Father’s Day Resolution

Father’s Day Resolutions

Matthew 5:1-12

Dr. Jim Denison

Three boys were bragging about their fathers. The first said, “My dad writes some words on paper and calls it a lawsuit, and they pay him for it.” The second said, “Yeah, well my dad writes some words on paper and calls it a prescription, and they pay him for it.” The third said, “Well, my dad writes some words on a paper and calls it a sermon. And it takes eight guys to collect all the money!”

Dads need respect. Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, knew it was so. Listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, she thought of her father. He had raised her and her five siblings after their mother died. So she spoke to area ministers and YMCA members, and they began the next year. They selected roses as the flower of the day: red if the father was living, white if he was deceased. Interest grew until President Calvin Coolidge made Father’s Day a national holiday in 1924.

I’m glad there’s a Father’s Day, selfishly and spiritually.

We need to remember what God wants us to give our fathers, on this day and each day. 12,600 miles of ties will be given today. What else do fathers need?

And fathers need to remember why we were blessed by God with this privilege, and how to fulfill it well.

Graduate from Fatherhood 101

Unfortunately, children do not come with owner’s manuals. No Chilton’s car repair books or operating instructions. But their Creator has told us what we need to know to do this job well. Let’s review Fatherhood 101 in the word of God.

Your first responsibility is to lead your family spiritually.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). How did Jesus love us? Unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially. Love her the same way.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). Serve each other, meet each other’s needs.

Live so that your wife can fulfill her spiritual responsibility as well: “Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). Be the spiritual leader, example, model in your family and home. Live and lead so that they follow Christ because of you.

A survey conducted by the National Study of Youth and Religion has concluded that adolescents raised in religious households are far more likely to admire their parents and live in healthy families than those who are not. So lead your family spiritually.

Next, provide for your family financially.

We are to meet their physical as well as spiritual needs: “…Children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children” (2 Corinthians 12:14).

Freud said, “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Provide financial and physical security and stability for your home.

Third, teach your children biblically.

Describing the principles of Scripture, we are commanded to “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut 6:7).

We are further instructed, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).

Do you have a time in your home for Bible study and prayer? A time to teach your children what you know of God’s word? You are their first pastor, their spiritual guide. The church has your kids one percent of their time, the schools 16%; you have them 83% of their time. So teach them biblically.

Fourth, be what you want your children to become.

A godly father “must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect” (1 Timothy 3:4).

It’s been observed that “Till a boy is fifteen he does what his father says; after that he does what his father does.”

Here is Fatherhood 101: lead your family spiritually, provide for them physically, teach them biblically, be what you want them to become. Now, let’s focus on the last principle. How can we be the people we want our children to become? What does it take to be godly fathers?

You’re familiar with New Year’s resolutions. Today I want to offer some Father’s Day resolutions. Eight, in fact. Eight gifts to give our children, and our souls as well.

Adopt these Father’s Day resolutions

Jesus’ familiar beatitudes begin: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

To be “poor in spirit” means to know our need of God, that we cannot live and succeed without his help. It means to admit that he is the I Am and I am the I Am Not.

Our culture stands on self-sufficiency. We can meet our needs if we just put in enough hours, take enough classes, consult enough experts.

God knows better. He knows that our children are eternal souls entrusted to our care. So here’s the first Father’s Day resolution: “I will seek the help of God daily.” Will you make this commitment now?

The second beatitude states, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

The “mourning” to which Jesus refers is primarily spiritual. Mourning for sin, failures, shortcomings before God. It means to admit that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), myself among them.

Our culture stands on self-assurance. We’re good fathers if we provide financially for our families. Pete Rose heard that his daughter had told a reporter he was a terrible father. He responded, “That’s not true. I’m a great father. Why, just the other day I bought her a new Mercedes.”

God knows that our children will become what we are, so that we must spend time every day confessing our sins, staying right with God. Here’s the second Father’s Day resolution: “I will confess my sins daily to God.” Will you start today?

