Sunday, May 31, 2015

towering sections

Hebrews 12 is such a towering chapter, full of all kinds of stuff.

Here's just a few of the sections that stand out for me, ones that I've underlined in my Bible.

Hebrews 12

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

      let us strip off every weight that slows us down,

      especially the sin that so easily trips us up.

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

2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus,

     the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.

 Because of the joy awaiting him,

     he endured the cross,

     disregarding its shame.

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

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

      then you won't become weary

      and give up.

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

9 Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us,

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

     and live forever?

12 So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees.

 Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

(dan note: I remember reading this a few years ago - it resounded in my heart like a lightning bolt. It felt like God was speaking directly to me, because, you see, I have tired hands & weak knees. But it seems that even in season when I feel put in the back corner of a top shelf in a long forgotten attic closet, there may be those who are weak & struggling for whom I may somehow influence to become stronger.)

14 Work at living in peace with everyone,

      and work at living a holy life,

      for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

15 Look after each other

      so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God.

Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.

See to it that you obey God, the One who is speaking to you.

28 Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable,

      let us be thankful

      and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.

29 For our God is a devouring fire.

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen;

      it gives us assurance about things we cannot see

Hebrews 11:1

Thus starts the chapter in Hebrews euphemistically called "the faith chapter"

For 32 succeeding verses, the author of Hebrews recounts one after another of the actions of various "heroes of faith".

And then, he says this...

38 By faith these people overthrew kingdoms,

     ruled with justice,

     and received what God had promised them.

They shut the mouths of lions,

     34 quenched the flames of fire,

     and escaped death by the edge of the sword.

Their weakness was turned to strength.

They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.

35 Women received their loved ones back again from death.

But others were tortured,

     refusing to turn from God in order to be set free.

     They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.

 Some were jeered at,

      and their backs were cut open with whips.

Others were chained in prisons.

37 Some died by stoning,

      some were sawed in half,

      and others were killed with the sword.

Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats,

     destitute and oppressed and mistreated.

38 They were too good for this world,

      wandering over deserts and mountains,

      hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

What I'm about to say is not original - but for the life of me I can't remember who it was that said it - but here's my thought...

The people mentioned in the first 32 verses with their giant acts of faith & stupendous results were the exception.

The mention mentioned in the last 4 verses are the rule.

When our lives have come & gone, few of us will be the type of people who would be mentioned in the first 32 verses - iow, considered "heroes of the faith"

Most of us would be considered as part of the overwhelmingly larger group mentioned in the last 4 verses.

We live our lives as best we can, exercising our faith in the mundane & unglamorous ways & areas of our lives.

We simply remain faithful.

Sometimes our lives glitter briefly, but most of the time we simply live our lives believing in God & all He promises & sustains.

We are still "heroes of faith" because we believe & simply live our lives faithful to God, no matter what happens.

Friday, May 29, 2015

2 verses

This is the author of Hebrews - many believe it was Paul - writing a long letter to his people, the Hebrews

For different years lately, these two verses have been some of the yearly verses that I believe God gave me to hold on to, verses that would help see me through whatever that year held.

They still speak to me.

God still speaks to me through them, in ways I cannot share, for they speak to a level of my spirit that is too intimate to share...

I hope they speak to you at least as much as they speak to me.

Don't throw away this confident trust in the Lord,

     no matter what happens.

Remember the great reward it brings you!

Patient endurance is what you need now,

     so you will continue to do God's will.

Then you will receive all that He has promised.

Hebrews 10:35-36

Thursday, May 28, 2015

2 or 3

Where two or three gather

        because they are Mine,

     I am there

        among them.

Matthew 18:20

This is Jesus speaking here.

We forget this too much.

I don't think this means just on Sundays at church.

Whenever 2 or 3 (or more) people who follow Jesus get together, to be or do anything, Jesus said He was there, too.

Jesus said He was there, too

Do we act live Jesus is there in the room, or in the place, or at outdoor place we are, or wherever, whenever there's a couple or more of us followers of Jesus are together?

