Thursday, July 14, 2011
What was that police squad car doing outside of my son’s school? It was early, not even 8 o’clock in the morning as I waited outside the gym for my son to come out to the car after his early morning basketball practice. You see, this particular morning I dropped him off to practice at 7:00 and headed to the doughnut shop to grab a quick breakfast to surprise him after practice. It had snowed 6 inches with out much warning two nights before which made it impossible to get to school. Even with a “snow day” home from school to allow road crews to work, the roads were still a bit patchy and we didn’t allow enough time for breakfast and the hazardous road conditions. As I pulled up to deliver a make shift breakfast I wondered why a police unit would be at this little Christian school? I parked in the only empty parking space which happened to be next to the police car. I noticed the Officer was still in the driver’s seat. I soon realized his car had also become a make shift doughnut shop as he too was inside his vehicle sharing a last minute breakfast with his son. This child however was not a thirteen year old (as mine was) but maybe three or four years old.
Practice was not quite over and I remained in my vehicle with the motor running to keep warm. So, being a natural observer of people (okay I was being nosey) I continued watching this young father and his son. They ate, they smiled, they talked and occasionally the dad would wipe the mess off of the little guys face. It seemed as though they were solving all the problems of the day over a carton of milk and a chocolate donut. When they had completed their meal together, the father got out of the car and walked on the icy pavement over to the little boy’s side of the car. He opened the door and steadied the little preschooler out of the car and onto the sidewalk which had safely been cleared of the ice and snow. At first the little boy tried his hand at carrying his backpack which was almost covering him from his neck to his knee! Seeing that his son was struggling, the daddy hoisted the backpack over his own shoulder with ease and held the little boy's hand as they walked together safely on the freshly shoveled sidewalk. While they walked, the dad kept himself “street side” nearest the traffic and the little boy hopped over the occasional crack in the sidewalk.
I smiled as I watched the trek to the door. The thought of my own four children rushed in. I remembered the excitement and sometimes even fear every new day could bring to a preschool child. Suddenly and without warning(just like the snow storm) tears welled up in my eyes. You see I saw the back of the policeman’s shirt as he walked away; "First Responder" special tactical unit. As a first responder, he was carrying a gun on his right hip and a shield on his belt proclaiming he was there to protect and to serve. This was a big guy with a big weapon walking this small child safely to school! In this simple routine act of love and protection of his child, I could see a clear picture of the way God wants to walk with me every day. Is he the one I go to for a first response? I began to weep through my smile.
Through Jesus Christ, God has already delivered me from the slippery life of sin to a promise of forgiveness and eternity in heaven with Him. Have I always been safe? No! Have I always walked with the Father? No! Was life always a doughnut and a smile? No! But since I have been walking with the Father, by placing my faith in Jesus as my Lord, I am safe in God’s care. He can carry my burden with ease...if I will just let Him. It was so clear that that father had delivered that little boy safely to the exact place he needed to be at just the right time. That little guy, having spent time alone with the father, could now go about the day knowing that the protection and care of his father would be close by no matter what!
I watched the Policeman come back out of the school and get into his specially equipped car ready to go into the rest of the community to protect and serve. I knew that man’s job would probably take him to face many different situations (all of which he had been prepared and trained to handle). Some people would need him to rescue them. Others would need discipline or a warning. A few would simply need to be encouraged and given sound advice. However, when necessary, he may have to use that weapon on his hip to protect someone. Maybe even me! What a wonderful feeling it is to go sweetly into your morning safely delivered by the Father. God can wipe the mess from your face, lift your burdens to His shoulder, put you inside the protection of His arm, hold your hand and walk by your side as you go about the commitments you have for the day. The Lord does this personally for each of his children and still has the power to face the rest of the world as well. Just as that police officer has the power of that weapon (a gun on his hip) God has given us a weapon of protection…His Holy Word the Bible. My bible is ready at the hip to rescue me or discipline me or give me a warning as needed. Sometimes God just encourages me with the truth of his quiet presence in my walk with Him. You know, even when He has to use force (usually as a result of disobedience, or to get my attention) I know He is my protector, my provider, my shield...my Father.
Do you know Him this way? Regardless of the type of earthly parents you have had, there is one who wants to walk with you and safely deliver you. Will you let Him? Cry out to Jesus. He is the way to your Father. He tells us truthfully, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Scripture tells us to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”. That is a promise.
God’s promise to never leave us nor forsake us in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5 is a promise you can claim when you are His child.
