Good Good Father

I’ve heard it said that a person’s view of God is based on their relationship with their dad.  I’ve always had a respectful view of God.  I trust him.  I love him.  He is the authority.  Let me tell you why that is my impression of God.

My dad was always in charge.  He was the leader of our family.  He was the provider.  The authoritarian.  He was a tease.  He had a great sense of humor.  He had a great work ethic.  He loved his work.  He loved his family.  He helped those in need.

My dad  provided everything I needed.  No.  He didn’t give me everything I wanted.  But I never went hungry.  I was always clothed.  He built our home.  I was warm when I needed to be.  I was cool when I needed to be.

My dad taught me to work.  Whether I liked it or not, my dad handed out chores for his kids to do.  Mowing the lawn.  Weeding the garden.  Cleaning the hog house.  Working on the farm.

I saw my dad spending time with God every day.  He would read his Bible before breakfast.  He would lead our family in devotions every night before bed.  He would pray for us.  He would pray with us.  My dad made sure his family spent time in God’s word every day.

My dad was always present.  He was available when we needed him.  Oh.  He worked hard.  He worked long hours.  But he always took a Sabbath to rest and restore his spirit.  He was in a noisy environment a lot of the day, so he wanted peace and quiet at home.  That wasn’t easy with seven kids.  But we knew that once he walked in the door, the piano practice time was over.  The radio was turned off.  He wanted to hear himself think.

My dad was a disciplinarian.  When we did wrong.  And we did.  He disciplined us.  It wasn’t pleasant, but it taught us to respect authority and trust his leadership.

Oh.  My dad wasn’t perfect.  But he was honest.  He was a powerful influence in my life.  He took his faith seriously.  He had a library of Bible commentaries, Christian books and Bibles to study as he prepared to teach his Sunday School class each week.

My dad is the man I measured all other men by.  He set the standard high.

He was a good good father.


The Lord is merciful! He is kind and patient, and his love never fails.          Psalm 103:8

I think of God.  My heavenly Father.  He is the giver of life.  He is the lover of my soul.  He provides for all my needs.

My heavenly Father allows me to walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but he calms my fear of evil.  My God is so wise that He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  When I am fearful, he alone is my source of strength and resilience.

Oh.  He disciplines me.  When I disobey, he teaches me how to be more like Him.  When I don’t spend enough time with Him, He calls me back.

The thing about God.  He is perfect.  He knows exactly what I need when I need it.  He provides at just the right time.  He does no wrong.  He cannot.  He will not.

My God is always with me.  I can’t move without him knowing it.  Oh.  He can see everything I do.   He hears every word I speak.  He reads my every thought.  He never leaves my side.  He is always available anytime I call out to him.  He fights for me.  He works on my behalf.

God shows me favor.  At times, I feel as if I’m his favorite child.  He showers me with blessings that I don’t deserve.  He loves me unconditionally.  No matter what I do, He never gives up on me.  He will not stop loving me.

He is the God I measure all other gods by.  May I never waver in the God I serve.

He is a good good Father.

 

 

 

Powerful Weakling

I started a new job recently.  And honestly.  I am struggling.  Some days I think I can do the job.  Other days, I’m filled with doubt.  The days and weeks have been filled with training.  So much training.  Then slowly I’m getting work assignments with lots of hand holding.  At some point, I will be on my own.  I’ll be juggling many tasks and clients and deadlines.  I don’t know how others do it.  But they seem to.  And I think if they can do it, surely I can.  Can’t I?

Then I remember.  God provided this job.  He wouldn’t give me a gift that I can’t do.  Right?  And then I remember.  No.  I can’t do it on my own.  In my weakness, I need to trust Him.  I need to lean on Him.  I need to call on His name every day and trust that He will equip me for that day.  Oh.  I try not to look ahead.  That’s when I become fearful.  How can I do all that I’ll be assigned to do in the days ahead.  It’s then I remember that He gives mercy just for today.  I need to focus on today and the tasks for this day only.

I must remember that He said I am equipped for the job.  He will help me.  Oh.  Trust is easier said than done.  When in a tight spot, trust is just a word.  Not an act.  But when I act on that word.  When I trust God, I know all things are possible.  I know that in my weakness, God’s power will calm me.  And guide me through the anxious moments.

There is no match for the power of Christ.


My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9


Oh.  It sounds like an oxymoron.  Strength in weakness.  How can I be strong when I feel so weak?  How can I be powerful when I feel powerless?  How can I succeed when I feel like a failure?  How can I act confident when I feel insecure?

Why do I want something other than what I’ve been given?  When I know who the Giver is.  And I know the gift is for this time in my life.  Why do I struggle with this gift?  It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it’s what I’ve been handed.  So I must go forward and make each day count.

