Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas! Sanborn Family Musings...

If you are looking for a truly thoughtful, spiritual, and eclectic post on the true meaning of Christmas you should go to Dan Philip's blog called Biblical Christianity here:
Biblical Christianity

I could not possibly do a better job than he does.

Instead, I am going to reminisce about Christmases past. I wish I had more photos to post, but my mom has all the old ones from my childhood.

I grew up in a family that was lower middle class, and we were downright poor when I was very young. Yet, my parents always sacrificed at Christmas time. There were always plenty of nice presents under the tree. Thanks Mom and Dad.

I believed in Santa as a kid. I was also an annoyingly observant kid. One year, I pointed out to my mom that she and Santa use the same kind of wrapping paper. After that year, she was always careful to use two different types of paper... some from Santa, and some form Mom and Dad... she disguised her handwriting, too.

When I was 6, we (my little brother and I) had a good haul. We loved He-man and the Masters of the Universe action figures and we scored plenty. Christmas afternoon the new toys were laying on the floor and I stomped on a couple on my way out of the room. My mom chided me gently, to which I replied (again at 6 years old), "Ah, what do you care, you didn't buy them. Besides, they prolly only cost a buck-fifty." That got her ire up and she promptly sat me down and told me that she DID buy them and they cost five dollars, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. No Santa? I was crushed... but deserved it. I went in my room and laid on the bed for about an hour (my mom says). I came out and looked at my mom serious as a heart attack and said, "I understand about Santa, mom, but what about the Easter Bunny, is he just a big fake, too?" "Yes," was her reply and then she swore me to secrecy (I have a younger brother). Apparently it takes an hour to connect the dots when you're six. (And the tooth fairy had not entered the equation yet, being a lower class mythical figure).

On year (about 1985) we moved into a new, much bigger house, that my dad had built mostly himself, in a fairly secluded wooded area. That Christmas we really got a lot of G.I. Joe toys. I am serious. A LOT! and my aunt who lives in Texas sent us camoflage clothes (BDUs) and Army MREs (field food). We thought we were soldiers in our camo out in the woods eating army food for lunch. It wouldn't have been the same without my brother. And today, he is a soldier.

My brother, Tait, and I used to be up really early on Christmas Morning. I am talking like 12:30 a.m. It was always my fault. I would try to go to sleep (and I would), but I would wake up at midnight, go out and see all of the presents under the tree and be too excited to go back to sleep. Then I would wake up Tait. He was never very happy about that. But once he was up, we had a good time. My parents always said we could open the stockings whenever we woke up (but touch nothing else, of course). We would find cans of Pringles chips, Slim Jim beef jerky, mixed nuts, and assorted chocolates. We would feast, play games (usually cards), and talk. One year, when Tait was about 6-7, I spilled my guts on the Santa issue. His reply was in typical (analytical) Tait fashion, "I thought so". Apparently, by first grade guys at school start to talk about what they know. Another year, when we were a good bit older, I shared what I knew about the "birds and the bees." Awkward! Sorry Tait.

One tradition we had was that Mom would always read us the "Night Before Christmas," and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (yes, it was a book before Jim Carey got a hold of it) while lying under the Christmas tree. That was always a special time, and I think we kept doing it long after the books became too young to us.

One thing that makes all of this more meaningful is something my Dad did one summer. He had the courage to leave the Catholic Church he (and we) grew up in, and took us to a little Bible church where the true Biblical Gospel was preached. If you aren't Catholic, or if you don't know Catholics, then you won't realize why I say this took true courage. Being in a Catholic family is almost like being in a Mafia family. You don't leave the Catholic Church, and if you do you risk being shunned by the family. Okay, it's not that bad, but not good either. Anyway, we all heard that good news that Jesus is God who became man, and that our sin is offensive to Him. NO works can satisfy God (whew! that is good news to a Catholic), but rather repentance and faith are needed and Jesus accomplished all of the work on the Cross. That was truly a great Christmas present Dad brought us to church to receive one Summer.

