Today is Father’s Day, and while I wish all the dads a happy Father’s Day, I feel a little bit like an orphan. My dad went to Heaven 3 1/2 years ago, and it is something I will never really get over. I have felt like the impossible has happened. The world has continued to go on and my Dad hasn’t. It is just wrong that the world should go on as if nothing happened when our loved ones have left this world. I have feel like the world should sit up and take notice…why doesn’t it? Why?
I guess it is supposed to get easier…that time will dull the pain…but how long does that take? There are times when it seems like it has gotten worse. My heart doesn’t seem to know that it is supposed to hurt less with time. It just hurts!! I miss my Dad!! That doesn’t change!!
So, that said, my Dad is very much on my mind and heart today, as he is every day. He was such a sweet caring man…so patient with his girls, and I for one was a bit of a challenge. I always liked a…good debate…no I liked to argue, and I was very opinionated. But Dad was patient and put up with it…most of the time. And we had an understanding about it. When he said, “Don’t argue with me!!” I didn’t..anymore…at least for that moment. I knew that was the end of the discussion…he had had enough. Dad rarely lost his temper, even when we argued. He just got done.
Dad was a quiet hero. He fought for his country during World War II, but never spoke of it, unless we pried it out of him. He never thought of himself as a hero. On a rare occasion, when I took him to the airport to see the B-17 bombers, which is what he was on during the war, he told me a few things. He talked about where he stood and how he worked his gun. He talked about the work he did as flight engineer. The flight engineer was the go to man in any emergency. He had to know the systems and be able to do anything the ground crew could. If the plane was in trouble, he was the best chance they had to avoid a crash. That day did come for my dad’s crew when the landing gear wouldn’t come down, and my dad had to hang upside down in the bomb bay area and crank down the landing gear, saving the lives of his crew members.
Dad was all that to our country, and yet such a good dad. He always knew what to do to solve a problem. Maybe that came from his training, but I really think it came from his deep love for his family. He would have done anything to fix things for his family. He was an amazing husband and dad. We were so blessed to have him in our lives, and I just wish he was still here. Happy Father’s Day Daddy!! I love you and I can’t wait to see you again!!
I see so many people who don’t get along with their parents, and while I do know that sometimes that is inevitable, I believe most times it is simply a bad decision. Parents aren’t perfect, but if we will admit it, neither are we, their children. If children came with an instruction book, maybe things would be better, but it just doesn’t work that way. If kids would just try to listen to their parents and understand that while they might make mistakes in raising their children, they have your best interest at heart.
I am reminded of my own parents. While there were times that we fought, their lessons were invaluable. Of course, even when I thought I knew it all, they were patient with me…when, as my sisters have said, they probably felt much like choking me. I was probably on the list of difficult children, though I was never is any serious trouble. I just went against the grain sometimes. But had I taken a minute to see what was before me, I might not have fought so hard…no, we both know that isn’t so.
Whatever they weren’t, my parents were very moral people. Dad has gone home to be with the Lord now, but my mom is still here, and still training her children to do what is right, even though we are all grown and parents, and some of us grandparents. She still does her best to see to it that we live God’s way, and that our children do too. She and Dad cared so deeply about our spiritual life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Children may not always agree with their parents, and most would say that they don’t want to be anything like their parents, but in the end, when you have great parents, why wouldn’t you want to be just like them…I know I do.
My niece, Kellie is going to be singing at our church on Easter Sunday, and as a special treat, we got to hear her song this morning. Our church has a program on Sunday mornings at 9:30 on KTWO television in Casper, Wyoming, and Kellie’s performance will be aired there on Easter morning. I hope no one minds if I plug that just a little, as I am very proud of Kellie. Her song was beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes.
But, more than the beauty of the song, is the miracle that Kellie’s life is. Kellie had a rough beginning. She was born late and so was not underweight, but as happens sometimes in late births, she had some breathing problems that caused her to have to be flown to Denver. I don’t know all the details of her condition, and that is not important anyway. Kellie spent the weekend in Denver and then came home, where she grew into a happy and very, very giggly girl, as anyone who knows her can attest.
