Valentine's Day

Happy (Late) Valentine's Day everyone:

Important (Late) Announcement

Our daughter, Madelynn Rose Dowling, was born on June 11th at 9:30 PM. She was 19.5 inches long and was 7 pounds, 8 ounces! Everything went great with the delivery for both her and Megan and she has continued to grow perfectly and stay healthy since then. Pretty late announcement, I know!

There are many things that could be said about the delivery and everything that has happened since then, but I will keep it at one story. I had always heard stories of parents talking about their baby recognizing their voice and looking around for them right after birth. I'd even heard stories of babies stopping crying when they were first talked to by their mom/dad after the delivery. I'll admit though, I was always a little skeptical. I always thought parents were either exaggerating or it was just coincidence. Regardless, I always talked to her before she was born because I knew it had to be at least somewhat true. Just maybe not to the extent that many people claimed.

Anyhow, after she was born, they let Megan hold her for a few seconds before taking her to be weighed, measured and checked out. Of course, she was crying and screaming the whole time. The nurses were talking and trying to calm her down, but she was still pretty displeased with her new surroundings. I walked over to go see her and, as soon as I leaned over and started talking to her, she stopped crying and turned to look at me. Then it was my turn to be a big baby and cry! I was amazed at how alert and beautiful she was and how she already clearly recognized my voice. It didn't take her very long to decide to start crying again, but she seemed much less upset holding onto my finger and listening to me. Like I said, there's all sorts of other stories to tell and things that were great, but that moment is one I will never forget.

And with are some pics!

The first pic was about 10 mins after she was born.

The second/third are her pouting/smiling at me when she was about a week old.

The final one is a picture of her from about a week ago.
  • 71lespaulcustom
    Pretty girl. Hope both your ladies are doing well!
    by 71lespaulcustom at 08/02/12 9:38PM
  • aaronw
    by aaronw at 08/02/12 9:50PM
  • deusvitae
    by deusvitae at 08/03/12 12:59AM
  • kevin
    Very cool. You are going to be a great dad.
    by kevin at 08/03/12 7:05PM
  • ninja_penguin
    Hey! Congratulations!
    by ninja_penguin at 08/04/12 9:10AM

1 + 1 = 3

I almost feel silly even posting here after such a long period of being away. But it seems like some people are still around and would read this, so here I am. Especially since I am no longer on facebook and would like to keep in touch with some of you somehow.

And with that....on to my announcement.

In June, Megan and I will be having a baby! The current due date is June 20th. We're not sure if it's a boy or girl at this point; we could find out in a couple of weeks if we want, but we're sticking with wanting it to be a surprise at the moment. But who knows. Sitting at home saying that when you can't know either way is one thing. Sitting in the doctor's office in a few weeks literally one sentence away from knowing is another. So we'll see; we'll certainly be sharing the info if we do decide to find out.

I'm not going to commit to how often I plan on using this blog, but do expect more in the future. Certainly something before a year and a half! As someone below requested, I think I am long overdue on part two of the previous post.
  • 71lespaulcustom
    by 71lespaulcustom at 12/05/11 5:57PM
  • kevin
    So awesome man. My wife and I have been trying for almost a year with no success so far. It's all in God's plan though. I will definitely be praying everything goes ok.
    by kevin at 12/06/11 11:19AM
  • aaronw
    Congrats! Pleo has been pretty slow. It's funny you mention your previous post. My beliefs have changed a good bit on that subject in the last year and a half.
    by aaronw at 12/08/11 7:25PM
  • ninja_penguin
    Congratulations! Becca and I are having our first in like a week!
    by ninja_penguin at 12/08/11 8:38PM
  • ninja_penguin
    Congratulations! Becca and I are having our first in like a week!
    by ninja_penguin at 12/08/11 8:38PM
  • aaronw
    Well, I don't want to go into great detail, but basically I'm giving God a lot more credit for a believer's salvation than I used to. I wrote four posts about it recently on my blog that explain.
    by aaronw at 12/09/11 8:47PM

"In the Beginning, God" (Providence Pt. 1)

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." - Genesis 1:1

This brief passage introducing us to the Bible actually tells us a great deal about God. We learn that he created all of this physical universe. From that, we conclude that He is obviously very powerful; moreso than anything existing in this universe. But there is something that we do not learn: His Origin. With practically any other book written, upon introducing the main character, we would quickly learn his height, hair color, age, hometown, likes, dislikes, etc. And yet it is not so with God. We are simply informed that there is this being that was there before our universe was ever even created. We are immediately called upon to simply accept and believe that there is this entity that was not only there in the beginning of this world, but even before that.

"Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.' "" - Exodus 3:13, 14

It is here that we are first introduced to God's name. Prior to this, He was only written of in generic terms: God, Lord, Creator, etc. And not only do we learn God's name, but we learn it from Him. It was not a name given to Him by man. It was a name He chose. And that name is "I AM"; a name that simply implies existence that extends beyond our understanding of time. Some translations render the two phrasings as "I WILL BE" and "I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE"; another statement of an eternal existence that is independent of any external factors. Regardless of the translation, the message is the same: God is powerful, has always existed, always does exist and always will exist.

And yet, even after reading those two passages that speak of God's limitless power and timeless existence, how many times are we guilty of placing God in this box that limits Him to acting and behaving on our terms? How often do we say that God cannot do this or that because of our preconceived ideas of who He is? In doing so, we create God in our image. The complete opposite of what we find described for us during the Creation: that we were created in His Image.

However, I am aware that there are certain things that God has told us that He will not or cannot do. Consider the following:

God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19)

God cannot sin (1 John 1:5)

God cannot tempt others to sin (James 1:13)

God's cannot fail in accomplishing his purpose (Isaiah 46:8-11)

God cannot make a rock that is too powerful for Him to lift (None, aside from sheer common sense dictating that any argument to the contrary is a silly argument for argument's sake)

There are many other smaller categories of things that God will not or cannot do, but they all fall into one of the above five categories (which themselves could probably be summed up as "God cannot contradict Himself") so we will disregard them.

Beyond those things, we do not have the grounds to say that there are things that God will not or cannot do. I believe it is absolutely essential that we understand that before we even to begin to entertain the idea of providence. Because, as we begin to consider some of the passages relating to providence, we may be tempted to believe that something is not fair or that something cannot happen because "God is a just God that wouldn't let that happen.". And so we then choose to completely misinterpret what is written and rationalize our interpretation based upon our preconceived ideas of who God is. Perhaps another temptation would be to simply disregard certain aspects of providence because it sounds "too Calvinistic" or "too denominational". When we make those objections, amongst others that will be addressed later, we are guilty of creating God in our image. In the former, we are essentially saying that we know more about morality and just behavior than God. In the latter, we are claiming to be too conservative for God. So, as we move on to consider the topic of providence, let's remember that, with the exception of the above passages, "With God, all things are possible.".
  • aaronw
    Very good thoughts! It is definitely possible for God to give us a free will and at the same time predestine us. Otherwise, we limit God's knowledge of us. We also need to remember that God has more grace than we can imagine. If God saves people that today we might consider "not saved", we should be joyful. Because God's grace is awesome. If we get to the point that "how could God save him?", we not only have created our own image of God, but we've played the Pharisee in Luke 18.
    by aaronw at 07/29/10 9:49PM
  • kevin
    Very funny.
    by kevin at 01/17/11 7:59AM
  • milly
    I know that this is an old post, and quite possibly you might never visit to read this comment, but I want to say it anyway. To say that God cannot make a rock that he cannot lift is a form of putting him in a box that limits his abilities to what we can understand. I compare our comprehension of God to an ant's comprehension of a computer. There is no way that ant can comprehend the power of a computer. Nor is there any way we can comprehend God's power. BTW, I'd love to read Providence Part 2!
    by milly at 12/05/11 4:06PM

Getting ready to teach what is most like my most challenging Bible study ever......

God's Providence

I'll post the outline sometime in the near future.

I promise that "near future" doesn't mean four months from now. You the topic I planned to post on "A Good Church" but never got around to.

Any comments/discussion on the topic of "God's Providence" are welcome in the meantime.
  • ninja_penguin
    I wonder how much of what happens is God's providence and how much is stuff that just happens.
    by ninja_penguin at 06/19/10 3:15PM
  • Solnushka
    I better have given you some good material on my last visit.
    by Solnushka at 06/19/10 4:51PM
  • kevin
    One of the conclusions I have reached when studying God's providence is that we don't really NEED to know if it is God's providence or not all the time. If something happens in our life, be it good or bad, and it causes us to either think about, recognize, pray to God, etc. then in the end it may not really matter if it was God working directly or simply coincidence (which I'm beginning to doubt more and more). Ultimately, if it gets me to appreciate and love God even more or put more trust in him then I don't really care if it was God directly.
    by kevin at 06/19/10 5:26PM
  • herofortheday
    You're right. I cannot say for certain that it was the providence of God that cause this to happen. But, you cannot say for certain that it was NOT.

    Also, check out this link for some goodness: Uniformitarianism It's a little Calvinistic and a little too secular. But, some interesting stuffs.

    And, there is an extremely interesting and illuminating chapter about providence at the end of C.S. Lewis' book "Miracles". I am too lazy to get up right now, find my copy, peruse the chapter and distill the essential parts. And... if I actually tried I would probably just be retyping the chapter. But, you really should read it.
    by herofortheday at 06/23/10 5:33PM