kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: May, 2013

God Blesses You When You Tithe

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – It is so easy to read about tithing and God blessing you.  Its a “whole nother” thing to put it in to action. Kinda like the guy who walked a tightrope between two highway bridges, while he pushed a wheel-barrel across. The onlookers standing along both bridges cheered him on. Then he announced he would do it blindfolded. The crowd erupted in more applause. He asked them if they thought he could do it. Everyone cheered “YES!”  He then turned to the people standing closest to him, singled out a lady who was cheering the loudest, and asked her to get in the wheel-barrel…she REFUSED.

It’s one thing to think someone can do something dangerous. It’s a whole different story if you have to believe in them enough to be a part of the stunt!

Our faith with God can be similar. We read all through the Bible about God’s miracles and provisions. Heck, he provided for the Jews in the wilderness for 40 years! Yet do we believe enough that He will do the same for us, that we give the first 10% of our paycheck? Sure You can do it Lord! Wait, why are you looking at me? You want me to do what?!?

Do I believe all of those things happened? Absolutely! From the creation story, the flood, and the parting of the sea, all the way to Jesus’ miracles, and His death and resurrection. But sometimes, believing and application can be worlds apart.

I think sometimes I am like our kids. I was out the other night with one and bought them a chocolate milkshake. As they were enjoying it, I asked for a taste. Or as Kris and I like to word it, I said I needed them to pay a “tax”. I slurped the delicious concoction for a few seconds, when said child took it back. They admitted they were afraid I’d drink too much. I asked a sibling setting beside them, “if my taxing had ever left him wanting”? His reply was an emphatic “no”. He knows that I have always supplied them with what they need, and often even what they want. I have never had so much of his milkshake, that he didn’t have enough. In fact if I had, I’d probably go buy him another one.

He’s learned a principle that I need to remember. That just as his earthly father wants to provide for him, our Heavenly Father wants to do the same, and more. God is interested in our heart. As some of the guys in our small group were saying last night, He is more interested in us be OBEDIENT, then He is in us being EXCELLENT….

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Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house. And thereby put Me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.  (Malachi 3:10 ESV)

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The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.”  (1 Corinthians 3:8 NIV)

Ramblings from Connor King’s dad – When the kids were really small, every time I started to do something, they wanted to “help”. Which as you might imagine, really meant slow me way down in getting something done. But when possible, I tried to be patient and let them help.

Unfortunately, that didn’t last too long. Pretty soon when they saw me preparing to do a chore, they looked like a “myotonic goat”, suddenly needing to take a nap.

When naps no longer worked, they became selfless. When asked to do something, they thought of their sweet siblings…”Dearest father, why don’t you let my wonderful sibling do that? They would love doing it!”

The kids are older and they have gotten so much better. I appreciate their attitudes they try to exhibit. 98% of the time if I ask Connor to do something, his reply is “Sure!” His willingness to help, is also important because Him being the oldest, he is a great example to his two younger siblings. Who, by the way, now typically answer in the same fashion.

I only hope I have gotten more like that when God asks me to do something. When I first became a Christian, I remember constantly putting my hand up saying “put me in Coach”, wanting to help. Unfortunately, like a Connor when he was small, I probably got in the way more then helped.

Later on in my Christian walk I think I got indifferent and when called upon to help, replied “let them do it, I know they will be a blessing to many…”

I want to be like Connor is now. I want to have that willing heart, and hopefully encourage my fellow “brothers and sisters” to do the same. When God gives me the opportunity, and I am asked to do something, I want my answer to be “Sure!”…

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Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Timothy 2:19-21 ESV)

Help the Helpless

God blesses those who are kind to the poor and helpless. He helps them out of their own troubles. He protects them and keeps them alive; He publicly honors them and destroys the power of their enemies.” (Psalm 41:1-2 TLB)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Numerous times growing up I recall my parents taking food to someone even less fortunate then we were. I remember walking in their houses and being taken back at how sparse their conditions were compared to ours.

Having that modeled in my formative years, in my adult life I have had countless opportunities to do the same thing. I wish I could say I always acted on them, but I didn’t. I guess I got disillusioned along the way. I remember once while living in Augusta driving by a guy with a sign that said “will work for food”. I went down the street and bought him a bag of groceries.  I came back, pulled over, and proudly presented the bounty to him. Shock came over my face as he angrily told me he didn’t need that food, he just needed the money. I left the disgruntled man, with the bag of groceries still in my car.

