May 22 / Proverbs 22 / Luke 8

Perkins-Restaurant-Bakery-Launches-Remodeling-Initiative

Proverbs 22:22

Do not abuse poor people because they are poor, and do not take away the rights of the needy in court.

How you treat the poor, needy, children, and animals says a lot about you. For these can give you little in return. They are easily taken advantage of. A good heart will treat even the least of these with dignity and respect. A good heart sees the value of each person for who that person is, never lumping them into some category to be judged unworthy of our attention. Oh how we love to categorize and dismiss! It’s so effortless, which is at least part of the attraction.

Never forget that every person you will see today was made by God, in His image, and has the potential to change the world for the better.

EVERY

PERSON.

Luke 8:11

The seed is God’s message.

Just give the word of God.

He will work it in the hearts according to His will.

Trust the word.

Notice it is GOD’S message, not yours.

So do not put unnecessary pressure on yourself. Simply let God’s word penetrate hearts as only it can.

Don’t stop giving the word of God, whether His written word or Spirit-given. The Holy Spirit still speaks, if we but listen. Sometimes He gives us a word for someone else. Which is cool.

Allow me a personal story of illustration. Over a year ago, I had this dream in which I received a prophetic message for a teacher at our daughters’ school, Oaks Academy. Now this teacher, Mrs. Kelly, was in her first year at our Brookside location, after transferring from Fall Creek. So we had formally met maybe once, and I remember a conversation I had with Jesus that morning on the way to her classroom.  “OK Jesus, I’m suppose to tell this woman, ‘I had a dream about you last nite with a message, by the way, my name is Rob?’ How creepy is this gonna sound?” It’s difficult to explain the clarity of such a dream or word to give, but I can say confidently that it is crystal clear, and that I was definitely to tell Mrs. Kelly what I heard. Otherwise I obviously wouldn’t be doing this. As I approached her room, I remember praying, “I’m trusting You that this is what You want! I will obey You no matter how weird it is…” She greets me with a smile, I re-introduce myself, and thought quickly to myself, “Whatever you do, don’t blurt out something like ‘I dreamed about you last nite!'” I just began–“This may sound odd, but I received a message for you in a dream from the Holy Spirit that I’m suppose to share with you.” “OK.” She was very cordial. I just delivered the message straight up, “You need to trust, there is going to be a healing in your family.” I could tell by her non-verbal cues, that she was at least slightly frightened by me. It doesn’t help that I dress the way I do–like a Star Wars geek biker who runs a gym. She did a very fine job of keeping her composure, I must say. She accepted it and thanked me, probably wanting to run away. “Alright, well have a nice day,” I told her, then turned around to walk away. Well, that was weird. “OK, Jesus, I did it.”

Fast forward to over a year later to April 2016. My wife Ana and I are on the fourth grade overnite trip to Saint Meinrad Archabbey in southern Indiana. Mrs. Kelly teaches fourth grade and is on the trip. (Our 4th grade daughter Gabriela has the other fourth grade teacher, Mr. Crawshaw.) It’s the second day, sitting at breakfast before we hit the road for home. Mrs. kelly comes over to sit with a group of us at our table. “Mr. Pallikan, I wanted to share something with you. You came into my classroom a year ago and shared a word with me.” Oh boy, here it comes. She tells the story to fill everyone in, and admitted that she went to the librarian after I talked with her to ask if I was legit. Not remembering my name, she asked, “The guy with the long hair, is he for real?” Thank God Miss Putzier, the librarian, stuck up for me and said I was totally legit and that there was nothing to worry about. I owe her one! Mrs. Kelly goes on, “What I didn’t tell you was that my husband was having some horrible health issues at the time. His GI issues got to the point where he literally couldn’t eat anything. Last summer we saw that Heidi Baker was gonna be in Chicago, and we decided to drive up.” (For those of you who are not familiar with Heidi Baker, she is a Christian missionary who has the gift of physical healing, and has restored blind people’s sight and even raised the dead around the world.) So the Kellys go to this conference, but some guy was there instead of Heidi for some reason. He also had this gift of healing, and at the end, he said he was going to do something he doesn’t normally do, and asked  if anyone needed healing right then and there, and to come forward.

