kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: June, 2013

Love Is A Choice

RAMBLINGS from Kris King’s husband – The summer of 1988 I was in the parking lot of First Baptist Atlanta standing around talking after our Sunday services. Up walked a very attractive , but very young, lady with a friend of mine. I was 30 at the time and she barely 21.

She ended up rooming with the girl I was dating named Mary. We would let her tag along with us on dates, and to the many church functions our large singles department sponsored.

Over the next year while dating Mary, she became like a little sister to me. I would run interference for her when it came to the wrong guys asking her out. Then I would turn around and encourage the guys she liked at the time, to ask her out.

Mary and I eventually broke up and I didn’t see “lil sis” as much. Seven months later, (23 years ago today!) I walked into a packed church for our July 4th service.  I spotted one semi-empty spot to sit in, and as I sat down, I recognized the blond hair next to me. She smiled and scooted over the best she could to make room for me. The pew was crowded, so to make more room, I put one arm up on the end of the pew and the other behind her. Innocently she scooted over my way. The tingles ran up and down my neck, the “scales” fell from my eyes, and I realized the pretty, barely 21 year old girl, was now a beautiful 22 year old woman.

In a couple of weeks that little blond and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary.

When we got married, the previous 34 years I had enjoyed living the life of bachelorhood. I had dated a fair number of women before THE blond. I am embarrassed to admit that at the time, I was immature enough as a fairly new Christian to think I was a “player”.

Like it was yesterday, I remember waking up in Hawaii on our honeymoon, and thinking what have I done?!? I had this moment of second guessing, not because Kris was anything less then wonderful, but I believe it was a combination of me being a selfish pig and Satan trying to cause problems. Thirteen seconds into my panic attack, I regained my senses. I looked over at her as she slept peacefully, no makeup on, and realized after knowing her for over three years, she was as pretty on the inside as she was on the outside.

On that morning, I said “Okay God, I married her and made a vow to her, and You. Help me to love her more today then I did yesterday. Help me to always honor her, and You. Help me be the Husband she needs me to be.”  It was actually on that moment, that I chose to love her for the rest of my life. Kris never forced me to love her. She did, and does, love me selflessly.

Do we have our spats every now and then? Sure. Are we both 21 years older now then we were when we got married? Yep. But I have continued to pray that “honeymoon prayer”, most every morning since. God has been so faithful answering it, and I love Kris more today then I did yesterday, and I love her infinitely more, then that morning on our honeymoon!

A while back, this often dumb country boy had the epiphany to pray the same prayer about God. Like Kris, I know there are times with God I am not that lovable. Yet He still loves me. He saw me at my worst (which was pretty bad), and was still willing to let His Son die for me. I am so thankful He has been faithful in answering that prayer, too. I love Him so much more then I did when I started this relationship with Him.

I pray that prayer again this morning, that I love Him more today than I did yesterday….

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“..and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV)

Love is an Action

Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions.” (1 John 3:18 NLT)

Ramblings from Evan’s dad – Evan knows there are two major things I do not like: squirrels that get in our attic, and weeds that get in my flower bed.  It’s not unusual to see me walking around in the yard accessing one or both.

There are times I will go out in the yard while on a business call, and pull weeds. I seem to pull a weed, turn my back, and two more pop up in its place. (I blame all this on Adam and Eve!!)

From time to time, I will ask the Evan to help me in the battle of the weeds. We will get out in the yard with our buckets and fill them up with the formidable enemy. I sometimes will finish off the successful skirmish, with a rewarding trip to Dairy Queen for my troops.  We will sit around and talk about my ongoing struggle between our blooming shrubs, and those bloomin’ weeds.  The kids from hanging out with me, know of my desire for a pristine manicured yard.

If asked, sometimes he is reluctant, especially if he knows its a toasty humid summer day in Georgia. But, sometimes with a little gentle prodding, sometimes with less gentle prodding, the weeds face the “hands of judgement”, and are sentenced to death!

