Happy Anniversary!!!

31 01 2008

The blog of my lovely wife has been up and running for 1 year!  When she first launched God Made Playdough, I underestimated how much she would enjoy the outlet and I’ve been delighted to see how faithful she’s been to her readers.  I love reading her posts and I am glad that others can see the wit and wisdom I get to experience every day!

Honey, you have done such a wonderful job- I’m so proud of you!

One Year of Wonderful Blogging!


Hurry Up… Oh, Why?

30 01 2008

Rylie SharkI’m not a big schedule freak.  Really, I’m not.  However that said, I don’t like to be late.  It bothers me, and lately it has been happening a lot.  I think this is part of life with a pregnant wife, a two year old, and a busy schedule.

The other day, my “hurry up, we’re late again” mantra that I have been preaching to my wife and daughter intersected with the inquisitive genius of a two year old. 

Her response to daddy’s “hurry up”?

“oh, why?”

She then went on to stop as she walked down each of our porch steps so she could point out the clouds, the birds, and the garbage cans.  She thought it important to inquire about each noise: “what was that, daddy?” and to make sure I knew that her favorite water animal was a shark.

All the while my brain was spinning with the question: “oh, why?”

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized Rylie’s “oh, why?” was the same question I’d be asking years down the road.  One day I’d realize these precious moments of cloud watching and shark talk went by way too quick and I’d ask myself “Now, why were you in such a hurry?!”

So thank you, Rylie, for slowing  daddy down so he can enjoy these moments with you that we won’t ever get back. 

And to those of you who are waiting for me… I’ll be there as soon as Rylie and I finish a discussion about her favorite color (dark brown) and daddy’s favorite animal (the Rhino).   

From the Margin of… John 21

29 01 2008

From the Margin of…When I was in seminary, a local pastor (Dr. Robert Rayburn) came and shared with us the discipline of annotating our Bibles.  He brought his old Bible which for years he had been filling with notes.  He’d had it re-covered at least once and it looked like a Bible that was used and cherished.  As he flipped through its pages, he’d stop and share with us a great quote.  Then he’d turn a few more pages and read to us some wonderful exegetical insight that really opened up a passage.  Some of richest moments were those in which he took us through a few choice psalms beside which he had written dates of prayer, dates he’d prayed that psalm for some brother or sister or family member.  As I listened, I was captivated by the discipline of connecting my Bible so closely with my life and what I was studying.  I admired this mature brother who was carrying around this treasure- a Bible study library and personal history in the palm of his hand.  From that day, I decided I too would make annotating my Bible a personal discipline I’d pursue.

I now have my own re-covered Bible filled with notes I’ve gleaned from my reading and study over the years.  It has psalms marked with dates and names in the margin next to them.  The processes of finding a text to correspond with a quote (of thinking as I read “how does this connect with my Bible?”) has been a wonderful discipline.

Now I’ve decided to connect my Bible with my blog.  Today I’m beginning a series of posts (with no specific point of termination) in which I’ll share some of the notes from the margin of my Bible.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading the quotes and insights that have moved me over the years and seeing where I ended up connecting them with the Scriptures.  If you have the same practice of annotating your Bible, I’d love for this to become a two-way conversation with us being able to show each other the nuggets in our margins.

So, for my first “From the Margin of…” post, I thought I’d share one of my favorite John Piper quotes.  I put this quote in the margin of the last page of John’s Gospel (at the end of John 21). There were so many places in the Gospel itself that I thought about writing the quote, but I just couldn’t choose one. Piper’s words are a wonderful reminder I stop to ponder each time I finish reading through the great Apostle’s rich work. This description of regeneration reminds me of God’s overwhelming grace in my life and fuels my love for the unsaved I meet- may they too experience the glorious dawn of salvation!

