Friday, July 31, 2015

some fina instructions

Here's another one of those epic sections of the Bible - it contains a lit of the stuff we heard a lot of the time.

Read it all the way through.

Bear in mind that this is a conversation that Jesus had with His disciples the night before He died.

     I doubt if He was mincing words.

I figure He was trying to get as much in as He could in the few hours left to Him.

John 14

 "Don't let your hearts be troubled.

     Trust in God,

     and trust also in me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  6 Jesus told him,

        "I am the way, the truth, and the life.

        No one can come to the Father except through me.

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

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

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

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

     Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!

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

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

      The words I speak are not my own,

      but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.

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

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

 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 Advocate,

        who will never leave you.

17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.

The world cannot receive him,

      because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him.

But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.

18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

19 Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me.

Since I live, you also will live.

20 When I am raised to life again,

        you will know that I am in my Father,

        and you are in me,

        and I am in 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."

"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.

 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.

25 I am telling you these things now while I am still with you.

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.
 "I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.

And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.

So don't be troubled or afraid.

28 Remember what I told you:

        I am going away, but I will come back to you again.

If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

your _____ will prove to the world

John 13

 So now I am giving you a new commandment:

        Love each other.

Just as I have loved you,

     you should love each other.

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

So, Jesus said what is the yardstick by which the world will know we belong to Him?

Yeah.... about that...

Loving someone doesn't mean we accept, condone, validate, agree, & concur with every part of who & what a person is.

I seriously doubt if anyone who loves me does that about me!

What I do know is that loving someone means caring about them & valuing them as a person, no matter who or what they are.

It's called unconditional love.

We seem to be in short supply of that these days.

What am I saying? We've ALWAYS been in short supply of it!

Unfortunately, it would seem that people who aren't connected to Jesus may know us for a lot of other things, but love is something they do not automatically associate with Christ followers.

I think it would be redundant & unhelpful to enumerate all of those things they think.

While I know that we've always had to live down people who demonstrate those other characteristics,

     is it just me,

     or does it seem we're having to do it an awful lot more than usual in the last couple or three of decades?

Anyway, Jesus Himself, on the night before He died, was very specific with the disciple.

I would think if I knew I was going to be dead the next day,

     I wouldn't mince words,

     nor be obtuse in anything I would say to people as important to Jesus as His disciples.

I'd be pretty straight with people.

I think Jesus was too that night.

Jesus specifically said to love each other.

And that quality of love would be so special & so profound that the rest of the heathen world would associate & define people who believed in Him by that quality of love.

So, are we gonna read & heed...

     or are we gonna continue on the same erroneous path?

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

holy cow!

I don't know how many of you have ever read this chapter all the way through.

Just settle in & read it, every bit of it.

It's amazing, contains so many of the basic truths pivotal in our thinking, & will just roll your socks down.

Take the time to read it all. You think you're done & Paul gets cranked back up!

Romans 8

 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.

 So God did what the law could not do.

     He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.

     And in that body God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us,

     who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.

5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things,

     but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

     6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.

     But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.

     It never did obey God's laws,

     and it never will.

8 That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

9 But you are not controlled by your sinful nature.

You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.

(And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)

10 And Christ lives within you,

     so even though your body will die because of sin,

     the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.

11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.

And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead,

     he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

12 Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

 For if you live by its dictates, you will die.

        But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.

        Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.

Now we call him, "Abba, Father."

 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.

17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs.

        In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory.

        But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.

 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse.

But with eager hope,21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

23 And we believers also groan,

        even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory,

        for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.

We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,

     including the new bodies he has promised us.

24 We were given this hope when we were saved.

(If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it.25 But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.

For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for.

But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying,

        for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.

 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

 For God knew his people in advance,

      and he chose them to become like his Son,

      so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

     30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.

     And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.

     And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?

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

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

       won't he also give us everything else?

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

      No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself.

