate?

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

     loving one another,

     and working together with one mind and purpose.

3 Don't be selfish;

     don't try to impress others.

Be humble,

     thinking of others as better than yourselves.

4 Don't look out only for your own interests,

     but take an interest in others, too

 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.

 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

    he took the humble position of a slave

    and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God
     and died a criminal's death on a cross.

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

     and gave him the name above all other names,

 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
     to the glory of God the Father.

Monday, April 20, 2015

who Jesus is

John write a towering, definitive description of who & what Jesus is.

So much of what we basically believe about the personhood of Jesus comes from these next 18 verses.

Reads them slowly, read them more than once.

John 1

 In the beginning the Word already existed.

  The Word was with God,

  and the Word was God.

 He existed in the beginning with God.

 God created everything through him,

  and nothing was created except through him.

 The Word gave life to everything that was created,

  and his life brought light to everyone.

 The light shines in the darkness,

  and the darkness can never extinguish it.

6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.
8 John himself was not the light;

     he was simply a witness to tell about the light.
9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He came into the very world he created,

      but the world didn't recognize him.
11 He came to his own people,

      and even they rejected him.
12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.
13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

14 So the Word became flesh, a human, and made his home among us.

He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.

And we have seen his glory,

     the glory of the Father's one and only Son.

15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds,

      "This is the one I was talking about when I said, '

          Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.'"

16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.
17 For the law was given through Moses,

      but God's unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.

But only His Son, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart.

He has revealed God to us.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

arming ourselves

It takes more than one reading to begin to grasp these 7 verses. So read it more than once.

Ephesus was big into the worship of Artemis, to whom a temple was dedicated that was said to be one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

While he was in prison in Rome, it is believed that Paul wrote this letter to the Christ followers in Ephesus.

He understood how much of a fight it was to live in this world, especially with the devil.

Ephesians 6

 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies,

        but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world,

        against mighty powers in this dark world,

        and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.

        Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

14 Stand your ground,

     putting on the belt of truth

     and the body armor of God's righteousness.

 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.

16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

17 Put on salvation as your helmet,

      and take the sword of the Spirit,

      which is the word of God.

Saturday, April 18, 2015


Ephesians 5

 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do,

     because you are his dear children.

 Live a life filled with love,

     following the example of Christ.

He loved us

     and offered himself as a sacrifice for us,

        a pleasing aroma to God.

"Live a life of love..."

Paul wrote that to the Christ followers in Ephesus.

Billy Graham has been attributed to have said this...

     "It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, & my job to love.

And Jesus said

     "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

     "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35)

These days, especially in America, we as Christ followers may be thought of & depicted many times as a lot of things...

     But one of the things we are SELDOM described as is being a people who love others well.

And somewhere along the line in the last 20 or so years we've seemed to have lost our vision as lovers & have accepted a far different role as a lot of other things.

We've lost the knowledge that our primary role is to love people.

When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment (a story told in all 4 Gospels - something rare) He basically said,

     "Love God with all your heart, soul, mind & strength."

     "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Iow, Jesus boiled it all down to 4 words...

     Love God, love others.

     (Sounds like a great tattoo to me! ;-) LOL)

So, how are we supposed to become what appears to be a powerhouse of love?

Here's what Billy Graham is attributed to have said on the matter...

     “Only God can give us a selfless love for others, as the Holy Spirit changes us from within.

     "This is one reason we must receive Christ,

     "for apart from His Spirit we can never be freed from the chains of selfishness, jealousy, and indifference.

     "Will others see Christ's love in your life today?”

So we're not supposed to come up with this love on our own?

God channels His love through us?

Hmmm... that makes it seem far more possible for us to be loving in the way it seems He expects.

So think of the people we ran into today.

How would our day have been different if we had simply asked God to channel His love through us as we were around people today?

Friday, April 17, 2015


Not real sure why I feel like I need to share these 7 verses this morning, but here ya go...

Ephesians 4

 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling,

     for you have been called by God.

 Always be humble and gentle.

Be patient with each other,

     making allowance for each other's faults because of your love.

3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit,

     binding yourselves together with peace.

