Today is Fathers Day, and isn’t it wonderful to have a day to recognize and celebrate those men who nurtured, guided, and provided for us, helping to mold us into the men and women we are today! And of course it is a day to give thanks and show our appreciation for the fathers of our children and grandchildren and the grandfathers too! I wish a very Happy Fathers Day to any fathers who may read this blog today!
Growing up I always looked forward to Fathers Day and doing something special for my dad to show him how much I loved him. After he died, when I was seventeen, I always felt sadness as Fathers Day approached. But I was blessed to have his father in my life for many years afterwards and it was always a joy to honor him. Gramps lived well into his nineties and was a wonderful great grandfather to our three boys and daughter. I felt so fortunate to have two amazing fathers to honor on Fathers Day - my Gramps and my husband.
The past eleven Fathers Days have been hard. There has been a hole in my life since the loss of my husband, the amazing father of my children and grandfather of thirteen. He didn't live long enough to meet the youngest four, but I look forward with hope to the reunion of our family in heaven when we will find the circle unbroken and the rejoicing far beyond anything we could imagine here.
I don't usually share very personal things on the Disciplers blog, but I feel compelled to do so today. My husband, Barry, was an avid supporter of Disciplers. He loved and respected Pearl Hamilton, the founder of Disciplers, and her passion for the Word of God. He supported and encouraged my involvement in Disciplers and after Pearl died he humbly took over the teaching of the men's class at our church. He was dedicated to the men he taught and spent hours praying for them and preparing for class. On Wednesday evenings before leaving for class he could be found praying on his knees at the foot of our bed. He never led a class in reliance upon his own ability, and God honored his faithfulness.
Barry had great respect for the Disciplers studies and envisioned a future of sharing them with the world. He recognized the value of Bible study and knew that quality study materials could have a profound effect upon people's lives. He recognized the change in our own lives and in the lives of the men in his class. He wanted others to experience the power of the Word of God in their lives and often voiced his opinion that Disciplers Bible Studies should be online for people to use. His dream has become an exciting reality, to the glory of God.
I would like to honor Barry today by sharing a poem I wrote about him several years ago on Father's Day. It is a poem that expresses my heart of thankfulness for the years God gave me with him.
A man too fine to live down here,
a giving soul, so full of cheer,
a heart filled up with gratitude,
and big hands always doing good.
A family man with quiver filled,
content with anything God willed.
And deep inside, his finest pleasure -
His children’s children were a treasure.
Of worldly treasures he had few
for in his heart he always knew
a hope beyond this fallen place,
a hope inspired by God’s grace.
Each day he greeted with a smile
and thanks that he could stay awhile
to share a bit of what he had
and make a needy person glad.
Too good, too true to stay here long -
a pilgrim who did not belong,
and by His grace God took him home.
Now, face to face, a job well done.
Welcome back to Disciplers blog. I’m glad you looked in on us today because I have great news to share with you. After almost a year of working on editing, updating, and putting the Disciplers' “Egypt to Canaan” study into digital format, we have completed our task. It has been a long and sometimes arduous journey, but it has been fulfilling, and a definite learning experience. Even though I had studied the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy three times in the past, I gained so much more going through them again. One of the most challenging things we did was add three more lessons to the study. Previously, some lessons covered up to twelve chapters and we felt those needed to be divided. We thank God for His faithfulness in seeing us through with His strength, wisdom, and patience.
What I would like to share with you today is one of the applications God impressed upon me while working on the “Egypt to Canaan” study. It comes from the Book of Exodus during the time Moses was asking Pharaoh to let the Hebrew people go into the wilderness to worship God. Remember how Moses kept asking, Pharaoh kept refusing, and God kept sending plagues upon Egypt until finally Pharaoh relented and let the people go? Well, after God had sent the fourth plague, the flies, it seemed like Pharaoh was going to relent. He said to Moses, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness, only you shall not go very far away ” (Exodus 8:28).
This may have seemed like a decent compromise, but that last phrase, you shall not go very far away, made it favorable only to Pharaoh. The Hebrew people would seem to be free to worship, but it would not be the full deliverance that God had promised and, therefore, not the worship He desired. God’s people would be within Pharaoh’s reach, they would still be under the yoke of the Egyptians, and they would still be slaves (Exodus 6:6). Moses refused to compromise! And therein lies the application for our lives today. God’s people should always follow Moses’ wise example.
Are you a compromiser or have you set your heart to live for God’s glory? Have you moved away from the darkness of the world and into God’s light or are you so close to the things of the world that their influence reaches out and controls you (See I John 1:5-10 and 2:15-17)? Are you unable to move forward with God because you have not moved far enough away from the world? On a daily basis, how often do you choose the world over the Word?
In the Disciplers' lesson notes on Exodus 8, we are reminded “it is possible to seem separate and spiritual without ‘burning your bridges’.” Have you decided to follow Jesus, but only as far as your comfort zone extends and only as far as fitting in with the world allows? I think these are difficult questions for all of us. The world is all around us and like the Israelites in Numbers 11:5, we are enamored by the "cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic," sometimes at the expense of becoming slaves to the world. The next time you come to the crossroads of making a decision to choose the world or the Word, I hope you will follow Moses’ example. Throughout Israel's forty-year wilderness journey, Moses was often a one-man minority in the midst of people who craved the good things of Egypt and the sensuality of pagan gods. Moses may have stood alone, but he stood as a man of God!
With the prayer that we may all stand as men and women of God,
I have been involved in Disciplers since 1987, as a discussion leader, teacher, writer, and now as director. I am profoundly committed to the stewardship of this ministry which God has entrusted to me for a time. God’s word is the chief joy of my life. I cherish my personal time in the word, and I am filled with gratitude to be able to share His word with you, my fellow disciples in Christ.