Friday, June 30, 2017

keeping on

So, who needs to read this, besides me?

At first glance, it looks like it should be for old farts like me.

But not necessarily so...

Young folks can have “tired hands” & “shaky legs”...

So can middle aged folks...

Shoot, anyone can!

Like I said, who needs to read this today, besides me – lemme know if that's you...

So take a new grip with your tired hands

& stand firm on your shaky legs.

Mark out a straight path for your feet.

Then those who follow you,

though they are weak & lame,

will not stumble & fall

but will become strong.

Hebrews 12:12-13

That's a challenge for all of us to keep on keeping on...

Thursday, June 29, 2017

3 & 1

These are the passages I feel Gd has given me to hold on to through 2017...

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

Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you.

I will help you.

I will uphold you with My victorious hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Don't 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

Psalm 37

(I'll give you just the first verse – God gave me the whole psalm to hold on to.)

1 Don't worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.

Don't be afraid. Just trust Me.” Luke 8:50b Jesus is speaking to Jairus.

I think it was late February or maybe the beginning of March before I noticed something about these passages God gave me...

3 of them start with the words “Don't be afraid...” & 1 starts with “Don't worry...”.

And I can't tell you how many times I've had to remind myself since then “don't be afraid” & “don't worry”.

Those seem to be the 2 power statements this year – don't be afraid – don't worry.

In my life, whenever I have a grouping of scripture about something, or in regards to something, & look for repeated messages, repeated words – they're usually important to what God has to say.

3 times He says “don't be afraid” & 1 times He says “don't worry”.

So am I not afraid? Do I worry less?


Let's just say that I'm working on it...

I'm married to someone with the spiritual give of faith. In the 35 years we've been married I've watched Lynn not worry about things & not be afraid – she simply trusts God with everything.

And as she walks through Alzheimer's, I still see that gift of faith as strong as ever in her.

Why am I afraid or worry? Why do so many of us?

Because we simply don't completely trust God to come through for us?

When we all know better?

For me, it is a conscious effort in that I remind myself of the 3 times God said “don't be afraid” & the 1 time He said “don't worry”.

That doesn't mean my trust is flawless.

But it is better, I think.

So, maybe you could try believing a little bit with me. Maybe if we believed together, our fear would lessen, along with our worry?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

the wicked & the godly

Today in the sequential reading I do in psalms is the day I'm to read psalm 37.

I've shared this psalm a lot in this blog this year because I feel like God gave me the whole psalm to hold on to during 2017.

Don't ask me to explain that – that's above my pay grade ;-)

Psalm 37 talks about wicked people a lot.

In a day when there are a LOT of wicked people who seem to be ascendant, & who seem to have been & are engaged in a lot of wickedness, maybe we can simply observe what David had to write in this psalm about all that.

And look at what David had to say about the godly people who hang on, no matter what happens...

Psalm 37

1 Don't worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.

2 For like grass, they soon fade away.

  Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good.

  Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart's desires.

5 Commit everything you do to the LORD.

  Trust him, and he will help you.
6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act.

Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

8 Stop being angry!

  Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper - it only leads to harm.

9 For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land.

10 Soon the wicked will disappear.

  Though you look for them, they will be gone.
11 The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.

12 The wicked plot against the godly;

  they snarl at them in defiance.
13 But the Lord just laughs,
for he sees their day of judgment coming.

14 The wicked draw their swords and string their bows to kill the poor and the oppressed, to slaughter those who do right.

15 But their swords will stab their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.

17 For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly.

18 Day by day the LORD takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.

19 They will not be disgraced in hard times;

  even in famine they will have more than enough.

20 But the wicked will die.

  The LORD's enemies are like flowers in a field - they will disappear like smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and never repay, but the godly are generous givers.

22 Those the LORD blesses will possess the land, but those he curses will die.

23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly.

  He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
  for the LORD holds them by the hand.

25 Once I was young, and now I am old.

  Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.
26 The godly always give generous loans to others, and their children are a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good, and you will live in the land forever.

28 For the LORD loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly.

He will keep them safe forever, but the children of the wicked will die.

29 The godly will possess the land and will live there forever.

30 The godly offer good counsel;

  they teach right from wrong.
31 They have made God's law their own,
  so they will never slip from his path.