Several years later I was in downtown Atlanta with Kris, newly married, and leaving church. A lady came up to us at a traffic light, asking for money so she could get a bus ticket to Kentucky.  We gave her some money, and said “God bless you” as we drove off. Two weeks later Kris and I pulled up to a traffic light in Roswell, 15 miles north of Atlanta. I was disappointed to see that same lady walk by us with a sign saying, “need bus fare to Ohio”.

For a long time after that, I was skeptical on giving money, other than to the church. Satan used every opportunity that came along to discourage me.

One morning while meeting with Dr. Jim, I discussed my quandary with him regarding giving to those in need. I told him I did not want to be taken advantage of. He told me when the opportunity came along, he gave to them, honoring God’s commandment about taking care of the poor and needy. It was up to them how they used it. That was a real paradigm shift for me after my previous experiences.

Sadly, back in the 60’s “the Church” let government take over many of the duties that once were performed only by the church. In days past, the church took care of the needy. We clothed them and fed them. They saw Jesus being lived out by our actions. They saw Jesus, through the compassion they saw, in our eyes. But now, many times those less fortunate can simply turn to the impersonal government and never experience the love of Jesus Christ. Sadly, they are never exposed to having their spiritual needs met while their physical or financial needs are being met.

Recently our church had a big drive where we went out into the community to do numerous projects helping those who needed help. It was so rewarding to be able to watch our family and others be the hands and feet of Christ. Some went and fed and clothed those living under bridges in Atlanta. Others ministered to those living in low-income housing. Others went to nursing homes, while still others worked at a crisis pregnancy center and a drug rehab facility. All of the volunteers said they were blessed doing God’s work.

I guess the bottom line is that when Jesus commanded us to give to the needy, it was not just about their needs, but also ours…

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 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. (Acts 20:35)

Study and Do God’s Word

But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:2-3)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – I haven’t trained for a marathon in over 10 years.  I do good if Lacy and I run or bike a few miles two or three times a week. It seems there are a lot of weeks now where Saturday is the only day I get in a workout. There are some weeks I don’t have the time to do it at all.

It’s no accident that I am 10 pounds heavier then I was when I last crossed the finish line. I noticed running bases a few weeks ago that I was slower, and looking for oxygen at home plate!

Recently we went shopping for me some much needed dress slacks. I was shocked to find the manufacturers had “slimmed down” their sizes and I now have to wear a size larger then I did the last shopping trip.

Kris and I have had the privilege to teach, in some form or fashion, for most of our marriage. The few years we didn’t, were some of my driest years as a Christian. I was spiritually lazy and out of shape. I found myself busy, and distracted, and sometimes only thinking about Him two or three times a week. Some weeks I only got around to Him on Sunday.

We discovered that by teaching, we are forced to stay in His Word. With another lesson 7 days away, we don’t have the luxury of not spending time with Him. Much like training for the next race, spending time in His word is a must!

What’s really amazing is that the God of all creation, likes to spend time with us. He always has time to hang out with me and you.

So, what are you waiting on?…

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“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers, 2but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” (Psalms 1:1-3)

Meet God Every Day

The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Kris’ husband – I ran into a guy recently that I had not seen or talked to in years. We attended college together, probably took some classes together, but I don’t remember his name. Now that I think about it, I don’t think he knew my name either.

Last night I stayed with my Mom who fell recently. My sisters had been faithful watching her these past couple of weeks, so my turn was over due.

As we sit in her den, I struggled with listening to her talk. Mom’s hearing isn’t what it used to be, so her volume on the tv was maxed out at 94!  I had her talking in one ear, and Fox News blasting in the other. I discovered that I am not very good at listening to two things.

They were talking about the IRS scandal. Discussing how someone got removed from their job as punishment…and then placed in a higher paying job!  Aunt Martha has lived in that assisted living facility for 14 years. They rent her house out. But you know her son doesn’t come see her. In fact, he forgot her birthday last week!  The Administration claims to have no prior notice of the conservatives being targeted. Some Tea Party groups are contemplating legal action. Mrs. Williams from church died last week. It was totally unexpected, she was 98 and had emphysema.  Now we turn to this Romney contributor who after giving $1 million to the campaign, was targeted in three separate audits over a 4 month period, costing him nearly $100,000 in legal fees, only to be found in good standing. I think its time to take another Tylenol in 4 minutes. Can you turn the tv up a little more?  What are the kids doing?

Kris called me a little later. I walked outside so I could hear her and sit in mom’s glider on the front porch. Away from the noise, I could focus on talking with her and catch up on the excitement at our house with two extra teenagers over there. We talked for a while and when we were finished, I walked back into the loud world found in mom’s den.