34 Who then will condemn us?

      No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,

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

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

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

     or are persecuted,

     or hungry,

     or destitute,

     or in danger,

     or threatened with death?

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

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

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

      Neither death nor life,

      neither angels nor demons,

      neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow;

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

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

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

Monday, July 27, 2015


So is this, besides me?

Roamns 7

 So the trouble is not with the law,

        for it is spiritual and good.

The trouble is with me,

     for I am all too human,

     a slave to sin.
15 I don't really understand myself,

     for I want to do what is right,

     but I don't do it. Instead,

I do what I hate.

 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong,

      this shows that I agree that the law is good.

 So I am not the one doing wrong;

      it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me,

      that is, in my sinful nature.

I want to do what is right,

     but I can't.
19 I want to do what is good,

      but I don't.

I don't want to do what is wrong,

     but I do it anyway.

 But if I do what I don't want to do,

      I am not really the one doing wrong;

      it is sin living in me that does it.

21 I have discovered this principle of life...

      that when I want to do what is right,

      I inevitably do what is wrong.
22 I love God's law with all my heart.
      23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.

This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
24 Oh, what a miserable person I am!

Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?
25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

So you see how it is:

      In my mind I really want to obey God's law,

      but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

That chapter ended pretty bleakly, so I had to add these 2 verses...

Romans 8

 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

2 And because you belong to him,

      the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

can't wrap my brain around this


splendidly towering passage ahead...

brace yourself...

Romans 5

 Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight by faith,

        we have peace with God

        because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

 Because of our faith,

        Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand,

        and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,

        for we know that they help us develop endurance.

        4 And endurance develops strength of character,

        and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

        5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment.

For we know how dearly God loves us,

     because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

6 When we were utterly helpless,

     Christ came at just the right time

     and died for us sinners.

7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person,

     though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.

 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

9 And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ,

     he will certainly save us from God's condemnation.

10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies,

     we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.

 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God

        because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

Those 11 verses just blow my mind.

And the last half of verse 11 is unfathomable - how can I be a friend of the God of the universes...

     who is so blindingly holy,

     who is all knowing,

     who is all powerful,

     who is eternal- always has been, always will be,

     who is everything.

It's just hard for me to wrap my brain around that.

But I am, we all are is we believe Jesus to be who He was & is.

A friend to a Person like that...

     can't fully grasp it.

But I live in the reality that we are miraculously connected to God now as Paul says we are.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

which are you?

Who are you in this story?

The woman?


A Pharisee?

John 8

 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives,2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple.

A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.

3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.

They put her in front of the crowd.

4 "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the act of adultery.

        5 The law of Moses says to stone her.

        What do you say?"

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him,

        but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger.

7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said,

        "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!"

8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this,

     they slipped away one by one,

     beginning with the oldest,

     until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.

10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman,

        "Where are your accusers?

        Didn't even one of them condemn you?"

 "No, Lord," she said.

  And Jesus said,

        "Neither do I.


            and sin no more."

Friday, July 24, 2015


Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me & drink. Rivers of living water will flow from the hearts of those who believe in Me. John 7:37b-38

We're all thirsty.

All of us long for something to hang on to, something that will fulfill that something we sense is missing in our lives.

As we look around, we all can see people (& ourselves) trying to meet that need in their lives in both hilarious & pathetic ways.

But Jesus says here "come to Me".

Have you ever noticed that Jesus had a way of inserting into situations a simple invitation - "come to Me"?

But how many of us struggle a long trying to take care of things on our own?

No matter what is going on in you life or mine, Jesus says the same thing to us all...

"Come to me."

Thursday, July 23, 2015

what Jesus provides

This is another one of those towering passages that not only speaks about who Jesus is but also what He is about,

     it also seriously pokes holes in this "all roads lead to the same God" kind of thinking.

Here's what Paul had to say that is so definitive, so concise, & so clear about God's provision & way back to Him.

Romans 3

21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law,

        as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.

22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ.

       And this is true for everyone who believes,

       no matter who we are,

       no matter what we've done.

