Home

Sit a Spell

Leave a comment

God: “Pull up a chair and sit a spell.”

Me: “Sure, I’ve got a few minutes. This is nice…to slow down for a minute.”

God: “It is, isn’t it. Did you notice how beautiful the rain is this morning?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s quite a lot of rain. It’s keeping me from fishing this morning, though. You know that’s why I came down to Kentucky this week, right…to fish.”

God: “I thought you came to get some rest and restore your soul. You mentioned being spiritually empty and needing some time to be re-filled with my Spirit.”

Me: “Yeah, I just really think I could do that better out on the boat with hooks in the water than stuck here at the house in this rain.”

God: “But this is nice, right? This rain sure is peaceful isn’t it?”

Me: “Yeah, sure. I like the way it sounds hitting the trees and ground.”

God: “I knew you would.”

Me: “Sure would be nice to be out on the water, though.”

God: “You’re not the only one of my creation that needs restored and fed, my child.”

Me: “Oh. Yeah, I suppose you have quite a few others to think about in that regard, eh?”

God: “…”

Me: “This coffee sure is nice. Thanks for making that possible.”

God: “You’re welcome. I like giving you the things you enjoy.”

Me: “I enjoy time in the boat. 😉”

God: “…”

Me: “So, what’s new? I just read this passage here, and I suppose you have something for me in that somewhere, right?”

God: “Do you see how the rain is bouncing off the leaves there and making it look like the bush is dancing? Isn’t that awesome!?”

Me: “Ummm. Sure, yeah that’s cool. Doesn’t really have much to do with this passage from your Word that I just read, though.”

God: “It takes a lot of work to aim each rain drop just right so it’ll hit the right leaf at the right time.”

Me: “Mmm. Yeah, I don’t reckon I ever gave that much thought.”

Me: “Well, this has been a nice few minutes, but I’ve got to get going if I’m gonna serve you today.”

God: “You just got here. Can’t you stay just a while longer?”

Me: “Father, you know I’d love to, but if I’m gonna be fruitful for your kingdom today, I better get going now.”

God: “Can’t you stay just a bit longer. This is nice.”

Me: “Maybe just another minute or two, but that’s all I have time for today.”

God: “Isn’t this nice, though?”

Me: “Yeah it is, but we can talk throughout the day about the specifics if you want. I really should get started with my day. I’ve got a lot going on today.”

God: “…”

Me: “What, you’re gonna guilt me for wanting to get out in the field doing your kingdom work?”

God: “I didn’t say anything.”

Me: “Oh, I thought that was you.”

God: “Since you bring it up, I don’t really NEED you to do the work, you know that right?”

Me: “True. I guess you could just snap your fingers and it’d be done, but you called me to it right? So it really is something I should get out there and do if I’m gonna do it well and bring you any glory today.”

God: “Even the leaves on that bush are bringing me glory as they dance in the rain.”

Me: “So, you’re saying I should go dance in the rain?”

God: “I’m saying you don’t have to be busy to bring me glory. In fact, you simply being brings me much glory.”

Me: “Oh. But you built me to move.”

God: “I created you to bring me glory.”

Me: “But I’m wired to be busy and moving from one thing to the next.”

God: “You’re ‘wired’ to bring me glory.”

Me: “But I don’t know how to do that just sitting here doing nothing.”

God: “Sitting with me and watching my rain is ‘nothing’?”

Me: “Well, when you say it like that it sounds harsh.”

God: “…”

Me: “I know it’s not nothing. I’m sure it’s quite the orchestration of events to make rain happen like this. It’s just that…”

God: “It’s what?”

Me: “I don’t know. Its just hard to sit here this long.”

God: “I understand.”

Me: “Do you? I mean, you’re God. You can be everywhere in the world all at the same time.”

God: “I had to sit and watch my Son die on the cross.”

Me: “Oh yeah, there is that. I don’t know how you did that.”

