Take My Son….

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands….

He said, ‘Sir, you don’t know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly….  He often talked about you, and your love for art.’ The young man held out this package. ‘I know this isn’t much. I’m not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.’

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture… ‘Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It’s a gift.’

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. ‘We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?’

There was silence…

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, ‘We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.’

But the auctioneer persisted. ‘Will somebody bid for this painting? Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?’

Another voice angrily. ‘We didn’t come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Gogh’s, the Rembrandts. Get on with the Real bids!’

But still the auctioneer continued. ‘The son! The son! Who’ll take the son?’

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. ‘I’ll give $10 for the painting…’ Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

‘We have $10, who will bid $20?’

‘Give it to him for $10. Let’s see the masters.’

The crowd was becoming angry. They didn’t want the picture of the son.

They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel… ‘Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!’

A man sitting on the second row shouted, ‘Now let’s get on with the collection!’
The auctioneer laid down his gavel. ‘I’m sorry, the auction is over.’

‘What about the paintings?’

‘I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.
The man who took the son gets everything!’

God gave His son over 2,000 years ago to die on the Cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: ‘The Son, the Son, who’ll take the Son?’

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything!
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, WHO SO EVER BELIEVETH, SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE…THAT’S LOVE!

name that post 2

John 8_7b

 

 

 

If necessary, I’ll post the Scripture verse tomorrow.

However, I think many of you will understand this one.

Today, I want to admit that I, like anyone else, am guilty of this sin. There are many times I find myself throughout life thinking that I am better than someone else. However, Jesus was very clear that none of us should consider ourselves judge over another. Only Jesus is the authorized individual to judge our sins.

In fact, He clearly reminded us of that in many other verses:

Matthew 7:1 (also Luke 6:37) Judge not, that you be not judged.

James 4:12a There is only one lawgiver and judge, and He who is able to save and to destroy.

Romans 2:1a …for in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself….

Ephesians 4:29a Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up…’

And MANY others

 

name that post…

verse   . . . sometimes it’s hard to memorize Scripture.  We are all different. For some of us, words just don’t help us learn. Sure, vocabulary is important for our language, but some people just learn better by seeing pictures.  The pic to the left is a rendition of one God helped me draw for a 1st grader to help him remember his Awana verse.  I think you know what it says.  But the question is, do your kids?  Maybe they can draw it better.  I’d like to discover what other verses can be “drawn.”  Any ideas?

Ever have a hard time remembering something?  Experts say if we “visualize” the item, it will be easier to remember.  Can you draw your favorite Bible verse?

What did God give you?

“I’ve made a mess of me
The person that I’ve been lately
Ain’t who I wanna be
But you stay here right beside me….
And I need you.”*

Those words could easily be said by anybody to God. But instead, these words were written for two people in love.

“Cause God gave me YOU for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it’s true
God Gave Me You?”*  <–click HERE

Just a little over 22 years ago I had the opportunity to enter into marriage with my beautiful bride,God_gave_me_you a relationship that God put together. A relationship that grows stronger day by day. But through it all, I still manage to screw it up sometimes.

“There’s more here than what we’re seeing
A divine conspiracy,
That you an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me…
And I need you!”*

Thank you for being mine Kimberly! Even in my failures, you still love me. I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU!**

For those of you out there, I want you to stop and think. What did God give you? . . . and are you treating that lady, …that man, …that child right? I know I’m not. So I need to do better.

*Lyrics by Blake Shelton
**Open Heart by me 🙂

Who Am I?

“Who Am I that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name
Would care to feel my hurt? …
Who Am I that the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love and
Watch me rise again?
Who am I that the voice that calmed the sea
Would call out through the rain
And calm the storm in me?”

(Lyrics from Casting Crowns, “Who Am I?”)

From Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day, from Birthday’s to Anniversaries, most all of us celebrate the love we have for each other at scheduled times throughout the year. Even weekly, most of us take time to spend an hour, or more, to take time to attend church – hopefully celebrating the love we have for God.

