You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2009.

1 Paul,a slave of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect  and the knowledge of the truth that leads  to godliness,  2 in the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,  3 and has in His own time revealed His message  in the proclamation that I was entrusted with by the command  of God our Savior:

4 To Titus,  my true child  in our common faith.

Titus 1:1-4

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Dear Sam, Ben and Tyler,

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. I think it is important for you to know that upfront. I am your Dad and sometimes you can only see the sides of me that I want you to see. But I am not the man I always seem to be. Sometimes when I look the most together, I am actually falling apart inside. Other times when I appear calm on the exterior, fear and shame are gripping coldly to my soul.

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. I can not sing, I can not speak eloquently, I most likely will never hold an important office, I will not be rich and famous, I can not play basketball, softball or baseball as good as the other dads do. I am not the athlete type. I do not always work with enthusiam and at times I am downright lazy and wallow in procrastination. My brain can be scattered in one hundred directions or so finely focused that I forget the other things in my life.

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. This may seem like a weird thing to say. No one likes to admit their weaknesses, especially to their own children. Just like any other Dad, I want to be your hero. I want to be the guy that you can count on and that you always know will be there for you no matter what. I want you to know that my love is unconditional and flawless for you. I want you to see home as the place that love becomes a reality and fear, failure and regrets are left on the front doormat along with the mud from your shoes.

I want to write you and let you know that I am not perfect. And even though I am not perfect, I know the One who is. He is my heavenly father. All my faults find perfection in him. My weaknesses show His strength. My stubborness shows His patience. My tiredness shows His strength and power. My frustrations shows His perfect plans. My damaging actions show His healing responses.

So I want you to know up front that I am not perfect and never will be. I want you to know that I am a mere reflection of the heavenly Father. I am here to be your guide and mentor but ultimately He is the one who will best call you child, son or daughter. You are His, just as I am. It pains me somewhat to say that. To come to the realization that you belong more to Him than to me. Yet you are His.

Dear Sam, Ben and Tyler know that my prayers for you are groanings to Him. He hears them and will answer them according to His will. I pray day and night for you and I realize that between all the things we have going on, life can get in the way sometimes. Know that I love you and cherish you more than the breath that enters my lungs and blood that pumps through my veins. May He take you and mold you. May His plan always trump yours and may your heart always be more in line with His than with any other man, woman or thing.

I love you and I am proud of you…

Love, Dad

THE RAGMAN

I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for. Hush, child. Hush, now and I will tell it to you. Even before the dawn one Friday morning I noticed a young man, handsome and strong, walking the alleys of our City. He was pulling an old cart-filled with clothes both bright and new, and he was calling in a clear, tenor voice: “Rags” (Ah, the air was foul and the first light filthy to-be crossed by such sweet music.) “Rags! New rags for old! I take your tired rags! Rags! “Now, this is a wonder, “I thought to myself, for the man stood six-foot-four, and his arms were like tree limbs, hard and muscular, and his eyes flashed intelligence. Could he find no better job that this, to be a ragman in the inner city? I followed him. My curiosity drove me. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Soon the Ragman saw a woman sitting on her back porch. She was sobbing into a handkerchief, sighing, and shedding a thousand tears. Her knees and elbows made a sad x. Her shoulders shook. Her heart was breaking. The Ragman stopped his cart. quietly, he walked to the woman, stepping round tin cans, dead toys, and Pampers. “Give me your rag.”he said so gently, “and I’ll give you another.” He slipped the handkerchief from her eyes. She looked up, and he laid across her palm a linen cloth so clean and new that it shined. She blinked from the gift to the giver. Then, as he began to pull his cart again, the Ragman did a strange thing, he put her stained hankerchief to his own face, and then HE began to weep, to sob as grievously as she had done, his shoulders shaking. Yet she was left without a tear. “This IS a wonder, “I breathed to myself, and I followed the sobbing Ragman like a child who cannot turn away from mystery.

