Tag Archives: God the Father

T-bones or corncobs?

bag-147782_1280I love the story of the Prodigal Son, on several layers.  Did you know that the word prodigal doesn’t mean “sinful”?  It means extravagant.  Wasteful.  Lavish.  I guess I didn’t know that until well into my adulthood.  The kid in the story certainly exemplifies the concept quite well.

But do you ever wonder why that father acquiesced to his son’s request for the early payout on his inheritance?  Maybe I just don’t know the Jewish custom back in that day, or maybe it isn’t relevant to the point Jesus was trying to make, because here’s the thing:

An inheritance obtained too early in life
    is not a blessing in the end.

This kid was in no way ready to handle his inheritance wisely.  His father had to know that, but handed over his intended wealth anyway and, well, we know the end result…something about trading T-bone steaks for empty corncobs.

Recent brain studies are telling us more about the frontal lobe of the human brain; in particular, how this part of our brain (which determines good judgment, actions/consequences, as well as being the reasonable brakes on otherwise impulsive emotions) does not fully mature—are you ready for this one?—until early to mid-twenties. 

I wonder how long it takes my spiritual frontal lobe to mature? 

Here’s an example: I heard a pastor say, (see? I really do listen!), that many times God intentionally withholds His blessing because we’re not ready to use it properly.  That this withholding is, in fact, God’s discipline preparing us to handle the blessing in the most sustainable way, in the way which produces the highest return to bless others and build His kingdom. 

Maybe instead of asking for blessing, I need to pray for disciplined maturity.  I think somehow the blessing will naturally follow.

Proverbs 20:21 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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I Told You So

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke. -Proverbs 13:1, KJV

My dad recently told me how proud of me he is. Of course, I took his advice on a few things, so there is that.

I guess it helps show I can be wise and just a wiseacre!

There have been times I have not listened to him. He and my mom would tell me what would happen if I followed through with my plans.

Then I would hear it: “I told you so.” I usually felt pretty silly, too, but my parents did help me to know that they took no pleasure in my pain nor being proven right.

The Big Rebuke

The biggest rebuke in history came when Jesus came to live and die for our sins.

He told us that the Father’s standards are not ours, and we need help. He told us He would send a Helper, the Holy Spirit, who would convict us of our son and lead back to Him. He told us He will return to finally judge us.

If you reject the Spirit’s prodding and Jesus’ warnings, one day you will hear Him say very sadly, “I told you so.”

And there will be no more time to change your mind.


Are You God?

Proverbs 30:4

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?”

Did You?

I have met some pretty remarkable people during my life. I have met writers, inventors, musicians, engineers, heroes of all kinds, and ordinary people who have done miraculous things. One time I even threw a several-hundred-pound friend through the air when his life was in danger (that’s a humorous story involving a snake). Therefore, I have known and even been part of an elite group of people who have done superhuman things.

However, I have never ascended into heaven (without an airplane), or gone much further than a few hundred feet into the earth. Have you? My hands are pretty quick and can snatch a fly in mid-air, but they’ve never been able to scrunch up the wind like a snowball. Have yours?

Once I made a superhero cape from a bed sheet. Before we got married, I helped my wife sew her bridesmaid dresses. When in Romania I met ladies who would un-thread old sweaters, then take the yarn and re-knit a new one. But darn it, I have never been able to stitch water. Have you?

I have met some pretty rich people in my day, although I have never been rich, myself. As a matter of fact, I have never even owned property. On the other hand, I have met people who decided where property lines should be drawn. You may have even been one of the military heroes who’s exploits determined the boundaries of nations. But, we all walk on a planet that was here long before us. I didn’t put it here. I didn’t create north, south, east, or west. Did you?

You’re Not

I have met some strange people during my life. Some of the strangest have been ones who have attempted to leave comments on my blogs. One individual even claimed to be Jesus Christ, the Son of the God (except he also claimed to be the son of the Egyptian god, Ra, too). Yet, he lived in America, had never been crucified, and believed there were more ways to the Father than just through him (the opposite of John 14:6). He was a blooming idiot! Just saying.