So Mr. Kelly went up.

And he was healed.

Instantly.

She said, “He felt so good that we drove straight from there to eat at Perkins, and it didn’t bother him a bit. He’s been fine ever since. So your word was true. It really happened.”

Oh my goodness, vindication! She shared how she totally believes in healing and prophetic words, so when I approached a year ago, it wasn’t that strange to her, she just didn’t know me. She also said that the word I gave her was, “You need to trust, your husband is going to be healed.” I don’t remember that I specifically said her husband, but it wouldn’t surprise me that the Spirit would say that. Praise be to God that He still speaks, and still heals!

I’ll say in closing, that we cannot really comprehend fully the Word of the Lord or the changing of a heart, and I don’t think we are responsible for the comprehension or changing since it is something only God can do. Yet we are responsible for doing what we can do, what God calls on us to do, to obey that still small voice and speak to whomever He puts on our heart. I’m sure we’ve all had that voice telling us to call someone, or write someone, or something like that, haven’t we?

Obey that voice. It’s always worth it.

Then speak His message, not your own agenda.

Pray on it.

Trust in it.

Rest in it.

Pray to God.

Trust in God.

Rest in God.

May 21 / Proverbs 21 / Luke 7

ding dongs

Proverbs 21:2

You may believe you are doing right, but the LORD judges your reasons.

Life and goodness is not so much about what you do (though it certainly includes that), but about why you do it.

Proverbs 21:3

Doing what is right and fair is more important to the LORD than sacrifices.

God has always been about treating people well, even in the OT. All the laws were related to treating others well. They weren’t some arbitrary rules for His own ego or something.

Proverbs 21:5

The plans of hard working people earn a profit, but those who hurry become poor.

There’s no short cut in life for hard work over time.

We’ve probably all witnessed people who took diet pills who were not willing to work hard and change their awful eating habits, i.e. Ding Dongs and Pepsi. They lose some weight and then what happens? They gain it all back and more. Every time.

Living life well as a follower of Jesus involves spending time with Him every day over the long haul.

Parenting is classic example of one of those things that is just a ton of work over many years. There’s no shortcut even visible to me. You either spend quality time with your children over their lifetimes, or you suck as a parent. Am I right? One of the main ingredients for quality time is delight–for your children to know that you delight in them. You pay focused attention to them. (A child therapist told me this, I’m not making it up on the fly.) You can spend a lot of time with your kids while you’re on your phone, and they will receive the message loud and clear–that they are just not that important.

Proverbs 21:18

Wicked people will suffer instead of good people, and those who cannot be trusted will suffer instead of those who do right.

Can you be trusted?

Luke 7:35

Wisdom is proved to be right by what it does.

We can’t prove God’s way is better just on paper. We must enact it and live it and show it. Otherwise, why would most people try it?

One example is I started spending quality time with Jesus everyday about three years ago, and since then He has opened up scores of new and wonderful opportunities for me that have been more satisfying than anything I’ve ever done.

The truth that time with God is life-giving proved to be right by enacting it.

Are God’s promises true?

They say if you really believe something you act on it as if it were true.

Luke 7:50

Jesus said to the woman, “Because you believed, you are saved from your sins. Go in peace.”

You are not your sin, you are Mine. I purchased you. I went thru hell to get you and save you from your false identity of your sin and shame, and bring you to Myself, and give you your true identity as my son or daughter whom I love so much.

If only you believe it.

If only you believe.

May 20 / Proverbs 20 / Luke 6

helicopter seeds

Proverbs 20:12

The hearing ear and the seeing eye-the LORD has made them both.

The profound simplicity of this verse!

How often we do not really listen to people. Yet the very purpose of our ears given by our loving Maker is to hear. (And oh the beauty of the birds singing as I write this.)

Practice really listening to people today to hear everything they say, mean, and need. Make it a point to not form a response until they are completely finished speaking. This is much harder than it sounds.

How often we fail to see the beauty all around us, yet the very purpose of our eyes, generously given to us by our lovely Creator, is to see.