Jesus continues: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

The Greek word translated “meek” meant strength under submission. Biblically it means to be under the control of the Holy Spirit, to obey the command to be “filled [or controlled] by the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

Our culture is self-reliant. So long as our finances are healthy, our jobs productive, our health good, our future is secure.

God knows that we do not possess the wisdom, patience, or strength we need, that we must have the Spirit’s power. So here’s our third Father’s Day resolution: “I will submit daily to the control of the Holy Spirit.” Will you make this surrender right now?

The fourth beatitude: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).

“Righteousness” in Scripture deals with our actions, but also with our motives and our thoughts. God’s word teaches that as we think in our hearts, so we are (Proverbs 23:7, KJV). Moody said your character is what you do when no one is looking.

Our culture judges only our actions. So long as we are righteous in the eyes of our peers, we’re doing all we must.

But God sees our hearts. He knows that our children so often do what we do. So here’s our fourth Father’s Day resolution: “I will think and act by the word of God.” Does anything need to change in your life this morning as a result?

The fifth beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7).

Grace gives what we don’t deserve; mercy does not give what we do deserve.

Our culture knows little of mercy. We are driven by performance, possessions, and perfection. So we drive our children to succeed as we have. Recent periodicals have documented the problem of sports stress, for instance, as parents live vicariously through their children and push them to succeed at all costs.

But God knows that we fail more than we succeed, and that our children need our forgiveness, unconditional love, and mercy. So here’s our fifth Father’s Day resolution: “I will forgive my children when they fail.” As your Father forgives you.

The sixth beatitude promises, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8).

To be “pure in heart” means to live by God’s single purpose for your life. What is that purpose? To love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love others as yourself” (Matthew 22:37, 39).

Our culture defines success by how much we own, God’s by how much we give. Our culture measures us by how many people love us; God measures us by how many people we love.

So here’s our sixth Father’s Day resolution: “I will love my Father, my family, and others unconditionally.”

The seventh beatitude states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

A “peacemaker” is one who seeks righteous resolution to conflict, not just the absence of conflict but the presence of justice.

Our culture thrives on competition, victory, success. God wants our families to live in harmony and peace with each other in an atmosphere of mutual respect and love.

So here’s our seventh Father’s Day resolution: “I will teach my children to respect and love each other.”

The last beatitude concludes: “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10).

Living by these principles will cost us. Humility, confession of sin, submission to God, biblical thinking, forgiveness, unconditional love, and mutual respect are not popular values in our culture.

So here’s our last Father’s Day resolution: “I will pay any price to be a man of God.” Our God, and our families, are worth our sacrifice.

We can give our children no greater gift than to be such men of God.


Is your father committed to such resolutions and values? Then thank him. If he is not, pray for him. And whoever he is, give him the gift he most wants to receive.

Chuck Swindoll said it well: “Dad is not perfect; he would be the first to admit it. Nor is he infallible, much to his own disappointment. Nor altogether fair, nor always right. But there’s one thing he is always—he is your dad, the only one you’ll ever have. Take it from me, there’s only one thing he needs on Father’s Day. Plain and simple, he needs to hear you say, ‘Dad, I love you.'” Will you give him this gift today?

And if you’re a father, will you give your children these resolutions from the word of God? Which will you give to them first, today?

A group of botanists hiking in the Alps found a very rare flower. It was growing on a ledge of rock which could be reached only at great peril and with a lifeline. None were experienced climbers, so they found a local shepherd boy and offered him several gold coins to climb down the rope and retrieve the flower.

The boy wanted the money, but feared that the job was too dangerous. He would have to trust strangers to hold his lifeline. Suddenly he had an idea. He left the group, and returned a moment later holding the hand of a much older man. He ran with excitement to the edge of the cliff and said to the botanists, “You can tie the rope under my arms now. I’ll go into the canyon, as long as you let my father hold the rope.”

Whose rope is in your hand today?