But the pseudo-Jesus, the son of Ra, is not the only idiot. There are a lot of people who live their lives like they’re convinced they are God. There are a lot of people who think their loved ones, their possessions, or their careers are gods; but they’re not.

And unless you created the earth; unless you can ball up the wind in your hands; unless you can travel at will back and forth to the farthest heaven in a garment made of stitched water, you’re not God, either.

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:13-16 KJV

Do you know Him?


Are You God?

Proverbs 30:4

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?”

Did You?

I have met some pretty remarkable people during my life. I have met writers, inventors, musicians, engineers, heroes of all kinds, and ordinary people who have done miraculous things. One time I even threw a several-hundred pound friend threw the air when his life was in danger (that’s a humorous story involving a snake). Therefore, I have known and even been part of an elite group of people who have done superhuman things.

However, I have never ascended into heaven (without an airplane), or gone much further than a few hundred feet into the earth. Have you? My hands are pretty quick and can snatch a fly in mid air, but they’ve never been able to scrunch up the wind like a snow ball. Have yours?

Once I made a super hero cape from a bed sheet. Before we got married, I helped my wife sew her bridesmaid dresses. When in Romania I met ladies who would un-thread old sweaters, then take the yarn and re-knit a new one. But darn it, I have never been able to stitch water. Have you?

I have met some pretty rich people in my day, although I have never been rich, myself. As a matter of fact, I have never even owned property. On the other hand, I have met people who decided where property lines should be drawn. You may have even been one of the military heroes who’s exploits determined the boundaries of nations. But, we all walk on a planet that was here long before us. I didn’t put it here. I didn’t create north, south, east, or west. Did you?

You’re Not

I have met some strange people during my life. Some of the strangest have been ones who have attempted to leave comments on my blogs. One individual even claimed to be Jesus Christ, the Son of the God (except he also claimed to be the son of the Egyptian god, Ra, too). Yet, he lived in America, had never been crucified, and believed there were more ways to the Father than just through him (the opposite of John 14:6). He was a blooming idiot! Just saying.

But the pseudo-Jesus, the son of Ra, is not the only idiot. There are a lot of people who live their lives like they’re convinced they are God. There are a lot of people who think their loved ones, their possessions, or their careers are gods; but they’re not.

And unless you created the earth; unless you can ball up the wind in your hands; unless you can travel at will  back and forth to the farthest heaven in a garment made of stitched water, you’re not God, either.

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:13-16 KJV

Do you know Him?


Sacri-nice

Proverbs 15:8

“The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
    but the prayer of the upright pleases him.”

What God Wants…

God hates the sacrifice of the wicked, but he isn’t to keen on the sacrifice of the righteous either, especially when it becomes the be all and end all. Countless times in the Bible God makes the point that He isn’t interested in sacrifices, the idea of coming and making a payment for your transgressions. No, what He is interested in is your behaviour, how you will respond to His grace and forgiveness in your own life, and how that will inspire you to treat others.

Inspired by?

In Matthew 18 we see the story of a servant who owes his master a huge amount of money. He’s panicking, how will he pay this back? What will happen to his family? He goes before the master and begs for more time, and incredibly the master let’s him off. Scot free. Let’s not miss the huge significance of this – this is truly incredible and as counter cultural now as it was then.

I sometimes watch Undercover Boss, now I am not naive I know it’s probably scripted, but I can’t help but be moved when some big CEO enters the life of a low level employee, sees their struggles and their debt, and does something about it. What we never see is how this affects the person in question. They seem very grateful in the moment, but we never see the lasting change.

Not so with this servant. The Bible tells us that straight away he went looking for another servant who owed him a considerably smaller amount. We’d be entitled to think that he had in mind to set this servant free from his debt, to share the grace he had experienced. But in fact all he wants is the money owed to him. How sad that this servant was even more enslaved to money than he originally thought.

Washing feet

At the opposite end of the spectrum we find Jesus. Jesus the entirety of God squeezed into man form, denying His deity to inspire humanity, relying fully on the Father to further the future of the broken. We all know Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, we all know this should blow our tiny minds, but I’ll be honest it was just one of those things I accepted, until I reread the account and came to these verses in John 13:3-5 ‘Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.’ 

