kingteamdad

Spiritual Ramblings from a Modern Day Husband and Dad

Month: July, 2014

We Love Because God Loves Us

RAMBLINGS from Evan King’s dad –  We all react differently. When Evan was little, you always knew when he got upset because he did what we coined the “rolly-polly”. We have theses little bugs that, when confronted, just roll up into a ball. Evan would roll his shoulders and, like the little bugs, visibly react when confronted. Early on,  pointing out to him he was doing the roly-poly would cause him to roll his shoulders even more. Kris and I would sometimes have to bite our lips to keep from laughing at his comical appearance.

As he got older, he learned to minimize the  physical reaction. But when Evan was corrected or confronted about something, the mental reaction still happened. His eyes, his very countenance, gave it away.

One Sunday afternoon Evan had a little attitude about something. I gave him a task and he reacted to it in the wrong way. The improper behavior, and then his reaction to my pointing out that behavior, resulted in him getting quiet on me. I corrected him, discussed his improper reaction and resulting behavior with him, and then went on about the day.

Later that afternoon, we all climbed in the car and headed to church for our evening with the youth ministry. On the way there, we prayed that God would bless our time and help us to love Him more when we left, then we did when we got there, and when we did arrive we had a great evening.

Afterwards, we piled back in the car and did our customary drive to Steak and Shake, one of Evan’s favorites. Our beloved server, Jerome, came up and everyone started ordering. When we got to Evan, he looked at me and asked if he could have anything. I told Jerome “water and a piece of bread for him”. Then I laughed and ordered his typical four sliders with cheese and barbecue sauce, large fries, and a large double fudge shake. Evan gave me this relieved look, a smile came to his face, and he gave me a sincere ‘thanks’.

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I can be a little slow sometime, and up to that point, I thought everything was fine between us. I had already forgotten the incident earlier that afternoon. But Evan had not. He was still dealing with the guilt and the hurt. He felt like our relationship was damaged because of his earlier behavior. Of course I had moved on, and still loved my youngest son unconditionally.

When is that knucklehead going to figure out how much I love him?!? A little reprimand is not going to change one iota how I feel about him. I am his dad, and love him every bit as much as I do Connor and Lacy. After all, since his birth we have clothed him, fed him, had a roof over his head, and loved him. Heck, I even paid for him to have braces! 🙂

How often do I do the same thing to God? I do something wrong, I go against what He would like, and then I do the “rolly-polly”. I figure that since I goofed up, He is mad with me. Maybe He doesn’t love me as much. After all, I am NOT perfect.

God is probably thinking “when is that knucklehead going to figure out how much I love him?!? A little reprimand is not going to change one iota how I feel about him. I am his dad, and love him every bit as much as My other kids. After all, since his birth I have clothed him, fed him, had a roof over his head, and loved him. I even blessed him with the money to pay for his kid’s braces!

Like Connor and Lacy, I love Evan unconditionally. The good news is God loves us infinitely more! “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)

When am I going to consistently remember, and more importantly, live my life in the freedom and grace of understanding how much God loves ME?!?…

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 ESV)

Be Enthusiastic in Your Work

Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.” ( Romans 12:11 )

RAMBLINGS from Lacy King’s dad – Our church had its VBS (Vacation Bible School) a few weeks ago. Lacy and Connor helped work it, while Kris and I were with Evan up in Illinois for a shooting competition.

It was difficult to be apart with so much going on. Connor was helping in a very visible way teaching the kids Bible, while Lacy was in the praise time helping lead things from up on stage. It was killing Kris not to be able to see her two oldest participate. She plead with her friends to send her pictures, videos, or updates. She got all three.

What we saw, heard, and read, warmed our hearts. Connor and Lacy were giving their all each day at VBS. And then they were doing the same thing again that evening at VBS for a second group of kids. Lacy and Connor told us that they collapsed in bed each night from exhaustion. But they admitted each morning they hopped up out of bed to do it all over again. Why? Because they were doing something they love. And, they were doing it for Someone they love. That enthusiasm was contagious from the updates we read. That enthusiasm was contagious from the pictures we saw.That enthusiasm was contagious from the videos we watched.

They reminded me of the hands of the man who delivered them from their mother’s womb, Dr. Jim. Everything he does is with enthusiasm, from delivering babies, to washing dishes. He held each one of our kids and prayed over them moments after they were born.

His prayers, with enthusiasm, were answered!…

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Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Become Debt Free

RAMBLINGS from Connor King’s dad – Connor is not a saver. Connor at this point does not place a lot of emphasis on money. It’s not a big deal to him to give whatever he has, to someone who is in need. Countless times we have come home from church and found out that he emptied his piggy bank for another cause.

Connor needs to learn to save better. At this point anything he earns, could easily be in the hands of someone he thinks needs it worse by week’s end. Kris and I finally had to put the hammer down when it came to his siblings. One in particular always seemed to need to “borrow” money from him.

I know we need to work on his “savings” mentality. Just the other day Kris mentioned Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University curriculum for teens. Generation Change teaches teenagers how to handle their money responsibly, which is something so many of us do miserably today in our instant credit society. In his Financial Peace University, Ramsey covers topics like  relating to money, cash flow planning, dumping debt, buyer beware, the role of insurance, college planning to retirement, real estate and mortgages, and the power of giving.

It is sad to think that as a business major, I covered less then 20% of this in my entire college education. Where would we all be now if this were required? How many of us miss out on being used by God because we aren’t in a place financially to act when we see a need? How many blessings have we missed out on being a part of?

Now that I think about it, Connor has a much better grasp on saving then I thought. His savings he has been focused on are eternal!….

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Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)

Taking on God’s Character

You were created to be like God, truly righteous and holy.” (Ephesians 4:24 GW)

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 Msg)

RAMBLINGS from Kris King’s husband – Kris came from a good family in Dunwoody. Her dad was a successful business man who started and sold several companies. Her mom was a faithful housewife and volunteer who was busy running things at home.

She finished high school and headed off to the University of Georgia to study education. She planned to become a teacher and took class after class, dialing in her area of focus to special education. She was drawn to working with special needs children. As she approached the end of her senior year, she lined up a job an hour south of Atlanta. She could see things finishing up nicely where she would be able to put a nice bow on her college life.

The day before finals, tragedy came her way when she was attacked two miles off campus. She was grabbed leaving a discount store as she climbed in her car. She was taken, attacked, and left tied up in the woods while her attacker robbed a bank at gunpoint. She got her self loose, crawled through the underbrush and found a work site where she borrowed a phone. The FBI, GBI and local police came. There was a manhunt.

Her life was suddenly turned upside down and her future came to a screeching halt. Two days later she was back in Dunwoody convalescing with no graduation, friends scattered everywhere, and no future plans beyond that day. She hunkered down at home, the only place she felt safe.

Several days later she was contacted by the ministry she had worked at the two previous summers.  Someone was retiring and she was already trained to do the job. Barely a week after the incident, she was back at work amongst friends with whom she felt safe. She now had a full time job, nowhere near where a week earlier she had planned to move.

Her new co-worker invited her to visit the singles Sunday school class she was attending at a big church in Atlanta. Kris went and bumped into this lug in the parking lot after church. We quickly became friends where I learned of her final days at school.

A year later we started dating. Two years later we were married. Twenty two years later we have three wonderful kids and feel so incredibly blessed.

Kris will admit to you that we probably would have never met without that tragedy in her life. She would have graduated and taken a teaching job two hours south of me. I probably would not know the joy of having her as my best friend. Connor, Lacy and Evan would not be here, because we would have never met.

Am I sorry for the trauma that hit her the day before finals, so many years ago? Sure. Am I thankful that it put a turn in her life’s path, and pointed her two hours north? YES! Has it given her a platform to talk about it to other women? ABSOLUTELY!

God is good at taking the lemons in our life and making wonderful lemonade….

