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My favorite day of the week is Saturday. I know as a good Christian that Sunday should be my favorite, but Sundays are very busy for us and leave us exhausted. Saturdays for us are usually our day of rest. I think it’s more how God envisioned the day of rest to be.

The modern day church has transformed Sunday into a day of work. With its programs and performances, the church had become a machine. This is not true for the casual churchgoer, but, for those active and involved in ministry, it can be exhausting.

This is not the case on Saturday. For us, it’s fun, family, fellowship, and faith. Sunday used to be this way, but, somehow, we’ve lost it. We’ve chosen the part of Martha when we should be with Mary at the feet of Jesus.

Last Saturday was one of the best I’ve been blessed with. It’s a perfect example of the point I’m trying to make. I spent the day playing with the twins and working around the house. This work was enjoyable and restful.

Then, that evening, we drove to Mennonite country for a meal at Yoder’s restaurant. It’s a neat little place in the middle of a wheat field surrounded by views of hay bails and silos. And the food is amazing. Cream corn, fried chicken, and fresh rolls tantalize the tastebuds. Homemade pies of every shape and size tempt even the most strong willed.

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After when had eaten as much as our stomachs could contain, we took a walk outside the restaurant. Next door is a barn that was converted to a gift shop. Beside the barn is a pet goat the kids can torment and a row of old retired tractors.

After we played with the goat and sat the girls in the tractor seats, we took pictures with one of many giant bales of hay that sat behind the barn. Then we turned the girls loose in the field. They played as hard as they ever have.

The girls have recently started walking, so we usually restrict where they can roam. But in this field, they could toddle as they pleased. It was heart warming to watch.

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As we drove home with the girls asleep in the back seat, Lauren placed her hand on my leg and mentioned how much fun it all was. It was a great day. It was heaven on earth.

God once placed a thought in my heart that never left me. He told me that the family is the closet thing to heaven on earth. Before sin, this is what Adam and Eve experienced.

Therefore, the closet thing to heaven on earth is a saved, Godly family spending time together. This gets us as close to Eden as we’ll ever get this side of eternity.

That’s what’s so great about camp meetings and dinner on the grounds. It’s about family. I believe a happy, Godly family makes God smile. That’s what church used to be: family. We’ve lost it. I can only pray we’ll get it back.

Until then, I’ll settle for Saturdays.

Saturday. It’s waking up to a quiet house and spending time in prayer as the girls sleep. It’s listening at the nursery door as the girls wake up and giggle at each other. It’s bacon and biscuits made by my wonderful wife. It’s cleaning the house together with the girls at our feet. It’s taking a walk through our peaceful neighborhood. It’s an evening meal with family and friends. It’s bathtime and the last burst of playtime before bedtime. It’s talking with Lauren before we go to sleep.

It’s heaven on earth.

“Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;
so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:” – Psalm 127:3-5

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It was a typical night at our house. Lauren was busy cooking, and I was emptying the dishwasher or doing whatever I could to help. All the while, the twins were playing under our feet. They love to play in the kitchen. They explore the cabinets where we keep their food and they play with clean dishes in the kitchen floor.

Mattie had discovered the puffs canister and was carrying it around while she toddled through the kitchen. Lauren had gone outside to check on the grill and I had turned away for a second when I heard a thud. Then I heard Mattie crying. I looked down and she was laying on the puff canister crying.

Falling is a common occurrence for toddlers, but, this time, she was really upset. I quickly picked her up into my arms to comfort her. Then I noticed something on my hand. It was blood. Mattie had cut the inside of her lip and it was bleeding.

Mattie turned out to be alright as it was just a minor cut, but the image of my daughters blood on my hand stuck with me. I didn’t like it. Seeing her hurt, especially bleeding is not something I like very much. I can’t bear the thought of my little girls being hurt.

The blood on my hand turned my thoughts to my Savior. Jesus Christ shed all His blood for you and me. And, His Father watched. His Father forsook Him. He allowed the blood of His only Son to be shed. The thought of this is too much for my feeble finite mind to comprehend.

