Sunday, April 30, 2017


If you cling to your life,

you will lose it.

But if you give it up for Me,

you will find it.

Matthew 10:39

That's Jesus talking there.

If we keep a tight grip on our lives – if we keep control – we'll never know the life we were designed to live.

But if we relinquish control,

if we let go of our concepts of who & what we are,

and just say, “whatever...” to God,

that frees Him to express in our lives the life HE dreamed up for us a gajillion years ago.

And the life He dreamed up is very, very creative.

How do I know this?

I'm livin' it...

and have been for quite a while.

What Jesus says is true...

don't cling to your life...

let it go...

trust God...

and say, “whatever...”

Saturday, April 29, 2017

who wants to hang with us?

Matthew 9

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

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

So Matthew got up and followed him.

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

along with many tax collectors and other notorious sinners.

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

"Why does your teacher eat with such scum?*"

  12 When Jesus heard this, he said,

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

13 Then he added,

"Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture:

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

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

but those who know they are sinners."

I've said it before in this blog, & I'll say it again, & again, & again...

Is there so much of Jesus & His love for people in us that, like Him, “notorious sinners” want to be around us & hang out with us?

If so, why?

And if not, why not?

Friday, April 28, 2017

a word fror somebody

I feel like these 5 verses are for somebody today, or maybe more than one somebody ;-)

I don't know how or why, but somebody needs to read these words this morning.

This section from Joshua 1 is the Lord speaking to Joshua, telling him to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land.

There are any number of persons who might need to read what these verses say.

It's the end of the school year – that's a possibility.

We are in some pretty dangerous times right now (when are we NOT?!) someone reading this may be heading out into that.

I don't know who needs to read this – I wouldn't hazard a guess as to exactly who.

I just feel like these 5 verses are something someone needs to read today.

I did notice the Lord tells Joshua to “be strong & courageous” 3 times – that usually means that thought is pretty important.

But I don't want to quantify this passage any more than that.

Whoever you are, if the Lord speaks to you through these 5 verses, go with it.

Joshua did, & look what happened to him! ;-)

Joshua 1:

5 No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live.

For I will be with you as I was with Moses.

I will not fail you or abandon you.

  6 "Be strong and courageous,

for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.

7 Be strong and very courageous.

Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you.

Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left.

Then you will be successful in everything you do.

8 Study this Book of Instruction continually.

Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it.

Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

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."

Thursday, April 27, 2017

we stink

2 Corinthians 2

14b  Now (God) uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere,

like a sweet perfume.

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God.

But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.

16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom.

But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

This is Paul writing his second letter to the followers in Corinth.

I think we need to remember what he's saying here.

We need to remember that to people who follow Jesus, their reaction to the Holy Spirit inside of us is to connect with it – they have the same thing going on inside of themselves.

But people who are not following Jesus – especially those who obviously have absolutely no intention of ever doing so – the Holy Spirit inside of us is a constant reminder of who they are & what their lives mean & will mean, & how out of sync they are with God.

Now, I don't think those who don't follow Jesus would quantify their response in that manner.

They might say we give them the creeps, or that we're “holier than thou”, or maybe that we're just judgemental jerks.

And, quite frankly, sometimes we all are those things – none of us act in a kind & Christ-like manner all the time in all situations.

But I think it would be good to remember that those who don't follow Jesus often times react negatively to the Holy Spirit inside of us – and there's nothing we can do about that.

What we CAN do is treat people who don't follow Him with kindness, gentleness, & compassion...

iow, treat them the way Christ followers treated you & me before we finally decided to follow Jesus too!

I think in some segments of American Christian culture we've developed this attitude that everybody should just be glad & happy & hug themselves when our lives basically tell them that they're not exactly on the right path.

That's not the way it works.

The Holy Spirit, simply by being who He is – blindingly holy & infinitely powerful – highlights in VERY obvious ways the sinfulness of those who don't follow Jesus.

I'm sure in some instances non-believers construe what we communicate as a repudiation of who & what they are.

And in some ways, it is a repudiation – but not in the way they feel it is.

We are who we are – new creature in Christ – we can't help it if that makes them uncomfortable – it's the Holy Spirit inside of us that makes them uncomfortable.

Now this doesn't give us license to be jerks or arrogant.

What it should do is challenge us to be gentle & loving to people as they struggle against the power of the Holy Spirit.

Think of how the people who influenced you & me as we struggled toward belief & following Jesus.

If it was for you like it was for me, Christ followers treated me with this infinite love & gentleness as I absorbed what all this following Jesus meant.

And they held me hand as I walked into a acceptance & belief in Jesus.

It was probably similar for you.

And that is perhaps what we should be in our connections with people who don't follow Jesus – kind, loving, compassionate, & gentle...

...because whether they would acknowledge it &/or realize it, the Holy Spirit inside of us makes them VERY uncomfortable.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

what if...

