kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: February, 2014

Let Go and Let God Work

Father, everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” (Mark 14:36 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Kris’ husband – It’s been three weeks since we found out my father-in-law has pancreatic cancer. The days since have been roller coaster rides with emotions. My precious in-laws, whom I love like my own parents, lived with us for over four years up until five months ago.

Since my dad’s death five years ago, Kris’ dad has been my surrogate dad. He has been my right hand in running our small medical business. We have had our moments where we butted heads, but my love for him never waned. Many a day I found myself leaning on him. He was there for me when I needed someone, sometimes that someone being a dad. Needless to say we are very close.

The other night we had dinner with them at their new house. The calmness that Tom showed the night before his first chemo treatment was remarkable. Sure, he was not excited about having something put in his body that would probably make him sick. He joked and said the next morning he didn’t know if he was going right or left when he got to the highway. I knew right was the oncologist, so I asked him what was left? He smiled and said “California”, showing his anxiousness about the morning. 

I woke up early this morning with Tom on my mind. I reminded myself that God is our Creator. He is our Healer. He is our Father. This morning I prayed to Him asking that His will be done. Would I like to see Tom healed? Absolutely! Would I like to have him around longer to lean on? Sure! But my finite little mind can’t even begin to comprehend God’s grand design. After all, He is the one who came up with the butterfly. So I guess any “Butterfly effect” is His, too.

Any of us in a similar situation, would pray a prayer pleading to God for healing. I know I did that for my own sweet dad who battled Parkinson’s for years. God in His infinite wisdom, heard my prayer and answered it. He just chose to do so by healing my dad and giving him a new body when He called him home.

Jesus understands the pain we are going through. He understands the flood of emotions we feel as we pray for healing. He understands the moments of hopelessness we find ourselves caught in.

The Bible tells us the night before they crucified Him, the night before they tortured and humiliated Him, He prayed so hard the sweat became blood. He knew what was coming. Jesus knew that His Father who had always been with Him, would have to leave Him, turn His back on him, when God allowed all the sins of the world to be heaped on Him.

The night before He died he prayed for hours. He prayed His heart out. He pled with His Dad, “Father, everything is possible for You. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want Your will, not mine.”

God chose to let His Son die a terrible death. Anyone watching would have said “WHY?!?” But God knew why. So today I will once again get up and pray my prayers. But I will try to remember that He is God, and He ALWAYS knows why….

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And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from Me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.”  (Mark 14:36 ESV)

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The Barrier of Pride

The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us.” A.W. Tozer

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – All three of our kids are special, and Connor is no exception. He is a very gifted young man. Connor is also the typical perfectionist first born.

I remember Connor not reading way beyond the normal time for kids his age. We were homeschooling, so Kris had the luxury of letting him bloom late if needed. We let him gravitate to things that interested him. Reading was not one of them.

One day when Kris was getting ready to pull her hair out, Connor sat down at the table and started reading. He did not stop with one word, or one sentence, he did not stop until he finished the page.

Connor, like many of us, did not want do it until he could do it well. He, like his dad, dealt with the issue of pride. We realized with his perfectionism/pride we needed to give him opportunities to fail at things. We needed to go without correcting him if he didn’t get something exactly right. What we did do was do things the correct way in his presence so he could learn by watching.

Years ago when I was being discipled by Dr. Jim, a young guy came to one of our small group Bible studies. Several weeks later Dr. Jim pushed me into meeting with the guy even though I felt totally inadequate, I didn’t think I was ready. I am sure I did many things wrong. But I watched what Dr. Jim did with me, and tried to emulate him. Fifteen years later, I still find myself wondering what Dr. Jim would do in certain situations.

When I look at Dr. Jim, I see a resemblance to Jesus. Why? Because I never saw him struggling with pride. I saw Dr. Jim time and time again, do the lowliest of jobs, the most menial tasks. Ones you would think below that of a surgeon. Yet, he did them. And he did them to the best of his ability. I was also with him in the O.R. where surgeons can act less like Jesus and more like God 🙂 But even in the O.R. his humility and lack of pridefulness were ever present.

