When Father’s Day is Hard…

Encouragement for any of us who are missing a good daddy on this Father's Day. SmellingCoffee.com
Happy Father’s Day weekend, everyone!  First of all, I want to wish my dear husband and the father of our children, James Walker, a Happy Father’s Day!  He and Abigail are in Africa on a mission trip right now, and are loving it!

In fact, come to think of it, in the 20 years that James has been a dad, I can literally count on one hand the number of Father’s Days that he has been home with our children and me.  In the early years James traveled a lot in his ministry job and was usually gone during Father’s Day weekend.  And for the past five Father’s Days he has been in Africa.

This will seem selfish, but I’ll admit that with my dad being in heaven and my husband being gone, I’ve fought the temptation to feel a bit sorry for myself on these Father’s Day Sundays sitting with my kids alone at church.  It “seems” like everyone else leaves the service with their families, parents, etc, going to a happy lunch to celebrate the fathers in their lives, and we would always go home alone.  I’ve left many a Father’s Day Sunday services in tears.

UNTIL… The Lord reminded me of something I had completely forgotten… I still have a Daddy here, and my children still have a Daddy present, and He is a Good Daddy who is with us always, and is everything we need a Daddy to be!

Read some of His beautiful names listed in the Word:

Abba – Romans 8:15
Father – Isaiah 9:6
Father of Compassion – 2 Corinthians 1:3
Father of Our Spirits – Hebrews 12:9
Father of the Heavenly Lights – James 1:17
Father to the Fatherless – Psalm 68:5
God of all Comfort – 2 Corinthians 1:3
God of the Living – Matthew 22:32
God our Father – Colossians 1:2
Helper of the Fatherless – Psalm 10:14
Holy Father – John 17:11
Keeper – Isaiah 27:3
My Benefactor – Psalm 71:6
My Support – 2 Samuel 22:19
Righteous Father – John 17:25
The Glorious Father – Ephesians 1:17
My Intercessor – Hebrews 7:25
Shield – Psalm 28:7
Source of Life – Acts 3:15
Wonderful Counselor – Isaiah 9:6
The One Who Speaks – Hebrews 12:25
Spirit of Sonship (Adoption) – Romans 8:15

It’s such a gift to be reminded of this.  What a wonderful Abba we all have! I love Him so!!!

Because my dad was such a wise, unselfish, patient, and loving father, it has been easy for me to believe that God the Father is wise, unselfish, patient, and loving.  But I realize that many didn’t have a dad like mine, which makes intimacy with and trust in our Heavenly Father a little more difficult to accept.

Whether we had the best or the worst earthly dad, or whether our dads are present or not, we all have a Father we can celebrate this weekend. Our Heavenly Daddy. He loves us, provides for us, walks with us, laughs and cries with us, rejoices over us, carries our burdens for us, and He even laid down His life for ours.

He keeps His promises, and He will NEVER leave us… no matter what! He is the Father to the fatherless. He is the Daddy we all dream of having.

As great as our earthly dads are, they are still human. None of them are perfect. But God the Father is.  And friends, we need to release God from being bound in our minds and hearts by the faults and failures of our earthly dads.  God is NOT like man.  Man will fail us.  God will not.

His Word promises:

“You are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 10:14 (NIV)

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” Psalm 27:10 (NLT)

“Father of orphans, champion of widows, is God in his holy house.”  Psalm 68:5 (Msg)

You, LORD, are our Father. We are nothing but clay, but you are the potter who molded us. Isaiah 64:8 (CEV)


If this is a sad or difficult day for you
, may the Father, our Abba Daddy, remind you of who you have in Him.  So whether you get to say it to anyone else in your life, you can lift up your eyes with a smile and tell your Perfect Daddy – the One who will never leave nor forsake you, “Happy Father’s Day!”  🙂


If you are far away from your Heavenly Father
and are wondering if you’ve gone too far for Him to welcome you home, read this short FB post from Franklin Graham:

We celebrate ‪#‎FathersDay‬ this weekend. I look forward to going to see my father Billy Graham at his home tomorrow, and am thankful to still have him with us.

Jesus told a parable about a father who was loving and forgiving in spite of his son’s many mistakes. The son was only interested in getting his inheritance early, then squandered it all away on partying. When he had nothing left and was forced to eat with the pigs, he decided to go home.