Piper describing regeneration:It was like the opening of the eyes of the blind during the golden dawn.  First, the stunned silence before the unspeakable beauty of holiness.  Then a shock and terror that we had actually loved the darkness.  Then the settling stillness of joy that this is the soul’s end.  The quest is over.  We would give anything if we might be granted to live in the presence of this glory forever.”       

The Seas Have Calmed…

28 01 2008

We just got home from our appointment with our doctor and the news is good.  Amy isn’t dilated and everything looks to have slowed down.  My wife’s body went through a lot of pain the last few days… but no gain.  It doesn’t look like Anna is going anywhere soon. and that is wonderful news!  We want her to have as much time to grow and develop as possible.  Keep praying for Amy though, especially that she’d be able to take it easy and that the contractions would subside for a few weeks and then only come when it’s “go time!” 

The silver lining in all of this?  We are so much more prepared to bring Anna home now than we were three days ago and that has greatly eased Amy’s anxiety (and mine too). 

Thank you to everyone who rushed to our aid the last few days.  We are so blessed and grateful to have such wonderful family and brothers and sisters in the Lord!  Your love for the Savior was obvious in your love for us.  We love you all.

Batten Down the Hatches!

27 01 2008

We’ve cleaned the house. Anna’s crib is set up and her changing table is ready. The baby car seat is in the car…

…and Amy has been having intense contractions all weekend! 

We might have a baby by Monday… we’ll keep you posted.

Is Anna Coming?

Lord, Why Have You Done Evil?

26 01 2008

These are the words of Moses in response to Pharaoh’s first display of rebellion against God’s command.  Actually, the full quote is “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23).  You can hear the despair in Moses’ voice, the hopelessness in his prayer.  It almost sounds like “I quit!”  But would you or I respond any different in this situation?  Remember what has happened up to this point.

Moses came to Pharaoh, requesting a weekend worship get-a-way for God’s people.  Pharaoh’s response?  “You Hebrews must have too much time on your hands if you want to take a weekend trip to the desert for worship.  Instead of wasting my time providing you with straw to make bricks, since you have all this free time, you can go find your own straw!”  This was no little thing.  The daily life of these Hebrew slaves was no walk in the park and now, because of Moses’ request, their daily struggle went from difficult to impossible.  You can see their broken spirit as first they respond to Pharaoh (Ex. 5:14-16) and then they unload on Moses (Ex 5:21).

So, we can understand Moses’ heart.  He was asking the question most anyone would be asking: “Why?!”  But let’s take a moment and look a little more closely at what is going on and what Moses missed. 
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Learning to Say “It is Well” (Part 4)

25 01 2008

Heaven CrossWhen we lose our earthly blessings, whether that takes the form of financial losses or losses of far greater weight (like a spouse or a child or friend), those losses remind us of the fleeting nature of this world.  We find ourselves confronted with the question, “What is there in this would that we can really cling to?”  In those moments, we see very clearly that this life and all its blessings are so fragile.  And this assesment lines up with the Scripture.  Repeatedly God tells us that our lives and the earthly facets of them are nothing more than a vapor, a flower which blossoms and then fades away.  However, God doesn’t tell us these things to make us feel depressed or discouraged.  He is simply reminding us that this world is not our home and our hope doesn’t rest here.

That this truth was on Horatio Spafford’s mind as he grieved the loss of his four daughters is clear from the last two verses of his great hymn, It is Well with My Soul.  Today, as we finish up this series of posts reflecting on his hymn, we will discover the hymn writer’s final secret for learning to say: “It is well with my soul.”

In the final two verses of his hymn, Spafford directed his attention to heaven- to glory. Look at what he writes:

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Do you notice how he begins?  He begins by reminding himself of the goal- it is not the grave, but the sky.  If the grave was the end (the “goal”), then this life would be everything- it would be all that we had. And when we lost something here, it would be truly tragic. But heaven (or the “sky”) is our goal, we live beyond this life, so the tragedies of this life need to be put in perspective.  We need to see them in light of eternity.

But what does that mean, to see them in the light of eternity?
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