I wonder what our lives would be like if we REALLY believed what Jesus is telling us here, in incredibly straightforward ways?

This is one of the most remarkable things Jesus ever said.

It was revolutionary then – it's revolutionary now.

He basically says,

I've got you covered.”

“I've got this.”

Trust Me.”

What would your life, or my life, look like if we REALLY trust Jesus to kae care of us & all our needs?

Matthew 6

25 "That is why I tell you don't worry about everyday life;

whether you have enough food and drink,

or enough clothes to wear.

Isn't life more than food,

and your body more than clothing?

26 Look at the birds.

They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns,

for your heavenly Father feeds them.

And aren't you far more valuable to him than they are?

27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

  28 "And why worry about your clothing?

Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow.

They don't work or make their clothing,

29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.

30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.

Why do you have so little faith?

  31 "So don't worry about these things, saying,

'What will we eat?

What will we drink?

What will we wear?'

32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers,

but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.

33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,

and live righteously,

and he will give you everything you need.

  34 "So don't worry about tomorrow,

for tomorrow will bring its own worries.

Today's trouble is enough for today.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Matthew 5, 6, & 7 are 3 chapters called The Sermon on the Mount.

It's one of the biggest, most important teaching recorded by His disciples.

I've talked about it more than once. The last time I read it, I printed whole chapter for y'all to read.

I would suggest you take the time to just read through all of it if you're not overly familiar with those 3 chapters.

Then go back & read just a chapter at a time.

The revolutionary truth Jesus taught in those 3 recorded chapters is still pretty staggering.

So much of what is pivotal thought among followers of Jesus is found in those 3 chapters.

Here are the “blessed's” - there's 9 of them – 9 different things Jesus says God will bless those who demonstrate these attitudes or attributes.

Don't hurry through them – some of them are attributes we seldom see these days.

Matthew 5

1 One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down.

His disciples gathered around him,

2 and he began to teach them.

3 "God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,

  for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

4 God blesses those who mourn,
  for they will be comforted.

5 God blesses those who are humble,
  for they will inherit the whole earth.

6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,

  for they will be satisfied.

7 God blesses those who are merciful,
  for they will be shown mercy.

8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
  for they will see God.

9 God blesses those who work for peace,
  for they will be called the children of God.

10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
  for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

  11 "God blesses you when people mock you

and persecute you

and lie about you

and say all sorts of evil things against you

because you are my followers.

12 Be happy about it!

Be very glad!

For a great reward awaits you in heaven.

And remember,

the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Monday, April 24, 2017


Do you ever feel useless?

Do you ever feel like what you are & what you do is just for nothing, means nothing anymore, has no impact, & you're just taking up space?


Lucky you...

For those of you who are like me who feel that way sometimes, occasionally, often, regularly, or whatever, here's something Paul wrote in his first letter to the followers of Jesus in Corinth.

It comes at the end of a section that's rather long – 58 verses.

And it comes at the end of a rather long sentence.

It's just a few words – it could be almost considered an afterthought by Paul, if it didn't have such a towering impact – a truth that hits at the heart of the way many of us think most of the time.

1 Corinthians 15:58c

nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless. (NLT)

your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)

nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. (Message)

nothing you do for him is ever lost or ever wasted. (J B Phillips)

your work in the Lord is never wasted. (ERV)

in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)

your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose]. (Amplified)

all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God. (The Voice)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

my help

This is for all of you, like me, who need these words today...

And here's a song using the KJV translation of these words:

Psalm 121

1 I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;

  the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 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.
6 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.

8 The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

the greatest

I think we've forgotten about this...

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

2 If I had the gift of prophecy,

and if I understood all of God's secret plans and possessed all knowledge,

and if I had such faith that I could move mountains,

but didn't love others,

I would be nothing.

3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body,

I could boast about it;

but if I didn't love others,

I would have gained nothing.

  4 Love is patient and kind.

Love is not jealous

or boastful

or proud

5 or rude.

It does not demand its own way.

It is not irritable,

and it keeps no record of being wronged.

6 It does not rejoice about injustice

but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

7 Love never gives up,

never loses faith,

is always hopeful,

and endures through every circumstance.

  8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless.

But love will last forever!

9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete,

and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!

10 But when the time of perfection comes,

these partial things will become useless.

  11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child.

But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror,

but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.

All that I know now is partial and incomplete,

but then I will know everything completely,

just as God now knows me completely.

  13 Three things will last forever:



and love;

and the greatest of these is love.

Friday, April 21, 2017

1 thing

This is Moses talking to the children of Israel just before the enter the Promised Land of Canaan & begin their conquering of the people there.

It's kind of one of those passages where you kinda want to say, “Moses, why don't you tell us how you REALLY feel?”

Read through it – I'll comment shortly after it.

Deuteronomy 9

1 "Listen, O Israel!

