BITE: A Dishonest Man Commended?

The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. Luke 16:8 [ESV]

Quick note today on one of the most difficult parables to interpret. In this parable a house manager is fired for squandering his master’s money. Because the dishonest manager was able to manage the affairs of his master and even make money deals in his master’s name, the manager was likely a free man.

He had to figure out how to make a living so he came up with the genius idea of going back to some of the customers of business deals he had made for his previous master and offered them a new loan note that would remove/lessen the supposed interest (not interest but something else as Jews were forbidden to charge interest based on religious law). This prompted the borrowers to immediately pay their debt to get the reduced loan cost.

The manager then used the money (the master’s money) to live on. Now the crazy part of this passage – the master respected the ingenuity of the manager and even hired him back. I think it is clear that the master was not happy for the manager losing/using this money from these deals but he had to “admire” (commend) the manager for getting himself out of a tough spot; the manager, in a difficult position, had to make a rush decision.

The coming of Jesus forced people to decision. When even dishonest worldly people know how and when to take decisive action, much more should those who follow Jesus. It is the astuteness of the steward, which is commended, not his commercial practices.

QTVOTD: A Dedicated Bitter and Resentful Christian…

A week or so ago I did a QT post on the Prodigal Son. I had mentioned I would do another post on the Older Brother, so here is that synopsis.

‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ Luke 15:29-30 [ESV]

There has always been a lot of focus on the younger brother who returned to his father’s house after years of worldly partying and waste leading to homelessness and poverty. However, the story of the Older Brother is just as important for us to pay attention to.

Quick Recap:

When the younger son came home the older brother was in the fields working. When older brother came in from work and neared the house, he could hear the partying, music, and joyous celebration. In this case the party was not the focus because it is clear from the story that this was something that was out of the ordinary.

When the older brother heard that it was celebration for his returned brother, he became angry and resentful…even to the point of not participating in the festivities. His father pleaded with him to come and rejoice at the return of his lost but now found, brother. His response to his father (as stated in the verses above) was one of entitlement and expectation to be rewarded in the same way for his years of dedicated service and labor. His assertion was – why do you reward a son that has hurt you so badly and squandered what he had been given. For all the service and dedication, the older brother had endured, he was not recognized with even a goat killed so he could feast with his friends. [Interesting to me that the older brother was more concerned about celebrating with his friends rather than his own father.

Additionally, the older brother took aim at the past behavior of the younger brother bringing up his actions and mistreatment of his father.

The father then reminds the son of everything he had available to him all those years the younger son was gone…equal ownership of everything the father had and a constant closeness and covering he enjoyed with him.

The father then says that they HAD to celebrate the return because the younger son was once lost, but now is found…dead and now alive.


Dedication to service of the Lord does not set a person above or higher than the worst sinner who turns to God in their brokenness over their sinfulness.

Pride, selfishness, and entitlement lead to bitterness and resentment when a confessed Christian feels envy over the Lord’s obvious lavishing of His grace and mercy on a repentant sinner who is perceived to have not earned the Lord’s favor. Truth of the matter is that we are all worthy of death and eternal punishment for our sinful hearts regardless of our self-righteousness.

God delights and yearns for the joy of all of His children in the redemption of the most lost.

Those who are raised in a Christian home and have been sheltered from the worldly traps of a life of debauchery because of the protection of their parents should be thankful for what God has been gracious enough to save them from experiencing.

Celebrating the return of life lost is a testimony to the Love of Christ Who gave Himself as a sacrifice when while we were yet sinners.

…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8 [ESV]

QTVOTD: Always Learning More…

...but the father said to his servants, "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it.  Let's have a feast and celebrate!" Luke 15:22&23 [NIV]

Today I studied the “Parable of the Prodigal Son” and once again, as happens with almost all passages I read in God’s Word, the Holy Spirit reveals new biblical truths applicable to my life. Here are my notes from my quiet time this morning on this passage. [Reaction of the older son I will save for tomorrow]

The younger son is the one who left. The story focuses on the younger one at first. Is this message on potential pitfalls of spiritual immaturity?

The son sought after his own and the world’s desires which only led to loss, pain, and detriment: spiritual poverty and hopelessness. Forced to settle for slop for sustenance.

Son finally realized the place that following his own desires led him to. Resulted in a knowledge of what he could have back home even if he lowered himself to one of the servants. He started listening to the small voice in his head – in a spiritual sense he was hearing the Holy Spirit and call of God to return to a more righteous life which would also result in him getting his needs fulfilled regardless of the low status/position in his father’s house he would inhabit.

The son crafted a plan to return home and even practiced what he would say to his father…then he acted on that plan.

Upon his return the father saw him a ways off. The father had hoped for and anticipated his return. The father was waiting. When the father saw him, he rejoiced with glee.

The son humbled himself and accepted a place of the lowest position in the family. He acknowledged his own folly and poor choices.

The father immediately embraced and welcomed the son back and rather than accepting the lowly place the son petitioned, the father called for the finest robes, put the family ring on his finger, and sandals on his feet. The father then threw a celebration and feast; roasting the best fatted calf from his flock for the meal.

