Sketch of My Blog

Our Journey in Life is more than we allow it to be.
We must all Be Ourselves to really enjoy what's all around us.
Take hold and learn from Life and Others.

I Follow the Way of Jesus.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Prodigal Brother

Luke 15:11-32 Was my Lenten devotional today.  I thought it was very interesting how the prodigal's brother reacted to the scene.  Let me see if I can set it up for you....I will at least try.

Working all his life on his dad's farm.  Tending to the cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, etc.  Tending to the land.  taking care of the wheat fields, and many other crops.  Day in, day out, year in, year out, making sure that everything got done.  Directing the servants, being the second in command right under dear old dad.  If dad said to do this, he did that, if dad said do that, he did that.  Each year bringing the harvest, selling the excess, slaughtering the animals as needed and selling others off.

You know, what he is doing, right?  He is being the obedient son.  Doing everything that his father asks.   He is taking care of the farm and doing all the stuff that needs to be done.  Can you picture it?  He is a hard working son.  I mean that this man has muscles all over.  He has respect from the hired servants too.  He does what needs to be done.  He gets dirty and does the work.  He does not just manage, he does and keeps doing.

Now his brother, we know nothing about, other than that he wants his inheritance and to take off.  So we can postulate that he is a bit lazy, cares only about himself and just wants to go out and have a good time.  He is also impatient, since he does not want to wait for his father to die.  Also had no respect for his father to ask that he receive his portion now.

So we have the younger son and the older son.  One who wants to take off and have a good time and the other who wants to keep working, knowing full well he will be rewarded later on.  Or at least he is planning on it.  Now enters the Prodigal son.  He has been away squandering the money and just doing whatever he wants to.  The money is gone and famine enters the picture.  Now he is heading home, knowing full well what is waiting for him if he can grovel to his father and say take me back as a servant.  The whole time he was gone the other "good" son was still working.  Still tending the farm.

So what  would you do?  Would you be forgiving and welcome your brother or sister back?  Wouldn't you act the same way?  I am sure that I would.  I would be upset and a bit outraged maybe, or at least a bit put out.  How would you handle it?  I would say the same things.  I would say "Hey, what about me Dad?", "What about all the work I have done for you?  What about all the time I spent here not complaining, just doing my job.  Why does he get special treatment, when he did wrong and wasted your money?  Here I am not asking for anything, just doing my job.  And what do I get out of it?  A pat on the back, No!  A dinner in my honor, No!  Nothing that says thanks son for all the hard work."

Does that sound familiar?  I know it does to me.  I am an only child, but that does not mean that I do not have the same thoughts in regards to other people that I see getting away with things and being rewarded for doing wrong.  That is where forgiveness comes in.  The father forgave the prodigal son and then tried to reconcile with the older brother to see what was the matter.  The father had compassion and mercy all around.  And did the brother say, what I did?  Of course he did.  He was so bent out of shape you could have used him as a pretzel.  He even refused to have a good time with the family and enter the house.

The father had to track him down and find out what was bothering him.  He showed compassion, mercy and forgiveness to both sons.  He welcomed back the prodigal son and tried to reconcile with the brother.  The father did everything right.  Everything he should have done.  He forgave both sons one for his actions and the other for his attitude.  Would we have done the same?  Do we ever forgive those who come back to the flock?  Without suspicion?  Do we treat them like a possible wolf in sheep's clothing?  I think we do.  I think we don't trust people that fall away and come back.  I think we have a hard time when someone we know had been doing wrong most of their life and then turn around.  We are more forgiving of gradual changes then we are of sudden changes.  We are also less suspicious.  It is part of human nature.  Why?  Because we are not GOD.  We don't know the thoughts and intents of the heart.  We are a suspicious breed, because we have been deceived and trust is something you earn now, instead of freely given.

We ask people to prove to us we are not going to do wrong.  If we could see like GOD sees then we could easily trust people and forgive them more quickly.  We would not be so suspicious.  I believe we can strive toward that goal.  We can be a little more trusting and definitely more forgiving.  It may not be an easy step, but we need to continually give people the benefit of the doubt.  It is up the GOD if they deserve forgiveness.  We can only offer our forgiveness and move on, without a grudge.  Knowing that they might do wrong again.  But so do we.  Each and everyday we do something we shouldn't.

So do we react like the brother and hold a grudge, pout and have a pity party, or do we react like the father and say "Welcome home, we missed you."  How you react is up to you.  How I react is up to me.  Let us strive to make the right decision.  Let us react with compassion, mercy and forgiveness.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Living By The Spirit's Power or Doing What's Right

The Lent Reading for today came from Galatians 5:16-26.  It talked about how we can let the Holy Spirit guide our actions and how we can learn to listen to GOD and HIS voice.  That way we can do the right things the things of GOD instead of the things of the world.  Everyone wants to follow their own way and do what they want to do.  It is none other than what we call human nature.  But do you know what GOD's nature is? HIS nature is written there clear as day in verses 22-23.
Let me quote: "  22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) "  That is pretty clear to me.  If we listen to GOD and follow HIS word and obey what HE directs us to instead of listening to our selves and take the time to distinguish the two voices and follow after GOD's then we are Alive in the Spirit of GOD.

