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.

An Amazing Meeting with Mr. Turtle!

Now, Laban may have been a lousy father-in-law to Jacob, but he was a bang-up grandpa. There wasn’t a snowball’s chance in you know where, that Jacob was taking his grandkids away without Laban having a chance to shower them with kisses one more time! I understand Laban a bit because over the last week we have been hosting our son, daughter-in-law and five grandchildren in our not so huge house. Though it was pretty cramped quarters, we hated to see them leave yesterday. Because they live so far away, we make the most of every moment we have together. The kids loved going with us to the beach, the park and the community pool, but I treasure most our morning walks.

Whether it is making cookies together or lining up for the Good Humor man, each of us who are grandparents appreciate different kinds of little moments. They are precious, not because of what we are doing, but because of who we are doing them with. Jesus taught us that God is our Almighty Father in Heaven, but in some ways, God is also like a grandfather, who treasures spending small, not so mighty moments with us. I learned a little of this one recent morning walking by a pond with our grandchildren. We had stopped while I explained the difference between an Egret and a Heron who were standing on the bank. Then as I cautioned them about not getting too close to the edge, I noticed a tiny head popping up above the water about ten feet from shore. “Look a turtle!” I said excitedly. I had seen other turtles sunning themselves near there on the grass before, but they had always slipped quickly into the water on my approach. But that day to my amazement, Mr. (or Mrs.) Turtle made a beeline for our granddaughter. It eagerly climbed up out of the pond, then waddled right up to her!

Christian and Madeline meeting Mr. Turtle.

Whether this was someone’s lost pet turtle or just the result of people feeding it breadcrumbs I do not know. What I suspect, is that God knew we would be walking by that spot at that exact hour and orchestrated a special event. His heart delights watching us as we pause to admire the tiniest detail of creation. He isn’t just the God of the gigantic universe; He is also the God who enjoys surprising us with small demonstrations of His goodness. Just like Laban God hunts us down, not to destroy us, but to embrace us and send us on with His blessing. Why not slow down long enough this morning to allow Him to amaze you with what He has in store for today?