Category Archives: full quiver

A Father’s Birthday Wish Come True

Today’s my birthday.  Not a big deal for me, but I have a wife and 7 children, so it’s impossible not to celebrate.  But I was given one of the best presents I could ask for yesterday.

My 2nd daughter, Eva, turns 16 in 2 days.  She’s very thoughtful and kind, friendly to most strangers, and has a heart especially for disabled children.  Sometimes, I forget how much she’s grown.  Below is one of her writing assignments for her Christian Growth class.

When I read this, I was immediately reassured that we are doing something right, homeschooling our children, raising them in God’s Word, and teaching them how to express not just their thoughts but more importantly, their convictions of faith.  This is no longer her parents speaking and teaching.  This is her faith and life she’s chosen to follow.


Committing to pray without ceasing

“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy gave this command to the church in Thessalonica. (1Thessalonians 5:17-18) Why was this command so important, and is it still just as important? They, and other believers, were suffering imprisonment and persecution for their faith and spreading the Gospel message. Though the Thessalonians could not be with them in other countries, Paul, Silvanus and Timothy all knew they could be through prayer. The same goes for us; this command is for all believers today in this dying world, and will continue to be.

Committing to pray every day is important. It’s an appointment with God in prayer every day, for us to praise and thank Him, and intercede for others. It will take you a little bit of experimenting to find the best plan for you, but there are a couple of steps that you can take that might help you ease into it.  

1. Verbally declare your commitment.

You don’t have to announce with a megaphone in a town square, but it’s important to remind yourself (aloud) that you have to, and are going to have that time set aside today. Just like any other meeting, it’s important to be on time. Why should we strive to be on time for every appointment of our day, except for our appointment with God?

2. Fight all interruptions fiercely.

There will be times when Satan will try to slip little disturbances in the way of your appointments, but don’t let him! He knows that prayer is our greatest means of defense against his plans, and you should too! 

3. Develop a practical prayer plan.

Find the best time to have as your prayer time, and how long you have to pray. I enjoy basing my prayer plan on Dick Eastmans’ Scripturally-based Hour of Prayer, but again, it takes a little experimenting and practice to find what best suits you. I recommend setting aside at least one hour a day to pray when you first start out. You may find yourself at a loss of words at first, but this will give you time to fully enjoy having this appointment with God and God alone. After some time, you may find yourself wanting more than an hour a day! (You don’t have to pray for a whole hour straight; you could divide your prayer time throughout your day. Just remember to be consistent in your timing.)

4. Recognize the importance of your daily hour
 

Romans 10:13-14 says, ”For ‘Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Our prayers for our brothers and sisters-in-Christ, for the lost, for our leaders, and countries, make a difference. Even when you don’t know exactly what it is you’re praying for, “His (the LORD) ears are open to their (the righteous) cry” (Psalm 34:15)

Let us be “worthy of the calling” (2Thessalonians 1:11-12)! “For we are God’s fellow workers…” (1Corinthians 3:9) Let us work together to expand God’s Kingdom, and see other souls saved! Although we may lack opportunity throughout the day, there is always an opportunity to intercede for a lost soul in prayer. There is always an opportunity to pray for a friend, family member, stranger, etc. Let us take hold of this freedom and privilege to pray for others, and “pray without ceasing!” 

 

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Seven Children?!? HOW COME?


 

We have a big family. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always dreamed of having a big family. People have such interesting reactions when they meet us for the first time. I guess it’s pretty rare to meet a family of 9 nowadays, but an Asian American family of 9 is practically unheard of.

The first time I saw this clip below, I was laughing all day because we’ve heard them all.

Still. Probably THE BEST reaction I’ve heard was when my wife and I went back to our old church neighborhood, to one of favorite Chinese restaurants. It had been years since we were there and the owner asked us how many children we had. When we told her that we had seven children, she gasped and said “Seven children?!? HOW COME?” She’s such a sweet lady, and I’m sure it didn’t come out exactly as she meant, but we thought it was hilarious.