The celebration revolved around the dead son being alive again; the son that was lost had been found.


What an amazing picture of following our own choices and then realizing our hopelessness in absence of the protection of the Father. When we in our sinful state acknowledge the sinful nature of our own efforts, petition the Father for forgiveness by accepting what only His Son could do for us, He lavishes us with all of the rewards of heaven and an eternity as princes in His Kingdom. He gives us so many things we don’t deserve when we humble ourselves before Him.

QTVOTD: Oh, How I Have Missed…

…getting my thoughts down in a post about my reading. This last week has been so ‘sun up’ to ‘sun down’ busy that getting the extra moments to write even a BITE was a challenge. I was in Silicon Valley presenting for 2 days to a very important demanding customer (they should be demanding, they are spending a lot of money 🙂 ). The prep work for that meeting was weeks in advance and it is good to have it out of the way and back into a sane schedule.

BELLA UPDATE: As you likely know, Bella is 2 weeks into her 9-month gap year missions’ trip to 4 countries (Cambodia, Thailand, South Africa, and Guatemala). These first 6 weeks are training in GA sleeping in tents and ‘bucket showers’. Rain has been upon them for the last several days and that has been a new challenge. Bella is doing awesome and was even picked for a key role on the team. She is doing great and growing ever closer to the Lord. So proud of her.

...there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! Luke 15:7 [NLT]

I love this line of teaching by Jesus to the Pharisees. They were criticizing Him over the time he spends with sinners, tax collectors, and the like. This is one of those passages that I think is an interesting perspective for someone like me who is both in vocational work in the secular world yet also in a leadership role at church. At church I minister to pastors and saints as well as striving to win lost souls…but my day job is living amongst the sinners and desiring to be salt and light to a dark world. There is so much hurt, pain, confusion, and fear in a Godless society and I find myself in place of pastoral care over people serving God full time and living a testimony and witness to win the lost.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? Luke 15:8 [NLT[

Jesus uses a second illustration of woman who loses just one of her ten silver coins. The thing that jumps out at me in this parable is the fact that all the coins are assumed to be equal in value.


I think I can have a tendency to see Jesus followers as more protectable and serving them as a higher calling…but with the 10 silver coins, if all of the 10 silver coins are equal in worth, then I must see the soul of each person I come in contact with (no matter their debauchery or world view) just as worthy of my time in investment as one of my life group members. If I am being honest, this is still sinking in a bit.

QTVOTD: The Fight Against Evil is a United Effort…

John said, Master, we saw a man driving out demons in Your name and we commanded him to stop it, for he does not follow along with us.
  But Jesus told him, Do not forbid [such people]; for whoever is not against you is for you. Luke 9:48 & 50 [AMP]

Today, I was going back through these latest chapters of reading in Luke just to re-read in a line straight through. Sometimes this is really helpful in seeing something in the greater context of a book of the bible and other times, something will jump out at me that I had missed before. Today was one of those days.

This small passage comes as the disciples are asking Jesus who the greatest will be among them. Jesus pulls a little child up next to Himself and says, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Humility and Meekness are permeated through Jesus’ teaching. Pride, over and over, is condemned. It becomes clear that our Pride is one of the greatest sinful/evil behaviors we can commit and will quickly drive us away from the peace and comfort of the Living God.

To this point, John then asks the question in the passage at the top of this post. For these disciples it was not enough that this man should be able to do in the name of Jesus what they had so recently and so conspicuously failed to do (In verse 40 the disciples has failed to cast out an evil spirit in a boy). He had to ‘follow with them’. This has been the error of Christians in every age, and it is interesting to see it in the very first generation of Jesus’ followers. In this one little passage we see a uniting that comes from being united against evil. Jesus admonishes the disciples that essentially, we are all vessels for the Lord to do His work. When there are others levied in the fight against evil, they are with us.

I think this also translates over into things like churches or worship that happen to be more ‘Charismatic’ than you might feel comfortable with. There is sometimes an ‘us versus them’ mentality when it comes to talking about these differences. I am learning that a heart of judgement is also a dangerous prideful and self-righteous position. I may see things differently or may even feel uncomfortable with a behavior in prayer or worship – I don’t need join or repeat that behavior but I also should not condemn it either (unless it is indeed unbiblical).

I’ll finish with this. When the Ark of the Covenant was brought back into Jerusalem, David danced and did some, what appeared to be inappropriate, worship to the Lord in rejoicing of the return of the Ark. After this amazing worship of the Lord and rejoicing about the Ark, “David returned to bless his household. But Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, “How the king of Israel honored himself today, uncovering himself today before the eyes of his servants’ female servants, as one of the vulgar fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!” And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will celebrate before the Lord. I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased in your eyes.” 2 Samuel 6:20-22

BITE: Take the Lowly Place…

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 [ESV]

Jesus in this passage gets done telling the followers not to jockey over the best seats in the house. Leave the best seats for those the host has invited to be in seats of prominence. Rather come and sit in the lowest seat and the host may notice and ask you to take one of the better seats.