God: “It was hard, but worth it. I did it so that we could sit and talk this morning.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

God: “It’s through Jesus that you can know me.”

Me: “Oh. Well, thank you for that.”

God: “You’re welcome.”

Me: “So I can go now?”

God: “I was never keeping you.”

Me: “But you made me feel guilty for wanting to leave.”

God: “No, I was WANTING you to stay and spend time with me.”

Me: “I do want to, I just have a lot to do today.”

God: “I understand.”

Me: “We can talk throughout the day.”

God: “Sure, if that’s what you want.”

Me: “Isn’t that what you want too, to talk to me throughout the day?”

God: “I want you.”

Me: “You have me.”

God: “…to spend time with you.”

Me: “We can spend time together doing the things I have to do today…two birds so to speak.”

God: “It’s not the same.”

Me: “But you’re God. You can make it the same.”

God: “That’s not how it works.”

Me: “Oh. I wouldn’t know.”

Me: “Well, I best get going. This has been nice.  See you out there.”

God: “Ok. I’ll be here when you’re ready.”

Advertisements

Call Me Louder

Leave a comment

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

Two things stick out for me in this verse today:

1. We have the power and strength living within us (through the Holy Spirit) to bear any temptation we’re faced with. ANY. We can bank on that because He’s promised us here in this verse that “he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” So, it doesn’t matter what temptation we’re fighting right now, we have the power to resist it.

2. This promise does not allow us to continue sinning. While we can rest on the promise that “he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it“, this verse is certainly not a blank check payable to “a way out” for us to use at our pleasure. First, God will provide the “way out“; but we have to be in close fellowship with Him to recognize the “way out” as a “way out“, not simply an annoyance that delays us from the gratification and pleasure we find in our sin. Second, if we continue to ignore His attempts to help us “out” of our temptation, He will eventually stop helping…or harden our hearts so that we don’t see the “way out“…or both.

Take the story of the man trapped on a deserted island. He prayed and believed that God would save him. Hours later, a passing boat came to the rescue, but the man told them not to worry about him because God would save him. Some time later, a helicopter flew over but again the man told them he was fine…that God would save him. Several days later, a plane flew overhead but again the man refused help, saying God would save him. When he died of dehydration, he went before God and was upset because he felt God had failed to save him. To which God replied, ‘I tried. Three times I sent you help, but you refused to be helped. All you had to do was grab my outstretched arm, and you would have been saved.’

In my addiction, I can look back at each time I was ever tempted to slide into that sinful behavior and see that God provided an “out“. Many times, I recognized it and succeeded in resisting the temptation. Unfortunately, more times than I care to admit, I willfully ignored it and went right down that sinful path. And every time I ignored it to continue in my sinful pleasure, it got easier and easier to ignore His voice the next time…to the point that I was so far out of fellowship with God that I stopped seeing the signs He was giving me.

For me…right now in this moment…I’ve been fighting my temptation all day, and simply writing this note is my “way out“. Temptation sucks, and it knows no bounds. Except one…that that Satan and his ability to tempt us has no authority in the life of the believer who calls on the name of God. The temptation will always be there, but we can have success in it…through the power of the Spirit in our lives.

What sinful temptation are you facing today? Does it feel like more than you can bear? Rest on the promise that God will provide you a way out. And then open your heart to see it and stick your hand out to grab it.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” – James 1:12

Love,

Dad

Gracious Abba Father, I come to you with a burdened heart. Burdened with the temptation to walk down a path I don’t want to follow…a path I know leads to my destruction, yet calls me with so loud a voice that I cannot help but turn my head its direction. As I stand here tonight on the edge, I pray. Holy Lord, I pray. Call me with a louder voice and draw my attention away from this temptation, and instead to You. For I know that when I am looking at You, I am walking toward You…and with You. Call me louder God. Please, I beseech you. Call me louder.