My family adopted a little girl (Amanda, age 3) when I was 13. She had a rough life up to that point and watching her excitement in her new life was a joy for all of us. She still is a joy. We love you Amanda (Now 23 and the favorite Aunt in this pic)!

In 2001, on December 23, Sarah Joyce Steinorth accepted my proposal for marriage. We ate at Victoria and Albert's at the Grand Floridian Hotel at Walt Disney World. This was/is the only true Five-Star meal I have ever eaten. I was so nervous that night I can't remember much about it. It was, and is still, one of the best nights of my life. Aside from Jesus's birth, life, death, and resurrection for my sins, Sarah is the best Christmas gift I've ever received.

In 2004, another summer gift, Jackson Curtis, came boldly in to our lives. On Christmas Eve he was exactly six months old and we were starting to get the hang of parenting. I was so excited to be a daddy, and to have a boy, that I went out and bought my six month old son a giant red fire truck. He still has it.

Christmas 2005, Sarah was 2 weeks away from delivering Hannah Joyce into the world. Typical of my precocious little daughter, she was late for Christmas, but came at her own sweet time.

Tomorrow, I will watch my own two children open gifts. I wonder if they will bond in the night-time while their mom and I sleep, unaware. I am thrilled that Jackson has put trust in the Savior, and reminds himself (and us) regularly that Christmas is not about presents, but Jesus' birthday. I continue to pray that Hannah will come to Jesus soon, too. I'll sit back and wonder at how quickly it seems to have all come full circle. I'll blink, and I'll be watching grandbabies open gifts.

Jesus truly is the greatest gift of all for those who repent of sin and trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of sin. If that was all we had, we would be truly blessed. God has been so gracious in lavishing so much more on all of us. May we remember to worship Him as we enjoy what He has given. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Irreconcilable Differences (Part 2)

In part one, I laid out what I believe are the four main reasons that divorces occur. They are: failure to take the covenant/permanent nature of marriage seriously, sexual sin, unkindness/meanness, and an improper focus on money.

I wrapped up by stating that one or both of the marriage partners are guilty of at least one of these things when divorce occurs. Also, I stated that the only hope for avoiding these pitfalls is a genuine, committed, and growing, relationship with Jesus Christ.

Now I have reached the point I have been aiming at from the beginning of these two posts.

You; the child of the parent(s) who failed at marriage. Mine are together, so I must be honest and tell you that I am not speaking from experience. I am close to many people who have experienced this in their lives. It is tragic. You feel devastated. You never wanted this to happen, but no one really asked your opinion. I've met kids who are emotionally distraught all of the time; some who cut themselves, others who are just angry and never seem to enjoy anything. Still others who hide behind jokes to mask the pain. You wonder why no one seems to understand that your world collapsed, while everyone goes on with business as usual.

Imagine seeing a naked, alone, starving (nearly to death) child at the mall. You see him too weak to even cry out for help. You feel compelled to help. This is urgent. He's all alone. He's so sad looking. He needs food, and clothes, and love. This is important. This is a huge tragedy. Now supposed you saw a child like him everywhere you went, everyday, all the time.

I pray to God that I would never become calloused to those kids.

However, divorce is a huge tragedy. Kids are often the collateral damage. But our society commits these tragedies so often that we see it as normal. (Just another starving child--what time's lunch?)

Divorce is NOT normal. What you are feeling about your parents' divorce is a natural response. God designed marriage to be permanent, and the home was to be the safe-haven for children to be nurtured and to grow up gradually in the security of the family. But, now the family is fractured, the security is gone, and you had to grow up fast to the reality of the sinfulness of the world. I am sorry for you. This was never supposed to happen.

The pain runs deep, and sadly, it's more complex than being hungry. We can feed a hungry child, and clothe him. I cannot so easily alleviate the pain of divorce. In fact, I can't do it at all. But please, read a little further.

