Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. - Deuteronomy 5:16 (5th Commandment) and "Render honor to whom honor is due." - Romans 13:7
By Ted Spaeth, June 2015
I am thankful to God for my earthly father. He always considered in advance all the material needs I would have, so I never worried about not having food to eat, clothes to wear or a roof to live under. He paid for my education and encouraged me to pursue a degree in Systems Analysis. I owe much of my academic success to him, and I am thankful to God for the environment he provided for me as a boy. He encouraged me to respect authority, study hard, work hard, be honest, faithful and generous. Most of all, I am thankful that he disciplined me when I was young and misbehaved. This not only removed some foolishness from my heart and helped me have better behavior, it shaped my view of God and helped me understand that God will hold us accountable one day for what we do and say in this life, so we should fear Him and keep His commandments.
My father encouraged me to regularly go to an institutional church to learn to be a good follower of Jesus. He also made me responsible for taking my sisters there too. When I was small, we were in Y E Indian Guides together with other fathers and sons. He was Big Buffalo, and I was Little Buffalo. He also coached my baseball team and gave me the opportunity to learn to play golf. Two of my fondest memories in life were playing with him in a couple father-son golf tournaments. Another pleasant memory was caddying for him in pro-am day at a golf tournament.
My father was a certified public accountant (CPA) specializing in taxation and tax planning. He was a partner of three private accounting firms, including one he started, and he had a huge social network before the Internet was ever invented. He provided expert tax advice and high quality accounting services. His business model was inspirational to me in my own entrepreneurial endeavors, although I never came close to his degree of success. He is also a very talented amateur pianist, golfer and gardener.
I am thankful to God for my grandfather, my mother's father. He had a wife, 3 daughters, 5 granddaughters and 1 grandson (me). He was a civil engineer, and a regular attendee at Roman Catholic churches. My grandfather was a kind, friendly and honest man, and he was also very smart. He served in WW2 in the Pacific, working as an engineer on a ship to help the war efforts against the Japanese.
One thing I liked about my grandfather was that he was a good teacher. He kind of treated me like the son he never had. When I was a boy and visited him in Albuquerque, he used to take me to the National Atomic Museum at the Kirtland Air Force Base and teach me about WW2 and modern warfare. He loved his country and encouraged people to only buy American-made products so as to support the American workforce and economy. He also taught me about driving safety, relating to women and taking care of things in a home.
During university, I read the New Testament, surrendered my life to Jesus, got saved, left the Roman Catholic Church and started to really get serious about studying and applying the Bible. In 1984, I visited Grandpa and told him of my new life in Jesus. I sensed in my spirit that he was trusting in himself and false religion that could not save him from hell. Since I loved him, I told him that the Roman Catholic Church had misled us into believing that we could save ourselves through our good works, church attendance and activities, and good morality instead of simply trusting in the saving work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. (This is a common problem of most religions. The Bible says that salvation is by grace through faith so that nobody but Jesus can boast. See Ephesians 2:8,9.) Sadly, Grandpa was not able to receive my message at that time, and he ordered me to leave his home, thinking I was a heretic. However, I visited him again shortly before he passed away in 1987, and he apologized for what he did. I don't know if he repented for trusting in himself before he died. I hope he did. I was told that after his death, some odd supernatural things happened. This may have been a sign from heaven that he had crossed over form death to life before it was too late to choose.
I am thankful to God, my Heavenly Father, for adopting me as His son and making me an heir (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5-7, 1 John 3:1). His name is holy (Matthew 6:9). He is perfect (Matthew 5:48). He sees what I do in secret and rewards me (Matthew 6:4). He knows what I need before I ask. (Matthew 6:8). He knows I need food and drink and clothing, so He provides these so I need not worry but can focus on serving Him (Matthew 6:25-34). He gives good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11). He has given me part of His kingdom (Luke 12:32). He loves me when I obey Jesus (John 14:21). He is not willing that His sheep be lost, but He seeks out those who have gone astray (Matthew 18:12-14). He disciplines those He loves for our profit, that we might be partaker of His holiness (Hebrews 12:5-11). He has given me many, many blessings. Some of them are mentioned in Psalm 103 below:
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.