28 January 2016

27 January 2016

18-month doctor's appointment

Yesterday, it was confirmed that we have a happy, healthy boy when Damon went to his 18-month doctor's appointment. Here are his current stats:

Weight – 25 pounds, 6 ounces (He gained more than 2 pounds since his last visit three months ago.)
Length – 31.25 inches (He grew 1.5 inches.)
Head – 18.5 inches (His big 'ol noggin didn't grow very much.)

Once again, we discussed Damon's dry skin. The doctor prescribed a mild steroid ointment. He thinks the chances are good that Damon eventually will outgrow this minor skin ailment.

Just after Christmas, we took Damon to the doctor because we noticed that he was limping drastically. At the time, the doctor told us it most likely was a deep muscle bruise. But he told us to keep an eye on it. Within a few days, the limp was gone and Damon seemed to be back to normal. The doctor checked his leg yesterday, and everything was fine. So it seems that he indeed had only a deep bruise back in December.

Lately, Damon points to his diaper when it's time to change it. I don't think he's ready for potty training quite yet, but the doctor said we're free to start whenever we're all ready. Avery was very easy to potty train, and I was expecting the opposite with a boy. But maybe Damon won't be so difficult after all!

I thought we were done with the shots, but the doctor informed me that Damon received only half a flu shot at his last appointment. He needed a second dose today. (Apparently, it's protocol to give the flu shot to toddlers in two doses.) So Damon had to suffer through a minor poke on his thigh. But the tears didn't last long.

The next appointment is at 2 years. By that time, we should be able to understand half of what Damon says. That will make life easier for everybody since we don't know what he's saying a lot of the time! He also should be speaking in two-word sentences. The doctor said Damon also should know body parts very well and follow simple commands. I think we can mark these two off the list right now! While Damon knows his body parts, he isn't speaking them yet so that will be the next milestone.

Recently, Avery and I counted the words Damon speaks at 11. For posterity, here they are:

A (for Avery)
D (for Damon)
nana (banana)
bah (ball)
Ah-ee (for Aunt Karen's cat Oliver)
dorge (for Curious George)

Mommaw Clark said Damon said "tiger" yesterday, thanks to the TV show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. But Damon refused to perform and say the word for us!

26 January 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 12

Chapter 12 is the theologically heart of the book of Revelation. This chapter shows why Christians face such opposition today, but it assures us that God is victorious.

We see three main characters in this chapter:

  • The woman – The woman could symbolize Mary, Israel, the remnant of Israel, or all believers (the Church). The woman was in labor and about to birth a child. After she birthed a male child, she fled to the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God. She remained here for 1,260 days (either symbolic or literal), which represent a limited time. The sign of the woman depicts Jesus’ birth from the people of Israel and then His return to heaven after His death on the cross. This sign highlights God’s protection of His Son and His people.
  • Her male child – The child is Jesus. After the child was born, God snatched Him and placed Him on His throne.
  • The dragon – The dragon is Satan. The dragon had seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads. This shows that he has power, but it is not equal to God’s power. His tail swept one-third of the stars from the sky. In Revelation, stars represent angels; this shows that Satan used angels to be his demons and to make up his army. The dragon positioned himself to devour the child when He was born, but the dragon was not quick enough because God snatched the Child up to heaven. The dragon fought against Michael and his angels, but the dragon was not strong enough to win the battle. He was hurled to earth with his angels.

The passage also mentions the woman’s offspring. The offspring are believers, the redeemed in Christ. “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11).”

No matter what Satan does, he cannot stop God’s plan. Satan has power, but it is limited. He can only do what God allows him to do.

After seeing this scene of the woman and the dragon, John witnessed a war breaking out in heaven. Michael and his angel army attacked the dragon to remove him from heaven. The dragon and his angel army fought back, but he was not strong enough. The dragon was hurled down to earth. Then John heard a loud voice rejoicing at God’s victory over Satan.

If God is victorious in the future, how can we experience that victory today? We can overcome Satan now by relying on Christ’s finished work on the cross and by persevering in faithful witness for God.

After Satan was hurled to earth, he began to pursue the woman. But in the wilderness, God cared for and protected her.

Satan tries to attack God’s people through doubt, discouragement, diversion, defeat, and delay. Satan has power, but it is nothing compared to God’s power!

