Friday, August 31, 2007

Life as seen from a four year old's camera Album 2

If you missed Album 1 click here.

Flowers celebrating the strong possibility of a baby girl.

Someone is impersonating Chops...Andrew Whitman, is that you??

Good friends

Mem-mem and a little canoe monkey

Mem-mem and Mommy

Mem-mem by the garden

Feed the Birds

Not the best picture of one of our resident bluejays but considering they grab and fly in a flashing flutter back to the fence for the seed-cracking ceremony, I was fortunate to get him there at all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Understanding the Spirit's Work

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)

As we are teaching and training our four year old son, we are praying, like all other responsible Christian parents, that God will save him and that it might happen while he is still young. So it was while I was reading Dr. Martyn Llyod-Jones book, God's Ultimate Purpose, An Exposition of Ephesians 1, that I found his teachings on Ephesians 1:3 lifting me above my usual understanding of what spiritual blessings we have received.
Here is Pastor Lloyd-Jones teaching on how a person can ever become spiritual.
Man by nature is not interested in spiritual matters at all; they seem strangely remote to him. He is interested in the life of this world, in things that can be seen and touched and felt and handled; but when you begin to talk to him about the soul and the things of the spirit he really does not know what you are talking about. This is so because he is dead and his life is governed by the 'prince of the power of the air'. He is interested in houses and in horses, in dogs, in animals, in furniture, in pleasures of various kinds and business and great affairs; but begin to talk to him about communion with God and the life of the Spirit and he is at once in an utterly strange realm. And he will remain in that condition until the Holy Spirit begins to quicken him and to put a spiritual principle in his life. He needs a spiritual mind, a spiritual outlook and a spiritual understanding; and the Spirit gives these blessings in regeneration. These are preliminary blessings that come to us through the Spirit to prepare us to receive the fulness that is in Christ. He then proceeds to convict us of sin, to make us see something of our utter emptiness and woe. He makes us see how appalling it is that God should be of no interest to us, the things of eternity utterly remote, and these great things of the Spirit boring and unattractive to us. He makes us see the enormity of our sin.

And it's those last two sentences that gripped me as I seek to explain to my son how terrible sin is and what it has done to us.
It has gouged out our spiritual eyes and left us to see only ourselves and our selfish pleasures. It is only by the Holy Spirit that we recoil from ourselves and see what our sin has caused us to become and do.
Martyn Llyod-Jones calls this act a "preliminary blessing that comes to us through the Spirit to prepare us to receive the fulness that is in Christ." This initial work of the Holy Spirit is what Reformed theologians speak of as regeneration. Our minds are being given a spiritual awakening as to our true condition. We see with a spiritual mind and a spiritual understanding what our sinfulness entails.
But thankfully, the Holy Spirit does not leave us there to drown in the tsunami of the wretchedness of our sin. He moves to provide another spiritual blessing for us. Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues:
Next, the Holy Spirit gradually leads us on to contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ and his perfect work on our behalf. He gives us the faith by grace. 'By grace are ye saved through faith'(Ephesians 2:8). The Spirit creates faith in us. 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned'(1 Corinthians 2:14). So the Spirit enables us to exercise this gift of faith and thus we come to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
...The Holy Spirit then leads and guides us and keeps us in this union, so that we are enabled progressively to receive Christ's fulness, and 'grace upon grace', 'grace after grace'.
...This is what happens to us as Christians; this is God's way of salvation.

When we understand what the work of the Holy Spirit includes, it is only then that we can truly say, "It's all of Him and none of me".
And this is why I continually need to take the gospel to my son and take my son to God the Father and intercede on his behalf. His four year old spiritual eyes are still dim, perhaps not even open at this point, but by the Spirit's awakening and convicting, we pray that he may soon see Christ in all His fullness and can experience life in Christ.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Examining Dispensationalism

Reformed amillenialist author and pastor Kim Riddlebarger critiques Pastor John MacArthur's lecture entitled Why Every Self-Respecting Calvinist is a Premillennialist delivered earlier this year at the Shepeherd's Conference hosted by MacArthur's church Grace Community Church. I found Pastor Riddlebarger's brief comments helpful in furthering my understanding of what difficulties there are with the dispensational premillenial view.
A Reply to John MacArthur

I have not had time to really study this next link, but I am including it with this post as it on the same topic and because I think it is a helpful list.
Dispensationalism Scripture List

