Thought For Today

I am so glad that you have found this site and I hope you will find encouragement and joy as you read through my thoughts on God, family and life.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Acts of Love

F-15 or Star Fighter

Imperial Walker
Abby's aircraft and friends!
Will now just 10 and Abby 7, have been building legos for his mama and I to play with before they went to bed for some time. Will, when he was around 5, told us, "I am building them because I do not want you and mommy to be lonely while Abby and I sleep. It will give you both something to play with!" Last night the ritual continues now with Abby as well. Will built an F15 that changes into a transformer, he also built an Imperial Walker, and Abby built her little flyer with friends. Our hearts are so warmed by their acts of love put into these special inventions of creativity. Children are so wonderful!  God is so good!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fresh Clothes

God gives us a new day, a day to start over.  As a child do you remember when your mom washed your clothes and they smelled so fresh.  They felt warm all over, and fun to wear.  At the end of the day though, you were glad to shed them in exchange for clean pajamas.  Each time you changed clothes, it was as if you were starting fresh again, and with that change, it made you ready to meet the challenge before you.
Daddy helping son.  Stephen and Nathanial Porter
When God forgives us of our sins, in many ways it is like a fresh change of clothes.  We feel his forgiving arms wrapping all around us and he is telling us, it is time to begin anew my child.

Monday, January 21, 2013

How do we know God's leading?

How do we know God’s leading?

There is a story going around for years now.  It is of a particular man who is caught in a flood.  He has to go on the roof of his house in order to avoid being washed away by the rising floodwaters.  In his desperation, he asks God to help him.  Shortly after praying, a man in a boat comes by and asks if he would like to get in and go to safety.  The man politely declines his offer and the man goes on to help others in need.  The water continues to rise and the man is getting a little nervous as he climbs further up on his roof.  He then pleads to God for help once again.  As before, a boat soon arrives with two men in it and they ask him to get in.  This time as before, the man on the roof declines and so the boat leaves with these gentlemen shaking their heads, as they recede into the distance into the raging waters.  The man again pleads for God to help him, and seeing the water is almost upon him climbs to the top of his roof.  As twice before, a third boat with help arrives.  Once again the man declines the offer and soon he finds that the water has reached his feet and so jumps into the raging current trying desperately to reach shore.  He almost makes it, but finds that he has no strength to go farther, and so he drowns.  Standing before Jesus the man is upset that his prayers were not answered, and that he lost his life as well.  Jesus gently touches him on the shoulder and tells him that he sent three boats to rescue him, but he refused them all.  The man sits there in disbelief at that point.  Jesus then looks at him and continues, “You wanted me to save you and your house, but I chose to go another direction by sending the boats to rescue only you.  My son, you wanted me to work, as you believed that I should have done, not as I wanted you to do.  I desire that you walk by faith and listen to my voice.  This means that I desire for you to step out in faith and trust in my leadings.  Sometimes you will not have the whole picture before you, but I will give to signposts along the way.”

Jonah in the Old Testament (Book of Jonah) was told by God to go and preach salvation to the people of Nineveh.  Jonah hated these people and so went the other direction rather than obeying God’s directives.  God brought storms into his life on the sea and eventually he was thrown overboard.  Jonah was then swallowed by a whale and brought back to do the job God had for him. Jonah still believed that God would destroy the Ninevites after he preached repentance to them, but as we all know, it did not happen.  In the end when salvation was preached to the Ninevites, they accepted Jonah’s words and turned their lives around.  Jonah was upset by this and lived in unrest because of his belief that God should have worked in the way that he (Jonah) believed God should have done. 

I remember an old saying, “ A person must pray for God’s leading, but he must be moving for God to lead.”  In other words, a boat in the harbor cannot use its sail if it is anchored to the shore, it must be in the midst of the wind for it to work as it was designed to do.  One person once asked me, "A boat can appear to be safe in the harbor when a storm rages out at sea, but is that always true?"  
Last week Will and I were watching film footage of the title wave that hit Japan not to long ago.  The camera was facing the ship’s harbor, and as the water rose over the protective walls, the ships anchored there were washed inland and damaged severely.  If they had been out to sea facing the oncoming rush of water, it appeared that they would have survived easily. 

