Happy Birthday!

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Today’s Scripture: John 3

Today would have been my Dad’s 102nd birthday. Happy Birthday in Heaven, Papa!

My Dad was a first-generation American. Because my grandparents did not speak any English and wanted their children to succeed in America, they forbade their kids to speak Italian. Consequently, except for a few choice words, the language was lost. Fortunately, other parts of my family’s heritage survived and have been passed down to future generations.

My father was a cement mason. He spent most of his adult life working on his knees. He worked multiple jobs, and in the evening I often accompanied him. I helped measure, calculate the cement composition, and clean tools. His plan for taking me along was multifold: teach his daughter some applied math and science, instill in her the importance of education, and show her that it was okay to be proud of the work you have accomplished. He was especially proud of the buildings he built, particularly the schools.

My father loved to garden. He grew tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and garlic. Exactly what was needed for that Sunday family pasta dinner! I grow them too, and when my grandsons ask for homemade spaghetti and meatballs for Sunday dinner, I am proud to make the dish for them. Although I warn them, as my father warned me, that if you eat too much grated cheese you’ll get worms! (So far they don’t believe it either!)

My father dabbled in watercolor painting. He started painting at age 75 and won an art show for seniors. We proudly display that painting in our dining room. I am working hard to develop my skills in painting, too.

My dad nursed my mother after she had suffered a brain aneurysm. He worked with her daily for 20 years, teaching her through cooking, puzzles, and gardening to regain much of her cognitive skills. We all marveled at his patience, something I work on constantly!

Ben’s message this past weekend pointed out the importance of having a plan, and my dad was definitely a man with a plan. Most importantly though, he knew God. He connected with him often through prayer in his garden and he treated others with gentleness and patience. As I read through this chapter I am comforted by this familiar verse.

John 3:16
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

It is because of my dad’s belief in Jesus that this verse gives me hope that he is with God today on his birthday, and because of my belief in who Jesus is, I look forward to the day that I will be with him again.

Who is Jesus to you?

Is there a point in your life where you decided to follow Jesus? How does the promise of John 3:16 give you hope?

Next Steps:
Deciding who Jesus is is the most important decision you will ever make. Many believe he was an amazing teacher and a good man, but they think he was nothing more than that. Christians believe that Jesus Christ was more than a man though. They believe he is the Son of God – fully human and fully divine – and that through believing they can live eternally with God.

If you have doubts about Jesus and are unsure who Jesus is or have questions about him, don’t let them go unanswered. Consider attending GrowthTrack or joining one of our Starting Point Groups designed to be a safe place to ask your questions.

If you have come to the conclusion that Jesus is who he says he is and that he is worth following, share your beliefs with those around you.

Dear Heavenly Father, please open my eyes to the importance of having you in my life. Please help me make a plan as to how I can best serve your purpose for me. Please help me to accept you as my teacher in my life. I am so looking forward to going on this adventure with you. Amen.

This post was written by Pam Haynam. Pam is a writer for the LivingItOut Bible Study, a Lead Mentor Mom for Momentum, and a cook for the weekend worship band. She has a passion for education having served her community on a district school board and is currently serving on a board that sponsors charter schools across the state. She and her husband have three grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law and three grandsons.

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2 replies
  1. Martha Preckler
    Martha Preckler says:

    Dear Pam,
    Your beautiful post brought back beautiful memories of my own parents.
    Powerfully, yet, gently written.
    Thank you for working for the cause of Christ.

  2. Jane Macke
    Jane Macke says:

    Your sincere and sensitive teaching narrative today blessed my heart. Greatly.
    I read it twice, I want to remember it and share it with others.
    What you shared about your father reminded me to never forget the powerful legacy we stand to leave, if we do the important things right.
    Thank you for allowing us to know this important and tender story.
    Thank you for writing.
    Be Blessed…

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