Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sledding in the Sandias

It's been in the 50s in the city lately, but drive up the mountain and you can still enjoy a winter wonderland.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Race Day!

Today was the Pinewood Derby Race for Eli's cub scout pack. We've been working on his car for a couple of weeks. This is what you start with:

After cutting, sanding, weighting, filing the axles, lubing the wheels, and painting this is how it looks:

The whole family went out to watch the race; there were about 20 cars. Eli's turned out to be off by a couple hundredths of a second (we think due to the axles not being prepped enough) and lost his heat. But it was a great time for all and we look forward to trying again next year.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

God delivers Marie

Today we met a very special little girl. Marie was just adopted by a Christian couple we spoke with about transracial adoption a few months ago. I posted on that first discussion here.

I rejoice at how God saved Marie from abortion (her birthmom aborted 3 of Marie's older siblings and is still enslaved to a self-destructive lifestyle). What a joy it was to hold this little one today and marvel at how God had plucked her out of this situation and placed her in a loving, Christ-exalting home. I'm especially thankful to have played a minor part in God bringing this about.

Praise the Father of the fatherless who settles the solitary in a home!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Doos

Faith is a little shy about her new hairdoo, but we all like it.

Zeke must have been jealous about all the raving over Faith's hair. I caught him wearing this.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Parenting is a strange mix of difficulty and success.

Yesterday one of our children wanted to speak to me in private about being a Christian and talking to the elders of the church about becoming a communing member. I wish I had been better prepared for this conversation, I should have been, but eventually the membership and baptismal vows came to mind and we talked through those together. It was a great moment and a highlight of parenthood.

But that same day another child took a marked turn for the worse in a long pattern of poor and troubling behavior. Hours were spent in private talking through sin and what God requires, but in the end the child was sent to bed without repentance.

On a bit of a humorous note, the "ugly" entry centers on a new trick that Zeke picked up. He's entered that phase of infancy that Kristin likes least. When she's out with him in public and someone compliments us on how cute he is and the person leans down close to him, Zeke enjoys at that moment to let loose with a loud and spewy "pbbbbblllttt"! How long will it take for him to figure out that this is also a fun thing to do during the congregational prayer?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Children of promise

I've struggled for years to succinctly describe how the reformed faith views covenant children. Some misunderstand us to think that by baptizing our infants we must think they are saved. Others think that we should consider them lost until we hear a profession of faith. Still others misunderstand the efficacy of baptism itself, thinking that it regenerates them.

Here is the best short summary of the reformed view of covenant children that I've seen.

There is no ground in the promise of the covenant either for presumption that all baptized children are regenerate (or united to Christ) or for the presumption that covenant children are reprobates until they prove otherwise. We are to treat our children as baptized persons, to whom promises have been made. We should expect our covenant children to take up Christ's benefits for themselves, sola fide. We must catechize them faithfully and encourage them to make profession of faith and to come to the Lord's Table, and if they do not, they should face ecclesiastical discipline.

Baptism and the Benefits of Christ, R. Scott Clark, published in The Confessional Presbyterian, 2006

Friday, January 04, 2008

Survival Tip for Christian Parents: Don't Major on Minors

I've been guilty of majoring on the minors with my children. If you read the early days of this blog I'm sure you can find some of the pet issues and bandwagons that I've placed too much emphasis on. I think this mom's quote explains the danger well:

Say that you rail and your rail with your children about all kinds of things: drugs and rock music and Christian music and weak Christianity and sugar and white bread and recycling and ‘those’ people and bad literature and mud on their boots and dirty houses and vaccinations and feeding babies and chocolate and vitamins and natural childbirth, how will your children know which of these things is really important? Maybe one day they find out that some Christians eat sugar and they are nice lovely people who truly love the Lord but from hearing you day in and day out he thought that anyone who ate sugar had a free ticket to hell. Now every single thing you have tried to teach your child ever has been undermined by your passionate intensity.

Be on guard against self-righteousness disguising itself as holiness. Morality, if I dare say it, is a "minor"; the gift of grace through the redemption of Jesus Christ must be the major theme of parenting.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!

Music is useful in a believer's life to awaken godly affections and to seek the things that are above. The Indelible Grace cds, old, mostly forgotten hymns, set to new music, are great for that. My favorite cut on the new cd is In The Hours, which is performed in a strong, black gospel style. You can hear it here, and the heavenly-minded lyrics are below.

In The Hours
© 2007 Kevin Twit Music
Words by Helen L. Parmelee alt by Kevin Twit, Music by Kevin Twit

1. In the hours of pain and sorrow,
When the world brings no relief
When the eye is dim and heavy,
And the heart oppressed with grief
While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!
While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!

2. When the snares of death surround us,
Pride, ambition, love of ease.
Mammon with her false allurements,
Words that flatter, smiles that please
Then ere we yield, Savior Lord be Thou our shield
Then ere we yield, Savior Lord be Thou our shield

3. When forsaken in distress,
Poor despised and tempest-tossed.
With no anchor here to stay us,
Drifting, sail and rudder lost
Then save us Thou, who trod this earth with weary brow
Then save us Thou, who trod this earth with weary brow

4. Thou the hated and forsaken,
Thou the bearer of the cross.
Crowned of thorns and mocked and smitten,
Counting earthly gain but loss
When scorned are we, We joy to be the more like Thee
When scorned are we, We joy to be the more like Thee

5. Thou the Father’s best beloved,
Thou the throned and sceptred King.
Who but Thee should we adoring,
All our prayers and praises bring?
So blessed are we, Savior Lord in loving Thee
So blessed are we, Savior Lord in loving Thee

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

A prayer on year's end and the one ahead

O Lord, my Love beyond compare,

Your goodness has been with me during another year,

leading me through a twisting wilderness,

in retreat helping me to advance,

when beaten back making sure headway.

Your goodness will be with me in the year ahead.

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed

in your presence, in your service, to your glory.

You have veiled my eyes to the waters ahead,

but I rest knowing that if you have appointed storms of tribulation,

you will be with me in them;

If I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation,

I will not drown;

If I am to die,

I shall see your face the sooner;

If a painful end is to be my lot,

grant me grace that my faith fail not.

Only glorify yourself in me whether in comfort or trial,

as a chosen vessel fit always for your use.


[adapted from Valley of Vision, pages 111-112]