kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: August, 2013

Relationships are Worth Restoring

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – I hope Connor always knows that contrary to our thinking sometimes, God’s timing is always flawless. Today was no exception.

I started reading my devotion for the day, and the scripture associated with it was Phillipians 2, where Paul is encouraging them to restore relationships. I no sooner finished reading, then I get a call from a friend having marital problems. I laughed and said “Let me read you something I just finished reading for my devotion”. When I finished he was silent for a second and then asked”….Did you really just read that? Was that really your devotion for today?!?”

For the next 30 minutes I spoke with him over the phone about God’s desire to see us act more like Christ, and less like us. Granted some of us are lied to by loved ones and friends, “stabbed in the back” by business associates, and cheated out of money. But we need to have more of a family resemblance with our Savior, and Father. I reminded him that God thought his relationship was important enough that He lined this devotion up for me to read, and share.

Yeah, but Ted you don’t know what they did to me! You don’t know how they wronged me!

No, I don’t. I have no idea what your heart felt like when it was being hurt by that incident. I don’t know the pain you now feel. But God does.

I do know what the Bible says about Jesus. He never wronged anyone. He never lied, never stole from anyone, nor cheated anyone. Yet for His honesty, His compassion, and His love for others; He was lied about, He was betrayed, He was beaten, and He was murdered. Yet as He was dying on the cross, He looked toward Heaven and asked His Father to forgive them! Wow!!

That’s the model that Paul reminds us of in Phillipians 2.  That is the family resemblance we should work toward!…..

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So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (Phillipians 2:1-2)

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Admitting Your Mistakes

All of us have fallen short, yet now God declares us not guilty if we trust in Jesus Christ who freely takes away our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – When Evan was maybe 5 or 6, I occasionally met with a guy over coffee to discuss life. He was a very nice gregarious guy…who had a problem with alcohol. He destroyed his first marriage. A marriage with a wonderful young lady he met in church while singing in the choir.

He worked his way up the corporate ladder, became very successful, and started making a LOT of money. As he entertained customers he started indulging in the drinks they were ordering before dinner a little too much. What followed was a downward spiral prompted by his inability to “hold his liquor”. It led to bad decisions that ruined his marriage. That led to him losing his job, and then it led to him losing the right to see his boys.

We met off and on for several years. Sometimes he was pretty consistent meeting me, and other times he was a “no-show”. The success he had avoiding the bottle brought him my way. The periods where he lost his battle to the bottle, he beat himself up and wouldn’t show up. I tried to stress with him that it was important to get together and talk through things when he stumbled. But the enemy did a great job of playing on my friends pride.

The guilt and shame he carried from his mistakes, festered. He never allowed himself the grace that God promises us through Christ. He would beat himself up, and then roll around in his guilt, avoiding me.

I finally lost track of my friend a few years ago.  My prayer is he has finally realized the grace God gives us. Hopefully, he now understands that God is a God of second chances. My football coach used to tell me that it’s not how many times you get knocked down that’s important, it’s how many times you get back up, brush yourself off, and get back in the game….

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For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 3:23-24)

Guarding Your Mind

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – I’ve told Lacy that growing up I was always small for my size. She has always been tall for her age so its hard for her to relate. I shared with her how bullying for me in school was not unusual as the other kids, most of whom were bigger then me, found a smaller target attractive.

When I got to high school things were no better. Over time though I found rather then fight back, I would try and lighten the situation with humor. I realized my tormentors were less likely to annihilate me if they were laughing with me, and not at me. I developed a sense of humor that could be turned on with the flip of a threat. Over time most of the bullies ended up viewing me as a friend because I got them to laugh.

