Saturday, March 30, 2013

Guest Blog: My Husband

Today I have the joy of letting my husband, Ernie, share a little about our first son, Haddon. I'm very excited to have this on here, hope you enjoy reading about his love for Haddon and his even bigger love for Jesus. Thanks honey, I love you.

This weekend marks the celebration of the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. We will be gathering to celebrate his perfect life, his death as the ultimate curse of God for sin, and his resurrection, the proclamation of the Father’s satisfaction with his Son’s sacrifice. We will join the millions of Christ-followers who see the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus as the most central and important event in the history of the world.
This year as we celebrate Easter we will also be celebrating another important celebration in the life of the Blanco family, the 2nd anniversary of the life and death of our first-born son, Haddon Brooks Blanco. While Easter has always been important to us, through our son Haddon, God has given us a lens in which to view Easter. We are far more aware of the joy that the resurrections provides as an anchor of hope for all who are in Christ. We are growing and experiencing a new understanding of awaiting that one day when all who are in Christ will be raised to glory with the resurrected Christ.
Haddon has taught me that God’s love for his own son is far greater than my love for my own children. As a proud father, I have experienced what many other fathers have experienced when they transition into the role of fatherhood, an immense awakening of fatherly love. We are so proud of our kids the instant that we first see them. We almost immediately began searching for similarities to claim before anyone else can suggest otherwise. We find for the first time joy in being awakened and depended upon during the night (though certainly this applies much more thoroughly with our wives). We would do anything to show our kids how much we love them. This is a gift from God that our hearts are instantly tied to our children, as if we had been best friends for a countless number of years. That is exactly how I felt as I entered fatherhood when Haddon arrived two years ago. I loved him instantly. My bond to him formed quicker than any other bond God has ever given me, even quicker than the bond that first formed meeting his mother and my wife, Lisa.
God’s relationship with his Son is so profoundly deeper than my relationship with both of my sons. Whereas my bond with Haddon, and his younger brother Ernie has lasted as long as I have known them, God’s bond with his son has existed from the foundations of eternity. Prior to the coming of Jesus to earth, the Father and Son had never experienced any separation. Their bond was so profoundly rich because of their unique relationship that it is difficult for Christians today to even conceive of the love that exists between Father and Son.
The Lord has also taught me these past two years that the deeper the love one experiences with another, the deeper the hurt one feels when experiencing a separation from the relationship. This is why the separation of the Son and the Father on the cross is unparalleled in all of world history. Not only did God separate himself physically from his Son, but he also separated himself from any sense of goodwill, of love, and of affection for his beloved first-born. He so separated himself from his relationship with his Son on the cross, that Jesus literally became the curse and scorn of God by hanging on the cross at Calvary. And because that separation between Father and Son occurred, we were given over victory over the temporary separation that occurs when a child of God departs from this earth. I am reminded when my heart aches for the separation that I currently feel from Haddon, that God the Father is more than familiar with my pain. He has destroyed the sting of death through the loving sacrifice of Jesus. As Haddon's dad, its just a little easier to understand some of the grief God’s heart must have went through Christ was afflicted with the sins of the world.
Lastly, I am reminded that God is the magnificent victor over death and sin. Jesus did not stay dead in the grave, but as the Scriptures remind us Jesus conquered death and rose on the third day appearing to over 500 witnesses before ascending to the Father in glory. God’s stamp of approval of his Son’s death in the resurrection is the reason that there is hope to be found in a world marred by sin. This hope is spoken of in 1 Peter 1:7 which states, “In this you rejoice , though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The resurrection reminds me that each trial God has called me to and will call me to, are carefully designed for my good and for the everlasting glory of Jesus Christ. This Easter, which is also the same day as Haddon’s birthday, I will be rejoicing in my God who has victoriously conquered death and promised new life to all who put their faith and trust in him. The resurrected Christ indeed is our only hope for victory over death.
Romans 8:32 “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will ne not also with him graciously give us all things?”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It's been awhile