No Longer Bound

Leave a comment

I close my eyes and the darkness envelopes me
I open them so I don’t have to see
that which lives in the dark…the memory
that crashes over me like a wave at sea.
 
 
Sleep evades me in the dark of night
as the fire inside threatens to ignite
an inferno that is too big to fight
alone…I need to stay in the Light.
 
 
In this pain, I feel isolated…alone
and every fiber of me…my every bone
longs to forget…to dethrone
this thing that makes me groan.
 
 
I asked for this…signed on the dotted line
never believing the things I’d see would haunt and confine
me to a state of paralysis…like standing on a land mine
waiting to blow me into the divine.
 
 
I don’t ask for pity, not gonna continue to go on
I have a Savior who loves me enough to have gone
to the cross and been raised on the third dawn
that my sins…and this pain…would one day be gone.
 
 
Wiped clean by the blood
of the Lamb, I pray come and pull me from the mud
of my past. Come over me now like a flood
oh Lord, and create a new life that will bud…
 
 
Inside me and push to the ground
all of me…so that when I look around
all I see and feel is You, crowned
with all authority and no longer bound.
 
 

Love,

a Dad and a child of God

Hope Comes in Many Forms…Where I Am Today

2 Comments

My head is full. It needs to do what it does when it’s full…vent. There is no order to what comes next, so be forewarned that I’m simply letting loose of the mess currently in my head. My apologies if what you read next is not what you’ve come to expect from me. I’m human, and this is where I am today. Writing is my outlet, so here goes.

Since Saturday, I’ve been in a sort of fog. Haven’t felt close to God. Haven’t felt like much of anything. Worship with dad and my brothers here at church on Sunday was okay, but I just didn’t feel connected to God, ya’ know? Last night, I was searching for the lyrics to a song that express how I’ve been feeling…and all I could remember was “oh God my God, your beloved needs you now.” I don’t remember the song, so it’s probably good that that’s all I can remember.

This morning, a text from my wife asked how I’m doing. I am…

Numb. Alone. Trapped. Spent. Drained. Overwhelmed. Lacking hope. Disconnected from reality…From life…From God. I’ve been better. I’ve been worse. I’ll push through though because that’s what we do. I just want to put closure to this period of life and move forward. I’m an action guy. Waiting is not something I do well. Too much waiting…not enough moving. I’m ready to crawl into the arms of my best friend and our kiddos and not have to make a decision or problem-solve for awhile. I’m ready to come home.

Dad, as you first read this, please know it’s not you or anything you’ve done or not done. It’s just my process. Being with you this week has been a blessing for me more than I’ve shared here yet…sharing that part of all this will come after we have some closure this week…and I hope I’ve blessed you in some small way by being here. I wouldn’t take any of it back or change my choice to stay…it’s just part of being out of routine…away from my wife and children…feelings I’m sure you either already have had, or will, soon after we all leave this weekend.

Yesterday’s hope came through an email from a dear friend on staff at church. The day before that, it came in an email from our Men’s Ministry leader, another good friend. Before that, it came daily in various emails, texts, phone calls and conversations with friends and family back home. Today’s hope comes from a thirteen year old angel…God has been employing her as my angel since the first day I met her in the hospital. Her momma sent me a text this morning that simply read:

Your daughter just prayed for you all by herself. It was so sweet. I looked over at the table and she had eyes closed, head bowed, hands clasped in front of her. And said, “Dear God, please keep my Daddy safe. Amen.”

So yes Lord, your beloved needs you now. Do not forsake me Lord. Your hope comes in many forms…and I have not lost sight of the truth that my hope comes from you. You have met my daily need for hope this past week and a half. SD’s prayer this morning has provided me the hope I need to sustain me today. I’ll take it. Thank you Lord for providing me hope though I deserve nothing.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Love,

Dad

110 Cars of Faith

Leave a comment

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

“Dad, there are a lot of cars driving today.  I bet every car in the whole world is driving right here now.”

