Years ago a group of life group leaders attended a conference at Litchfield beach. During a lunch break, I was outside looking out over the ocean. It was a cool day and the sky was a bright blue. There wasn’t a cloud in sight. As I stood there taking in the beauty, Ken Lewis walked up beside me and looked in the direction that I was looking. He grinned and asked me, “Do you know who made that?”
“Yep,” I remember responding, “my Father did.”
He didn’t skip a beat, “Mine, too!” He enthusiastically responded back.
As we stood there side by side, I was overwhelmed by the fact that because of God’s grace in my life and because of His grace in Ken’s life, we shared the same Father. I was standing beside my brother and we were looking at our Father’s handiwork.
I don’t know if Ken remembers that day or not, but I know for me, I felt like God knitted our hearts together in a special way.
Galatians 3:26-29 took on a deeper meaning:
"You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were
baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew
nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ
Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs
according to the promise."
Years passed. Ken became Coach Ken to two of my boys. Not only did he coach them in the game of basketball; he coached them in their walk with Christ. He loved them well. He treated them as his own.
For years we have prayed for each other’s families.
When God began tugging on my heart to build a website, Ken would not let me push it aside. He coached me, with incredible patience I might add. He came alongside Carolyn, Grace, Lisa, and myself and made this website a reality.
He continues to tolerate our mistakes, our submitting things in the wrong format and at the wrong time, and he endures many late night freak-outs because the computer won’t do what we want it to. If he has said, “Hit the refresh button once, he has said it a thousand times!”
This Tuesday, Ken, Liz, and their children leave for Atlanta. Selfishly, I’m not happy about this turn of events. On the other hand, I am so excited to see what God has in store for them. When all is said and done, I want God’s absolute best for the brother that He blessed me with those many years ago.
When I read Philemon 1:4-9, I think about Ken and Liz.
“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.”
So let me just say, “We love you, Ken. We will miss you so much, but we know this isn’t goodbye. After all, we still know your phone number!
I sat on the beach and watched the cutest thing ever. A little boy, maybe 4 years old, was trying to get his nerve up to join the rest of his family in the ocean. He spent some time getting prepared…
Miniature boogie board…check
Mama at his side…double check.
He was ready. He was prepared. There was nothing to stand in his way, nothing except the monstrous 6 inch wave.
I sat in my chair totally entertained as I watched this tiny sweet thing muster up all of his courage, march determinedly to the water’s edge only to be engulfed in complete panic as the waves rolled
in towards him.
Over and over, he would approach the water’s edge, shriek in fear, run back up the beach, sit on the sand, and cry in total frustration. No amount of coaching on his mom’s part could help him overcome his fear.
At one point, his mom looked my way, shrugged her shoulders and shook her head. I think she realized how completely entertained I was. She worked patiently with her little boy for a while, until he began to have what we refer to in my family as a “fall out fit.”
Allow me to describe “the fit” for you. After running back up the beach, he would dramatically fling himself onto the sand, roll around knocking the scuba mask in such a way as to almost take his little nose off before coming to rest cattycorner on his little sand covered head. All the time he was rolling around, he was sending out a loud piercing wail that caused gulls to fall dead from the sky, from heart failure I feel certain. “Fall out fits” are so much cuter when the mother experiencing them is not me.
Well, after several rounds, his mom reached her breaking point. She stood up and walked down the beach into the water with the rest of the family. It only took a few seconds for him to realize that not only was mom gone, she was in the water laughing and playing with the others.
He sat up, scuba mask sideways, and watched her in complete disbelief. After a few moments, he gathered his gear and slowly walked back down near the water, sat down and commenced to wailing.
I’m just going to be honest here. I was seriously considering picking him up, walking out to the family, and plopping him down right in the middle of them. Enough is enough. Besides, he was so reinforced with flotation devices that I very seriously doubt that his hair would have even gotten wet.
Then came the break through. He stood up and cautiously walked to the edge of the water. He stood there watching the fun and inching closer. I could tell his mom was keeping an eye on him, but not yet acknowledging him. She let him stand and inch closer a little longer. Finally, she walked over to him, just out of his reach, and held out her hand. This time he took her hand and began to enjoy the water like the rest of his family. The waves that once frightened him became great fun. The wails turned to laughter as he held on to his mom’s hand and jumped wave after wave.
As I contemplated how ridiculous the little fella on the beach had behaved, I realized that there have been times in my life when I have behaved much in the same way.
God has placed me on the edge of his plan for me. He has equipped me with everything I need to plunge head first into His plan for me. Like a patient parent, He has coached me when I have hesitated and tolerated my “fall out fits” when things have not gone like I wanted. He has even left me to my “fit” and walked away – but never taking His eyes off me.
