May 16, 2013
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
For the last month or so Father, I’ve been having “rumblings” in my heart telling me that I’m not seeing You as completely as I should; that although in my joy-filled moments I sing to You in praise and in my times of trial I cry out to You for help, during those “in-between” periods I fail to recognize Your loving hand in my life more often than not…
My eyes see the world, but stare blindly past the “burning bushes” all around me.
And as I contemplated this the other night Lord, and prayed for Your guidance to help me see through clearer eyes, You laid it on my heart…
Ouch… It has been a while…
But I get it Father.
While I certainly try to remember to thank You when I recognize a Blessing in my life, the exercise of spending dedicated time thinking about the past week’s events and writing out some of the less “obvious” signs of Your presence is a powerful tool in my walk of faith.
It places my heart in a state of gratitude, and directs my mind to seek Your light in my daily life.
Therefore Father, I present You with this week’s contribution to my continuing “Thankful Thursday” list of Blessings. And while no list could ever adequately express the vast array of miracles you place in my path each day, today I am especially grateful for:
631. Your protection, comfort and strength given to Shannon as she underwent a surgical procedure last week.
632. Finding wonderful DIY patio furniture plans on Pinterest.
633. Seeing Your influence in the “Letters to God” written by the kids in my Sunday School Class.
634. Your comforting embrace when my world feels shaken, and I allow uncertainty to grip my heart.
635. The time spent with Shannon and Lisa redesigning and rebuilding our backyard space.
636. The persistence You have in getting Your messages through to my heart.
637. The opportunity to join two wonderful young people in the union of marriage last weekend.
638. A beautiful Mother’s Day spent with Shannon, Lisa and the boys.
639. The assistance of a close friend in getting lighting installed in our outdoor bar.
640. The opportunity to minister to a dear friend who’s going through a difficult time.
641. A fun-filled evening with good food and wonderful friends to open our newly-redone backyard deck and patio spaces.
642. The new contact lenses I’m wearing that allow me to keep them in for a whole month before changing them.
643. Evenings curled up on the couch watching TV with the people I love.
644. Having excellent auto insurance coverage which helps pay bills following Shannon’s accident.
645. All those “burning bushes” in my life which I fail to recognize.
And so very much more Lord…
For it’s in Your precious name I pray,
Mar 2, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Friday Father!
Today Lord, You’ve led me to repost an article I wrote on this date last year about remembering the life of a truly wonderful author on the anniversary of his birth. His works have touched countless lives including those of mine and my children, and I’m honored to again share this tribute.
Father, today marks the birth of someone who greatly influenced my early years, as well as the lives of many other children throughout the world. And while he’s no longer with us here, the legacy he left behind continues to inspire, educate and delight those who read his works. I’m of course speaking of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known by his pen name of Dr. Seuss.
While he made a point of not speaking to any one religion or group in his writings, his messages of tolerance, understanding and peace were obvious and recurring themes in the books he wrote. Through whimsical characters, engaging stories and tongue-twisting rhymes he made learning fun while passing along the underlying positive messages to his young audience. Even as an adult, I still get a smile reading his stories.
The one published exception to his self-imposed rule of not writing works with obvious religious connotations came in a full-page, full-color article in the December 23, 1955 issue of Collier’s Magazine, where he wrote “A Prayer for a Child”* :
“From here on earth,
From my small place
I ask of You
Way out in space:
Please tell all men
In every land
What You and I
Both understand . . .
Please tell all men
That Peace is Good.
That need be understood
In every world
In Your great sky.
Both You and I.)” – Theodor Seuss Geisel
Heavenly Father, thank You for the gifts this man brought to me and to so many other children. While his words may not specifically carry Your name, Your Light shone brightly through his works all the same. Amen.
*The poem and image used are Trademark and Copyright of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.
Feb 14, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Valentine’s Day Father!
