kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: December, 2013

Confident in God’s Forgiveness

Look straight ahead with honest confidence; don’t hang your head in shame.” (Proverbs 4:25 TEV)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Lacy and her two brothers have been a joy to raise. Have they had their moments? Sure. They were and are such a blessing to Kris and me, however, they are not perfect.

For the most part, the imperfection has manifested itself with petty little arguments, and things getting broken around the house when they are not careful, or just horsing around. Case in point: an expensive piece of leaded glass. Lacy in an impulsive moment, did something without thinking and, bang, it gets busted. Thankfully, I reacted in a reasonable manner and she immediately apologized. I forgave her for the rash, poorly thought out, impulsiveness. The next day Lacy came up and apologized again, and again I forgave her.  A day or two later she came up to me again and apologized. I looked her in the eye, told her I had no idea what she was talking about, smiled, and gave her a hug. She understood what I meant and gave me a big hug and kiss. She walked away with a new found lightness in her step.

I think we are the same way with God sometime. It takes little effort to do something dumb or impulsive. Within moments we realize it was a dumb, rash, poorly thought out, example of our impulsive sin nature. We pray and ask God for forgiveness.

But here is the difference with those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ. When we bring it up again, God says “I have no idea what you are talking about.” Then, He reminds us that He loves us, and as proof, points to the Cross….

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For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:23-24)

Feel Abandoned, Worship God Anyway

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – For several years, I have tried to pray every night with Connor, Lacy and Evan, once they were in their beds. As they have grown up to be young adults, they often times find me to pray with them because they intend to stay up later then me.

Typically I pray asking God to bless them and protect them. Often I pray for them to have wisdom and that God will find them available and useful in their daily walk. Hopefully, I always thank Him for the way He made them. For their unique talents, gifts, and yes, even their flaws. After all, that is what makes them who they are. And I pray that they will encourage those who are followers of Christ, and be a light to those who aren’t.

There are times I just pray my “thank you” prayers. You might find me doing it after a particularly difficult day. Maybe I feel beaten up by the world after having to “step in to the ring and go a few rounds” in a hard work day. Or maybe it was some of those unforeseen bills we all get, that always seem to come at the most inopportune time. Other times it might be health issues beating us down.

There have been times where I felt so bloodied by the world, so worn out, that I kind of hoped He would just take me on home.  I would start the prayer feebly with “Thank You!” I then might thank Him for getting me through that awful day. I would then thank Him for the horrendous day He let Jesus experience for us and thank Him for loving us that much. I’d thank Him, after making the penalty for sin DEATH, for letting His Son be the one to crawl up on the cross and DIE in OUR place. Often I would then contemplate that with Connor or one of his siblings for a minute. The “Thank You’s” would begin to come more easily. A very sincere thank you for my precious family soon followed.

By the time I got around to saying “Amen”, I did not feel as beat up. I did not feel as hopeless. Instead, I felt incredibly blessed! And I felt incredibly loved!

THANK YOU FATHER! Not just for how the story starts, but also for how it ends….

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God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)

Be Frank with God

For You, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord, in the land of the living. I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”;  (Psalm 116:8-10)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – When Evan was no taller then my waist, we invested in a small start up company with great promise. It was only a matter of time, with their products and management team, until great success was recognized. Things started off well, but, within a year, it started to fizzle. A couple of years went by and the chances of recouping our investment melted away. Pretty soon that company got to be a joke with us. Whenever something came up that we thought might not be a good idea, it got lumped into the same category as this other company.

We tried to learn from that experience. We realized that the management team for a company can change, and that in turn can change the direction, personality, and very soul of an organization. It can be very disturbing when that happens to a company to which you invested money!

Last year I had even mentioned to Kris my regret that I had not gotten an individual certificate for each share of stock. I told her that I could have at least used it to wallpaper my office. We both prayed about it and thought we were doing things inside God’s will. But six years later we had resigned ourselves to the fact that sometimes we seek His wisdom and will, and don’t like the end result. We still trusted God, but did let Him know the despair we felt (as if He didn’t already know!).

Numerous times I questioned God about it. I was upset because that money could have gone somewhere else, instead of being “thrown away” on a pipe dream. Most of the time my complaints were met with simple silence. I know God doesn’t HAVE to answer or respond to our prayers, but it would have been nice.