Of course that shouldn’t come as a surprise to me. After all, Dr. Jim always uses Jesus as his model to emulate. And Jesus was willing to do the lowliest of jobs. He never struggled with pride.  And Jesus wasn’t just a carpenter. He washed feet even though He was the Son of God, The King of Kings….

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Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God.  (2 Corinthians 3:5  ESV)

Worship: Offering Yourself to God

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Yesterday afternoon I watched Evan sand chemistry tables in a local high school. He and about 40 other high school kids were doing a work project during our “U-Turn Weekend”. A weekend that helps the kids focus on their relationship with God. For many it is a time of recharging their spiritual battery. For four teenagers it will end up being the most important weekend of their lives as they realized the need they had for a Saviour.

The tables they worked on had been abused over the years, scratched up and marked with graffiti. They weren’t very pretty when the kids started. The hard working kids sanded tables and then painting them with black oil based paint for over two hours. I am proud of the way they did their best, for a school that for most, was not their own. In fact for many of the students, it is a rival high school.  The principal stood by smiling and talking with us as the kids worked hard to get 100 tables sanded and painted in two hours.

I was so proud to see them finish the work in which they had been tasked.  A job they had not signed up for when the weekend started. A work I am confident they would much rather have replaced with something fun and outdoors on the much needed warm and sunny Saturday in February. But instead we had a compliant bunch of teenagers working hard indoors with some smelly paint as the sun peeked through the windows.

When they finished the principal thanked us profusely and even asked if he could take a picture of group. They grouped together in the school’s two story entrance and he snapped pictures from the second floor balcony. As we walked out, he again gave us a warm smile and thanked us for the good job.

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I wonder when God gives me a chore to do, if I am that compliant? I wonder if I do as good a job with something so mundane, as they did? I wonder if I would do it with as happy heart as they did? I wonder IF I bothered to finish it, if He would smile and say good job?

In many ways those four teenagers this weekend were like those tables. They started off the weekend being scratched up and dirty from life happening. But when they turned their heart over to Christ, He made them new creations…and with that, like the tables, they had new beginnings….

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 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 12:1-2  ESV)

Let Love Motivate Your Work

So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer.” (Romans 12:1 TEV)

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad – Our kids are different in many ways. They are however, similar in many ways, too. All three have been great kids, giving us very little trouble over the years. Their big stuff –  leaving the milk out, or the really big stuff -not turning off a light when they go to bed, are things Kris reminds me are easy to deal with.

Yes, we are blessed when it comes to the three children God gave us. Lacy is no exception. Our singer/performer is a butterfly in many ways. Lighting on this flower for a minute to take in life, and then suddenly fluttering away because some other bloom has gotten her attention.  Hence, sometimes things don’t get finished as she is drawn away by a distraction and clutter is left in her absence.

So it is not unusual to walk by an area she has been in (like the den, kitchen, or her bedroom) and find evidence of her “recent presence”. Things scattered about from an earlier “moment of creativity”. I am constantly finding said evidence and encouraging her to “get rid of the evidence”.:)

So when I come into the house and find the kitchen sparkling clean and everything in its place, and then find Lacy smiling like a cheshire cat, I know she did it for me. I can look around and see where she was screaming “I love you Daddy”…by what I DON’T see!

There are areas of my life where I struggle with some version of “clutter”. I try, but time and time again, it happens. So when God see’s me focused and working on getting rid of that clutter or trash, I hope the love I have for Him that is my motivation, is as apparent to Him, as Lacy’s is to me….

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Let all that you do be done in love.  (1 Corinthians 16:14  ESV)

Mundane Work Still Offering to God

Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1 MSG)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Some people seem to only enjoy doing things when they are “large” and in the spot light. I’ve been around people who think the boring little jobs are for someone else. In fact, I have had co-workers who literally stood around, waiting for someone else to do something, because they felt it was below them.

I’ve seen workers let their boss clean up and take out the trash because that was not in their job description. A couple of times I have watched the worker stand by and talk to their boss, while he cleaned up!

When it comes to doing the mundane, Connor, from a very young age, has shown a willingness to do. Kris and I have had many a party at our house for church, work, neighborhood, and family. The kids have been called on to entertain, babysit, serve, speak, and clean up. I am thankful that our oldest has always shown a willingness to do what is needed. And from an early age, he has done it with a “happy heart”.

