Sunday, July 31, 2016

3 translation

This needs no explanation...

Psalm 8 (NLT)

1 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
  Your glory is higher than the heavens.
2 You have taught children and infants
  to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
  and all who oppose you.

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

  the moon and the stars you set in place—
4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
  human beings that you should care for them?*
5 Yet you made them only a little lower than God*
  and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You gave them charge of everything you made,
  putting all things under their authority—
7 the flocks and the herds
  and all the wild animals,
8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
  and everything that swims the ocean currents.

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

Psalm 8 (The Message)

God, brilliant Lord,
    yours is a household name.

2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;

    toddlers shout the songs

That drown out enemy talk,

    and silence atheist babble.

3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,

    your handmade sky-jewelry,

Moon and stars mounted in their settings.

    Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,

Why do you bother with us?

    Why take a second look our way?

5-8 Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,

    bright with Eden’s dawn light.

You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,

    repeated to us your Genesis-charge,

Made us lords of sheep and cattle,

    even animals out in the wild,

Birds flying and fish swimming,

    whales singing in the ocean deeps.

9 God, brilliant Lord,

    your name echoes around the world.

Psalm 8 (The Voice)

1 O Eternal, our Lord,

    Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth;
Your magnificent glory shines far above the skies.
2 From the mouths and souls of infants and toddlers, the most innocent,
    You have decreed power to stop Your adversaries
    and quash those who seek revenge.

3 When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation—

    on the moon, stars, and all You have made,

4 I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals—

    sons and daughters of men—

    specks of dust floating about the cosmos.

5 But You placed the son of man just beneath God

    and honored him like royalty, crowning him with glory and honor.

6 You ordained him to govern the works of Your hands,

    to nurture the offspring of Your divine imagination;

    You placed everything on earth beneath his feet:

7 All kinds of domesticated animals,

    even the wild animals in the fields and forests,

8 The birds of the sky and the fish of the sea,

    all the multitudes of living things that travel the currents of the oceans.

9 O Eternal, our Lord,

    Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

in the scheme of things

This is one of the verses I feel like the Lord gave me to hold on to during 2016.

I've listed below a bunch of translations of that verse that I got online from – and excellent site where all kinds of different translations & paraphrases can be accessed.

There are a LOT of different translations available.

The majority of the ways translators & paraphrasers handled the parts of the verse I've underlined in each version was to say that our work for the Lord “is not in vain.”

But it is interesting to see how each of these groups of people have expressed what is written in the original Greek.

I don't know you may be in your life.

If you feel like you're just kind of slogging along, not meaning a lot lot to yourself or to others, maybe this verse is for you.

Maybe you're working hard in a definitive way & place, but you just wonder how all this lines up with the overarching plan for humankind, maybe this verse is for you.

Maybe you feel clueless about your life – maybe you feel like the Lord has put you in an attic closet up on a high shelf over in the far dark corner of that shelf – then maybe this vere is for you.

Or maybe you're in any of a plethora of places – if this verse speaks to you, maybe it is God's way of speaking to you today about who you are & where you place is in the scheme of things.

1 Corinthians 15:58

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.(NLT)

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose]. (Amplified)

My dear friends, stand firm and don’t be shaken. Always keep busy working for the Lord. You know that everything you do for him is worthwhile. (CEV)

So, my dear brothers and sisters, stand strong. Don’t let anything change you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord. You know that your work in the Lord is never wasted. (ERV)

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)

And so brothers of mine, stand firm! Let nothing move you as you busy yourselves in the Lord’s work. Be sure that nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted. (J B Phillips)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (The Message)

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (NASB)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

So, then, brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith. Always excel in the work you do for the Lord. You know that the hard work you do for the Lord is not pointless. (NOG)

My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. (The Voice)

Friday, July 29, 2016

it doesn't matter

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.

Isaiah 46:4 (The Voice)

It doesn't matter of we're already a senior adult,

or a young adult,

or a middle aged adult,

or a child or someone in their teens.

It doesn't matter if we're male or female.

Tall or short.

Or what our ethnicity may be.

