Nov 28, 2013

Returning to Thanksgiving

Many years ago when my children were young, it was my intention to spend part of Thanksgiving Day morning by leading my children and Cathy throughout the house thanking the Lord for what He has given to us.  

To me, Thanksgiving Day in the USA had drifted away from its original intention and I was determined to do my part to help focus our household on the Lord.

It was President George Washington who proclaimed Thursday, November 26 to be "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer”. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November to be a day of "thanksgiving and praise."

My children were tired and would have probably rather watched the “Rose Bowl Parade”, but I was determined to do thanksgiving differently than we had in the past few years. So, we started on the third floor of the house and I asked each of the children to thank the Lord for something that they were grateful for. Because they were tired, the words came out like an old car that had not turned over in a few months. I prodded and poked and exhorted them to give the Lord thanks.

And then, something wonderful happened! The Lord opened their eyes to see ALL that He had provided. Item by item they thanked for what they could see. And as they did, Cathy and I recalled how the Lord had provided the item to us; that was big and small items alike.

My recollection is that we spent at least forty five minutes going from room to room, floor by floor all the way to the basement verbally thanking the Lord for His provisions as they were pointed out one by one. I was amazed at the number of items that my children pointed out to me that previously were a part of the scenery and therefore hidden to me. Items like carpeting and paint and lights and videos and tapes and Louder and louder the praise was lifted up as they all joined in.

To me, not only was it one of the best Thanksgiving mornings that we have spent together, it was life changing for me! To this day, when my mind becomes focused on something I don’t have or something that needs to be replaced, I will walk through the house, thanking the Lord for each and every item that I see as I recall how He provided for me in the past.
And, with every passing moment my faith becomes elevated to trust Him for what I need today. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


Nov 21, 2013

Only A Shadow

It was early morning and all was dark outside as the rain fell on my head. I was carrying out the recycling container full with the past two week’s newspapers and other recyclables to the front sidewalk when all at once I saw something that crossed my path and I was startled to the point that I moved out of the way.

Now, my heart didn’t skip a beat, but I was stunned enough to stop and want to pull back and take cover. Ok, maybe not take cover, but it was enough to cause me to stop and look around.

My first thought was that I had surprised a cat or some other small animal and it scurried to get out of my way. When I turned to set down the container I noticed my shadow move across the rain soaked grass. “It was only a shadow, not an animal that had crossed my path”; I thought to myself as I made my way back to the house.

Only a shadow; and yet I actually thought I saw something that really wasn’t even there. Good thing that it was so dark out that no one else could’ve seen me jump at a shadow!

I thought of the song by Misty Edwards called “Only A Shadow” in which she sings;

“Though I walk through the valley, it's only a shadow, it's only a shadow! Though my body may perish, it's only a shadow, it's only a shadow!”

The song is a good reminder that when we go through life and are startled by the darkness of life, they are only shadows; not what is REALLY happening; or at least not the FULL picture.

This life isn’t all that it seems. There is so much more out there than meets the eye. And so, we can take comfort in knowing that we have a loving God who has revealed Himself through Jesus Christ as the “Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep” (See John chapter 10).

King David wrote in Psalm 23 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NKJV)

We can take comfort that whatever happens to us, the Lord will be faithful to bring us out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9)



Nov 14, 2013

The New Battery

Early on in our marriage, I went to start our car only to discover that the battery was dead. The temperatures were subzero and it was not a good day to work on a car outside. I lifted up the hood of the car and jiggled the wires hoping to pull off a miracle.

When I tried a second time to start the car, the infant car seat was too close to the steering wheel so I gave it a shove and as I did, it took a chunk out of the dashboard due to the extremely cold weather. I realize that today as I write this some of you may not remember when we used to put the car seats in the front next to the driver so that they could quickly give a pacifier to the crying infant.

To say that I was upset at this new opportunity to trust God is the understatement of the year. Instead, I responded with frustration. I went outside of the car and slammed the hood shut; or I should say that I attempted to slam the hood shut. When I did, because of the cold weather, the hood springs and hinges froze and the hood folded in half leaving a huge crease in the top of the hood in my otherwise mint-condition car.

