The Prodigal Brother

The Prodigal BrotherThere was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, “Give me my share of the estate.” So because the younger son had asked first, the father gave the younger son a double portion and said to him, “May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.” When the older brother learned of his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, father!”

But the father said, “Your brother came to me first. He has received the greater blessing and it will not be taken from him.” From that day forward the older brother held a grudge against his younger sibling. The older brother said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother.”

Not long after that, their mother came to the younger son and said, “Flee at once. Stay with my brother for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. So the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there he gained even greater wealth. In everything he prospered. After he had gained one wife, he gained another. Soon his family grew. But, there was strife between the younger son and his father-in-law. The two families argued over the flocks and fields. So the younger son hired himself out to his father-in-law, and worked for him, gaining even greater wealth for both men. But still the two families argued.

So the younger son said to his father-in-law, “Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. You know how much work I’ve done for you. Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. ”

But that day he heard that the sons of his father-in-law were saying, “Our sisters’ husband has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.” That evening the Lord said to the younger brother in a dream, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your brother, and I will be with you.”

So with his wives and children and flocks he set out. But while he was still a long way off, he looked up and there was his brother, coming with four hundred men. The younger son he divided the children among his two wives into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, “If my brother comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.” He put the female servants and their children in front, his first wife and her children next, and second wife and his son in the rear.

While he was still a long way off, his brother saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his younger brother and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.

The older brother asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?”

“To find favor in your eyes,” replied the younger brother.

“But I already have plenty. Keep what you have for yourself.”

“No, please!” said the younger. “If I have found favor in your eyes, accept this gift from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have forgiven me.” Because the younger brother insisted, the older accepted his gifts.

The older brother said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.” But though the younger son agreed to return to the home of his older brother, he did not but went another way.

From Pit to Prominence (Faithfulness)

Ernie Big EZ Baker

Ernie Big EZ BakerSo the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there.” Genesis 39:22 (NIV)

In his thirties he led an e-business technology team from a start-up company to its public stock offering. The firm made a splash in the press, sold out, and went looking for a new and younger manager.

Unemployed, he founded a new business. The job took him to Asia where he met with top executives in the semi-conductor industry. Modeling the successful strategy of his previous job, he positioned the firm to go public. But days before their announcement, the global economy burped; investors pulled back, the firm floundered. For years he watched as one angel investor after another waltzed by his office, but none came bearing good news and gifts. The firm folded.

In order to pay the bills, he began restoring homes, adding decks, and refinishing rooms. Of course, business thrived. He hired additional help, rebuilt his savings, and discovered he enjoyed working with his hands, going to bed tired, and waking up in better shape than the day before. He dropped pounds and added muscle, plus a few more clients. Over coffee one morning, a customer commented on his leadership skills. “Would you like to have a job with an office, benefits, and stock options?” his friend asked.

“Only if it presents a challenge.”

Of course it would.

He accepted a job at the customer’s firm and soon his unit led the company in growth, profits, and efficiency. The CEO offered him a promotion, one as head of a new division with increased responsibility and income. Then, on the eve of the announcement, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. The firm fired him.

Joseph also suffered betrayal, mistreatment, and misfortune. Told by God that he would become a grand leader, Joseph struggled with the mantle of greatness. Listen to the dream I had,” said Joseph.I had another dream… No one is greater in this house than I am…When all goes well with you, remember me… show me kindness… mention meI have done nothing to deserve being put in a pit.” Joseph’s arrogant attitude bred jealousy and resentment, leading others to forget and forsake him.

God has made each of us responsible for someone and some thing. Whether we’re serving time in prison, serving soup to the homeless, or serving on the board of a Fortune 500 company, our attitude toward others reflects our heart for God’s work.

When my friend arrived home that final evening, he hugged his wife, held her hand, and prayed for God to see them through the crisis—just as they’d done in times past. I have no doubt he’ll rise again from pit to prominence. That’s what men of God do.

Even when we feel imprisoned, we don’t have to yield to despair. God’s promises, power, and protection will set us free if we trust, work, and wait upon Him.

On APRIL 26, 2019, after a 9 year battle with cancer, God welcomed Big EZ home. I have no doubt Ernie heard the words, “Good job, buddy. You did it!”

 

My Father's Business(the post above first appeared in the book My Father’s Business.)

Did Jesus Really Say He Would Rise from the Grave?

Yes ... yes he did

Did Jesus Really Say He Would Be Raised from the Grave?Did Jesus really say he would rise from the grave three days after his death?

Yes … yes he did.

Multiple times, in fact.

“As Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.” ~ Matthew 12:40.

“Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’”~ Matthew 27:63

Jesus said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. ~ Luke 9:22, Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” ~ Luke 18:31-33

And still on the morning when the women went to anoint his body neither they, his disciples, or apparently any of his followers believed his words. How many times must God and Jesus say a thing before you will believe?

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Did God Really Turn a Man Into a Werewolf?

Yes ... yes he did

Did God Really Turn a Man Into a Werewolf?Did God really turn a man into a werewolf?

Yes … yes he did.

Sort of.

Here is what happened: “All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar. As the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, ‘Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’ Even as the words were on his lips, a voice came from heaven, ‘This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar.’ Immediately his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. Let him live with the animals of the earth. Let his mind be changed from that of a man and let him be given the mind of an animal.” Daniel 4: 15-16, 28-31

So yes, God turned a man into a beast (though not necessarily a werewolf). And if God did it once he could do it again.

Image by Viergacht from Pixabay

Did God Really Say We Could Know More About Creation and What Came Before?

Yes ... yes he did.

Did God Really Say We Could More About Creation and What Came Before?Did God really say we could know more about Creation and what came before the earth was formed if we simply ask?

Yes … yes he did.

What he said, was this: “Ask now about the former days long before your time, from the day God created Man on the earth. ask from one end of the heavens to the other.” Deuteronomy 4:32

Not sure how God created the heavens and the earth, the sea and sky, male and female, ask. God loves to share His knowledge if we come with an expectant heart and do not doubt. Just ask.

Image by Dan Fador from Pixabay

Did God Really Say Jesus Is Coming Back?

Yes ... yes he did.

Did God Really Say Jesus Is Coming Back?Did God really say Jesus is coming back?

Yes … yes he did.

What he said, was, “Men, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11

Jesus said, “You will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:64

In John’s revelation from Christ he wrote, “Look, he is coming with the clouds every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” Revelation 1:7

So, yes, Christ will return. And when he does, he will bring and end to all things and usher in his kingdom. Believe it, don’t believe it, it’s up to you.

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Did God Really Say We Would Get a New Body After We Died?

Yes ... yes he did

Did God Really Say We Would Get a New Body After We Died?Did God really say we would get a new body after we died?

Yes … yes he did.

Sort of.

Actually it is the Apostle Paul who writes, “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. … For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.'” 1 Corinthians 15: 50-54

So we get a new body. One that endures, last forever, doesn’t die, rot, or decay. Your new body will be timeless, ageless, and indestructible. That’s the good news.

Bad new is, if you get tossed into the Lake of Fire you will be stuck in a body that is fireproof and never burns up. Which means there will be no end to the pain of the flames.

“In Hades, where he was in torment, the rich man looked up and saw far away …” Luke 16: 23–25 “The lake of fire is the second death.” Revelation 20:14. “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Daniel 12:1–2.

Some claim there is no hell. But by some counts Jesus spoke about hell in 60 or so verses. So even Jesus acknowledged that hell is a real place and that’s important to know as you prepare for your future.

But whether you go to heaven or hell you get a new body. So there is that to look forward to.

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