BY THE NUMBERS

I discovered the paint-by-number print below in an antique mall in South Haven, Michigan.  Paint-by-number kits were created in early 1950’s by  Dan Robbins, an artist,  and Max Klein, owner of Palmer Paint Company in Detroit.  Part entertainment to fill the post-war boom search for leisure, part introduction to the wave of modern art, paint-by-number kits sold in the millions.  And, though popular, critics scoffed, saying ‘number painting’ just played to uneducated, untalented middle class families that wanted to be something special and rare.

Paint by Number Jesus

Okay, I had them as a kid, my mother still has some of ours hanging in the basement, and I just bought this one which was done by a total and perpetual stranger.  I’m not trained or skilled as a artist, but if a creator give me the  outline, provides me with the tools I need and some direction, I bet I could create something that is my own.  I know I’ll miss some directions and get some things wrong, but it probably still be recognizable and definitely be mine.

  Here are a few highlighted verses from some ‘found’ bibles.

Philippians 4:19

“And with all his abundant wealth through Jesus Christ , my God will supply all your needs”

Luke 12:5

“I will tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot afterward do anything worse.  I will show you whom to fear: fear God, who, after killing, has the authority to throw into hell. Believe me, He is the one to fear!”

Malachi 3:2

“But who can endure the day of his coming?  Who can stand when he appears?  For he shall be like the refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap.  He will be  like a refiner and purifier of silver;  he will purify  the Levites and refine them like silver and gold.”

A note of thanks and good-bye:  The Montgomery Church Used Book Depository, after over 27 years and 100,000 bibles and literature shipped around the world, has ended operation.  What a blessing for so many! God bless Polly and all the volunteers.  I now work with Love Packages, 220 Union St, Butler, Illinois 62015.  Visit their website lovepackages.org to learn more and contribute.

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WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

Rally Day Postcard - October 1927

Rally Day Postcard – October 1927

This is the first blog post I’ve done since last Father’s Day–and I have no story or tragedy or struggle or anything to explain or excuse that.  I could say what I’ve been doing or try to fill in the silent 15 months but I have a truth for you.  It doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or been.  It doesn’t matter your intentions or your actions.  The only fact that matters is that you are here.

I think that is God’s perspective as well.  Anything that has been done or said is forgiven.  What matters is you are here.

Malachi 3:2-3 (NIV)

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,

Proverbs 27:12 (NIV)

12 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Luke 12:5 (NIV)

But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.

John 18:9 (NIV)

This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: I have not lost one of those you gave me.

Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Acts 9:3 (NIV)

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

It doesn’t matter where you’ve been—-but it’s good when you get back.

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God the Father

It’s Father’s Day and I am happy just because I can celebrate it!   I’ve already got my real gifts, one 23 years ago, the other 15…though I will certainly enjoy the grill tools, golf accessories, and single barrel bourbon.

But there are aspects about earthly fathers that help me comprehend and accept the idea of a God who knows us and loves us.   Fathers love their children through good and bad. Fathers love all their children equally. Fathers seem too big, too strong, too

Primary Church School Leaflets, Fall 1939

Primary Church School Leaflets, Fall 1939

unapproachable until you know them.  Fathers existed before you and know you from the very beginning. Fathers will discipline you.  Fathers see a bigger perspective than their children can.   A fathers role is unchanged even across tremendous distances.   And, what has been the most difficult trait for me to understand, fathers love their children because they are their children. There’s no requirements or reasons, just because you are.

I realize that these traits aren’t true for every earthly father; there are people whose father wasn’t there, or maybe shouldn’t have been there, who weren’t attentive or kind. But from our fathers or coaches or teachers or TV or the Bible, from somewhere, we have a common concept of what a Father is.    And that is what Our Heavenly Father is to us.

So to all, Happy Father’s Day! Remember and honor the many fathers we all have, but remember that The Father is as close and as real as the man who helped you learn to ride a bike.

Some highlight Bible passages from others hearts:

Ephesians 4:31 (Common English Bible)

Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil.

Luke 2: 42 – 49 (KJV)

 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.

44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.

46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

Job 29:14-17 Living Bible (TLB)

14 All I did was just and honest, for righteousness was my clothing! 15 I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. 16 I was as a father to the poor and saw to it that even strangers received a fair trial. 17 I knocked out the fangs of the godless oppressors and made them drop their victims.

 

I’d like to acknowledge and recommend biblegateway.com as a source for Bible material. Great site!