That Jesus, Himself, is there in some sort of way?

If we believe this, how should it impact our being together?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Who He is

Matthew 17

Jesus told them.

      "I tell you the truth,

     if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed,

     you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,'

     and it would move.

Nothing would be impossible."

I don't believe this means that God can become something of a heavenly vending machine, doing thing & giving us things simply because we believe He can.

What I do think is part of what Jesus was talking about here is that we seldom know or fully realize Who it is we're connected to in our relationship with the God of the universes.

This isn't some celestial grandfather type, who is just something of a bigger version of ourselves.

He is so blindingly holy, infinitely powerful, all knowing, & all wise - the Person who always is - Someone whose very personhood can incinerate us.

But what I'm interested in knowing is what you think Jesus was talking about here.

If you have a thought, make it in the comments below.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

turn the diamond

Matthew 16:24-26

Then Jesus said to his disciples,

     “If any of you wants to be my follower,

        you must turn from your selfish ambition,

        take up your cross,

        and follow me.

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.

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

     Is anything worth more than your soul? (NLT)

Then Jesus said to his disciples,

     “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves

      and take up their cross

      and follow me.
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,

     but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? (NIV)

Then Jesus said to his disciples,

     “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps

      he must give up all right to himself,

      take up his cross

      and follow me.

For the man who wants to save his life will lose it;

     but the man who loses his life for my sake will find it.

For what good is it for a man to gain the whole world at the price of his own soul?

What could a man offer to buy back his soul once he had lost it?
(J B Phillips)

Then Jesus went to work on his disciples.

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.

     You’re not in the driver’s seat;         I am.

Don’t run from suffering;

     embrace it.

Follow me and I’ll show you how.

Self-help is no help at all.

Self-sacrifice is the way,

     my way,

     to finding yourself,

     your true self.

What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself?

What could you ever trade your soul for?
(The Message)

Then Jesus said to his followers,

      “If any of you want to be my follower,

      you must stop thinking about yourself and what you want.

     You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you for following me.

Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it.

     But you who give up your life for me will find true life.

It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost.

You could never pay enough to buy back your life. (Easy-to-Read Version)

(Jesus said to His disciples)

If you want to follow Me,

     you must deny yourself the things you think you want.

     You must pick up your cross

     and follow Me.
The person who wants to save his life must lose it,

     and she who loses her life for Me will find it.
 Look, does it make sense to truly become successful, but then to hand over your very soul?

     What is your soul really worth? (The Voice)

Then Jesus told his disciples,

     “If anyone would come after me,

      let him deny himself

     and take up his cross

     and follow me.

For whoever would save his life will lose it,

     but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?

      Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (ESV)

No matter how we translate it...

No matter how we may paraphrase it...

These words of Jesus are straightforward about what it means to follow Him.

In those words, are there any indicators that our lives will be "a success" if we follow Him?

Can there be anything that would in any way suggest that a life of discipleship is synonymous with "The American Dream"?

And is there any wiggle room in discussing the consequences of not following Him?

Monday, May 25, 2015

too much to say

Sometimes all I can say is that these verses stood out to me this morning.

There is just too much within them to share.

Whether you are young or old, I hope these are words of encouragement...

Even in old age (the godly) will still produce fruit,

     they will remain vital & green.

Psalm 92:14

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 desire is that you will keep 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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

this one's for you - maybe

When I read this psalm this morning, I had the thought come into my head that there are people who need to read it this morning.

I tend to go with that idea when it popped into my thinking.

So, I don't know who this may be for, if anyone, but here is one of the most lyrical psalms...

Psalm 91

 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

 This I declare about the LORD:

He alone is my refuge,

     my place of safety;

  he is my God,

     and I trust him.

 For he will rescue you from every trap

       and protect you from deadly disease.

 He will cover you with his feathers.

  He will shelter you with his wings.

  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,

      nor the arrow that flies in the day.