Yesterday I was sitting outside enjoying the beauty of the day the Lord made, the wonderful testament that creation is to His greatitude. And I got watching those little helicopter seeds falling to the ground. They were quite amazing to me, each one falling with a spin of different speeds. They’re extremely calming and relaxing to watch. This one in particular spun so very slowly as it fell, almost as if it was in slow motion going against laws of physics. And I inadvertently, turrets-like blurted out, “NO WAY! NO WAY!” wondering in awe how it was spinning so slowly and  yet, rhythmically. And I was filled with a keen sense of the majesty of God, knowing beyond all doubt He was responsible for this creative and wonderful action.

This came from just sitting with Him for a matter of minutes, watching and listening to Him thru what He has made in one tiny little area of the universe. Our eyes and ears are little appreciation receptors.

Let’s use them as such today.

Luke 6:35-36

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy.    [NCV]

He is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin, or “wicked”, as some translations read.

As God’s children, we should be the same.

How many times have I been that ungrateful person He has shown kindness to?

May this verse begin to change the way we relate to people today. May it humble us.

Do not grow weary in doing good. Just keep on being kind to those who give you nothing in return, including and especially, appreciation. Sometimes we get no acknowledgement for our good works. So what? Who are you doing it for? Hopefully for your Father who sees in secret.

Perform for an audience of One.

I am so guilty of wanting recognition for things I do. I have to fight and pray against it constantly. Sometimes it is good and necessary to set things up in such a way that someone else gets credit for something you had a bigger part in. The evil one would love nothing more than for me to take pride in my works. That only leads you away from YHWH because you quit acknowledging that it is Him who is responsible for every good work you do.

I can do nothing unless He put it in me first to do it.

Perform for an audience of One.

 

 

May 19 / Proverbs 19 / Luke 5

vision statement

Proverbs 19:16

Those who are heedless of their ways will die.

It has been said that the unexamined life is not worth living.

Do you ever take note of your ways? Of how you live and what you live for? What is the course of your life? Your goal? Your telos?

How does the activity of each day bring you closer to your life’s purpose-fulfillment?

Have you ever examined where the bulk of your time goes by logging it hour by hour for a week or so?

Proverbs 19:21

The human mind may devise many plans, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.

Thank God!

Proverbs 19:23

The fear of  the LORD is life indeed; filled with it one rests secure and suffers no harm.

I wonder if the key word here is “suffers”.

Stuff may come your way, but if you totally live in the awe of YHWH, you do not suffer. You trust and walk thru it. You know everything works together for good and so you do rest securely in YHWH’s hands.

We all go through difficult times, but it depends on what we pay attention to during said times which determines if we indeed suffer. Which all goes back to our perception of God.  Is He good? Does He care for us? Will He secure us to the end/in the end?

Also helpful, is Professor Tremper Longman’s translation and commentary of this verse:

The fear of Yahweh leads to life, and those who spend the night are contented; they don’t pay attention to evil.

The fear of Yahweh drives out all other fears and leads to life and not death. The specific fear in colon 2 seems odd but may be illustrated by a couple of well-known stories in the OT. In Genesis 19 and in Judges 19, we have stories of travelers who lodge for the evening in a strange town and face incredible evil, even though they have sought refuge in someone’s home. These stories inform us that travel in the ancient world was not a secure matter, and the only sure recourse was Yahweh.

We can only find true refuge in Yahweh, even though we may seek it in others. It is possible to find some rest in others, albeit temporary and dependent on finitude.

Luke 5:1-11

“Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

“Do not be afraid…”

And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.

The two stages of receiving the gospel are wonderfully manifested in the story. First, it is necessary that we see ourselves clearly-as sinful and broken before the holy God-even as Peter did (Luke 5:8). But this alone will result in despair if the second stage is lacking-seeing Jesus as gracious, forgiving, and inviting us to follow (v.10).

This story invites us daily to apply the gospel to our lives in the same way. We should ask God to enable us to understand our own sinful hearts and to enlighten our eyes to see Him as He truly is (Isaiah 6:1-13;Ephesians 3:14-19), both in His majesty and in His kindness toward us. This vision alone will enable us to follow Him and proclaim His greatness to others.

-from The Gospel Transformation Bible

We talk about the “Success Model” where you must know where you are at in an honest way, where you wanna go, clearly, and then how you get there. What is a clear pathway to get exactly where you want to go?