Sometimes we seek the safety of the things around us and ask for God’s leading, but don’t want to leave the security of our familiar settings.  While at other times we box God in by asking him to perform a certain way for a definite sign of his leading.  Maybe feeling at the time, that it is a sure way we are traveling in the right direction that he has chosen for us.  Perhaps though, God wants us to act on faith, and trust that the leading he has given us by the people he brings our way is enough for us to launch our boat out into the storm by faith alone.  There is no certainty in going this direction, and sometimes our fears tell us to stay put, but on the other hand, by stepping out in faith we find that it is the safest place to be, in God’s hands.  This then is the essence of faith, trust in the midst of uncertainty.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My son Will. He is 10 today.

Will inspecting the little berries he found.
Enjoying the Mississippi.

Today we celebrate my son’s (William) birthday.  He is 10 years old.  A couple of years earlier before Will was born, we tried to have our first baby and lost it several months into the pregnancy.  It was a great loss for us. We both wanted to have a family with happy children running around us.  At the time, I worked with troubled youth in school and knew how difficult parenting was for so many.  This only instilled in me the desire to have my own children. 

Anne still gently kids me about when we first dated in how I asked her almost immediately, “Do you like children?”  Now we are on our 14th year of marriage and I still have not changed, I still love children.  Will and Abby have blessed us so very much and I couldn't imagine what life was like before having them. 

Will being made honorary Captain at Disney World.
Will is a person who weighs his actions before making them, while his sister on the other hand is a dynamo of energy.  Even though they are opposites, they get along surprisingly well.  Will watches out for his little sister by taking her hand when walking in a busy store or parking lot, while Abby adores her older brother.  Anything that Will does no sooner than the dust settles, Abby is trying it out as well.  She looks up to her older brother with respect, but does not want to get left behind when he is trying something new.  Will on the other hand is patient with his little sister and helps her out every chance he gets.  They both have their mother’s gentle heart and Will has his mother’s patience.  For that, I am forever grateful. 
Having fun with his uncles.
My memories go back to what seems only yesterday when Will and I were building Eyore houses made from fallen sticks.  We would sit on a grassy spot under a tree not to far from the railroad tracks and wait for “Salty” to come by, or one of the Thomas the Tank Engines.  For myself, as Will’s father, I love him more than I can say.  He is the son that a father could not be more proud of.  He helps me in many of the jobs that I do, cutting and gathering firewood to that of helping grandma and grandpa with their groceries.  He earns an allowance for his special things that he wants, (iPod) etc., and our hope is to teach him about the value of labor and how important it is to take care of the things that he has.  We desire to place in Will as well, the understanding that objects are just that, they cannot take the place of relationships.  Most of all, we as his parents want to instill in him a deep desire to love and follow Jesus Christ. 

Contemplative Will!
On the carousel having fun.
Happy birthday son!  I will never tire of telling you how much I love you!
Abby and Will exploring the enchanted forest nearby.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Short Message of Peace

We sometimes become very busy in our everyday affairs.  Taking the day off seems impossible.  But there are times during our hectic days that allow for us walk away, and to look at something beautiful nearby.  It then gives us pause to collect ourselves enough to go into the fray once again. May your hearts be filled with God's peace today!
Sometimes when getting away from a place is impossible, I visit in my mind a location that has brought me peace and serenity.  It allows me to refocus and perhaps when needed, regain my composure.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Our Wonderful Animal World

Pretty much each day I let our cat (Toby) out for her daily morning constitution, and as well; a sundry of other events that need to be accomplished in her journey of discovery.  On one such day, after leaving the front door, I passed by the windows with a view to our meadow.  I looked out and saw the squirrels that were eating the bird feed that had dropped on to the ground; they were quickly scurrying away into the forest.  It then registered with me why this was happening.  Our cat was encroaching onto their territory.  In thinking about this for a moment, I recalled that the pecking order of God’s creatures is that the larger the animal gets, the more freedom it has to go where it wants to without reservation, while the smaller creatures are in constant watch for danger.

Once in awhile though, I have noticed that caution is thrown into the wind by one of these little animals.  Their purpose is varied according to the situation though.  I have seen a wren chase away our cat when Toby was getting to near its nest, while at other times Toby has been known to catch a bird in mid flight.  At that point I find myself trying desperately to free the creature from the jaws of death. For better or worse, I might add that I have a 50% success rate.  

The tenacity of God’s creatures is amazing to watch as they scurry to and fro each day.  It is like watching a menagerie of life unfolding before one’s eyes when viewing these events taking place day after day. 

