Tag: a story

The Master Plan… my short story

Jan and Phyllis2It was a dark and dreary night, which seemed to last a lifetime.

In fact, it was lasting a lifetime. The first 20 years of my life.

Darkness and chaos describe my early years. Oh, sure, there were glimpses of light and order, hope and joy, now and then. But dreariness described my life as a whole.

Kind of like when “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. There wasn’t a sign in the heavens inviting change. No. Darkness, disorder, decadence, and dismay screamed constantly at Him and His plans, “We cannot, will not, be changed. We will forever remain like this!” That seemed to describe my life.

But, the entrance of His Word brought light; and the rest, they say, is history.

I had times, as a kid, really enjoyed my life and thought things were great. Like the times we’d have the neighborhood over and play ball in our backyard. Kids everywhere, running, laughing, without a care in the world. Or the time the ice cream truck would come down the street, beckoning us with its happy tune. All the neighborhood kids would stop what they were doing, run to find their parents, and literally beg them into buying a Buried Treasure, Drumstick, or some other sweet and cold treat. Ah, the good old days.

There were a few times of hope and joy as a teenager, but those years were primarily filled with strife and unrest. Not much hope for the future. No promise of life, that I could see anyway. Have you ever known someone who seemed to be okay and in great health, but was really losing a battle with cancer? That’s how my life was. Looked alright on the outside, but inside I was dying. If something happened I didn’t like, couldn’t control, or attacked my vulnerable heart, I would pack up and leave. I tried fighting back, but eventually concluded leaving was the best way to preserve what life I had.

A few people told me about this Man named Jesus. Fairytale stuff, as far as I was concerned. Besides, I didn’t need religion. Darkness and chaos were serving me just fine. It was something I was used to.

When I was 17, darkness seemed to ease up a bit. I met this girl who began to love me; darkness, chaos, hurt and all. I was so energized by her, hope for the future began to grow. Plans for a life together were forming. Buying an old “Bread Truck” decorated with colorful flowers, travelling the country, playing music, seeing the sights, living the dream, became known to us as “The Master Plan”.

We finally did get married and started living the Plan. No bread truck, just a cool 1964 Rambler Classic 770 named “Roger”. Life was but a dream, sh-boom, sh-boom.

Something happened during our second year of living our dream. I can’t really explain it. I only know we met this couple who had a “light” shining in their life. Love and life seemed to exude from them, attacking the darkness surrounding us; as though God was looking at our world, commanding His light to shine in our dark places.

Light be! Light was!

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life.”

That was close to forty years ago. Never did get a bread truck. We have done some traveling, played some music, lived a few dreams, had a few nightmares. But we discarded the Master Plan. Traded it in for something full of love, life and hope. A future and a hope! We call it “The Master’s Plan.”

And the rest is, as they say, His Story.

If darkness and chaos has filled your life, there is a God in Heaven Who knows how to change your world.

The Younger Son A Story – chapter two

A Story

As I have said before, everyone has a story, and every story should be told. Here’s one Jesus told about a father and his two boys.

“To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet and kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.” (Luke 15:11-24 NLT)

Here’s the story of a father and two sons. Notice, two sons. This chapter will discuss the younger prodigal only. I’ll reserve comments pertaining to the older son for the next chapter.

Note that Jesus told this story to further illustrate a point He made earlier, which was “there is great joy in Heaven when something lost is found.” And if there’s great joy in Heaven, there should be great joy here on earth as well.

If you lose something as common as a paper clip, not much effort is exerted in finding it. Why? Because it is easily replaced and has so little value. But if you lose something, say, your wedding ring, you will not stop looking until it is found. Then, when found, you rejoice with joy unspeakable! The value of the thing lost determines the degree of gratitude.

Remember this: most of the time the thing lost doesn’t realize it’s lost until it’s found. I didn’t understand how lost I was or how much He loved and valued me until He “reached down” through His Son Jesus, and made me a new person.

“A man had two sons. The younger son told his father…” Say what you will, but I really doubt the younger son intended, or planned, on living a wild life separated from his home. He did not plan on getting “lost” anymore than you or I do when we start on a trip with or without directions. Part of growing up is developing independence, which would include trying to make it on his own. Whatever the motive, the father granted his request and divided his wealth between his two sons. Shortly afterward, the younger one hit the road and traveled to a distant land.

Distant land. Ever visit one? So exotic, so appealing, and so much fun! Meet new people, try new food, take gobs of pictures, and experience a side of life many, if not all, of your friends and family have never known.

But this young man didn’t buy a round trip ticket to the distant land. His trip was not a vacation, but a permanent move. He was going to make something of his life. He soon began to walk, talk, think, dream, spend money, and party like the locals. And for a while, all seemed fine.

