The Awesome Implications of Our Creator

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Creator: A Holy & All-Powerful Father

I don’t know about you, but I believe with all my heart that there is a personal God who created me andLostLake-2015 this glorious world–from its amazing starry galaxies and swirling planets down to its majestic mountains and tiniest bugs.

To me, it is honestly more foolish to not believe than to believe there is a God or Master Designer/Creator and Sustainer of life because to deny would be like looking at a masterpiece painting or piece of music and saying they just came into being on their own.

And if we were creators of anything and knew people considered our work or art in such a way, we’d be irate, call them crazy, and deny them all access to it most likely.  God, however, who is continually denied any authorship and appreciation of His world, continually sustains His creation though.  This just goes to show how wonderful, patient, forgiving, and so much better He is than us and gives us all the more reason to trust Him!

The last time I wrote, I talked about the root of our spiritual depravity being that we deny God as our Creator and thereby as our heavenly Father.  Our blindness and hard-heartedness seem so odd considering the incredible order, detail, beauty, and such of the world surrounding us, doesn’t it?!

And why such little faith in a fact that is declared all throughout Scripture?  I believe it is due in large part to our lack of reading and hearing for ourselves the Word of God because “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).  God even states: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos, 4:6).

Now for a long time, my favorite passages in Scripture have been those that exclaim God as our Creator.  They have not only increased my faith and confidence in God as our Maker and Father, but they have also given me great joy knowing we are not just evolved creatures of nature but purpose-filled image bearers of Abba God Almighty, put on earth to glorify Him in everything.  What a high and honorable calling!

So will you take a few moments and reflect upon and delight with me in these powerful words of God that resound with the truth of who God is and who we are as His creatures?  After all, your faith may just grow in the process!

  • “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)
  • “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  (Gen. 1:27)
  • “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4)
  • “The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.  It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter.”  (Psa. 74:16-17)

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    “He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’” (Job 37:6)

  • “The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth; you founded the world and all that is in it.  You created the north and the south.”  (Psa. 89:11-12)
  • “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” (Psa. 95:3-5)
  • “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psa. 139:13-16)
  • “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.  Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jer. 32:17)
  • “He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth–the LORD Almighty is his name.” (Amos 4:13)
  • He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:15-17)
  • “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Rev. 4:11)

Such knowledge is so wonderful, is it not?  Knowing we have a Creator, and thereby a heavenly Father who so intimately knows us and cares for us, should not only comfort us but give us significant purpose and great joy.  After all, we are  made intentionally by the very mind, will, and hands of Almighty God.  If people would only accept God for who He really is, there would be so much less conflict, emptiness, and sorrow in the world I think.

Sustainer: A Gracious & Ever-Faithful God

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” (Psa. 54:4)

The wonderful thing about our Creator God too is that He doesn’t just make us and leave us alone as the deists would claim (what a great excuse to live independent, self-centered lives though!).

No, every day God goes on sustaining us and the rest of His creatures and the earth with life because of His great love and unending care for us.  While as humbling as that is, aren’t you glad that we don’t have to worry about maintaining our complex, beyond-comprehension, masterpiece bodies and world?!

  • Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  (Lam. 3:22-23)
  • “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”  (Psa. 95:3-7)
  • “How many are your works, O LORD!  In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.  There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number–living things both large and small. . . . These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.  When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.  When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.” (Psa. 104:24-25, 27-30)
  • “Who appointed him over the earth?  Who put him in charge of the whole world?  If it were his intention and he withdrew his spirt and breath, all mankind would perish together and man would return to the dust.” (Job 34:13-15)
  • “The God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.” (Dan. 5:23)
  • “‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things.’  To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Rom. 11:35-36)
"He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit." (Psa. 147:4-5)

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psa. 147:4-5)

And the great thing about our daily Sustainer, and thereby our gracious God, is that He is faithful and never will change because “before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psa. 90:2).

And “in the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.  They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. . . . But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Psa. 102:25-27).

Praise the Lord we have a Maker and Sustainer who clearly is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:13)!

Ruler: A Rightful & True Lord

"For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise." (Psa. 47:7)

“For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.” (Psa. 47:7)

Now in light of the fact that God is our everlasting Creator and faithful Sustainer, does He not have the right to be our true and only Ruler or King as well? After all, He is the One who is the very essence of life and knows how it should operate.