“Yeah, son there are a lot of cars this morning, but I don’t think every car in the world is right here…that would be a whole lot more cars.”

“Yeah, cuz there are 110 cars in the whole world, and that would be a lot!” (Imagine that said with the awe and wonder at how a 5 year old sees the number 110 as infinity.)

This morning, I was driving NE to school following an early morning doctor appointment when he said that, and it made me smile…and got me thinking about how much of a child I really am in my faith.  Have you ever found yourself putting limits on what God can do?  Silently thought to yourself, “this situation is hopeless.  I don’t see how this is going to work.  This is not possible.  There’s nothing we can do.  It’s just too much…too big for me.”

I remember the first Upward Sports season for us at FBCW.  When God laid it on my heart to bring this ministry to our church, I never envisioned starting the first season with 241 kids.  After all, there was a league being played at the same time right across the street with 250 kids already.  I planned for 100 that first season…and thought that would be a lot…I set my limits on what God had planned.  In season two, I planned for 300…and the league across from us disbanded, and we had 458 register.  By season three, I started dreaming big…and planned for 500.  God again demonstrated He’s bigger than we are, and brought us 518.  So in season four, I thought…I’ll show Him…and I planned for 600.  He brought us 621.  As we planned for the men’s Bible study we recently started, we ordered materials for 30 men, thinking that was more than enough…believing we’d never get 30 guys to attend this study…and 45 committed to the 8-week study!

These are just the most recent instances I can look back on in my life and see that I have a habit of limiting what I believe God will do.  Maybe it’s that my faith isn’t that strong or deep, but I think it’s also that in my humanness I can never really know how great our God truly is.  After all, our limited perspective feels like on most days this is all there is.  When we walk around this world we see things from a human’s eye…because that’s who we are…how He made us.  We can’t truly grasp what infinity is because we’re a visual people.  Even the universe we live in is defined by a boundary, so infinity seems an impossible concept to grasp.

Like 110 is the highest number known to a 5 year old, so it is with us.  We think that our vision limits God’s visions.  When what we need is to reverse that and realize that it’s God’s vision that sets the limits of our own understanding.  He placed in us a desire to know and follow Him, and limited our vision to what is seen for a reason.  The vision we have in us to see the unseen is only a small portion of what He placed within us.  I choose to believe He did so because if He had completely revealed to us the fullness of His vision, then of what purpose would faith be to us?  Anyone can believe what is seen…it’s the unseen that takes faith.  On this side of eternity, we’ll never fully comprehend the fullness of His vision and the limitlessness of His power and love.

When NE was first learning to count, ten was it.  That’s all the fingers we have, so that must be as high as we can count, right?  I remember the amazement at learning there’s an eleven…a twelve…and even more…but not seeing it made it hard to believe.  So to help him understand and believe, we hung a number chart on the dining room wall.  Numbers all the way to 100!  Wow!  As he mastered that which he could see, we again rocked his world when we revealed to him that it doesn’t end at 100.  Next is 101…102…103, and that you can keep counting numbers forever.  He had to learn (by faith) that it doesn’t stop at 100…to imagine a world where you can keep counting forever and ever.  Like his understanding of numbers grows over time, so does our faith.  Let your faith grow beyond what you can see…beyond what you feel…beyond that which you can understand and comprehend…beyond what you can grasp.  Because faith in what you can see and grasp is not really faith at all.

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11-13

Love,

Dad

Gracious Father, I’m thankful that you’re not limited by my vision.  Forgive me for placing limits on what is possible through You.  May you continue to grow my faith through whatever means you find necessary to do so.  Please enlighten the vision within me to better see all that You would have me to see.  Ignite a passion within me to daily follow after you with all I am and all I have.

Amen

What If Our Daily Bread Isn’t Steak & Eggs?

