I am a writer (thus the existence of this blog). In the past, I regularly wrote my thoughts in a journal. We recently located that box of journals in storage.
Not really. Most of the entries describe the day-to-day activities of our lives while we lived in Florida and in Nevada. The majority of the thoughts are not profound. However, some might be encouraging to you. In that hope, I plan to include several in a series of blog entries I have so cleverly entitled “Journal Jargon.”
From Saturday, December 15, 2002
I’m tired. Another full week has come to a close. I wish I felt better. I’m having a physical problem which may or may not be related to my heart. I feel a strange event (for lack of a better word) in my chest and then experience sharp pain in my hip joints (for lack of a better description). I wish I knew what was going on. The problem is happening more and more frequently, and the pain is beginning to keep me awake at night. It is to such a point that I would make a lifestyle change should one become necessary. First, I believe I need to see a doctor. Hopefully I can get an appointment this next week. I do hope that the problem is not very serious. If it is, I know that I will continue to trust God. He is the Sovereign King of the universe. I am in God’s hands. He will do that which my heart desires most, namely, that which will most glorify His name. That’s all I truly want. I also know that my wife and children will be fine in Christ. God is enough. God is sufficient. God could and would bless each.
So–“Just in case” — I did want to communicate my complete trust in God. Let me also say that I continue to cling to the cross of Christ for my salvation. There is indeed life after death. There is a heaven and I will go there through The Way, The Truth and The Life–Jesus Christ. He is my Lord and Savior. He is my Beloved. He is my First Love. I can’t wait to see Him in all of His glory. If you are reading this after my death, know that I am finally, truly, living as I ought–in the tangible presence of Jesus Christ.
Don’t mourn my absence. I really wasn’t anyone special. No, I was pretty average. Instead, think about Jesus Christ and cling to Him as your Lord and Savior. Believe His words and His works. Recognize Him for Who He is and worship. To my wife and children and any other coming after me–live Christ. I have found dying to be gain. While you yet live, live Christ. Glorify Him. Fellowship with Him. Please Him.
May Jesus Christ be honored in my dying and in your living.
I do remain tired. I need to go to bed soon. Should God give me the strength, I have a full day scheduled on Sunday. May He be glorified in it.
It’s been a good day; a day–I think–envisioned by God when He instituted the Sabbath.
I slept in. I watched a sermon. I took my family to church. I watched a movie. I hung out with Jodi. I swam with the kids. I read some in a commentary on Philippians. I watched golf. I meditated upon God’s grace.
I relaxed. I rested.
Life was good.
Isn’t that why the LORD wanted us to pause every one day in seven? As far as it is possible, He desires for us to cease from our efforts. His plan was–and remains–that we recharge our batteries.
But don’t you think it is easier to engage in such recharging when your basic necessities are provided? Food, shelter and clothing are mine in abundance. In fact, I have never lacked any of these needed commodities. God has been exceedingly kind to me. He has not treated me as my many sins deserve.
I am blessed.
One of my favorite movies is White Christmas. That’s where I first heard the song about blessings that Bing Crosby’s character sang to Betty (portrayed by Rosemary Clooney). You probably know it well.
“When you’re tired and you can’t sleep, count your blessings instead of sheep and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”
In other words, they are too numerous to count.
A couple of nights ago, I sat the kids down for the purpose of trying to illustrate why I should be so thankful. When considering physical blessings alone such as clean water to drink, nutritious food to eat and a safe place to live, I estimated that I am better off than over 1.2 billion people. Think about that number. 1.2 billion. That’s a lot of people. Then I reminded the children of the spiritual blessings I have in Christ. I am an adopted child of Jehovah–a brother to Jesus Christ–in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. I have abundant life now and eternal life all because of the person and works of Christ. Billions remain in darkness. But I can see the glory of God shining forth in the face of Christ.
I am blessed.
The older I become, the more I understand that perspective is a gift. As a result, I find myself more joyful now than I used to be; more content that I once was.
And that made the potential of rest into the reality that I experienced today.
Thank you, God.
1. What does the “S” in Harry S. Truman stand for?
2. Which of the following Presidents was the first born in a hospital?
3. Which President had the most children?
4. T or F – President Ford was adopted.
5. One of William Howard Taft’s nicknames was:
a. Twelve-ton Taft
b. Big Bill
c. Tub Taft
d. Tubby Taft
6. The first child of a President to die in the White House was the son of:
a. President John Quincy Adams
b. President Abraham Lincoln
c. President Woodrow Wilson
d. President Lyndon Johnson
7. This President was the first Boy Scout to become elected.
a. Teddy Roosevelt
b. John Kennedy
c. Ronald Reagan
d. George W. Bush
8. What does bushusuru mean in Japanese?
a. Public vomit
b. A word incorrectly spoken by George W. Bush
c. Becoming president because the previous president was very popular
d. Declaring war without concrete evidence to justify the war
9. How many Presidents were named James?
10. If you were a servant at the While House during the Hoover Presidency, what would you do?
a. Bow when entering the Oval Office
b. Call President Hoover “Your Highness”
c. Hide in a closet if you heard the President was headed your way
d. Join the President each Friday evening for an informal supper
Rather than ask you to head over to the Quick Takes page on the blog for the answers, I decided to share the link where I found my information for this quiz (see below). I’d be curious as to how well you did. Did you also find and take the previous quizzes I posted on the blog? You can look for them in the search box in the right. Type in American Presidents’ Quiz. Have fun learning some American History.
