On Father’s day…a song…

Hope everyone has a great fathers day. This is one of best fathers day songs in my opinion.

 

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What Happened To You, Caylee Anthony?

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”
–Matthew 18:10

I am angry.

Even though I have my opinions about the case, the fact is I was not there. I don’t have all of the facts. I was not a juror, having to decide the fate of this mother. Yet the truth is that I have serious doubts as to Casey Anthony’s innocence. I also have serious doubts as to the innocence of the entire family. I cannot believe that no one in the Anthony family knows what happened to Caylee. They know, and one day, mark my words, those responsible will have to stand before God and explain their actions.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
–Jeremiah 29:11

I know where Caylee is. She is in Heaven. She is sitting next to our Savior. Whether she is aware of what is going on down here I don’t know. But she is no longer in pain. She no longer has duct tape wrapped tightly around her mouth and nose, cutting off her breath. She is no longer lying in the back of a car trunk. She is no longer discarded in a field, being rained on, open to the elements. She is flying high, safe and sound, in the arms of a family that has much more concern for her than she ever received on earth. No longer will she wait for her mother while she parties all night. No longer will she be neglected, set aside while the adults in her life find other pursuits to entertain them. She is now receiving the love she was denied on earth.

This case makes me angry.  I am angry because the trial, and its verdict, reminds me that a family in Orlando cared so little for the welfare of this child, that they allowed her to be killed, stuffed in a car, then discarded in a field.

What really happened to Caylee?

The trial did not answer the question, and we may never know.  The Anthony family knows the answer, though.  They were entrusted with the care of this child. The child was NOT their possession, to do with as they please. That child belongs to God, and they chose to destroy her earthly body, either by their actions, or by their neglect. They will answer for it. God is not only a God of love, but one of justice. They will never be able to hide from Him.

The ones responsible for Caylee’s death may have escaped justice in this world, but God’s justice will come.

In a few weeks, the media will slowly stop covering this case. People will go about their daily lives. Some will forget the names, the facts surrounding the case, and the faces will fade from their memory. Caylee will become one of the many children our society mourns for a time, then discards much like the way she was discarded by those she trusted. I hope this does not happen in this case, but I know for many it will. We are a fickle society. We have been de-sensitized to these stories, because, unfortunately, they happen often enough that they no longer shock us as they should.

But folks, this is a human being, a child. She did not deserve this. My hope is that everyone who reads this blog will look at the photo of Caylee, really look at it. She is your daughter. She is your sister. She is your friend. She deserved much better. She deserved to live a full life. We need to cry over her death. We need to mourn her. We need to be angry. We need to pray – really hard – that God does a work on the hearts of the mothers and fathers in our society. We need to pray that parents place a higher priority on the health and well being of their children than they do on going to a party, getting a tattoo, and drinking themselves into oblivion.

Today, I mourn the death of a little girl taken too soon, but I rejoice in knowing she is safe in our Savior’s arms.

America, look at that photo, and see that you do not forget that little girl.

I will never forget you,  Caylee Anthony.

Thanks Dad!

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
–Proverbs 22:6

1978.

We had recently moved from New Jersey to Miami.  Our dad had bought a few chickens, and  was in the backyard, with a bunch of wood and other materials.

He calls out for me to come out.  He says he needs help.

“Son – come over here.  I need some help.”

He is standing there with a box of nails, hammer in hand.

“We are going to build a chicken coop.  Stand there and hold this box of nails.”

It is now three hours later, and I am still holding a box of nails while my dad is hammering away.  During those three hours, I have asked several questions about the chicken coop – how we were going to build it, where it was going to go in the back yard, which chickens would live there.  Yet during the entire three hours, I have done nothing but hold a box of nails. Suddenly I am not getting the whole “we” part of the equation.  Not feeling very helpful, and fidgeting about as frustration grows, I start to complain.

“Papi, I am not really helping here.  Can I go play?”

Dad is not pleased.  He gives me one of those looks that says I am venturing down the wrong path with my words or actions.  History tells me that this look is usually proceeded with consequences for continuing my bad behavior.

I stand quietly for the rest of the afternoon.

1982.

My grandfather has passed away, and we are at the funeral home.  My dad’s father was a very well loved man, and it is standing room only as we mourn his passing.  My father is a strong man.  I see him greeting people as they come in.  Many hug him, offering their condolences.  This is my first funeral, and it is confusing.  My grandfather helped raise me, and the loss is so hard to deal with for me, yet I see my father walking around like it is no big deal.  Sometimes I even see him smile and laugh with others as they engage in small talk.

