The Privilege and Responsibility of Fatherhood
As I write these words I am listening to Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk broadcast on June 6, 2016 – the 72nd anniversary of the D Day landing on the beaches of Normandy, France. I just heard the recording of the six-minute prayer by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, imploring God for success in this invasion to stop the Nazi thrust for world domination. Multiple thousands of American heroes died on those beaches and in the subsequent trek into Germany. Answered prayer and the blood of those heroes rescued Europe (and America) from the horror of domination by Nazi socialism. There is good reason why the brave soldiers who died or were maimed there were part of America’s “greatest generation.” Who are the heroes today – and where are they? They are the courageous individuals who will not bend and will not bow to the socialist “politically correct” agenda. The heroes today are those who boldly, clearly, and kindly speak the truth in love about the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the evidences for the infallible Word of God, and the moral truths that the Bible teaches. We are living in a corrupted society that mocks Christians, calls us intolerant, and claims that there are no absolute truths (even though they believe “There are no absolute truths” is absolutely true)!
What has brought us down from the greatest, most courageous generation to the most apathetic “whatever” generation? There are many influences, including the degeneration of morality through pornography, sordid movies and violent, depraved video games – but we cannot ignore the depletion of fatherhood in our society. Just before Family Talk, I heard Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interview Bill Bennett on Family Life Today. Bill is not only the author of The Big Book of Virtues, published about twenty years ago, but also a new book, The Book of Man, which has solid content of stories about courage and virtue. Fathers and grandfathers – you may want to get a copy of each (or similar books) and read inspiring stories to your kids and grandkids.
To answer the question, “What happened to the greatest generation?” Bill Bennett points to the years between 1960 and 1973 – the rise of the sexual revolution and the feminist movement (an overreaction to the harshness and brutality of some men). The aftermath of those turbulent years brought millions of divorces, broken homes, fatherless households and a sharp increase of shacking up, homosexuality, sexual abuse and crime rates. My friend and former classmate, Joe Garman, founder of American Rehabilitation Ministries, told me that prisoners request millions of Mother’s Day cards, but very few Father’s Day cards. Do you suppose that growing up in a fatherless home has contributed to the rise of roving gangs and crime rates? You think? Dennis Rainey says that a boy without a father is like an explorer without a map. Dennis also likes to ask other men, “What is the most courageous thing you have ever done?” For me it would not be overseas mission trips – it would be shouldering the responsibility of becoming the kind of husband and father that God has ordained for a man to be.
I have a confession! I was the cause of the biggest conflict in our marriage in the first few years after our wedding. Why? Because Della wanted to have children and I didn’t. Really? Why not? Because I had watched my nephews and nieces eat when they were babies – and had smelled their diapers! Just kidding! The real reason was that I was afraid of the responsibility of fatherhood. I knew God’s calling on my life to share His truth with others, but I had already seen great proclaimers of God’s truth – far better men than I am – lose their own children to the wiles of the devil. I had decided that it would be better to never have children than to have them and lose them to Satan. So I told Della – “It’s a dozen or none!” She didn’t like the alternatives! (That’s what I was counting on.) Actually, my mandate was not even realistic, because Della only has one kidney since major surgery at age fifteen. Her doctor told her to remember when she married that child bearing would be very difficult for her.
God kept reminding me through His Word and other people’s responses that my decision was not a wise one. God’s Word says: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord… Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.” Psalm 127:3, 5. I repented of my opinion that was contrary to the Word of God – and I am so glad I did! The photos you see on the mantle in the picture on page one are of our son, Randall Troy, our daughter, Sandra Joy, and of Sandy with her two oldest daughters, Amber and Cheyenne. Also I told Della a few years ago, “Now we have our dozen” – referring to those who are our emotionally adopted children (many of them being my interpreters on mission trips). Fatherhood is not only a huge responsibility, but also now at age 72, I regard it as my highest privilege. I have received a few awards in my life, but none of them compare with the cards, notes, and words of appreciation from our children and grandchildren.
Father’s Day this year is June 19, and if you have not told your father “Thank you!” (and what you are thankful for), what are you waiting for? You may not have another opportunity.
And to those of you who are fathers and grandfathers – you know time flies – faster than a weaver’s shuttle. Are you making memories with your kids? Grandkids? As Bill & Gloria Gaither put it in song: “We have this moment to hold in our hands as it slips through our fingers like sand.” Are you “redeeming the time, for the days are evil”?
James Dobson’s June letter is addressed “to our nation’s dads.” You can ask for a copy at Family Talk – or you can write to me and I will send you a copy of mine. His letter is designed to provoke us unto love and good works in training the next generation. Can you think of a higher calling than that? Perhaps “the greatest generation” is not behind us – perhaps “the greatest generation” is yet to come! Can you imagine with me what that would mean for our families? For our nation? For our world that desperately needs the gospel? Just thinking!
If I knew it would be the last time that I’d see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time I’d hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say “I love you,” instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.
