A Month of Parables

Some time ago, I spent one whole month studying the Psalms and the book of Proverbs to learn about God’s character and principles for living a disciplined life. When the month finished, I intended to write about what I had learned here.

That never happened. I have attempted numerous times to put some of my revelations and new insights into intelligible posts, but have failed miserably. For now, I’ve abandoned that quest, but have taken up a new study project.

I have chosen 32 of Jesus’ parables from the New Testament. My plan is to study a parable each day of August (I’ve got to play catch-up, though). I don’t exactly know what I might learn from studying the parables, but I expect it to be interesting and challenging. 🙂 And I do hope to have something to share with you all along the way.

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Who Are You?

What is your role in this world? Are you a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend?

Are you a Christian?

Too often, “Christian” is the last role on our list when we define ourselves. Motherhood and wifely duties consume so much of our time and attention that those roles are most prominent to us. Lately, I have had these questions weighing on my heart: who am I? what is my purpose here? what/whom is my first priority?

It is tempting to think that my role as Mother is most important. After all, little Sprout requires my care to live. She needs me. But that relationship with her will be damaged if I neglect my role as Wife. So, maybe my first definition should be Wife. Nate needs my affection, attention, love, respect, and support.

But my relationship with him will suffer if I neglect my role as Christian. God does not need my fear, attention, time, effort, or love. He wants those from me for my benefit–when I give myself to Him, give my life to Him, I grow closer to Him. And being close to God is the best place to be.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked
{Psalm 84:10}

When I ruminate on the question, “Who am I?” my only answer ought to be “Christian.” My role as a child of God is the definition of my whole existence. That relationship is the base of every other relationship in my life. It is a factor in how I mother and how I serve my friends, family, spouse in Christian love. If you are honest, you will see that your relationship with Christ is also present in how you practice law or medicine, the tone in your phone calls and e-mails, the way you treat your clients or customers. It is the absolute foundation of you. Upon your relationship with Christ, you build rapport with your spouse, children, family, friends, co-workers, clients. If that tie with Christ is suffering, if you are not fully trusting in God’s grace, mercy, eternal love, salvation, forgiveness, then every other exchange will suffer in turn.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
{Hebrews 13:8}

Is there any other person in your life you can say that about? Someday, the Wife may find herself without her husband, the Mother with grown children leaving her nest, the Lawyer with a weak mind, the Artist with crippled hands, the Church Member with a grossly sinning pastor. Yet the Christian will always have her God, her Redeemer, her Rock, her Savior, her Hope.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
Psalm 139:7-10

I need not despair when I find myself alone in this world without a talent or skill or friend to my name because I am a Christian. In that relationship, there is pure, unmovable, everlasting joy.

Though you have not seen him, you love him;
and even though you do not see him now,
you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
for you are receiving the end result of your faith,
the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:8-9

How do you define yourself? Choose wisely. Perform your earthly duties (as Mother, Wife, Employee) with a heart of service, joy, and thanksgiving, but be first a child of God and make your relationship with Him your priority.

Payment

I thought this was worth repeating. When I look into my daughter’s face, I thank God the Father for His Son.

Beloved Brown-Eyed Girl

Imagine you have a debt–multiple credit cards maxed out, a home mortgage, student loans, a business loan, car loan. One lender and a huge debt. A debt so exorbitant–$50,000; $100,000; $1,000,000–you could never pay it in your lifetime. It is a debt your children’s children will be paying off. Your grand- or even great-grandchildren will be burdened by this debt, spending their hard-earned money whittling away at it through the years while the interest continues to mount against them.

Imagine it.

For some, this is a nightmare they face even today. Many others know that one slip, one moment of slack judgment or diligence could catapult them into this kind of hell.

Now imagine that lender who has loaned you all of this money–which is really his money, his hard work and diligence–calls you into his office today. You stand before his huge oak desk trembling. As he gathers his…

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We Are Dust

gardenia, soft and sweet

gardenia, soft and sweet

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.

The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

~ Psalm 103: 13-18 ~

Lilies of the Day

I basked in the warm morning sun at our new patio table on the back porch while sipping coffee, munching peanut butter toast, and catching up on some much-needed Bible reading. Mojo was curious, but obedient to the command “back up.” Afterward, I went out to photograph the daylilies that showed their beautiful faces today by the shop.

daylilies by the shop

daylilies by the shop

A certain golden pup wanted to be the center of my attention instead, so I obliged for a short photo-shoot.

posing by the daylilies

posing by the daylilies

But I really wanted a picture of one of these new blooms, so I commanded him to “back up,” then “sit,” then “stay.” This is the result of his constraint:

yellow, yellow

yellow, yellow

Thank you, Mojo. He was rewarded with about 15 minutes of Frisbee tossing which he seemed to enjoy. 🙂 He is currently resting on the porch. Obedience is wearying… hm, that applies to my obedience to my Heavenly Father as well. Wearying at times, but unbelievably

worth it.