When I look back at the life of Christ, He never complained. He willingly did the lowliest of jobs, washing His disciples feet. He sat by the well and talked to the low class Samaritan woman. He let the lepers, the unapproachable, approach Him. He got his hands muddy as He healed the blind man. He even hung out with the “crooked IRS agent” of the day, the tax collector, and had dinner with him and his friends. Knowing all along what these people were truly like.

And then to top it all off, He willingly climbed up on the cross, with no complaints, and died for them. In fact, according to the Gospels, He died for our sins. He died in our place. He did our dirty work for us, while we just stood around and watched.

There is no way that I will ever even begin to be like Him. I am too judgmental. I am too lazy. I think I am too good for that menial chore.

I know that it will be impossible to be mistaken for Jesus. I just hope that I can occasionally be mistaken for Connor….

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Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us… (Psalm 90: 17 ESV)

Is Your Job a Mismatch for Your Gifts?

“God does not expect you to glorify Him with gifts you don’t have. But He does expect you to glorify Him with gifts you do have.” – Rick Warren

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Evan told me recently that he wants a part-time job. We pondered what would be a good one for him since he is a people person. This led me to discuss with him some of my former jobs.

  1. My first job consisted of sitting out in our front yard under the tree and selling tomatoes off of a card table. (boring)
  2. Second job was watching over telephone repairmen while they went down into manholes, making sure no one fell in. (downtown ATL…not so boring)
  3. The next summer I was working in the kitchen of a cafeteria. (boring x 2)
  4. The next summer with dad’s help, I had a lawn cutting service. (not so bad)
  5. The next job was when I graduated from high school and I worked on an assembly line. (BORING/Monotonous!)
  6. Graduated from college, started in my sales career, and have enjoyed work (most days) since then.

My mom and dad raised me to do the best I could at whatever I was doing at the time. Of course that training came at a high price! Many a time my mom had me go back and vacuum a room again because I didn’t do it to the best of my ability the first time. I have rewashed many a car because my dad pointed out the places I missed when it was dry.

By the time I was doing some of the jobs mentioned above, I had learned to do the best I could at each one. And each one I excelled with, even though I didn’t really like them. I would like to think I probably could have stayed and been considered an excellent employee at any of those jobs, but would I have been where God wanted me?

God wired me a certain way. He gave me certain talents, and He gave me certain weaknesses. I am pretty sure He was considering what He wanted me to do when He was molding me. The same can be said for each one of us. If we are a follower of Christ, then He has a work for us to do.

Whether its washing dishes, watching man holes, or selling medical equipment, we should to it to the best of our ability. We should also make sure we are working at the right place. Other wise, we might be missing out. I don’t want to get to Heaven and hear Him say “you did fine doing that…but THIS is what you COULD have been doing”, and in that moment catch a glimpse of what could have been. Not for me, but for HIM….

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Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.  (1 Corinthians 7:17  ESV)

Work is Part of God’s Plan

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating as possibility!” – Soren Kierkegaard

Ramblings from Lacy’s dad –  We are enjoying the snowiest winter I ever recall here in Georgia. This is the first time I have seen it snow in Georgia three days in a row. Heck, I think that’s more then it snowed all last winter combined.

Yesterday, Lacy and I took mom back to her house after having her stay with us a few days because of the threat of ice. We would normally take her in one of our cars because they are more comfortable and roomy. But with all the slush still on the roads, we took the Jeep. The 4×4 had little trouble making it through the slushy patches. I think secretly Mom got a kick out of riding around in the stuff, although publicly she protested.

Now that I think about it, the cars weren’t driven at all this week. The Jeep and the all wheel drive SUV were the popular choices that proved their capabilities in the rare Georgia snow. It didn’t hurt that they both have seat warmers to keep us nice and toasty in the cold.

Before we headed out with Mom (with some prodding from her dad) Lacy sang the song she is singing Sunday morning, for “Nana”. When she finished, mom just smiled, and told her how beautiful it was. It seems like even before she could talk, Lacy could sing. We have home movies of her toddling around the house, singing like a little songbird.

I come home sometime and the house is filled with her melodious voice as she sits in the living room, playing her guitar, and singing like there is no tomorrow. The girl has got some pipes.

