Friday, September 30, 2016


2 Timothy 3

1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.

2 For people will love only themselves and their money.

They will be boastful and proud,

scoffing at God,

disobedient to their parents,

and ungrateful.

They will consider nothing sacred.

3 They will be unloving and unforgiving;

they will slander others and have no self-control.

They will be cruel and hate what is good.

4 They will betray their friends,

be reckless,

be puffed up with pride,

and love pleasure rather than God.

5 They will act religious,

but they will reject the power that could make them godly.


Just a thought...

Thursday, September 29, 2016

maybe it's not as hard as we think it is

Luke 19

1 Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.

2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus.

He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.

3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.

4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

  5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name.

"Zacchaeus!" he said. "Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today."

  6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

7 But the people were displeased.

"He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner," they grumbled.

  8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said,

"I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord,

and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!"

9 Jesus responded,

"Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham.

10 For the Son of Man* came to seek and save those who are lost."

Tax collectors were at the bottom of the social world back then.

They were despised because they collaborated with the hated Romans while getting big time rich stealing money from their fellow Jews through taxation.

You didn't have anything to do with them.

Doing something like eating with them would have made you ceremonially unclean.

iow, you couldn't worship in the temple.

Jesus breaks ALL conventional thought by even speaking to Zacchaeus.

And when He went to eat a meal with Zacchaeus, I'm sure the heads of the religious leadered exploded.

But Zacchaeus' life was transformed by Jesus showing him some compassion & attention.

Could part of the truth in this story be that it took very little effort to bring about significant change in Zacchaeus' life.

And is that is true in Zacchaeus' life, maybe it would be true in the lives of people far from a relationship / connection with God.

Maybe we think it's harder than it really is to influence someone to follow Jesus.

All Jesus did was indicate to Zacchaeus that He knew who He was, He connected with Zacchaeus, & He spent time with him.

There was something about that level of attention that changed Zacchaeus' life.

And if Jesus lives inside of us, then shouldn't it follow that the Jesus inside of us could have the same impact on people who haven't decided to follow Jesus?

So, maybe if we simply made the effort to get to know people, connect with them, & spend time with them, they Holy Spirit can work through us & influence them to follow Jesus?


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

4 verses

Here 4 verses from the first chapter of the second letter Paul wrote to his adopted son, Timothy.

When he wrote this second letter, Paul knew is was about to die.

I doubt he was mincing words with Timothy.

These 4 verses stood out for me.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear & timidity, but of power, love, & self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1: 7

Now, this verse doesn't give us the license to be jerks.

I've seen far too many people us it as an excuse to be obnoxious or brutal.

Notice Paul uses power, love, & self-discipline to describe how we're to be.

I've never known an obnoxious jerk who demonstrate power, love & self-discipline. ;-)

I think that Paul was also telling his young adult son (a 20something?) to not hang back, but to share the new life he had come to know through & because of Jesus.

Perhaps the same applies to us.

I know the One in whom I trust, & I am sure that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until the day of His return. 2 Timothy 1:12b

Paul was all in with his commitment to live for & trust in Jesus.

He trusted Jesus implicitly & explicitly to take care of him, no matter what happens.

No matter what happens...

4 words I've been living with in strange & wonderful ways since the the 23rd f December, 2009.

But that's another conversation...

Paul had let go of his life & was living it for Jesus.

And he knew Jesus had his 6.

Maybe we can learn from Paul, that the completely abandoned life of a follower of Jesus is one where we can know that He will take care of us, no matter what happens.

Remember to live in the faith & love that you have in Christ Jesus.

With the help if the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard what has been entrusted to you.

2 Timothy 1:13b-14

We, like Timothy, simply need to live our lives, trusting in Jesus to take care of us.

And as we live our lives from day to day, Paul seems to say to take care of whatever things Jesus has led us to believe to are to be & do.

We're all “entrusted” with something or some things.

All of us have a life plan that God dreamed for each & every one of us when He created us.

If you've never read 2 Timothy, you really should – it's just 4 chapters. It's a letter filled with love – the love of a father for his son, the regard of one Christian brother to another, & some pretty stuff to hold on to.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2 different passages talking about 2 different things

Luke 17

7 "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.'"

This is Jesus talking here, giving a take on servanthood that is probably incompatible with our present concept that being a servant of the Lord is littered with success after success.

I think Jesus poked some holes in that orientation.

For the last 6 years we've lived a life of servanthood without a validation or an authentication of success.

Servanthood is about serving.

Sometimes you spend a terrific amount of time clueless, simply being & doing what God leads you to be & do.

It's tough.

One thing you can bank on – anyone who says, “All I want to be is a servant of the Lord” has never been one!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Here's an interesting instruction that Paul challenges his adopted son, Timothy, to use in dealing with rich people.

Remember as you read this that most of the world considers us rich in comparison to their living conditions.

1 Timothy 6

17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable.

Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.

18 Tell them to use their money to do good.

They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need,

always being ready to share with others.

19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

How does what Paul have to say about what the rich should be & do stack up against what we have come to believe is the acceptable identity of someone who has money?