Thanks for stopping by!
I couldn’t believe my ears. I tried not to look shocked.
When I was in ShopRite this week, a toddler–a cute, little girl full of personality–walked up to her mom and was asked a question meant to be funny to the adults within earshot.
“Where’s your sperm donor?”
Impressive mother, eh?!
My guess is that the father probably wasn’t all that impressive either. After listening to his wife (I’ll assume for the sake of argument that they were married), I am already questioning his discernment.
What kind of “Father” is he? Hopefully he is indeed far more than a “sperm donor.”
Being a father is a serious endeavor–a commitment which requires my effort on a daily basis, an effort I am willing to put forth. And I plan to put forth that effort today–even being a bit under-the-weather. Every genuine father needs to keep his suck-it-up reservoir filled.
Allow me to close by sharing the following from Max Lucado. The link to where I know the full resource–one worth reading–is given below. It explains why I jumped into the pool yesterday with my kids. Max writes,
Here’s a Lucado hunch about parenting: fathers and mothers enter the child-rearing business at two different times. Mothers decide to be mothers long before dads do. A mother carries a baby for nine months, giving her an opportunity to grow content with her decision to parent the new family member.
Dad, however, goes about his daily routine, pretty much unaffected by what’s going on inside the womb. Oh, he’s supportive and excited, but compared to Mom, he’s an observer. Until delivery time. Then Dad’s world takes on new meaning. He looks into the face of the new life and is faced with the realization: “I’m the father of this child.” You might call it a “delivery room discovery.” At this point a good dad makes a big decision. He has to decide to become a father. And that decision sets up dominoes of decisions he will make for the rest of his life. It’s a rational choice to alter his life, schedule, direction, and priorities in order to be a good dad to the tiny life in his arms.
Fathering a child is, for many, not difficult. But being a father is! It’s the first and most important decision of fathers: to make a conscientious choice to be a father.
The decision to be a father is not just a delivery room decision, though. It is a daily decision. A century ago, dads were on-site parents, working the farm or running the family store. Children spent a great deal of their time alongside their parents, working together. But in our modern culture, employment distances most dads from their kids. Some dads leave home before the children are awake. Others arrive home long after the kids are home from school. Consequently, it is possible, even common, for a father to forget about fathering—to emotionally disconnect himself from his children. Throughout the day, every day, dads need to renew their “dad” decision. “Will I attend this convention?” “Is this meeting essential?” “Can I rearrange these appointments to get home earlier?” On the way home from work, dads have to decide to take off the work hat and put on the “dad” hat. It’s a decision to manage his time, carefully reconciling work with the priority of family.
Being a good dad means making tough, sacrificial decisions. Decisions that tell our children what is important to us.
In his book, Achieving Success Without Failing Your Family, Paul Faulkner describes the decisions of an insurance executive. Speaking at a businessmen’s convention, the man stressed the importance of being a father first. The man’s daughter was in the audience.
…in the middle of his talk he had turned to her and asked, “Sweetheart, do you remember the time I won the million-dollar roundtable three years in a row?”
And she said, “No, Dad, I don’t guess I do.”
And then he asked, “Well, do you remember when we used to have those Dairy Queen dates?”
And she said, “Oh, yes!”
And then he turned to the audience to make the point that daughters don‘t remember when you sell a million dollars worth of insurance, but they do remember your special dates.1
This particular blog entry only makes sense if you read the original BEND LOW – BUILD HIGH article on June 1, 2013.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:9-18).
BEND LOW – BUILD HIGH is our family’s theme this summer. As a result, that phrase has been heard quite a bit in our home over the past ten days. In order to help us to consider others needs before our own (BEND LOW) and speak words which edify (BUILD HIGH), each of the children is engaged in a project. Celena already made a coffee cup with the phrase on it (see the photos below). TJ is writing a story. Dayton is making a poster. And Cascade is writing a song. I rejoiced to see their enthusiasm as they embarked upon their specific projects! I will rejoice even more if long-term change is seen in their lives. In other words, I am hoping to see the Bible applied consistently within the confines of our home and as they go out into the world. However–I must never forget a very important axiom.
More is caught than taught.
