Wasdat?

I love how inquisitive our oldest daughter Eden is at the moment. She’s one month shy of her 2nd birthday, yet every day surprises us with a new word she’s learnt, or a new question she asks.

Today at the supermarket (where she insists on carrying the basket herself, and getting a good upper-body workout in the process):

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E: Wasdat?
W: Chocolate.
E: Choclate. *smiles*

Another fun thing we do are question and answer games. We do fun ones like:

C: Eden, why do owls sleep during the day: because they’re..?
E: Notturnal!

As well as catechism questions:

W: Who made everything?
E: God.
W: How many gods are there?
E: One God.
W: How many persons are there in God?
E: Free puhsons.
W: Who are the persons in God?
E: Fazer, Sun, Holy Biwit. (though she often forgets the Son… gotta keep working on that one)

Or just general encouragement of reading her books:

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W: What’s in your book?
E: *picks up the book* Wesh-mesh abash-meyar… (she continues reading, even if what’s in front of her actually says “To” and “From”)

I also love it when she comes up to my office desk and asks to “type”. She has her own workstation as you can see here (on her keyboard so far is a star, a smiley face, a circle and a diamond):

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But by far our most cherished moments are when Eden sings. She sings along to many of the hymns and songs that we put on during the day, to the point where she requests them using her own made-up callsigns, then joins in the singing (her words are getting there!).

Oh, may God grant her a curious mind throughout life!

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What does sin have to do with my four dead girls?

Tim Keller shares a practical example of gazing at Jesus Christ for the peace of God that surpasses all understanding:

“Horatio Spafford was an American lawyer who lost everything he had in the Chicago fire of 1871. Only two years later, he sent his wife, Anna, and their four daughters on a ship across the Atlantic Ocean to England. The ship hit another ship and began to sink. As it was sinking, Anna got the four little girls together and prayed. The ship went under the water, and they all were scattered into the waves, and all four little girls drowned. Anna was found floating unconscious in the water by a rescue ship. They took her to England, and she cabled Horatio Spafford just two words: “saved alone.”

When Spafford was on the ship on his way to England to bring his wife home, he began to write a hymn – “It is well with my soul… When peace, like a river…” Those are the words he wrote.

Here is what I want you to think about: why would a man dealing with his grief, seeking the peace of God – the peace like a river – spend the entire hymn on Jesus and His work of salvation? And why would he bring up the subject of his own sin at such a time? He wrote:

My sin, oh, though the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more.
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

What has that got to do with his four little girls who are dead? Everything!
Do you know why? When things go wrong, one of the ways you lose your peace is that you think maybe you are being punished. But look at the cross! All the punishment fell on Jesus. Another thing you may think is that maybe God doesn’t care. But look at the cross! The Bible gives you a God that says, “I have lost a child too; but not involuntarily – voluntarily, on the cross, for your sake. So that I could bring you into my family.”

In that hymn you can watch a man thinking, thanking and loving himself into the peace of God. It worked for him under those circumstances. It worked for Paul under his circumstances (Phil 4:6-13). It will work for you.

- Timothy Keller, “Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering”, p.311-2

Power of Words

Seeing the whole gospel story in Christ alone

Some of you know that at our church we’ve started a year-long project of memorising 10 hymns of the faith. I spent a few weeks getting the music and the hymn books together in preparation. We started our first one (In Christ Alone) at the beginning of March, and on Sunday (while I was worship leading), we sang the entire hymn without the projected words. At the back of my mind I wondered what proportion of the church had been actively trying to memorise each hymn, or if it would be of much benefit.

So I was really encouraged to get this feedback from someone at church (the person has asked to remain anonymous):

“I have to admit – I used to not like In Christ Alone that much. It had become monotonous for me. Well, I would like to let you know that memorising the whole song has brought about a remarkable change. For the first time, I no longer heard the tune, but visually saw the whole song. I can’t quite articulate what I mean, but it was as if I saw the song only in its various parts with the first and last verse being the most obvious. But by memorising the song, I finally saw the whole song and would visualise the song in my mind when singing it.

It made a big difference to the way I sang the song too, whereby I no longer heard the tune, but saw the whole gospel story.

Look forward to memorising the next song.”

That comment made my day – praise be to God!

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules…

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Loved reading this again with E tonight:

Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doin. It’s about God and what he has done.

Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of te people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose), they get afraid and run away. At times, they’re downright mean.

No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescues the ones he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!

You see, the best thing about this Story is – it’s true.

There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling on Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.

It takes the whole Bible to tell this Story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in the puzzle–the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

- Sally Lloyd-Jones, The Jesus Storybook Bible