kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: November, 2013

Wise People Look Ahead

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – We had a great day at mom’s house with a big Thanksgiving lunch together. Afterwards we always help decorate the house for Christmas. The kids all chip in and bring decorations up from the basement. Conversations start about Christmases past, and more memories are made. There’s a snoring Santa that still amuses the boys. The ringing bells (that drive me and Uncle Brent crazy) are still hung and occasionally played for the kids.

As they finished, Mom asked me to go downstairs with her to do a chore. She wanted me to spray vinegar on her basement walls in a few places. (don’t ask!) When we finished I had a spray bottle full of vinegar. I suddenly had a brilliant idea. Mischievous me decided to go up carrying an empty box, while holding the spray bottle underneath it. I then walked up to Evan and while talking to him, stealthily squirted him with vinegar. I smiled with pleasure and then went on to my next victim. With great satisfaction I successfully “vinegarized” all the grandkids.

The problem with spraying vinegar on 5 teenagers is when you are finished, the place smells like a pickle factory! I did not think that one through very well. :/ My siblings were ready to hang me up by my toes. Thankfully they are all too old to do that. ūüôā Kris will be the first to tell you that practical jokes are seldom thought through, before being committed.

Our loving God gives us clear instructions on how to maneuver the twists and turns in life. The book of Proverbs overflows with wisdom, if we are willing to heed it. With His instructions, we can minimize the bad decisions we might make.

I am sure if vinegar had been dealt with more clearly in Proverbs, I could have avoided that lingering olfactory annoyance….

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The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving.  (Proverbs 14:8)

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Christians Are a Work in Progress

We can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when He comes we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is.” (1 John 3:2 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – I have been an Atlanta Braves fan since I was a kid. I listened and watched as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record. I watched guys like Phil Niekro and Dale Murphy do their best, when there wasn’t much to cheer about. I was there rooting them on through the 90’s and their glory years. And yes, I watched Chipper Jones his whole career.

Lacy went to her first game in diapers. She was more interested in the lady’s pretty red shirt in front of us, then the game. She was asleep by the 7th inning, and very heavy by the time I got her back to the car! We have enjoyed a lot of games together. We cheered them on to many victories, and lamented on the defeats.

During those times we saw many “Chippers”.¬†They were obviously Chipper because they even had their name on the back of their jersey. Some were tall, some were short, some were young, some were old, some were skinny, some were not. But they all stood up and cheered passionately when the other Chipper came up to bat, or made a great play at 3rd.

And, I am sure if you asked Chipper Jones about it, he was fine with it.

As I look back though, we seldom saw those people being Chippers away from the stadium. They reverted to being “non-Chippers”. I think they might have even gone by other names away from the stadium. How ironic.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people are the same way about church and Christianity. They show up at church and are a “Christian”. They even wear the proper type of attire for the event. They cheer, and root for the home team. Then they go home and don’t think about it again until the next event.

And, I am sure Jesus, is NOT fine with it.

He tells us in the gospels that if we are to follow Him, we need to take up our cross daily. He also told his 12 chosen disciples that He did not come to BE served, but TO serve.

I run in to a hand full of people that strive to imitate Him every day. I see them driving trucks during the week to give food to the poor and needy. I see a few caring for the sick. I even see a few taking care of the parent-less. But unfortunately, for the majority that go on Sunday to cheer on Jesus and His story of Love and Sacrifice, most are like Chipper fans, and disappear during the week.

The good news is we are a work in progress. And unlike Chipper who retired at 40, Jesus can use us into the 70’s, 80’s or whenever He calls us home. Dr. Jim retired from medicine over 10 years ago, but still meets with guys to disciple them in their walk. I can promise you he looks a lot more like Jesus today, then he did when he started…

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Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is.  (1 John 3:2)

Being Molded into Godly Character

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Connor left three months ago for a new chapter in his life. He headed off to Liberty University to study biomedical engineering, with plans to go on to medical school. We saw him a couple of times for two days here, and three days there. We finally have him home for Thanksgiving break and are loving the time we have with all our chicks under one roof.

Hanging out with Connor for the past few days I realize he is not the same young man we dropped off at his dorm back in August. That school has changed him! That environment has had an impact on him.

Don’t get me wrong, he is still the compassionate young man, who would literally give someone the shirt off his back. He is still a voracious reader. And, he still loves to watch Dr. Who.¬†But, there is a much more mature spiritual side to him. Unlike life at his public high school, where spiritually, he would step inside the doors and basically step into hostile enemy territory. Imagine hanging out in a smokey bar all day. You come home smelling like smoke, after breathing it all day!

