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Archive for May, 2012

Life worth living is not found in a set of circumstances – whether pleasant or painful. Life worth living is found in a person, the Prince of Life. The Resurrection and the Life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He has the words of life. And Christ the Savior is the One who will desires to be Lord of your days, as well as your Wisdom for living. When you look to him each day, each minute and hour, your life will count… and it will count for all of eternity.

Joni Eareckson Tada, Making Your Days Count!

The link above will take you to an incredible reflection on a conversation Joni had with a young woman who was dying, and who is now with Jesus.  Take a few minutes and be blessed.

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Every time I read The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis I am convicted – and embarrassed – by how often I have looked away from Jesus to find my hope.  I am prone to feel sorry for myself.  The world is oriented to feeling sorry for me, giving me permission to focus on how “hard” things are in our home.  The enemy of my faith loves to use misdirection, encouraging me to search for hope in the wrong things.

It is good to be reminded that this life is war.

But not a war with an undecided outcome! And we don’t fight in our own strength.  Jesus has already secured the victory over sin , and we are already free when we cling to him:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)

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The characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality. . . How can you have failed to see that a real pleasure was the last thing you ought to have let him meet?

The Devil Screwtape writing to his nephew Wormword in C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, p. 67.

How relevant this is to unborn children with disabilities!

Parents are presented possible scenarios for their unborn child with whatever disability has been discovered.  Lists of facts about the disability feel very real and often overwhelming and frightening.

Yet that is not their child! That list is NOT reality! Their child is so much more than his or her disability.

Best of all, that little one is God’s own, created to exist for eternity.

Even after 16 years I only know my son in part (1 Corinthians 13:12).  But one thing I do know: he is a real boy and not a list of medical terms.

The pain of dealing with his disabilities has been sharper than I thought I could stand, and the pleasure of knowing him in light of his creator has been sweeter than I ever would have expected.  Paul has been a touchstone of reality in my life.

The enemy of our faith and of the indispensable weaker members, of course, would rather see them destroyed. They are dangerous to his plans of keeping us in a fog of little pains and little pleasures that deny the reality of hell and the joy of eternity with Jesus. Cleverly, before these little ones can be known as people, he attempts to turn them into something less than human and therefore easily cast away.

Let us continually invite people to experience real pleasure and real pain by inviting them to know real little people.  And may God use that taste to introduce them to the reality of ‘as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing’ (2 Corinthians 6:10).

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They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. . . The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven. . .

The character of George Macdonald to the dreamer in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce, p. 67.

An innocent question from my daughter about other fiction that C.S. Lewis has written (she has read That Hideous Strength four times) brought me to read The Great Divorce for the first time.  Though I question some of his imagery in this story, we know that God will, indeed, change sorrow into something else entirely:

Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
(Jeremiah 31:13 ESV)

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Do you have authors that just the thought of their next book gets you excited?  Then you’ll know how I felt when I learned that Crossway was publishing something by Michael Beates!

We’re about two months away from the public release of his book, Disability and the Gospel: How God Uses Our Brokenness to Display His Grace.

He has lived this life of disability longer than I have, starting when his oldest daughter, Jessica, was born with a chromosomal anomaly.  Everything I have seen by him has resonated spiritual depth, emotional maturity and deep affections for his family.

I found a short article he wrote in LIFT, a newsletter of the LIFT Disability Network in Florida, where he compares the experiences of Job, Mary, the mother of Jesus, and his wife, Mary, and concludes how each experienced Jesus. Emphasis in bold is mine:

Through the similarities and the differences — Job, Jesus’ Mary, and my Mary — the three share a common conviction: they know their Redeemer lives! Job looked forward, hoping in faith to look on his Redeemer. Mary of Nazareth beheld the face of her Redeemer throughout His earthly life. My Mary looks back through the eyes of Scripture to the story, and forward like Job to the prospect of being finally and fully in the presence of the Redeemer. And we are confident because of God’s covenant promises that with us around the throne will be Jessica — whole and finally, perfectly able to praise her Redeemer.

 

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Not so to God!

A friend forwarded me this Christianity Today blog posting on the Facebook controversy related to a mother posting pictures of her son born with anencephaly.

This quote from the blog blew me away:

Those that we call monsters are not so to God, who sees in the immensity of His work the infinite forms that He has comprehended therein. . .

It was made by a 16th century philosopher by the name of Michel de Montaigne, of whom I know almost nothing.  But I know that was not an enlightened time with regards to people with disabilities!

May we be so wise today and trust God in all he determines to do.

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A day off

Dianne doesn’t ask much of me. But a couple of months ago she asked if I could take a day off from work so we could spend some time together during the day while the kids were still all in school.

Like many men, that sounded like a great idea – for the future. I was too busy that week. And because I am so “very, very important” the weeks slipped by and I didn’t do it. And it’s also easy to rationalize that I’m a ‘good’ husband and father.

Then I realized that school was almost over!  I could continue to be very, very important, or I could keep my promise. I wish I could honestly say the decision was easy!

I took a day off, and the world (even my little world) didn’t come to an end. And we had a nice day doing nothing in particular.

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I’m grateful for my wife – God was and is kind to me in so many ways through her!

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