Matthew 25: 14-30: This passage is usually called the “Parable of the Talents”, but I call it the “Parable of the Unfaithful Servant”, because that is what the story is all about. Y’all know the story. Three servants (really slaves). Their master, referred to as ‘lord’ in the story, goes on a long trip. Before he leaves he calls his slaves in and says, “Slave 1, I’m giving you 10 talents; Slave 2, 5; Slave 3, 1. Y’all invest the money. See what you can make for me while I’m gone.” A talent of gold was several lifetimes of wages for the average man in those days. Estimates have it at $300,000.00 in today’s currency. (One talent) Continue reading
I’m always talking about how God will take care of you if you’ll just trust Him. But will He really? Will He still take care of you even if you do something really bad; something you knew was wrong before you did it, and you did it anyway? I mean like when you were doing it, you looked God in the eye and said, “I don’t care what you think; I’m going to do this anyway” Will God take care of you, even then, even after that? Continue reading
All my life I’ve struggled with how to start a conversation with someone about their relationship with God. I’ve longed to find some way to get started without offending them or making them mad, or driving them away. It’s a very personal subject, one that many people are uncomfortable talking about.
One time 3-4 years ago, I had a friend named Evelyn, who was dying of pancreatic cancer. She worked part-time for the same guy I worked for. She was about my age. She was in the hospital, fading fast and I went to visit her. I didn’t know whether she had a relationship with God or not, but I wanted to talk to her about it. I didn’t know how to start or what to say.
I don’t know if it mattered, but I took her a prayer blanket that had been made by ladies at our church. They even prayed over it and anointed it with oil, especially for her. Now that I think about it, maybe God used that prayer blanket to touch Evelyn and me both.
Anyway, I was standing there beside her bed, trying to think of something to say, when God says, “Ask her if she’s made peace with God.”
So I did. Right out of the blue I said, “Well, have you made peace with God?”
She thought about it a minute and said the most amazing thing, “Since my husband died about 9 years ago, me and God haven’t had much to say to each other.”
After I thought a second I said, “Evelyn, God loves you; and it doesn’t matter what you’ve done or failed to do, He forgives you; and all you have to do to get right with God is to trust Him and accept His forgiveness.” She said she’d think about it.
She must have done it though, because after she died, her daughter told me that after we talked, she was at peace, happy and thankful; free of all the fear and anxiety she’d had before.
Praise the Lord!
In Philippians 4:6-8, Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, (don’t worry) but in everything by prayer . . with thanksgiving, . . [ask for what you need]; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. . . ., whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, . . [worth knowing], whatever is virtuous and worthy of being praised—meditate on these things.” (Tex’s paraphrase)
So what is this passage about, really? Continue reading
Last night about 9:00 PM we took the dogs for a walk. We have two 6 month old rat terriers, a boy and a girl, Ragnar and Lagartha (aka Gertie). Often our teen-age son Ian and I walk them. Actually we run them. I hold the dogs, straining at the leash; Ian runs down the street a block or two; then turns and calls them; I let go of the leashes and they run as fast as they can to Ian. They love Ian and he loves them back, just as much. These are the first dogs we have had since Ian has been old enough to remember. They are truly his companions. ‘Course Gaye and I love them too, but not near as much as Ian.
So last night we did our routine til we were maybe 6 blocks down the street and then we turned back and did it again on the way home. When we were maybe 2 or 3 houses from home, Ragnar got loose and ran for our back yard. Ian chased him, but “Rags” beat him to the trees along the creek in back of our house and went exploring. Usually when one of the dogs gets loose, he’ll run for a minute or two and then come back to the other dog. But this time Rags didn’t come right away, so I gave Ian my cell phone/flash light so he could search the woods.
Well, he searched and searched but no luck. Ian was getting desperate. He was hollering at the top of his lungs, loud and long, “RAAAAAG-NAAAAAR” over and over.
Pretty soon I started saying, “Don’t holler so loud. He’ll come back soon. He doesn’t want to stay outside in the dark all night any more than you want him to. He’ll get lonely in a few minutes and come.”
But he didn’t come. We walked all around in the woods looking. We went down the street to the place where you could go in the woods from the other end. All the time hollering “Raaaag-Naaaar”. But you could tell Ian was getting really worried, and I was getting a little concerned myself. As I listened to Ian, I could tell he was getting scared Rags wasn’t coming back. What if something had happened to him? Maybe the leash got caught and he got hung up in the bushes. Maybe he fell in the creek and couldn’t get out. Maybe he’d crossed the creek and couldn’t get back.
I started praying, “Lord, please let Rags come back. Please don’t let anything happen to him. Please help Ian not be scared.” And every time I’d see Ian, I’d say, “It’s going to be OK; he’ll be back soon.” But I was beginning to wonder myself.
Finally we went to the back of the back yard, where he first ran away, and I said to Ian. “We’re just going to have to wait. Come on and sit down on the back porch with Gertie, and see what happens.” When we reached the porch, Ian sat down and petted Gertie; and I said to Ian, “Maybe we should pray.” By this time he was crying, because he was so worried about Rags.
Ian said, “Sit down here and pray with me.”
I said, “You pray,” but he asked me to go first. So I prayed, “Please Lord, let Rags come home. Don’t let him get hurt. Don’t let him get lost so he can’t figure out how to get home. Thank you for answering these prayers.”
Then Ian prayed, “Dear Lord, please let Rags come home. Please work everything out for good for all of us. Do Your will. We’re trusting You to take care of all of us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
We got up. I said I was going to bed. I said Rags would come back soon and everything would be OK. Ian went back outside the back fence to look for Rags one last time. I was in the garage by this time, but I could still hear and I heard my wife say, “He found him.”
When I went back out, Ian says, “I just wanted to look one last time; and when I got the edge of the trees, I could see him coming out.”
“Thank God! ‘, I said, “Just goes to show you how God answers prayers. Praise the Lord!” We all stood in the yard and hugged ole Rags. We were very glad that the lost had been found. We all went in thinking about how God takes care of us, if we’ll just ask Him. It reminded me of that verse in Luke, where it says that God will answer your prayers, and speedily too, if we’ll only trust him. It was a perfect example of how God’s care meets a boy’s trust. Praise the Lord from Whom all blessings flow!
It’s amazing how you can learn such good lessons from such a simple story. Prov. 3:5-6 Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.
PS A day or two later, we realized we’d lost Rags’ leash that night. I went searching and found the leash, tangled up in some limbs. The other end led down a hole. I pulled on the leash pretty hard and out came the harness. Looks like Rags was trapped in the hole, so we couldn’t hear him whine or bark, but he was able to wriggle free at almost exactly the same time we were praying. I don’t know about y’all, but that sounds like God.