Or if we've made a mess of our lives, or someone else has made a mess of our lives.

Or if we're rich or poor.

None of it matters when we realize the universality of God's promise in this short verse that above.

Find this verse in your Bible & underline it,

& hold on to it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

how we think

Verse 9 in this passage is often quoted as a way of saying we can know or fathom what God has in store for us.

But read this section from Paul's first letter to the follow of Jesus in Corinth, follow his thinking, as he reaches a pretty astounding conclusion by verse 16.

It took me a long while to figure out that this passage isn't about being clueless.

Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but the power statement in verse 16 says something pretty strongly about what we are able to know.

Just read it & tell me what you think.

1 Corinthians 2

9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say,

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
  and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared for those who love him."
(dan note: Paul is quoting Isaiah 64:4 here)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths.

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

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

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

15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.

16 For,

"Who can know the LORD's thoughts?
  Who knows enough to teach him?"
(dan note: Paul is quoting Isaiah 40:13 here.)

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

what's it all about?

1 Corinthians 1

27 God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise.

And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

28 God chose things despised by the world,

things counted as nothing at all,

and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

In my life, I have seen God choose to use regular & ordinary people in powerful & astounding ways.

I've seen Him do things through me more than once that I know HAD to be as a result of His power because, let's face it, I ain't that smart, clever, or that well put together.

What it all comes down to is God's favor.

One thing I have noticed about God's favor is that it seems to operate more often in the lives of people who OBEY Him.

That seems to be a recurring theme in the lives of people who seem to have a lot of God's favor – obedience.

We tend to need to know the who, what, where, when, & how before we venture out into situations God seems to be guiding us.

Maybe if we just said, “Yes, Lord...” more, & spent less time wanting to know all the details, maybe we would see more of the Lord's favor in our lives & actions?

I'm not suggesting that we run higgledy-piggledy through life, without testing to see if what we think God wants us to be & do is authentic & not just a passing thought.

But at the same time, there is a point when we all come to know what it is God is leading us to be & do – it's at that point we need to obey, even though we may not have all the answers to the who, what, where, when, & how.

The thing is, we may never know the answers to all those questions. We may just be called upon by God to simply be & do what He leads us to be & do.

Sometimes, I think He just wants us to shut up our questions & do what He says.

And sometimes I wonder if our asking the questions isn't about making sure we're on the right track & more about how little we really trust Him in a given situation.

Did that last statement skewer you as much as it did me?

It's all about God's favor.

And the way God's favor settles on us is if we obey Him, regardless.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


God is able to make you strong.

Romans 16:25a

There it is - the word for today.

Nothing fancy, nothing deep.

But who, besides me, needs to hear that today?

Who feels incredibly weak, confused, clueless, or lost?

God says to all of us the same thing that Paul wrote so long ago.

God is able to make you strong.

Monday, July 25, 2016

5 pivotal words

Judges 6

12 The angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, "Mighty hero, the LORD is with you!"

  13 "Sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?

And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about?

Didn't they say, 'The LORD brought us up out of Egypt'?

But now the LORD has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites."

14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!"

  15 "But Lord," Gideon replied, "how can I rescue Israel?

My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh,

and I am the least in my entire family!"

  16 The LORD said to him, "I will be with you.

And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man."

You can read the whole story about Gideon in Judges 6, 7, & 8.

The Midianites were raiding in Jewish territory, take food, livestock, killing people, & causing havoc.

Then the Lord told Gideon to get rid of the Midianites.

The verses I quoted above is part of the conversation Gideon had with the Lord when told to go whup up on the Midianites.

The long & the short of this story is that Gideon started out with a fairly large army, but God had Gideon cull the group down to a fairly small group.

The Gideon went on to do exactly what the Lord had told him to do.

God gave Gideon victory over the Midianites in spite of overwhelming odds.

The upshot of this whole story are 5 words the Lord says to Gideon when He gives Godeon the challenge to get rid of Midianites.

Remember Gideon had basically said I'm the lowest of the low – my tribe is the weakest, & I'm the weakest of the weak.

iow, he told the Lord that he was a nothing & a nobody.