Her story doesn’t really end there, however. Kellie was born on Thursday, March 15,1990, and came home from Denver that following Sunday. I bowled with some of the nurses here that cared for her before she was transferred to Denver. That Tuesday morning when I went into bowling, they asked me how the baby was doing. I told the Kellie was doing great and was at home. They said, “Home, home!! Not in the hospital here??” I told them yes, to which they replied, “That is amazing!!! We didn’t expect her to live, much less be home in just 2 days!!” They were so stunned and so pleased that they had tears in their eyes.
God had done, and continues to do great things in Kellie’s life. As I said, she grew into a giggly girl whose laugh has the ability to make everyone around her laugh, even if they have no idea what is so funny, and with Kellie, it may be nothing at all, because she just finds life to be a reason to celebrate, and she finds joy and happiness in every moment. I know that giggly girl will always live inside her, and that she will always be a blessing in that way, but beyond that, she is an amazing and accomplished singer. But for me watching her today, and looking back on her beginning…well, I found myself filled with a sense of wonder and pride at the woman she has become.
I have been thinking about a situation that happened to me a few years ago, and while I have moved on, the shock of what happened still comes to mind sometimes. A good friend of mine passed away, and left some things to me and several other people in her will. Now, I know that many people would think that the only thing I care about is the things, but that is the least of it. In fact the things mean very little in the scheme of things. What brought this to mind again is the trip we made to visit her grave, which we do as often as we go to Reno.
What has bothered me over the years is that her children, chose to keep everything, and not honor her will at all. It was such a selfish act, and not because of the things, but because her final wishes were not honored. Oh, I’m sure they thought that they just couldn’t part with their mother’s things, but they didn’t belong to them. They stole from their mother!! Stole her right to have one final say in her own life. Stole her right to leave a bit of herself to her special, beloved friends. And, they stole their own peace of mind, because I know that every time I see one of them, she quickly looks away, because she feels guilt.
My friend had given me other things through the years, you see, she was an artist, but she told me that I was to have my choice of her paintings when she passed away. I knew it was in the will several years before she died. And it was brought up by her daughter right after she passed, but then it was dropped. There were some paintings that so reminded me of her sweet spirit, but I would never have deprived her daughters of all the paintings. We could have easily come to a workable agreement, but I was never given the chance to be generous toward her children. I received occasional correspondence from the attorney, who told me that there was nothing he could do about their refusal to honor the will, but nothing more. I don’t think of myself as a greedy person, but I do feel awful because my friend was robbed of her final say. She had been so happy when she told me she had put in her will to give me the paintings.
I just can’t believe people could be so cold, as to steal from the dead! It doesn’t matter, I suppose. At least not to them. But think of how they would feel if their children did that to them. It puts it in a very different light, doesn’t it. Please, when your loved one makes a will, do the honorable thing…honor their wishes.
I was thinking tonight about the next generation. Oh, I know, everyone thinks I’m going to complain about their dress, or attitude, or some other such thing, and while I would agree that those things can be annoying sometimes, that isn’t what I’m thinking about tonight. What came to my mind is the simple fact that at some point we will be passing the baton to this next generation.
Many people would cringe at the very thought, and when I think about some of the kids I see, I might have a tendency to join them in that. But we really can’t judge the kids by what they are today, because tomorrow, when responsibility hits them full force, they will change in a moment, just like we did. There isn’t one adult today, who can honestly say that their parents liked the way they dressed, the music they listened to, or the friends they had. They might have liked some things, but not all. And what parent hasn’t made mention of the dreaded next generation and scowled.
Well, just as we were that dreaded next generation and we changed into the establishment of today, so they will become the establishment of tomorrow, and they will look at their children and their friends as the next generation. And they will hope that as they changed into responsible adults, their kids will do the same.
As we did, most kids will grow into responsible adults. If we can instill in them the values we were raised with, and couple that with love and a respect for their feelings, most kids will blossom into adults that we can be very proud of. Kids are looking for approval…from someone. Now I don’t say to pretend that you love their clothes or music or attitude, but when they do something worthy of praise, don’t forget to praise them for it. If you don’t give positive reinforcement, they will act out to get your attention. We can’t be absent from their childhood and expect them to be great adults. We must love and encourage our kids, and most importantly keep their lives in prayer, because that is the most important thing we can do for them.