If you think otherwise, then you should start considering His claim on your life as it is very sobering.  At the same time, remember that “God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8), so we have nothing to fear because He always pursues what is best for us, believe it or not,

  • “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our Father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.  Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours.  Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.  Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” (1 Chron. 29:10-12)
  • “But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. . . . But God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.  When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.  He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses.”  (Jer. 10:11-13)
  • “Let them know that you, whose name is the LORD–that you alone are the Most High over all the earth.”  (Psa. 83:18)
  • “For I am God, and not man–the Holy One among you.”  (Hos. 11:9)
  • “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.  And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. . . . he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:24-25, 27-28)

Did you get those titles of God–head over all, ruler of all things, the Lord of heaven and earth, the Most High over all the earth, the eternal King–and see how most are linked to God being our Creator?  But since we humans–the fleshly, sight-driven, materialistic creatures that we are–don’t see Him physically in form or action, we struggle to accept and understand.

So as the Bible says, “men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals–these are the very things that destroy them” (Jude 10).  For “they are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts” (Eph. 2:18).

It is so sad but true how often we let our very limited, darkened, and spiritually-ignorant understanding steal our faith or trust in God for who He is and for what He says He can do in our lives.  What’s even sadder is that our lack of faith will (not may) ultimately destroy us because “cursed is the one who trusts in man . . . and whose heart turns away from the LORD” (Jer. 17:5).

But “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:5-7).  All of this just goes to show that we really are NOT as smart as we think we are after all!!

Conclusion

O God of heaven and earth, I just thank and praise You that You have given us Your Word that resounds with truth and righteousness.  Like no other book, it truly delights me–reading of Your holy, unique character and Your awesome, all-powerful deeds on men’s behalf in creation and through faith in Your Son Jesus.

I pray, O God, that You will graciously open the hearts of people everywhere to accept You with faith, joy, and surrender as their Creator Father, Sustainer God, and Ruler Lord so that they will not be destroyed by trusting more in themselves than in You or Your Word.

Help them to see too how much You care for and love them through Your constant, faithful creation of life in them and in this world . . . that You don’t make mistakes and that You have a good and glorious purpose for them to fulfill as long as Your give them breath.

I ask all of these things in Jesus’ name alone, amen!

The Root of Our Depravity

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Spiraling into Greater & Greater Darkness & Death

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“Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)

Today we live in a world filled with increasing and overwhelming spiritual darkness and wickedness or human depravity from . . .

  • Our political “leaders” having no courage or voice to stand for or lead our nation in truth and righteousness just so that they can protect their “prestigious” and “powerful” governmental standings to
  • “Religious” men overseas wickedly and mercilessly beheading, killing, and raping innocent, precious men, women, and children in the name of their prophet to
  • “Civilized” Americans mutilating and selling the parts of unborn children for the sake of greed and money to
  • “Equal rights” people, all in the name of “freedom,” suing or hating others who simply don’t agree with or support their lifestyle

The list of sins spiraling out of control in our nation and world could go on and on, but these are horrifying and sickening enough, aren’t they?  But this is where the selfish, sinful nature has the potential of leading each one of us apart from God’s grace “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

Foolish, Lost Souls

Tragically, these people and so many others are foolishly selling their souls and very lives for ultimately nothing because “the world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17).  And “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36).  

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“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way.”   (Isa. 53:6)

Not only is it horrifying, sickening, and foolish though, it is also very sorrowful and has made me cry over the deceived hearts and eternally-lost souls of men and women apart from Christ saving them.

To think they are blindly giving up their short, earthly lives and their everlasting souls for power, money, prestige, and reputation is not only very sad but also compelling to us as Christians to share the gospel every day with as many as possible or to at least fervently pray for their salvation.  

And to be quite honest, all of this immorality deeply scares me like never before, for our own lives as followers of Jesus Christ but especially for own precious children’s lives and futures.

Believe me, parenting definitely puts a whole new perspective on life because although this evil world has held less and less appeal to me over the years, now that I have children, everything in me wants to live so that I can care for, protect, and see them grow up and love the Lord.  Sometimes now though I wonder if I’ll live to see them even be five years old the way things are so quickly changing in the world.

No Creator/No God: Increasing Spiritual Depravity

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“Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”  (Psa. 90:2)

So how did we get to such depravity?  I really believe it is due at its core to people’s rejection of God for who He first and foremost claims to be all throughout Scripture, and that is, our Creator and thereby, our source of life, origin, and being.

Being our Creator makes Him “God” after all!  I mean, if He was not our Creator, He’d have no claim on this world or on us as human beings just as we would not have any claim of ownership on a book we did not write or on a piece of music we did not compose.

But pushing Him aside, we instead make ourselves out to be the “Creator” so we can be gods and goddesses in our own little worlds and not be held accountable to anyone or have anyone telling us how to live.  To prove my point, not along ago I was blown away that some woman actually had the unashamed audacity to have a bumper sticker on her car that read, “Worship me like the goddess I am.”  While that is so sickening, it is proven true even in Romans 1:21-25:

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.  They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.”

