Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Pleasant Portrayals of Paternal Purpose

June 21, 2011

This weekend I had the opportunity to see a showing of the movie adaptation of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Yes, the book I remember reading as a kid is now in theaters. At first glance I was skeptical how they would piece together this children’s book about a man and a flock of penguins and make it successful story in a full-length movie.

Before I go too far, one thing I should share is that I have always liked penguins. I don’t remember exactly where it began or why it started but there was something about those birds. While I was watching the film it reminded me of thoughts I had as a kid of what it would be like if I really had a pet penguin.

Now there are many reasons to like these creatures but the one that has always stuck with me is their loyalty and devotion. According to Seaworld most penguin species are monogamous and the gentoos are known to re-pair with the same mate 90% of the time. Once there is an egg, the emperor penguins take turns with their mate caring for the egg until it hatches. I have always liked that penguins were so loyal and loving. This was demonstrated in someways as a underlying tenor throughout movie which I found interesting.

Back to Tom Popper who in the movie version of Popper’s Penguins is a successful businessman. He has grown up neglected by his own father and now is struggling to be a good father to his children. While many may look at this as just a children’s film with its slapstick comedy and penguin poo I thought there was something deeper underneath.

With certainty I can say that this movie was not the best story written, the best visual affects nor the best acting I have ever seen, but I sense that when art is created you can see beauty whenever there is truth displayed. I recently read a blog post by Sarah Clarkson where she said, “To dwell in an instant of beauty is to stumble into a pocket of eternity as it bubbles up in time.” Again, the movie on the surface may not be beautiful but I believe the underlying message had moments that shown brightly with beautiful truth.

Tom Popper was broken and desperately wanted to know the love of his father. He spent his whole life growing up with the uncertainty about his father’s love for him. He tried to be successful in his career maybe so he could garner his father’s attention. He struggled to be a good father and a good husband and much of his trouble seemed to be a result from this lack of knowledge that his father truly loved him. He had difficulty loving others because he did not really understand the love of his father.

At the conclusion of the movie there is a turning point where there is a realization of his fathers love and its results are shown throughout Tom Popper’s life as a dad, as a husband, and in his work.

Throughout time, I am sure there have been other similar story lines but I believe the reason why is we have a yearning to know that we are loved by somebody. We especially yearn for this love from a father.

Father’s day was this weekend and I am blessed to have a dad who loves me and who has displayed it throughout his life in his caring, loyalty, and his kindheartedness. Through his example, while not perfect, I have been better able to understand the love of my Heavenly Father who is perfect. The problem with many of us though is that we do not have that good earthly example of a love that is unconditional. So many out there are hurting because they their father left them, or have hurt them, or they are simply not there.

If that is you, I want you to know that there is a Heavenly Father who does loves you and wants you to know it. In the Bible it describes God as a father to the fatherless.  It also says that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. It goes on to say that God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. I hope you see that God has spoken to you and desires a relationship with you but because of our sin it separates us from Him. The Bible says the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life. Because of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross and victory over death we are now made right in front of a Holy God just as if we had never sinned. Since we are made right with God we can now have a personal intimate relationship with God. If this is something you have never considered I pray you consider it today.

For those of you who have humbled yourself and trusted Christ I want to remind you of the power of the Gospel. The Bible says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” Remember this amazing love the Father has given us that He has provided a means so that we can have fellowship with Him. This love should be the motivating factor in all we do in our lives. Just as in the movie, once Popper realized the love of his father the results were clearly evident throughout his life. In the same way, the love we have been shown by God should be a reminder everyday and as such should impact our life every day as we love others.

Stuck

January 20, 2010

The Princess On Her Bike...

So the other day, my five-year-old niece came home with her new bicycle! She had some Christmas money and picked it out all by herself! She was so excited to bring it home and try it out. About the same time, the weather outside was in the 40’s and the wind chill was even worse. Mind you this is in Florida! That didn’t stop this little girl, she was bound and determined to get outside on her new bike!

Her mother and I donned our jackets and gloves and headed outside with the bike and the little girl. The excitement continued to build as she put on her helmet and climbed up on top of the seat. As she started her first push of the pedal the bike began to move slowly but surely. The direction of the bike led her off the concrete porch into the front yard of grass. As she approached the drive way something unexpected happened. She got stuck; she wasn’t able to push the pedals hard enough to get the bike over the bump. She sat there trying her hardest. If you know anything about my niece, you know she will do everything in her power to do it herself before she will ask for help. To say she is strong willed would be accurate. She strained and yearned for every ounce of muscle she could muster up to try and get that bike moving again but to no avail. The bike wouldn’t budge. Then came the tears and the words I thought I would never hear, “Help Momma I am stuck!” Her loving mother came quickly and helped push her over the insurmountable hurdle. Then off she went in freedom.

As I looked back on this moment, I began to think about just how simple it is to trust in Jesus.
We all are stuck, it says in Romans that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard. We also desire to be unstuck and have freedom but instead we are slaves to our predicament. We try everything in our power to save our selves from this problem. We attempt to be set free through good works to try and work our way out.; that doesn’t work. We try to ignore it by masking it with relationships or success or entertainment. Again, this results in the same thing and us getting stuck further and further in the hole we started in.

Only until we come to the point where we realize that in and of ourselves we have no way to get us out of this situation will we finally find the way to get free.  This is when we humble ourselves and acknowledge our need and dependence on God to save us. Just as my little niece tried everything she could to get going, she realized that only someone bigger and stronger then her would be able to help and she had to humble herself and ask her mother for help. Which for her is not an easy thing to do, nor is it an easy thing for us many times. We desperately want to try and find a way to do it ourselves. But alas, it comes down to us taking God at His Word.

