Archive for March, 2009

Rear View Mirror Predictions

There was a time in my past that I began tongue in cheek to make ridiculous predictions for my coworkers just before the end of the year. You know, the kind that would predict that Jim would accidently breed a new type of rice that when eaten would extend life for several years, Jim becomes a millionaire over night and retires never to be seen around here again.

The predictions were always over the top and not likely to ever happen.

I always started the predictions by stating that I would receive my insights by looking in the rear view mirror of a car. Since my success rate was somewhere south of never happening, I would change the type of rear view mirror I would concentrate on. One year it was the rear view mirror of a 57 Chevy, the next it might be that of a Lincoln Town Car parked on the side of a funeral home, you get the picture.
The fact that my predictions NEVER came true didn’t seem to matter to my coworkers. They loved to get them in their email and would act a little miffed if for some reason I did not have a prediction for them.

It was a good time in my life and I have good memories of the people I worked with.

As I was thinking about those predictions, I began to think about why I chose the rear view mirror as the fictional place of my inspiration. Why not a crystal ball, or a deck of cards, or even the mayonnaise jar under the porch of Funk and Wagnalls? Why the rear view mirror?

It appears to me that a rear view mirror is just about the last place you would want to look to find the future, but isn’t that what most of us do every day?

Aren’t we often so tied up in the past that we can’t find the future much less see it? We get all involved in reliving our mistakes, in hopes we won’t repeat them and go through the pain again.

As parents, especially fathers, we make mistakes and we never move any further in our relationships with our spouse, our children, or our friends. We analyze the situation that lead up to the mistake, our actions, the people involved, our own intent, and on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe we need to learn from our mistakes. Once infracted, we should endeavor to never let it happen again.

Our problem exists in our view. If we ever get in a car and begin to drive down the road but we never look anywhere but in the rear view mirror, we are destine to make even bigger mistakes than we have ever made in the past. If we concentrate on the vision in the rear view mirror, we will never arrive at the future.

Without a future we have no hope. Without hope, we have no reason to live. God has given us a windshield to give us hope.

Parents, we have God given memories of our past, so we can help our children navigate through the streets of the present and to help us understand the impact of the pot holes that would swallow us up and prevent us from reaching the future , He has promised us.

We must use the rear view mirror to glance at; not to be the major means of navigation. For that we are given the whole windshield before us. Sure there will be the occasional bug that will smash into it, and we will be required to clean it once in a while, but through it we can see our future.

The windshield gives us a clear view of the world before us. We can see potential bends, hills and speed bumps. We can see the beauty of the country side. We can see others who are on the same journey as us.

As fathers, we must look through the windshield. We have a family to care for and protect. We must clearly chart the direction we are going so none of our family is lost along the way. We must take our eyes off the rear view mirror before we plow over someone or something that we can never replace.

The choice is ours, we can look through the windshield and be expectant of a bright and sure future, or we can continue to try different rear view mirrors and make predictions that can NEVER come true.

En servicio como padre


A Father’s Provision

I have been receiving a great deal of email and prayer requests from this blog lately.  It seems to me that many of God’s people are under attack in many ways more than they have been in past years.

Given what I have seen and the prayers, Marsha and I have been raising up for many of my readers, I thought it might be helpfull to revisit a post from last year.  Entitled simply “Provision”, it seems this post is relevant to where many are today.

Please keep in mind that God is the provision for all of our needs:


As I was reading the Lords Prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13, I was struck by verse 11.  In this verse it says “Give us this day our daily bread”.  I began to think about my greatest fears as a father.  High on the list is that, as a father, I would lack in the area of provision for my family.  I can’t think of anything that is more degrading than for it to be said “he was not a good provider”. 

The world today, is full of judgments.  We see it in our work environment, in our childrens sports events, in our church services, everywhere we turn.   We have become a society of judges.  Gary Carpenter, in his lesson “Distinguishing Provision From Stewardship” relates the following: “The Holy Spirit reminded me of my paternal grandfather’s farm and how each of the sons and daughters had work to do every day as “their assignment,” their “contribution” toward the common goal of “reaping a harvest.” All of the children knew that the harvest belonged to grandfather. None of them had the mindset that the harvest, even a portion of it, belonged to them personally.

However, they also knew that when the dinner bell rang every night, they each got to sit and dine from grandfather’s table not because they had “served him well that day,” but rather because they were grandfather’s children. Grandfather expected them to eat from his table until they were full. Their provision was not proportioned to them based on their “performance” that day on the farm.  No, they were expected to take all they wanted from his table simply because they were his children.”

Who among us would hold back, from our children, any part of what we need to survive because they didn’t work as hard or as long as we thought they should? 

Provision in this form is a military term which has to do with a supply of food or other necessary items.  These items are stored up and used as necessary to maintain the ability of the troops to do battle.  When the provisions get a little low, supplies must be brought in so the troops will not fail for lack of provision.

 This is the part where fathers begin to break into a cold sweat.  We think that if our supply lines are ever cut, we will be marked for all eternity as a poor provider.  What we fail to realize is that it isn’t about creating something to replenish the provisions, it is about knowing where to go to assure there is a steady and sure supply line to our provision.

We try to make it about us.  We make it personal.  We fear we will be labeled a failure.  In reality it is about how we assess our situation and communicate it to the person who can deliver it to our storehouse. 

Fatherhood is an art.  It takes practice and sometimes failure to be be great.  The art is in knowing that provision is always there. The application comes in trusting God for all our provision.

 En servicio como padre


Have I Loved Them Enough?

Today, as I was mowing my lawn, I began to think about my children. Each is so different from the other, no two of them the same. Each child given unique talents, unique looks, and unique heart. Each one finding success in a different and unique way.

As I thought about each of them I realized I loved them with all that I have. I would do anything for each of them. I know, if I needed to, I would put my life up to protect them. The depth of my love for each of them is yet untested, even though I have loved them for such a long time.

It’s really all I have to give each of them. I have a home on some property. I have a small amount of money they will inherit when I pass on to be with my Father and my fathers who have gone on before me. But these things will stay here on this earth and will be subject to the corrosion of time, and the gyrations of the world economy. They will end or lose the power to comfort and bring peace to my children.

As I think about my children, I remember my father and mother. I was one of eight children, and my parents worked hard every day to provide food, shelter, clothing, and transportation for each of us. As I grew older and moved into adulthood, my parents also grew older and both passed on before me.

All that my parents worked for was divided and distributed to all of my brothers, sisters, and me. This was a small amount and, although all they had, it didn’t make a difference in my standard of living. It would not sustain me and my family for very long if it was all I had. It was not the physical things they left behind that were most important to me. It was the Love they put into me, and my siblings, every day of my life while they were alive.

It is my parent’s love that has given me riches greater than I could ever imagine. I knew that the love of my father and mother was so great that they would put their lives on the line to protect me.

I pray my children know how much I love them. Have I told them often enough? Have I showed them through my actions and my words?

As I have said many times, I have learned that the greatest Father of all time is the God that I serve. He has provided every physical thing that I enjoy today. He has provided every thing I use to support my family. He would not and does not withhold anything from me. He has held up and given up his life for me. It is His love that I try to emulate and pass on to those around me.

As I think about my children, I know I have loved them. I know they know I love them. I try to be transparent in my love to them.

I ask myself, “have I loved them enough”?

Only time will tell.

En servicio como padre

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