Wednesday, February 9, 2011

An Unexpected Message

Each night before we put Kyden to bed, we always let him sit in our lap and we read him a Bible story from his Children's Bible Devotional book. It's a neat little book, that starts in Genesis and goes all the way through the Bible start to finish, telling Bible stories with messages geared to toward children. It's been such a blessing, as Olivia and I both take turns reading to him, and he in turn loves to hear us read, and likes to point at the colorful pictures.

Last night, as it turned out, it was my turn to read to him and I don't know if he learned anything or not, but I'm pretty sure last nights message wasn't meant for him. It was meant for me. Leave it to God to speak to me, an adult, through a children's Bible story. And by saying "speak to me", I really mean that God slapped me in the face. You see...for the past couple of weeks, I've really not been reading my Bible and doing my devotions like I should. I guess this was Gods way of saying "Philip, if you're not going to come to me about this, I'm going to find a way to come to you." Must be important huh?

Check this out...

The story I was reading to Kyden last night was about the Israelites and how God provided food for them as they were wondering in the desert, but they were not thankful. Here is the passage that really hit me square in the chin...

"It made God angry that the Israelites kept on complaining. When they moaned all the time, they showed that they didn't really believe the Lord would take care of them. The Lord wants us to be satisfied with what we have. He will make sure that we get what we need."

You see, lately that has been me. There have been some trials in my life, and rather than take them to God, I've opted to complain and moan. By doing so, I've done exactly what the Israelites did in this story. I've failed to put my faith in God, and instead, tried to fix all my problems on my own. It's not that I don't know the Lord will take care of me, it's just that in my own selfish skin, I think I can handle it on my own. It ends up bringing me down, not to mention the rest of my family who has to put up with listening to me be a grumpy bear all the time. It just goes to show that my faith is a long way from where it needs to be.

My favorite Bible character is Abraham - always has been. I've always looked up to him because of one thing...his faith. There are not many people in the Bible who had the faith that Abraham had. Think about it...God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son on an alter. What did Abraham do? He followed Gods command. He didn't know why, and didn't understand why God would ask him to do such a thing, especially since Isaac was the son he'd prayed God would give him for many years. You see, Abraham had enough faith to know that even though he might not understand Gods plan, God still knew what was best. He didn't gripe, or complain, he just set out to do what God had asked of him. When God saw Abraham's faith, he provided a replacement for the sacrifice in the form of a lamb. What a great picture of a great faith, and what a great story this foretold, as God himself would send his own son to die as a replacement sacrifice for us.

Many years ago, I made it a goal in my life to always strive to have a faith like that of Abraham. As I read Kyden's Bible story last night, I realized that somewhere along this road of life, I'd lost sight of my faith. I'd placed God closer to the back seat of my life rather than give up the drivers seat. In doing so, I've tried and failed greatly to handle life's problems on my own, griping and complaining the entire way, much like the Israelites in the Bible. The things God gave them were the things they needed, yet they still griped and complained. Rather than see how God was meeting their immediate needs, they chose to complain about whatever inconveniences life threw their way ignoring the fact that God had been taking care of them the whole time. For me, this hits home because much like the Israelites, I have my own problems. Things don't always go the way we want them to, and nobodies life is perfect. But rather than give thanks to God for what he's provided, I'd chosen to gripe, and complain about every problem that has come my way, each time asking God "why?" The whole time, God has been trying to ask me the same thing..."Why...why have you not given you're problems to me? Why have you not put your faith in me to take care of you?" Well...Point taken...right square on the chin (right where it needed to be), in the form of a children's Bible story.

The Lord works, and speaks to us in many strange and wonderful ways. Sometimes it's in ways and places we'd expect God to speak to us, but sometimes He speaks when and where we least expect it...and last night, about the last thing I expected was to get pretty firm slap in the face courtesy of God, while reading my little boy his bedtime Bible much for those neat little "life applications" geared toward children. As I sat there, my little man in my lap, a tear rolled down my cheek as I thought about what I'd just read. If I'm going to be the daddy to him that God wants me to be, and if I'm going to be the daddy to him that he needs, I'm going to have to lead by example...a change that starts today.

Friends, always remember that even if we might sometimes "forget" even for a moment that God is there with us always, He'll never forget we're here. We may face tough times, and go through trials in life, but never forget that God has a plan. We may not know that plan, nor understand it, but the least we can do is have enough faith to trust that God knows what he's doing...after all, he is...God.

And one more thing...if God has something he wants to tell you, and you don't come to him...He'll find a way to come to you. Trust me.

God bless.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lighthearted Thoughts from the Emergency Room

Between my wife and myself, two trips to the ER were made this past week. (Yes, we are both feeling better). While there, I had some thoughts...

I noticed that going to the ER was much like getting an oil change. You take your car for an oil change, and they change their oil, and rather than sending you on your way, they decide they want to check out the rest of your car, for things it doesn't need. Upselling is what they call it..."Mr. Parker, we got your oil changed, and we checked everything else just in case....we noticed you may need to have your timing belt replaced, and it looks like your fly wheel could use and adjustment. We also want to go ahead and run a full diagnostic test to make sure everything else is running it'll be about $45 extra...that ok?"  To which I always promptly reply "No thanks...just the oil change." Same concept must apply in the Emergency Room. Olivia went in for breathing problems due to Bronchitis. Then the Dr. came in and said "Well, we are going to go ahead and send you over to ultrasound to check your legs for blood clots." WHAT? I didn't object seeing as how insurance was paying the bill, but an oil change is what I thought of...selling you something completely different from what you came for. It would be like me coming a runny nose, and them checking me for ingrown toenails. Just makes one shake their head...I guess it's their way of "upselling..."

I also noticed that in some places in ER, the rooms are situated horribly wrong. HORRIBLY. How? Well, let me just say this...I had to go to the end of the hallway to get out of the ER. The room at the end of the hallway near the exit, has a bed directly in front of the door, with the patients feet facing the door. Door was open. Patient had on a hospital gown. Patient had legs propped up. Patient had on no underware. Patient was at least 95 years old. Let that simmer.

Last of all, I wondered about the magazines in the ER waiting room. Lots of good ones, which made everything so difficult...I it ok to read those? The people that come to the ER are all very sick with various viruses and fevers, and you know those things have to be crawling with germs. But the wait is soooo long sometimes. (We waited almost 2 hours one visit) I held off as long as I could, but after an hour of looking at a Super Bowl edition Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly magazines, I had to read them. Of course, I took a bath in hand sanitizer afterwords, but that is just cruel...I do you fix that problem? I don't guess you do...

So, interesting trips to the ER. These thoughts were mostly from Olivia's visit and not mine, because I wasn't really aware of the world around me during my visit. I did sneak away with a couple pairs of rubber gloves though...after all, who knows when they might come in handy seeing as how there is a new baby on the way next month...