To My Dear Wife, Ruth

Thank you for loving me whole-heartedly and without reservation and without complaint and without harsh critique.

You do not say, “I will go with you if I know where you are going and if I agree with where you are going and if I like where you are going and if you are always nice while we are going. ”

No, your commitment arises from your faith in God. Because of Him you say to me: “I am with you wherever you go; when you know where you are going and why you are going and when you don’t know and you are even lost, I am with you.”

And without words you say to me, “I am with you and for you, even when you get anxious and are not the easiest to be around.”

And again without words you say to me, “I am with you and for you, even when you take me and my love for granted.”

You are like the biblical Ruth, “Where you go, I will go…”.

And yes, you are like Jesus, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

When I think of your love, I am brought to tears of gratitude: “How priceless is your love; how beautiful; how beyond what I could have asked or imagined.”

Your love calms my troubled heart; it reigns in my anxious imaginings.
Your love gives me a grounding from which I can hope again after a disappointment; try again after a failure; attempt new things even in old age.

Truly, in you I have discovered the pearl of great price, and yes, the Proverbs 31, “Virtuous Woman”.

I can hear your protest to some of what I have just said, “I am not the ‘Pearl’, Jesus is the ‘Pearl of great price’. And my trust is made easier because I know your trust is in Christ. “

And yes, you are are right. But what I see now, after these almost 55 years, is that in walking with you, I have been walking with Jesus!”

“The more I seek Him, the more I find you; for you have been hidden in Him.”

Thank you, Ruth!

Thank you, Jesus!!

Your grateful husband,

Enos (E. Daniel)

Grandpa 54


Do not live like a fool and refuse to give thanks to God FOR ANYTHING; but rather be wise and give thanks to Him FOR EVERYTHING.

Giving thanks is His will for you and this is what honors Him. (Eph 5:15,20; I Thess 5:18; Ps 50:23). Giving thanks opens the eyes of our understanding.

One of the things we give thanks for is our forefathers. This doesn’t mean that we agree with everything they did or said but we respect them for the role that they played in our lives. If we have an allergic reaction to them and reject everything about them, we run the risk of not doing as well as they did.

The present day emphasis on “decolonizing Thanksgiving” is an allergic reaction to our past which rejects everything our forefathers stood for. It fails to discern what was good and to build upon that and to discern what was evil and to avoid that. It leads to personal and cultural blindness.

God‘s plan was that we should honor and respect our fathers and mothers. He desired each generation to go beyond the previous one in their understanding of the things of God; in their faith and in their ability to express His love to the nations. That is why he sent his Holy Spirit to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers. (Malachi 4:6)

So, yes, we honor our Pilgrim forefathers; we honor George Washington; we honor Abraham Lincoln. We give thanks for them and for their faith.

As we give thanks our eyes are opened as to how to avoid their sins and failures and how to build on what they did that was good and right

And as we give thanks, God shows us how to show His love to all people- the indigenous and the colonizers, those in power, those out of power, the oppressed and the oppressors.

As we give thanks our eyes are opened and we see Jesus who gave up His power and privilege and life so that all people could be given life and the privilege and glory of an eternal kingdom.

As we give thanks we see with eager anticipation the wonderful day in which there will be a great multitude before the throne of God in heaven, of all nations and tribes and people and tongues, praising God and giving Him thanks for the Eternal Life we have been given through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rev. 7:9-12)

Thanks be to God. I see it now!


Link to Video


Every birthday for my Venezuelan-American grandchildren comes with a piñata. (Ana turned 13 on May 25th. )

Grandmother, mother and the birthday child participate in designing the piñata which is then constructed of papier-mâché or its equivalent. Will it be the form of a person, an animal or an object? The inside of the shell is then stuffed with a variety of candies.

As the birthday party progresses the time for striking the piñata arrives. Father Horeb ties a rope to the piñata and throws the rope over a tree branch in the backyard. Then holding on to the other end of the rope he steps back so he can control the height of the piñata at will, while avoiding getting hit by the flailing children.