So even though people actually know there is a Creator God, consciously or subconsciously, for “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psa. 19:1), they reject Him, and thereby, they become foolish, futile, blinded thinkers.

In such a state, they exchange the wondrous glory and truth of God they see and experience in creation for Satan’s sugar-coated lies to glorify or make much of themselves instead–their thinking, their accomplishments, their standards of right and wrong–and material things.  After all, Satan is all about dethroning God and making much of self because that is how he became the devil in the first place.  And he is the father of lies for “there is no truth in him” (John 8:44).

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Looking into the precious face of a baby, how can one possibly deny that child was not created by an all-powerful, wonderful, loving Creator God?!

Since there is no Creator in their eyes then, people are just evolved animals or matters of chance without any real meaning, purpose, or standard of right and wrong.

Most likely in their eyes as well, there is also no spirit, soul, or eternity, so to each his own for “if the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die’” (1 Cor. 15:32).

Conclusion

While such a life without any Creator God sounds like an easy, comfortable, and pleasant lifestyle in the here and now, in the end it will reap much heartache, judgment, and destruction for “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23).

And “a man reaps what he sows” for “whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8).

In light of all this then, how should we as Christians proactively respond?  Are there any times when you doubt God being the Creator of all, and if so, why?  How does it affect your life spiritually, mentally, emotionally?

15 Months & 15 Weeks Equal Big Changes

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Our Crazy Crawler

For Evan's first birthday, he went to the zoo for the first time and really enjoyed it. He's definitely our little monkey!

For Evan’s first birthday, he went to the zoo for the first time and really enjoyed it. He’s definitely our little monkey!

It’s hard to believe, but the last update I wrote on Evan was 10 months ago in November when he was a wee five-month-old.  Time goes by so quickly and now he is a big one-year-old who’s a crazy-but-cute crawler (he crawls with one leg out and one tucked under) who gets around quite well.  While some think his crawl is weird, I think it is quite cute, and my brother appropriately called it the “pirate leg crawl” because it looks like he has a short, wooden peg leg like a pirate who walks around with a limp.  :)

So while I’m glad Evan is at last crawling, it has definitely made life more challenging as he likes to get into everything and be everywhere I am.  Even if I simply start leaving a room, he will start screaming and crawling after me.  It is like his newfound freedom has oddly enough made him more discontent.  And no, we cannot close a door or put up a gate without a major meltdown as he does NOT like being confined or separated from people.

Sometimes it really feels like I have no rest or alone time or time to really concentrate and get things done, especially since he is still terrible at taking naps.  On average, he will nap for one hour a day, maybe two hours if I’m really lucky.  (Do you understand why it’s rare I write on a regular basis now?)  With such a track record, we have definitely been trying to put him to bed at 7 or 7:30 each night, and thankfully, he goes down rather well overall and sleeps through the night until about 7 or so in the morning.

As far as walking, he has not accomplished that feat yet, but he did not even start crawling until the Sunday after his first birthday in June which was quite surprising knowing how active he has always been.  He is so close to walking though as he is always pulling himself up and moving along the edges of things.  I am ready for him to walk in some ways, but I know that he will keep me even busier once he does start.

A Challenging yet Surprising Eater

So how has he changed over the last 10 months other than that he is now crawling and sleeping through the night?  Well, he has 11 teeth now, and he is slowly but surely becoming better at eating foods.  Getting him to eat foods and not formula and now milk all the time has been a challenge.

His favorite food or the easiest one to get him to eat consistently though is BANANAS!  If he sees you just pick them up in the grocery store, his face lights up, or if you just say the word, he looks to where they are kept on the top of the refrigerator and instantly wants them.  It is crazy that even when he is throwing a fit about other foods and you pull out a banana, he’ll immediately calm down and become all smiles.

Evan also surprisingly likes his green vegetables like peas and fried zucchini of all things.  And just this past week Evan started eating and enjoying broccoli, a vegetable you’d think most kids would hate.   I just made it for dinner one night and upon seeing it, he went crazy with delight!  Maybe he has something for the color as green is mine and Micah’s favorite color.  :)  He also does very well with eating meats including everything from chicken and beef to salmon and tuna.  Even yesterday he had his first gyro (lamb) meat and did not spit it out as he’s known to do when not liking something.

An Energizer Bunny

As you can see, Evan is also quite flexible.  He can even clap his feet together!  He's also quite expressive.  This was in April when he was going through a cute stage of going off into these babbling sermonette discourses.  It was quite entertaining as he'd wave his arms around and everything.  Maybe he will be an evangelist like his name sake!  :)

As you can see, Evan is also quite flexible. He can even clap his feet together! He’s also quite expressive. This was in April when he was going through a cute stage of going off into these babbling sermonette discourses. It was quite entertaining as he’d wave his arms around and everything. Maybe he will be an evangelist someday like his namesake Evan Roberts! 

