Monthly Archives: September 2020

Inheritance

There once was a kind, generous and benevolent wealthy man.  He had many interests and his business dealings had brought him much honor and fame.  He was a humble man who credited his success to God and his family.  People loved being with him because he treated them all the same.  No one person was better than any other in his sight:  whether rich or poor, employee or friend, they all received the same encouragement, the same attention.

This wonderful man had many children and he raised them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, training them to be independent in thought and deed.  He disciplined them when necessary and insisted they make their own way in the world.  He did not bail them out of scrapes that they got into, but watched over them as they struggled to get themselves straightened out.  If they asked for advice, he was always there for them.  And if they fell, he would help them pick themselves up and set them on the right path again.

As a result of his parenting style, he had several successful children.  He also had the standard family dynamics everyone deals with.  One of his sons was so rebellious against his father and everything he stood for that he rarely visited.  However, always mindful that there was a reward waiting for him when his father passed, the son showed up dutifully for family main events.  He did what he was asked whenever he was asked, but always with that rebellious attitude.

Another son was very successful and loved to visit his father and talk about himself and his latest conquest, whether it was a business venture or a woman.  A third son, also successful in his choice of careers, acquiesced to any request for his presence, but rarely made the effort on his own initiative.

Then there are the daughters, two of which were vivacious and attractive, constantly doing things for their father.  They divided their time between their own homes and their father’s home, doing whatever they could find to do to make him happy.  Their father loved them, but sometimes his feelings ran close to irritation as the daughters continued to find things to do for him that he did not ask them to do.  He felt sometimes they were wasting their energies when they could be doing the things he had taught them to do instead of the things they decided were a better investment of their time.

Last, but certainly not least, is the third daughter.  She was neither as lovely nor as vivacious as the others.  A middle child, she was not what one would call a success, but she wasn’t a failure either.  A middle-of-the-road type of person, she enjoyed her own home and career (though she called it a job).  At family gatherings, she was never the center of attention.  Neither athlete nor business mogul, she had never attained the high scholastic marks the others strove for, though she always did her best.  So as the others laughed and traded witticisms and stories of their own latest successes, she listened and smiled, encouraging them with ‘ooo’ and ‘ah’ at the appropriate moments.  And after the others had departed, she would stay behind, making sure everything was back in order and her father was comfortable.  She would prepare two glasses of iced tea and, bringing him one, she would sit and talk with him a while before heading for her own home.  She often stopped in unannounced to see how he was doing and share moments of her life with him, seeking his wisdom and enjoying his fellowship.

As happens to all men, death finally overtook the man, and his family was left to divide the estate.  The day came to listen to the reading of the will, and they all (but one) sat in shock as they heard the lawyer read the man’s words:    “My dear children.  You surely must know how much I love each and every one of you.  I have placed before you many treasures throughout your lives and it has been up to you to gather them and experience the depth of those riches.  I have left you the reward of hard work, and you have turned it into a race for possessions and prestige.  I have left you the reward of obedience, and you have turned it into disobedience by deciding you knew better than I what needed to be done.  I have left you the reward of fellowship, and you have turned it into a game of one-upmanship, never delving any deeper than shallow, impersonal relationships.  My children, you have squandered the greatest rewards I can give you.  I do not believe that leaving you wealth and riches will enrich your lives.  Return, dear children, to the first lessons.”

Five of the children were outraged, incensed that their father should have denied them their inheritance.  But one of the children spoke softly, and the rest turned to listen.  She said, “He gave us our inheritance while he was with us.  You were too busy, too selfish, too self-serving, to notice.  The greatest gift he had to give us was himself.”

Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.  Revelation 22:12

Please, ask yourself today, why are you serving the Lord?  Is it because you think there is going to be some big reward?  Or banquet?  Are you doing what He has asked you to do or are you so busy ‘working’ for the Lord that you can’t hear His requests?  Are you spending time with Him, getting to know Him, exploring His character, and applying that beauty to your own life?  No one is promised tomorrow and we will all face death.  Please. Examine your heart.  If you are serving the Lord, why are you doing it?  And if you are not, why not? 

Stalemate

Good morning dear ones!

