Thursday, August 25, 2016


     A twelve year old turned trustingly to his dad, "Dad, I need a new pair of shoes! See, the heels are not wearing evenly." 

     (This reflection comes from a time when leather shoes with rubber heels were far more common than the "discard" sports shoes of today's culture.)

     Fully expecting the problem to be solved with a new pair of shoes, the child accompanied his dad to the store, and looked at new shoes longingly. His dad's conversation took an unexpected turn. "Either you did not sell my son a good pair of shoes, or you misfitted him, and I want you to make it right!"

     The store owner was certainly not expecting this approach, for he was enjoying his prosperity in the small town in central United States. His was the only shoe store for miles around.

     He had an answer, however, "We sell the best shoes in this part of the state! Furthermore, we always fit them right! Sir, I can sell you a new pair of shoes, or repair your son's shoes at a fee, but I owe you  nothing!"

     The dad was firm, and he repeated the statement, "No sir, either the shoes are flawed, or you misfitted him." There was no arrogance or annoyance in the dad's voice, only firmness. But the son thought his dad was angry at the storekeeper. He fully expected the two men to get into at least a verbal assault of one another. He was amazed, however, when the store owner agreed to repair the shoes. They agreed on a time.

     Either the dad had sensed a lack of service integrity in the store owner, or was training his young son in a life of faith. Time would tell. A story that will take reflection teaches this principle. Read Isaiah 7:1-9.

     I have often wondered how the boy got home. Did he walk barefooted to the car, or did his dad feel sorry for both concerned and buy a second pair of shoes, to make sure that this conversation was about business, and not personal issues? I don't know.

     Dad was on a trip somewhere when the son had to face the store keeper in order to pick up his shoes. He had no money to pay, so was not in a position to agree with the store keeper's assessment of his dad, but had to listen to the disgruntled statement about his dad.

     Many years later, dad reminded his son . . . "Ownership and Management are not about control, but about service! Son, store ownership is a trust given to serve the need that is prevalent - whether to sell, provide access to a special design for tired, injured feet, or simply to help them find out where that need can be met!"

     This is not just a business principle to gather wealth, but reflects the nature of Christ, Himself. When it appears that all in life has gone wrong for a season, and the "store front" of your life is in shambles, remember that it could be that your service quotient is in need of repair. This is where the wise virgins of Matthew 25:8-10 did the only thing that could work for the foolish virgins. They were hopeful that they would be able learn the lesson in time. But, it was too late to change their viewpoint of opportunity. The bridegroom came while they were away.

     While King David was hiding from his enemy Saul, (who was attempting to save his own kingdom from inevitable take-over), David expresses an amazing prayer in Psalm 54:1-7, that demonstrates how to get help from God, Himself, during such a crisis!

     Jonah did not like being put in a crisis he couldn't handle on his own, but found out that he was God's choice, like it or not. Apparently he did not realize that the choice of apparent safety was not nearly as secure as bearing the right message for the right reasons. Proverbs 23:1-3.

Monday, August 22, 2016

We’ve Been Robbed!

       The bedroom door opened, and my wife said, “We have been robbed!” She continued, “Our neighbor said our garage door is wide open, and has been for two hours! They first thought that we may been in the garage ourselves, but finally suspected the worst, and rang the doorbell repeatedly to attract attention. I knew I had heard something strange outside, but had not investigated!”

       I rubbed my eyes, trying to make sense out of things. It was 1:00 a.m. I was not very happy about being short-changed in my sleep. I knew I had to investigate.

       I discovered that the side door had been forced open. Three pieces of equipment had been stolen, one of them quite expensive.

        Knowing a little of the nature of forgiveness, I forgivingly asked the question, “What do you do when someone throws the equilibrium of life off like that? Explode with anger? Call the Police? See if you can follow footprints, etcetera? Fix the damage enough so you can attempt to go back to sleep again?”

       Is there not a better way to balance the scale? Whether right or not, I responded by doing my best to repair the door sufficiently so it would at least close and lock. I then attempted to go back to sleep, but sleep eluded me.

       The next morning in the police report, I realized that it would have been helpful to call the police. This way they could have inspected for fingerprints, and look for other things out of order. It was too late.

       In the process I also discovered that our small car had also been dented in the process of theft. Also, two of the stolen items were not complete. That is, they now had one part and I the other. Neither of us could enjoy that particular piece of equipment.

       Why would someone do that? Honesty allows a person to enjoy what they purchase, receive or own. Dishonesty and theft will not allow a person to enjoy it. It often does not occur to someone to think things through. This means it hurts both parties concerned. If you do something good in secret, someone often surprises you in doing something special for you. Why don’t people remember that the same principle, applied in reverse, will eventually even the score in stolen goods?

Monday, April 4, 2016


Genesis 1:6-8 (NET Bible) “God said, “Let there be an expanse[1] in the midst of the waters and let it separate water from water.”  So God made the expanse[2] and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. It was so.  8 God called[3] the expanse “sky.”

The sky as we know it in our human experience, (firmament, expanse, dome, open space), is considered by most as a tangible thing, yet by experience it is hardly that. It cannot be touched, and yet we know and experience its presence.

Yet, considering what it does for the human race, there are a lot of beautiful lessons to be considered.

Some have indicated that it has been used to speak of the gold that has been hammered into the features of an idol. If considered that way, it takes on the meaning of the atmosphere that is especially designed to protect, nourish, and demonstrate the handiwork of God.

