kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: June, 2014

Let God Answer His Way

But God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” ( Ephesians 3:20 NKJV)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – When Lacy was around 12, she took horseback riding lessons with her cousin Gillian. Two weeks into it she announced to me that she wanted a horse. In fact, she “had” to have a horse. She asked me about it multiple times.

Kris and I talked about it. The first obstacle was we lived on property with almost no grass. It would involve clearing trees for at least an acre of pasture, that I was told would need a year to grow in before putting a horse on it. Secondly, we had no barn for the horse to stay. Thirdly, Lacy was only 3 weeks into riding lessons.

So I told Lacy, “not now”. Not “no”, just “not now”. The fourth week it was very cold when Lacy took her lessons. Her nose was red and stuffy and she was shivering. She did not enjoy it. But Lacy asked me again for a horse.

The fifth week at practice it was even colder and she could barely breathe through her nose. She never liked cold and certainly on top  of  a moving horse. But I still found her looking through magazines at riding apparel.

The sixth week it was still cold, and we realized that Lacy’s persistent stuffy nose and sneezing was not just cold, but allergies…to horses. After practice she announced she no longer wanted to take lessons.

She never talked about horses again.

I wonder how often I have plead with God for a “horse”? Not having the ability or means to take care of the “horse”.  I wonder how often I have asked God for a “horse” not knowing I would later not like the climate I would have to tolerate for my “horse”. I wonder how often I have asked, no, pleaded with God for a “horse” not knowing I was allergic to it?  Now that I think of it, how often did I pray for ONE horse, when He wanted to bless me with a whole herd? Doesn’t the Bible tell us He owns the cattle of a 1000 hills?

Father I am glad You  are in control. I am glad You know the difference between our wants and our needs.  Help us to be able to tell the difference, too!

And Lord, thank You for all of the unanswered prayers!….

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Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  (Ephesians 3:20) 

Waiting is a Time for Preparation

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s learning to dance in the rain!

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s Dad – Years ago when Connor was little, we planted some watermelon seeds out by our back door. He was very excited because, like his mom, he loved watermelon. The next day he got up with great excitement. He could already taste the watermelon he would soon be picking.  As much as I tried to tell him there would be no watermelon, he would not take me seriously. Out the door he went. Disappointment washed over his face as he looked down at the plant-less dirt.

Years later, Connor might be found outside with his mom messing with her blueberry plants, or her cucumbers and squash and tomatoes. He knows that the seeds go in the ground. He knows we have to keep them watered. He knows it takes a while to see growth. And he knows it takes even longer to see fruit.

I find sometimes I start to act like young Connor. My patience is often probably better described as impatience.  God I am good with that…as long as we can do it NOW.

I look at things that have happened in my life.  “Storms” that have come. “Crops” that have come in.  Those things I saw as storms at the time they came, were in reality rain that my crop needed to grow…nourishment that I hadn’t noticed was needed to help the roots grow stronger. If those early crops had come in faster, I would have been too busy to take care of the harvest. Much of it at an earlier time would have withered on the vine. At a later time it might have been too much for me to handle.

As I get older in life, and hopefully a little wiser, I see over and over again things seldom work out in my timing. It happens too late or it happens too early. I do see that time and time again, they seem to work out perfectly with God’s timing. Even down to those little storms in our lives, when at the time it rains, seems like more of a nuisance then a help. But then the clouds disappear and the sun begins to shine through. Not long after, we see the pretty blooms appear.

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Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5: 7-8)

God’s Provision: Trust God

God “provides food for those who fear Him; He remembers His covenant forever.” (Psalm 111:5 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – When our kids were small, we moved into a very nice neighborhood. We were one of the few families that weren’t members at the prestigious country club down the street. We made some great friends while living there that we still keep up with 12 years later.

One of those families had kids that were our kids best friends. Back then our kids ages ran from 3 year old Evan to 7 year old Connor. Across the street from us was an empty lot with three ugly little pine trees on it. The kids quickly made that their base of operations and called it “The 3 trees”. Connor’s best buddy was Chase, Lacy’s was Regan, and Evan rounded out the fearless five-some. They all wore their little rubber boots…in the middle of the summer, with their shorts and t-shirts. By dinner time they were all covered in dirt, tuckered out, but euphoric from another day of bonding at the “3 Trees”.

Chase’s parents were good friends of ours. We cooked out together and were at each other’s birthday parties. Chase’s dad and I were even in a neighborhood Bible study together. We encouraged each other and shared our thoughts, concerns, and discoveries with business, marriage, kids, and church.

