Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ever Present

I think I saw you there.
While being bathed and cared for
When I was not able to write your name
or appreciate your word

I think I saw you there
When I first tasted ice cream
You made cold a treat
and surrounded me with sweetness

I think I saw you there
Even when I almost drowned
"almost" was my salvation
And you would save again

I think I saw you there
in the tender touch of my father
in a time of illness I would not rue-
to also lose the touch

I think I saw you there
"Oh Happy Day when Jesus washed"
was in the future still
when my ears delighted so

I think I saw you there
The VBS woman in the wagon
would not hasten an unkind word
to a child so wayward of his lessons

I think I saw you there
in every glint of sunlight
despite the passing badness
of youth with no direction

I know I saw you there
and if I only could go back
I would reach out my hand
and take yours
and never let go
to join the richly blessed
and begin with many years advance
a life already eternal bright.

-James E. Quattrochi

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Help Of My Countenance

Specifically, just how does reviewing Scripture with Dave help him? He cannot understand any of the text. He does not fix his gaze on a page, and has not recently used flash cards or pecs cards. He will probably never write a commentary. Well, again you have faith. One of the ways it benefits him is that reading to/participating with him is social interaction which autistic children need to come out of themselves. One can see this in his face. I noticed that he sometimes has a visual lock on me as he lies in bed listening. Another is that by meditating on Scripture, we become more loving people. I will naturally love him and all my family with a faithful love that gives hope in Christ. When the fruit of the Spirit is there, it cheers. And as we work together, it builds relationship, the "stuff" life is made of. Our prayers take on a power and passion that God truly honors as well. May it lead to a ministry of verbal witness to what God has done in Christ!

One of my former pastors wrote a book entitled The Power of Speaking God's Word. I heartily endorse that-- now even to those who do not have the cognitive ability to understand it. There is truly an eternal benefit to David acoompanying me on this journey of memorization.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dave Rolls On

We got a bluetooth for Christmas:) (see above)
Dave has moved into Isaiah 57 with me. Fruit has been borne from meditations lately. We are able to recall and obey such verses as "Maintain Justice and do what is right..." (56:1) leading to a clean-up concern at the Wayside Cross Store 1/17. I never dreamed life could be this good.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lu Into Food, Babies, and the Bible

Lu, now 3 1/2, is into dolls, claims to be Cinderella, is married to a handsome prince, and serves tea parties for her baby dolls. She loves to sit in "big church" with her mother. At home, she is also on a regimen of Sunday School Bible stories at night. It is my plan to take her with Joe to Lawndale Community Church in Chicago March 2, to hang with the sistas for the morning.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Joe Gets Into the Scriptures

What began as a personal Scripture memory enhancement program has become a family affair. Joe is now asking to meditate on Scripture! He knows Christ-- the only hope for salvation, and he is drawn like a magnet to Dave and me as we memorize.
If you are reading this, stop and pray for Joe as he continues. A late update, we are working on Psalm 145 together.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Self-defense: Defensible, Sometimes, Maybe

Should I keep a handgun and be prepared to use it? Good question. Unfortunately, I have no satisfying answers. To those raised on the milk of foundational, pat answers my reflections may seem a bit frustrating.
I think it's more a matter of prayer and your conscience.

If you are reading this and living in a rural or mountainous area, I understand your having a rifle to repel wild animals.

Not all of us are wired the same way. Some people are naturally more physically forceful. David was a warrior, yet his son Solomon was a man of peace. And when it came to Jacob and Esau, who would have picked Jacob to be the father of the nation Israel? Genesis 25:27 says Esau was "a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents." If your desire to protect yourself or others leads you to possess weapons, and you are not emotionally unstable, you may prayerfully keep them. Who knows but that shooting to warn or wound might be used to save a life? A few requests, though. First, do not insist that all citizens must bear weapons, or say that those who do not are part of a left-wing conspiracy. If you ever lose control in a fit of rage, do us all a favor and turn in your weapons to the police. Third, pray like anything that you will not have to use them. God is your shield and defender. Don't trust in horses and chariots. Lastly, consider the staggering statement of Nate Saint who, when asked if he would use guns to defend himself against the Waodani tribesmen of Ecuador, said "We can't shoot the Waodani. They're not ready for heaven. We (the missionaries) are."

I personally stand with him, though I am certainly not his equal in magnitude of character.

Ten Lepers Healed, and The One Who Came Back On His Own

I love the story of how Jesus healed the ten lepers in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 17:11-19:

11Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!"
14When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed.
15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
17Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

Did you ever notice that Jesus never commanded the healed man to stop and praise him? The praise sprung up from within him. That, I believe illustrates a very important principle of the spiritual life. Theologians call it a habitus. An indwelling principle of love and worship that unbelievers just don't have. Love is now inhabiting the man's life. If spontaneous affection for Christ arises in your heart at various points, you have this principle, and you may be assured of a saving relationship to Him.

Speaking of Marriage

Jennifer and I attended a marriage seminar graciously provided to us at our church. The speaker was Paul Tripp, president of Paul Tripp Ministries, in Philadelphia, PA. I highly recommend his style, methodology and content for getting to the core of having a great marriage, and all relationships, really.
One of the most salient points was that fights and quarrels come from within each person's heart, and to deal with it by repentance of being your own "king/queen" of your world. Submit to Christ, the real King!
Tripp also gave a freeing portrayal of belivers in marriage being smack dab in the middle of God's plan for sanctification in that relationship. Yes, with all the "incompatibilities" and different wiring and personalities, God is still the awesome creator who makes it all come together as a symphony of his redemptive grace if we are willing for him to do so. Check out http://www.paultrippministries.com/.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Learning to Pray for the Disabled

I am a full time minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a field right in my house. And even though I work in disability ministry at College Church, my first ministry is 2 doors down from my bedroom.

So you may be asking "How does one pray for a disabled child who communicates in a very limited way, cannot share experiences, or make quality judgments, or tell you he is hot or cold, or that he feels sick, or even pray himself? I tell you, it takes a lot of faith. You have to believe in the sovereignty of God, because only He could arrange circumstances to benefit the child. You have to believe in the goodness of God, because he makes all things beautiful in their time. "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart, " says Psalm 37:4, was a good verse that gave me wings of faith. Based on life experiences with God leading me to my wife, bringing us children, and a house I did not build nor was really able to afford, I found no problem with praying consistently for Dave. I prayed that God would use him in some way, perhaps unseen or mysterious, for His kingdom. It turns out that God has answered in ways that are rather obvious, a lavish surprise of grace. He has been "memorizing" Scripture for "Project Isaiah" (chapters 40-66) with me as I work through it myself. Now we can trade reciting parts of verses back and forth. We're talking LARGE blocks of the book of Isaiah. The Director of our church's Disability Ministries, Dawn Clark, knows about this, and she and her staff have been blessed. This is all besides the fact that our home has the Word ringing in it very much of the time. I am thinking about the evangelistic possibilities with Dave as well. And as a late update, I asked Dave to recite some of what he knows to our auto mechanic.

All I did was pray consistently. God did it all! I want to state that clearly. Cry out to him and ask him to show you great and mighty things you do not yet know.