I was reading tonight (Sunday) while trying to rehab my knee. I'm guilty of most my age... acting shocked when pain arises while applying a 20-year-old's work out to a late 40's body. The knees don't recover like they used to. I've heard that the best workout is physical and mental, so I sometimes hook up my road bike to a stationary trainer and read while "spinning," also known as stationary bicycling.


Tonight I pulled down a collection from Max Lucado given to me by Dave Rietema several years ago. Tonight's short short devotional was from his book "the Great House of God." Lucado talks about entering the living room, the great room, of the house of God, and there we see a painting. It is of two men. We learn the older man is the father of the younger, and the younger has literally thrown away everything his father has provided for him. The picture is the moment of reunion between the father and prodigal son captured on canvas.


Lucado uses this scene to illustrate how much God treasures the term father, or even daddy. Parents know it. "Father" is accurate, but Dad or Daddy is intimate. It is relationship without fear. In describing the scene, the painting hung in the primary gathering room with such exact portrayal of the emotions involved, Lucado tells how the rebellious young man has nothing to offer except is a rehearsed speech and his desire to give up his name if necessary.


"The boy is content to be a hired hand. There is only one problem. Though the boy is willing to stop being a son, the father is not willing to stop being a father. Though we can't see the boy's face in the painting, we can't miss the father's. look at the tears glistening on the leathered cheecks, the smile shining through the silve beard, one harm holds the boy up so he won't fall, the other hold the boy close so he won't doubt." (Page. 12, The Great House of God)


Sometimes I think we need to ask God how to love and even recognize him more thoroughly, more intimately. The thought came to me after a recent bible study with some guys here in town. The discussion that night reminded me of a mountain retreat I was on probably 20-plus years ago when I lived in Fort Collins. One of the married guys in the group talked about his marriage and how he had to ask God to love his wife through him.


I wonder what God's reaction would be if we would be so honest with him as to bluntly say "God! I want to know you, but I don't know how to love you. Help me know how to love you."


"Of all his names, Father is God's favorite. We know he loves this name most because this is the one he used most. In his first recorded words, Jesus explained "Didn't you know I would be in my father's house? (Luke 2:49)" His last words were just as connected: "Father, I give you my life. (Luke 23:46)" The Great House of God, page 13.


"Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him" (Romans 4:7-8)

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