Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cheer-leaders, Chickens and Children

That title makes me smile.

It's been a wild last 3 weeks and in the best of possible ways.

Teresa and I, and Grant, got to go to NC to be with Kimmy and Ian to await the arrival of Job Luther Lugg. Grant and I went to a marketing seminar in the middle of the time we were there and Job came after with put in the new flooring in the house and even waited until we got back from Florida. God allowed him to come at the exact right time for all of us to get to enjoy it.

Being a dad is great. Not because I get to boss people around at home but because I get to see the change that happens in the lives of people I am very close to. With Kimmy there have definitely been some roller coaster types of times- she's a girl and we sort of expect that there will be highs and lows. Watching my little girl being pregnant and then getting to be in the room, though behind a curtain, for the birth was both hard and awesome. Hard, because that's my little girl laboring. Awesome, because this is exactly what she has dreamed about almost her entire life; being a wife and a mom.

I am struck by a few things with this experience and added to this having chickens. I would expect you to ask "What does having chicken have to do with labor, delivery and grand-parenting". I'm glad you asked. I think it has much more to do than may first meet the eye, or ears.

In child labor there is almost always a birth coach. They really have nothing to do with the actual delivery. If they weren't there the child would still arrive. If they are good or bad a baby still enters the world. What is their job? Encourage the new mom and keep them focused.

So what does that have to do with chickens? Our chickens are new at laying eggs, in fact they haven't all laid even one egg yet. I would assume that as they have more egg-laying experience that this trend will not be so prevalent, but yesterday Teresa called me and told me that there was a bunch of noise coming from the coup. I had been working on some things in the coup and had stepped out to get some supplies. She went in to investigate that ruckus and one of the chickens was in the new nesting boxes "laboring" to get this egg out. All the rest of the hens were down on the ground "cheering" her on. She was being supported by her fellow hens. Much the same way as a birth coach would cheer on the mom.

Our Christian life is in some respects the same way. There are a lot of hard times and sometimes we get down and just need a little cheering on. The trials will probably come no matter if there is a cheering section or not, but it is much easier to endure the trials and hardship of life if there is someone there, who is familiar with our circumstances, to cheer us on. That is the job of the Boby.

There is another link to the spiritual aspect of this and that is there is One Who has been tempted in all ways, and yet was sinless and He is our High Priest Who is familiar with all our weaknesses, Who know exactly what we are going trough and He never leaves or forsakes us. We have a "Royal Cheer-leader" with us at all times.

As I was listening to Kimmy labor, as I watched her struggle to stay focused through many hours of contractions, as I watched Iam try to comfort her, though there is a reason they call it labor, I reminded myself that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them much more than I- which is hard to imagine but I know it is true, and He knows precisely what they need at this time.

We still have a part in the cheer-leading and that is what we should be doing, but there is One Who can comfort much more than we ever can and we must focus on Him in the hard times. Come alongside your friends in need and encourage them to look to the One who is really able to meet their need.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pleasure and Pain

In our life to Life group the other night the question of trials and God's care came up and I read this and thought it was well connected. Maybe it will clarify things for you as well.

(James Smith's autobiography, "Marvelous Mercy!" 1862)

The following in an excerpt from the diary of James Smith:
It has just occurred to me, that the reason why the Lord has of late allowed me to be so severely tried--is that I have been very little at His throne of grace. Nor have His promises appeared so precious, pleadable, and suited to my case.

Jesus is determined to have me often at His throne, and if the invitations and promises of His Word will not draw me there--then He will send trials to drive me there! Blessed Jesus, are you not saying to me by every trial, "Call upon Me! Make use of Me! See what I will do for you!"

What a proof of the deep depravity and base ingratitude of my heart is this--that You are obliged to send trials and troubles to bring me to Your feet! Yet it is so! For unless drawn by the cords of Your loving-kindness, or driven by painful trials--I seldom come to You with earnestness, fervor, and life!

I am so prone to wander, to be light and trifling--troubled by shadows, and excited by mere trifles! I abhor myself because I am vile! O how base my heart is, to despise so glorious a privilege, and to neglect so choice a duty!
O Jesus, cleanse it by Your precious blood!
O Holy Spirit, purify it by Your sacred operations, and keep it by Your power!
O Righteous Father, devote it wholly to Yourself! Give me submission--help me patiently to carry my cross after Jesus, though it is rough, heavy, and galling. From the depths of my heart I can say,
"A sinful, weak, and helpless worm;
On Your kind arms I fall!"

What a proof of the loving-kindness of Jesus to my soul is this--that He will not allow me to be comfortable or happy, while living at distance from Him!

Blessed Jesus! pardon me, correct me--but never leave me to myself! Draw me--or drive me; but never allow me to live long at a distance from You!

Gracious Lord Jesus,
keep me near You,
looking to You,
living for You,
leaning on You,
believing in You, and
expecting from You, all that I need!

Surely this is a sweet life--living on Jesus alone, making Him all in all!

"O bring me to Your sacred feet,
And let me rove no more!"

Friday, August 5, 2011

As we await the arrival of another generation into our family, in a beautiful facility with all the latest technology I can't help but think about days of old and so many countries that don't have access to this blessing. I don't want to take it for granted.
What would it be like for the literally millions of young women across he continent of Africa who don't have air conditioning so they labor in the intense heat knowing full well early on in their pregnancy that the likely potential of the child living past 5 years is less than 50%. They know that there is a good possibility that they may labor for as long as a week and lose the child and also may end up with a fistual that will then cause them to lose their family. Not to mention how they will feed the baby or if they, themselves, will be healthy enough to care for this next generation.
We are blessed in so many ways and we want to celebrate well all the blessings that God has given us.