Tuesday, May 31, 2016

13 words

1 Peter 5:7

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

No matter how ya read it, there's a whole lot of truth in those 13 words.

I wonder why so few of us do it?

I guess it's because we don't really trust Him?

That sounds about right.

Monday, May 30, 2016


Mark 2

13 Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him.

14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector's booth.

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

So Levi got up and followed him.

15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests,

along with many tax collectors and notorious sinners.

(There were many people of this kind among Jesus' followers.)

16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples,

"Why does he eat with such scum?"

17 When Jesus heard this, he told them,

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

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

but those who know they are sinners."

I've said it before. I'll say it again.

There was a quality about the personhood of Jesus that people were simply drawn to.

Yes, Jesus is both God & a man.

But before we use that as an excuse for not drawing people to ourselves, don't we all believe Jesus lives inside us once we become followers?

In my life, I have known some people who really did seem to be filled with the Spirit of Jesus.

Haven't you?

And what was there about each of these people that drew us to them?

It was the quality of their love for us as individuals.

One of those kinds of people for me is Dennis Kinlaw, then president of my college alma mater, Asbury College (now Asbury University).

He's a brilliant man – PhD, an Old Testament scholar, always had a LOT going on as president, & always gave me the feeling whenever I was around him that he was reading me like a book.

But I remember countless times encountering him on campus, & whenever I talked to him, he made me feel like I was the most important thing going on in his life right then.

He focuses on you when talking to you because he's mostly listening to you.

And after living around that for the 5 years of my undergraduate I knew I wanted to be like that.

I've been working on it ever since.

The question for all of us is this – do “notorious sinners” - people who may not be anything close to being considered a follower of Jesus – find a quality of about our life (Jesus inside us) that makes them WANT to be around us?

Do we communicate that when we're talking to them, they are the most important thing going on at the moment?

Do they feel like we love them, not in some broad, general sense, but as individuals?

Are we willing to risk having our super holy friends think were some sort of nut case or “backsliding” by just being around people who don't even pretend to follow Jesus?

Here's another impetus to hang out with people who have no God connection...

...where would you & I be if the people who had major impact & influence on us to become Christ followers hadn't been willing to hang with each of us before we nailed down a decision to follow Jesus?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

the 2 are connected

Psalm 100

1 Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!
2   Worship the LORD with gladness.
  Come before him, singing with joy.
3 Acknowledge that the LORD is God!
  He made us,

      and we are his.
We are his people,

      the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
  go into his courts with praise.
  Give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good.
  His unfailing love continues forever,
  and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

No matter what happens,

always be thankful,

for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Matthew 28

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee,

going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him;

but some of them doubted!

  18 Jesus came and told his disciples,

"I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.

19 Therefore,


and make disciples of all the nations,

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

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

And be sure of this:

I am with you always,

even to the end of the age."

I've always thought the most important word in all that was one of the smallest:


Jesus said go into all the world.

That includes the people we work with,

live next to or down the road from,

or see working at the grocery,

serving tables at restaurants,

cashiering at WalMart,

working out at the gym & in the locker room,

in prisons & jails,

in nursing homes or hospitals,

or in our family,

in doctors' or dentists' offices

or teaching in or connected to the schools,

or any store we frequent,

or in the next town over,

somewhere in the state,

or in another state,

or foreign country.

Jesus said go.

Very, very few of us do.

What if the person or people who showed us the way to Jesus had been as complacent or unwilling to “go” as we are sometimes?


And Jesus also said He would be with us in the going.

So we won't be alone in our going?


Friday, May 27, 2016


1 Timothy 1

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord,

who has given me strength to do his work.

He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,

13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ.

In my insolence, I persecuted his people.

But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.

14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was!

He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it:

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"...

and I am the worst of them all.

16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners.

Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever!

He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies;

he alone is God. Amen.

Let's not forget this about Paul when he was still called Saul of Tarsus...

He persecuted the early followers of Jesus.

He had them taken off to prison.

He condoned the stoning of Stephen – he was there when it happened.

The people he had thrown into prison probably died or were killed.

He was to awful a threat to followers of Jesus, that they thought when Paul first became a follower too, that he was using it at a play to capture & imprison them.

Paul was still Saul, he was NOT a nice guy.

But Paul says God saved him to show how bad people can be & still come back from that & be a follower of Jesus.

So, the next time the devil bashes you over the head with how terrible a person you are,

& how God can't love you,

& you're too bad for Him to be able to save you,

just remind him of Paul,

& the scandalous act of grace incident Paul had on the road to Damascus.

Just a thought...

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Joshua 1

1 After the death of Moses, the LORD's servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' assistant.

I will not fail you or abandon you.”

6 "Be strong and courageous...

