Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why Demons are Smarter Than Humans

This morning in middle school class, we looked at Luke 4:31-37, and again, tonight during high school youth group, we looked again at the same story. Rarely do coincidences like that happen...I prepare a lesson, and so did my son (the youth pastor) on the same passage.

So needless to say, it's still on my mind and I need to make an observation.

In this story, Jesus enters a synagogue where there is a demon possessed man. This demon screamed at Jesus, "Let us alone...have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God!"

Now, as the story goes, Jesus rebukes the demon to come out of the man, and guess what? The demon obeys immediately.

Here are two observations I made from that story. First, the demon was terrified of Jesus. And second, he obeyed Jesus - no discussion, no objections, no struggle. Immediate obedience.

So, why are demons smarter than humans? Because I have yet to find a human that is terrified of Jesus and I can hardly find one that obeys with no discussion, objections or struggle. Why is it that demons respond the way they do and humans hardly respond at all?

The only thing I can think is that demons know Who Jesus is - they know He is God and they get the difference between God and His created beings. Are demons more or less powerful than men? Obviously they are more powerful - that's why we're so scared of them. That's why they are the subject of many horror films. They are very, very powerful and we are very, very limited.

But when they come face to face with God, it is the demons who are terrified. Within the context of their own power, Jesus strikes terror in their hearts - to the point of unquestioning obedience.

Now, of course I know that demons are delusional because having seen God in all His power, they still chose to follow Satan. But after the fact, what you see in the gospels is sheer terror in the presence of Jesus Christ. Terror and obedience.

Hebrews 10:31 tells us, "It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Unfortunately, humans don't get terrified when it comes to God. Oh, they will, when they see Him face to face, but until then we will continue to question His existence, deny His goodness, ponder at His involvement and ignore His special revelation.

It really breaks my heart.

Let's learn from the response of the demons. Let's determine to hold Jesus in high esteem because He is God, He is powerful and He has control over all things, even His enemies the demons. Let's fear God and let's determine to obey because of Who He is.

Too radical? Not loving enough? Fine, I'll take that criticism - it's the application from both lessons today.

As for the picture above - no, I don't wear army boots, but it's the only picture of a soap box I could find and I had a feeling I was going to be in a ranting mood...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A few more pictures of Ashley's homecoming...

Calvin sent me these from his is Ashley all bundled up, in her car seat...apparently wasn't phased by the ride home...

Here you see the two girls at home. Notice that Norah has a machine under her swing. This is her monitor. Cal and Mary set up a changing table by her swing and the rocking chair, so that the carrying of the monitor will be minimal. It is a huge blessing that Ashley is monitor-free...

A close up of beautiful!

And a final wave good-bye...must be saying good-bye to the old way of life (hospital) and hello to her new digs!

Friday, February 25, 2011

And then there were two...

Well, they're both home! I wasn't there to greet Ashley - while Mary and her mother were picking her up at the hospital, I was at Cal's house, making cookies, feeding him lunch and snuggling with Norah! Though I couldn't be there when she arrived, I heard it was a wonderful homecoming. Cal sent me this picture tonight so that you could all see the happy mom, cuddling with her girls.

Norah has a monitor, which will most likely be on for about two weeks. Ashley is monitor free - this will be a big help for Mary as she maneuvers through the day with the girls.

I will see them tomorrow and make sure they are still practically perfect in every way!

Thank you again for your prayers and love!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Welcome Home, Norah!

Here are proud Mommy and Daddy - so happy to have at least one of the girls home!

Norah arrived home about 7:30 p.m., after a long day of waiting. Here she is in her travel gear...

After a clean diaper, it was time for dinner...

Dad got her meal going, but if you notice, his focus is preoccupied...the Bulls were playing Miami and apparently that was a big game! In truth, even with the game on he was incredibly attentive to his baby girl...

Then Mom took over and got the dinner finished, before putting things away and getting ready for bed. Cal was staying up for the midnight feeding and then she was going to take the next...tonight they have only one to feed - tomorrow it gets a bit trickier...

So here she is in her swing. Isn't she lovely! No tubes taped to her face, though she is on a monitor that will sound if her heart rate drops - just a precaution and hopefully it won't be on for long. Mary was more than willing to bring her home on a monitor if it meant she could bring her home!

Thank you for your prayers for the girls and their parents. Tonight was definitely what we've been asking for and Lord-willing Ashley will follow in her sister's footsteps tomorrow...

And finally, Riley...she got a big bone, but that didn't seem to make her overly happy. She can tell her life has changed and I don't think she's thrilled.

Just wait until tomorrow, Riley...

A Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Ashley. Ashley loved to sleep.

In the meantime, her sister, Norah got a bath...

While Norah kicked and splashed, Ashley continued to dream of...well, I'm not sure what...

The bath continued, and though at times it was uncomfortable, it was a necessary evil...

...all the while, Ashley continued to sleep...

Soon the bath was over...

...and while the sister was still snoozing in the other room...

...Norah was wrapped in a warm towel and dried, because NORAH IS COMING HOME TONIGHT!!!!!

So, dear, precious Ashley, get your rest, because tomorrow it will be your turn, or so they tell us...

