Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Picture of God's Grace

Last night was an extremely difficult one for my family. My oldest brother, Mike, died while we were at the hospital. Mike was only 45 years old and had been sick for a while, so his death was somewhat expected, but it was difficult nonetheless. Luke and I were so thankful God allowed us to be with my parents when he passed. We were able to be a great support to them at a time when they really needed us. Watching my parents lose their firstborn son was so painful--I've never experienced anything like it. But I have learned so much over the last 24 hours of how God is true to His promise of pouring out grace to believers during times of trial.

I have written often on this blog of God's sovereignty and how I cling to the promise that He is in control over everything. Yesterday morning (or maybe it was Thursday evening, all my days are kind of blurred right now) I came across this post on one of my favorite blogs. I know that giving me this to read was yet another act of God's goodness and Sovereignty. Here's the link if you want to read the full post:

To give a quick summary, the author was writing about how we tend to fear too much when we see someone going through a trial. Instead of praising God for His faithfulness in helping this person through their ordeal, we immediately succumb to the fear of "How would I handle that situation?" and worry that it could also happen to us. It was a great reminder of how God does promise to give Christians grace during times of trial. I shared what I had read with my mom yesterday afternoon, just hours before Mike died. My mom is a Christian so she already knew the truths I was telling her, but it was a good reminder for her and I know she was encouraged by it. Little did I know when I was sharing it that I would get to see God's grace poured out on her just hours later.

Mike died about 8:00 last night while Luke and I were at the hospital, along with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and a cousin. Everyone of course was very upset, but I was especially concerned about my parents. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to support and comfort them. I stood behind my mom and held her for about 1 1/2 hours while she held Mike's arm and tried to memorize his face. She kept saying that she didn't want to leave, that she didn't like the thought of them taking him away. Holding on to my mom while she let go of her beloved son was so hard that it's difficult to even write about it. But even though she was deeply grieving I will forever remember how throughout the night she was such a picture of God pouring out His grace on one of His own.

At about 9:30 we left the hospital room. I was standing beside my dad as everyone was getting their stuff together to leave, when I looked over at my mom. She was standing at the foot of Mike's bed, looking at Mike with such a sad face. But despite her sadness and deep grief at leaving her son, she was also such a picture of strength. She was very composed and it was almost as if I could see God pouring His strength into her body. It was an image I will never forget. It also reminded me of the blog I had read and enabled me to later praise God for giving her that strength, instead of succumbing to fear over what would I do in her situtation. I thank God for giving me that blog to read, and for giving me such a strong Christian mother to be a godly example in how to handle trials.

Please be praying for my family. The next few days are going to be so difficult. I am going this afternoon to shop with my mom for Mike's burial clothes. This is going to be an incredibly difficult and emotional shopping trip, but after last night I know God will pour out His grace upon us. My younger brother is flying in from Louisville today and will be able to be with my parents 24/7 for the next few days. I'm so thankful for that, because I know his pastoral training and sensitive spirit will be a great help to my parents. I just spoke with my dad and it looks like the funeral is going to be on Wednesday, with the visitation Tuesday evening. Please pray for my family especially during those times. We thank you so much for your prayers, and we praise God for His faithfulness and grace that He has promised to give us. To God be the glory....


Friday, April 25, 2008

Our latest pics

I realized the other day that I had not been taking enough pictures, so I've been trying to get the camera out more lately. Here's some of our latest pics:

Caleb wanted to make a movie (which meant he wanted me to get out the camcorder) so he got all dressed up for his theatrical appearance.

They looked so sweet snuggled up together I had to take a picture. I also thought it was funny how Isaac's toy crocodile was eating his pillow.

Safety First! Because of his tendency to go at break-neck speeds down our hill, I have made a new rule that Caleb must wear a bike helmet. Isaac usually wears one now too, but Caleb is the one that really scares me!

Isaac got a bubble machine for his birthday and it has been a big hit with the boys and all their friends. Isaac is also in this phase of making goofy faces for the camera, which makes for some very interesting pictures!