Jesus said the following to His disciples in Matthew 18,

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus is telling us to humble ourselves like children who know they need help and call on His name!

Throughout the Bible are examples of God showing us that He will exult only those who humble themselves.

The popular verse in the old testament 2 Chronicles it says,

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

In the book of Luke, Jesus reinforces this truth by telling us the story of the religious leader and the tax collector:

“Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.””

Who in that story was more acceptable to God? It was the humble sinner who recognized his condition. God loves a contrite heart. He is looking for a heart that admits our faults and recognizes our dependence on a Savior alone for forgiveness.

So just as my little nice realized her need and called out for help, so to God is expecting the same from you.  In Romans it says, “for whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Best Christmas Gift…

December 26, 2007

I am sure that once in awhile we get the question posed to us of what is the best gift you ever have received for Christmas? I have discussed with a friend recently the criteria of a truly great gift. A few of the simple criteria included that the gift was unexpected and it has to be thoughtful. Another thing I may add would be that it could be undeserved.

This Christmas I was lucky enough to receive one of those truly great gifts. The best gift I received was having my Sister, Brother-in-Law, and my wonderful niece here for Christmas. Undeserved, unexpected, and very thoughtful. Thank you for making the effort to come down…

In closing, I wanted to with everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I also wanted to say that we all have been given a truly great gift! We may be undeserving of it, we may not be expecting it, and its hard to imagine the thought involved. God gave us this truly great gift through His Son Jesus Christ. I think it says it best in a few lines from “Hark, The Herald Angles Sing”

Hark the herald angles sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angles sing
“Glory to the newborn King!

I Know You Love Me…

November 1, 2007

“I know that you love me..” Those were the words which were uttered from my little nieces mouth to my sister upon her arrival home from work the other day. Earlier in the day my niece was spending time with her grandma and had touched the hot stove top even after having been told not to many times before by her mother. Fortunately she did not hurt herself bad but it was enough that she knew she had done something wrong. When my sister arrived home from work, my niece was asked by her grandma to tell her mother what she had done today. So she began to tell her mother that she had burned her hand on the stove and she finished the sentence with the most amazing that anyone could ever say. She finished that sentence to her mother with these words; “…and I know that you love me because you didn’t want me to get hurt.”

How amazing is that! I reminded my sister that she may want to record that and play it back to my niece when she turns sixteen just as a reminder that as her parent her goal is not to ruin her fun but motivation is out of love and out of a desire not to see her get hurt.

The other thing that crossed my mind was how much we are just like my niece when it comes to our relationship with God. How much better would we be if we truly took her words to heart and understood them to be really true in our lives. God has given us commands in His Word in order to share with us His Love. He is our Heavenly Father and He loves you and He loves me and I know that he loves you and He loves me because he doesn’t want you or me to get hurt. While this applies to a lot of the commands found in the Bible of do’s and don’t, the ultimate consideration of this comes the thought that because of our sins we must be punished but God sent his Son to pay our penalty, to get hurt so that we don’t have to. In Isaiah 53:5 it says:

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”

Now That Is Confidence!

October 1, 2007

Alana

My parents have just arrived home from a trip to Erie, PA. they were able to visit with a lot of family including my lovely, talented and beautiful (..did i mention wonderful) niece Alana! And yes, she can now spell her name…(did i mention smarter then your niece) My sister gave them some photos from this past month that were great! During the trip one of the family members went up to Alana and said, “you are such a pretty little girl” and Alana replied very confidently, “Yes, I know…” Reminded me of the confidence that we should have. No, not in our looks, but in our hearts. We all have sinned and fallen short and our hearts are ugly towards God but because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, and only because of that, our hearts are now viewed as white as snow, or that “pretty little girl” if you will. And we can be confident of that not because of us, but because of what Christ has done for us!

Amazing Love…

March 5, 2006

I find it amazing to think about the impact that a little, wonderful bundle of joy called a niece can make on someone in such a short period of time.

Without seeing her besides a big belly on your sister…

Without her making a noise…

Without holding her in your arms…

Without feeding her from a bottle…

Without her looking in your eyes…

Without her grabbing your finger…

Without her hiccup…

Without her spit-up…

Without her pooping in her diaper…

Without her smile…

you still Love her..even without all of these things.

Before all of these you Loved her but when you add all of these things.how much more can you love her!

It is amazing to think that even without those things I loved this little girl. Even with out seeing her, holding her, or talking to her. She is a part of my family and that is all I really need to know. Beyond that nothing else really matters? Not to mention the fact that she is so adorable and the cutest little baby girl you have ever seen.

Then you add all of the wonderful things she does as she continues to grow and grow.and begin to walk, and begin to talk, and

With her calling your name…

With her waving hello and good bye…

With her throwing the ball to you…

With her waking you up from a nap…

With her eating breakfast with you…

With her counting to 10 but skipping 3 & 4…

With her saying your name…

With her sharing a cookie…

With her asking you to color…

With her giving you a kiss goodbye…

you still love her with all of these things.
No matter what she does in her life, whether good or bad, that will never change. All because she is part of the family.

With or without… I love her…Isnt it amazing???

No matter what we do as sons or daughters of God whether good or bad, His Love will never change because we are apart of His family..

With or without… He loves us…Isnt it amazing??

In conclusion, I see a challenge that those who are in Christ should be loved by us regardless. Not because they are rich, or they are popular, or pretty, from the right town, the right profession, they went to the right school. Let us not show favoritism in those who we deicide who we should love. If they are in our family, that is all that should matter. And to those who are in the family, we should love them just because Christ has first loved us. And we should demonstrate that to others in order for them to see the love that Christ has displayed to us.

We should display His Love….with or without

Amazing Love, how can it be? That you my King would die for me.