Wednesday 26 February 2014

What Do Genealogies Tell Us About the Age of the Earth?

The topic of the age of the earth and of the genealogies listed in Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 has recently come up in our family. I remember doing a short study on this ~10+ years ago but I do not have this readily available (probably hidden in a notebook in storage), and I was a little rusty on the results.   I talked with my pastor (we generally share the same point of view), and he helpfully reminded me that, for most of us, there are more important issues than genealogies to focus our energies on.

The main points of God's Word are far more important than the genealogies. 

The main points of God's Word to us

  1. God created the universe, and created and placed man in the world.  He did so in perfection, and to His own glory.
  2. Man sought his own glory and not God's glory.  Wanting to do things his own way he disobeyed God's command, thus bringing condemnation and judgment on the entire universe.
  3. God, in his mercy, has worked throughout history to bring a Saviour by whom any man can receive salvation.
  4. If any man will believe that Jesus is God and has the authority to forgive sins, died in our place for our sins, and rose again for our justification, and if that man will also repent of his sinful way of life, and give his life to Him, he will be saved.
  5. "Saved" means that the person is no longer under the judgment of God, deserving of and destined for an eternity of hatred of God and pain in hell.
  6. Instead, that person will be considered by God as having the righteousness of Christ, and will enter the new earth and new heaven, where there is no sin or suffering, but all is perfect.
  7. Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and was raised.  He did this that we might bear fruit for Him.
    1. For more on conversion, see our post "Are You Truly Converted".
(original photo credit)

Our Family's Basic Position on Genealogies

  1. We take the words of Genesis 5 and Genesis 11 at face value.  It is difficult to understand how extra "skipped" generations or time can be inserted in sentences such as the following from Genesis 5:
    1. "When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he fathered Jared. ... When Jared had lived 162 years he fathered Enoch."
    2. This type of history is given from Adam to Terah, the father of Abraham.
  2. God's Word, written by Paul, in Titus 3:9 warns us to "...avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless." Titus 3:14 gives us a better option to focus our energies on: "Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, ..."

Our Family's Position on the Age of the Earth

  1. Based on the testimony of Scripture (especially the genealogies) given in Genesis 1-11, the age of the earth is likely best measured in thousands of years, and not 10's, 100's, or 1,000's of millions of years.
  2. For those who protest that the number of layers of sediment, or the distance light has had to travel from distant galaxies to our eyes confutes the idea of a "young" earth, the answer is easy: God created things in an already mature state: for instance, he created Adam and Eve, mature men and women (not single cells in a womb that had to grow to become mature) and there is no issue with God creating an earth that already has layers of rock and light from distant stars.  In fact, God created light before He created stars.
  3. Good resources on the age of the earth and creation science are available from Answers in Genesis.
  4. Scientific evidence best supports a young earth as compared to an old earth.

In Conclusion

As in all issues, our starting point should be "what do the scriptures say?"  Where the scriptures give a clear answer, they must be our final authority.   In the case of the age of the earth, it seems to us that attempting to make the scriptures support an "old earth" stems from the 'fear of man' and not the 'fear of God'.

What is your position on the genealogies and age of the earth?

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Monday 24 February 2014

WARNING: Life Without Pain Could Really Hurt You!

When was the last time you thanked God for a physical pain you felt?  If you're anything like me, your answer is probably never.  Headaches, sprained ankles, paper cuts, cold sores, stomach aches (not to mention childbirth, dislocated shoulders,  bullet wounds) - Is there really any reason to be thankful for such things?  My new answer is a resounding yes!

Allow me to explain.  For the past three years, my father-in-law has gifted me with a book for Christmas.  There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the selected topics - except that they are usually something I never would have picked up myself, and end up being one of the best books I've read that year.  His gift from this past year was no exception: "Pain: the Gift Nobody Wants (Warning: Life Without Pain Could Really Hurt You)".  (Now published under the title "The Gift of Pain: Why We Hurt and What We Can Do About It.")

It seemed sort of a funny selection, and you might be thinking that this is a strange topic to be reading a blog post about.  Do you even really want to learn to be thankful for pain?  Doesn't that sound a little crazy?  But truly, this is one of the most interesting books I've ever read, and I am quite sure it will have an impact on my thinking decades from now.

Dr. Paul Brand (the co-author with Philip Yancey), was born in the remote hills of India to missionary parents.  He studied medicine in England, and eventually took a position back in India as surgeon - where he inadvertantly found himself beginning on a path which made him one of the leading doctors and surgeons involved in working with leprosy patients - people whose handicaps come largely not as a direct result of their disease - but because they no longer feel pain.  It was this work which lead him to see what an essential ingredient pain is to our lives, and why he is often prompted to exclaim "Thank God for pain!".

