Acorns From Oakes

Seeing With Our Father's Eyes

Every Good Gift

So…how are you today? I’ve been thinking about you…praying for you…loving you at a distance. You are teaching me so much. I can’t begin to tell you. I am glad of you, glad for you, glad to know you (or to be getting to know you), glad for Whose you are and for the difference He is making here through you. You are bringing good. And our friends and neighbors need good. Our churches need good. They know it when they see it. So do I. I see it in you. It honors Him well.

Since Thanksgiving is approaching…and since I have had so much for which to be thankful lately…and since I love reading your thoughts…I thought I’d ask you, if you can find the time, to share a few words with us about one of His good gifts to you which has helped you so much. Just pick one. Have you found that it is helpful to be specific, at least sometimes, when you are thinking along these lines? It helps me to try to analyze, just a bit, the preciousness of His good gifts. You get to pick whatever gift you want…someone, something, a time, a feeling, a scripture, a victory, a piece of advice, a letter, a card, a disappointment…something, anything, anyone in which you became keenly aware that Father God was involved.

I’ll begin. Many years ago (okay, 35 to be exact), I was planning to go to preaching school in the foreign country of Lubbock, Texas. The church where I grew up was paying my way. Just a few weeks before I was to leave, there were some ripples over my decision to get a different car (which I had justified in my own mind because of all the miles I would have to be driving for the next two years). When I heard about the ripples, I was upset and defensive. I was ready to cancel my plans for school. Somehow, even in my youthful pride, God got through to me…convinced me to ask the advice of a preacher who was a great friend to me. His name was Foy Anderson. Foy suggested that I should go ahead with my plans. He felt like the trouble that had upset me would pass and become insignificant. I did and it did. My first week at Sunset School was all I needed to completely convince me that his advice was right on. The direction of my life was changed by Foy’s patient and wise advice. I can see so clearly now how God had His hand in it.

Now tell me yours, please…

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3 thoughts on “Every Good Gift

  1. His name was Doug Oakes. I met him in January 1973, as we began the school of preaching. Sat next too him at the Abilene Christian Lectureship in February of that same year … and we have been inseparable since. Oh, our bodies have be miles apart – but never our hearts. They are knit together.

    From where I sat in school he was the best preacher in the class. His preaching reflected a deep respect for God and a genuine concern for people. He preached that way – because he lived that way.

    When he was preaching in Dayton, Ohio, the church decided to hire a youth minister. He called me – asked me to come. I had never been a youth minister – only taught a few classes for teens – and never even had been around a youth minister. (Though I had seen one once at Big Church.) I was terribly unsure that I could be a youth minister to such a large group of teens. (I think there were almost 20.) But Doug’s elders invited me, and God said, “Yes”.

    Three years later another church called and asked me to come. Bigger group (250?) and greater challenge. I knew that I couldn’t handle that job. But those elders invited me, and God said, “Yes”. I hated to leave the Bunch (name for the youth group), but most of all I hated to leave Doug. We talked – prayed – he wanted me to stay, but he let me go.

    Therein is one of the greatest gifts Doug offers to those he loves and serves. He wants what is best for you … for the Kingdom … more than he wants what he wants. Such is the wonder of this friend – this brother. He let me come – then he let me go. In both of those – he changed my life.

    Since those times there have been other comings and goings – and he has remained with me – as my brother – as my teacher … as my counselor … as my Samaritan … as my friend. I thank God for Doug Oakes. This was not the first time I have thanked God for him – and it will not be the last.