The Bible says, “And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20-24).

This story is a picture of not only a loving earthly father, but it’s a picture of our compassionate Heavenly Father who will forgive when you turn to Him in repentance. He loves you, wants the best for you, and celebrates when His children come home. If you’ve wandered away from God, this would be a great day to return to Him. I urge you to call out to Him today—He’s waiting to embrace you.

And one more thing to share: This blog post was written two years ago by a special young woman, a child of my heart that I’ve loved and watched grow since she was six years old.  Trust me when I say that she has had to learn at a tender age to let God step in and be her Abba, Daddy – and He (and Annie’s mom) have done the most incredible job raising her (and her brother!)  It’s called “Do You Know My Daddy?”  I know you’ll be blessed.

Happy Father’s Day, everyone!  This weekend and everyday, we celebrate and give thanks to God, our Father, for all He has done for us, His beloved children.


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Wife School: An encouraging study for every married woman!

If you haven’t heard of or yet read Wife School, and if you are married (or are getting married soon) – this is truly a MUST READ!  Anyone who has read the book will tell you the same thing.

We read this book as a women’s ministry ladies’ book club several years ago, and had ladies in our group who have been happily married for over 40 years – and they learned just as much as the rest of us.  Every marriage can use some improvement.  Right?

"Wife School" a MUST READ book by Julie Gordon on SmellingCoffee.com

If you are in the Cleveland, MS area, you can attend FBC Cleveland’s “Wife School” study on Tuesday nights beginning June 27 at 7:00 in the FBC Student Center.  You’ll need to order your book (see below) and start reading now.  Then during the class, you will purchase a workbook ($12) to use daily as you process through these Wife School lessons in the Word of God.  God’s Word is FULL of wisdom for wives, and I can’t wait to see how He uses His Word through this study to transform marriages in our town!!!

In the most non-threatening and actually humorous way, Wife School author, Julie Gordon, speaks through a genie who helps a wife named Jessica learn how to love and respect her husband. In doing so, their falling-apart marriage is restored.  In the midst of the young wife’s learning sessions, non-fiction wives {I’m talking about us} will also be instructed and challenged.  😉  Julie covers every imaginable topic that causes friction between husband and wife… you know… those things that our men do or don’t do that we really want to change… and teaches the things wives can do to bring the desired change and healing to marriage.  {Because, we wives KNOW that no matter what we say or how we manipulate, we can’t force our men to make lasting changes to please us.  But there are some things we CAN do, along with prayer, that will turn their hearts back toward us causing them to want to change. Amen?}

If you are thinking, “Well… what about the husband? He is the one who is at fault in this marriage!  He needs to learn to love me better and meet my needs! Is there a Husband School too?”  I have some happy news for you.  Yes there is… or there will be in the future.  Julie and her husband, David, are working on that right now.  But I promise… if you will practice the Biblically based and practical truths taught in wife school, you’ll begin to feel like you have a new and improved husband within a matter of weeks. [Unless your husband is truly abusive to you in any way.  If that’s the case, PLEASE seek wise counsel and get yourself to a safe place.]

Each wife I know that that has read and worked through this book has seen a difference in their men as they {the wives} employed the Biblically based methods in Wife School.  Many of the husbands had no understanding of what was going on, they just knew that their wives were being sweeter to them, and that made them react in sweeter & more thoughtful ways toward their wives.  It’s a cyclical kind of thing – and somebody’s got to start it.  So ladies… Let Wife School begin!  You won’t be sorry!!!  This is one of books that you will be so glad you worked through, and one you will want to revisit over and over again – every year or so.

{And may I suggest that as you read through Wife School, you do the assignments that the wife, Jessica, receives?  I did and kind of took notes in my own notebook as I read and worked through the book, and now I have some precious treasures to keep for years to come.  I’ll not spoil the surprise, but trust me… if you do Jessica’s assignments for yourself, you’ll end up with pages of gold that will make you fall in love with your husband all over again.}

In addition to the book, Julie Gordon has a wonderful site FULL of resources to compliment your reading of Wife School at  JulieNGordon.com . On her site, you can even sign up to participate in a 27 week online “Wife School” where Julie will guide you through the book and give you extra help and encouragement in loving your man.  It’s totally FREE.  You’ll just need to have your own copy of Wife School.  You can also sign up for her blog posts to be emailed directly to you, so you’ll get consistent encouragement to keep up the principles you learned in Wife School.