It’s amazing how well and how quickly the young man could adapt to such a different way of living. Though new to the area, he learned the customs and culture of the land that was far from Father’s Farm.

Popularity. My, how popular this young man became. All the city leaders, merchants, and entertainers welcomed him. His winsome smile, bulging pockets, and small town ways made him an easy target for their schemes designed to separate the man from the money.

Women! He’d never even dreamed of a world like he was experiencing! Why hadn’t his father told him about this side of life? Did his father even know such a place existed? What about his older brother, the “never-spend-a-dime-of-my-own-money” guy? What was he doing with HIS inheritance? Probably the same thing he’d always done with his money. Nothing!

Well, he wasn’t going to act like his older brother! No, sir! He was going to get the most out of life, even if it killed him!

So…

With every pretty girl hitting on him, merchants and peddlers selling him everything but what he really needed, it didn’t take too long to waste his money, lose his companions, and find himself alone. Alone. Something he hadn’t experienced since leaving home. Alone.

Kind of funny, the things you think about when you’re alone. Memories continue to wash over your mind like waves upon a shore; washing away the hamburger wrappers, used napkins, beer cans and cigarette butts left over from last night’s party. Cleansing your mind, revealing memories of life like it used to be. Life with love. Life with father. If only…

“God Has Favorites” A Story – chapter one

A Story

I believe my parents had favorites!

I have two brothers and two sisters. Some of them could do no wrong. They got away with everything!

If you’ve had brothers or sisters, you probably know what I’m referring to. I’m not bitter nor am I casting stones. I’m not even saying I’m right in my belief. I’m only stating a fact, as perceived by me. Why do I believe they were favorites? Because they seemed to get away with more wrong doing than I.

Whether God has favorites or not, this fact remains; we perceive God has favorites because He seems to talk with others more, show more interest in what they’re doing, give them bigger allowances (allowing them to get by with more stuff), or He has them in a bigger, better, more lucrative ministry or job than us.

It isn’t fair, is it?

However, one doesn’t have to read very much scripture to understand even God’s “favorites” weren’t perfect, and were held accountable to doing things God’s way. Let’s look at a few of God’s “favorites” and see if there are some things we may identify with.

The first one, of course, is Adam.

Gen 1:26-28
26 Then God said,”Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them,”Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Gen 2:7
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Adam was created by the Triune God, after Their likeness (spirit, soul, and body – 1 Thes. 5:23). God’s best creation was given authority over all the earth as God’s representative. God blessed Adam and his wife with everything that pertained to life and godliness. All they had to do was walk in the instruction of the Lord God.
Imagine how proud Father God must have felt! Walking around the garden with Adam, hearing the angels say to Him, “my, Adam looks just like You!” “A chip off the ol’ block”. “I do believe Adam has his Father’s eyes.” You know, things you like to hear as a parent.

But Adam failed to obey completely. Genesis 3 states that Eve was tempted by the serpent and, giving in to the suggestions and insinuations the serpent made, took the fruit from the forbidden tree, took a bite, then gave the fruit to her husband who was standing right beside her. This may not mean much to you, but I believe that while Eve was tempted, Adam sinned willingly. He knew what God had said to him and disobeyed anyway. Ever done anything like that?

Anyway, their wrong doing started mankind on a course of destruction which has affected every human being since. Paul wrote that “death reigned from Adam…”(Rom 5:14), and so it is still today.

The next favorite of God’s we’ll look at is Moses. The great prophet of God, Moses. The leader of the children of Israel. The mighty deliverer, worker of miracles, signs, and wonders. The one whom the Lord spoke with face to face (Ex. 33:11). The one commissioned by the Lord Jehovah to bring the children out of bondage into a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses, who stood boldly before Pharaoh and said with Heaven’s authority, “Let My people go!”

It was this Moses who killed an Egyptian, hiding him in the sand. Wrong number one. And in order to keep from standing trial, Moses took off to the back side of the desert. Wrong number two. Later on, he did wrong number three and had to finish his ministry a little early.

Our third example of a favorite of God is Jonah, the prophet. The Lord had used Jonah as a prophet before his great Nineveh crusade (2 Kings 14:25). Jonah had grown to recognize the voice of God and the heart of God. As a matter of fact, because Jonah knew the heart and nature of God, he decided to not have any part of the Nineveh revival.

So Jonah did wrong. He ran.

The last favorite we’ll look at, for now, is Peter. One of the first disciples handpicked by the Lord Jesus. Peter was the one who gave his boat to Jesus’ ministry. He’s the one who stepped out of that boat and walked on the water to Jesus. Peter is known to many as the loud mouthed disciple; the one who always said more than he should. But Jesus didn’t see him that way. He saw Peter as someone who was beginning to understand who He was and how Jesus fit into his present world view. Peter is the one who said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus didn’t rebuke him for shooting off his mouth. No, He blessed him.

