Trashing the Gifts


We’ve all seen it.  A child has a birthday party.  Their friends are all gathered having fun, playing games, eating and waiting for the infamous clown or magician.  After lunch and some more games it’s time for the child to open their gifts.  All the friends gather with the child’s parents.  There is joy and happiness on each child’s face.  The birthday child proceeds to open the first gift.

“It’s what I always wanted”, excitedly chimes the child.  Gift after gift, “It’s what I always wanted” echoes.  Then at an instant, one gift is opened that the child doesn’t expect.  It is not the gift they were looking for.  In fact, there is now a confused look on the child’s face as to what it may be.  The child looks up and says…….

So what is the first reaction you thought of?  There were two that I can remember as a child.  One was the child who was thankful no matter what it was.  They would figure it out or just place it to the side, but there was no way they would ever be rude.

The other example is one where the child says, “I don’t know what this is and I don’t want it.”  Sometimes it is with tears, sometimes with anger, but always out of a thankless attitude.  Now ask this question…how did the gift giver feel?

In this life, we have been given 5 essential gifts that our Gift-giver has given.  All of them are free-of-charge and require nothing but acceptance.  Yesterday, I explained the five (5) gifts are marriage, children, money, life and salvation.  Today, I want to explain how we (even Christians) have a tendency to trash the gifts God has given to us.

Marriage

When we get married, we make a covenant (stronger than a promise) to not just love the person but go through the ups and downs of life with our spouse.  We make a public statement that no matter what happens we will stick by each other and go through the rough and calm roads together.

God has implemented marriage not as a strict way to procreate but also as a means to share His love with each member (husband and wife).  He explained that when a man and woman come together in marriage that they would “become one”.  This is not just physical but also emotional, thought processes and journey.  Marriage is the means to live this life together so that God will say, “It is good.”  So the question remains, how do we trash this gift?

Unfortunately, this gift can be trashed in many ways.  One of the most common ways is to not appreciate the person God presented to you.  Many times husbands and wives don’t see eye to eye.  Each has a different opinion or idea.  The key is to appreciate each other regardless of the differences.  When we learn to accept each other for who God has made us to be, we tell Him, “Thank you for the gift of marriage”.  However when we say, “I made a mistake in marrying you” we say to God, “This was not the gift I was looking for”.

Another way we trash the gift is we don’t hold to what God considers marriage.  According to Scripture, marriage happens between a man and a woman.  It also is sacred that no earthly bond should break.  So when the divorce rate is the same in the church as it is in the world, we say to God, “This gift doesn’t mean anything”.  We throw the gift of marriage back into God’s face or in the garbage.  In addition, when we think that homosexual marriage is good, even though Scripture says it is not, we take the gift of marriage and place it in the sewer.

God has made it clear.  Homosexuality is wrong.  It is an act of selfishness, pride and it is sinful as it goes against what God had intended for men and women regarding relationships.  Therefore, homosexual marriage is just as wrong.

Children

One of the most joyous times was when my sons were born.  Although my wife had pains and struggles as every woman who has given birth has.  The end result was a happy one.  Out of a loving relationship in marriage comes a child who is the person that loves physically displays.

I stated yesterday that Christ loves the children.  Their innocence, commitment and unconditional love are just part of why God loves children.  However, we can take this gift and throw it in the trash and here’s how.

When we are too harsh with our children (I am guilty of this on occasion) or when we have no respect for them, we tell God, “This gift is nothing more than a burden”.  It is the same thing that Adam did after the fall.  Instead of taking responsibility for his actions, Adam blamed God for the situation.  Many times children are falsely blamed for the parent’s problems.  I have heard people say, “If only I didn’t have kids.  I would be free.”  The reality is that children have allowed you to be freer than you have ever been.

When my sons are happy and playing nicely, I am happy.  When my sons are fighting over something silly, then I am not so happy.  Both of my boys have a way of showing their love and desire for me to have their interests in mind.  However, when I disregard their feelings or say, “What you say does not matter”, even I am telling God, “It’s your fault”.

Children are a gift and they should be treated that way.

Money

This one is the most controversial subject in the church.  We can easily trash the gift of money by not doing something that is so easy but yet is so hard to grasp.  Give God the firstfruits.