The book is part memoir, part non-fiction.  Dr. Brand is a wonderful storyteller, and the episodes of his life growing up and later working in India, schooling in England, and later living in America are populated with unique and lovable people - both patients and colleagues - which make Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants an easy and invigorating(?) read.  He spends the second half of the book dealing with the issue of pain in a more topical format, and I'd be hard-pressed to tell you which part of the book I enjoyed more.  In this second half, he looks at aspects of the issue such as:

  • Pain as something that happens in the mind: "There is no simple direct relationship between the wound per se and the pain experienced.  The pain is in very large part determined by other factors, and of great importance here is the significance of the wound...In the wounded soldier the response to injury was relief, thankfulness at his escaping alive from the battlefield, even euphoria; to the civilian, his major surgery was a depressing calamitous event." (204)
  • Preparing for pain: "I had no way to measure the impact of community on the relief of pain, but I do know that in a land where pain-relieving drugs were in short supply and there was no universal health care, patients learned to depend on their families with confidence and trust.  I certainly saw more pain, but less fear of pain and suffering, in India than I have seen in the West.  In general, patients had less anxiety about the future."(236)
  • Managing pain: "After trying a host of methods, she decided that distraction was the best and cheapest weapon available.  She used to cancel activities when she felt pain, until she noticed that the only time she felt completely free of pain was during classroom hours when she taught English.  World recommends work, reading, humor, hobbies, pets, sports, volunteer work, or anything else that can divert the sufferer's mind from pain.  When pain strikes with fury in the middle of the night, World gets up, maps out the day ahead, works on a lecture, or completely plans a dinner party."(254)
  • What intensifies our pain: "The word hospital comes from the Latin for "guest", but in some modern hospitals 'victim' seems more apt.  Despite my medical background I felt helpless, inadequate, and passive.  I had the overwhelming impression of being reduced to a cog in a machine, and a malfunctioning cog at that.  Every sound filtering in from the hallway somehow related to my predicament. A rolling cart - they must be coming for me.  A groan from the hallway - Oh no, they've found something."(261)
  • Pleasure and it's relationship to pain: "I may risk sounding like an old man reminiscing about 'the good old days,' but nonetheless I suspect that affluence has made the modern industrialized West a more difficult place in which to experience pleasure.  This is a deep irony, because no society in history has succeeded so well in eliminating pain and exploiting leisure. ... 'Everywhere a greater joy is preceded by a greater suffering,' Augustine concluded"(291,300)
If you're looking for a book that's sure to be an interesting read for a friend, spouse, parent, book club, or yourself - look no further!  You might get a strange look when they first see the title, but it's likely they'll be raving about all they've learned shortly!

And that's why I now find some joy in pain!

You can see it on Amazon here.

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Thursday 20 February 2014

Are You Truly Converted? (Just Because You Think You're a Christian Doesn't Mean You Are)

So you think you're a Christian?  Is it because one time when you were younger you "asked Jesus into your heart"?  Or because you were baptized as a child?  Or because you went to the front of the church when the preacher called?  Unfortunately, none of those experiences of themselves will have made you a Christian.

These are some of the issues Paul Washer addressed when we heard him speak this past Valentine's Day. (His talk just happened to be on February 14th, it had nothing to do with the holiday.)  His sermon, "The Power of the Gospel and True Conversion" looked at 1 Thessalonians 1 as an answer to the question "What is true conversion?"

Because of the experiences listed above, many in our culture today believe themselves to be saved without demonstrating any of the evidences of one who is a new creation. When Christ saves us, "the old has passed away, behold the new has come"(2 Corinthians 5:17) - Washer stressed that this makes itself evident through changed affections.  We desire more and more to do what is good and pleasing to God.  This is different from forcing oneself to act as a Christian would (eg: go to church, dress properly, be faithful to your spouse, etc), while all the time wishing you didn't have to do those things.  If this is the case, and you're relying on having signed a card, prayed a prayer, or having grown up in a Christian church for your salvation - then we'd encourage you to really search the scriptures and examine yourself to see whether your idea of what it means to be saved lines up with the truth.