A couple of things come to mind. The guy I bumped into from college, makes me think of the people who went to church when they were a kid and really haven’t been since. There isn’t much connectivity because there was never a real close relationship developed. They go back maybe for a reunion or wedding or funeral, but it does not feel like home.

Mom’s den, with LOUD distractions, make it hard to focus and hear what she is trying to tell me. I want to listen to her, but what were they just saying on Fox?!? Now that I think about it, I’ve had some not-so-quiet quiet times that caused me to miss some of what He was trying to tell me. Our world is full of noise with all the electronic distractions we now have in our homes, our cars, and our ears.

My time with Kris on the phone on the other hand, with no distractions, was one where I heard her. I could picture her as she talked and I connected with her. We laughed together.  We discussed issues together. As we ended the phone call, I found myself loving her as much as ever, and missing her physical presence.

Now that I think about it, isn’t that what my quiet time should look like?….

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Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. (Proverbs 8:34)

How to Be Blessed

Ramblings from Evan’s dad – Today is the last day of school for Evan. His last two years have been filled with ups and downs, but thankfully more ups. He has learned so much and grown physically, mentally and spiritually.  I am so thankful for Horizon Christian Academy and the impact it has had on him. I thoroughly believe that God is smiling down on that school and what they are striving to do.  I believe Evan has benefitted greatly from those blessings.

I look back and am almost shocked at the transformation of our youngest, this past year. He no longer looks like a boy, but now looks like a young man, as he stands several inches taller then me.

Mentally, he has easily passed me in the mathematical equations he can now do. For the second year in a row, he was one of the winners of their science fair, and went on to the state. His reasoning  and interest continue to blossom, evidenced by some of the discussions we have had on our drive to school.

Spiritually, he no longer acts like a boy, but his thinking has matured to that of a young man growing consistently in his faith.

I could say the same about our other two teenagers. Kris and I sit back amazed at how God has blessed us. We find ourselves constantly thanking Him for His blessings.

God’s Word tells us about blessings that He is waiting to rain down on those who love Him. It gives example after example of those He blessed in days gone by. One of the ultimate probably being Solomon, who was rich beyond measure.

Even though it promises that He can rain blessings down on us, it never promises NOT to let us get caught in the RAIN. He doesn’t promise to keep us out of the storms, His Word just promises He will be WITH us in those storms.

Do I think it is an accident Evan, Lacy and Connor are growing into the fine young adults they are?  No way! Kris and I rain on them daily!  Our love rains down on them constantly. Our prayers rain down on them morning, day, and night. We take God at His word and pray that their day will be blessed, and that they can be a blessing to others. We pray that people will see Jesus when they look at our kids.  We pray that they will never be a stumbling block.  We pray that they will encourage those who know Him, and be a  light to those who don’t.  We pray that every day of their lives, God will find them useful, and bless them along the way.

I am sooo thankful that God is still in the business of answering prayers!…

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Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  (Psalm 91:1-2)

Your Destiny: Become Like Jesus

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Ephesians 4:21-24 NLT)

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – There are some things about Lacy that is pure Lacy. Her dramatic flair, her ability to accessorize her wardrobe, and her ability to do hair (her’s or someone else’s) are just a few. In so many ways she is an individual.

Sometimes when I look at Lacy, though, I see Kris. One example is her cravings. I have driven across the state of Texas before for a Kris craving, literally!  The other night it was getting late and Lacy got me in the car. It seemed she was craving a particular brand of animal crackers! I kid you not, the woman knows what she wants! Who does she get that from…

Sometimes when we are out, people tell me that Lacy favors me. (I don’t know whether its the long mane of auburn hair, or the red lipstick!) Thankfully, God made her a much better looking version. One thing I do see is the love we both have to be in a car driving down the road, anywhere, just driving. Many a Saturday we have headed out with no destination in mind, and come home hours later with smiles, and more importantly, memories, we didn’t have when we left that morning.

The other night we were driving around hanging out together. She told me she learned to meow like a cat, from me. She went on to tell me a very funny story involving that new found meow. I laughed hysterically as I pictured my daughter doing something I would have so easily done.

That’s the way I want to be with Jesus. I want people to look at me and there be enough semblance, that they see a little bit of Him. I want to have characteristics (habits) that I pick up from Him. I want to impact peoples lives because of the impact He has had on me.