Physically, Evan continues to be a very strong child full of vigorous energy and force.  Since he was a newborn, he was always kicking his legs or moving his arms–never wanting to be still or contained, thereby, earning himself the nickname of “Captain Squirm.”

Well, in February, we discovered one way he could put this energy to use in a way he loved–by kicking or throwing balls!  Not only did we discover that he loved balls but that he also has a really good pitch.  People always comment on it and how maybe he’ll become a baseball pitcher someday.  The hard thing is that he likes throwing everything though–from his food and books to even cans and cars.  So you really have to be careful of what you give him.  :)

We also have to be careful where his head is in relation to our faces as he has always been a terrible head butter, meaning he likes to forcefully throw his big, hard head back, and when he does, he can really hurt you as it often comes unexpectedly.  Just this summer, he threw his head back into my nose one morning and made it bleed and bruised it.

Micah and I often comment on how there needs to be a Parent Protective Service, not only because of his head butting but also because of a thing he has for biting us since about 11 months old and for pulling our hair, whether on my head or on Micah’s face or arms.  These things have worried me of him being a bad child, but praise the Lord, I think I have noticed some improvement in these areas lately.  :)

An Interesting Combo

Now you probably don’t remember when I wrote an update on Evan back in November, but even at five months old, I could tell he was a social child who loves being out and about and with people.  Well, to this day, he is like that which is interesting seeing how he also an affinity for books which you’d think a more quiet or unsocial child would take to.   I think his love for books started when my aunt gave him a bunch of baby books for Christmas, and since then, it has continued to grow.

Evan looking through one of his books

Evan looking through one of his books

Before he started crawling, I’d often find him surrounded by books and quietly, contentedly looking through them in our living room for rather long periods of time which was so cute and precious!  And now Evan will often bring us a book to read . . . sometimes again and again!  :)

Recently, his favorite two books have been ABC Look at Me, a book on different emotions, and God Loves You, and I Do, Too!, a very sweet book my niece and nephew in Florida recorded themselves reading back in December as a Christmas gift to Evan.   Even though he has always liked this book, lately he LOVES it and wants it read/played almost daily.  It is so sweet.  I am very thankful Evan seemingly has a love for learning, and Lord willingly, it will only continue to grow.

A Cognitive Sponge

I must say it is exciting and awe-inspiring to see your child develop a vocabulary and understand new things.  Evan started off mindlessly babbling “Ga-ga” at nine months; “Bob,” “Bub,” and “Ba” at 10 months; “Da-da” at 11 months, and then “Ma-ma” at last at 12 months.  Since turning one, however, he has been saying words with more purpose or thought.  The first two words I noticed him saying with such intention are “O-kay!” and “A done.”  Now he is also saying “Cole,” the name of his Grandma Patti’s dog who he loves, and “two,” “Whoa,” “Wow,” and “ball.”

He can also point to things in a book which you ask him to identify, and he can definitely understand commands like “No” and “Don’t touch” even though he does not always heed them like not pulling out cords from an outlet or not pulling out pinecones from a basket on our kitchen floor.  He also understands concepts like blowing kisses and clapping which he loves to do.  Something very interesting is that even whenever we tell him “Good job!,” without any training, he starts clapping his hands.  That amazes me that a child so young can understand that is a sign of something worth clapping for.

An Easily-Delighted Child

Oh, I will never tire of his smiles and laughter!

Oh, I will never tire of his smiles and laughter!

So I could probably go on and on about Evan, but just on a quick note about this amazing little boy God has given us is that I love his capacity to be easily delighted in simple things.  When he was five months old, it was a ceiling fan or a flying monkey above his play mat, but now it is baths, which he LOVES, or just splashing in the water whether in a tub or the lake.

He also LOVES throwing sand on the beach, playing with a plastic cup, swinging outdoors, tearing up a napkin into little pieces, sitting up front in a grocery cart, being thrown up in the air or onto our bed, going on stroller rides outdoors or around and around the track at the gym, being tickled or chased around on the floor, visiting his grandparents, and just playing with a simple plastic straw or silver spoon.  For example, just in the last few weeks, my mom and I spent an hour or so talking outside a coffee shop one afternoon with Evan on the sidewalk just playing with a napkin, a plastic cup lid, and a straw.  It was amazing but such a blessing, and I pray he is always so easily delighted.