However, if we took time to stop and realize what’s really going on, we would realize that God takes time every day to show his love for us. You see, if we look back in history, God not only created the earth, the stars, and moon, He maintains them (Nehemiah 9:6, Col 1:17, Hebrews 1:3). He not only created US, but gives us breath and life every day.

Psalm 8:4a – What is man that you [God] are mindful of him?

That’s a great question. But I think the answer is in this verse: “ God is love” (1 John 4:8).

It’s not JUST that God loves us, but that God IS love. It’s like the verse from Exodus 3:14 “God said… ‘I am that I am.’” God is all things, not just in action, but in character, in nature, and in all things. God is!

And so when we ask who we are? We are God’s. We are a part of Him. He made us and still dwells in us.

It’s black Friday and sales are way down!

Based on news from the internet, I read today that Black Friday Sales were up 11%, including over the weekend sales compared to Thanksgiving weekend last year. At the bottom of the page, I noticed another link to interesting news concerning Black Friday and Thanksgiving sales – it reported that sales were down 6.2% since last year. Which is right? Surely not both – it’s got to be one or the other!

Of course, the information was based on news reports, earnings, and sales figures from a variety of sources – none of which can be relied upon for truth.

Seems that the same thing happens if you ask people for the truth about politics or even religion.
Every seems to have an opinion, and I guess it’s ok, because we have this thing in America called “free speech” (at least until some emperor takes it away).

I’m not here to say that sales were up or down – I don’t know. I know I spent about the same as last year during the T-giving weekend.

I’m not here to say anything about politics, although I’d be happy to kick all of our politicians out of office and start over.

But I am here to say what Christ has done in my life. People can say what they want about religious leaders – they have that right. But I’m here to say that My God is alive, My God saved me, and My God continues to touch people’s lives every day.

My God doesn’t require you to bow down at certain times. He doesn’t require you to kill others. He doesn’t require you to do pretty much anything, except the same thing He did and does today. He requires you to love your brother as yourself, and to love Him above all.

That’s a pretty simple concept. “Do what I do” – how many other god’s ask for that?

You know – if we only had two laws in life, and everyone obeyed them – life would be grand!

1) Love God
2) Love others

You see – if you love others, you won’t take their stuff, you won’t kill them, you won’t cheat on them, you’d obey your parents….

And for government laws: you wouldn’t speed (i.e. drive out of control – because you wouldn’t want to hurt others), you won’t cheat on your taxes (because taxes really are for the good of everyone – it’s just people have ruined them – because they don’t love others), etc….

Moral of the story? You tell me!

Beautiful!

What do you want?

What will you do with it, if you get it?

And what do you have to give?

Beautiful by Dan Bremnes <click link @ left to listen>

Lord I give You everything
Anything You want from me
Take my past and my future
I lay it at Your feet

Yeah
I’m after Your heart
You’ve stolen mine
I give You my all ‘cause You gave up Your life
I’m not who I was
Simply because
Oh, You set me free

And You
Changed me from what I used to be
Opened my eyes
Now I can see
You’re making this life so beautiful
And You
Making me who I’m called to be
Rescued my heart
Now I am free
You’re making this life so beautiful
So beautiful

This interesting prayer to God is a great way to start your day!

It’s Friday – TGIF!

TGIF – wow, that’s a term we hear pretty often, but do we really mean it? Are we truly thanking God for it being Friday, or are we just so thankful that the week is over, that we aren’t really thanking Him, but are just glad the weekend is here?

So many times in life I am guilty of saying “Thank God for….” I don’t know if you’ve been there, but sometimes that just comes out of my mouth out of habit – more than out of an appreciation to God that something has happened.

An example is “Thank God traffic wasn’t bad last night when I….”  – Did I really mean that?

Do we really acknowledge that He, “GOD,” is in charge and really over-seeing all these actions on earth?

so that from the rising of the sun
    to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides Me.
    I am the Lord, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things. – Isaiah 45:6-7

It’s so hard to comprehend sometimes that God IS in control. That it is HE that is causing things to happen. But Why?