As I explained yesterday, God accepted Abel because he gave his best to God, while Cain gave his leftovers.  We too can grieve God because we forget to give back to Him for what He has provided.  Did you know that your job, your boss and the strength to work have been given to you as a gift as well?  Work is a means that God uses to sharpen us to do His work.  If we do well at our jobs, we should also do well with His ministry.  One easy way to do that is to give God the best of what we have.  This is not just money, but it is a start.  Most people don’t give their time or talents to the church.  I would like to argue that most times those same people are also giving God the leftovers from their check.

We are commanded to give our tithe (both in the Old and New Testaments) but it can be argued about the amount.  The tithe typically was a minimum of 10% of what the person made.  Most times, it was in the form of food and sacrifices.  The tithe was to show God how much you appreciate and love Him.  God then used the tithe to feed the priests and those who worked in full-time ministry.

When we refuse to give God the best of what we have (including money), we tell Him, “This gift I made.  You did nothing.”  Remember, you and I didn’t make work, God did.  You and I didn’t make our bosses, God did.  You and I didn’t make the strength we need, God did.  God has done more for you and I than we could ever imagine.  Don’t trash your money to things that you don’t need, to impress people you don’t like.  Show God how much you love Him and give Him the best of your money.

Life

We have all heard the expression, “Life is a gift”.  This is not just an expression but truth.  Life is a gift that God has given to all of us.  However, this gift is not an easy one.  We all have encountered sickness or injury.  We have either seen someone or experienced extreme illnesses, injuries that disable us and lifestyles that prohibit some of the happiness we think we deserve.

There are levels to trashing the gift of life.  If we don’t eat right or exercise don’t respect and love the bodies that God created.  When we go through plastic surgeries just to change the way we look (outside of medical reasons) we say, “God you made a mistake”.

We also trash life when we decide that life isn’t worth living.  Depending on your outlook, this thought process can lead to depression or suicide.  In fact suicide is the most selfish act you can take.  Taking your life says, “God you don’t know what I am going through and you don’t care.”  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  (The next gift will explain this.)

Life is gift worth fighting for.

Salvation

Salvation is a gift.  It cannot be earned.  Salvation through Jesus Christ alone is the best life anyone could live.  God cares for us so much that while we were still actively sinning, Jesus Christ died for us.  Salvation is the greatest of all gifts.  We cannot give it back.  Once we are saved by Jesus, we are His children forever.

There is only one way to trash the gift of salvation.  Just don’t accept it and die in sin.  We have only one shot at this one.  Once we allow Jesus to enter our lives, He starts the work of transforming us.  Jesus cleans our closets, washes our floors and works to make our lives “living sacrifices”.  We are given the opportunity to choose eternal life or death.

God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us.  Because of this, we are responsible to use the other four (4) gifts in order to bring others to Christ.  We are only told to introduce people to Christ, not to convince them.  Only the Holy Spirit can convince anyone that He exists, so if you are trying to convince someone about Christ, stop it won’t work.  Let the Spirit do His work.

The use of our gifts tells God and others how we feel about our relationship with God.  From time to time ask this question, “How am I doing with the gifts God has given?”  Once you evaluate your situation, you will be able to act accordingly.  Open your heart to God and let Him tell you how to use the gifts He has given to you.

God bless and encourage someone today.

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One Final Success Story


In the last few blogs, I shared success (and failure) stories that have happened in my life.  The final blog in this series is not about personal success or failure but that of how success (and failure) affect the nation.

Over the past number of years, I have spoken with people regarding the United States.  I have spoken with people from various countries and asked them about our country.  The thoughts vary from “arrogant” to “I wish I was there”.  No matter where I turn, there are many opinions regarding this country, whether positive or negative. Today, I will share how success and failure affect our nation.

In recent days, we hear the news regarding terrorism, sexual misconduct and immorality.  Rarely are the stories of greatness and positive behavior.  Why is that?  Why do we concentrate on the negative of our society and not the positive?  Why do we buy into the fallacies of negative behavior and disregard the “righteous acts” of positive behavior?  Let me surmise that when Christians act negatively toward others and reject the Word of God,  we allow our country to enter a state of darkness and despair.