You know how you boil a frog? If you stick him in hot water he hops out. You stick him in room temperature water, that’s comfortable for him. Then you turn the heat up slowly, the frog’s cold blooded system adjusts, and slowly but surely, you have a frog that is wondering why he is so hot…

The enemy in this spiritual battle we all are in, wants to boil us alive. The enemy is patient. Very patient. The enemy will let things develop slowly for years, for decades if necessary. He knows one way to get our defenses down, is to get us to laugh at sin. Just as someone can’t be all bad if he makes you laugh, this particular sin can’t be so bad if it makes you laugh.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to laugh. Its hard not to with the joy I have since becoming a Christian. But I try and guard myself at what I laugh at…I definitely don’t want to find myself laughing at something, that grieves Jesus!…

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Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. (Ephesians 5:4)

Saving Your Money

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – I feel inadequate when it comes to telling Connor and his siblings how to save. We were tithing, and saving 15% of what I was making, and by the time Connor was 7, we were close to having enough to retire. Then calamity struck, and the savings disappeared.

We started tithing and saving again, and struggled through some trials with work. We sold our house, downsized a little, and started building up a nest egg again. Invested in a startup company, watched it grow like crazy, and then with management changes, saw it fizzle.

We had another unforeseen dilemma in business pop up, and that quickly sucked our savings away. We have had health issues, and medical bills.  Now we have our first in college, who thankfully because of the scholarships he earned, is only costing us roughly a third of what it could have cost.

Each time it happened I would second guess myself.  After some serious lamenting, I would turn to His word and read. I would pray and let God know my frustrations and concerns (since I am sure He missed it somehow!). After going through that exercise, when I finally shut up for a minute, I would be reminded that my family had never gone hungry. There were times we might have bordered on having to eat a bologna sandwich…with no mayo, but we never went hungry.  I look back and see that He didn’t always bless us with a lot, but He ALWAYS provided.

As I look back at my life and the people I have known, some of the grumpiest were those who had the most. Conversely, some of the happiest, lived the simplest lives. They weren’t necessarily poor, they just chose to live a more modest life. My parents were some of those people. When I look back, I see them as people who lived like no one else (sharing one car for years), so they could live like no one else (paying for their new house in less then 24 months!)

My dad who never made a lot of money, and didn’t have his first credit card till he was 70, used to tell me, “Watch your pennies…and your dollars will take care of themselves…”  The older I get, the wiser my dad was when he was alive!…

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Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. (Proverbs 21;20)

Expect A Miracle

And the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. And the number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.” (Mark 6:43-44 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Kris’ hubby – I look back at my life and realize how incredibly blessed I am. My parents grew up in the country and their families were poor. A good work ethic was taught from an early age. They might work sun-up to sun-down 6 days a week, but on the 7th, they were at church. I guess it came pretty naturally for me to not mind working. 

I worked my way through college and had a pharmaceutical sales job in my late 20’s. It was at church one Sunday where I met Kris. A year later, we started dating and I knew pretty quickly my life as a bachelor was in serious doubt. Two years later we were married and setting up house in a little fixer-upper.

Right after we met, I learned that Kris had a rare blood disorder. She was told she would probably never have kids. Because of her blood disorder, she brought up the possibility of adopting early on.

We decided to give God a little time before we looked into adoption. About 18 months into our marriage we did get pregnant, but then lost the baby at 13 weeks. Our hope quickly turned to utter disappointment.

We prayed through it, asking God to give us wisdom, and kids…but ONLY if they would know Him. We prayed that prayer daily over the next five years. God blessed us during that time with one more child in heaven, and, 3 precious miracles. Each one special in their own way. Rarely has a day gone by, that I did not thank Him for those 3 miracles. 

We’ve had medical challenges since, whether it’s degenerative disc disease in the spine, or a connective tissue disorder like Rheumatoid Arthritis. Kris and I were talking last night and I told her that whenever one of us got a new diagnosis it troubled me, but did not discourage me. I might be troubled because I know it can bring bad days of feeling lousy. But I won’t be discouraged to the point of despair, because I have evidence in our lives of God being bigger then we are. The laughter from any of the 3 He blessed us with, is a reminder of that!

Just as He let us have two miscarriages along our road, I know we can expect other bumps in the road. But that doesn’t mean I can’t trust that He is STILL in the miracle business.

I know that God could choose to miraculously heal our physical problems. He could also miraculously give us the ability to deal with any bumps in the road with His peace, hope and joy.

