Archive | April 20, 2013

The Lord’s Prayer

 

Our Father Who Art in Heaven.

– YES?

– Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying.

– BUT — YOU CALLED ME.

– Called you? No, I didn’t call you. I’m praying. Our Father who art in heaven.

– THERE — YOU DID IT AGAIN.

– Did what?

– CALLED ME. YOU SAID, “OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN.” WELL, HERE I AM. WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?

– But, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.

– WELL, ALL RIGHT. GO ON.

– Okay, Hallowed be Thy name…

– HOLD IT RIGHT THERE. WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

– By what?

– BY “HALLOWED BE THY NAME”?

– It means, it means … good grief, I don’t know what it means. How in the world should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?

– IT MEANS HONORED, HOLY, WONDERFUL.

– Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what ‘hallowed’ meant before. Thanks. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.

– DO YOU REALLY MEAN THAT?

– Sure, why not?

– WHAT ARE YOU DOING ABOUT IT?

– Doing? Why, nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there. We’re kind of in a mess down here, you know?

– YES, I KNOW, BUT HAVE I GOT CONTROL OF YOU?

– Well, I go to church.

– THAT ISN’T WHAT I ASKED YOU. WHAT ABOUT YOUR BAD TEMPER? YOU’VE REALLY GOT A PROBLEM THERE, YOU KNOW? THEN, THERE’S THE WAY YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY — ALL ON YOURSELF. WHAT ABOUT THE KIND OF BOOKS YOU READ?

– Now, hold on just a minute! Stop picking on me! I’m just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!

– EXCUSE ME. I THOUGHT YOU WERE PRAYING FOR MY WILL TO BE DONE. IF THAT IS TO HAPPEN, IT WILL HAVE TO START WITH THE ONES WHO ARE PRAYING FOR IT. YOU, FOR EXAMPLE.

– Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

– SO COULD I.

– I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.

– GOOD. NOW WE’RE GETTING SOMEWHERE. WE’LL WORK TOGETHER — YOU AND ME. I’M PROUD OF YOU.

– Look, Lord, if you don’t mind, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. Give us this day, our daily bread.

– YOU NEED TO CUT OUT THE BREAD. YOU’RE OVERWEIGHT AS IT IS.

– Hey, wait a minute! What is this? Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of the sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.

– PRAYING IS A DANGEROUS THING. YOU JUST MIGHT GET WHAT YOU ASK FOR. REMEMBER, YOU CALLED ME. HERE I AM. IT’S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW. KEEP PRAYING.

– …

– WELL, GO ON.

– I’m scared to.

– SCARED? OF WHAT?

– I know what you’ll say.

– TRY ME.

– Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.

– WHAT ABOUT ALICE?

– See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Lord, she’s told lies about me, spread stories. She never paid back the money she owes me. I’ve sworn to get even with her!

– BUT — YOUR  PRAYER — WHAT ABOUT YOUR PRAYER?

– I didn’t — mean it.

– WELL, AT LEAST YOU’RE HONEST, BUT IT’S QUITE A LOAD CARRYING AROUND ALL THAT BITTERNESS AND RESENTMENT, ISN’T IT?

– Yes, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even with her. Boy, have I got some plans for her. She’ll wish she had never been born.

– NO, YOU WON’T FEEL ANY BETTER. YOU’LL FEEL WORSE. REVENGE ISN’T SWEET. YOU KNOW HOW UNHAPPY YOU ARE? WELL, I CAN CHANGE THAT.

– You can? How?

– FORGIVE ALICE. THEN, I’LL FORGIVE YOU, AND THE HATE AND SIN WILL BE ALICE’S PROBLEM — NOT YOURS. YOU WILL HAVE SETTLED THE PROBLEM AS FAR AS YOU ARE CONCERNED.

– Oh, you know, you’re right. You always are. More than I want revenge, I want to be right with You… *sigh* All right…all right…I forgive her.

– THERE NOW! WONDERFUL! HOW DO YOU FEEL?

– Hmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all! In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don’t think I’ll go to bed uptight tonight. I haven’t been getting much rest, you know.

– YEAH, I KNOW, BUT YOU’RE NOT THROUGH WITH YOUR PRAYER, ARE YOU? GO ON.

– Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

– GOOD! GOOD! I’LL DO THAT. JUST DON’T PUT YOURSELF IN A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN BE TEMPTED.

– What do you mean by that?

– YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

– Yeah. I know.

– OKAY. GO AHEAD. FINISH YOUR PRAYER.

– For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

– DO YOU KNOW WHAT WOULD BRING ME GLORY? WHAT WOULD REALLY MAKE ME HAPPY?

– No, but I’d like to know. I want to please you now. I’ve really made a mess of things. I want to truly follow you. I can see now how great that would be. So, tell me, how do I make you happy?

– YOU JUST DID.

 

God Scent

Heaven Scent

Smell the Rain……

 

A cold March wind danced around the dead of night in Dallas as the doctor walked into the small hospital room of Diana Blessing. Still groggy from surgery, her husband David held her hand as they braced themselves for the latest news.

That afternoon of March 10, 1991, complications had forced Diana, only 24-weeks pregnant, to undergo an emergency cesarean to deliver the couple’s new daughter, Danae Lu Blessing. At 12 inches long and weighing only one pound and nine ounces, they already knew she was perilously premature. Still, the doctor’s soft words dropped like bombs.

“I don’t think she’s going to make it,” he said, as kindly as he could. “There’s only a 10-percent chance she will live through the night, and even then, if by some slim chance she does make it, her future could be a very cruel one.”

