Links For 12/29/2011

Let us not dictate to God
Top Ten Theologians: #2 – Martin Luther
Monday Morning Humor... Again
Top Ten Books of 2011

Sadness

Recently, I was saddened when a friend announced that he was "officially divorced."  We have had a long standing friendship, that dates back to my Navy days, but we haven't really seen each other in years.  We were part of a close knit fellowship of believers on board the ship I was stationed on toward the end of my enlistment.  I'll tell you more about them later.

When I say that I was saddened, I'm not sure that actually describes it.  My heart began to ache, literally.

I was saddened not only for the end of this marriage, but also for the number of my friends who are no longer walking with the Lord.  I was saddened for the number of years when I did not walk with the Lord.

It saddens me when I know someone who has died does not know the Lord.  It makes it all the more urgent for each of us to share the good news story.  To share our story.

I've Got to Brag

I have to take a moment to brag on Katie.  This morning we went into WAWA as we normally do.  I got my usual 24 ounce cup of coffee and some bacon for Katie.  I paid and as we left, we encounter this woman at the door.  Katie looked at her and said "You dropped this,"  and handed her a five dollar bill.  The woman was so surprised and thrilled with Katie's honesty, she gave her the five dollars.  I was so proud of her, I began to cry.  I held her close and told her I was extremely proud of her.  Those are the moments we fathers love and I hope to see many more.

God Sighting

It the first night of Vacation Bible School and Katie wasn't herself. h In fact she spent much of the night crying.  This was a big difference from the girl who had been pestering us all day about going to VBS.
We had invited her friend Nav to be a part of the activities.
During a game that looked a lot like freeze tag, Nav held the weepy Katie's hand as they walked together from one side of the gym to the other.
Thank you God for little girls like Nav.

What does tolerance really mean?

“From its beginning, the new continent seemed destined to be the home of religious tolerance. Those who claimed the right of individual choice for themselves finally had to grant it to others.”– Calvin Coolidge, May 3, 1925


“The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance. Question: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion?” - Ronald Reagan, August 23, 1984


So who really needs to be tolerant?  In the name of tolerance it appears our freedom of religion is being eradicated.

Father’s Day

My father and I do not have that great relationship. I’m not even sure it could be considered good.  It wasn’t always like that.  As a boy, as I imagine with all boys, he was an extremely big part of my life.

I think the change started when I was six.  Dad had always been there, but suddenly he wasn’t.  I found out years later he had volunteered to go on TDY more often and we didn’t see him very often.

After my parents divorced we saw him even less.  I think it was about once every three years.  But still the relationship did not strain.

After I left home things started going home.  I started to become sensitive to the negative things he would say about Mom.  I made it very clear that I did no want to hear those kind of things about my mother. It was then that he started to talk about how bitter he was over the divorce.  But I found out later it was his infidelity that was largely responsible for the divorce.

Even so, I love him, in spite of the many broken promises, and the unkind words, not toward me but to my brother.  I try to maintain that relationship, but whenever we speak it feels strained.

I am envious of those who have great relationships with their fathers and those whose parents love the Lord.  For this reason, I pray to be the father my children that my father never was to me.   I pray to be the father that God wants all fathers to be.

It's Official

When last we spoke, we had been left with the possibility that Katie might be autistic.  Or at least that's what the therapist was thinking.  Well we cancelled the next appointment with the therapist, not because it was something we didn't want to hear, but because we had a meeting with Katie's neurologist about her seizures.  He also handles ADHD.  We told him what the therapist said.  I think that's the first time I've ever seen a doctor roll his eyes.  Apparently that's the "in thing." well we don't want Katie to have the "in thing."  We would really rather she just be a normal little girl.

Dr. F. (The neurologist) prescribed an extremely small dose of medicine and a week later we are seeing a different child.  She is much more focused than I could have hoped and is not bouncing off the walls nearly as much.  I say thank God for Dr. F.

I Don't See It

We have known for some time that Katie has some problems that are manifesting themselve in her school work.  When a child can read a sentene extremely well one minute and the next minute it appears to be Greek, there is definitely a problem.  In order to be good parents, we sought help from our primary care physician, who then gave us a set of questionaires (one for us and one for her teacher) to fill.   Based upon the results of those, she referred us to a child psychologist.

There was some difficulty getting in to see her, because she preferred to make her own appointments.  So it was a while before she returned my call, I had almost given up hope.  We took Katie to see her and then the tests began.  Being an extremely (and I do mean extremely active) six year old, there was difficulty in getting her to sit for any length of time.  They really should see her at home.  The phrase bing-bing-bing comes to mind.  If you don't understand the phrase then you either: don't have children or have very placid children.