I remember that my next action step was to go inside the house and “share” (rant) what was wrong with the car to Cathy. Her response was for me to go to the auto store and purchase a new battery. I reacted to her answer with sarcasm and cynicism; ranting that “OK, I’ll purchase the new battery with a check because you believe that somehow God will provide the funds so that the check won’t bounce! But, how will I get to the store since the car won’t start?”

Just as I finished spouting my lack of faith, the doorbell rang. It was Sue, a friend of ours from church. “I noticed that your hood was up on your car and stopped to see if you needed a ride on this cold day”; she said wondering what she had just walked into.

I, in great faith, explained our situation and sarcastically explained that we were going to trust God for provision!”

“Take my car”; she said to us, “And go get the battery; I’ll sit here and drink tea with Cathy and the baby.”

I drove her car to the auto store, grumbling under my breath and purchased a new battery still wondering how we would come up with the funds to cover the check I had just written for just under forty dollars.

I wish that I could have been a man of faith so that my part in this story would have been much better to tell. But, throughout so many of the times when the Lord provided in our lives He was the one who responded faithfully; I, oftentimes was learning to trust Him as we went through the struggle.

I arrived home and in the extreme cold removed and replaced the battery. I got into the car and turned the ignition key. The car started up the first time with no hesitation. To cool off before I went into the house, I spent some time bending the hood back into place so that the hood could close. The chunk in the dashboard would have to be another time.

I went inside the house we were renting and thanked Sue for the use of her car and went to see if the mail had arrived yet. In the mail there was a check for forty-four dollars and forty four cents from an insurance company. I called the company to see why they sent me the check. It was from an insurance claim that I had made a few years earlier due to a work-related injury. The insurance company explained that they had not paid me what I was entitled to and the check was the remaining balance on the claim.

Because of the strange amount, I noticed that the check not only covered the cost of the new battery (just under forty dollars), but also the tithe on the check (around four dollars). God had provided for us; He had covered the check with extra money!

Now, I realize that the check had been in the mail for a few days and didn’t miraculously come from the insurance company just as the Lord heard my faithless prayer for provision.

But for me, if I couldn’t see His provision in this situation, I would be hard pressed to believe Him for larger items like (many) new vehicles, appliances, remodeling, employment, additional children (and grandchildren!), and a new house.

Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34 NKJV)

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.



Nov 7, 2013

Why do I blog?

I’ve asked myself that question from time to time. I mean, I already use FaceBook for sharing my private life and have another page for the ministry as well as a website; so I really don’t need another outlet. And, practically, I’m not getting paid; so why do I blog?

Is it a narcissistic need to have exposure and communicate every thought and rant that I have? Am I trying to build my legacy so that I will be remembered long after I die? Or, perhaps, there is a different reason…

It started awhile back when I realized that not all of the stories of how the Lord has worked in our lives were written down. My concern was that I would forget the stories and more importantly forget the Lord; the One who has been so faithfully providing and directing our lives. (See Deuteronomy chapter 8)

This past year, Cathy and I were having a conversation with our son Joshua. He and his wife Jen were starting the process of considering purchasing a house. They had been married for a couple of years, graduated from college, and both were working fulltime. As we listened to him as he shared the pros and cons of their thoughts, we shared some testimony as to the Lord’s faithfulness to us over the years; especially the house.

Part way through the conversation Cathy looked at me and had an epiphany; Joshua was not yet born when we purchased our home. We had never told him the story of the house. We also realized we had also not shared the stories of multiple times the Lord had provided items for us over the years.

The stories in my blog took place and are factual. In no way am I trying to embellish them. If details have been omitted or altered it probably has more to do with the length of time that has transpired between the provision and today as I sit and write this blog.

So, my blog is written as a testimony of the Lord’s provision in our lives. I, the author, testify of these things, and wrote these things; and I want you to know that my testimony is true.

It is my sincere hope that it inspires the readers to trust the Lord for all of your resources; to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness in faith knowing that all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)  And that you too come to believe that “my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19