I just finished the book of Isaiah and have entered the realm of Jeremiah.  In both books, these men (one of which was very young) was told to give a message to the nation of Israel.  Although both hesitated, both finally realized that doing the work of God was better than pleasing their peers.  These men were not the most popular but they spoke the truth. They were hated and hunted, but God protected them from the evils of their society.  You may feel the same about me as well.  No matter.  Just keep reading.

In Isaiah, he goes back and forth with positive and negative messages.  Why?  It was to prepare the Israelites for exile to Babylon and beyond.  It was to correct bad behavior so that they would repent from their ways.  Unfortunately, this did not happen.  Why was there so much warning about what was about to happen?  God states through Isaiah, “You have left me.”

It wasn’t because God deserted them.  It wasn’t because other nations did things that they couldn’t be blamed for.  It was simply because they forgot God.  The book of Jeremiah starts the same way.  This young man was told to speak about what was to happen and God says again, “You have left me.”  The same message for the same people.  In both instances we discover the fact that God doesn’t deal with the evil in this world first.  He deals with His people first and then the evil surrounding His people.  When the children of God obey and worship, God acts on their behalf.  The same holds true to this day.  Unfortunately, this success story is really a failure story.

In the past, our country has gone through periods of growth, blessings and protection as well as times of trials and tribulations.  If you follow the pattern of successes and failures, we will discover the behaviors of God’s people.  Did you know that just before the Civil War began, there was a revival of prayer?  Men, women and children felt God tell them to pray for their nation because of what was about to occur.  They faithfully prayed and continued throughout the war.  Over time the war ended, our country united and the healing process began.  When Christians pray through the trials, wars are shortened.

Another time was just before the Great Depression.  Men were called to pray on Wall Street for unknown future events.  As they prayed, they repented of sin and this small gathering pulled our nation through a dark time.  As the Great Depression continued, this small gathering turned into a large congregation of prayer warriors which turned into people repenting and turning toward Christ.  A success among the failure.

Today, our country is going through what I call the Darkest Hour of Freedom.  Our country praises the immorality and sinful behavior but despises the righteous and good behavior.  How do we know this?  Here is an example.

In the Bible, it states that homosexuality and adultery are sinful behaviors.  In our society we parade down the street praising this sin.  We flaunt our sin.  We project our sin onto others and we wonder why there is so much bad news.  The divorce rate in the church s equal to that of the rest of the world.  It is because of this that our government abuses their rights and demands that Christians “change their behavior” and “get with the times”.

To add to this problem, today’s Christians have mastered the art of shooting themselves and their own for the sake of argument and pride.  I have personally experienced people call me a heretic because I don’t believe what they say and when I ask for them to prove their point, they can’t!  I believe that we should be able to know why we believe and where to find it.

We fight over silly things like the color of the carpet or traditions that have no affect on sharing the Gospel.  We spend our time blasting our officials for allowing sinful atrocities, while stealing money from God.  No matter how you look at it, the Christian church today, is a complete failure.  But it doesn’t have to be or stay that way.

No matter what denomination you are from, no matter the color of your skin or where you live, if you believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, then you and I are related.  So if you believe people can speak in tongues, good.  If you believe in the Rapture will not occur, that’s okay too.  As long as you believe that Christ is the only way to heaven and that He will one day return for His people, then all other arguable areas should not matter.

If we want to see our nation change, first we must change.  We must understand that being holy is just being set apart.  Jesus said, “Be holy as I am holy.”  What He meant was for us to live lives that are separate from the world system.  We are to stand out not just stand up.  We should love all people regardless of our own preconceived notions.  We are to love those who practice sin (even those who practice homosexuality or abortions).  We are to see them as Christ sees them.  You and I must remember that even though we were sinful and while we were still sinning, Christ died for us.  So instead of marching the streets with hateful signs and angry looks, let’s try loving those who we feel don’t deserve it.  If we focus on the sin, then we focus on our own pride.  When we focus on the sin we say to ourselves, “I am better than that person”, even though we are not.  Christ didn’t concentrate on the sin but on behaviors and attitudes that change lives.  If it was good enough for Christ, then it should be good enough for us.