So, as if you can’t tell, I’m a HUGE FAN of Wife School and Julie Gordon.  If I had the power to do so, I’d make every wife in the nation read and practice the Biblical and practical wisdom in this book.  Marriages all over America would be transformed, then our nation would be transformed, which would hugely transform our world… Yep.  It’s that powerful.

Are you ready for some Wife School?  If so, don’t delay.  Grab a book and start reading, then meet with us on Tuesdays in June and July.  7 pm.  FBC Student Center. (But if you don’t get the book read before class, that’s ok!)

You can purchase the book here, or have Melanie order it for you at the Delta Christian Bookstore, or read it in the e-book form here.  (PS: Julie has no idea I’m writing this post… this isn’t a “sponsored” post.  It’s just a great book and when I find a wonderful thing, I can’t help but to pass it along.)

Wife School 2017 Info. FBC Cleveland

Ok wives… let’s let the Lord get to work in us and watch Him transform our marriages for His Glory!

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It’s Ascension Day – and we have much to celebrate!

Why you and I should celebrate Ascension Day. SmellingCoffee.com

Did you know that today is a special holiday?  We have something wonderful to celebrate today – the Ascension of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Personally, I hadn’t given this day much thought until the last few years.

We all know that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birth into this groaning world in desperate need of Salvation.  Then, there is Easter where we focus on the cross and the
reason Jesus Christ became a man.  {The Reason?  Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, so that we could live Loved, Redeemed, Forgiven, and Secured.  Making the life-changing decision to accept that Jesus Christ died for you, defeated death, and rose on the third day – That’s what it means to “be saved”… to be saved FROM sin, self, destruction, and eternal separation from God, who loves you so!… and to be saved TO a beautiful purpose, a clean slate, eternal security, and the sheer Peace and Joy that comes in not being the only one who cares about the details of your life. (Read this  if you want to know how to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.)}

We readily celebrate Christmas and Easter.  But there is another day that should mean a great deal to those of us who belong to Jesus Christ.  It is the 40th day after Easter… the day that  Jesus ascended into Heaven.  In fact, I’m realizing that the way I celebrate Easter should actually continue until this day.   Why?  Because the life I’m living would be without purpose and hope if it hadn’t been for what Jesus did on the Cross.

It’s what we celebrate during Easter that is life-altering for those who believe.  Yet, we tend to quickly dismiss this “Easter” celebration so shortly afterward.  I’ve been guilty of this for most of my life.  But not this year.

After reading Barbara Rainey’s blog post, Why I like Easter better than ChristmasI realized how important it is to continue to bask in the miraculous joy that is ours because of the victory Jesus took over death.  I still have our “Rejoice” banner hanging from the fire place, and the decorative eggs are still in their baskets around my home.  Every time I see them I am reminded that 1) Jesus is alive and victorious over sin and death! and 2) Because of Jesus’ victory and the fact that He is now living within me, I, too, can be victorious over sin and it’s decaying effects in my life and relationships.  Praise the Lord!

The Bible tells us that after the resurrection, Jesus spent an additional 40 days on this earth preparing His followers for their future, both on this globe and in Heaven.

During the forty days after he suffered and died, he (Jesus) appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God.”Acts 1:3

Acts 1 continues to tell us:

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”  Acts 1:4-5

 

But the disciples were still focused on earthly kingdoms.  (Oh… aren’t we SO like them???)

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, “Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?”  Acts 1:6

And on this day, for one last time, Jesus patiently reminded his followers not to worry so much about the temporal things of life.  God had those things covered. (See Matthew 6:25-34)  Instead, on this day He issued them a greater purpose and focus – a call to do Kingdom work – to be his witnesses, even in difficult and unfamiliar places that might take them all the way to the ends of the earth.

