Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
I often tell people who have never met my dad that he is one part Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty and one part Old Testament prophet. Quick witted with a heart of gold, but a fire for God’s glory that is unparalleled. I want to share some of the best spiritual lessons that my father, one of my faith heroes, has taught me.
1. God’s words are true. Period.
My father has an unshakable faith. I don’t know a person alive who simply believes God like he does. Sure, he’s got his flaws, but faith isn’t one of them. His faith in God has sustained our family during very difficult seasons and is the glue that has held us together.
2. Satan is a liar. Period.
My dad is a straight shooter. If you want compassion, go to my mom. If you want hard, honest truth, go to my dad. I’ll often call home during seasons of spiritual attack—before or after a ministry event—and he quickly discerns the lies that are bombarding my heart and reminds me to tell the enemy, whom Jesus called the “father of lies,” to “be gone in the Name of Jesus.”
3. “God ain’t taking “Maalox” over your situation!”
I shared this quote in a Bible study recently and I quickly learned that half of the women didn’t understand this reference. To explain…Maalox is medicine a person takes for a nervous or upset stomach. To translate my father’s Texas idiom, God is not worried, anxious, upset or nervous about how the details of my life are going to work out. God never says, “oops.” He is sovereign! He is in control. He is good. He’s got this! This truth brings such comfort and peace to my soul. In whatever circumstance I find myself, I know my life is in the hands of the Lord who is in control… and He’s got this!
4. Prayer is the strongest weapon in any battle!
We see in scripture that there are unseen forces at work in the spiritual realm and the prayers of God’s people move these forces. (Moses, Daniel, Hannah, Paul, Peter… all show us the power of prayer to change outcomes and alter history.) My dad has also taught me that prayer moves mountains! While he’s not one to pray long-winded prayers or to pray for other people to hear, but when he does bow his head before God, watch out! He simply believes that God is, God hears and God moves when His people pray.
I’ve now shared the Gospel on more than 70 college campuses and over 4,000 girls have trusted Jesus as Savior. Behind every one of those events are two prayer warriors—my mom and dad. In whatever city I find myself, those two are back in Texas praying the heavens down for these girls to know Jesus as Savior.
5. Meekness is strength under control.
My mom and dad are two of the best Bible teachers I’ve ever known. My dad often shares his little nuggets in teachable moments. For example, we were riding horses one day and he taught me a great truth about meekness, which is a fruit of the Spirit. Pointing to the horse, he said, “A horse is an extremely powerful animal, yet it is meek because it has submitted its will to the one riding it. The same is true of a Christ follower. We aren’t weak; we are called to be meek—submitted to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ. There’s a big difference between weakness and meekness.”
6. You can’t out give God.
So right now, if he is reading this, my dad is probably mad at me because he wouldn’t want people to know this fact about him (something about not “letting his left hand know what his right hand is doing.”) But honestly, my dad is the biggest giver I know. This may sound cliché, but he would literally give the shirt off of his back if someone needed it. But he doesn’t flaunt his giving. You would never see his name on a building or in a bulletin. He just gives because everything belongs to Jesus. He believes in those old school Bible promises that God owns everything and we are just stewards of his resources. My dad has taught me to give because you can’t out give God.
7. Anyone can change.
Over the last few years, I’ve been blown away by how the Holy Spirit has transformed my dad. He’s always been a man of great faith but like all of us, he has had his struggles. One of the biggest lessons my dad has taught me is the power of repentance. To repent means to change. We are all broken people with different struggles; some struggles are more obvious than others. I’m thankful for the example in my dad that we never outgrow God’s transforming grace. We never get to the point that we are “stuck in our ways” and not sensitive to God’s voice.
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
One of my favorite memories with my dad happened last year at my wedding. The week leading up to the big day I was going through all the details and looming on my growing to-do list was the “Father/Daughter” dance. Never in my life had I known of my father to dance nor even step foot on a dance floor, therefore I needed to carve out time to teach my dad, who is a good-ole Baptist deacon, how to dance. So the night before the wedding, I marched into the living room and told him. “It is time, I have to teach you how to dance.”
After watching the movie True Gritt with my dad the year before, I knew I wanted our dance to be to the theme song from the movie: Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. I put the music on and began my instructions. Two beats into the song, he grabbed me around the waist and began to twirl me around the living room… like a champ. I was absolutely dumbfounded. Where in the world did this man learn to two-step?? Seeing the shock on my face, he smirked and with his best Texas twang said, “You know darling, I wasn’t’ born in the church.”
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