How To Live In The Now

How to Live in the Now

Matthew 6.28-34

Dr. Jim Denison

A friend sent me some interesting facts about the class which recently graduated from high school in America. They have no recollection of the Reagan era. There has been only one Pope in their lifetime. They were five when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War. Tianamen Square means nothing to them. Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums. They have never heard of an 8-track. The Compact Disc was introduced before they were born. They have always had cable and VCRs. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran. Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not bands. They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter. And Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.

Speaking of Mr. Leno, I once heard him say that his father complained about walking five miles through the snow to school. “What will we complain about to our kids?” he asked. “We had to get up to change the channel.”

Tomorrow comes so quickly that we worry about it today. But Jesus says that we should not: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (v. 34). How do we do this? A psychologist once said that 90% of his patients live in fear of the future or guilt over the past. Wouldn’t you like to refuse both? How do we live in the now?

Choose to live in the now

“Do not worry,” our text begins, translating a present tense imperative. Literally rendered, Jesus said, “Stop worrying, every time worry starts again in your life.”

“About tomorrow”—specifically, about anything having to do with the future. No exceptions, no qualifications, no loopholes.

Why? “Tomorrow will worry about itself”—it will take care of itself. You cannot. You can’t do anything about tomorrow, today.

Instead, focus on now, for “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The word describes damage done to a crop by hail, the normal problems of living in this fallen world. You have enough to think about for today without borrowing from tomorrow.

The upshot: live in the now. Stay in the present. But that’s hard.

So why live in the present? For three reasons. First, worry over the future is pointless. A survey regarding worries revealed these facts:

40% of things most people worry about never happen.

30% of what we worry about has already happened and cannot be changed.

22% of what we worry about regards problems which are beyond our control.

Only 8% of what we worry about involves situations over which we have any influence.

Mickey Rivers, former New York Yankees outfielder, was right: “Ain’t no sense worry about things you got control over, ’cause if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying. And there ain’t no sense worrying about things you got no control over, ’cause if you got no control over them, ain’t no sense worrying about them.” Any questions?

A wise man once said, “The biggest troubles you have got to face are those that never come.”

It has been observed that the bridges we cross before we come to them are almost always over rivers that aren’t there.

Winston Churchill once quoted a man on his deathbed who said that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened. Don’t live in tomorrow, for such anxiety is pointless.

Second, refuse to worry about the future, because tomorrow doesn’t exist.

The Greeks pictured history as a line, and made five-year plans. The Jews knew better. They saw time as a dot, the here and now. “Yesterday” is gone, and “tomorrow” doesn’t exist. It’s just a word with no substance. We live in the past and the future; they lived in the present.

Take Paul’s experience on his second missionary journey. He thought he was to turn back East when God called him West. The result was his ministry in Macedonia and Europe, and the movement of the gospel to the Western Hemisphere. The apostle had no idea this was his future; he was simply staying faithful in the present.

Third, choose to live in the now, because it’s the only way to know God. All of God there is, is in this moment. He is the great I Am, not the I Was or the I Will Be. He cannot help you with the future, for it doesn’t exist. If you want to know God, you must live in today.

Jim Carrey’s comedy Bruce Almighty has caused significant problems for Dawn Jenkins, and she isn’t even in it. The character of God leaves his phone number on Carrey’s pager. But instead of the usual 555 prefix used by most television shows and films, God’s number is a common exchange—it’s Dawn’s cell phone number. She’s been getting about 20 calls per hour, with callers asking for God before hanging up.

The only way God can answer your call is when you make it about the present. He’s already forgiven every sin you’ve confessed to him from your past; he will guide every step you’ll trust to his will. So live in this moment, and you’ll find God there.

Learn to live in the now

So we choose to live in the present, in this moment, in the now. How do we do this? I have been helped much this week by rereading Thomas Kelly’s classic A Testament of Devotion. This Quaker missionary was a scholar in philosophy of religion, but even more a student of the soul. He suggests these principles, which I endorse to you.

First, invite Christ to dwell in your soul. Make him your Savior and Lord.