Interested in contributing?  Send anything you find in a bible to me, send donated bibles or cash to Montgomery Church (see link at right),  or just keep digging!  And…as always, Psalm 19:14 (TLB)    14 May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

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Greater Love

Men of Faith Cover

John 15:12-14 (NIV)

. 13 Greater love has no one than this:

to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

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HAPPY EASTER

Sunday School Easter picture colored by Ann, Easter 1962

Sunday School Easter picture colored by Ann, Easter 1962

One of the estate sales I scrounge through had a stack of Sunday School bulletins from 1962 – 1963.  Amazing what we save….and why.

 

Have a blessed Easter!

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Handwritten

About half of the Bibles I find are somehow personalized — sometimes a dedication and sometimes just a name.  The handwriting intrigues me:  Lots of awkwardly printed names of children, proud of their first Bible— or unsteady cursive jotting down a verse or two that still stands out over the years.  These are courtesy of Edgar  O Jones:

Psalm  15 (NIV)

 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?     Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless,     who does what is righteous,     who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander,     who does no wrong to a neighbor,     and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person     but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts,     and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest;     who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things     will never be shaken.

Psalm 14:1-6 (NIV) The fool says in his heart,     “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;     there is no one who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven     on all mankind to see if there are any who understand,     any who seek God. All have turned away, all have become corrupt;     there is no one who does good,     not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? They devour my people as though eating bread;     they never call on the Lord. But there they are, overwhelmed with dread,     for God is present in the company of the righteous. You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor,     but the Lord is their refuge.

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 (NIV)     14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?

Matthew 12:31 (NIV)    31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

  Inflation has hit the thrift stores around here — no more fifty cent bibles.  But they are priceless, and I’m still working, so 99 cents or 1.99 are still worth picking up and sending on to brothers and sisters around the world.   And, just when all hope is gone, one stumbles across  seven container boxes of donated books (St Vincent de Paul Center)….”whatever you find, just for a dime!”   Found 74 bibles buried within after two hours of searching….

7 containers of donated, unsorted books!

7 containers of donated, unsorted books!

You dig and eventually you will find….

Interested in contributing?  Send anything you find in a bible to me, send donated bibles or cash to Montgomery Church (see link at right),  or just keep digging!  And…as always, Psalm 19:14 (NIV)    14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart     be pleasing in your sight,     Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.   (It really was in the Bible!)

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DEDICATIONS

A lot of the used Bibles that I acquire were originally a gift to someone, frequently in commemoration of a holiday or an event.   Many times that dedication includes reference to a Bible verse that was particularly meaningful to the giver.

Many of the Bibles packaged especially to be gifts come with a ‘fill in the blank’ page up front.   My favorite dedication page so far:

This Holy Bible belongs to : Desmarais

I received this Bible from: Target 

The printed verse on the page was Job 34:4 “Let us discern for ourselves what is right: let us learn between us what is good.”

 

Commitment card for the Crusade for the Holy Shrines in Palestine (circa 1955)

Commitment card for the Crusade for the Holy Shrines in Palestine (circa 1955)

Some other dedication verses from Wendi Renee (10-1-89), Jim V. (6-8-75) and Melissa (February 1992):

 

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NIV)

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Hebrews 13:5 (NIV)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;     never will I forsake you.”[

Revelation 21:27    (NIV)

27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

1 Samuel 17:47    (NIV)

47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NIV)

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Romans 8:31 (NIV)

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

As always, thank you for visiting my blog and, if you’re interested and can contribute money or used bibles, check out the link to the right.   And, as always, “may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable until You.”  I hope you have a blessed 2016!

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God spilled my juice….

Holy Mother and Child bookmark --- vintage 1940's from Italy

Holy Mother and Child bookmark — vintage 1940’s from Italy

I was in a tremendous hurry this morning – late for a meeting I wasn’t prepared for, stuck in traffic, ignoring my neighbors as I roared out of the driveway, trading my typical breakfast for a green power smoothie left overnight in the refrigerator.   I didn’t have time for anything — mad at the world and all the drivers in my way. Once on the interstate, I grabbed at the Blender bottle of juice and shook it vigorously — and splattered my shirt, pants, briefcase and windshield of the car with some wretched spinach-kale-flax seed oil mix. As I turned back to go home to clean up, I realized that I have absolutely no control over anything — including a bottle of juice.

In a hurry?   God isn’t.

Inspiration this blog is from James G Taylor, who listed these references in the back of a pocket bible.