Throughout 1 Thessalonians 1, we see that the apostle Paul knew the Thessalonians were Christians because of how they acted.  The apostle says he knew their election, and Washer mentioned this knowing was by perception. The apostle Paul speaks of their "work of faith, labour of love, and steadfastness of hope"(vs 2),  they "became imitators of us and of God" (vs 6), and it was reported throughout Asia how they "turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God".   Our lives likewise should demonstrate how Christ has made us a new creation, and show outward evidence of the changed affections discussed above.   And this is much more than wearing a certain t-shirt, listening to Christian music, or having a "slave" tattoo - it's about living a life of righteousness in accord with the will of God, as revealed in his Word - the Bible.  This will speak volumes more about who you belong to than anything you could wear or listen to.  You will know them by their fruits. (Matt 7:16)  Similarly, you can know your own state by your fruit.  Washer asked the question "If someone observed your life for the next six months, would they then testify 'I know by observation that God has elected this one'? Would they say that about you?"

At this point, maybe some of you are thinking "Legalists!* God doesn't care what I do - it's only my heart he is concerned with."  Yes, it is only repentance and belief in Jesus Christ that can save you.  But it is sin you're repenting of, it is your sin that nailed Christ to the cross - and hating that sin will mean you will strive to mortify it.  Oh you won't be successful in getting rid of all sin on this earth, but you will try, because of your love for Jesus and your gratitude for what he's done for you. If you think you have faith, but your deeds do not give evidence to that faith, your faith is dead. (James 2:17) Paul Washer mentioned that many today believe Jesus is the only Lord and king who doesn't require anything of us; that our generation claims the salvation of Jesus, and yet lives like the culture around us... the fallen, radically depraved culture.  The Puritans and the reformers understood differently, and their greatest strength was that they desired to submit every area of life to Christ's authority.  If your life is a contradiction - you claim to be a servant of Christ, and yet ignore his commands - than that should make you question who is your real master - Christ, or yourself and the idols in your own heart (Matthew 6:24).
The reason we are sharing this here is because we don't want you to be one of those who thought they would enter the kingdom of Heaven, but because of self-deception is sent to hell. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, ..." but instead Jesus says "I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matthew 7:21-23).  The power to save you is in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that alone.  Don't look around and decide you are "good enough" because of how you compare to others, compare yourself to the Word of God. Test yourself and examine yourself. (2 Corinthians 13:5)  It is only in Christ's perfect righteousness you can find true salvation.

You can watch the video of Paul Washer's talk here.

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* Paul Washer correctly identified true legalism as attempting to justify oneself by the works of the law, or adding to the works of the law and tying heavy burdens on people that are not scriptural.

Saturday 15 February 2014

10 Ways to Love & Honour your Wife the Day After Valentines (and every other day of the year.)

  1. Spend time doing things she likes to do.  Before marrying Stephanie, I was not really into playing board games, preferring reading books or physical activity, but playing games is something Stephanie really loves to do, and I love to play with her.
  2. Lead your wife (and children) in family worship.  You are the head of the family, and you are responsible for doing this.  Every day.  Whether you feel like it or not.  So be a man, humble yourself, and search the scriptures for how you should do this.  Some of our most special times are when we come together after the children are in bed, or before they awake, and pray to our Heavenly Father, or sing a hymn that moves our souls.
  3. Talk with her. Talk about the things she wants to talk about. Try to understand (as best you can) what makes her passionate, and why.  Laugh with her and cry with her.
  4. Offer to take care of the children so she bathe.  Stephanie really loves to read a book in a bubble bath, and she loves when I take care of the children so that she can.
  5. Give her flowers.  Make sure you know if she prefers potted or cut flowers.
  6. Write her a card.  Stephanie loves to receive cards.  Though I have never been excited by cards, I know she is.  And I love to write or make cards for her.  On the morning of the 14th, Jake and I each created a card with markers, pens, and lots of smudges, and then went running down the hall, body checking the door open, and brought the cards to Stephanie, who was nursing Elisabeth and had forgotten what day it was.  Stephanie was so happy she almost burst.  (Jake did the body checking, and somehow managed to grab and turn the handle and check the door in one smooth motion all while running... it was quite the scene I saw as I was following.)
  7. Help her get out of the house.  Sometimes, it is nice just to take a break from the regular routine.  Stephanie enjoys 
     browsing books, and curling up on a chair to read at 
    the local Chapters bookstore.  On the plus side, its free.
  8. Take her out on dates.  Stephanie came from a family of restaurateurs, and went out for dinner very often growing up.  I on the other hand probably went out for dinner less than once a year, and was under the mistaken assumption that a 10% tip was generous.  Now, we both enjoy planning and going on dates.
  9. Encourage meaningful friendships with other women.  I encourage her to have friendships with older women (especially where she is gaining wisdom from the older women), with younger women (especially where she is passing on wisdom to the younger women), and with those who are in a similar stage of life.
  10. Tell her you love her.  Even if it is always true, and you have already told her multiple times in the day, most wives will always appreciate hearing those three little words "I love you."