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Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  (Ephesians 4:29-32)

Don’t Let Limitations Limit Vision

“God will not only use your gifts to fulfill your destiny, He’ll also use your limitations.” Rick Warren

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – I have talked to Evan once or twice about some of my more memorable jobs. There was my first one when I was around 12. My dad helped me set up a card table out in the front yard under our chestnut tree. I sat under it and sold tomatoes all summer to people driving on our country road.

One of my more enjoyable ones involved being a man hole watcher in Atlanta for the telephone company.  All summer I sat by these man holes to make sure some absent minded pedestrian didn’t walk in to one. I met a lot of interesting people in downtown Atlanta that summer!

After high school I started working for the telephone company while I went to school at night. I worked on an assembly line repairing 300 phone’s ringers a day. It was boring, loud and monotonous work. But it paid me decent money at the time. I would get caught up, and break up the boredom by walking around and talking to some of my coworkers on the assembly line. I would return to a pile of phones, that I would work on until they were all headed down the line to the next person.

Work ended at 4:00 and I would drive back into Atlanta to Georgia State. My evening classes for journalism went till 10:00 at night. I couldn’t decide which was worse, the boring assembly line, or the classes till 10 at night.

It was during one of my boring work days, that I got called into Gene Hooper’s office, he was my supervisor at the time. Gene was writing me up, again, for talking to and distracting my co-workers. As I got up to leave his cubicle, he said something that would change the course of my life. Gene shook his head and said “Ted you like to talk so much, why don’t you go into sales?”

I had an epiphany with that comment. His nonchalant comment played over and over in my mind as I returned to my place on the assembly line. The next quarter I changed my major from journalism to business. Three years later I graduated with a BBA in Marketing. Two months later I had my first full time sales job. That was 31 years ago.

Gene Hooper had no idea the impact his words would have on me. Fortunately, I feel they pointed down a path that has proven to be a good one.

I wonder how often I have flippantly said something to someone and walked away not knowing how it impacted them negatively or positively. Words can cut like a dagger. Words can encourage. Words can tear down. Words can hurt. Words can heal.

Today I hope that my words will bring sunshine to someone’s day. Today I hope that my words will in some way remind someone how much God loves them. Today I hope the people I am around will think about Jesus and His saving grace, because of the words I speak, or, chose NOT to speak….

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The king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti. (Esther 2:17) 

Focus Your Life

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – Lacy has been singing since she was a little two year old. It is not unusual to walk in the house and hear her beautiful voice.

Sometimes I feel like Saul, coming home from work in a bad mood, ready to chuck a spear at someone. Lacy is my David, playing the piano or guitar instead of the harp, and adding to it her angelic voice. Many an evening I have sat in the main room of our house and had my spirit lifted as I listened to her sing.

Other times I have stopped at the bottom of the stairs leading up to her room, and listened as she belted out a song from behind her bedroom door.

I don’t know what God has planned for her in life. Like her brothers, she has many gifts and talents. (I even have a video of her several years back jumping on a pogo stick…while jumping rope at the same time.)  Maybe one day she will work at Cirque de Solei. Maybe Lacy has an aptitude for physics and advanced trigonometry and will help develop the spaceship that will take us to Mars.

But, she also seems to have an incredible aptitude for music. Not just an aptitude, but a gift. So my prayer this morning has been what it is most mornings; that God will direct each one of our kids in the path He wants them to take. I pray that He opens the doors they should go through, and slam tight the ones He doesn’t want them to go through.

I pray that their paths will be straight and well lit. I pray they won’t take some of the wrong turns I have taken.Turns that took me down some pretty bumpy roads, that often led to dead ends.  My hope is she will be much more in tune to the road map God has prepared for her life.