I want to follow Him close enough, that people will look at me, and see Him. I want to be guilty – by association!!…

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Then God said, “Let Us make human beings in Our image and likeness.‘” (Genesis 1:26 NCV)

Express Faith With Your Goals

Because of your faith, it will happen.” (Matthew 9:29 NLT)

Ramblings from Connor’s dad – Do I know what my goal(s) in life are? There are numerous ones, some predictable, like having a good work ethic and providing for my family, and being a good husband and dad.

There are others that have outside stimuli. Being in the sales arena, it is very easy to get wrapped up in performance by comparing my numbers to others. Most of the time I struggle with it, concerned when the numbers are not where I think they should be. Understanding the numbers at the end of the month, translate into commissions. Every month, for the last 30+ years, I have been judged by my performance.

Recently, I heard where someone in the present administration is getting “fired”. When you look at it closer, you find out they were retiring in 3 weeks, and even though they are getting “fired”, they are getting full benefits and pension. I’d like to get fired like that. Even though I might totally drop the ball, and even do something unethical, and possibly illegal, it sure would be nice to get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

Esther had made it to the end of the rainbow. She was living a life of comfort and royalty, counting her pot of gold. It would have been so easy to sit back, enjoy life, and let someone else get involved. But she didn’t. Esther knew by going to the king uninvited, she risked being put to death. She was afraid to go, but she knew it was the right thing to do. Her answer was, “If I perish, I perish.” She trusted God to provide for her here, and in the “here” after.

Now that I think about it, I am not that different from the recently “fired” IRS Director. I have dropped the ball numerous times whether misrepresenting my Savior, or worse yet, turning my back on Him. Yet like the Director, when God calls me home, I get my full benefits…eternally!…

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 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.”  (Esther 4:16 ESV)

Gifted for This Time

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

Ramblings from Evan’s dad – What would it have been like to be Esther? She was beautiful, and, she was the Queen of Persia. She had people waiting on her hand and foot. All she had to do was ask for it, and somebody jumped! Most of those around her, would say she had it made. Probably most any woman would have gladly swapped places with her.

Then Uncle Mordecai comes along and has to make a spectacle of himself. (Isn’t there one in every family?) Making a big deal out of nothing. After all, it was just a simple new law that was being implemented. (I guess it would have been inconvenient, if you were Jewish.)

Esther, was Jewish, but she was also the Queen of Persia. Because the King had picked her for her beauty, she probably could have dodged the bleak future the rest of her people were facing. After all, she was the Queen!

Fortunately, for Uncle Mordecai and the other Jews, she wasn’t willing to quietly sit by, and watch her people be killed. She was willing to risk her life, for the lives of others. Personally, I would probably have asked for a much longer prayer and fasting time. Just to make sure!

I met with a friend recently that works with Georgia Right to Life. He shared with me the number of aborted babies in Georgia since abortions were made legal. He was telling me all the things they want to do to give public awareness for the options available, if they just had the money. He told me how high the percentage was of mom’s choosing to keep their baby when they actually see it on a sonogram. As he talked, he reminded me of a soldier describing how different a battle might have been, if…

It made me wonder. If Esther and Mordecai were alive today, and living right here in our land, what would they do?…

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Go, gather together all the Jews and fast for me. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law ( Esther 4:15 NIV)

 

Do Something About That

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – Kris and I were so blessed to meet the Downers and the Lyons. They are two couples that saw a need to meet with couples and help them in their walk with Christ, and with each other.

Both couples have had a major impact on us as they encouraged us in our walk, and our marriage. They have been willing to meet with us one or one over coffee. Other times they sacrificially made themselves available to meet with us over dinner.

Several years into our marriage we had Connor. We were fortunate to meet the LaBarrs, who felt led to encourage and coach new parents. Many a time they were there for us when we were so insecure about parenting decisions. Patiently answering question after question at all hours of the day.

Here are three couples that saw a need, and decided to do something about it. Our lives, and our children’s lives, are richer because of those three couples. It would have been easy for any one of the three to say “I see a need, someone should do something!” Our lives, and the lives we have touched, were eternally impacted by Dr. Jim and Mary Gail, Phil and Susie, and Jim and Karen.

Kris and I have started several Bible Study Fellowships (Sunday School Classes) at the different churches we attended. We did so because we saw a need and knew that is what one of those three couples would have done.

My prayer is we are that couple to someone. I pray that we can be half the encouragement to another couple, that those three couples have been to us. We thank God for their willingness to answer the call. We are so thankful they were willing to do something about it!…

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You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:1-2)

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