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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Fathers

From the post:

“If you have not had a decent earthly father in your life, it might be much more challenging for you to grasp God’s love for us a Father”

That is so true, Elihu. The lack of positive fathering, or any real fathering at all, has set entire generations of men into spiritual and life tailspins.

All we can do is try to pass our own legacy to the generation we raise. Since I didn’t do so well the first time, I was blessed to get to raise another family. My own parents didn’t do much in the way of showing me how, but God has certainly shown me the second time around. He’s even shown me how to restore the damage from the first time.

Elihu's Corner

Before I launch into this post, I must apologize for being MIA over the last few weeks. Between wrapping up our school year and taking our family vacation, my writing time has been severely limited. Lord willing, I will continue the series on “Teaching the Truth With Love” next Friday!


Last week, my family visited Arches National Park for the first time. What I treasured most about this trip was not the awesome landscapes, but something far more priceless: a deepening trust and affection between my husband and our children.

The above photo was taken on our first hike. We ascended the somewhat steep trail to Delicate Arch—one of the most famous landmarks in Utah—and two of my three children wanted to skirt the basin and in order to stand beneath the arch.

If you look closely, you might see my family members under that huge arch!

Being…

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A Father Lost

This is my Father’s Day post from previous years. Nothing to add to it, so here it is again. So many today either didn’t have a father, or had a dysfunctional one. Just remember, we can all have the best father, our Heavenly Father.

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I’d love to post a nice, happy Father’s Day Post, but I fear this won’t be it. But here it is in all its sadness. But, there is a wonderful positive here also that I hope you all will see, and a lesson to father’s everywhere.

My father had more positive qualities than could be possibly listed, in many ways. First of all, he was quite handsome, in a very classic way. He was truly the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. He was about 6’2″, olive-skinned, slender, and very well built. He apparently was one-quarter Native American coming from his mother’s side of things. The rumor was his mother was half Cherokee or Reelfoot. Nobody really knows, as his side of the family was rather shrouded in mystery and rumor.  Lot’s of talk various and sundry crimes on the Fry side of the family.

He was quite charming and engaging as well and could sell the proverbial snow cone to the proverbial Eskimo. In fact, sales was what my father did for his entire life, and was very successful at it.

My father was extremely gentle and kind. I am not sure I never heard him express anger at a person in my life(other than my mother), and made quite a big deal about always being nice to other people. He was a real “golden rule” kind of guy. He had been a Marine right after WWII but was very anti-war. In fact, the only conflict we ever had was when I decided to join the Army. He really thought I had become some kind of jackbooted Nazi. I remember still the one and only time my father ever spanked me, he cried the whole time.

My father was literally the smartest man I ever knew. He had no degrees or formal education outside of school but was the smartest and most well-read man I ever met. Read all the classic philosophers during his lifetime. He was also quite a gifted writer as I discovered after he died. The man was a literary giant in the making, to tell the truth. Found out he fancied himself a real Earnest Hemingway type of person. My father was simply put a genius.

Now, the dark side of my father.

My Father was a cheating, unfaithful womanizer. That handsomeness and charm, combined with his profession as a traveling salesman produced very bad results. He didn’t, however, have to travel to philander, he was perfectly capable of that locally.

My father went broke. He sold and serviced dry cleaning machinery. The rise of polyester literally ruined my life. In a matter of what seemed like months, we went from great success to utter lack.

My father was an alcoholic. Apparently, he had been for years, but the financial ruin brought it to the forefront in bad ways. In the midst of great financial setback, my father chose to abandon us instead of staying. Things worked out okay for him for a while but for me and my mother, the result was years of poverty and struggling.  He never recovered from that addiction, and it ultimately took his life. We reconnected while I was in college, but that was only because everybody else had given up on him. The most vivid memories of our reconnection were mostly me driving somewhere where he had failed to pay rent and was drunk in a bed, picking him up, and dropping him off at the VA Hospital for another stint in recovery. We did, however, during that time come to know each other better than we ever had. That all finally ended with a deadly, perhaps intentional, combination of pills and booze, and he was gone at the age of 54.

Most importantly, my father was lost, He did not know The Lord, nor did he wish to. He was simply too smart, too independent, and too in love with his decadent lifestyle to ever surrender his life to Jesus. I really don’t even know if anyone ever told him to be honest. He certainly never mentioned God around me.

I miss him horribly, even to this day. He never did a thing for me, but one’s father is always their father. If only he had stayed around to see my conversion, perhaps things would be different for him now. Sadly, I won’t ever see him again.

As normal, there is a Bible lesson buried in this post; I usually have one. This is my father’s day gift to all the father’s out there, and it is this one simple statement from what I believe to be one of the greatest fathers who ever lived other than God our father. That man is Joshua. Every inch a man’s man, a great warrior, and a leader of men beyond compare. He had the following to say:

As for me and my house. we will serve the Lord

Visions of Body Parts Dancing in My Head

Well, now that my rather morbid title has probably made you go…”What?,” let me explain! I am actually studying body parts; I am studying for my first test Monday in Anatomy and Physiology.

Ugh. My daughter took this her first semester and it was NOT easy according to her. That was a regular semester. This is a summer term, so everything is accelerated to double speed.

It’s as if the instructor sawed off the top of student’s heads and just poured information in until it starts running from their toes. Sort of like watering a plant, actually.