I could never fathom allowing my daughters’ blood to be shed for anyone. No matter the cause, I couldn’t allow that to happen. No matter how good and noble the person was that required my child’s blood, I couldn’t allow it. Yet, God shed the blood of His Son for us who are the opposite of good and noble. We are full of corruption and sin.

Oh, the love of our precious God for us. To sacrifice His Son for us. What love this is.

I’ve learned a lot since becoming a father, but the one thing that has become crystal clear is the love of God. How could I ever doubt Him or the lot I’m given if He first gave me His Son. What a thought.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

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M&M Moments is a new segment that I’m starting in my blog to chronicle our various adventures with our twin girls Mattie and Macie. They have just turned a year old and they are surprising us daily with new tricks. The latest accomplishment was Macie taking her first steps. Mattie has been walking for a while now, but Macie hadn’t tried too much. She was always too busy playing to worry about walking. Crawling worked just fine for her.

We have been helping Macie walk by holding her hands while she takes a few steps. She would get so excited, but she was too nervous to venture out on her own. Then, all of a sudden, she started taking a few steps, and, this past Sunday at church, she walked in the lobby. I was so proud of her. Macie still hasn’t quite perfected the art of walking, but she’s working on it.

Raising children constantly reminds me of my relationship with my Heavenly Father. Just as I work with my sweet girls in basic things like walking and talking, God is working with me to teach me how to grow as His child. I was so proud of Macie walking, and I can imagine God being proud of us when we finally grasp some spiritual lesson that He was trying to teach us.

Sometimes we think we are pretty good the way we are, but God is always trying to lead us closer to perfection. Macie was perfectly content crawling from one place to another, but she didn’t know the possibilities that walking would open up to her. We hold on to our opinions and methods, but God has a better way. God desires the best for us and He just might be leading you to a better Christian walk. We just need to let go and trust Him.

Walking seems such a simple task, but it’s a huge accomplishment for a one year old. With time Macie will perfect her walk. She’ll progress from toddling behind us to running and skipping in the back yard. Her walk will carry her to school, to her first job, and on to college. One day her walk will lead her down the aisle to meet her groom.

One day our walk in this life will end and we will begin a new walk as we stroll down the aisles of Heaven with our bridegroom Jesus. Along the way, He’ll perfect our walk day by day.

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” – Colossians 1:9-11

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Dusty Boots

Posted: April 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
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“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” – Ephesians 5:26

I was so excited when my new work boots arrived. I had purchased them online and saved a lot of money in doing so. I even wore them to church the Sunday after they arrived. I was so proud of them.

Then the inevitable happened. They got dirty. Yes, it’s true. Work boots get dirty.

What made matters worse was that I bought these boots in the spring and it was full blown pollen season in the south. Northerners have snow. Southerners have pollen. Every step I took stirred up a storm cloud of pollen. They were coated every day when I came home. No matter how careful I was, they still got dirty.

I then took the step that made the most sense. I read the manufacturer’s instructions for care and maintenance. They said to wipe them down with a wet cloth to remove the dust and then apply mink oil. It’s a process that I have to go through daily to keep the boots in good shape. I usually wipe them down daily, then apply the oil as needed.

God told us in His Word that He would cleanse us by the water of His Word. As we go into the world from day to day, we accumulate dirt and filth with each step we take. From the provocative magazine on the grocery store shelf, to the profanity from the lips of a coworker, we pick up the filth of this world whether we like it or not. We need to be cleansed every day.

Just as my boots will dry out and fall apart without cleaning, we will eventually succumb to the filth of this world if we don’t wash ourselves daily.

We hear it so much that it seems to simple. Read your Bible and pray. This is the basic instructions for the Christian walk, but how many of us fail in these simple tasks? Martin Luther said, “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Most us of don’t even spend three minutes in prayer.