Sorry for the lack of posts. We have been having a lot of family time this week which has been incredible. Theres more of my short series to come and also an ernie brooks update. This Picture should help while you wait:

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

In Days of Trials: Day 3

If you haven't heard of the book Beside Still Waters, I would recommend it to you. It's a collection of sermon excerpts from Charles Haddon Spurgeon, specifically on comfort for believers in Christ. We named our firstborn, Haddon, after this pastor.
Below is my favorite sermon from this book:

I Know Their Sorrows (Exodus 3:7)

"If you are in the dark, if your spirits are sunk in gloom, do not despair, for the Lord Jesus was there. If you have fallen into misery, do not give up, because the Father's well-beloved passed through denser darkness. Believing soul, if you are in the dark you are in the Kings cellars, where the well refined wines on the lees are stored (Isaiah 25:6). You are in the Lord's pavilion, and you may speak with Him.

Yes Lord, in hours of gloom,
When shadows fill my room
When pain breathes forth it's groans
Then thou art near.

If you are under a cloud, seek your Lord,. Stand still in your deep sorrow and say, 'Dear Lord, the preacher tells me that your cross once stood in darkness like this. Oh, Jesus, hear me!'

He will respond. The Lord will look out of the pillar of cloud and shed a light on you. He is no stranger to heartbreak. 'I know their sorrows,' said the Lord to Moses (Exodus 3:7). Trust him, and he will cause his light to shine on you. Lean on Him, and he will bring you out of the gloomy wilderness and into the land of rest. May God help you lean on Him."

I still cling to the truth that Jesus has passed through denser darkness, and that I am in his cellars on days of sorrow. In sadness we get to know the man of sorrows (Jesus), in a way that we can't when all is going well.

"He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief..."
Isaiah 53:3

Monday, March 4, 2013

In Days of Trials: Day 2

When we are in the middle of hard trials, we almost always make our circumstance huge, and make God small. But I think one way to fix your eyes on hope in God is to remember his greatness, read about how big he is, see what he has to say about himself.

As I think back to two years ago and what it felt like to have a suddenly empty womb and grieving with empty arms, I recall God taking me straight to Psalm 33. It was the chapter God used so that I wouldn't be swallowed up by despair. It was here God showed me he loves righteousness, his plans are firm, his love is steadfast, his word is upright, he is my help and his eyes are towards me. He showed me his loving control of all things when it seemed all things were now out of control.
This description of God and call to praise him made my circumstance appear as just a small part of God's big redeeming plan for this world, because it is.

Psalm 33:1-22

"Shout for joy in the Lord , O you righteous! Praise befits the upright.

Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord .

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord ; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord  brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord , the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!

The Lord  looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord ; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord , be upon us, even as we hope in you."

Sunday, March 3, 2013

In Days of Trials: Day 1

Seasons of hardship come and go throughout our whole lives. No one escapes difficulty, some just may experience it in a heavier form than others.

So if we can't escape it, how do we prepare for it? Do you feel like real trials can only come after living many years? That's how I felt, I had no idea that God had plans to teach me more about his goodness and mercy through taking my baby when I was only twenty-three.

This month marks my son Haddon's second year with Jesus. I'd like to meditate this month on the real hope I have in Jesus in the midst of something that's still so heavy to me. I thought I'd share what I find with you.

Today I'd like to start with Ephesians 1:7-10, this is our hope and its the one firm, unchanging truth we have in a world where nothing is sure.

Ephesians 1:7-10

"In him (Jesus) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."

If you know Jesus, then your hope isn't placed in your circumstance. You have hope that you are no longer an enemy of God, and not only are you not an enemy, but you are "lavished with the riches of his grace". The richness of his grace towards you who trust in Jesus is never ending because he's purchased us by his blood. Our identity has now been made under Jesus, not in our circumstance.