Recently, I have come home to weedless flower beds. On multiple occasions Evan, Lacy or Connor, have come up to me to inform me that they on their own, decided to pull some weeds. The first time I heard of it, I immediately asked “What has been broken?!?” I was shocked to find nothing leading to their efforts, other then good will. What a pleasant surprise!!  I realized they were doing it out of love for me. They were wanting to do my will!

That’s what I want to do today for my Heavenly Father. It’s not always fun. Sometimes the work is in hot, steamy conditions. Regardless of the conditions, or climate, I want to go out and do His will, because I love Him. I know I can’t surprise Him…but I hope I can make Him smile…

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Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth”.- (1 John 3:18 NIV)

We Should Never Wait to Obey God

This is love for God, to obey His commands. And His commands are not burdensome.” (1 John 5:3 NIV)

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – When Lacy was a little younger, orderliness was not in her vocabulary. I would walk in her room, and it honestly looked like a vandal had broken in and ransacked her room. Clothes everywhere, empty cups and water bottles scattered about.  To quote the great Elmer Fudd, “it was a scawy pwace!”

One time I remember asking Lacy to clean up her room. She procrastinated with excuses. The biggest excuse was she could not find her “blankie”.  I told her when she finished getting her room cleaned up, I would help her. She half-heartedly picked a few items up, and then was off to look for the infamous blankie.  For days the blankie was missing. (I was half expecting to see “Missing Blankie” posters up in the neighborhood…with a reward offered!) I continued to urge Lacy to straighten up her room.

Several days later Lacy came into the room embracing her evasive blankie.  It appears that it mysteriously hid itself at the bottom of  her pile of clothes! She looked at me with suspicion and asked if there was some connection to me urging her to clean up her room whenever she brought up the missing blankie. I just smiled.

I did go on to tell her that keeping things straightened up and orderly are very important to me. I don’t do well with chaos. I told her every time I walk in and see she is trying to keep her room up, I smile, because I know she is doing it out of love for me.

Now if Lacy is missing something, the first thing she does is ask me…and then straighten up her room.

I wonder if God does that to me sometime?  I wonder if He asks me to do things sometime because of what He knows I will discover?  I wonder how many revelations or discoveries I have missed out on, because I didn’t want to do what He was asking me to do?

Now I try to keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to His urging.  I know that when I do it, when I “straighten up my room” out of obedience to Him, He will smile! Sometimes I even find what I have been searching for in the process…

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In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands. And His commands are not burdensome  (1 John 5:3 NIV)

Biblical Obedience: Love + Trust + Action

If you love me, you will obey what I command.” ( John 14:15 NIV)

Ramblings from Connor’s dad – Without a shadow of a doubt, I know my kids love me. Hopefully, they are at least equally as confident in my love for them.

Do my teenagers always do what they are supposed to? You guessed it. Do they sometimes do what they are supposed to? Sure. Last night, since its the summer and the kids are up late, I went to bed much later then preferred. As I headed to bed, I asked them to clean the kitchen up where one of our junior cooks had baked cookies earlier in the evening. I reminded one of them of the importance of pitching in and helping around the house.

This morning as I walked into the kitchen for my first wonderful cup of coffee, my eyes fell on countertops…cluttered with…nothing! The kitchen looked awesome.  The kids had not disappointed me, and in fact did a stellar job. I sipped on my cup of joe drinking in the beautiful sight.

I glanced out the kitchen window at another beautiful morning. The birds were starting to sing, as the sun peeked over the horizon. As I glanced below me, around the pool, it looked like some swimmers at been raptured. Floats were laying around, along with wadded up wet towels, goggles, and empty soda cans. At first I was a little miffed wondering why the kids had the kitchen looking pristine, but thought the pool should look like a garage sale in progress.

Then two thoughts came to me. The first was the pool looked messy, because the kids had given up some of their time last night for ministry work. We had a couple we went to dinner with to review some ministry stuff. Their two sweet little girls stayed at our house, where our kids entertained them and watched them for almost three hours. Since it was ministry, the kids did it free, giving their time to God. They didn’t complain, they did it with cheerful hearts. Yes, I gave myself a pinch for my initial reaction.

