My Daughter’s Wedding

I was the first one to hold you as you made your way into the world. Seeing you take your first breath and hearing you cry for the first time gave me even more faith in God. I was only beginning to know you but God already knew all about you and what kind of person you would turn out to be. And I am so blessed and thankful that he trusted me to raise you. You were always a happy baby and toddler and your smile is what I remember most. I recall walking into your room one morning to wake you up when you were still in your baby bed, and there you were, standing up smiling at me, as I opened the door.

I remember dropping you off at your first day of day care and you cried as I left you. What you don’t know, is that I also cried as I left you, and I cried all the way to work. When I picked you up that afternoon, you ran to me with your arms stretched out wide and you jumped into my arms. It never crossed my mind that one day you would be all grown up. I just thought of you as my little girl and I couldn’t bear to think of that ever changing.

As you grew into school age, you were confident and ready to start school. I noticed early on that you always cared for and made friends with kids that didn’t have many friends. You were always very thoughtful and kind and showed great compassion for others. That has always been something that you have done throughout your life. Your compassion for the people of Haiti is something that I am so proud of. I always had faith that each time you traveled there, that God would use you in a special way and would bring you back home safely.

I remember you deciding where you wanted to go to college and I remember thinking that Berry College was just too far away. I guess that I wasn’t ready to have you leave your home and go out into the world for the first time on your own. I took you to the two day orientation and I wondered how I could let go of you as you began to find your way in the world. We moved you in your dorm and I remember me and mom and your two younger sisters just hanging around not wanting to leave. We had all made a pact that we would not cry and somehow we were able to fight back the tears while we were in your dorm room. After we said our goodbyes and left, I remember all of us feeling very sad that we were leaving you. We got into the car and began to drive away and I looked at mom and she looked at me and we both began to cry. Your sisters joined in as well and we cried for about ten minutes as we drove away from the college. But you would be all right and you would grow in ways that we could never imagine.

You graduated college and went on to get your master’s degree and I remember crying tears of joy at both of those graduations. You brought so much joy to my life and I was so proud of you and all that you had accomplished. You were all grown up now but I still thought of you as my little girl. After grad school you didn’t find a job right away and we were ok with that because you lived at home with us and helped us with your sisters. I knew and hoped that one day you would get a job but it sure was nice to have you at home with us as long as we could. After a few months you were so excited when you were called about a job in Savannah. You interviewed for the job in Savannah and got the position and told us that you had to find a place to live and start your new job in two weeks!

You found an apartment in Savannah and we moved you into your new place. It was really hitting me now that you were all grown up and your days of living at home had come to an end. Mom and I went to the grocery store to buy you some more groceries while your grandma and sisters helped you unpack. We finished shopping and got back to your apartment and immediately began dreading to say our goodbyes. Mom and I were trying to be strong and not cry, at least not in front of you. We were almost ready to leave and suddenly one of your sisters burst into tears as she hugged you goodbye and all of us were crying.  I didn’t want to leave you but I knew that God had great things in store for you and I trusted him to take care of you and watch over you when I couldn’t.

A year and a half later, you were engaged to a great guy and you began to make plans to start a life with him. I remember feeling joy, not sadness, when he asked me for my permission to ask you to marry him. I knew that the two of you would create a wonderful life together and I was happy for you. The wedding day still seemed far away.

Now, on the day before the wedding, it seems like this day got here really fast. It’s appropriate that you are getting married at the chapel on the same college campus where you received your undergrad degree. I remember telling you several times that I would love to do a service in that chapel. I just didn’t think that it would be your wedding.

As we go through the rehearsal tonight, I will try to maintain my composure. I don’t know what kind of emotions I will be feeling as we get closer to the day of your wedding, because I haven’t done this kind of thing before. As we stand there before we go down the aisle, I have visualized myself getting emotional.  As I give your hand to your future husband, I will be happy for you but I will also be giving you away, so I don’t know exactly what I will be feeling. And as I perform your ceremony, I will have to be the minister, but I will also be your dad – so there may come a time when I get a little emotional. I don’t know what emotions will be going through me when I pronounce you married and watch you walk down that aisle, away from me with your new husband. I will be smiling but I also may be crying, happy tears of course. And when we have our father/daughter dance, if I have not cried already, it may come then. More than likely I will break down and cry when I watch you and your husband drive away from the ceremony at the same college that we left you and drove back home over six years ago. But like then, I know that you will be ok and that you will be happy. May God forever bless you and your marriage and bring joy and peace to your life. I am a blessed man that God has allowed me to be your father and I hope that God will allow me to be around long enough to be a grandfather to what I know will be some wonderful kids!

 

Standing in the Gap; National Day of Prayer

Ezekiel 22:30(NASB): “I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.

Yesterday was our country’s designated national day of prayer and many committed believers joined together to pray for our nation and to “stand in the gap” before God. The prayers of the faithful are definitely heard by God so we must realize that prayer is the only way that we will begin to turn our nation back towards God. As a country, we, just like the Israelites, have turned our backs on God. And it frightens me to wonder how long God will tolerate our indifferent and faithless attitude towards Him.

Israel did the same to God and they thought God would never rain down judgment upon them. In Jeremiah, we read the words of the prophet and we get a glimpse of the attitude that was prevalent in Israel at that time.

          “The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the LORD. They have lied about the LORD; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them” (Jeremiah 5:11-13).

