Friday, March 30, 2012

A Mother's Thoughts On Transitioning From Being Baptist To Being Lutheran

This is a recent blog post from my wife. Maybe some of you have had to grapple with this as well.

The Girls' Baptism Birthday and ReflectionToday is the girls' second baptism birthday.  In the last year and a half my husband and I have been attending a Lutheran church.  This change has been a struggle for me in many ways because I grew up in a Baptist church.  Although my big turn around was realizing that, for the most part, the way I grew up and what I am learning now are two completely different points of view in many different ways.  Take baptism for example.  I grew up with the view point that you are baptized with full immersion after accepting the lord as your Savior, because it is what the Bible tells you to do.  It is a symbol of being buried in Christ and born again a new creation.  I also grew up with the point of view that baptizing infants was completely ridiculous because they cannot "repent and be baptized" as in Acts 2:38. Oh, and how dare they only sprinkle them!  When I married my hubby we would visit this topic about once a year for a week and then agree to disagree.  However, when we were pregnant with the girls, we had to actually make a decision on how to handle this for our household.  It took me a year of research and study to realize I couldn't find anything in the scriptures to say that baptizing my babies would send them to hell.... 

You can read the rest by clicking here. Enjoy more of Kim's posts at

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't get your theology from Facebook...(facepalm)

Now don't get me wrong. Facebook can be very useful. I'm able to keep in touch with friends, let my family know how life is, post my pics to share with family and friends....really, a fair amount of good stuff. And there's a plethora ("Jefe, do you know what a plethora is?") of apps you can use to annoy your friends and family with via game requests and such. Truly, there are many options. But they've even got "religion" apps that post automatically each day. There is one app in particular that'd I'd like to caution you against. It's called "God's Daily Message."  The following are some excerpts from a friends page:

"Today, God’s message for you to become alive in this moment. Breathe deeply, feel. Empty your mind of idle thoughts. Just for today, be fully alert, aware, and alive. Be open to the experience of this lifetime. Be alive."
Empty my mind? Sounds more like some kind of Asian meditation than something from the Bible (Colossians 3:1-3)
"Today God’s message for you is to discover and nurture your inner source of strength. You possess strength and courage to battle through all of life’s struggles. Deep within you is an infinite source of courage. This is what makes you a strong individual, ready to battle through each day. For every obstacle he puts before you, there is equal inner force to overcome." 
Wait, so, God's message is to just look inside myself for courage and strength? I thought He was the source of that... (Exodus 15:2 ,  Psalm 46:1 , 1 Chronicles 16:11)
"Today, God’s message for you is to know that you are not a human being seeking spirituality, but a spiritual being seeking humanness.  As that one spirit, you alone can invoke changes to the human race.  As that human spirit you can help build bridges and move mountains for the betterment of humankind."
Right, 'cause the bible speaks so positively on what it is to be human... (Ephesians 2:1-3)
"Today, God’s message for you is to look inward. For just this moment, stop seeing the world through the physical realm and see within. Life is not about the things we possess, but about inner joy and peace. Look inward to see what brings you joy, and find it there."
Once again I'm to look inward?  (Jeremiah 17:9)
"Today, God's message for you is that you should let your smile be your most commonly worn accessory. It is beautiful, it is priceless, and it matches every outfit in your closet"

Really? Is Joel Osteen hiding back there?

As you can see, Facebook's "God's Daily Message" is anything but God's Word. What then is God's word for you? You are a sinner that Christ bled and died for that you might not be forever separated from God's love. (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 9:22, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Acts 16:31)

Don't get your theology from Facebook apps. Get it from the Bible. Find a solid church that preaches Christ and Him crucified, not some eastern spin or some moralistic therapeutic deism.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"DeYoung, DeRestless & DeRealLiteralLutheran Ninjitsu"... thanks RevFisk

Thanks to Pastor Fisk for this. About Reformed and Lutheranism.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hymn Monday - "Savior, When in Dust to Thee"

Today's Hymn, "Savior, When in Dust to Thee" (#419) is from the Lutheran Service Book. (c)2006, Concordia Publishing House.

Savior, when in dust to Thee Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies Scarce we lift our weeping eyes;
O, by all Thy pains and woe Suffered once for us below,
Bending from Thy throne on high, Hear our penitential cry!

