From Laura, 12 … Recently I started a book called The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters. The ship itself was the largest of its time, being 882½ feet long, and capable of carrying 2500 passengers plus a crew of 860. The rudder weighed 100 tons and each of the anchors were 15½ tons. The publisher, Douglas Philips, wrote of the defiance to God in building it because the motive was to prove that man was great and could do great things. In the book there is a picture of the Titanic floating on the ocean, resting in God’s hand. This speaks to me of how, even through their pride, God can never be moved nor can he be measured up to in any way, shape, or form. The ship set off not heeding the warnings of icebergs. She steamed majestically out of the port of Southampton bound for New York and met her demise before even her first trip was completed.
From Becca, 14 … This week I learned something interesting about the moon. It is exactly 400 times smaller than the sun and exactly 400 times closer to us than the sun. That is why people can see perfect solar eclipses. If the moon was 399 times smaller than the sun, it would not fit precisely into the sun’s disk, but would cover it more. And if it was 399 times closer to us than the sun, it would not cover it completely. This shows God’s orderly design of our world. But I will have to wait a long time to see a solar eclipse because the next complete one over Houston will be when I am in my eighties.
From Seth, 18 … Last month I began taking some college classes. So far there have been aspects that have been tough, like boring classes, busyness, and a crude-mouthed professor, but there have also been aspects that I have enjoyed, like meeting some people and having an interesting conversation with my government professor. My prayer is that, in Christ, I will be joyful, humble, and courageous in all things.
From Anna, 21 … I have had a couple of occasions recently to ponder the way in which we tend to teach and emphasize aspects of Christian living in a way that detracts from the truth of what God has done in Christ, as well as the truth of our utter need for Christ and His work in our lives. It is important that we know, understand, and apply what the Bible says about marriage, parenting, work, finances, church life, and many other practical areas, but these issues must all be kept squarely in the context of the central message of the Gospel. When we fail to do so, we end up communicating, either implicitly or explicitly, that if you do X then your children will all turn out perfectly… or you will never have problems in your church… or you will win God’s favor and blessing—which is dangerously close to saying that if you do X you will be saved. Instead of an “if-then” statement, we need a “because-therefore” statement: Because God has chosen us from before the foundations of the world to be His children, has sent Jesus the Christ to bear the punishment due to us for our sins, and has regenerated and empowered us through the Holy Spirit, therefore we must and will live our lives in a way that honors His Word and obeys His commands.
From John, Megan, and ? … (by Megan) John is keeping busy with work. God has been faithfully providing work and the time to get it done. I am 12 1/2 weeks along this weekend. Our last midwife appointment went well. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat! It was truly amazing! The next appointment is mid September. I have been feeling fine and am looking forward to not feeling tired all the time. :)
From Ray, Katie, Peter, and Samuel … (by Katie) The trees and shrubs in our neighborhood keep getting browner and browner. We had to have one dead tree cut down, but some people are a lot worse off than we are. One of our neighbors had to have nine trees cut down, and another had a tree fall on the edge of his house. In happier news, Samuel started rolling over this week. I’m not sure which is cuter, Samuel rolling over, or Peter exclaiming “Uh-oh!” and rushing over to turn him back.
From Judith … I’ve had a few losses recently. A childhood friend died and, a week later, I lost my Bible (stupidly drove away with it on top of the car). Of course those are not losses of the same type or intensity, but together they gave me pause to reflect. My friend and I kept in touch over the years but hadn’t remained particularly close. I didn’t even know she had, for over a year, been battling breast cancer until her sister called me with the news of her death. I wouldn’t have expected it to hit me as hard as it did. I guess it felt like an important piece of my past just fell away. Karen was one of the few constant and steady threads during my growing-up years. She was a good friend through many moves and family struggles. But I have my memories. Besides some personal notes, the Bible and assorted items in the case are all replaceable. Anything – loved ones, possessions, health – can be lost in this life. I am reminded that only my salvation in Christ is secure. He is my all in all; in him I am content.
From Gerald … I just read a good article by R. C. Sproul, Jr. He was responding to the question of whether or not it is a good idea to have satellite churches where the preaching of a particular person is delivered to remote locations. He wisely commented that this is a bad idea. I cannot state the case as eloquently as he did, but he discussed the problem of cultivating a celebrity-personality environment where it is all about the speaker and his delivery style and technique rather than about the Gospel and its power. It is also not possible for a man to be a pastor (shepherd) of thousands of people, many of whom he has never seen in person.
Texas weather report … The drought continues. Please pray for rain for Texas.
With love from the Pedersen clan