At Liberty, he is immersed in Biblical truth. He gets it in the classroom when he studies Evangelism, Biblical Worldview, and even in Chemistry. He gets it in his dorm where they have Bible studies. And then they give them opportunities to go out and live it in the community. They give them opportunities to live it on weekend mission trips. But, daily, they equip them.

What we see in Connor is a deeper faith. One that has been given a chance to grow deeper because of a good environment. As Rick Warren says, “If you study and apply God’s Word, connect regularly with other believers, and learn to trust God in difficult circumstances, I guarantee you will become more like Jesus.”‚Ķ.

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…and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. ¬†(Ephesians 4:23-24 ¬†ESV)

 

God’s Work in You

God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Philippians 2:13 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Last night we watched the final Artios production of Macbeth. We were blown away at our youngest, who had never uttered a word on stage, speak over 140 lines in the role of Ross. He was a character that was pretty steady in his behavior and actions. He was one that spoke the truth, and didn’t vacillate with the anger, deceit, or revenge that was played out each night on stage. I think he was able to play that character so well, because in many ways it was Evan playing Evan.

He and his two siblings were a handful when little. Not because they were bad, they were just very active. When they were 1, 3 and 5, it was not unusual to come home and find Kris tired from a long day of herding cats!

We tried to be very consistent with them with regards to discipline and rules that we went by. They knew early on on what they were, and were not suppose to do. When they failed to obey and stepped outside of what was acceptable behavior, they faced the consequences. But, they also were always reminded that we loved them. 

As they have grown older and more mature, those times of needing correction, are now few and far between. We spend most of our time now in encouragement and mentoring. It’s a wonderful place to be today. I’d like to think it is because we were diligent and consistent when they were younger.

In a lot of ways I guess that is the role of the Holy Spirit in the lives of us who follow Jesus. As babies in Christ we stumble a lot, doing what we should not do. And when we do, we have to deal with the consequences. Yet if we are able to go through them with our eyes, ears, and heart open, we quickly realize we are still loved. In fact just like the kids, we hopefully learn that He loves us just as much as ever.

These days when we have all the kids under our roof, there is a great deal of laughter, talking, sharing, and loving each other for who we are. The Bible refers to that as fellowship. As believers, we should see that with God, through His Holy Spirit, the more we are able to walk in the way we are instructed, the more INHABITABLE we will be….

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“…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

Let God Work Through You

God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” (Philippians 2:13 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – ¬†Last night we watched Lacy’s opening night as Lady Macbeth. She was phenomenal, as was the rest of the cast. I can’t imagine being in school having to focus time and energy on memorizing hundreds of lines, while doing my regular studies.

At times I almost had to remind myself that the young lady up on stage was my daughter. Her physical appearance and looks were not that different, and from that standpoint she was easily recognizable. The big difference was the person she portrayed. If you remember Shakespeare’s story, it is a dark one of deceit and murder. Lady Macbeth was NOT a nice person. Ten minutes into the play, she literally had blood on her hands. I was blown away by the person I saw. The hatred, and self serving ways at anyone and everyone’s expense, only added to the dark message.

Afterwards, Lacy came up to us, gave us hugs, and announced she just needed to go home and watch some Mark Lowry, or Tim Hawkins comedy!

I wonder if people can tell who I am when I’m out with my business man face on? I wonder if the people we work with day in and day out, know without us saying a word, who we love and follow? Or are we too caught up in the world, its distractions, its pitfalls, and its noise? Could we be walking around with dirty hands so that people mistake us for just another Macbeth?

The reason I kept having to remind myself that it was Lacy up on stage is because she has grown in to a mature, Christ loving, Christ serving, young lady. “Lady M” and Lacy are pretty much the antithesis of each other. Knowing who Lacy really is in Christ, with the kindness she shows others, is what makes the differences even more drastic with the character she was playing on stage.¬†

For those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be imitating Him as we step on to our daily stage. My prayer is people don’t see Lacy’s dad today, they see Jesus‚Ķ.

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“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world..” ¬†(Philippians 2:14-15)

A God-Fashioned Life

take on an entirely new way of life – a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces His character in you.” (Ephesians 4:22-24 MSG)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Connor comes home tomorrow for 10 days. We can’t wait to see him. He texted me yesterday and said we should go get some sushi while he was home. It made me smile to know he was thinking about it.