To be continued...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I did it!

Okay, so my son-in-law's my video of the girls from Monday! I only had to register on YouTube, upload my video and then embed it here. (It's like I am speaking a foreign language!)


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

After Spending Hours Researching and Trying...

...I am giving up on my iphone video I wanted to post. Can't figure it out...

Oh, well...this is what greeted us on Monday afternoon, when Dave, Mom and I arrived to see the girls. Mary had her arms full of wonderful, precious images of God and add to that, a huge smile! (Hang in there, won't be long...they'll be home soon...) We had stopped at Mary and Cal's to show my mom the nursery...soon you'll be getting pictures from there, I suspect.

On to the pictures:

This is Norah in my hand - I like to hold them on my lap and look at their faces. She had been up on my shoulder but I brought her down and snapped this with my phone.

Now, though this is not an overly darling picture, I am posting it to show how strong the girls are. This is Ashley, but Norah does the same thing. They stretch and arch their backs. They have very strong necks and can change positions easily. They don't drop their heads but with control, they place them back on their beds or your shoulder, depending on where they are sleeping...

...sleeping. That is the main issue. When they sleep, they can still take a bottle, but the night nurses aren't as insistent on them finishing their bottles as Cal and Mary are. The girls will finish a bottle within the allotted time, but at night, the nurses will quickly put the food down their tube when they doze off - it's called "gavage" - to force feed through a tube. This will be over soon, but I can see the frustration in Cal and Mary because they know the girls will take the food, even when asleep. (This is Norah in Dave's hand.)

Here's a bigger view of the room, so you can see what we do while we're there. If the girls are together in the same room, we have to sit close because they are both hooked up to monitors. Then for feedings, they have to be in their own rooms.

This is Ashley, zonked in great grandma's arms...

Now, though I can't get my really cool video to work, I was able to flip the screen around and take a self portrait of grandma with Norah...not overly impressive, but I am easily amused...

And finally, one last precious picture of Norah in my arms. Isn't she beautiful? The girls are growing - Ashley is over six pounds now, and Norah is an ounce or two can see a huge difference from their early pictures.

My mom has left to return to Orlando. She was so delighted to hold the girls and talk with Mary. I think it was a truly special time for her to spend with her first great grandchildren. It was kind of mean, but when I called my mom to tell her about the twins (that we had two and not just one coming), I said to her, "I guess Calvin is not meant to give you your first grandchild." She said, "Oh, no..." and I quickly added, "Nope, he's going to give you your first TWO grandchildren!" She paused and then laughed with great joy! This summer will be fun when Great Grandma returns...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Middle Schoolers

For the past few weeks I have been teaching the Middle School class during the service at church. We keep the middle schoolers in for the music/worship time and then pull them out three weeks out of four for a class time. I have been working through a very simple Bible study method with them, encouraging them that the Bible is understandable and applicable, even to sixth through eighth graders.

So here's what I've learned about middle schoolers:

*They are as goofy as all get least the boys are

*They come in all shapes and sizes

*They can talk non-stop and they can be as quiet as a mouse

*They can behave when I put on my momma voice

*They absolutely can understand the Bible and make personal application

These kids are great! They are full of life and energy, but they also understand that God's Word is really just that - God's Word. And probably my favorite thing about these kids is their confidence that Jesus is returning. For the past two weeks I have had several kids mention Jesus return.

I really like that. Do you know why?

Because their parents are teaching them this fact. Even if it's not formal teaching, they are hearing their parents talk and they are absorbing it.

The kids were a bit surprised when I told them that no matter what their parents believed, they were not born on God's team. Every person ever born has been born on Satan's team. The decision to change teams is a personal decision. This was a sobering fact to these kids - they come from Christian homes and hear the Christian talk and even make Christian decisions. But the relationship and the choice of making Jesus Lord of their lives does not lie in the hands of their parents.

Now, once these kids get to high school, this concept is far more acceptable. They will want to be independent and they will not want to be under their parent's umbrella too much longer. But in middle school there is still some attachment to the family, in most cases.

So the fact that they have to choose their team loyalty was a surprise to some. They argued that there was a third option - there was God's team, Satan's team and their own team. But I was quick to point out that their "own" team was actually Satan's team, because if you don't worship God, you worship Satan, even if you think it's yourself.

So what does this have to do with me? you ask. If you are a parent, I want to encourage you to be aware that your children are all ears - they hear what you say to each other and about each other. They are learning so much without you even teaching them - know this and commit to being Christ to your kids.

Secondly, if you aren't a parent or don't have kids in the home right now - don't be afraid of the middle schoolers. Yes, I know they are loud and goofy, but they are very teachable. Keep it simple. Keep it biblical and keep it real. They love to be treated like grown-ups and pouring into a child's spirituality is a very maturing thing to do.

Now...go find a kid and make their day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Can You Handle a Few More Pictures Today?