    SEE…THIS IS WHAT I LOVE ABOUT OUR FATHER…I HAD NEVER LIVED MORE THAN A COUPLE HUNDRED MILES FROM OHIO BEFORE I MOVED TO LUBBOCK. AND, YES, I EXPECTED TO MEET REALLY GOOD, SPIRITUAL PEOPLE (AND BOY DID I). BUT I NEVER EXPECTED HIM TO GIVE ME SUCH A FRIEND AS YOU. GOD ABSOLUTELY RE-DEFINED FRIENDSHIP FOR ME IN YOU. I’LL ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL TO HIM AND YOU FOR THAT ON-GOING DEFINITION. I LOVED WHAT YOU WROTE ABOUT A FRIEND WANTING WHAT IS BEST FOR THE KINGDOM…FOR THE FRIEND…MORE THAN WHAT HE WANTS FOR HIMSELF. TO HAVE YOU SAY THIS ABOUT ME GETS TO MY OLD HEART IN A GOOD, GOOD WAY. THANKS FOR THE TIME AND TROUBLE OF PUTTING THESE THOUGHTS INTO WORDS, BROTHER. THEY HELP ME. THEY ARE NOW PART OF WHAT CALLS TO ME…URGES ME TO LIVE OUT THE LESSON. AND MIGHT I CONFESS THAT THERE HAVE BEEN MORE TIMES THAN I COULD COUNT WHEN I WISHED I HADN’T LET YOU GO. ONE OF THESE DAYS MAYBE I’LL LEARN TO MIND THE THINGS OF GOD. I AM SO GLAD TO BE HEARING FROM YOUR HEART THIS MUCH…AS YOU COMMENT HERE AND ON THE OTHER BLOGS AND AS YOU OFFER US TREMENDOUS INSIGHTS FROM THE WORD AT “FOR SINNERS ONLY.” THANKS FOR THE FEEDING. I’LL BE BACK AT THE TABLE SOON. THIS WORLD MAKES ME HUNGRY.

  2. I went through a time in my life where I wasn’t sleeping (began experimenting with ways to get to sleep which opened doors to some addictions), was extremely depressed and just didn’t want to live anymore. I was 26 years old and so exhausted I just wanted to quit. Because of promises I made to myself earlier in life I would not take it upon myself to leave this earth. But I prayed, commanded, whined — “God take me out of this world or show me why not.” I have never wanted anythhing so much.

    There have been at least 4 times since then that I have been convinced … “this is why not”, and each time I say, “Thanks God”. He allowed me to find a way to sleep, begin to recover from some addictions, learn how to deal with depression when it comes, and to understand a little bit of why I’m on this earth.

    I could go on and on about the people that He put in my life to help with all of these things, but right now I want to focus on Him. I want to remember that He is the source of my serenity and peace of mind. He is the giver of all good gifts in my life. “I thank you God for showing me why not, for helping me learn from my past, and allowing me the opportunity to use those experiences to help others. For in doing that I am shown that I can be used by You to do my little part for the Kingdom. Thanks God.”

    And thank you Doug for giving me the encouragement to think thoughts I don’t think very often, and then share them instead of keeping them to myself.

    YES…PAIGE…YOU HELP US TOWARD THE HEART OF THE MATTER. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR GOOD SPIRITUAL TEACHING THAT COMES TO US? WHO FORMS WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND TEACHERS AND PLACES THEM IN OUR LIVES WHERE THEY KEEP BLESSING US OVER AND OVER?
    WHEN WE HAVE THANKED OUR FRIENDS AND TEACHERS, WE HAVE DONE WELL…VERY WELL. BUT WE HAVE FALLEN SHORT UNLESS WE POUR OUT PRAISE UPON OUR FATHER WHO GIVES US EVERY GOOD GIFT…EVERY ONE OF THEM! I’M SO GLAD YOU FOCUSED ON HIM! ONLY HE CAN BE WITH US ALWAYS…UNDERSTAND US PERFECTLY…GIVE US JUST WHAT WE NEED WHEN WE NEED IT ALWAYS. ONLY HE NEVER LETS US DOWN. ONLY HE DELIVERS ON EVERY PROMISE. ONLY HE LIFTS US UP WITH REASONS TO KEEP GOING AND INSIGHTS TO GUIDE US AND PROMISES TO ENABLE US TO FINISH STRONG. I AM SO GLAD YOU SAW IT, AT LEAST FOUR TIMES, THE MESSAGES FROM HIM TELLING YOU “WHY NOT” TO LEAVE US. AND WE WHO LOVE YOU WOULD JOIN OUR FATHER TO TELL YOU WE HAVE A BOATLOAD OF REASONS WE CAN THINK OF “WHY NOT!” THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS…FOR SHARING YOUR HEART. MAY THOUGHTS OF OUR FATHER GOD, WHO WATCHES OVER YOU WITHOUT SLEEPING OR EVEN GETTING DROWSY, BECAUSE HE DOESN’T WANT TO MISS A THING ABOUT YOU, HELP YOU RELAX IN YOUR HEART WHENEVER YOU NEED IT MOST.