It’s so much easier negotiating the roads of life when you have in mind where you are heading, and how you want to get there…

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Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years. And theLord had blessed Abraham in all things. (Genesis 24:1 ESV)

Making Healing Choices

“Even in the womb, Jacob struggled with his brother; when he became a man, he even fought with God.” (Hosea 12:3 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – When Connor was around 8, we were watching a performance of the Passion Play in the Atlanta Civic Center. During the triumphal entry scene, Jesus rode on to stage on the back of a live donkey. We commented on the donkey as they led it off stage. Connor looked up at Kris and said “What donkey?” It was at that moment we realized he needed glasses. In fact, when we took him to the eye doctor, the exam showed he was legally blind with uncorrected vision. I was sad for him, and felt a little sorry for myself that my son had to deal with this challenge in his life.

Enter corrected vision.  The great news is that he can see almost perfectly with his glasses or contacts.  When he takes them off, however, his world dulls and blurs. The funny thing is that after over a decade dealing with vision challenges, he sometimes prefers time without glasses. He says he sees things in a different way. The dulling down of visual input allows him to sharpen his thoughts and other processes. He took a negative and made it a positive in his life.

His vision impairment has contributed to making him much more emphatic to others. Connor is naturally drawn to the very young, the very old, and those in need.  He has had a passion for missions and giving to those who are hurting, sick, or lost. Having this challenge has given him an extra measure of compassion. It led him to his lifelong desire to be a doctor. First he wanted to be a pediatrician. Then, he decided on ophthalmology. Now that he has a year of college behind him, he has settled on family medicine in a rural town…like Doc Baker in Little House on the Prairie.

As I watch Connor around those who are hurting, especially the elderly, I do see a compassion that is special. He has an uncanny patience for them. Recently, he sat for hours with our elderly aunt, totally content in holding her hand and talking with her.

Would I have scripted Connor’s life to include poor vision? Probably not.

But as I look at how his life is unfolding, I am reminded for the one millionth time that I need to let God have control because God does NOT make mistakes….

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  (Jeremiah 29:11)

God Says You Are Forgiven

I am the God who forgives your sins, and I do this because of who I am. I will not hold your sins against you.” (Isaiah 43:25 TEV)

RAMBLINGS from Evan’s dad – I was telling Evan the other day about a man I worked with several years ago.  The man, “Bob”, vacillated between being agnostic and atheist.

Bob’s reason was the same for either “non-belief”. One day while driving him to the airport we got into a deep discussion. When God came up he immediately mentioned war. Bob would go into great detail how there could not be a loving God who would create us, and then let us blow each other to smithereens in war. He then went on to say if there was a God that would allow that to happen, he wanted nothing to do with that God.

He would give me the death tolls and number of maimed and wounded from the World Wars. He would then get angry. His anger would be focused on any god that would be that mean to let that kind of evil take place.

I brought up the decision that Adam and Eve made to disobey God. I told him how I saw that as the door being opened to let sin into the world. If you look at the early history in the Bible, after the garden of Eden, man quickly strayed further and further away from God. And left to his own devices, man can get pretty evil.

My limited knowledge of the Bible led me to believe that God was all knowing. Which to me, meant He knew man would rebel, but He made us anyway.

Bob quickly jumped in to tell me I was proving his point. His position was God knew things were going to quickly devolve to wars and wickedness. Therefore, in light of all that suffering, God was a “mean god”! And he wanted nothing to do with a “mean god”.

I asked him “would God still be mean if He gave us the choice, and with one of those choices, He gave us a way ‘out'”?  No answer. I went on and asked him “what if our rebellion against God was seen as a capital crime and gave us a sentence of death”? Bob quickly jumped in to tell me that was more evidence of a “mean god”!

I looked at him and took in the pain and anger he held on to so tightly. I asked him what it was he thought God did that made him hate Him so badly. He wouldn’t answer and looked away. When he finally looked back at me I acted like I didn’t notice the tear in his eye.

As we approached the airport I finished with a few more comments. I asked him “what would you think of a God who sentenced you to death for your rebellion, but then in the next breath, loved you enough to offer His Son to take the death penalty in you place?”  No answer.

As my friend climbed out of the car, I looked him in the eye with great empathy and told him I would be praying for him. I would really appreciate it if you would, too!….