It was during that time in a men’s small group covering the topic of “fathering” that I heard a dad talk about praying with each of his kids every night. This made an impact on me. I was already familiar with the idea of taking the kids individually on “daddy dates”, but it was during this study that I learned to do it each month around the day they were born. That added nugget helped me be much more consistent.

We built in the neighborhood simply as an investment. It was a beautiful neighborhood. We knew the resell would be profitable for us. It was however, also an expensive neighborhood, in the most expensive county in metro Atlanta. It was stressful while we lived there stretching us more then I wanted. I found myself time and time again anxious.

When our accountant gave us the green light we quickly put the house up for sell. It was about that time Chase’s dad told me they were thinking about selling for the same reason. They too realized it was a VERY expensive place to live.

We had a contract several months later and found ourselves moving out to the country 20 miles away.  People drove slower and talked slower around our new home. We loved it. It was less expensive, and I was less stressed and anxious.

Several times Chase and some of his siblings came up to play with our kids. They got along well with each other. But life happens. Schedules get crazier as kids get older. And before you know it, it’s been 5 years since you have seen someone.

The other day I posted some comments regarding a Rick Warren Daily Devotional. Later that day I had a comment from Chase. He brought up that time when we were neighbors, and his vivid memories of them selling their house. He asked if that big house was a necessity, or just a want.

I told him I didn’t know the answer to that question. Only God knows. Hopefully, we believers seek His will on things we do in our lives, including homes we buy.

Personally, I do think we have seasons in our lives for different reasons and experiences. I will say this about the season that we were neighbors. It was Chase’s dad who bugged me into going to that small group on Fathering. It was at that small group that I was encouraged to pray for my kids individually every night. It was at that small group his dad bugged me to attend, that I got into the habit of taking each of my kids out on a daddy date once a month around the day they were born. It was because of his dad bugging me, that for the past 12 years my kids have gone to sleep after hearing their dad pray for them. I have spent many an evening or afternoon with each of them. We go to movies, go out for breakfast or dinner, take drives in the car to the store and come home 5 hours later. Hopefully, we are making memories.

For that I am so thankful that there was a season when Chase’s family lived in that house, down the street from us….

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Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matthew 6:31-33)

God’s Provision: Maintain Integrity

Proverbs 16:11 (NLT) says, “The Lord demands fairness in every business deal.

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – During Lacy’s young life, I have dealt with a lot of people in business. One that comes to mind is the builder of our previous home.

I knew Randal because he was in our Sunday School class. When Kris and I decided to build, we of course talked to him. Of all the builders we talked to, we were the most comfortable with Randal. So we signed the “cost plus” contract with him, meaning his fee would be a set percentage of whatever our house cost. We realized we would soon see who Randal REALLY was.

As we broke ground for construction I wondered if things would become awkward. We saw him and his wife every Sunday, and his two girls were in Connor and Lacy’s classes. They would ride over with their dad to our lot sometime and play with our kids.

Decisions were made on a daily basis. It might be something mundane regarding the roofing, or the brick, or the lighting. Once or twice I overheard that there would be large rebates for items bought. Another time the supplier told me as I looked at samples that the one I picked would lead to a nice rebate check. He explained the rebate should go to me, but that many builders just quietly keep it for themselves. I filed that away wondering how Randal would handle it.

As I started writing draw checks each week for work done, my curiosity grew. Several months into it, I still had heard nothing from him about any rebates. My confidence in Randal waned and I shared my concern with Kris.

Four months into construction, Randal called me, as he often did and asked me if I could meet him at the house to go over things. He discussed the type of windows and doors, and the copper top things that would go on our fence. As I started to leave, Randal yelled for me to stop. He walked over to the car and handed me a rebate check from one of the suppliers for $2500. I looked up with a smile and asked him what it was for? He told me it was a rebate check for material I had picked out for our deck, and he had been waiting on it for several months.

I can’t even began to tell you the relief I had, the anxiety that left me, or the renewed confidence I had in Randal. From that day forward I knew (as I should have known the whole time) that Randal was a man of integrity. That his relationship with God was not just window dressing.

I hope and pray that when people watch me, they will see the same thing….

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A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are His work. (Proverbs 16:11)

God’s Provision: Faithful Giving

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” (Proverbs 3:9 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – I told Connor about a funeral I attended recently of a friends father. I never had the opportunity to meet him. I saw a recent picture of him as I walked into the church. The black shiny casket held all that was left of his earth suit.

I sat down toward the back and listened with interest as several of his grown grandkids got up and talked about fond memories they had of their grandfather. You saw in them a deep love for a man who in their eyes always had time for them, showing them love and compassion.