The day of reckoning came last Wednesday, the results from the tests.  One of the first words I remeber hear was "quirky."  The doctor appeared to think Katie had "quirky" behavior.  I don't think I've ever heard that word in modern conversation.  I would have to agree that there is a quirkiness to Katie, but I don't necessarily think that's a negative.  I love her personality and the way she just loves everyone, we all could learn from that.

Then came the word "autistic."  I could tell you I was floored, but it would be a lie.  It had crossed my mind once or twice, but never really settled in.  I'll confess I didn't know what being autistic really meant.  This was not necessarily a diagnostic at this point, but it needs to be ruled out.

I've since done some research and I'm going to have to say, I don't see it.  It's not because I don't want to, but autism appears to be social disorder wherein the child has difficulty in social settings.  That doesn't appear to be Katie's problem, her problem as I see it is difficulty in focusing.   That appears to be more of an ADHD type of issue.

I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know my child.  I would appreciate your prayers, particularly that I would be a help and champion for Katie, in addition to a good and godly father.

Our Katie

It’s been over five years now since Katie has become a part of our life.  I remember that when she came, I jumped right in to take care of her.  I’m not sure of what I was thinking at the time, I just know that she was so little and needed me.  She was eleven months and just sitting up.  She didn’t crawl.  We could sit her on the floor and walk away and be assured that she would still be there when we returned.  She was small and tiny, and according to the doctor in the lower 25 percentile weight wise for her age.  Her condition was such that doctor diagnosed her as failure to thrive.

I remember the first weekend we brought her home, I’m not sure which one of us noticed, but she was running a fever and not very happy, to say the least.  Well, Janet suggested we take her to a clinic (it was Sunday) so that she could be checked out.  The doctor on call, was more concerned about her development than about her fever.  So we took her home, but her fever worsened, rising to 105.  As her fever rose so did our concern, we decided to take her to an emergency room.  Being a first time father (or father figure) I listened very closely to everything that was said.  They decided to take x-rays, and from those they determined she had pneumonia.  We were sent home with a prescription and instructions for the care of this poor sick child. 

Janet decided to stay home and take care of her, and I being the dutiful husband went off to work.  Sometime before lunch, I called to see how things were going and I could tell that they weren’t going that great.  Janet was having a hard time taking care of Katie and doing things like taking a shower or eating.  Every time she would put Katie down she would cry.  I asked her if she wanted me to come home, and she eagerly said yes.

When I got home, I took charge of Katie while Janet showered, ate and ran errands.  Katie was still running a fever and very uncomfortable.  I remembered the nurse said from the night before that we would want to remove clothes enough that she wasn’t shivering and take a washcloth and wipe her down with that. So I remove her pajamas, left on her diaper (I’m not a daredevil) and began wiping her down with a lukewarm washcloth.  As I wiped, I could see the redness in her ears and face dissipate and she began to settle down.  Eventually she went to sleep on my chest.

She has slept many times on my chest since then and now she is getting so big that it is not comfortable for either one of us.  Sometimes, I long for those days and at other times I sit amazed at how far she has come.

I started out being “Poppa” for her and once she asked me if I was “Poppa” or “Daddy” and I said I am whoever she needed me to be.  I’ve been “Daddy” ever since.

Tomorrow night, she graduates from Kindergarten.  We’ve come a long way and I’ve loved every minute of it.  But I think I’m ill prepared for her to grow up, but I am still prepared to be whatever she needs me to be.

Left Behind Stories

I'm going to have to admit something.  I love the Left Behind Series.  Some of you, well since there's only three followers, I'm pretty sure it's going to be all of you, may be shocked.  I've read every single one of them and have listened to the audio presentation at least twice.

I know it's fiction, but there just something about the stories of faith.  I often think of how wonderful it would be to be able to live out a faith like that.  The stories of the men and women in these books hungering for the Word of God, and being driven to their knees in constant prayer.  I love it when someone in the stories realizes their need for Jesus and gives their lives over to Him.

These stories happen in real life everyday, but somehow I feel like I miss the mark.  I love Jesus, and I love His word.  Lately it has been very exciting to me to read and study.  But the consistencey eludes me.  I would love to be in it every day, but sometimes I have to settle for three of four times a week.  I want that relationship with Christ that will inspire others to seek it, to want it, to covet it.  If there were anything in life we should covet it is that relationship with Christ.

Our Sunday School class has agreed to pray for each other, but specifically a prayer from Colossians 1:9-12

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. ESV

I would like to pray this for you,  and hopefully you will pray it for me.  Leave me a comment asking me to pray and I will, right then and there.

In His Name.