Currently, our nation needs Christians to unite and stand as one.  Our nation needs prayer and repentance.  Our nation’s leaders needs Christians to stand in the gap and pray for God to intervene.  Our Christian community needs to unite as one, pray as one, purpose for the One who died for us.  When we stop concentrating on the negative sinful behavior, we allow God to turn our current failure into a success story.

Over the next number of blogs, I will share how we can unite, why we should unite and what unification can do for our country and it’s future.  Join me on this journey to the center of our darkest hour for the sole purpose of allowing God to turn our failures into His success.

God bless and encourage someone today.

When Trials Come…


No matter who you are, at some time in your life, hard times will come.  Sometimes it will take the form of the loss of a job or bills that need to get paid.  On occasion it can be as severe as losing a loved one or hearing from the doctor you only have a few months to live.  Regardless of how small or large your trial may be, we all go through them.

David, shepherd boy, went through many times of ups and down.  He faced days of joy and days of depression.  One of these occasions was when Saul (the rejected king of Israel) wanted to hunt down and kill David.  At one time in David’s life, David went to live with the Philistines.  The irony of this was that just a few short years earlier; David had killed Goliath, the Philistine champion, with a small smooth stone and a sling.  Now David needed to hide so he went to the Philistines and started to act insane.  After some time, the Philistine king did not want David around as his advisors didn’t trust David.  Not only was David on the run, but he had nowhere to go as well.  It was during this time that he wrote Psalm 34.

Although this Psalm is too long for this blog, I encourage you to read it before going on.

What you see in this Psalm are some key areas where David relied on his faith in God.  First, David acknowledges what God deserves, praise and worship.  He says, “I will extol the Lord at all times, his praise will always be on my lips.”  David’s response is in line with how Jesus taught his disciples on how to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed (holy) is your name…”  David takes his first step out of the feelings of what he was going through.  He gave God praise.

Then in verse 4, we see David seeking God.  He took time to look for God.

“I sought the Lord and he answered me, he delivered me from all my fears.”

David continues to explain that “those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”  He realized that by seeking God, there is no fear of judgment, no fear of failure, no fear of horrific situations.  David knew that “with God all things are possible”.  He recognizes that God is with him, through the good, bad and ugly.  He then does something we have a tendency to forget.  He tells others to try God out.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him”

When we go through trials and tribulations, the normal human reaction is to focus on our feelings.  We fear because we focus on us rather than God.  Remember Peter?  When Peter was focused on Jesus, he walked on the water.  When Peter focused on his surroundings he began to sink.  Guess what?  Jesus still reached out to Peter.  In the same way when we focus on God, we take no regard for our feelings, we “walk on water” but when we focus on our problems, we begin to sink, feeling sorry for ourselves and become introverted, like a scared turtle in its shell.

David then tries to encourage others.

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”

How many times are we ready to share what God teaches us while we are suffering?  For most of us, David is an example of what we all should do; share our faith, especially when we are suffering.  That, my friends, is the hardest thing we can do.  We don’t feel like sharing our faith.  We only want to share our suffering.  But there is a satisfaction we receive from God when we share His work in our lives when we suffer.  Paul describes it as, “In my weakness, God shows His strength.”  How profound!

So how do we actually do this?  We need to be conscience of what we say and how we feel.  Although it is extremely difficult, here are some steps we can take to ensure we focus on God.

  1. Pray for others while we suffer.  When we do this, we focus on what God wants to do in their lives rather than our own trials.
  2. Read His Word.  Seek God’s face.  Only He can give you the comfort you need.
  3. Meditate on what He says to you.  This is not some strange chant while closing your eyes in a sitting, contorted position.  It is simply a thought process.  Think about what God is saying.  Think about what He has done in your life.
  4. Praise God.  Take some time to thank God for all He is doing.  Thank Him for creation.  Thank Him for your family.  Thank Him for your suffering.
  5. Share your experience.  Take some time to tell others about what God is teaching you.  Make it positive.  Let others know that even though you are going through some terrible situation, it is temporary and God is right there with you.

If we can take these simple steps, we will really see God’s work in our lives.  God wants you to experience peace and joy, so praise Him in your suffering.  Read in your suffering.  Meditate and praise Him in your suffering and then share God’s Word with someone else.  Maybe they need to see the love of God through your hard times.

