Tag Archive: family


Tree of LifeWhat does man gain by all the toil
    at which he toils under the sun?
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
    but the earth remains forever.
Ecclesiastes 1:3-4

I have experienced death many times throughout my life. I have lost friends and family, youthful and elderly. A wise friend recently told me that it doesn’t matter how long someone lives, losing them hurts. Death is the ultimate sign that we live in a broken world. We try to find meaning in it, but the truth is that death wasn’t meant to be.

The Way Things Once Were

 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature... The tree of life was in the midst of the garden…
Genesis 2:7&9

Once upon a time man did not experience the sting of death. We walked with God and experienced a complete and perfect relationship with him. We had access to the Tree of Life which was all we needed to sustain us. “According to Augustine, Adam in his original state of creation was free, but he was nevertheless still dependent upon divine grace. Augustine saw human beings as utterly dependent upon God’s unmerited favor at every stage of their life and being. Though Adam was created immortal, he was not impervious to death, but he had the capacity for bodily immortality.”(Reasons to Believe). Then with a few twisted words our lives headed down a different path. A path away from God.

The Way Things Are Now

By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return.
Genesis 3:19

We made a choice. The choice to take control of our own destiny and to live by our own rules. The problem is that it cuts us off from God. It cut us off from that one reason we were created. Sin enters the story. The path with God leads to life and the path apart from God leads to death. Sickness, suffering, greed entered our hearts calling to us and drawing us away from the love of the Lord.

My grandmother passed away after a 6 year fight with cancer. She was loving, she was caring, she was patient with me. Many of my values that I stand on and make decisions on today are because of her influence on my life. That relationship has been broken. Many try to hang on to it and find ways to maintain it. Relationship is what God designed us for and death painfully severs it. That is why death stings so much when a young child dies and when your grandma dies. She taught me a lot and in one sense lived a good life, yet when she died my heart knew that things were not the way it was meant to be.

The toil of my hands is meaningless if the Lord is not in the work, “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Many men and women have toiled away and done good works, yet Jesus said “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Without God our work is the same as Adam’s.

Photo 2014-05-31, 9 56 57 AM (1)Preparing The Way

John the Baptist said he was the one preparing the way of the Lord, for the one who would make things right again. He called to those who had wandered off the path and prepared hearts to receive the saviour of all mankind, the one who could fix the brokenness of all creation. It is through Jesus Christ that the sting of death and the victory of sin is crushed. No one else has the ability to take on death and win.

In the movie Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade Kazim, the guardian of the Grail, asks Indy “My soul is prepared. How’s yours?” Kazim asks this as they both face certain death. His motives and intentions where perhaps not exactly correct at the moment he asks the question, however it is one we all must face for all of us face death. We must ask which path will we walk, will we walk with God down the path he has designed us for?

Paul calls Christ the new Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). On the Cross he completed the work and restored what the first Adam lost. “Jesus stretches one hand toward the Garden of Eden, the other toward the eternal Garden. The immortality the first Adam could no longer reach, the Second Adam touched in his place.” (Equip.org). Christ was obedient when Adam was not. “just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14 ESV). Christ restores what Adam lost.

The Way Things Will Be

Doom and gloom is not the way it ends for hope is rising. Like the morning sun appearing on the horizon slowly ascending into the sky, offering life to a new day. Christ’s death and resurrection offer new life and a restored hope. A second chance to walk with the Lord in the cool of the day. Paul tells us “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).  Our hope comes from God and keeping today in perspective with eternity and Christ’s work.

In the song When I Leave the Room by Natalie Grant she sings “You want me to fight but I tell you I’m ready.” When the Lord calls me home I long to be in that place where I know my soul is prepared to walk through the door into eternity. Through Christ death has lost its sting. My relationship to God that was once broken has been restored. We were not designed to be a part from our creator, our heavenly Father. He loved us so much that when the relationship was broken he entered the world and became like us. Christ calls to us “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35). Like the Father in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) he welcomes us with open arms. Death no longer is the victor for those who chose to walk the path with Jesus.

 
When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:54-58

We mourn at the relationship lost, yet have a hope since Christ conquered death and will restore all creation.

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Hope – 2013

Dear Friends and Family,
It’s hard to believe that 2013 is coming to a close, and that the Christmas season is once again upon us. What Joy! 2013 has been a year that can only be described in one word; hope.
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‘…We rejoice in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.’
Romans 5:3-5

As per our usual christmas tradition below is our 2013 family video:

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Family and God

My last few entries have all started the same, I want to write but find little time. Writing usually is a time to decompress my thoughts however I have been doing that with the camera recently (pictures are linked to my instagram page). This weekend in Alberta is a long one for Family Day holiday, good times. It all started Friday after work window shopping on Kijiji, never a good idea but always fun, found an awesome deal on a lens I have wanted since I bought my new camera, picked it up Saturday and headed to the park with the girls.

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Something I have wrestled with and have yet to clearly define is the role of family in my spiritual walk. Yes they are important, and yes God gave them to me but scripture puts a different spin on things. There seems to be a tension between earthy family and the Lord. That can be seen throughout scripture, Adam & Eve, Job and wife, Jacob & Esau,  Peter, even with Jesus.

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” 
Matthew 12:48-50

Photo 2013-02-17 03.33.36 PMIs Christ denying his earthy family? We also see in Matthew 8 that Peter was married as he has a mother-in-law. You exam Peter’s life as recorded in scripture and it does not appear like he spent a lot of time with his family. Paul also has strong words about marriage and family. The idea of family is typically used to show how we are brought into the family of God, adopted into his family.

