From the time my kids were barely big enough to toddle, every day when I came home from work I would whistle as I entered the door. It was my version, I guess, of “Hi honey, I’m home.” I loved hearing the kids’ squeals and shouts of “Daddy!” and listening to the precious pitter-patter of their feet running to hug me.
As they got bigger, that became my call for them to come find me. When it was time to leave the park or play-place, I’d give that same little whistle and they’d come running, regardless of how much fun they were having. In a loud and crowded room, across a park or swimming pool, from downstairs when it is time to get in the van – they hear that whistle instinctively, and know it means “Dad’s calling”.
That explains why tears filled my eyes when I read a verse from the prophet Isaiah I had never picked up on before. Isaiah 5:26 – “He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he WHISTLES for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!”
God whistles. He whistles when it is time to gather His people.
If you know me at all, you could guess that after I dried my eyes, I whistled – and the kids came running – and we had a little lesson. After giggling together at the thought of God whistling and guessing what it might sound like, I told them I hope more than anything that when God whistles for them, they run to Him swiftly and speedily!
Oh God, please whistle for my kids!
You know that distinctive sound of an object being thrust into a box fan? Kind of a really fast repetitive thud? Yeah – I had the pleasure of hearing that noise a few nights ago as my kids were playing upstairs. Followed by a gasp.
“What hit the fan?” was my immediate – and a little bit worried – question. Nathan sheepishly came down the stairs holding his hand. “What hit the fan?” I asked again.
“I think my finger got in there.”
“You think your finger got in there?”
How many times do we give God those kind of answers?
“I think some unloving words came out of my mouth.”
“I think my temper got lost.”
“I think my eyes looked at those pictures. Again.”
This Sunday I talked to the Renovate men about obedience. We looked at John 14.15 – “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” For followers of God, obedience is not an option. God is love and we want to obey him.
But Nathan’s experience with the fan teaches us another important lesson: When we disobey God, we hurt ourselves. Are you lying to your employer? Guess who gets fired when they find out. Looking at images or movies you shouldn’t be? Guess whose relationships are going to be destroyed. Putting control, pleasure, image, wealth…ahead of God? Guess whose life will be empty, lonely, and filled with fear.
Fortunately Nathan’s finger didn’t suffer any damage this time. But he certainly learned the lesson we have told him time and time again. Will you be wise enough to learn that lesson, too.
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.” — Jesus
Filed under Main, Ministry
Here is a look into my week:
Monday – sat outside and watched the kids play and then took them swimming.
Tuesday – went with the family to see UP and then played Bookopoly. Molly whipped us all.
Wednesday – took the kids to the beach. Amy got to stay home and be quiet.
Thursday – played at the park all morning. Went to The Huntington all afternoon.
Friday – probably gonna wash the cars with the kids and then maybe hit the beach again. But it is vacation, so that is subject to change.
I am so grateful for my family, and for a God who knows the value of rest!
Reminded of some great song lyrics tonight. An oldie (okay, 1996) but a goody. The whole song is worth a read/listen, but for now, meditate for a few minutes on the chorus of “Oh, I Want to Know You More” by Steve Green:
Oh, I want to know You more!
Deep within my soul I want to know You,
Oh, I want to know You.
To feel Your Heart and know Your Mind,
looking in Your eyes stirs up within me,
cries that says I want to know You
Oh, I want to know You more.
Oh, I want to know You more.
That is my prayer tonight. I hope it is yours.
I don’t remember a terrible amout from Mrs. Huckaby’s math classes in high school. I remember she HATED it that I used erasable ink pens instead of pencil. I remember that she always had colors smeared on her hand from writing with markers on the overhead projector. I remember being the “Hammer Weilder” for Mu Alpha Theta – a job that sounds a lot more dangerous than it really is.
And I remember Inversely Proportional Relationships. Basically, in an inversely proportional relationship, as one variable increases its counterpart decreases as a given factor remains constant. Like a teeter-totter – if I go up, you go down and the middle remains constant. (Here is the Wikipedia link of you need the official refresher. I’d give you Mrs. Huckaby’s e-mail if I had it.)
I can give you a few very personal examples. If my eating remains constant, my exercise and my weight are inversely proportional. (Lately, my weight is kicking my exercise’s tail.) If my lack of sleep remains constant, my energy level and my coffee consumption are inversely proportional.
But here is the issue that is hitting my heart these days. As the craziness of life remains constant, my attitude is inversely proportional with my relationship with God. As my “quiet time” decreases, my anxiety skyrockets. As my prayer life dwindles, my impatience with my kids explodes. When I skimp on reading the Bible, I binge on ego and arrogance.
And there is one more trick with this problem: you can only change it by focusing on one variable. I can’t decide to be less anxious and therefore become closer to God. I can’t determine to be more patient with my kids and consequently suddenly have more peace.
No, the only way to decrease anxiety is to increase surrender. The only way to decrease impatience is to increase humility. The only way to decrease self is to increase Christ.
The only solution for this equation is knowing The Unchangeable Constant!
What will you do today to know Him more?
It is so fun to see God move in people’s lives! This past weekend, I got to be a part of it firsthand. 71 men from Real Life left the city to encounter God in the mountains for 48 hours. And encounter God we did!
Here are a few pictures (great shots, Orlando!), but pictures only tell part of what happens when men make an intentional effort to turn off the noise of the world and tune into the forgiveness and freedom God is speaking into our hearts.
I know we spent most of our time in James, but I am reminded of Philippians 1 – “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Guys, I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see God “carry on to completion” the 71 “good works” He began this weekend! And I can’t wait to see all of you again this Sunday!
Several months ago my son lost a tooth. In the middle of the night my wife woke me and asked if I had put any money under his pillow. I hadn’t. So with eyes mostly closed, I dug through the change drawer, pulled together $2.00 in quarters, stealthily exchanged the tooth for a Ziploc bag with the coinage, and got back in bed, all without ever really waking up.
Next morning, Nathan came in wearing a huge smile and toting his bag of change. Me: “Tooth Fairy come last night, buddy?” Nathan, excitedly: “Yep. And YOU [very proud that he knows no such fairy exists] left me a dollar and eighty cents!” He proudly bounced out of the room, cherishing his treasure. And Amy and I looked at each other puzzled, and then nearly fell on the floor laughing. Apparently in the middle of the night the tooth fairy can’t tell the difference between a quarter and a nickel!
How I wish I was like Nathan. Too often I see my Heavenly Father like a cheapskate tooth fairy, not giving me all that I feel like I deserve…of something I could never deserve. I focus on the “20 cents” He must have forgotten about instead of the bag of money (amazing wife; healthy, beautiful kids; a great church and job; good friends and family…) I’m holding that I had no business receiving.
Do any of you ever feel on the short end of a gift God is in the process of giving you? What gifts do you most often forget that you need to be completely thankful for? Tell us about it.