In what ways do you  tell your spouse you love them?

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Wednesday 12 February 2014

10 Simple Ways to Honour Your Husband this Valentine's Day (or any day!)

  1. Cook his favourite meal.  Either let him choose one of his favourites, or leave one of your cookbooks out (preferably one with pictures) along with a note for him to go ahead and select the meal - which you'll make!
  2. Wear an outfit you know he loves. Make an effort to look extra pretty.  Do your hair the way he likes it.  These are all things he is sure to notice and appreciate.  It's been said that women have a habit of dressing to impress other women - this Valentine's Day, dress to impress your man!
  3. Start training your children to greet daddy joyfully at the door with a big hug, eager to bless him in some way. Have them bring a cup of tea or coffee if they're old enough, put on some music he likes, ask him about his day - whatever will help him to feel relaxed and happy to be home!
  4. Don't expect him to spend lots of money.  It's easy to drop hints and put the pressure on.  But probably many of us could do better to let our husband's know we appreciate them no matter what they buy us for Valentine's Day.  Take the pressure off!
  5. Give a gift that is meaningful to HIM (even if that means nothing at all!).  I love greeting cards, Andrew couldn't really care less about them.  It's easy for me to enjoy picking out a special one for him, but he would rather have any of the above as a Valentine's Day present.  Try to think like your husband!

  6. Romance him. You know what I'm talking about - give him a Valentine's Day he'll really remember.
  7. Ask him what he'd like to do!  We wives sometimes love to try and come up with surprises when our husbands would be just as happy to let us know what they'd like.  Does he want to go out for dinner? Would he rather have another couple over?  Or spend the evening doing something special as a family?  Give him the choice!
  8. Be open to "celebrating" on a day other than the 14th.  Sometimes life gets in the way, and it's not so convenient to celebrate a holiday on a holiday!  Sure it might be more fun to be Valentines-y during all the hype - but if your man is willing to make it a special day, just not the 14th - be thankful!
  9. Don't make it about yourself!  This really summarizes the best mentality you can have to honour your husband this Valentine's Day.  Don't think of it as a day when you have the right to flowers, candy, dinner or other special treatments!  If those things come along, you'll be so much more thankful if you didn't feel entitled to them.  Plus, Andrew and I have learned that our marriage is best when we're first trying to please the other.
  10. Honour your husband everyday!  Some people say it's silly to need a holiday to tell people how much you love them, when we should be doing that all year long.  Same goes with this list.  Imagine if you tried to practice things off this list every day - would it change your marriage? 

For more practical inspiration, take a look at last year's: "10 Simple Ways to Show RESPECT to Your Husband."

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Saturday 8 February 2014

Our Baby Girl Birth Story!

As you probably all know, I was blessed to deliver our baby girl, Elisabeth, into the world this past Thursday.  It was a joyous moment, but obviously precluded by the expected pain and drama! Each birth story is so unique, and I am excited to be able to share hers with you while it is so fresh in my mind.

While Jake was born relatively quickly for a first baby (or so I'm told), and my midwife had been telling me that this second one could come very fast, I must admit I didn't quite believe her.  I didn't want to get my hopes up for a quick labour, and I knew women who had multiple births with the later ones being similar to their first.  Well in this case - my midwife was right!

We were planning a natural birth at home, just as we had with Jake.  I went into labour with Jake exactly 14 days after his due date, and so we thought there was a good chance this baby would be late too.  So when I woke up Thursday night (two days before she was due) with cramps, I figured it was just that - I took some Gravol and expected to fall back asleep.  I didn't, and when I got up to go to the bathroom I found that an hour had already past - and I was still crampy.  Weird.  I continued to lie in bed and over the next hour the constant cramping changed to obvious contractions with rest periods in between.  I started to think I might be in labour.  But it wasn't very bad, and I knew pre-labour could start days before actual labour, so I wasn't convinced this was the real deal.  This inner dialogue went on for the next three hours or so until Andrew woke up around 4am.  By then the contractions had gotten difficult, where I was having to focus on relaxing and breathing through them.  Andrew, figuring he was going to go to the bathroom and head back to bed, realized things had changed when I quietly asked "Are you awake?...I think I'm in labour..."!

