Category Archives: Devotionals

Deaf or Blind?

interpreter

ASL for “interpreter”

I was fortunate not to be cursed to my face for being deaf or hearing-impaired. Still, I know I require more patience than usual from hearing people. I can’t help it, but because of my hearing loss, I am more aware of and dependent on body language. People may say the right words, but their body language will usually reveal true feelings.

Many years ago when I was young, I was confronted by a hearing person. The boy was a known trouble-maker, and he was looking for trouble. He swore at me, but I was unfazed by his speech. I could see from his body language he did not mean well. But, at that time I did not know any swear words and I stood there puzzled. He was not getting the expected reaction from me. When he found out I did not know, he thought it funny. Because of that, his anger was deflected from me, and I escaped to live another day.

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Tithing

Tithing? What’s that? Who does Tithing? Why should we tithe? Is that really in the Bible?

Malachi 3:10 ‘The Lord All-Powerful says, “Try this test. Bring one-tenth of your things to me. Put them in the treasury. Bring food to my house. Test me! If you do these things, I will surely bless you. Good things will come to you like rain falling from the sky. You will have more than enough of everything.”’ (ERV)

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Influence

Our family lived in Philadelphia in a big, old house. I was in second grade when I got my first hearing aid. It was so big my mother had to sew pockets inside all my t-shirts to hold it. It came with a 3-wire cord that connected the body piece in my pocket with a small earplug in my ear. It whistled a lot, the result of frequent feedback. But I was a proud owner and kids in my class at school all wanted to see it. I felt acceptance as to who I was. It was a time of innocence for schools and children.

I remember being able to walk to school. School in those days were safe places. In those old days there was no need to worry about school violence. Why now? Fences are built around school buildings. Doors are locked, identification is needed. There is armed security and scanners. Our children are rightly scared of going to school. People argue about how to protect the schools and the best way to do so. What’s different about 2018 and the 1950’s and 1960’s when I was in school?

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Chess

chesssets

Store display in Valleta, Malta

I discovered chess when I was in high school. It was in math class where I saw fellow classmates playing chess during break time. I knew of chess, the game, but did not play. But, because those playing chess were the whiz-kids, I got to thinking if I could play the game I would know if I could even beat them in the game. Chess did not require having good hearing.

I bought a book about how to play chess and read it from cover to cover. I applied myself to study the game and understand the rules. When it began to make sense to me I went back to that math class and when an opportunity presented itself, I asked if I could play. After defeating them all, I felt, for the first time, that I had some worth or capability. This is because school was always a struggle for me, being hearing-impaired, and I did not have good grades. No one would have thought I could beat those math-whiz kids in chess. Continue reading

Freedom?

Grey Crowned Crane Seen at DisneyWorld

Recently my wife and I were enjoying an early morning breakfast. We were on vacation at Walt Disney World’s Kidani Village where animals roam the resort. This was our first visit and everything was new and marvelous. Our breakfast table was next to a window and we watched different animals outside. We saw giraffes, zebras (two kinds), okapis, ankoles, ostriches, impalas, and many kinds of birds. Suddenly, a Grey Crowned Crane sauntered right up to our window and I snapped its picture.

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Gifts from the Magi

XmasNativitySm

One of my early Christmas memories as a child is our family Nativity Set. The Stable was a hand-made, wooden stable with a built-in manger. It had a single, mounted Christmas light for a Star. The nativity set included an Angel, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Three Magi with gifts, and Shepherds with a collection of farm animals. The family set it up every Christmas through Ephiphany, the Twelve Days of Christmas. Very inspiring.

About that time,  I was 7 or 8 years old. I still believed there was a Santa Claus. But I also told my parents I wanted a gift that was advertised on TV. We had a Philco TV model black and white television set. We got an absolutely incredible three channels when using “rabbit ears” antenna. At the time it was amazing technology.

Since I had my first hearing aid, I was able to watch and understand Saturday morning cartoons and commercials. Including about Christmas toys. It was during the “Cold War” years with the Soviet Union, and a popular toy was a “Mobile Rocket Launcher with Searchlight”. The searchlight could light up a target display on a wall and you tried hitting it with the rubber-tipped dart launcher. It was a lot of fun until it broke within a week of play. It was a toy I wanted that year, but now I remember it mostly because it broke so soon. As a toy and thing it was very temporary. Continue reading

Merry Christmas

The Bible tells the story of Jesus’ birth in different gospels. Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-18.  Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-21.  For this devotional, I am using only Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38 and these verses are found below. These verses tell stories from Mary’s and Joseph’s perspective.  I found four, amazing similarities between their stories:

  1. Both Mary and Joseph are visited by angels.  An angel appears to Mary.  An angel came to Joseph in a dream. Communication with angels was extremely rare.
  2. Both Mary and Joseph were told by the angels, “Do not be afraid.”  They were to be married and found out that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  These were unusual circumstances to say the least. 
  3. Both Mary and Joseph accepted what the angel had told them.  What faith!
  4. Both were told to name the baby Jesus.  He will save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:21. “She will give birth to a son,  You will name him Jesus.  Give him that name because He will save his people from their sins.” (ERV) 

Jesus is our hope.  Named by angels, He was born for us, for you, for me.  We can come to know Jesus as our Savior.  Jesus comes into our hearts and saves us from our sins.  We do not have to be afraid. God is with us.  Amen. Continue reading