There is hope in Jesus Christ. Jesus did not come primarily to meet our emotional needs. So please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that if you turn to Christ that all of your pain will go away. Or, that your dream of having a whole family again will come true. I really couldn't promise you that.

You have learned a very hard lesson at a very expensive price. Here it is: Everything you trust in (EVERYTHING), will eventually let you down... because of sin. Money, success, sports, beauty, friends, boy/girlfriend, even parents. All of them will fail you if your hope is in them. Jesus said that all whom the Father brings to Him He will never cast out. He said He is with us always, even to the end of the age. He said He will never leave us nor forsake us. Jesus is trustworthy, dependable, pure, sinless.

I am not minimizing your hurt. But, you cannot change your parents' decisions. If any good is to come of this situation, let it be that God used this circumstance in your life to help you realize that you need Jesus Christ....To save you from divorce? No, from your own sinfulness. From the wrath of God toward your sin. Turn from your sin. Repent. Turn to Jesus to save you. In Him you will find faithful love. In Him you will find peace for your soul. In Him, you will find life everlasting. By His Spirit, you will find strength to endure.

Perhaps you're saying, I am a follower of Jesus. Praise God! Christian, ask God's help to forgive your mom and/or dad for what their sin did to you. Ask Him to help you relinquish your anger. Ask for help to honor an obey your parents(assuming you still live with them), so that Jesus will be glorified in you in the midst of this difficult situation. I am praying for you, too. If not by name, then by category.

May the peace of God guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Love and grace to all who know too well what I am talking about.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wing "Sings!"

This one is just for fun... if you can call it that.

This is one special lady who "sings." She covers some of your favorite classic and contemporary songs.

ALERT! Do NOT have a beverage in your mouth when you click this... your screen will be covered when you either spew it out from laughing so hard, or when your jaw drops open from the shock and horror.

NOT for the faint of heart.

Click here:
Wing "Sings"

Want more? Click here:
Wing "Sings" Even More...Can you handle it?

You are welcome!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Irreconcilable Differences (Part 1)

Divorce. A word that should strike fear into any heart, but has become so commonplace that it has almost no impact in society. It has become a mere statistic.

In my daily goings-on I have been confronted by the effects of divorce no less than five times this week alone. I must admit that I am guilty of a certain hardness toward the term, but upon reflection found my heart aching for those involved.

In my last post I talked about the lie that sin always tells. The lie that something other than God is needed. However, it is precisely God that is needed in all things, and especially in the realm of marriage and divorce. Here it is necessary to lay a couple of foundational principles, though in no wise do I intend for this to be an exhaustive study.

First, Genesis chapters 1-2 tell us that God created the man and woman and instituted marriage. He blessed them, told them they were one flesh, and instructed them to cleave to one another. Later we see in the Levitical Law a prohibition against divorce. Jesus, in answering the Pharisees challenge upholds God's righteous standard for marriage (with the provision for divorce being made only for the jilted spouse who has been cheated on). Later, Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit advises that if an unbelieving (non-Christian) spouse leaves (the marriage), let them go. So clearly, God created marriage, expected it to be life-long, but in His mercy allowed for divorce in two extreme cases.

So why does divorce happen? Specifics are limitless, I imagine, but I want to explore a few overarching principles.

1)Failure to recognize and take seriously the permanence of the marriage relationship as outlined above. God made marriage and expects you keep your promise to Him and to your spouse, "'Til death do us part." (Side-note: modern day revisions of wedding vows do not exempt from God's reckoning of marriage as permanent).