The children gather around, eager for one of two things to happen. They desire to be the one who strikes the piñata solidly enough to release its contents. But that desire is secondary to the desire to secure as much of the falling candy as possible when the piñata breaks.

Starting with the youngest, each child is given an opportunity to swing at and hopefully break the piñata. The child is blindfolded, given a stick and positioned in front of the piñata and instructed to swing.

The group of children shout instructions as the young child swings wildly usually missing the pinata. Then Horeb will lower the piñata to where the child has an easy hit but not solid enough to break the piñata, because it is important that the piñata endure several rounds of swinging children. After three swings the next child is blindfolded and takes three swings.

After several rounds the excitement is building to a peak and Horeb allows the piñata to be struck solidly by one of the older more muscular children.

The piñata finally breaks under the impact of several well placed blows and the candy scatters everywhere. The children rush in screaming with excitement. Mothers help the very youngest to claim some of the candy. But the older children need no help, as they eagerly grab all they can and stuff it into their plastic collection bags.

By the end of the mad dash, some of the more aggressive children will have accumulated a larger amount of candy. They will then spot a child who is looking a bit down because he or she was not able to get as much in the raucous competition. The victor will then share some of the spoils with that child, either spontaneously or in response to the subtle prompting of a parent. So all the children go away happy.

As I reflected on this event, I had the following impressions:

Each child is totally convinced that they are going to get something ‘absolutely good’ from this experience.

Each child has the sense that they are ‘absolutely entitled’ to get all that they can possibly get.

Each child is ‘absolutely engaged’ in full participation. No one needs to encourage the children to rush in to the circle. They participate with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.

It occurs to me that God, the giver of every good and perfect gift, wants us to come into His presence with the exuberance of a child. He wants us to be absolutely convinced that He has good gifts for us. He wants us to know that we are absolutely entitled to the gifts. And He wants us to be absolutely engaged in enthusiastically and whole heartedly claiming all of our inheritance.

It further occurred me that all these good gifts from God were made available to us because ‘someone was struck’. God allowed his son Jesus Christ to be struck and killed so that the wealth of heaven could be released to us.

In that sense, Jesus Christ is ‘The Holy Piñata’!

Let us joyfully rush in to claim all that He has released for us.

Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Birthday Song

This is the birthday song which my daughter Sonya and her children wrote for me this afternoon.

Birthday Song Link

Thanksgiving Day

Yesterday, while praying with several brothers, I received a picture in my spirit of God bending down and playing chess with us. After carefully observing the board He turned to me and said, “It’s your move.”

My initial response was of dismay, “How could I ever survive a competition with God?”

Then I realized that God had set up the chess board in such a way that whenever I made a move, He would arrange the pieces so that in the end I would win! In other words, the game was stacked in my favor!

I was blown away! He wants us to succeed! He wants us be victorious! He wants this so fervently that he delights in the details of our lives (Psalm 37:23) and he eagerly arranges all the details for our ultimate victory!

This means that if at the moment I feel blocked in, there is a next move. And I take that next move in faith and in confidence that God loves us and “that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose for us.” (Romans 8:28).

Thanks be to God for His outrageous grace!

Not Just a Tree House

About three hours after the private funeral service for Liam on Friday, August 11, we had a dedication of the ‘Tree House’ at the home of Sonya and Horeb.

Horeb had dreamed and planned and worked at building this ‘tree house’ for months and months. Actually more like two years. At one point a neighbor upon seeing the original deck for the tree house, stated, “That is overkill. Your children will soon grow up and will not need the tree house. Why put so much into a tree house?” Even family and friends, although admiring the work, wondered why someone would put so much time and energy into a ‘tree house.’