After all, I think that is how God our heavenly Father wants us to be . . . To be easily delighted with the simple things of life and those things given to us right now because that is “pure” or unburdened joy not dependent on having lots of fancy material things, friends, or busy activities to entertain us and quench the loneliness in our hearts.  God just wants us to delight in simply being alive and in being content with what we have knowing He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7), will never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5), and will meet ALL our NEEDS in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19).

Big Life Changes

Now just to let you know for those who are interested and care, while Evan is 15 months old as of last week, today I am 15 weeks pregnant with his new baby brother or sister.  With that being the case, I am due the end of February.  Yes, we are excited about this new baby, and I think and really hope Evan will be too knowing how social he is.  However, he has definitely become more attached and affectionate to me and Micah since he turned one, which is so odd by the way seeing how he was never cuddly with us a baby, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to a sibling.  You can please pray that it will go well!  :)

Micah, you are our super hero, and Evan will do well to follow in your footsteps!

Micah, you are our super hero, and Evan will do well to follow in your footsteps!

Along with that change, we have another big change coming even sooner.  In just a couple weeks, Micah will be starting a new job at a big company not close but not too far from our home.  This is a big praise as he has really wanted and prayed for a new job the last several years as he has been at his current one for eight years this month.

He has worked from home the last few years, so it will be very different to not have him here all day, and we will really miss him but wish him the best with his new job.  It has truly been such a BIG blessing to have him here to help, encourage, and comfort me with Evan over the last year especially.

Just in general, I appreciate all Micah has done and all he continues to do daily to help me out at home and with Evan.  I do not know what I’d do without him as he’s not only a great father but a great husband as well.  God has truly blessed us!

Conclusion

In conclusion then and in light of sweet Evan helping me to find more joy by partaking of life’s simple pleasures with him, I’d just like to encourage you today to delight more in life’s simple pleasures yourself because life is a “gracious gift” from God (1 Pet. 3:7) and not meant to be a burden.

If you need help in learning how to be easily delighted, go spend a day with a baby or a child.  Tickle them, read to them, chase them around, blow them bubbles, or take them to a zoo, and I’m sure you’ll feel much better by the end of the day as their joy is contagious.  :)

And in the meantime, may you take great comfort and courage from Jesus who yearningly calls to you, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).  So be blessed today and go be a blessing! 

Even though being a mother is stressful and hard work, it is one of life's greatest joys.  It definitely makes me realize more how much I need the Lord's wisdom, help, and grace to rear a child for His honor and glory.

Motherhood is definitely one of life’s greatest joys yet most sober, difficult callings.  Knowing my responsibility is to raise children who love and serve the Lord, my sense of desperation for God’s wisdom, grace, and help has only increased!

Easter’s Newfound Meaning

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Similar & the Same

Easter-Dove-Image-Download-GraphicsFairyI know I’m a little late, but since Jesus’ resurrection, and thereby His conquest over sin and death, is worth celebrating every day and since we are still in the Easter season, happy Easter!

Talking about Easter though, have you ever wondered what that non-descript, vague word “Easter” means or what on earth it has to do with Jesus’ resurrection?

I have, so I did some research and discovered that through its symbolism and place on the calendar, it is actually linked with the Jewish Passover, a week-long, widely-practiced holiday, that was even being observed in Israel during the week of Jesus’ crucifixion.  Not only that, in many languages the word for “Easter” and “Passover” are very similar or even the same.

A Celebration of Life

Now you may be wondering, “What exactly is this Passover holiday then?”  it seems like our curiosity, or perhaps confusion, keeps mounting, doesn’t it?  Well, to begin with, the Passover is the celebration of the Israelites’ freedom from slavery and their exodus from Egypt after 430 years.  They were set free only after God sent 10 awful plagues upon the people, with the last one being the death of the Egyptians’ firstborn sons.

As for the Jews, their firstborn sons were spared only if the parents killed an unblemished, male lamb and put its blood upon their doorposts.  As the Spirit of God then moved throughout the land that dreadful night, He would only “pass over” those homes marked with blood (Ex. 12:13) because “the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:12).

So just as the blood of those innocent lambs “saved” those precious Jewish firstborn sons from physical death, which would bring about separation from their earthly families, so Christ’s blood saves all of us as God’s dearly-loved children from spiritual death, which would bring about separation from our heavenly Father for all of eternity.

The Lamb of God Foretold & Freedom Behold

Lamb-Vintage-Image-GraphicsFairy2In light of all this then, those slain lambs foretold of Jesus who is referred to as none other than the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29).  However, unlike those lambs, Jesus came back to life and continually saves or cleanses us by His shed blood because “Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28).  And “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7).

