Our airplane home last night from our trip to Missouri was a couple hours late taking off so we didn’t land in Portland until 1 am this morning. When we landed I asked Patty if she was awake enough to drive and she said that if she drove we would die, which was what I was thinking about me, so we stayed in a Motel in Portland and slept in until 9 am this morning! I don’t know what it is about getting older but it is so nice to get home now. It just feels so good to drive up the driveway, and see the house and the place, the world may be falling apart, but I am not to concerned because I am at home. My good feeling about being home reminded me of what Paul said in Phillipians 3:20, “our citizenship is in heaven”, this home is really not my home, my citizenship is in heaven. I am eager to go there and see all that there is to see, to get my glorified body, to see things as they really are, to see and talk to the Lord, incomprhensible is what it is.
I am sitting in the airport at Kansas City waiting to board our plane that was just announced to be 90 minutes late. Yikes, that will get us into Portland at Midnight. I hope there is still a shuttle running to the motel where our car is. Oh well, delays are part of life and my goal is to respond to all unexpected problems with a smile and good humor. It is fun sitting in an airport watching people. Lots of different people with lots of obvious different personalities. I wonder as I watch them how many love Jesus. Not many probably. People are generally very nice. They all have pressures and problems that they are quick to talk about if right questions are asked. I wish I had the power to fix them all. I wish I had the power to quickly convince them of God’s love for them. Oh well, I will do the best I can with the opportunities that are given to me by God and trust Him with the rest.
A New Testament statement that has controlled most of my life is in Ephesians 5:25, where it says Jesus loves the Church and gave His life for the Church. The Church is the “Body of Christ”, the Church is “The Bride of Christ”. We as people look at the church and see the sin, the flaws, the foibles, the disunity, but the church is still the Eternal Companion of Jesus, and He purchased her with His blood and is in the process of making her beautiful, without spot, wrinkle or blemish. I have devoted my life to serve the Lord by devoting my life to serve His Church. My love for my church is my love for Jesus, no more, no less, my devotion to my church is my devotion to Jesus, no more, no less, when I stand before Jesus at the end of my life at “The Judgment Seat of Christ” I will be rewarded with eternal rewards for what I have done with my life to make His Church healthy, and His Bride beautiful. Lord willing I have a few more years left to devote to Jefferson Baptist Church. Patty and I are in Missouri, and I have been speaking at another church. I texted 6 people tonight and asked how the service went tonight at JBC. The response was, “super good”. The feelings that I have in my heart sitting in a room at midnight reading those texts is like a proud father watching his son graduate from college. Thank You Lord for the priviledge of serving You by building Your Bride, and for the great sense of joy and fullfillment that I have at this moment in my life.
Hah, you thought maybe I was talking about modeling with my body! That is a scary thought😄. Actually what I am talking about is modeling with my life. Spiritual leaders are commanded by God to be an example to others on how to live life successfully. I want to do that, but it is tricky to be a good model for others, and do that with humility that doesn’t cause God to take away oprtunities or turn people off. To choose to hold myself up as a model takes a level of confidence and belief that how I live my life would benifit others if they would copy what I do. Choosing to be an example for others to copy is really the ultimate form of teaching. People learn so much quicker if they see the principle lived out as opposed to just hearing it taught. Finding the balance between humility and confidence in the process of leading and teaching others by example is essential. Several factors are important as I work at being a good example for others. The first is remembering that perfection is not required of models and perfection isn’t the the goal for those being modeled to. Personal growth in character and growth in relational skills is the requirement and the goal. I am growing and at the same time make mistakes and blow it, but I work at managing the mess ups so they turn into a reason for more growth in character. Choosing to be an example for others to follow has been one of the great motivators in my life to never be content with who I have become but to press on for greater growth and improvement so others can grow right along with me.
It is 10 pm and I am sitting in a motel in Portland with my beautiful wife, Patty. We are getting on an airplane in the morning, 6 am for Missouri where I am going to teach on how to have a great marriage and how to raise champions for Jesus. I am hoping that I sleep well on the airplane because I am feeling especially weary tonight. Not sure why. I enjoy these special assignments from God to go to other places and talk and teach about something that I am so passionate about in my own life. While we were raising our 8 kids I read every book written on the subject of raising kids, some two or three times and we both went to many seminars on raising good kids and having a good marriage. We were hungry for wisdom in an area we did not want to fail at. Now we are all done with the kid raising and our marriage has entered what some writers call the “afterglow”, that time when we are very comfortable with who we are and how we relate to and treat each other. I can’t remember the last time we had a tiff even a minor one. It is nice to be able to pass on the knowledge learned from books, seminars, and our own experience. Someone asked us about the difference between now and “then” in regards to raising kids and having a super marriage. My answer is that when we started there was an understanding that there was a definite right way and wrong way to do it, and if you wanted to know the right way look around and find someone who had done well and get their counsel. We did that. We drove 90 minutes once a week into Portland in the evening to get 30 minutes of counsel from a Dad who had 12 of the best behaved kids I had ever seen. He taught us the right way. Now most are of the opinion that there is no right or wrong or best way, whatever you think is right is OK, so we are seldom asked for advice or counsel, even from those who obviously need it badly. Just be sincere and do your best and somehow it will all turn out OK. If I went to a doctor for complicated surgery I would really like him to be more than sincere, I would like him to be incredibly skilled and knowledgeable. How important is a wonderful marriage and kids that are champions?
When the kids were little naps were part of their life and ours. Our day was scheduled around the kids need for naps. When they all outgrew their need for naps we had so much more flexibility in our schedules. Now I have reverted to childish ways, I need a nap everyday in order to function well. I don’t always get one but when I do there is a noticeable increase in energy, creativity, and positive attitude. Part of the problem is with my Parkinson’s disease I can’t sleep more than 5 hours without getting super stiff and immobile, so I get up after 5 hours and then take 1 hour nap later in the day. Works pretty good, and I feel soooooo good after my nap. I usually take my nap in my recliner next to the wood stove after I have done some reading in my Bible. Wasn’t that long ago that if I took a nap I would feel like a lazy sluggard, now I feel like a blessed man! Interesting how things change as life progresses. I can’t wait until I get to heaven.
Some things are a puzzle. They are difficult to understand. Prayer is one of those things. It is supernaturally fulfilling for me. I feel so close to God, and so in tune with His will for my life after spending 8 hours praying with other believers as I did today. As I sit in my chair tonight thinking about today, I have this euphoric sense of peace, joy, and spirituality that is so amazing. On the other hand prayer as I experienced it today is very hard work. I don’t move much or think that hard so I wonder why a day like today is so absolutely exhausting to me. That is the puzzle part for me. On one hand I would love to have another great day like today with God, but I am also thinking as I sit here, boy it would be so nice to sleep in tomorrow and rest up from today. The Apostle Paul referred to a man named Epaphras “always laboring earnestly for you in His prayers” in Colosians 4:12. I think I understand that verse now. “Laboring earnestly in Prayer”, wow what a statement. I have done that today and I believe it will make a huge difference in lives for all eternity.