By Thy helpless infant years, By Thy life of want and tears,
By Thy days of deep distress In the savage wilderness,
By the dread, mysterious hour Of the insulting temter's pow'r,
Turn, O turn a fav'ring eye; Hear our penitential cry!

By Thine hour of dire despair, By Thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn, Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies O'er the dreadful sacrifice,
Listen to our humble sigh; Hear our penitential cry!

By Thy deep expiring grown, By the sad sepulchral stone,
By the vault whose dark abode Held in vain the rising God,
O, from earth to heav'n restored, Mighty, reascended Lord,
Bending from Thy throne on high, Hear our penitential cry!

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Second Sunday in Lent Readings

Genesis 17:1-7 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision 
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

Genesis 17:15-16 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Isaac's Birth Promised
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

Romans 5:1-11 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Peace with God Through Faith 
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 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. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Mark 8:27-38 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Confessional Saturdays #13: Chief Articles Of The Faith 27

Augsburg Confession 
Chief Articles Of The Faith 
ARTICLE XXVII -Monastic Vows 

1 It will be easier to understand what we teach about monastic vows by considering the state of the monasteries and how many things were done every day contrary to canon law. 2 In Augustine’s time they were free associations. Later, when discipline was corrupted, vows were added for the purpose of restoring discipline, as in a carefully planned prison. 3 Gradually, many other regulations were added besides vows. 4 These binding rules were laid upon many before the lawful age, contrary to canon law. 5 Many entered monastic life through ignorance. They were not able to judge their own strength, though they were old enough. 6 They were trapped and compelled to remain, even though some could have been freed by the kind provision of canon law. 7 This was more the case in convents of women than of monks, although more consideration should have been shown the weaker sex [1 Peter 3:7]. 8 This rigor displeased many good people before this time, who saw that young men and women were thrown into convents for a living. They saw what unfortunate results came of this procedure, how it created scandals, and what snares were cast upon consciences! 9 They were sad that the authority of canon law in so great a matter was utterly set aside and despised. 10 In addition to all these evil things, a view of vows was added that displeased even the more considerate monks. They taught that monastic vows were equal to Baptism. 11 They taught that a monastic life merited forgiveness of sins and justification before God. 12 Yes, they even added that the monastic life not only merited righteousness before God, but even greater merit, since it was said that the monastic life not only kept God’s basic law, but also the so-called “evangelical counsels.” 13 So they made people believe that the profession of monasticism was far better than Baptism, and that the monastic life was more meritorious than that of rulers, pastors, and others, who serve in their calling according to God’s commands, without any man-made services. 14 None of these things can be denied. This is all found in their own books about monasticism. 15 How did all this come about in monasteries? At one time they were schools of theology and other branches of learning, producing pastors and bishops for the benefit of the Church. Now it is another thing. It is needless to go over what everyone knows. 16 Before, they came together for the sake of learning, now they claim that monasticism is a lifestyle instituted to merit grace and righteousness. They even preach that it is a state of perfection! They put monasticism far above all other kinds of life ordained by God. 17 We have mentioned all these things without hateful exaggeration so that our teachers’ doctrine on monasticism may be better understood. 18 First, concerning monks who marry, our teachers say that it is lawful for anyone who is not suited for the single life to enter into marriage. Monastic vows cannot destroy what God has commanded and ordained. 19 God’s commandment is this, “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife” (1 Corinthians 7:2). 20 It is not just a command given by God. God has created and ordained marriage for those who are not given an exception to natural order by God’s special work. This is what is taught according to the text in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” 21 Therefore, those who obey this command and ordinance of God do not sin. 22 What objection can be raised to this? Let people praise the obligation of a monastic vow as much as they want, but they will never be able to destroy God’s commandment by means of a monastic vow. 23 Canon law teaches that superiors can make exceptions to monastic vows; how much less are such monastic vows in force that are contrary to God’s commandments! 24 If, in fact, an obligation to a monastic vow could never be changed for any reason, the Roman popes could never have granted exceptions to the vows. For it is not lawful for someone to make an exception to what is truly from God. 25 The Roman pontiffs have wisely judged that mercy is to be observed in these monastic obligations. That is why we read that many times they have made special arrangements and exceptions with monastic vows. 26 The case of the King of Aragon, who was called back from the monastery, is well known, and there are also examples in our own times. 27 In the second place, why do our adversaries exaggerate the obligation or effect of a vow when, at the same time, they do not have anything to say about the nature of the vow itself? A vow should be something that is possible; it should be a decision that is made freely and after careful deliberation. 