Sunday, July 24, 2011

Things come our way

" Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished." Luke 15:14. As our story continues we see that this young man spent everything. It is hard for us to understand how one can be wealthy...and spend everything. It is hard to manage money! It is hard for us to recognize a need verses a want...Never mind that there is so much out there that money can buy. So this young man foolishly spent his inheritance on stuff...loose living. Do you know what I mean? Even just a little bit. You are compelled to buy something (a want) and you take money...that was for a bill or for your families well being...to buy it or even to do something. Even if it is just a small amount... Or we might save...but we still only have in mind our desires...wants, not willing to compromise for the good of your family.
This young man found himself to be impoverished. From being well off to being poor. You see in life things happen. So a famine is upon the land, food prices are up and rising, now he is in want of just having enough to eat. So next thing this young man is looking for work, just to survive. Guess what, he finds a job feeding the pigs. You see for this young man the storm is blowing hard, and now he is starting to feel the effects of it.
So what I want to do is make a side note here. We must remember that storms in life come. Just look what is happening in our country; floods, fires, tornados...Now some of the people going through those ordeals are Christians. Strong Christians following God...we need not be asking why...is this happening to them or that area... So many times we think that it's because of sin...God's judgment. So when things like that happen be slow to react to why...Pray for our brothers in those areas. Now with our young man, do you think that he needs prayer...Now there are a lot of youth that all of us know...and some of them need our prayers. Some maybe going wayward, some having a tough go in life, some have life changing decisions before them...some lost...we need to be praying for our children, our young adults and yes for the adults too! We all need prayers from fellow believers. Yes we all need praying believers praying for us. It is easy to condemn...but to pray for them, that takes work---and love.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Storms

" And there he squandered his estate with loose living." Luke 15:12b. Last week we talked about praying for one's family, now. While they are in the midst of the storm or they are in the calm, of a sunny day. If you have lived a small amount of time you know that storms come up quite often. And the storms of personal life come up often too. Sometimes there quick thunder storms, sometimes there with flooding rain, sometimes with sever winds...and sometimes the rain comes for days at a time... And when the storm comes sometimes it hit a small area and sometimes it covers vast areas. Now we are not talking about the weather only.
Back to our story; the younger son is in the midst of a storm. Here's the thing guys; I believe he doesn't even know it. This is the type of storm that keeps growing slowly. So this young man is in the middle of a big storm and it's getting bigger. " Loose living" we don't have to think too hard to know what that means. Now some of us might think of only money but I believe it's a lot more(look at the end of the story). So here we have a young man in a middle of a storm and guess what? He is there all alone. He doesn't have faithful friends(God believing). But I believe He has the prayers of his father. Sometimes the storm, will calm down for a bit only to hit harder. They can be tricky! Keeping us pinned down, trapped.
Have you ever been caught up in something, rebellion...sin, that seems to be o.k. That is, it isn't affecting anyone...everything seems to be going alright...You might even be saying no one knows, what's the big deal. Let's face it we can be very secret men...everything is just fine..things are still going well. It may even seem to be going better than before... But there is nothing that our God doesn't see. Prov. 15:3 "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good." Last week we talked about prayer, using David as an example. So let's continue using David as an example. You see there was a reason that David was praying for his son, or better yet why his son was sick unto death. 2Sam. 11 is the account of David's sin with Bathsheba...something that he tried to keep secret, but God sees. God revels to David that He knows...2Sam. 12 and in verse 10-14 He tells him the consequences of his sin. One of them being that his son will die. You see sin does all kind of things, not good things and sin also, for the most part has consequences. Our (your) sin affects you and the ones around you... It needs to be addressed! We need to ask for forgiveness...Let me end with one more thought. You ask God to forgive you of your sin, what then? Have you heard the word repent? How about put off the old and put on the new? So many times when we repent of a sin...we don't put on the new. That is we stop the old sinful action but we don't replace it with a new action. Then before one realizes he returns back to the old. Now when we talk about new, we are talking about Christ like; Godly actions. So let me end with this phrase, "sin destroys and forgiveness restores."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reactions of dad and mom

Luke 15:12b-13 "So He divided his wealth between them. And not many days later the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country," As we continue our study of the prodigal son let me remind you of what we learned so far. We talked about the love of money and being demanding. The love of money, that can take you away from the faith, or that you think that having more money will solve your problems... Demanding as to think we have a right or deserve...something...we kind of tied it in with "beware of all types or greed."
In our parable we see that the father grants his youngest sons request, and divided his wealth between the two sons. We could talk about this and say what is he thinking...but it is a parable so we will just accept what it says was done; without trying to get to a motive...of why the father did this.
After the younger son "gets" his share; he decides to move. To move far away to another country. Guess he wasn't happy where he was living. Was it the area? The people? His family? or Was he being pulled by the "bright city lights"? Not too sure but I do understand a little of each. Not being content where one is and looking over there thinking that it is easier...funner(is that a word?) or I will be better off.
What I want to do here is to focus on our reaction as dads and moms. As our children get older and become adults, they have to make their own decisions...in life. Sometimes these decisions will be, let's say, not good or maybe questionable. So what do we do as fathers? For the most part we get frustrated I think. What I want to do is encourage us to do is to pray for our(your) children. In 2Sam. 12:15-23 we have the account of David's son becoming sick. in verse 16 "David therefore inquired of God for the child, and David fasted and went and lay all night on the ground." Let's call this hard prayer for his son; he just didn't do the quick prayer...He was on his knees...and more. As we continue to read, David learns that his son died. What does he do? He get's up, cleans up and goes to worship God. Wonder if he was singing a form of "Blessed be the name of the Lord". To wrap things up we need to be lifting up our children in prayer now, before things happen, and while things are happening. Not just in a quick prayer... but on our knees, if you will. Pleading or inquiring of God for them. So many times we lack in this area and so many times when we start to pray it's too late, it's after the fact. As fathers let's lift our family up before the Lord in prayer. Let's pray for our children now, even if things are going well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The prodigal son