7 Be strong and very courageous.

9 This is my command—be strong and courageous!

Do not be afraid or discouraged.

For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."

This is what God said to Joshua when he took over leading the Hebrews into the Promised Land.

Moses is dead at this point.

And God said those things to Joshua at the beginning of his leadership.

And we know the rest of the story – they went into Canaan & took the place by storm.

If God says those things to Joshua, doesn't He in turn say the same things to us?

Does it follow that if God will say those things to Joshua, He will say the same things to us in regards to what He wills we be & do?

I don't know where you are this morning.

I know where I am.

And I need to hold on to what God said to Joshua.

If He said those things to Joshua, they apply to me.

And they apply to you, too.

I will not fail you or abandon you.

Be strong and courageous...

Be strong and very courageous.

This is my command - be strong and courageous!

Do not be afraid or discouraged.

For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

read & heed

Matthew 25

31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne.32 All the nations* will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

  34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.'

  37 "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing?39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?'  40 "And the King will say, 'I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,* you were doing it to me!'

  41 "Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.*42 For I was hungry, and you didn't feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn't give me a drink.43 I was a stranger, and you didn't invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn't give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'

  44 "Then they will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'

  45 "And he will answer, 'I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.'

  46 "And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life."

In America, our attitude about the poor REALLY sucks.

We'd better read & heed what Jesus is saying here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


"Heaven & earth will disappear, but my words will remain forever"

Matthew 24:35

Jesus is speaking here in this verse to His disciples as they all were leaving the temple one day.

Jesus was talking about His return, His second coming.

He was telling them what the signs would be, or what life here on earth would shape into.

Evidently, it's gonna be a pretty nasty time.

And in the middle of what must have seemed as some pretty dire prophesy, Jesus inserts a pillar of hope...

no matter how nasty things become, the things the disciples have heard Jesus say always will be be around.

I checked at biblegateway.com & read through the English translations of verse 35.

There's very little subtly – they all use basically he same words.

The things Jesus said will always be around.

And it isn't too much of a stretch that the words of Jesus are just as current to our needs & situations as they were when He spaoke them.

When our lives fall apart, it's good that there are some things that are immutable – always true.

It's good to know in a world where everyone & everything sometimes seems to be false, we have some things that will always be true, always something we can anchor ourselves to.

Monday, May 23, 2016

standing out again

I was reading through the daily entries in the journal I'm keeping for 2016.

I remember how it used to may be want to puke when people would talk about all the insight they were writing about in their journals.

I usually used to think that I wish I could see some of that insight showing itself in the life of the people who were so condescendingly sharing their deep(er) insights.

But here I am, sharing what I wrote down in the past few months – I hope I'm not condescending whenever I do this.

I don't think I'm better than other people just because I journal every day – I journal every day because I can't remember where I've read in the Bible from day to day!

And if I don't write down the things that might stand out on a page on a certain day or date, there is no way I'm gonna remember them unless I write them down.


I was leafing through my entries during this year so far, & the following verse really stood out one the entries I read.

I read Psalm 50 on April 9 & verse 15 stood out.

Little did I know how much it resonate with me on May 22.

That's the good thing about the Bible – ya just never know when what you read in it is gonna mean something important to ya.

I enjoy seeing the subtle differences translators & paraphrases give when they do a verse or passage.

It's like looking at a multi-faceted diamond.

Maybe you need this verse today as much as I did last night.

Btw, it's easy to see the treatments of 1 verse or a passage on the website I use:


And no, they didn't pay me to tell you that! ;-) LOL

Psalm 50:15

Trust Me in your times of troubles,

& I will rescue you,

& you will give Me glory. (NLT, 1st ed.)

(dan note: this is the translation I read from every day.)

Call on Me in the day of trouble;

I will rescue you,

and you shall honor and glorify Me. (Amplified)

Cry out to me whenever you are in trouble;

I will deliver you,

then you will honor me. (CEB)

God says,

Call me when trouble comes.

I will help you,

and you will honor me. (ERV)

and call upon me in the day of trouble;

I will deliver you,

and you shall glorify me. (ESV)

I want you to trust me in your times of trouble,

so I can rescue you

and you can give me glory. (TLB)

And call for help when you’re in trouble;

I’ll help you,

and you’ll honor me. (The Message)

When you are in trouble,

call for Me.

I will come and rescue you,

and you will honor Me. (The Voice)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

boiled down

Matthew 22

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

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

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

37 Jesus replied,

"'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart,

all your soul,

and all your mind.'

38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

39 A second is equally important:

'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

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

Jesus boiled the whole shebang down for the Pharisees that day.

The Jewish people had tons of commandments, rules, laws, traditions, & all kinds of other stuff.