Monday, September 26, 2016


Jeremiah 17

7 "But blessed are those who trust in the LORD
  and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
  with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
  or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
  and they go right on producing delicious fruit.

I have lived for 66 years. Life has change so much since 1950.

Significant change came much more slowly back then.

Then the 1960's came along & massive change occurred.

Somewhere along the line, maybe in the 1990's, life started picking up the pace in significant changes.

Now our culture & world has crucial shifts every 2 to 3 years.

I thought the chaos of the '60's was pretty radical – that is, until 9.11.2001.

Our world & our culture has plummeted into unbelievable disarray.

And the last 2 years have moved things from chaotic & disarrayed to very, VERY scary.

I do not know what the future holds.

In the days ahead, perhaps it would behoove us to remember these 2 verses from Jeremiah.

Not that we will be spared the drought, but that in some shape or fashion, in some level of existence, we will survive it.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 things

Luke 15

1 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!

It is a curious thing that “notorious sinners” WANTED to hang around Jesus.

Back then it was socially acceptable to treat such people very badly.

But even in the face of mean & abusive treatment, these “notorious sinners” still came to see Jesus & listen to Him teach.

But what's really equally incredible is that Jesus seems to WANT to be around them.

He wanted to be around them so much He would even each with them!

Back then, if you hung around sinner you could be deemed ritually unclean – iow, you couldn't go to the temple.

So not only did Jesus hang out with them, He even ate with them, which was unheard of because that would make you uber-unclean.

And the holier-than-thou people of the day (the Pharisees) made it abundantly clear they didn't like Jesus hanging out with sinners.

These 2 verses beg 2 questions for us today.

Is there something about the quality of our treatment of others that is so attractive to the “notorious sinners” of our day that they WANT to be around us?

And do we see such people just as valuable to God as we are, so much so that we WANT to be around them, not as some do-gooder, but as someone who actually likes them & cares about them?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

a fair exchange

Luke 14

25 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 no one can become my disciple without giving up everything for me.

I have heard my friend, colleague, & sister, Beth White, say more than once...

Salvation is free, but everything else costs you everything.

What Jesus is saying here is not that you have to hate your family & friends, & even yourself.

He's saying that the person who is His disciple, a person who has decided to follow Him, has to make Jesus the highest priority.

Whatever He says for us to be & do has to be the first consideration.

And there's a lot of us who can't seem to make that priority change.

We always put family & friends first – what they think & want supercedes what God may be saying to us.

That ain't the way it works.

We're either gonna follow God or not.

We can't follow God a little bit any more than we can be a little bit pregnant.

Jesus does tells us to think about it before committing to follow Him.

He doesn't want us to follow Him just because.

He wants us to follow Him because we've looked at what following Him means & made the conscious choice to be His disciple.

Yes, we have to give up everything to follow Jesus.

But in return, we get all of Him.

I think that's a fair exchange.


Friday, September 23, 2016

my fav

Psalm 139 is my fav.

Yes, more fav than Psalm 23.

There's just so much in it.

Every time I read it I find something amazing in it.

Read it slowly – it's hard to catch all the subtleties if we read it too fast – or if we read it just once.

So here's to you the amazing truth contained in an amazing psalm...

Psalm 139

1 O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.

2 You know when I sit down or stand up.

  You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.
3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.

  You know everything I do.

4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

5 You both precede and follow me.

  You place your hand of blessing on my head.

6 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!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there;
  if I go down to the grave, you are there.

9 If I ride the wings of the morning,

if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
  and your strength will support me.
11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night – 12 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.

14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

  Your workmanship is marvelous - how well I know it.

15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16 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!

18 I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

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

  test me and know my anxious thoughts.

24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
  and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

fears & worries

Luke 12

6 "What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins?

Yet God does not forget a single one of them.

7 And the very hairs on your head are all numbered.

So don't be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

In the 12th chapter of Luke account of Jesus' life, he quotes Jesus as saying “don't be afraid” or “don't worry”

In verse 4,

In verse verse 7,

In verse 11,

In verse 22,

Twice in verse 29,

And in verse 32.

That's 7 times in the first 32 verses.

Clearly, it was something Luke thought was very important to include in his account of Jesus' life.

And clearly Jesus felt it was important to communicate in the 32 verse span in a single talk He had with a crowd one day.

If Jesus never had said “don't be afraid” or “don't worry” ever again in any of the other Gospels, I would think these 7 times recorded in Luke 12 would be enough to quiet our fears.

If Jesus says He's got our 6, He's got our 6.

And yet we are afraid a lot, & we worry a lot.


Could it be that deep down we don't trust Him – we don't think He'll come through for us in the tight place.

We just don't trust Him.

Is there EVER a time when Jesus doesn't come through on who & what He says He'll be & do?


Is it a trust issue or is it a control issue.
We don't feel in control unless we're expressing our concerns about something...

Like, our puny & prissy strength will make that much difference either way?!

What would our lives look like,

& what would our world look like,

if we who claim to follow Jesus actually did not live from fear to fear,

or spend a lot of time worrying about stuff that never happens?

Think about that today.