 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,

      nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

 Though a thousand fall at your side,

     though ten thousand are dying around you,

    these evils will not touch you.

 Just open your eyes,

     and see how the wicked are punished.

9 If you make the LORD your refuge,

       if you make the Most High your shelter,

 no evil will conquer you;
     no plague will come near your home.

 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.

 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.

 You will trample upon lions and cobras;

       you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me.

       I will protect those who trust in my name.

 When they call on me, I will answer;

     I will be with them in trouble.

     I will rescue and honor them.

    16 I will reward them with a long life
          and give them my salvation."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

read the Bible, without fail, every day

Hebrews 4

 For the word of God is alive and powerful.

It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword,

     cutting between soul and spirit,

     between joint and marrow.

It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.

Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes,

     and he is the one to whom we are accountable.

Read the Bible, without fail, every day.

All I know is all I know.

Since January, 2003, I've gotten up early every morning to read the Bible & listen out for anything God may want to say to me.

He ain't shut up yet.

I read something on FB recently that hit the nail on the head...

     "People who complain about never hearing from God but yet don't read the Bible are like someone complaining they never get any text messages but yet don't turn the cellphone on!

Soon after I started reading the Bible every day, I realized that couldn't NOT get up & read every day.

     Not because I'd gotten all that holy,

     but because it had become the lynchpin in my ability to function.

I will warn you about this...

     if you read the Bible everyday without fail...

     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.

Right off the bat, God addressed the absolutely most pivotal issues in my life & wouldn't let up until I let Him heal them.

And He continues to address issues in my life.

I have been & done things I NEVER would have allowed God to morph me in to

     or followed His lead into doing

     if I hadn't been ready the Bible every day.

And I simply would have crashed & burned at the things life has thrown at me.

Reading the Bible every day, without fail, opens us up to the personhood of the God of the universes,

     who He is,

     how He works,

     how He feels about us,

     who He wants us to be,

     & what He wants us to do.

If you think about it, it is the single most stupid thing in the world to NOT read the Bible every day, without fail.

Don't talk to me about not having time.

Make time.

We're talking about connecting to the God of the universes on a daily basis...

     not some larger than life grandfather,

     or some celestial killjoy.

The Bible connects us with the One who is high, holy, all knowing, all powerful, all everything.

And as a result, here's what we end up with...

Hebrews 4

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

     Jesus the Son of God,

   let us hold firmly to what we believe.

15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses,

       for he faced all of the same testings we do,

       yet he did not sin.

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

There we will receive his mercy,

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

Friday, May 22, 2015

for someone?

I think this passage is for someone today. I don't know who.

And then, I may be mistaken.

But I felt like I was supposed to put this up for someone.

Hebrews 3

 For if we are faithful to the end,

      trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed,

we will share in all that belongs to Christ.

15 Remember what it says:

      "Today when you hear his voice,

       don't harden your hearts

      as Israel did when they rebelled."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1 word

Matthew 11

28 Then Jesus said,

     "Come to me,

          all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,

     and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you.

   Let me teach you,

        because I am humble and gentle at heart,

        and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy to bear,

      and the burden I give you is light."

Jesus, Who is God, expressed something that no other supposed god had ever expressed to humankind.

He said...


Come to Me.

The God of the universes,

     all powerful,

     all knowing,

     all everything,

     the creator of countless universes,


     blindingly holy,

  says to each of us,

      who are infinitely smaller than a nano-speck in the cosmos,

      who are incredibly sinful,

      and infinitely selfish,


      & stupid...

"Come to Me."

Oh, & 1 more thing...

     He promises we can find rest & relief with Him.

Think about that today...

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

losing & finding

"If you cling to your life,

     you will lose it;

but if you give it up for Me,

     you will find it."

Matthew 10:39

This is another one of those "if you do this, this will happen" things that Jesus says.

If you think about it, it makes sense.

After we start to follow Jesus what is the project?

Turning us into someone who is like Jesus.

So, that means we start to undergo a pretty radical transformation.

