Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ukrainian Satelite

I don't have cable at home so I have been surfing the six hundred channels here in our apartment in Ukraine. Nothing good is on. We have the God channel, the living God channel, and the holy God channel! It seems as if there are many other religious channels, Islam TV, eg., but I don't know the languages. We are still having a great time and without no serious complications in the adoption process yet. All of the categories for blogger are in Russian including the spell check, so you have to remember where things are if you want to do a post, unless there is some way to change the settings. Continue to pray for us.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Life in Ukraine

Things are different--a lot different. (I love the Ukraine and the people. The women are all wearing high boots and dressy clothes. Many of of the men wear business attire, but all dress nice. Their physical features are even unique.) There are some practical things to adjust to, however. Simple things like needing insert a room key into a slot to operate the elevator and turn the lights on in the room are new discoveries for me. The train is powered by electricity not diesel engines. Most of the cars are compact. They drive on the right side of the road like back home (most of the time at least). If there is the need for an additional lane they make one, or use the side walk, or ride on the street car tracks. If you want to walk across the street, and still live, it is safer to follow the locals, usually. McDonald's does not have breakfast food, but you can get a cheeseburger and cherry pie for breakfast if you want. I can hear crows all of the time, which reminds me of my childhood and some old movies. I cannot wait to go to church. Many of the churches are greatly adorned. They have high bell towers and are beautiful in their design both on the interior and externally. Today I am going to walk down to the Black Sea before going to the orphanage. It is sad to see so many children in need of a home. We hope to help in changing this.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Stranger in a Foreign Land

Sunday night we left for Kiev Ukraine. I hate flying! After having the daylights scared out of me we arrived in New York where we Waited for our next flight to Kiev. It is one of the most wonderful places I have ever been to. The European architecture is beautiful. The people of the Ukraine are a unique people. I like the food too. It is strange to be in a foreign land where not many people speak the same language as you. Our trip is going well. I will be posting video and pictures coming up. Leslie is also blogging here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Orphans of Ukraine Video

If you have not seen this yet, watch it now.

Leslie personally took the pictures on the video (this is current) except for the last few. Some are un-adoptable, some have been and are being adopted. But the others are waiting on you! What are you waiting for?

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Ultimate Gift

I have been very disappointed with the movies that are coming out. It seems like only one in twenty is worth watching. Well here is one I highly recommend. It is titled The Ultimate Gift. It is well worth the rent or purchase even.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mortifying Sin in a Non Legalistic Spirit

"The Lord said to Cain, 'If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.'" (Gen. 4:6,7 Not quoted verbatim).

We can be saved much misery in life if we could take this to heart. But we, like Cain, do not always do so. In the next verse Cain attacked his brother and killed him.
How easy it is to sin. How much harder it is to do what is right. How many times have I promised to never do a certain thing again only to find myself in the very next "verse" disregarding what is right, breaking yet another promise to myself and God, choosing sin, over and over again? Do I give up the fight? Shall I sin that grace may abound? God forbid!
I will continue to strive to master sin. This is the life struggle of the Christian. We must master it. We must be about the business of mortifying sin or it will mortify us.
Let us remember the choice that Cain made and its consequences, not following his example, but choosing good.
If we fail, and we will, let us pick ourselves up and get back into the fight. We cannot stay down. I will not stay down. Christ has forgiven me. He commands me to master sin. The Holy Spirit will help me. Besetting sins or not, we strive for the mastery of sin!
Sanctification is a reality and will do its work until the day I die. Sometimes it may look like and feel like we are loosing the battle, but we aren't. We press on, wounded, but toward victory. The war is won. Christ has declared it; but we remain in battle; and as such, we must fight. The enemy would still defeat us and make slaves of us.
Shall we be slaves or masters?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Panel to Consider Birth Control Prescriptions at Maine Middle School

Can a middle school prescribe birth control to an eleven year old, and that, without parental consent? Click to read.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Steve Brown Quote

To the best of my memory here is something Steve Brown said at St. Paul's during the Sunday sermon. "We are shocked at other people's sin because we have too high a view of ourselves." This is so true especially if you have been scared by legalism like me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Some Funny (and Embarassing) Things my kids have Said and Done

Nathanael asked his mom, "Does God ask for ten percent of our outcome?" while holding up some change left over after a candy bar purchase. She said, "You mean income!" I said, "God wants a hundred percent of our outcome, including the ten percent."

The holidays are coming up. My favorite time of the year. Hannah and Joshua were arguing last Christmas over the ingredients of eggnog. After much debate Joshua said, "Well it may have eggs in it, but it ain't got no nog in it!"

We were in church and one of the boys stretched to the extent of coming out of his shirt!

Dr. Sproul asked a question during the sermon and one of the boys gave an audible answer. I don't know who was in more shock, Dr. Sproul or us.