Numb with disbelief, David and Diana listened as the doctor described the devastating problems Danae would likely face if she survived. She would never walk. She would never talk. She would probably be blind. She would certainly be prone to other catastrophic conditions from cerebral palsy to complete mental retardation. And on and on.

“No! No!” was all Diana could say. She and David, with their 5-year-old son Dustin, had long dreamed of the day they would have a daughter to become a family of four. Now, within a matter of hours, that dream was slipping away.

Through the dark hours of morning as Danae held onto life by the thinnest thread, Diana slipped in and out of drugged sleep, growing more and more determined that their tiny daughter would live and live to be a healthy, happy young girl. But David, fully awake and listening to additional dire details of their daughter’s chances of ever leaving the hospital alive, much less healthy, knew he must confront his wife with the inevitable.

“David walked in and said that we needed to talk about making funeral arrangements,” Diana remembers “I felt so bad for him because he was doing everything, trying to include me in what was going on, but I just wouldn’t listen, I couldn’t listen. I said, “No, that is not going to happen, no way! I don’t care what the doctors say Danae is not going to die!

One day she will be just fine, and she will be coming home with us!”

As if willed to live by Diana’s determination, Danae clung to life hour after hour, with the help of every medical machine and marvel her miniature body could endure But as those first days passed, a new agony set in for David and Diana. Because Danae’s underdeveloped nervous system was essentially “raw,” every lightest kiss or caress only intensified her discomfort- so they couldn’t even cradle their tiny baby girl against

Their chests to offer the strength of their love. All they could do, as Danae struggled alone beneath the ultra-violet light in the tangle of tubes and wires, was to pray that God would stay close to their precious little girl.

There was never a moment when Danae suddenly grew stronger. But as weeks went by, she did slowly gain an ounce of weight here and an ounce of strength there.

At last, when Danae turned two months old, her parents were able to hold her in their arms for the very first time. And two months later-though doctors continued to gently but grimly warn that her chances of surviving,much less living any kind of normal life, were next to zero – Danae went home from the hospital, just as her mother had predicted.

Today, five years later, Danae is a petite but feisty young girl with glittering gray eyes and an unquenchable zest for life. She shows no signs, whatsoever, of any mental or physical impairments. Simply, she is everything a little girl can be and more-but that happy ending is far from the end of her story.

One blistering afternoon in the summer of 1996 near her home in Irving, Texas, Danae was sitting in her mother’s lap in the bleachers of a local ball park where her brother Dustin’s baseball team was practicing. As always, Danae was chattering non-stop with her mother and several other adults sitting nearby when she suddenly fell silent.

Hugging her arms across her chest, Danae asked, “Do you smell that?”. Smelling the air and detecting the approach of a thunderstorm, Diana replied, “Yes, it smells like rain.” Danae closed her eyes and again asked, “Do you smell that?” Once again, her mother replied, “Yes, I think we’re about to get wet. It smells like rain.”

Still caught in the moment, Danae shook her head, patted her thin shoulders with her small hands and loudly announced, “No, it smells like Him. It smells like God when you lay your head on His chest.”

Tears blurred Diana’s eyes as Danae then happily hopped down to play with the other children. Before the rains came her daughter’s words confirmed what Diana and all the members of the extended Blessing family had known, at least in their hearts, all along.

During those long days and nights of her first two months of her life when her nerves were too sensitive for them to touch her, God was holding Danaeon His chest- and it is His loving scent that she remembers so well.

 http://www.rogerknapp.com

 

 

God, why am I doing this?

 

Like most people, I’ve had my triumphs and my tribulations in my 51 years. But from a very early age, I examined the circumstances of my life. On the one hand, I was born a white, Protestant male in the most privileged and powerful yet moral civilization ever on Earth. I was born at the dawn of the technological age (I’ve been waiting all my life for the internet), where information was at my beck and call. These advantages make me a member of a group with potential unique in human history. On the other hand, my father died when I was six, after having his first stroke at age 39 when I was four. His inability to work and increasing mental deficiency, in a neighborhood where I was the youngest out and about, opened me to a lot of ridicule from other kids. My mother proceeded to remarry and be re-widowed two more times over the next 13 years, enhancing her trend into mental illness and alcoholism, which everyone in my family has (except me and my kids, thank God). My brother was discovered to be a sexual predator. I broke my back when I was twenty.

With the two hands of my life such a dichotomy, I wondered throughout childhood what God had in mind for me. Then it occurred to me that God was forging me with adversity to make me tough, then equipping me to be at this pivot in history to do something extremely critical and important. When young I thought it was to be a soldier, a valorous, but noble, American soldier. The quagmire of Viet Nam made it clear that was not my venue.

Life happens while you’re making plans, and I married and fathered children, pursued a career, and became a Scout leader. I was about 8 years in as a Scoutmaster, when one day I was sitting alone at a picnic table at summer camp, watching my Troop do its thing, and do it well. I seem to have a real aptitude for Scout mastering, probably because I love it so much. The old thought came to me, what was I supposed to do with my life? Suddenly it was revealed to me: This was what I was supposed to do with my life! My calling was to be a Scout leader.

Now, I’m a little skeptical of anyone who tells me God speaks to them personally (especially when they want money because of it), but one day, sitting in the Scoutmaster’s lounge at camp, about ten of us were having honesty time. One SM said: “If it hadn’t been for me becoming a Scoutmaster, I’d be nothing but a drunk!” A few more similar comments came forth from the group, and I decided to reveal my calling by God to be a Scouter. To my complete surprise, everyone in the room nodded their heads in understanding. They had all had the same experience!

Some days I wish God had called me to be a taste tester at Ben & Jerry’s, but what ya going to do?

Mort Skipper, Scoutmaster,

http://www.rogerknapp.com