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Tag Archives: Faith

First I want to define a few things up front before I begin.

 


Grace: Mercy, forgiveness, freely extended to individuals who deserve only wrath.

Belief/Faith: Treasuring Christ above everything, and living in a manner that reflects outwardly the inward Joy of that profession.

Weight: Value or cost of something. Not necessarily a burden, although the cost or value to one might seem burdensome given it’s elevated cost to the one who assumes that weight. (it will make more sense as you read)


 

Recently (this past Sunday) I began a discussion with a friend of mine from church regarding God’s Love vs. His Justice.  I want to outline this briefly to provide a basis for further development.  We know that God’s Justice is perfect, and that our trespasses against an infinitely worthy/innocent/glorious God carries the penalty of death and eternal separation from God.  We also know that by Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice at Calvary we, upon accepting and having faith in him, have his righteousness imputed to us.  This is a legal action, nullifying our transgressions before God and allowing us to be in his presence in fellowship forever.  The question this raises is, why? 

Why would God in his perfect justice offers us, horrible sinners (yes all of us), a free pass?  This we define as Grace, and is fueled by one of God’s other characteristics, his Love.  Stick with me, this isn’t a Rob Bell moment.  We know that Hell is real and not all will receive this pardon or Justification.  So it’s safe to assume at this point, that there is a weight to Grace.  Freely extended, but not freely applied?  Yes, I believe that. 

It all sounds so simple, say a prayer, make a profession, and I’m safe.  True believers know this isn’t the case.  Like the man who finds the treasure in the field and gives away everything so that he can have that treasure.  Did he get more than he gave?  Did he make these sacrifices in sadness?  No, he assuredly received more than he gave, and did so gladly and without regret.  The faith runs deep, is transformational, and works in an equivalent manner.  No, our faith is not works based.  Yes, our works are faith based, and faith is the price of our salvation and reception of this imputed righteousness.

So lets evaluate Faith, and I will keep it very simple here.  Faith as I stated above with belief is placing Christ above everything, including yourself.  The truth is, this manner of living is not unlike living in servitude.  You seek to please your master, with love, through service in accordance to His Will.  You also, were bought and paid for, with his blood which he in turn paid lovingly for you.  Now to a non-believer this cost seems amazingly high.  Both the fact that Christ had to die, and the idea that servitude is the path to freedom.  The truth of the matter is, you are already in slavery before becoming a servant.  If you weren’t, no cost would have been paid for you.  We were all slaves to sin.  That sin drove us to place ourselves above that which deserves Glory (God) and heaps it upon ourselves.  I liken this to slavery, because in this scenario, we are not truly accounted for.  We are another slave, fighting for our own portion, which is maggoty bread compared to what rests on the masters table.  Yet as a servant, we are at the table with our master.  In servitude one is looked after, their best interests met in order for them to greater serve.  It’s a bond of love, and fellowship, sealed in service.  It is symbiotic in a sense, and provides what Sin so readily destroys, harmony or shalom/peace.  (do not read that God NEEDS us so much as he WANTS us)

So what is the weight of Grace?  That isn’t so easily defined, but one could surmise, the weight of Grace is:

The most heinous act in history; which merits the most glorious freedom for the believer.  That price was paid at Calvary, and the price for the believer is: Love, faith, and service for the one who died, and glory for the One who sent Him. 

As John Piper said in a sermon once, (an excellent sermon if you have an hour to listen) and it rings true here.

“We get the savior, He get’s the glory.  We get the great Joy, He get’s the honor.  Is that ok?  Good knight that’s ok!  It can’t be any other way if there is a God and a sinner like me.”

 


 

Parting thought on being a servant…

Lets take a moment to address something else for those who find the idea of being a servant repulsive or indignant. 

In our western culture the idea of “servitude” seems like something that devalues an individual.  We as believers are called into adoption, as heirs, to the throne.  We are not equal, but, part of the family.  How often do you cringe at the thought or service to your parents?  Siblings?  Cousins?  Children?  These are intimate relationships and fellowship, just as the relationship that is formed with the believer and Christ. 

You are cared for, provided for, and loved; but your worth does not exceed the worth of your master.  That does not diminish a thing.  I fully believe that every human is built with a desire to serve, it’s intrinsic to our nature and our happiness.  I do not think this is a coincidence. 

So with that; who or what are you serving?

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So our little Maggie moo has had to get splints for her hands to wear while she sleeps.  The purpose?  To encourage her to keep her hands open more often.  The result?  She won’t sleep, at all.  She’s been making a lot of progress and has been very responsive to her physical and occupational therapy, but she has clearly drawn a little baby line in the sand on this one.