Radical transformation can't occur until we let go of the life we used to have.

We can't hold on to our former lives in anything that resembles a tight-fisted manner.

We must open our hand & let go of that life, & move into whatever it is God wants us to be & do.

If we don't let go of our lives, that transformation won't happen.

But if we do, that frees us up in such a way that God's transforming power is free to move in our lives.

And here's another thought too...

Life is a series of seasons.

I can remember in my life many seasons of significant change.

God used this verse to whisper to me over & over again...

     "don't cling to your life."

Iow, God wasn't going to be able to exercise the change(s) He wanted to institute unless I was willing to let go of the life I was living at the close of that season.

It wasn't that that life was bad; it just wasn't the life He wanted me to continue to live in the next season.

Was it difficult to let go of the life He had me in during that previous season?

You betcha!

But what it comes down to here is am I willing to trust Him?

Am I willing to be & do what He wants me to be & do?

Am I a servant, or not?

Servants don't get to pick & choose - shoot! sometimes we don't even get an explanation of why we much change, move, become, or quit something & become something else.

But if we let go of our lives, what does Jesus say will happen?

We will find the life God dreamed for us a gajillion years ago.

We will connect with the overarching plan that God has for the whole of humankind.

We will find the most real life there is - a life He creates within & through us.

(I hope all this makes sense.

I've been living the active realities of this verse especially in the last 8+ years,

     so I know what I'm saying, but sometimes when I say it, it doesn't come out like I'm thinking it.)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

birds of a feather

Matthew 9

 As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector's booth.

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

So Matthew got up and followed him.

10 Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,

     along with many tax collectors

     and other disreputable & notorious sinners.

11 But when the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples,

     "Why does your teacher eat with such scum?"

12 When Jesus heard this, he said,

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

 Then he added,

      "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:

          'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.'

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

     but those who know they are sinners."

I've said this before in regards to this section on Matthew 9...

Are you & I so like Jesus, so full of the Holy Spirit, that "notorious sinners" want to hang out with us?

I think part of the reason we don't is that we think they will influence us to "return to a life of sin."

Another reason is we're afraid of what others will think...

     ...that others will think like the Pharisees...

     "why is he or she hanging out with such scum bags?"

     "I thought he or she was such an uber-holy Christian - I guess not - 'bird of a feather'!"

And I also think a lot of the time we just think we're better than they are.

I have one question in regards to all this thinking...

What if the people who influenced us to become Christ follows had felt & thought that way about each of us?

Monday, May 18, 2015


Matthew 8

 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.

 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake,

        with waves breaking into the boat.

But Jesus was sleeping.

25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting,

        "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"

  26 Jesus responded,

        "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!"

Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves,

     and suddenly there was a great calm.

  27 The disciples were amazed.

        "Who is this man?" they asked.

        "Even the winds and waves obey him!"

I wonder what the rest of the trip was like?

Be that was awkward!

Imagine being out on a lake in a boat big enough to hold 12 other people, & a storm comes up violent enough that it really does feel like y'all are gonna capsize & drown.

And then there's this guy in the back of the boat - asleep! - & one of you goes to wake up up.

I mean, it makes sense to do this, since He claims to be the son of God.

And you apprise Him of the situation.

And He gets up & basically tells the storm to calm down.

And it does!



Now, before we bag on the disciples, let's think a minute.

We all know who Jesus is.

We all know what He said, & told people about Himself.

We know He rose from the dead.

We KNOW that we know that we know that He is the son of God.

But how many of us, when a bad "storm" hits our life, we run around, acting like we have to wake up Jesus to our problems?

Like, as if Jesus doesn't know what's going on.

How many times do we forget that Jesus can & will stand up & tell the "storm" to calm down?


And what did Jesus say to the disciples, & to us?

"Why were you so afraid?"

Good question.

We all know the answer to it, don't we?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

keep on

"Keep on asking,

     and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking,

     and you will find.

Keep on knocking,

     and the door will be opened to you.

