Often each week I focus time in prayer for my family. Specifically, I ask that every one of my children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews would faithfully walk with God and that they would have a deep love for Him. I am thankful that my parents pray the same thing for me! Living for God is never something we can take for granted. The reality, as you already know, is that we live in a temptation-laced world. Our wills constantly grapple with God’s will. So easily we can be enticed to embrace, chase, proclaim and invite into our lives earth’s delicacies that look appealing, yet leave us sick and empty. How many people wander away from God simply because no one is praying for them?
Hosea 11:3,4—It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them in My arms, but they never knew that I healed them. I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food.
George really loves his three sons and he also really loves scouting. As a teenager he significantly grew through his scouting experience and remembers the pride on his father’s face when he made Eagle Scout. If circumstances were different he would still be a scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. When his oldest son, Hal, was in the scouts, George invested time in him so he was able to compete and do well against older boys. But Hal got to a place where he didn’t enjoy scouting and wanted out. He shared with his mom Shannon his desire to quit and she felt the stress of wanting to help him while knowing how passionate George was about his sons becoming Eagle Scouts.
Proverbs 4:14,27—Don’t set foot on the path of the wicked; don’t proceed in the way of evil ones . . . Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.
My mother wrote a prayer for me called “Build Me a Son.” It is a prayer that still inspires me and one that God honors. On July 12,2013, our grandson Jadon celebrated his first birthday. Kathleen and I are grateful that our children love God and that our daughter Sarah and son-in-law Mark will share His love with their son. While the family gathered in Bend to celebrate this milestone, I missed Jadon’s birthday because of Army duty. Ironically, I am in the place where I was born, Colorado Springs. So by the Rocky Mountains I reach to heaven with this new prayer of blessing.
A recent study “A Tale of Two Fathers,” found that “married fathers are far more involved today in rearing children compared to their counterparts 40 years ago. However, the percentage of fathers living apart from the kids has more than doubled in the last half-century.” Recent statistics show almost 50% of men less than 45 years old admit to having children out of wedlock. President Barack Obama stated, “Father’s Day reminds us parents that we have no more solemn obligation than to care for our children. But far too many young people in America grow up without their dads, and our families and communities are challenged as a result.”
Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a group of Army officers and noncommissioned officers. I asked the question, “How many of you grew up with a mom and a dad?” Almost all of them raised their hands. I then asked, “How many of your cadets (college students) come from homes with a mom and a dad?” The crowd guesstimated that about 50% came from two-parent homes. They underscored a point I hoped to make which is that today there is a huge need for mentors. Too many of those exiting high schools across our land have had insufficient parenting and manifest a great craving for meaningful relationships.
We can learn a lot from a cat. We recently bought a puppy, a yellow Labrador we named Hero. As is often the case with puppies, he is a chewer—nothing is safe from his razor-like teeth—except for Misty, our cat. Every time Hero tries to chew on Misty he takes one-two combinations to the head from a not-amused feline.
Part of me is lost and I don’t like it. If I could skip this day in time or have never lived it I know I would be the worse for it but at least I would not sense this absence that came too fast and . . . heartrending and heartbreaking are too strong in meaning for what I’m feeling. Perhaps in this poignant period a more apt description is heartmissing. The good news is she is only three and a half hours away. The bad news is there are 206 miles between us.
George Barna is a seasoned pollster and director of the Barna Group. His group’s survey results in 2006 reveal some disturbing trends. Listed below are three of the twelve most significant findings this year.
Three children walked down the aisle to their rehearsed places. The wee lassies stood four steps up on one side with the little lad on the other. The wedding party was in place and Uncle Ralph began speaking. While the two, prim girls faithfully stood still, the boy inched towards the edge of the step, cheerfully smiled, leaned his body backward and slid downward as only a limber child could. Twice more the process repeated until he was now on the main floor. Jonathan, the Best Man, saw what was happening, turned toward the boy and motioned him to move back to his appointed place. Embarrassed, knowing he’d erred, he went up two stairs, laid down with his face in his hands and quietly shook. Soon, the tears fell in torrents and he stood up wailing, quickly fleeing to his mother’s arms. He sobbed for what seemed like minutes, upstaging the wedding so that his father had to carry him out. While Josh and Katie went on to become man and wife I couldn’t help but think of the tender spirit of that boy and the loving manner in which his mother and father embraced him. They didn’t make a fuss or scold him, they held him. If they were concerned about the crowd, they didn’t show it. Instead they faithfully ministered to their son.
My youngest son Stephen, and I, went with some friends to a Koi/Goldfish show. It was the first time we’d ever attended anything like this. We were quite amazed. Koi come in a wide assortment of colors and shapes much like the dress of their human fans. It was obvious standing around the varied pools, that most of these people knew a great deal about carp. Here some facts I learned and lessons that jumped to mind:
Moses was a highly educated man, taught by the finest scholars of Egypt. But with all his knowledge he tried to fix the injustices he observed through his own strength and God had to place him with shepherds, stripped of all that was familiar until a burning bush captured his eyes. Then he listened to God’s voice.
The cliff broke away like the sloped nose of a roman gladiator. As I walked closer to the edge, his feet stopped moving. Stephen would go no closer. He pulled at my sweater intentionally as if to say, “Forget it, I’m not taking another step!” When I picked him up his arms circled me in pythonic grip. “It’s okay,” I told him. “I’m not going to let you get hurt.” With his gap-toothed grin and an audible sigh he relaxed in my arms. So long as I held him we could follow the ridge and marvel together at the roar of the surf and the whine of the wind. And the little girl who watched him, decided that she too could walk the trail beside the clouds.
I only saw him cry once and that was by accident. I came into the room to say “goodnight” and there beside the bed he and mom were shedding tears knowing his trip to Japan might cause him to miss the birth of my younger brother. Like many of his generation he is not comfortable sharing emotion yet his volume knob for caring still turns. He has always been my hero—imperfect yet dynamic. His love for God flows unabated. He stands faithful and noble today like the snow-covered Mt. Hood.
If love was a waterfall one would be thoroughly drenched by the Ferraros. In a small town in Illinois, this family radiates what happens when God permeates a household. What strikes me most about them is their commitment to live simply so as to give as generously as possible to support Christians on the frontlines for their faith-men and women who serve in organizations like Gospel For Asia and Voice of Martyrs.
Caleb’s head sunk in agony. On the splintered beams of a weathered deck stood the only life left that really mattered—his daughter. And now she was to be sold into slavery—auctioned off like some four-legged beast of burden.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7--Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
2 Timothy 1:3-- I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day.
My mother died of cancer when I was nine. She composed a special prayer for me that she would often take to God on my behalf. I didn’t know about this prayer until a special friend, Georgia Drake, gave it to me after I was married and had my own children. Today, I still get tears in my eyes as I read the words my mom wrote. They are a reminder to me of how precious it is to love your children and to pray for them. They are a testimony to the power of prayer. They are words that have helped keep me safe and centered on the narrow path that leads home.
1 Timothy 6:11,12--But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses.