Jun 212010
 

Yesterday was Father’s Day. Due to some extended family medical challenges, my wife spent the day providing care and caring for them. This left me and my two sparkling daughters to spend the day together! Morning was spent with household projects in heat and heavy humidity. The day took a turn for the better as we all took showers and headed to town for a few errands and some shopping.

Later that afternoon, I thought about how I would like to spend Father’s Day and realized that I was doing just what I would have chosen to do- spending time with my girls!  From Lowe’s for building supplies, to the mall for girlie shoe shopping, to Walmart for whatever, we had a blast! I just enjoy being a father to them! How blessed can a man get?

While they did share some tangible things with me later last night, I realized that simply enjoying the privilege of being Dad was reward enough itself.

I love watching them grow!

I love watching the light bulb go on when one gets a joke about five seconds too late.

I love catching the sparkle in the eye right before one makes a witty remark about my ever-whitening beard.

I love the [hopefully joking] elbow in the ribs when I’m bugging them too much and the arms lifted to encircle my neck whenever and wherever they feel like it, no matter who’s watching.

I feel proud and humbled when I hear them quote things I’ve said or copy things I do, whether humorous or serious. I love watching their minds work as they realize new things about life and love, God and grace. I love to love them and to see that love freely and joyfully returned.

I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, 1 Chronicles 17:13

Would you like to guess who said this? It is God speaking about David! Just like I do with my two jewels, our Heavenly Father longs to establish and maintain a close parent/child relationship with us. A connection that He never, NEVER, wants to go away! If I find such joy in the time I spend with my girls, how much more must my Father long to spend time with me!

Father, Dad! Thank You for the love you pour on me, not just one day a week, or one day a year, but every day and all day! Let me see that love clearly in my life. Let me not only return it freely, but share it recklessly with those around me not just one day, but every day. Let me copy You. Let me look like Your Son because that is what I am!

Jun 152010
 

Do you ever feel that life is unfair? That no matter how hard you try to do the right thing, the bad guys keep winning?  David found that people worked against him even when he was doing right. It makes me angry when that happens! David felt the same way.

It’s obvious that David vented his frustrations and emotions through the outlet of verse and song. In this section of Psalm 119, he begins each line with the 7th letter in the Hebrew alphabet, which sounds like our “z”

Zayin

Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

David reminds God of His own words and promises.

The arrogant mock me without restraint,
but I do not turn from your law.

I remember your ancient laws, O LORD,
and I find comfort in them.

Indignation grips me because of the wicked,
who have forsaken your law.

David sees evil flourish unchecked. Don’t you just hate that? It seems so unfair. However, David makes a promise to the One Who promised him:

Your decrees are the theme of my song
wherever I lodge.

In the night I remember your name, O LORD,
and I will keep your law.

This has been my practice:
I obey your precepts.

Psalm 119:49-56

I can be comforted, when things aren’t going as well as I would choose, by remembering everything that God promises me. Like this one:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

In all things. In ALL things.  In all things God works for my good. Is life unfair sometimes? Does it seem that evil has no realtime punishment? Does it appear that my right doing has no “now” blessing in return? Surely. And just as surely- these are not my problem. I have only two relevant questions: Do I love Him? Will I promise Him like David did?

Jesus, just like David, I want to walk and work within Your will for me, free or captive, day or night, easy or hard, no matter what. This is my practice, my habit, my promise.

shared 6/12/10.

Jun 102010
 

Years ago, there was a very wealthy man who, with his devoted young son, shared a passion for art collecting. Together they traveled around the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection.

Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and many others adorned the walls of their family estate. The widowed elderly man looked on with satisfaction as his only child became an experienced art collector. The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father to beam with pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.

As winter approached, war engulfed their nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, the elderly man received a telegram that his beloved son was missing in action. The art collector anxiously awaited more news, fearing he would never see his son again.

Within days his fears were confirmed. The young man had died while rushing a fellow soldier to a medic. Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness.

The joy of the season—a season that he and his son had so looked forward to in the past—would visit his house no longer. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. He opened the door and was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hand.

