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Who Does He Favor?

There is a man with three children.

The outrageously rebellious daughter,

The loving and loyal middle son,

The carefree, on the run, gotta go, catch ya later youngest boy.

Who does he favor?

Who does he love?

He tries to talk with his daughter but she tuned him out a long time ago.

His middle son spends a lot of time with his dad and hangs on his every word.

His youngest is just too busy.  He has his friends and all his activities.

Who does he favor?

Who does he love?

There is a man who remembers the moment his baby girl came into this world.

He never knew he could love so deep.

He was pleased when his family grew and he loved his second child.

The third child was a surprise but much-loved.

Who does he favor?

There is a man who gave his daughter many gifts and opportunities.

She thought him old-fashioned and out of touch.

He gave his son many gifts and opportunities.

He thought his dad wise and strong.

The man had even more to give, so the third son received the most.

He just felt entitled.

Who does he favor?

He loves them all!

There is a man whose heart is drawn toward the son who spends time with him.

He talks to the son who listens.

He walks with the son who is by his side.

When his son asks him for something he takes great joy in blessing him.

There is a man who never quits trying to reach his daughter.

But there are other men in her life now and she’s not interested.

He tries to get his youngest son’s attention but there are just so many things distracting the boy.

His eyes turn back to the young man who wants to be just like him.

And he blesses him.

This same man ridicules people who tell him that God has blessed them.

He says it doesn’t make sense that God would bless one person over another.

And yet his own life is like a parable.

He loves all of his children.

He doesn’t love the middle son more.


If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

                                                                              Matthew 7:11 NIV

The middle son has no fear of asking his father for a favor.

He spends time with his dad.

He listens to his dad.

He walks with him and talks with him.

He honors and obeys him.

And when his Father calls, he knows the sound of his voice.

There is a man with three children.

The outrageously rebellious daughter,

The loving and loyal middle son,

The carefree, on the run, gotta go, catch ya later youngest boy.

If you were one of his three children,

which one would you be?

“The King of the universe wants a real, live relationship with us.

He’s not interested in just being a mind reader.  He’s not even interested in just being a provider.  He’s both of those things, but

the role He relishes most is Father.  He wants us-frail mortal creatures-to connect with Him and communicate with Him as the

dearest relationship in human existence.  He rejoices to hear our voices.  He delights to be our sole and holy source

for all things in life.”

~Beth Moore from the study of James Mercy Triumphs

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Top Ten List minus Letterman

 KeziahCarrie has been blessed with a nomination for a Kreativ Blogger Award. It was created by bloggers to promote other bloggers and comes to us from the author of the blog “Did Jesus Have a Facebook Page?”  We are grateful.  I must admit I don’t really like the word BLOG and prefer to think of KC as a Website for Women; but we’ll take all the promotion God will give us. 🙂

In order to accept this award I need to nominate six others and fess up to ten things you may not know.  As a habitual rule breaker, I’ll expose ten things I use to not know and tip you to six other writers you may or may not like.  How’s that? That cool?  Okay, here we go…

1)    When I was little I didn’t think rich people could go to Heaven.  The pulpit preachers pretty much just used the part about how it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.  I don’t really remember ever hearing the rest of the story:

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  

(In the event of a windfall, this is good to know!)

2)    I thought if you died on the way to be baptized, your eternal future was pretty much a coin toss.   Then, I found out about the thief on the cross. 

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 

(Helpful note: This is an example of grace, not an excuse to avoid the water.)

 3)    Jesus was a Horse Whisperer!!  Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here…” When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.  (How cool is that? I love that story!)

4)    Since there were so many religious rules growing up, I thought there would be a point upon which I broke one too manyApparently the Apostle Paul knew there would be a few of us living in chronic fear of failure:  “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (I once heard a pastor say, even if the gates of heaven slam shut on your backside, YOU’RE IN! 🙂

5)    God is not keeping score.  Although I do believe He loves a good basketball game every now and then (Go Indiana), I no longer see Him holding a long list of everything I’ve ever done wrong.  “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

6)    He’s not taking attendance.  Here and there and on occasion, I’ve missed a Sunday or two.  I must not be the only one.  Television preachers haven’t risen in the ratings because everyone’s at church when their shows come on.  And God doesn’t need to check our names off a list for His own heavenly happiness.  Getting together is for our benefit.  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” 

7)  Since I was taught at an early age that women should keep silent in the church, I thought Jesus didn’t trust us.  But check this out.  When he needed dependable messengers, whom did he send? “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.  Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

 8) Jesus knew how to cook and didn’t need the disciples to deliver groceries.  I wasn’t aware of this, but it’s another cool story like the horse thing.  Read it for yourself (John 21) and pay close attention to the fact that he’s already got breakfast made before the guys get back with the fish.