As summer is here, what should we do as men? Last year we went through selected sections of the book "Love Dare". This year we will start to look at a parable of our Lord Jesus. I think that this parable is fitting for us as men for the main characters mentioned are male. All of us should be able to relate to these characters or at least understand somewhat, what each character is like. This is a story of a father and his 2 sons. Have you guessed yet? It is found in Luke 15:11-32 and we know this as the parable of the prodigal son.
We will start our study with the definition of prodigal, 1. one who spends and gives lavishly and foolishly. 2. one who returns after an absence. (Merriam-Webster collegiate dictionary). With this definition our main character fits into both. For us today, returning after an absence, doesn't always mean a bad thing. One might return after an illness or a call to active duty...so there could be a positive prodigal. Now when we think of prodigal, or the prodigal son, we usually think about the first definition or even we might think of one who is rebellious.
Our story starts out in Luke 15: 11-12 "And He said, "A man had two sons. "The younger of them said to his father 'father give me the share of the estate that falls to me.' " What is being said is that the younger son wants his inheritance now. What a unique demand! What word could one use to describe this action...bold, arrogant, unhappy, rebellious...How about these two words, greed and demanding. Think about it for a minute, greed we can see easily, but demanding? It is there too, 'give me'.
So again I will go over the single page in this devotion! Greed, to desire more...for example money, power, fame. Now this I believe is one of the problems that this young man has. So with this greed we will talk about the love of money. In 1 Tim 6:10 "For the love of money is the root all kinds of evils." The son in our story, well what do you think? Did he love money? It sure does seem it. We're not going to go to deep here; we will talk about that in another devotional. But to desire money, to wish you had more money...if only I had more money so many of my problems would be fixed...Have you ever had those thoughts or similar ones? Sometimes we can get to a point when we think that money will solve our problems in life. It can even get to be, so strong of a feeling that it can draw us away from the one who can solve our problems, our Lord Jesus. Yes, if we continue to read in 1 Tim 6:11" It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith..." Money, things, wealth...the desire of...the love of; how dangerous a desire. Let's face it we all need to be on guard here.
The next characteristic of this young son is that he is demanding. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. Let's face it for the most part we can be very demanding as people or a person. In all types of situations and with material things. With that comes the attitude that we deserve or have a right to whatever it is. This young man wants his inheritance now, can you just picture him telling his father how much...and what he believes is his? So many times I have seen and heard of family members fighting over an inheritance, even when things are in order. Jesus says this in Luke 12:15 "Beware, and be on your guard against ever form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions."
The nation of Israel wants(demands) a king in 1 Sam. 8. You see they rejected God as their King and wanted to be like the other nations. Oh, you might say Samuel's son had a part but God says they rejected Him. So God let them have a king to rule over them. If you read your bible you will be amazed at how many bad kings there were. You see we can be demanding or thinking we deserve...but at some point we can cross that line of "beware of every form of greed." It is every form of greed, not just of money. That desire to have more or even to be more...(I'm not talking about the wanting to be Christ like here). So are you demanding, thinking you deserve, or you are better than...do you try to act...to elevate one status...greed comes in all types of ways. How about money? It is so easy to get caught up with money. It can consume you, even when you don't have any or very little. Let's end with a few words for us to be able to understand this better; money, power, fame, prestige, status...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time and remembering

Now as we move on in our discussion of faith, we move into our growth spiritually. Now this does involve time, experience, learning...Some might grow in aspects of the Lord rather quickly, while others slowly, but that time thing plays a big part. Faith though it involves learning, it is more than learning and memorizing. It involves all aspects of one's life and the actions one does if everyday life. The learning part helps us to know God's direction. That is learning the word of God. But, God also gives us the Holy Spirit, who helps us...
Now let's get back to the time thing. As we go through life time continues, day and night keep on coming. With each day different things come with it, our world is not a boring place! People are all around, things need to be done, places to go... Now this is where our faith starts to grow. As we see God working in our lives from day to day, in situation to situation, from task to task... When we see that He is helping us, protecting us...We learn to lean on our God, going from strength to strength(Psalm 84). The learning of life that is hands on. That, when you needed patience; God helps you to learn patience. Think about it, are you more patient than you were 2 years ago, 5 years, 10 years...and still even if it has been 30 years you find that you still need more patience. How do I know; because every day is different and guess what, some things just keep on coming, in different ways of course. Hopefully one is getting stronger with God's help and hopefully one begins to understand that we need God's help.
How many of you have teen-agers? For some strange reason they seem to have life figured out. They don't need wisdom from their parents...I'm not too sure but my dad tells me I was the same way. How foolish I was. Now that I am older I wished I had all that wisdom and experience that I have now, back when I was younger. You see our faith grows stronger as we go through the things of life with God's help. We must understand that it is the time thing, we don't go through all life situations all at once or in just a few short years. We started out our faith by believing the truth that God is real and His son is Jesus Christ. Then we moved on to that word of "trust", that we will trust God to do what He said He would do. Now let us remember the things God has done for us, in the "times of life" and ... It is so important to remember what God has done! The nation of Israel did, they held the Passover and other feasts. They built stone memorials, Ebenezer stone, 1Sam.7 . We are commanded to do it. The Lord's supper, " do this in remembrance of me." To remember the basic of our faith, the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ and eternal life. So we must always remember, to remember our God, to the race is finished and we are taken home. " We will never forget", we here that saying often, now let's say that statement about our God.