A Letter To My Best Friend’s Newborn Son

Posted in relationships

Little man,

Even before I met you I loved you… because I love your mom. We met in 2nd grade. She got me. And I got her. We became best friends, hetero-life partners, and pretty inseparable from that year on. I’ve stood by her more times than I can remember, as we graduated from college, and on her wedding day.

I know a great deal about your mom: how she’s diligent with anything she sets her mind to; how she seizes the moment and enjoys it to the fullest; how she’s smart and cares deeply for those she loves. I’ve watched her grow as a woman, friend, wife, and daughter. I’ve cried with her, laughed with her, pondered life’s confusion with her. I know the moments that strung together as she fell in love with your dad, all the emotions she felt the morning she married him, and how excited they are about you entering their lives.

Almost 20 years from the day we created our secret handshake, here we are, and you’re here — one of their greatest adventures.

Your mom is, to put it plainly, the best. I am unashamedly biased, and I know someday you will be also. She is strong, beautiful, and brave.

I’m one of your “adopted aunts,” meaning alongside your parents I will pray for you, cheer you on, and do my best to always point you to Jesus.

Your mom will listen to you rant and ramble about Legos and firetrucks, then famous athletes and music, then your college major and who you choose to date.

She’ll make your favorite snacks, sing loud your favorite songs, and enjoy your favorite movies with you.

She’ll champion your strengths, and love you in your weaknesses. She will want what is best for you, and while it might seem annoying at the time, know that she does what she does because she believes in you.

She likes life to be organized and put together, but she’ll do her best not to be crazy about it. Be patient with her. You are her firstborn, and every day as you learn something new, she’s learning too.

She’ll spend hours re-reading you your favorite stories.

You will disagree with her, saying she doesn’t understand you, and y’all will argue, but try to remember she’s always in your corner. Do your best to love her back, even when you think she’s bonkers.

And in moments of frustration, I’ll remind you that she genuinely does know what she’s talking about when she gives advice about difficult teachers, making new friends, and how to treat girls you think are cute.

She’s not perfect, no one is, but she’ll spend her days joyfully teaching, loving, encouraging, and counseling you.

But you should know, you’ve come into a pretty amazing family. Your dad is smart and fun and loves your mom well. You’ll grow up surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles who will play with and support you.

Together, your mom and dad will teach you how to grow and love in this world. Listen to them, respect them, trust them. And give them as much grace as you can muster when they make mistakes, because mistakes are a part of being human.

And even though we’re not close right now — you’re only a week old, and sadly I live 2 hours away — I know we will be. You can count on me too.

Your mom is special to me, I carry her in my heart. And now, I’ll carry you there also.

the good news of the gospel

Posted in faith

The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it–or the righteousness of another.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself.

But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead–so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective.

It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone.

The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone.

You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

—R.C. Sproul

a high view of God is our stability in any situation

Posted in faith

It’s a week where multiple out of control things have crossed our path – a scary diagnosis, an uncontrollable wildfire, difficulty among relationships.

Out of control being the key phrase. I can’t change hearts. I can’t send rain. I can’t heal someone’s body.

In trials, tempting emotions are fear, worry, disappointment, or hopelessness, but an even greater call than those is the call to look at God.

To gaze at God is another way of saying: remember God! (Which is another way of saying “look away from you and your resources and look to your Father.”) We must go beyond acknowledging His existence and step higher into His nature.

God is vastly different than we are. He doesn’t need sleep or nourishment. He isn’t surprised by circumstances. He doesn’t need to learn new facts. He is present in yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is sovereign over every rain drop, sickness, activity, problem, and occasion. Not only is His power limitless, unrivaled by anything on earth, He is purely good and perfectly kind, never changing.

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3

Our view of the Trinity must be higher and greater than our view of what is around us or inside of us.

To widen, deepen, and lengthen this vision of God, we need Scripture. If we don’t learn who He is from His Word, we unintentionally live considering God like we consider ourselves.

I write this from personal experience. My view of God was small, human-like, resulting in a distorted view of His nature, producing anxiety and pride, instead of blood-bought identity and new life. But He’s gracious in not leaving us in our natural patterns of thinking, but continually renewing us to holier ones.

In her book None Like Him, Jen Wilkin says this:

Image-bearing means becoming fully human, not becoming divine. It means reflecting as a limited being the perfections of a limitless God. Our limits teach us the fear of the Lord. They are reminders that keep us from falsely believing that we can be like God. When I reach the limit of my strength, I worship the One whose strength never flags. When I reach the limit of my reason, I worship the One whose reason is beyond searching out.

Find comfort in this: God is an expert on you. He knows every detail, past and future, of every circumstance, joyous or sorrowful, in your life. We remember Psalm 139:1-6, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.”

He is an expert on every heart. We cannot change people, no matter how passionately we desire peace, restoration, or maturity for them. This is God’s domain. We pray His great grace in another’s life, and encourage them toward His Word however we can.

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