kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: December, 2012

Fully Alive When Helping Others

If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for My sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.” (Mark 8:35 LB)

Ramblings from Evan’s dad Evan loves to fish. He will do it with a fancy rod, or with a twig. As long as there is water and the possibility of fish, he will wet a hook.

This reminds me of story I heard about the guy who liked to fish. He heard there was a group of fishermen that met at a church once a week. He decided he would join, since they were like minded. The first meeting he attended they sat around and talked about fish and what they liked. It was a very informative meeting. The next week he excitedly attended the meeting and heard great discussions on where fish lived, and there was even a slide show. The third meeting had a guest speaker with an extensive slideshow on the different types of fish. By the fourth meeting he began to get impatient and just wanted to go fishing. That evening they announced there would be discussions on organizing a fishing trip at the next weekly meeting. However, he was deeply disappointed when the next meeting’s discussion led to the group wanting to form a committee on possible places to go fishing. He left the meeting, frustrated, not wanting to sit around and talk about it anymore. He just wanted to go fishing, and fishing he did. He had a wonderful day of enjoying the water, and landing several keepers. The next week’s meeting went crazy when they found out he had actually gone fishing. They asked him to give a 45 minute talk to the group on the successes and pitfalls of fishing. Afterwards, they wanted to put him on a speaking tour where he could go tell other groups about his successes. Sadly he walked out of the meeting knowing he would not return. He realized that while he wanted to fish, they just wanted to sit around and talk about fishing.

I am saddened to think about how often we as Christians only talk about doing God’s work…and not actually doing it. When I was meeting every week with Dr. Jim, he asked me what my thoughts were on meeting with a less mature Christian. I remember giving him some pretty good excuses, like “I am not knowledgeable enough in the Bible”, and I didn’t feel like I was ready. He assured me if I waited till I felt like I was ready, I might never do it. He then went on to tell me he had someone in mind for me to meet with and desciple. A week later I started meeting with “Fred”, and we did so off and on for the next two years. We often struggled through questions and issues that I did not always have the answer for when asked. But we both did grow spiritually. Was it easy? No. Were there mornings I showed up at O’dark:30, only to have “Fred” not show?  You better believe it. But, I wasn’t doing it just for “Fred”, or Dr. Jim, or even me. I was doing it because that is what Jesus commanded us to do.

Dr. Jim told me that God doesn’t require us to be successful. He calls us to be faithful and to learn to love and serve others unselfishly….

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“If you insist on saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for My sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live.” (Mark 8:35 LB)

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You Were Saved to Serve God

“God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 CEV)

Ramblings from Connor’s dad – Like many other people, I grew up in church. I even led the singing at our little country church while I was working my way through college. My idea of service was getting up on Sunday and leading the singing for morning and night services. I checked that off, and then went about my week.

I finished school and moved away for a few years. I continued to climb that “ladder of success”, and fortunately it brought me back to Atlanta 4 years later. One night in my late 20’s, I went to church to meet a young lady a friend had mentioned. Luckily, that night I met Jesus instead. I begin an ernest search to know this Saviour I had cavalierly heard of and thought little more of for years. God brought a godly woman into my life, (Kris), who I married two years later. About that same time he brought Dr. Jim into my life who, for the next four years, poured himself into me every Monday morning over coffee.

Two years into our marriage God brought another person along to help me on my journey. He was wrapped up like a burrito and weighed less than 7 lbs, but Connor dramatically changed the way I looked at the world, and more importantly, how I saw God looking at me. This baby could do nothing for me, he was totally dependent on us. I still remember changing his first stinky diaper in the hospital, and I changed many more after that. I loved him unconditionally, even when he smelled of a dirty diaper. I held him when he cried. It quickly dawned on me that God loved me even more. And up to that point, I was doing about as much for Him as Connor was for me!

Slowly Connor grew. He was inquisitive and always wanting to learn. In the fifth grade he had the audacity to want to go to Peru on a mission trip. Outside my comfort zone! I was too busy with work and climbing the ladder. No can do!…but 8 weeks later I found myself in Peru with this small 5th grader, who was excited to be there and tell people about Jesus. I only had to tolerate being a tree in a long skit for seven days. (try holding your arms out for 10 minutes!)