A couple of months ago, I lost a pin that I really liked. It had 2 Calla Lillies on it and it was delicate and beautiful. I searched high and low for it, at work, in my car, and at home. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Being a Christian, I believe that the devil has no right to steal things from me. I believe that God takes care of me and my things. His word promises me that I have power over the devil, and since the devil came to steal, kill, and destroy, what was happening to me was wrong. I prayed over my pin, telling God that He knew where it was and asked Him to reveal it to me.
During the next couple of months, I thought about my pin often, but it still had not been returned to me. I had not had to stand this long for a lost item before, and I wondered what to do about that. I know faith works, and I didn’t want to pull back my faith, and yet, I had no pin. I just kept putting it out of my mind.
Yesterday as I was getting some things out of my car after work, my attention was caught by something at the back edge of the driver’s side seat. There, staring me in the face, was my pin. I was ecstatic!! I wanted to jump up and down. I knew God would never let me down, so if the pin had never been returned, I would have to face the fact that I had failed in my faith stand. I really hadn’t much thought about the pin, and certainly not enough to be pressured to pull back my faith with some silly remark about how I guessed it wasn’t going to be returned. I had simply put it out of my mind for the most part. But, God is faithful. And words are alive. The words spoken in faith two months ago, were not forgotten by God, He didn’t put it out of his mind by saying it was too hard. No, God and I are in covenant, and He never takes that lightly. I, His child, had spoken in faith, and managed for two months not to pull back my faith, so God in His never-changing, perfect sense of responsibility and obligation to perform His word, did His part and brought it to pass.
My pin returned, I went about the rest of my day with a lighter heart and an ever growing understanding of how true to His word my God is. Thank you Father, for your faithfulness to me. I know that my God loves me and cares about every area of my life, from the biggest to the smallest detail. How awesome is that? I can roll the care of anything in my life over onto God, and He is faithful to supply every need, and even cares about my desires. Every little thing in my life is important to God, because He loves me and we are in covenant together. God always keeps up His end of the bargin.
Have you ever noticed that when you don’t think you like someone, even if you don’t really know them, your thoughts constantly fall in the realm of the negative? And the more negative thoughts you think toward them, the more you don’t like them. And not only that, but the more you think those negative thoughts, the more the person actually becomes like your thoughts. It’s hard to explain how that could happen, but I’m sure it has something to do with how those thoughts transfer into our attitude, our conversation, and if that isn’t enough, they keep us thinking more negative thoughts toward that person. Pretty soon the relationship is beyond repair.
This same scenario can play out in the lives of our children if we are not careful. Children can be frustrating at any age, and when we think angry thoughts toward them concerning their rebellious ways, and those thoughts turn to feelings that we display toward our children, they can begin to think that they never do anything right, or that we hate them or are disappointed in them. So they can rebel further, and a cycle begins to take shape. Sometimes kids think they can’t ever please us, so why try.
I don’t mean to say than we shouldn’t discipline our kids. They need rules and limits, and it would be wrong not give them these things. But once we have done so don’t think harsh thoughts about them. Think good thoughts about them again. They will know that you love them and are proud of them, in spite of their mistakes.
In a world of instant gratitude, being patient is not well received. We want a diet pill that instantly makes us thin. We charge things so we don’t have to save for them. We want instant income, instant fame, instant expertise, and the list goes on and on.
In The Message version of the Bible, Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” we can boldly quote, God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?” God want’s us to be content with what we have, and patient enough to wait for him to bring blessings to us. When we get “let-me-help-itis”, we get into trouble.
Being patient is important in everyday life too. We have to work to get where we want to be, and most times the road there takes a while, but isn’t a worthwhile goal worth the trip? There is such a sense of satisfaction when you finally reach a goal you set for yourself. You can be proud of what you have achieved.
The goal of being debt free is such a great goal, and it is Biblical too. Not many people get there, but with hard work and patience it is a goal that can be achieved. Of course the first move to make is, stop charging! Begin to save up for things you want, and pay as much as possible on existing debt. As cards are paid off, add that payment to remaining payments to pay everything off faster. The beauty of this is that you get to spend more of your own money when you aren’t paying interest to other people.
These are just a couple of goal setting ideas, and reasons to take this journey. I’m sure you have goals you want to reach. Be patient and work toward your goals. You can do it, if you don’t give up.