I had to remind myself that He is the Creator, we are the created. He doesn’t have to answer if He doesn’t want to. We need to trust Him, even when we can’t see Him, hear Him, or feel Him…

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Epilogue: Seven years and 4 months later we got an interesting phone call informing us the company was being bought by a competitor. Even through all the silence…God provided for us.

Faith, Not Feelings, Please God

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.‘” (Job 1:20-21 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Lacy and her bothers were a handful when they were growing up. Not because they were little demons, but because they were very active and inquisitive.

When Connor was a toddler, Kris’ granddad made him a contraption out of a clear milk jug. When a button was pushed, a light would come on in it. If the button was held long enough, a little fan would start turning, and eventually the light would start blinking on and off. This fascinated Connor. And in turn, it fascinated Lacy. She would watch her “big” brother play it with for hours. They were mystified and mesmerized.

From the time they were in diapers Kris and I taught the kids that God is everywhere. Just as air is everywhere. We told them that you sometimes feel the air’s presence with the breeze that blows by you. Sometimes you see it when trees bend with its force. But even if you don’t feel it, the fact that you breath another breath, is evidence that it’s there.

I am thankful for that little milk jug. It gave Connor and Lacy (this was pre-Evan)  a curiosity that opened their eyes to so many things. With that curiosity, has come knowledge.

Years later they can now talk circles around me when it comes to Calvinism and Arminianism, or Creationism (Intelligent Design) and Evolution, or the big one – Atheist vs.Believer. They like to know, but they also like to know WHY they know.

Several times I have seen one, or all three of them get into a conversation with someone with an opposing view. They are always accommodating and open to hear the other person’s thoughts. They run it through their filter of knowledge and life experiences, and then process a reply or opposing opinion. But, it is always done in a civil way. 

They are like that, not because of what we believe, but what THEY believe. My prayer is as they grow older, and storms come along in their lives, they will not forget. There will be times where they ask WHY? And, get no reply. They will question things when something bad happens. And, get no reason.

I pray that they will always remember that we are the created. He is the Creator. He knows the ripple effect of every action. He understands how what happens today, impacts something 50 years from now.

Just as Job who was the richest man in the east, lost everything, and kept his faith, I pray they will also be found faithful. Even if they don’t understand, and He doesn’t explain why, my prayer is they will hold fast to His promises. And take another breath….

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Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.  (Job 1:21 NIV)

Feeling is Not Worship

I go east, but He is not there. I go west, but I cannot find Him. I do not see Him in the north, for He is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find Him. But He knows where I am going. And when He has tested me like gold in a fire, He will pronounce me innocent.” (Job 23:8-10 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – It was a scary thing when Connor started driving. I realized I was one of the examples he had and started playing back in my mind my good habits, and my not so good habits. Do I really blow my horn that much? Do I really drive that fast up our street?

It didn’t take long to figure out Connor did better with Kris teaching him, then he did with me. In many ways we were too much alike, and inevitably butt heads. So sweet Kris with the patience of a mom, would go out with him, which is good because she actually takes time to enjoy driving. I feel like God is watching me with a stopwatch seeing how quickly and efficiently I can get there!

I still remember the first time Connor took a solo drive. He pulled out of the garage, (from my perspective) barely missing the garage door. Down the driveway he drove headed to a rehearsal at church. Upon his return several hours later, we asked him how his maiden voyage went. His reply seemed pretty accurate, in fact we were certain of it. Doing our best FBI agent imitation, we “tailed” him from a safe distance the 8 miles to church, wanting to see how he would do when we weren’t with him.

Connor thought he was driving out of our sight. He thought he was all alone driving down that busy road to First Redeemer. He would later tell us it was a little unnerving crossing through highway 9 and Georgia 400.

What he didn’t know was that we saw the whole thing. We were feverishly praying for his protection. We had the angels busy watching over him and placing a hedge of protection around him as he drove. We sighed with relief as he safely parked the car in the busy parking lot. We sat there proud of the job he had completed.

I think we often look at our life as Connor did his driving experience. We think God is NOT watching, or think He is not interested. He won’t care. It doesn’t matter to Him, does it?

When in reality, not only is He watching us, but His Holy Spirit is intervening on our behalf, lifting up to Him needs we don’t even know we have!

Maybe I should drive with a little more patience today.  Drive a little slower, with a smile and a nod as I go. Never know WHO might be watching….

