Saturday, January 31, 2009

Better than a new car

In 1991 Kristin bought a new car with babysitter money; it has never failed us in all these years. But we've been saving up our money and we're ready to buy a newer car, something we've done only twice.

This week we zeroed in on a vehicle and negotiated a good price with the salesman. Today we were to meet with him at a set time and probably drive home a lot poorer. It wasn't meant to be, and we're quite happy with that.

We arrived at the car lot to find the vehicle wasn't there. The salesman had told me on the phone just a couple of hours earlier that he'd have it cleaned up for us, so we figured that it was around back somewhere. The kids were euphoric with anticipation of driving home in our new (to us) car. Kristin and I were a little queasy and uncertain; anytime there's a lot of money involved that's how we feel.

Here's where God answered my prayers about this vehicle in an undeniably clear way. As we walked in another family was in the process of buying the vehicle. Since we hadn't sealed the deal yet, I'm not surprised they showed the vehicle to someone else. But it is very surprising that another family would show when they did and commit so quickly to buying the same used car we were looking at. After an hour of waiting in the lobby to see if they would close the deal, we were told it's sold, given apologies and assurances that there would be similar vehicles available soon.

I think the salesmen expected us to be somewhat upset, but we were just fine with all this. God's providence was so easy to read in the way things turned out that we felt relieved that we didn't drive home with that car. Kristin and I both had that "peace like a river attendeth my soul" kind of feeling and a good conversation about God and answered prayer with the children on the way home.

To live in the comfort of God's providence is way better than a new car.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Superbowl ad they won't run

Since NBC apparently won't run this commercial during the Superbowl, you can view it here. I like its message and production values, but it is very personal (and I assume they don't have the subject's permission). For that reason I can't blame NBC too much, although they may have other reasons for rejecting it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

5 years!

We received final word this week that the Air Force has decided to leave us here until the summer of 2010. I've been very surprised by this. It's 5 years without a move, which will be our longest duration in one place by far. There are certainly worse places to be!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear

There is a phase of parenting where it's beneficial for mom and dad to both have a blind eye and a deaf ear. (I'm indebted to Spurgeon for this insight).

This is not the case when children are very young, like my near-two year old son. Then parents, if they are to avoid busted lips and wearing out their welcome at the ER, need not only keen eyes and sharp ears but the power to see into the future (ex: "unless I barricade the bathtub, he will climb in it fully dressed, soak himself, and then run like a crazed dog throughout the house").

But my subject is older children and my meaning is expressed in plain language by Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes (7:21): "Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee." The margin says, "Give not thy heart to all words that are spoken"--do not take them to heart or let them weigh with you, do not notice them, or act as if you heard them."

Thinking of the conflicts that arise in my household with older children, I find Spurgeon's words (which I will adapt to my subject) very useful.

You will find that even those who live with you are not always singing your praises, and that when you have displeased your most faithful children, they have, in the heat of the moment, spoken fierce words which it would be better for you not to have heard. Who has not, under temporary irritation, said that of another which he has afterwards regretted? It is the part of the generous to treat passionate words as if they had never been uttered. When a man is in an angry mood it is wise to walk away from him, and leave off strife before it be meddled with; and if we are compelled to hear hasty language, we must endeavor to obliterate it from the memory, and say with David, "But I, as a deaf man, heard not. I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs." Tacitus describes a wise man as saying to one that railed at him, "You are lord of your tongue, but I am also master of my ears"--you may say what you please, but I will only hear what I choose.

Likewise, turn a blind eye to sights that can be overlooked without detriment to the whole family. After 1,000 reminders to keep a clean room, a 1001th will only exasperate your relationship. It is time to gaze with the blind eye and use the good eye to look for better opportunities in the future.

Blessed are the peacemakers, and one sure way of peacemaking is to let the fire of contention alone. Neither fan it, nor stir it, nor add fuel to it, but let it go out of itself. Parent older chlidren with one blind eye and one deaf ear.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

White House Matters

I'm impressed with the re-vamped White House web site. I like the idea of unfiltered information (via their blog) on what the new administration is doing and their reasons for it. There's also some good information for school age children on Presidential history (including some fun facts on "First Pets" of the White House).