Won’t you quit trying to slip around alone on the icy ground this world has to offer and let the Father steady you each day? Maybe you’re trying to keep a marriage together that’s failing. Or maybe you are facing an addiction to drugs or alcohol or even food. Are you facing financial struggles trying to making ends meet after coming through a layoff as a result of the 9/11 attacks or the economy crisis? Are you raising your children alone and don’t have the strength to even face most mornings? Maybe you have lost someone you love and don’t trust anyone to help you through this lonely sad time. Let me tell you that God loves you. He wants to nourish you and walk with you just like that little boy’s dad did with his son. Won’t you let Him?
That father probably never told that little boy, “Your day is going to be easy and everything will go your way!” But I assure you… that child knew his daddy was very close at hand. If something did go wrong at school, that child could look forward to the comfort of a walk with his father at the days end. You could see the assurance on his face as he kissed his dad goodbye... “That’s my dad!” he might be saying to the other little boys in his class.
Dear one, I want you to know my Father too! If you would like to know the comfort of walking with God the Father you simply ask Him into your life, read His word and obey what you read. There are no secret words or formulas to pray. You might simply pray… “Father, I know you are real. I believe the bible is the truth and it says that you sent your son Jesus to die for my sins. I want to know you as Lord. Save me from my sin and forgive me. Jesus Let me walk with you as we walk with the Father. I accept you Lord and Savior, come in to my heart. Clean me up! Teach me how to walk with you and to let you carry the backpack of stress and fear and loneliness I have been wrestling with all alone. Thank you that you took my sin and my place on the cross. I commit today to begin walking with you. Won’t you keep me on the inside of the clear path holding tightly to you?” I ask this In Jesus name. Amen.
Find a church that teaches from the Bible and begin your journey with other believers. To have a church family you can call and ask someone to pray with you; to share as you grow in Christ is priceless. No matter what you are facing today, my prayer for you is that you will know the love of your Heavenly Father right here…this day on earth. If you already know Jesus as Lord, don’t forget to walk with the Father… every day.
*Kathy Lonsinger is a Bible Study Leader and Conference Speaker with A Gentle Answer Ministries. All materials ©
Friday, July 1, 2011
"Is life so dear and peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I care not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" ~Patrick Henry (before the revolution)
We have forgotten. We have misunderstood. We can't be truly free and just do whatever we feel. I have seen so many families struggling by the actions of a child claiming their 'right' to do as they please. I have watched the record of obesity in America climb as we have freedom to an all you can eat lifestyle. I have watched marriages suffer from freedom to get a divorce. Countless future doctors, lawyers, pastors, teachers and scientists will not live to be born because there is freedom to 'choose'.
Real freedom comes only through knowing truth. Real freedom comes from the decision to serve; not rule or lord over someone else in the name of exercising your rights.
"But I do have rights" you say. "But America is the home of the free to do what I want, home of the brave" you say. I believe the Bible is clear in the area of surrendering our rights to God. The American constitution and the Bible, to me, are two of the most precious documents ever written. Neither gives us the illusion that we can 'do whatever we want'. We must consider our fellow man,woman,or child. We must hold to God's teachings and in doing so, sometimes, you/I will NOT get to just do what we want to do. I believe our country was founded on Christian principles. History and documentation will support that belief. I am thankful for my liberty. I am saddened to see some of my liberties are being taken away by leaders and politicians that don't know truth. However, I am not surprised by this. Scripture is clear that when we honor God, we are blessed. We are no longer a country that honors God. How can we expect to continue to be a country of great blessing? Our brave men and women continue to fight for these freedoms today. We must pray for them. We must thank them by not electing those who want to destroy our foundation and freedom. Patrick Henry was brave and wise. I know one even braver and wiser:
In John 8:31-32 Jesus is speaking:
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
By the way, I had never noticed the words TO THE JEWS WHO HAD BELIEVED HIM! WOW!!! They are HIS chosen people. We must not only pray for God to Bless America, but to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Psalm 122
Let's hold to HIS teaching and the concept that Patrick Henry may or may not have understood; Freedom often comes at the price of one's life. Our freedom came at the price of 'ONE' life; Jesus Christ. If our constitution and the Declaration of Independence no longer remain...will you keep a covenant? Will you keep the Declaration of Dependence on our God? In HIM...I am free.
Just Thinkin' and praying you too are free,
God please Bless America; but,God Almighty, give me liberty in Christ or give me death...for as Paul wrote in Phillipians 1:21, for me to live IS Christ, to die IS gain.