I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:26-35

So as I move forward I am truly thankful for the wife and children I have been given for they are true blessings from God, but I am torn by the fact that I seek to please them in the affairs of this world and the Lord’s affairs. Matthew 6:24 comes to mind with as I read Paul’s words “No one can serve two masters”. Have I worked this all out? Not at all, but my prayer is that I can lead my home in the ways of our Lord and that together we will be a reflection of God’s light.

What role does family play in your spiritual walk with the Lord?

Photo 2013-02-17 03.33.07 PM

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2012: Where We Were

Every year I put together a video of our year. 2012 went by so fast and it was amazing to see how God provided for us, took care of us, and gave us those extra special gifts that we didn’t really need. May we never forget that these things are mere trinkets and that it is by His grace alone that we receive these worldly and, more importantly, eternal gifts.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 
Philippians 3:7-9

The annual Umbach Christmas video has gone HD this year. I was given an iTunes app card as a present and so I got the iMovie app. Even on my iPhone it was way nicer than trying to mess around with Movie Maker.

God really blessed our family in 2011 and we saw his hand move. My your 2012 be blessed and my God reveal his glory all around.

Cemeteries & Zoos

Three years ago I lost someone who I have great respect for. I am honored to tell my kids about him.

After spending time talking to the girls about Uncle George and Aunt Jean we met Tina’s family at the zoo. The weather was cool and the animals were out and about, the snow leopards were on the move.

The lions were still sleeping

The girls were just as excited to hang out with their Grandma, Grandpa, and Uncle & Aunt as they were to see the animals! The girls fell asleep the moment we got back to the car.

Predator

Prey

It was a great day remembering our past and spending time with those still here!

 

 

 

 

 

Finding my missing pieces

The girls have this movie that they love watching and like any good children’s program it has far too many songs that all seem to get stuck in my head.  One song in this particular movie has a huge teachable moment. It is a song about a girl and what she means to this main character. It looks at this hole in the boy’s life and the void seems so big especially since he doesn’t know who the girl is, he heard her singing and now needs to find her. The few words he heard her sing stirred deep into his soul revealing this void. And the rest of the movie is about him finding this girl.

Like the boy in the movie I have had a similar experience. With just a few words my soul was stirred and a void was revealed. The words are one of my earliest memories from when I was merely 3 years old, but they shaped the direction of my life. With those words I searched for the person that spoke them. As I thought I was getting closer to knowing who I was I found that I really didn’t. Everything came back to the voice I had heard and needing to find that. So I sought the voice that first reached out to me. It was the missing piece I needed, the puzzle piece I was missing. Once I found it I no longer had a void. I was complete. The one thing that filled my void was God.

Even though this song was written about a girl it states an important truth about God. The girl is missing the same puzzle piece as the boy so even together there is still something missing. They are still incomplete.  Only through Christ can that void be filled. “You’re the missing piece I need, the song inside of me. I need to find you. I gotta find you.”

The song comes from the movie Camp Rock called Gotta Find You.

Integrity

Calgary Sun - Sept 3 2011

As my kids grow I hope that they will learn how to make decisions based on integrity. As they grow and start to do things that have negative outcomes it is my prayer that we have instilled in them that honesty is the best policy. Proverbs 22.6 states Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. The following generation typically slips morally more than the generation before it until they hit the moral bottom and start over. When Josiah was king over Judah they did not even recognize the scriptures when the scroll was found. I would hope that I live a life above reproach and impart the wisdom of God upon their lives. As my children make more and more choices with less and less of my influence I pray that they will value a life of integrity.

Saturday At the Market

I have wanted to do a photo post for a while so without further ado here is the photo post about our day at the Farmers’ Market:

  

The sky was blue, the temperature was perfect, so a day trip was in order. The Millarville Market was calling. Nora the Cherry fiend probably ate a pound of Cherry’s. She really knows how to sweet talk the sample people into giving her seconds.

  

Bee Keeping as a hobby! I don’t think the condo board will go for it.

Balloons always somehow make their way into our adventures. Ugh:(

I always think it is ironic that Farmers’ markets now have so many different ethnic type things. Tina (Left) is looking at an East Indian curry sauce stand and there was a stand with Mexican food.

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Donkeys, Llamas, and one big turkey. Petting zoos never fail to amaze.

  

A petting zoo needs at least one dinosaur!

 One of many stops to the Mr. P Potty exhibit.

  

Tired but no tears. Fun was had by all and I was able to take a bunch of great pics on the way home that capture what is meant by Alberta Blue!

A time to destress

After the rain on our Canada Day camping trip.

Life right now is a little more stressful. A number of factors are combining to form a stress cloud larger and more complicated than normal. Work, kids, sickness, finances, right now nothing seems to be going in a helpful direction. I have been through enough stressful times in my life to know that finding the solution usually requires time spent with the only one that can truly help, God. Taking time out is the only thing that brings the peace that only the Spirit can bring. Being still and knowing that He is God brings hope and understanding. Hope in the sense that the Creator of the Universe knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29.11) and wants to be active in our lives. Understanding comes from the hope. Understanding from the fact that God is in control,  nothing happens without His providence. He knows the stress I am facing and cares so much for me that He has not only planned to help me in my physical time of need but also will use it to reveal His glory for all eternity. After the rain everything is stronger, greener and sweeter. I recently ran across a quote, by whom i can’t remember, that reminds us that “we must keep our eyes on God when we pray and not our problems”. It is when we do this that our problems and stresses look so small in the hands of our God.

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