“Rags! Rags! New rags for old!” In a little while, when the sky showed grey behind the rooftops and I could see the shredded curtains hanging out black windows. The Ragman came upon a girl whose whose head was wrapped in a bandage, whose eyes were empty. Blood soaked her bandage. A single line of blood ran down her cheek. Now the tall Ragman looked upon this child with pity, and he drew a lovely yellow bonnet from his cart. “Give me your rag,” he said, tracing his own line on her cheek, “and I’ll give you mine.” The child could only gaze at him while he loosened the bandage, removed it, and tied it to his own head. The bonnet he set on hers. And I gasped at what I saw: for with the bandage went the wound! Against his brow it ran a darker, more substantial blood – his own!

“Rags! Rags! I take old rags!” cried the sobbing, bleeding, strong, intelligent Ragman. The sun hurt both the sky, now, and my eyes, the Ragman seemed more and more to hurry. “Are you going to work?” he asked a man who leaned against a telephone pole. The man shook his head, the Ragman pressed him, “Do you have a job?” “Are you crazy?” sneered the other. He pulled away from the pole, revealing the right sleeve of his jacket – flat, the cuff stuffed into the pocket. He had no arm. “So,” said the Ragman. “Give me your jacket, and I’ll give you mine.” Such quiet authority in his voice! The one-armed man took off his jacket. So did the Ragman and I trembled at what I saw: for the Ragman’s arm stayed in its sleeve, and when the other put it on he had two good arms, thick as tree limbs, but the Ragman had only one. “Go to work,” he said.

After that he found a drunk, lying unconscious beneath an army blanket, an old man, hunched, wizened and sick. He took that blanket and wrapped it round himsef, but for the drunk he left new clothes. And now I had to run to keep up with the Ragman. Though he was weeping uncontrollably, and bleeding freely at the forehead, pulling his cart with one arm, stumbling for drunkenness, falling again and again, exhausted, old, old, and sick, yet he went with terrible speed.

On spider’s legs he skittered through the alleys of the City, this mile and the next, until he came to its limits, and then he rushed beyond. I wept to see the change in this man, I hurt to see his sorrow. And yet I needed to see where he was going in such haste, perhaps to know what drove him so.

The little old Ragman – he came to a landfill. He came to the garbage pits. And then I wanted to help him in what he did, but I hung back, hiding. He climbed a hill with tormented labor he cleared a little space on that hill. Then he sighed. He lay down. He pillowed his head on a handkerchief and a jacket. He covered his bones with an army blanket. And he died. Oh, how I cried to witness that death! I slumped in a junked car and wailed and mourned as one who-has-no-hope- because I had come to love the Ragman. Every other face had faded in the wonder of this man, but he died. I sobbed myself to sleep. I did not know – how could I know? that I slept through Friday night and Saturday and its night, too. But then, on Sunday morning, I was wakened by a violence.

Light – pure, hard, demanding light – slammed against my sour face, and I blinked, and I looked, and I saw the last and the first wonder of all. There was the Ragman, folding the blanket most carefully, a scar on his forehead, but alive! And, besides that, healthy! There was no sign of sorrow nor of age, and all the rags that he had gathered shined for cleanliness. Well, then I lowered my head and trembling for all that I had seen, I myself walked up to the Ragman. I told him my name with shame, for I was a sorry figure next to him.

Then I took off all my clothes in that place, and I said to him with dear yearning in my voice: “Dress me, LORD”. HE dressed me. My LORD, HE put new rags on me, and now I to, follow HIM.

The Ragman, the Ragman,

THE CHRIST AMEN

by Walter Wangerin,Jr.

What I’m Reading

The Jesus Way: Conversations on the way that Jesus is the Way ~~Eugene Peterson _________________________________________ Let the Nations be Glad ~~John Piper _________________________________________

In the “Q”

Francis Schaeffer - True Spiritually ______________________________________

Bible Study / Devotional

Romans 1 ___________________________________________