REVEALING God’s Glory | Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

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“Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!”

Doxology opening verse, Thomas Ken, 1674

Father’s Day, which falls on the third Sunday in June, took quite a long time to get traction as a day of recognition. From the early 1900s (e.g., 1908 in Fairmont, WV, and 1909 in Spokane, WA), many communities, groups, and politicians attempted to promote Father’s Day to become nationally recognized like Mother’s Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson attended a Father’s Day event in Spokane in hopes of building support for the honor. However, the opposition was considerable, and there was a belief that the country did not need another day of commercialization. Nevertheless, the desire to honor fathers and fatherhood was finally realized nationally when President Richard Nixon signed it into law on April 24, 1972.

If I had to rank Father’s Day on any likability scale, for years, it would have been way down towards the bottom of my list, even though I was blessed to have had a wonderful dad I loved dearly. Father’s Day wasn’t celebrated in our household when he was living. It wasn’t an English thing, nor had it caught on as Mother’s Day. My memories of celebrating Dad centers around his birthday, not some new day of recognition. In terms of me being a dad or celebrating fatherhood, well, those are joys unrealized. Over the years, I found it best to keep a low profile on that day.

On more pleasant thoughts, memories of Dad warm my heart. My parents had seven children; six survived, and I was the baby. Being the youngest, I didn’t get to experience my dad in his early family days. Living in England prior to World War II, he had more time for his growing family. I was always jealous of my three oldest siblings when they would recount their childhood days. They had such special memories with both of my parents. My other two brothers and I didn’t get to experience that close interaction as our older siblings. The times dictated family life. The war was over when I was growing up, and times were tough: my parents were busy working hard to make ends meet. Even though Dad couldn’t be involved with me that often, I knew he loved me dearly, and I always knew I could go to him when I had a problem. He had a couple of large vegetable gardens, and I loved helping him. Dad always encouraged me to do so. I always enjoyed it best when he and I were alone in the garden. It was kind of our time. Maybe that’s why I love working in the garden so much today. I also loved it when I could go with my dad in his car when he had to make a delivery somewhere. Even though I didn’t get a lot of quality father-son time, he still had a way of making me feel special. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” 

Father's Day
 My family in England, except my oldest sister, who was in the US, 1948

In 1954, our family moved to America and settled in New Martinsville, WV, where my sister and her husband lived. After the war, she married a GI (US Soldier), and they settled in my brother-in-law Bill’s hometown. In some ways, I lost my dad coming to America. For one, Dad was never around; he had to work two jobs to provide for his family. They were low-paying janitorial jobs. He worked an eight hour shift at an aluminum plant and then worked in the evening for a few hours at a sand and gravel company. Saturday mornings found him at his part-time job, and my parents did their grocery shopping on Saturday afternoons.

I loved Sundays as we got to see Dad. They were family days. I loved it when we would go to church on Sunday morning. I always liked sitting next to him as he had such a wonderful singing voice. I hoped I could sing like him when I grew up, but alas, I couldn’t. Then there was the Sunday family dinner, the best meal of the week. There was always so much laughter; we loved it when Dad told a story. He was a great storyteller! Oh, what I wouldn’t give to experience Mum’s Sunday dinnertime just once more with all my siblings there and, of course, my brother-in-law Bill. They were the best of times. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

father's day
My three brothers and me (far right), 1953

Even though Dad’s life was hard, he’d check on me now and then as he knew I was having difficulty settling into a new country where I had no friends. Everything seemed so strange and, in some ways, threatening. I hated America those first couple of years. I missed my friends back in England dearly and all the fun things we did together. I was so lonely; it was like the joy had been sucked right out of me. I was often confused and needed to talk to someone. Fortunately, my brother-in-law Bill was a great guy and was always willing to help me, even teach me American ways. Bill became a second dad in many respects, as he always had time for me. He seemed to like me hanging out with him, and I loved being around him. Bill taught me to hunt and fish as well. He would always let me know a few days before we would go, which was terrific as the anticipation of going was as much fun as the planned activity. For a couple of years, he was my best pal as I preferred being with him more than with boys my age. I don’t know how I would have made it those first few years without him. Bill was truly a God-sent blessing. He remains my hero. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

Looking back on things, I now realize I had another father, God the Father, looking out for me. Throughout the years, He has always put people into my life to love, care for, steer me in the right direction, and give me purpose. There was a time after high school and early in college when I was rudderless and living what I thought was a grand, carefree life. It involved too much alcohol, partying, and running the roads with my buddies. Fortunately, God must have realized I was heading in the wrong direction and needed His help before it was too late. That life-changer was a girl named Liva. I shudder to think what may have happened to me if I had not met her. I can still see her the first time we met. I was at a dance and had left my table for some reason. When I returned, she was sitting in my chair wearing a dark blue sweater and had this striking long brunette hair. She looked up with a beautiful smile as I approached and said, “Am I sitting in your chair?” BAM! She not only took my chair but also stole my heart. That divine moment was truly divine-driven: God knew without a doubt that I would need a Godly woman in my life, and He was right. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

