If you have not previously read the reason for these postings, please go here so you can start at the beginning.
How many of us feel that way? Do we take our sight for granted? Not only for seeing our family, friends and surroundings, but for our ability to read God’s word. I certainly know that I am guilty of neglecting God’s word for many less-important “things”. How I wish I had the hunger that Dad showed – even at 91 ½ years old – to delve into the comfort and teaching that the Bible gives us. That’s why these messages are so important to me. They were truly inspired by God, and are God’s words which were shared through Dad. Perhaps now, even more than when I was able to hear Dad preaching, I will glean some of the hunger he had for the Lord.
I have to share a cute story about Dad when he was in the nursing center. First you have to understand that Dad could not see, he could not stand, had a hard time even sitting for very long, and was extremely weak. One day my husband went to visit Dad and brought along his brother who was visiting from Pennsylvania. As they approached the room they could hear my Dad talking. Phil and Steve thought that he was talking with someone in his room. When they looked in the door, there sat Dad, in his bed, with not a sole in the room. They stopped for a moment and realized that Dad was “preaching”. Yep, sitting in bed, with a strong voice, preaching to an empty room – but not in Dad’s mind!! Phil went up to Dad to say “hello” and to let him know Steve was there visiting as well. Dad then “stopped his preaching”, introduced Phil and Steve to the “congregation” explained that Steve was visiting from Pennsylvania, and encouraged everyone to make them feel welcomed at the end of the service. Without “skipping a beat” Dad went back to his preaching as Phil and Steve sat there listening. Dad kept it up for 35 minutes, and was still going strong when they finally had to excuses themselves and leave. They both said it was a wonderful message and that they had thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. In retrospect they were the last ones to ever hear Dad preach. Yep, Dad never lost his love for sharing the gospel. How many times he might have “preached” like that we don’t know, but perhaps even in his final days he was able to touch a soul that was in need of the Lord.
On the day that Dad passed away Mom, 3 of us girls, and two of the son-in-laws were there with him. Throughout those final months we would often go into his room and sing hymns to him. Sometimes he would join us, and on a rare occasion or two he would even "lead/direct" the singing (as he used to do when he was a Pastor). In those final hours we spent most of the time either singing to him or playing CDs for him. As the time was nearing an end, the Hospice nurse told us that it would not be much longer. (BTW, the Lord even provided a Christian Hospice nurse to be with us until the end.) The song we started to sing was, "His Eye is on the Sparrow". We sang the first verse, and as we started into the chorus, all of us hesitated and almost stopped singing. As you may or may not know, the words to the chorus are... "I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free..." It seemed much to "peppy" to sing during the final moments of someone's life, but at THAT VERY MOMENT - at the completion of that phrase - that is when Dad slipped from our hands into the waiting arms of the Lord whom he loved and served for so many years. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember that. God was so awesome to "Free" Dad at the same time we were singing about it. The nurse was able to tell us that he was going, allowing us a final moment to kiss him, tell him how much we loved him, and let him know that one day soon we would all be together again.
A couple of final notes regarding the sermons.
First of all, since Dad always preached from the King James Version of the Bible, that is what I will use when quoting the scripture he used.
Also, you will see that many sermons are not necessarily in date order. I believe that is because Dad probably preached a message or a series at one time, and then when he eventually used those notes for another time he added additional messages to the series. Some of them before the original message, and some after. Sadly, a few of the sermons are missing because we figure he removed them to preach at a different time. My sisters tried their best to make sure each series was put together in one book, but it was not always possible.
I guess that is enough to help you know a little bit about Dad. Now it is time to share some of the “Devotions From Dad”. I hope and pray that someone, somewhere, might need one of these lessons and that they will be blessed.
I know this is rather "wordy", but if for nothing else, I'm creating this series of blog postings for my myself... something to help me remember my Dad. I invite you to following along with me on this journey.
(The youngest of Dad’s 4 girls)
Please leave me a comment if you are following this series - it would be of great encouragement to me! Thanks!