23 For everyone has sinned;

        we all fall short of God's glorious standard.

24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous.

        He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.

25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.

People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past,

     26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time.

God did this to demonstrate his righteousness,

     for he himself is fair and just,

     and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God?


        because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law.

It is based on faith.

28 So we are made right with God through faith

        and not by obeying the law.

29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only?

        Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles?

Of course he is.

30 There is only one God,

        and he makes people right with himself only by faith,

        whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

31 Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law?

        Of course not!

In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

golden years

for all who are right now senior adults in your "golden years"...

(who in the world came up with that term? Obviously someone who had never lived through their"golden years"!!!)

for all who are facing in the not too distant future those years of senior adulthood...

or for all who may be smart enough to realize that although they are young now, life is short, & the senior years of life come quickly...

Here's some words that I hope will not just be a sort of comfort & reassurance...

     I hope it will become one of the rocks to build a life on.

     something to hold on to when life throws all kinds of stuff at us.

I don't remember how or where I found these words, where I first came upon them.

But knowing them, & holding on to them, helps me to not lose my mind, some days.

I quoted 9 different translations - there's a little different take on each one - but they all come out saying the same.

     Some are a little more lyrical than other.

     Some are a little more blunt that others.

But they all bear out the same shining fact - the faithfulness of God.

Isaiah 46:4

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

     carrying you.
When your limbs grow tired,

     your eyes are weak,

     and your hair a silvery gray,

     I will carry you

     as I always have.
I will carry you and save you.

(The Voice)


I will be your God throughout your lifetime;

     until your hair is white with age.

I made you,

     and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.



Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he,

     I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you

     and I will carry you;
I will sustain you

     and I will rescue you.



and I will still be carrying you when you are old.

Your hair will turn gray,

     and I will still carry you.

I made you,

     and I will carry you to safety.



even to your old age I am he,

     and to gray hairs I will carry you.

I have made,

     and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.



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

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

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

     carrying you on my back,

     saving you.

(The Message)


Even to your old age I am He,

     and even to hair white with age will I carry you.

I have made,

     and I will bear;

yes, I will carry

     and will save you.



Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will carry you!

I have made,

     and I will bear;

Even I will carry,

     and will deliver you.



Even to your old age I will be the same,

And even to your graying years I will bear you!

I have done it,

     and I will carry you;

And I will bear you

     and I will deliver you.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

while on the way

John 4

 At the end of the two days, Jesus went on to Galilee.

 He himself had said that a prophet is not honored in his own hometown.
45 Yet the Galileans welcomed him,

        for they had been in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration and had seen everything he did there.

46 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine.

There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick.
47 When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son,

        who was about to die.

48 Jesus asked, "Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?"

49 The official pleaded, "Lord, please come now before my little boy dies."

50 Then Jesus told him,

        "Go back home. Your son will live!"

And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.

51 While the man was on his way, some of his servants met him with the news that his son was alive and well.

 He asked them when the boy had begun to get better, and they replied,

        "Yesterday afternoon at one o'clock his fever suddenly disappeared!"

 Then the father realized that that was the very time Jesus had told him, "Your son will live."

And he and his entire household believed in Jesus.
54 This was the second miraculous sign Jesus did in Galilee after coming from Judea.

While the man was on his way...

Iow, the man took Jesus at His word,

     and only after he had take the step of faith of leaving Jesus & heading home

     only then did the man find out that his son had truly been healed.

It is of note that it wasn't until the next day that the man received word from his servants that his son was alive & well

Can you imagine what went through the man's mind in the 24 hours after he left Jesus & hearing from his servants?!

Many times doesn't snap His fingers when we ask for something, or need a miracle, or pray for something or someone.

Many times it is only after we choose to believe God will manifest Himself somehow in the situations or persons we have prayed about.

It's one thing to believe God will move when He chooses to make things happen right then.

It's a whole another thing to wait for the miracle to happen,

     to move forward with no evidence of a change,

     & to continue to believe God will come through.