In church today, we sang one on my favorite songs. The song goes like this. “I’m consumed by the cry of Your spirit. I’m consumed by Your calling on me. And may my life forever be, consumed by Your fire in me.” The service went on this way, “What consumes you?” I began to think about the things that we allow to get in the way of our walk with God. Oh we always think we have a “really good” reason for skipping church this week. I mean we were up late last night, we were so busy getting things done around the house, it’s my only day to sleep in, I have a cold, and…well, the list goes on and on. I wonder what God thinks of our excuses. And just how would we feel if God suddenly had some excuse as to why He couldn’t be bothered with our “petty little lives” today. You see, we always expect God to act on our behalf…whenever we call on Him that is, because, well He’s God, and that’s His job, that’s what He is there for.
But, is that really a “relationship” with our Loving Father, or are we simply “going through the motions” and hoping no one will notice that our Faith Walk really leaves something to be desired. Our God is a loving God, and if we turn and call on Him, He is faithful to help us, but as we choose to step further and further away from a true “relationship” with Him, we begin to get to a place where we call on him less and rely on worldly advisors more and more, and when we really need to press into the Lord, we suddenly find that He has stepped back and let us go our own way. You see, God is a gentleman. He doesn’t force His way on any of us. He gave man a “free will” when He created us, and if we choose to go to hell, well He will stand up for our right to do so. But it will be the last thing He wants for us. It breaks His heart to see it. We are His children, His family. He wants nothing more than to have a real relationship with His kids. He is no different than any other parent in that way, but His love, and a relationship with Him offers us so much more than any earthly parent, because with God, there is only Love. Even when we are in sin, even when we turn our backs on Him, even when we refuse to listen or even give Him 1 hour of our “precious little pathetic lives” each week, He still loves us. He still LOVES us!!! How can that possibly be? Well, it’s because He is the God of second chances. He keeps taking us back, even when we don’t deserve it. It makes me feel very ashamed of myself for the times that I have let the silly, worthless, unimportant cares of this world get in the way of my relationship with my God, my Father. And Father, for those times, I ask your forgiveness.
The really good news is that when we ask His forgiveness, He is faithful to take us back and treat us like kings again. So today I want to ask you this question again, “What consumes you?” Is it God and His love for you, a loving, perfectly wonderful relationship with a Father who only wants the very best for you, or are the cares of this world, and the cares of your little life so far more important that you can’t be bothered…can’t even take 1 hour out of your week; and maybe a little bit of time to read your Bible; to spend time with your God…who gave you your very life. Think about that…..
“[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Romans 8:1
Before we were saved, we were lost in our sin and condemned to Hell. We had no hope, but God, who knew that after the fall of Adam we would not be able to keep His laws, loved us anyway. Our world had come under the control of Satan, and we were separated from God; condemned. God had to find a way, within the laws that put our world into being, to bring about the atonement that would restore man’s relationship with God. Since the wages of sin is death, and the only one qualified to reverse the curse that had been brought upon mankind, was someone who was sinless and yet human, God had to find a way to bring a sinless person into this world. It would take a long time to find a man on the earth who was willing to partner with God to bring this to pass, because God was now outside of His creation looking in. God would partner with Abraham to bring about a race of people who would be His special treasure and the ancestors of His Son, who would soon put off His Heavenly glory to take on an earthly body, in order to go to the cross to buy back God’s people. He would pay for us with His earthly life, beaten and hanging on a cross, which was the most humiliating way to die in that era. But Jesus loved us and willingly made this sacrifice for us.
Jesus would enter our world, having given up all the privileges of His status in Heaven, as the Son of God. The cross was so much more than simply the shedding of blood. There was a covenant made between God and Jesus, the Son of Man. Blood covenants in Middle Eastern culture are forever. Jesus had taken our sins, our sicknesses, our separation from God and through the shedding of His blood, He paid the price required to buy our freedom from the curse and condemnation. All that was left was for us to receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and our lives would be forever changed. We would walk after spiritual things and be free from condemnation forever. The sacrifice Jesus made is free for anyone who will receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Lord, thank you for the atonement for my sins that you have freely given. Now I am a new creation. I am no longer condemned, but an heir to the throne. I receive your salvation in Jesus name. Amen