This became precious to me when I considered the larger sense of God’s work. The children of Israel experienced a special protection in Goshen, while in Egypt; The children of Israel experienced the cloud and the pillar of fire in the desert; After the flood upon the earth, God placed a rainbow there to assure God’s people that the earth would never experience this particular kind of threat any more. (Genesis 9:13)

From the sky, or from such a place as the Niagara Falls observation tower, it can be observed that the rainbow is a perfect circle. The rainbow is also proof of a prism effect on the sun’s harsh rays. I find it fascinating that it can picture a covenantal relationship of a man and wife in a wedding ring, if they desire to do so.

We see a cloud re-appear in the Holy Place in the Temple, speaking the same truth. It was alluded to in Nehemiah 9:19, when the walls of Jerusalem were being rebuilt. It was re-experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration when Jesus appeared Peter, James and John. Matthew 17:5.

All of these can illustrate the marvelous truth that God cares about who and what He considers to be His property.

There is a remarkable reminder of this in outdoor weddings, when an arch is placed over the couple, referring to the “cloud” of a covenantal relationship.

Do you and I really understand firmament, canopy, expanse, cloud of God’s presence in our lives? Do we experience it in the areas that we consider important in our lives? Hosea 6:3 seems to suggest that we can know these answers as we follow closely to Him, and get to know Him better. Luke 11:52 implies that the religious leaders, who had not been living close to God, had robbed the “key” to this knowledge from the people.

Jesus also shows how a study of the clouds can be used to predict weather patterns. If the protection or provision is there – there is safety. Jesus then said, “How is it that you do not discern this time?” (Luke 12:56)

1 “EXPANSE – FIRMAMENT”:  Canopy - Original meaning. Expanse. The original word is sometimes used for the gold or silver covering on an idol. See Psalm 19:1
3 “CALLED”:  God gave this “expanse”, “firmament” or “canopy” - a name, and that was “sky” “Heaven”.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Jesus was amazed!

He was amazed at disciple Nathanael’s surprise at what Jesus knew, “‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’” . . . “Jesus said, ‘You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that.’” (John 1:48-50)

He was amazed at the faith of the Gentile centurion, who reminded Jesus that all it took was a word to get obedience from soldiers, therefore he trusted Him to declare his servant well. “When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, ‘I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.’” (Luke 7:9) 

He was amazed at the response of a Greek woman to comparing her to a scavenging dog, “ . . . a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. ‘First let the children eat all they want,’ he told her, ‘for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.’ Then he told her, ‘For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.’” (Mark 7:25-29) 

He was amazed to find the disciples sleeping when he was personally in need, and when he was about to experience the most critical time of his career – his crucifixion – demonstrating God’s Redemptive plan of History! (Luke 22:46)

All of these things point to the fact that it took a while for Jesus in his perfect humanity to catch on to His father’s heart in his calling, and perfectly human state – but when he did – He died for it, which was God’s will for you and I! He learned obedience by the things He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

Is this not any true parent’s love for a child?

“But Zion said, ‘The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls (your normal securities) are ever before me.’” (Isaiah 49:14-16) 

The heart of Jesus relates to the best parent there has ever been! A grandparent loves to watch the development of a grandchild, particularly if there are interests that are somewhat similar. Therefore, quite often they are the most qualified to help in situations that are bigger than the parents have been given the grace to handle!

For example, I knew my grandparents prayed, but I was amazed when my paternal grandfather prayed for us while missionaries in South Africa, and sent a letter that he had done so. “I have prayed clear through for you”. It was very important to me, for it came at a very difficult time in our experience as missionaries.

This is written all over the pages of scripture!

The disciples had observed Christ at prayer – and were amazed at the fruit of the disciplines of his prayer life. Lepers healed; Blind people seeing; Difficult encounters resolved. On it goes.

Since Jesus had understood their needs at the Father’s hand, they soon found their own hearts desperately longing, crying out to know the secret/s of prayer demonstrated in Jesus. Eventually they put a handle on it, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)

Jesus then spoke the words most of us have memorized, “Lord’s Prayer”, thus teaching them the essence of prayer.

Thus an outline is all we need, to go along with the vision of Christ we have experienced. He knows us much more than we know! This is what the apostle Paul wanted to happen most in his life. (Philippians 3:10)

  1. Prayer is directed to the Father of All – who is in Heaven;
  2. Prayer is directed to call attention to God’s Name, Reputation or Fame;
  3. Prayer is directed to the need for His Kingdom to increase;
  4. Prayer is directed to wanting His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven;
  5. Prayer is directed to asking Him for basic needs such as daily provision;
  6. Prayer, to the outworking of our salvation, and is now directed to asking Him to do what we need to be doing anyway – with what is obvious around us; When we forgive, we are then qualified to worthily receive His forgiveness in situations, as we “flesh out” His will on earth; (1 Corinthians 8:3) with (Genesis 6:8) God “chose Noah”! Amazing, indeed! He saw that he did more than “put up” with the evil around him prior to the flood, he was willing to learn at the hand of God, and saved his family and animals from the flood!
  7. Prayer, is directed to the danger of this journey to the heart of God, which will allow testing for authenticity of the intimate experience with God;
  8. Prayer, is directed to the most important of all deliverances – from the evil one;
  9. Prayer, is experiencing His Kingdom, Power, and Glory in our lives.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven; Hallowed be Thy Name; Thy Kingdom Come; Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven; Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever. Amen. (Quotations from New International Version)a Blog this'