Saturday, June 30, 2012

Father's Voice

Ever since the boys were little, Larry has had a signal to get their attention when they are not close by.  His whistle can be heard from quite a distance, which is how I prefer to hear it.  Up close and personal it is a little too loud for me.  It does serve its purpose though in letting the boys know they need to respond and come see what is needed.

When Brad and Chad were in 3rd or 4th grade, they went on a Royal Ambassador campout with the church.  Larry was one of the sponsors for the Friday and Saturday event.  On Saturday afternoon, the boys had been gathering different things and asked permission to go more into the wooded area to explore.  When it was time to begin packing up, Larry whistled for the boys.  Several of the dads laughed and wanted to know if he thought that would really work.  A few minutes later, Brad and Chad, followed by the other boys, ran into the clearing and wanted to know what Larry needed.  They recognized their “Father’s voice”.

I’ve often thought about the importance of that communication.
·        They knew the sound of their father’s whistle.
·        They had been taught to listen for the whistle.
·        They knew not to go too far of a distance so that they could still hear when called.
·        They knew that when they heard the whistle, they needed to respond.

Just like knowing our earthly father’s voice, it is important to recognize our Heavenly Father’s voice.  We need to learn to listen when He speaks.  It is important to not get so far “away” and involved in situations or events that it makes it difficult to discern what He wants.  And when He speaks, it is important to respond immediately.

John 10:2-4
2 The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3 The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.

John 10:14-15
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 10:27
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Camp Lessons

On Friday, our youth and sponsors returned from Camp Tallowood.  I’m already looking forward to the camp reflection service on Sunday night to hear how God blessed and what He taught them this week.

For 30 plus years, I spent one week of each summer as a sponsor at youth camp.  There are so many treasured memories from those weeks.  God met us at camp every single year.  It seemed like you could feel His presence the moment the busses rolled through the entrance to the campground.  Each summer, I knew that God was going to do some amazing things in the lives of the youth and adults alike.  And He never disappointed.  

Some lessons I learned at camp through the years:

* The more I prepared, studied, and trained for the week the smoother the week went.

* Prayer is essential before, during, and after camp.

* Investing in the lives of students and sponsors costs you time, energy, and your heart.

* God can use His Word, loud music, camp pastors, heat, scripture memory, His creation, sponsors and students to speak to you.

* When I expectantly wait, look for, and listen for God to speak, convict, and teach He does.

* God doesn’t depend on the amount of sleep I had, my disabilities, or abilities to work through me.  He is looking for my availability and a willing heart.

* Starting off each morning with a “Quiet Time” with Him helped keep the priorities right for the day.

* Teamwork and encouraging words were important qualities for our group and recreation team to develop during the week.

* Doing without cell phones, computers, television and other devices for a week, as well as my normal schedule, made it easier to concentrate on what God was doing at camp.

* Sometimes the results of what began at camp are not seen until years later.

* My family should be one of the first to notice that God is working in my life.

* The lessons learned at camp were never intended to stay at camp. 

Each year, we wished that camp could last another week or longer.  In a way, it can because God desires to have a relationship with us the other 51 weeks of the year just as much as he does during the week of camp.

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.

Isaiah 26:8

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Special Father's Day

Chad, this Sunday, you will celebrate your first Father’s Day.  What a blessing to have David as part of your family and ours.  We have loved watching you grow in your love for him.  Whether you are working in the yard, playing, praying before meals, talking, reading, taking him to be fitted for his tux, hugging, or having family prayers and devotions, you have embraced being a father. 

Along with the fun times, you are also accepting the responsibilities of being a father.  With your dad, PaPa, and Granddaddy, as well as others, you have had wonderful role models of what it looks like to be a godly father.  In the days and years to come, may the way you love the Lord, trust Him, obey Him, and live for Him lead David to want to do the same.

 Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3

Train a child in the way he should go,
    and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Along  with Joshua,  I pray that you too will continue to say and live,
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Until Next Time

These past 2½ weeks have been extra special ones for our family.  It has been wonderful to have Abby and Scott here to welcome Lori and David to our family.  I absolutely love and treasure the times we have been together.  David loved the bear that Scott and Abby brought him. 

From the moment they landed, Scott and Abby were on the move.  They took every opportunity to visit family and friends.  Even the day he had an eye procedure, Scott went from the doctor’s office to meet a friend for lunch, then to visit with a friend over a cup of coffee, and finally to home group that night.  We willingly cleared or rearranged schedules to be with them.

Of course, a wedding is a wonderful time to be with family.  Several people, from both sides of our families, were able to share in the special weekend.  There were great times of fellowship at the wedding rehearsal, dinner, wedding and reception.  

Memorial Day was another great time to get together with 21 of our family.  On the Sunday before they left, our family of 9 was able to eat and visit together. 

There were lots of hugs, kisses, I love yous, and “One more thing…”

We don’t know when Abby and Scott will be coming home to visit again or when we might go to see them.  Although they had been gone for almost 2 years to the day, hopefully it won’t be quite so long next time.  I have found, for me, that instead of saying, “Goodbye” it is much better to say, “Until next time…”

For now, I will be grateful for the treasured memories of these past few weeks as well as pictures, telephones, and computers which help us keep in touch.  So whether they live a continent away or across town, “Until next time…”

 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

and knowing that...

…my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lessons from Kindergarten

Tis the season for graduations.  Typically, schools and families celebrate their first one after a child’s year in kindergarten.  There are so many of life’s lessons that are taught and learned during that year, in preparation for their further education.  A few years ago, Robert Fulgum wrote about the value of its importance in a poem.

“All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten”
by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life -
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.

It would probably be beneficial for all of us to have a “Kindergarten Refresher Course” every now and then.   

A friend’s grandson celebrated his graduation from kindergarten this week.  Throughout the year, his teacher had sayings that she used with the students.   One that she quoted was, “1-2-3, eyes on me.”  As a teacher, I’m sure that was one she said every day and more than likely multiple times a day.  I’ve been thinking about that saying all week.  It made me wonder how many times, each day, Jesus needs to say, “1-2-3, eyes on me.” to me.  And when he says it, how soon do I look?

The second quote was “Yesterday is in the past, you can’t go back.”  Although it’s important to learn from the past, that’s not where we are intended to live.  I don’t need to waste today by going over and over what happened yesterday or last week or last year.  I need to learn the lesson and move forward.

So today I am choosing to keep my eyes on Jesus and live and celebrate the day He has given me. 

Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Psalm 118:24
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.