2)Unfaithfulness. God forbids adultery in the 7th commandment and even coveting what belongs to your neighbor (note wife on the list). So don't touch her (7th), and don't even think about touching her (10th) (Exodus 20). In addition, Jesus says in Matthew 5 that if a man looks lustfully at a woman, he has committed adultery in his heart. In Proverbs we have a disdainful look at the adulterous woman (she is loud and defiant and her feet never stay at home). And, that chapter states that the one who goes to her is simple (dull, stupid) and lacks understanding. Elsewhere, we are instructed to be satisfied with the physical love of the wife of our youth. And throughout the prophets God calls Israel's spiritual adultery "dealing treacherously with God." Before I move on from here, let me say this... Men: if you are looking at pornography, you are heading toward destruction. Ladies: If you are reading trashy romance novels, watching soap operas, and pining for some false sense of romance you are headed for destruction. And to all: if you are entertaining any kind of intimate emotional relationship with anyone not your spouse, destruction is at your doorstep. The only hope is to repent, break off all unfaithful activities, confess your sins one to another, seek biblical counseling from a trained Pastor, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. This assumes, of course, that I am speaking to a true follower of Jesus Christ. If not, the remedy is the same, but must begin with repentance from your rebellion against God and submission to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of your sins. (I will post more about that at another time-- or you can email me for further clarification).

3) Mean/Harshness-- Men, we are instructed to live with our wives in an understanding way. We are commanded to love them the way Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us. We have a beautiful description of what love is in I Corinthians 13. We are commanded to let our speech be seasoned with grace according to the need of the moment for the building up of the hearer. Further, in Galatians, we have the fruits of Spirit outlined for us. These are characteristics we should be demonstrating if we are indeed followers of Christ. Often, people begin to take each other for granted. They get self-focused, rejecting the command to let each esteem others better than themselves. Instead of patience and graceful speech, we demand our way and verbally accost our spouses for anything we deem a breech of our plans/expectations/needs. Christians, we need to repent of harshness, sarcasm, complacency, anger, mean-spiritedness, and the like. Men, as the leader in the home you need to be setting the example and the overall tone in the home. One final word, these types of behaviors, while painful to be sure, are not grounds for the "victim" to violate principles one and two above.

4)Money- The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. Those who desire to get rich pierce themselves with many a pang. Love of money can come in many forms. It could be the desire to get rich... the workaholic who is constantly putting his/her family at the bottom of the priorities list so he/she can "get ahead" at work. It could be enjoying spending money too much. An unhealthy focus on things that leads to overspending and heavy debt loads. Eventually, the things break, wear-out, get boring, and never actually satisfy. Eventually, the banks who will say yes to more credit cards run out and all that is left is stuff you don't need or even want anymore; along with a whole lot of debt, resentment, and stress under the debt load. Proverbs warns us not to wear ourselves out to get rich, but to have the wisdom to show restraint. (Note: Proverbs is also replete with prohibitions against laziness. Paul affirms in the New Testament: If a man will not work, let him not eat). Further, Jesus taught us to pray that God would give us this day our daily bread...just enough for now. Further, the Bible is full of examples of how we are expected to share with others to meet their physical needs if we do find ourselves having more than enough. Paul says that he has learned the secret to having much or having little. Finally, he tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain. So, men and women: stop making money your love. Give your love to God (the greatest commandment) and let that love spill over into your love for your spouse.

I conclude with this. Divorce is the result of at least one of the marriage partners violating at least one of the above mentioned of God's principles. The key to strong marriages is a strong relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and a strong commitment to His commands. If this is lacking in your marriage, there is hope. Turn to Christ. Pray that He will forgive you for your sins and grant you strength to obey Him. You cannot force your spouse to comply with God's Word, but you can pray for him or her. And who knows, "By your godly conduct you may win your spouse" to the Lord (faith in Jesus).

I have more to say in the next post.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

True Lies...

Really, the truth about lies.

Romans 1:25
"For they (mankind) exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."

And there it is. The indictment of all mankind. This is the reason we have false religion, cults, humanism, atheism, and sin of every conceivable variety.

Mankind is not on a quest for truth as some would suggest; he is ignoring the truth that is evident. Verse 18 of the same chapter says: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness..."

The temptation at this point would be to wag an angry finger at those sinners and press on. However, these verses really get at the heart of all sin, especially my own. I have never bowed the knee to a statue of some winged, dog-faced, animistic god; however, when I sin against my Creator I place myself (the creation) on a throne.