May 18 / Proverbs 18 / Luke 4

satan_tempting_jesus_4

Luke 4:1-2a

Then Jesus returned from the Jordan, full of the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil.

The result of baptism, by God, is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Then the Spirit leads us, if we tune in to her. And I wonder if the message here is that often we will be led into a time of testing, of proving, of strengthening.

temptation-in-wilderness1-1024x768

Luke 4:13

After the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from Him for a time.

Battling temptation with Scripture, our only truly effective weapon against it, causes the devil to flee…for a while. He will return at an opportunity. And we will need to do it again. The same thing. Over and over.

“Broken Record Theology” we call it.

Jesus used the word that was already hidden in Him. That had been ingested. That had been meditated upon and memorized.

It’s been a while since I spoke Scripture aloud to fight temptation while in the heat of it. This I will do this week.

Luke 4:14

Then Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…

Overcoming temptation by the word of God strengthens us in the Spirit. To build muscle, you need some sort of resistance and you need to “overcome” it. You lift thru it. You don’t just let it sit on you and hope you get stronger and stronger someday.

Jesus was the strongest person in the Spirit on earth because He never gave in to it. He always resisted the maximum amount, so He built the maximum strength.

YHWH does not put more on the bar than you can lift with His power [I Cor. 10:13].

Do you want to grow in strength in the Spirit, and build your spiritual muscles? Or do you want to keep giving in to the same old temptations over and over again, asking forgiveness and remaining supernaturally flabby?

What do you want?

The power that raised Jesus from the dead is within us.

If you want it.

Let’s live like it.

Do you want it?

Proverbs 18:2

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing personal opinion.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Listen before you speak.

Really listen.

Sometimes people just need you to hear them, to listen to them, to know them.

Sometimes people just need you to be with them in their pain.

It’s remarkable, and honestly quite baffling at times, how healing a listening ear and a non-opininion-spouting mouth can be.

David Benner says that ministry in the form of spiritual counseling or therapy is praying, listening well, asking good questions, and wondering aloud.

I like that.

May 17 / Proverbs 17 / Luke 3

baptism

Proverbs 17:4

An evildoer listens to wicked lips; and a liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.

Actually giving ear to what is wrong, entertaining it for just a matter of a few lingering seconds allows temptation to begin to settle in and do its dirty work.

Run from what is evil. Cling to what is good.

We know what is wrong. Flee from it as soon as you recognize it.

And get better at recognizing it. Soon.

Proverbs 17:8

A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of those who give it; wherever they turn they prosper.

The problem with poor coping mechanisms is that…they work…for a while. They seem like magic for a bit.

Substances do actually numb.

Sex with the secretary–I mean–administrative assistant, does feel good (or so I’ve read).

Constantly going to events, concerts, gatherings, conferences, is a lot of fun and gives a high.

Then what?

Do we do this forever?

Til we die?

Proverbs 17:9

One who forgives an affront fosters friendship, but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.

Man, I see this all the time.

We love to dwell on disputes.

It’s so much easier than forgiveness. It’s so much easier than confronting. And it even feels good. Sitting on my pedestal looking down on that jackhole beneath me. This is an easy job that accomplishes nothing positive.

This has no place among Christ followers.

Flee from it.

Proverbs 17:12

Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly.

Sometimes it is not even the least bit profitable to confront someone on a matter. They will not even hear you. Let us discern when and when not to confront. We don’t want to use this as an excuse for not doing the difficult and necessary work of confronting someone, yet we also must recognize when people are so steeped in foolishness that they cannot be reasoned with. In this case, I believe the prescription is simply prayer and listening.

Proverbs 17:24

The discerning person looks to wisdom, but the eyes of a fool to the ends of the earth.

If we have sense, we will look to God and His word in all situations, especially those of adversity.

A foolish person seems to go everywhere but God Himself for help-counseling, therapy, self-help books, palm readers, magazines, ungodly friends, magic 8 ball…

Luke 3:3-17

A baptism of repentance.

