My Father’s Hands

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My dad petting his spaniel, age 10

July 2019- Update:  I felt it important to repost this today.  My father of 80+ years is facing the twilight.  I cannot even express the thunder in my heart and head.  But I want to honor him – again – and if not for him, than for me to re-read and resonate on this blog I wrote in 2013 for him.  I am praying for him – to rage rage against the dying of the light.  Love you Dad. 

One of my first memories as a child is my father’s hands.  They are stout and square, though not particularly large, they can do many things.  As a young child, I would walk with my father and he would take my hand in his – I remember feeling the calluses on his palm.  As a diminutive child, I could feel quite small in the world – yet holding on to those rough hands always made me know I was safe.

As I got a little older, my father would let me just hold on to the index finger of his right hand.  It was like holding on to a staff – sturdy and always present.  I might let go and run off to some childish fascination, but I always came back to hold on to something solid and waiting.

It is those hands that taught me to swim, how to shoot marbles, how to wash a dog; that held on to the seat of my first two-wheeled bike.  Those hands held me steady over and over and over again until I mastered the art of balance –whether riding a bike or facing life’s battles.

My father’s hands seemed never at rest.  Well I recall the days watching those hands cooking Sunday breakfasts, making the best grits ever – mending picnic tables, raking leaves, hanging swings, cleaning guns and hunting boots and skinning deer.  I frequently marveled at the shiny gold band on his left hand and the big red ruby in his college class ring on the right hand. Those hands had pride.  Those hands had purpose.

My father’s hands taught me many things; how to tie a fish hook, how to cast a line, how to pick up “tiffles” and sticks in the back yard during “national work day” at home.  They taught me how to struggle through 7th grade math, how to hold a church hymnal, how to plant a dogwood tree, how to tie a rope knot and how to paint a wooden swing hanging from the massive oak in our side yard.

My father’s hands had to reprimand me, and as a teen, firmly and sometimes painfully guide me. It was those hands that greeted the beau coming through the door, that cleaned the knife or gun (just for good measure) while interviewing that young man and those hands that firmly clasped the hand of my date while staring him down with warnings of fatherly doom.

My father’s hands were there to walk me through high school Homecoming court, applaud me at my college graduation and finally, it was those hands that gave me away, slightly trembling, to another pair of hands, those of my husband.

My father’s hands are used for different purposes now, to drive a tractor, mend a fence, plant a garden, read a book or stroke the ears of a fluffy English setter.  His hands have let me go, so that I can follow his example, to hold on and hold up my own children and teach them many things.

photo 2My father’s hands – now spotted with age and roughness, still strong as ever – have taught me much.

I have learned to hold on when I needed to and to let go when I was ready, how to work hard and play harder and balance the challenges of life.  Now I use my own hands, to pray much, love much, and to open my hands to others around me.

I can look at my father’s hands and see another pair of hands…. Mine are stout and square, though not particularly large, they can do many things.

Thank you father, that your hands were there when I needed them, and knew to let go when the time was right. 

I wrote this poem last year for my Father’s 80th birthday.  Today he celebrates 81 years of living.  Happy Birthday Dad – We love you.

Proverbs 6:20 -23 “My son, keep your father’s commands, and don’t forget your mother’s teaching. Keep their words in mind forever as though you had them tied around your neck.  They will guide you when you walk. They will guard you when you sleep.  They will speak to you when you are awake.  These commands are like a lamp; this teaching is like a light.  And the correction that comes from them will help you have life.”

Proverbs 23:24  “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”

Leviticus 19:32  – “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.”

Proverbs 20:29 “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.”

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About adultery: Proverbs 5-6

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Please keep us from temptation O Lord.

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Proverbs 4-6.

The heart of the moral wrong of adultery is that a covenant, a sacred commitment, has been broken. The one-flesh union which set this relationship apart from all others has been torn asunder by one of the spouses and by a third party that has now entered into the oneness of the relationship. Dennis P. Hollinger, The Meaning of Sex

The wisdom of Proverbs is not theoretical but practical. It means nothing if it isn’t practiced. God’s word hits the nitty-gritty of our wishes and wham! Choices must be made. One of the choices married couples must make is whether to remain faithful to their partner, or give in to the temptation of adultery. Proverbs leaves no doubt about the outcome for those who give in to the temptation:

Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk…

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Don’t be a fool! Proverbs 1

Lord please help us use knowledge with all wisdom as we seek to live to please You. Amen.

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Proverbs 1-3.

I don’t think anyone sets out to become a fool, and yet the world has more than enough of them. I’ve acted foolishly before. So have you. It comes down to the choices we make. Will we choose wisdom, or will we reject it in favor of something that seems to offer a better or quicker reward? Often the choices lead gradually downward. enticing a person further and further away from wisdom until they sink in an inescapable mire of foolishness.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline… “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” Proverbs 1:7, 22

Look at the initial choice: fear of the LORD versus rejection of wisdom. Look at what follows: three different kinds of fools that illustrate the downward spiral.

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The Power in the Meaning of the Savior’s Hebrew Name

Immortality Road

Getting the Creator’s name right is a big thing. I say this not to throw out a bone of contention among fellow Christians, but as a teaching to help us all get closer to Him. For His name has many powerful promises for us.

