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It’s been a good week; and today, Father’s Day, was a good day from my vantage point.

The last couple of weeks have been something else yet again –

  • Lunch with Karl, the young man who loves my daughter more than anything in this world (his words) and wanted my permission to ask her to marry him. You KNOW I said yes — he’s a young champion and loves the Lord.
  • Brief consideration of a job-shift; the Lord said “don’t” and I took myself out of the running.
  • Our daughter’s engagement and the whirlwind of activity that’s followed
  • Medical tests for my wife
  • Serious septic system concerns the day before her tests
  • The company I work for announcing it missed first-quarter projected income by a mere $100 million
  • A sudden upswing in one ministry venue, almost overwhelming in some respects
  • Slipping behind in another
  • Watching the weeds grow and play unsupervised in my flower beds. I imagine them snickering to themselves “Grow ahead – he’s busy”

(You see now why Isaiah 40.31 came to mind?)

So as Father’s Day approached I decided

  • I am GOING to rest and relax, enjoy the day.
  • I am NOT going to work – not at all. Though I could -perhaps should- to get caught up.
  • I’m serving Sunday morning in my Technical Director post and I’m going to bring my very best to my Lord and Savior – all morning.

Friday night at dinner Brenda asked me if Father’s Day would be difficult for me. I had to acknowledge that it wouldn’t be. Not at all.

  • Dad’s been in Glory since 2002, and we visited Dad and Mom at their house in New Mexico on Father’s Day before he was diagnosed with glioblastoma a couple of weeks later. I’m thankful for those memories; I’ve no regrets.
  • Dad left us a legacy many can hardly imagine, much less enjoy. I’m a privileged man and I’ll never forget that I am.
  • Our kids are walking with the Lord, and enjoy being around us (wasn’t always so!).
  • The Lord is providing for our needs.
  • Fathering is challenging now but not at all frustrating.
  • No, this would be a good Father’s Day, not a difficult one.

So I awoke early, as usual, sipped coffee and reflected as the day began and the sun came up over the horizon. I thanked the Lord for all He gave me in the person and life-ministry of my dad, and for the things I picked up from him through the years. He wasn’t perfect; none of us are. (The only one who WAS perfect, they crucified.) But Dad taught me truckloads as I grew up. He prayed for me faithfully (Mom’s prayers continue), went to great lengths to enjoy his kids and grand-kids, and served the Lord faithfully to the end.

About twenty minutes before it was time to leave for church, while I watered my flowers in anticipation of today’s 90-degree high, a duet came to mind Dad and Mom used to sing together. The words to two of the verses came quickly and easily, the other I had to look up. I’ve been humming it to myself much of today.

What God Hath Promised [–the duet lines are easy to hear in this instrumental version–]

God hath not promised skies always blue
Flower strewn pathways, all our lives through;
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

-=-=-=-

God hath not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptations, trouble and woe;
He hath not told us we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

-=-=-=-

God hath not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river turbid and deep.

But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labour, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing kindness, undying love.

—Words: Annie J. Flint – 1919; Music: Alfred W Smith —

It was a GOOD day in the Lord’s house and with His people today. A VERY good day. As a result of the message I’ve determined before God to ratchet up the strategy for my life and ministry. I’m very confident the things I’m targeting are the things God has brought to mind and burdened me for in answer to my prayers. I know better than anyone that mature responsibility puts excellent stewardship practices to work to move myself toward those things. I need —and it’s time— to invest my personal resources for God’s glory more heavily than at any time in my life; all I can afford, to the max. Sure there are risks. But the rewards will be worth it. I’m determined I want to hear His “Well-DONE, Phil!” I don’t want it to sound like the “congratulations” district superintendents say to hundreds of graduating seniors at commencement every year. I want Him to look me in the eye, knowing the details of my all struggles and victories, my failures and successes, my dreams and aspirations and say it to me —personally— “Well DONE!” I’m praying about what He might want me to change and adjust so I can go after it with all I have, for His honor. It wasn’t a tearful, earth-moving decision, more of a cognitive, I-will determination. And I will. God deserves nothing less than my best and I sensed him calling for more today. It’s His.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat on our way home from church. I looked forward to a restful afternoon, and that it was. Jared and I visited in the front room for a while, his strumming and guitar ad-libs the music bed under our conversation. Brenda and I sat on the front porch and talked, noticing classic cars when they drove by, and there were some beauties today. I took a short nap in the hammock out back (can’t remember the last time I napped in the afternoon). About 6:30 Bethany and Karl (our future son-in-law!) came over for dinner and we enjoyed grilled marinated chicken breasts, strawberry/spinach/pecan salad, five-cup salad (a favorite of mine) and baked potatoes. After dinner we built a fire in the fire-bowl out back and enjoyed custard, conversation and lots of laughter until nearly nine-o’clock. I couldn’t have written a better script for today.

The sun’s gone to bed now, I’m sitting and enjoying the quiet of the late evening, and today’s song has come to mind again. You probably need to be at least 40 or 50 to recall this song, but the text is wonderful. Consider it again and enjoy. (Ms. Flint wrote another old gospel hymn text I appreciate, “He Giveth More Grace”)

I hope your Father’s Day was as wonderful as mine. It was a gift from above, no doubt about it, and I’m thankful tonight. Very thankful.

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