Tuesday, May 29, 2007

RESULTS OF GABRIEL'S MRI

Thank you all for praying for Gabriel's MRI results. My wifey-pooh I'm sure will have more details over at her blog: www.athinkingwoman.reformedblogs.com .

Gabriel's MRI was normal, which means there was nothing wrong physically with his brain. As many know, his EEG was abnormal, meaning his brainwaves were abnormal.

We are pretty sure he has some form of mild autism or asperger's syndrome. We are seeing a Christian counselor who specializes in this field every month as well.

Please continue to pray for our precious Gabriel. What a gift he is from our Lord!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

PRAISE TO THE GOD OF MERCY!

Gabriel woke up from the anesthesia! Praise our Lord for His mercy!
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Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation! All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near; Praise Him in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth, Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth! Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee; Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee. What need or grief ever hath failed of relief? Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee; Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee. Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging, Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging, Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace, Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding, Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding, Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night, Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him! All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him. Let the Amen sound from His people again, Gladly for aye we adore Him.

WHY GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY MATTERS

This morning, I am glad to be a Calvinist.

My family just left to go to Gabriel's MRI. The kids are going to be at a friend's house from church (except Owen, who is still on the breast).

I know that to some, anesthesia is just routine. But as a father who loves my son deeply, it was hard for me to not wonder, What if this is the last time I see Gabriel?

I can't go back to sleep. Too many thoughts running in my head.

But this is why I am so thankful to believe in God's sovereignty.

Many Christians believe in God's sovereignty, but I dare say not to a biblical extent. The Reformed faith is deeply and intensely practical.

I just visited my wifey's blog, in which I reread the lyrics to that wonderful hymn, "Whate'er My God Ordains Is Right." I remember singing that hymn at the memorial service of the wife of one of the elders of my church, astounded and blown away at the beauty of God's people.

What comfort! What hope! What security in the midst of trials!

You see, Islam believes in a fatalistic view of predestination, but the Bible teaches predestination inclusive of means, and, most of all, guided by God's infinite wisdom and loving hand. This is the doctrine of divine providence.

But on the other hand, many Christians today do not go far enough with God's sovereignty. "God ordained ALL things? What do you mean? Are you telling me that He has decided from all eternity who is going to heaven and who is going to hell? Are you telling me that it can't be any other way?"

That is what the Bible says. How can we have any hope at all if God is not in control of even the smallest details of life? Consider a snowflake that falls from the sky. Did you know that each and every snowflake is carefully crafted by God? Did you know that each one is intricate in detail? Did you know that each one is different--at least so far as our inductive reasoning can tell us?

You see, if God has not ordained everything, then that means that there are things that are not under His control. This would be utter chaos, and there would be no hope. How could there be order to such an event? This is part-atheism. This is like saying order can come from disorder, and that something can come from nothing. This "god" would be the "god" of open theism, which is really the "god" of atheism.

This is ultimately why there are only two religions, although all religions would fall on the spectrum: Calvinism, and atheism.

But I know that, whatever happens this morning with Gabriel's MRI, that it was ordained of my loving Heavenly Father. He has ordained whatever happens because He loves me, and He is committed to His glory. He works all things out to the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). Nothing can happen apart from His divine decree (Lam. 3:37-38).

But the truest love of all is the love that continually conforms me to the Image of Christ.

This is why I am a Calvinist. God has ordained all things, and He is faithful to His covenant. He is sanctifying His Bride, the Church. He continually shapens us and moulds us into the image of His dear Son.

O Lord, help me to trust You. Thank You that I can rest in the fact that You have ordained all things. Whatever happens today, let me rest in You, the Most Wise, Sovereign, Author of Salvation. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WE ARE POWERLESS

Tomorrow, my sweet 3-year old son, Gabriel Luther, is having an MRI. It is quite clear that he has mild autism, or asberger's syndrome. A recent brainscan came up abnormal, and hopefully tomorrow's MRI will be able to find what needs to be discovered.

