Monday, November 28, 2011

Tucker at his first Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was such a blessed time for us! My family gathered back in Indiana and spent a few days together, laughing, hiking, playing games, doing some work, and just enjoying each others company. I am so thankful!

There is just something so special about having this time together. I ache for those who don't have this privilege.

Among the family were 6 dogs. That was a bit crazy. We each brought ours, and they got along amazingly well! I am so thankful for that too!

My sister Lynae and her family have a dog they rescued from a shelter. She is a year old and her name is Chloe. She has some serious issues with her rear "knees." After a period of activity, they seem to become non-functional. She either whines in pain, or has to lay down. She has so much puppy left in her, that it is difficult for her to remain still.

Perhaps her own issues have made her more sensitive to others pain. She enjoys being around people, but does not crave being touched or petted as most do.

We had some dear friends visit on Saturday. They have also experienced the loss of a son. Their pain is more recent, and the journey is long. Coming together is such sweet fellowship.

When they arrived, my family had all gone out for a bit, so it was just them and Deanna and me. We were seated together by the fireplace to have some intimate time.

I confess I was amazed at what happened next.

I had watched Chloe ignore many attempts at affection from others. I had seen her curl up on her bed and just enjoy being present in the same area as people. I had never seen her do this.

This was our last afternoon together for the week, and we were leaving in the wee hours the following morning. I thought I had seen Chloe's personality and knew who she was.

When our friends arrived, she promptly came over to the grieving mother, and curled up on her feet, and leaned against her legs.

She did not seek attention. She only sought to give love to one who is hurting badly.

This could have been so easily missed. With so many dogs around, the behavior would generally seem normal.

It wasn't for her. She had not done anything like this during our stay together.

Chloe seemed to have a unique sensitivity to the deep emotional pain that most would not see.

She got distracted at one point and left for a bit, only to return to the same position.

She did not want to be petted. She did not want to be spoken to. She just wanted to minister to the needs of the broken.

While we enjoyed a time of conversation and fellowship, I learned a very valuable lesson from my canine friend. Ministry is never about me.

I need to just give, without the need to be given back to.

I am so thankful for the time we had to share. I am deeply blessed to have such precious friends and family. I am deeply grateful to have an encounter that spoke volumes without a word being aired.

Give to the place of need in the lives of others. Use words if absolutely necessary.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

They are about to celebrate a year!!!

Thankfulness is an attitude of the heart.

So many things can get in way of our hearts. Desires grow within us for things that are harmless, until we begin to focus on them too much.

I am guilty of this, and find I struggle way more than I would like to admit.

I am very thankful for an unbelievable wife! I have noticed though, that if I draw into my own little world I am very capable of taking her for granted. There can be a stark difference between saying I am thankful, and actually showing it to her.

When things don't go as I'd like, I do not appear very thankful. I like things to go my way. I tend to think I am suffering if they don't.

Silly me.

What is truly important in our lives, is the impact we have through Him, on others.
He is the author of these things, if we allow Him the space and time. First, we release the grip of things or events that we give too much importance.

Deanna came home last night elated. She was not excited about a new outfit, or car, or promotion. She was excited that the Lord had used her surrender.

She was helping with the AWANA program at church, and one of the students she was assisting trusted her enough to begin to ask serious questions about Jesus and how to know Him.

After it was over, Deanna had led this young one into relationship with our Savior!

I am so proud of her for being faithful! I am so thankful for her surrender, to be able to be used by Him!

Children love being loved on by my wife. So do I. I love how she loves on them. I love how she loves on me.

I love how Jesus draws others to Himself through her!

I praise God that she is following His heart!

Oh how she blesses mine with her obedience to His!

Be faithful to Him, and watch Him draw another to Himself through your surrender!

My wife is amazing! She is amazing, because she seeks and follows His heart!

Thank you Jesus!


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Our friends, Afshin and Meredith on the evening we first met

This past weekend, we held our annual missions conference. We had such a blessed event with the Lord!

Afshin came and opened our event, then spoke a second time Saturday morning. They stayed with us in our home, and our fellowship was sweet!

It is such a privilege to have such opportunities to share, and grow together. It was good to catch up on what is happening in their ministry, and to hear of upcoming opportunities the Lord is providing for them to share His word!

Truly, no matter who we are, what we have accomplished, or what we enjoy doing, the only thing that will last is what we do for Jesus.

I can spend a great deal of time, filling my life with things of beauty, things that bring me moments of contentment, achieving significant goals, and die a lonely discontented man.

The only thing that brings fulfillment is Jesus.

He satisfies in ways that are difficult to describe. The passion one has for Him, comes from Him.

Many times we live under the mistaken impression that we chose Him, so somehow He owes us.

Not true.

In John 6:44, Jesus says, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him..."

He owes us nothing.

We owe Him our all. Unabashedly surrendered, is how we need to come before Him.

He is worthy. He brings fulfillment. He multiplies joy. He develops passion. He spills into others through our surrender.

A life of man's approval? Not for me, though I sometime seem to forget that.

His penetrating, heart changing, unconditional love and grace overwhelms me.

I am for Him, because He drew me.



Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A few days ago, I wrote a new post. When it was finished, I hit "publish" and promptly lost the whole thing, even though it said it was "saved."

I am so thankful that when we are in the hands of our Creator, we cannot suddenly be lost, once He Saves us.

It was a writing I found to come so freely as I stroked the keys, that I believed it to be anointed.


Probably was my imagination.

Even before I hit the "publish" key, I had a momentary sense that I needed to resave it. I failed to do so. It's lost. I can't save anything or anyone anyway.

Many times I have counseled with others who had a very real salvation experience with their Savior, but felt completely alone...lost.

He does not turn loose of us, if we have truly surrendered our lives to Him! His Word even teaches us in 2 Cor 5:1-10, that He has "given us the Spirit as a "deposit guaranteeing what is to come."

The key is whether or not we have truly surrendered our lives to Him. Many make decisions prompted by emotion, or peer pressure (my friend walked the aisle so i did too), but apart from being drawn to the Father by His Holy Spirit (John 6:44).

We each come to our Holy appointment according to His schedule, not our own. This is one reason it is imperative that we continue to pray for those who have not surrendered their hearts to Him, and/or for those who claim to know Jesus, but there is no fruit present to verify relationship (Mtw 7:20).


We like to eat it. Sometimes we like to smell it. It's good for us. It's symptomatic of a good harvest. It's provision from our Creator.

My wife loves fruit. She always has it in our home. Its great when it's ripe, but yucky when it's beyond ripe.

This time of year, there is nothing like fresh apples! Visiting an orchard and getting cider is something we always did when I was little, and we did it when our kids were little as well. It creates lasting impact and memories in our lives.

Spiritually, when our fruit is ripe, others notice. It's why Mtw 7:20 says what it does. They are impacted by the fruit you and I bear. They see something in us that others don't display. Fruit is appealing by its look, its fragrance, and it's taste.

He makes that kind of a change in a believers life. However, we are capable of smothering the aroma with worldly stuff.

When we bear His fruit, the affirmation of the Holy Spirit's deposit in our lives is apparent. He uses it to draw others to Him.

His salvation is not as tenuous as striking a "save" key on your computer. Sometimes that doesn't work for logical reasons. Reasons that bring us great frustration.

I am so thankful that His Salvation is secure!

Our Hope for the future rests in Him and through Him.

Praise God!