8 For everyone who asks,

Everyone who seeks,


And to everyone who knocks,

     the door will be opened.

Matthew 7:11

These are words Jesus speaks in those 3 chapters in Matthew (5, 6,& 7) that we have come to call the Sermon on the Mount.

 Lately, whenever I read this verse, 2 words stand out...

     "Keep on..."

There is some sort of merit with God if we just keep moving forward in what we are being & doing.

No matter what,
     now matter how things look,

     or how we feel,

     or what the circumstances may be...

          Keep on...

This another one of those "if you do this, then this will happen." that Jesus says frequently.

There's a lot of them in Matthew 5-7.

I just wonder what our lives would be like if we determined to "keep on..." & live expectantly that "if we do this, then this will happen."

Saturday, May 16, 2015


If you forgive those who sin against you,

     your heavenly Father will forgive you.

But if you refuse to forgive others,

     your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:14-15

Now that's pretty straightforward.

It's one of those either / or situations in which Jesus leaves very little wiggle room.

This is one of those passages that our white, upper middle class, Protestant, smorgasbord-pick-&-choose-what-suits-me Christianity is not really comfortable with.

How many of us have someone(s) in our lives we just can't forgive?

So, who is harmed the most by our unforgiveness?

     the person we won't forgive?

I think not - most of the time they go blithely along, completely unaware of it, & if they were aware of it, they wouldn't care.

We who refuse to forgive are the ones who are harmed the most,

     dumping all that bile of resentment, hurt, frustration, &/or anger into our conscious mind & heart.

And Jesus is pretty plain about what happens if we're unforgiving...

     ...we don't get forgiven.

I don't know about you, but considering the amount of sinning I do,

     I'm gonna need to receive as much forgiveness on God's part as can be mustered!

Part of this I'm sure was Jesus trying to emphasize "what goes around, comes around".

     (Sounds like a Justin Timberlake song!)

At the same time, I think Jesus knew what unforgiveness does to the unforgiver.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we forgive people & then make ourselves vulnerable & allow them to hurt us again.

I'm simply suggesting that we let go of the offense & forgive.

And trust me, considering who & what has been leveled at me over the years, that's as a tall order for me.

But I've lived too long, & I've seen too much.

Unforgiveness is like a poison allowed to live in our psyche.

Unforgiveness is like a cancer left uncheck that eventually consumes us.

I've seen what it's done to far too many people's lives.

I've seen what it's done to me.

Forgive, let it go, & move on - life's too short to carry bitterness around inside us.

Friday, May 15, 2015

radical thinking

Matthew 5, 6, & 7 contain what has been called the Sermon on the Mount, a talk Jesus gave that holds some of His most revolutionary ideas.

We can't fully appreciate how radical His ideas were because so many of them have been adopted into humankind's psyche as the norm.

Perhaps one of the most radical things He said comes at the end of chapter 5.

What Jesus is suggesting here was completely & utterly foreign to the way people thought.

And, quite frankly, I think it's still pretty foreign to the way we think things should be.

As you read this, ask yourself this question: "What would things be like if we put this into practice?"

Matthew 4

 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy.

44 But I say, love your enemies!

        Pray for those who persecute you!

45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good,

     and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.

46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?

        Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else?

        Even pagans do that.

48 But you are to be perfect,

        even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


"Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." 2 Timothy 3:12

This is Paul writing this last letter to Timothy, a man Paul considered his son.

Paul was in prison in Rome, knowing full well he would probably be killed soon.

Simply by living His life as a Christ follower had gotten Paul into massive trouble...

     ...he had been in prison for quite some time, & now the powers that be were fixing to kill him.

I think we should all realize that our place in this world isn't as entitled & powerful as we would like it to be.

Following Jesus is not a life that the world is comfortable with.

It goes against everything the world believes & tells us is important.

Just by living our lives & allowing God to remake us into persons who are like Jesus really makes the world uncomfortable.

What the world considers to be the way to live simply looks sinful & selfish compared to truly following Jesus.

