Thankful Thursday: Every Season

Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!

Well Lord, once again we come to the Thankful Thursday post here at  It’s been a pleasant week following our return from vacation, however I will admit to missing the wonderfully comfortable weather and serene environment we enjoyed in the mountains.  We’ve been beset by days of hot, humid weather here, so the contrast to our time away is made even more obvious.  However as one of my fellow Christian Bloggers noted, every season exists for a purpose, and this too shall pass when You intend it to.

Anyways Father, no matter the weather conditions I always have a multitude of Blessings to give thanks for.  Such as…

151. Quiet back roads on which to travel to and from work each day.

152. Having the vast research resources of the Internet at my fingertips.

153. A safe drive home from our recent vacation.

154. A lovely dinner out with Shannon on her birthday.

155. Being able to attend the Meet & Greet last Sunday for Kay’s Kamp (Jonathan is SO excited).

156. Whispered challenges on my heart to Dig Deeper.

157. Time spent “Plugged into You”.

158. The perspective gained from visiting other churches.

159. Being a Father to two wonderful little boys.

160. Discussions about Scripture with fellow Christians that help me grow in Christ.

161. Having my children just give me a hug for no specific reason.

162. Quiet time to sit in the dark and read Your Word through YouVersion on my Nook Color.

163. Finding a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant with amazing BBQ.  🙂

164. Receiving my shipment of Pocket Gospels of John from The Pocket Testament League (

165. A good cappuccino after church on Sundays from The Young Bean.

Heavenly Father, thank You once again for all those Blessings you grant us, both those that are obvious and those that may go unseen.  As we Strive for full restoration in Your service, please open our eyes and hearts to better recognize the amazing gifts You bring to our lives each day.  Amen.

~Phather Phil

Digging Deeper…

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

You know Lord, I love it when You plant a seed in my heart and it drives me to seek out answers.  Such was the case with the Scripture verse I posted to my Facebook Wall today:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” – 2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)

But apparently You weren’t done with me on this one.  Over the following hours, the phrase “Strive for full restoration…” kept running through my head, over and over.  Finally, I decided to do some research on that particular expression in context and see where it led me.

Now Father, as You know I usually reference the New International Version (NIV) Bible as that’s the version that speaks to my heart most often.  However, when I run into a passage that churns in my head one of the first things I do is to compare it to other translations to see it from other perspectives.  In the case of this verse, the variance seems to be significant across translations… even in the case of the previous NIV (1984):

“Finally, brothers, good‑by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” – (NIV 1984)

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” – (KJV)

“Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice, set things right, be encouraged, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.” – (NET)

“And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.” – (MSG)

Wow… There’s obviously some differences there Lord.  Realizing that these translations stem from words that may not have an exact English equivalent, I then decided to dig deeper and see what the Biblical Scholars had to say on this phrase.  From what I found, it appears the original word was Καταρτιζεσθε, which according to Clarke’s Commentary converts to mean : “Be compact; get into joint again; let unity and harmony be restored”.  Other commentaries were similar, but the description that finally settled my heart was from Wesley’s Notes which stated : “Be perfect – Aspire to the highest degree of holiness.”.

Strive for full restoration…

I love seeing where Your whispers take me Father.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for making Your Presence known through these quiet instructions to my heart.  I pray that You continue to challenge me to dig deeper into Your Word, so as to bring my Walk even closer to Your side.  Amen.

~Phather Phil

Widening the Connection

Dear Lord; Happy Friday Father!

Well Father, we come again to the end of yet another work-week and I’ll admit to being excited this time.  Tomorrow morning, my family and I leave for a week’s vacation at Chestnut Grove Resort in the Pocono Mountains.  The kids love it there Lord, and I’ve found that it’s someplace that I can truly relax and spend quiet, meditative time in Your Presence.  As Internet connectivity is quite limited, I don’t expect to be able to post our conversations every day, but hope to be able to at least a couple times over the course of the week.  Funny enough, it makes perfect sense that in places where my connections to the world are more limited, my connection to You opens up wider.  🙂

In preparation for our time away, I spent some time yesterday picking out new books to read, and music to travel by.  For reading material (other than my trusty Bible App on my Android tablet), I have “Heaven is Real” written by Don Piper, and “Just Too Busy: Taking your Family on a Radical Sabbatical” by Joanne Kraft (Thanks so much Elaine!).  As for music, while my iPod is already quite loaded with inspiring songs, I just had to add the albums “Blessings” by Laura Story, and “On Fire” from Peter Furler to the mix.  Peter’s song “Reach” has been running through my head a lot the last couple weeks, so I’m excited to have the rest of his solo premier album to enjoy as well…

While we’re up there, we’ve also been invited by friends of ours to attend services at Pocono Community Church.  From what they tell us, it’s a wonderful House of Worship and we’re very much looking forward to hearing the Pastor’s message on Sunday morning.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for all the Blessings You’ve bestowed on us this week, and for Your abundant Presence in our lives each day.  I look forward with anticipation to spending communal time with You this coming week, and pray that You’ll keep us in Your Loving Embrace as we venture away from home.  Amen.