28 We all know how possible perpetual chastity actually is in reality, and just how few people actually do take this vow freely and deliberately! 29 Young women and men, before they are able to make their own decision about this, are persuaded, and sometimes even forced, to take the vow of chastity. 30 Therefore, it is not fair to insist so rigorously on the obligation. Everyone knows that taking a vow that is not made freely and deliberately is against the very nature of a true vow. 31 Most canonical laws overturn vows made before the age of fifteen. Before that age a person does not seem able to make a wise judgment and to decide to make a lifelong commitment like this. 32 There is another canon law that adds even more years to this limit, showing that the vow of chastity should not be made before the age of eighteen. So which of these two canon laws should we follow? 33 Most people leaving the monastery have a valid excuse, since they took their vows before they were fifteen or eighteen. 34 Finally, even though it might be possible to condemn a person who breaks a vow, it does not follow that it is right to dissolve such a person’s marriage. 35 Augustine denies that they ought to be dissolved (XXVII. Quaest. I, Cap. Nuptiarum). Augustine’s authority should not be taken lightly, even though some wish to do so today. 36 Although it appears that God’s command about marriage delivers many from their vows, our teachers introduce another argument about vows to show that they are void. Every service of God, established and chosen by people to merit justification and grace, without God’s commandment, is wicked. For Christ says in Matthew 15:9, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” 37 Paul teaches everywhere that righteousness is not to be sought in self-chosen practices and acts of worship, devised by people. Righteousness comes by faith to those who believe that they are received by God into grace for Christ’s sake. 38 It is clear for all to see that the monks have taught that services made up by people make satisfaction for sins and merit grace and justification. What else is this than detracting from Christ’s glory and hiding and denying the righteousness that comes through faith? 39 Therefore, it follows that monastic vows, which have been widely taken, are wicked services of God and, consequently, are void. 40 For a wicked vow, taken against God’s commandment, is not valid; for (as the Canon says) no vow ought to bind people to wickedness. 41 Paul says, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4). 42 Therefore, anyone wanting to be justified by his vows makes Christ useless and falls from grace. 43 Anyone who tries to connect justification to monastic vows bases his justification on his own works, which properly belongs to Christ’s glory. 44 It cannot be denied that the monks have taught that they were justified and merited forgiveness of sins by means of their vows and observances. Indeed, they even invented greater absurdities, saying that they could give others a share in their works. 45 If anyone wanted to make more of this point, to make our opponents look even worse, even more things could be mentioned, things that even the monks are ashamed of now. 46 And on top of all this, the monks persuaded people that the services that they invented were a state of Christian perfection. 47 What else is this other than assigning our justification to works? 48 It is no light offense in the Church to set before the people a service invented by people, without God’s commandment, and then to teach them that such service justifies. For the righteousness of faith, which ought to be the highest teaching in the Church, is hidden when these “wonderful” and “angelic” forms of worship, with their show of poverty, humility, and celibacy, are put in front of people. 49 God’s precepts, and God’s true service, are hidden when people hear that only monks are in a state of perfection. True Christian perfection is to fear God from the heart, to have great faith, and to trust that for Christ’s sake we have a God who has been reconciled [2 Corinthians 5:18–19]. It means to ask for and expect from God His help in all things with confident assurance that we are to live according to our calling in life, being diligent in outward good works, serving in our calling. 50 This is where true perfection and true service of God is to be found. It does not consist in celibacy or in begging or in degrading clothes. 51 The people come up with all sorts of harmful opinions based on the false praise of monastic life. 52 They hear celibacy praised without measure and feel guilty about living in marriage. 53 They hear that only beggars are perfect, and so they keep their possessions and do business with guilty consciences. 54 They hear that it is an even higher work, a Gospel-counsel, not to seek revenge. So some in private life are not afraid to take revenge, for they hear that it is but a counsel and not a commandment. 55 Others come to the conclusion that a Christian cannot rightly hold a civil office or be a ruler. 56 There are on record examples of men who hid themselves in monasteries because they wanted to forsake marriage and participation in society. 57 They called this fleeing from the world, and said they were seeking a kind of life that would be more pleasing to God. They did not realize that God ought to be served according to the commandments that He Himself has given, not in commandments made up by people. 58 Only a life that has God’s commandment is good and perfect. 59 It is necessary to teach the people about these things. 60 Before our times, Gerson rebukes the monks’ error about perfection. He testifies that in his day it was a new saying that the monastic life is a state of perfection. 61 So many wicked opinions are inherent in monastic vows—that they justify, that they cause Christian perfection, that they make it possible to keep the counsels and commandments, that they are works over and above God’s commandments. 62 All these things are false and empty. They make monastic vows null and void.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 53 