On the bright side, it does appear she’s keeping her hands open more, so they are working.  They are also helping us all suffer from sleep deprivation.  Will, having returned from a previous week with Grandma’s (the week before my lan party which was on the 3rd) has finally started to normalize from the spoiling that went down.  I love when he gets to spend time with his extended family, but I loathe trying to get him back into alignment afterwards.  It’s usually not accomplished without me being a iron wall, which no parent truly wants to be with their child.  Poor Amanda hasn’t been as lucky in terms of his best behavior in my absence.  It appears that we are at the point of: “Just wait till your daddy gets home”.  He is our little man though and we love him, he’s tons of fun, full of humor.  Right now with Maggie’s therapy, we are certain he is feeling a bit neglected.  It’s hard to explain to a 3 year old why their sibling is getting more attention than them.

Pray for them both and my wife as well.  These are trying, stressful times for all of us.  There are days where we feel absolutely broken.  We are still blessed, but the world has a way of blinding you from that.


In other news, I’m officially doing OSD testing and building as of the past two weeks.  So another SCCM feature/function/tech that I’ve had the chance to use in an applicable fashion.  So far I’m enjoying it, the initial building and testing though is very time consuming.

I’ve mostly been toying with MDT then applying what I see/learn from there to my SCCM builds.  It’s interesting, but I will assume it becomes less intense after I configure a baseline.

I’m also down to (started at 178) 164 lbs now and down 2 pants sizes from my workout regiment and dietary change. 

That’s all I have for now, for this disjointed blog post.

So as I sit here, still stuck on an energy rush from this weekends excitement and the one to come, it hit me. 

How easily do things grab hold of us and jerk us into new directions.  I’m generally a very focused worker.  I’ve lately been a bit stand offish about my video game play, and been anti gadget.

Yet, here I am, tinkering endlessly with this modified nook, anticipating long hours of play with my friends this weekend, and unable to focus on my job.  Albeit I’m doing my job, its with great determination that I remain on task.

How much more or less is our faith a part of our being when we are so easily pulled this way and that? That our hearts and minds are so easily redirected.  I’m thankful to say that I’ve continued to read the word, remain in prayer, and give glory to God in what I’m doing and in what is being done for me… this time.  This isn’t always the case for me, or for others.  To witness that these idols come and go, serves as an amazing contrast to Gods steadfast nature.  Why would we need anything more? Why do we forget that?  That answer is both simplistic and complex, sin, or that our chief idol is ourselves and not our Creator. 

So my wife and I have been waiting for today.

No, it’s not a holiday or anything special like that.  Today is the day that we take our sweet little girl Maggie to her occupational therapist for review.  This is the day we find out the extent of her trauma from birth.  This is the day that we cling to God the tightest.

We are fearful of what we might find out, we are excited about being taught how best to work with our beautiful little girl.  In the end, God is enough.  We pray that what afflicts our daughter is manageable.  That her quality of life won’t be jeopardized by the news we find out today.  We know that all things to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.  We know that His grace is sufficient.  We know that he is our strength and our portion forever.  So even though our flesh or our children or our jobs or our world may fail us.  He will not.

God will be glorified in no matter what comes from today, I pray that our daughter is healed for his name sake.  That we might proclaim his miraculous work through our daughter.

If you are reading this, please take some time today to pray for us. 

This is so much bigger than us.

 

-Daniel, a loving father


Three years and five months ago we welcomed a beautiful little boy into this world.  I finally met him, but you knew him for at least 4 years and 2 months, effectively giving you two a 9 month lead on daddy.

will and mommy

And 8 months ago we welcomed in a beautiful sign of God’s grace and mercy into our life with our baby girl.  You’ve known her 1 year and 5 months, again a 9 month lead.

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You know our children, you love, in abundance, our children.  You carry on for them when I would break from the strain and you do it time and again.  You help me to keep them in and aware of the word of God and you intercede, respectfully, on behalf of our children when they need it.

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You love our God, and your role as a steward to our children so much that you have gladly abandoned what the world demands of a you.  Refusing to allow any inappropriate secondary influences take precedence in our children’s lives.  You inspire me to be a better father, as you inspire me to be a better husband, which inspires me to be a better man and Christian.

You care for me with a love and a heart that is greater than you even have for our children, and for that I give glory to God.  Our children don’t know it now, but one day they will realize how amazing their Mother is, and see her Father reflected in her.  In that way, they could have no better mother.