~Phather Phil

If You Prick Me…

Dear Lord; Happy Wednesday Father!

Today Father, my prayers are focused on my son Jonathan and my wife Shannon as they spend time at the A.I. Dupont Hospital for Children.  The appointment today wasn’t expected to be a big deal; simply an MRI with and without contrast to check and make sure that Jonathan’s LCH was still behaving itself.  As the scans were going to take a while and required Jonathan be perfectly still, the plan was to sedate him so that he could sleep through the process.  This seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea and after he’d been given some Versed to relax him a bit beforehand they got him ready for the procedure…

And then he saw the IV needle.  He was no longer relaxed.

Jonathan has a very serious fear of needles Father, and from what Shannon described he changed instantly from my gentle, loveable little boy into a raving, angry, terrified child.  In the end, they had to give him general anesthesia (gas) to get him under for the scans, requiring a longer stay at the hospital and leaving Shannon emotionally exhausted in the process.

Following the phone conversation with Shannon bringing me up to speed on the day’s events, I started thinking about the fear Jonathan must have been feeling at that moment.  His dread of needles has deep-seated roots, far beyond what he remembers.  As an infant, Jonathan’s disease and subsequent treatments required he be all too familiar with the prick of a needle.  And even though he’s not had to endure a large number of sticks since that time, there’s an underlying anxiety that grips him whenever he requires one.

So, how to address this fear with him Lord?  Well, if we examine Your Word there’s quite a bit of wisdom to draw on.  As I know Jonathan reads this Father, I’d like to use the rest of our time today to pass some of those thoughts along to him here if I may…

Dearest Jonathan,

“For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

Whatever pain, fear or trials we face in this life, we need not be afraid because God never leaves our side.  He’s stayed close to you all of your life, and seen you through amazing hardships.  When fear grips your heart and threatens to take control, I want you to close your eyes and feel God’s Hand firmly grasping yours.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

The Lord desires that we show our character and faith in him through acts of trust.  Courage isn’t the absence of fear Jonathan, it’s having fear and yet doing what you know is right with the knowledge that God will give you the strength to get you through when you lay those burdens at His feet.

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

We weren’t created to rely completely on our own strength Jonathan.  We get tired, and stressed, and scared.  Thankfully, we have our Heavenly Father to hold us up and provide us that “Holy Nudge” to get us through when we call on Him.  I see so much of God’s Light in you, and when you seek His help I know that you’ll find it in abundance.

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

I love you kiddo.


~Dad (Phather Phil)

Meditations Mon… Tuesday?

Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!

What a wonderful weekends’ respite that was Father!  I’m not usually a big fan of three-day-weekends as I tend to try to fit too much in, and end up more tired than usual.  This past several days however, we were Blessed to be able to spend time with family and friends, get some things done around the house, and yet still have ample time to rest and recuperate.  All-in-all, it was a lovely long weekend and I thank You for such Blessings in our lives.

Well Father, as yesterday was a holiday and I didn’t post our conversation to, I thought I’d fly in the face of convention and write a Meditations Monday article… On Tuesday.  I know Lord, I’m a rebel.  🙂

Today’s Scripture comes from the Book of Romans, Chapter 8.  In this passage, the Apostle Paul is discussing our suffering while here on Earth, and how we should be looking at it in the context of Your Plan:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.  For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” – Romans 8:18-21 (NIV)

This is a terribly important piece of Truth Father, and one that all of us overlook from time to time.  Our existence here is a season; temporary, and in the eternal scheme of things, brief.  And while the suffering, trials and tribulations we go through may seem overwhelming upon occasion, their magnitude and duration pales in comparison to the glory those who are one with Christ will receive when finally raised up in Your Kingdom.  Paul also emphasizes the passing nature of our Earthly problems in 2nd Corinthians where he states:

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV)

If we indeed view our trials here as “light and momentary”, and focus on the “eternal glory” that awaits those who persevere and preserve in the Love of Christ, then our burdens take on a completely different perspective… Through Your Eyes Lord.

Heavenly Father, as we begin this week’s endeavors I pray for Your guidance and assistance in assigning the proper level of importance to our burdens.  Please anchor our Spirits in Christ Jesus, and instill in our hearts a glimpse of the wonder and glory that is to come.  Amen.

~Phather Phil

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