Oh.  The struggle is real.

He says.  You must trust me, but I will let you fight.  I say.  Show me your power, lest I get lost in my weakness.

There is One.  One who has conquered that fear.  One who has overcome failure.  One who has choked insecurity.  One who has all power.  He even conquered death.  I want Him on my team.  Always.  If I’m choosing teams, I choose His.  Why?  Who doesn’t want a miracle maker on their team?  Who doesn’t want an encourager?  A helper.  I choose the army of God.

Father, thank you for going before me to open doors.  Thank you for staying with me to hold me steady.  Thank you for going behind me to protect me. You surround me with your love and goodness.  Your faithfulness is ever present.  Your mercy reaches down and calms my fears.  Yours is the power and glory forever.  Amen.

Feedback

She asked to meet with me.  She wanted to hear my thoughts on how the job was going.  We chatted.  She offered feedback.  When is feedback ever positive?  Oh.  Her feedback was supplied by someone else.  She named the informant.  I was surprised with the feedback.  But not offended.  After all, I’m new.  I’m still learning.  I’m in training.

Another new person also had a meeting.  She also received feedback.  Feedback that offended her greatly.  She couldn’t let it go.  So she talked to another.  Little did she know that her information would be passed on further.

It seems that these coworkers share more than they should.  They discuss salaries.  Raises.   Performance reviews.  Beefs with coworkers.  Oh.  They’re nice.  But do I trust them?

So I’ve learned.  I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut.  Oh.  I already knew to do that. But now I’m careful what I say and who I say it to.

One, in particular, likes to gossip.  She learned of my meeting.  She knew I had received feedback.  She was desperate to know what had been said.  So she pretended to be friendly.  Asked about my weekend.  She was fishing.  Fishing for information about my feedback.  I didn’t take the bait.  I knew that if I shared it, everyone would know by the end of the day.  That’s not what I want.


Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.  Ephesians 4:29


I once worked with another group of women.  They had a meeting to discuss what they didn’t like about each other.  Oh.  Imagine how the tensions flew.  Needless to say, that group fell apart.  Quickly.  By the time I joined the team, all trust was gone.

Why would they do that?  How can people be so cruel?  Why didn’t they instead share what they liked about each other?  Why not build up instead of tear down one another?

I wonder.  What would happen if we would focus on the positive and beautiful instead of finding the juicy gossip or negative tidbits about others?  Why do we instead go for the information that will get us the most laughs or gasps of horror?  When the story is about another?  Why do we do that?

Oh.  You’re guilty.  I’m guilty.  We all have done it.  Most likely.  We all will do it again.  But what if we stopped first and asked ourselves a question.  If this information I’m about to share was about me, would I share it?  Is there a positive story about the other person I can share so others will see them in a better light?  Or.  Why say anything at all?

If someone is talking about others to you, then they’re most likely talking about you to others. 

I learned that lesson years ago in another work situation.  Someone I worked with would tell me unflattering stories about others in the company.  Then it dawned on me one day.  She must also be talking about me to those people.  Because I could see the way they looked at me.

If you can’t say anything nice or positive, don’t say anything at all.  If Jesus Christ was standing beside you, what words would you say?

 

Fear Is A Liar

They have a new pool.  They asked me to join them after a long, hot and humid day.  So I did.  But I’m no swimmer.  I can’t float to save my life.  Oh.  I took a few swim lessons, but they ended badly.  Oh.  I got in the pool.  Well.  I sat on the second step.  And watched.  And splashed a little.

The others were more adventurous.  Some were swimmers.  Those who weren’t used noodles.  They clung tightly to the noodles, but they ventured out into the deep.  Not me.  No noodles for me.  No deep water for me.  As they swam and splashed, the water around me would move.  This unsettled me.  It felt as if I could slip out into the deep water and plunge to the bottom.  My water is moving.  I would say.  Don’t make my water move.

Oh.  Yes.  I was fearful of moving into the deep.  Of having no control of my surroundings.  You see.  Water is fluid.  Ever moving.  Only when it’s frozen does it stop moving.

Oh.  I could see myself enjoying the water if I spent enough time in it.  The thing is.  I don’t have those opportunities.  So I played it safe.  I sat on the step.  Waist deep in the water.  Safe.   Until my water moved.


The Lord will fight for you.  You have only to be silent.  Exodus 14:14


Fear of the unknown can stop a person in their tracks.  Fear of the known can be very unsettling.  Fear of any kind can paralyze and overwhelm.  Fear will cloud reasoning and judgment.  Fear will keep the one sitting in waist deep water from experiencing the joy and freedom of what the deep has to offer.