Here's also a good rejoinder from Pastor Piper on the President's statement released on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. For some reason this hasn't been posted on the White House web site yet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taste and see

This is a short recording of a longer conversation between D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and John Piper. Out of the 6 recordings, I especially like the point made clearly here about delighting in God.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Las Cruces

I spent today in the southern New Mexico college town of Las Cruces representing our church at the regional meeting of elders (called Presbytery). Our Presbytery covers NM, AZ, and the El Paso region; we rotate the Presbytery meetings through the different churches in the region. Today we met in a converted skating rink that is now home to Grace Covenant Church. The day-long meeting is work but it's a good kind of work. Today we:

Ensured two pastors moving into our region were biblically faithful in doctrine and life

Helped about a dozen men who are becoming pastors to better prepare for the ministry

Heard reports from border ministries, campus ministries, and church planting, then prayed for each of them

Proposed a strategy for increasing church planting and campus ministry

Prayed repeatedly and passionately for our churches, our communities, and missions

Worshipped the Lord together through Word and Sacrament

May King Jesus be honored in all we did today

I'm holding a miracle

Jason French has created a beautiful celebration of God's gift of life. He wrote the song and put together the video. It's called "I'm Holding A Miracle."

HT: Desiring God

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sound thinking & a dash of wit

The year-end review of the podcast Christ the Center is a great introduction for new listeners. It has become my favorite podcast due to its unashamed discussion of historic reformed theology, critique of modern evangelicals, and a good dose of humor and wit. If that sounds possibly interesting, give it a listen and see what you think.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dry wells send us to the fountain

"Dry wells send us to the fountain. This soul of ours has to love, and cannot but love some fair one; and O, what a fair One, what an only One, what an excellent, lovely, ravishing One is Jesus.

"Christ all the seasons of the year, is dropping sweetness; if I had vessels I might fill them. How little of the sea can a child carry in his hand; as little do I take away of my great sea, my boundless and running over Christ Jesus."

Adapted from Samuel Rutherford's The Loveliness of Christ

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy MLK Jr Day

While we can find fault with Martin Luther King Jr.'s personal life and theological positions, there is much to appreciate in his prophetic voice.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
Martin Luther King Jr.~

Piper on the economic downturn

I received my annual mutual fund statement recently--ouch! If your investments are like mine you may be faced with re-thinking your future plans. Here's a great perspective to keep you from getting down.

Let's pray

"How long has it been since you prayed for this sin [abortion] to be removed?"
-Pastor Randy Steele, from a sermon given on Sanctity of Life Sunday, 2009

Some specific prayer points:
Pray that the incoming President will reconsider his views on this moral issue

Pray that the Freedom of Choice Act will not be signed, or if it is that it will not be as effective at wiping out restrictions on abortion as feared.

Pray for the work of CareNet and others like them to influence more pregnancies to result in life and not in death

Pray that many more Christian families would be willing to adopt

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What we said about them behind their back

"If all our friends only knew what we have said about them behind their back, we would not have four friends in all the world. I know I would not have one. How many would you have? And who would they be? You cannot name them. I defy you to name them. They do not exist. The tongue can no man tame."

"Since, therefore, it is so hard for us to enter on our neighbour’s character without offending the law of Christ, we should learn to decline that kind of conversation altogether."

Alexander Whyte, on the character "Talkative" in Pilgrim's Progress

Friday, January 16, 2009

Death by kiddie tunes

Zeke got some music for Christmas via iTunes. He likes it a lot and asks us to play it for him frequently. We're ready to smash the laptop.

Check out the playcount and keep it mind that's just since Christmas.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Over the holidays...

...we bought a lot of books that we (okay, I) had been waiting to read for much of the year. I've enjoyed going through them and here are the ones that really stood out.

The Loveliness of Christ is simply a pocket-sized edition of choice quotes from The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. The little book punches beyond its weight. Its tiny pages contain rich encouragement, faith, and love for our Savior.

Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers is for young children (1-3 yrs). It's short, simple and attractive enough to keep their attention while teaching God-centered theology.

John Calvin: Christian Biographies for Young Readers. This is a really attractive volume, full of interesting facts for young readers (ages 7-11). Readers will come to know Calvin’s personality, his devotion to God and the church, and the personal challenges he faced. They will also have a glimpse of life in sixteenth-century Europe, stricken by pestilence, poverty, and wars.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tack it on

One of the ceremonies in the military is to tack on a new rank. The harder the tap the better. This was right up Isaiah's alley.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back on the blog-wagon again

Blogging fell off for a while. Too many new books to look through! Here are some pictures of what we've been up to since the last post.

We got a good price on a ping pong table at an After-Christmas sale.

I was promoted.

The two older boys are enjoying the Upward basketball league.