He replied, “The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  Acts 1:7-8

Then this happened:

After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him.  Acts 1:9

Can you imagine what these Christ-followers were thinking?  Were they standing there dumb-founded?  I would have been.  So God, in His grace and understanding of the human heart, sent another blessed assurance to them:

10 As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them.11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”  Acts 1:10-11 (NLT)

On the 40th day after Easter, Jesus returned to Heaven to take His rightful place as King (Rev. 19:6) over Heaven and Earth.  And all who live through Him from that day on are awaiting His glorious return.

Actually, Jesus had spoken about this ascension to His followers many times before, but they just didn’t “get it” yet.

In John 16:28 Jesus said, “I came from the Father into the world, but I am leaving the world and returning to the Father.”

But the Christ-followers of that day were focused on what they could see right in front of them, wanting Jesus to solve their immediate problems with their earthly enemies.  (Is anyone besides me relating to this today?)  By the grace of God, Jesus had a greater plan.

In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you.  John 14:2

In John 17:7 Jesus also said,

 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away;
for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you
[to be in close fellowship with you].

John 16:7  (AMP)

 

 

So… WHY should we celebrate on this Ascension Day?

Because Jesus is victoriously seated on His Throne, we enjoy these privileges while living on this earth.

 

  1.  We have someone praying for us.  Always.  Even if we think no one else ever prays for us, Jesus is doing so right now.  What a blessing!!!  What a gift!!!
    Therefore He is able also to save to the uttermost (completely, perfectly, finally, and for all time and eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He is always living to make petition to God and intercede with Him and intervene for them.  Hebrews 7:25 (AMPC)
     {emphasis, mine}
  2. We have the presence of the Holy Spirit living within us, comforting, guiding, reminding, and convicting us.  We aren’t alone!


    26 
    But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

    27 Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]  John 14:26-27 (AMPC)

  3. We have the promise that this world is not all there is to life.  Jesus is preparing a place for us in Heaven with Him… and those to whom Christ is Lord will live with Him forever!

    Jesus said to his disciples, “Don’t be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me. 
    There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you. After I have done this, I will come back and take you with me. Then we will be together.  John 14:1-3 (CEV)

 

HOW can we celebrate on Ascension Day?

Barbara Rainey offers these 5 ideas for children and family celebrations on her blog, EverThineHome.  

For me, I want to spend this day thanking Jesus for His life, for humbling Himself to become a man, for loving me enough to die in my place, and for making a way for me to live eternally in Heaven.  (Philippians 2: 5-11 and John 3:16-17)

Also, I am recommitting the focus of my life to be about God’s Kingdom… I want to embrace a Kingdom mindset while living as a stranger and alien among this planet. (1 Peter 1:1-3)  I am continuing to learn that

In the Kingdom of God
{Which is from now on to be my
frame of reference for the world in which I live}
JOB  STATUS  DOESN’T  EXIST.

God has given each of us
GIFTS, TALENTS, SKILLS, JOBS
PASSIONS, EXPERIENCES, & OPPORTUNITIES
that are unique to us –
SO THAT WE WILL
Steward them well
as we Serve Jesus Christ
and Influence the world around us.

My “JOB” is to remain humble, available, obedient, and praying
while I steward well the present place God has me –
with confidence in NOTHING BUT GOD AND HIS KINGDOM.

“Living faithfully is a large enough task for today.”
Mathew 6:34 (VOICE)

 

 

This year it will be one of those quiet celebrations of the heart – with gratitude and renewed joy in the life God has called me to live right where He has placed me for such a time as this.  (Acts 17:25-28 and Esther 4:14)

How about you?  Will you join me in the celebration of the life you have in Jesus because He is reigning eternally in Heaven?

30 There are also many other signs (attesting miracles) that Jesus performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;31 but these have been written so that you may believe [with a deep, abiding trust] that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the Son of God; and that by believing [and trusting in and relying on Him] you may have life in His name.  John 20:30-31

 

I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  John 16:33 (MSG)


After the Lord Jesus had charged the disciples in this way, He was taken up into heaven and seated at the right hand of God.  
Mark 16:19

With deep joy and gratitude, Happy Ascension Day, my friends!
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Encouragement – Especially if you are in a Storm.

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Seven years ago today James officially started his new position at First Baptist Church in Cleveland, Mississippi. The kids and I we’re staying back in Nashville so they could finish the school year, and on this May 1st Sunday morning, the skies opened up and dropped down, eventually causing flooding in our home town.  I will always […]

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