32 The wicked wait in ambush for the godly, looking for an excuse to kill them.

33 But the LORD will not let the wicked succeed or let the godly be condemned when they are put on trial.

34 Put your hope in the LORD.

  Travel steadily along his path.
He will honor you by giving you the land.
  You will see the wicked destroyed.

35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil.

36 But when I looked again, they were gone!
  Though I searched for them, I could not find them!

37 Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.

38 But the rebellious will be destroyed;

  they have no future.

39 The LORD rescues the godly;

  he is their fortress in times of trouble.
40 The LORD helps them, rescuing them from the wicked.
He saves them, and they find shelter in him.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

great words

Here's some words to hold on to in these troubled times...

These verses came alive to me in 2000 through a song we sang all summer long at Camp Crestridge for girls when I was a member of the music staff...

Psalm 36

5 Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens;

  your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,

  your justice like the ocean depths.

You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.

7   How precious is your unfailing love, O God!

All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

8 You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.

9 For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

10 Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;

  give justice to those with honest hearts.

Monday, June 26, 2017

once again...

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."

Sunday, June 25, 2017


A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.

It's a good psalm to read if we are feeling brokenhearted or crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34

1 I will praise the LORD at all times.
  I will constantly speak his praises.
2 I will boast only in the LORD;
  let all who are helpless take heart.
3 Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness;
  let us exalt his name together.

4 I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me.

  He freed me from all my fears.
5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
  no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
6 In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened;
  he saved me from all my troubles.
7 For the angel of the LORD is a guard;
  he surrounds and defends all who fear him.

8 Taste and see that the LORD is good.

  Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
9 Fear the LORD, you his godly people,
  for those who fear him will have all they need.
10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
  but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

11 Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the LORD.

12 Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous?
13 Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!

14 Turn away from evil and do good.

  Search for peace, and work to maintain it.

15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right;

  his ears are open to their cries for help.
16 But the LORD turns his face against those who do evil;
  he will erase their memory from the earth.
17 The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.
  He rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
  he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

19 The righteous person faces many troubles,

  but the LORD comes to the rescue each time.
20 For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous;
  not one of them is broken!

21 Calamity will surely overtake the wicked,

  and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 But the LORD will redeem those who serve him.
  No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

not forgotten

Who needs to read this today, besides me?

Hebrews 6

10 For God is not unjust.

He will not forget how hard you have worked for him

and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers,

as you still do.

11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts,

in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.

Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance. (NLT)

God is not unfair:

he will not lose sight of all that you have done

nor of the loving labour which you have shown for his sake in looking after fellow-Christians

(as you are still doing).

It is our earnest wish that every one of you should show a similar keenness in fully grasping the hope that is within you.

We do not want any of you to grow slack,

but to follow the example of those who through sheer patient faith came to possess the promises. (J B Phillips)

God doesn’t miss anything.

He knows perfectly well all the love you’ve shown him by helping needy Christians,

and that you keep at it.

And now I want each of you to extend that same intensity toward a full-bodied hope,

and keep at it till the finish.

Don’t drag your feet.

Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them. (The Message)

10 God is not unjust or unfair.

He won’t overlook the work you have done

or the love you have carried to each other in His name while doing His work,

as you are still doing.

11 We want you all to continue working until the end so that you’ll realize the certainty that comes with hope 12 and not grow lazy.

We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God. (The Voice)

Friday, June 23, 2017


Have you ever read Psalm 32?

Read it in these 2 different translations & 1 paraphrase.

Psalm 32 (NLT)

1 Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
2 Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.

4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
  My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.

I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the LORD."

  And you forgave me!

All my guilt is gone.

6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

7 For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.

  You surround me with songs of victory.

8 The LORD says,

"I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.

  I will advise you and watch over you.

9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control."

10 Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the LORD.

11 So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him!

  Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

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

Psalm 32 (The Message)

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be - you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean.

2 Count yourself lucky - God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him.

3 When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans.

4 The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.

5 Then I let it all out;

I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to God.”

Suddenly the pressure was gone;

    my guilt dissolved,

    my sin disappeared.

6 These things add up.
Every one of us needs to pray;

when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts

    we’ll be on high ground, untouched.

7 God’s my island hideaway,

keeps danger far from the shore,

throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.