I guess the bumps make the miracles even sweeter!…

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But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  (Matthew 19:26)

Help Others Find Freedom

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 TEV)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Dr. Jim Lyon is a Godly man. He was blessed to be a very good OB-GYN surgeon. As I have said before he delivered all three of our kids, including Evan. I also remember him praying with us when we lost our first baby, and again with our fourth pregnancy.

In many ways he helped “deliver” me…from being an insensitive newlywed, to someone Kris and the kids could tolerate. It was in those early years of marriage that Dr. Jim started meeting with me on Mondays at “0-dark:30” in the morning. We would sit and talk about my problems, struggles, and concerns. Inevitably he would turn my focus toward the Bible. Time and time again he reminded me it was our “owners manual” from God.

Sometimes it was almost a game. I would bring up a problem or concern, and he would turn around and bring up a scripture. He would remind me that he never had an answer for me.  Then he would say, “but let’s see what God says about that…” As I look back, I realize my ADHD should have driven him crazy, but he modeled the patience of Job as he tolerated my rabbit trails we went down, always bringing me back around to appropriate scripture.

I hope I can be a “Dr. Jim” and help someone along their path. He told us early on when we were busy being parents of new borns, that they were our mission field for a season. Kris and I never forgot that. We have made many mistakes, but we have diligently tried to point them toward God. We have tried to show them the right way to walk, and when we did stumble, point out what we did wrong so they could learn from it. I hope they will stumble a little less then I have, because of what Dr. Jim took the time to teach me….

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So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  (John 8:31-32)

Will You Give It All?

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Human nature…the sin nature, enables us to be selfish. We feel like we are going beyond the call of duty to give that person needing money, a couple of quarters out of the change in our pocket. When they speak of a need at church, we rationalize that we can have a few less latte’s next week, and give a few dollars out of our pocketful.  I can always justify giving a little, but seldom have I given everything I had!

It reminds me of some of the times when Lacy and her brothers were little. Several times I would give them a handful of change, and then a few minutes later ask for one quarter back. It was funny how quickly that quarter became theirs. We worked through that exercise and when they did give me a quarter, sometimes, I would come back and give them another handful of change. But not always.

Years later the kids have taken that concept and on several occasions gave all they had for something. Maybe it was a need at church, or a family in crisis. Whatever it was, we would learn, later sometimes by looking at their piggy bank, that one of them had given all they had.

I am ashamed to say they learned that lesson much better then I did. Have I given till it hurts? Yes. Have I given all I had?…seldom.

When praying, I try and remember to earnestly and sincerely “give” God everything. Our business, our kids, our marriage, my very life. I pray with my hands wide open and turned toward Heaven, giving it all to Him. In those moments, I feel all the burdens of life lift off of me. Probably because I gave it all to Someone who could do a much better job of managing it and using it then I could!

Today I want to be like that boy in John 6:9! I want to give it all, and then with great faith, wait and see what He does with it! I could never feed a crowd of 5000…but I know Someone Who can!…

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So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. And taking the five loaves and the two fish He looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And He divided the two fish among them all. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. (Mark 6:40-44)

Identifying A Miracle

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – When Connor was little, he was often amazed at my abilities. It was nothing for me to walk by, and pull quarters out of his ears! I would then turn around, put them in my hand, blow on them, and when Connor checked my hand, the quarter was magically gone! As much as he would try and repeat my trick, he could not. The innocent way he tried to replicate it was nothing short of humorous.

In many ways, this made him appreciate it even more. Connor would have me perform this “miraculous feat” in front of his siblings or any friend who happened to be over. Each time he would get that big smile on his face and watch with amazement. He never got tired of seeing me do it.

The Bible is full of miracles that God performed, starting with the creation story. We move through the Old Testament with all the times He saved them from the 10 plagues of Egypt, the 40 years of manna and quail in the wilderness, to the Israelites winning numerous battles when they were greatly outnumbered. He then sends along His Son in the New Testament who performs numerous miracles on a more personal level with individuals He crossed paths with. As Jesus prepared to leave, He promised to send a Helper to be with us.