Being in the Spirit means doing what is right and that has many implications.  I know that there are times in my life alone that I don't always want to do what is right.  I can fall down and not want to get up.  Or choose to do what I want despite knowing that what I want to do is wrong.  I am far from prefect, yet I keep trying to do what is right each and every day.  I go to work, I try to be polite and patient with people.  I try to get my work done and do the best I can.  But I do not always feel like doing that.  Sometimes it is a bit of struggle.  Sometimes I have to take a walk just to keep my patience.  We should all try to do what is right for GOD, for ourselves and for others.

It's a basic principal that goes back to Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, being your Brother's Keeper.  And Rich Mullins put it well in his song with the same title.  To do what is right is to look after your brother and your sister, your neighbors.  Jesus said it well when he requoted the first two of the Ten Commandments.  Love the LORD your GOD and Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.

I understand that some people have a hard time loving themselves, let alone others.  And still others can love their neighbor and not love themselves.  The world is made up of all types of people and it is not and easy job to love others and sometimes it is not an easy job to love yourself.  GOD's Holy Spirit is there to help us listen to HIS voice so we can do what is right.  So we can love ourselves and our neighbors.  We have the gift of HIS Spirit to do what is right if we can only find time to listen.

So here I am still trying to listen and do the right things.  Even if I sometimes fall down and have to pick myself up and try again.  I am a Work In Progress and GOD is still working on me.  Try to do what is right and listen to GOD.  GOD has all the answers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lent and excitement leading us to the Cross.

Well Lent starts today.  For me it started at around 6:30 this morning.  I got to work early and got to read my verse and have my devotional.  It was based on Luke 4:1-13.  I got to read the study notes from my Life Application Bible and it was very interesting.  Christians are called to follow GOD and to glorify GOD and to obey GOD.  That is not an easy prospect to live with.  I am serious when I say that, because I have been a Christian for approximately 24+ years, and I have not always followed, obeyed or glorified GOD.  There have been times when I chose to do what I wanted to do, not what was right, even though sometimes it was not always wrong, just a shortcut to a goal that had I waited for would have come in time.

I hear that people try to give something up for Lent.  The 40 days that lead up to Easter.  It is supposed to be in supplication and devotion that we do this.  I am going to rock the boat a  little.  I am not giving anything up, not chocolate, not peanut butter, not time with my family, not bread, not anything.  What I am going to do is try to make a new habit and change something about my life that I know needs changing.  I am dedicating my 40 days to spending time with GOD in devotion, bible study and prayer.  So far I am off to a good start.  I had my reading and time spent with GOD, while in prayer and listening and learning.  So I am going to try and make this goal a reality.  My wife found, online, A Daily Bible Reading for Lent.  It is daily, by weekly starting with today.  I am very thankful that she found it and shared it with me.  So I pass it on to those who might be interested.

LORD,  Help me to learn your WORD more fully.  Help me to understand it and add it to my knowledge so that I can use it properly and at appropriate times.  GOD I thank you for your blessings and for my Family.  Keep me in you WILL and guide and strengthen me.  Lead me in YOUR ways and let me follow YOU, obey YOU and glorify YOU all my days.  Praise to GOD for LENT and Thank You JESUS for your Sacrifice.  Amen.

Life Application Study Notes excerpt:
4:1-13 Knowing and obeying God's Word is an effective weapon against temptation, the only offensive weapon provided in the Christian's "armor" (Ephesians 6:17). Jesus used Scripture to counter Satan's attacks, and so should we. But to use it effectively, we must have faith in God's promises because Satan also knows Scripture and is adept at twisting it to suit his purposes. Obeying the Scriptures is more important than simply having a verse to quote, so read them daily and apply them to your life. Then your "sword" will always be sharp.  Life Application Study Bible.

I also have a side note of some excitement.  At my church I will be playing my Hammered Dulcimer for some special music during the giving of the ashes.  I am a bit nervous and excited at the same time.  I also just found out that my Warbler is ready to ship to me and I can't wait to get it.  I am so looking forward to playing it for a Hammered Dulcimer demonstration for a school on the 25th of March.  I have a lot going for me in the way of an exciting Lent.  Even the fact that my wife is giving me this new Dulcimer as a Birthday gift.  My wife and I are changing so much lately and it is wonderful changes.  We keep growing and learning more and just being more ourselves than ever before and on top of it all we are enjoying life so much more.  I am so looking forward to what GOD has in store for our lives.  I know that sometimes temptations and trouble come our way, but GOD will lead us through the waters.  Read Isaiah 43, it says all you need to know about GOD and HIS guidance and protection.