Things to Think About
  • “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Revelation 12:11).” Does this describe me?
  • Christians must be faithful witnesses for God, both with our lifestyle and our speech. How are my lifestyle and my speech reflecting my witness for God? How faithful am I to the Lord?
  • We need to be so soaked in God’s Word that we can speak His Word at any time to fight the enemy.
  • We are in a spiritual battle. Spiritual victory comes when we know the truth of God’s Word and use it to push Satan away.

This Week’s Memory Verse
“They triumphed over Him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” Revelation 12:11 NIV

21 January 2016

Throwback Thursday: Rockin’ riders

Damon received a very special gift at Christmas. Mommaw and Poppaw Clark refurbished Daddy’s childhood rocking chair. Not only did Mommaw and Poppaw freshen up the chair, they also made it Damon’s own chair by adding sports stencils and cutouts. I love it when I see Avery and Damon using things from our childhoods. It’s so special that we can pass along pieces of our histories to them!

December 1978

December 2015

19 January 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 10-11

After the sixth angel sounded his trumpet, John saw a mighty angel with one foot on earth and one foot on the sea. This shows that the message he carries is for the entire world. The angel held out a scroll with a message from God. John was to share this message with others.

John was prepared to write what the angel said, but he was told to seal up the message. It was intended only for John at that particular time. God does not reveal everything about the future. We must treasure what God has revealed and not speculate about what He hasn’t revealed.

The angel raised his hand and swore an oath to God. The oath says there is no more delay. God is bringing all things to a conclusion. Jesus is coming.

The angel told John to eat the scroll. The angel said the scroll will be sweet in John’s mouth but sour in his stomach. God’s Word is sweet because it satisfies our souls. It is sour because it contains hard truths and the message of judgment. The Good News is bad news for those who reject it.

Next, John was told to measure the temple. This may be a new temple that will be built one day because at John’s time the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed. It also could refer to God’s people because we are called His temple. In the Bible, measuring most often occurs by an owner to demonstrate ownership, authority, and protection. God dwells among His people and divinely protects and preserves them.

John was instructed not to measure the outer courtyard because it belonged to unbelievers who were not under God’s protection.

Then John saw God’s two witnesses. Their identities are unclear. God gave them power and authority to stand for truth. They wore clothes of mourning – they spoke God’s truth but mourned because they knew people will reject it. People tried to physically harm the two witnesses.

Believers are called to be God’s witnesses on earth now. We are called to stand for the truth in this hostile world that rejects God and His Word.

When they finished their work for God, the two witnesses were attacked and killed by the beast from the Abyss. The beast is empowered by Satan and may be the Antichrist. After the two witnesses were killed, their bodies were left on the street for three and a half days. The people refused to bury the bodies, the ultimate sign of disrespect and humiliation.

After three and a half days, God resurrected the two witnesses and called them up to heaven. This foreshadows believers’ resurrection at Jesus’ return. Why would God resurrect our physical bodies? He will make everything new. He will correct the effects from the Fall in the Garden of Eden, including our physical bodies. God created our physical bodies in His image and for a purpose. So He will redeem our bodies.

The people were terrified because God resurrected the two witnesses. God sent an earthquake that destroyed a tenth of the city and killed 7,000 people. The survivors glorified God. We don’t know if this was a true repentance.

Next, the seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and many loud voices glorified God. The elders fell on their faces to worship God. They were full of thanksgiving because God reigns.

Things to Think About
  • It is our role to proclaim God’s truth until He returns to earth because we are His witnesses. A witness knows the truth and tells others about it.
  • Only God can change hearts, but our words do make a difference.
  • We proclaim the Gospel regardless of circumstances and consequences.
  • Pray three things. Lord, open a door (Colossians 3:4). Lord, open their hearts (Acts 16:14). Lord, open my mouth (Ephesians 6:19).

This Week’s Memory Verse
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.’ ” Revelation 11:15 NIV

18 January 2016

The game of a lifetime

It’s been awhile since officiating pictures have graced our blog. It’s probably because it has become a bit more challenging to get to Chris’ games. And when we do go, my attention is divided between a girl who wants to do nothing but eat popcorn and a boy who wants to run around and wave at Daddy. Thank goodness the grandparents come with us to games. It’s nice to have a few extra pairs of hands to help out.

Chris’ officiating bucket list includes reffing in a few select and very special gyms around the state as well as reffing for some prestigious events. His ultimate goal, of course, is to officiate a state finals game. I’m certain he will get there one day!