There are not enough editions of Glory Magazine to cover the multitude of blessings that God has sent my way. But there is one more that I would like to share. I was a young lieutenant in the Air Force on my first assignment at Robins Air Force Base. I was assigned to the Headquarters United States Air Force Reserves. It was a neat assignment as my job took me to the Pentagon several times and to many bases across the US. I belonged to a Junior Officers Council, as did all junior officers. We were expected to run a special project each year. I suggested we run a civilian-military golf tournament. This was the first event like that on base. Of course, when you speak up, you own it. So, I became the project officer, which I didn’t mind as I enjoyed organizing and running projects. I can’t say it was all done with the right intentions. I knew it would give me excellent visibility with my senior officers if it went well. It did go well and got me that visibility and accolades. But that’s not the intent of the story. We decided to use the funds we raised to help a local charity, a school for mentally handicapped children. (Today, the school refers to its students as “developmentally disabled,” not mentally handicapped.) One day, I visited the school to learn about its mission. Little did I know that that visit would forever impact my life. As I was being escorted around, a little blond-headed boy with a buzz haircut and wearing the thickest glasses I had ever seen came running up to us. The lady giving me the tour said to him, “Say hello to Lieutenant Tucker.” With that, giving me the biggest bear hug around my right leg he could muster, the little boy looked up with the sweetest smile and said, “I love you.” That moment is still so vivid in my mind and was so impactful. I knew something extraordinary happened to me then, and that hug and smile have stayed with me forever. I now know it was one of those “God moments” where God told me that helping disadvantaged kids was my calling. Some assignments didn’t provide the opportunity to do so. Still, throughout my career and retirement, I have sought ways to help the disadvantaged, especially kids. This has been a lifelong blessing for me and remains one that I will carry on as long as I can. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

Happy Hour School for Mentally Handicapped Children, Warner Robins, GA, 1970

Blessings Beyond Measure

It took getting saved for me to realize how God has always loved me, blessing me beyond measure. Over the years, as all those blessings came my way, I never gave much thought to them or where they came from. I just accepted them and moved on with little appreciation for my good fortune. Much like it took Father’s Day to become a National Day of Recognition almost 70 years, it took me that long to realize I needed to “be reconciled to God” (see 2 Corinthians 5:20). Before accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savoir, I had no heart for God, no fear of God and absolutely no wisdom, only worldly knowledge. That worldly knowledge I know now is foolishness. It can fool you into a superficial relationship with God, not one based on His Word, which, as I said last time, “It doesn’t please Him, and it does us no good.” It clearly fooled me for most of my life. Thanks to the love of our Father and the obedience of His Son, Jesus, everything changed when I became a member of the “Household of God.” It was not only the beginning of my faith journey but also the beginning of wisdom for me, as it is with all who accept Jesus as their Savior. Why? As Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians:

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.” 

1 Corinthians 2:12 (NIV)
Jane Lew barn, Lewis County WV

As Paul affirms, the Holy Spirit gave me the heart to seek Him and the eyes, ears, and mind to understand Him. I didn’t magically discern everything God wanted me to know all at once. It is a journey of growing in His grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). I eagerly accepted His maturation, a refining process in which the Holy Spirit explains things to me and shapes me to be more and more like Jesus so that I can be a useful ambassador and can fulfill the purpose (God’s will) He has for me. How do I do that? Paul wrote in Romans 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing the word of God.” As I have indicated, I do that through my Bible and devotional reading, group Bible studies, being attentive in church, and surrounding myself with people of faith. I have to put the work in to hear and understand. If I don’t, I’ll be no use to Him. I’ve been at it (trying to hear His word and to let it transform me) for almost twelve years now and wouldn’t have it any other way. “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance: therefore I will hope in him!”

Lamentations 3:23-24 (NLT)

Many of us have a “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” journey that comes from a loving God the Father. You may be aware of it, or, like I was for 70 years, totally clueless. I have learned and experienced that He is the most amazing Father! To me, every day is God the Father’s Day. I not only know Jesus because of His love for me, and His Holy Spirit not only lives within me, but I have a peace that passes all understanding, which is an amazing blessing, all because God the Father loves me. I love how He equips me for His work: loving others to please Him. I am still a work in progress, trying to mature spiritually by making each day count. I hope to do so until He calls me home when I’ll experience blessings I can’t imagine. “Praising God from whom all blessings flow!” will take on a whole new dimension on that glorious day.

Happy Father’s Day on June 16 to all the fathers out there. To those blessed men and everyone else, I hope you find reasons to “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” Make every day God the Father’s Day, and find a reason to praise Him. If you haven’t invited Jesus into your life to be your Lord and Savior, invite Him into your heart now and ask Him to forgive you of your sins, then seek out a pastor or a Christian friend you know and ask for their guidance. If you do, the Holy Spirit will lead you to God the Father and His household. The door will be wide open, and He will be there to welcome you. Believe me, if you take that step of faith as I did, you too will “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!” 

Until next time, Godspeed. Al

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