Jun. 17, 2015

"Cheez-it's Loves Me, This I Know....

“Cheez-its loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so!”

Vacation Bible School season is now in session. Every church you pass has a banner outside inviting the whosoever will to come on in! This is so great. Our Texas girl, Jessie is attending VBS this week at First Baptist Church of Wylie. The program is entitled “Journey Off The Map,” and she is on Day Two. Her sister, Emily, having just finished Pre-K, is not old enough to attend this particular VBS, but they’ll both be going to another one next week. The above version of “Jesus Loves Me,” is what they both came home with last summer.

I have a mental image of Jesus, who loved hanging around with little kids, in addition to tax collectors and ladies of questionable virtue, laughing heartily at “Cheez-its!”

Small children are not always a precious blessing to their parents, neither are big children and the occasional adult is seldom a blessing to anyone...but I digress... I love this particular verse from Psalm 127:3-5 (LB) “Children are a gift from God; they are his reward. Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows to defend him. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. That man shall have the help he needs when arguing with his enemies.” Sounds sort of like the Hatfields and McCoys, doesn’t it. Children really are a gift from God. They bring us joy a lot of the time, many tears, laughter, sleepless nights, anxious moments, and frequently bring us to our knees.

Our daughter, Patti and her husband, Dave, have a custom in their family where when each of their children reaches 18, there is a blessing party. A celebration of that child’s life where people who have played a part in their life are invited to come, dine, rejoice and read the blessing they have written for that particular child. John and I, their elderly grandparents, love this opportunity to pass along a little hard-won wisdom, hopes for the future, and words from The Word that have strengthened us, changed us, encouraged us and, occasionally, chastened us.

My blessing for Nicole, their oldest child, contained these words:

“My blessing for you, most precious Nicole, is that you will continue to walk on the path where your feet are already planted, that you will grow in grace and wisdom, that your life will be a source of joy to your family, your friends, your Lord, and that you will live your life in such a way that all who meet you will rejoice in your friendship and know that, even though you are a work in progress, as are we all, that you will do the kind and right thing always.”

When middle child, Blake, turned 18, my blessing for him, in part, was this:

“What would I wish for you?  What would I pray for you?  That you will continue on the path you have chosen, where you desire to serve God, to do your best in whatever you attempt, and that you make choices which are always honorable, always considerate of others, always choosing the high road, instead of the easy road.... And I would wish you a life of joy.  Joy does not necessarily mean happiness.  Happiness is a momentary thing.  Joy is deep-down, inhabiting your heart and soul.  Joy is one of God's favorite qualities,  "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22)”

And now, Luke will be 18 in just a few weeks. We are working on our blessings for him. Luke is the actor/singer/dancer in our family, has already starred in a number of productions and has even been paid! My blessing will include...

“Every part imaginable is ahead for you, Luke: Phantom of the Opera, Jekyll & Hyde, Wicked, The Producers, Mama Mia, Mary Poppins...so many roles to play, but the role we most want to see you play is that of a follower of Christ. A man of God, upfront about his faith, careful about the roles he chooses. You really can look to the Bible for guidance and motivation in dealing with performing this job in a way that is biblical, that pleases God.

Phil. 4:8 – Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Their future walk with Jesus starts for many young people with a week at VBS where herds of small children have opportunities to hear, for the first time in many of their lives, a Bible story, be handed a cookie or a carrot (depending on your church) by a smiling volunteer who will know their name and tell them Jesus loves them. A great way to spend a summer week.