31 Days of Questions: Day 25

25

“What do you want me to do for you?”  Luke 18:40

This question makes me uncomfortable.  I kinda wish Jesus hadn’t said it.  I don’t know what to do with this one.  I would have liked it better if Jesus had asked, “What do you need me to do for you?”  After all, God cares about our basic needs.  Paul was sure of it — “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory.” (Philippians 4:19)  I’m fine with asking for needs.

I would have understood if He had said, “What more do you want me to do for you?”  It seems a bit presumptuous for me to expect more from the One who already left glory to become a human and take the punishment for all of my mistakes.  How can I ask for more?  Especially in light of the fact that I already have more than 80% of the people on this planet?

I don’t believe God wants to give me whatever I want, whenever I want it.  Besides, I don’t trust my wants.  Most of them are selfish and unnecessary.

Jesus asked a blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”

and he replied, “I want to see.”

Oh.  Me too.

31 Questions

31 Days of Questions: Day 24

24

“When the Son of Man comes will he find faith on the earth?” Mark 18:8

I can’t speak for the whole earth.

I can only speak for myself.

So when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith in me?

How will He know it’s there?

By observing my faithfulness.

And how will my faithfulness be clearly seen?

By the promises I keep.

By my consistent devotion.

By my regular presence at worship.

By a steady walk of obedience.

By resisting temptation to make much of myself.

By standing firm in the face of a changing culture.

I pray He won’t have to look too hard to find faith on the earth.

Or in me.

“My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.          I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

31 Questions

31 Days of Questions: Day 23

23

“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”  Matthew 18:1

When PB calls all the kids up for the children’s sermon, there is a stampede of little feet up the aisles.  The little ones love sitting up in front next to their pastor.  They are eager to hear a story from the Bible.

Or maybe it’s the Tootsie Pops.

One thing I’ve noticed through the years –

the right answer to every question in every children’s sermon is always “Jesus”.

“Whose birthday do we celebrate at Christmas?”  JESUS!

“What is Easter really all about?”  JESUS!

“Who loves you more than anybody?”  JESUS!

You can’t go wrong by answering just about any question at church with “JESUS!”

Which is why this question might have thrown the disciples off a bit.

“Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?”

It’s gotta be “JESUS!”

Or “GOD!”

One of those two.

Has to be.

Right?

The Master Himself answered the question by calling a little child to come and stand in the middle of twelve men who were jockeying for an exalted position in the coming Kingdom.

Here’s how to be great: be like a child.

Be humble.

Be honest.

Trust.

Love unconditionally.

Be like Jesus.

31 Questions

31 Days of Questions: Day 22

22

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?”  Matthew 7:9-10

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What kind of father would give this sweet-faced child a hunk of rock if he asked for a piece of buttered toast with strawberry jam on top?

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What sort of mother would put a slithery snake on the highchair tray of this charmer if what he wanted was a Gorton’s Crunchy Breaded Fish Stick?

Evie

What parent could even think about giving this cutey-patooty a creepy-crawly scorpion instead of a scrambled egg cooked in the shape of a smiley face?

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What if these two darlin’s asked for one of Nonnie’s special chocolate chip cookies?  Would she give them an SOS pad to chew on?  No she would not!

“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

 31 Questions

31 Days of Questions: Day 21

21

Can a blind man lead a blind man?  Will they not both fall into a pit?         Luke 6:39

In honor of my son, who read Day 20 and said, “Mom, you left out the part about how you made us do that thing”, here is my second strategy in quelling arguments between kids.

1) Take two contentious children in the midst of a tussle.

2) Have each of them stand on opposite ends of a living room or other large space.

3) Make them say Ephesians 4:32 in unison while looking at each other.  (“We will be kind and compassionate to each other, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave us.”)  Note: expect some rolling of the eyes and resistance.  Hang tough.

4) Instruct them to take one large step toward each other and say it again.

5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the two squabblers are nose to nose.

6) Force them to end in a hug.

There is power in the spoken Word of God to dispel conflict.  It’s also very hard for two children to stand nose to nose and not break into giggles.  Do this enough times, and someday this could happen: “We better quit arguing or mom will make us do that thing.”

There may be a lesson here for adults as well.  Two people in a heated debate are often blind to the other’s point of view.  Before falling into the pit of strife and hostility, maybe someone should step in and make them look at each other in light of God’s forgiveness.

No guarantees, but it’s worth a try.

 31 Questions

31 Days of Questions: Day 20

20

“What are you arguing with them about?” Mark 9:16

PB and I didn’t let our kids fight.

We made them like each other.

We were such mean parents.

I know it sounds too good to be true, and it was probably mostly luck to get kids with fairly compliant natures, at least in their early years.  We simply insisted that they were each others’ best friends and they bought it.

I remember one day in particular.  One sibling was egging on another sibling.  I took all the kids and lined them up in front of the big picture window.  I said, “Look out there.”  Four sets of big blue innocent eyes looked out the window probably expecting a new swing set or a pony.  “Out there,” I said, “I can’t control what other people do to you.  Somebody might be mean to you out there.  Someone may say something that hurts your feelings.  But in here, we are for each other.  In this house, you are safe from mean words and hurtful actions.  I can’t promise that out there, but we will be kind to each other in this house.”  Something like that.  Although I had to go through the whole routine many more times, I kept preaching it.

Then I wrapped up the little pep talk at the window by making them say Ephesians 4:32 to each other, like this: “We will be kind and compassionate to each other, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave me.”

Ephesians 4:32 is emblazoned onto my children’s souls.  Because we needed to forgive A LOT and be reminded to be kind A LOT.  So we said that verse to each other A LOT.

I can’t promise this will work for everybody.  Maybe it was meant just for us.  But nothing wore me down more as a parent than my children’s bickering, so it was a good idea to find a game plan and stick with it.

Twice in one chapter, Jesus asked his disciples what they were arguing about.  The first time, they were going at it with the teachers of the law (Mark 9:14).  The second time, they were quarreling with each other (Mark 9:33).  He must have wondered if they would ever grow up and get along.  Jesus kept on preaching forgiveness and pouring love into the Twelve.  It seemed to work.

I only had the Four.  And Ephesians 4:32.

31 Questions

31 Days of Questions: Day 19

mark 8

What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? (The Message)

Do you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! (Good News)

What good can it do a man to gain the whole world at the price of his own soul? What can a man offer to buy back his soul once he has lost it? (J. B. Phillips)

And how does a man benefit if he gains the whole world and loses his soul in the process? (Living Bible)

It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are lost. (ERV)

31 Questions

Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.   (Francis Chan)