First, names in the Hebrew tradition hold much meaning and understanding.  It is not just a meaningless name tag. “Jacob” means “Supplanter.” Later God changed his name to “Israel” when Jacob had a big spiritual growth; he was renamed “Prince with God” after wrestling with Him all night. All the way through the scriptures we see names meaning something.

So we must ask, Does the Son of God’s name have meaning like all those who came before Him? Yes, His name does have meaning. His Hebrew name does. The first time the word “name” appears in the New Testament, it refers to the infant Son of…

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Nuggets – The Christian’s Speech

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)

A Christian’s words are of transcendent importance, for Jesus has said: “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). The word “answer” in the text above means more than simply an answer to a question. The Greek word is used 250 times in the New Testament, and in every other instance it is used in a simple narrative sense (such as, “he answered saying”). Thus it refers to ordinary conversation, indicating that every verbal response of a Christian should be gracious and tasteful—never crude, or hurtful, or bland.

The Scriptures include many other specifications for a Christian’s speech. In the first place, there should not be too much of it! “Study to be quiet, and to do your own business” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). Our words should be carefully chosen, able to be substantiated—“sound speech, that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8). People should be able to rely on the truth of what we say. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour” (Ephesians 4:25). Furthermore, “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). “But who ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Colossians 3:8). Our words should always be edifying and helpful, wholesome and thoughtful.

But if this seems humanly impossible, remember God is able to tame our tongues, even though we cannot! The key is prayer—earnest and consistent prayer—not just that our speech become innocuous, but that it may edify, testify, and minister grace. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Nuggets – A Very Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” (Psalm 46:1-3)

The modifier “very” in this verse is a strong word. God is an intensively present helper in time of trouble. “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Those who hold a deistic philosophy argue that God is far away, leaving the earth and its inhabitants to work out their own evolutionary salvation after He first started it going billions of years ago. But they are wrong, for God is right here, right now! “The LORD of hosts is with us” (Psalm 46:11).

There had, indeed, been a time when the earth was removed (literally, “the ground was changed”), and even the mountains had been eroded away and washed into the oceans. The waters swelled higher and the mountains quaked until finally, in the words of the apostle Peter, “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6).

This was the great Flood in the days of Noah—the greatest “trouble” in the world’s history. Even then, God had provided a refuge for His people—the Ark that He instructed Noah to build. When the Flood came, “the LORD shut him in,” and throughout the height of the cataclysm, “God remembered Noah, and every living thing” (Genesis 7:16; 8:1). There are great judgments coming on the earth in future days as well (Psalm 46:6-9), when the earth itself will be melted (literally “dissolved,” 2 Peter 3:10).

Again, the Lord’s people in that day can still say: “The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge” (Psalm 46:7). From the beginning of creation to the end of the age, God is a very present help to His people. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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Just Wait!

Probably one of the most difficult commands we get from God is that dreaded four letter word…

W. A. I. T.

If you’re like me, you know it’s easy to make a plan, map it out and quickly want to ‘get on with the program,’ but the Lord frequently says, ‘Sit tight, and be still.’ Once we can come to terms with the idea of putting our plans on hold to begin with, we still have the tendency to turn over a mental hourglass and settle into any number of activities to pass the time till God moves. But, when the amount of time we think is reasonable has expired, a general uneasiness often sets in. As days and weeks stretch into months and years, the temptation to ignore or doubt God’s instructions intensifies.

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The power of praise: Psalm 145

Song by Hal Lillenas
O, my heart sings today,
Sings with joy and gladness,
Jesus saves, satisfies,
Takes away my sadness;
Guilt is gone, peace is mine,
Peace like to a river,
Jesus is wonderful, mighty to deliver.
CHORUS
Wonderful, wonderful, Jesus is to me,
Counselor, Prince of Peace,
Mighty God is He,
Saving me, keeping me,
From all sin and shame,
Wonderful is my Redeemer,
Praise His name!

Bible in a Year Blog

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Today’s reading: Psalms 140-145.

What if the weakness of our witness is a lack of praise? We say a lot to the lost about their sin and need of salvation. We hone our personal testimonies (as I have encouraged in this blog). We are quick to point out an unbeliever’s dependence on their own works to save them. Maybe what they really need is to hear more about the glory of God. That’s what the Psalmist says.

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. All you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Psalm…

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Nuggets – Paul as Our Example

“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)

The apostle Paul many times urged his readers to follow his example in living the Christian life. To the Philippians, Paul said: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17).

The initial reaction to such exhortations is to think of Paul as arrogant. To the believers in the Corinthian church, he said: “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16). To those at Thessalonica, he said: “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you. . . . Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us” (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).

At the same time, Paul considered himself to be “the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle” (1 Corinthians 15:9). Later he called himself “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8), and finally he said that he was even the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).

In no way was the apostle Paul an egotist. Nevertheless, he knew that his converts needed an example to see, as well as precepts to learn. The Lord Jesus Christ, of course, is our real example (1 Peter 2:21). But by living a life patterned after Christ, however, Paul could say: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

People need to see Christ in the lives of their Christian leaders. By the grace of God, we also need to live as Christ did, so that when people follow us, they also will be following Christ. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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When Pigs Fly

piggies

“ To know the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might .” Ephesians 1:19 Continue reading

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