Practical Proverbial, from 1 Thessalonians, 27 February 2018

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.  1 Thessalonians 2:111-12 (NIV).

Dad’s love unconditionally and hold you accountable.   Dads love their kids, or at least they should, and they impart of themselves into their kids by encouraging, comforting, and urging them to live lives worthy of God.   That means teaching them how to make their ways in the world, how to do what they love to do, how to be strong, how to get along with others.   Dads are supposed to also teach their kids about Jesus, imparting to them lessons that the Maker wants him to tell them so they can come to know the Maker as well.

At least that’s what we’re supposed to do.  News flash:  we dads don’t always do a great job at it.

Take me.  but I do wish I had done better for my own kids.   I wish I had not obsessed so much about grades, making their beds, the music they listened to or the movies they watched; you know, things that don’t really matter that much.   Sure, it’s important to work hard to get good grades, and it’s important to garner the self-discipline you get from making your bed.   Those things are important, but compared to Jesus they don’t matter very much.  More than anything else, I wish I had done more to live out my life for Jesus and be a better example of Him to the three people who watched me most.   As a young dad, I did a poor job at this.

None of us are blameless; I’m not blameless.   I let my job, my selfish desires, and my own obsessions get in the way of being a better dad.   But if the best thing we can say is “I did my best” then that applies to me too.   My dad did his best with me, and I can say I did my best with my own kids.

News flash again:   it’s not about me.   That’s the first lesson we dads should teach our kids.

I’m betting that’s how Paul and his companions dealt with the Thessalonians.  It’s a good bet to assume they worked to be selfless, to be caring and patient and loving with these new friends.   Unless they were those things, it would be difficult at best to encourage, comfort, and urge the Thessalonians to live Godly lives.   Only someone who’s living selflessly and teaching selflessly can really impart those Christ-like qualities to the people they love.

In other words, Paul and his friends acted like dads.   Like the men Jesus wanted them to be.

For further reading: 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Lord Jesus, thank You for being my Maker, my friend, my Savior, but my brother.  Thank You for letting me be a dad.   Always help me to do my best for You and others.

Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 24 August 2015

And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10, verse 16.

I long for this.   In the worst of my infidelities, I honestly wanted to die and finally feel Jesus just hug me; me, who felt horrible about the things I had done.   In the hardest days of this four-year project I’m finishing, I sometimes want to simply go away and feel Jesus just put His hand on me and comfort me.   In the throes of worship, when I sometimes feel attuned to what God is saying, I want Jesus to put His hands on me and bless me. In the times when I’m lonely or scared, I just want to feel the presence of Jesus to know that He will get me through these tough times.

In truth, I’ve never felt the physical touch of the Savior.   This blessing awaits me in the life to come. But in further truth, I have to confess that I’ve rarely felt the inner peace that I take for His spiritual touch.   It isn’t because of anything He’s done but, instead, usually because of barriers that I put up between us. I know:   got skin, got sin; this is true.   So I find that my longing for Jesus’ touch is even stronger because I’m so acutely aware of how lonely this life can feel without it.

Do you ever feel like this?   I’m sure that it’s a common thing, psychologically speaking, that is. We’re people and we feel alone, vulnerable, remorseful, stressed and the like.   When we do, we long for the touch of someone who is loving and familiar. Maybe it’s something that’s taught to us as infants, when our mothers first cradle us in the warm security of their love.

That’s how it feels to be embraced by Jesus:   like motherly fatherly love.   Jesus is God is Father, Son and Spirit all in one, yet I think that most of us, myself included, associate His loving embrace with motherly love, with that feeling of being protected and nurtured by the one who gave us life.   If you think about it, that makes sense because Jesus gives us both life and mothers.   Indeed, Jesus had a mother and surely must have felt these same feelings of longing and security, maybe even more so given that, even from a young age He knew His divine side fully.   Perhaps He felt even more secure in Mary’s arms, and even more longing to feel at one with someone who loved Him unconditionally.

Keep in mind that Jesus took the children in His arms after His disciples tried to shoo them away. Jesus chided them for that, reminding them that all people should come to Him as innocently as children. Having done this, it’s not surprising that He would then bless the children, imparting into their hearts and minds His reciprocation of their love for Him. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little envious, yet I’m sure this envy is the same one so many millions have felt in the 2000 years since Christ departed. We’re envious of the Apostles, of the people who physically walked with Jesus, who got to see Him in person and hear His comforting voice.

And feel His spiritual touch.   I know inside that this is good, even enough, yet sometimes I forget while walking the streets of this world. I long for Jesus.

Lord, I pray for Your comforting touch.   Ease my pain, forgive my sins, I pray in Your holy name.

Read Mark 10, verses 17-31.