Rewind Father’s Day: Godly Offspring

Last June, but too late for that Father’s Day, I posted “Godly Offspring Aren’t an Accident.”  Summarizing Genesis 38, I wrote that “God must be frustrated with His struggling family, but He does not give up.”  That one chapter has several examples of man disregarding God’s intentions for His family.  Similarly, many families, and the idea of family itself, are struggling today.  But, “Genesis 38, with all its warts, shows us that Judah and many others were part of God’s plan to use sinners to reach sinners.  To become the Father of His eternal people”.  God will not be thwarted.

This Father’s Day, “take every opportunity to be grateful for fathers, for parents, for those who take on parenthood in other ways, but also think about those who have no earthly provision.”

“God’s purpose for Godly offspring will be fulfilled.”

Read the full post at the link below: (Estimated reading time 9 minutes)

This Mother’s Day, Celebrate the Caregivers

I was recently invited to a workshop on “Caregiver Bias,” which was explained as a problem in our society that people who take care of children, older or sick relatives, or others in need don’t do as well in their careers.  In addition, they said, since Caregiving is more often done by women than by men, these social norms are discriminatory and need to be corrected.  The workshop was part of a broader Diversity and Inclusion initiative, which includes support for women’s reproductive choices.

But shouldn’t Caregiving for children, the elderly, the sick, and the needy be what we celebrate and admire most?  Shouldn’t we choose Caregiving?

In that spirit, for this Mother’s Day post, I choose to salute a diverse set of Mothers:

  • I salute those mothers who choose to serve their families and communities full-time.  Those who volunteer on the PTA, at the local church and food pantry, and who make the school plays and concerts run smoothly.
    I salute the working mothers who choose to make time for the PTA, their church or food pantry, and the school play.
  • I salute those full-time mothers who choose to keep their calm when asked “so, what exactly DO you do all day?”
  • I salute those mothers who choose to run their own business in a way that allows time for them to spend with their children.
  • I salute those mothers who didn’t plan on having children but choose to love and care for them always.
  • I salute those mothers who choose a partner who can focus on Caregiving where they can.
  • I salute those who choose to support those in need who are someone else’s children and relatives, as if they were their own.
  • I salute those who choose to support the choices of all mothers, even if their choices aren’t what they would choose themselves.

Mothers[1] very often sacrifice for the benefit of others, and this Mother’s Day let’s celebrate and admire them all, especially the ones who demonstrate that Caregiving might be the most important career of all.  Let’s be biased in their favor, not today but every day.

After all, aren’t our careers a way to provide what not only we need, but also what others need and can’t provide for themselves?  As suggested by the Apostle Paul a long time ago:
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.” – Ephesians 4:28


[1] Fathers do too, but this is Mother’s Day.  Look for my Father’s Day post about a month from now.

The Meaning of the Bible in Sign Language

As a hearing child of deaf parents myself, I was thrilled earlier this week to see the movie CODA win best picture, deaf actor Troy Kotsur win best supporting actor, and Siân Heder win for best adapted screenplay.  CODA stands for Children of Deaf Adults and the story centers around Ruby Rossi, a hearing teenage girl who is an amazing singer but is the only hearing member of her family.  There are good lessons in the movie about overcoming differences and obstacles through some compassion and creativity.

It was a great movie but be aware: “Mr. Kotsur used the versatility of sign language to enhance Frank’s dialogue, which is sometimes salty enough to push the limits on the movie’s PG-13 rating.”[1]  There’s one scene in particular where Frank Rossi embarrasses his daughter Ruby in front of a boy with some improvised, erotic sign language.  Versatility has negatives but also positives…

My last post, focused on love, showed how multiple words for love in Greek conceal layers of meaning when translated to English.  After watching CODA, I was reminded of an example where the expressiveness of sign language also adds layers of meaning beyond spoken English. (maybe spoken English is just a bad language?)  Not all sign language is the same – there are many dialects – but the sign for Bible I use is actually two signs: “Jesus” followed by “book.”  Every time I sign what I would just speak as “Bible,” there’s a reminder built right in that the Bible is a book about Jesus.  From start to finish, the Bible is a record of why He needed to come, what He was like when He did, and what His followers should believe, know, and do.  Jesus Christ is described right in the sign for Bible!