God bless and encourage someone today.

Another Life Changing Event…


It was about 3:00PM.  Time seemed to stand still.  I wasn’t sure of what was about to happen, but then it hit me.  Thoughts of doubt and images of despair rocked my mind.  It was as if a tidal wave had suddenly tossed itself onto the shores of my life and would not relent.  Fear, doubt and worry flooded the small crevices and attempted to separate the concrete foundation that I hold dear.  Fortunately, it was short lived.  It began yesterday and until lunchtime today, this was how I felt.

Almost every day, I listen to my MP3 player while eating lunch.  It allows me to get away from the craziness of business to recharge the worn out batteries that morning.  Most times, the songs vary and have little meaning.  They play and I listen.  They sound and I become relaxed.  However, today was different.  The songs seemed to blend and mix the way I enjoy them.

While I was listening, a song came on that I don’t usually listen to during lunch.  The song is called “Praise the Lord” by the Imperials.  It is slow yet commanding.  Lyrics like, “When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams.  And your hope has been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifesting scheme” and “Now Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think that we are paupers when he knows himself we are children of the King”.

THAT WAS IT!  Could it be that these crazy thoughts were happening for a reason?  Is it possible that something from outside of physical reality was causing me to stress, fear and worry?  It wasn’t until this song that I realized maybe Satan doesn’t want me to do something he knows is positive for the Kingdom.

You see, in my last post I had a poll that asked people to vote for which subject they wanted to hear about.  The fact was that no one had voted.  Curious.  All the subjects I put forth were one’s that may interest lots of people, but it appeared that God was trying to tell me something else.  Why is it that I was looking for others to “allow” me to write on a subject they wanted to hear?  Was I seeking the approval of others before seeking the acceptance of God?  The answer is a resounding “Yes’!

In my past blogs, I have shared, “Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness…” and “…look to God for your purpose in life”, yet I seemed to be doing what Scripture says not to do.  So what happens now?

As I have stated in the past, I know God wants me to write.  I know, beyond any shadow of doubt, writing for the Kingdom is my purpose for His glory.  Without the vision of the Kingdom, the world is absolutely meaningless.  The reason for my “funk” was because my focus was not on Kingdom objectives, but my own objectives.

In the past couple of weeks, I have had many house projects and work projects.  I have wanted personal time that was uninhibited by anyone or anything.  However, my peaceful time of rest has been one of torment and pain.  Even last evening, my son asked me, “What’s wrong?”  I could only respond, “I need to relax but cannot.”  Everyone around me knew something wasn’t right, except for me.  So where do I go from here?

I will write more.  I will write for Him.  I will become the writer that He wants me to be.  He has set my goals before me and I will obey.  To do anything else would be sin.  God has told me to write for the Kingdom, then I will.  Whether it be on His holiness, His purposes or His Son, my writings will glorify Him.

Over the next few months, the titles on my blog will change to be more focused on the series rather than the daily events.  Hopefully you will find positive, life changing examples that will help you in your walk with God.  Maybe the stories will be shared and others will come to know Christ.  Either way, I will continue, I will persist and I will not stop just because I don’t feel like it.

If God has spoken to you through this life changing event, I would love to hear from you.  If you don’t feel comfortable responding, then that’s okay too.  At least we will all experience God’s life changing power in our lives.  Look to Him first and the rest will come.

God Bless and encourage someone today.

A Call to Patriotism


Riddled in history are stories of patriotism.  People who go out of their way to stand up for what is right and good.  In the early days of the United States, we hear of stories where ordinary people stand up to the oppression that was encompassing them.  Even today, we hear of uprisings that can be considered patriotic.

Look at the news today.  There are a lot of people standing up for what they believe is right and good.  They march and cry out, “Freedom from oppression!”  The stand and sit for days and weeks hoping to convince their government to change their ways for the betterment of the people.  Every year there are marches against homosexuality and for homosexuality.  We see marches against banking and investment firms.  We see marches against abortion and for women’s rights to choose.  But are all marches and protests patriotic.  To discover this, let’s take a look at what the real definition of patriotism is:

Patriotism is a “love for or devotion to one’s country”.  That’s it.  If you have a love or are devoted to your country then congratulations, you are a patriot.  Or does it?  A patriot is “one who loves his country and supports its authority and interests.”  Hmmm….now we are getting a little deeper.  So if we are to be considered patriots, we need to actually consider supporting our government’s authority and interests.  But does that mean we should agree with everything our government supports?

