Whom am I Playing To?

30 09 2013

The great American baseball player, Babe Ruth, once said, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from swinging for the fence.”   I remember as a young boy playing little league baseball.  I played for four straight years and in the final two years I was the first string catcher.  In that third and fourth year, I also remember that our team, the Moose Giants, came in first place.  We had some young, but talented pitchers and hitters.  It was great fun and excitement.  But, I also recall one other detail from those years.  Never once do I remember seeing my parents in the stands watching me play.  It just wasn’t their priority.

That memory causes me to sometimes ask myself, “Whom am I playing to?”  In other words, whom do I desire to be in my “stands,” cheering me on in both the good and the not so good?  Whose approval am I looking for?  There is a certain fear standing at home plate with a bat in hand.  One reassuring smile from the stands would have removed that fear.  It would have said, “Go ahead son, you can do it; I believe in you; so knock it out of the park.”  Many years ago this was settled in my heart when I heard my heavenly Father say to me, “ You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”  And then He smiled reassuringly.  To whom are you playing to?

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Giving Away My Daughter

23 09 2013

In two weeks I have the privilege of walking my baby girl down the aisle and then officiating the wedding ceremony.  While I felt so honored to be asked to perform the wedding, I now wonder about my sanity in agreeing to do it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea, but am now the one with “cold feet” and wondering how I will get through it emotionally.  How do you “give away” your only daughter, the baby in the family?  She is about to spend more time married, with another man, than she ever spent with me, her father, growing up – it’s not fair.

I loved the growing up years from infancy on.  I was elated watching her first steps and missing her the moment she went off to kindergarten. I loved teaching her to ride a bicycle and playing softball in the front yard.  Her acting career in high school, although short-lived, was moments in time of sheer pride.  Teaching her to drive a car, a five speed, was exhilarating in more ways than one.  Sending her off to college four hours from her home…never easy.  Helping her move to Washington, DC for her first “real” job felt awkward at best.

But soon I will walk her down the aisle and then another man will walk her away from me.  There will be an exchange of authority, of leadership, of responsibility and another will be “laying down his life.”  I would do it all over again, from birth forward.  I would change some things, but not much.  I would not trade the struggles and tears, the laughter and joys for anything.  It is why God gave her to me (us) – to give her away, first to Him and then to His man for her.  It is why I/we spent thousands of hours training her and thousands of dollars raising her.  Brooke Megan, you are an amazing woman of God; you are a delight to my very soul.  “…Our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.” (Ps. 144:12)

(If you are single and wondering what are the most important character traits in a life mate, then read my first 21 blogs.)





The Gift of Repentance

16 09 2013

God knew I needed refreshing while on a two month sabbatical from work/ministry responsibilities.  I knew I needed refreshment.  Little did I know, however, that it would begin with repentance.  To repent means to do an about-face, to turn away from and to pursue a different direction.  Was there some major sin in my life, no, but any shortcoming, any missing the mark should be major to us.  The Father was gently nudging and I was determined to listen, to hear, to believe Him and to respond.  I was acting upon a verse of scripture that He was highlighting to me.  Acts chapter three verse 19 says, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…”

I have been a Christ follower for 42 years and I sense there are seasons of my life where I simply forget about the gift of repentance.  It’s a gift because following true repentance I am then in right standing with God, not due to my own effort.  I know I am forgiven through one act of grace on the cross.  I love what Paul wrote to us in Colossians chapter one about this gift.  He said that at one time we were alienated from God, we were enemies, due to our behavior, but then came reconciliation through Christ’s death to, …”present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”  Wow, you and I are holy in His sight, without blemish and free from the accusations of the evil one.  Repentance, what a gift.





Back From a Sabbath Rest

9 09 2013

Two months of being totally out of the loop from those whom you serve in ministry or your work place can be a long time.  Eight weeks ago my last blog was that I would disappear from the blogosphere and engage in a healthy Sabbath rest.  It has been an excellent God time, rest time, journal time, training time, reading time, prayer time, centering time and listening time.  I do not regret one single day other than a few unexpected distractions.  Thank you for your patience and allowing me to take this time away.  The following are some of the things I learned or rediscovered on this sabbatical:

 

  • Sabbaths are vital and spoken into our lives here on earth by our heavenly Father.  They are God’s answer to self-depletion.
  • I rediscovered and was forced to face how much of my life is connected to my work, how much I think about it, worry about personal situations and pray for those I serve.
  • I am not the answer.
  • It was refreshing for my Father to gently work me through areas of repentance.
  • It became necessary to push through areas of distraction.
  • How easy and natural abandonment, rejection and un-forgiveness are while how supernatural is the cross, forgiveness and the depth of God’s love and acceptance.
  • How natural fathering/mothering impedes or enhances spiritual fathering/mothering.

There were more areas of a personal nature vital to my own self-discovery, personal wholeness and deepening faith.  Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the Sabbath.  And I, the Son of Man, am master even of the Sabbath.”  (Mark 2:27, 28 NLT)  Thank you, Jesus, for being Lord of my Sabbath.








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