What a glorious morning….overcast, humid, rain on the way, and still, simply GLORIOUS! This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. And not only because He made it, but also because He woke me up to partake of it.

I look around me at a world gone berzerk (violently or destructively frenzied; wild; crazed; deranged) and I wonder just how much of that is real and how much has been manufactured to take our eyes and minds off of what is truly happening around us? How much is hyped up and even created by the news media to create chaos?

Here’s what I see: The entitled brats are throwing tantrums. Unfortunately, they are doing so in the middle of valid protests calling for justice. And then there are those who are being paid to move from city to city, carrying weapons and instuments of destruction, burning and looting and attacking unarmed citizens. And heaven forbid! if a citizen should arm themselves and try to defend themselves. Anarchy. How did we get to this place of destruction? It is all around the world and even in our own towns.

And yet, my spirit sings this morning as I turn my eyes to the One who created us, who loves us, who wants to spend eternity with us, and who mourns our lack of love for one another. A glorious day indeed.

Dear ones, we are living in perilous times and it is important for each of us to make up our minds right now, today, about how we will spend eternity. This isn’t a political decision. This isn’t a cultural decision. This isn’t a religious decision. This is an eternal decision. Please be certain that you are CONFIDENT of the decision you are making, because there is coming a time when the opportunity to change your mind will be gone and you will be living (and dying) with your inexorable decision. There are no stalemates in eternity.

As for me….today is a glorious day!

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Are you paying attention?

Have you been paying attention?  I have.

The world around us is spiraling out of control with a centrifugal force driving it ever downward in a morass of corruption, violence, hate, selfishness, greed…just to name a few.

What I have been paying attention to, though, is the amazing exhibition of those climbing out of the spiral, consistently striving toward all that is good and right and just.  I have seen exhibitions of God’s amazing love pouring out of people in situations that would drown most of us.  I have watched as parents apply grace to those who have cost them the lives of their children.  I have watched as first-responders heroically step into the fray of violence and disease, shining like gold as they unselfishly give of themselves, even to the point of their very lives.  I have learned of missionaries in foreign (for them) lands, in the middle of panic and fear brought on by an incurable disease, standing their ground and surrounding those they serve with love and compassion, help and hope.  I have watched as neighbors help neighbors without being asked.  I have seen the face of God in the face of strangers helping strangers.

What have you seen?  And what are you being?  Are you the hands and feet and voice of God in the lives of others?  Or are you the tantrum-throwing infant who demands attention and rights?

I think these are questions we have to ask ourselves daily.  I also think we become what we focus upon.  So today, just for today, practice lifting your eyes off of what evil is being accomplished in our world and look for what is good.  You’ll have to turn off the news and get out of the house – yes, out of the house.  Look around.  Lift your eyes and see others instead of yourself and your circumstances or what the news media is trying to force-feed you.  Just for today, look for God in motion.  And then tomorrow, when you awaken, turn your thoughts toward Him and all He has done for you – remembering that God is GOOD and His mercy endures forever.  In gratitude, set your heart on another day of looking for Him in motion.  And when you see it, join it! 

God loves you and He doesn’t want to be separated from you.  Not now.  And not in eternity.  Make a choice today.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  Philippians 4:8

All I Can Do is Praise

When the world around me is crumbling …

All I can do is praise.

When my best friend succumbs to cancer…

all I can do is praise.

When my friends succumb to COVID-19…

all I can do is praise.

When cancer decimates my family…

all I can do is praise.

When my life partner goes off the rails and destroys all trust…

all I can do is praise.

When I sit alone without a friend left to call…

all I can do is praise.

When my sisters and brothers are so consumed with themselves they neither see or hear my pain…

all I can do is praise.

When I wake up in the morning…

all I can do is praise.

When I see a hummingbird…

all I can do is praise.

When I walk in the cool morning mist…

all I can do is praise.

When I receive bounty from your hand…

all I can do is praise.

When hope abounds and joy bubbles over…

all I can do is praise.

This day, Lord, I offer you praise. Praise for who You are. Praise for what You have done. Praise for the amazing grace, unconditional love, peace, and joy You and You alone provide. I praise you Lord Jesus. May a rock never replace my voice!

PRAISE THE LORD!!!!