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.

Singing Each Day

music makersMy wife shared this morning that her 90-year-old brother has a list of 593 songs he has sung over the years. And he has a second list of 23 he sings every day.

When I heard about all those songs, the Holy Spirit flooded my mind with Scriptures about singing, especially these three.

“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:3). When others heard David singing praises, it caused them to “put their trust in God.”

What a motivation to sing!

In corporate worship, “Speaking to one another in a variety of Christian songs” (Eph 5:19, Leon’s paraphrase) to encourage and comfort others. Recently, our Bible study group visited a hospice center to sing for an elder in our church to encourage him and comfort his family. Although he could not verbally respond while we sang songs like “10,000 Reasons,” his wife assured us that he understood.

What a motivation to sing!

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25). As they sang in their pain from the cruel flogging and having their feet in stocks in the dark dungeon, their songs became a powerful vocal witness to “the other prisoners listening to them.”

What a motivation to sing!

I thank God for my wife’s sharing about her brother’s catalog of songs. It motivated me to sing songs during the day, like “You are My King,” “Jesus, Son of God,” and “In Christ Alone.”

Wanna join me in singing your favorite songs throughout the day?

——————-

The first three to identify the guy wearing the bow tie in the picture, a free Starbuck’s latte is yours!

 

Cheers for Cheerios

Sometimes I don’t understand my country–United States of America. So would you help me out!

An America company shoots a warm family ad about expecting a new baby soon and it’s targeted for racist comments. The company deserves praise and accolades, not criticism. At least, it wasn’t a dysfunctional family or feuding family environment. What really impressed me, the husband and wife are freely accepting a wanted child, not discussing the pros and cons of an abortion.

For a healthy change, the story line’s about warm family relationships, love, and connection, and implied family breakfast together. And it’s an adorable family. It’s true. The daughter pushes in a puppy as part of the deal. It’s still,“Hats off to the creators!”

So it’s interracial. What’s the beef? God is color blind, so let’s be color blind with Him! We’re all God’s children. Recall the Sunday School song we as children sang: “Red and yellow black and white, we are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the little children of the world.

The Bible says in Genesis 1:28, “God blessed the male and female he created and said to them ‘Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.’” This interracial family is following God’s mandate. So bravo!

Cheerios may not be your breakfast choice, but let’s all grab a big bowl of Cheerios to munch on as we watch the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos battle it out for the trophy in the Super Bowl this weekend.