After this things become a bit of a blur.  Contractions had definitely gotten more intense and, thinking I was in for the long haul, I wanted to have a shower to feel nice and fresh for the day!  We decided Andrew would shower first (to get the bathroom nice and warm!).  I got through the next few contractions but by the time Andrew came back I thought we should call the midwives.  We called the pager number and were told our midwives would call us back within 15 minutes.  I had been feeling like pushing for a little while now, but didn't think it was possible I was ready to be pushing our baby out, so I didn't think too much about that.  I got to the bathroom, with my plan to have a shower - but contractions were pretty intense now and I wasn't sure if maybe I was having trouble making decisions.  "Maybe we should just fill up the bathtub?  Or start filling up the birth pool? Or should I just get in the shower?"  Andrew was doing an amazing job of supporting me through contractions while also getting the bed ready with some layers of plastic and old sheets, and also calling my parents to have them come pick up our toddler.

Ten minutes later (it seemed like forever), the midwives called back.  I was quite worried they weren't going to feel it was time to come yet, as I didn't feel like I had any really strong signs the baby would be here anytime soon.  They asked a few questions, including whether my water had broke.  It hadn't - and up until now I had totally forgotten about that.  I was devastated!  I figured I couldn't be having this baby soon if my water hadn't broke.  With Jake, the midwives ended up breaking it, and it was still 4 hours later until he was born.  I ended our phone call with a plea: "I just want you to be here", and our midwives, who I found out later were frantically getting dressed and ready to head over here, were planning to do just that!

Andrew continued getting things ready, while I struggled through contractions in the bathroom.  I had given up on the shower idea, and wanted to get back to the bed - but didn't have the unction to make the (seemingly long) trip down the hallway to get there.  I was having an inner dialogue with myself that had everything to do with how far along dilated I would be when the midwives were here.  I figured if I was at 7 or 8, I could handle it - 5 or 6, on the other hand, and I was thinking an epidural sounded pretty nice - although I REALLY didn't want to head out into the cold, into the car, and into the hospital!  I was praying over and over "God, please let my water break, please let my water break.", as I knew that had to happen before I had the baby.  The midwives had told me on the phone that if my water broke, the baby could come really quickly and I should lie down on my side and breathe through it.  Whether the midwives were going to be there or not - having the baby ASAP was exactly what I wanted to do!

I started leaking clear fluid, but I had expected a gush and so I wasn't sure this was my water.  With my next contraction, I couldn't help but push, and I could tell I was pushing something!  I eventually figured my water was breaking, and I think just around that time the midwives arrived.  They took a quick look at me, one of them told Andrew the baby would likely be here in a few minutes, and they headed to the bedroom to try and get ready!  I got myself to the bed, threw myself down, and they got a heartrate for the baby, who was very low.  With my next contraction I pushed again and everyone exclaimed "I see the head!".  I couldn't have asked to hear sweeter words!  I asked something like "Will she be out soon?" and our midwife replied with a hearty "Oh yes!".

It was probably 4 or 5 more pushes, with me getting a little frustrated because the head was moving out, and then receding back in - which Andrew was encouraging me was a good thing, slowly stretching things out.  He says then on one push he saw the head again and then all of a sudden it popped out!  With the next contraction out slid one shoulder, and was quickly followed by the whole body!  Our midwife caught her one second, and the next second exclaimed "Oh no!  Andrew wanted to catch the baby!".  In the chaos we'd all forgotten about that, and joked that with things happening this fast, Andrew might HAVE to catch our next child! :)  Our daughter was born 9 minutes after the midwives arrived!

From there, if you've had a baby, you know the drill.  I was blessed to have her put right on my chest, snuggling her close to keep her warm.  I birthed the placenta, got a few stitches, and marveled at the fact that I had done it.  This living person came out of me.

My parents, who had arrived shortly after the midwives to pick up Jake, were told in the commotion that there was no time and to wait in the living room.  My mom says she heard one big push groan from me and then the sound of the baby crying!  Jake slept through the whole thing.  He woke up probably about an hour later and Andrew brought him to the bedroom.  He was tentative of all the people at first, but was quickly interested and excited to see the new addition to our family.  In the past week he has developed an obvious love for his sister - inquiring first thing when he wakes up "Baby? Baby?", patting her gently when she's crying, asking to hold her on his lap, and loving to give her his little finger to hold in her even littler hand.