The second thought was – I do the same thing to God. I know from reading His Word, what He’d like me to do. Because I love Him, there are times I will really work at something for Him. In fact, when I finish, I pat myself on the back and say good job. I then walk by another area that needs my attention, and with blinders on walk by as if there is nothing wrong. Yes, I pinched myself a second time! :/

Today, I pray I have the blinders off and see things as He sees them. If I finish one area, I pray I won’t just blindly go by another area He would like to see me work on.

I love and adore my kids, even when there is a garage sale going on by the pool. I am so thankful He loves me infinitely more…

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If you love Me, keep My commands. (John 14:15  NIV)

Dedicate Your Work to God

We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ Himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!’” (2 Corinthians 5:20 NLT)

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – We had the opportunity to have Kris’ grandmother live with us the final two months of her life. It was a sweet time as we tended to her needs and loved on her. The kids were great about spending time with her, talking, laughing, sometimes just sitting quietly listening to her favorite gospel music with her.

God called Mimi home on Mother’s Day several years ago. We had a celebration of her life at the funeral home chapel, showing pictures of her life while, you guessed it, listening to some of her favorite gospel music. The video ended and our then 12 year old Lacy, stepped up to the microphone with her guitar and sang a sweet simple song. But before she sang, she talked about her love for Mimi and the impact Mimi had on her life. Then Lacy said she’d be singing a song she had written for that specific celebration, dedicating it to Mimi.

When she finished there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It was a beautifully written piece, by a 12 year old who put all she had into a song, to honor someone she loved. I can only imagine Mimi’s reaction to it, with tears flowing down her cheek, and that big smile of her’s glowing from ear to ear.

Did that song make Billboard’s Top 40 List? Nope. Is anyone presently singing it in Nashville? No. Was it obvious that Lacy did her very best on writing it and then singing it (with big crocodile tears running down her face) for Mimi? ABSOLUTELY!

That picture of dedication is what I want to carry through my day today. What I do might be simple in the world’s eyes. But I want God to see that I am putting my ALL into it. Giving whatever it is I am doing 110% to honor Him as I go.

Hopefully, there will be times when as I do it, He will see tears of joy and love for Him!  In those times, I hope people who may see me will catch a glimpse of Jesus instead…

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We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. – (2 Corinthians 5:20 NIV)

Expand Your Skills to Succeed

Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper.” (Proverbs 19:8 TEV)

Ramblings from Connor’s dad – One of my children, who will remain nameless, wanted to learn how to play golf. Around the age of 7, I took them to the driving range.  After watching me hit a couple of shots with my 5 iron, the nameless child proceeded to tell me they had a good grasp of the basics and proceeded to tee a golfball up. I stood in amusement as the golfball mysteriously changed dimensions and totally ignored the whole space-time continuum by avoiding every swing of the “well-aimed” club. The three times that contact was made, I calmly walked the two feet, picked the ball up, and brought it back to be used a second time.

The afore mentioned child soon lost interest in the senseless sport and wanted to move on to other more challenging and rewarding sports…like video games!

I am so-so at throwing a frisbee. Last week I spent a fair amount of time throwing with Evan and some of his friends at camp. Fortunately for me, they knew even less about throwing a disc, so I looked like a pro and got brownie points with my youngest. I first encountered a frisbee a long time ago. The kids would try and claim it was around the time I played with my childhood friend Ben Franklin. :/

I digress. Our youth paster, Joe Donahue, walked up and asked me if I knew how to hold a frisbee with a “power grip”?  I being the all knowing guy who grew up with THE MR. Franklin, said…”huh?” So Joe, quickly showed me how to look even more accomplished around those green horns! Would that have happened if I weren’t willing to admit my ignorance, and be willing to learn something new?  I learned several new tricks over those four days. The first time I tried a new trick, I typically failed miserably. The second time, was only slightly less embarrassing, but after multiple try’s, I got it. Eventually, I was teaching the youngsters what I had learned.