By the second day I started looking at life differently. I started seeing the people who had so little, smile at our skit. I saw the tears flowing from the eyes of those who were hurting and hopeless who, for the first time in a long time, were given hope. I started seeing dozens come up afterwards, wanting to have a new life through Christ. It was life changing for them, and for me.

Yeah, we did it again, and again, again. I think we went to Peru 4 times, Colombia once, and to West Virginia twice. Connor went without us, to Arkansas, Panama, and back to Colombia. I’ve watched our oldest grow into an incredible young man. More than once I’ve seen him moved by a need, and give all he had. He loves being around kids (kinda like Jesus used to do). No, He is not perfect, he makes mistakes, gets in trouble every now and then, but for the most part, Connor is an awesome Christian young man! I am so thankful to have him as a son, and now as a friend and brother in Christ. Who would have “thunk” a little burrito could have such an impact on teaching this old guy about service.

I love you Connor King….

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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Serving Should Define Your Life

This much is certain: The greatest thing each person can do is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally—weakness, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings, which are all too often made under the guide of weakness.Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad  One of the verses I memorized early on in my weekly meeting with Dr. Jim was Romans 12:1. The NKJV says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

In this verse Paul is pleading to the Christians in Rome to “present” their bodies as a living sacrifice. I read the word not as a verb, where you sacrifice something, but as a noun, where we are the sacrifice. He then goes on to say we need to be holy and acceptable to God. I am no rocket scientist, but that sounds like we need to be as “clean” as possible. Some of us have a little more cleaning to do then others, to make ourselves acceptable.

The thing that really hit me in memorizing this is the last part, where we are told it is our “reasonable” service. Meaning this is what is expected, not considered exemplary, but reasonable. I for one have to confess that I have gotten very comfortable in being a follower of Jesus, when it is convenient. Paul says, “no, no, no”, when convenient is not enough.

I have to stop thinking of it as a verb, “when I offer a sacrifice”. I have to continually remind myself that I am a noun, “I am a living sacrifice”. That doesn’t sound near as attractive to me. Yet Paul tells us it is our reasonable service. That sounds like a lifestyle to me. Rick Warren says, “The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?” That is not the mindset of the world around us!

When more of us start living our lives sacrificially like that, people will begin to take notice, and want to know what makes us different….

Father, help me live my life today in a sacrificial way, so that those watching will see Jesus in my life. Help me be a stepping stone for people to find You, and not a stumbling block.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1-2

 

God Made You to Make A Difference

God . . . has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10 TEV)

Ramblings from Kris’ husband – I am reminded of the story in the Gospels of Jesus walking along the countryside. He comes to a fig tree and finds no fruit. I am sure the fig tree was pretty to look at with its new green leaves. Maybe it even offered a little shade from the heat of the sun. But it did not do what it was made to do. The Bible says Jesus cursed the tree. The next day when they walked back by it, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots. Jesus did not flippantly curse the fig tree because it wasn’t producing fruit early in the spring. He cursed the tree because it should have been growing fruit since it had the outward signs of productivity. He knew the fruit appeared the same time the leaves did.

My beautiful bride chastised me yesterday. She told me that the joy I normally exhibited, has been replaced at times with grumpiness. I of course took it like a man…and went and sulked at the doctors office for several hours. I came home with a prescription and promptly discounted the grumpiness to being sick.:) She countered that I must have been sick for months. :/

Obviously, I need to go back and read some of these and apply them personally, again! Are we facing struggles and going through storms like those around us? Sure we are. We are facing pressures with our company, the economy, health, etc. We have 3 teenagers now, and are not so worried about diapers and colic, but instead things like college, and leaving the nest. I have all the excuses from the world’s view, for being a little more grumpy or short fused. I am afraid though, from God’s view, I have been failing miserably.

As a follower of Jesus, I should be filled with the fruit of the spirit, so I can be used by Him. Sure believers go through storms, too. But our faith in Him, should minimize the grumps, and I fear I have not been practicing what I was preaching. The grumpiness says I am not trusting God enough, and bearing a lot less fruit. The “good deeds” from Ephesians 2 that are our service to the world, unfortunately, have been fewer with me lately. Whenever we serve others in any way, we are actually serving God. My chastisement by my best friend (which by the way, I’m sure wasn’t easy), points out that I have not been serving Him as much as I should be.