And to the world a life fully lived following Jesus looks stupid, judgemental, arrogant, rigid, &/or narrow - or any number of other things.

So let's not be naive...

     ...let's understand that who & what we are in Him will always be in conflict with the way the world thinks...

     .....& understand that will always bring some sort of a level of conflict.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

last minute instructions

When Paul writes his second letter to his "son in the faith", Timothy, he knows he is going to be executed soon.

So these are his "final instructions" to Timothy, someone Paul considered his son.

If any of us were writing out last letter to someone who we considered our child, we would probably be saying as much as we could to that person.

We'd be trying to fill in the caps of what we'd taught those children so far.

Here just a few things Paul tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2.

Maybe they not only apply to Timothy, who live is a very wicked world known as the Roman Empire, but also to us who live wherever we live...

     things are pretty wicked no matter where we live these days.

2 Timothy 2

 In a wealthy home some utensils are made of gold and silver,

        and some are made of wood and clay.

The expensive utensils are used for special occasions,

      and the cheap ones are for everyday use.

21 If you keep yourself pure,

      you will be a utensil God can use for His purpose.

Your life will be clean,

     and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.

  22 Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts.

Instead, pursue righteous living,



     and peace.

Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


These verses encouraged me.

Today & yesterday, there were verses about guarding what has been entrusted to me.

I wonder what is the specific thing that's been given me that I'm supposed to guard?

And there was another verse today that then said God would guard something in my life until His return.

The word guard has stood out in 3 verses.

I lived too long & see too much - I know that means something for me.

Maybe I should wait & see what is revealed about all this?

I'm not good at waiting (it's even my last name!), but that seems what I've been doing a lot of these last 5 years.

Maybe these verses can encourage you, or someone your know.

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

     but of power,


     & self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

I know the One in whom  I trust,

     & I am sure,

     yes, persuaded,

     that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him

     until the day of His return.

2 Timothy 1:13b

With the help of the Holy Spirit who lives within us,

     carefully guard what has been entrusted to you.

2 Timothy 1:14

Monday, May 11, 2015

fatherly instructions

Paul considered Timothy his son, even though Timothy was not biologically Paul's son.

(I know what that's like. I have a few children that I've "come by". ;-) )

And in this letter of Paul's to Timothy, Paul speaks to him as a father would to his son, telling him some things Timothy should be or do to be a good Christ follower.

Perhaps, like Timothy, we ought to read & heed these instructions of Paul...

1 Timothy 6

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

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

        so run from all these evil things.

        Pursue righteousness

        and a godly life,

        along with faith,



        and gentleness.

12a Fight the good fight for the true faith.

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

20a ...guard what God has entrusted to you...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

3 verses

here's just some verses that stood out when I was reading today.

Maybe they will stand out for you, too?

(The reason I'm doing this at 1:25am is because I couldn't go to sleep.)


These two verses come from a LONG prayer of thanksgiving that David wrote in 2 Samuel 22

As for God,

     His way is perfect.

All of God's promises prove true.

He is a shield for all who look to Him for protection. 2 Samuel 22:31

God is my strong fortress;

     He has made my way safe.

2 Samuel 22:33

* * * * * * * *

Paul wrote this instruction to his son in the faith, Timothy, in Paul's first letter to Timothy.

Never speak harshly to an older man,

     but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father.

1 Timothy 5:1a

(Well, there you have it - I can expect no more harsh words from anyone?! :-) LOL)

Saturday, May 9, 2015

don't worry about anything

2 towering verses from Paul's lovingly written letter to the believers living in Philippi...

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'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

How different all our lives would be if we really believed this & put it into practice in our daily lives.

Friday, May 8, 2015

go to passage

Sometimes, when I don't know what to say or write, this says it...

Psalm 139

 O LORD, you have examined my heart

  and know everything about me.

 You know when I sit down or stand up.

  You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.

 You see me when I travel

  and when I rest at home.

  You know everything I do.

 You know what I am going to say

  even before I say it, LORD.