There is one story in the Bible that can help place into perspective how we should look at our government’s authority and interests.  Let’s take a look at what happened to Jesus when He was confronted to pay taxes.  During the first century, the Roman government imposed taxes to the common people.  The Roman governors would employ Jewish “tax collectors” who would add more to the tax than what the Roman government required.

Matthew, the man who has a book of the Bible named after him, was one of those tax collectors.  In his account, Jesus had been teaching by way of a parable.  At the end of one specific parable, the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus so they sent their ‘disciples’ to question Jesus regarding paying taxes.  Knowing Jesus didn’t side with the rest of normal Jewish society, He asks the Pharisee disciples to show him a coin.  He asks, “Who is pictured there?”  They replied, “Caesar”.  Jesus then makes a very profound statement, “Then render to Caesar to what is Caesars; and render to God what is God’s.”  AMAZING!

Jesus made a statement that, for the common man, would have resulted in beatings and abuse.  However, because of the way He responded, the Pharisee disciples were amazed and just left.  They couldn’t say anything.  Why?  Well if Christ said not to pay taxes, then He would have been considered a zealot against Rome, which would have resulted in his immediate death.  It would also have meant that He sinned.  Sinned?  If Jesus had defied the official government of his day for something as simple as paying taxes, then He would have been defying the order God intended.

Throughout the Old and New Testaments, God shows us that we are to submit to the authority over us.  We are required to obey in all areas except when our government says not to pray, read the Bible or share God’s word.  Daniel defied his governors and prayed anyway.  So Jesus did not sin by taking His stance.  He basically said, “Listen to those who rule over you and pay your taxes.”

What amazed the people was that he then turned to those disciples of the Pharisees and said, “…and also give to God what is His.”  What does God require?  You.  All of you.  All of who you are and what you do.  He requires perfection which can only be obtained through the work of His Son, Jesus Christ.  When we accept Jesus as our Savior, God looks at us through Jesus’ eyes, where He sees what you will become one day, perfect like Christ.  What a wonderful outcome.

Another lesson taught in Scripture is to submit to the authorities that govern over us.

Romans 13:1 (NASB)
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.

Does it say some people?  No.  It says everyone.  All of us should understand that all authority over us has been allowed by God.  All current rulers, whether we like them or not, have been established by God Himself.  Does this mean that we need to do everything they say?  The problem is in the word “submit”.

Submission is not a passive, wimpy, whiney word.  In fact, this word is active and positive.  All that submission means is to respect the authority over us and listen to them according to God’s word.  It doesn’t mean they are better than us.  It doesn’t mean that what they do is all from God.  It doesn’t mean that we have to do everything they say just because they say so.  It does mean that we understand who they are; Who appointed them and what they ask us to do (most times) we should obey.

The only time Scripture excuses us from listening to our rulers is in cases when it interrupts our relationship with God and His message going out into the world.  As I stated earlier, did not Daniel disobey the rulers when told not to pray?  Did not the disciples disobey the rulers when they were told not to share the Gospel?

Nowhere in Scripture did anyone, who loves God and does what He says, stand up for political or economic reasons.  You won’t find anyone fighting the rulers just because they don’t agree with the speed limit.  However, we do see civil disobedience done with love.  That is what sets us apart than the rest of the world.  We are to obey those over us.  We are to listen and trust those over us.  Why?  Because God placed them there and if God placed them there, don’t you think He is still in control?

We can stand up for what we believe in, but we should never show anger or hatred.  We are called to show love.  If those around us don’t agree with us, then that’s okay.  However, if you look around, most times these marches turn to hateful words and forceful disobedience.  This is sinful.

Although our leaders can’t get along these days and don’t agree on most platforms, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to them.  In fact, we should pray for them and if possible counsel them.  There is an old saying that goes, “No one care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  This is true and right.  If we show our leaders we love them, they will start to have a tendency to listen to us.  Then and only then can we be considered patriotic.  Be a patriot and pray for our leaders.  They need all the prayers we can offer.