Kris and I went up and saw him recently for two days. What a transformation! He is becoming a mature young man. He still has his focus, but now we see a new spiritual fire in him that was lit at school. Maybe it was his evangelism teacher, Dr. Wheeler. Maybe it was some of the speakers at their convocations like Willie Roberts, from Duck Dynasty. Maybe it was simply him having more time through studies and devotions, to look at God’s word, and IT is refining him into the man we now see.

Living out in the country I notice how dim our little outside lights are at dusk. Those lights are so much brighter when its dark outside. As our world grows darker spiritually, those of us who are Christians, will have a greater opportunity to impact the world for Him.

I like what Rick Warren says, “God doesn’t want you to become a god, He wants you to become godly, taking on His values, attitudes, and character.”

What would our families and co-workers see today, if we went through the day with God’s values, attitudes, and character? ¬†I think that is what I am seeing in Connor.

I guarantee you I would be a lot more patient sitting behind the steering wheel negotiating Atlanta traffic! I’d like to think people would hear a softer voice, yet one with a calm conviction. I hope that there might be a lot more inquisitive questions I’d ask people about their lives, families, health, and dreams; and a lot less beating on my chest and announcing to the world how awesome I am.

I hope there might even be more laughter. After all, He does fill that empty spot in our lives with His joy, hope, peace and love.  Seems like some of that would peek through.

A God fashioned life! That is what I am seeing in Connor!….

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to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4: 22-24)

Becoming Like Jesus

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Yesterday in our Bible Study Class we were talking about the proper times to stand our ground as Christians. The discussion was around when, and what it should look like.

Today we Christians often choose to take the silent route. We don’t want to speak up because we don’t want to hurt feelings. Other times, we get into a heated debate over something we feel is important, and dogmatically, want to show how much we know, and more importantly, want to WIN the debate. I honestly don’t know which is worse, pride, or apathy.

There was a lot of discussion on this topic with our class. One member had let something in her family fester as long as she could, and finally let her sibling have it “with both barrels”. The message she communicated was sound Biblical truth, unfortunately the “envelope” she delivered it in was anger.

Another knew a loved one who was a Christian, practicing a behavior God does not approve of. She didn’t bring it up, but when commenting on one of the social media about that behavior, that same loved one came after her. She reluctantly backed down, not wanting to muddy the water further.

Early in my Christian life those were my stories over and over. Vacillating back and forth from silence and apathy, to winning LOUD discussions with PRIDE. Neither one is very pretty to God. If He ever scratches His head, I am sure I have caused it numerous times.¬†He see’s me do one of these extremes, “scratches His head”, and thinks to Himself, “Why won’t he do the right thing? We made it so clear with the things Jesus did and did not do, and the ways that He did and did not do them‚Ķ” ¬†(Ok, I know God knows all, so He wouldn’t really ask why, but it helps to make my point.)

We have no further to go then the life of Christ to see how we should act. With the adulterous woman He was kind to her and said, “‚Ķgo, and sin no more.” (John 8:11) ¬†He confronted her, but did it out of love, and I don’t see any condemnation. I see encouragement.

We do see Jesus get firm,with the pious religious leaders. He confronts them in Matthew 23 with, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!..

Bottom line, we need to make sure our motivations are for the right reason. Not to show how much we KNOW, but to show how much we CARE. When we are able to do that, we will be more like Jesus….and a lot less like us!….

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For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

Heaven Waits For You

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Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – I remember when I was young and hearing about Heaven, I wasn’t that excited to go. The picture that had been painted in my mind was floating around on a cloud and playing a harp all day. Boring!!!

Later my idea of Heaven actually grew in activity to an occasional trip to a giant church, the size of Milwaukee. I guess I would play my harp on my little cloud Monday through Saturday, and then get a hall pass on Sunday to go sing in the heavenly choir. It is safe to say I was in no hurry for my “heavenly reward”!

Since those early formative years, I have had the opportunity to sit under some good teaching that enlightened me some on Heaven. Dr. Charles Stanley and Bruce Wilkinson were two of the best at giving me a good visual of what to look forward to in eternity. It is literally beyond our ability to comprehend fully.

I don’t think anyone has the capacity to do a good job imagining what Heaven is like.

Typically, I think people do the equivalent of using the image of an old school playground with a broken swing and “throw up wheel”, to imagine what Disney World is like. Maybe that is one way Satan dampens a person’s desire to want to go there. He deceives us into thinking its going to be mundane and boring. Border line torture listening to harps playing all day.

