E Thoughts

Remembering a Special Dad . . .

Remembering a Special Dad . . .


In his younger days, my dad was a "rounder," a rough and rowdy life-style that continued into his early years of marriage to my mother. Then God came into his life and he accepted Christ. The only dad I ever knew exemplified a committed Christian life.


After his death in 1976, I inherited his tattered Bible.  Turning the pages, I found a treasure trove of notes, underlined scriptures and clippings that gave credence to the type of man my dad was.


I discovered recently something that I had written about the last days of dad's earthly life. "In September, we learned the news that dad had at most, six months to live. I have seen other people given this news all but come apart, but dad didn't. I don't mean to imply that he was looking forward to death; it's natural for humans to want to live. Dad wanted to live but he spent his last months not much differently than he did the 66 years before his death."


"His future was assured and he knew it because there was that time when as a young man, he invited Christ into his life.  As a result, my brother, sister, and I had the privilege of Christian upbringing afforded by him and our mother."


His last months were spent in the hospital, and I personally saw him witnessing to other terminally ill patients, sharing God's love and saving power.


Dad's last words to me, the day before his death, have been a mighty source of  strength. He had just over-heard his doctor telling a colleague that his condition w




"Doc" and his Bible.


as terminal. "I know now I'll never leave the hospital. I know I'm going to die. But that's alright. I'm ready to go; in fact, I'm anxious."


Scanning the pages of his well-worn Bible  recently, a number of passages of Scripture he had underlined spoke volumes to me, indicating his desire to live; however, he was looking forward more to Heaven that awaited him.  Philippians 1:23 (KJV) was boldly underlined . . . "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better."


Thank you, dad, on this coming Father's Day, for the legacy you left me and for this reminder of all . . . I and all Christians have to look forward to.


 Glynn Harris


Award-winning Outdoors Writer/Broadcaster, who is married to Kay.

Deacon, First Baptist Church, Ruston, Louisiana



eThoughts Team - Extended Week-day Free Devotions -- Vol. XIII, No. 06-42G -- Archived

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher

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Lord God Almighty, I'm Free at Last! . . .

Lord God Almighty, I'm Free at Last! . . .


"Stand therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1 (NKJV)


The epistle to Philemon is an intensely personal letter from Paul to Philemon.  It concerns the latter's runaway slave, Onesimus.  Slavery was acceptable in the Imperial City.  Over 1/3 of the slave population composed the labor force.  Philemon was a wealthy man with a large house who was saved through Paul's preaching.  Onesimus stole money and then ran away to Rome.  God's grace led him to the Roman prison where Paul led him to Christ.  Paul wrote this letter to Philemon to praise Philemon and his family, plea for Philemon to forgive Onesimus, and pledge to restore whatever the slave had stolen.


PRAISE.  The writer identifies himself as "Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ" (See Philemon 1:1).  This letter was written in a Roman prison along with Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians.  "Grace and peace" are typically "Pauline."  Paul praised Philemon's love for Christ and the saints (See Philemon 1:4).  The Colossian church met in Philemon's house, which one writer called "a Holiday Inn" for believers.


PLEA.  Onesimus' name means profitable or useful.  Paul reminded Philemon that in the past, Onesimus was useless to him.  He stole money and ran away from his master, clear violations of the law.  He was gloriously saved . . . and he ministered to Paul in prison.  Paul praised Onesimus because he was "useful" to him in the ministry.  Paul issued a plea to Philemon to accept the former slave as a brother in Christ, to grant him freedom, and to forgive his past.


PLEDGE.  Paul reminded Philemon of the great debt he owed to God and also to Paul.  This is one of the finest illustrations of forgiveness (and the word was never used), substitution, or imputation found in the Bible.  If Onesimus owed anything, Paul told Philemon to "put it on my account and I will repay it" (See Philemon 1:7).  Anticipating his freedom, Onesimus was probably singing,"Lord God Almighty, I'm free at last."   Paul instructed Philemon to prepare the guest room.  "I plan to come see you when I get out of this prison!" (See Philemon 1:22).


Historians claim this newly found freedom promoted Onesimus to pastor at Ephesus and then bishop of Ephesus.  Bishop Onesimus was finally martyred by Emperor Trajan.  This slave was free at last!


Charles Foxworth


Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Education (Ret.)--Louisiana Tech University -- Ruston, Louisiana

Supply Minister for Concord/Union Baptist Association -- Ruston, Louisiana  



eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No. 05-40G -- Archived 

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita -- Editor and Publisher

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Scripture is taken from THE NEW KING JAMES VERSION, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All Rights


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Failing Forward . . .

Failing Forward . . .


"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)


Years ago a high school friend suggested I read "Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success" by John C. Maxwell.


There's an old saying that goes "God uses people who fail . . . because there aren't any other kind around."


Probably, a school class should pound this into us.  Failure is inevitable for anyone willing to try something new.  Maxwell says that successfully dealing with failure starts not with changing your circumstances, but with changing yourself, a process that "begins with a desire to be teachable."


The first step to Failing Forward is to take responsibility instead of blaming others.  Know that failure is a part of progress, and that sometimes, something just doesn't work . . . but what didn't work helps you learn what not to do next time. (So really, it did work.)


Sometimes I'll take failure personally, as if God is putting me in little-kid timeout because of something wrong I've done.  But God told Job that his friends, the ones who'd said he was being punished because of his sins, were wrong.  He reminded Job that it was Himself, God, who invented the squirrel and the ocean and the whales in it. That His ways were not Job's ways, although a man more righteous could not be found.


And He reminded Job that He loved him. God reminded Job that He could be trusted, and in the meantime Job needed to keep chopping wood and carrying water.


That's the line we're all working off of.  We are priceless, of eternal value to God.  He's the source of our strength to fail forward.


"Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us. We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light." Micah 7:8 (NIV)


 Teddy Allen


Writer/Editor Specialist, University Communications--Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana 

Bible Teacher, Sports Announcer




eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XIII, No. 05-14TA -- Archived

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita--Editor and Publisher

Scripture marked (NIV) is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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