How had Israel turned away from the LORD? Here are but a few of God’s long list of complaints against his chosen people:

  • They had forsaken God
  • Worshipped false and worthless idols instead of God
  • They lied about God and were unfaithful
  • Skilled in doing evil, they act like senseless children
  • They became wicked and turned away from God
  • They looked to this world for meaning and validation instead of God
  • They had “many” gods
  • Rebelled and would not respond to correction

God pleads with them saying, “Return, faithless people” (Jeremiah 3:14). “If you will return, O Israel, return to me,” declares the LORD. “If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives,’ then the nations will be blessed by him and in him they will glory” (Jeremiah 4:1-2).  On this side of history, we know that the Israelites failed to turn back to God. And so God was left with no choice but to bring destruction upon their land because of their unfaithfulness.

Every Christian in this blessed nation should be down on their knees praying to God for mercy and for forgiveness. We can no longer live with one foot in this world and one foot in God’s realm. It’s time to plead with God and pray to God for his mercy upon our nation. Our nation has turned its back on God just like Israel did and eventually God is going to bring judgment upon us just as he did upon Israel.

Over the last few days I have become convinced that Satan is waging an all-out assault upon our great nation. He is doing all he can to turn people away from God and to make a mockery of God. Read your Bible and see how it works out for people and nations that mock God!

Our country is embracing so many ideas and beliefs that are directly contrary to God’s Holy Word. There is hardly a day that goes by where someone doesn’t launch an attack or a mockery against our long-held Christian beliefs. Whether it is gay marriage, LGBT laws, the mayor of New York calling for a boycott on a Christian owned business, or the recent call for Disney to give one of its characters a same sex love interest in a sequel film, it is apparent to me that Satan is waging an all-out war against Christianity in our nation today. As a country, we have turned our backs on God. And how did that turn out for Israel, God’s chosen people? How will it turn out for our children and grandchildren? What kind of a world are we leaving them?

What are we as believers to do as we attempt to live out our life of faith in our nation today?  First, we must realize that there is nothing that an elected official, a religious leader or a bible scholar can do to “save” our great country. The only thing that will save our nation is for believers to “stand in the gap,” in intercessory prayer for our country, and to ask God for forgiveness for our unfaithfulness and our idolatrous ways and for turning our backs on God. God, and only God, can save us and restore our country to what we once were – a nation that is faithful to God and to His Holy Word. All Christians must have the courage to stand up for the truths of our long-held Christian faith and to pray without ceasing for our nation and for our world. Prayer truly changes things and until we devote ourselves to unceasing prayer, we will continue to see our country slip further towards God’s wrath and judgment.

So as Christians, we have an obligation to pray and plead with God DAILY for mercy and forgiveness, for our nation, and for those in our country who have turned their backs on God. We must pray for forgiveness and for the Holy Spirit to lead a revival in our country that will change hearts and minds and lead great numbers to Christ. God has done this before and He will do it again if we as believers fall on our knees and approach the throne of grace with our petitions and intercessory prayer for our great nation. May God forgive the sins of our nations and may God forgive us for turning away from Him and His Holy Word. May God have mercy on the United States of America and bring healing to our land.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

IMG_2463

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV)

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

As I continue to ready and pray Psalm 139, God gave me these thoughts to share with you today. Psalm 139 begins by telling us that God knows our hearts and our minds; “you perceive my thoughts from afar” (Psalm 139:2). God knows and is involved in every detail of our lives. While we often think of God as being so far removed from us and our daily lives, the truth is that God is very involved with us, so much so, that he knows what you are thinking at this very moment in time. God’s presence is everywhere and there is no place we can go that will escape God’s attention.

In today’s reading from Psalm 139: 13-16, we are told that God knew us and saw our “unformed body” when we were in the “depths of the earth,” our mother’s womb. God knows each of us so intimately because he made us, he created us. And because we are God’s creation, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” So don’t ever let anyone tell you that God does not love you, or somehow thinks less of you, because of the way you look or because of your type of personality or because you act and think differently. God made you, he knows you, and he loves you, just as you are! You are “fearfully and wonderfully” made.

So many people continue to search for that “something” that will fulfill them and make their lives feel whole and complete. Sadly, the search begins with the things of this world instead of their creator God. And you have seen and know the pattern that occurs when people turn to material objects instead of forging a connection with their creator. Temporarily they find meaning and fulfillment in something, but over time, whatever they chose to fulfill themselves and their lives with, fails to satisfy their inner desires. But instead of turning to God, they go after more earthly desires and over time these things again fail to satisfy them and bring meaning to their lives and the entire process is repeated over and over again.

God calls us to look to Him – the one who created us and knows us intimately. God loves you and can bring meaning and fulfillment to your life in a way that will bring wholeness and a sense of purpose to your life. God saw your “unformed body” and he ordained every day that you will live on earth. He knew the day you would be born and he knows the day you will leave this earth. While you are on this earth, God wants to use you to lead others to him and to a life that brings fulfillment and wholeness. Don’t let others or this world that we live in define who you are. You are God’s creation and he loves you and continually wants to draw you closer and closer to him. God’s kingdom is everlasting and he calls upon you, his child, to seek him and to find peace and contentment in God. Say “no” to the things of this world and seek and find God. There you will find true joy and fulfillment for your life here on earth and for eternity.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).