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Archive for the ‘Helpful things’ Category

My dad hasn’t been feeling well lately, so my kids made some cards.

Daniel thought maybe a verse he had read recently would be helpful.

Grandpa like it!

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Something a little different today.

I’m very grateful for Bethlehem.  In addition to the preaching and teaching, which has changed everything in how I think about and view God’s sovereignty over disability in this present age, they also help me be a better father and husband, sometimes in very specific ways.  One example was this past Saturday where Hannah and I enjoyed the annual Father-Daughter Tea.

My daughter is a great gift to me, and for my church to encourage special investment in her life was more than helpful – it was also a joy!

The following was at every father’s seat. Yes, we bless Jesus’ name together, for he is our joy and salvation!  May God delight in granting you such joy in his good gifts of children today.

A Father’s Prayer
 
Author of all existence, for my wonderful children’s sake do not keep silent, and for their sake do not be quiet, until their righteousness goes forth as brightness, and their salvation as a burning torch.
 
Let men see their righteousness, and women their glory, because You have called them by a new name that Your mouth has given. May they be as a crown of beauty in Your hand, and a royal diadem in the hand of their God. Let them be called My Delight Is In Them, for You delight in Your servants. Fill them with the joyful knowledge that You take pleasure in them, that as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so You rejoice over them. Please establish them and make them a praise in the earth. Let those who eat the grain and drink the wine of their houses praise the LORD, and exult in Your holiness.
 
My children, behold, your salvation has come; behold, His reward is Himself! Rejoice! For you are numbered among the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you are called Sought Out, A Child Not Forsaken.
 
O Mighty One, help them to put their hope in You-You who are splendid in Your apparel, marching in the greatness of Your strength, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save. Thank you for sparing their lifeblood and bringing to them salvation by Your powerful arm. Thank you, that when they deserved to be trod in Your anger and trampled in Your wrath, You gave Jesus Christ to bear their punishment! We bless His name together, for He is our joy and our salvation. Amen.
 
adapted from Isaiab 62 & 63
©2010 Setting Their Hope in God by Andrew Case
 

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The Thorn revisited

My middle son was memorizing a poem for school by Martha Snell Nicholson. I could not remember why that name was significant – until Dianne reminded me that she was also the author of The Thorn.

It is past time to bring it here again.

The Thorn

(a “mendicant” is a beggar)

I stood a mendicant of God before His royal throne
And begged him for one priceless gift, which I could call my own.
I took the gift from out His hand, but as I would depart
I cried, “But Lord this is a thorn and it has pierced my heart.
This is a strange, a hurtful gift, which Thou hast given me.”
He said, “My child, I give good gifts and gave My best to thee.”
I took it home and though at first the cruel thorn hurt sore,
As long years passed I learned at last to love it more and more.
I learned He never gives a thorn without this added grace,
He takes the thorn to pin aside the veil which hides His face.

–Martha Snell Nicholson

God is kind to give us writers who help us understand one of the purposes of our pain is to reveal more of Jesus – the greatest gift of all.

(Note: This poem was read during Pastor John’s 2001 Sermon, “To Be a Mother is a Call to Suffer.“)

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God sends help in really interesting ways.

Yesterday I posted a quote from Dr. Michael Beates.

Pastor John was travelling to Florida in 1997 (I think) and met Dr. Michael Beates who was then at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.  Dr. Beates has a daughter with severe disabilities due to a genetic anomaly, and he trusted God as sovereign and good over all things.

I wasn’t so sure about the ‘good’ part in those days.

Pastor John kindly had Rick Gamache, then his assistant, send me an article by Dr. Beates that I’ve kept for more than 14 years.  Rick included this note with the article:

I pray that God will use it to encourage you and bring you joy and peace as you trust in his precious and very great promises.

That prayer was certainly answered!

I haven’t met Dr. Beates, but we’ve corresponded a few times over the years.  That 1996 article, less than three pages long, was remarkably helpful.

Through that article, God granted me a man who spoke a language I could understand.  He used words like ‘excruciatingly painful’ and ‘harsh reality’ – words I understood but didn’t see that often in ‘religious’ treatments on disability in 1997.

Dr. Beates sent me his dissertation a couple years later and I remember thinking that I had never seen anything like it before, either.

Seeds of grace from God’s hand.  God really is amazing.

He and Joni Eareckson Tada have a new book coming out in July that I can hardly wait to see!

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I found a booklet written by Jan Lacher when she was still pretty new to parenting a child with a disability as Michael was quite young.  Knowing what Michael and the entire family have gone through since this was first written, and seeing the evident faith in Jan and Mark that has continued to grow, made the words in this little book even more precious:

The ongoing nature of Michael’s situation is daunting, but we are not without hope. What seems impossible to us is possible with God. His mercies are new every morning. I have seen his faithfulness even when things do not go the way we want them.

I am trying to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness, lest I get sucked down into the tar pit of despair. I claim the hope that is in Christ, trusting that he will work this out for our good, even if Michael’s health deteriorates.

When Michael was in the hospital after his surgery, he was sleeping in his crib; I was looking at his big, swollen head with the 40 plus staples, and God led me to John 11 which talks about the suffering and death of Lazarus. Even though there was great suffering and grief by Lazarus and his family, Jesus told his disciples that he was glad for their sake so that they would believe and that it was for the glory of God.

Meditating on this passage and others, gives me hope that Michael’s suffering is not in vain. I also take comfort knowing that as I watch Michael continue to suffer with his seizures, I have a heavenly Father who knows what it is like to have watched his son suffer, all without anesthesia or morphine.

The entire booklet can still be found online here: Creations of God Impacted by Disability: One Mother’s Thoughts.

And I even found an early draft!

I’d like to see this booklet updated and posted as an ebooklet.  What do you think?

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Dianne and I often long for people to hear from all the leaders at Bethlehem who guide us in worship, prayer, introductions, communion and the like.  Our leaders consistently point us to God!

You already know my affections for David Michael, our pastor for Parenting and Family Discipleship and overseer of our disability ministry.  I’ve learned some tremendous things about prayer from him.

So when I saw he was going to pray during last Sunday’s worship, I recorded him.  He’s allowing me to share it with you.

David Michael Prayer 2-12-12

I don’t offer this to make much of David, because that would dishonor him and the God to whom he prayed.  I offer it because it is God-centered, rich in Bible, and deeply encouraging to my heart because it raises my eyes to see God!

May these two minutes bless you richly and point you to our magnificent, omnipotent, purposeful, glorious God.

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God used Paul Tripp to protect me from myself, again.  It doesn’t really matter what the circumstance was, I was letting a situation dictate a growing scoffing, sneering, dismissive attitude.

Then I read this:

I still need to be rescued from me because as long as sin remains I’ll be drawn to desire, think, say and do what God names as evil.

Quickly followed by this:

It’s my heart that’s the problem. People, locations and situations don’t cause me to sin, they’re where the sin of my heart gets revealed.

Paul Tripp, via @PaulTripp, Friday, January 13, 2012.

APTAT!

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