Just like my little friend, I have wasted precious time rolling around on the shore instead of following God into the adventure He has for me.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
God has given me everything I need to follow His plan. He has equipped me to jump every wave that is in front of me; He even stands near me coaching me and keeping a watchful eye on me. When I choose to trust Him, jumping those waves can even be great fun!
Anyone care to jump some waves?
“Choose you this day, whom you will serve.”
Katherine Kehler told her family “I have decided that sitting on the fence is not a God thing.”
I was sitting at my computer (you know how it goes…I’ll just do this one thing) and I came across this statement that caught my attention. Being in a hurry and really not having the time to sit and read the full explanation, something still drew me in and I ended up doing just that.
This is what she said:
“In real life situations, much evil has continued because people are afraid to take a stand. Oh, they may take a stand in private conversations but few will voice their views in public. They are afraid of being rejected. I have been there. Sometimes I am a coward and sometimes I am brave. Sometimes I notice others are cowards. Sometimes they are brave. There have been times when I wished someone would have been brave enough to have voiced their support for me, but they didn’t. Lately I have realized the importance of standing up for what is right and publicly supporting others who are right in the sight of God. Sitting on the fence or being neutral is not a Godly characteristic.”
“Jesus definitely spoke up. He was not a coward!”
Yes, Jesus always spoke up for the things that were right …not by the world’s standards
but by God’s standards. Since he was the only “perfect” human that ever walked on earth shouldn’t we take our cues from him?
I’ve known only a few people whom I could truly say could always be counted on to put what was easiest aside and, without fail, support only what was right and supported by scripture. I have no doubt there were people (maybe even ones who called themselves their friends) who gossiped and said unkind things behind their back as they took their stand. We’ve all been there, right? Hurtful, right?
We were never promised it would be easy but we were promised our Heavenly Father would walk beside us all the way and carry us with his “angel army” if we needed him to. I don’t know exactly why God stopped me on this writing today but I do know he has a plan for everything under heaven. Maybe it’s you who was to be given courage and moved to action today by reading this. If so, take heed, being right in the sight of God is much better than being right in the sight of the world! And remember, “Sitting the fence is not a God thing.”
If you have a testimony of a time when you or someone you know chose to stand up for what was right in God’s eyes please tell us about it below in the comment space or email
me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need to encourage each other in our walks because the world in most cases won’t.
“Mama, I think I get what it means when people say, ‘You don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.’” Those words were choked out by my youngest son hours after his big brother drove off for his honeymoon.
I had noticed him struggling on and off throughout the days leading up to the wedding. Make no mistake, he loves his new “sister – in –love”; we all do. She has been part of our family for a long time. The marriage only made it official.
The day of the wedding, Sam asked if Drew and Sarah Kathryn would stay in his room when they got home from the honeymoon. “No, they will stay in their house,” I informed him somewhat irritated at the question.
“What about Christmas morning? Will Drew be here Christmas morning?”
Lots of questions, hard questions, and truthfully, I wasn’t really wanting to deal with them myself so I kept brushing them aside totally missing the real struggle going on in my
Before the wedding, as a surprise for Drew and Sarah Kathryn, we located the big red truck that they had dated in, gone to both proms in, and had been such a big part of their lives. The new owner kindly allowed us to borrow it so that they could leave the reception in full-blown redneck style.
After they changed cars, Dalton, Sam, and I picked up the truck. Sam was very quiet, and despite Dalton’s and my best efforts, we could not get him to cheer up. When we got home, Dalton got out and in an attempt to cheer Sam up, I told him to get into the driver’s seat… I will blame my lapse in sound judgment on being tired and somewhat emotional myself.
Anyway, we adjusted the seat and Sam drove the truck down the dirt road. That’s when he opened up and shared what was on his heart. Funny… the effect that a country dirt road and a
big red truck can have on a boy’s heart.
I wonder why we tend to take those we love for granted. We know we love them, we know they are important, but we become so sidetracked with life that we often fail to cherish them as we should. Then when we find ourselves in the place where Sam was finding himself, we wish we had a little more time to really show them how truly precious they are to us. Even though Sam worshipped the ground his big brother walked on, he realized that he had not fully understood how precious Drew was until he was leaving.
We often hear 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 quoted in the marriage ceremony, but does it not really
apply to all relationships?
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
If we allowed this scripture to be the driving force behind all our relationships, how different
would some of them look? Would it make it easier to say goodbye? Maybe not. But the fact that the relationship was cherished as God intended for it to be would eliminate the regrets that can cause heartache. When the separation comes, the sweet memories will far outweigh the “I wish I had” memories.
Maybe we all should pause and evaluate all our relationships closely and ask God to show us what changes need to be made in order for us to cherish them as He calls us to.
Have a great week!
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