The funny thing is that when we talked about getting married, my then girlfriend from college told me emphatically that she didn’t want to have kids.

Ever.

Kids are loud. They are messy and expensive. They are disrespectful and obnoxious. Despite her warnings, I still kept my dream of having a large family to myself.

When we first got married, my wife and I were practicing birth control. After probably a month or 2 into our marriage, my father came to us with a very simple message. He said “there’s no perfect time to have children. There’s always going to be something going on at work, with friends, or financial considerations.”

That’s all he said.

Later that month, Jenny came to me and said that maybe we could talk about children in 5 years. I was thrilled that she had opened her heart to having children . . . someday. And I was in no rush.

Less than a month later, we were pregnant while still on birth control.

I know it was a miracle because only God could move her heart and overcome medical science like He did. Despite all of our efforts to remain childless, God had different plans for us. I’ve written about it previously, but not too long after our first daughter was born, Jenny decided that she wanted to quit her job and stay at home with our child. Again, wasn’t part of the plan we had created, but He made a way.

Somewhere along the way, some friends from church started talking to us about the blessing of children, trusting in God’s sovereignty, and the miracle of life. Today, it’s known as the Quiverfull movement among some Christians. The premise of this movement is rooted in Psalm 127:3-5

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

The belief, depending on who you are talking to, comes down to the idea that God ordains life. If you really trust in Him and believe that Children are a blessing and reward, then you will embrace any child that is conceived and commit to life without contraception.

Soon afterward, Jenny took to motherhood like it was what she was meant to be all along. We stopped actively practicing birth control altogether and God blessed us with 6 more children over the next ten years. Now, we weren’t necessarily trying to have more children per se. However, we weren’t actively trying to prevent it either.

After our youngest was born, her doctor had raised some serious concerns about Jenny’s health if we tried to conceive again. We had talked and prayed about what to do. In the end, we decided that I would undergo sterilization. So, we’ve stopped at 7.

Some Quiverfull Christians would frown on our decision and claim we lacked faith. Others might say ‘well why didn’t you stop sooner?’. The truth is that I’m so thankful we have seven children, but I don’t see it as a proclamation of our trusting in God. I would trust in Him whether we were childless or had a dozen. Birth control that prevents conception (not talking about those forms that work as abortion) is available because of advances in medical technology. If God has given us the wisdom to develop technology and medicine, why would using that wisdom show a lack of faith?

You could make a similar case that if you really trusted in God, you should be able to walk blindfolded across a busy highway because if He meant for you to die, you would. If not, then He’d maneuver all the cars around you like a giant game of Frogger. Or if you have such a distain for the technological wisdom of Man, then why bother getting shots or antibiotics or Tylenol or even bandages?

You could similarly claim that using maps or navigation shows a lack of faith.  If God wanted you to arrive to your destination, by a certain time, you should just start driving (or walking) in whichever direction you feel led by the Spirit.

Christians shouldn’t fear using technology or medicine, but at the same time, our hope is not based in it either. God is sovereign and His will shall be done. My children keep me grounded. They force me to think about someone else’s needs. They provide me with endless entertainment and more funny stories to share at parties than all the Hollywood Screenwriters’ Guild combined. And ultimately, when they put their trust in me, as the Bible instructs us to have faith like children, I see the relationship that God wants me to have with Him.

Legacy and Riches

Some friends of mine have lost loved ones or have learned of terminal illness. Got me thinking about my grandmother.
 
In July 2006, my paternal grandmother passed away.  She was 90 years old.  I used to blog on another site back then.  Dug up an old post about the eulogy I had given at her wake and I’ve reposed most of it here.
———-
 
The Virtuous Wife

 10 Who can find a virtuous wife? 
For her worth is far above rubies. 
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; 
So he will have no lack of gain. 
12 She does him good and not evil 
All the days of her life. 
. . .    26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, 
And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 
27 She watches over the ways of her household, 
And does not eat the bread of idleness. 
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; 
Her husband also, and he praises her: 
29 “Many daughters have done well, 
But you excel them all.” 
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, 
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. 
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, 
And let her own works praise her in the gates. 