We (Christians) of all people have had the image of God restored in us, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We too once suppressed the truth, but now have the righteousness of God revealed in us, by faith. The lie has been exchanged for the truth. Old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost (sinners, now Christians). We are washed. We are justified. We are regenerated.

Titus 3:4-6
"But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior."

THAT is THE truth. The King of all truths; The Gospel.

However, we can (and do at times) believe the lie that in creation we will find fulfillment. Phrases like these are sure indicators: "If I could just make more's been a long week, I need to be entertained...if only I had that body, spouse, job, house, education...My life would really be great if..." (The possibilities really are endless). We suppress the truth. Worse, we exchange the truth for a lie. Really THE lie. It's the fundamental lie that has been told in various forms throughout history starting with Eve and continuing to this very moment. Here it is: "Something other than God is needed..."

But when we boil it down, they are things. God alone is eternal, and everything else is a created thing. That is ALL the lie can offer you. Always a thing. It can never last. It can never satisfy. It can never replace God. Even Satan at his most diabolical moment, the temptation of Christ, had nothing to offer except a thing. In Matthew 4, he took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem and offered Him all the kingdoms of the world. Satan has this one shot to try to corrupt the Savior. He offers the best fare he can muster... and it is still just a thing. The supposed benefits of sin are just temporary things, and can never satisfy.

Jesus saw through the lie... by His grace I pray we will, too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Can't We All Just Get Along?

In a word, no.

I was visited at my home by some Jehovah's Witnesses this weekend. Their approach is pretty salesman-like. "Hi. We are passing out information that answers some of life's difficult questions. Why is there suffering in the world? Why do bad things happen to 'good' people? Have you ever thought about these questions?"

I used to be in sales. One of the "tricks" is to ask questions that you know people will say "yes" to. Do you like saving money? Do you want to cut your business expenses while increasing your productivity? You get them comfortable saying yes with the hope that they will still be saying yes when you go in for the commitment.

So, who hasn't thought about the questions of suffering in the world? However, I am not ready to let them run away with the conversation. I say, "I am sure your answers are interesting and I might even agree with some of them. The disagreement that you and I will have is on the person of Jesus Christ. John 1:1 says 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.'"

However, the New World Translation that the JW's use translates the last phrase "...and the Word was a God." They insert an English indefinite article where no article exists. They use an obscure translation method, that treads upon normal translation rules. No article exists because in the Greek construction the definite article (translated "the") is implied. So a literal translation could read ..."and the Word was the God."

What's the difference you may ask? Their doctrine states that Jesus is not God-- Yahweh, but rather a god (little "g"). They do not believe in the Trinity--triune God. Beyond the subverting of the clear teachings of the Bible, the implications are huge. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." If Jesus is not God, then he is mere man. If he is a man, his death on the Cross was merely a sinner dying for his own sins. If that is the case, then there is no payment for my sins, and I am most miserable above all creatures.

So I shared these things with my dear friends, the JW's. This brings out the truth that they do not really believe in the sufficiency of the substitutionary death of Jesus to pay for our sins. They believe in a works-based hybrid religion that (surprise, surprise) requires them to be out spreading their doctrine for the salvation of their own souls. So, try Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not by works, so that no one can boast." Blank stares. Blink, blink.

"Well, you know, Jesus never claimed to be God." Oh no you didn't. Really? Try John 8:58, "Jesus said to them (the Pharisees), 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.'" What else could Jesus have meant than He is God? We especially see that the Pharisees understood that He was claiming to be God, because they tried to carry out the Levitical prescription of punishment for blasphemers (what they thought Jesus was). Verse 59 says, "Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him..."

Further, I said, "You are familiar with The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, yes? What is the 1st commandment? Exodus 20:3 'You shall have no other Gods besides me.' Throughout the prophets of the Old Testament, especially Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel we see God severely judging the nation of Israel for the sin of idolatry, on Earth. Imagine if someone dared to worship someone other than God in the throne room of Heaven. Wouldn't God be furious at the defilement of His sinless presence? If Jesus is not God, then why would God allow the worship of Him in the Heavenly throne room?"