But there’s still another layer.  In the book of 1 Corinthians, the apostle Paul defends his ministry saying that his message needs to focus on “Christ crucified”[2], not on performing miracles to those who want signs and impressing with fancy speech those who love wisdom.  To sign “Jesus”, I touch the middle finger of my right hand to the palm of my left hand, then the middle finger of my left to the palm of my right.  What does that signify?  It’s an expressive reminder of the crucifixion of Jesus, and the nails that were barbarically driven into his hands.  Thomas, one of the 12 main disciples of Jesus, said after the first Easter that he would not believe Jesus had risen from the dead “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side.”  Eight days later, Jesus presented Himself to Thomas and said “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”  To which Thomas replied: “My Lord and my God!”  (John 20:24-29).  I don’t know if this was intended by the person who created the sign for Jesus, but it may be a liturgy recalling this encounter, reminding us that Jesus was crucified, yet lives!

So, whenever you think of the Bible, think of it in sign language where every single time you sign it, there is a reminder that the Bible is the book about Christ crucified.  After Thomas declared who Jesus was, Jesus responded: “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  Every time I sign “Bible,” it testifies to those who have not seen Jesus of what He has done for them.


One Last Thing
By the way, to sign “book” you place your hands together flat, palms facing each other, in front of you, then open them as if your hands were the front and back of a book.


[1] Jurgensen, John. “Troy Kotsur of ‘CODA’ Wins Best Supporting Actor Oscar.” The Wall Street Journal, 27 March 2022.
[2] 1 Corinthians 1:23

What We Need For Christmas #4: An Everlasting Father

What do we NEED for Christmas?

Over the last two days, I’ve described Jesus as Wonderful Counselor, guiding us into the choices that are best for us, and as Mighty God, empowering us to follow through on those choices, which make us able to love Him and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

A third need we have, according to James Boice is: “We are also individuals, but we sense that we are not meant to be alone. We want to belong somewhere. We need satisfying relationships.”  In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus, the Christ of Christmas, is described as our Everlasting Father, inviting all into His family as daughters and sons.

You may not like everyone in your family.  Getting together for Christmas might come with mixed feelings and apprehension.  You may not like “church” people you’ve met.  But as close to man’s beginning as you can get (Genesis chapter 1), God created the family.  His intention from the start was to build His family, and it needed people in it for Him to love.  He wanted to give them the wisdom and power to become loving reflections of His own character.

The gift of Christ as Eternal Father means that He will accept us – as we are – into His family if we will receive Him.  In John’s gospel, the apostle wrote: “To all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

By believing in Him, we can be adopted as sons and daughters, giving us a sense of belonging and fellowship, and removing our fear of rejection.  He will accept us fully and eternally, nurturing and working with us to grow into the people He wants us to be.  He knows everything you’ve done and will do, and everything you are and everything you will be.

The gift of Jesus as Everlasting Father meets one of our deepest needs:
“To belong to someone! Jesus answers this need, because he is our Everlasting Father. Through him we are brought into God’s family.”

To be loved as you have never been before.

This is the third gift of Christ in Christmas.

Thanksgiving is Good and Fitting

“Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.” – Ecclesiastes 5:18-19

This Thanksgiving will be different for many people.  The company around the table may be different.  The meal may be different.  The familiarity of tradition may have been shaken.  The means of providing the meal may be different.  The pandemic has changed priorities for many people, in addition to its direct impacts.  Many are viewing their daily toil differently. Some are less satisfied with their jobs, some have retired, some have quit for something different, some have few attractive options. Much has changed.

As the Preacher says in the verses above, even those with jobs and possessions find it difficult to truly enjoy them.  It is “good and fitting”, but it is also “the gift of God” to find joy in the now instead of chasing something we don’t already have. It does not come naturally.

Therefore, focus on the Giver behind the gifts you have, and seek contentment with thankfulness that He has provided everything you need.  Now and in eternity.  You are in good company.