Monday, April 30, 2007

Grand Mesa & Hanging Lake

On our way to Colorado's Western Slope this weekend, we passed enormous snow drifts atop Grand Mesa. During our return trip last night, we stopped for a leg-stretching hike to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon. We also enjoyed sweet fellowship with Steve, Chris, Carl, Wanda, Bill, Martha, Darren, Lori and many others. Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the King of Creation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The View from Apple Land

Meg and I returned today from a quick trip to Washington State. Thanks to Nikki & Jim, Craig, Chuck, Ann, Patrick and Joanne for such wonderful hospitality! We had such a super-fun and encouraging visit with these dear fellow believers in Jesus and gawked at God's glorious creation in the Evergreen State.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our Favorite Emma Thompson Films

Meg and I just finished watching Stranger than Fiction. Will Ferrell was surprisingly good in this one, but Emma Thompson was even better. I took the bait that it turns out a tragedy, when in fact, it has a happy ending! So, our favorite Emma Thompson films of late are:

Stranger than Fiction
Nanny McPhee
And all those Harry Potter movies where she plays that crazy crystal ball teacher lady who teaches in the tower at Hogwarts.

Got any other good Emma Thompson film recommendations?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Psalm 23 and a Dwarf Hamster

Ruby, our beloved dwarf hamster, died tonight in a tragic cage accident. Sophie was the first to find Ruby dead and she let out the kind of scream that only a grieving 6-year-old girl can scream. That was about 2 hours ago and it set me running upstairs to a sound I will never forget. All three of my girls are asleep now, but only after many tears, prayers and a family reading of Psalm 23. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me." (verse 4) God's Word is truly comforting. It comforts in all sorts of encounters with death, even the death of a pet hamster.

Ruby's death was a big event in my family tonight, but obviously it was not one of the world's major events today. All around the world tonight, people are grieving over much larger tragedies that have occured in the last 24 hours. Yet tonight in the death of our little brown hamster, I find myself particularly offended by the presence of death in the world. It's just not the way it should be! When God made the world, it was good and there was no death. And then sin came and death came with it. And so tonight, people in Baghdad cried over a dead MP and a dead suicide bomber in the green zone. And at the same time, two little girls in Superior, Colorado cried over a dwarf hamster carcass. It all hurts. Not to the same extent in every encounter with death, but it still hurts. In many and varied ways, the presence of death in the world hurts and reminds us that things in this world are not the way they should be.

Praise God that death has been defeated in the death and resurrection of Jesus. And praise God that death will not always exist as such a harsh reality in the world. "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." (Revelation 21:4) God's fallen creation is not what it once was. But one day soon, heaven and earth will be made new again and death will not be there! With that hope, this daddy is now going to sleep.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

From the Valley of Vision

One of my good friends gave me a copy of The Valley of Vision last year. It's now my favorite prayer book (next to the book of Psalms, of course).

Here is a selection from page 390, entitled True Christianity.

Lord of Heaven,

Thy goodness is inexpressible and inconceivable.
In the works of creation thou art almighty,
In the dispensation of providence all-wise,
In the gospel of grace all love.
And in thy Son thou hast provided for
our deliverance from the effects of sin,
the justification of our persons,
the sanctification of our natures,
the perseverance of our souls in the path of life.
Though exposed to the terrors of thy law,
we have a refuge from the storm;
Though compelled to cry, 'Unclean',
we have a fountain for sin;
Though creature-cells of emptiness,
we have a fullness accessible to all,
and incapable of reduction.
Grant us always to know that to walk with Jesus
makes other interests a shadow and a dream.
Keep us from intermittent attention to eternal things;
Save us from the delusion of those
who fail to go far in religion,
who are concerned but not converted,
who have another heart but not a new one,
who have light, zeal, confidence, but not Christ.
Let us judge our Christianity,
not only by our dependence upon Jesus,
but by our love to him, our conformity to him, our knowledge of him.
Give us a religion that is both real and progressive,
that holds on its way and grows stronger,
that lives and works in the Spirit,
that profits by every correction,
and is injured by no carnal indulgence.

In Jesus' name, Amen.