But Horeb labored on. Never having built anything like this before, he studied, watched Youtube videos and consulted with his builder friend, Elvin Weaver. He made his own skylights, his own windows and doors. He insulated and drywalled and installed flooring and electrical outlets and even an air conditioner. Day in and day out when he had extra time he ‘built the tree house’. He cut no corners, he attended to every detail.

Finally the ‘tree house’ was finished. The table was in place; the lamp was turned on, the couch was lifted up the steps and placed along the wall. And the air conditioner was running.

And the invited guests crowded into the ‘tree house’ to celebrate and dedicate this special creation.

Horeb welcomed his guests with these words: “ This is not just a tree house. God gave me a vision to create a special place, a private place where my children can meet God. Almost every day I pray over my children and bless them. I say to them you are going to be a missionary; and you a worshiper and you a minister and you an evangelist. I proclaim life and blessing over them. I want each of my children to have their own personal encounter with God. And this room is for them to get away alone and meet God. And it is not only for them it is for other children as well.”

Then Horeb went on to say, “I am not attached to this room or this place. I have done what God asked me to do and should God ask me to leave here we would leave. I am committed to following Him wherever He leads.

Suddenly all of our eyes were opened. We saw that in fact this is not just a ‘tree house’; it is a holy place; it is a tent of meeting; it is a place where angels ascend and descend; it is the doorway to heaven.

And our eyes were opened to see Horeb in a new way, not as a hobbyist or a backyard builder but as a Noah who built an ark for the salvation of his house. We see Horeb with the heart of Jesus in going to prepare a place for those He loved. Horeb did not build this structure in response to a whim or even a dream; he built it in response to the deep heart-felt call of God.

And we worshiped, and shared communion together and prayed. Yes, we prayed. We prayed blessings on this space and on all the children and even grownups who would meet God here. And we prayed that God would raise up a generation of fathers, like Horeb, who would make assisting their children to meet God their highest priority.

For we know that unless one receives immediate access to the heavenly place as Liam did, we all need our encounter with Jesus here in preparation for the place He has prepared for us. And all our special places here, though significant and essential, are just “temporary tree houses” in comparison to the glorious, eternal place He has prepared for us. Blessed be His name!

One Day there will be No More Tears

Seven weeks ago my daughter Sonya and her husband Horeb received the worst possible news from a doctor following a sonogram: “This child has serious problems and there can be no good outcome to this pregnancy. ”

But we said with the words of the song, “Whose report do you believe? We believe the report of the Lord. His report says I am healed.” And we believed God for a miracle.

We proclaimed that nothing is impossible for God. We believed and proclaimed that “by His stripes we are healed.” We prayed and fasted. Our faith community prayed and fasted. Servants of God, who have seen many miracles, signs and wonders, prayed and believed with us. We were lifted into God’s presence by the unified prayers of agreement around us.

However, on Wednesday night, August 9, 2017, Sonya, six and one-half months pregnant, was delivered of a stillborn son and they named him Liam, which means strong-willed warrior.

Friday, August 11th, the immediate family gathered around a small open grave in an unmarked country cemetery, near our home. The father and mother sang and the two brothers and two sisters, ages 4-11, took turns shoveling ground over the tiny casket. And Ruth and I, the maternal grandparents, prayed and sang along and believed.

But what do we believe?

We believe that God is good and that His mercies are new every day. We believe that God heals; He resurrects; He does signs and wonders and miracles. We believe that nothing is impossible for God. We believe that He hears the prayers of his children. We believe that where two or three agree together in Jesus’ name they have what they ask.

But how can we believe all this in the face of unanswered prayer?

I remember John the Baptist pointing to Jesus, in the bright sunshine over the Jordan River, and loudly proclaiming, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is far greater than I for He existed long before me.”

And I remember John the Baptist in the dark prison cell pondering the question, “Is this Jesus reallly the son of God; is He really who I said He was?”