Revelation 5:11-14

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,

saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."

And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."

And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen " And the elders fell down and worshiped.

So we have the Father (the One on the throne), and the Lamb (beside the throne) being worshiped simultaneously, in Heaven. Their response, "We can agree to disagree." I agree that we disagree. I warned them that taking away the deity of Jesus Christ takes away their only hope of salvation. I pray for their souls and the many who are blinded by the enemy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oh Baby, Baby

August 30, 2008.

Early morning. Sun's just breaking through the windows. A rare Saturday. My wife is not at work today (truly rare). We haven't been bombarded by the kids (even rarer). Enjoying the silence. I watch her stir a little...eyes peak open...a slight smile. I take her hand...a kiss...small talk. Then, a grimace. More intense now. She's hugging her own abdomen. The blurriness flees. I sit up straight; alert. I can feel needles throughout my body. My stomach wrenches. "The baby?" I ask. A nod. Deep breathing. "Labor pains?" A shrug. Concern. It can't be. We're only 15 weeks. Dear God, please don't let it be! Pain fades. Take a breath. Calm down. Be confident; for her.

Driving fast! Irritated that Floridians drive slow in the LEFT lane. Hospital is too far away. Talking calmly; reassuringly. Dear God, please, "no."

Monitors. Ultrasounds. Conjecture. Opinions. Noise. Chaos. "Squeeze my hand." Try to relax. Breathe. Dear God, please, "no."

Waiting down the hall. Hurting. It's so late. Tired. Drained. What could be taking so long? "Mr. Sanborn, she's awake now."

Tears. A hug. Hold her hand. More tears. No words. Be strong. Dear God, why? This little one gone. Just like last year. What'll we do? What to say? Hurt. Tears. Sad. Empty. Loss.

1) I am thankful that God is sovereign over all things.
2) I am thankful that "children are a blessing from God."
3) I am thankful that God lets us participate in His creative attributes, especially
in procreation.
4) I am thankful to hug and kiss and hold two of my beautiful children everyday.
5) I am grateful that Jesus hugs and kisses and holds two of my beautiful children
every "day" in Heaven.
6) I am thankful for the peace that surpasses all understanding that guards my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
7) I am thankful that "he who finds a wife finds a good thing" has become so
blatantly true in my life in the person of Sarah.
8) I am grateful that "all good gifts come down from my Father of Lights, in whom
there is no variation."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanks for the Memories...Reminders Really.

Every so often I am tempted to fall in with the Health and Wealth Gospel folks. Make no mistake, I am truly not one of them, but I will sometimes catch myself thinking in their terms.

For instance, this school year has been one of personal growth for me, by God's grace. After seeing my beautiful wife's remarkable success, I decided to put myself on Weight Watchers to deal with those pesky pounds I added after getting married, taking a desk job, and just being older than 25. (All of those milestones in just one year). And you know, it's been slow, but it's working. I combined that with a decision to get up early and walk 2 miles every morning. Unlike most of my past New Years' resolution-type delusions of grandeur, this seemed to set the bar high enough to be beneficial, but low enough to be attainable. Also, I used the walk as a daily time of prayer (the real reason it's working, by God's grace). 30-35 minutes of concentrated, consistent, daily prayer has been a life-transforming practice. To be clear, it is not that prayer is some powerful personal mantra, but that looking daily to my personal Savior Jesus Christ has created in me a clearer understanding of His majesty; and my inability to meet God's standards in any area of life without Him. The list continues: consistent daily Bible reading, delving into good Christian books, more responsibilities at work; I even dug out my old Greek books from college and am starting to work on re-learning it.

