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A testimony to God’s faithfulness

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On July 4, Emily and I had the opportunity to speak in my brother’s Bible study class at Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler.  I’ve pasted in the outline of our talk.  I hope you are encouraged.

Frame it up:

John 12:27-28

27 Now is my soul troubled and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name. ” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again. ” 

This testimony is just another story of how God continues to glorify His name. 

November 28, 2005

Ella is born

— From the world’s perspective, she is the ideal: beautiful, charming, and smart.  She is precious to us and God has big things in store for her. 

— We decide to have another child.  Needless to say we have a set of expectations about what our next child will be like. 

December 2007

— 1 in 8 odds that this unborn baby boy has Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21. There are both physical and mental developmental concerns with these children.

— At this same time I had been praying and encouraging a close friend and fellow believer whose son was born with an extremely rare heart defect. 

— There I am talking with him about God’s sovereignty in all circumstances. God is preparing me.  I think I’m encouraging him, but actually I’m preaching to myself. 

Excerpt from my blog post: 

At that time I wrote, “My flesh longs for a perfectly “normal” boy. However, my flesh leads me astray all the time. My dependence is on the Holy Spirit who lives in me.”

EMILY

May 1 2008

Death of expectations and the birth of a glimpse into God’s plan.

Seth is born. His name means “appointed”. We chose this name long before we knew about any of this.  


My Blog Post on May 1

Friends and Family,

God has blessed us with a wonderful baby boy. His name is Seth. We are thankful for his life and rejoice even now in the ways God will use him for His glory. He was born at 8:55 p.m. and weighed 6 lbs 11 ounces. Seth was born with a chromosomal defect called Down Syndrome. Although over half of Down Syndrome babies have heart defects of some sort, Seth has a strong healthy heart and impressive muscle tone! We know the challenges ahead will be many in raising little Seth, but we also know that God can use Seth’s life to draw men to Himself. That was our prayer before we saw Seth today and continues to be our prayer. We want Seth’s life to be used to proclaim Jesus to a lost world. For Jesus is our only hope and we 

trust in Him completely. Rejoice with us as we praise God for this gift.


JOEL


My Blog Post on May 16

1. I’m grateful for Seth’s continued good health

2. I’m grateful for Emily’s tremendous outlook on the entire situation. She is definitely demonstrating godly character as she depends on the Holy Spirit for strength. She is living out what Paul says in Romans 5:13.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

3. I still have a feeling of loss when I think about the things Seth and I may not get to experience together due to some of his potential limitations. I can state it this way:

I have a pretty good idea of things that he and I will probably miss out on. I’ve looked forward to doing some of these things with my son years before I became a parent. However, I’m also sure I don’t yet fully understand what Seth and I WILL get to experience that we would not have otherwise. I confess that all of this thinking is quite selfish in some ways and reveals a lack of trust in God’s plan. So, when I get over feeling sorry for myself, I redirect my energy to praying that Seth would know Jesus and be a righteous man. What could be more fulfilling for a dad than this!

Proverbs 23:24

The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.


EMILY

God heals Seth’s Ear – short story

 

JOEL


Gregg preaches and shares Seth’s story. 

Lives are saves and countless are changed and continue to be. 


James 1:2

Count it all joy, my brothers when you meet trials of various kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 


God can and should get the glory in our good times and successes, but He seems to get more in our trials.  Be steadfast in your trials for His glory. 


We come back to this:


I HAVE GLORIFIED IT (my name) AND I WILL GLORIFY IT AGAIN.


John 12:27-28

27 Now is my soul troubled and what shall I say? Father, save l

me from this hour? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name. ” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again. ” 


Let’s expand a bit on this text.

1. Jesus’s soul is troubled in trial


“Troubled” means to be stirred up or unsettled. 

You will endure trial and you can be comforted that even Jesus didn’t particularly enjoy the process. “you will have trouble”


John 16:33

33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ” 


2. Save me from this hour? 

Jesus didn’t consider His ease or convenience more important than God’s purpose in Him going to the cross.

Jesus is completely able to empathize with us in our trials because He experienced the worse possible trial a man can endure.


 Hebrews 4:15

15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 


The God of the Bible will mourn with us as we struggle and at the same time use those circumstances to draw men to Himself.

  

3. Glorify your name

Jesus is struggling mightily with the idea of the suffering he is about to endure. But, His ultimate focus is for God’s name to be glorified.


4. God is in complete control

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