And Jesus sends a message back to John the Baptist saying, “Tell John that I am God, that I have come to set captives free, to heal the blind and the lame and to bring God’s kingdom to earth.”

And then Jesus adds, “Oh and by the way, tell John, ‘Blessed is he who is not offended in me’.” In other words “I am a miracle working God and I have called you to be miracle working people. Blessed is the person who does not get offended when in a given situation I take a different course than what you had anticipated or proclaimed. Just know I have a plan that will bring good out of this situation.”

“Do not give up. Do not become passive and say, ‘Well, I will not pray or expect anything, I will just pray, ‘Father, your will be done whatever it might be..’”

“No, No. His will is that you should actively participate in bringing heaven’s will and miracles to earth. He wants you to lay hands on sick people and to proclaim their healing in Jesus’ name. He wants you not just to believe “in Jesus” (that is for salvation). He wants you to believe ‘as Jesus did’ that you carry authority to address the sickness, disease, disorders and demons in the world.

God is a strategic God. He is making all things work together for good to those who love Him. Blessed is the one who keeps on proclaiming the goodness and power of God. Even though for the moment we may be in the dark about the immediate strategy of God, we are convinced that in the ultimate strategy we win, hands down.

Or think of it this way. If I am the number two in command in a large company, how do I best show honor to the number one in command?

When I am faced with difficulties and challenges do I say, “I cannot decide, I must wait to hear from the Big Boss?” Or do I make decisions and proclamations confident that I know the heart and the vision of the number one in command and that he has empowered me to act and speak in his name.

If in some given situation he moves at odds with what I have said, I do not get offended. I only assume that he has information which caused him in a given case to take a different direction than what I had proclaimed.

So in light of all this, I will honor God and his word by continuing to lay hands on sick people, and I will continue to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is here and now and that miraculous signs will follow those who believe. Mark 16.

I will press in even more diligently to know Him whom I have believed and to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings. For I am convinced that nothing can separate from His love, not a stillborn child, not an apparently unanswered prayer. For His love is deeper, higher, wider and longer than anything I can imagine.

And I am proclaiming that Liam, which means strong-willed warrior, in his very short span on earth was used of God in a powerful way to increase faith in our lives. As a result of this experience, we will be more likely to believe God for the impossible.

One day we will see Liam in the glorious light of the Son of God and we will understand all and there will be no more tears or sighing. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Yellowstone (Part 3)


Reflections From Our Recent Trip to the Yellowstone

It strained my ability to be present to “this moment”when I observed my three grandsons Josiah, Justus and Jobe, ages 17, almost 13 and 10 respectively, watching a YouTube video on Minecraft one evening after a day in Yellowstone.

We were in a beautiful house in the Jackson Hole area of Wyoming, a perfect setting after a perfect day. Why would anyone want to bring Minecraft into this setting?

I admit I knew little about Minecraft and I had absolutely no interest in learning more about it. From the little I did know, I would have been happy to have had my grandsons all abandon the game and commit themselves to Bible study or something positive like that.

The next morning in our time of reflection and anticipation I brought up the topic of Minecraft.

Forcing myself to be interested and to keep my opinions to myself, I asked each of my grandsons to describe the game and to tell what appealed to them about the game.

Apparently Minecraft is like a digital 3-D sandbox in which you have certain basic tools which you can later enhance in type and effectiveness in order to create your own world with buildings and even cities, while maintaining your health and protecting yourself against enemies.

The game can be played alone or you can play with friends you know or with new friends you meet on the internet who are into the game. The game is ongoing as is construction in a sandbox. You can create your world day after day as long as someone does not destroy your creation.

Josiah gave an example from the game of being dropped into a wilderness setting and having 12 minutes to develop a protective shelter, find food and arrange for a light source to disperse the demons of the night.

The game was developed by a Swede known on line as “Notch”. The game has been wildly successful with 40 million players. Two years ago Microsoft bought the intellectual rights to the game for over 2 billion dollars.