My example is paramount in this process. I must consistently apply the Bible within the confines of our home and as I head out into my world. Thankfully, I am not left clueless as to how God desires me to live. The passage above is just one of many. Written by the theologian of the New Testament, the Apostle Paul made it very clear how Christians are to function within community. BEND LOW – BUILD HIGH is plastered all over those verses! Both humility and practical ministry are commanded.
Authentic love has legs.
Pure and undefiled religion blesses people. Christianity is much more than a set of truthful propositions to be believed. It is that, but it is–at least it should be–truth applied. May that accurately describe my children as they transition into adulthood in a few short years. May that be said now of their parents!
And now–Celena’s project:
Important Questions for My Children
I recently asked my two eldest children the questions listed below. Most are adapted from The Bible, the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed.
- Do you believe that there is a God?
- Do you believe that the Protestant Bible—the sixty-six books spanning from Genesis to Revelation—is the written Word of God given to men that they might know God and know how to live to honor God?
- Do you believe that God is the holy, holy, holy Lord–perfect in all of His character and in all of His ways?
- Do you believe that you—a human—are a fallen creature, prone to sins of every kind?
- Do you believe that there is one Savior—one Perfect and Successful Savior—Jesus Christ?
- Do you believe that Jesus was God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God?
- Do you believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary yet always remained the Son Eternal?
- Do you believe that Jesus lived a perfect life, fulfilling all righteousness?
- Do you believe that Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate?
- Do you believe that Jesus died, was crucified and buried, not for His own sins, but for the sins of His people?
- Do you believe that Jesus rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures?
- Do you believe that Jesus appeared to more than five hundred witnesses?
- Do you believe that Jesus ascended into heaven and now sits on David’s throne at the right hand of God the Father Almighty—a glorified and reigning King of kings and Lord of lords?
- Do you believe that Jesus will come again in glory to judge the dead and the living?
- Do you believe that the Apostle John was correct when he said that those who receive Jesus—those who believe upon His name—are adopted by God and made His children?
- Do you believe that God’s children will prove to be His children by their faith and their fruit and—as a result of their faith with fruit will go into life everlasting?
- Jesus is THE Lord and THE Savior. He is your Lord. Is He your Savior? Have you repented of your sins and asked Him to forgive you?
- Do you want to love God and hate sin?
- Do you desire to get to the point in your life that you love God more than anyone or anything?
- Do you desire to get to the point in your life that you hate your sin more than the sins of others?
- Do you desire to get to the point in your life when your supreme passions include the glory of God and the blessing of others?
- If you died this day and God asked you: Why should I allow you to enter heaven? How would you respond?
- Should we trust in our good works, or should we trust in Jesus’ good work for us?
Their answers encouraged me. However, I am not convinced that they have fully appropriated the truths. Of course, that is my intense prayer–that they might believe and cherish that which is truth and that their believing truth and their cherishing truth might be easily seen by others.
If you have the time, meditate upon your answers to the above questions. Since truth isn’t relative, there are correct–right–answers to the questions. Answer them honestly. And–if you are curious–see if your answers are in line with the teachings of Scripture. It is definitely worth your time.
Allow me to explain.
BEND LOW – BUILD HIGH is our family’s theme for this summer. It’s our mission.
BEND LOW means that we all need to be on a mission to serve one another. I illustrated the concept during our family meeting by washing Jodi’s feet–something I did many years ago when I made our relationship “official.” Last night we read the account of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. I informed the children of the significance of the event and how the principle remains to this very day. We need to serve one another. We also read Philippians 2:3,4. Paul wrote, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit; but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (NIV). Each of us will be looking for ways to practically bless one another. When we struggle, we will remind each other with the words, “BEND LOW.”
BUILD HIGH means that we will consciously make attempts to encourage each other with our words. As you know, this can be challenge for siblings! We read two verses of Scripture last night. Romans 15:2 reads, “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up” (NIV). 1 Thessalonians 5:11 states, “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (NIV). The exhortation of this verse stands as binding today as when it was written by the Apostle Paul. Each member of our family must be on a mission to encourage. We are to find ways to build one another up through our words. The verse ends with a statement which cannot yet be said of our family – “just as you also are doing.” Hopefully at summer’s end that can accurate describe us! I trust that two words will often be heard in our home this summer: BUILD HIGH.”
That’s our plan for the summer! We’ve got other things on the list as well–some pretty fun stuff as well as some spiritual goals. We know where we are headed. We’ve got a roadmap so that the next three months are purposeful.
What about you? What’s your plan for Summer 2013. BEND LOW – BUILD HIGH applies to all of us, doesn’t it? That’s good place to start! I’d encourage you to make a list to help you be productive over the next three months. Is there a particular area in which you want to make progress? Is there a project you’ve been meaning to start or one needing your attention so that you can finally mark it as “Completed”? Go for it!
Have a great summer!