Jesus boiled it all down into 4 words.

Love God. Love others.

Jesus boils it all down for us today.

We Christians have tons of commandments, rules, laws, traditions, expectations, judgements, & all kinds of stuff that has nothing to do with being a follower of Jesus & a child of God.

Jesus boils it all down into 4 words for us today.

Love God. Love others.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

read it

Psalm 92

1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
  to sing praises to the Most High.
2 It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning,
  your faithfulness in the evening,
3 accompanied by the ten-stringed harp
  and the melody of the lyre.

4 You thrill me, LORD, with all you have done for me!

  I sing for joy because of what you have done.
5 O LORD, what great works you do!
  And how deep are your thoughts.
6 Only a simpleton would not know,
  and only a fool would not understand this:
7 Though the wicked sprout like weeds
  and evildoers flourish,
  they will be destroyed forever.

8 But you, O LORD, will be exalted forever.

9 Your enemies, LORD, will surely perish;
  all evildoers will be scattered.
10 But you have made me as strong as a wild ox.
  You have anointed me with the finest oil.
11 My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
  my ears have heard the defeat of my wicked opponents.
12 But the godly will flourish like palm trees
  and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.
13 For they are transplanted to the LORD's own house.
  They flourish in the courts of our God.
14 Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
  they will remain vital and green.
15 They will declare, "The LORD is just!
  He is my rock!
  There is no evil in him!"

I don't know what I would have this week if I hadn't had the Bible.

I think I would have completely despaired.

In reading the Bible every day w/o fail, I've come to depend on the Lord to speak whatever it is He wants to say to me.

I'm not trying to all holy & self-righteous here.

I'm talking reality.

I just don't know how I would have made it this week w/o having listened out for some sort of something from Him through His Word.

Back in November, 2015, I felt like God gave me some passages to hold on to during 2016.

If I hadn't had some of those this week, I really do think I would have lost my mine.

If someone was to ask me if I could give anyone a single piece of advice, what would I say?

Read the Bible every day, without fail.

I wouldn't steer ya wrong on this...

that is the single most important component to my life...

the Bible...

God speaks to us through it.

Read it.

Listen out for what God will say to you through it.

He's never failed me yet.

Friday, May 20, 2016


All I got is these words of encouragement from Psalm 91.

Sometimes, in the storms of life, all we can do is just hold on to something grounded & stable, & wait for the storms to pass.

Every one in a while, I feel like all I ever do is stay tied to some rock, & holding on, while the chaotic winds of life blow & buffet.

Maybe you feel that way sometimes, too?

Read these encouraging words with me today, & tighten that knot you tied around your waist, & hold on to that rock.

The storms will pass – we may be pretty beaten up – but all we got is the Rock to hold on to.

It ain't like there's anything or anyone else we can cling to!

Psalm 91

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge,

my place of safety;

he is my God,

and I trust him. (dan note: it's all about trust, isn't it? It always is.)

3 For he will rescue you from every trap

and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with his feathers.
  He will shelter you with his wings.
  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day.

6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
  nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
  though ten thousand are dying around you,
  these evils will not touch you.
8 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,
10 no evil will conquer you;
  no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
  to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
  so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 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.
15 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."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

the primary verse

If you've read these blogs for any length of time, you know that each year since 2003 I've asked God to give me a verse to hold on to during the coming year.

Sometimes there's been just 1 verse, other years there have been multiple verses &/or passages.

Usually when there are multiples, that means it's gonna be a doozie of a year.

This year there are 11 verses or passages.

Yeah, 11...

I'm glad I've got all 11.

It's been a doozie of a year, so far.

The first & primary verse for this year is 1 Peter 5:7.

I got it in a very unusual way.

Lynn & I have a terrific friend named Shurlene Rivera.

She has a Facebook account in which she shares a lot of pictures with wise or singular thoughts. Every day I look forward to see the things she shares.

One day she shared a picture with this verse overlaying the image. When I read it, I the stirring in my spirit that this was going to one of the verses for 2016.

As it turns out, amongst all 11 verses & passages, it's the quiet primary one.

I'm glad it is.

I thought I'd share the various ways different scholars have translated it.

Each day, more & more, I'm learning the simple & infinite truth of this verse.

1 Peter 5:7

Give all your worries & cares to God, for He cares about what happens to you. (TLV, 1st ed.)

casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (Amplified)

Throw all your anxiety onto him, because he cares about you. (CEB)

Give all your worries to him, because he cares for you. (ERV)

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (ESV)

You can throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern. (J B Phillips)

Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. (KJV)

Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. (TLB)

Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. (The Message)

Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you. (NIRV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV)

Since God cares for you, let Him carry all your burdens and worries. (The Voice)