 

I’ve been blessed to know my grandmother for almost 25 years since she and my grandfather first came to live with us.  In those short years, I’ve learned so much from this quiet and unassuming woman.  She is largely responsible for teaching me almost everything I know about life, family, working hard, faith and obedience.  Her words of wisdom will be with me for the rest of my life.  I’ve never seen my grandmother wearing fancy clothes or expensive jewelry.  She told me once that she came to this country with less than $5 in her pocket and that she would leave this place with even less.
My grandmother had seen hard times in her life. She had been through war, depression, and Japanese occupation.  She watched Korea become a divided nation, pitting brother against brother, son against father.  Grandma had all of her property seized and had to rebuild from nothing on more than one occasion.  She had to bury one of her four children at a young age after a drowning accident at the beach.  She witnessed the rebirth of her country from war but later left her native land for the United States.  Eventually, she became a US Citizen. 
My grandfather, who was staunchly opposed to ever setting foot in a church, was gloriously and miraculously saved in the twilight of his life.  True to her form, Grandma didn’t beat him into guilty submission to go with her to church.  She merely left the invitation open each Sunday and through her gentle, submissive, and patient spirit, he came to see the peace that she had which he had lacked.  When he was diagnosed with lung cancer and liver disease from years of smoking and drinking, his own mortality finally opened the door for the gospel.  And just months before he left this world, we witnessed my grandfather confess Christ as his savior and watched him get baptized.
For the next 20 years, my grandmother lived as a widow in my parents’ home.  She was never treated as a guest; this was her home.  Hers was a place of honor and respect.  When I look around and see families torn apart because of petty arguments and power struggles, it breaks my heart to know that many miss out in the richness of multi-generational fellowship that we enjoyed through most of my childhood and early adulthood.  Never did my grandmother laud her place over my mother.  Though clearly my father was the head of our home, the delicate balance of power between mother and father was, for me, a picture of the trinity itself.  Humility and honor balanced on the Word of God in our home.
Before she passed, my grandmother told me that she had done everything that she needed to do in her life.  She had watched her 10 grandchildren and (at the time) 9 great-grandchildren grow.  She knew the family line would continue.  She owed no one anything.  All of her debts had been settled years ago.  No one owed her anything.  She had said all of the things that she’d wanted to say to her family and her friends.  She has no unfinished business left and most importantly, no regrets or remorse. 
When my grandfather passed away almost 2 decades before, my grandmother told me that she did not shed one tear at his funeral.  Instead,she was filled with joy and peace because he had finally come to know Christ and knew that someday, they would be together for eternity.  Instead of mourning, she celebrated.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my grandmother was reciting 2 Timothy 4:7-8 to me.
 

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

My grandmother told me that she was ready to die because she had finished the race.  And after listening to this gentle matriarch whom I loved and admired for most of my life, I couldn’t say anything to refute her logic.  Of course, I told her that she should live to watch our children grow up and see my sister married, etc.  But in my heart, I wasn’t even buying my own words.  My grandmother gave me explicit instructions to tell everyone at her funeral that we were to celebrate her life– not mourn her death.
Some people might look at my grandmother’s life and think she died a poor woman without a penny to her name, dependent on her family to house and care for her.  Some might say that she deserved to have fancy clothing and jewelry and sit around eating bon-bons and be waited on in her old age.
And they would have missed the point of Grandma’s life.
 
Our flock

 

THIS is the heritage that my grandmother has left behind.  She left this world with a quiver FULL of arrows to the 4th generation.  My grandmother died a rich woman and her inheritance will be passed on for generations.
 
 
 

Are they all yours?

Psalm 127:3-5 (NASB)

3 Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. 


