If your child knows geometry better than he knows the Proverbs, then you have a problem with your priorities. – Kevin Swanson
“I love you with all my heart” – simple words but they come with a lifetime of impact. I am not sure I can describe what hearing these words from my Grandfather means to me. He is the Patriarch of our family. A man who has, as best he knew how, led us as he has followed Jesus. A deep thinker with wisdom won from a less than perfect life lived in the constant awareness of the presence of Almighty God who was working even the terrible things in his life for his good and God’s glory. A man who at close to 50 uprooted his household to follow the leading of God into a 15 year ministry in one of the hardest areas of the country. Only to be abused, beat up, maligned, and slandered by those he was called to serve. All the while he loved them, served them, wept for them, prayed for them and guarded their souls. He is a man who has modeled to us Christ-like love and sacrificial servant leadership for his bride for over 50 years. He has been a father to the fatherless in our family. He has passionately loved and rejoiced in each child with which the Lord God has blessed our family. Some of my earliest memories are of Papa lifting high in the air each of the Grandchildren, smile on his face and his deep rumbling laughter rolling out of his big heart. From the “secret” good-bye rituals he taught each of us grandchildren to his attentive ear he was quick to give each of us, he has spent his life communicating to us we mattered, we were special to him and he loved us. Even when each of us have been our sinful-selves, he has loved us and prayed for us. He is a 3 John 4 kind of man.
3 John 4 ESV
4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Lord, may I be a cause for Papa’s joy and not sorrow. Please allow me to maximize the impact of the godly heritage he is leaving us daily. May you give me wisdom not to squander the opportunities to learn from and be around him. Thank you for allowing me to be loved by such a godly man. In the might name of Jesus who is the Christ, Amen.
We are so excited at the Pauper’s hovel to be welcoming another blessing from the Lord into our household. We have been praying for the Lord to bless us with more children for over 3 years and we found out a little over 2 weeks ago that he had graciously answered our cries. So with out further delay let me be the proud papa and show you pictures!
Psalm 127 (ESV)
A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon.
1) Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2) It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. 3) Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4) Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5) Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.
Oh bless me indeed Oh God of Jacob! Enlarge my gates! Give me a heritage and reward us greatly! Make great your Name through godly seed! Give me many arrows to launch for your kingdom and your glory! May you be praised in all the Earth! Amen!
Charles Spurgeon said this about discernment:
“Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather, it is the difference between right and almost right.”
Many times as fathers we can miss that simple truth and we let what we have been taught or what others pressure us to do guide our conduct instead of the simple Word of God and the discernment it brings. We live in a world that is at WAR against us and the prize they are fighting for is the souls and minds of our Children. As Fathers we need to be engaged in this war and fighting with effective weapons according to the plan given by our King. If you don’t know what that plan is or what tools are at your disposal or even if you are an “old soldier” in this war who would like encouragement and strength from your brothers in arms, I highly recommend the mentoring sessions currently offered by the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences. It is not too late to join the conversation and answer the call to arms for your family, for your country, for your LORD!
All seems lost. The exhausting terror and noise of Friday has given way to the terrible silence of Saturday. Every footfall brings fear. What now? The despair, pain and fear is crushing. We can’t even run, it is the Sabbath and to flee on the Sabbath would attract immediate attention with the mob induced stoning the Law demands. So we wait behind locked doors fearing for our lives and wondering: what just happened? We had followed him for three years. We left our families, jobs, businesses and reputations. We all agreed with Peter that he was the promised one, the only one with the words of life and there was no where else for us to go. Last Sunday it looked as if the whole nation finally believed this as well. They shouted praises and quoted the promises from long ago. They made a carpet of their coats and shouted “Hosanna”. Maybe the kingdom was coming! It was a glorious week filled with Jesus teaching in the Temple to the growing crowds. The anticipation was palpable in the air. Even the religious leaders kept their distance for once. Relegating themselves to glowering in the periphery. Oh it was truly one of the best times I have ever known in Jerusalem.
But something changed after Judas left our Seder on Thursday. Jesus began to teach us and speak of the kingdom which was not new but he seemed to have an urgency and an intensity that was new. Then after singing a hymn we left the city and went to a garden just outside the city walls because Jesus wanted to pray. He left us to pray a short distance from where he, Peter, James, and John prayed. I tried to stay awake, I really did! But my eyes were sooo heavy. The week had been long and tiring and I could not seem to stay awake. I tried harder each of the 2 times Jesus awakened us but I still fell asleep. The next thing I knew Jesus was awakening us yet again and this time soldiers were coming! In my stupor it seemed an entire Roman Legion was bearing down on us! In actually it was just the Jewish Temple guards but we were still outnumbered and in my sleepy haze terror is all I could feel. After Judas kissed Jesus the soldiers went to seize Jesus and Peter drew his sword to defend the Lord. It was chaos with Jesus shouting at Peter to put the sword away then healing the man Peter had clumsily nicked in his attempt to remove the man’s head from his shoulders. Without the option to fight we could only run! And so we fled as they led Jesus away. Three illegal trials later we watched in horror as the same crowd which five days ago had hailed Jesus as their King now allowed the religious leaders to manipulate them into calling for his crucifixion. So the Romans flogged him beyond all recognition, forced him to carry his cross outside the city and then striped him naked and nailed him to a tree. I can’t even describe the horror of that day. It wasn’t even enough that they succeeded in getting the Romans to kill him but they continued to mock him and taunt him while he died. So grotesque was the scene that the Sun even hid its face. Finally, with a great cry Jesus gave up the ghost into his Father’s hands and died. Later they gave his body to Joseph of Arimathea who placed it in his own tomb and rolled the enormous stone over the entrance. So afraid of Jesus were the religious leaders that they persuaded Pilate to seal the tomb and set a detail of Roman soldiers to guard it. They could not even let his body rest in peace! Then as the sun set that terrible passover Friday evening the silence descended. Oh the deafening silence! And today I have been trapped with my thoughts, if you can call them that. I just want this nightmare to STOP! Have I wasted the last 3 years? Why did they kill my Lord? What threat was an itinerant Rabbi? I can’t get the images from yesterday out of my mind! Everytime I close my eyes I see his mangled form on that tree and I want to retch. He was innocent, I am the guilty one! I ran! I have many sins both public and private for which I deserve to be punished but he, he has done nothing! If he was the chosen one why did YHWH abandon him?