In the meantime, I’d venture to say that the No. 1 venue on his bucket list is the New Castle Fieldhouse. With a seating capacity of more than 9,300, the fieldhouse is the largest high school basketball arena in the world. (In case you don’t know how important basketball is to the state of Indiana, 12 of the top 15 world’s largest high school gyms are located in Indiana.)

Each year, the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame hosts boys’ and girls’ tournaments featuring some of the best teams in the state. This year, Chris was invited to officiate one of the games for the Girls Hall of Fame Classic tournament. The two teams in Chris’ game were Princeton (last season’s class 3A champion) and Lebanon. Both were ranked among the top 10 teams in the state, and they each had a high-scoring player looking to break some state records. Put all of this together and you can see that this certainly was the biggest game of Chris’ season!

So of course Chris’ cheering section traveled to New Castle for the game!

The officials were recognized publicly before the game began. Chris received a very nice plaque. The woman presenting it to him was my junior high school principal!

It didn’t seem like there were 2,000-plus fans in such a cavernous arena!

I love watching Chris officiate. He’s very good at what he does, but my opinion doesn’t mean much. I’m so pleased that someone else saw his talent and agreed that he needed to be rewarded with a game like this. I know this isn’t the last “big” game of his career!

14 January 2016

13 January 2016

Christmas 2015 recap

I hope you like family pictures, because this post is full of them! Here are the highlights of our multiple Christmas celebrations:

The celebrations began with spending Christmas Eve with Grandma and Grandpa Hromada and Aunt Karen. Damon was as tall as his biggest gift!

Damon still wasn’t too interested in opening the presents, though he was ready to play immediately with every new toy. He did like this bag a lot!

Avery was thrilled to get an RV/camper for her Barbie dolls. Here she is telling Grandma and Grandpa that she saw this exact same RV on a TV commercial!

A few years ago, my mom made pajamas for all of the kids in my extended family. At the time, Chris jokingly said that the adults deserved some PJs too. Well, he wasn’t joking. This year, he asked my mom to make matching PJs for the four of us. She happily complied, and here is the result – monogrammed flannel pajamas for the Clarks.

Avery’s piano teacher spent a lot of time working with her on Christmas songs. So Avery had a nice repertoire of about 15 Christmas carols. She was ready to give a concert for the family, but she insisted that Karen join her on the violin. They played beautifully together. Hopefully we can have this concert every year!

Don’t these four look great together?

Christmas morning is always spent at home, just the four of us. We open stockings and presents and then eat a delicious breakfast prepared by Chris.

We spend the rest of Christmas day with Mommaw and Poppaw Clark. More presents and more food equal another wonderful celebration!

We were so excited to be able to have a video chat with Casey and family in Japan. Even Damon enjoyed talking to his overseas cousins!

On the day after Christmas, we celebrated with the Rork family at our house. It’s a good opportunity to take lots of family pictures! Here is the next generation of the cousins.

The Burress family.

The Burress grandparents and grandchildren.

The Hromada family.

And here’s Granny Rork with just a handful of her great-grandchildren.

Here is the whole gang.

Since Avery insisted on a silly picture, we did our best to be goofy.

When the Rorks get together, we always enjoy playing games. But we tend to play the same games. I wanted to find some new activities, so after searching online I found the Saran Wrap Ball Game. It begins with a huge ball of prizes wrapped in Saran Wrap. (Nearly all of the prizes I put in our ball came from the dollar store.) One person in the circle begins unwrapping the ball to get to the prizes. But the person to his right is rolling two dice, trying to roll a double. When this person rolls a double, the ball is passed to him and the dice are passed to the next person in the circle.

It’s a frenzy of ripping open the ball and cheering for the other person to roll a double. The kids really got into this game. Who am I kidding – the adults enjoyed it too, even Granny! Sometimes the doubles came quickly, and sometimes they didn’t. I think everyone walked away with at least one prize. I think we’ll have to try this game again!

After this was one final Christmas celebration, the Pevler family. It was so nice to spend some time with Aunt Patty, and I think she really enjoyed seeing Avery and Damon.

Cousin Emily couldn’t stop squeezing and loving on these two, and I know the feeling is mutual.

We got a great Clark picture too!

Christmastime seems to fly by so quickly. But it’s always great to spend such quality time with people you love!

