Friday, February 12, 2021

My Father's Shoes

whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: Matthew 3:11 "The preaching that this world needs most is the sermons in shoes that are walking with Jesus Christ." D.L.Moody As a young child, I remember sitting in my parent’s room, watching my dad get ready for church. As a pastor, and one who felt that dressing in your best showed respect to God, he almost never went to church in anything but a coat and tie – always a suit. I would sit and watch as he picked out his clothes, running his hand along the ever growing collection of repp, paisley and woven ties until he found just the right one for that day. After the jackets, shirts and ties had been sorted through, out came the shoes. Dad’s shoes were not handmade or exotic. But Dad always kept his shoes in excellent condition; religiously polishing them to a deep, jewel like gloss. He would put his shoes on last, the final touch. He would start looking for them only to find a little boy had made away with them. When I was little sometimes I’d put on my dad’s dress shoes and clumsily walk around the house, giggling as I looked down at my feet. I always felt close to him, standing in his shoes. The shoes seemed like the largest shoes in the world to me. "How could his feet ever fill such big shoes?"my childish mind wondered,"They keep falling off my feet." After a hearty laugh at me, he snatched the shoes while tickling my feet. Smiling big I hoped to be as big as him someday. Maybe then I could wear shoes like that. It rained the whole trip to church. So I spent my time staring at rain cascading down my backseat window. My five year old thoughts considered,"What if I can't get inside the church? It sure is raining hard. I might sink in the mud and get stuck. I've done that before and walked right out of my shoes." This was just a brief thought. We had arrived. My dad quickly picked me up into his arms and headed toward the church house doors. "Oh,no it's so muddy. Surely,his shoes will get stuck in the mud,"I thought. 10 steps later we were inside. Glancing back over my shoulder,I shall never forget those footprints. They were deep into the ground, leaving a lasting mark. I saw others running and stepping in his footprints to keep from bogging down in the mud. He had been the first inside. His shoes, amazingly to me, had not come off. I asked,"How come your shoes didn't come off?" "I guess I just tied them good. I didn't have time to worry about that I had to get you in out of the weather." With no regard for the new shine he had put on his shoes and not worrying about what others thought he just reacted. Without a second thought, he did what had to be done. By doing so, he left deep foot impressions for those who chose to walk where he had. Isn't that what our Heavenly Father does for us? We so much want to wear his shoes, but until the time is right he carries us through the storm when we need it. As he carries us, if you look back over your shoulder you can see others choosing or not choosing to follow the deep footprints of our Protector. Dear Protector, Thank you for thinking of me first.Before you hung the first star in the sky, You knew my name. You knew the name of an insignificant young boy in his earthly father's arms, who needs You more than ever to carry Him. I lose my shoes alot in the mud,and I sink in the muck. Your shoes are always secure and your footprints forever leave a mark on my heart.
Amen. by Lance Gargus

Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Ship's Destiny

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Hebrews 6:19 Heavenly Father,
Your son is my anchor and I am just a ship seeking his destiny, of that I'm sure. But I sure have a hard time reading the stars on this trip. So I look to the map you gave me, the Bible, but I ain't much good at reading maps. You know I don't want to get lost at sea on life's little trip. Onward moves time's lonely ocean voyage. I use my conscience as a compass to try to read that map. I sure miss my earthly father's moral compass helping me to translate. I've torn my knees up praying when times were looking bad, only to forget You when I'm flying high above it all. Spent so much time flying high I spend more time lying face first in the ground. Dear Father, I've the scars to show from all the time I spent falling down. It's going to be a long hard ride, but I have to take it. So, God, if Dad's up there watching me, please, listen to the message I'm sending him from my heart to his,"I might need a hand to see him again someday. Lord have mercy, it seems I don't have a prayer. I just know I want to go where the streets are gold cause he'll be there. Help me to see Your ship that will carry me to him. When mine becomes too torn and battered lift me up to finish the final voyage in." by Lance Gargus

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I wonder if when you die, if that's it?

"I wonder if when you die, if that's it? I mean, do you know nothing anymore. No more eating, enjoying, you know living." My eyes got real big. Where did this come from I wondered? He acted like he was waiting on me or my other co-worker to say something. I had only being working with the other guy a couple months. I spoke up,"I believe is more to what we can see. When my father was in the hospital, he told me of so many wonderful things he was experiencing. He was terminalyet, his faith never waivered." I went on to talk about all the things we went through. "I don't have an answer for it all. It's all a matter of faith. I could tell you about it all day, and you might think I'm crazy. Words don't do justice for it. A man has to make up his own mind. But I know what I seen and heard. My assurance lies in Someone else's hands. Dad gave me a glimpse of heaven's treasures. In turn, he left me a legacy." All was silent after that. Nothing was said the rest of the break. The hours rolled forward on that factory floor. I wonder if something I said soaked in with him. I'm still lost in my soul searching in someways. I still seek answers. I still won't be satisfied until I see for myself. God will decide if and when I do in this life. But I sure can't wait to take the guided tour with Dad when I get there. by Lance Gargus

Friday, October 09, 2020

Coy Girl

With a deep sigh, I shake my head. "Why doesn't she get it?" comes my upset thoughts to myself. Wind lifts her hair in long strands,as she just slowly trots down the soccer field. More interested in the butterflies in the grass than what's going on around her. I rub my hand across an already worried brow over the financial cares of the day. Struggling to relax and watch the game, I wish so hard that it came easy to her. She never has been outgoing. Always shy and timid, almost like a doe. I become so frustrated at her in my heart. Other kids are just running around her on the field. I know she's young, but I'm so scared that somewhere in life others will run her over. "Lord, what can I do then?" I won't always be here to shield her from the cold realities of life. Her coach has made numerous attempts to get her to kick the ball. She walks up to the ball at the line. With a coy look, she barely draws back her leg and tips it. It slowly moves up the field before being picked up by a quicker player. She hangs back in the background, almost trying to hide on the open field. This goes on like this for an excruciating hour on my part. I encourage her, applaud her, and pep talk her. All to no avail. When the prayer is given toward the end, the gentleman who stands up speaks with a soft voice. A voice coming from experience as he recounts a personal story. In the story, he speaks of a sick patient he cared for. The patient realized toward the end of her terminal illness that her accolades, glories, and superiority to other people didn't matter at the end. He then made reference to some children may be better athletes than some, and parents push this as the most important thing. But he reminds us of the small child who struggles. God gives them the ball, and their small effort is mightier than all the trophies accomplished by the gifted. In this moment, I think of my daughter. How many disadvantages she's overcome is quite a feat for her. I feel his prayer was put in my way to get me to think. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:Luke 12:48 Her efforts are monumental in comparison to others. Is this where her destiny lies with soccer? Probably not. Is this where God makes me realize things about my soul searching? Definitely, yes. Can fathers be wrong? You bet. Most of all I'm still a son in need of guidance from a Heavenly Father's invisible hand.
Lance Gargus
"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

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