Yes, I was really starting to make progress. Until... you ever have that one week at work where it all just explodes and it seems like you did nothing that week, but in fact you worked just as hard or harder than usual? Combine that with one of the cars breaking down (God has blessed me with a few automotive skills... which is good because we rarely have money to pay someone else to fix a vehicle). So I am in for a couple of nights of wrenching on the same week. Then, last weekend hits. I come home Friday night to a broken washing machine. Again, by God's grace I am able to fix it. Now the second vehicle is in need of repair. Suddenly the kids are sick; then, the wife and me. I spent all of this past week dragging my sorry sick behind to work, and basically nothing else.

And so, on this beginning to Thanksgiving Week, I want to thank God for two weeks of broken stuff and a broken body. These are great reminders of the truths of His Word. Truths that debunk my misplaced trust in health and wealth.

Sickness and death are a result of sin:

Romans 5:19
For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

So through Adam's sin we were made sinners (and received the condemnation he received, namely: death). But the One, Jesus, obeyed God (to death on the Cross), and His obedience makes me righteous because of repentance and faith I have in Him. Look at what the verse does not say. That through the obedience of the One the many will be made well, or healthy, or rich.

In fact, Hebrews 9:27 states:
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.

Death is still coming, and so is judgment. I thank God that in Christ I am spared from His judgment because of Jesus' righteousness credited to me.

So physically I will die (it has been appointed by God). Getting sick, and stuff breaking, is a reminder of the Fall. For which, I thank God for the reminder because it inevitably brings to remembrance the mercy of Jesus in saving my soul from destruction; and, the eventual health and wealth waiting for me in Heaven. (Revelation 21-22; Matthew 6:19-21).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nearly Three Decades and Still Protecting and Serving

Today is my brother's birthday. Deputy Tait Sanborn: Corporal, soon-to-be Sergeant, SWAT member, sniper, Reserve soldier. I should have known that this would be his track in life... when we were kids (I was about 5, he was 3) some older boys at the daycare were picking on me. Tait saw this from across the playground and ran as fast as he could and slammed into one of them with his belly bounding the boy backward. Then he pointed his tiny finger in their faces and snarled, "You leave my brother alone!" And you know, they did. He has always been tough, but what makes him truly honorable is the tenderness I see him show his wife and children. And as impressive as his resume' is, he is one more thing that is truly rare: humble. I am proud to know him.

Happy Birthday, Tait. Love you, bro!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You Are Now Free to Move About the Cabin

Not long ago there was a story in the news that got my attention:
Northwest Flight 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis, Minnesota, an Airbus 320, lost communications with the ground for over an hour, and overshot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles before air traffic control reestablished contact.

You can read about it here: It was suspected that the pilots were sleeping, or engaged in a heated discussion. After interviewing the pilots, it turn out that their story is that they were each working on their lap tops. Thankfully, the FAA has grounded these pilots, and the airline has fired them. But this story got me thinking. How does this happen? The answer: Autopilot. They are flying a giant airplane filled with people and they have become complacent. They have been to flying school, passed exams, flown countless hours...they've seen and done it all. There is no reason to worry; no cause for concern. The passengers likely now disagree.

I am not relating this story to raise anxiety the next time you fly. But, I did think that we often treat the serious matters of the Christian heart and life with the same flippancy. The Word of God is opened to us and we yawn and think, "I've seen that before." We hear sound preaching and may think, "I really like he how well he preached that." "I've been a Christian for ___ years. I'm doing pretty well." We often operate in our daily lives without thinking. We go on spiritual auto pilot. Like the Airbus that struggles to get off the ground, but then finds its optimum altitude and speed for autopilot, we are often guilty of being zealous at the new life given us early in our Christian lives, but unaffected by the Gospel as our spiritual age progresses. We need to be digging ever deeper into the mysteries of the Gospel by careful study and application of God's Word, but instead we become content with the outward cleansing of our speech and appearance. We walk around in Christian circles speaking Christian-ese saying pious things, but neglect to have meaningful interaction with our great God and Savior Jesus Christ through His Word and effective, furtive prayer. We reform ourselves in our daily goings-on by being trustworthy workers (not stealing time from the company like those people). We pride ourselves in being involved parents, committed spouses, reliable Sunday school workers and deacons, all the while casting but a mere token of appreciation in God's direction. The whole system becomes one of satisfaction when we find ourselves handling the pressure well, and sef-loathing when it stars to crumble.