This class is actually supposed to pick up where the student’s high school biology classes left off. That’s a great plan if that class was 6 months ago; it’s not quite so good when the class was 39 years ago!

I think it has pushed me over the edge. I have been walking around at work singing “Dem Bones,” and substituting the official anatomical lingo for the song lyrics. As in,

Digital  bone connected to the pedal bone

Pedal bone connected to the calcaneal bone

Calcaneal bone connected to the tarsal bone

And….on it goes.

Those aren’t even the bone names I don’t think LOL. Just the geographical area of the body. We haven’t DONE bones yet.

Anyway, back to my studies now; I just needed a break.

 

Healing Ancient Wounds

You all know I enjoy good faith based poetry, but am not capable of writing any myself. So, here is Amy to fill the gap of my inability today. Enjoy.

A New Life

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Lord, how do we get around all of that?

How do we turn away from anger and wrath?

Feelings and pain that run so deep

Tossing us through nights of no sleep

Ancient wounds scraped open time and time again.

Memories relived, taking us back from within

Remorse for not getting past this pain years ago

Makes a heart feel tossed to and fro

Rising above them and ourselves can be the only way

And remembering what the Almighty has to say

Love thy Lord with all thy heart

First is where we all must start

Harder yet still is the toughest asked of you and me

To love others the way we want them to love us openly

Can we do this? Can we succeed?

To kneel down in prayer for our enemy and intercede…?

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Random Stuff From the Garden

Of course, more lilies.

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More lilies, but what you see in the foreground is an Artemisia variety, also called Wormwood. It’s where absinthe comes from.

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Liatris Spicata-Spike Gayfeather

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Bible Verses to Remind us that God Hears

God does hear us, and here are some great verses from Heather to remind us!

Heather C. King - Room to Breathe

  • 2 Samuel 22:7 ESV
    “In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I called. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to his ears
  • Psalm 4:3 ESV
    But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
        the Lord hears when I call to him.
  • Psalm 17:6 ESV
    I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
        incline your ear to me; hear my words.
  • Psalm 18:6 ESV
    In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
  • Psalm 28:1-2, 6
    To you, O Lord, I call;
        my rock, be not deaf to me,
    lest, if you be silent to me,
        I become like those who go down to the pit.

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Glad for Gladiolus

Hibiscus

This fellow came back from the dead. At one time every single leaf fell off and left nothing but wood.

Follow Me-A Priest Gets Ready to Go

Ezra 7:6-10

This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Ezra 7-10

As various Persian Kings granted the authority to do so, various groups of Jews who had been in the Babylonian Captivity began returning to Jerusalem to re-establish the thing which had been destroyed during the conquest some 70 years before. There were three waves of returnees. Wave one was the group led by Zerubbabel, who returned to rebuild the Temple. The third was the wave led by Nehemiah, who returned to rebuild the city wall of Jerusalem and the city itself. The second wave was led by Ezra and was going to rebuild nothing which was physical. Ezra’s mission was to restore and rebuild the newly free nation spiritually. He was to teach all the things of the law and restore Israel to proper worship of their God.

Clearly, Ezra was called for this mission, and clearly, God saw the need for a man to return to Jerusalem to accomplish it. Why is this clear? Well, twice in the above passage we are told that the hand of God was upon Ezra. This leaves little doubt as to his calling and the need for Ezra to answer. So, some 60 years after the Temple was completed, Ezra headed that direction as commanded. So, what quick lessons can we glean here?

First, Ezra went. That seems self-evident, but it isn’t really; men and women decline to answer the call of God in their lives all the time. While Ezra was probably a strong, intelligent and competent person, it is God’s call and hand in it which ultimately enabled Him to succeed in his mission. God will give us all we need to do His will; the only thing He won’t provide is the willingness on our part. So, had he not been willing, then this post would have been about somebody else.

The need for spiritual instruction and restoration is as real to Christians today as it was to the Jews in that day. The need for men willing to step forth boldly and accomplish that is also as real today as it was then. There is something else we who are called should have in common with Ezra:

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

Friends, that right there sets the standard for all who are called to be teachers of God’s Word to others. If we approach it any other way, then we are not performing to standard. Anything less and we are half stepping.

Ezra prepared his heart. Being a teacher of faith to others is not an accident. We have to be prepared spiritually. This will require much prayer, study and meditation on both the Scriptures and about God’s desires.

What did Ezra prepare his heart to do? He prepared it to seek the law of the Lord. Nothing has changed here, only we seek the knowledge of God’s completed canon of Scripture. If we are attempting to be teachers and are not striving to be as knowledgeable of our teaching as possible then, again, we are half stepping.

Ezra strove to do it. We can’t learn God’s Word until we study it, but once we know it, we should attempt to live it. Can any of us live it perfectly? Of course not. We won’t see perfection until we see heaven. Here is a tough word, teacher friends. If we aren’t at least trying to live God’s Word, we aren’t ready; in fact, if we ignore, openly rebel, or turn a blind eye to disobedience around us we simply should not be leaders or teachers. This is worse than half stepping.

On after Ezra learned God’s Word did he try to live it. Only after he lived it did he try to teach it. He had two things: God’s hand on him, and his own willing and prepared heart.

Friends, the Israelites deserved this from the man who was to teach them God’s law, and those we are responsible for deserve it from us.

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