If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day,
Well I’m sure you’ll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there’s always tomorrow to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance to make everything just right.
There will always be another day to say “I love you,”
And certainly there’s another chance to say our “Anything I can do?”
But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get,
I’d like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.
So if you’re waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you’ll surely regret the day,
That you didn’t take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today, and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them and that you’ll always hold them dear.
Take time to say “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” “Thank you,” or “It’s okay.”
And if tomorrow never comes, you’ll have no regrets about today.
* * * * * * * * * * *
God, Government & Political Psychosis
Since the 4th of July tribute to our freedom in America will be past before you receive our July Prayer Letter, here are a few thoughts to pray about. First and foremost, pray for more and more Americans to wake up from their lethargic thinking that “it can’t happen here!” It is happening here! Elderly Germans now living in America testify that they are seeing the same pattern here that they saw in Germany in the 1930’s when the Nazis were the National Socialist Party! Recently in an email, Dr. Blythe Robinson referred to the bathroom/locker room “transgendered” mandate as “political psychosis.” In my reply I told him that I believe his terminology is a polite way to say that our government and society is going stark raving mad! (I mean crazy – not angry.) It’s time to obey the Word of God to “be angry and sin not.” It’s hard to balance – but Jesus did it – and we are to follow “in His steps.” If the license for the intrusion of predator men into the public restrooms and shower rooms of our women and little girls doesn’t anger you – what will? Have you signed the petition to boycott Target? Have you requested for the legislators in your state to pass a law against such encroachment in order to protect vulnerable women and children?
Thomas Jefferson is reported to have said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take away everything you have.” This is true in the material realm – but not in the spiritual realm. Praise God for the promises about the spiritual realities that no earthly government can take away from us.
“You will show me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; At your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV).
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29 (NKJV).
What America’s Founders Believed
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams, America’s Second President.
“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson, Author of America’s Declaration of Independence & America’s Third President.
Thoughts on Time, Troubles, & Our Times
“Greet every morning with a prayer and a smile. God gives every one of us the same amount of time every day – and we have enough time for everything God wants us to do.”
“Worry pulls tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.”
“Worry’s concern over tomorrow’s troubles robs us of today’s strength.”
“He is your life and the length of your days…” Deuteronomy 30:20 (NKJV).
“Live simply – love generously – care deeply – speak kindly – and leave the rest to God.”
“Fear knocked – faith answered – and nobody was there.”
“A bad attitude is like a flat tire – you’ll never get anywhere until you change it.”
“There is no panic in Heaven – only plans!” – Corrie ten Boom.
Even though it is abundantly evident that perilous times are now here, isn’t it thrilling and comforting to know that “our times are in His hands”?
In Times Like These
Ruth Caye Jones
“In times like these you need a Saviour; In times like these you need an anchor.
Be very sure, Be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One. This Rock is Jesus, The only One;
Be very sure, Be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!”
From Our Mailbox
“What a wonderful informative Newsletter! There is much to be in prayer about and therefore also to be expecting God’s answers as well. As you mentioned, the ministry and person of Mike Riddle is a blessing to have in Idaho. His classes on teaching other Christians how to share the Gospel and defend the Word of God logically using classical science is able to transform Idaho for God’s glory. We enjoyed your travel down memory lane, Rick, as you showed how God got ahold of your life at an early age and then transformed you into one of His most enthusiastic and energetic servants. To GOD be the GLORY!!!
Bob and Patty Compton”
I especially like your testimony. Life is always about good decisions, isn’t it?
“On behalf of Svetlana Lee and all TCI Staff we’d like to thank you for your gift of love and care that you sent to her.
For Svetlana, it’s not just money – it’s one more proof that God’s care is with her and even not having her husband to provide for the family anymore, she still has a Divine Provider, Who is always with her.
May God richly bless your family for your caring hearts! (This thanks belongs to our donors, as well as)
the thanks in the next message. – Rick & Della)
TCI Partners’ Liaison”
“Thank you for your May prayer letter and for many encouraging thoughts in it!
Thank you for the gift of $200 for our church that we received through Nastya last week.
I have a very good news. Our son Dima is going to be baptized this summer. Another gift from our Lord was the repentance of my sister Tanya in April. We met only 8 years ago because we were raised in different families. We have the same father but different mothers. Tanya is going to be baptized too.
Thank you for your prayers! We pray for you too.
With love in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Book Update –
MORE THAN CONQUERORS IN CULTURAL CLASHES
Finally! On Friday, June 10th, we sent to WestBow Press the final (I hope!) revision for the second edition of “More Than Conquerors in Cultural Clashes”. This has been a much bigger task than we realized and has taken over a year in writing for all the permission letters for quotations and changing what needed to be done to meet their requirements. Of course, it could have been sooner if we were not working it around our Deighton Lighting business, plus two ministries. Whew! Please pray that it goes through this time! Following are several reviews that we received for the first edition:
“The material keeps bubbling out of the author’s pen like an unchecked spring of refreshing water. We can either heed its message and bring life back to our nation and our world, or we can ignore it and allow everything around us to die of spiritual thirst.” ~ Jack Cottrell, professor of Cincinnati Bible Seminary.