 9)    I didn’t know as a child that gossiping was a bad thing since people did it at church.  But I knew (and still know) it never feels good when it’s over. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.”

 10) And, these are not my words, but I will borrow them to explain that as a child, I often thought “God is in heaven, mad as hell.”  My little mind was certain He was looking for any reason to ZAP me like a bug.  But heck, that’s not what the Bible says at all: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

 I would love to hear some of the things you thought, or were taught, and now know not to be the case.

Until then, I nominate the next six blogs for a Kreative Blogger Award.

http://modernmiracleme.wordpress.com/

http://journeytoepiphany.wordpress.com/

http://memorybearsbybonnie.wordpress.com/

http://inlovewiththelord.wordpress.com/

http://twoweekworship.org/

http://intotheeddy.wordpress.com/

 

Matthew 19:26, Luke 23:43, Mark 11: 1-2, 7, Romans : 7:15, Psalm 103:11-12,

Hebrews 10:24-25,

James 3:5, 2 Peter 3:9, Matthew 28:8-10

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Just A Story

     The prison doors slammed shut and she knew the price she would have to pay was more than she could give.  Even death seemed a better option than being stuck in this pit with the other prisoners.  She had definitely done some things wrong… not just once or twice, but day after day, month after month, year after year.

It got easier.  Eventually, she didn’t even feel guilty.  Her family had tried to intervene… had tried to talk with her about her choices.  But every time her self-destructive behavior would win over.

She had been taught at an early age that placing yourself in the hands of others will get you hurt.  And, at some point, the drugs and alcohol she used to self-medicate, kept her from caring.  The harder she had struggled the more powerless she had felt.  And it had all ended here.

As she sat down on the cold metal bed, it was almost hard for her to believe she had fallen this far.  She was caged like an animal and suspected she would be treated even worse.  But then she heard the distant sounds of all the prison doors unlatching.  She kept her seat, not knowing what was going to happen next.  As the sounds swelled and her cell door swung open, she couldn’t see anyone, but the voice she heard was clear.

          “There is a way for you to get out of here.  But there is only one way.  It will require you to believe.”

           “And what if I don’t believe?” she said in her typical characteristic, cynical tone. “Why should I believe you?  Why is there only one way?  That doesn’t make sense. There has to be more than one way out of here.”

          “Not this time,” came the response.  “But it’s your decision and yours alone.  No one is going to force you.  The door is open and this is the way.”

She sat there and thought about it…thought about how her parents had tried to raise her…remembered the one Bible verse she had heard so many times in her life she could quote it, “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Yep, she had heard that one a few times.  Every Sunday when she wanted to sleep in, those days when going to the lake seemed a bit more fun than sitting through another sermon, or when Sunday morning television was more tempting than a trip to church.

But here she was.  Her life was a mess and, on her own, she was powerless to climb out of this pit.  She was afraid.  So she sat a little longer.  She could hear some of the other prisoners laughing and scoffing at the invitation they had received.

She looked down to see her hands trembling.  She tried to drown out the voices in the other cells and in her mind…so many conflicting voices.  While her parents had tried to raise her right, her friends had been more than willing to show her another route; one that seemed like a lot more fun.  But where were they now, her friends?

She contemplated what her life would be like in confinement.  She thought about all the wasted years.  She wondered how things might have turned out differently if she had followed a different path.  But it was too late for regrets.  The tears drained down her cheeks as she buried her face in her hands.  She remembered a time sitting next to her mom on the couch when she was just a little girl.  Her mom was reading a Bible story to her about Peter and Jesus.

          “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” 

She remembered her mom telling her what Jesus had said to Peter.  “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”   Her mom had told her, no matter what she did, no matter how bad, no matter how many times, God would always forgive her, if she asked.

Surely her mom had not anticipated this.

But if there was only one way, then there was only one choice.

