Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mi Familia

In my last two blog posts, I talked about my thankfulness for God and for His saving grace. In today's blog, I wanted to post about the next most important aspect of life that I am thankful for: mi familia (my family).

First, I thank God for creating us as relational beings and for creating the family unit. The Bible tells us in Genesis that God created all things. Over and over again, when we read these accounts of His creation, we see that He saw that it was good. But when God makes man, for the first and only time He makes an interesting observation: It is not good for man to be alone. This is the only time in the creation account that God calls something not good. What was God's solution? I believe that answer becomes clear when we read the entire verse that I referenced above with regard to God's calling man's loneliness "not good." Genesis 2:18* reads, "The the LORD God said, 'It is not good that man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.'" God's solution was a relationship. In fact, we read the following words of Jesus in Mark 10:6-9: "But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'" Anyone who has ever attending a Christian wedding has likely heard that verse before. The Bible actually has a lot to say about the family unit. When describing the trinity, two of the distinct persons (important note: there is only one God, who is three distinct persons; this truth is referred to theologically as "the trinity.") are referred to in familial terms: God the Father and Jesus, God the Son. Paul dedicates a section of Ephesians to a description of how various members of the familial should treat each other: Husbands to wives, wives to husbands, children to parents and fathers to children (Ephesians 5:22-6:4). Exodus 20:12 lists the fifth of the Ten Commandments given to the Israelites which informs children to obey their parents. Paul alludes to this in the Ephesians passage I referenced. And even all this doesn't begin to scratch the surface of the Bible's references to the family unit. God created and ordained the family unit. So my thanks for my family ultimately belongs to Him.

So, who is my family that I am thankful for? Let me do my best to list them as follows, along with some specifics that I am thankful for with regard to the two most important people in my life:

My Wife

Polly - As I mentioned above, when Polly and I were married, we ceased being two separate individuals and became one. We are unified. I love Polly more than my words could ever express with the deepest love I can. Now, I know I'm not perfect. Sometimes I can be short while at others I can be a whining baby, but I truly do love her, praying for her daily and daily asking God to help me love Polly "as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (quote taken in context from Ephesians 5:25). Though I fall short, I attempt to satisfy proper love as defined in 1 Corinthians 13. Specifically, 1 Corinthians 13:2-7 reads, "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." One good test for yourself is to replace the word "love" in this passage with your name. Would the statements be true? I know they're not always true for me, but I do try my best to love Polly the best I can.

So what do I love so much about Polly? Where do I even begin with that. No matter what I say here, it will not be an exhaustive account for the numerous reasons I love her. The truth is that I discover new reasons I love her all the time. With that said, let me list a few reasons:

I love Polly because she:

Is a godly woman (more about that below)
Is beautiful
Is funny
Is smart
Is nurturing
Is gentle
Is sarcastic (in appropriate situations; this is important to me)
Is kind
Is fun to be around
Is an amazing mother
Loves me

As I said, I could go on for a while. I won't. But I do want to touch on her being a godly woman. The Bible contains a passage that describes an excellent wife. It is found in Proverbs 31:10-31. In the original Hebrew it is written as an acrostic poem with each line beginning with the successive letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It loses that poetic structure when translated to the English but not it's meaning. Is says:

10 An excellent wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
    she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
    and provides food for her household
    and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
    when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

In my opinion, Polly embodies what it is to be an excellent wife. 

My Daughter

Genevieve - Genevieve is the most beautiful, amazing, precious, sweet, intelligent little girl that any dad could ever hope for. I know that many men love to have boys that they can play rough with and teach sports to. I, too, would love to have a son someday for those same and other reasons. But I would be lying if I said that I didn't always want a daughter first. I have always wanted that daddy's girl. And as much as Genevieve loves her mother, she is a daddy's girl.

Anyone who read the blog post I wrote on my wedding anniversary last month knows how seriously I take my responsibilities as Genevieve's father. It is a responsibility that I do not take lately but also one that I completely enjoy.

It's been so fun watching Genevieve grow up. It's amazing to me to see how big she is getting, how much she knows and how much she talks (I think she gets that from her mom). My life changed the day she was born. I can sit and tell you about all the things that Polly and I can't do anymore now that we're responsible for her precious little life, but I honestly just don't think of things that way. No, I am thankful for the little life God blessed Polly and me with and entrusted to us. As Polly reminded me a couple of nights ago when Genevieve vomited, it's an honor and privilege to clean up our daughter's vomit. Some people are not able to enjoy the blessings we enjoy as parents. We don't take that lightly.

