The Joy of Family

From the physical standpoint, this week has been rather difficult. Twice in the emergency room and then admitted to the hospital. But God has bestowed on me great joy as I have had not only my wife beside me but my daughter and son with me. They didn’t come because I needed them right now. Their plans for several weeks were to be here this week to visit. We were going to do a lot of things together. The Scripture reminds us that “I know the plans I have for you.” My plans involved playing games, having a home movie night, taking them to a special restaurant. God’s plans were to have them here for encouragement and for help for Emily. The Scripture reminds me that “In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Instead we have had some wonderful times to talk, to be with each other, to pray together, and to reminisce. Lots of treasured memories!

And I remember Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord who heals you.”

What a great God we serve!

Haiku Images

I thought you might appreciate reading through the Haiku Cluster that the judges thought were worthy of first place winner in the competition. All of the haiku spring from the Scriptures related as listed.

Appropriate for the Easter season is “To say ‘I love you’ God sent a cross.” The truth that we are co-heirs with the eternal Godhead is incomprehensible, but the Scriptures certainly remind us how rich we are in Christ.

If a haiku or two moves you and you would like to share your thoughts, I would love to meditate on them with you.
A HAIKU CLUSTER
I bequeath to you,                                                                   Romans 8:17a
every sunrise I’ve painted,
all originals. -God

Adam, while you slept,                                                           Genesis 2:21-22
God slipped Eve into your bed,
then he left, smiling.

To say “I love you,”                                                                  John 19:17-18
we send flowers or a card,
but God sent a cross.

Five little fingers                                                                       Luke 2:7
squeeze young Mary’s nose and face
as God lies on straw.

Often mothers ’ prayers                                                         I Samuel 1:27
mend the broken jars of clay
they molded from birth.

Silent, by a grave,                                                                   II Corinthians 1:4
arm around a friend, healing
a hole in the heart.

Before life’s bookends                                                         Amos 4:12b
squeeze away your last-held breath,
prepare for closure.

God’s Grip

Elena and Dan holding hands0001My 7-year-old great granddaughter burst into my study, grabbed my hand, and asked, “Papa, “What’s your favorite chapter in the Bible? ”

“John 10 about Jesus being the Good Shepherd.”

“I know that one,” she said. I reached my arm around her waist and drew her to me.

“And Papa, what’s your favorite verse?”

“That I may know Christ and the power of his resurrection.”

She hesitated, then answered thoughtfully,“I don’t think I know that one.”

As I took her hand and placed her other hand into it, I said, “Another favorite is John 10, verse 28.” I folded her little fingers around her hand, and continued, “ ‘No one can grab your hand out of my grip,’ Jesus said.”

“Really, they can’t?”

I took those two little cupped hands into my hand. “Nope, no one.”

Her eyes twinkled as she looked up at me. “I do remember hearing that verse.”

“You’re so smart. Do you also remember when you were two years old and your grandfather held your hand to lead you to the party?

“No,” she replied. “But when Pappy takes my hand in his big hand, I feel safe and happy.”

I looked into those big eyes and thought, Oh, to be like that child!

“Wouldn’t it warm our Heavenly Father’s heart, as He grips our hand to make us feel secure, if we gripped His hand back?”

Next time someone holds your hand, let it remind you of the comfort, security and joy when Creator Father, gripping our human hand, leads us where we need to go.

God’s Tattoo

When I was 12 years old, my oldest brother J C came home on furlough from the Navy. I saw a tattoo of a hula girl on his left arm. I asked him why he got that thing anyway. “Every time I flex my biceps, I remember how much I love Hawaii.”

Standing in line at the pharmacy one day, a young man told me, “This skull and crossbones tattoo on my arm helps me remember my behind-bars buddies.”

One of the main reasons an individual tells me for getting a tattoo is “to help me remember.”

The prophet Isaiah probably had the same idea in mind when he wrote “I [God] will never forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” 49:15, 16. He is referring to the Jews’ custom of puncturing their hands with a symbol of their city and temple as a sign of devotion.

Thinking about tattoos, I hear Jesus’ tender personal words to his doubting Thomas, “Put your hand in my scarred hand.” John 20:27 [my paraphrase.] Throughout eternity, Jesus will be inviting us personally, “See, at Golgotha, you were engraved on the palms of my hands forever.”

When you find yourself feeling alone in a crowd, forgotten by your family, or neglected by a close friend, then remember God’s tattoo, “I’ll always remember you.” [my paraphrase.]

You can further meditate on Isaiah 49:13-18 with Psalm 37:25-28 until, like Thomas, you exclaim,” My Lord and my God.” John 20:28