Then my friend stood up and talked about this man who was his father-in-law. He talked about his compassion for children many years ago when still in Syria. He talked about how this man found out a small town near by had no school for its kids. So he went down there and set up a school. Even going the extra step and getting people and businesses to donate food so the kids would get a hot meal every day.

Later he found that this town had orphans. Once again he talked with people, raising money to build a building. He built the first floor to be used for retail space. With those renters he financed the second floor for an orphanage. To this day it is still self-sustaining.

As I listened to the descriptions of the man, I pictured a man that put others ahead of himself. A man who gave not just his money, but also his time. It reminded me of some of the traits God has wired into our first born.

I can only hope that when I die and my earth suit is placed in a casket, that similar things are said of me. I pray that people will be able to see that I loved my Savior.  I pray that they will see that I was giving with my money and my time. I pray that they will say they saw someone doing their best at imitating Jesus. I pray that I will leave a legacy.

Kind of like what I heard yesterday….

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Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; (Proverbs 3:9)

Content With God’s Provision

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:6-7 (NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – I took Evan shooting last night. He had a good time shooting skeet with one of his buddies from church who is VERY good. Evan is in his first year and doing well. But Mitchell, I think, was born with a shotgun in his hand and he is really talented.

Since Evan is a beginner, I bought him an “affordable” Mossberg over/under. This being Mitchell’s umpteenth year, he has a very nice Beretta Silver Pigeon. (Last night Mitchell hit 40 “birds” straight, before missing his first one.)

After each boy shot, they would bump fists with each other. I appreciate their camaraderie and sportsmanship, even while competing. I also appreciate Evan using an inexpensive gun without any complaining, while those around him shoot much nicer guns.

As I watch Evan in his first year on the team, I am taking in his needs, his wants and desires, and his attitude. Motivations and even expectations at this point might change for the wrong reason if he were shooting a nicer gun. What impresses me is his apparent contentment. Sure he admires the more expensive guns, but I appreciate the way he takes care of his inexpensive “sporting goods store” shotgun.

I guess God is the same way with us. He knows our desires, and He knows our true needs. He knows our heart, our motivations, the very things that drive us to the things we do. He already knows how His blessings will affect us, and He also knows what withholding some blessings will do.

I am glad He knows. I am glad He loves us. I am glad He can see when He needs to answer our prayers, and as important, HOW He needs to answer our prayers.

Through it all, I pray that I will be like Evan, and be content wherever and however I find myself. Not finding my value in what I have, but in who I serve…

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But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  (1 Timothy 6: 6-8)

God Provides; Ask for Help

Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:24 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Back when Lacy was around 10, we had some missionaries visit us form India. They were a sweet couple who were here raising money for their orphanage. We had contributed in a very small way and when they needed a place to stay for a few days, we were glad to help.

I still remember the first evening they walked into our home. As he stepped through the door Pastor Mikola whispered “thank you Jesus”. We talked for a few minutes and since it was late, led them to their area of the house. As they walked into their sitting area once again Pastor Mikola whispered “thank you Jesus”. I was truly humbled by this man’s sincere appreciation.

The next day we were able to spend a good deal of time with them between scheduled events. Their story was fascinating. They had been born into the caste system in India. They were married and living a terrible existence where his job was to clean the human waste out of the gutters of the street. He would then come home, get drunk, and take out his frustration on his wife. It was a meager existence at best for them and their two sons.

Then one day he heard a missionary talk about Jesus. He had many questions and after several days of asking, he finally asked the most important question of his life: he asked Jesus to come into his life. Within months his wife was a believer, and soon after, both of his sons.

Within that year God had orchestrated things so that they went from living in a small shack with 2 boys, to having several orphans, too. They prayed for God to provide, and He did….with more orphans. They did what they could to feed and clothe them, as they had read in their new bibles to do.

They continued to pray. God provided them with money for their growing expenses…and more orphans. They prayed more. God provided them with a place to move to house their growing “family…and then sent them more orphans.

As they shared their story, you saw the sincere gratitude they had for God. For His mercy. For His provision. They did not have steak and lobster every night for their now 100+ “kids”. But as Pastor Mikola said, numerous times they literally sat down at the table to give thanks when they had nothing to eat. Always, without exception, God would stir some baker, store owner, or family, to bring them food, and they never went hungry!

He had seen God provide over and over. He had exercised his prayer muscles with confidence and constantly asked God for help. Each and every time he had seen his Heavenly Father, time and time again, provide. And with that, his faith and appreciation grew.

Later that day as we were walking somewhere, I once again heard the whispered “thank you Jesus” slip from Pastor Mikola’s lips. It had a whole new meaning for me….