Hannah woke me up excited on the day of her baptism and said, "Dad wake up I am going to be hypnotized today!" Sproul got a kick out of this one.

We were filling out a loan application and one of the boys asked the guy who was African American, "Are you from Africa?" What can you do with that? They were small children learning about differences and similarities. Cut them some slack on this one and the next one.

Hannah went up to an obese lady in the park and said "what's wrong with your legs?" Again what can you do?

Kids can make you laugh and keep you humble.

Then there is the classic "What was things like in the old days when you were young?"

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spurgeon Quote

"Better a fortune in a wife than a fortune with a wife" (Spurgeon, Salt Cellars Pg. 73).

Friday, October 12, 2007

Flying - A Mark of Salvation?

I swore to myself I would never fly again after my last experience. The jet kept changing direction (it was at night time) which felt similar to what may be like riding with a drunk driver. There was a strong over powering smell of jet fuel and the wings kept rattling. I am scared of heights anyhow.
There is something unnatural about flying. If God wanted me to fly he would have made me an angel with wings not a man! Furthermore, who in their right mind gets on something moving when you can't even see who's driving?
We have to go to Ukraine and I am very nervous about flying. Pray for me. I do have this one comfort though and that is that this is evidence of my faith in God and salvation! I am just having a bit of trouble finding this particular mark of salvation in the bible. But its got to be in there somewhere!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

lex talionis

lex talionis is the law of retaliation and is seen in the old testament by way of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Punishment is proportionate to the crime. Justice is absolute.
Though the old testament emphasises the letter of the law it was Jesus that emphasised grace at this point. He said "turn the other cheek," did he not? Forgiveness is better medicine for the soul than justice more often than not. It also bears a strong witness.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Coram Deo

Coming up are some of my favorite Latin theological terms. Here is my very favorite.

Coram Deo means before God. This term is a reminder to me that I am always before God no matter what, and as such, I am reminded of how I ought to live. Do we really believe this to any real degree? If so how much different ought our lives be to line up with such a profound notion?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Self Esteem? Or Chief of Sinners?

It is only when we feel as if we cannot go on that God is closest to us and uses us most. In our weakness he is made strong. What makes us weak but sin?
Humility of spirit leads to a true understanding of who we are apart from God. When God raises our spirit we are exalted by and in God. Stripped of pride and all human ability we have find our true identity and purpose in life, which is to know and Glorify God. A low view of our selves is the result of and leads to having a high view of God. A healthy view of ourselves is to see ourselves as justified in Christ. We should be cautioned at this point not have an unbalanced view of our weaknesses, overemphasising them, because this would lead to a problem in and of itself.
We should stay fixed on Christ for it is only in Christ where we find the only source of self esteem (if we can even call it that) as opposed to popular thought. Paul was the chief of sinners. But that was two thousand years ago! I am the true chief of sinners.
How can one carry such a burden? One cannot. Christ does.
The thought of Christ as my source of sanctification causes me to press on towards godliness--in him. The thought of attaining sanctification on my own leaves no room for happiness of life at all, much less any sort of self esteem. I know I need to be more than what I am now. But I cannot be what I need to be apart from Christ. Apart from Christ there is nothing but despair. In Christ I find the curse of life lifted and the road home ahead.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

a Kempis Quote

"Thus it comes about that I, poor piece of humanity, am the theatre of civil war, a burden to myself, with the spirit trying to soar aloft, and the body endeavouring to stay below" (Thomas a kempis, Imitation Bk. III Pg. 188).

Monday, October 1, 2007

Truth and Gray Areas

When I was younger I saw all things as gray. What you did was up to you and what I did was up to me. We can all be right, was my motto. As a young Christian I saw more in terms of black and white than I do now. I emphasised objective truth to the detriment of subjective truth and experience. As I have matured somewhat on the subject, I am more sympathetic to the subjective than I was.
Over the last few years I began to allow for the possibility of there being legitimate gray areas in knowledge as relates to truth. But what I was not prepared for and what nobody told me (at least I was reluctant to hear it if they did) was that there is not only gray areas in life, but there are various shades of gray! What I speak of is not the fundamentals of Christian doctrine or of life, but concerns that are more controversial, where there is not much light given to know the truth of a matter with certainty.
Naturally there is an answer one way or the other, but arriving at the truth of a matter is at times impossible. Sometimes the fault lies with us and not that there is not enough light on a subject. We simply see gray when we are too ignorant to come to the knowledge of truth. The mode of baptism is a good example of a thing that is not gray, but is surrounded in controversy. While the use of alcohol in the life of the Christian can be a very gray issue, even allowing for truth for one and not for the other, depending on the persons conscience.
If you are like me and subjectivity is regaining a hold back in your life what are we to do? Keep a good balance using scripture as our guide for life.