When you do, your body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and Jesus himself comes to live in your heart.

As a result, “Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continually return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-worn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself” (p. 9).

It is this Christ within you who has called you to his worship today, and to hear this message. You are here by his initiative and invitation. He wants you to know the peace that passes understanding which will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7). So make him your Lord, and you will find in him your peace.

Next, learn to practice his presence through each day.

“There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we may be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings…It is at this deep level that the real business of life is determined” (p. 12-13).

How do we live on this deeper level? “By quiet, persistent practice in turning of all our being, day and night, in prayer and inward worship and surrender, toward Him who calls in the deeps of our souls” (p. 15).

We turn our thoughts to God constantly. We pray to him with brief phrases all through the day. We seek his word in our minds and hearts. As we walk in his presence, we find that he prays for us and through us. We find ourselves carried along by his Spirit. We sense ourselves in his peace.

Third, disown yourself.

“It is just this astonishing life that is willing…sincerely to disown itself, this life that intends complete obedience, without any reservations, that I would propose to you in all humility, in all boldness, in all seriousness. I mean this literally, utterly, completely, and I mean it for you and for me—commit your lives in unreserved obedience to Him” (pp. 24-25, italics his).

How? Begin where you are. Obey what you know to obey from God today. Surrender what you know to surrender. Confess what you know to confess. As best you can today, give up rights to your own ambitions, dreams, hopes. Put them into God’s hands. Trust that the One whose Son died for you, the One who knows the future you cannot see, will guide your life better than you can.

Ask him to guide your next step, to reveal your next decision, to use your life for his purposes. When you sense yourself taking your life back, give it again. When you take it back, give it again. Time after time after time. Disown yourself.

And here’s what you’ll experience: “self-renunciation means God-possession, the being possessed by God” (p. 31). Here is the key to the power of God. It is the key to the peace and presence of God. It is the key to the life you seek this morning.

The bottom line: choose to dwell in the presence of Christ in each moment.

You will experience “a deeper, internal simplification of the whole of one’s personality, stilled, tranquil, in child-like trust listening ever to Eternity’s whisper” (p. 37).

This is “the life beyond fevered strain. We are called beyond strain, to peace and power and joy and love and thorough abandonment of self. We are called to put our hands trustingly in His hand and walk the holy way, in no anxiety assuredly resting in Him” (p. 38, italics his).

This is to live in the Spirit, displaying the fruit of the Spirit. To what degree are you this morning experiencing love? Joy? Peace? Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? You can. If you will live in the presence of Christ, in the eternal now.

Richard Foster says, “The Christian life comes not by gritting our teeth but by falling in love.” When you dwell in Jesus’ love each moment, you have his peace.

Thomas Kelly concludes: “I think it is clear that I am talking about a revolutionary way of living. Religion isn’t something to be added to all our other duties and thus make our lives yet more complex. The life with God is the center of life, and all else is remodeled and integrated by it. It gives the singleness of eye…There is a way of life so hid with Christ in God that in the midst of the day’s business one is inwardly lifting brief prayers, short ejaculations of praise, subdued whispers of adoration and of tender love to the Beyond that is within. No one need know about it…One can live in a well-nigh continuous state of unworded prayer, directed toward God, directed toward people and enterprises we have on our heart. There is no hurry about it all; it is a life unspeakable and full of glory, an inner world of splendor within which we, unworthy, may live” (p. 76).


So live in the presence of God, and give your fear about the future to him every time it occurs. You may need to give that fear to him a hundred times this hour; do it every time. Eventually fear will subside and faith will take its place.

Plan for the future, but don’t live there. Pay your bills. Make preparations. Much of our fear about tomorrow comes from feeling that we’re not prepared for what it might bring. Be as ready as you can be. Then leave the results with God.

And choose to live in the now by walking in the presence of Jesus. Begin where you are. Give all you know of yourself to all you know of him. Stay in prayer and worship. Live in the world and in the Spirit. And find in the Eternal Now the peace your heart longs to know.

