Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dear Dad

I am Dad! Daddy! The Man! El Hombre! Chief! I get called up for middle of the night response to bad dreams. I am the great bug slayer. I am expected to know how to fix every broken thing. I wrestle, joke, and tickle 'til smaller stomachs might erupt. I am the Enforcer (a job I do not like). And, on Saturdays when my wife works, I am Mom (a job I really don't like).

I enjoy my children immensely, and they enjoy me. My mind is flooded with memories and thoughts and worries about them. My wife and I half-joke that we can't remember life before children. Seriously though, the older memories are vague. To those who have no children, it is difficult to explain the energy expended (both physical and mental) raising kids. My deepest darkest fears (things I won't say out loud, and especially will not type here) all revolve around my children.

But, the love is intense. It is unbelievably intense. I really cannot describe the joy that I felt when they handed my son (our oldest)to me for the first time, the night he as born. He was (and is) beautiful. My hands were trembling, eyes tearing, heart pounding. We had a moment in the room when the nurse stepped out, my wife was still in post-op, and the in-laws hadn't come in yet. It was just us. He wasn't crying, and he wasn't asleep. We just looked at each other. It's indescribable, but it was powerful. I was dad.

In the same way, we can give God joy. It is amazing to me that the God of the universe can receive joy from us.

Luke 15:7
I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

And this repentance along with faith in Jesus makes us sons (and daughters) of God (John 14:6).

Roman 8:15-16
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.

I am an extraordinarily flawed father. But God, the perfect Father, loves us perfectly and calls us His children, and rejoices over us when we come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ.

This is an amazing, glorious, truth.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Riches I Heed Not

Recently I had a chance to catch up with an old friend. He is a young business owner on the cusp of a deal that he thinks could become more than a little lucrative for his family. I sincerely desire that it does, especially because of what he said about it. His desire is to take care of his family (as he should), but he wants to live modestly and invest the rest in people's lives. He is a Christian who wants to do the most good he possibly can with the resources God provides to him. He is a man I respect and I believe he is sincere.

As I was thinking about this, I remembered a time when I sincerely desired to be rich. It sounds silly now, but at the time I actually prayed for a windfall. I thought of all of the things that I would do with the money. Contribute a healthy portion to my local church. Pay off all of my debts and provide a modest, comfortable lifestyle for my wife and children. Finally, I wanted to buy decrepit homes in my area, restore them, and rent them to low-income families for really cheap. I envisioned myself showing up at tenants' homes around the holidays with a swing set for their children, and putting it up in the yard for them. To be honest, as I type this I would still like to do some of these things eventually (if God wills).

However, in the midst of my musings at that time, I was convicted by God's Word. I thought especially of the widow who gave the "mite" (all she had), and the other widow who gave the last of her oil and flour to the prophet Elijah.

The first story reminds me that God is not respecting the amount we are able to give, but the condition of the heart that gives it. The second story reminds me of what God is able to do with a little when we give it willingly, and faithfully.

Further, we know that the earth is the Lord's and all that dwell therein. Does God need my money (His money He loaned to me)to accomplish His plan? No, of course not. He graciously allows us opportunities to be part of the work he is doing. Indeed, it is our privilege to give back to God.

Finally, and this is my point, our lives are to be a living sacrifice to God. So money is part of that, but certainly not the extent of our service. Offer a smile to a neighbor, a word of encouragement to someone who is hurting, a meal for family that is struggling, and share the Gospel in spite of apprehension. These all cost little or nothing financially, but they may be used by God to accomplish much for His kingdom.

If God gives me financial wealth, I want to use it for Him. If not, He has given me so many more things to offer. May we all be found faithful in using what God has given us for Him.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Life on the Open Road

"BJ and the Bear"
This was a show when I was a kid about a trucker named BJ McKay and his "best friend" Bear, who was a chimpanzee. Why this was only on TV for a few seasons I'll never understand. It has all the makings of an instant classic: late seventies fashion, big rig trucks, and a monkey. What more could you want? I loved this show as a kid.

Feeling a little uninspired on the blog-front right now, but thought I would post this to let anyone interested know that I am still alive-- and I hope to post something awe inspiring soon. Okay, at least worthy of reading.