But Peter did wrong. He denied the Lord.

Each of God’s favorites had a time in their life when they failed Him. They did wrong. But wrong won’t necessarily keep you from God. Oh, I realize He is Holy and dwells in the light no man can approach, but read this again and mark it down.

Wrong won’t necessarily keep you from God.

Of course, none of the favorites can hold a candle to King Manasseh, where wrong doing is concerned. Neither can we. That should make us feel real good about ourselves since we’re not as bad as someone else. But just because there’s someone “worse” doesn’t guarantee us good standing with the Lord. God doesn’t grade on a curve.

There’s a phrase I’ll use throughout this book; a phrase to help us approach God with faith and humility. The phrase:

“there is no one too good to not need Him, and no one too bad to receive Him.”

Whether Manasseh, Peter, or your sweet, godly old grandmother; everyone needs God. Including you and I.

Have you ever stopped to consider that YOU are one of God’s favorites? If you are alive and living on planet earth, YOU are a favorite of God. How do I know? God showed us by the offering of His Son.

I understand that truth now. But for a good while I didn’t. I was frustrated, jealous, sometimes just plain mad. I felt others were getting a better deal from God than I was. I felt they were the favored ones. Guess what? Just like a kid acts up to get attention, I’ve had my times of acting up, though maybe unconsciously, to try and get Father’s attention or approval.

Bad thing. It feeds the flesh and sows seeds of doubt, bitterness, and discord. Trouble is inevitable.

Trouble is very much a part of my story, but not the whole story. My story includes me acting out my longing for attention, whether the attention of my parents or my God. It can be seen through the life of the younger prodigal, trying to make it big but living small. Trying to be everyone else’s favorite but not realizing I had a place in God’s heart all along.

I was well on my way to throwing away everything for the approval of a few, not understanding the offer God really had for me. Not realizing my value, my place in Him.

The story of the prodigal is next. I want each of us to know how the Father looks at each of His kids. The good ones and the bad ones. Take a good look at the One Who keeps looking at us. How does He see us. How far can He see us? Can we run too far for Him to see? How far can He reach? How do we treat those worse than us, when it appears God’s not seeing things correctly? How come others get the goodies, and we’re stuck with all the work?

A Story continues…

Introduction to… A Story

A Story

Stories.

Everyone has one. Not everyone can or would even want to tell theirs, but everyone has one.

Some stories are so easy to hear, easy to believe, easy to relate to, easy to tell. Others are the complete opposite.

No one’s story should be left untold. No one’s. There is something to be learned from each. Something to help lift someone else out of despair and hopelessness. Something to bring understanding to a life of confusion. Something to identify with; to help someone else realize they are not alone. Even a story of “total failure” can be used to help someone else.

For A Story to be told, there must be three things.

First, the story. Truth. What really happened? Why did it happen? When it happened isn’t so important, because people really haven’t changed much down through the ages. The story’s main participant would be the “who”. How did it happen? The story will detail what’s really important.

Secondly, the storyteller. Possibly the subject of the story, but not necessarily. The storyteller must adhere to the story. Truth. For a story to connect with others, truth is paramount. Hope will not grasp fantasy for long. Fantasy will never bring about lasting change. Truth will. So the storyteller must stay with truth, which is the story.

Finally, the reader. Each reader is in the process of living their own story. One reader’s story may be full of darkness, hopelessness, confusion, perversion. Someone else may have a story of riches and beauty, a wonderful childhood, direction in life, faith in God. There may be any number of life situations in one story. But one thing is certain with every reader. Their final chapter hasn’t yet been written.

As I said, everyone has a story and everyone’s story should be told. This is my story; not my whole story but a segment of it that others, I believe, need to know. A Story others may relate to, draw hope from. A Story that may help others rewrite their own.

I chose to use this medium, my blog, to tell the story. I’ll write a number of chapters over the next several weeks. I pray each reader that is not satified with their story, may find the necessary courage to begin the rewrite process.

Look for truth. Truth makes the story. Truth connects the story with each reader. Truth helps the reader rewrite their own story. Truth is what changed mine.

Stories.

As I said, this one is mine, though it’s not just about me. It’s also A Story about a King named Manasseh, a Father with two prodigal sons, a few of God’s favorite people, and what He does with people gone bad. A Story about failure, family and friends. It’s about Encouragement, Hope and Restoration. It’s about Truth. It’s A Story about Jesus.

And, it’s about you.

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