Elizabeth Cheney’s poem is still worth hearing:

Said the Robin to the Sparrow, “I should really like to know

Why these anxious human beings rush around and worry so.”

Said the Sparrow to the Robin, “Friend, I think that it must be

That they have no heavenly Father such as cares for you and me.”


When You Fear The Future

When You Fear the Future

Matthew 6:28-33

Dr. Jim Denison

A little girl was attending a wedding for the first time. She whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?” Her mother answered, “Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life.” The child thought about this for a moment and then said, “So why is the groom wearing black?”

Where is your soul wearing black today? There’s plenty to worry about in the news, with SARS, global terrorism, economic concerns. Nonprofits and churches have been especially affected financially. A recent Christianity Today article documented that private donations to colleges and universities dropped last year for the first time in 15 years; the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has experienced a $20 million giving decline and plans to lay off 20% of its staff; World Vision’s budget fell short by $2 million last year. Our own giving is some 10% under budget, causing us to reduce our ministries significantly.

What most worries you about today? What about tomorrow? It’s been said that “Worry is a stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”

Thomas Kelly, the monk and author: “Over the margins of life comes a whisper, a faint call, a premonition of richer living which we know we are passing by. Strained by the very mad pace of our daily outer burdens, we are further strained by an inward uneasiness, because we have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power.”

What about tomorrow most worries you today? How do we find God’s “unhurried serenity and peace and power” in the midst of such fear about the future?

Claim the promises of God

Our text begins, “consider the lilies of the field.” “Consider” means to observe well, to learn thoroughly. The “lilies of the field” were flowers ground around Jesus and his followers on this beautiful hillside near the Sea of Galilee.

Note that “they do not labor or spin.” “Labor” means not work but the weariness which it can produce.

Despite the fact that they don’t worry about the future, “Not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed like one of these.” The scarlet anemone was more beautiful than Solomon’s royal robes; the pure white lilies more brilliant than his white garments. The flowers of the field have a beauty bestowed by God which the richest man in history cannot begin to match.

Even “the grass of the field” is similarly blessed, weeds which were grown to be mowed and used for fuel or to thatch roofs. Such grass had only a few days to live, yet God clothes even this part of his creation with a beauty we cannot reproduce. What he does for flowers and grass, he does for us. So remember his blessing, his grace, the provision of our loving Father.

He provides for everything that worries us about tomorrow: “the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (v. 32). God’s word promises, “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). Jesus taught us, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8).

So trust the provision of God for tomorrow, today. He’s already there. He will care for you. He provides for all who walk in his purpose: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (v. 33). This command means to make God your king. To become his subject. To yield your plans, dreams, ambitions, future, hopes, life to his will and word. To become fully his.

When you make this unconditional surrender to him, you are in position to receive all that he wants by grace to give. Then you can trust the provision of God for tomorrow, today.

God’s word to Jacob has encouraged my heart this week: “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go … I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you” (Genesis 28:15). The Psalmist was assured: “…he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:4); “You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great” (Psalm 18:35). The Lord assures his people: “…I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isaiah 46:4).

God provides for tomorrow, whenever we walk in his purpose today. This is his clear and consistent promise. Claim it this morning.

Consider the provision of God

But why should you have such faith? Your fears are real, your worries substantial. Tomorrow is a very real problem. So consider all the ways God has provided for you already.

I’ve been reading Bill Bryson’s, A Short History of Nearly Everything. Here he reflects current scientific thought to say, “Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth’s mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life’s quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result—eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly—in you” (pp. 3-4).

Your Maker has given you a heart which pumps enough blood through your body every 24 hours to fill a railway tanker. Every day it exerts as much effort as it would take to shovel 20 tons of gravel onto a platform as high as your waist.

He has made you of protons, the core of atoms. Look at the dot on an “i” in your Bible or sermon notes. It holds something in the region of 500,000,000,000 protons, more than the number of seconds contained in half a million years. Your Father made all of that, for you.