4 For there is one body

     and one Spirit,

     just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

5 There is one Lord,

     one faith,

     one baptism,

     6 and one God and Father, 

          who is over all

         and in all

         and living through all.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

infinitely more

Ephesians 3:20

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

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us... (NIV)

Now to Him who by His power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine... (J.B. Phillips)

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us... (NKJV)

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us... (ESV)

With God’s power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of. (ERV)

God can do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. (The Message)

Now to the God who can do so many awe-inspiring things, immeasurable things, things greater than we ever could ask or imagine through the power at work in us... (The Voice)
God can do much more than we ask him to do, or we even think of. He does it by his power which is working in us. (WE)

No matter how we translate or paraphrase it, here's what stands out to me...

There is an infinitely stupendous Power available that is already inside of each of us. (Each translation or paraphrase says that.)

     That Power is the Holy Spirit.

God works through us because of the power of the Holy Spirit that is channeled through us.

And what God is able to be & do through us is something that is infinitely more than anything we can imagine.


All of us suffer from some sort of self-image stuff...

     iow, we don't think we are capable of very much.

     it's kind sorta an attitude of "how can God use me because I'm not _____" .  (you fill in the blank.).

Paul dispels our insecurity & inferiority by basically saying that it's not us who are makin' things happen - it's God, with endless, unbelievable power.

So that kinda lets us off the hook as far as being responsible for being the engine pulling the train...

     iow, we don't have to be & do anything utilizing just our own strength.

And Paul also says we not only need to think outside the box about what direction God may choose to act through us...

     we need to just throw away our box...

     we need to throw away our preconceived ideas & expectations of what we think is possible.

     we just need to adopt a wait & see what God's gonna do.

Boy, howdy - do I need to hear that last part. this morning!

We are so shaped by our culture & our world - what it tells us we need & can expect out of life.

Paul says that God is telling us something different because of His Holy Spirit's power inside of us.

I guess it's the "expect the unexpected" kind of thing we should watch out for.

So is it a stretch to say that in our lives therefore the miraculous should be viewed as commonplace?

Think about that today - the concept that we are to move through our daily lives being thankful for, but not astounded by, anything miraculous that may develop or happen?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Ephesians 2

 God saved you by his grace when you believed.

And you can't take credit for this;

     it is a gift from God.

9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done,

     so none of us can boast about it.

10 For we are God's masterpiece.

He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

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

"We are God's masterpiece."

That's what Paul says here in his letter to the church of new believers in Ephesus.

There are two VERY large mirrors in our master bath at home.

Why do people do that?! The last place I need two BIG mirrors in is the bathroom!!!

And trust me, when I step out of the shower & look into those 2 big mirrors, I don't feel like a masterpiece!

None of us probably feel like a masterpiece - we may feel like a piece of something, but it's not a masterpiece!

But that is the way God thinks about us - the One who is infinitely holy, all knowing, all powerful - the God of the universes.

He gave us a brand new life through what Jesus did for us - brand new, the old is gone.

And Paul says because of the new life He gives us, we can be & do all the good things He planned a LONG time ago for us to be & do.

Does this blow your mind anymore than it does mine?!

Paul says God takes us out of the rot-gut lives we've created for ourselves through gobbs of sinning, cleans us up & makes our lives all new again, & then releases all the good stuff He planned for us that He thought up eons before we ever came onto the scene, & thinks of us as "a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind" (that's how defines "masterpiece".)

All of that is the scandal of grace.

And it is a God-event found no where else in religion - God renewing & remaking someone so He can release the plans He made for them.

And no matter what we think of ourselves, or what the world thinks of us, or tell us they think of us, one fact remains...

     God thinks of us as the showpiece of His creation.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

how it is

Ephesians is another one of those letters Paul wrote that is just jammed packed with all kinds of stuff.

It's like it's his huge statement of faith! And it's just 6 chapters long!

Anyway, here's part of chapter 1 - read it slowly - every time I read it I'm impressed with something new

Ephesians 1

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms

     because we are united with Christ.

4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.

This is what he wanted to do,

     and it gave him great pleasure.

6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son

     and forgave our sins.

8 He has showered his kindness on us,

     along with all wisdom and understanding.

9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ,

     a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.