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Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, the Savior. (Isaiah 45:15 ESV)

God Is Real

I will never leave you nor forsake you.(Deuteronomy 31:8)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – When Evan and his siblings were younger they loved to play hide and seek. They do even now with flashlights in the woods, but when they were smaller it was “simpler”. On multiple occasions they would find what they thought was a good hiding place. Which meant it took me a few minutes to find them in the house. Often they liked it so well, that they would use it again, and again, and again.

I can see why they might question my intelligence when over and over they would hide in the same place and yet I couldn’t find them very easily. 😉 It should have been easier, especially with the giggling that often accompanied it. Numerous times I remember opening a closet door and little Evan, with a big smile on his face, would have his eyes closed tightly. What most adults don’t know is if you close your eyes, they can’t see you. Time and time again, I would open the closet door where I heard giggling Evan, only to find no one there, in front of the clothes, squatting, with his hands over his eyes. It was some of the early stealth technology.

Only as they got older did this old dad learn how to find them when they used those magical powers.

I think a large percentage of adults are the same way with God. Often we are upset or distraught about things. Finances are in the red. Health is abysmal. Life looks bleak. The world is “going to Hell in a hand basket”. Obviously God is not around because we don’t see Him.  Nor is He making Himself known to us. So if we don’t see Him, He is not there. In fact, maybe He doesn’t even exist.

When in reality, we are acting like 3 year olds. We are closing our eyes to what is around us. Sometimes we are even closing them tight, and then putting our hands over them! “I don’t see God! He must not love me.” “I don’t see Him, maybe He doesn’t even exist!”

We need to grow up! We need to open our eyes. God is not trying to play hide and seek with us. He wants us to find Him. Sometimes we just need to look a little…often times He is right behind us, waiting for us to turn around and run to Him….

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It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. (Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV)

Letting Go of the Eternally Useless

All that is not eternal is eternally useless.”-C.S.Lewis

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Lacy and her siblings went with us on several different mission trips to South America. We loved the people we met in Peru and Colombia. They were kind precious people. Some we still keep in touch with by email and Facebook.

We felt so fortunate to be able to go to those places and share the story of God’s love. The little ones with wide eyes, who took everything in, looked like little cherubs. Many of them were not clean, spending much time on the street. After a while though, I think God allowed me to catch glimpses of them through His eyes. The really dirty ones that didn’t smell as nice, I noticed still had a sense of awe in their eyes. It was almost like their souls were saying “yes, I matter, too!”

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We often found ourselves winding down our day of ministry wanting to do “one more stop” so we could tell a few more people about Jesus and the hope He offers.  We were totally exhausted by the time we crawled in to our beds each night. When laying in the hard beds trying to get comfortable, we would often remind ourselves that it was only a mission trip. The cold breakfast roll we got most mornings with a little butter and jelly tasted so good as we tried to make it last an extra few bites. Some of the street vendors we bought food from during the trip, I am sure would not be up to code back here in the states. But after all, it was only a mission trip.

Each time we returned and we drove back up our driveway I was elated to be home. It is where I can be myself with surroundings I am familiar. It is where I find my family, the people I love most. When I pulled up to the garage our yellow lab always greeted me, wildly wagging her tail with approval that we were home.

As I sit here, I am reminded that even though we have lived here 10 years, this is not my home either. Have we made friends here? Sure. Have we had fellowship with local believers here? Absolutely. But this world is not our home. This is not the end of our life’s story. This is only the prequel to what we have in store when we truly go home, where we will be greeted by our Saviour…because this is only a mission trip!….

…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV)

Don’t Give Up!

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RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Connor was around 11 when we started our business. He has seen some of the ups, and definitely seen some of the downs. He has seen us when we had plenty, and seen us when we had little. I am hoping through all that, he saw an attitude to be in God’s will.

Kris and I prayed earnestly, seeking God’s will before we started the business. We had a peace that we were in the middle of His will and out we stepped from a guaranteed income, to a longtime dream of working for ourselves. To no pay check for four months. But started, we did. I can tell you we spent a lot of time in prayer.

Our business was still trying to take root 6 months into the new endeavor, when I found out Connor wanted to go to Peru on a mission trip. A close friend was moving down there to be a missionary and he wanted to go to send her off. I did not have time to be gone for 10 days with a new business!