12 January 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 8-9

In chapter 8, we see Jesus opening the seventh seal on the scroll. When He opened the seal, there was silence in heaven for 30 minutes. There was an anticipation for what was about to happen.

The opening of the seventh scroll announces the seven trumpet judgments. When Jesus opened the seal, John saw seven angels, each with a trumpet.

Remember in chapter 6, we saw the martyrs cry out, asking God to avenge their deaths. He responded with, “Wait.” Now in chapter 8, God answers the martyrs’ prayers. An angel with a golden censer hurls fire on earth as a partial judgment. Here we see God as a righteous judge. Vindication and revenge are in God’s hands not ours. Our role is to pray. We can pray for justice, but we must pray for God’s justice in His perfect timing.

Now for the first six trumpet judgments. These trumpets reveal God’s judgment, call the forces of good and evil to come to battle, and announce Jesus’ return.

Many of the trumpet judgments are similar to the plagues God inflicted on Egypt as Moses tried to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites.

  • First trumpet – Hail, fire, and blood rain down on earth.
  • Second trumpet – A mountain is thrown into the sea, one-third of the sea is turned to blood, one-third of sea creatures died.
  • Third trumpet – A star fell from the sky, one-third of the earth’s water is turned bitter, many people die.
  • Fourth trumpet – One-third of the sun, moon, and stars are darkened.

These judgments are inflicted upon nature. They are partial and limited. God does not allow for complete destruction. God demonstrates His sovereignty in this limited judgment. These judgments are wake-up calls for people to repent!

Next John sees bird. It speaks three woes as a warning for what is about to be unleashed through the next three trumpet judgments.

  • Fifth trumpet – A star is given a key to the Abyss, locusts came out of the Abyss, the locusts given limited power to sting people not destroy them or the earth. The Abyss is a place for Satan and his demons. It is a bottomless pit reserved for unbelievers, a place of torment.
  • Sixth trumpet – A voice released four evil angels with an army of 200 million troops, one-third of the earth’s population is killed. Those who were not killed still did not repent. They continued to sin against God and worship idols.

The people suffering through these trumpet judgments will desire death, but death will elude them (Revelation 9:6). In His mercy, God does not allow them to die because He is using this suffering as another chance for people to turn to Him.

God is in such control that He can limit destruction and judgment yet pour out His mercy in His perfect timing.

Things to Think About
  • God is a just and merciful God.
  • God has not unleashed His full wrath yet. There is still time to repent and seek God.
  • God will right all wrongs one day. Until then, we can pray for justice. But we must pray for God’s justice in His perfect timing.
  • All of God’s judgments (except the final judgment) are displays of His grace and patience. They are calls for people to come to repentance, restoration, and recovery in God.

This Week’s Memory Verse
“As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: ‘Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!’” Revelation 8:13 NIV

07 January 2016

05 January 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 7

Welcome back to our study of Revelation!

Just before our Christmas break, we saw Jesus, the Lamb, open six seals on the scroll. Chapter 7 is an interlude before the Lamb opens the seventh seal. In this chapter, we will see how God will protect His people from the coming judgments.

John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth and holding back the winds. Another angel carrying the seal of God comes from the east and instructs the four angels to withhold God’s judgment until God’s people are sealed.

The seal the angel carried was a mark of ownership and protection. The seal on the 144,000 indicated that God is their master and has authority over them.

The 144,000 might be:

  • A literal group of 144,000 believing Jews.
  • A symbolic group representing the Church (all believers).
  • All of God’s people (Jews and Gentiles from all nations).

Whoever the 144,000 people are, we know they are complete in the Lord. God spared the faithful but punished the rebellious.

Next John sees a great multitude of people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. They are crying out, saying that salvation belongs to God and the Lamb. The multitude is wearing white robes and holding palm branches. Palm branches signified victory – the multitude victoriously made it through the Great Tribulation because God had sealed and protected them.

In response, the angels, the elders, and the four living creatures fell down and joined in the multitude’s worship.

What is the Great Tribulation? It could be the time between Jesus’ ascension and His second coming (right now!). Or it could be an intense time of suffering and persecution just before Jesus’ second coming. In any case, remember that God never fails to bring His people through the tribulation.

Things to Think About
  • Where do you find your security? God’s people are secure in the Lamb’s salvation.
  • God spares His people from the wrath of His condemnation. Believers will not face His final judgment of condemnation.
  • Believers are sealed, saved, and secure in God.

This Week’s Memory Verse
“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 NIV