Yet, to do this, they need to use anesthesia and put him under for a while. I worry about this. I know that it is routine and that it happens all the time, even to young children; but I worry.

Oh Lord, help me to trust in You.

WE ARE POWERLESS

Why do we live, even as Calvinists, as though we are in control of our own lives? We are powerless to overcome the mighty hand of God in His sovereignty. Yet, we know that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him. Our God rules in His most wise and providential fashion.

I spent much time with Gabriel tonight. We took him and the other kids to Chuck E Cheese, and then just Gabriel and I watched Nacho Libre (again) and ate popcorn and sipped raspberry-grape juice. He was very cuddly tonight.

I just put him to bed, and as I did, the tears came. Oh, what a precious child You have given us, O Lord!

What if You were to take him from us, O Lord? I pray we would trust You. I only pray we would love You more than life itself.

I have lived a shameful life of loving others and other things more than the infinitely enjoyable God of the universe. I am scared that something major would have to happen for God to knock some sense into me.

I know that He knows what is best.

If not tomorrow, soon there will come a time in which we need to be prepared to say, as Job did, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord."

O Lord, help us to find You more delightful and pleasurable than anyone or anything. May Christ be our all in all. Forgive my shameful idolatry. I am filth. Why do I labor for that which fades away? How foolish I am! I am dung.

O Lord, forgive me for deceiving myself into dare thinking that anything is more delightful than You. Everything I have comes from You.

I am powerless. Destroy me, that Christ may live in me.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

THE BLESSING AND GLORY OF CHILDREN

"Hey daddy, are you daddy?"

"Hey daddy, I dooed it!"

"Hey daddy, will you make me Superman?"

"Mommy, you're beautiful."

"Daddy, I want to watch the wrestling movie."

"Daddy, can I fly?"

"Yes, I may get up!"

"Can I kiss the princess?"

"Can I hug the princess?"

"Mommy, we can pray if we want."

"I disobeyed and I got in biiiiiiiig trouble."

"Does he need a spanking?"

"Look, mommy, God maded a beautiful rainboat!"
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Anyone have any from your kids that you would like to add in the comments section?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

JOHN PIPER AND JUSTIFICATION/SANCTIFICATION

I found a very helpful statement from Desiring God Ministries (DGM hereafter) on justification and sanctification.

John Piper (whose teaching ministry DGM is) has been accused of heterodoxy, and sometimes even heresy. However, I believe that those who are accusing him of that do not fully understand his position.

Read sections 9 and 10 of DGM's statement. Many people have problems with 10.3 particularly. However, when we consider a full-orbed perspective and the various passages of Holy Scripture, we may be able to see where DGM is coming from.

I encourage you to read the Scriptures listed at the statement itself by going to this link: www.desiringgod.org/media/pdf/affirmation_of_faith.pdf

I think the statement does a good job of considering the full counsel of Scripture, which speaks of how we are justified by faith alone, and how yet we must strive to persevere for final or consummate salvation.

(Some are uncomfortable with the terminology of "final salvation," but when we consider that "salvation" is a broad term in Scripture which includes the whole package of justification, sanctification, and glorification, this should not be too problematic.)

May the Lord continue to aid our understanding of His Word, and may He be pleased to cause us to persevere in the faith once for all delivered unto the saints!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

MY WIFEY-POOH TURNS 26 TOMORROW!!!

My adorable bride, Angela, a.k.a. Angela the Beautiful, Cupcake, Queen, Princess-Queen, Sweetie, etc., turns 26 years old tomorrow!

She will be enjoying her birthday AND Mother's Day, all rolled into one!

I could not have asked for a better wife. I am excited about her birthday. I could not have asked for a better mother for my children. I am excited about Mother's Day.

I publicly want to announce that I am so happy to be married to you, my beautiful bride. You have been such an excellent wife. You take care of me and the kids so well. Words cannot express how much I love you.

Happy birthday, you adorable sweetheart!!!