Today Father, much of the world’s attention turns to “all things love” as we celebrate Valentine’s Day. And yet, while the greeting card, candy and jewelry companies would like us to spend our time and money focusing on the romantic and tangible side of our affections, I choose instead to take this time to reflect on those aspects of love in my life that touch me most deeply:
The amazing, intimate bond I have with my wonderful wife, Shannon…
The powerful sense of care and commitment I have for my children…
The deep, very personal relationships I’ve established with a few close friends…
And the overwhelming, transformational and ever-deepening connection I have with my Lord and Savior.
Such wondrous examples of Your love for me Father; such astounding Blessings in my life.
Thank You Lord;
For seeding Your love in me,
For seeking me through my brokenness,
For reminding me that I’m Your Beloved Child,
And that above all else,
You love me; perfectly and completely.
I’m Yours Father. 🙂
Feb 7, 2012
Dear Lord; Happy Tuesday Father!
When I was little, one of my favorite Bible stories was that of Daniel in the lion’s den. The Children’s Bible I read it from contained some beautiful illustrations and a wonderful translation of Daniel’s “adventure”, and I found myself returning to it often.
Yesterday Lord, my morning Scripture readings led me once again to the book of Daniel, chapter 6:
“Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” – Daniel 6:16-23 (ESV)
Now Father, when I read this as a young boy, the amazement this story inspired was mostly directed at the Angel’s presence in that den; Your benevolent power protecting Daniel’s life. When I read the passage now however, I’m struck by the powerful truth of Daniel’s trial in that den…
When we lay our faith and trust in You, You’ll always be by our side.
I know I’ll be beset with trouble in my life Lord
And things may not go the way I expect or desire,
But I give myself to You Father… wholly and faithfully
And lay my life at Your tender mercies.
Thank You Lord,
For protecting me from the lions.
Dec 29, 2011
Dear Lord; Happy Thankful Thursday Father!
Today Father, we come to the final Thankful Thursday edition of PhatherPhil.org for this calendar year. When I began this recurring post 31 weeks ago (whew!), I honestly never expected the profound impact it would have on me, or that it would draw me so much closer to You in the process.
As I sit down each week to write out my list Lord, my mind drifts back over the past seven days; revisiting those moments that left their marks on my heart. What I’ve found in doing so Father, is that even in those situations where things don’t seem to go my way, when I look closely enough, Your Blessings pour out nonetheless. That little shift in vision Lord, has been a major Blessing all by itself. I still have struggles and times that tax my strength, but when I look through my “Thankful Thursday Goggles”, I’m much more able to place those moments in their proper light. It’s been an eye-opening experience so far Lord, and I can’t wait to see what Blessings You’ll reveal to me in the coming year.
Therefore Father, to close out the year on a joyful note, this past week I’ve been especially grateful for:
466. Time spent alone with Shannon last Friday afternoon and evening.
467. Google Music which allows me to listen to my music on all my devices, anywhere, at any time.
468. The pain relief provided by our heating pad last night.
469. Hickory Farms New York Cheddar Spread (Used to be called Chutter).
470. That when my stubbornness blinds me to common sense, my wonderful wife Shannon “nudges” me back on track.
471. The Living Water that satisfies my spiritual thirst.
472. Having three days off over Christmas spent with those I love.
473. A beautiful candlelight Christmas Eve service at Ewell’s-St. Paul UMC.
474. Andes Mint Cookies.
475. Sharing the celebration of Jesus’ birth with friends.
476. An inspiring guest post on Tuesday by Jean Wise from Healthy Spirituality.
477. That the stabbing pains I had in my lower back yesterday have settled down today.
478. Seeing the expressions of wonder and joy on my children’s faces Christmas morning.
479. The opportunity to support other local ministries.
480. The trust of a good friend.
We thank You Lord, for gracing us with such a multitude of Blessings this past year. As we start anew in 2012, please clear our eyes to reveal Your gifts in all circumstances; both those that lift our hearts in song, and those in which Your Blessings may be masked within our trials.
In Jesus’ Name we pray,