As I sit here reflecting on the miracles of the Bible, I wish I were more like little Connor. I wish I would wait expectantly, with a big smile on my face, for the next miracle God would performed. I wish I would get my friends to watch and say, “Just wait, He’s going to do it again! I don’t know what it will be, but I can promise you it will be a doozy!”

I guess that is why Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 ESV) He didn’t want us to be blind and ignorant, but to be expectant of what our Father can really do, while understanding and accepting how little we can do without Him.

I am going to act like that young innocent Connor, and today I am going to look with great expectation, and excitement, for His miracles!…

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And taking the five loaves and the two fish He looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people.  And He divided the two fish among them all.  And they all ate and were satisfied.  And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.  (Mark 6:41-44)

Launch Out in Faith

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done!” (Ecclesiastes 11:4 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – I love and adore our kids! Kris and I are in no hurry for them to leave. We enjoy their company and their friends, and find ourselves laughing and smiling the majority of the time when they are around.

The days of college that have just started for Connor are the next natural step for him in his education. To keep him home for our benefit would not have been the best thing for him. Do I miss having him here this morning to proofread this? Sure! But, I also know he will love Liberty, and I believe that’s the next chapter God has planned for his life.

In many ways, Connor heading off to college has been as painful for Evan as it has been for us. Evan has been Connor’s roommate for the past 9 years. Living out in the country, they have also been playmates.

Yesterday, as we said our goodbye’s and turned to leave, Connor stopped us and walked over to his desk. He returned and handed Kris his iPod. He reminded us that we gave it to him inscribed with scripture when he started the 9th grade.  It was an inconvenience for Connor to give it up, but he wanted Evan to have it. (Since Evan lost his several months back, he was constantly borrowing Connor’s)

It reminds me of the “passing of the baton” Moses and Joshua had. Both were natural progressions.

God wasn’t surprised that Connor would go to Liberty, just as He was not surprised when the Israelites showed up at the Jordan River to cross it, and found it was a raging flooded river. He knew when He formed the earth and etched the path for that river, the exact moment Joshua would be standing there. When He formed Connor in the womb, He knew the exact moment we would be leaving him at Liberty. Both took steps of faith!

The great news is God will be with us on both sides of the river, and even in it with us as we cross. We just have to be faithful and take that first step!…

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And Joshua commanded the officers of the people,“Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”  (Joshua 1:10-11)

Lean on the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Today will be an easy day to put Proverbs 3:5-6 into action. We have 1/3 of our kids (Lacy) driving 13 miles away to school. Add to that another 1/3 of our kids (Evan) will be riding with her. All of this while we are 7 hours away in Virginia, preparing to leave the other 1/3 of our kids (Connor) at Liberty University.

Emotions will be running high today as our world spins with us standing on the sidelines. We will anxiously await a call from 2/3’s of our kids letting us know they arrived ok. We will start our drive home, Connor-less, anxiously awaiting a call from him this week letting us know he is ok.

I have to remind myself to pray to my Father. I have to remind myself that He blessed us with those 3. I have to remind myself that He has protected them up to this very moment in time. I have to remind myself to pray His will be done, NOT my will. My will would be so selfish, probably wanting to freeze my life in time where we could all live happily together like we have for the past 14 years (when Evan arrived). If I keep praying for His will to be done, then when things do or don’t happen, I can trust that its His will.  Assuming of course, we are all doing our part…not standing on the sidelines.

I guess that means we need to step back into the game. Kind of hard to be useful in this game of life, if we are on the sideline fretting on how the game is going! Just as a team relies on their coach to see better from up above in the coaches box, so I need to remind myself God has a much better view from His perspective. Not to mention, He already knows how He wants the game to end.

Today as much as ever, I have to lean on Him. I have to trust that my prayers for His will to be done…will be done. I will acknowledge Him, and His faithfulness, and His love, and His wisdom, and trust that today He will make the Kingteam’s paths, straight!….

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 )

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