You may wonder though why Jesus, the perfect Son of God, had to die.  Why not more innocent male lambs or another human being?  Well, the Bible states that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats [and lambs] to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4), and “no one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them” (Ps. 49:7).  Therefore, Jesus alone could save us by purely showing us the Father and His love for us, living perfectly on our behalf, satisfying God’s wrath for our sin, and conquering death for all “because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24).

So what does the Passover, which is basically the meaning of Easter, got to do with Jesus’ resurrection then?  Well, first of all, it foretold of Jesus, long before He came to this world, as being our innocent sacrifice and loving Savior from death–our one and only “pass over” Lamb.  Secondly, as the Passover celebrates freedom from physical slavery and bondage, Easter today celebrates a much greater freedom, our freedom from the spiritual bondage and slavery to sin.  “Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

A Much Greater Purpose

So as much as the world makes Easter out to be all about cute bunnies, brightly-colored egg hunts, yummy chocolate candy,Victorian-Easter-Bunny-Egg-GraphicsFairy pretty dress-up clothes, and big meals with families, Easter is not really about those things as nice as they are.  Sadly to say, the world has literally sold people a “bag of goods” or turned yet another holiday/”holy day” into a means of mass consumerism for their own profit.

Thankfully, God is not about His own profit but about our profit, and I hope you’ve seen this and believe it, along with the fact that Easter has a much bigger, richer, deeper, holier, happier purpose than those empty things the world sells.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.  Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet. 1:18-21).

Our Greatest Fear but Greatest Good

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Suffering: Our Fear

While we often fear suffering the most, it leads to our greatest good--eternal glory!

While we often fear suffering the most, it leads to our greatest good–eternal glory!

Suffering . . . how many of us like it or want it? Not many, if anybody!  Realistically, nobody wants to get sick or injured physically or emotionally,  We are creatures of self-preservation through and through when it comes right down to it.  After all, this life is all we know and have at the moment, and we want it to be as comfortable and as happy as possible.

As for me, suffering has always been something I’ve tried to avoid whether that has meant staying away from sports or driving cautiously or eating less sugar.  If there is one word that has described me throughout my life, it would be “careful.”  Now that has been good or beneficial in so many ways as it has made me a more conscientious friend and daughter, responsible and thorough worker, and God-honoring follower of Christ who wants to live righteously and truthfully knowing this life is not all there is and that I will stand before God one day and face judgment.

At the same time, however, this carefulness or cautious self-preservation mentality has also been bad in that it has entailed a lot of fear.  Why?  Because ultimately, we cannot and do not control our lives or its outcomes.  We can drive cautiously but not be guaranteed to not be hit by another careless driver.  We can eat healthy and exercise but not be guaranteed we won’t become or stay overweight or get cancer.  We can be kind and thoughtful to others but not be guaranteed we won’t be rejected.  We can work hard and honestly but not be guaranteed a successful career.

Suffering: Our Calling

I share all of this though, because I sense with the rise of evil or Satan’s foothold here in America, our suffering is going to only increase as followers of Christ.  I sense this in part hearing how many Bible-believing preachers have been speaking on this topic so far this year.  Even in my own experience, I heard three sermons on suffering from three different preachers on three different Sundays in three different cities in the short time span of just one month.  Now that is unheard of!

But the thing that we have forgotten is that as Christ’s followers, we are called to suffer

  • To unjustly suffer for doing good to others who don’t deserve it . . . “But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:20-21).
  • To humbly suffer by living for Christ instead of for yourself . . .  As Jesus told His disciples back in the day and still tells us today, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).
  • To cruelly suffer by being hated and rejected because you’re not a part of this world as Christ wasn’t . . .  “The world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world” (Jn. 17:14).
  • To righteously suffer for believing that God’s Word is absolute truth and righteousness vs. siding with the world that truth and morality are relative and subjective . . . “For the word of the LORD is right and true” (Ps. 33:4).  “The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous” (Ps. 19:9).
  • To uniquely suffer by believing that there is one God and that Jesus is God’s Son and the only way of salvation . . .  “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'” (Jn. 14:6).  
  • To supernaturally suffer for living by the Spirit and for the spiritual, eternal, unseen world . . . “The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (Jn. 14:17). “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). 

Suffering: Our Good

Now while all of this suffering may sound depressing, may you encourage your heart to stay true to your faith in Christ by remembering that you “must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22) and that even Christ was perfected through suffering just so that He could bring many sons and daughters to glory (Heb. 2:10).  So first and foremost, suffering is for our good eternally.

Secondly, while suffering is painful, it is very temporary in light of eternity and very fruitful for those willingly trained by it and not resistant to it.  Not only can it produce “a harvest of righteousness and peace” (Heb. 12:11) but also “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17).  So often today, we ignore our spiritual lives and focus on the physical, and knowing that, God has to bring hardships into our lives to redirect our focus onto Him.  After all, our spiritual lives or how we relate to God matters most as it is the true essence of who we are as people.