 You both precede and follow me.

  You place your hand of blessing on my head.

 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,

  too great for me to understand!

7 I can never escape from your Spirit!

  I can never get away from your presence!

 If I go up to heaven, you are there;

  if I go down to the grave, you are there.

 If I ride the wings of the morning,

  if I dwell by the farthest oceans,

 even there your hand will guide me,

  and your strength will support me.

 I could ask the darkness to hide me

  and the light around me to become night—

   but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.

To you the night shines as bright as day.

  Darkness and light are the same to you.

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

  and knit me together in my mother's womb.

 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

  as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

 You saw me before I was born.

  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

  before a single day had passed.

17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

  They cannot be numbered!

 I can't even count them;

  they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up,

  you are still with me!

19 O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!

  Get out of my life, you murderers!

 They blaspheme you;

  your enemies misuse your name.

 O LORD, shouldn't I hate those who hate you?

  Shouldn't I despise those who oppose you?

 Yes, I hate them with total hatred,

  for your enemies are my enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;

  test me and know my anxious thoughts.

 Point out anything in me that offends you,

  and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

hope & promise

For God is not unfair.

Just some words of hope & promise from 2 of the passages I'm holding on to in 2015...

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

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)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

read the Bible, every day, without fail

I remember a season in my life when God making me restless, a sure sign for me in my life that change is coming.

For about 4 months He spoke to me through the Bible as I got up early to read it & listen out for whatever He wanted to say.

     (yes,that was a shameless plug for getting up early & reading the Bible, every day, without fail! ;-) )

After a little over 4 months, it certainly seemed that one night in early May, He started dropping thoughts in my head as to what I was to be & do.

It was more than a bit scary, & I was sure I couldn't pull it off under my own steam.

     (a sure sign it was God's will!)

So I said yes to what it seemed God wanted me to be & do - I've NEVER regretted saying yes.

Now, for those previous 4 months God had just been making certain scriptures stand out what seemed like every single day, especially in the 4 - 6 weeks prior to that night in May.

So you can imagine my anticipation that next morning when I got up to read. I figured God was gonna just make something stupendous stand out in the chapters I supposed to read that morning.

I was slated to read Psalm 73 that morning.

Now I'll just tell ya that Psalm opens up with what at the time was a long rant about how the wicked seem to prosper.

I was not impressed.

After spending over 4 months of God pushing me (thru the Bible) to be willing to change, whatever that mean, I was something less than a little cranky being hit is with a rant by Asaph about how the wicked seem to prosper.

Well, let's be frank here - I was pretty pissed.

And then, I got to verse 24...

Here's what I read...

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

Yeah, I felt pretty stupid at that point.

You can imagine how bad I felt that I'd gotten all cranky & pissy that morning,

     & then God clearly seemed to say He will keep on guiding me.

I've carried those verses in my heart ever since.

Verses 24-26 is one of the passages I feel like God has given me for this year, 2015.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, & I'll keep on saying it...

Read the Bible, every day, without fail.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


"Here on earth you will have many trials & sorrows.

But take heart,

     because I have overcome the world."

John 16:33b

This is Jesus speaking here, to His disciples, on the way to Gethsemane, on the night before He died.

He was telling them His "final instructions" before they all deserted Him & He died a heinous death.

Jesus wasn't messing around when He talks to the disciples that night.

He was telling them things to hold on to after He's dead.

Now, think of all the tough stuff that's going on in our life.

     all those things that just drive us crazy, or worry us, or mess us up.

Then think about all the things that make us sad...

     no, not the fact that our latte wasn't like you like  yesterday morning.

I'm talking deaths of family or friends,


     lives thrown away,




     traumas that we will carry around in our hearts because they are the awful things in life.

Jesus says to hang on - He has overcome all of those things - all of them.

iow, He's got us covered in all the crap that goes on in our lives.

Think about that - the sheer magnitude of that statement.

If it is true, how then should we live?