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

This it currently stands

I went in for a 20 week ultrasound on Monday(picture will come later)and so far I have had no follow-up call from the midwife which I am taking as a good sign. I haven't been gaining much weight yet so that has me a bit concerned as I'm just finishing my fifth month. But my tummy is getting bigger and the clothes are getting smaller, so something must be growing. :)
I've been gimpy since yesterday morning when I stretched my legs while still in bed and got the ever-popular leg cramp burn. And since late this afternoon I've noticed my other calf isn't feeling so hot either. Obviously it doesn't like having to do the work of its mate in addition to its own.
On a brighter note, I have some cleaner windows and doors that are letting the sunlight shine in with much gusto. My son spent much of the day playing at the neighbor's house, so I tackled the windows in his absence. He had helped "wash" them earlier this week, so I didn't want him to see me going back over them. The urgent to-do list is still too long, but having conquered quite a bit today, I will look forward to a hastily planned visit with some friends tomorrow.
I've decided to dig back into the book of Revelation for my daily reading and instead of trying to figure out my views on future events, I'm enjoying studying the imagery used to describe the heavenly scenes. I try to will myself to think outside that which is familiar and known to picture what the apostle John saw, but being that I am creaturely, I am limited in my imaginative scope. Much of the language has it's roots in the OT, which makes the book seem less mysterious and more grounded somehow.
My oldest brother turned 40 this week which reminded me that I turned 31 this past March, not 30 as I mistakenly thought for about four seconds this morning as I was drying my hair. I never understood until about two years ago how people could forget how old they were. Now I get it. My mind is in denial, so it retreats back to what is familiar...youth.

Friday, August 10, 2007

13 weeks

Baby B, originally uploaded by bookishgirl.

Since I am scheduled to have a 20-week ultrasound this Monday it seems strange to just be posting this one. However I only recently had access to a scanner, so there was very little I could do about the delay. Hopefully I can post the next pic a little quicker!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Thinking back to Baby #1 while preparing for Baby #2

I just started my fifth month of pregnancy for our second child and since I'm starting to show, I am more conscious that I am "expecting".
Our first son was born just 13 months after our first wedding anniversary. I was living in New Brunswick for the duration of the pregnancy and had a close friend who highly recommended a parenting book. So I picked up my copy and started reading. I then loaned it to my mother-in-law to see if she felt the ideas matched the advice she had been providing to me, which was babies need a schedule. Sleep, eat, play. Sleep. eat, play. That was the main structure of the schedule. So with my newborn, I began to work on those three areas of baby's life. My son, however didn't like sleep. He liked eating often and sleeping little. Three months in, I was a wreck. I was operating on much interrupted sleep and tricky breastfeeding issues. Things were not going well. At six months, I wanted to strangle anyone who suggested we might have more children. Then the tide began to turn. Baby began to sleep for longer intervals at night and have solid naps throughout the day. I forgot about writing in my Baby's First Year Calendar, it was a struggle I didn't want to record. Life began to smooth out. Baby was sleeping in his crib for at least 6-7 hours a night and napping predictably without needing a car ride or a sit in the swing(which we adamantly avoided). If he cried when put to bed, it only last for several minutes and then he was sound asleep immune to the noise of the guests in the living room. We were able to have mothers and in-laws put him to bed without much fuss and he enjoyed seeing these now familar faces. We worked on keeping quiet for church and prayer times and he worked on sitting up without falling over. Every visit to the doctor saw progress on his developmental curve. Yes, he wasn't crawling yet, but his legs were sturdy and his manner was alert and aware. So we waited, hoping it wouldn't take him too long to catch up. Crawling at 13 months was late, and perhaps so was walking at 17 months, but he was learning and there was nothing medically wrong with him. I congratulated parents whose children were outdoing our son, knowing that although he might be slower he would catch up in all the right areas.
Today our four year old son is a endurance runner; he has staying power. And his steady hands make fine motor skills come easier. He's now working on conquering the first levels of phonics. "Mommy, what letter does f-f-f-f-ast make?" I say, "ffffff". He says, "f!". Two weeks ago, he didn't understand this world-of-letters-having-their-own-unique-sounds thing. Today he went to play with the neighbor girls. He asked if he could ride his bike there(another newly acquired skill!). The path to their door is visible from our door. I said sure, surprised to see the bike interest growing. "Can I take monkey too?" Yes again. So monkey is carefully stuffed into the zippered bike bag. I carry the tricycle down the front steps, put on the helmet and sandals and help him navigate the brief incline to the walking path. Off he pedals to the neighbor's walkway. He brings the bike to a halt, climbs down and slips his helmet off his head. Hanging it on the handlebar, he walks around to the bike bag and hauls monkey from his zippered spot. He looks back at me while I wave to him. Slowly he walks to the front door, clutching monkey. I call to him to ring the doorbell and soon a little friend is there to let him in the air-conditioned house. He made it and I just watched, a little sad but mostly proud of how far he's come in four short years.


Putting my daughter to bed two hours after the bridge collapsed