You live in a visible universe is now calculated as a million million million million miles across, 1 followed by 24 zeroes. Through a telescope you can see around 100,000 galaxies, each containing tens of billions of stars. And you’re watching all this on a planet which spins at the speed of 1,000 miles an hour at its equator. Your Father made all of that, for you.

Look at what he has done, and you can trust him for what he will do. You cannot see the future, but God can. And he is already providing for tomorrow, today.

A pastor from Birmingham, Alabama happened to be called to a fledgling little mission church in southwest Houston, when that area was the Frisco of the day. He came with an idea: a new thing called bus ministry. They happened to knock on my door one Saturday morning, and our family happened to be home. Had we not been, they would not have come back—they had too many doors to reach. My father happened to hear their invitation to ride their bus to church, and encouraged us to go; otherwise Mark and I would have refused the invitation.

I happened to be placed in the Sunday school class of Sharon Sewell, the pastor’s wife; three weeks later she led me to Christ. My friend Malinda Erwin happened to be in that class, and prayed with me as well. And the rest is history. How different my spiritual life would be if we had not answered that knock on that August Saturday morning.

Janet’s father worked for IBM, and says the initials stand for “I’ve Been Moved.” He happened to be transferred from Los Angeles to Houston. Janet decided to attend the University of Houston, but they happened to lose her transcript. She sent them again, and they happened to lose them again. She tried to enroll, but none of her classes happened to be open. So she came home, determined to save enough money to return to California for school.

The next day, her father happened to sit down in the IBM break room next to Charlie Canton, a recent graduate of Houston Baptist University. He happened to mention his daughter’s dilemma; Charlie encouraged him to consider HBU, and she did. She happened to meet Malinda Erwin, my friend, who invited her to my church. Her family had been Methodist, Presbyterian, and Christian Church to this point, and were already visiting a Christian Church near their home. But she came with her friend to my church, and the rest is history. How different my life would be if U of H had found Janet’s transcript.

I intended to enroll at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary after college, but my father died; I felt I should stay closer to my mother in Houston, and so enrolled at Southwestern. Janet happened to get a job on the support staff of First Baptist Church in Arlington, so we attended there. New Hope Baptist Church in Mansfield was without a pastor, and our pastor, Dr. Charles Wade, sent my resume. They happened to recognize his name, and pulled my resume from the stack of over 100 the church had received and called me as their pastor.

Southwestern happened to need a faculty member in Philosophy of Religion, and wanted someone with pastoral experience, so they invited me to their faculty. Then First Baptist Church in Midland needed an interim pastor, so Russell Dilday recommended me; against all our plans, I eventually became pastor there. Then to Atlanta, and then to Dallas, and the rest is history. How different my service would be if New Hope hadn’t recognized Dr. Wade’s name.


So walk in his purpose, and you have his provision. Trust him for tomorrow, today. The Supper before us proves that you can. If a man would send his son or daughter to die in your place, wouldn’t you believe that man cares for your needs today? If the omniscient, omnipotent God of the universe cares this much for you, can’t you trust him for tomorrow? Walk in his purpose today, and you will have his provision when tomorrow becomes today.

Many years ago, in the pioneer days of aviation, a pilot was in the air when he heard a noise which he recognized as the gnawing of a rat. For all he knew the rat could be gnawing through a vital cable or control of the plane. It was a very serious situation. At first the pilot did not know what to do. He was more than two hours from the next landing strip, and two hours gone from the field where he had taken off.

Then he remembered that a rat is a rodent. It was not made for the heights; it was made to live on the ground and under the ground. And so the pilot began to climb. He went up a thousand feet, then another and another until he was over 20,000 feet up. The gnawing ceased. The rat was dead. It could not survive the atmosphere of those heights. More than two hours later the pilot brought the plane safely to the landing field and found the dead rat.

Worry is a rodent. It cannot live in the secret place of the Most High God. It cannot breathe in the atmosphere of prayer and trust and Scripture and worship. Worry dies when we take it to the Lord.

This is the promise of God.