And as you face your fears & worries today (just like I will), what if we just said to those fears & worries that we're gonna trust Jesus just a little bit more to take care of that situation that scares us or worries us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2 words, for you, or me?

Luke 11

9 "And so I tell you, 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, receives.

Everyone who seeks, finds.

And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

I've said it before in this blog, whenever I read this, there seems to be 2 operative words here:

keep on...”

This time, I went to & checked what other translations or paraphrases had to offer.

Interestingly enough, they all pretty much came out with the same words:

asking, seeking, & knocking.

So, I don't know who is supposed to be reading this blog today...

(for all of you who do read this pretty regularly: you need to get out more! ;-) LOL )

Anyway, you may need to hear those 2 words Jesus was saying here & take them to heart in your situation.

Jesus says, “keep on...”

You may be in an impossible place.

You may be thinking that “quit looks good.”

You may see no hope in sight.

You may be clueless about your life or circumstances – I've been there for 6 years – join the club! ;-)

You may be standing on the cusp of a GREAT adventure with God through a stupendously risky & seemingly impossible or illogical action.

To all of us in any of those situations - & a gajillion other possibilities – Jesus just may be saying to you (& me) those 2 words...

keep on...”

If that's resonates with you, & you feel comfortable, let me know by commenting below.

I'd really like to know.

And keep on...


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

just read it

Paul wrote 2 letters to the followers of Jesus who lived in Thessalonica.

Here's a few verses from the 2nd chapter of his 2nd letter to them.

Just read this & remember it...

2 Thessalonians 2

1 Now, dear brothers and sisters, let us clarify some things about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we will be gathered to meet him.

2 Don't be so easily shaken or alarmed by those who say that the day of the Lord has already begun.

Don't believe them, even if they claim to have had a spiritual vision, a revelation, or a letter supposedly from us.

3 Don't be fooled by what they say.

For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed - the one who brings destruction.

4 He will exalt himself and defy everything that people call god and every object of worship.

He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.

  5 Don't you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you?

6 And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes.

7 For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.

8 Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming.

  9 This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles.

10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them.

11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies.

12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

Monday, September 19, 2016

what really matters

Luke 9

23 Then he (Jesus) said to the crowd,

"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside 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.

Jesus is pretty plain here – He doesn't mince words in the slightest bit.

We have to let go of our lives, our dreams, our hopes, our desires – our everything.

If we don't, Jesus is pretty clear – we won't keep the life we have – we'll lose it all.

He goes on to say if we let loose of the reins of our life & let God take control, we will have the life God dreamed for us.

But there is a warning here – what good does it do if we get everything we've been striving for, stepping on people for it, & done everything humanly possible to get, & end up losing our connection with God?

I think about this often, especially when someone's death is plastered across the media.

Think of some of the famous or infamous people who have died recently.

I wonder what they would say to us from the reality they now know, in they could?

This letting go purposed by Jesus goes against the grain of what the world tells us is important.

The world says hold on to what you've got.

Jesus says let go.

The world says make it happen.

Jesus says follow me & let Me make it happen.

If the could, I wonder what people would say to us who have gone on to the next level of reality?

I wonder what they would tell us is REALLY important in this life?

Sunday, September 18, 2016


Luke 8

4 One day Jesus told a story in the form of a parable to a large crowd that had gathered from many towns to hear him:

5 "A farmer went out to plant his seed.

As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it.

6 Other seed fell among rocks.

It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture.

7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants.

8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil.

This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!"

When he had said this, he called out,

"Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand."

  9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant.

10 He replied, "You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God.

But I use parables to teach the others so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled:

'When they look, they won't really see.

  When they hear, they won't understand.'*

  11 "This is the meaning of the parable:

The seed is God's word.

12 The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved.

13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy.

But since they don't have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.

14 The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity.

15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God's word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

All my life I've heard this parable of Jesus used in reference to people going out as missionaries “to deepest, darkest Africa”.

That's always hilarious to me – the “deepest, darkest Africa” part - Lynn & I would LOVE to be called to “deepest, darkest Africa!!!


I've also heard it used to challenge people to give their lives in “full time Christian service”.

But since we've come to live in Blairsville, I look at it differently.

Maybe the sower isn't a missionary to deepest, darkest Africa or someone called to full time Christian service.

Maybe all of us are the sower.

Maybe all of us are called to “sow the seeds” of who Jesus is & how He made it possible for each & every one of us to connect with God.

Maybe this describes our lives & we move through them.

Maybe we are challenged to always be telling people about Jesus.

And maybe this parable describes what the results of a life spent sowing will be.

Maybe this is a challenge from Jesus to all of us to always be on the lookout for an opportunity to share about His love for us.

And maybe Jesus told this parable to encourage us when we don't see droves of people turning to Him.

Because maybe Jesus wanted us to know that even though a lot of the sowing & telling we do about Jesus doesn't always work out, there are some cases when it will, & those cases will be stupendous in their reaction & new life.

Maybe this parable describes out season here in Blairsville.

Maybe it describes all the seasons of Lynn's & my life.

Maybe it describes yours, too.