Jenny and I have seven children.  I always knew I wanted to have lots of kids, but I never dreamed we would end up with 7.  And we’re not even 40 yet.  


Invariably, whenever we go out, we get a lot of stares and even gasps.  You can’t miss our vehicle as we drive a huge, white Chevy Express 3500 Van (we opted not to get the extended 15 passenger cab and settled for the 12 passenger only).


At first, most people are somewhere between curious and shocked.  I guess it’s not that common anymore to have such a large family.  If we’re going somewhere to eat, the people sitting around us get that scared, panicked look on their faces.  I call it the “Oh God, please don’t let all those children sit next to us!“-look.  We get the same looks when we go to the library, the movies, the grocery, or if we’re visiting a new church.


We also get asked the same set of questions.  They usually go something like this:

  1. Are these all your children? (ie. are we watching someone else’s kids today)
  2. Are these all YOUR children? (ie. are they the biological product of both me AND Jenny and not combinations from previous relationships.)
  3. Are there any twins / triplets / multiples?
  4. Are you Catholic (Mormon / Polygamist / some kind of crazy religious cult)?
  5. Did you know you wanted to have a big family?
  6. Are you done yet?
  7. Have you ever seen John and Kate Plus 8?  You should totally have a reality TV show. (this question has somewhat fallen out of favor since to the demise of the Gosselin’s marriage).
  8. Are you friends with the Duggars?
  9. Have you ever heard of birth control?  (Yes, believe it or not, I’ve been asked that many times.)



Mind you – most of the time, the people asking these question are total strangers.  


At first, Jenny and I were a little leery of all the attention we were getting.  I’m not sure what the magic number was, but I think it was when we hit 5.  Even though 4 is not all that common these days, it was still within the conceivability realm of the average Joe.  Once we hit 5, it was like we each grew an extra set of arms or something.


What’s absolutely fascinating is watching how the same people will change their dispositions after observing us for 5-10 minutes.  Our children sit down.  The older ones help serve the younger ones.  When children misbehave, they receive correction.  Consistent, firm, correction.  Sometimes, I have to excuse myself from the table with a naughty child, but when we return, it’s like a brand new child joined the family!


On more occasions than I can count, we’ve been approached by many of these voyeurs observing our family – telling us that we’re doing an amazing job with our children or that they can’t believe how well behaved they are.  I often get another curious comment from some parents like “I’ve got only 2 and I can’t control them at all.  They don’t listen to me and I can’t take them anywhere.”


This is not my vain attempt to brag about our parenting skills.  Jenny and I are not keepers of some secret formula or smarter than any of you.  But we recognized long ago that without God’s grace, we would be totally helpless to raise children properly — whether it’s 1 or 5 or a dozen of them.


It’s saddening to me that parents have abdicated all of their God-given authority and, more importantly, responsibility to train up their children in righteousness and discipline.   These dayswe’re more interested in being our daughter’s best friend or our son’s Facebook buddy.  We want to be the cool Dad that lets our children get away with everything we never could do.  WHO is the parent?  


It’s also troublesome to me that children are looked upon as a burden – that the more we have, the more mouths we have to feed, we’re just unable to handle the overwhelming responsibility and stress.


Solomon wrote in Psalms 127 above – that children are a REWARD for the man of God, like a quiver full of arrows.  When I think about the church today and how many of them have such a deep need to support evangelism in the most remote parts of the world, thousands of miles across the ocean — I often wonder if we miss the fertile soil right in front of our faces in which we can plant the Word of God.  How much more effectively can we further the Kingdom by raising godly families in our neighborhoods, cities, states and country?  


What’s absolutely revolting to me is when families that profess to love Christ and His church will bend over backwards to send their offerings to the missionaries in Asia or Africa but won’t do a thing to help their own brothers and sisters in need. 


We must turn our hearts to our children in order to lead them to God, embrace the blessings of a fruitful womb, and raise up a generation in righteousness for His name’s sake.