I hope to always be an active part of my daughter's life.

My First Family

It's said that you can pick your friends but you cannot pick your family. Well, that's true up until you pick your spouse and I suppose also if you ever adopt. But that statement does hold true for my first family. What do I mean when I say my first family? Well, that's easy...I mean the people that made up my first family unit. You see, before I was a husband and a father, I was a son and a brother, a nephew and a grandson, a cousin and an uncle (well, before I was a father for that last one anyway). Now don't get me wrong, I never stopped being any of those things. I have never taken off the son hat or the brother hat, the nephew hat or the grandson hat, the cousin hat or the uncle hat. It's just that when I hear the word family these days, the first hats that come to mind are the husband hat and the father hat. God blessed me with the opportunity to begin my own family unit, to start my own family traditions, to build my own family legacy. And for that I am grateful. Though this changed my perspective of family, this didn't diminish my first family's importance to me. I love them all with all my heart. I would do anything for my family. It's just that we don't throw random stuff into our bunk bed and call it "Garbage Truck" or line of the kitchen chairs to play "Choo-choo Train" anymore.

Dad & Mom - I have made it no secret that my parents had a big influence on my life. They taught me how to love God first and then family above all else. I still call them for advice and wisdom or even just to talk. And it doesn't hurt that Genevieve loves calling Grampie and Grammie too.

Shan - When I was little, she was Momma Shanda. Now, she's Shan. But that just shows a change in name, not in love. I also love her boyfriend Zach.

Stephan - My big brother who has always been there to talk theology along with many other intellectual discussions. We were roommates for a short time after I graduated college which only strengthened an already strong bond. I love his wife MyTam, who is awesome; I am so thankful she is a part of our family.

Dawn - Dawn and I grew much closer when we both lived in Missouri while I and her husband (whom I also love and with whom I used to play Prime Time for Sega way back in the day and with whom I also enjoy many great theological and other intellectual discussions) were both attending the same college (I'm not sure if I should still call it CBC or if I should cave and already begin calling it Evangel). I love that we got to enjoy that special time together.

Jon - I mean no disrespect to my other siblings, my parents or anyone else when I say this, but aside from my wife and my daughter there is no person I love more in this world than my brother. I cannot watch "A River Runs Through It" ever again because it reminds me of our relationship and it caused a panic attack at the thought of either of us not being around some day. I know this is a reality of life, but the movie just made it too real. We were the ones who fought the most, but we were also the ones who loved the best. There have been good times and bad times, ups and downs, but I would never trade away any of the moments I have shared with him. And now thanks to the birth of his son Sean, Sean and Sean's mom Siobhan (as well as her parents, her brother Rich as well as Maura, Vaunie and Breezy) have become a very important part of our family and our lives. I love them all so dearly.

My Extended Family

My extended family includes my grandparents (both of my dad's parents as both of my mom's parents have passed away), numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and thanks to my wonderful marriage an awesome father-in-law Byron, mother-in-law Marilyn, brother-in-law Leroy & his wife Karen, brother-in-law RIdge as well as Polly's grandparents (her dad's mom and both of her mom's parents), aunts, uncles and cousins. As if that wasn't enough, we also consider the Violettes (with whom we've lived for four years) to be like family. In fact, I don't think Genevieve would understand it any differently. I wish I could write things about all my extended family in the same way that I did about the rest of my family, but this post is already plenty long enough. Let's just suffice it to say that I'm thankful for all of them, love them all and pray for them all regularly!
God created family...and I'm so thankful He did!

In Christ,


* All Scriptures given using the The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Friday, November 16, 2012


"28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst." 29 A Jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." John 19:28-30.*

In this account of Jesus' death on the cross, John uses the Greek word "tetelestai" which is translated in verse 30 as "It is finished." Jesus had fulfilled all of the Old Testament Scriptures pointing toward the Messiah (Hebrew) or Christ (Greek). Jesus became the covering for our sins (1 John 2:2). We, who are imperfect and unable to have a relationship with a holy God on our own, can be reconciled to God through Christ's death on the cross for our sins. I keep trying to think of what verses I should put down here but want to use nearly the entire New Testament. In fact, this action is what the ENTIRE Bible is about. The book of Romans is a pretty amazing place to read about what Christ did for us. But as I said, it's all good. A few that stand out off the top of my head are John 3:16, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:8-9. Of course there are many, many others.