The Ultimate “Daddy” Test (Continued)


Yesterday, I shared the first part of my experience with the “Ultimate ‘Daddy’ test”.  Not to keep the suspense to long, here is the rest of the story….

Nine months later, we brought my son back to the hospital.  While we were waiting, another boy was crying because he was going to have surgery for tubes.  His parents were also crying trying to reassure their son that everything would be okay.  My 6 year old, saw this and put his arm around the crying boy and said, “Don’t be sad.  Let’s play a game together.”  The boy immediately stopped crying.  A look of shock came over the parents, my wife and I and the boy’s parents asked, “What just happened?”  I said, “That was God working in your son’s life.”  We talked for a few minutes and told each other our son’s problems.

Shortly after, the doctor came and gave him the “sleepy medicine” once more.  After my son started to fall asleep, a nurse told me that I could not carry him.  I told her, “No one will stop me.  He is my son and I will place him on the table, no one else.”  She saw the determination in my eyes and led me down the terrible path.  Again, as we were waiting for the outcome, the same thought came as it did 9 months earlier, “Is he really mine?  Can I do with him as I please?”

This time, I knew it was God.  I prayed and said, “Yes.  It is very hard for me to give up my son, but yes.  Do with him as you see fit.  You know what I want but he is yours.”  It was then that the ultimate revelation came to mind.  I wonder if God felt the same way when Jesus hung on the cross?  Was He thinking, “This is hard, but it needs to be done.”  Was he crying the same way I cried?  Did He really feel the same way I do?

While the operation was proceeding, my friend, who I had called 9 months earlier, came to the hospital with his wife and we cried and explained that although I didn’t like what my son was going through, God was in control.  After 6 hours, the nurse came out and said, “The operation was a success, you can see you son now.”    A few days later, the doctor told us the tumor was not cancerous and we didn’t have to worry about it.  She was going to closely watch it but it shouldn’t grow back as they were able to remove the entire original tumor.  Unfortunately, what she predicted did not come true.

A few years later, we brought my son in for a routine check-up.  The doctor looked into his ear and said, “I am sorry to say this, but we are going to have to go back in and do a different surgery.  We have to eliminate the entire ear canal.  The tumor has grown back.”  The pressure of a thousand horses running over my body over and over again is the only description I can use that explains how I felt.  He was going to have to get yet another surgery.

He was scared, but he was also old enough to understand that this had to be done.  He didn’t like it but he knew what to expect.  This surgery took another 5 ½ hours.  After the surgery, the doctor said, “We will check the tumor again but because of this surgery, he should not need surgery again.  If it comes back, we will be able to remove it at my office.”

Needless to say, the third surgery was the final one.  Today, he is a teenager and loves sports.  He can’t hear out of his ear, but the tumor has not returned.  God taught me several lessons when it comes to life.  First, He truly is in control.  No matter what we go through, He is right there carrying us, crying with us, laughing with us and talking softly to us.  Second, when we make a serious commitment to God, He will test us.

In the Bible, Peter made a serious confession to follow Christ, but Christ stated, “Peter, Satan has asked to sift you.”  God allows us to go through trials to show others (including the angels) that our commitment is real.  When we decide to make that serious commitment to His Kingdom, we should not be shocked when trials come.

Lastly, God reminded me, He fully understands what we go through.  Just as I had to give up my son to Him, God gave His Son up for me first.  Jesus willing gave His life for my benefit to the glory of God.  Jesus was beaten and bled just to ensure that the Father could have a relationship with us.  How crazy is that thought?  Let it sink in.  Someone gave their life so that you could live eternally in paradise.  AMAZING!  Don’t let this opportunity go by.  God is calling you into a relationship with Him.  This two part blog is no accident and it is not by chance that you are reading this.  God wants you.  He love you.  He made you.  He desires to be with you.  As I took the “Ultimate ‘Daddy’ test” and realized what God was doing, so you to will go through some “Ultimate ‘[place your situation here]’ test”.  Just remember, whatever you give up to God, He will answer.  It may be uncomfortable, but He really is in control.

Be encouraged and make a positive difference in someone else’s life today with your story.  God Bless.