Jesus Juva, 
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, March 2, 2012

Funny Friday #17

Today is Funny Friday! Enjoy another video from the good folks at The Lutheran Satire!

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Historical Church Writings #20: J.S. Bach

"Ah now, my God, thus do I fall assured into thy bosom. 
Thus speaks the soul which trusts in God when he the Savior's brotherhood and God's good faith in faith doth praise. Take me and work thy will with me until my life is finished. 
I know for sure that I unfailing blest shall be if my distress, and this my grief and woe, by thee will thus an end be granted: For thou dost know that to my soul thereby its help ariseth, that in my earthly lifetime, to Satan's discontent, thy heav'nly realm in me be manifest and thine own honor more and more be of itself exalted. 
Thus may my heart as though commmandest find, O my Jesus, blessed stillness, and I may to these muted lyres the Prince of peace a new refrain now offer.
To my shepherd I'll be true. Though he fill my cross's chalice, I'll rest fully in his pleasure, He stands in my sorrow near. One day, surely, done my weeping, Jesus' sun again will brighten. To my shepherd I'll be true. Live in Jesus, who will rule me; Heart, be glad, though thou must perish, Jesus hath enough achieved. Amen: Father, take me now! 
If I then, too, the way of death and its dark journey travel, Lead on! I'll walk the road and path which thine own eyes have shown me. Thou art my shepherd, who all things will bring to such conclusion, that I one day within thy courts thee ever more may honor. 
-- Johann Sabastian Bach

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thoughts from Laache

Thoughts from Laache from his Ash Wednesday devotion (#120) from "Book of Family Prayer."
...Then God gave us His Son as Savior. He became the Shepherd of the miserable flock and took the punishment of our misdeeds on Himself. All the host of hell and all the arrows of death came upon Him. He was called to account for all the sin of the world. He, He was served notice and He paid the debt, and we, we are free. How the Lamb of God then was shorn! See Him under the scourge! See Him on the way to Golgotha! See Him on the cross! But He goes to death with perfect patience. He did not stray. He was wounded for our transgressions. As His life is free of guilt, His suffering is quiet and holy. He lives and suffers perfectly obedient to the death of the cross.
   Then He became the spiritual Father of a renewed human race. The Branch of Jesse's rod is cut down and replanted, and we are grafted into Him. Christ dies and lives again. We are baptized into death with Him and live with Him. So His Israel is a countless number. Misdeeds are atoned for, sins are put away, and eternal righteousness has come. Whoever believes is a member of Christ's Body and lives a new, holy life in Him. 
   Give us Your Holy Spirit's grace, that we may heartily believe in You, Lord Jesus, receive Your holy life in our heart, and no longer come under the devil's power. When we go astray, lead us right back and keep us with you forever. Amen.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

The Pattern Of Conversion

...The pattern of conversion is repeated every Sunday in the Confession and Absolution and in the pastor's sermon, which is always a proclamation of Law and Gospel. Luther went even further. He said that we should be broken by the Law and animated by the Gospel every day: "The old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts," he ways in the catechism, explaining the significance of Baptism; whereupon "a new man should daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever."... 
--Gene Veith, "The Spirituality of the Cross"

LLC Wednesdays #14: Part 2 of Luther's Large Catechism, The Apostles's Creed, Article 1

