Sunday, 20 August 2017

T To Your Health

Dear Dad

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Dear Dad,

Most likely, you were as surprised as I was by my arrival on August 13, 1949 – blue, and a few months early and small enough, at 4 lbs. 8 oz., for you and Mom to bring 1. Daddys gonna take me on a pony rideme home in a shoe box, much to the surprise of the medical staff, who had predicted I would leave Boston Lying-In Hospital in a box of a very different kind. In fact, they placed Mom in a ward with other women whose babies had died. When my weight dropped to 3 lbs. 11 oz. that first week, it seemed they might be right, but they hadn’t factored in the tenacity of your faith or the beneficence of your God, with whom you interceded day and night on my behalf until you and Mom were finally able to hold me after six weeks in that incubator.

How thankful I am, Dad, that you still pray for me. I know you do so every day, because sometimes when I’ve been visiting, I’ve heard you in those early morning hours, asking the Lord to bless and protect us – me, my brothers and sister and our families which now total thirty-seven, including all still living and the four young ones who have beat the rest of us to heaven.

Thank you for supporting and encouraging us in so many other ways down through the years, and for providing so many opportunities and equipping us as needed to have such a great life for such poor folks. Not that we knew we were poor, because our lives were rich in experiences that we all count as gifts from you and Mom. Perhaps the best of all was those summers you gave us at Baptist Pond (could there be any better place for a Baptist preacher’s family to summer?). I suspect that the years you gave us there were not unlike those carefree times you’d experienced at your family’s cottage on Long Island Sound. Like you, all we needed was an old rowboat, swimsuits, and fishing poles. But you added other boats, including a sailboat, motors for water skiing, a raft, and horseshoes. And you never let us win, because your own mentor had taught you that competition builds character.

2. Last round of golf together Dad. Paul Dave DanIn fact, in all the sports we played together – from archery in the back yard to basketball to tennis to hockey to golf – we had to beat you in order to win. How I ever beat you in golf is beyond me, since you got two holes-in-one (or is it hole-in-ones?) after you were the age I am now.

And you took us to see the Red Sox – your team now for nearly 70 years! Every Patriot’s Day we would trek to Boston for the late morning game and the marathon, which passes close by Fenway Park. I’ll never forget how our local runner, Sandy Hull, placed eighth in 1962 – back before the runners were professionals and we had no idea how to spell “terrorism,” much less what it is. What a thrill that day was.

You instilled in us a sense of humor that is essential if one is to successfully navigate a world that takes itself way too seriously. Skit night was a highlight of the church year, when you could get even the more staid members of our Vermont congregation to beg you to stop before they died of laughter (or were they just begging you to stop, period?).

The fun times weren’t just for the old folks, of course. You made sure that our youth group went “snipe” hunting at least once a year, with everybody running around in the woods after dark equipped with flashlights and gunny sacks and instructions of how to call in a snipe. And then there were those late night fireside stories about “The Headless Horseman,” and other such tales designed to put such a fright into the listeners that they might be better prepared to consider how knowing the Lord could save them from a fate even worse than having a horse-riding ghost throw his head at you.

Right from the beginning of your own relationship with the Lord, more than seventy years ago, your heart has always been oriented toward helping young people find 3. Dave Dad Dan at the Hockey Rink Dad BuiltHim as their Savior. This inspired many of the things that you did in and for the community when you were pastoring the First Baptist Church in Windsor, from coaching Little League to developing an ice hockey league (which often had you flooding that outdoor rink again in sub-zero weather),  to later spearheading an effort to reopen the old armory building for roller skating and basketball in the winter. You saw all these things as ways to interact with those you hoped would be attracted toward faith in Christ. And you took some of them under your wing, knowing that they might abuse your trust in one way or another. In this, you were doing what you thought Jesus would do – give this young person the hope that comes with another chance – and in this you left an indelible impression on me of how faith should work itself out in the context of real life.

In essence, you’ve been like a North Star of faith to me, my brothers and sister. Though I’ve sometimes lost my way, you’ve stayed the course. You have lived out what the apostle Paul wrote to his sometimes wayward Corinthian children in the faith, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” One result is that God’s Word is more real to me today than it possibly could otherwise have been.

I love how you paraphrased Paul’s letters in your book, We’ve Got Mail, my favorite portion of which is: “You need a sense of release when it comes to sharing your problems and needs with God. Don’t hold anything back. The result will be that God provides you with a special kind of peace that you have never before experienced. He will have complete control of your emotions and minds and that will give you a deep sense of security. There are some great things to think about, even though the world around us is so evil. Things that are true and good, lovely and honest, just and pure – these are the kind of thoughts that deserve your focus. Dwelling on these thoughts will produce mental and spiritual health and overall well-being in your life” (Philippians 4:6-9).

It is thought that Moses authored Psalm 90 near the end of his life. He sums up this extended prayer with these words: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days…. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands” (Ps. 90: 14, 16-17, NIV).

Dad, many things that men begin do not survive them. But you started four things that I’m confident will make an impact on into eternity: 1. You helped found Calvary Baptist Church in Claremont, NH; 2. You built up the First Baptist Church in Windsor, VT; 3. You and Mom founded Singing Hills Conference Center in Plainfield, NH; 4. You and Mom founded US, and, I promise you, we will carry on.

Your grateful son,

Dave

5. Warren and Marian

Rev. Warren C. Biebel, Jr. is the author of five books with Healthy Life Press (www.healthylifepress.com). To view all his books go to: http://www.healthylifepress.com/m/8381/rev-warren-c-biebel-jr.htm

These books are available at www.healthylifepress.com:

HandbookOfFaith BigBlackBook OtherSideOfLife WeveGotMail JourneyThroughLife

Handbook of Faith: $8.95

The Big Black Book – What the Christmas Tree Saw $9.95

The Other Side of Life - $10.95

We’ve Got Mail – The New Testament Letters in Modern English: $9.95

My Wonderful Journey through Life, with God, Family, and Friends: $14.99

Columnist: Dr. David B. Biebel

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Dr. David B. Biebel is a minister, author, editor, and health educator. He holds the Doctor of Ministry degree in Personal Wholeness (with distinction) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. 

Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored nineteen books. He founded Healthy Life Press in 2008 to help previously unpublished Christian authors get their works into print, and to keep worthy out-of-print Christian books available.

Biebel has been a guest on scores of radio and TV programs nationwide. He has authored or collaborated on numerous magazine articles and several book segments. He often speaks in workshops, seminars, and conference settings on the theme of breaking through loss to find renewal and joy again. His goal in all his health-related endeavors is to help people attain and retain optimal physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational health so they can love the Lord with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and their neighbors as themselves. 
 

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        To Purchase these or any other of Dr. Biebel's titles click HERE

 

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