Immersion into Trinitarian fellowship requires a change of vision, renunciation of your old ways, and a new ethical orientation. John’s baptism was a unique prepatory act looking toward Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. It made ready the way. Conversion to Jesus will include this change of vision, renunciation of the self-way, and a new ethical orientation. It will include serving and giving to others, a heart for God and people as predicted in Ezekiel 36:27.

Or else it is not real.

That is what I get from this chapter of such great depth.

Immersion into the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit animates this fellowship in real ways in the real world. It is not private. It is not intellectual. It is transformative in tangible ways in your life and therefore in the lives around you.

If we say we are “saved” and our lives are no different than what the world has to offer, if we have no heart for people, to work toward the healing of all hurt, we should question our immersion into the Trinity. Immersion/conversion will play out in the healing of the world.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit.

A true sign is the Spirit in us. Moving us. Leading us.

Something is in us that is beyond human, and there will be evidence of it.

May 16 / Proverbs 16 / Luke 2

ELE

Luke 2:19,51

Mary treasured these things and thought about them.

She is a good example to us, to treasure and think about God and His word.

Think about every word you read.

Read His word and books about Him for the purpose of transformation into Christ, not just information-gathering. There is a vast difference.

Think about God in every encounter today.

Listen to Him in every situation.

Is everything that happens to us or that we experience merely “second cause”? As in, human cause only? Or is it all “First cause”? Is God behind it all? Allowing it, if nothing else? Or maybe the better question to ask would be: Is God ever active in what happens here on earth now? Is God in control? Perhaps He is waiting for us to call on Him in many situations, waiting on us to act in His authority, for that is how He most often operates–in His power through surrendered, petitioning humans that He made in His image, that He desires to be one with, in desire and action.

(I want to be careful and sensitive here. There are many evil things which I do not believe to be God’s will. Why would Jesus have us pray “Thy will be done” if God’s will always happens? Also, I know good people who have prayed in earnest for healings of some type that were not answered affirmatively. Let me be clear that I do not claim to understand it all when it comes to God’s will, first and second causes.)

If everything is second cause we have much reason for frustration. And not much reason for hope in this life.

It’s difficult to say how it all works, but what if we at least went to God about everything? What if we looked to Him, listening for Him in every single situation, every stressor, every annoying person, to discover what He would teach us? If we are but willing to hear?

Would this not be better? Better than the approach that life is random and sucks much of the time?

Is God infinitely good? Does He know what He’s doing? Does He care? Is everything going ultimately toward goodness?

What if we lived as if the answer to all those questions was a confident YES?

We get bogged down looking thru the pinhole with our tiny vision, not knowing, not trusting at times that God is up to so much more. It’s like the Tourniquet album title, Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm. For parents, it is just like our children who can’t see the whole picture, the reasons behind parents’ discipline and decisions. So we, like children, get upset because we want what we see right in front of us right now–what we see thru the pinhole. And as parents, how much we desire for our children to trust us, to understand that we see much more than they do right now. We long for them to know in their little hearts that we want so much good for them. Good that is light years beyond top grades and winning teams. Good that is from the heart, springing forth from the Love that put us all here in the first place.

The First Cause.

Proverbs 16:6

Love and truth…is there anything more powerful?

May we love everyone unconditionally and in the truth of YHWH.

Unconditional love always encourages. Truth confronts when necessary, because it loves. Truth calls out destructive thought and action. It warns a friend if they are in a burning building, not to be a butt hole, but because of genuine care for their well-being.

I believe Will Ferrell said it best in Semi-Pro:

We have one rule here. What is it??

E.L.E.

That’s right, E.L.E.

EVERYBODY LOVE EVERYBODY!!!!!

May 15 / Proverbs 15 / Luke 1

brain path runner

Proverbs 15:19

The way of the lazy is overgrown with thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway.

This is the clear, vivid picture you will find in many neuroscience books describing how our brains work.

Every time we think of something, we form neural pathways to said thought. It is often compared to blazing a trail in the jungle. The first time is always quite challenging as there is much to cut through. This of course is how it is with forming new and good habits. The second time is a little easier, and by the thousandth time, that path in the woods is like a “level highway.” It may as well be paved.

neurological pathway in woods

Conversely, as you blaze away on some trails, you inevitably neglect others to the point of overgrowth, making it more difficult to again go down that path. This can be for better or for worse, of course. By letting the trail to negative thoughts about myself grow thorns in its way, I become healthier. But allowing the path to talking with Jesus to overgrow, I grow distant and unfamiliar in my relationship with Him. Then that first interaction after time off is almost awkward–on my part, not His. Whereas with daily, hourly, minutely communication,  it becomes second nature to walk down this paved-like trail to goodness.