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And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Phillipians 4:19-20 )

Love is Always a Response to Love

“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – Years ago before kids, a friend was telling me how much he loved his kids. In some ways he said he loved them more then his wife. I, being a newlywed, could not comprehend loving someone else as much as I loved Kris.

A year later Connor was born. I remember the first time I held him. He was wrapped up in a blanket like a burrito and all I could see was his little face. My heart filled with this indescribable love for him.

Hours later I was holding this perfect little boy in Kris’ room, minutes after changing his first diaper. For those who have never had the honor of changing that first diaper, its one part poop, one part tar, and one part space alien!  The moment that I looked back into that angelic face, I decided it was worth it. And sometime that weekend, I realized what my buddy meant by his comments.

I can’t say that I love the kids more then Kris. After all, she is literally my best friend, my lover, my confidant, and my life partner. However, just as I would take a bullet for her, I would, without hesitation, take one for any of our kids. They are a piece of my heart walking around outside my body.

This week they were all at a church camp. Every morning I woke up thinking about them. Praying for them. Hoping they were having a good time. Last night they returned on the buses. As each kid saw me, they came to me and gave me a big hug!

Do I love them more then Kris? No. Do I love them as much as Kris? Yes.

So does God really love us that much? Does He get as much pleasure when we come looking for Him, as I did last night when the kids came to me?  Whether it’s good or bad, happy or sad, is He just waiting for us to come to Him? Could He really love us THAT much?…..

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We love because He first loved us. If anyone says “I love God”, and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

God Is A Caring Father

So do not worry saying, “What shall we eat? … or what shall we wear? … Your heavenly Father knows that you need these things.” “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:31-32,33)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – The kids are all teenagers now. Evan has his learner’s license.  The years of changing diapers and picking up Cheerios on the floor (why didn’t we have a dog back then?!?) are a distant memory.

We have gone through mountains of diapers and baby food jars. We have seen all three go through braces, twice! They have been mainly in homeschool or a hybrid homeschool, but also private school, and now Connor is at Liberty University, a private Christian college. There have been so many little sacrifices along the way.

Kris and I do what we can for them because we love them. We have spent many a sleepless night up with a little sick one because we love them. Both of us have had to change clothes numerous times because one of them peed, pooped, or puked on us.

Yet through all the pee, poop, and puke; all the financial sacrifice, and sleepless nights, we would do it all over again. Why? Because we love them, with ALL out hearts. It is not a conditional love. That was apparent the first time I had a freshly starched shirt soiled by Connor.

My desire, our desire, is that we are good parents. That we raise them properly, and of course we are filled with joy when they love us back unsolicited.

Isn’t that a finite little snapshot of what God is like. He loves us in spite of our flaws…in spite of the messes we make…in spite of the stinky places we find ourselves. He even prepaid for our eternity, over 2000 years ago; lovingly making it possible for us to spend eternity with Him.

And like any loving parent, those moments where we love Him back unsolicited, I think He smiles, too!….

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Therefore do not be anxious, saying “What shall we eat? or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33)

 

What To Expect From God

My God shall supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – As I sit here, I realize how clueless I am when it comes to commenting on what to expect from God. I am a finite being, with limited abilities and intellect, trying to ponder and pontificate on a God who I am told in the Bible is limitless in abilities, intellect, power, and even His presence.

How can someone who does good to make it through Atlanta traffic in time for a meeting, consider even in a very small way, God, the creator, the master craftsman, not of my home or my neighborhood, but the entire universe and everyone and thing in it?!?

All I know is that “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me.”

And God, His Father, created us, knowing how fallible we would be. Knowing how selfish and problematic we would be. What is even more mind boggling to me is He knew how badly we would screw things up. He, being a just and perfect God, also knew that within days of creating the first of us, that we would stop being perfect and cut off our chances of spending eternity with Him.

That same loving Creator did this knowing the only way we would be able to maintain a relationship with Him, would be through His Son. Not just nonchalantly, but by literally having to let His Son be tortured and then murdered, in our place! Say what???

As I sit here, I am beginning to think He thought this thing through a lot more then any of us. Not only did He think it through, but the Bible (the most credible piece of writing from ancient literature with 1000’s of copies preserved from Jesus’ days)  tells us He is the Alpha and Omega. He has no time constraints so He saw before Adam and Eve what it would cost Him, like any good builder would do, and yet He was still willing to go forward with the project. Wow!

I sit here and reluctantly admit-He can probably handle any of my goof ups and any of my needs, this day, too….

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

 
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