We simply are not thinking; or, perhaps not on the right things. We can become so focused on the temporal issues of life, that we never really consider eternal matters. This is not right thinking. Paul emphasized thinking rightly in chapter 2 of his letter to Titus.

(vs.2)Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.

And again in vs. 6:

Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;

(vss.11-13)For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

It just does not make sense to live the Christian life on autopilot.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What It's All About

Colossians 1:15-18

15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He (Jesus) Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Emphasis and italics added).

Here is the point of it all; the purpose.

HE created it all.

HE is the head of it all.

It is all for HIM… so HE gets the glory.

We, as Christians, like this truth… most of the time. We like to know that Jesus is in charge when we pray. For, who would pray to One who has no power or control to answer. But, what about when we get a “no” answer? Or, what sounds like a busy signal. All of us would love to glorify Christ as the once lame man leaping for joy… but, what about when He calls us to herald His goodness from our pallet, with legs still withered? Can we say with Job, “though He slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). It is counter to our sinful natures and is only possible by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I had occasion recently to wallow in self-pity. By comparison to others I know who have suffered for Christ (or at the very least because Jesus allowed their sufferings), my situation was laughable and will, therefore, remain unmentioned. However, in my insanity of selfishness it became about ME. Why would God allow this to happen to ME? God began to appear smaller—a sure sign of my foolishness. The problem seemed insurmountable; the situation hopeless. God did not appear to care about ME, nor did He honor MY service to Him. What BLASPHEMY! (Thought I would get that out before any of you said it).

I was encouraged by a good friend to read The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. Now, there is no magic in this book, and frankly, my circumstances have not improved at all since reading this book. No, what I got was a reminder (with the use of Scripture) of the immensity, the absolute mind-numbing grandeur, and the majesty of my God; and, the great chasm/gulf between who He is and who I am.

It is in this context, that the words of Colossians 1:15-18 come alive to me… It isn’t about ME. It is NOT about ME. Sure, He loves me. Sure, He cares. Sure, my problems matter. But, they are being orchestrated by a wonderful, mighty, loving, all-wise, eternal, immense, infinite, all-powerful, all-knowing, holy God… to whom I belong. “I am made FOR HIM, BY HIM. HE is BEFORE me.” “In HIM, I CONSIST. And HE is my HEAD”…“That in me HE might have PREEMINANCE.”

May we all learn to rejoice in the glory He gets when we suffer patiently, for Him.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Redneck Halloween!

Here is something I am sure you have not seen on the internet before. How can I be so sure? Because I took this photo myself-- and sadly, in my neighborhood. I drove up, complimented his rig, and asked for a photo... There was so much more, but I really did not want to push my luck. I'm pretty sure there was liquor in the solo cup.

Why Sandman?

I am not a comic book guy, but I am aware that there is a character out there by this name. That is NOT why I chose the name.

I am also not really a fan of the old do-wop songs like, "Mr Sandman." So again, that is NOT why I named my blog "Sandman."

My last name is Sanborn, and in high school the guys on the team used to call me Sandman. Now, I am in my early thirties and I am NOT THAT guy who is trying to relive my high school glory days in sports.

The verse says it all. Psalm 103:14, "For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are but dust." The "He" is God, and He remembers that we are dust because He formed the first man, Adam, from the dust of the ground.

So, the name Sandman is a play on my last name and a reminder that God is my Creator. I am merely dust and He deserves my worship; I must be humble before Him.

Why should you care? I am just telling you up front that this blog will be written from a Christian's perspective. If you disagree with me that is fine, but you were warned. Thanks for stopping by.