“Thoughts are things” as has been said. They are destinations. We now know scientifically that thoughts are physical realities. And the more you mentally travel to those (physically real) destinations, the more they become who you are, the more they become your nature.

You are what you think about.

If you purpose to think daily, hourly that you are infinitely and unconditionally loved, then you will live as a person who is infinitely and unconditionally loved.

We need more reminding than we do instructing.

Reminding of who we are.

Reminding of why we’re here.

Constant reminding.

Consistent trail-blazing.

You are what you think you are.

Actually, you are who GOD thinks you are.

But you LIVE as the person YOU think you are.

So why not match who you think you are with who God thinks you are?

And this comes through more than just left-brained knowing of information. It comes mainly through right-brained interaction with a person.
Personal interaction with Jesus. The quality and frequency of your interactions determine the strength of your relationship.
Letting Him tell you who you are in a real sense is infinitely more powerful than reading about it and trying hard to believe it.
Do you need to repent of ungodly thoughts about yourself?

Luke 1:37

God

can

do

ANYTHING.

Luke 1:45

You are blessed because you believed that what the Lord said would happen, would really happen.

Luke 1:50

God will show His mercy forever and ever to those who worship Him and serve Him.

What Is God Like? part 3

What Is God Like?

True narratives smashing distorted concepts

part 3

“God is Trustworthy”

The God Jesus revealed would never do anything to harm us. He has no evil intentions.

The fact that He is all-knowing & all-powerful makes His goodness even better. Way better than ours. I can trust Him even when things look bleak. All-knowing & all-powerful is just downright scary if He is not all good.

How would you describe your level of trust when it comes to God?

Have things happened to you that made you doubt that God is trustworthy?

False narratives

~God is not trustworthy

~God will send me to hell for any sin not repented of or confessed if I die before I have a chance.

Jesus’ core narratives

~No one knows Yahweh to the extent that Jesus does. Luke 10:22

~God as Abba

> “Dear Father” or “Daddy” or “papa”

> The fact that Jesus addresses Him as Abba tells us that, to Him, God was not distant or far removed, but was intimately involved in His life.

> It conveys the deepest most trustful reverence.

> He called Him this at His most desperate & terrible moment, in the garden.

~God as Father

> The problem is that we begin with our own concept of Father & then project that on to Yahweh. Psalm 50:21

> We must let Jesus define Fatherhood, for God has always been, then humans came on the scene.

> The solution then is not to abandon the term “Father”, but to allow Jesus to define it, & therefore heal it.

> The parable of the two sons is probably the most profound of the parables defining God as Father. Another way to study this is through Jesus’ “Our Father” prayer.

Our Father

~The fatherhood of God is defined by Jesus’ prayer.

1. God is near- “in heaven”

> In Jewish cosmology, heaven was not far away, but surrounding us.

> Heaven was opened at Jesus’ baptism.

> “Our Father who is as near as the air we breathe” may be a better translation.

2. God is holy, pure, set apart- “hallowed be thy name”

3. God is King, ruling heaven, powerful!- “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

4. God cares for us- “daily bread”

> Rain, sun, & food are provided.

> Jehovah Jireh means Provider

> Give us today the things we need today.

5. God forgives our wrongs- “forgive us our trespasses”

> “At the heart of God is the desire to forgive & give.” -Richard Foster

> He pardons. He wants to forgive us even more than we want to be forgiven.

6. God rescues us from trials & evil- “do not bring us to the time of testing”

> He longs to protect us

> God gets the last word

> Nothing can happen to us that God cannot redeem.

“No irredeemable harm can ever come to us.” -Dallas Willard

~Jesus’ father is nearby, pure in heart, strong, caring, forgiving, & our protector.

These attributes provide strong images of who God is & what fatherhood means. We now have a way to define the Father’s goodness & what true parenthood should be.

