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Just found this inscription inside my copy of volume 11 of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary while studying Ephesians 5:

“Son Bud,

May your study keep you stimulated to praise our Lord Jesus with increasing enthusiasm.

I love and admire you.


July 1985″

If you have followed this blog, you know how much that means to me.  Sitting here in my study today, I perceive a depth, a background, a story bigger than this moment.  Right now matters more than it would otherwise appear.  The love that poured into yesterday refills today with new meaning, purpose, hope.

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5 thoughts on “Just found this”

  1. tricia says:

    Wonderful to be reminded of your fathers love Dr. Ortlund and a great testimony to Our Lords tender mercies and sustaining love towards His people.

  2. Michael Mills says:

    Greetings Ray,

    I share your joy, knowing your father loved you. A month ago, I wrote the following regarding my own experience:

    In August 1969 I entered the Army’s Warrant Officer Flight Training Program. I had always wanted to be a pilot. And, due to the Vietnam War and the need for pilots, the Army waved the college requirements. So there I was, an 18 year old having just graduated from high school being given the opportunity to realize my childhood dream.

    I took to flying like a duck to water. I even enjoyed the classroom training. But the military side of the program was very tough. The discipline and harassment were intended to weed out those who were not motivated enough or those who simply could not cut it. Each class lost between 50 to 65 percent by the time graduation arrived.

    Around my third month in the year-long training, we had already lost three from my class and I feared I might be next. After all, I was immature. Plus, it was the first time that I had ever been away from my family for any length of time.

    One night, out of desperation, I called home. Mom answered the phone. Through tears, I told her of my distress and shared how difficult the program was. Suddenly she said, “Let me put your father on the phone.”

    “What! Why is she doing that,” I wondered? I mean, I knew my father loved me. I loved him, too. But he’d never actually said as much in words. In the 1950s and 60s men were generally not demonstrative. I wanted a hug from mom, not a lecture from dad.

    When dad got on the phone I was still crying. He patiently listened until I had exhausted all I’d needed to say. Then, in that vulnerable moment, he softly said, “Michael, if you want to quit, then quit. If you want to stay, then stay. And if you stay and wash out of the program, so what! You’re my son and I love you. Whether you graduate or not; will not change that fact! You will always be my son no matter what. I’m proud of you.”

    As I walked up the stairs to my room I noticed, with a measure of pleasant surprise, that the burden I’d been carrying seemed much lighter. I’ll never forget my next thought, which was: “This isn’t so tough….” I had discovered a brand new paradigm.

    Nine months later I graduated with honors and was given my choice of aircraft as a reward, in addition to becoming a Warrant Officer. Mom and dad were in the audience with several hundred other parents and family.

    Over the years I’ve come to realize that God used my father to teach me a lesson about unconditional love. And in the process, my father became my hero. Though he passed away many years ago, I smile with every thought of him…and especially that lonely night so long ago.

  3. anonymous says:

    Amen,in song

    Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array. Psalm 29:2

    To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Rev 1: 5b6

  4. Steve Fisher says:

    Beautiful Ray – proof that we are not everlasting, but in Jesus Christ we are eternal.

  5. Dana Olson says:

    I was in Pasadena last week and walked around Lake Ave. Church. I thought of your dad and mom, and of you. What a wonderful note to find! May you have many books on your shelf with notes like that one! May you have a great day with the Lord and God’s people tomorrow, Dr. Ray.

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Ray Ortlund

Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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