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Announcing ... SarEl ben-David Nelson!

from Cindy & Israel

Born on July 27th, 2001; 6:40 p.m.; 3 kilos, 250 grams (our biggest yet!).

(Note: birthday shared with SarEl's great, great grandpa VanWieren!)

Many of you know that last summer we prayed that Cindy would conceive and bear a son in July. God heard our prayers, and we are delighted with little SarEl! He has blond hair and blue eyes like his father did at birth and for whom he is named. SarEl means Prince (Sar) of God (El). Ben-David means the son of David. Israel's full name is David Israel Nelson. So, this baby is the son of David and his name is from the same root as Israel's name in the Hebrew. Israel means "he will rule with God" or "God will rule."

The name also speaks prophetically of the Messiah. The Scriptures say He will be the son of David, but also the son of God. In Psalm 110:1, David says, "The LORD said to my Lord, sit at my right hand." How can the Messiah be David's son and also David's Lord? Because He is also the son of God, seated at His Father's right hand, ruling as Prince with the King of the Universe!

Noah and Maggie are very excited about their baby brother. They each have their own baby dolls that they care for and they knew just who SarEl was -- Em's baby doll. Of course they want to touch him incessantly, so they are learning to be gentle. We're thankful he's not as fragile as they were! They are both glad that he is here to stay:).

SarEl's birth totalled 3 1/2 hours from start to finish. Praise the Lord! The midwife said it was a miracle that Cindy dialated so fast. There were no complications and everything went perfectly. We (and many others - thank you!) had prayed for a very quick, painless, supernatural childbirth. It was certainly quick and God's grace was evident, but it was not painless. The contractions of the uterus after birth were also very painful. As I (Cindy) thought about this, I realized that labor is the only instance in my life that I have suffered any kind of consistent intense pain. But it gave me a deeper appreciation for all that Jesus suffered for me on the cross. Of course there is no comparison and my very quick, intense childbirth (which is already fading from my memory) cannot be anything but piddly next to Jesus' suffering. But it helped me to remember that the crucifixion was incredibly painful.

Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus, "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross...." He had to endure the unceasing pain of the cross. Jesus can understand how I felt "enduring" the inevitable. You certainly can't stop labor once it starts. (And you can't make it start either; I waited every day for "it" for 3 weeks, expecting to be early as with the first two! Not to mention that our midwife was planning to leave the country [de ja vu?] the day after my due date:). There was nothing I could do to make the labor pains go away. But Jesus made a choice to suffer for us. At any time, He could have called on God to send 10 legions of angels to rescue Him. But, He didn't. He said, "I lay down My life; no one takes it from Me." (John 10:17-18)

At some point after birth, the realization hit me that my womb was empty. No more baby inside there. Nothing except an empty, deflated balloon. In the same way, after 3 days, the tomb that held Jesus was empty. He was no longer there for He had risen and is alive!

The new baby, the "joy set before" us, makes the pains of labor and delivery worth every second. There is nothing like the joy of a new life! For the same reason, Jesus chose to suffer pain for us. Not only was He made alive, but He gives us new life in His Spirit, too, forgiving all our sins through the shedding of His blood on the cross.

The preciousness of Jesus' sacrifice that has been made more real to me through SarEl's birth is too wonderful not to share with those we love. If any of you dear friends and family haven't received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, may today be the day you receive the free gift of eternal life. Not only did He suffer for you, but there is also no suffering that you can go through that He can't sympathize with and understand fully. Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus is touched by our infirmities and "was in all points tempted like us, yet without sin."

We want to testify through the God-glorifying birth of our son God's goodness and hope that you, too, will "taste and see that the Lord is good!" (Psalm 34:8)

Blessings! Israel, Cindy, Noah, Maggie, and SarEl:)
P.S. For pictures see Grandpa Mark's website: www.ldmark.com !!

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