Sydney Ellen Photography

Considering the two, this was a totally different experience from my birth with Jake, and yet they were both wonderful.  Elisabeth's birth went from four hours of nothing notable, and super quickly transitioned into very intense this-baby-is-being-born-right-now contractions. With Jake I spent the day working myself slowly up to the fact that I was going to be delivering him eventually.  However, I got to have the home birth I planned this time, and it really was so wonderful.  To be snuggled right into my own bed with my whole family and not have to get up and go anywhere was so special.  But most of all, we thank God for our healthy girl.

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Tuesday 4 February 2014

Bible Verses for Labour and Delivery

With my first pregnancy, I made some inspirational cards with bible verses which I felt would be comforting to me while in labour.  I didn't actually end up reading them then, but as I had spent so much time reading, re-reading and meditating on them before I went into labour, the truths they held had sunk in and I do believe were a comfort to me during labour.

I made them using markers and some large index cards, as they were just for myself.  But to share them with you all, I redid them digitally - and you're welcome to print them out and use them as you think they might be a comfort to you - for labour, or just for life! :)  Below are the images of each individual one - and by clicking here you can download the PDF with them all on one page.

Are there any particular bible verses you found helpful to meditate on before or during the time when you gave birth?

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Saturday 1 February 2014

The "Perfect Million Dollar" Family! (How do YOU respond to such a remark?)

First off... We have been blessed by the newest addition to our family.  Elisabeth Carin is bright, full of life & sleep & feeding, and is a joy to behold.  Now, to the topic at hand...

So. Its official.  We have the "Perfect Family".  "The Million Dollar Family."  And we better stop now, or we will ruin everything, and probably not be able to send our kids to Ivey League colleges for $100,000 a pop.  Or so goes the compliments and reasoning of one in every third person we talk to now that our little girl is joining her older brother in this world.

Countless people (grocery checkout staff, friends of the family, business acquaintances, the average Joe on the street...) have told us that with the birth of our little girl, we have the perfect family.  What makes it perfect?  We had a boy, and then we had a girl.  "So you have the million dollar family! Just like me!"

I need to come up with a standard response to the "Million Dollar Family" comment often followed with the implied or spoken "And now you can/should stop having kids." The response needs to be both gracious and still drive the point home that we are not seeking to limit or manipulate the blessings and bundles of joy that come our way.
In the past my standard response to the "Million Dollar" comment was: "Now we are shooting for 10 Million."  However, this does not get across the idea that we are content with any number of children that the Lord provides.
  1. What I have settled on for now is: "Thank-you very much for the compliment.  We won't be sitting on our laurels, but will keep on investing."
  2. Do you have any thoughts on what to say in such a situation? Do you have a standard response?
  3. With respect to the "Perfect family" comment, I like the response "We are far from perfect, and will seek continued growth in the Lord."  What are your responses or thoughts?
Sydney Ellen Photography

The "compliments" are actually hard to take sometimes.  The reasoning (sometimes without realizing it) is that we humans know what is best for us, whether a boy, a girl, one of each, or only one gender.  It is the same reasoning that has led to the gendercide of little girls in India and China, because the parents "know" what gender is best for them.  

We are well content with these two precious blessings, and "contentment with godliness is great gain."  But we are by no means complacent.  We will continue to invest.  The only types of millionaires I know of that stop investing after becoming millionaires are those that win the lottery.  Lottery winners are not good stewards of their money in the first place, and usually end up spending rather than investing.
  1. In particular, we will continue to invest in children by seeking more of these precious blessings from God.  "The fruit of the womb is a reward, and the children of one's youth is a heritage from the Lord."  Again, we have been commanded to be fruitful and multiply on the earth.  Deciding to stop at two children is not even the replacement level of around 2.1 children per family.
  2. We will also continue to invest our hearts and souls in our children, passing on what wisdom we have gleaned, but most importantly showing them the path to eternal life.
  3. It is impossible to put a price on the family.  I view Stephanie as truly invaluable, far above rubies and diamonds.  I would not trade my wife or any of our children for a trillion, let alone a million dollars.

With respect to perfection, there is only one way in which anyone in our family is perfect.  It is if we are clothed in the righteousness of Christ, having repented of our sinful way of life and are submitting to and following Christ.  As a family we see God's wonderful grace and love every day, but we in and of ourselves fall short, and are no more perfect than any other family with 1 girl, 2 girls, 2 boys, or any other number and/or sex of children.

Again, I want to hear from you.  What do you think when you hear the Million Dollar or Perfect Family comments?  How do you respond?

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