A good parent should possess these six characteristics.

Of the six aspects of the nature of God the Father (present, pure-hearted, powerful, provides, pardons, protects) as seen in the Lord’s Prayer, which do you most need to see & understand about God?

~God’s fatherhood must define what human fatherhood ought to look like, & not the reverse. Let Jesus define what “Father” means & come to know the God Jesus knows.

~When we see Jesus, we see the Father [John 10:30], a perfect balance of all of the characteristics of goodness.

What is your cup?

~The cup represents things forced on us in life that we must drink from.

What aspect of your life makes it difficult for you to trust God?

-divorce         -death of loved one       -death of a dream       -loss of physical ability   -loss    -being single     -loss of business

Anything we struggle with as our “lot in life”. This usually makes it difficult to believe that God is good. You must face it!

“The Father that Jesus addresses in the garden is the one that He has known all His life & found to be beautiful in His provision, reliable in His promises, & utterly faithful in His love. He can obey the will that sends Him to the cross, with hope & expectation because it is the will of Abba whose love has been so proved that it can now be trusted so fully by being obeyed so completely. This is not legal obedience driven by commandment, but trusting response to known love.” -Thomas Smail

~Knowing we are loved by God, we can trust through the pain. The reason Jesus

could trust His Father in His darkest hour is because He had been living so closely to Him, knowing Him very well.

Joining our narrative with God’s narrative

~When we join our story to Yahweh’s metanarrative, where our good & beautiful God

gets the last word, everything begins to make sense. Pain is still real, but bearable.

~Begin to see the big picture of mercy, not just the micro view of our own suffering.

Focus on blessings more than cups

~Ink blot illustration. What do you see?

~Our troubles are so small compared with God’s big mercy.

“Stop telling God how big your problems are, & start telling your problems how big God is.”

~The least we can do is “enjoy the ride”.

Will we one day have to give account for all the blessings we overlooked & did not enjoy?

A rewording of The Lord’s Prayer to capture better the fulness of its meanings & its place in the gospel of the kingdom by Dallas Willard:

Dear Father always near us,

may your name be treasured and loved,

may your rule be completed in us-

may your will be done here on earth

in just the way it is done in heaven.

Give us today the things we need today,

and forgive us our sins and impositions on you

as we are forgiving all who in any way offend us.

Please don’t put us through trials,

but deliver us from everything bad.

Because you are the one in charge,

and you have all the power,

and the glory too is all yours-forever-

which is just the way we want it!

May 14 / Proverbs 14 / Mark 16

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Proverbs 14:17

The short-tempered act stupidly, and people who scheme are hated.

Those who throw a temper tantrum–reacting immediately instead of responding accordingly– act impulsively, doing stupid, thoughtless things that get them into trouble.

However, it is more intense, and even worse, to commit acts of evil after long reflection and planning.

Mark 16:4

They were saying to one another, “There’s that stone at the door of the tomb-who’s going to roll it away for us?”

The love for Jesus these women had in them carried them to the tomb despite the obstacles, known and unknown. Despite knowing there was no way they themselves could roll that stone away (archaeology shows the average first century woman was five foot, 90 lbs.), they went anyway. They just had to go. Desire propelled them.

We do what we want to do, what we really desire to do. If we want something badly enough, we let nothing get in the way of it. We sacrifice sleep, money, food, whatever, to obtain a hard sought after goal.

Everyone has enough time in their day to seek after God.

If we want to.

If we are willing to give up something for it.

If it is important to us.

And when we pursue God, He honors it by taking away obstacles. The women did not even know about the guards who had been standing at the tomb who would have surely kept them away–had their little Roman skirts not been scared off earlier by the angels of YHWH.

The stone.

The guards.

Gone.

Path cleared.

Because they just went.

Damn the obstacles, just go!

The more you charge down a path, the more worn it becomes.

Does this mean no hindrances ever?

I don’t think that. Evil will try to keep you away, yet something much more powerful is available to help you and honor your obedience.

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Note, They who are carried by a holy zeal, to seek Christ diligently, will find the difficulties that lie in their way strangely to vanish, and themselves helped over them beyond their expectation.

-Matthew Henry