I need to make sure I am living a fruitful life for my Redeemer. I sure don’t want Jesus walking by and mistaking me for a barren fig tree….

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Father please forgive my doubts. Please help me remember that You don’t promise to keep us away from the storms, but You do promise to go through them with us.  Fill me with Your joy and peace and love, so I can be used by You. I pray those looking at me, will want what I have, and not try to avoid it. I pray that I can be used by You today.  In Jesus name, amen.

 

The Legend of the Christmas Prayer

In honor of our Savior’s birth I thought of this today.

Once upon a time, at Christmas time, long ago, a man who had a big heart, but little money, dreamt he could give his friends endless riches. When he awoke, the dream kept running through his mind, over and over. Finally, he asked himself: “If I could give my friends anything, what would I give?” He smiled as he began to think of all the wondrous things he could buy for them. But then he thought: “I’m a happy man, yet I have none of those things.” And he began to think that perhaps real wealth could not be measured in riches. Perhaps there were gifts of greater value than the things money could buy. In the still of the night, he pondered these things and thought of Christmas and what it meant to him. Taking out his quill, he began to write on a parchment scroll:

On the first day of Christmas, I pray for you JOY, in abundance and laughter, for joy cures our ills and joy makes our spirits soar.
My servants shall sing for joy of heart Isaiah 65:14

On the second day of Christmas, I pray for you a SIGH, when you need one, for a sigh clears the heart as a cough clears the throat, and with a sigh comes acceptance of what we cannot change.
Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You. Psalms 5:11

One the third day of Christmas, I pray for you TEARS, when you need them, for tears clear the eyes to see the stars and cleanse the soul to let healing begin.
You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle. Psalm 56:8

On the fourth day of Christmas, I pray for you SERENITY, for fights and wars start in individual breasts and that is where they must end.
What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

On the fifth day of Christmas, I pray for you WISDOM, for our priceless gift is the gift of choice and we should use it well everyday, in word and deed.
He who heeds the word will find good. Proverbs 16:20

On the sixth day of Christmas, I pray for you PATIENCE, for most troubles pass if we wait them out, and success comes with persistence.
Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:7

On the seventh day of Christmas, I pray for you COURAGE, for there may be many pitfalls and dangers ahead and problems can only be solved when they are faced.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid… for the LORD
your God, He is the One who goes with you. Deuteronomy 31:6

On the eight day of Christmas, I pray for you COMPASSION, for we cannot help others until we understand them, and we cannot understand them until we walk in their shoes.
Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother.
Zechariah 7:9

On the ninth day of Christmas, I pray for you a WILLINGNESS to work, for work turns dreams to reality whether the dreams are ours or belong to
those we can help.
Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings. Proverbs 22:29

On the tenth day of Christmas, I pray UNWAVERING FAITH, for faith shapes our morals and our destiny and draws us closer to God. The just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

On the eleventh day of Christmas, I pray for you a mind full of HOPE, for hope determines our attitudes, sets our goals and creates our ideals.
You are my hope, O Lord God, You are my trust. Psalm 71:5

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I pray for you a heart so full of LOVE, that everyday you must give some away to those whose paths you cross. Now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 

And with each prayer, the man realized he was not giving a gift at all, but hoping that his friends would find the gifts they already had within them. Each time he wrote a prayer, a marvelous thing happened. It seemed to him that the prayer, although offered for his friends, remained in his heart and produced in him the very thing he prayed for them. The man copied his scroll and sent the Christmas prayer to special friends, and that is where the legend of the Christmas prayer is lost in the mists of time.The man was never heard of again but, over the years, the Christmas Prayer began to appear all over the world. People in obscure villages and big cities would receive at Christmas time a copy of the scroll from a friend. And so the wonder multiplied, until the prayer and story reached you.  –  Author Unknown

May you experience the warmth, and enjoy the riches of the Christmas Prayer, too!

HaPpY BiRtHdAy JESUS!