My words and questions ring hollow as the heavens are silent. The Sabbath is supposed to be a day of rest in which we have time to recount the deeds of YHWH and worship but this is the most awful Sabbath I have ever known. There is no justice, there was no rescue from heaven, no voice thundering to warn of impending doom to those who mangled the beloved Son, there is only silence.
Got your attention didn’t it? No, I have not lost my mind nor did I receive a “new rev from hev”. However, I am convinced that God does indeed care about pink plastic phones. Lest you think I am daft let me tell you a story and then judge for yourself if the Almighty might not indeed care about a worthless plastic toy.
The background to the story is that Mrs. Pauper is a true Proverbs 31 kinda gal and is constantly looking for ways to enlarge our gates by bringing in profit from home enterprise. One of her favorite ways to do this is through participating in a large consignment sale of children’s items that happens twice a year. This year it was decided that a kitchen set we had which no longer had a home in the Little Pauper’s room would be included in this sale. The only problem? This kitchen set had a pink plastic “cordless” phone that belonged to it which had suddenly gone AWOL. Mother Pauper and the Little Pauper searched high and low, every nook, cranny, toy-box and crevice was searched thoroughly but the little plastic phone was nowhere to be seen. After a late-night cleaning session on the Little Pauper’s room by my girls and a search of the rest of the house by The Pauper the search was abandoned. Silently in the Living room I asked the Father to show us where this phone was so that Mrs. Pauper could include this item in the consignment sale. Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, Mother Pauper and The Little Pauper were assailing the throne of Grace in the bedroom as the search wound down with Mother Pauper reminding The Little Pauper that God knew exactly where the phone was and he was more than able to reveal its location. Then the search was called off on account of darkness and fatigue at which point “night time routine” (Bible time, prayer, singing, kisses, secret telling and cover tucking) commenced which eventually gave way to the sleep we all needed. This brings us to the reason I think God cares about pink plastic phones because the next morning while in the shower I “remembered” (or maybe the Holy Spirit reminded me is more like it) where I had seen that phone last and in the quiet early morning stillness I walked right to the box in which this very naughty toy was hiding.
Now does God really “care” about a plastic toy like he cares for you and I? The obvious answer is no! However, it is precisely because he cares for you and I that at times it does matter to him where a plastic toy may be lurking. Is this because he wants all of us to be happy, play with toys and eat cake? No! It is because that pink plastic phone provided an opportunity for Mother Pauper and I to practice Deut. 6 and Psalm 78:
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Psalm 78:1-4 ESV
1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
in which we could remind The Little Pauper of her prayer the night before and then point to a tangible answer to HER petition. What better way to illustrate to her that God hears our prayers and is powerful to do what we cannot. I cannot tell you how humbled and yet excited God-moments like this make me. I am baffled that the King of the Universe would entrust the spiritual upbringing of anyone to such an imperfect creature like myself but for his own glory he does and I love the opportunity to talk about our God’s great deeds. What a privilege!!!!
This week has been a GREAT week to speak of those marvelous works because not only did God reveal the location of the phone but he has brought to the fore 2 other great answers to prayers lifted up by all of our family. One of these involved Mr. H, one of my “big” bosses, bringing by a card I had written to him when I was interviewing for my current position at work in which I had written that I was praying that God would give them wisdom as they hired for the position (something all of us had prayed at the time including The Little Pauper). Mr. H told me that he was sure that God had answered that prayer and I should take the card home to show The Little Pauper the God does answer when we pray.
The second (or is that third?) answer is one that has been long in coming. You see for the last 3 years we as a family have been suffering from secondary infertility. Even The Little Pauper has been praying for almost a year for the Lord to give us more children and her brothers and sisters. Well, we found out Friday that we are PREGNANT!!!!! (more to come on that later) So see what I mean, it has been an exciting week of answered prayer and speaking of the great deeds of YHWH.
So yeah, God does care about pink plastic phones, jobs, and little white sticks with 2 pink lines because a 4 year old needs to know that God hears and acts for his own glory when we pray.
Thank you Father for hearing and answering so that I can speak your praises to my family.