The soldier introduced himself to the old man by saying, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.” As the two began to talk, the soldier told of how the man’s son had told every one of his—and his father’s—love of fine art work. “I’m also an artist,” said the soldier, “and I want to give you this.” As the old man began to unwrap the package, paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man’s son.

Though the world would never consider it a work of genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail.

Overcome with emotion, the old man thanked the soldier, promising to hang the portrait above the fireplace. A few hours later, after the soldier had departed, the old man set about his task. True to his word, the painting went above the fireplace, pushing aside thousands of dollars worth of paintings.And then the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given

During the days and weeks that followed, the man learned that his son had rescued dozens of wounded soldiers before a bullet stilled his caring heart. As the stories of his son’s gallantry continued to reach him, fatherly pride and satisfaction began to ease his grief, as he realized that, although his son was no longer with him, the boy’s life would live on because of those he had touched. The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the priceless pieces for which museums around the world clamored. He told his neighbors it was the greatest gift he had ever received.

The following spring, the old man became ill and passed away. The art world was in anticipation, since, with the old man’s passing, and his only son dead, those paintings would be sold at an auction.

According to the will of the old man, all of the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the way he had received his greatest gift.

The day finally arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams could be fulfilled this day; greatness could be achieved as some could say, “I have the greatest collection.”

The auction began with a painting that was not on any museum list…  It was the painting of the old man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent.“Who will open the bidding with $100?” he asked.

Moments passed as no one spoke. From the back of the room came, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s forget it and get on to the good ones.”

More voices echoed in agreement. “No, we have to sell this one-first,” replied the auctioneer. “Now who will take the son?”

Finally, a friend of the old man spoke. “Will you take $10 for the painting? That’s all I have.” “Will anyone go higher?” called the auctioneer. After more silence he said, “Going once, going twice… Gone!” The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone shouted, “Now we can get on with it and bid on these treasures!”

The auctioneer looked at the audience and announced that the auction was over.

Stunned disbelief quieted the room. Then someone spoke up and asked, “What do you mean it’s over? We didn’t come here for a portrait of some old man’s son! What about all of the other paintings? There are millions of dollars worth of art work here. We demand an explanation!”

The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”

Just as the art collectors discovered on that day…The message is still the same… the love of the Father…. A Father whose Son gave His life for others…And because of that Father’s love… you don’t have to pay anything…

It’s a free gift from God… Whoever takes the Son gets it all.

credit to http://www.wowzone.com/father.htm

_________________________

There’s only one criteria, one measure, one priority. There’s only one Key, one Message,  one Price. The Son. That’s it. ‘Nuff said.

He who has the Son has life; 1 John 5:12

Jun 042010
 

The woman was obviously a sinner. I mean, you could see the guilt spread all over her face. The elders pushed her into the center of the church foyer and in plain sight of the whole congregation asked the pastor to administer church discipline.  Everybody knew she had a bad reputation. Everyone had heard the stories.

She stood there. Skirt ripped. Blouse torn. Head hanging in shame. Shaking with fear.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  -John 8

“If any of you is without sin”. You mean visible, grossly immoral, socially unacceptable sin, right? The kind of sin that is so obvious in others? The kind of sin I would never partake in. “If any of you is without sin,” feel free to judge, condemn, punish, said the Son of God. The perfect Son. The holy Son. The without sin Son.

“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared.

And in a moment, she experiences the wonder of God’s grace gift. No condemnation, no judgment. Grace. Couldn’t earn it. Didn’t deserve it.

She stands there. Grace covered. Face filled with joy. Limbs stilled in peaceful calm.

“Go now and leave your life of sin.”

And in a moment, the Son gives her permission and power to leave it all with Him. Her past. Her reputation. Her shame. Her sin. All! Free to move forward into a new life with Him.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Father, give me permission and power to leave it all with You. My past. My reputation. My shame. My sin. Let me share no condemnation, no judgment, but only love with those around me.

to share 6/5/10

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