Enjoy Lent ! If you don't give something up then pick up something new.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to Patience or is it Worry, or both....?

I am working on being patient with people and with things.  I placed an order last week and I am still waiting to hear what kind of time frame there is on this order.  I will be patient.  One because I have no other choice and two because it is the right thing to do and third because I can not move things along any faster by being impatient.  My family and I had a very nice weekend.  We walked 10 minutes from our house to feed ducks.  Ducks that we did not know where still going to be there or not.  And it was freezing cold.  We dressed warmly but that did not matter since it was so cold our faces, hands and legs got cold.  We wanted to get there fast, we wanted to hurry, we wanted to be done with it.

But you know what, we survived.  We got there, found the ducks and fed the ducks.  They came out of the water in the freezing cold and we fed them and walked away so they could eat.  It was fun, even if it was cold.  The water stays warm year round, never freezes and I don't know why, but I also don't really care since it keeps the ducks there and we can walk to them and feed them.  My only worry was that of my family getting too cold, other than that we had a great time and warmed up when we got home.

So I am worrying a little less and being a bit more patient.  Still working on it, each and every day.  I just have to take things in stride and just remember that it will all work out and can not be done any faster or sooner or worried about more to change things.

Speaking of change.  Today I changed I got a year older and I am okay with that.  I really don't feel my age.  Although being 37 does not mean that much to me.  I am still young looking and still feel young.  I thank my wife for a wonderful 11 years of being together, yes we met 11 years ago next month on the Internet and we have been married for just over 10 years now.  She keeps me young and helps keep me healthy.  She is a blessing and a wonderful friend and soul mate.  Thank you Rebecca for being there for me through everything and being so wonderful to me.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Worry can be a real pain in the neck...

I think that I have a problem with worry.  So does everyone else in the world.  Even those who say they don't worry.  I sometimes even worry about worrying too much or worrying about things I should not even worry about.  Does that sound like a problem?  It does to me.  And it worries me a bit.  It worries me that I have a problem with worrying about what I am worrying about and that I have a problem with worry.

Now does that sound like a problem?  It does to me.  I know people who worry about the littlest things, and even about the silliest things.

I don't understand why we worry so much.  It was not in GOD's original plan.  But then again.  Adam and Even changed history.  SIN was not in GOD's original plan either.  We chose SIN and in so choosing we now have worry.  Worry that we are doing the wrong thing, at the wrong time, we are with the wrong people, said the wrong thing, or saw the wrong thing.  We have more worries than can be listed here.  They would fill up books on all the different things people worry about.  Some are silly, at least to me, but to the person with the worry it is very legitimate.  On the other hand we all have fears that fall that way too.  So one person's fear or worry can be another person's silliness.

So we all have worries.  Now what do we do with them.  I am afraid it would be impossible to remove all worry from the world and from each and every person's life.  I don't have the answer to removing worry, but the Bible says a little bit about.  And it says that the answer to limiting your worry is faith.  See that Faith can limit Worry and if you work at it maybe it could remove worry entirely.  I don't know if this world or any one person can completely free from worry.  What I do know is that faith, lowers your worry level.

Trust is a part of faith.  Did you know that?  If I have faith that something will take care of my worry, than I must also trust in that something.  Trust and Faith go hand in hand.  Look at the following verses...

Matthew 6:25-34 (NLT)
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?
27 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,
29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.
30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’
32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.
33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.“

It says right there that worry will add nothing to your life.  Okay, so if it adds nothing to your life what good is worry.  For all the worry we have we create a desert of dryness in our life.  So what do you want a dry desert filled with nothing but worry, or to create an lush land full of moisture, grass and green trees.  I want the land filled with plants and mountains and rain and snow.  I do not want a desert.  A desert is dry, barren, boring and dull.

I heard in the movie and interesting quote, "I don't want to Survive, I want to Live!"  I too want to live.  Why do I have to survive on worry.  It drains, dries, causes stress, high blood pressure, sleepless nights.  Jesus put it right, when He said what can worry add nothing to your life.  I am tired of surviving on worry, and I want to live life to the fullest.  I want to put more trust and faith in GOD.  I want to live.

I will endeavor to trust more and have more faith in GOD and what HE has in store for my life.  I will live more by the moment instead of by the worry.  I will try to stop looking toward the future and seeing what I need to do to make the future happen.  I will try to stop trying to alter the future to what I think GOD wants.  I will try to let the future come to me in GOD's time.  I am going to try to stop surviving and start living. 

What do you want to do?  Do you want to Survive on your worries and be dry and barren in the desert?  Or do you want to turn your life around and live?

I want to live and to that end I will try to worry less and enjoy the moment more.