Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dad Listened to Me

"We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done...that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children,so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments." Psalm 78: 4, 6-7


One of my favorite memories that I have of  my Dad is the night we discussedthe book The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey.  We were all in our Apache popup trailer,  in the midst of a campground out in the Midwest,  tucked into our sleeping bags for the night.  Before drowsiness consumed us  the topic of possibly living in the end times came up. Dad had recently borrowed a copy of the book from his realtor.

My sisters and mother  dropped off to sleep and finally it was just me and him talking. He was eager to discuss it, and I felt elated because I wasn't sure at that point if he was saved. That night was such a blessing, sharing about things that are prophesied to happen, that will happen, things that were not mentioned in our ritualistic, formal church.

Dad liked to talk politics and such with my older sister. My own thoughts and opinions were drowned out as they got into heated debates. Of  course, her attitudes came to align with Dad's once she grew into adulthood, but back then I always felt like I didn't have much of a voice, that is, until that night in the trailer.

So began a tradition of rich talks with my Dad that lasted up until his death last fall. Dad was from the Midwest, and in the year 2016, he made two last trips out to see his family: one in the early spring and the last one late in the summer. I went with him and Mom on the first trip, and my younger sister went on the last one.

In spite of being eighty-four years old, Dad did almost all of the driving on that trip. In order to keep  awake at the wheel, he enjoyed conversing with me, even in spite of my mother's protests that he was talking too loud. Again we shared much about our faith, the nation of Israel, politics and then he began to tell the story of his army days to me. I learned how he "broke rank" in order to be transferred to a civil engineering unit in Germany and the hard lesson he learned from that. I learned how an older engineer mentored him and taught him how to be polished in the business world. This was all information I never heard before. Finally, I grabbed a notebook to write it down. In the back of my mind was a question, "Dad, why are you telling me all of this?"

Fast forward to a year ago, June 2016. My son and daughter in law paid a surprise visit to my parents home to introduce them to their new great grandson. My strong father was amazed to hold the newest member of the family. I looked at the two of them together, and in spite of Dad's great strength, noticed how much weight he had lost. Somehow I just knew his time was coming.

I think he knew too. He made a point of getting all of his affairs in order, and showing us where things were. But most of all, Dad had ensured that the most important transaction of all had taken place: Dad placed his personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for his salvation, and never was afraid to share that faith with others. The day he had his hunting accident, his neighbor and friend found that Dad had a copy of Billy Graham's Decision magazine up there with him in the tree stand. One of the last things Dad looked at on this side was to read about his precious Lord and Savior. That magazine is tucked away in the drawer upstairs, too precious to be thrown away.

Dad eagerly  shared his faith with family members, neighbors and friends from the business world. He shared it with his grandchildren, the generations coming after him. This is my first Father's Day when I have not been able to give him a card and a gift and tell him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me. 

With tears in my eyes, I still thank my Heavenly Father for giving me the gift of a wise earthly father, and cannot wait to see him again when we are reunited in heaven. Dad wasn't perfect, but he gave me an inkling of how great our Heavenly Father is by his own example. The most profound of those lessons was...Dad listened to me. If he as an imperfect human showed so much care and love for me, his whining middle daughter, how much more does my Heavenly Dad care about all of us unworthy yet adopted children?
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah  Psalm 62:8  

If you have not yet come into the family of God, what are you waiting for? You too can be His adopted child, with all its rights and privileges simply by trusting in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3: 16-17
Abba Father, thank You for giving us earthly fathers that can represent to us just a glimpse of the depth of Your love for us. Thank You for making a way that we can be reunited with them once again on that great Resurrection day. Amen. 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Serving with Helplessness


For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Cor. 12:10 


I don't like sitting around doing nothing. I don't like feeling helpless.  But for the past couple of days, that is exactly what I have been doing. I am recovering from carpal tunnel surgery on my left hand yesterday morning, and also still having some pain from the surgery I had on my right hand almost two months ago. Using my hands in normal daily activity is painful in even simple chores.

My husband said to take it easy. So I have, but sometimes it is hard to sit when I think of all the things I should be doing. Like cleaning the house, or starting a new writing project, or.... the list goes on.

I have spent the last couple of months taking care of Mom, that throwing my normal life off schedule. Half of my stuff is at home, and half of it is at her house. I will be here a couple more days recuperating then back to her place, then back here when my sister comes, and on and on for this summer. It hurts to see her unhappy and saying she just wants to die.

I have never felt this unsettled. Never. I don't know what the future holds, it seems so uncertain. And more and more, the Lord shows me my own helplessness to even pull out of the rut I seem to be in.

One thing is certain. I cannot face the things ahead alone. I need Him desperately. Do you need Him that way too?

I used to think that was a bad thing, but now am learning to rest in it. He isn't expecting anything from dust like me but to look up in faith to Him.

Last week, on a farm near Mom's I saw a poor cow that had fallen down in the mud. The farmer tried several times and in different ways to lift the cow out of the muck but it just kept falling down again. I could not help but cry looking at that poor helpless cow, with udders full of milk, unable to lift herself or flick away the many flies assaulting her. In vain she swished her tail and lifted a leg. But it was of no use. A couple days later, I saw her lifeless body being hauled away on a truck from the neighbor's farm.

If I could have pity on that helpless creature how much more does my Heavenly Father pity us as His weak children?  I used to think that if only I tried just a little bit harder, then certainly I could succeed in the Christian life, and pull myself out of the pits I dig for myself. Now I rejoice to know that only when I am weak will His strength be shown in me. He can be glorified even in a weak vessel like me.

Just before I was ready to sign off tonight I found this little quote from None but the Hungry Heart (edited by Miles Stanford) for today, June 10. It encouraged my weary and discouraged heart. Maybe it will encourage yours too:


“Two glad services are ours, Both the Master loves to bless. First we serve with all our powers, Then with all our helplessness.” 


Saturday, June 3, 2017

All this and Heaven Too

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in Him." Lam. 3:22-24


I have been thinking about probabilities, choices, and the opportunities or the lack thereof each of us gets in life. Is there ever a reason for us to be bitter about our circumstances, about our lot in life?

Some might say yes, when you think about the poor of this world and there lack of opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty. Doesn't that prove God is unjust, and therefore not worthy of our praise and devotion?

And then I think about the wealthy of this world: the movers and the shakers, the people who have the goods of this world and all their luxuries freely at their disposal. Doesn't that guarantee that they of all people should be happy?

But I thought some more. They have it all, the poor are envious of them, but that is no guarantee of happiness. In fact they can be most miserable in the midst of having great prosperity.

And then I think about opportunities: the chances to go on a trip of a lifetime, being the owner of a fantastic piece of real estate with the best view, having a spouse who agrees with everything you say and goes along with whatever it is you want to do.

Does that guarantee happiness?

Being honest with myself and the world around me, I say, "No!" We walk around and look at others who appear to have more than we have and we think in our puny minds that "those people" must really be happy while we stew in our own miserable situation. Then I realized that is just a complete lie of the enemy which he uses to hold us in bondage to fear and envy and, most importantly, the lack of being able to be content with just what we have.

I love the portion above from the Prophet Jeremiah. Talk about going through things. How about being dropped in the bottom of a miry dungeon and no one believing your message of impending judgment? How about being overcome by weeping as you see your nation going down, being carried away into captivity?

Yet Jeremiah said that the Lord was his portion, even after going through all those things. Today, Mom and I drove just a couple miles to go to the park and sat at the marina. There was much more to the park: biking, camping, swimming, picnicking, but we just chose to go to the marina, sit on the bench, and listen to the clinking of the ropes hitting against the poles on the sailboats, and hearing the swish of the greenery from refreshing breezes.

I thought to myself, "Maybe I should have come here more, maybe it would be nice to be the owner of one of those boats." But then, reality of the Word came back to me. There is no guarantee that anyone in one of those boats is truly happy. I can be just as glad to sit on the shoreline, watching everyone coming and going. I can be just as happy sitting on my back porch meditating on the Word of God than I could be if I was on the most fantastic cruise in the Carribean.

That is one of the biggest lies that keeps us in bondage and never content. The lie says someone, somewhere, is better off than you, so therefore you must be miserable. But Jeremiah, in the most depressing situation still knew that the Lord was his portion.

If we have the Lord as our portion, it is enough for this life and the one to come. Every experience now just flees away, but the realities of God's preparing a home in heaven for us (one which will never be corrupted) is reason to be more than satisfied for whatever happens to us on this side of eternity.

As we sat on the bench and read our books, I commented to Mom that if it could be this beautiful in a corrupt, depraved, sin-filled world, what does He have in store for us once we get to the other side? What beauties we'll enjoy, what pleasures we will have when we enter our heavenly home for all eternity.

It hit me. I can joy and revel in my Lord and Savior, and all that He has given me even though my circumstances might not be as outwardly pleasing as others. I have Him! This beautiful day will come and go, but I will still have Him. The rains are predicted to come for tomorrow, but I still have Him, and all that He died to give me is mine freely, without my earning or deserving it.

Many years ago, when another pristine day was being enjoyed by yours truly, I remember Mom saying when I remarked that it was a gorgeous day, "Yes, we have all this and heaven too."

While we are still on this side, we have good things, we have hard things, but we will always have Him and heaven too, if we have taken the free gift of salvation that He offers to one and all.