“Wow, what a powerful exposeʹ of the enemy’s strategy. It’s hard to imagine how far our country has moved from her ‘roots’! Your illustrations are relevant; your comparisons are accurate, your metaphors are powerful. This is powerful print! Every youth leader and elder should be discussing these issues, and making realistic responses! Our culture is in deep darkness, and we are the light!” ~ Gary Strubhar, ‘A fellow soldier’, retired minister of the Gospel, Bible scholar.
“This is SUPER great!!! I find no fault with it – wish it could be widely circulated and read.”
~ Charles Crane, Chancellor of Boise Bible College, former President of Boise Bible College, Biblical accuracy scholar, currently Associate Minister at Eagle Christian Church.
We have some cases of the first edition left, so if you want to help us distribute these, you can have a $13.95 book for $6.00 or $5.00 each for ten or more copies. On second thought, you can have them for an offering of any amount to Overseas Outreach. Has there ever been a time when the message of this book was more needed than right now?
How to Handle Compliments
I heard Lloyd Ogelby on a radio broadcast tell about a time when Corrie ten Boom received a standing ovation after her testimony. He heard lavish praise for her as he was standing in line to also speak with her personally, so he asked her how she could receive so many compliments, yet still remain so humble in her attitude and manner. In her strong and distinctly beautiful Dutch accent she replied, “Oh, dat ist no problem! Just ‘tink’ of receiving a rose from someone – and you say, ‘Tank you!’ Den you receive ‘annuder’ rose – and ‘annuder’ – ‘annuder’. ‘Tank’ you! ‘Tank’ you! ‘Tank’ you! At da end of da day you haf a bouquet – so you get on your knees and offer up da bouquet to God for His glory. Tank You! Tank You! Tank You! All da glory ist Yours!”
We have received inspiring letters plus great reviews of our books (they wouldn’t exist without Della’s and Sandy’s help) – so we just want to gather the roses into a bouquet, kneel at the feet of Jesus and give Him the bouquet of compliments. All the glory belongs to Jesus, for “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:15-18 (NKJV).
Della and I are keenly aware of our deficiencies – especially as we grow older – and we fully recognize that the abilities God has given to each of us are spiritual gifts – gifts of His amazing grace. Because of our deficiencies, we recognize that we could not be doing what we are in our business or in our ministries without Sandy. Also, Sandy, Della and I recognize that we could not accomplish any of what we do without your prayers, encouragement and financial support. Actually, we are considering changing the name of our primary ministry from “Overseas Outreach” to “Stand in Awe of Him Ministries” for three reasons:
1. In recognition of the fact that all the glory belongs to our Lord.
2. Because we are involved in working with other ministries that are not overseas: Northwest Science Museum and Creation Training Initiative.
3. Because most of what we are sharing is about creation, resurrection, and other Christian evidences
displaying His awesome power, glory and love, both here in the USA and overseas.
Look it up on Trinity.com
Trinity Hope, our youngest granddaughter here in Nampa had a birthday on June 3rd – she turned 5. We enjoyed joyous family time on both the 3rd and 4th – along with lots of laughter and watermelon cupcakes (at her request). She tells us often, “I’m 5 now!” – which seems to mean that she will be going to “school” soon, and she’s ready to accomplish almost anything. Recently we heard her say approximately the following: “I’ve got my phone, my desk, my calculator, my computer. Look it up on Trinity.com!”
At lunchtime recently Trinity was playing house, so while holding her toy “baby daughter” that she named “Flower”, she told us that her husband was taking a nap. Then she explained why he was tired: he had been cooking flowers all day to feed to the skunks!
Friends, sometimes a nap is the most productive thing I can do. Jesus told His disciples to “come apart and rest.” In fact, there are times when we really need to come apart so we don’t fall apart. However, I do hope that I’m tired out from doing something more productive than feeding skunks!
1. Please pray for Paul Sudhakar to graduate soon, to get his necessary documents for his degree in astrophysics in Kharkiv, Ukraine, to have a safe return to India, and to be a positive witness to his good friend, Annu. (God has answered prayers clearly for Paul that now is not the time for him to come to Boise Bible College.)
2. Please pray for Zhenya and Natasha to enjoy rest and recovery during their vacation trip to Natasha’s hometown of Kerch on the far eastern side of Crimea. Also, please pray for the two new church plants they are helping or leading and for genuine repentance and baptism for Volodya Lipov and the new believers from the Messianic congregation.
3. In these perilous times please pray for revival in the churches and massive spiritual awakening in America, Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Georgia and beyond.
4. Please pray for God’s leading in preparations for Rick’s upcoming mission trip in September and October.
“While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.” – General George Washington.