A Father’s Compassion – Guest Post

This week I would like to introduce my friend Pastor Janice Burnett. Janice not only helps with her contributions to our Sunshine Newsletter, but she also is a chaplain and overseer of nursing home outreach in several facilities in western New York. I appreciate that she has graciously given me permission to share this article and photograph as a testimony to her dad and insight into the even more amazing compassion of our heavenly Father.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear
him; for he knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14 NIV

As a young adult, once when I borrowed our family car, I had a minor accident. Don’t ask me what I was thinking when I thought that my dad wouldn’t notice the scrape on the back fender when I came home so I didn’t mention it to him. You’re right – I wasn’t thinking! It wasn’t long before I heard my name being called – but in a very calm fashion. ” What happened, Jan? And were you going to tell me about it?” I honestly don’t remember anything about the rest of the conversation or if the scrape was ever repaired. However, I remember very clearly that I felt terrible about keeping this incident from my father and the very calm and compassionate way he dealt with me about it. King David identified with this when he wrote those words, then he went on to tell us that God’s love for those who fear Him, is so great that He removes all our transgressions far, far away from us. Not only that, but God also remembers how we are made (out of dust, no less) and His righteousness remains as a blessing forever with all the generations who follow His commands. The compassion of my wonderful earthly father is wonderful because it gives me a picture of the tremendously huge compassion of our amazingly wonderful heavenly Father. Now what could be more beautiful than that?

Just Like Dad – Guest Post

Re-introducing Rob Keller: Rob is a friend of mine who is not only the graphic artist behind the layout of our weekly publication Sunshine Newsletter; but he is also a writer of some of the articles. Seeing as Father’s Day is just a bit over a week away, here is one more look at being a dad.

Growing Up to be Just Like Dad by Rob Keller

Every July, my dad would bring our family to his company’s annual picnic. Because it was mostly adults and I was still a kid, I would get bored because there just wasn’t much for me to do. So, to make things interesting, I decided to entertain myself by seeing how many hot dogs, hamburgers, and steak sandwiches I could consume. On our way home, I would announce my stats and wait for the amazement to come rolling in. Aside from being a little queasy, I felt like a true champion. I had won the boy versus food challenge. As I look back at all of those picnics, there was one thing that left a lasting impression on me. All-day long, my father exchanged warm greetings and good-natured banter with a seemingly endless array of coworkers. Clearly, everyone liked my dad, and I was proud of him for that and wanted to grow up to be like him. By example, he taught me how to get along with the people around me and make them my friends.

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NLT

I thank God for my dad, but maybe you had a distant or even abusive relationship with yours. But no matter what our earthly fathers are like, we all have a Heavenly Father who is perfect. As we spend time with Him in prayer and trust in His word, He begins working in us by His Holy Spirit. As we face complicated circumstances and difficult people in our everyday life, He helps us to grow up to be more like Him. The more time we spend with him, the greater His influence will be in our lives. Jesus’ life showed the world exactly what His Father is like. He said,

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. ” John 14:9 NIV

Even though we aren’t perfect like Jesus, as we follow Him, we can become examples of our Father in Heaven’s character to our children, friends and neighbors. Those things we have learned from God through the years are the best inheritance we can leave behind for our children. Which of God’s attributes do you want them to see?  

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I love you and I love everything about you! Please help me to grow to be more like you. I pray that the people around me would see you in me.

Thursday Morning Sunshine

As I mentioned last week three of us in nursing home ministry have been producing a weekly devotional which we call The Sunshine Newsletter. Our writers are Pastor Janice Burnett, who is a chaplain and oversees the outreach into several nursing homes in Western New York as well as my friend Rob Keller who is a professional graphic designer as well as a writer of devotionals. Our free publication goes into about 9 different long term care facilities in Florida and New York. Each Thursday I will be posting a revised version of the Newsletter for my readers. We purposely are not copyrighting the material so as to make it freely available to as many people as possible. If you know anyone in the long term care community including, staff members, family, residents or volunteers, please feel free to either contact me for future issues of you may copy and share our weekly issues. Though our writing is tailored to those whose world is regulated by long term care, you may be surprised how the content touches you. After all, the unexpected invades each of our lives more often than we like and lets us know that we are far less in control of our world than we may believe!

Through a Father’s Eyes by Rob Keller

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV

As a father and as an artist, I was thrilled when my son said, “I want to learn how to draw.” Immediately, I took him to an art supply store where I bought him a sketch pad, drawing pencils, an eraser, and a book that teaches basic drawing skills. After completing the first exercise, he was very disappointed with the results and never picked up a drawing pencil again. When we talked about it, he told me how much he still wanted to learn how to draw, but didn’t. Digging a little deeper, I discovered that anything less than a masterpiece was unacceptable to him. I tried to help him understand that it would take time and a lot of practice to develop his skills. Despite all my efforts to encourage him, that sketchbook just sat on the shelf gathering dust. It still makes me sad to think about my son’s short-lived art career. It’s not his lack of drawing skill that upsets me, it’s the fact that he was so hard on himself. He wouldn’t give himself room to let loose, have fun, experiment, and grow. Because I was His Dad, when I looked at those first few sketches, they were beautiful to me. I just wish he could have seen them that way!

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Have you ever earnestly committed yourselves to grow in some area of your walk with God? If you are like me, you were frustrated and disappointed by your inability to consistently get it right. Our heavenly Father sees our struggles. He is pleased with our desire to be more like Jesus, but he wants us to remember that it is a lifelong process. He is graciously working in our lives, and delighted to watch our slow steady transformation. We may only notice our failures, but He is sitting right by our side, gently guiding us to become the men and women he destined us to be. Don’t give up! because God has never given up on you. Some days you just need to see things through our Father’s eyes.

Jesus Cares About You! By Pastor Janice Burnett

A wedding took place at Cana in Galilee…This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed…He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. John 2:1,11 NIV

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

What is your favorite thing about a wedding? Is it the bride walking down the aisle or the cute flower girl or maybe even the little boy who is the ring bearer? Maybe you are a Hallmark channel fan and just love the romantic story of the couple, or a lover of parties and simply enjoy the reception with delicious food and drink with everyone. What isn’t there to love about wedding? Jesus did and He even went to one with His disciples and His mom. It seemed that Jesus hadn’t planned to reveal that He was the Son of God or performing a miracle – but when the wine ran out His mother came and asked for help. Who doesn’t want to do a favor for their mom? But Jesus did this not only because of His mother but because He cared about all the people at the wedding. If you read the whole chapter, you would see that to show His care, He turned water into wine! He cared about the bride, the groom, the parents of the bridal couple – the hosts of the wedding – the servants serving the wine and every one of the guests! He loved them so much that He blessed them with delicious wine to drink at this wedding when it ran out – He cared enough to fix their problem and what He gave was the best wine of all!

When Jesus is in your life, He cares about you to give you the very best. Here is my story…I knew it was time to sell my house and move closer to where I now live. I listed my house and it sold in one day (and this was long before the current housing boom) – and I hadn’t even started looking for a new place. Long story short, God had saved the PERFECT place in the PERFECT location for me – it had been empty and for sale for three months! Jesus cares about what we care about. What are some things that are important to you? Bring them to Jesus – He cares about people and He cares about you!