  3. I am so thankful to God for giving me a new life….after the end of my marriage. There are so many things about it that are purely fantastic and so many things, and people, that I could write about but one of the most enjoyable things…one of the “make-my-heart-sing” things is watching my kids bloom. Especially my younger son.

    He is the middle child…and deals with all that comes along with that position in life. Before the divorce, he was angry…so very angry…at everything and everyone. He had a flash-fire temper that would burn anyone and anything around him. But since the divorce, he has mellowed. He laughs. He is kind to his little sister (most of the time anyway). He has a lot of good friends. My favorite thing is the way he now makes me laugh. He is my own personal, live-in comedian. He will work a situation, a phrase, an event…and work it hard…until he gets a laugh out of me about it! (Those who know me though, will say that I laugh easy…and I cry easy too…I’ll confess to both of those). I have laughed so much at him this past year….and every time, I say “thank you” to God for the person I see my son becoming. The anger is gone. There is a zest for life now in him that I love. He is a very insightful kid…always has been. But now he talks to me about what he senses, about what he is learning from, and about, other people.

    I hate that I kept my children in a bad situation for so long…I carry a lot of guilt around in my heart about it. But, God is showing me the good that can still happen in their lives. And that is a gift straight from Him!

    WHAT A GREAT TREASURE! WHAT AMAZING CONFIRMATION FROM FATHER GOD THAT YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. THE GIFT OF SEEING YOUR SON EAGERLY TAKING LIFE ON WITH CONFIDENCE AND JOY…NO WONDER YOUR HEART SINGS. I AM SO GLAD YOUR KIDS GET TO REGULARLY SEE THAT LOOK IN YOUR EYE WHEN THEIR GAZE MEETS YOURS…THOUGH I’VE NEVER MET YOU, YOUR WORDS MAKE IT CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT THEY SEE IN YOUR EYES HOW WONDERFUL THEY ARE TO YOU. I KNOW THERE ARE MANY VERSES TO YOUR HEARTSONG BECAUSE GOD IS REVEALING SUCH INCREDIBLE THINGS TO YOU THRU YOUR CHILDREN. SING THE SONG FOR US WHENEVER YOU WANT TO. THERE ARE SO MANY CHILDREN…SO MANY PARENTS…THAT NEVER MAKE IT TO THE GOOD STUFF…NEVER TRACE THE WONDER BACK TO GOD AND GLORIFY HIM FOR IT LIKE YOU DO.
    AS AN “EMPTY-NESTER” WHO STILL MISSES THE DAYS WHEN MY PARENTING INVOLVED “AT-HOME” KIDS, YOU HAVE BLESSED ME TODAY WITH THE STORY OF YOUR SON. I AM FEELING AGAIN THAT CHEST-BUSTING FEELING THAT OFTEN OVERWHELMED ME AS A DAD HELPING MY WIFE RAISE THE WORLD’S THREE GREATEST KIDS (YOU ARE FREE TO CHALLENGE THAT- BUT NO ONE CAN CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE). I STILL GET THAT FEELING WHENEVER I SPEAK WITH THEM AND HEAR OF THEIR FAMILIES AND WHAT GOD IS DOING IN THEIR LIVES.
    SHERRY, I TRULY HOPE THE VISION OF YOUR SON, AT PEACE, OPTIMISTIC, ZESTFUL TOWARD LIFE, WILL HELP WHATEVER LEFTOVER GUILT YOU CARRY TO SPROUT WINGS AND FLY FAR AWAY TO STAY. YOU DID GOOD. YOU ARE COOPERATING WITH GOD TO BRING SUCH GOOD TO YOUR FAMILY. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

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