Nate the Snake

After God had created the heavens and the earth and after He rested and finally after the fall, He added to the earth a lever in the middle of nowhere.  This lever was very important for if it were switched on it would destroy the whole earth.  And because man had become sinful and depraved, He knew the lever must be guarded, so He employed a snake named Nate.

After many years of Nate slithering around and guarding this lever, a man approached Nate and said "Hey, Nate."  How he knew Nate's name I do not know.  Nate replied "Hey, what?"  The man said "I am a great talent agent and I can get you great roles in many movies in Hollywood."  

Well Nate thought about it and having many human qualities said "Well God will never know."  So off he went to star in movies.  His career was quite successful.  He starred in movies like "Sssssssss" and costarred in "Frogs."  After a time his career began to wane, so he decided it was time for him to go back to the lever.

Lo and behold, a great 12 lane super highway had been built up with the lever in the median.  This would have never happened if Nate had stayed at his post.  Nate from the side of the highway noticed something alarming: In the median was a madman bent on destroying the world making his way to the lever. 

With great urgency Nate began to slither across the highway, dodging the traffic the best he could.

The driver of an 18 wheeler bearing down upon Nate, recognized Nate and being a fan averted the truck to the median, killing the madman.  But driver saw that he was about to hit the lever and destroy the world, so he pulled back onto the highway, mangling and killing Nate.

 

The moral of the story:  Better Nate than lever.

Slave

Would you be willing to consider yourself a slave?  To surrender yourself totally to God.  How do you feel about giving up complete freedom.  Or are you still a slave to sin?  That's the topic of John MacArthur's new book (at least to me) Slave.  I had the privilege of reading this book as the first book by John MacArthur I have ever read.
Except for the idea that he believes that there has been a "cover up" in the translation of the bible in which the Greek word "doulos" has been translated "servant" instead of "slave," there is nothing earth shattering that I could see.
I'm not saying this isn't a good book, because I did enjoy it.  It is a good reminder to us that we are ultimately slaves either to sin or willing ones to the Lord.  He uses a great deal of historical information to show what it is like to be a slave during Roman and Biblical times.  Because I like the history behind the Bible, I found this to be enjoyable.
He also uses this book promote Calvinism, by saying essentially that slaves do not choose their master.  Maybe promote is not the word.  I did not agree with his assessment with that.
Overall I thought book was worth a read and not a difficult one at that.  I have nothing to compare this book to, but having listened to Dr. MacArthur's sermons for years I can't imagine this was his best work.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What's On Your Tivo?

We have a Tivo.  There's a unique feature with Tivo in that it will make recommendations based upon your television watching history.  I wonder how many of us would not be embarrassed by what Tivo would recommend.

Peace About Death

About twenty years ago I had a problem.  Okay I have problems now, but this was a major health problem.  Whenever I lay on my right side I was having difficulty breathing.  Not being an alarmist or anything, I went to the doctor for the chronic nose bleeds I was having and casually mentioned this problem.  I was a bit taken aback when he seemed more concerned over the breathing issue that the nose bleeds.  Apparently chronic nose bleeds are more common than breathing issues.

He scheduled me for an xray which showed that I either had a collapsed lung or there was fluid in my chest cavity.  Are you grossed out yet? He believed that the collapsed lung was more likely since I was young and fluid in the chest cavity is not that common.  Guess which one it was.

Well the next step was to drain out the fluid and find out the cause.  Draining the fluid turned out to be no picnic,  it was done by sticking a needle in my chest cavity from the back and letting drain.  It was uncomfortable.   After which I endured a series of tests, from a catheterization to testing the bone marrow.  When the bone marrow was removed it was so painful even with a local that  I vomited my lunch and then some.  I'll bet that grossed you out.

Most of the tests revealed nothing, but it was discovered that I had a calcified pericardium.  That's the sack around that heart and it a calcium buildup.  It was thick and getting thicker.  The only way to fix it was through heart surgery.  Yep they cracked my chest.

Obviously things worked out fine, except now they believe I have an irregular heartbeat from it.  But I tell you this story to tell you this, through it all I had peace that if I had died I would be sitting in front of Jesus that very day.  Do you have that peace?

Daddy I'm Going To Marry You

Yesterday morning Katie said to me as I carried her into school, "Daddy I'm going to marry you."  I was happy to hear her say that not because I ever expect to marry her, but because I know we're still as close as ever.  She's been going through an exasperating new phase in her life where she has an attitude about everything.   I thought that didn't happen until they were in their teens.  I've had to be harder on her in the last few months and I've tried to spend more time with her as well.  

I do have a fear that sometime in the future that we will grow apart and we won't be as close.  I've seen it happen for others and I don't want it to happen for us.