The Ultimate “Daddy” Test


“Daddy, why do I have to have surgery?”

This was the question my son asked me when he was 6 years old.  It was heartbreaking yet it was an opportunity to share what God was doing in his little life.  Here is the story as it played out in his little yet real life.

Have you ever gone against tradition?  I do.  As a matter of fact, I “buck” the societal norm when it comes to tradition.  In our church, it is tradition to have your children dedicated.  My wife and I understood why people liked this tradition, but I did not feel the need to go through with it.  My personal feeling was, when we have children, I will pray over them in the hospital, as I am priest of my home.

After my first son was born, I took hold of his little body, kissed him and prayed, “Lord, this child is yours.  I give him back to you to do with him as you please.  Use him for Your Kingdom.”  I based this prayer on the life of Samuel, when his mother gave him to Eli, the high priest.  Why did she do this?  She was very grateful that God granted her a son after pleading with God, so in return she ‘gifted’ her son to the work of the priesthood of Israel.  When my son was born, I felt the same level of gratitude, as until his birth, I was the last of my family to carry on the family name.  However, it wasn’t until 5 years later that the ultimate “daddy” test would occur.

One day, my wife received a phone call from the school nurse.  “Your son has failed several hearing tests in his right ear.  You may want to get it checked out.”  My first thought was “It probably is a wax problem or maybe tubes to clear any fluid.”  In the past, my son was very prone to ear infections so it was no surprise to us that he may have a problem.  What we didn’t expect was what happened when my wife took him to the doctors.

During the examination, the doctor said, “Oh boy.  We need to X-ray this”.  This obviously made my wife very nervous.  Immediately, the doctor stated, “Your son has a tumor in his ear called, ‘Cholesteatoma’.  We need to set up an appointment for an operation.”  WHAT?!  My 5yr old needs an operation?  Is it cancerous?  Will it kill him?  These were all the thoughts that came to my mind.  Was God going to take my son so soon?  Questions and anxiety raged internally.

We started to pray about the situation.  I pleaded, “Please God, heal my son.  Don’t take him.”  The doctor tried to reassure us that the tumor typically isn’t cancerous, but it was highly aggressive and could attack his brain.  (Even now, I am holding back tears as I think about it.)  A couple of days later, we received a phone call, “Bring your son for blood work now.  He will be going for the operation this week.”  The doctor had a surprise opening and placed my son on her ‘immediately operate’ list.

That week we brought in this bright, happy boy into the hospital.  He was given “sleepy medicine”.  This was what they told him.  He started to fall asleep in my arms and I proceeded to carry him into the operating room.  I had seen my wife a few minutes earlier crying her eyes out with her mother.  I went into “emergency firefighter’ mode.  (I was a trained volunteer firefighter at the time.)

After laying him on the operating table, the nurse escorted me out of the O.R. and proceeded to try and encourage me that everything would be alright.  Unfortunately, I did not show God’s love and grace to her.  I rudely told her to stop talking and walked out of the hospital doors after reassuring my wife.  I called a good friend and mentor of mine and started to explain what was happening.  He prayed with me as I cried feverishly.

It was during that short time a thought came to mind, “Is he really mine?”  What?  Where did that come from?  Again I heard, “Is your son really mine?  Can I do anything with him?”  God was reaching out to me.  He was comforting me asking me if what I had stated 5 years earlier was really true.  This was the start of my ultimate test.  Was I going to give him up completely, no matter the outcome?

I wrestled with this for some time.  After 5 ½ hours, we received word, the surgery was a success, but he was going to have to go through another surgery 9 months later to complete the installation of a prosthesis.  We took him home realizing that there was more to come.

During the “in between surgeries” time, my son came to me and asked, “Daddy, why do I have to have surgery?  Why is this happening to me?”  God revealed to me that this was the very complaint I give to Him every time a trial or problem occurs in my life.  I had to answer my son appropriately.  I said, “I don’t know why this is happening.  All I know is that God as His reasons and you will know them when He decides to reveal it to you.  Until then, remember, no matter where you are God is always with you.”  It was the only answer I could come up with.  I knew God said He would never leave us nor forsake us, so I had to reassure my son of this as I needed reassurance.

Nine months later……read tomorrow for the rest of the story.