I talk with Lacy and her brothers sometime about Heaven. I think some of the things we love most here, will be there. Who knows, maybe our most favorite taste in the world will be what the air smells like to us. Maybe the wind will constantly feel like feathers gently brushing up against our skin. And of course then there is the awe of being in God’s presence.

We have been blessed to see some beautiful places around this planet. With great confidence, I think they will all pale in comparison to our eternal home. If GOD created both, and this world is groaning from the effects of sin, I can only imagine.

Maybe being there in God’s presence will give us permanent goose bumps and a soothing light that bathes us with a wonderful warmth. The rare times I lay outside in the late fall or early spring and just chill, with my face toward the warm sun, I imagine that is what Heaven is going to be like‚Ķon a bad day….

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  (2 Corinthians 5:1-2 ESV)

Bad Temper is Contagious

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – I am so thankful that Connor and his siblings have, for the most part, learned to harness their anger. There have been numerous occasions where I was not the model I would prefer to be with them regarding my anger management.

The height of it was several years ago. We were going through some very hard times financially with our business. A company we had been working with fired us, rather then pay us commissions owed. It was a very stressful time for about 18 months. I did a lousy job of laying those burdens and concerns at the feet of my heavenly Father, and instead, held on to them. In doing that, I only lingered even longer over the wrongs done, got more stressed out, and as Bill and Anabel Gillham would point out, ¬†came home every day at a “12”. The problem with coming home at a 12 is absolutely anything pushes you over the edge. Even something as simple as a pair of shoes in the kitchen floor (sorry guys). To add to the problem, I had a friend and peer at the time that I ended up talking to about the situation. Unfortunately, he had anger problems and only threw gasoline on the fire, often getting me even more upset. What I was thinking!?!

I look back ashamed at how I acted. At how I didn’t act. At how I held on to those hurts and concerns. At how I didn’t turn them over to God. Would He have gotten us the money owed from the dishonest business people? I’ll never know, because I didn’t give Him the chance.

Unfortunately, I forgot that my God owns the cattle of 1000 hills. He really owns it ALL. So if I truly trusted Him at the time, I would have known He would provide for us (His children) what we needed.  

Today the only reason I don’t revert back to that Ogre, is I spend time with Him most mornings, praying, reading and listening. Talking with Him about my concerns. (He is a lot calmer then my buddy I used to talk with!) Reading in my Bible, I often find pearls that guide me that day. Finally I try to sit still long enough to listen for a little while, and just chill with Him. I am confident my blood pressure and stress level are much lower afterwards‚Ķ.

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Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself  in a snare. (Provers 22:24-25)

Anger: Repattern Your Mind

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Evan is a young man who is very comfortable in his own skin. Recently a couple of friends did something to him that broke his trust with them. At his age I would probably have reacted by attacking them with vicious words, explaining to them in great detail why they were not fit or worthy to be my friends. I would have then gone on to tell them about every flaw they had, and then make some additional ones up.

Evan did not do that. I asked him what kept him from seeking revenge, His answer was simple, “I tried to think what Jesus would do in that situation. I mean people were in the process of murdering Him, and He was asking God to forgive them‚Ķ”

Don’t get me wrong, trust had been broken, but he did not let that dictate how he would react.¬†He was hurt, had to place a new bandaid on his knightly armor, because he had placed too much trust in someone.

I can tell even now the hurt lingers, but most would not see it. He carries on in a way to encourage those around him. Like his siblings, looking for opportunities to be kind to people, because he knows that is what Jesus did.

We often find him when not studying, outside walking around the house. Throwing his hatchet, cutting down trees, hitting rocks with an old baseball bat, and playing with our labrador. Yesterday, once again I came home and found him chill-laxing out in God’s creation. It reminded me of the time our family was on a cruise. I looked out on our balcony and saw him giving someone a thumbs up. After taking a picture, I asked him who he was talking to? His reply, “I was just looking at the ocean and telling God “good job” because it was so beautiful‚Ķ”

The Bible tells us do not be conformed to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our mind. So that we may know the perfect will of God. I am pretty sure that’s what Evan is doing when he is outside on the ship’s balcony, or outside on our property.

Maybe I need to chill-lax with God more often. ¬†Think people would see a different person the next time they saw me? Like Evan, I don’t want to be conformed to this world, I want to be TRANSFORMED‚Ķ.

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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 12:2)

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