10 And this is the plan:

        At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ;

        everything in heaven and on earth.

11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,

        for he chose us in advance,

        and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

12 God's purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.

13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth,

      the Good News that God saves you.

And when you believed in Christ,

     he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit,

     whom he promised long ago.

14 The Spirit is God's guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised

      and that he has purchased us to be his own people.

He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God's people everywhere,16 I have not stopped thanking God for you.

I pray for you constantly,

     17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom* and insight

     so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.

18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light

        so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called;

        his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God's power for us who believe him.

This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead  (dan note: boy! Howdy! Read that again!!!)

     and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in the heavenly realms.

21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else;

      not only in this world but also in the world to come.

22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ

       and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

23 And the church is his body;

      it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.

Did you pickup on one of the biggest power statements in a chapter full of power statements?

Paul says that the same power (i.e. the Holy Spirit) that raise Jesus from the dead IS INSIDE OF EACH OF US WHO BELONG TO GOD.

Think about that...

...the same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives in us...

So, anybody feel like a superhero as a result of that statement?! Talk about having superpowers!!!

And how many people tap into those superpowers?

How many of us acknowledge that they're there?

The Holy Spirit was sent to be a Comforter, but at the same time, He was sent to be an Empowerer.

And He lives inside of us...

Think about that today...

Monday, April 13, 2015

like a child

Luke 18

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

But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.

16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples,

     "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them!

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

     17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith well never get into the Kingdom of God."

One of my sons I've "come by" was a youth pastor in good sized church.

I was sitting by him one day when we were in a meeting together. We were going around the circle sharing where we were in our life at the time.

While the others were talking,my son was looking at pictures on his laptop of one of his sons who at the time was around 3 years old.

I wanted to whap him up the side of his head! What in the world was he thinking?! How rude!

When it came his turn to share, he closed the lid & said something like this...

"I was looking at the pictures I have of my son. I noticed something. In every one of them, he's looking at me.

"He's not looking around.

"He doesn't know where we're going.

"He doesn't know why we're going there.

"He doesn't know how long it will take to get there

"And doesn't know who's going to be there when we get there.

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

"I wanna be like that again with Jesus.

"When I first became a Christian, I didn't care about anything except I was hooked up with Jesus. I didn't care about knowing the who, what, where, when, or how of anything. I just knew I was with Someone who loved me with a love more than anyone has ever or will ever love me.

"But now that I have a few years under my belt of following Him, I feel like I've earned a explanation of what's going on.

"Iow, I've earned the right to an explanation - to know the why of things, & what, & when, & how, & where.

"But I realize I need to get back to what I was like when I first encountered Him - I just want to be with Jesus. I trust Him enough to not need to know the rest. I'm just gonna keep looking at Him."


Sunday, April 12, 2015

being a servant

This is Jesus talking here...

Luke 17

 "When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say,

      'Come in and eat with me'?

8 No,

he says, 'Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat.

      Then you can eat later.'

9 And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do?

      Of course not.

10 In the same way, when you obey me you should say,

      'We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'"

So much for a success orientation in regards to servanthood...

I don't think Jesus is denigrating being a servant.

What I do think is He doing is stating that we are not promised a glittering, stupendous, outstanding, famous life as a servant of the Lord, even though it seems a lot of Christians & church leaders teach us that.

Being a servant of the Lord is the ONLY fitting response to the love, mercy, & grace He extends to the undeserving people that we are.

We've developed (& taught) a kind of "He's lucky to have me" attitude when we serve the Lord.

We tend to forget that the Lord IS the high, infinitely mind-blowing holy, all knowing, all powerful God of the universes - NOT a bigger, grandfatherly version of ourselves!

Yes, there are some "servants of the Lord" who have glitteringly dazzling lives, but they are the exceptions, not the rule.

Most of us serve the Lord in obscurity, being & doing as He leads, with seldom, if ever, any recognition.

Think about that today, & see how that squares with your theology  ;-)

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Galatians 4

 But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.

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

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

6 And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,

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

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

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

"Abba" is an intimate word use by children when addressing their fathers.

Kind of like "papa"...