This is not about taking the lower seat to manipulate the situation, no, it’s a condition of the heart to be humble and see others more highly than yourself.

There are no shortages of situations this can be applied by a follower of Jesus. Am I always taking the lower seat, the last place, the scraps of the buffet? Is my heart constantly looking for the one who needs to be pushed ahead in line by me giving up my spot?

BITE: The Narrow Gate…

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, I do not know you, where you are from,’ Luke 13:23-25 [NKJV]

Continuing my reading of Luke 13 tonight, the word that really became impressed upon me is “Strive”. This word denotes a character of continuance. When I read Jesus talking about ‘many will seek to enter and will not be able’, I think they are all of those who will try other things to EARN their way into heaven by some other avenue than putting their trust in the Savior.

I think the narrowness of the gate has to do with the criteria to be met and heart of the seeker. Criteria – surrender of our self and pride and acceptance and worship of the One True King. Heart – singularly focused on obeying and seeking the Lords will alone in their life. Only these people truly know Jesus and can Jesus know them.

BITE: Power from Out…Inside Out…

...To what shall I liken the kingdom of God?
  It is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of wheat flour or meal until it was all leavened (fermented). Luke 13:20-21 [AMP]

I love to make bread and I know that only a small amount of yeast (leaven) is needed to make a large quantity of dough rise.

Yeast is often used in Scripture to denote a bad influence, but there seems no reason for taking that away from this example Jesus is using. The point is that a small quantity of yeast makes moves throughout a much larger mass. So, with the kingdom. yeast works quietly and unseen, and the kingdom works through Christ’s influence on people’s hearts, not in anything merely external and visible. It is worth noting that yeast works from inside: it cannot change the dough while it is outside. But it is also important that the power to change comes from outside: the dough does not change itself.

Everything we need from the Lord is deposited in us when we accept His Son as our personal ‘Sin Bearer”. We must allow ourselves to be changed from the inside out; that process, when we listen and apply what God is revealing to us, is one that results in nothing less than an outward demonstration of that work through fruit.

BITE: Ignorance Is Sin…

And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act as he would wish him to act shall be beaten with many [lashes].
  But he who did not know and did things worthy of a beating shall be beaten with few [lashes]. For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more. Luke 12:47-48 [AMP]

This is a very important passage in the Bible. We might be disturbed by the thought that someone who sins in ignorance will be punished. But we must keep in mind that there is no such thing as absolute ignorance.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So, they are without excuse.

Romans 1:20 [ESV]

Additionally, our very ignorance is part of our sin. The emphasis is on the fact that the beating is light (few lashes), but we should not minimize the importance of doing God’s will. As a follower of Jesus, I must make every effort to find out what God’s will is and do it. Everyone is accountable.

QTVOTD: Loins Girded and Lamps Burning…

Yesterday we flew back from Georgia after dropping off and saying goodbye to our oldest Bella for her 9-month missions’ trip around the world with Worldrace. Of the 44 people going, Bella is joined by 4 of her classmates from her Senior class who are also doing this for their Gap Year. It was a special treat to spend time with the 4 families that were there with us. What a huge support it was and will be as we have our own journey of sending these precious kids of ours off. (That’s right, for the next 6 weeks Bella and the rest of the ‘Racers’ will be living in tents.

My quiet time today was on Luke 12:35-40. Jesus is talking to the disciples about ‘being ready’. He uses that imagery of servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding celebration where they are ready to open his door and serve him when he returns. As you read in my Post Title today, Jesus says, “Keep your loins girded and your lamps burning.”.

Loins being girded denotes the aspect of preparedness. In the eastern cultures of that day, you would do this so you could work or fight. The graphic below is the best one I could find in short order. Step 6 could also be stuffing the extra material in the belt versus tying it together.

The reason this is important is because Jesus is saying that we must be in a posture that is ready for action. We must have our hearts and minds prepared for the arrival of our Savior. Not only that but we must have our ‘lamps burning’. Many times, our testimony is talked about as a lamp to the world; being a light in the darkness. So, we are to be ready and a lamp to the world when Jesus comes. Jesus then also tells us that when the master comes and finds his servants this way (prepared and lamps burning), he turns the tables and serves them. This unexpected twist cannot be taken from life but is something extra provided for God’s people. But then the reward of God’s people is never commonplace: it is always the unexpected.

For who is the greater, the one who reclines at table (the master), or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am in your midst as One Who serves.

Luke 22:27 [AMP]

One of the things I have heard in the past and heard it again this weekend is that God’s Character makes Him predictable…but, when God acts it is very unpredictable. I would also say that the ways that God’s bestows earthly rewards/blessings are unpredictable as well.


I must be ready. One of the biggest helps I have on staying on the right path and living an upright life is that I would be mortified if I was both unprepared and sinning the moment the Lord returned. I don’t know the moment He will come back but I want to be living a life of Christ-Following-Action and my lamp lit when I see His face coming through the clouds on that day.