My grandsons found differing parts of the game appealing; for Jobe it was being able to construct things; for Justus it was constructing and also learning from others on YouTube how various game issues had been addressed; for Josiah it was strategy and competing with others playing the game on line.

Seeing my grandsons’ intense interest and preoccupation with the game I proceeded to learn what spiritual values there might be to this game. Sure enough, one blogger believed “Notch” to be a Christian who had developed a game based on a world of conflict between darkness and light, between good and evil, which would predispose millions of gamers to understand the basic Christian message and even receive it. I rejoiced.

But then this same blogger expressed concern that a new game developer was now in charge and that occult themes were creeping into the game. I grieved.

Another blogger, a Christian mother, wrote that when she looked in on what her sons were doing in the game she found them being unkind to one another in the game. She concluded that the best thing was for parents to get into the game and play it with their children.

“Oh, great,” I thought, “Does this mean I need to start playing Minecraft in order to have a meaningful relationship with my grandchildren?”

“I refuse. I am not interested. I am too busy. I have more important things to do.”

But then I remembered that God took the time to become incarnate in my world because of His great love for us.

Well, I do love my grandchildren, so I will enter their world. I will learn about Minecraft and discuss their experiences and values. I will come along side them, especially should they ask me.

I will applaud them in playing their own game even as God does not control us but gives us the freedom to play our own game, though he gives us counsel and power to play it in a way which honors Him.

Maybe that is what a grandparent is: an observer, a sometimes participant, the story teller and the bridge between the generations. And the one who carries the wellbeing of both generations deep within his heart and prayers.

Yellowstone (Part 2)



I saw a log; they saw a canoe. I saw a picturesque setting for contemplation; they saw a place for grand adventure. I saw risk of danger of the log falling on someone’s head ; they saw possibility of challenge and excitement.

I chose to make their reality mine.

The maturing of a grandfather.

Yellowstone (Part One)


It was in January that my grandson, Josiah, age 16, said, “I would like to go to Yellowstone National Park.”

I responded, “If you read four books that I recommend and give me a report on them, I will take you.”

Before the end of the conversation his father Chauncey and my other son-in-law, Todd and his two sons, Justus, age 13 and Jobe, age 10 had all indicated their interest in reading the books and going to Yellowstone.

(The four books were: “Seven Men and the Secret of Their Greatness”, and “Everything You Wanted to Know About God But Were Afraid to Ask”, both by Eric Metaxas and “The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken, and the biblical book of “Daniel”. )

So this past Friday morning we flew out of Baltimore for Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I said to Josiah as the six of us were driving through Lamar Valley just yesterday, “What was it that made you say that you wanted to go to Yellowstone?

He responded, “This!”

I pondered his answer for a moment and then realized it was both simple and profound.

“This” is what we had planned for, anticipated and now were experiencing: the bears, the bison, the elk, the moose, the antelope, the big horn sheep and the fox pouncing on his prey. “This” was observing in awe the Old Faithful Geyser, the new lake created by the Madison River Canyon Earthquake of 1959, the thermal springs and swimming in sub freezing temperatures in the warm Gardener River fed by the Boiling River. “This”was hiking for seven miles and swimming in an isolated water pool in the Lamar River.

And “This” was the “present” as opposed to the past and the future.

I will admit that at times I struggled to be present. My mind kept going to the future, to things I must do; expectations I must meet. My wife, knowing the pressures I was facing had encouraged me to be present and not to detach.

But this morning at breakfast in a little mountain cafe, surrounded by mountains partly obscured by the newly falling snow, I sat with the five people I love very much and we shared about how we maintain faith in the midst of trials.

Josiah had started the conversation but we all joined in. Tears flowed as faith stories were shared.

Then I realized that “This” is it. “This” is being truly present to one another and sensing that God is present with us in that moment; And that God is placing His benediction on the present moment- “‘This’ is the day of the Lord’s favor. “

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