Lastly, in light of all this, just think about why today is even called “Good” Friday when it was Jesus’ day of utter humiliation, cruel crucifixion, and agonizing death on the cross for our sins.  It is called “good” only because in suffering God brought forth His greatest good–defeating Satan, sin, and death once and for all and restoring us as His creation to fellowship and eternal life with Himself.  Now what can get better than that?!  Happy Good Friday!

Good-Friday-Love

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-3).

Chosen!!

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Rejected & Not Perfected

61142_154119_block_cancel_deleteDo you remember those days in school when two kids got to pick teams for a classroom or outdoor game, and you waited in worried anticipation about whether or not you would be eagerly chosen or be embarrassingly left as the last one standing?  Did you ever walk away feeling the sting of rejection telling you were not good enough, smart enough, or popular enough?  I don’t know about you, but I did occasionally feel that bitter sting nobody wants to feel.

But those games were minor in comparison to the sting of personal rejection in the overall game of life.  You see, I grew up feeling rejected a lot by others and myself.  Not only was I a middle child who often felt left out and like I didn’t fit in, but I was also a perfectionist who felt I had to look pretty, act nice, and always be secure and confident for people to like me and really want to pursue me to “be friends.”  I mean, who wants an average-looking or ugly friend to hang out with as it may make them look bad?  And who wants an insecure, needy, shy “wall flower” following them around?

Much to my embarrassment though, more often than not, those negative things are exactly how I saw myself.  I know this did not give my peers a good starting point because since I had already rejected myself, I really struggled with viewing not only them, but also God, as accepting and loving me unconditionally.  After all, seeing how I didn’t measure up to my own “likability” standards, I was sure I didn’t measure up to theirs of probably being cool or holy enough as well.

Constantly Stalked but Chosen

Now you’d think that as an adult, I’d outgrow these things, but unfortunately, that perfectionist and rejection mentality has continued to closely follow me, keeping me its prisoner and slave.  And sadly, it has often times made me feel rather lonely, depressed, and rejected because still so few intentionally pursue me in friendship or community, let alone have time for me, because they are too busy with their own family, friends, and activities.

Knowing this all may sound rather depressing and like a self-pity party, I must say I feel hesitant and rather humbled even sharing these things .  . .  but I share them primarily because my frustration with others’ seeming rejection and busyness has made me realize how God must feel about my often being too busy to pursue and really spend time with Him.

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  (John 10:11)

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Too busy with the life He Himself has given me and too busy worrying about why others have not chosen me when He–the God of this great, big, magnificent universe–has CHOSEN ME out of the billions of people on planet earth to be HIS CHILD.  For He says, “I have chosen you and not rejected you.  So do not fear(Isa. 40:9-10).  And “brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved . . . that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13-14).

So why did He choose me to be His child?  Well, why do we as parents usually have children?  So that we can do life with them and have a growing, close relationship with them over the years, and that is exactly what God our heavenly Father and Jesus His Son want with us as well for “He [Jesus] died for us so that, whether we are are awake or asleep, we may live together with him” (1 Thess. 5:10).

All Grace but Good News

But why do so many not choose God?  Or in other words, not receive His free gift of salvation and live for and with Him in relationship?  I think it is because it is so hard for our simple, faithless hearts to really accept and believe these insurmountable truths that we are actually desired, loved, and pursued by a holy, almighty God and that He’d want to make us His own cherished children.  It just seems too good to be true or often times even too foolish to believe in our human understanding.

And God reminded me on Friday through Galatians that there is a bigger reason we often struggle with. You see, of our flesh there is a strong desire to be loved for who we are or what we do because we are so performance-driven and worshipers of self.  We want to feel and be seen as beautiful and good in and of ourselves, and we want the glory instead of giving it to Christ.  But in the gospel, Christ gets all the glory because He’s the beautiful, perfect One who rescues us from God’s just wrath over our sin.

So God did not choose me, love me, and make me His child because I was measuring up to my perfectionist standards of pretty, nice, secure, and confident.  Or even measuring up to His holy, perfect law of righteousness because “a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ . . . because by observing the law no one will be justified (Gal. 2:16).  And “if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Gal. 2:21).

Did you get that then . . . the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ that is?  He chooses and accepts us simply because He loves us, and He makes us right with Him all because of grace, not works!  Our only requirement is to “believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31).

The Ultimate Insanity

Now you may want to fight the simplicity of it all, but you know what?  We’d be insane to reject God’s offer of salvation as unworthy as we might feel or as much as we want approval for what we are or have done.  After all, once you accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord, “you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has also made you an heir (Gal. 4:7).  And who wouldn’t want to move up in life from a slave of self and Satan to a son and heir of God Most High?  Only a fool.