She stood up on wobbly legs and very slowly walked out.  It wasn’t easy.  As bad as she wanted to leave that small cell, it still seemed safer than walking into the unknown and following the voice of someone she could not see.

There were only a few women walking in the same direction.  She heard those who stayed in their cells claiming there had to be more than one way.  They weren’t quite ready to leave yet.  And, they were convinced, if they waited, other doors would open.

She kept moving forward, forcing one foot in front of the other and, eventually, she walked out the door and into the light.

The price she had been asked to pay, to remain in this prison of hers, was more than she could give.

But the price had already been paid…one debt, one price, one death, one-way.

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.   No one comes to the Father except through me.”

                                                                    John 14:6 NIV

 “There are people who complain about the exclusivity of the Gospel. They ask why there has to be just one-way. The more aware I am of the depth of my own sinfulness, the more I look at the subject a bit differently; the more I wonder why there is even one way. I mean, why should there be a way at all? When it gets right down to it, what is it that we think God owes us? How is a holy God in our debt? If God were to offer us two ways, we would want three. If God offered ten, we would want eleven. No matter how many ways God offered, we would always want one more; we would always want our way.”

 Pastor Jim Thomas/The Village Chapel/Nashville, TN 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Faithfulness

          When you get a group of crusty, cynical old reporters together in one room, someone is bound to become the victim of bold and brash banter.  I remember well, Drue Smith, a senior member of the Tennessee Capitol Hill Press Corps, who would sit silently while all the cub reporters took turns trying to ask the one question that would tip the scales in their favor. She would always wait until the end of the news conference, and then in a long southern drawl, she would inevitably ask, “Gov-en-uh, what’s the bottom line?”

          Frequently, laughter would erupt in the room as we were all certain the topic of the day had been tossed about, sliced, diced and served up in every direction possible.  But, more often than not, the last laugh was on us as the Governor summed up his responses to all of our many questions in the single most concise quote of the day. 

          It’s sort of funny how the topic of faithfulness could bring that story back to my mind.  I remembered it after asking my husband what he thinks first when he hears the word “faithfulness.”  He didn’t give it much thought; he just said:” The bottom line!” 

          “No matter what, the other person is there for you…no matter what, that person is true to you…no matter what, that other person is honest and loyal to you…no matter what!” 

          Isn’t that what we really want?  Someone who would be there for us no matter what?  Someone we could trust completely, lean on totally?  

          In the Old Testament, no matter what the Israelites did to turn their backs on God, He was true to them.  He was honest and loyal to them.  He was there for them.

          In one of the world’s most majestic miracles, God parted the Red Sea allowing the Israelites to cross on dry ground in order to escape their enemies.  But, only three days later, they were miffed with Him because there was no water to drink

          In the New Testament, Jesus was just as faithful.  He stuck by His apostles even though He was doubted, denied and left to fend for himself.  In fact, you might remember, it didn’t take the apostle Peter as long as it did the Israelites to fall from faith.  As Jesus was about to be arrested, Peter declared his allegiance to him.  But that very same night Peter denied the Son of God three times. 

          What was the response?  

          Jesus was faithful to forgive. 

          Moses became angry and struck the rock when God had clearly told him to speak to it.  God still gave him water. 

          David had both eyes open when he turned from God and let his lust take the lead.  David was disciplined but then comforted by a loving and loyal Father.  

          Jonah ran from God, but God provided transportation to bring him home and give him a second chance. 

          Paul executed Christians, yet Jesus blinded him temporarily to help him see.  You don’t get much more of a “no matter what” example than that one. 

          And even after his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus stood still, so a doubting Thomas could reach out and touch his nail-scarred hands in order to believe.

          I could keep going but I suspect you get the point. 

          I’ve always thought if we had lived “back then,” we might have been a bit more faithful.  After all, the Israelites got to follow a cloud by day and a fire by night. 

          God was their GPS! 

          But then I remember He actually gives us an instruction book and we still try to come up with our own plan.  Even then, He understands and is faithful to all of us.  No matter what we do, no matter how hard we struggle, no matter how many times we mess up, how often our quick tongues or tempers get us into trouble or how unfaithful we become…it does not change the fact that He is faithful.

          And, I’ve got to tell you, I really believe even a crusty cynical old reporter might agree that is the Bottom Line! 

“Our confidence rests not in our faithfulness but in His!”