9 I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
10 This shows and sets forth most briefly what is God the Father’s essence, will, activity, and work. The Ten Commandments have taught that we are to have not more than one God [Deuteronomy 6:4]. So it might be asked, “What kind of a person is God? What does He do? How can we praise, or show and describe Him, that He may be known?” Now, that is taught in this and in the following article. So the Creed is nothing other than the answer and confession of Christians arranged with respect to the First Commandment. 11 It is as if you were to ask a little child, “My dear, what sort of a God do you have? What do you know about Him?” The child could say, “This is my God: first, the Father, who has created heaven and earth. Besides this One only, I regard nothing else as God. For there is no one else who could create heaven and earth.”
12 But for the learned and those who are somewhat advanced, these three articles may all be expanded and divided into as many parts as there are words. But now for young scholars let it suffice to make the most necessary points, as we have said, that this article refers to the Creation. We emphasize the words “Creator of heaven and earth.” 13 But what is the force of this, or what do you mean by these words, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?” Answer: “This is what I mean and believe, that I am God’s creature [2 Corinthians 5:17]. I mean that He has given and constantly preserves [Psalm 36:6] for me my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, reason, and understanding, and so on. He gives me food and drink, clothing and support, wife and children, domestic servants, house and home, and more. 14 Besides, He causes all created things to serve for the uses and necessities of life. These include the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens, day and night, air, fire, water, earth, and whatever it bears and produces. They include birds and fish, beasts, grain, and all kinds of produce [Psalm 104]. 15 They also include whatever else there is for bodily and temporal goods, like good government, peace, and security.” 16 So we learn from this article that none of us owns for himself, nor can preserve, his life nor anything that is here listed or can be listed. This is true no matter how small and unimportant a thing it might be. For all is included in the word Creator.
17 Further, we also confess that God the Father has not only given us all that we have and see before our eyes, but He daily preserves and defends us against all evil and misfortune [Psalm 5:11]. He directs all sorts of danger and disaster away from us. We confess that He does all this out of pure love and goodness, without our merit, as a kind Father. He cares for us so that no evil falls upon us. 18 But to speak more about this belongs in the other two parts of this article, where we say, “Father Almighty.”
19 Now, all that we have, and whatever else is in heaven and upon the earth, is daily given, preserved, and kept for us by God. Therefore, it is clearly suggested and concluded that it is our duty to love, praise, and thank Him for these things without ceasing [1 Thessalonians 5:17–18]. In short, we should serve Him with all these things, as He demands and has taught in the Ten Commandments.
20 We could say much here, if we were to wander, about how few people believe this article. For we all pass over it, hear it, and say it. Yet we do not see or consider what the words teach us. 21 For if we believed this teaching with the heart, we would also act according to it [James 2:14]. We would not strut about proudly, act defiantly, and boast as though we had life, riches, power, honor, and such, of ourselves [James 4:13–16]. We would not act as though others must fear and serve us, as is the practice of the wretched, perverse world. The world is drowned in blindness and abuses all the good things and God’s gifts only for its own pride, greed, lust, and luxury. It never once thinks about God, so as to thank Him or acknowledge Him as Lord and Creator.
22 This article ought to humble and terrify us all, if we believed it. For we sin daily [Hebrews 3:12–13] with eyes, ears, hands, body and soul, money and possessions, and with everything we have. This is especially true of those who fight against God’s Word. Yet Christians have this advantage: they acknowledge that they are duty bound to serve God for all these things and to be obedient to Him.
23 We ought, therefore, daily to recite this article. We ought to impress it upon our mind and remember it by all that meets our eyes and by all good that falls to us. Wherever we escape from disaster or danger, we ought to remember that it is God who gives and does all these things. In these escapes we sense and see His fatherly heart and His surpassing love toward us [Exodus 34:6]. In this way the heart would be warmed and kindled to be thankful, and to use all such good things to honor and praise God.
24 We have most briefly presented the meaning of this article. This is how much is necessary at first for the most simple to learn about what we have, what we receive from God, and what we owe in return. This is a most excellent knowledge but a far greater treasure. For here we see how the Father has given Himself to us, together with all creatures, and has most richly provided for us in this life. We see that He has overwhelmed us with unspeakable, eternal treasures by His Son and the Holy Spirit, as we shall hear [Colossians 2:2].
Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 399

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Remember, What We Say Has Meaning

It's a sad day when someone loses a loved one. Friends and family come together to console and comfort each other. Many times we offer words of comfort and encouragement to those who have suffered a loss. I think many times we feel compelled to say something because it seems the appropriate thing to do. We feel for and with them and want to help. However, the words we say, to those who are grieving, have meaning. We would do well to remember that. Some of the words I've heard offered to people seem like a good thing to say until we look at their meaning and implications. An example of such words that I've heard used countless times before, spoken usually to a family who has lost a child, go along the lines of "We're so sorry. Billy died before his time."