Monday, July 20, 2015

one way

Ok, first off, don't turn your mind off when you read the first verse in this passage - you've heard it a gajillion times, so don't turn off.

Remember this is Jesus talking here.

He leaves no doubt how things work in the universe.

There is no "all roads lead to the same God" kind of thing that He talks about here.

He in no way says that it doesn't matter what we believe, as long as we are sincere in what we believe.

Jesus speaks pretty plainly here.

There is one way to God, & only one way.

And Jesus speaks pretty plainly about Himself - He didn't think of Himself as a good man, or a wise man, or a strong prophet.

He said straight out He is the Son of God who came specifically to His creation for a purpose.

Jesus is who He says He is, or He's a wildly barking mad crazy man - there are no other options.

Here's what He said to Nicodemus that night 2000+ years ago -just as true now as it was then...

John 3

 "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son,

        so that everyone who believes in him will not perish

        but have eternal life.

17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world,

        but to save the world through him.

18 "There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.

But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God's one and only Son.

19 And the judgment is based on this fact:

        God's light came into the world,

        but people loved the darkness more than the light,

            for their actions were evil.

20 All who do evil hate the light

      and refuse to go near it

      for fear their sins will be exposed.

 But those who do what is right come to the light

      so others can see that they are doing what God wants."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

keep on

For God is not unfair.

He will not forget how hard you have worked for Him

     & how you have shown your love to Him

      by caring for other Christians,

     as you still do.

Our great desire is that you 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

That's all I got this morning, folks.
Keep on.

Don't quit.

Don't give up.

Even if quit looks good.

Saturday, July 18, 2015


ya know, John doesn't hang back at the beginning of his gospel.

He doesn't make any attempt to slide into this long narrative about the life of Jesus.

He jumps right in with a towering & definite statement about the personhood of Jesus,

     a statement that is at the very heart of what everyone has thought &/or said about identity of Jesus.

So, brace yourself - hear it is!

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.

 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 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 the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father's heart.

     He has revealed God to us.

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Does that roll your socks down, or what?!

Now, go back & read it again & write down the verses that stand out.

Friday, July 17, 2015

who God is

There seems to be a popular concept of God as some sort of celestial kill-joy,

     waiting for the opportunity to nip in the bud, or completely eliminate any kind of situation or experience that could bring us pleasure.

Then there's another viewpoint that God is some sort of harsh judge sitting there with thunderbolts in His hands,

     ready to strike us down & blast us to smithereens for the slightest deviations from a squeaky clean life.

In Psalm 145, David pokes a lot of holes in these concepts,& many misled & mistaken images that we have about God.

Here's the verses I have underlined in my Bible that stand out in regards to who God is & His thinking about us...

Psalm 145

 I will exalt you, my God and King,

  and praise your name forever and ever.

 I will praise you every day;

  yes, I will praise you forever.

 Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!

  No one can measure his greatness.

8 The LORD is kind and merciful,

  slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

 The LORD is good to everyone.

  He showers compassion on all his creation.

13b The LORD always keeps his promises;

  he is gracious in all he does.

 The LORD helps the fallen

  and lifts those bent beneath their loads.

 The eyes of all look to you in hope;

  you give them their food as they need it.

 When you open your hand,

  you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.

 The LORD is righteous in everything he does;

  he is filled with kindness.

 The LORD is close to all who call on him,

  yes, to all who call on him in truth.

 He grants the desires of those who fear him;

  he hears their cries for help and rescues them.

 The LORD protects all those who love him,

  but he destroys the wicked.

21 I will praise the LORD,

  and may everyone on earth bless his holy name

  forever and ever.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

a joyful psalm

Well, the last couple of days have produced a couple of psalms that expressed something of a dark millieu.

And someone needed to know that the psalmist understand all portions of the human experience.

This one, another by David, offers a stronger, more positive outlook, more of an encouragement.