Evan seems to have some of the same love for music as Lacy. He can be caught sometime walking around the house singing, and like Lacy, is pretty good at it. Connor can sing, but seldom did I hear him singing as he walked around the house. He was more into the apologetics of our faith. Often he would come home from school and tell me of a conversation he had with someone about Christ.

Each one seems to be gifted in different ways, with different talents, strengths, and weaknesses. They are kind of like the vehicles we have here at the house. Depending on the situation, one might be more useful then another. They all are capable and talented, just in different ways.

I want to be like my Jeep. Always ready to go when called on. Always ready to climb that “difficult” hill, even with a heavy load. And always, always doing it with a thankful heart, remembering our Creator, and our Saviour…who did the same for us!….

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For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

Why We Get Discouraged

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad –  Growing up, Connor was the epitome of a “Jimmy Neutron”.  Jimmy was a cartoon character we loved to watch.  He was not very athletic, but made up for that with brains. Jimmy was always coming up with a new toy he made describing it in detail with large four and five syllable  words. That, in a nut shell, was Connor growing up.

A funny thing happened when he decided to leave homeschooling behind him, and enter in to the 9th grade in public high school. Connor went out for the football team. He had never even watched a game, so I knew within a few practices that Connor would throw in the towel.

For a kid who had seldom run further then the front door, his first week of practice was a real shocker. He came home every evening totally exhausted. He was burning calories like there was no tomorrow, and eating the same way. Yet each day he got up to do it again.

He constantly got frustrated because everyone else understood the game from years of playing. I am sure he was kidded and made fun of by some of the other players. Yet each day he got up to do it again.

Several times Connor got banged up in practices.  I’m sure whatever confidence he had waned. I am also confident like Sanballat and Nehemiah, when the other’s smelled “blood” they jumped on the chance to discourage him even more, hoping he would give up and quit. Yet each day he got up to do it again.

There were days he would come home and complain, not about the pain and fatigue, or the lack of understanding the game, but about dropping a pass he was supposed to catch. I realized he was disappointed in his failure to “do his best”.

Each night he crawled into his bed after another practice. But as his eye lids grew heavy, I would kneel beside him and pray. I would thank God for Connor. I thanked Him for all the talents He had blessed Connor with. I thanked Him for Connor’s heart. I thanked God for all of the young men who were seeing Connor live out his faith on the field. I thanked God for Connor’s desire to stay pure through all of the language he heard, and asking permission to use the word “butt”. I laid a hand on his head each night and asked God to bless him, to protect him, to let him be a light to those who didn’t know Him, and to be an encouragement to those who did.

I look back and realize that as usual, God in His perfect timing, answered those prayers. To my utter surprise, Connor made it through the entire season. He got to run a few plays each game, and in the process I saw him win the respect of his coaches.

Isn’t our Christian walk similar to Connor’s football experience? God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. In fact, He created us and KNOWS we aren’t. He just wants us to be like Connor-

  1. Get up each day and do the best we can, mirroring Jesus in everything we do.
  2. Don’t get discouraged when things get hard, lean on Him instead (He likes that)
  3. If we are doing what we know we are supposed to be doing, don’t get discouraged by what others are saying
  4. Just like playing in a football game, expect others are watching you, and act accordingly

Connor did not go on to play professional football and win the Super Bowl. However, he is doing something much more important. Through his walk, he is helping win souls to Christ! And I couldn’t be more proud of him…

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In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”  (Nehemiah 4:10 ESV)

Faith Requires Commitment

“Many people are going to miss heaven by 18 inches — because they’ve got belief in their head, but they don’t have it in their heart.” – Rick Warren

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – Evan was just old enough to remember my dad. But he never knew him before the Parkinson’s that overtook his body the final years he was with us.

But Evan has been around his other granddad much more then most. While we were building our previous house, we lived with Kris’ parents. Evan spent the early moths of his life living in their upstairs walk-in closet, that was converted into a “nursery”. It was small, but he didn’t seem to mind.:)

He was around Pop Dye when they had their beach house, and even learned to swim in the pool there. The lagoon out back was where he first learned to fish. Pop taught him how to bait a hook. That home is where he and Connor mastered building sand castles on the beach.