There are many who say it means "daddy" - so we have a "daddy God"

Well, to each his own, I guess.

I feel like "daddy" is a little too glib, a little too flip - we ARE talking to the highest, holiest, most powerful, all knowing, eternal God of the universes.

"Papa" is intimate but also reserves a little respect?

I know, I know, "a rose by any other name..."

Of course this most important thing here isn't how we translate "Abba"

The important thing is that God considers us His beloved, delighted in children, who have such an intimate with Him that we can address Him in intimate terms.

This is an intimacy that no other God / religion contains.

We are offered that close a relationship with Him.

Why aren't we telling more people about this?

In a world starving to death for intimacy, what better thing can we offer the people around us than the uber-intimate relationship our God extends to His children?

Why aren't we telling everyone around us about this?

Friday, April 10, 2015

what does this mean?

Galatians 3

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

27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ,

        like putting on new clothes.

28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile,

        slave or free,

        male and female.

For you are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And now that you belong to Christ,

        you are the true children of Abraham.

You are his heirs,

     and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Here's some key phrases here...

     "...children of God..."

     "...put on Christ..."

     "...all one in Christ..."

What does that mean to each of us?

And what does that mean to the world we live in today?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

how then should we live?

Luke 2

 A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,

 "If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life.

      Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

     27 And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.

28 "But don't begin until you count the cost.

For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it?

29 Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.

30 They would say, 'There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!'

31 "Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?

32 And if he can't, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away.

 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

Over & over again Jesus says in the Gospels that following Him is going to cost us everything.

There is no such thing as following Him halfway, any more than there is any such thing as a little bit pregnant!

He says things like, we have to love & follow him more than we love & follow our own families - & family was a BIG deal back then.

He also says that we should love Him more than our own selves - abandoning ourselves to him.

And then there's the kicker like in verse 33 where He says we have to quit loving our worldly goods to the point of letting them go & love Him more.

How does that square with what we see in the modern christian lives of people here in America?

Do we see much of that kind of living in the Christians we know?

Do WE live like that?

I don't think we serve people well by indicating that following Jesus in this world is anything else but extremely tough, & sacrificial.

He says we have to love Him more than the most important people in our lives,

     more than our own selves,

     & what's more, we need to disconnect from our possessions to the point of being willing to give them away.

Nothing & no one can be more important nor engender our love more than our love for Jesus.

So, the question is, what are we gonna do about this?

How then should we live?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


In the front of my journal for this year I've written down some passages I feel like God wants me to hold on to during 2015.

Maybe He might want you to hold on to some of them,too?

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 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

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

     for He will trample down our foes.

Psalm 108:13 (NLT)

And when you are old,

     I will still be there,

        carrying you.

When your limbs grow tired,

     your eyes are weak,

     & your hair a silvery gray,

I will carry you

     as I always have.

I will carry you

     & save you.

Isaiah 46:4 (The Voice)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

don't worry

Luke 12

 Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said,

        "That is why I tell you don't worry about everyday life;

           whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear.

23 For life is more than food,

   and your body more than clothing.

24 Look at the ravens.

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

       for God feeds them.

And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!

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

26 And if worry can't accomplish a little thing like that, what's the use of worrying over bigger things?

27 "Look at the lilies and how they grow.

        They don't work or make their clothing,

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

28 And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow,

       he will certainly care for you.

Why do you have so little faith?

29 "And don't be concerned about what to eat and what to drink.

Don't worry about such things.

30 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world,

        but your Father already knows your needs.

31 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.

32 "So don't be afraid, little flock.

         For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom.

I think Jesus was trying to get across a very basic idea here, a very basic idea that very, very few of us acknowledge & own.

don't worry.

Jesus basically explained it every which way to think it.

don't worry.

God's got us.

Seek Him.

He's got the rest covered.

But very few of us do that.


Bottom line?

We don't trust Him to come through.

So that's what it comes down to...

We either trust Him to take care of us & escape the worry that bedevils us all...

Or we don't trust Him & continue to be hamstrung & hobbled by worry.

(I'm a worrier)

It's a choice I have to make each day - do I worry about stuff, or do I trust Him with it?

What does Jesus say here?

Over & over again it's the same thing...

don't worry.