Hate to hit you with too many pictures in one day, but these just couldn't wait! We went back to the hospital today and here's what we found - Ashley and Norah in funky hats, asleep in their daddy's arms! Apparently people crochet little caps for the preemies and give them to the hospital. All the hats you have seen on the girls' heads were from this group and the girls will keep them. So when a new batch of hats come in, one of our nurses saw these and said, "Oh, the Wisen twins NEED these hats!!!" I guess the nurses say that they pull the prettiest hats for our girls every time...aren't they a hoot?

Very quickly the girls found themselves back with great grandma...she's a pro!

They got a bit wiggly and then settled back to sleep - I love this picture down below! So funny...

Can you tell who's who? Norah is more fair-skinned and Ashley is a bit redder, but as you can see, the color difference gap is closing...Norah has the white hat and Ashley is in the purple...did you guess right?

This is Norah with Mommy...she just snuggled right up and zonked...

Then Grandpa took her and he cuddled right up and zonked as well...can you see her tiny hand in his?

And finally, I was holding Norah before she was going to be taken back to her room for her feeding. I had her in my lap and I was talking to her and she was waking herself up. Dave grabbed my phone and caught this smile...I'd like to think it was our conversation that made her happy, but I think it was hearing her mom and dad laughing and talking in the room - a very comforting sound to her ears...either that, or she knew her afternoon snack was right around the corner...look at how beautiful, even with tape on her face...

Together with Great Grandma

Great Grandma had her hands full yesterday! What a great gift, to be able to hold both girls together. When we got to the hospital, Mary's parents were there and her father was the first to get to hold the girls. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of that, but for those of you who know him, you won't be surprised that he is a natural!

We took this one of all the grandmas - great and just regular! We are proud little peacocks!

My mom held the girls for probably an hour and they were so content being near each other. At one point they started to squirm a bit and wiggled until they were nose to nose. It looked like they kissed each other and of course, I was not quick enough with my cell phone to catch the moment, but this final picture comes close...they are so was a sweet moment...

Ashley is on the left and Norah is on the right. Ashley is still a bit bigger than Norah - just shows that these pictures are hardly doing them justice. They are just a smidge below six pounds...maybe this weekend they'll hit that mark!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Great Grandma is here!

My mother arrived late yesterday afternoon. After a nice dinner, we headed over to the hospital to introduce the twins to their great grandma! There were tears of joy as my mom looked in the little beds and saw the precious little girls that are a product of something she and my dad started over fifty years ago!

She is in until Tuesday and we have plans nearly every day to be with the girls. Between that and seeing her grand children, she'll be ready for a break when she returns home! On Tuesday morning, she is going to be my guest speaker here at the bible study I hold in my home. Everyone is welcome to join us - it's a great honor for me to have her here and to share her gift of teaching with my girlfriends. (9:30 a.m. on Tuesday)

Mom got teary again when we were leaving - she said it was hard to leave those precious dolls all alone in the hospital...we all understand, but have come to love and trust our nurses, so that it's easier to go. Before we know it, they'll be home...

Okay...more pictures to the way, that's Ashley with Great Grandma! Isn't she getting big? She's just under six pounds!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How do you know you're a Christian?

"He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and disclose Myself to him..." John 14:21

Dave spoke at a chapel at a local Christian school yesterday. He had about 15 minutes and he used this passage to answer the simple question, "How do you know you're a Christian?" So, I'm basically stealing his chapel topic to pass this along to you (I must give credit where credit is due...). do you know you're a Christian? How would you answer this?

Well, I've given you Jesus' answer and really, it's the only one that counts.

A Christian is the one who obeys Jesus' commandments out of love.

Hmmmm...let's think about what a Christian is not...

A Christian is not someone who obeys the commandments because they want a better life (even though they will have a better life if they obey Jesus).

A Christian is not someone who follows a list of rules to earn Jesus' love.

A Christian is not someone who has no evidence of obedience in their life.

A Christian is not someone who is a hearer only.

So, what is a Christian? Someone who obeys because they love Jesus.

Love causes obedience.

I'm going to keep this real simple today, can you tell?

Do you love Jesus and is there evidence of that love through the obedience of His commandments in your life?

If you answer no to either of those questions, you have some thinking to do...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Surprise!

Look at those shirts! And Norah gave us a little smile. So precious! Don't they look bigger?

No, the surprise is not that they are coming home, but rather when we arrived at the hospital today, the girls were together, with the tubes out of their noses and WE GOT TO HOLD BOTH AT THE SAME TIME!!! Happy Valentine's Day to us!

The tubes were going to be replaced, but it was so fun to see them without any tape on their faces. A physical therapist stopped by and explained to us that eating is very much like walking. Most infants walk at a year - eight months is early and sixteen months is even within the normal range. Same with eating - 40 weeks is normal and 36 weeks would be early. The girls are about 36 weeks and 5 days. So, though they do drink pretty well, they won't really be old enough to have it down for a couple more weeks. That was a back door way of telling us we have a few more weeks before we should expect the girls to go home. It makes good sense and we are all fine with what is best for the girls!

Here is a wonderful family portrait...

And then it was GRANDMA'S TURN!!! - that's a lot of baby in one arm!

Next Grandpa got a turn - he handled it like a pro...

And then Lori came - I just love the smile on her face in this picture!

And then proud parents...

Have a great Valentine's Day!