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God Makes YOU New

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad   When the kids were much younger, 4-6 years old, they were often scared at bedtime. They didn’t understand that we were usually on the other side of their door, in the den. I would go into their room and explain that God had a guardian angel in the room with them, guarding them. Sometimes I would stand on the foot of their bed, stand as tall and big as I could, and say there was a real angel doing just that. We got to the point that each kid named their angel. We would talk about how much the angel loved them, because the angel loved God, and they knew God loved them. After a while, the kids were able to visualize their angel watching over them. Every night at prayer time, we would thank God for the angels that watched over them. Once they were able to visualize their new identity with an angle, they typically had a much easier time going to sleep.

Am I that different as an adult? How often do I feel beat up (or frightened) by the world with the economy, political strife, our business, cash flow, and health issues, just to name a few. I was very small for my age when I was a adolescent and teenager. I was made fun of and called names like “shrimp” and “shorty”. Fortunately I was pretty good in baseball (or at least in my own eyes). When things got rough with name calling, I would remind myself  ” I am a great baseball player”. When I got picked on and bullied, I would remind myself  “I am a great baseball player”. Let me tell you when I got out on the field to practice, I would attack it like it was the 7th game of the World Series. I went all out in practice, always giving it 110%! Why? Because that was my identity.

What would I look like today if I carried that same mindset, but instead of reminding myself I am a great baseball player, I reminded myself that I am a forgiven child of the King of Kings! Would I consistently have a different outlook on life? When the news reports that the economy is going south, I need to remind myself that I am a child of the King of Kings! When our company is having a rocky time, I need to remind myself that I am a child of the King of Kings! When the doctor says we have a health issue, I need to remind myself that I am a child of the King of Kings!

Shouldn’t I be attacking life, and the spiritual battles, like I used to attack the ball field? Striving to do my best because of who I am, a child of the King of Kings?!?…

Father, do Your deepest work in my life. Help me deal with my identity – who I am, the way I see myself, my self-perception. You know I will always tend to act according to the way I think about myself. So Father give me a paradigm shift, and let me see me, as You do. Thank You for not giving up on me. Thank You for loving me enough to not leave me where I am!  Thank You that roughly 2000 years ago Mary was getting ready to have a precious baby. A baby that You sent here to die in my place!

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Then He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  (Genesis 32:28)

Confession Leads to Transformation

Ramblings from Evan’s dad-  The story about Jacob and Esau has always been a story that bothered me. A younger brother, with his mom’s help, steals the blessing of his older brother. But I guess it makes sense if your name means “deceiver“.  Years later he has to admit or confess that to the angel of God. I think Jacob was holding on for dear life, afraid that if he let go, his brother would kill him the next day. Confessing and then asking, pleading, hanging on for dear life-sincerity, got him a a new lease on life. The angel said your new name is Israel, or  “God will prevail“.

We all have flaws. Some of us are blessed with more than others. Every night I try to pray with each of our kids individually. I want it to be one of the last things they hear before going off to sleep. Often I thank God for the way He made them. It is no accident that God made each of them the way He did.  Their strengths and weaknesses, personalities, temperaments, and physical characteristics, are all specially designed by God. When I pray, I thank Him for those strengths, those weaknesses, and the way He wired them. I pray that whatever those weaknesses are, like Paul and his thorn in the side, that the weaknesses make them lean on Him. My desire is those three precious kids will always know how special they are, but at the same time know how totally inadequate they are without Him!

Imagine how bad Superman could have been if he used his strength for evil. Everyone would have had to keep some Kryptonite in their pocket, or around their neck. Seriously, are we that different?  If we have placed our hope and faith in Christ, aren’t we plugged into a power infinitely greater than Superman?  I am not looking to jump over a tall building in a single bound, but I do desire to be a prayer warrior. I want to put a “frowny-face” on the demons around me. But to do that, I have to remember the defects I am built with. Thank goodness I am not a car, or I would have been recalled years ago!  I was given enough of them that it is easy to remember how badly I need my Heavenly Father and His power.

Father, thank You for loving me enough to lift me up out of the sin I was wallowing in, clean me off, and make me usable by You.  Please forgive me for all my mistakes I made yesterday, and will make again today.  Thank You for knowing how badly I would fail You over and over again, and still loving me enough to let Your Son die for me. In His name I pray, amen.