I have absolutely no desire to get into a theological discussion or debate with regard to this post. I simply want to take this opportunity in this season of thanksgiving to thank God publicly for the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and that I am saved as a result of my faith in the gracious act of Christ's death and resurrection. Sin has lost it's grip on me as I am now in Christ Jesus.

"1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death." Romans 8:1-2

There has been more than one individual who has been guilty of proof-texting this and any of the verses mentioned. Proof-texting occurs when a verse is read out of its intended context. To fully understand and appreciate this and all the other verses, you must really read them in the proper context in which they were written. As I said, its really good stuff.

Anyway, so that's today's thanks: I'm thankful for my salvation through Christ's death and resurrection. It's a good thing too, because I know how impossible it would be if I had to rely on my own self-righteousness.

Questions? If you have any questions about what I wrote today or would like more information about what it means "to be saved" please feel free to email me at

In Christ,


* All Scriptures given using the The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Giving Thanks to God for Who He Is

To some Thanksgiving is a valued holiday. To others it is contrived and pointless. To others it is offensive as it misinforms the masses about the true history surrounding the Pilgrims "relationship" with the Native Americans. To me, I fall somewhere in between. While I do not ascribe to the false notion that things were all warm and cozy between the Natives and the Pilgrims (my ancestors), I still enjoy the day as a day of thanksgiving and a wonderful time spent with family while enjoying delicious food. Now, every day should be a day of thanksgiving in reality (much in the same way that we should celebrate the truths of each holiday on a daily basis). Lamentations 3:22-23* says:

22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

We truly should be thanking God every day as he grants us new mercies every day. With that said, I'm not opposed to taking a specific day and giving extra attention to the matter. In fact, as some others already do, I have opted to take the whole month. Over the course of this month, I will be using this blog to focus on various areas of my life I am thankful for. And today, I will start that with my #1 priority in giving thanks: God.

First and foremost, I am thankful that God IS! Moses asked God what name he should give the people of Israel when they asked who sent him. Exodus 3:14 tells us, "God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And he said, 'Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God is the great I AM. HE IS WHO HE IS. Though this certainly gives us a good picture into His eternal nature, I also believe that it also has a bit of an "Enough said!" element to it. What else needs to be said for God...nothing! HE IS...enough said! He is the one who created the universe and all that is within it. He created me. He is the one and only, true God. There is none before Him, none beside Him and certainly none above Him. He stands alone as God. He is the Creator. All other gods (notice the small "g" as they are not genuine) are created, whether by God (some people worship nature or individuals, which were both created by God) or by God's creation (some people have created their own gods to worship or worship gods created by others). But God, the God of the Bible, the only God...HE IS! And we recognize God to be Triune: The Father, the Son (who is Christ Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. In fact, when speaking to the Pharisees in John 8:58, we read, "Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." Some would argue that Jesus was not equating Himself to God there and that it's a mistranslation, but when doing a legitimate study of the Greek word used "ego eimi" (and especially in comparison the the Greek word "genesthai" He used to reference Abraham's coming into being in that same verse) it is clear that Jesus was claiming to be always existing and claiming to be God. The rest of the context really helps us to understand this better as He was giving His authority over that of Abraham's when the Pharisees asked what authority He had. Also we must consider the context directly after this verse when the Pharisees picked up stones to stone Him in John 8:59 which was certainly due to their understanding that Jesus had just claimed to be God. There are many Scriptures that further solidify this truth and also some great writings from the Church Fathers as well (esp. the Cappadocian Fathers). There is one God, made up of three persons. And God is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving just because of who He is!

So, I am thankful for who God is today. Even if He had never done anything for me (which He did and continues to do; and which I will focus on for the remainder of my focus on offering thanksgiving this month) He would still be eternally worthy of my praise.

If you have any questions about anything I wrote or would like clarification or further resources, please email me at

In Christ,


* All Scriptures given using the The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.