We all too often expect out of our fathers what only God can provide.
I love my Dad who left for heaven the fall after our son David died in 2014. I could tell it pained Dad as he watched us do our best to minister to David through his year-long struggle with leukemia. Dad had been confined to his chair and bed in a nursing home for some time and I could not spend as much time with him as I should have. David serenaded his Grandpa for his 90th birthday (pictured at right). Who would have thought that two years later, David would be gone at 36?
Chad Billman's article “This Father’s Day” flooded my mind and heart with memories of my Dad and my sons. My Dad was a Chief Warrant Officer in the Air Force. When he spoke, you listened. He was a great no-nonsense provider and I watched him grow spiritually as I grew older, largely due to the influence of my incredible German mother who loved God, taught the Bible to others and served others intensely. He gave me great advice and discipline, and modeled being a man of character and generosity.
Father’s Day is this Sunday in the U.S. Some of you have plans with Dad, others may make a phone call, and then there are those who have mixed feelings or totally resent the day all together. Wherever you are at, please allow me to encourage you with turning our focus to how God views us. I love my dad. No matter how much my dad and I disagree or frustrate each other, I have a longing to be with my dad. I have a want to be validated by him, but there is nothing I can do to get that from him. It must be his choice to validate me. Stick with me here. In the scriptures, Jesus was validated twice by his Father: After Jesus was baptized and the transfiguration.
Early Saturday morning, the brothers suited up as Jedi warriors and took their positions in Camp Walter Johnson to welcome in 28 fathers and 40 sons to Mighty Men of God 8: MMOG vs. Rogue Warrior. These fathers and sons had journeyed from Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Fayetteville, Greensboro and even as far as Columbia, South Carolina, to embark on this adventure!
"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." – Psalm 73:26
Throughout my life, I have reached points where this scripture truly humbled me before God. I tried to plan ahead, get advice, make good decisions, but then find myself wondering what went wrong. David Laing tells his story in his article, "Broken Into Better Shape," about how God spoke to him through Psalm 73.
Hiking! There is something about that word that I love. It is full of enthusiasm and adventure. I love the word because of the incredible memories I have had being in God's creation. There are so many metaphors that come to mind as I walk purposely down a trail, following a map or the signs placed along the way. The metaphor that resonates with me the most is the parable of the narrow and wide gates.
On Saturday morning at Reach2016, all the men of the conference came together to be inspired by eight men who have walked the walk and talked the talk. Each shared about their life and the highs and lows that God has brought them through. The scripture that unified all their messages was Ephesians 6:7, "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people."
Friday morning at Reach2016, John Lusk, evangelist of the Denver Church of Christ, spoke to the married men. The class focused on David, and was a great reminder of how each one of us can make a real difference. David’s faith, fight, and friendships propelled him to stay true to God and be powerfully used by God during his life. God is always working, and a deep faith enables us to see that truth, regardless of circumstances (vs. being blind). Life is a battle—we were not only created for the fight, but to win! We accomplish this together; like David, we need a Jonathan/Nathan team.
With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to remind myself that it is not just one day out of the year that I am commanded by God to honor my mom and dad, but every day, all day. When I was 11, my mom had me memorize Ephesians 6:1-3: "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 'Honor your father and mother' -- which is the first commandment with a promise -- 'so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.'"
Warrior is the latest book from Sam Laing, the author who brought us Mighty Man of God. I have memories reading Mighty Man of God, and feeling inspired after reading 2 Samuel 23:10 about Eleazor standing his ground and striking down Philistines until his hand froze to the sword.