Psalm 144
1 Praise the LORD, who is my rock.

  He trains my hands for war

  and gives my fingers skill for battle.

 He is my loving ally and my fortress,

  my tower of safety, my rescuer.

He is my shield, and I take refuge in him.

  He makes the nations submit to me.

3 O LORD, what are human beings that you should notice them,

  mere mortals that you should think about them?

 For they are like a breath of air;

  their days are like a passing shadow.

5 Open the heavens, LORD, and come down.

  Touch the mountains so they billow smoke.

 Hurl your lightning bolts and scatter your enemies!

  Shoot your arrows and confuse them!

 Reach down from heaven and rescue me;

  rescue me from deep waters,

  from the power of my enemies.

 Their mouths are full of lies;

  they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.

9 I will sing a new song to you, O God!

  I will sing your praises with a ten-stringed harp.

 For you grant victory to kings!

  You rescued your servant David from the fatal sword.

 Save me!

  Rescue me from the power of my enemies.

Their mouths are full of lies;

  they swear to tell the truth, but they lie instead.

12 May our sons flourish in their youth

  like well-nurtured plants.

May our daughters be like graceful pillars,

  carved to beautify a palace.

 May our barns be filled

  with crops of every kind.

May the flocks in our fields multiply by the thousands,

  even tens of thousands,

   and may our oxen be loaded down with produce.

May there be no enemy breaking through our walls,

  no going into captivity,

  no cries of alarm in our town squares.

 Yes, joyful are those who live like this!

  Joyful indeed are those whose God is the LORD.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

a psalm speaking our language

Many of us go through dark days.

If that where you are, it may resonate with you to read this psalm of David.

Before I started reading through Psalms regularly, I had no idea there were psalms like this,

     psalms that speak the language of a soul that is in a very dark place.

Psalm 143

 Hear my prayer, O LORD;

  listen to my plea!

  Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.

 Don't put your servant on trial,

  for no one is innocent before you.

 My enemy has chased me.

  He has knocked me to the ground

  and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.

 I am losing all hope;

  I am paralyzed with fear.

 I remember the days of old.

  I ponder all your great works

  and think about what you have done.

 I lift my hands to you in prayer.

  I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.   

7 Come quickly, LORD, and answer me,

  for my depression deepens.

Don't turn away from me,

  or I will die.

 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,

  for I am trusting you.

Show me where to walk,

  for I give myself to you.

 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD;

  I run to you to hide me.

 Teach me to do your will,

  for you are my God.

May your gracious Spirit lead me forward

  on a firm footing.

 For the glory of your name, O LORD, preserve my life.

  Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.

 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies

  and destroy all my foes,

  for I am your servant.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

a light in a dark place

Life is seldom all sweetness & light.

David wrote this psalm regarding his time in the cave of Abdullah - not a good time in his live.

Someone may resonate with this psalm this morning.

I know it's pretty dark, but the last 5 words express hope & faith.

If someone is feel the same darkness this morning that David was feeling, remember the last 5 words are as true for all of us as they were for David.

Psalm 142

 I cry out to the LORD;

  I plead for the LORD's mercy.

 I pour out my complaints before him

  and tell him all my troubles.

 When I am overwhelmed,

  you alone know the way I should turn.

Wherever I go,

  my enemies have set traps for me.

 I look for someone to come and help me,

  but no one gives me a passing thought!

No one will help me;

  no one cares a bit what happens to me.

 Then I pray to you, O LORD.

  I say, "You are my place of refuge.

  You are all I really want in life.

 Hear my cry,

  for I am very low.

Rescue me from my persecutors,

  for they are too strong for me.

 Bring me out of prison

  so I can thank you.

The godly will crowd around me,

you are good to me."

Monday, July 13, 2015

who we can depend on

It's just good sometimes to remind ourselves of some basic truths that are bedrock of our lives.

The rock solid truths of this psalm express what it is we all can depend upon.
Just 8 short verses, but what a powerful statement...