Why did Jesus do this? BECAUSE He knew who he was. Because He wanted to show the world a powerful image of what happens when we take the lowest place.

Prayer

All very good and well you may say but how’s this connected to the proverb? Prayer changes everything. If you want to be a person who shares grace rather than shrugs grace then you need to start on your knees.


Wisdom Was There

Proverbs 8:27-31

“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”

A BAD RAP

Somewhere along the line, Wisdom has gotten a “bad rap”.  Ask the man on the street about finding Wisdom, and some will likely visualize a Buddhist monk sitting cross-legged, passionless, in a trance-like state.  If you want to discover wisdom, he would say, take your questions to those guys.  Of course the monk will never answer the question as you pose it; rather, you’ll get a Zen-like contradictory statement in reply.

Ask others about finding Wisdom, and they will bring to mind the scolding voice of a worrisome grandmother:  “Put on your hat or you’ll catch your death of cold!  Take an umbrella – it looks like rain!”

Frankly, I find both of those “visual images” for wisdom unattractive, unappealing, and unscriptural.  How different is the Wisdom of Holy Scripture!

 Wisdom was present at creation.  Yesterday we considered how the personified voice of wisdom in Proverbs 8 points especially to the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, by whom God the Father created the cosmos.  In today’s verses, Wisdom is present as God establishes the clouds above and the oceans beneath.

What is of special interest in today’s verses, however, is Wisdom’s demeanor in verse 30:  Wisdom rejoices in the work of creation!  Wisdom dances with delight!  And when the work of creation was completed, with mankind filling the earth, subduing it, and having dominion over all creation (Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 8:31), Wisdom is laughing and dancing for joy, delighted in all that God has done.

DOES JESUS LAUGH?

To even pose the question sounds, well, a bit sacrilegious – and therein lies our problem.  Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, took raucous delight in the work of Creation.  Jesus Christ, our Singing Shepherd, sings over the Flock with joy and gladness (Zephaniah 3:16-17).  What about His (and our) enemies?  Do they bring a furrowed brow of worry to his face?  Not at all!  Rather, “He who sits in the heavens laughs!  The LORD holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).

LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE

The path of Wisdom is the path of laughter, joy, and delight.  Those who know the One who is Wisdom can afford a holy chuckle every now and then. We can laugh at ourselves, at our own foibles, silliness, neuroticism and mistakes.  We can chuckle at the goodness of Christ who somehow incorporates our screw-ups into his glorious redemptive plan.  We can even laugh the laughter of the Redeemed,

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

            And our tongue with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:2)

Heavenly Father, we take ourselves so very seriously.  Forgive us, Father.  As we seek to know the way of Wisdom, fill us with joy, delight, and laughter!  Through Christ our Lord we pray:  Amen. 


A Win-Win

Proverbs 3:16

“Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.”

Continuing in the description of the value of wisdom, we now come to a verse that paints a picture of a win-win situation. Do you know what that is?

A Win-Win

The best example of a win-win in my life, aside from when my wife decided she wanted to marry me, comes from my years in sales. I believe it was Zig Ziglar who said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” And that is absolutely true!

Without going into a lot of detail, I used to sell a particular big-ticket item. The potential to make a lot of money was always present, but so was the potential to take advantage of the client. I saw more than a few sales professionals convince a client to spend more than necessary, only to have the sale reversed a day later.

My philosophy was pretty simple – exceed the custormer’s expectations. How did I do that? By being an honest listener who never considered profit until after the client’s needs were met. Did I alway make money? No. But I made more than those who foolishly took advantage of others.

Even when I didn’t make and immediate paycheck, I could still sleep at night. That was truly a win-win.

Wisdom is a Win-Win

Solomon is saying that with wisdom comes both long life and honor. Many are the fools that seek riches, but die young. Many are the fools that seek long life, but die in shame.

Seek wisdom, and you will have not only what you need, but you may live long enough to enjoy it.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:31-33 NLT