Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Praising God for the Gift of Life!

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3-5, KJV)

It is with joy-filled hearts that we announce that we are expecting a blessed addition to our family as Jill is now pregnant! A new child has been on our hearts and in our prayers for a long time and we praise the Lord that He has given us this precious gift of life! Children are an incredible gift from the hand of God and each family member of ours is very excited about the hope of bringing forth another child into this world. During this time, we are very keenly aware of God’s absolute sovereignty over all of life and we recognize that our lives are in His hands. It is the Lord that provides us with every breath we take (as we are told in Acts 17:25) and He is the One that has ordained our days before one of them came to be (according to Psalm 139:16).

Yesterday marked the passage of week 12 in the journey of this blessed pregnancy. Thus, the expected delivery date is July 14. As a husband, I have found that the times that my dearly beloved bride is pregnant to be some of the absolute sweetest times in all of life. What a blessing and a privilege it is to be able to provide care for our precious unborn child through providing care to my dear wife and what a joy it is to be able to see that baby growing and developing day by day through the changing shape of the one that I wed!

In the past, we have not found out the gender of our baby prior to the time of delivery and this time we plan to make no exception. We will be thrilled with either a boy or a girl and we enjoy the surprise of finding out at the time of delivery what God has knit together. May you all rejoice with us in the announcement of this new little life that our Heavenly Father is forming inside the secret and sacred place of the womb! The Lord is great and greatly to be praised!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008!

Last year, I (David) began writing a letter that I read on Christmas morning prior to opening our Christmas presents to aid in setting the tone for this special occasion. Here is this year's Christmas letter, which I hope that it will be a blessing to all who read it!

Christmas is a very blessed time of year as we celebrate the birth of our beloved Savior, Jesus! What a privilege it is that we can focus our attention on the time in history when God became flesh and dwelt among us! It is such a joy to be able to celebrate the real meaning behind Christmas as a family and I am filled with gratitude for God’s gift of marriage as well as His blessing of children. In addition to the three dear children that God has already entrusted to our care, we are very thankful to be expecting another child! This baby is truly an answer to prayer and we look forward to welcoming a new member into our family to be able to raise as a warrior in God’s army!

This Christmas may every thought, word, and action be pleasing to our Lord and King! The focus of our Christmas gifts this year is on our growth and development as individuals and as a family so that we will be all that God desires us to be. We are totally surrendered to His Lordship and we desire with our whole hearts to honor His Name. May the gifts that we open today be used as tools in helping to spur us on toward love and good deeds and may our entire Christmas celebration be a time of creating great family memories.

However, before we begin the opening of these gifts, let’s begin by looking back at the past to the first Christmas and learn from the Scriptures. Imagine with me for a moment what it must have been like when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds that very first Christmas. Here were the most ordinary of people in what was considered to be one of the humblest of professions receiving the news that the Savior of the world had been born! Indeed, they were given a message of good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people (Luke 2:10). The response of the shepherds to this news gives us a glimpse of their thoughts on this blessed night when God stepped into human history via that babe in Bethlehem and provides us with many important lessons for our lives today.

After hearing the message from the angel along with the praise from the heavenly host, the first reaction of the shepherds was to go and see the evidence of this incredible miracle of God becoming flesh. They traveled with haste to see the Promised One of God. This initial reaction by the shepherds represents obedience as they were acting on the truth that was revealed to them through the angel of the Lord. This initial response demonstrates to us that we, too, need to follow the truth that God gives through His Holy Word and His Holy Spirit.

After their obedience leading them to travel to see the Christ child, the shepherds proclaimed abroad what they had heard and seen (Luke 2:17). The truth that the angel of the Lord told them regarding the babe lying in a manger was verified and the shepherds would not keep silent about it! Instead, they served as God’s ambassadors by telling others the blessed news that God had shown to them. Our response should be akin to that of the shepherds by following their example to boldly testify to others of the truth that God has shown us.

The final response that we see from the shepherds is that they glorified and praised God (Luke 2:20). The shepherds exhibit the joy of the Lord after they have been obedient to act on what they were told and willingly proclaim what they had experienced with their own ears and eyes. What a blessing to be able to worship the Lord God Almighty and to be filled with His joy. May we do the same as those shepherds by lifting up the Name of the Lord on High- at Christmas and all throughout the year.

This Christmas may we learn from the shepherds to be obedient, humble servants who proclaim His truth to others and joyfully praise His Name.

Merry Christmas and may we please the Lord today through our time of celebration!