And then the Lord said the 5 pivotal words...

I will be with you.”

The Lord obviously felt that was enough on the matter of Gideon's abilities & worthiness in connection with what God was calling him to be & do.

The Lord basically said, “I'm with you – that's enough.”

The Lord often calls us to be & do some things that a WAY BEYOND our skill set, our abilities, our courage, our... well, beyond anything we are or can be & do.

And His answer for that is the same for us as it was for Gideon.

I will be with you.”

Think about that today & how that relates to you.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


I've been reading 1 psalm, sequentially, since January of 2003.

Since there's 150 psalms, I figure in the past 16 years, I've read through the book of Psalms at least 32 times.

They never get old or jaded.

They usually speak to something going on in my life at the time.

I understand fully well why Billy Graham supposedly reads one psalm every day.

(I wonder how he's doing these days – he's in his 90's – anybody heard lately?)

I recommend in the strongest & highest ways possible that each of us would read 1 psalm sequentially every day.

Here's the very first one – verse one is from the NIV bc I like the sit, walk, stand imagery.

All the rest are from the NLT, 2nd edition.

I don't know how many times I'd read it (a lot!) before I let verse 3 sink in.

There's also a pretty potent warnings to the wicked in verses 4 – 6.

Of course, I don't know how many people would class themselves as “wicked”.

Wicked” is not something we use as a way of describing someone these days.

It would seem that “ 'sin' in not in” these days.

Nor it would seem that we don't always buy into the concept that there are consequences of sinning...

...sowing & reaping...

...although some understand karma, which is a secular concept...

...”what goes around, comes around”...

(I feel a Justin Timberlake song coming on!)

Since you're reading Psalm 1 today, some time tomorrow why not read Psalm 2.

Then on Tuesday, read Psalm 3.

Wednesday, Psalm 4.

And so it will go.


Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,

2 But they delight in the law of the LORD,
  meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
  bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
  and they prosper in all they do.

4 But not the wicked!

  They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
  Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly,
  but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

He's got our 6

Let's think about our lives.

Let's think about the things that worry us.

Or the family members who stress us.

Friends who concern us, or drive us crazy.

Situations that defeat us.

Things that baffle us.

Areas of our lives about which we are clueless.

Things that run us crazy all. the. time.

The seemingly impossible place(s) our lives seem to be in.

And then let's let these words of Jesus sink into our hearts.

John 16:33b

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (NLT)

In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.] (Amplified)

In this world you will have troubles. But be brave! I have defeated the world! (ERV)

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. (ESV)

You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world! (J B Phillips)

In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world. (The Message)

In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world.” (NCV)

In this world you will have trouble. But be encouraged! I have won the battle over the world. (NIRV)

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (NIV)

The world will trouble you much. But be glad. I have power over the world. (WE)

In this world, you will be plagued with times of trouble, but you need not fear; I have triumphed over this corrupt world order. (The Voice)

Friday, July 22, 2016

pruning & producing

I read John 15 & Romans 12 this morning – 2 towering chapters with tremendous content.

So choosing what to share this morning wasn't easy.

I grew up on a farm, so the vine analogy in John 15 is something I understand.

Pruning is a way of life for grape vines.

I know it makes sense to cut off vines that don't produce, but I'm also sure it probably doesn't make sense to prune back vines that DO produce fruit, but it's true.

If you prune a producing vine (not cut it off completely like non-producers), it will grow back stronger & produce more grapes than before.

(I know my brothers, Jeff & Tim, will find my referring to my farm upbringing with amusement, because I showed seemingly little to no interest in it growing up! ;-) )

Remember that this passage is Jesus talking to the disciples the night before He died – they had left the “Last Supper” & were heading to Gethsemane.

Jesus knew He would be arrested soon.

So I'm sure these are part of the “final instructions” - these were things Jesus probably REALLY wanted the disciples to remember.

Read this slowly – it's got SO MUCH in just a few short verses...

John 15

1 "I am the true grapevine,

and my Father is the gardener.

2 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.

15 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 lasting fruit,

so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for,

using my name.

17 This is my command: Love each other.