But, two months later I found myself outside of Lima, Peru with Connor, Ms. Heather, and about 30 other people.

I did call the office once a day during breakfast to check in. Sometime during day 2, this worrying potato head had an epiphany. I remembered that we had given the business to God. I also remembered that we were in Peru sharing the story of His Son’s love for us. I mentally handed the keys to the business to God. I decided I would focus on telling people about His Son.

A funny thing happens late at night when things are quiet and you’re tired. You start thinking. You can also start worrying. You quietly and sometimes unknowingly take the keys back. I did that numerous times on the trip. I would have to remind myself we gave the business to God. I had to remind myself it was a dream we had sought His will on time and time again. I had to remind myself that it could NOT fail if He didn’t want it to. I also had to remind myself that it could NOT succeed if He didn’t want it to!

Sad to say, 7 years later, I still go through that exercise. I will give Him the keys, and then later on in the day, I might start reaching for them. Kris and I have only been at this for 8 years. How did Noah stick with it for 120 years?!?

I have a sneaky suspicion he talked to God, a lot! I wonder if I could find more peace in the storms? I wonder if that could work for me?…..

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.  (2 Chronicles 16:9  ESV)

Shortcuts Are Short-sighted

RAMBLINGS from Kris’ husband – Kris and I were looking at houses several years back. We walked into a finished home that looked great from the outside. The landscaped manicured yard was beautiful. The windows and doors looked spectacular from the street. As we walked around the interior, upon closer inspection I noticed some cold air from outside coming in around the windows. We later noticed where things were not finished that were in hard to see places, like the top of the built-in cabinets. It made me question the integrity of what we could not see. We drove away from the house with a totally different feeling then we did when we first saw it.

I wonder how often God see’s that kind of shoddy workmanship in what I do for Him? How often do we make sure the paint is fresh, while the wood underneath is rotting?  How often do we clean up what is very public. but let the stuff in the corners or behind the scenes get dirty and nasty?

We watched a special the other day on hotels. These were nice clean looking hotels that you paid a lot of money to stay in. However, when they turned off the regular lights, and turned on the black-lights, all kinds of stuff was visible. Short cuts were obvious. Areas of the room had clearly been overlooked or omitted. It seemed clean…until a closer inspection was done.

We never know when we might be encouraging the next Noah, or working on God’s next “ark”.

When it comes to working for our heavenly Father, no matter if we are hanging a picture in the closet, or building a 450′ long ark, lets do it to the best of our ability.  You never know when you might be asked to hop on board!…..

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Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him. (Genesis 6:22 ESV)

To Hear God, Get Near Him

“He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before.” (Hebrews 11:7a NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – We have lived in this house for over 10 years. When we first moved from our nice manicured neighborhood, out here in “the woods”, it was a little spooky at night. With all the trees it got really dark and that was very different from our previous home. So Kris took Evan and his siblings to buy an “outside” dog. We ended up with two, beautiful little yellow lab puppies. We had been told by a friend that they would keep each other company outside.

We built them a nice 40 x 50 pen, and filled it with a nice insulated house, and plenty of chew toys. The kids had two new friends to play with and all was well with the world.

One night about 2:00 in the morning I was awakened by a very loud knocking on our front door. I cautiously peeked around the corner and saw a sheriff’s deputy standing outside our door. I disarmed our alarm and opened the door to a very upset deputy. It seems neighbors through the woods, several hundred yards away, had called to complain about our two very vocal labs. The deputy had been driving around for an hour trying to figure out where we lived. She was NOT a happy camper.

An hour later I was laying in bed trying to go back to sleep totally befuddled. You see we had been clueless the dogs were barking. We were on the other end of our house from the dogs. And Kris and I both like some white noise at night, so we sleep with a fan that purrs in the corner of our room.

The next day Kris made fliers with an adorable picture of our dogs, and “they” apologized for being loud. She stuck it in every mailbox she could find anywhere remotely near us.

I wonder how often I don’t hear God for the same reason? Maybe I am too far away. Or maybe I have too much noise going on around me to be able to hear Him. Over the years I have learned if I am not up early reading His word, praying, and listening for Him, before everything else gets going, the chances of hearing Him become infinitesimal!  Once the kids are up, once the phone starts ringing, I do good to hear the dogs barking!…..

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These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God.  (Genesis 6:9 ESV)

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