For us as humans, we interact seldom with the wildlife around us.  Though there are moments when our two worlds come together, perhaps even collide at times.  Some of the events though are found to be rather humorous.  I recall one day while shelling corn in my uncle’s corncrib, I noticed hundreds of mice scurrying for their lives as the corn avalanched into the drag line below.  Some would even climb up inside our pant legs in their desperate plight for freedom.  It was not uncommon to see a family member jumping around like they were dancing in some competition (myself included.)  It looked rather ridiculous to see this event-taking place, but through these efforts at dance, it secured one’s ability to keep on working without having visitors to the underworld of darkness where rodents were forbidden. 

During one of these events in shelling corn, I observed some strange behavior of that of my pigs that I was raising in the feedlot that bordered the corncrib.  I noticed that they had their mouths gaping and were catching falling mice, who were unfortunate enough to make an unscheduled visit to their domain.  Pigs being very smart realized that they could not catch the little rodents on the cement floor, so they began waiting with mouths gaping as the pigs followed the mice running along the slanted siding above them.  When a mouse was unfortunate enough to loose it’s footing, waiting below for them was a swine greeting committee.  They almost seemed to be cheering the mice on by their oinks and grunts.

There are those moments in time though that we cannot forget.  Once while visiting a zoo in Texas, we stood watching the majestic alligator moving two and fro in the water below.  After reveling over its terrible jaws and stealth, my brother-in-law (Stephen) decided to depart a bit of wisdom to my son.  “See that sign over there William?”  Collectively we all looked over to the direction that Stephen was leading us.  The sign read, “Do not throw coins into the water, they can kill the alligators!”  At that point my brother-in-law knelt down by my son and said, “If you find yourself in the Amazon river and surrounded by alligators, throw them a coin, it may save your life!”
I cannot help but wonder if God, at times looks down on us with a smile upon his face, that is, during those humorous encounters that we have with the animals of his world. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

By Their Fruits

By Their Fruits
 Very early this morning my son came up to our bedroom while it was still very dark.  He said that he was having a dream that was bothering him. I let Will have my spot in bed thinking he could then sleep feeling comforted next to his mother. What happened next surprised me out of my sleepiness.   Anne at that time, for some unknown reason got out of bed, and then proceeded to go downstairs.  I caught up with her half way down the steps.  She quickly turned noticing that I was behind her, and asked me if I had remembered to get Abby’s tooth under her pillow.  I had told her that I had not.  She then went down to Abby’s room while I frantically wrote a note to Abby from the tooth fairy.  I then went down stairs to her room.  Upon arriving at Abby’s doorway, I noticed that she just was starting to awaken, and looking over to the other side of the Abby’s bed, I could barely see through the darkness to where Anne was lying.  I was afraid that Abby had found her tooth and realized that the tooth fairy did indeed not care to visit her last night.  My eyes had at that moment adjusted to the dark and I could see a dollar bill near Abby’s head.  I quickly slipped it under the pillow with a note that I had just written.  Abby then got up and asked it I had seen the dollar that she obviously had noticed before I had arrived.  I told her, "It must be here somewhere.She frantically looked under the pillow and found both the note and the dollar bill.  She was so excited that she wanted to read the note immediately.  Anne then asked me to read it to her.  I went into the bathroom and under the light I read it out loud.  Abby became very excited at that moment.  I next told her that I heard something upstairs earlier, and Abby responded by telling me that she too had just heard fairy wings by her ears a few minutes ago, and that it must have been the tooth fairy that woke us both up.  I agreed, and at that moment, a hidden hand from behind Abby slowly slipped into my mine a tooth wrapped very carefully in tissue paper.  A very deep tragedy at that moment was averted!

Morning outside our window.
Later when getting up, I read from the Bible in Matthew 7.   It was telling me that we would know a person by their fruits that they display.  I thought to myself, “That it was true indeed, we can know a person by their fruits!”  Another thought then occurred to me, “ How is it different from that of judging another?”  After pondering this question for some time, I came to realize that fruit inspectors when looking at their harvest, check very carefully for top grade fruits before sending them on to the consumers.  Bad fruit on the other hand are left on the ground to be used as fertilizer for the growth of future good fruit.

So what is the difference between judging and being a fruit inspector?  Those that criticize and speak badly of others are judging them.  Contrary to this, the desire to help the person who is going down the wrong path is the person we find as a fruit inspector.  He prays for those that display sinful ways, and he also realizes his own humanity and propensity for sin.  Fruit inspectors as well, seek God for help, realizing that they themselves, and others  “all” have a fallen nature and have failed in reaching God’s expectations, and hence need the Savior’s help.