So do they look like they're ready to be big brothers?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Adoption update

We got an e-mail from our caseworker at Bethany on Tuesday about a birthmother who is due in July. She is currently working with Bethany on setting up an adoption plan and is getting anxious to start looking at profiles. Our caseworker asked us if we would be willing to have our profile shown to her. We said "yes" and told her we would be praying for her as she made this decision.

We don't know much about the birthmother, but we do know that she is expecting a boy. She has had prenatal care and both mother and baby are healthy, with no exposure to drugs or alcohol. We know nothing else about her situation. Please pray for her as she makes this tough decision, and that God will give her the wisdom to choose the right family for her son.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Stacie and I were able to get to the movies tonight for the first time in quite awhile. We had heard about Ben Stein's new movie "Expelled" from a friend's blog and decided to check it out.

We both thought this movie was exceptionally well done. We weren't the only ones who thought so; this is the only movie we have gone to where the audience applauded when the movie was over. Here is a YouTube trailer that someone modified a bit to get a preview.

Though the movie was addressing Intelligent Design versus Evolution from an academic perspective, there was one comment from Richard Dawkins (the prominent evolutionist and author of "The God Delusion") that I want to comment on from a Biblical perspective. Near the end of the movie there is a scene where Ben Stein is interviewing him, and he made the comment that getting rid of God is "liberating." This "liberation" in my opinion is the central theme of the religion of atheism.

I have friends that are professed atheists that I have spoken with several times over the last few years. If there is one thing that is true of all of them it is that they desparately want to believe there is no God. They want the liberation that Richard Dawkins speaks of.

The apostle Paul sheds considerable light on this issue in Romans 1:18-25.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

I personally don't believe there are really any true atheists. The evidence of God is clearly revealed in creation and is enough to know there is a God. Additionally, the more scientists learn and study the creation and the complexity of things like cells and DNA, it is evident that these highly complex organisims are by design, not from a chance encounter in a primordial mud puddle. There is also a remnant of truth deep down in all humans beings made in the image of God that knows there is a Creator, but to acknowledge that would by necessity presuppose some standard of moral accountability and worship of that Creator. As a result, they suppress that truth (some much more than others) and worship the creature rather than the Creator.

Atheism is supposedly "liberating" because it frees its adherents from any moral culpability. The truth from the apostle Paul is that in this suppression of truth, God gives them up to the lusts of their hearts and over to a debased mind. The liberation they seek is really a bondage to the sinful nature we all inherited at birth. The good news of the Gospel is that there is new birth in Christ!

If you get a chance to see the movie, take the time to meditate on Romans 1 before you go. You will see the suppression of truth that Paul talks about, and the fallout that results from it very clearly.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Common Question

A couple weeks ago I wrote about a scary incident with Isaac. We were very thankful to God that He preserved Isaac's life and that our situation ended happily. But as we all know, life doesn't always turn out that way and sometimes tragedy strikes. Tragic situations always bring about the question, "If God is so good, why do bad things happen?"

As a Christian, I have faith that God is in control of everything. I believe that everything happens according to His plan, for His glory, and for the believers' good. (Romans 8:28) One of the best interviews I have ever listened to on this topic was an NPR (National Public Radio) interview with John Piper (one of our favorite pastors). It was after the 2004 Tsunami when, once again, the common question arose: "How could a loving God allow something like this to happen?" I have listened to this interview over and over again, and am always encouraged by Piper's wonderful mixture of grace and truth. Here's the link to the website if you would like to check it out:

Thursday, April 3, 2008


We got a call Tuesday afternoon about a baby girl born Monday whom the mother had decided to put up for adoption. The adoption agency wanted to know if we were willing to put in our profile for the mother to choose from. We said "yes" and they told us we should know within a day or two. We were excited, but just prayed for God's will to be done in the situation.

We got a phone call yesterday and the birthmother chose another family. We were a little disappointed, but know that God just has a different child picked out for us. This actually works better for us anyway, because we found out last week that Luke will be travelling to India for two weeks in May on a business trip. Although we are excited to bring a baby home, it would be a lot easier if it happened after his India trip.

Pray for this baby girl, her birthmother, and her new adoptive parents that God will give them all strength and encouragement during this time.