Psalm 121

 I look up to the mountains;

  does my help come from there?

 My help comes from the LORD,

  who made heaven and earth!

 He will not let you stumble;

  the one who watches over you will not slumber.

 Indeed, he who watches over Israel

  never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The LORD himself watches over you!

  The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.

 The sun will not harm you by day,

  nor the moon at night.

7 The LORD keeps you from all harm

  and watches over your life.

 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go,

  both now and forever.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

1 verse

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

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

Acts 20:24

Saturday, July 11, 2015


This psalm has so much in it, it needs to be read slowly, & more than once.

There are so many incredible truths within it.

There are so many stupendous things said about what God thinks & feels about us.

It's an incredible psalm.

Read it slowly.

Read it more than once.

Psalm 139

 O LORD, you have examined my heart

     & 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 go before me 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
        & 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!

 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.

Friday, July 10, 2015

being a servant of the Lord

This is Jesus talking to His disciples.

How does our present day concept of what it takes to "be a servant of the Lord" square with what Jesus shares 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.'"

Thursday, July 9, 2015

either / or

Luke 16

 "No one can serve two masters.

For you will hate one and love the other;

     you will be devoted to one and despise the other.

You cannot serve both God and money."

In taking that last sentence to heart, I wonder how many people in our contemporary or traditional churches try to do both?

Or love the latter, but pretend to serve the former?

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Luke 15

 Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach.

2 This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people...

      ...even eating with them!

Who among us Christ followers is so kind & loving toward people who don't believe &/or follow Jesus that these "notorious sinners" want to hang out with us, to the point they are willing to eat with us?

How many of us don't hang out with nonChristians because we're afraid they'll infect us with "unholy thinking"?

How many of us won't be seen or connected with nonChristians because we're afraid of what our "superChristian" friends might think?

And where would any of us be right today if the people who had influenced us to connect with Jesus had been scared to hang with us?


Think about all that today as you move about in the sea of "notorious sinners" that surround us every day...

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

count the cost

Who of us needs to think about what this passage says?

Are there some of us who need to think about very seriously what it means to follow Jesus?

Here's what Jesus said about following Him - will you let me know if this passage was for you &/or it spoke to you in some way?

Luke 4

 A large crowd was following Jesus.

He turned around and said to them,

26 "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.

33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything for me.

  34 "Salt is good for seasoning.

        But if it loses its flavor, how do you make it salty again?

 Flavorless salt is good neither for the soil nor for the manure pile.

        It is thrown away.

Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!"

Monday, July 6, 2015


This is Jesus speaking here, to crowds of people...

"Some who are despised now will be greatly honored then;

      & some who are greatly honored now will be despised then."

Luke 13:30

Let's all remember that the yardstick used by the world to measure worth is significantly different from the one used by God.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

what if

How would any of us think or feel if Jesus were standing next to any of us, & then turned to us & said this...

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.

  33 "Sell your possessions and give to those in need.

        This will store up treasure for you in heaven!

And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes.

Your treasure will be safe;

     no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it.

34 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

Well, the thing is, Jesus does say those things to each & every one of us.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

keep on

Luke 11

 "Keep on asking,

      and you will receive what you ask for.

Keep on seeking,

     and you will find.

Keep on knocking,

     and the door will be opened to you.

10 For everyone who asks,


Everyone who seeks,


And to everyone who knocks,

     the door will be opened.

I've said before in this blog that the operative words spoken by Jesus in these 2 verses, for me, are "keep on".

"Keep on" when you're clueless.

"Keep on" when you're discouraged.

"Keep on" when everyone thinks you're crazy, or a failure.

"Keep on" when you're scared.

"Keep on" when you're tired.

"Keep on"  when you've hit the wall.

"Keep on" when you don't think you're able to be & do what you think God wants you to be & do.

"Keep on" when life doesn't make sense.

"Keep on" when your life feels like it has come to an end.

"Keep on" when you feel like your done.

