As God helps me to faithfully read the Bible each year, I regularly receive new insights. The Word of God is indeed living and active! For example, for many years, whenever I read Luke 15, I focused on the prodigal son, the squandering of his inheritance, his decline from a loving home to feeding the pigs, and his contrite return home. I could relate to this young man, as well as his elder brother.

Recently my attention was drawn not to the sons, but to the father. I pictured him praying and expectantly watching from afar, perhaps looking out his window, hoping for his son’s return. One day he caught a glimpse of him a long way off. I envisioned him running down the street with arms spread wide, his long robe flapping, perhaps losing a sandal in the dusty street, and finally embracing his disheveled boy. 

The father and the repentant son then returned home, arm in arm. However now the elder brother was struggling. I observed the loving Dad patiently reaching out and pursuing his older son. He heard his concerns and gently loved him in his downcast state. There was no rebuke, just understanding and care. What an amazing picture of a loving, knowing, compassionate, dad. I would change the title of that section of Scripture from “The Prodigal Son” to “The Faithful Dad.”

A few weeks ago I completed the book of Nehemiah and had a similar change in perspective. Nehemiah is one of those fascinating historical narratives that I look forward to reading each year. From the first chapter I’m captivated as Nehemiah hears the report of the state of affairs in Israel. He is deeply moved by what he hears and determines to make a difference. He prays and presents an appeal to the great emperor. 

Watching Nehemiah in action is so informative. I am in awe as I follow this wise seasoned planner and gifted administrator at work. I am glad I am on the same team as this no nonsense man of God. He is committed to the restoration of Jerusalem and never swerves from His purpose. Woe to his enemies who find their trickery exposed, their furniture thrown out of the temple, and even their hair pulled!!

Sadly I am equally astounded by the behavior of the returning Jews to their homeland. Even after they have been led into captivity, and then miraculously offered the opportunity to return and rebuild Jerusalem, they quickly forsake the law and the prophets, intermarry with foreign nations, charge interest to their brethren, and forsake the Levites; the very reasons why they were cast out of their own land 70+ years earlier. Will they never learn?

Yet this year I was blessed by Nehemiah 9. The Spirit helps restore a sense of perspective. God is the focus of this inspired prayer from verses 6 through 38. This is a brief and accurate overview of the history of God’s dealings with His people from the Exodus to their return. As the details are outlined, the waywardness of the people is acknowledged and God is magnified. 

Here is an example, emphasis mine: “They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.

Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies, You in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go. You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst. Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.” (Nehemiah 9:17-21)

Even with all the interesting developments and details unfolding in this narrative, God receives His due. He is faithful. People obey and disobey, nations come and go, yet He remains the same. He is indeed, “a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” He never changes. 

I also found it edifying that the name Nehemiah means “Yah comforts.” “Naham” means comfort and the ending “iah” signifies the name of God, Yah. For those who want more info on the etymology of this name, click here.

In both the account of the Faithful Father in Luke 15 and our gracious and merciful God in Nehemiah 9, I have been meditating on how good and faithful is our Dad. Even when we fall away like the wayward son, or whine like the older brother, or make the same mistakes over and over as the nation of Israel, God never forsakes us. He is faithfully and patiently at our side. He is God and He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Amen!

Upgrade to Stewardship
I received input from students asking me to record the Biblical Studies so they could be listened to as a short podcast, and here they are!

I have begun to receive emails from families who have completed the 25 days. One family wrote:

“We finished our 25 days of family devotions. Thank you for showing us it can be done!”

Another family commented:

“We normally read Scripture together during the school year, but sometimes our Morning Time falls off the wagon during the summer months. Your 25-day challenge helped give us some motivation to keep it going, and we have done it!”

There are still 5 days until Labor Day. As soon as you complete the 25 days of family devotions, send me your name and address and choose your prize. 

Prize #1. The four free books: Hymns for Family Worship, Family Worship, Come Into His Presence and a signed copy of His Story My Story. 

Prize #2. Or for families of teens, a free course (2 class credits) on personal finance (1 credit) and Bible 101 (1 credit), in my Stewardship Curriculum

Upcoming Events:

September 29, 2023 from 6:30-8:30 PM.

Family Worship You See. 
To my friends in PA, I will be leading an evening workshop on how to have family worship. This will be an encouraging hands-on session where we will practice and learn together how to do this in our homes. Learn more and register here

If you would like to host one in your area, let me know!

October 5, 2023

Homeschool Days, Miracle Mountain Ranch
I’ll be speaking three times in the afternoon of this special homeschool event

October 13-15, 2023

Men’s Fall Retreat
Spruce Lake Retreat Center in Canadensis, PA ( The cost will be $125.00 per man for room and board. We have several committed to coming and space for 20. Learn more and register here.

Recent Podcasts:
Two weeks ago, the Building Faith Families podcast was added to Amazon Music. Of course you can always find them posted weekly here.

367    Spiritual Warfare, #5, Praying for the Protection of Our Children
368    Our 44th Wedding Anniversary Report and God’s Lovingkindness
369    Spiritual Warfare, #6, Power in the Blood of Jesus
370    Spiritual Warfare, #7, The Fabric of His Footstool
371    Spiritual Warfare, #8, The Mighty Spirit of God
371    Spiritual Warfare, #9, O Magnify the Lord

Be encouraged, there is still 24 days left of summer 🙂