Dr. Jim would tell me that is what discipleship is like. Not having to know all the answers, but sharing what you do know, and learning together what you don’t. The great philosopher, Jethro Bodine, said “it’s hard to learn without learning”.

How often do we as Christians act like we know all the answers, when in fact we are often searching just like the rest of the world?

How often do we as Christians know the answer to the question, but don’t want to offend someone?

My prayer is I will spend some quality time every day that I have left down here, learning more about Christ, and His love for me!  And when I know the answer to THE question, I will have the courage, and humility, to share the good news. When that opportunity does come, I pray I am given the right words to say, and the right way to say them…

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If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.  (Ecclesiastes 10:10 ESV)

Work: Exceed What Is Expected

If someone demands that you go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matthew 5:41)

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – In the days of Jesus, the Roman Empire ruled. Literally. In the land of Israel there was a law where you as a Jewish citizen, were required if asked by a Roman soldier, to carry their pack one Roman mile or 1000 paces. So, it didn’t take them long to go out and put down mile markers. They might be subjected to carry the heavy pack of their oppressor one mile, but the second they got to that marker, they were done with it!

Yet Jesus said that if someone demands you go one mile, go with him two. Say WHAT??? Why would He say that?!?  What would it have proven for His followers to carry the Roman soldier’s pack a second mile?

He was teaching His followers that the God of the New Testament was more than just Mose’s God of the Old Testament. Under those early laws, God allowed revenge to be taken equal to the harm that was done them. If a man knocked out the tooth of another man, the injured man could knock out a tooth of the one who hurt him. If a man had an eye blinded in a fight, the injured man could blind the eye of the man who hurt him. Hence, the saying, “an eye for an eye” was born.

Jesus comes along and says I am upping the ante. His New Testament teaching was against revenge. He taught that if someone hits you on the cheek, “turn the other cheek”. Can you imagine hearing this and later being told, not asked, by a Roman soldier (someone you didn’t like) to carry their stuff 1000 paces down the dusty road for them?!?

Imagine being that Roman soldier. You are following a Jewish citizen (who you know despises you) down the road and are approaching the mile marker. You prepare to have them drop your bag, but instead they keep walking as they pay particular attention to the mile marker on their right. Going the first mile was required, going the second meant going beyond what was expected. You know its not an accident, because they looked at the mile marker. “Hey Jew, why are you going beyond what is required?” “Because Jesus told us to love our enemies.” “HUH?!?!”

Think it will be noticed amongst the lack-luster “do just enough to get by”, “cut the corners” society of today; when instead, you “go the extra mile”?  I am pretty sure the Roman soldiers certainly did.

After all, didn’t Jesus go the extra mile for us?…

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And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. (Matthew 5:41  ESV)

Care About Your Co-worker

I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare.” (Philippians 2:20 NLT)

Ramblings from Evan’s dad – I just got a message from a friend asking for advice on how to speak to some non-christian’s coming by and knocking on their door, to try and proselytize them. The individual didn’t know a lot about their religion and was asking for advice on what to ask and say. Disclaimer: I am not a minister. Don’t have a degree in Theology, and clearly not qualified from a ministry perspective.

However, I am a big fan of Jesus and have read His teachings, and the writings of His biggest fans, like Paul. And what I read in those ancient writings are LOVE. Not the love of the late 60’s and Woodstock. The LOVE of Jesus and His followers, where they were willing to lay down their life for a brother. Paul time and time again, talked about his willingness to die for Christ (which he eventually got to do).

I think of the LOVE of Stephen, who was martyred, because of exhibiting his conviction for the truth that exposed that love. When reflecting on these individuals I’ve read about, I see a great vacuum in our world today. The “Pauls” have been replaced with the “Sauls”. If you know the story, Saul was a very legalistic, judgmental, zealot, who thought if you didn’t see it his way, you should die!

Compare that with the converted Paul, who was willing to die for them. Which one would you want to hang with? Which one would you be most interested to see what motivates them? What makes them tick?  Which one would be the best billboard for their faith?