3 Comments

I know this is hard to imagine, but as a child, I wasn’t always the best choice maker. I was known to be stubborn and hard-headed, and could give my parents a run for their money. When I wanted something, I wanted it right now…and no one (not even my parents) were gonna tell me no. With dad often working, 40+ hours a week plus commute time, mom was home with us more than he was, and thus was often the one who bore the brunt of my attitude problems. I can recall hearing mom say something like “we’ll deal with this when your dad gets home.” Oh, the fear those 5 little words would instill. “When your dad gets home…”

Of all the times I remember hearing those words, I don’t ever recall feeling good about what was to come…no excitement. No joy. No peace. Nope…those words meant trouble was on the horizon. I had done something that was soon to be bringing the wrath of God down upon me. (okay, maybe not God, but I was a kid…might as well have been God when the man you admire and respect was coming home to rain down punishment on me).

I would usually wait with dread and despair for what was coming. Hide in my room and hope she’d forget to tell him. Hope he would be too tired to deal with it. Pray for divine intervention. Never did I pray for the discipline that was to come. I was desperately praying for a reprieve from the belt…never once did I pray to actually receive the belt. What child in his right mind would pray to be disciplined?!

Father give us this day, our daily bread…” When we hear that, we usually equate “daily bread” with good things…things like our food and nourishment. When asked how we should pray, Christ’s response was to first show us our need for total reliance on the Father for our daily sustenance…for all we need. When God rained down manna from the heavens for His people, He supplied their need…gave them exactly what they needed for that day…no more…no less. I don’t know how it tasted, but I can imagine after eating the same thing over and over for awhile, what they wanted was a nice juicy steak, cut thick and cooked just right, with some steamed vegetables and warm garlic bread on the side. But they didn’t get what they wanted…they got what they needed.

And that’s just one of the awesome things about God. He gives us what we need, right when we need it…in His timing, not ours. Whether we realize we need it or not. We’re His children. And like children often do, sometimes what we need is discipline. As painful as the discipline can be, as scary as it is to face, as much as we dread it…it’s necessary. We’re children. Children need discipline. Not necessarily punishment…discipline. Punishment is anger-based. Discipline is love-based. God doesn’t punish us…He disciplines us. Because He loves us. So when we ask God for our daily bread, are we truly prepared to accept it, even if it’s not steak and eggs? Are we willing to accept our daily bread, even when what we truly need today is to be disciplined?

Love,

Dad

Lord, may I be willing to accept your discipline, along with your provision. Thank you for loving me enough to recognize my need, even when I can’t. Thank you for loving me enough to discipline me so that I would come back into fellowship with you. Thank you for overlooking my grumblings when the daily bread you provide is the manna I need, not the steak and eggs I want.

Amen

Big Jesus and Little Jesus

Leave a comment

Had an AWESOME day in the Lord.  Got to watch 4 hours of great basketball while hanging out with NE.  Got to coach NE’s game.  Saw and heard about some amazing God moments.  Enjoyed a nice dinner with the fam while hearing all about SD’s afternoon with her new friend.  It’s past their bedtime, but I’m enjoying giggles from the boys’ room.  Not sure what they’re doing, but I haven’t heard NE giggle like this in a LONG time.  Bubba’s bedtime prayer:

“Dear Gaw, dank you for food.  Dank you for Cheerios.  Dank you for cankakes.  Dank you for movie.  Dank you for Pireman Sam.  Dank you for new sheets.  Dank you for mommy.  Dank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.  Amen!”   In defense of NE, the “big Jesus and little Jesus” originally came from him.  Doesn’t matter what prayer we’re saying, be it mealtime grace, bedtime prayers, or any prayer throughout the day, NE you won’t let us end without saying “thank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.”  Not sure where you got it, but it’s your thing.  If I forget to say it, you’ll say, “Dad! You didn’t say thank you for big Jesus and little Jesus.”  Sometimes, you just add on to my prayer as a P.S.  It has quickly become a staple in our daily prayers, and I love it…almost as much as God does.  Either way, I couldn’t say it any better.  Amen!!

Love,

Dad