We must combat the filth of this world with the Word of God. Have lustful thoughts pressed upon your mind because of the revealing images plastered everywhere we go? Find a verse to cleanse you. Try Job 31:1: “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” Maybe some thoughtless person has filled you with anger. “Be ye angry, and sin not” Ephesians 4:26. God has a word for every situation.

Then we must be led by the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is represented in the Bible by oil. Jesus said in Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Anointing was done with oil.

Oil was used for anointing. The Holy Spirit anoints us for the tasks God wants us to perform. Oil was also used for lighting lamps. We need the Holy Spirit to keep our lights shining brightly in this world. We are filled by the Spirit by prayer and Bible reading. You are filled with what you pour into yourself. We need more of Bible than world inside of us.

The Word keeps us clean, the Holy Spirit keeps us soft and useable. If we are to be effective in this filthy world, we must apply the water and the oil to our lives. Combined with prayer, God can work through us day by day.

Prep Work

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you:and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded:and they let them go. – Mark 11:1-6

In the electrical field, as well as other areas of construction, prep work is essential. Without it, every job would be a disaster. It’s the little things that are done in the beginning stages of a job that make all the difference. If your foundation is not level, the building won’t be either.

One thing that requires precise prep work is post lighting, from the conduit to the bolts, everything must be put in the right place. Once the concrete is poured, there’s no turning back. Most post lights come with a bracket that positions the bolts in the proper place, and a lot of adjusting, positioning, and leveling is required. If done correctly, the post light will fall right into place when it comes time for the installation.

With that in mind, let us consider the story of Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem. Jesus told the disciples where to find the donkey that he was to ride upon, and, if anyone were to question them taking the donkey, they were to tell them that Jesus commanded it, and they would let them go.

This story begs the question: why would the owner of the donkey just let them go? Was there some divine altering of the will of the owner, or did he choose this himself? Who was this person that owned the donkey? The bible seems silent on this fact. There must be more to this than the text suggests.

Perhaps The Lord had prepared this person to give the donkey to Jesus. This seems to fit with the character of God. He is always molding and shaping us to prepare us for His service. Just as the bolts were prepared for the pole light, God prepares us to fit the plans He has for us.

Donkeys were symbols of wealth in this era. And they were loyal creatures that loved their masters. So, this was no small sacrifice for the owner to give his donkey away. Maybe the Lord spoke to him in the still of the night. Maybe tragedy softened his heart to the riches of this world. Somehow, The Lord prepared him.

The Lord may be preparing you as well. Has your life been shifting and changing? Has it been unstable? God may be fitting you for His purposes. The day will come when everything will fit together perfectly.

The bolt may be a small insignificant thing, but, without it, the light could not stand. Some of the greatest people in the Bible were insignificant, but they were used mightily of God. Think of the boy who’s lunch fed thousands, a fisherman, a tax collector, and a nameless owner of a donkey that would carry the Messiah into Jerusalem.

You may feel insignificant, but God may be doing the prep work for His great purpose for your life.

Just Around the Bend

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Uncategorized
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“For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Cor. 5:7

Clingmans Dome is located in the Great Smoky mountains national park in Tennessee. It’s the highest point in the park and it has an observation deck that offers views of over 100 miles in every direction. A steep, strenuous, and winding walk up a half mile trail leads to the observation deck.

This is the setting that I found myself in on our family vacation one year. We began the “short” half mile walk up to the observation deck. With the high altitude and the steep trail, the path seems anything but short. After a few minutes, your lungs feel like they’re about to explode.

Benches were wisely installed along to trail to allow you to catch your breath and they were usually occupied. I was there with my parents and my mom had to stop fairly often. Eventually, I went on ahead.

I arrived at the top a few minutes before my parents and waited on them to go onto the observation deck. When they finally made it, my mom told me about an elderly lady that was walking along with my her. She said they talked all the way up and wondered with exhaustion how much farther they had to go. They hoped their destination was around each curve.