~Priscilla Shirer

 Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed 

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

To whom are you faithful? 

What about when they make you mad, disappoint you, sin beyond what is acceptable in polite society, embarrass you or make themselves look foolish?

  Who are you faithful to, no matter what? 

             What is your bottom line?    

 **Until I wrote this post and contacted Drue’s daughter for a photograph I had no idea all that Drue had accomplished.  She was a faithful woman whose colorful life story is definitely worth reading**  

  http://www.publishedbywestview.com/FullerDSmith.html

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

A Helping Hand

            There is a phenomenon of social interaction known affectionately                 as The Nashville Handshake.”  It does not include a toothless grin, as some might perceive our southern stereotypical status, but rather a shifting of the eyes beyond the person you are greeting.  It’s a casual glance to see if someone more important has entered the room…an effort to eye someone with celebrity status, power, prestige or possibly with potential career building capabilities. 

          It seems we weren’t the first to coin the concept.

Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes. And suppose a poor man in worn-out clothes also comes in. Would you show special attention to the one who is wearing fine clothes? Would you say, “Here’s a good seat for you”? Would you say to the poor person, “You stand there”? Or “Sit on the floor by my feet”?  If you would, aren’t you treating some people better than others? Aren’t you like judges who have evil thoughts?

But you have put poor people down. Aren’t rich people taking advantage of you? Aren’t they dragging you into court?  Aren’t they speaking evil things against the worthy name of Jesus? Remember, you belong to him.

            I suspect there are endless examples of why treating people with favoritism can backfire on the most well-intentioned person.  Three come quickly to my mind. 

          One happened several years ago when we became part of an “in group.”   It consisted of popular, powerful and wealthy men and women in the process of working to build a new meaningful project.  Okay, let me come totally clean.  We weren’t completely “in” the “in group,” but we were welcomed on the periphery where many of the volunteers spent their time.  We were comfortable there and had a seat up close to the sidelines when it came time to watch the show.

            There were actually two groups.  Group one consisted of the founder, leader and his administrative staff.  Group two was a much larger body of overseers and their wives.    I’m not sure who tried to impress who more.  There was a lot of “Here’s a good seat for you” kind of stuff going on.  Eventually the two groups imploded in a flash fire of self-importance and pride.  I don’t think anyone was ever dragged into court but there were a few dragged through the mud.  It didn’t matter which side you were watching, or whose version you were hearing, it was UGLY!  People were hurt, property was lost, reputations were severely damaged and the house divided could not stand.

           It’s been many years since then and from our current view, in the cheap seats, it doesn’t appear as if either side has ever really recovered.

          The second situation was somewhat similar.   But there were only two primary players.   The leader and the nemisis, who wasn’t a celebrity but was married to one.  We were way out of the loop, as were a lot of other people, until the walls inevitably came crumbling down.  Then, there was an effort to garner support, and those on the outside were invited in.  Pride and position, once again, proved to be powerful tools of division.   The person sitting in the front row seat” eventually won the war; the leader left and the doors closed.  One side seems to have survived while the other still struggles to recover and begin again.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

          God has warned us to watch out, yet we still cast our eyes on others, looking for opportunities that will be beneficial. Sometimes…we get burned. 

          The most recent example I have seen, happened in a family.   A house of cards, with enough smoke and mirrors to look like The Lives of the Rich and Famous, prompted a few people to turn their heads and look that way.  The favored were ushered in and given priority seating.  But things are not always as they appear.  When their silver spoon started to tarnish, they turned to bite the very hand that fed them.  I’d like to say those of us who were watching were surprised, but…not so much.  The Bible is right.   Some people will accept your hospitality and then turn on you when things get tough.

If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else for each one should carry their own load.

          I am not immune from name dropping and I have spent my share of time taking part in “The Nashville Handshake.”  God has blessed me with many opportunities and I have met a few powerful people.  I admit, there have been times when knowing the right person helped me get things done; but not one of those associations ever made me rich, famous or more important.   

          God is my provider.  He alone is my refuge, an ever present help in trouble and a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

          So, before I cast my eyes beyond the next person God places in my path… I pray that I always remember His words of wisdom:

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. 

Who has God placed in your path? 

Do you see them, or are you looking past them?

 James 2: 3-4, 6-7, 8-11 and Proverbs 4:25

 

© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

 

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