The Man Who Asked the Right Question

A good percentage of those who came to Jesus asking questions were certified gourd-heads. They thought they could ask questions God couldn’t answer.

One fellow, though, was serious. His query and Jesus’ answer, flash like neon signs for those seeking a deeper walk with God.

“One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in his answers, he put in his question: ‘Which is most important of all the commandments?’

“Jesus said, ‘The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.’

“The religion scholar said, ‘A wonderful answer, Teacher! So lucid and accurate—that God is one and there is no other. And loving him with all passion and intelligence and energy, and loving others as well as you love yourself. Why, that’s better than all offerings and sacrifices put together!’

“When Jesus realized how insightful he was, he said, ‘You’re almost there, right on the border of God’s kingdom.’” (Mark 12: 28-31)

That’s great and that’s terrible. “…right on the border of God’s kingdom.”

David, are you telling me that I can love God with everything I’ve got and love my neighbor as myself and still not be in God’s eternal Kingdom?

No, God wants us to love like that. The problem is: who always loves God passionately and who consistently loves his neighbor like he loves himself? Continue reading

That Crazy Song Stuck In My Head

Have you ever got a song stuck in your head and not even dental floss would get it out?  There’s a contemporary Christian song, something about “inside out,” that drives me bonkers. If I hear it coming on my music, I’ll jump it or zap it or whatever.

The song is okay, but for some reason it lodged in my head and I’d wake up in the night with it playing in my brain. Often during the day I’d become aware of this song in the background of my consciousness. This continued for weeks!

Scream! I finally asked the Lord to take it away because it was making me miserable. Well, it finally went away, though now that I’m aware of it, it may come back again.

Recently, though, an interesting idea has been trotting around that great empty space in my skull. This hasn’t frustrated me like the song did; it has intrigued me.
God has been talking to me about generosity.

Now, I know that’s what I wrote about last week, but it keeps getting better.

Here’s some things I’ve noticed about generosity:

1.    A generous person tends to create a culture of generosity around himself.  This word has Proto-Indo-European roots (whatever that means). The “gen” part meant “give birth, beget.” When I read that I got excited. The person who is generous creates something, gives birth to something, around himself—a culture of generosity.
He influences his family towards liberality. She impacts her colleagues at work to speak generously, kindly, and act in the same way.

2.    Generosity and sacrifice are blood brothers. It’s rare that you see generosity where you don’t see sacrifice of some kind. It might be a sacrifice of money, a sacrifice of time, or a sacrifice of self, or a sacrifice of praise. But sacrifice is vitally connected to generosity. If you don’t believe it look at the generous cross of Jesus. Continue reading

“I Heard That!”

My dad used to irritate me when I was a kid.

Sometimes I’d ask him a question and he wouldn’t respond. I’d ask it again and he still wouldn’t answer. He’d usually respond if I asked the same question the third time.

Since I’ve had kids of my own, I think I know why he didn’t reply. Constant questions can get annoying.

Have you ever been like my father when God speaks to you? You hear His voice, but you pretend not to.

Has someone ever asked you something and you closed you heart to him?

Whoever wrote the letter to the Hebrews quoted parts of Psalms 95:7,8 three times in the first four chapters. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did…” (Heb. 3:7-9)  Continue reading

Cowboys Fan Fights Depression

Depression knocked on my door recently, but I refused to answer. It was tough, though. Who wouldn’t be depressed if a tiny team upset your favorite college team and if–it’s hard to think of it–the mighty Cowboys crashed and burned. All in one weekend.

What’s left to live for? A friend who is crowding 70 laments, “My life is winding down. Don’t believe I’ll live much past 100, giving me another 30 years or so. My point is that I don’t believe I’ll get to see the Cowboys in another Super Bowl.”

I’m quitting football and I’m going to start watching professional wrestling.

NOT!

If your team wins, hope smiles pulling you forward in a warm cocoon of anticipation. If they lose, you languish in a gray prison. If you see progress towards your goal, “Yippee!” If not, “Oh me!”

Often at the beginning of the year, I ask the Lord for a word, something to work on during the year. In 2018 the word is “hope.”

Old Men and Hope

Hope lights you up while you move towards what you want. You know what my problem is, though? I don’t always know what I want. Or maybe, I’ve wanted some things so long, that hope withered on the vine. Continue reading

Are You a Genius? Try This Test

I have the smartest readers anywhere. Probably. Of course, who knows where “anywhere” is, so it’s a bit hard to be sure. To celebrate your intelligence, I’m giving you a test.

Which of these exotic foods has David Porter consumed?

  1. a/ Squirrel brains  (tastes like chicken … not)
  2. b/ Cow stomach
  3. c/ Snails
  4. d/ Some REALLY smelly cheese
  5. e/ Intestines (boudin)
  6. f/ Cow tongue
  7. g/ All of the above.

The answer is … “g.”

Which of the aforementioned foods tasted lousy? 

Answer:  “b.” It didn’t smell too good either.

Here are some questions for those who’ve put your faith in the Lord Jesus. Which of these are true about you?

  1. a/Your sins are forgiven.
  2. b/You received the free gift of eternal life from God.
  3. c/God is eager for a chance to zap you, so don’t goof up.
  4. d/Jesus, your Elder brother, intercedes before God the Father for you.
  5. e/Jesus will never forsake you, even in the hardest times.
  6. f/God is for you. Nothing can separate you from His love.
  7. g/You’re having problems because you’re a victim. It’s not fair.
  8. h/God does what He wants. If He decides not to like you, give it up. You’re in for it. No hope.
  9. The Lord fights for you.
  10. He renews your strength when you are tired.
  11. Jesus has gone to prepare an eternal place for those you.
  12. He understands your confusion and doubts and comforts you, if you let Him.

All except “c” and “g” and “h” are true.

And if you haven’t put your faith in Christ, which of these things are true?

  1. God understands your questions.
  2. He rubs his hands together in anticipation of punishing you.
  3. God loves you, even if you don’t love Him yet.
  4. You don’t have anything to worry about because everyone except Adolph Hitler-types receives God’s eternal life, not eternal punishment.
  5. He loves you so incredibly that He took the punishment that you (and I) deserved. He offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who abandon their sin, ask forgiveness and put their faith in the Lord Jesus. The Father accepts the work Jesus did at Calvary for us.
  6. Jesus rose from the grave and the same power that raised Him from the grave works in us, when we come to God. He delivers us from the power of sin and the devil and makes us a part of His family.

You can scratch out “b” and “d” because they are not true.You guys and girls are so smart, I’m promoting you to the next class.  But… considering these truths, is there anything you want to start doing differently?

Maybe, you want to stop repeating that God has forgotten you? Maybe, you want to respond to His love?

One thing I know–it doesn’t make me want to eat squirrel brains again.

Here’s something true to think about:

“But in that coming day  no weapon turned against you will succeed.

You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you.

These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me.  I, the Lord, have spoken!

(Isaiah 54:17, NLT)

Hmmm–

“We walk through life so bent out of shape.  Cure any flare up of commonness by setting your eyes on our uncommon King.  Worship lifts our eyes and sets them “on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power” (Colossians 3:1).
We worship God because we need to.  But our need runs a distant second to the thoroughbred reason for worship: God deserves it.  God would die for your sin before he’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?  You lift up your gift in worship.”  Max Lucado
 

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