 Conclusion

So today I praise and thank the Lord for choosing me as His child, as underserved and humbling as that is, and Lord willingly, I will start doing a better job of choosing to spend more time with Him as well as choosing to value His perfect opinion of me more than the imperfect opinions of others because “if God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Rom. 8:31).

Our Gift from Heaven

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A Most Precious Gift

Evan in his sweet dog hat which he gets many compliments on

Evan in his sweet dog hat which he gets many compliments on

“You’re such a sweet and precious gift, such a beautiful, wonderful gift from heaven, O Evan, I love you.”  These words I have often sung to my greatest blessing of this year–our new baby boy Evan Robert.  I was never really a baby person before, but he has definitely captured my heart and attention over the last several months.

It is hard to believe but as of November 2, he is now five months old. He’s doing well and growing seeing how at birth he was 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 inches long, and now he is somewhere between 14 and 15 pounds and 24 inches long.

He’s a happy, sweet, good baby overall although he can be challenging in the fact that he has not napped well from early on. So without those good, long naps that I’m sure every mother longs for her baby to take, he not only keeps me from getting much done at home but also keeps me wondering what to do with him as he becomes fussy or discontent and very hard to please.  Some days I truly feel accomplished if I just get to make my bed and take a shower as crazy as that sounds.

Praise the Lord, Evan did start sleeping through the night though in early September which was a big relief and blessing because I never felt so exhausted in my life as those first two or three months of his life.  I used to have problems sleeping but not since my pregnancy and post-pregnancy days for some odd reason.  I am not complaining though as it is so nice to be able to sleep more than three or four hours a night!

All Energy & Excitement

Anyways, Evan continues to be very alert and active as he was early on, with much movement of his arms and legs.  It is really fun to watch him move them back and forth so quickly and with such pure excitement and forceful energy.  He looks like he is having the time of his life, with his eyes beaming forth delight and with his laughter or shouts filling the room, that I have to wonder what is going on in his little mind.  Micah and I find our favorite things about him are his smiles and laughter which happen often.  These precious gifts really help make all of the hard moments melt away believe it or not.

Evan also will often look at the ceiling  as he doing all of his moving around as if there is something up there catching his attention, but I couldn’t tell you what most of the time. It is very amusing that babies are so enraptured by the simplest of things like ceiling lights, ceiling fans, blank ceilings, or a flying musical monkey that goes around and around over them on a play mat.

New Skills & Development

As far as new skills or abilities, Evan can hold up his head quite well, and he is grabbing things like my hair (and boy, does he have a strong grip!), small toys, and his feet.  He is turning over now from his back to his tummy but not so much from his tummy to his back.  That is about it, so no crawling yet.

He is also teething, and therefore, he has been drooling and blowing bubbles a lot and kind of sticking out his tongue.  In the last month or so, he has also been talking a lot of baby gibberish and making throat noises.   He really is too cute!  :)

Interests & Disinterests

And for Evan’s main interests?  Eating, moving his body around, being out and about, being with people/socializing (I wonder who he got that from?!), laying on his little bouncer seat in the kitchen, or sleeping in his car seat (but if at home, it has to be rocked or swung and if in the car, we need to be moving . . . No stop signs or stop lights, please!).  I really don’t know what I would do without that wonderful invention!  Since he refuses to take naps in his crib during the day, most of them actually take place in his car seat even though they can be short, as in less than 30 minutes at a time.

Evan on his bouncy seat in the kitchen

Evan on his bouncy seat

As for those things he really does not like?  Tummy time still but he has been doing a little better with it lately.  I just hope he does not get a really flat head in the back, but the poor child acts as if we are tormenting him by putting him on his tummy for five minutes or less.  He just does not know how good he has it, does he?!  He also has taken a strong disliking to his swing which baffles me because it’s like a car seat in constant motion or a dream come true, but I guess not.

Conclusion 

So there you have it . . . an update on the baby, something I have learned that draws the attention and interest of both the very young and the rather old as well as family and friends and strangers and foes.  Is it any wonder then that Jesus came to this earth as none other than a BABY?!  After all, babies are definitely great bridge builders or conversation starters at least.

And as a new mother, who can be rather stressed and very discouraged at times, I would still wholeheartedly agree with King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived and the author of Psalm 127, that “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (vs. 3).

So thank You, God, for this most precious, fearfully and wonderfully made gift named Evan!  “Your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psa. 139:14).

Doesn't he look so beautiful?  I love how he looks when he's asleep.

Doesn’t he look so beautiful? I love how he looks when he’s asleep.