1 Peter 3:15, as rendered by Mrs. Greenbean
1 Peter 3:3, as rendered by Mrs. Greenbean

Isn’t the above image beautiful!  This past week my wonderful wife, Mrs. Greenbean, completed a canvas for a friend of ours.  It is a piece she color coordinated for the bedroom of a little girl, specifically designed to match a quilt.  The piece is essentially just lettering of a Bible verse surrounded by color themes.  I really like it.

We hope the family it is for likes it too.  By the way, if you’re interested, Mrs. Greenbean works freelance, so hit me up if you’re in need of some artwork.

But that is not what this blog is about.  My daughter saw the piece, and said that she would like her mom to do one for her bedroom, but instead of that Bible verse, she wanted Romans 16:1, because that is the Bible verse that has her name in it.  I thought that was pretty neat, but it got me to thinking that I wanted her to do one for me, but I didn’t know which Bible verse to have her letter.  The more I thought about it, the more I had some nice ideas.

1.  Deuteronomy 26:5–“A Wandering Aramean was my father”  We will title it “ANTI-FOOTPRINTS”

As I understand this verse, it is an important reminder designed to help Israel know its heritage–that of a wandering Aramean.  No matter how mighty and powerful you become, remember you were a wandering nomad, moving around from place to place with no particular home.

In my family, this is an important passage because it is the first Bible verse I ever taught my daughters.  You should have heard their little mouths try to say Aramean.  The reason I taught them this was essentially the same reason as Ancient Israel–I am a Heinze-57 mutt with no pedigree, no particular claim to any special heritage.  I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet.  I’m just a Christ-follower wandering through life trying to do the best he can.

What I want to do with this canvas, if Kim will go for it, is to do the opposite of the wonderful “Footprints in the Sand” picture where there is a nice neat trail of footprints.  Instead, we’ll show a desert (no beach) and the footprints will be going in every single direction, all over the place.  Yeah, just like life.


2.  Revelation 21:8 “Liars go to hell,” or something like that.

The actual text of Revelation 21:8 is much more involved:

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

When my kids were very little I taught them a cheap translation of this verse in the form of a song.

I’ve embedded a Youtube video above of two girls singing the song.  I do not know the girls, but them giggling while they sing it brings back memories of me teaching it to my children, and you should teach it to yours too!

The backdrop for this is obvious–fire!


3.  1 Samuel 21:15 “Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow”  we will title this one “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad Gath World.”

This passage is from the life of King David.  I’ve always loved it, because, don’t we all know how the beleaguered King of Gath must have felt, right?  Just what I need, another crazy running around.  Great, just great!

Mrs. Greenbean could put different kinds of scene of crazy people in the back–someone talking to himself, a woman with matted hair pushing a shopping cart, and of course the obligatory man in a house coat.


I’m curious, what verse would you like?  Now, don’t go all spiritual on me.  I’m being funny here.  Don’t scold me and say John 3:16 or Deuteronomy 6:4 or something like that.  Okay.  Good.




To quote Old Blues Eyes,

Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention.

A common regret is that every now and again I come across a book I love and kick myself over and over again for having not read it earlier in my life.  I never feel that way about a movie, a television show, a magazine story or any other kind of literature, not even poetry.  It does, though, happen with those magical things called books and those enchanted delights that surprise you and make you wish you’d read it twenty or so years ago.

I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Margaret Craven

Written four years before I was born, I should have read it in High School.  At least someone should have shoved it in my face at seminary, you’d think.  But no.  It wasn’t until last summer as I was leaving the Northwest to come back to Texas that a dear friend gave me this book as a parting gift to remember him by.  He told he he’d read it as an adolescent.  I wish I had.

I Heard the Owl Call My Name
The owl eventually calls everyone

It is a spectacularly well told story about faith, ministry, life and death all set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest and the relationships between white settlers and Native Americans.  I think if I’d read this book before I started ministry I’d been a been a better pastor.

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

Every writer should read this book.  Scratch that, every human should read this book.

More than anything else, Bird by Bird is about the creative process and enduring life’s wiggles and jiggles while still maintaining sanity and the creative spark.

It was written in 1994, the year I graduated from college.  I wish I’d read it then when the ink was still drying on the pages.  I would have probably been a more likeable person and definitely would have cultivated my work as a writer earlier in life.  I wasted nearly twenty years when I should have been writing all along.

Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

I love a good spy story.  I always have.  I’ve always loved the Bond movies, but until three years ago had never read a single Fleming book.  I picked up Casino Royale (1953) and read it and was overcome by how markedly different the literary Bond was from the one on the silver screen.   Since then I’ve read all of Fleming’s James Bond stories and can honestly say that as much as I love the movies, I love the books more.  Bond is more believable, less likeable, and more vulnerable than anything in the movies.  And yes, for what its worth, Daniel Craig plays James Bond closer to the way Fleming wrote him than any other actor.

If you want to test the movies verses the book, just read Moonraker and then watch the outlandish (fun, but outlandish) movie that is supposedly based on that novel.  They are not even in the same universe.

I wonder, what books have you read later in life that you wish you’d read when you were younger?  I’d love to hear, and I will likely add some of them on my reading list, before its too late.


image from