8 Let me give you some good advice;

    I’m looking you in the eye

    and giving it to you straight:

9 “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.”

10 God-defiers are always in trouble;

    God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around.

11 Celebrate God.

    Sing together—everyone!

    All you honest hearts, raise the roof!

Psalm 32 (The Voice)

How happy is the one whose wrongs are forgiven, whose sin is hidden from sight.
2 How happy is the person whose sin the Eternal will not take into account.
    How happy are those who no longer lie, to themselves or others.

3 When I refused to admit my wrongs, I was miserable,

    moaning and complaining all day long

    so that even my bones felt brittle.

4 Day and night, Your hand kept pressing on me.

    My strength dried up like water in the summer heat;

    You wore me down.

5 When I finally saw my own lies, I owned up to my sins before You, and I did not try to hide my evil deeds from You.

I said to myself, “I’ll admit all my sins to the Eternal,”

and You lifted and carried away the guilt of my sin.

6 So let all who are devoted to You speak honestly to You now, while You are still listening.

For then when the floods come, surely the rushing water will not even reach them.

7 You are my hiding place.

    You will keep me out of trouble

    and envelop me with songs that remind me I am free.

8 I will teach you and tell you the way to go and how to get there;

    I will give you good counsel, and I will watch over you.

9 But don’t be stubborn and stupid like horses and mules who, if not reined by leather and metal, will run wild, ignoring their masters.

10 Tormented and empty are wicked and destructive people,

    but the one who trusts in the Eternal is wrapped tightly in His gracious love.

11 Express your joy; be happy in Him, you who are good and true.

    Go ahead, shout and rejoice aloud, you whose hearts are honest and straightforward.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


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."

Sometimes I wonder if we forget why Jesus came to earth.

He didn't come to gather into His club all the “good” people.

His mission wasn't to validate & accentuate the righteousness of smug white, middle class evangelicals.

Somehow I find it hard to believe He came to make even more comfortable the comfortable.

He came for “notorious sinners”, which were & are the last people we think He should seek out.

He should focus more on people like us – people who follow Him & live quasi-righteous lives.

I think we all tend to forget that before Jesus came into our lives, we ALL were (& are) “notorious sinners”.

And before any of us get all huffy at that statement, think about what everyone would think of ANY of us if each & every thought &/or deed we have ever had or done were displayed for everyone to see & judge.

That would not be a pretty thing for any of us.

The older I get, the more impressed I am with how sinful I am.

Let's face it – Jesus came to save all of us because we ALL were trapped in our “notoriously sinful” lives & needed Him to give us a way out.

Just because we've read the Bible through a few of times, & gone to a few Christian retreats & thrown ourselves over the altar like a sack of feed, & gone on 1 overseas mission trip where we spent the last full day there on the beach, doesn't mean we've somehow gotten past the fact that before we hooked up with Jesus we not only needed to be rescued from our sinful selves, but that we still need to be rescued from that same sinful self every single day since.

We're all just “notorious sinners” saved by grace.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


This verse is from the encounter of Jesus with the rich young man.

Luke 18

18 Once a religious leader asked Jesus this question:

"Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?"

  19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him.

"Only God is truly good.

20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments:

'You must not commit adultery.

You must not murder.

You must not steal.

You must not testify falsely.

Honor your father and mother.'"

  21 The man replied, "I've obeyed all these commandments since I was young."

  22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said,

"There is still one thing you haven't done.

Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor,

and you will have treasure in heaven.

Then come, follow me."

  23 But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich.

  24 When Jesus saw this,* he said,

"How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!

25 In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!"

  26 Those who heard this said,

"Then who in the world can be saved?"

  27 He replied, "What is impossible for people is possible with God."

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

No matter how you translate it, the power statement Jesus had in that conversation is amazing...

Luke 18:27

"What is impossible from a human perspective is possible with God." Jesus, in Luke 18:21 (NLT, 1st ed.)

But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Amplified)

Jesus answered, “God can do things that are not possible for people to do.” (ERV)

But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (ESV)

Jesus replied, “What men find impossible is perfectly possible with God.” (J B Phillips)

No chance at all,” Jesus said, “if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.” (Message)

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (NIV)

Remember, what is humanly impossible is possible with God. (The Voice)

But Jesus said, `God can do what men cannot do.' (WE)