Today you are about to cross the Jordan River to take over the land belonging to nations much greater and more powerful than you.

They live in cities with walls that reach to the sky!

2 The people are strong and tall—descendants of the famous Anakite giants.

You've heard the saying, 'Who can stand up to the Anakites?'

3 But recognize today that the LORD your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them.

He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out,

just as the LORD has promised.

  4 "After the LORD your God has done this for you, don't say in your hearts,

'The LORD has given us this land because we are such good people!'

No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way.

5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land.

The LORD your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness,

and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

6 You must recognize that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land because you are good,

for you are not;

you are a stubborn people.

The longer I live,

& the more I experience things in life & ministry,

the less I think anything good or successful that I or anyone accomplishes isn't due to any cleverness or terrific planning on my or our part.

It solely depends on 1 thing:

The favor of God.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

no excuses

No matter how we translate or paraphrase it, it all comes out saying the same thing...

No excuses...

the devil made me do it” doesn't hold up in view of this 1 verse by Paul to the followers of Jesus in Corinth.

There's always a way out.


1 Corinthians 10:13

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.

And God is faithful.

He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.

When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (NLT)

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance];

but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy],

and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist],

but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well,

so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding,

and will overcome temptation with joy]. (Amplified)

You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted.

But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much,

and he will show you how to escape from your temptations. (CEV)

The only temptations that you have are the same temptations that all people have.

But you can trust God.

He will not let you be tempted more than you can bear.

But when you are tempted, God will also give you a way to escape that temptation.

Then you will be able to endure it. (ERV)

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.

God is faithful,

and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability,

but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape,

that you may be able to endure it. (ESV)

No temptation has come your way that is too hard for flesh and blood to bear.

But God can be trusted not to allow you to suffer any temptation beyond your powers of endurance.

He will see to it that every temptation has a way out,

so that it will never be impossible for you to bear it. (J B Phillips)

No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face.

All you need to remember is that God will never let you down;

he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit;

he’ll always be there to help you come through it. (The Message)

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.

And God is faithful;

he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (NIV)

Any temptation you face will be nothing new.

But God is faithful,

and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle.

But He always provides a way of escape

so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward. (The Voice)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

all things to all people

Paul talks to the followers of Jesus in Corinth about being “all things to all people”.

I think it would seem that many would choke on that concept.

It seems that making a supreme effort ot connect with all kinds of people is a foreign concept.

Some of us feel we should only hang out with “people like us”.

That's a very interesting thought process.

Unbiblical, but interesting.

I wonder where you & I would be if the people who were most influential in encouraging us to follow Jesus would have had that sort of attitude?

Anyway, here's what Paul had to say about it...

1 Corinthians 9

19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a servant to all people so that I can bring many to Christ.

20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ.

When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law.

Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.

21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ.

But I do not ignore the law of God;

I obey the law of Christ.

  22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness,

for I want to bring the weak to Christ.

Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.

23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

  24 Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?

So run to win!

25 All athletes are disciplined in their training.

They do it to win a prize that will fade away,

but we do it for an eternal prize.

26 So I run with purpose in every step.

I am not just shadowboxing.

27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

what is He trying to say, & what does it mean

Don't be afraid, for I am with you.

Don't be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you.

I will help you.

I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the One who goes before you.

He will be with you.

He will neither fail you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Don't be afraid. Just trust Me.

Luke 8:50b

Don't worry...

Psalm 37:1a

I promise you, when I was listening out for the verses or passages I thought God might want me to hold on to in 2017, I really didn't notice what the first few words were in each one.

And then a couple of months ago, it hit me – in the New Living Translation that I read from each day, 3 of them start the same way.

The fourth one doesn't use the same words but completely goes along with the other 3.

It was a really weird moment when I realized that.

Do you think God is trying to tell me something?

Do you think that since you're reading those verses right now, maybe God might be trying to tell you the same thing?

3 times He says “don't be afraid...”, & then, “don't worry...”.

And if we choose to not be afraid & not worry, what does that mean?

We just trust Him to be & do what we need Him to specifically &/or generally be & do in our lives?

Is it that simple? (but not necessarily easy?)

And what will that mean in our lives?

How will such functionality impact our dysfunctionality?

I'm not kidding here – these are not rhetorical questions.

If we REALLY believe God is speaking to you & me through these verses, how then should we live?

You I I live crazy, chaotic lives in a world that is becoming infinitely more crazy & chaotic.

Just about the time that I think I've adjusted to the “anything goes” reality of life in this world now, there's another new situation where “anything goes”.

I've quit thinking I've “seen it all” - because whenever I think that, something happens or I become aware of something that is brand new, & usually weird beyond my imagining.

And in the midst of all this chaos, God gives me 4 verses that say “don't be afraid” & “don't worry”.

So, what do you think He's trying to say?

Like I said, I'm serious – what does this all mean, in view of the increasingly demented times we live in?