Remembering Dad

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. 
Deuteronomy 5:16 ESV

I was quite moved at the Memorial Day event held at our community clubhouse yesterday. Though I myself have not served in the armed forces, I gratefully recalled all that my dad did during WW2. Dad, as a second generation Italian, had his introduction to Italy when he landed there during the battle of Anzio in March of 1944. Then in August of that year he was wounded, when his landing craft was sunk off the coast of St. Raphael,France. Because I grew up without my dad, I never realized or appreciated all that he did and had gone through that year. To me, dad was just a quiet stranger who didn’t seem to understand the motivations and questions of my generation. Little did I know how much he did know and just how smart he really was.

Today , I sit in wonder as I come face to face with how much he and thousands of other guys did and how much I miss him. Thank God for you dad. I know that you have found peace and ultimate victory in the arms of Jesus Christ but I wanted to take this little space to honor you. You were a quiet soldier, a simple man and a faithful father and I am thankful that God gave you to me.

Though all the honor ultimately belongs to God, I am not only commanded to honor my parents, but God backs this command up with a blessing. And though our moms and dads were not perfect(who is?), we are each in some way blessed as we honor them. God promises a special blessing when we remember them with gratitude and then pass on their story to others. For me, one of those special blessings, was bringing my dad to Washington D.C. for the dedication of the WW2 memorial. I snapped his picture there and then years later, my cousin gave me another photo of him from when he was still in uniform. When I held it up I was suddenly struck by how similar they were. Here was the same man, with the same smile and yet a lifetime of wounds and struggles, defeats and victories separated them. Today I have only a few photographs and memories, but I am grateful for all the good that my dad left behind. God is faithful to keep all His promises. So, let’s pause for a moment and give honor to our parents, so that we may pass along to our own children a life’s story of our own that points to the honor of the most wonderful Father of all!

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.