Not “why is it hard to comprehend,” but “why does HE care to be involved in our lives” to that extent?

I think the simple answer is because He LOVES us! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t understand HOW He does all this: maintains the whole world, the interaction of man with man, man with animals, and man with nature, but I know He does.

And I think it’s because He wants us to feel His presence:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in His love He will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zeph 3:17

Therefore, the next time you say, or hear someone say, “Thank God…” or “TGIF” – let it remind you, and truly stop to Thank GOD!

Honey Do’s

Whether they are called Honey-do’s or To Do Lists, I’m sure you have one, written or mental. For some reason, the one I have keeps getting longer every day, not shorter. Despite taking the time to complete a task, it seems another pops right on, with an occasional second chore with it.

Whether work, school, personal, or even church related, these tasks can interfere with our life. Notice I didn’t say these tasks ARE our life. When we allow THINGS or to-do’s to control our lives, then we are in trouble. Take for instance the important things in life. Do you schedule them? Do you write down “spend time with son playing outside” as a task that needs done this week? Or do you list “tuck daughter in at night and say bedtime prayers” as a recurring nightly event?

I hope not, unless you have serious memory problems. So why is it then that we don’t get everything done on our list? Is it because we are poor planners? Or procrastinators?

I think the answer may be answered by scripture:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2 (NIV)

You see, when we allow the world and things to control our life, we have lost sight of the important things like God, family, church, friends, etc.

I thank God that I have a great family, a wonderful church, and amazing friends. I am also thankful for our house, our things, and what God has provided, but those things are truly secondary.

Recently, Kimberly asked me to finish 2 rooms downstairs in our basement so that at the start of the new school year, she would have adequate room to begin 2nd grade with Wesley. What I’ve discovered is that I’m not going to finish both, but I will finish one to the extent that school can begin on time. But at the same time, I must balance family and (personal) work.

I can’t tell you how much time to spend daily on stuff, and how much on family. This is what the Bible says:

“But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” – 1 Timothy 5:8 (ESV)

Provisions include not just food and shelter, but also love. Love cannot just be verbalized, but must be shown in the form of time spent with them.

Are you missing life? Act now, there are no do-overs!

Should We Make a Kid’s Childhood Magical?

As a parent, I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to spend time with their children. It just seems inherent to me to want to spend time with those we love.

Today’s society, however, has slowly changed. We no longer have time to spend with our kids. We are too busy transporting them from school to soccer to piano lessons. Tomorrow, we have to take them to swim lessons, and drop them off at church. The next day, it is back to soccer, and over to a friend’s house.

So, instead, we simply buy them extravagant gifts, dress them up in the latest fashions, and use the excuse that we’re too busy “doing things” to spend time with them.

What’s more is we are not to be outdone when it comes to Christmas and Birthdays.

We go to great lengths to have “extreme” parties with outstanding themes, “bouncy things,” and a clown or magician, spending sometimes hundreds or thousands of dollars for a couple hours that will be forgotten with 90% of the rest of his/her childhood.

Recently, a Facebook post named: “I’m done making my kid’s childhood magical” surfaced in which the article further illuminates how we (as parents) miss the point of childhood. Somehow, we think we must spend hours searching Pinterest for an activity to “do” with our child.

In all reality, we spend thousands each year on “stuff” and “activities” for our child. But as we all know, it isn’t the shiny new toy in the box that the child is thrilled about, it’s the box! I remember those days when we got a large present, and the most exciting thing was being able to fit into the box and hide and play!

I remember going outside (remember what that is?), and playing, not with stuff, but in the dirt, in the trees, and around the house. A simple ball and bat. A sandbox, with sticks and rocks. A basketball hoop nailed to a tree. And . . . mom and dad!

Yeah, I remember when family went outside together and spent time doing things together.

Make your kid’s childhood magical by being a part of it! Spend time with your child today, and every day! Soon as they become teenagers, they will be too big for you to be a part of their life (until they get in their mid-20s and invite you back in.  J

When I became a parent, I realized the truth of my now favorite Bible verse:

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. – (Psalm 127:3 NLT)