A Tribute to My Dad

 

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness (Heb 12:10).

I usually don’t write syrupy things, but as Fathers’ Day approaches, I am feeling a bit nostalgic and missing my dad. This year he would be 100 years old. As my mother, who had been known to have blonde moments once said, “If he was alive, he would probably be dead by now.” The scary part is that I understood what she was saying!

Dad loved kids. He really enjoyed doing things for his children and grandchildren. One of his favorite lines to mom was, “We don’t need a new___, save the money for the kids.” And he loved surprising the grandkids with candy credit when they went to the corner drug store.

I really wish he could have known his great grandchildren. The two oldest are thoughtful and kind, the middle two are so personable, and the youngest two are smile magnets.

I love this verse, because as I was growing up, I always negatively compared my parents to others. But as a parent, I know that all I did (and continue to do as a parent of adult children) was what I thought best.

Each day I am grateful that I have the word of the Heavenly Father to look to for guidance, and that I had the example of an earthly father who always did what he thought was best for us.

Lost Time

Then I will restore (make-up) to you the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25).

I love interpreting this verse metaphorically in order to apply it to my own life.

We have all had periods in our lives where we have wasted days, even years on being angry, or timid, or sulky, or fearful, or whiney, or even mentally checking-out. Later we regret those times especially if there is a person involved who is no longer with us.

In many instances a do-over is not possible, but God is able and can somehow compensate. He is so gracious to those who put their faith in Him, and with Him nothing is impossible. After all, it is not God that invades our peace, but it is Him who can lead us to still waters and can more than satisfy the ache in our soul.

Producing Fruit


The rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bring forth and bud that make it give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. It is the same with My word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it (Is 55:10-11).

Sorry about writing about this verse again, but I am so excited about it. As a believer (and a teacher), when I discover something wise, helpful, or true, I feel compelled to share it. But sometimes I feel unsure of myself or how to approach people with the truths of God’s word, even when I think that it will really help them. This verse is a reminder that the result is not my concern. As long as I am obedient in what I say (or don’t say), God will accomplish what He wants with it, when He wants, where He wants. And it will prosper.

Little Accidents ?

Listen children to your Father’s instructions, and pay attention in order to gain understanding (Prov 4:1).

I used to really enjoy watching Bob Ross, the soft-talking TV artist whose words flowed with wisdom and comfort as he painted “happy little trees.” Whenever he dripped or blobbed on the canvas, he’d say, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

As believers, our mistakes can be defined as acting outside the will of God, and truth be told, those happy little accidents can sometimes have devastating consequences that we can’t undo or fix.

But God can! His plans are still being accomplished and He can still use us in them. The first step is to acknowledge them, not try to cover up or justify. And just like any loving parent, God teaches us through our mistakes as we grow more and more in the image of His perfect Son.

Then He taught me and said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commandments and you will live (Prov 4:4).

 

The Mission Field

You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses …to the ends of the earth (Acts1:8)

In the past month I have been in three different churches in two different states and the message has been the same encouragement. Our ministry is right where we are.

I once read of a church that had the following sign above the exit—“You are now entering the mission field.” What a great reminder that we do not need to go to Belize or Haiti to serve as a missionary, but to be a witness for Jesus Christ wherever God puts us. And unless we’re resisting His prompting, He has us right where He wants us.
There are so many people in our path everyday, and they all need Jesus. Like one pastor said, “So, Church, break out of the huddle, and let’s head out into the world.”

The Secret Place continued

 

But when you pray, go into your room, shut the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matt 6:6).

Since some of you read this directly from your email, you may have missed this awesome comment from a dear friend definitely worth sharing:

This passage is so dear to me! Prayer is the one SECRET place where we don’t have to HIDE. We can come to the love Father– to the One who sees ALL things, and be able to expose all our shame and guilt and fear and poverty and and sin and wretchedness and brokenness and blindness and be completely naked before Him… and still be bathed and received into eternal Love.

Reasonable? Everything? Really?

Present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

By our human nature, we are ego-centric. It is evident in its purest form in infants and young children. It is still evident in older children who are learning to share, maybe grudgingly, and take turns. And junior high and the selfie generation-well, I rest my case.

But as adults, and especially believers, we are still fighting the almighty me. Even when serving, we avoid serving in a way that is uncomfortable for me.

This verse tells us that our reasonable service to God is everything–all we can do, all we have, all we are. Not so that we can get something in return, but just the opposite. We already are recipients of His grace and mercy every day, every hour, every minute, every breath.

It is not surprising that fighting our own will is one of our greatest battles. It is a spiritual one that requires spiritual intervention. You already know what the first step is, right?

I’ll be praying with you—and for you.