God calls us to move out into the deep.  To go where we can rely only on his strength.  He calls us to move out into the unknown. To trust him and him alone.  Oh.  It’s easier said than done.  But the joy that obedience and submission to God brings is incomparable.

I wonder what I missed out on by refusing to grab onto a noodle.  By not being willing to get out of my comfort zone and float in the water.  There were those around to help if I struggled.  But no.  I held onto my fear and didn’t even want my water to move.

I wonder how many blessings I miss out on by allowing fear of the unknown to hold me back.  I wonder where God would lead me if I went out into the moving waters of faith knowing that his guiding hand was always holding mine.  I wonder why I so easily trust the lies the enemy puts into my mind, but quickly dismiss God’s truths in my heart.

Fear strangles life and enjoyment.  Fear will stop you cold.  Fear will tell you that you’re not good enough.  Fear will whisper that you can’t do the job.  But know this.  Fear is a liar.

Decide fear will not be your obstacle, as you do the hard thing, and see all the             beautiful things you would’ve missed if you’d lived afraid.                           ~~Rachel Macy Stafford

 Fear is A Liar

Heart Guard

There are families.  Oh.  At one time, they were loving.  They spent time together on a regular basis. They laughed together.  They cried together.  They ate together.  They celebrated together.  They spent holidays together.  Then something happened.  One family member upset another family member.  And that was it.  Or maybe it was a slow fade.  Perhaps over time, enough was enough.  Whatever the situation.  Someone decided they had had enough.  And that was it.  No more holidays together.  No more laughing together.  No more eating together.  No more celebrations.  There was definitely crying.  But not together.

And they call themselves Christians.

Oh.  There was plenty of talking.  About the other person.  But not with the person.  It happens in more Christian families than anyone would want to admit.

I’m not judging.  I’m asking.  How can Christians on different sides of the argument say they love each other but then not be willing to share time?  Family members or friends.  Does it really matter?

I once asked someone the question.  How can a Christian family who won’t spend time together talking out their issues.  Forgiving each other on earth.  How will they all be in heaven together?  How can souls spend eternity together in heaven when they couldn’t spend time on earth together?  It doesn’t add up in my book.

There were two men who did not see eye to eye.  They had harsh words for each other.   Harsh public words.  They weren’t friends.  Perhaps they could have been close colleagues, if they had tried.  Oh.  If they had tried, they would have discovered they had things in common.  They would have also found they disagreed on other topics.  Nevertheless.  They never tried to close the gap.  Several days ago, one man died.  He was called a war hero by some.  The other is called the leader of the free world.  The one who died asked for the other not to attend his funeral.  His request was obliged.

I try to imagine the possibilities that could have been achieved if both men had set aside their differences.  If they had agreed to disagree on some things, and then work together on common ideas.  But no.  They chose to stand their ground and not come together.

What happens if both these men end up in heaven?  Will they be able to come together and celebrate the wedding feast side by side with their Lord and Savior?  Will they be able to welcome and celebrate each other’s spiritual rewards?

Can’t we be better than that?  Can’t we as adults agree that we can still work together.  Can’t we still be colleagues or comrades?  Can’t we still be friends?  Can’t we still be family even if we disagree?


Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  Proverbs 4:23


I ask the question because I now find myself in a similar situation.

I felt she had wronged me.  Done me dirty.  Not once.  But twice.  I thought I could call her friend.  I trusted her.  But she hurt me again.  So I’ve let her go.  I’ve let her go as in I can’t see her anymore.  I can’t communicate with her again.  She hurt me and I don’t want to be hurt again.  Oh.  I’m sure I’ll be hurt again.  But I don’t want to be hurt by her.  Ever.  Again.

Does that mean I haven’t forgiven her?  Does that mean I’m holding a grudge?  I don’t have angry thoughts about her.  I don’t wish harm to come to her.  I don’t harbor any ill will against her.  But I don’t trust her.  That’s it.  Plain and simple.

Oh.  We don’t run in the same circles.  Our days are not mixed together.  Our lives aren’t in the same location.  So I have no reason to see her.  If I saw her, it would be accidental.  Unless it was planned.  But I have no plans to see her.

I know healing takes time.  I’m healing.  Slowly.  Very slowly.  Perhaps, in time I would welcome the thought of a conversation.  I don’t know.

But I know my judgment day is coming.  I’m planning to go to heaven someday.  I know she’s planning to go there, as well.  So what happens when we both get to heaven?  When I see her for the first time, how will I respond?  How will I feel?  Will I run to her with arms wide open?  If I can’t do that on earth, can I do that in heaven?  And if I can’t do that on earth, what does that mean?  For me and my eternity?

I have to examine my heart.  Very closely.  Is it ever ok not to reach out?

Search me, O God, and know my heart.  Test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24