Finally, as they were resting at a bench, the elderly lady announced to my mom that she had endured enough. She was going to turn back. My mother wished her well and continued up the trail.

Then, to my mother’s surprise, she arrived at the top just around the bend from where they were sitting. The elderly lady was so close and she didn’t even know it. My mom said she looked back down the trail and saw the lady slowly descending. She gave up just short of her destination.

In our lives, we have goals that come and go. We have goals for our jobs, goals for our children, goals for our walk with Christ. Sometimes the path to our goal is short, and sometimes it is long. Sometimes the way is hard. But we must not quit. Our destination may be just around the bend.

And God is gracious. He places benches along the way so that we might rest. These benches may come in the form of trials beyond our control. They force us to rest. God gives us rest so that we might have the strength to continue. But we must not confuse the resting place for defeat. It is only a delay. We must not quit.

When we arrive at the summit, we will discover that a glorious view awaits us. The path we have trod will be seen clearly.

What are you facing today? Does the thing you have cherished so long seem so far away? Have circumstances hindered your progress? Faint not. The destination may be just around the bend.

When we feel we have nothing left to give
And we are sure that the “song has ended”–
When our day seems over and the shadows fall
And the darkness of night has descended,

Where can we go to find the strength
To valiantly keep on trying,
Where can we find the hand that will dry
The tears that the heart is crying–

There’s but one place to go and that is to God
And, dropping all pretense and pride,
We can pour out our problem without restraint
And gain strength with Him at our side–

And together we stand at life’s crossroads
And view what we think is the end,
But God has a much bigger vision
And he tells us it’s only a bend–

For the road goes on and is smoother,
And the “pause in the song” is a “rest,”
And the part that’s unsung and unfinished
Is the sweetest and richest and best–

So rest and relax and grow stronger,
Let go and let God share your load,
Your work is not finished or ended,
You’ve just come to “a bend in the road.”
-Helen Steiner Rice

Daddy’s Arms

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Christian, M&M
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“The name of the Lord is a strong tower:
the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” – Proverbs 18:10

I am the father of beautiful twin baby girls. In a few weeks, they will be a year old. They never cease to amaze me with all they can do and how much they make me laugh. I’ve learned so much since I was blessed with them.

One of our daily rituals with the girls involves a polyester fabric tent that their uncle gave them for Christmas. They like to play a game that usually takes place between bath time and bedtime. One of the girls usually crawls into the tent and waits for somebody to come in and “get” her. They become overwhelmed with excitement when we crawl in after them.

They love it the most when I climb into the tent with them. It’s a little small for me, so my feet wind up sticking out the bottom of the tent. They will sit in my lap and wait anxiously for mommy to come and “get” them. As soon as she crawls in with a playful yell, they both giggle and climb into my arms and up into my chest. It’s a fun game to them, but they find comfort in daddy’s arms.

As Christians, it’s comforting to know that we can find refuge in our Heavenly Father’s arms. No matter what comes our way, we can find security in God’s arms. Romans 8:39 says that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And, our Father cherishes the times when we climb into His arms. “I love them that love me;
and those that seek me early shall find me.” Proverbs 8:17. As a father, I love it when my girls seek me for security. I do everything I can to protect them and I would lay down my life for them, but I cannot protect them at all times. Our Heavenly Father can. He is our “very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1

What evil threatens you today? Is some temptation weighing heavy on your resolve? Is your health facing a questionable future? Are your relationships near the breaking point? These and other circumstances often come to drive us into the arms of God. We may have drifted to far from His loving embrace and He longs to hold us close once again.

Do not refuse Him. Climb into His arms and find rest.

I’ll never forget these times we share in the tent with our girls. Eventually they’ll outgrow the tent, but I’ll always hold the memory close as a reminder of the love and protection of my Heavenly “Daddy.” He ever awaits to embrace us.

The eternal God is thy refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms:
and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee;
and shall say, Destroy them. Duet 33:27