"Keep on" when you're been & done everything you can think of & nothing seems to work.

"Keep on" even when you feel hedged in by God.

"Keep on" when you feel like the Lord is done with you.

"Keep on" when keeping on feels really stupid.

"Keep on" when you don't think you can keep on.

Friday, July 3, 2015


Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?" Esther 4:14c

"The Book of Esther begins with the Queen of King Xerxes, king of Persia - Vashti - snubbing the king's request to meet with her. Naturally, being a rather unstable fellow, Xerxes fires / divorces her. Now he needs to pick a new queen and eventually manages to select Esther—a comely, young (secretly Jewish) woman who is a part of his harem.

"As for her backstory, Esther's an orphan who was raised by her righteous cousin, Mordecai. When the king came looking for young virgins to possibly fill the role of his new queen, Esther made sure to jump into line. She wins favor with the people in the harem and eventually with the king himself, becoming queen. Moreover, Mordecai helps uncover a plot to kill the king, allowing Esther to warn him in time. This earns him some Brownie points as well.

"But all is not well in the king's courts—treachery is afoot. When Mordecai refuses to bow down to the evil counselor Haman in the street, the evil counselor decides to engineer a plot to murder all the Jews in the Persian Empire. The plot basically involves Haman going to the king and saying, "I think we should kill all the Jews in the Persian Empire." And the king says (to paraphrase him), "Alright."

"Haman walks away, glad that the king has cottoned to his genocidal plans. The king doesn't know that his own queen is Jewish, because Esther's been keeping it secret. But the threat of the Jews' imminent demise kicks Esther and Mordecai into action. Mordecai goes and wails outside the palace gates while wearing sackcloth, and Esther fasts for three days before visiting the king."

(This summary came from

To know the rest of the story, read the book of Esther. ;-)

It is at the point when Mordecai asks Esther to go see the king that he says to her:

     "Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?"

And, indeed, Esther's elevation to queen was crucial for the Jews.

The carry away here is this:

None of us should count ourselves as worthless.

For each of us, like Esther, have been put here for a purpose or purposes.

Some may be great & glittering.

But for most of us, they probably aren't.

But at the same time, there are things for which we were created that we are to fulfill to add to the overarching plan of God for humankind.

Is it a bit of a stretch to extend the universality of Esther to that extent?

I don't think so.

All of us are here for a purpose or purposes.

All we can do is say "whatever" to God & the be & do whatever it is He deems for each of us to be & do.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


 Luke 9

23 Then (Jesus) said to the crowd,

"If any of you wants to be my follower,

     you must give up 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 are yourself lost or destroyed?

26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my message,

      the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.

There nothing in this passage indicating we will be a glittering success.

This explanation by Jesus of what it means to follow Him in no way equates that following to be synonymous with the American Dream.

It is a giving up.

It is a letting go of everything.

It is saying yes to whatever God has for us.

It is a death to self, hopes & dreams, ambitions - everything - & being & doing whatever it is He wants us to be, whenever, however, wherever, to whomever He leads us to be & do.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

the whole picture

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

This is what Jesus said to Jairus in Luke 8:50b.

Jairus had begged Jesus to come heal his daughter, but as they were going to Jairus' house, the servants arrived to tell Jairus that his daughter had died.

They didn't think it was necessary to trouble Jesus any longer.

And that was when Jesus said, "Don't be afraid. Just trust Me..."

Jesus went on with Jairus to the house, & raised Jairus' daughter from the dead.

You can read the whole story in Luke 8:40-56.

Every time I read the story of Jairus' daughter, I am struck by those 6 words Jesus said...

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

We know the end of the story - Jairus didn't - but he kept on walking toward his house, even though he knew his daughter was dead.

But as it turned out, Jairus didn't have anything to worry about - Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead.

And maybe Jesus is saying those 6 words to you - I know He quietly says them to me each time I read the story.

But we don't know the end of our story - but Jesus does -Jesus sees the whole picture of our lives.

And he continues to say...

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