Happy mothers day baby.

 

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Here I am riding to find your present mommy!

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Here I am holding your presents from me my mommy!

And uh, this may not make sense yet, but it will.

shipped

I love you.


Recently we were told to take our 7 month old daughter Maggie to be reviewed for early intervention. She qualified! In all areas of development! It was like being hit with a sack of rocks. More so for my wife even than I. Our daughter nearly died during child birth, and was without decent oxygen and blood circulation before they successfully removed her. So to some end we knew that this might be possible, and we of course knew she was behind or not quite right on some of her milestones. However, having it there in your face is just overwhelming.

Fortunately through the state of Alabama and members of our faith family who are occupational therapists, we gathered a lot of great information and had a review conducted in our home for placement almost immediately after the initial review. We were told hand in hand is the one of the top early intervention places here in Alabama so we sought placement with them.

We trust God for everything.  He who promised is faithful, and if he has his eye on the sparrow we knew that he had his hands firmly rested on us.  That being said, Amanda and I spent a lot of time discussing in depth our Savior and then I placed the infamous question on my wife. 

“What if God is most glorified in our daughter being mentally handicapped?”

 


The Joy of a Husband {

I take my role as Spiritual leader in this house very seriously.  This was a time of necessary spiritual growth, and I was lead to, well, lead.  However, this was a time when I wanted to give my life up for my wife so she wouldn’t feel that pain of facing this realization!  We can’t place our joy in anything that is not eternal; our children included.  They are a blessing, and a source of joy, but inevitably we must fix ourselves firmly on our Savior. 

Though my flesh and my heart may fail me, the Lord is my strength and my portion forever.

It was a night of tears, prayer, and anguish.  Amanda continues to amaze me, she recognized immediately that she was more interested in the hand of blessing and not the hand itself.  The most amazing part of that to me, was she was MORE upset that she wasn’t loving God as she realized she should.

                   Wow. 

I continued to pray over my wife and daughter as she prayed for herself and for Maggie.

3 Amazing things happened:

  1. The following day our sister in law sent an email pouring her heart out to Amanda essentially discussing the exact same thing we had discussed in private the night before.  Also saying that she had felt compelled to pray for complete healing for Maggie, and was praying for our peace.  It’s worth mentioning no outward signs have been given regarding the emotional struggles my wife has been dealing with. –thank you Spirit-
  2. A few minutes after our prayer request went out for Maggie to be accepted into Hand in Hand, another email came in to let us know we were accepted into Hand in Hand.
  3. My wife felt the Spirit move and found Joy in seeing God at work in her life.  The word was alive and she now understands what it means to find Joy in God.  This of course, to me, is the greatest.
    The greatest Joy of a teacher is when their students can grasp it.  More importantly when that student is your best friend and greatest earthly love.  I’m so thankful God allowed me to be a part of that growth.

    } dnabsuH a fo yoJ ehT


So now where are we on Maggie? Hey, don’t you have a son too?

The Joy of a Father {

During the giggly bear’s evaluation (Maggie), they had marked her off for quite a few things.  Some of the more specific ones was not even attempting to mimic speech, using her hands around the midline, bring things to her mouth, lift up on her hands while on her belly.

So guess what she’s started doing?  Yea, and today while I was at work she apparently was using a sippy cup.. 

sippy cup

We aren’t where we need to be yet, but I have faith we will get there.


Now for my road dog (Will).  Will has a habit of grabbing phones and having long fake conversations with people.  Lately he’s become increasingly more upset that I go to work everyday.

“Why you go work air-day daddy?” “You go work day daddy?” “No, you no go work day daddy.”

It’s sweet, but it’s become something that grates on my nerves constantly explaining myself for keeping the lights on to my kid…

Anyway, today Amanda gave me a heads up that he was pretending to talk to me on her cell phone over messenger.  So I stopped what I was doing and dialed her cell phone and had a (surprisingly) lengthy conversation (well for a 3 year old) on the phone.  As I hung up the phone and I heard:

“Ok, I go now, I love you very much daddy”

… there aren’t words.  Seeing my son grow, seeing his love, his personality, and now starting to see signs of his grasping of the Gospel….. As we were pulling into the neighborhood the other night from who knows where hearing that little voice:

“Mommy, Jesus loves you, and he loves me too.”

                   ….. The prayer that my son will one day be my brother ….

talkin to daddy

…….We’re working on it!

} rethaF a fo yoJ