That should consistently be my mindset as I wake up in the morning. I need to look at people through the eyes of Jesus, with compassion, and love. Does that mean I allow them to get away with doing wrong. No. But whether its co-workers, neighbors, friends or family, I hope in my actions and comments, they see true Christian Love. The love Jesus talked about. My prayer is when they look at me…they catch a glimpse of Him.

I go back time and time again to the phrase Kris and I heard years ago – “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care”…

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Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.  (Matthew 22: 36-40  NIV)

You Won’t Take Your Job to Heaven

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… (Romans 5:3-4  ESV)

Ramblings from Lacy King’s dad – Yesterday I had a chance to speak with two of our young men in the high school department. They were asking me questions about dating. The conversation turned to keeping a pure relationship that would be pleasing to God. I talked with them about how Kris and I kept our relationship from getting too physical before we got married.

When I started dating Kris, I wanted our relationship to work. I told her the only way it would, (because I was really starting to dig her!) was for her to help me in that area. We set our perimeters and often times had friends and family around to keep us out of trouble. Looking back I know Satan would have loved to de-rail our plan to stay pure. But, I see that my relationship with both God and with Kris, because of our actions (or lack of them depending how you look at it) was even stronger because we didn’t give in to Satan’s temptations.

Later yesterday I had a young man bring up porn. He told me he felt defeated because he looked at it from time to time. We talked about guidelines that would help, like keeping his computer in a public place, and having a buddy that could be an accountability partner. We talked about taking baby steps and tackling the temptation one day at a time. I told him that once we get married, the temptation for porn doesn’t disappear. In fact many of the temptations he faces now, will follow him to the grave. I let him know that being tempted is NOT a sin, giving in to temptation IS.

We wrapped up by me encouraging them to not give in to the world’s mentality, being told how to behave in the magazines, on TV, the movies, or in secular music. If we are not using the Bible as our yardstick in our everyday living, we will miss the mark badly.

The world is saying BLACK, while God’s Word says WHITE. Satan will come in and try to water things down by telling us GRAY. But he is very patient. He knows that if he can just get us to settle for gray….that eventually it will lead to black…

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More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4  ESV)

Who’s the Boss?

Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23 NLT)

Ramblings from Connor’s dad – This week I am with Connor and Evan at our church youth camp. There are 150 0f us up in Kentucky at the Crossings Camp /Jonathan Creek. As I drove on to the property, I noticed how clean and pristine everything looked. Coming up I knew it was the third week of camp, so I was surprised at the cleanliness.

This was especially surprising when I found out there are almost 700 campers and camp workers here. I went for a run this morning around the property, once again I was surprised at the lack of trash. As I was cooling off on the porch, a golf cart came by with a couple of camp counselors. They suddenly slammed on the brakes, out jumped a counselor who walked 8 feet over into the grass, picked up an empty water bottle, and hopped back in the cart.

What was interesting was this wasn’t one of the janitorial staff, who’s job it is to clean up, but instead it was one of the program directors, headed to lead a session.

I was reminded of last night’s opening comments from the Camp’s Executive Director. He said their goal was to give us the best camp possible. If we saw something dirty or littered, to let them know. If we didn’t like the food, let them know. He said their goal in the big things, and the little things, was to do it to the best of their ability. The reason – it was a form of worship to our Creator.

After watching the golf cart stop this morning to retrieve the empty water bottle, it is obvious to me this philosophy flows from the top down. Here is a Camp Director who takes Colossians 3:23 seriously. His conviction and commitment is having a ripple effect on everyone at this camp.

I am convicted to be more like him. To do everything I do, big or small, to the very best of my ability. And as I do it, to do it as a form of worship, to the One worthy of our worship. After all, didn’t Jesus do everything in the Bible, whether it was menial like washing feet, or big like raising Lazarus from the grave, to the best of His ability?

Maybe in that moment when I am doing that menial thinkless chore, as an act of worship, and someone see’s the joy I am exhibiting, they will catch a glimpse of Jesus….

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Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. (Colossians 3:23 NLT)

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