A few years later he later learned how to drive at the ripe old age of 7. He would go riding around in the woods on Pop’s Gator, as Pop rode in the co-pilot seat. A few minor mishaps later and Evan was a pretty good driver!

The past four years Evan got to be with his grandparent’s again as they moved in and lived in our apartment downstairs. Many a Saturday, Evan came downstairs from his bedroom, bypassed the kitchen, and went down to the lower level. Why? Because Pop would fix him waffles. At one point I even bought the same Eggo Waffles and put them in our freezer. But they sat untouched as Evan bypassed them, and continued to go the extra set of steps down, and eat the ones Pop made for him.

One Saturday I happened to be downstairs headed to workout when this was playing out. There were no special place settings with candles, or fancy flatware and napkins. The ambience was nothing spectacular. But then I heard it. The conversation between Evan and Pop. I paused and smiled as they talked about the previous day. They were comparing notes on the blueberry bushes out in the garden. They were just hanging out together.

I have learned several things from my father in law over those four years.

  1. Stuff’s going to happen. That’s called life.
  2. Many things can actually be fixed or repaired, and not just replaced.
  3. A cup of coffee always taste better with a loved one or friend.
  4. Sometimes you go out and do stuff in the yard, just to do stuff together.
  5. Some of the best conversations take place over an Eggo Waffle.
  6. Eggo Waffles ALWAYS taste better when Pop makes them.

As I look back at the life of Christ, and how His life played out in the Bible, I see some similarities with my father in law. Tom was by no means perfect like Christ, and he would be the first to admit that. But like Jesus, Tom learned that it’ all about the relationship, and the commitment. The Bible made it very apparent that Jesus met people where ever they were in life. They didn’t have to go on some great pilgrimage to find Him. Often times they turned around, and there He was, wanting to converse them. Wanting to let them witness true love. I am confident that if they took the time to look Him in the eye, they saw a love and compassion, that they had never seen before. If they were fortunate enough to be one who followed Him, they saw His commitment to His Father.

Pop and Tutu (the names the kids have for my wonderful in-laws) moved out, into a beautiful new home. Several times after that I saw Evan on auto-pilot headed downstairs for his Saturday waffles. I smiled and realized it wasn’t just the waffles….it was the relationship….

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But God demonstrated His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Faith is Something You Do

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – I was at an awards banquet a few nights ago. There was plenty of free flowing adult beverages before, during, and after. One acquaintance later in the evening came up to talk to me. He was obviously very thirsty because he had a beer in both hands.

Knowing he is from Colorado, I brought up some of their more visible changes in law. Off he went telling me why it was a good thing. The expletives flowed from his mouth. At one point it was almost comical watching him see how many he could fit in to each sentence. As the conversation drug on, he finally asked me about my family. I told him Connor was a freshman up in Virginia.  He said, “Really? Where?” When I replied Liberty University, he almost blushed and apologized profusely for the way he was talking and the stances he had taken. His reasoning was he tried to take the middle ground so he wouldn’t offend anyone.  He went on to tell me he had even attended an ultra-conservative Christian school, Bob Jones University, in South Carolina.

It was sad to watch him try and backpedal on things he had said earlier. I finally looked at him, smiled and told him he shouldn’t worry what I or others thought. He should just stick to his convictions…the problem is I don’t know that he has any. In light of the beverages he had already drank, that was a conversation for another time.

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In recent years, as Lacy’s matured in her Christian walk, she has had firsthand experience at seeing friends in a church setting. She has also seen them away from that setting. And with that she has had several friends or acquaintances that had a church face, and a worldly face.

I guess all of us who go to worship on a regular basis do that to some degree. Hopefully, as we head to church to hear about Jesus, we want to imitate Him the best we can. We put on our church clothes and our church smile and off we go. We greet each other and typically ask “How are you today?” Sometimes we even wait to hear the answer.

But Lacy has discovered that some people don’t act on Tuesday like they did on Sunday!

The best case scenario is we let the world influence us too much, like trees in the wind. Whichever way the wind is blowing, that is the way we are leaning.

The worst case scenario is we don’t really know Him.

Daily we will bump into both kinds of people. My prayer is today my walk will be such that it’s apparent I’ve had an encounter with Christ, and I am a new creation, not just by my words, but also by my actions….

But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.  (James 2:18 ESV)

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