Psalm 15   (NIV)

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?     Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,     who does what is righteous,     who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander,     who does no wrong to a neighbor,     and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person     but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts,     and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest;     who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things     will never be shaken.

Matthew 12:31  (NIV)
31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

John 3:27 (NIV)
27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.

John 3:36  (NIV)
36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Luke 16:9-13  (NIV)
I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

13 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

1 Corinthians 2:4-5  (NIV)
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll consider contributing any extra bibles to foreign missions or supporting great efforts such as my friends at the Used Book Depository (see link at right).  If you find anything interesting in the Bibles — like the postcard below!!! I feature – send them on!   And as our Methodist ministers always pray, “may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable unto Him.”  Take care!

Reproduction of a Sunday School card probably from the 50's -- found in South Haven , MI.  Feel free to download it for your daughters!

Reproduction of a Sunday School card probably from the 50’s — found in South Haven , MI. Feel free to download it for your daughters!

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When Something is Missing….

The first page of  one of the  Bibles I found recently was dedicated to addressing the topic When Something is Missing

 Romans 6:11  NIV

11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

1 John 2:15 NIV

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Mark 8:34 NIV

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

The list was dated August 6, 1989.  Unrelated, one of the dedication pages of another referred to this verse in Matthew.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed and frustrated that I’m struggling daily, sometimes with the same issues I had in elementary school;  they don’t seem to ever go away.  But then I think about this verse, as well as the admonition from Jesus that ‘everyday will have its troubles…”German Jesus Knocking at Door

Do Not Worry

Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

A couple weeks ago I delivered another 600 Bibles to the Used Book Depository.    Polly, a remarkable woman, told me that there was a specific request from the Philipines and from Nigeria, which was where the books would be heading soon.   A special thanks to Christ Church United Methodist in Louisville, whose members responded with donations totaling more than 150 Bibles.   To them, and to Polly, and to you I repeat this verse found on a dedication page of a Bible given by Richard and Bob to Nathan ‘on a schoolbus’…

Philippians 1:3-4 NIV

 

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you.

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Blessing of the Home

In addition to highlighted scripture, often I’ll find bulletins from special holy days. Recently I found a flyer from January 1993 called Blessing of the Home, that included this touching prayer   by Peter Mazar of Liturgy Training Publications.

 

Welcome Yule! by Kay Curtis

Welcome Yule! by Kay Curtis

“God of Bethlehem and of Cana,

God of Jordan’s leaping waters,

in baptism you bring us into the family.

You wed us and embrace us as your beloved.

May we fill this place with kindness to one another,

with hospitality to guests,

and with abundant care for every stranger.

By the gentle light of a star,

guide home all who seek you

on paths of faith, hope and love.

Then we will join the angels in proclaiming your praise:

Glory in heaven and peace on earth, now and forever.  Amen.”

 

 Isaiah 1:3 NIV

The ox knows its master,     the donkey its owner’s manger,

but Israel does not know,   my people do not understand.

 Deuteronomy 4:12  NIV

Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire. You heard the sound of words but saw no form; there was only a voice.

 Numbers 12:8 (NIV)

With him I speak face to face,     clearly and not in riddles;     he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid     to speak against my servant Moses?”

These three verses were listed by ‘Ivis’ on a scratch pad used as a bookmark.  Did these verses reveal to her that God will be ‘only’ a voice, that will be clear without riddles but often missed by the intended?  Are those subtle coincidences or random occurrences really divine guidance that I overlook while I’m waiting for a bush to light on fire?

A man is sitting on the roof of his house, escaping flood waters that are continuously rising toward him.   A man comes by in a raft and calls out, “Hop in the boat and I’ll take you in.” But the man replies, “Thank you, no, God will save me.”

A while later, a second rescue boat comes by, again offering to help.   Again the man replies, “Thank you, no.  I know that God will save me.”

Much later, as the water has covered the roof and the man is perched on the chimney, a helicopter comes over and calls to him.  The man waves it off, saying “Thank you, no.  I trust that the Lord will save me.”

Soon, the water has swept the man away and he dies.

He wakes up in Heaven and sees the luminous face of God.  Puzzled, the man says, “God, God, I trusted you to save me, but you let me die.”

God replies, “Well, I did send a helicopter and two boats.”

 

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ll consider contributing any extra bibles to foreign missions or supporting great efforts such as my friends at the Used Book Depository (see link at right).  If you find anything interesting in the Bibles — like the prayer above or  some of the items I feature on the gallery pages– send them on!    And as our Methodist ministers always pray, “may the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable unto Him.”  Take care! 

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