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Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  (Genesis 32:26-28)

God’s Rescue Often Takes Time…

“What you and I might rate as an absolute disaster, God may rate as a pimple-level problem that will pass. He views your life the way you view a movie after you’ve read the book. When something bad happens, you feel the air sucked out of the theater. Everyone else gasps at the crisis on the screen. Not you. Why? You’ve read the book. You know how the good guy gets out of the tight spot. God views your life with the same confidence. He’s not only read your story…he wrote it.” ― Max Lucado

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – There have been numerous times when I saw one of the kids pick something up to do or put together, without reading the directions. I would point out reading the directions might help, or maybe even start to offer advice. But in the excitement of the moment, they “instinctively knew what to do”…not! Later, they would see their impatience led to problems. They said they were sorry. I said that I forgave them. But they still had to work through their bad choice. It wasn’t magically made right.

Am I really any different? How often do I get in too big a hurry, and rush ahead of God, not taking time to read His directions or listen to His voice, and later realize I have a problem. Then God has the audacity to not get in a hurry to get me out of the jam, I got myself into.

So that’s why He hasn’t fixed things?!?…I am slow sometimes, but things are starting to make sense. Maybe it’s not God being slow, maybe, just maybe, its me being slow.

Father, I know I have made bad decisions. I know that I don’t always look to You before acting. Please forgive me for my impatience and sinful self. Help me open my eyes in those circumstances and learn to wait on You. Even if the answer continues to be “No”…

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For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3:5 ESV)

With God, You Are Capable

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”  ― Theodore Roosevelt 

Ramblings from Evan’s dad – Just before Evan was born, I remember at one of our Monday morning breakfast’, Dr. Jim and I were talking about ministry. He seemed to be doing more ministry than medicine, with all the men he was meeting with one on one.

I asked him why didn’t go ahead and retire from his practice and go into the ministry full-time. He looked at me incredulously and replied, “But who would support the people I help support? And I would need people to support me, and possibly take support away from those I support now…and besides, I am already in ministry full-time. Whatever I do, I do to the best of my ability, honoring God in the process. So regardless what it is, its ministry.”  (I didn’t suggest that idea again.:)

But he did make a valid point. Whatever we Christians do in life, we are called to be a witness. Whether we clean floors, or own the buildings those floors are in. Whether we are the patient or the doctor, we are to live our life 24/7 so that people see Jesus in us. Hopefully, they will see a big enough contrast to ask us what makes us different. When they do, we should be like a witness on the stand in a trial. and give an account of what we know first hand happened and the transformation that took place in us. Hopefully, they will see the need they have, and the gift that God offers.

Because of Dr. Jim’s mindset rubbing off on me, like him, I try to tithe not only my money, but also my time.

He often reminded me that wherever I was, I might very well be the only “Bible” they would read that day. He taught me to pray that I’d leave the “aroma of Jesus” everywhere I went.

My prayer today is that I leave a sweet smell behind me…and that I DON”T stink things up!….

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Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, (2Timothy 1:8-9)

God Says You Are Valuable

“You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on the earth by the Master Craftsman.” ― Max Lucado

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad- When I became a senior in High School, I ordered a class ring like everyone else. It was personalized with my initials and the color stone I wanted. A few months after high school it was no longer on my hand, but placed in a drawer. You see I never really placed any value on it because I didn’t treasure it.

Decades later I am sad to say I have no idea where it is. Since I didn’t value it. I didn’t think about it, or make any attempts to protect it. Now years later, a ring that would be worth a lot of money because of the price of gold, is gone. It’s sad because I am sure I paid good money for it. Money I earned at my part time job, having fun at the mall. I flippantly looked through a catalog, gave them my initials, plopped down the cash, and walked away. Several months later it showed up and I paid attention to it for a few weeks, and then thoughtlessly placed it in a drawer.

Fast forward 35 years later to today. A friend and I are going to purchase something we want badly. The catch is we are going to buy it, one expensive piece at a time, each month, and over the course of many months, we are going to assemble it.

My question is do you think I will easily misplace it like my senior ring? They both cost me money. Not a chance!

I am so glad God see’s me as the latter. I continue to be a work in progress. One that came at a great price, through the blood His Son shed for my sins. Thankfully He didn’t put me in a drawer. He continuously looks at me and places great value on me, not because of what I’ve done, but instead, what was done for me. I was battered and beaten up by the world. Yet God saw value in even me and eternally touched my life.

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You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men. (1 Corinthians 7:23 ESV)

 

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