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March 19, 2018

Triumphal Love

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided the property between them… [and] the younger son…set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living…

When he came to his senses, he said…I will…go back to my father and say…‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son…But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him…” Luke 15: 11-13, 17-20 (NIV)

It’s a long verse but a short story. I suspect that Jesus was smiling as He told it—knowing the punch line that was coming. You have to admit He really had a way with parables—our Jesus. A way to make a point with His tone, expression and words that would last longer than that younger son’s inheritance.

And the central moment of this parable is a theme that is woven throughout the Old and New Testaments—from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Simply and clearly a poignant reminder of God’s continual presence in our lives and His never-ending love for us—no matter what pigpens we find ourselves wallowing in.

Maybe we can’t identify with that young son. Maybe some of you have never been there. Maybe you’ve never felt as low as that young man, with the filth caked on his clothes and pig slop staining the edges of his lips betraying where he had eaten his last meal.

Maybe you can’t identify with that story. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

March 12, 2018

Always Look Deeper

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it was written, ‘Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’”

John 12: 14, 15 (NIV)

A few years ago, our younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, had peaked my interest in a movie she announced she had recently seen. And so while traveling with Lynda after that, I watched Ellie Kate’s recommended movie “Bolt”. It is the animated tale of an endearing little puppy who played a role as a super-hero dog in the movies.

At some point in all of those adventures he discovered that—in his real-life—he really wasn’t the super-hero dog he portrayed for the television cameras each week; a dog stronger than a locomotive, who could run faster than a speeding bullet, and leap tall buildings with single bound. He learned—under some difficult circumstances—that things aren’t always what they appear to be when he finally left the television production set after a number of years of broadcasts.

And most importantly he learned that the little girl in the movies loved him just as he was.

I remember, a few years ago, while sitting in a hotel room with a panoramic view through the open doors of our balcony across the vast expanse of Pacific Ocean in the distance, that all seemed calm and serene as the sunlight glistened on the quiet surface broken occasionally by the blow of a visiting whale. But I suspect beneath that peaceful appearance there is a world below teeming with activity.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

March 5, 2018

He Gets It!

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

So, how is the day going for you? What was on your mind as you woke up this morning? Did you wake with some concerns, a bit of expectancy, a bit of uncertainty? Maybe you had some excitement about some plans that were about to unfold, or some doubt about something coming up later in the week and how it may unfold?

Whatever it was, here’s what you and I need to remember, and believe. Jesus knows how we feel. He lived among as a man. He understands where we are and what we’re going through.

He knows where you are right now and He knows what occupies your thoughts. He knows your hopes and dreams, your concerns and fears. He knows the burdens you are carrying. He knows that you are often not understood. He knows the expectations that others have of you, which pull incessantly and often mercilessly at you.

He knows how you are feeling right now, and somehow He wants to make sure that you know that you are precious to Him. So precious that He became like you and me over two thousand years ago, with the hope that we would come to Him, always. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

February 26, 2018

Our Diamond Mine

 Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”

Philippians 4: 11-13 (TLB)

In his book, Acres of Diamonds, Russell Cromwell tells the story of a man named Ali Hafed, a farmer who had lived on his farm for years with his wife and children. He had health and peace and was content with his life. Until one day a priest visited and talked of “diamonds” sparkling like a million suns, the most beautiful things in all the world.

And Ali Hafed became discontented with what he had and sold his farm, left his wife and children with a friend and set out to find diamonds. For then, he thought, he would be rich, and then he would be happy, then he would be content with his life.

He searched the world over, looking for white sands and tall mountains, but found no diamonds. Until one day, broken, destitute, unable to see his family again, in a fit of utter despair and discontent with his life, he threw himself into the sea and died. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

February 19, 2018

The Secret

Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Psalm 23 (ESV)

Notice the first five words of this Psalm—“The Lord is my Shepherd…”

I can’t begin to count all the times I have written those words from the first part of verse one of the 23rd Psalm, on the top of a notepad as I was beginning a meeting. Or wrote them down again in the midst of some disagreement or difficulty which may have occurred during the meeting, or began reciting them aloud to myself in the face of some uncertainty rising up, or bad news I had received. (more…)

Posted by: Scott Whitaker at 6:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts
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