Admittedly, at first glance, this appears to be an appropriate thing to say. When we consider "the norm", parents are usually the ones who depart this life first. For the most part this does seem to be the "normal" progression of things. Of course it's sad when a child dies and a parent doesn't have the opportunity to see that child grow and learn. It's unfortunate when a parent is unable to see what becomes of their child as they reach adulthood and make a life of their own. It's frustrating to not know if that child would have become a competent athlete, accomplished musician, farmer, doctor, or public leader. As a result, we want to console those who are grieving.

But what do our words mean? Are our words helpful and beneficial? If we use the example of "We're so sorry. Billy died before his time" and consider it from a Biblical viewpoint, we see that better words should be chosen to share with those who are grieving. There are at least three false implications in regards to God that can easily be used by Satan to attack those who are grieving by bringing them doubt about our Holy God.

The first thing about the statement "Billy died before his time" is that it denies God's omniscience, His ability to know everything; past, present, and future. The statement implies that God did not know that Billy would die. The implication screams at those who are mourning, "If God would have only known, He could have done something about it."

A second thing about the statement "Billy died before his time" is that it denies God's omni-presence, His ability to be everywhere all at once. The statement implies that God was unable to be there when Billy died. The implication screams at those who are mourning, "If God could have only been there, He could have done something about it."

A third thing about the statement "Billy died before his time" is that it denies God's omnipotence, His ability to be all-powerful. The statement implies that God was unable to do anything about Billy's death. The implication screams at those who are mourning, "God just wasn't able to save your son. It was out of His control."

To say "Billy died before his time" is to say that God wasn't there, He didn't know about it and even if He did He would have been helpless to do anything about it. These are not words we would want to share with anyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one. In fact, they would do more harm than good. Satan would love for us to use these words so that he might bring doubt by whispering in the ears of those mourning, "This God can't help you and He must not love you. If He was unable to save your son, what good is He? Could this powerless God that you believe in even truly save you from damnation?" These are not words of comfort that we would want to share.

What then would be better options in a time of mourning? Better words to share with someone could be as simple as "My condolences" "I'm sorry for you loss" or "We'll be praying for you". Depending on your level of friendship with those who are mourning you can offer a meaningful nod, a gentle squeeze of a shoulder or even a hug. We don't always have to use words to communicate comfort. When we do, however, we should want to be mindful of what we're saying. We don't want our words to be twisted by the evil one, causing more pain and even doubt's about God for those who are mourning. We want them to cling to Christ, for He clings to them through His saving blood.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Where has "Faith, Family, Life" been the past two months?

"What happened to the daily blog posts Leif?"  Well, my son happened. It is my pleasure to announce the birth and baptism of my son.

Garrick Miller Matthew Halvorson
Birthday: January 3rd, 2012
Time: 8:02 am
Weight: 8lbs 14oz
Length: 20 1/4 inches
Baptized into Christ on January 22, 2012 at Sidney Lutheran Brethren Church
Sponsors: Matt and Serenity Richard

Hymn Monday - "Lord, 'Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee"

Today's Hymn, "Lord, 'Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee" (#573) is from the "Lutheran Service Book" (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Lord, 'tis not that I did choose Thee; That, I know, could never be;
For this heart would still refuse Thee Had Thy grace not chosen me.
Thou has from the sin that stained me Washed and cleansed and set me free
And unto this end ordained me, That I ever live to Thee

It was grace in Christ that called me, Taught my darkened heart and mind;
Else the world had yet enthralled me, to thy heav'nly glories blind.
Now I worship none above Thee; For Thy grace alone I thirst,
Knowing well that, if I love Thee, Thou, O Lord, didst love me first.

Praise the God of all creation; Praise the Father's boundless love.
Praise the Lamb, our expiation, Priest and King enthroned above.
Praise the Spirit of salvation, Him by whome our spirits live.
Undivided adoration To the great Jehovah give.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

First Sunday in Lent Readings

Genesis 22:1-18 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

The Sacrifice of Isaac
 22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar.5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together. 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” 15 And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,because you have obeyed my voice.”

James 1:12-18 
English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

Mark 1:9-15 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

The Baptism of Jesus

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Temptation of Jesus
12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

Jesus Begins His Ministry
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”