Thursday, February 26, 2009

a story from CJ

"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, 
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, 
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 
yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." 

Habakkuk 3:17-19

CJ Mahaney preached a good sermon from this passage at Capitol Hill Baptist Church a while ago. We listened to it several months back, but this sermon illustration has been in my mind a lot since then so I thought I'd try to recall as much as I can for you.

He told the story of a woman whose husband of many years was dying before her eyes, in their home, of unbeatable cancer. They obviously had a very loving marriage and the woman was obviously very broken in grief.  Yet, as family watched her, they noticed that she was simply not bitter or consumed with anger over seeing her husband this way.  She continued to love him patiently and grieve somehow joyfully.

One family member challenged her "Aren't you mad at God for all this? If your God is really loving and powerful, wouldn't he do something for you guys now?!"

She replied, "He has saved my husband from sure and certain, eternal death, by sending His own Son, Jesus, to die to rescue my husband- and me- from hell. He has secured our pardon, become our Righteousness, and prepared a place for us to be with Him for all eternity.  How could I be bitter against a God like this? "

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

playtime pics


praying for our pastors

I just watched a great little clip from Matt Chandler (on Justin Taylor's blog, scroll towards the end of the Feb 23 posts.) I'd love to post the video here but but our internet connection will not allow...

Still, I hope you'll have 4 minutes to invest in watching this clip (go to the blog linked above). He presents his point well- very funny and even more needful. This encourages me, gives me more fuel for what and how to pray for my pastor-and all the pastors that I've been blessed by. Pray for his encouragement personally with the goodness of Christ's gospel and that he would be continually, increasingly strengthened and consumed with passion to preach the gospel so clearly as Chandler is challenging. (We're so grateful for our pastor and are glad to lift you up from over here, DB!)

The prayer from Ligon Duncan below the Chandler video is also excellent. May the heart of these words be lifted truly in each of our lives, homes, and churches!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

More from One Thing

A while ago I posted about a bit I enjoyed from Sam Storm's book, One Thing.  Here's another quote that seems worth sharing:   (from page 101-102)

"'Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.' (Isaiah 40:28) Just creating the stars would be exhausting. Naming every single one of the trillions and trillions and trillions of them would be indescribably wearisome. Then think about trying to remember them all!... And then on top of all that, he exerts sufficient power and strength to hold them all in place!

Yet, God never gets tired! His energy never diminishes! God is as infinitely energetic after doing all that as he was before he started. He's never tuckered out. He never says, "Boy, I'm wasted."

How can this be? It's because God is the uncreated Creator. He's everlasting, without beginning or end. You and I may know him, but we will never exhaustively figure him out. His mind and his ways are inscrutable....

The good news is that God isn't greedy with His strength. He's generous and will share with us all whatever we need. 'He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might, he increases strength' (Isa 40: 29). Amazing! After all he's done he retains an infinite supply of power to give to others. You never hear God say to someone who draws near: "I'm sorry. I'd like to help. But I've used up all my energy with these darn stars. If I hadn't made so many of them perhaps I wouldn't be in this predicament. This was a slight miscalculation on my part. I won't let it happen again. Maybe you should come back in a week or so after I've had time to catch up on my sleep and get my batteries recharged." No!"

So, as Storms adds his voice to the Psalmist, and I add my voice to theirs, let us lift up our eyes to the hills and to the heavens and proclaim confidently to our souls "SEE where my help comes from! The Maker of heaven and earth- He is my Help. How will he who did not keep back his only Son, but gave him up for us all, not respond to our cry for help? " (Psalm 121 and 19, Romans 8:32)

Disturb Us, Lord

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

by Sir Francis Drake, late 1500s

Thursday, February 12, 2009

imagination

Just thought we should update everyone, since it appears to be pretty important news around our house (Isaiah has reminded us several times a day for over a week now,) that Isaiah is an airplane and Marian is a frog.

Occasionally the airplane goes for a backstage role and Isaiah is a Lion, but Marian is pretty faithfully a frog- not that she has any say in the matter!

But our little princess is beginning to speak more and more for herself. She's almost 17 months and is getting two words together pretty regularly now: "mine that," "bye bye Ayi," "owuuside DeDe" (she skips all the G and K sounds and replaces them with D so this is her version of GeGe, which means older brother.) That last one is what she brightly squeals as soon as I walk in the door from class in the morning to take her with me to get Isaiah from preschool. Isaiah gets a bit downcast when I'm late from class and have to pick him up all by myself- it's a much better day for all of us if we can get that fun slice of time near noon together playing at his preschool before we return home for lunch.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Year's Vacation





You've got to notice Marian's lips in the picture above... it's her signature "don't mess with me" look.










What a great treat for us to be able to get away for some time in the sun just as winter was feeling it's very worst for us here! We jumped in on the vacation plans (just about everyone in town was heading out to be with family for the local New Year's celebration) and though we dreaded the long hours en route, we were well rewarded to get to be with some dear friends and hear some perfect encouragement. It was a refreshing, refueling time for our hearts. We learned a lot, and enjoyed the pool, and some stretches of board game bliss (mainly for Matt) and a few terrific fruit smoothies. We are so grateful!

If it looks like we spent all our time in the same place, that's pretty much the story. We barely left our hotel the whole time we were there... Of course there's lots we would have loved to see.... next time!

Side Note- I've been trying to post these photos for a few days, since we arrived back. Something is moving painfully slow with our internet connection so I'm only able to load them as small photos for now (sigh...) You can still click on any photo to see it enlarged.