Monday, May 4, 2015

vines & branches

Sometimes I write dates in my Bible - they indicate that a verse particularly spoke to me, or maybe it was a promise I felt God was giving me, or any number of other reasons.

I have 9 different dates in the first 17 verses. I don't think I've dated another area of the Bible as much.

Some dates are right before or right after some really dark days in my life.

Others are dates during times I was trying to figure out what I was supposed to be or do.

And some dates are from times when I was so clueless I just held on to what I knew, not what life seemed to be.

I hope this chapter comes to mean something to you are you read it.

It's got a lot in it - read it slowly, read it more than once.

This is Jesus speaking here, walking to Gethsemane with His disciples, a few hours before He was arrested.

I'm sure he was trying to jam as much into the disciples' heads as He could, knowing what the next 3 days would hold for them.

John 15

 "I am the true grapevine,

      and my Father is the gardener.

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

     and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.
     3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.

4 Remain in me,

     and I will remain in you.

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

     and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 "Yes, I am the vine;

      you are the branches.

Those who remain in me,

     and I in them,

     will produce much fruit.

For apart from me you can do nothing.

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

Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.

7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!

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

     This brings great glory to my Father.

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

Remain in my love.

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

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

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

      Yes, your joy will overflow!

12 This is my commandment:

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

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

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

 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves.

Now you are my friends,

     since I have told you everything the Father told me.

16 You didn't choose me.

I chose you.

I appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last,

     so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

17 This is my command:

        Love each other.

18 "If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.

19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world.

I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.

20 Do you remember what I told you?

        'A slave is not greater than the master.'

Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.

And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.

21 They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.

 They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them.

        But now they have no excuse for their sin.

23 Anyone who hates me also hates my Father.

24 If I hadn't done such miraculous signs among them that no one else could do, they would not be guilty.

But as it is, they have seen everything I did,

     yet they still hate me and my Father.

25 This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures*:

        'They hated me without cause.'

26 "But I will send you the Advocate, the Counselor - the Spirit of truth.

He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.

27 And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.

Now, go back & read it again...

Sunday, May 3, 2015

last minute words

Here in John 14, Jesus is talking to his disciples the night before He was crucified.

Who among us, if we knew we were going to die the next day, wouldn't try to tell the people closest to us all kinds of things?

Needless to say, Jesus was trying to jam as much truth in those last hours.

He kept trying to tell them things that would keep them during the dark hours right before, during, & especially after his death.

These are some of the verses I've underlined in my Bible.

But the whole chapter has a lot to say about a lot of things.

Read these words for what they are - some of the last words Jesus said right before His death...

     ...think of the portent they housed for Jesus to a group of men He knew & loved so much.

John 14

 "Don't let your hearts be troubled.

     Trust in God,

     and trust also in me.

  6 Jesus told him (Thomas), "I am the way, the truth, and the life.

       No one can come to the Father except through me.

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

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

9b Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!

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

        and even greater works,

        because I am going to be with the Father.

13 You can ask for anything in my name,

        and I will do it,

        so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

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

15 "If you love me,

        obey my commandments.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor,

      who will never leave you.

17a He is the Holy Spirit,

       who leads into all truth.

18 No, I will not abandon you;

      I will come to you.

21 Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.

        And because they love me, my Father will love them.

        And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them."
23 "All who love me will do what I say.

     My Father will love them,

     and we will come and make our home with each of them.

     24 Anyone who doesn't love me will not obey me.

     And remember, my words are not my own.

     What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me.

26 But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

27b ...the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives.

     So don't be troubled or afraid.

Friday, May 1, 2015


John 12

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

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

26 Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me,

        because my servants must be where I am.

And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.

Jesus is recorded to have said this more than once.

We have to let go of our lives if we want to find real life.

It's just that simple...

     ...but not that easy.

We want to be in charge, we want to be in control.

But that's not the way it works.

It is only in releasing control that God is able to implement the life He planned for us.

It's all about trust.

Do we trust Him with our lives?

Do we trust Him with ourselves?