Monday, April 6, 2015

bottom line

2 Corinthians 12

7b So 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, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.

For when I am weak, then I am strong.

This goes against everything our culture & world says to us.

We are told over & over to be strong.

We even get that within the Christian community.

Weakness is looked upon as a bad thing.

But here Paul is basically saying that God spoke to him & told him (Paul) 2 things:

1) No matter the circumstance, the grace of God is all we need to walk through it.

     "My grace is all you need"

2) When we are weak,

     when we are clueless as to what to be or do,

     when we don't see the "how" of anything,

     when we are just at the end of our rope - at the end of ourselves - & realize that we in ourselves are simply not able to be anything or pull off anything,

     it is in that state of inability & weakness that God is able to work the strongest & the best,

     because whether we like it or not, our only choice is to step back & let God work,

    knowing that everyone will see & know it was God who made things happen, not us.

   "My (God's) power works best in (yours & my) weakness."

And Paul found some ease in processing the fact that in his obvious weaknesses, God was given glory because His power was released in situations.

When he (Paul) was weakest, that was when the Holy Spirit's power was unleashed the most.

"When I am weak,then I am strong."

Of course, the kicker here is that Paul (& you & me) need to be totally surrendered to the whatever with God.

iow, we've given up control.

well, all righty then...

there we have it - the linchpin of the whole thing.

For His strength to work best in our weakness, we have to give up control, or at least the impression of control.

Which means, iow, we've got to trust God completely.

Now THAT'S the real bottom-line linchpin - we gotta trust Him.

So have we finally chased this rabbit down?

Have we come to the essence of what Paul is saying here?

That when we are at the end of ourselves, we find we must trust God with ourselves & our situation(s), thereby releasing Him to be & act in the full.

Whew! Chew on that one today. I know I will. After 4 1/2 years of being clueless, I'm still trying to quantify things & how my life relates to them.

( I hope this all made sense! )

Sunday, April 5, 2015

we have SUCH tough lives

Here's what the life of Paul, the apostle was like - remember he wrote a BIG chunk of the New Testament - and it is said that he was the greatest missionary ever.

We Christians here in America are so pissy & precious about how persecuted we are...

    ...when the most persecuted most of us experience is that our lattes aren't as hot as we like them as we sit in the drive thru @ Starbuck's in our fuel inefficient SUV's belching exhaust contributing to the greenhouse effect of our atmosphere.

If Paul were alive today & experienced that kind of stuff, our success orientation toward servanthood would lead us to think he was obviously not doing things right to engender such treatment & just needed to read more John Maxwell books on leadership &/or soak up the latest sermon by Joel Osteen.

Who among us would still be a Christian if we had experienced just ONE of the things Paul lists here?

     ...not many of us, I'm afraid...

2 Corinthians 11
24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes.

25 Three times I was beaten with rods.

Once I was stoned. (dan note: ...and he was left for dead)

Three times I was shipwrecked.

Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea.

26 I have traveled on many long journeys.

I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers.

I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles.

I have faced danger in the cities,

     in the deserts,

     and on the seas.

And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.

27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights.

I have been hungry

     and thirsty

     and have often gone without food.

I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.

29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness?

Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?

 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.

31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying.

32 When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me.

        33 I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

getting & losing

Luke 9

 Then (Jesus) said to the crowd,

    "If any of you wants to be my follower,

         you must turn from your selfish ambition,

         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 lose or forfeit your own soul?

Sometimes, when I hear of someone passing away, I often wonder what they would say to us right at that very moment, if they could.

People like Robin Williams - what would he say to us right now if he could?

Or Leonard Nimoy?

Osama ben Laden?

Saddam Hussein?

Julia Child?

Heath Ledger?

Steve Jobs?

Amy Winehouse?

Elizabeth Taylor?

Maya Angelou?

Whitney Houston?

Joan Rivers?


Michael Jackson?

All of these people "gained the whole world" - but I wonder how they feel about it now?

I'm not being tacky, morbid, or kind of "nanee, nanee, boo, boo" to these people.

I just wonder what they would say to us today, right now, in light of those 3 verses I quoted above?

Because those 3 verses go against everything the world tells us is important...