Then it is time for the priest to say a few words.  I don’t remember what he said.  I just remember everyone standing around the coffin and praying.  My grandmother and aunt are crying now.  Then the coffin is closed, and my father finally breaks down.

“No!  I can’t do this!”

I see him run to another room, and we all look around at each other.  Before I realize what is happening, my brothers, my step mom, aunt, and a few others are in the other room, and we are huddled together around him, all sobbing and coming to grips with our loss.

It was the first time I can remember seeing my father cry.

2010

I am getting married.  This is my second chance at a covenant with God.  My first wife passed after a long bout with Diabetes and Kidney disease.  Throughout our battle with the disease, my dad was always there, offering whatever help he could.  But now, I had gotten a second chance at marriage with a wonderful woman.

My dad steps to the altar, and begins to read.  We had chosen John 3:1-17 for him to read.  I know that this is one of his favorite passages of the Bible.  Throughout the years, it had also become mine.  What a comfort it is to know that the man who led me to follow Christ many years ago, is present to remind me and those around us what being a Christian is all about.

The day I spent holding a box of nails was one of the most boring in my life.  I really did not understand what the point was.  What was this torture my father was putting me through?  What was the point of standing there with a bunch of nails?

There was a point.

He was teaching me obedience.  Through my obedience to my father, I was learning patience and humility.  I was learning that sometimes, we don’t have to understand they why’s of life, but that if we simply stand there and obey our father, we just may learn something, through patience, through listening, through observing.

The day of my grandfather’s funeral still plays out in my head.  We all miss him so much, even today.  He was such a great example for all of us.  That day at the funeral home, my father taught me more than he knows.  He taught me strength.   He taught me how to be strong in the face of trials and tribulations.  He taught me love.  His love for his father came through in a way no one could doubt.  It is the same love I hold for him as well.  Finally, I  learned how important family is, how valuable it is to have a family you can call upon at a moments notice.

The day I was married, I had both my mother and father present to view it.  How valuable it was to  be married in the presence of the two people who are responsible for making me who I am.  Hearing my dad recite the way to salvation confirms what Jesus was really about – love.  When I was young, I did not understand, so I put my trust in my earthly father.  His unconditional love for me guided me through a path in my life that led me to the unconditional love of my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ. Throughout the years, when I have needed him, my Dad has been there.

No he is not perfect.   Part of growing up is coming to understand that our parents are human.  As we become adults, we learn to have adult relationships with our parents, and part of that change is understanding that our parents are sinners.  We all are.  Yet there is strength in that understanding.  When we realize that our parents are not perfect, we also realize that they too have gone through the same trials and tribulation that we may be facing.  It is that wisdom they have from experiencing life that continues to benefit us as we go through this life together, as brothers and sister in Christ.

Thanks Dad, and Happy Father’s Day!

A Love So Great…

If you are a mother or a father, you understand what being selfless means. You understand what it is to love someone so much, you would be willing to risk your life to protect theirs. Quite possibly, you love that child so much, you would be willing to die to ensure their survival. It is quite a beautiful thing.

Would you do it for me?

Would you do it for your boss?

Would you do it for Charles Manson?

Jesus did.

Couldn’t Jesus have saved Himself instead? Couldn’t He have said wait, I was just kidding? Couldn’t He have gone back to his job as a carpenter? Couldn’t He have gone on with the rest of his life and died as an old man? No He couldn’t. He had a mission to save us from our sins, and only His loving sacrifice could do that.

Can you even imagine a love so great?

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
–Luke 23:33-34

When Jesus uttered these words, he had already been beaten beyond recognition. He was bleeding all over, had already carried the cross that would be used to crucify him through the city. He could have asked God to save Him from this horrible death.  He could have asked God to condemn the people involved in His murder. He didn’t. He asked for their salvation. He asked the father to have mercy, even for those who were about to put Him to death. Has there ever been a more selfless act?

“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
–John 19:28-30

It is finished. With this act of unimaginable love, Jesus fulfilled his promise. With His Death, we have the culmination of God’s promise to save us from our sin. The ultimate atonement, the ultimate triumph of good over evil, brought to us not by anything man could ever do, but through Jesus Christ’s unconditional love and the grace of God.

Today as we sit in church for Good Friday services, we will be reminded about this ultimate sacrifice. Hopefully, we will be reminded of what it really means to be free from the bounds of sin. I will ask God to open my heart, to help me understand and live my life according to His will. Today I will remember what Jesus came to do, what He did, and what He seeks to do individually in the hearts of us all. Unconditional love begins with the love of God for His children, and without it, we are condemned to death. Only through the crucifixion of Jesus can we be saved.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
-John 3:16-21