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“I am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Isaiah 43:25)

God Answers Our Prayers For His Glory

“I thank my God for all of you because your faith is being reported all over the world. I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray now that at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you I’m so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.” (Romans 1:8-15 NIV)

RAMBLINGS from Lacy’s dad – We have always prayed that the kids would be close to each other. We’ve prayed that they would be best friends, seeing that they would likely know each other longer then anyone else they will know during their lives.

When we moved to Cumming, we moved from an active neighborhood with kids, to some property with trees.  The kids were forced to hang out with each other if they wanted a playmate.  They each gravitated to their own interest, but their orbits inevitably brought them back together.

They had their moments where they needed to go to their neutral corners. They had their moments where in arguments someone got hurt, typically their feelings, but sometimes from a pinch or a punch. Yes, there were times where they were around each other too much.

But Kris and I did our best to monitor things, coach things, steer things, in such a way that we were working toward our ultimate goal of them being close. We did have our moments when we doubted. We had those moments where they did NOT like each other.

Most mornings when I got up I prayed for my family. I prayed that God would mold them into the Christians He wanted them to be. That He would use the rest of us to help soften the hard edges and round each one off to be the well rounded adult He wanted them to be.  And I prayed that He would clothe us in His armor.

He has given each of them so many talents. He has also given each of them at least one “thorn” in their side. Some flaw or weakness that keeps them from getting too cocky, and leaning on Him. They are so different, and, they are so similar.

All these years later I look at them interact and realize this journey has molded them into not just siblings, but friends. All these arguments and fights later, down this long and sometimes bumpy road we’ve traveled called life, I realize that God in His infinite mercy, has answered our prayers!….

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First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.  (Romans 1:8-12)

Wait on God’s Glory

Although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days and did not go see them.” (John 11:5-6 NLT)

RAMBLINGS from Connor’s dad – When the kids were little, we went and bought some fireworks for a July 4th celebration. When we arrived home, Connor was ecstatic as he explained to Kris the bounty of gunpowder we had purchased.

A few hours later around 2:00 pm, Connor announced it was time to shoot off the fireworks. I told him it wasn’t time yet, that we needed for it to get dark. He looked at me bewildered as if to say, “Father you are crazy. Now is a fine time to shoot off those lovely fireworks…” I explained to him that we would miss out on 90% of what they offered by shooting them in the daylight. He became very disappointed. So to prove my point I let them go out in the backyard to shoot off one rocket.

That was actually a mistake. In their virgin eyes, that firework was fantastic. They could see the little stream of smoke as it shot into the air, they could see a small flash, and they heard the bang. He looked at me with this “Dad?!? What more could you ask for?!?” look. So after much begging, I let them shoot off a few more. They were happy, happy, happy.

When we finished, they went about their day playing out by the 3 Trees with their friends. They soon forgot the fireworks and became engrossed in playing in the dirt.

That evening we invited some friends over for hotdogs and homemade ice cream. The kids had fun playing in the backyard. As the evening grew dark, I and the other dads brought out the fireworks.

I wish I had taken a picture of Connor’s face as the first firework exploded in the blackness of the night! It was magnificent. The kids quickly came and sit by the moms as the fireworks lit up the night sky. The vivid colors bathed our backyard and the kids faces as they watched with eyes wide open. The patriotic music seemed to come to life as the fireworks continued.

When it was finally over Connor came over and asked me why we didn’t shoot some of THOSE pretty fireworks off earlier that day. When I told him we did, he looked at me bewildered again with that “Father, you know not what you are talking about…” look.  I tried to explain to him the need of the darkness to see the light, but at that young age, it was better saved for another day.

I wonder how often I have been impatient with God and asked for the “fireworks” right then? I wonder how often I rushed the fireworks and was disappointed with the results? I wonder how often God sit there amused at my impatience knowing the best timing?

Now that I think about it, I wonder how often with my impatience I missed the chance to be a light in the darkness?…..

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When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”  (John 11: 43-44)

 

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