     ...that we have to look out for ourselves...

     ...that we are the center of our universe...

     ...that things matter more than anything else...

But Jesus basically says to turn loose of everything & let Him lead & guide.

We equate the results of that turning loose through the lens of a success orientation, & the American Dream as the yardstick to measure that success.

Not so...

Jesus says let go of it all & follow Me.

Let Me determine the definition of your life.

Let it all go & take your cues from Me.

But how many of us trust Him THAT much.

Most of us settle for the good life...

     ...a life of our own choosing that we can handle & make happen.

Some of us choose a great life...

     ...a life that may be shaped by the standards of God, but over which we have control.

But very, very few of us choose the God life...

     ...a life totally abandoned to God, saying yes to the " 'ever's" - whatever, whoever, wherever, whenever, however.

And Jesus says that only in letting go of our life like that last one will we ever really find out what life - our life - is all about.

It's a tall order.

But even in the face of everything, I still choose to live like that.

Friday, April 3, 2015

psalm 40

Somebody besides me needs to heard what God says through this psalm.
If that's you, I hope whatever is in this psalm helps you.

Psalm 40
 I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,

  and he turned to me and heard my cry.

 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,

  out of the mud and the mire.

He set my feet on solid ground

  and steadied me as I walked along.

 He has given me a new song to sing,

  a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed.

  They will put their trust in the LORD.

4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,

  who have no confidence in the proud

  or in those who worship idols.

 O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us.

  Your plans for us are too numerous to list.

  You have no equal.

If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,

  I would never come to the end of them.

6 You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings.

  Now that you have made me listen, I finally understand*—

  you don't require burnt offerings or sin offerings.

 Then I said, "Look, I have come.

  As is written about me in the Scriptures:

 I take joy in doing your will, my God,

  for your instructions are written on my heart."

9 I have told all your people about your justice.

  I have not been afraid to speak out,

  as you, O LORD, well know.

 I have not kept the good news of your justice hidden in my heart;

  I have talked about your faithfulness and saving power.

I have told everyone in the great assembly

  of your unfailing love and faithfulness.

11 LORD, don't hold back your tender mercies from me.

  Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.

 For troubles surround me;

  too many to count!

My sins pile up so high

  I can't see my way out.

They outnumber the hairs on my head.

  I have lost all courage.

13 Please, LORD, rescue me!

  Come quickly, LORD, and help me.

 May those who try to destroy me

  be humiliated and put to shame.

May those who take delight in my trouble

  be turned back in disgrace.

 Let them be horrified by their shame,

  for they said, "Aha! We've got him now!"

16 But may all who search for you

  be filled with joy and gladness in you.

May those who love your salvation

  repeatedly shout, "The LORD is great!"

 As for me, since I am poor and needy,

  but the Lord is thinking about me right now.

You are my helper and my savior.

  O my God, do not delay.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

reality check


     remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
     Remind me that my days are numbered;

     how fleeting my life is.

You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.

    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
   at best, each of us is but a breath.

We are merely moving shadows,

     and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.

We heap up wealth,

     not knowing who will spend it.

And so, Lord,

    where do I put my hope?

  My only hope is in you.

Psalm 39:4-7

The older I get, the more I see how sinful I really am.

The older I get, the more I see how short life really is.

The older I get, the more I see what is really important, & what really isn't.

We spend our time & effort majoring on the minor things of life, & minoring on the major things.

We continually allow the urgent to take precedent over the essential.

We can't see the forest for the trees.

We focus on a very narrow, singular situation, event, or person, & miss the enormity of the big picture.

We sweat the small stuff far too much & far too often.

We seldom stop & smell the roses until we realize the roses are all dead & gone.

We only have one life, one shot...

     and that life will soon have come & gone.

The older I get, the more I see only 2 things that will continue to have a ripple effect after we have come & gone...

   ...the things we have been & done for God,

   ...& the people we have loved well.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

if only...

What would our world be like if we lived out these words of Jesus?

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."

39 Then Jesus gave the following illustration:

      "Can one blind person lead another? Won't they both fall into a ditch?

40 Students are not greater than their teacher.

       But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

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

42 How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,'

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

Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.