Saturday, December 04, 2010

Scamming Yourself

No matter how much I convince myself to maintain a reasonable perspective, no matter how much I hang onto the Gospel, no matter how much I tell myself that everything's going to be all right (and think I'm believing that),

cold sores and an upset tummy show me up.

My doggone body betrays the reality of my unbelief when my mind and heart may think they are set aright.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Miscarriage and "The Necessity of Baptism"

So Wednesday morning in chapel (after Rachel called about the baby but while there was still a smidge of hope that the ultrasound might find a heartbeat), we prayed in the Great Litany for expectant mothers. And then on Thursday morning we had the story of Leah and Rachel and their children. And then during Bible class we discussed the article in the Augsburg Confession on baptism and how baptism is "necessary for salvation."

Bonnie asked about the thief on the cross. Pastor's mini-answer was that we don't know he wasn't baptized. But then the main answer: even if he wasn't, Jesus said, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." Jesus' word is what matters!! Pastor also pointed out that "without God's word, the water is plain water, but with the Word of God, it is a baptism, that is, a life-giving water." In other words, it is the Word which makes baptism what it is. It is the Word that has the power. It is the Word of God which saves, which imparts faith, which forgives sin.

I had to ask after class about little babies who die before baptism. In my intellect, I knew the answer. But I still needed to hear the answer.

Pastor re-spoke what he had said in class about the malefactor on the cross. He reminded me of God's desire to save the baby and that this child's lack of baptism would not thwart God's eternal plan. He reminded me that the baby had been hearing God's word. (And none of that "but the baby doesn't have ears yet." Go look at Romans 10:17 and all the stories where Jesus healed the deaf -- God's word creates hearing even when the person doesn't have the physical equipment to hear the gospel which is being preached to him.)

Pastor pointed out 1 Corinthians 7:14, where it says the unbelieving wife is sanctified by her Christian husband, and the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his Christian wife, and how their children are holy. He reminded me that "the Word of God is the only holy thing we have" and that is what Paul is referring to in his advice on marriage. But this also means that the Word of God spoken and sung in the lives of the parents is how the Holy Spirit is working faith in their children, "when and where He pleases, in those who hear the Gospel. And the Gospel teaches that we have a gracious God, not by our own merits, but by the merits of Christ, when we believe this."

And for the sake of my small brain which needs pictures and illustrations and simple explanations, he gave me an analogy. Nutrition is necessary that the baby might grow and live physically. Babies get their nutrition by suckling at the breast. But does that mean they don't get any nutrition before birth, just because they cannot yet suckle? Of course not. How silly. Things are different before birth. God provides nutrition in a different way prior to birth. In the same way, Jesus' blood is necessary to cover sin. God's Word delivers His atonement to us. But there are some differences in how that merciful blood is delivered to us before and after birth. (Okay, it's not a perfect analogy. But it's good. And it helps.)

Jesus took on human flesh in the womb of His mother Mary. He joined Himself to us that He might save His little brothers, even the ones still in the womb. "He was little, weak, and helpless. Tears and smiles like us He knew. And He feeleth for our sadness. And He shareth in our gladness." He became man and died for our sin that our babies might have the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. For the promise IS "to you and to your children."

Okay, y'all didn't need to hear that, I suspect. But I needed to write it out.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


Sometimes, when you most need to hear "I'm sorry for your loss" and comfort and sympathy, that's when you don't want to hear it. When love and support are verbally expressed, your tough perseverance flies out the window.

Children of the heavenly Father
safely in His bosom gather.
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
such a refuge e'er was given!

After a long wait, Rachel and Matt were expecting a baby mid-summer. The baby died this weekend.

Neither life nor death shall ever
from the Lord His children sever.
Unto them His grace He showeth,
and their sorrows all He knoweth.

Sometimes it's hard to go to church when you're suffering. It can be emotional. Hearing the solid truth of God's love and tender mercy may make you cry. And yet, where else is there help and rescue?

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne'er forsaketh.
His the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy.

Temples Made With Hands

Surely in temples made with hands
God the Most High is not dwelling.
High above earth His temple stands,
all earthly temples excelling.

Those lines from "Built on the Rock" have long bothered me. God does come to our churches. His preaching lays Him on our hearts. His body lies on the altar and is fed into our mouths. His blood washes over our children in baptism.

And yet, those lines from the hymn reflect Acts 7 and Isaiah 66. How can you argue with the Bible?

Pastor talked on Sunday how God had told David that his son would be the one to build the temple (2 Samuel 7:12-13). And his son Solomon did build a temple of cedar and gold. But his Son Jesus was the true Tabernacle, the true Temple, the eternal temple that could not be destroyed forever by Babylonians or by Roman soldiers. And when His body was destroyed, in three days He raised it up (John 2:19).

So God does not dwell in temples made with hands: rather, He dwells in temples made with His word. Our physical buildings are indeed His dwelling place -- but only when they are built by His word which flows forth to sanctify the place, the preacher, and the hearers.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Stephen's Sermon

In Acts 6, Saul/Paul and the other men from the Synagogue of the Freedmen stirred up the people so that Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin. They said he was preaching this Jesus who wanted to overturn the Law. They said he wanted to change the customs Moses delivered.

Pastor pointed out on Sunday that
1) they didn't really know what the Law was; they saw it as a bunch of rules that they could follow if they tried hard enough; they didn't get it that the Law showed them their sin and that atonement was necessary.
2) their fathers hadn't loved Moses even "back in the day"; the Israelites murmured constantly against Moses and even tried to overthrow him.

The point is that sinners always reject the one who comes with God's salvation. God's messengers cannot expect to be embraced and loved.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Andrew was accepted into the RN program he applied for. He's in the process of updating his vaccinations. His program planning meeting is middle of next week. They'll have to do a criminal background check -- I think he'll pass. Now we just have to figure out a way to buckle down to the schoolwork again after Thanksgiving, while also making adjustments to having me gone to work so much of the time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


The Spirit and Church cry out:
Come, Lord Jesus.
All those who await His appearance pray:
Come, Lord Jesus.
The whole creation pleads:
Come, Lord Jesus.

Washer Repair

Having lost a pair of jeans, I went exploring in the laundry room. Ah ha -- a load of laundry was sitting in the washer. Since Wednesday. Ick. So I pour in a little vinegar and put it on a second spin cycle. When I come back later, the machine is sitting there, full of water, unable to drain and spin. Oh no!

I love the internet! I found possible causes for the problem. I found a video that told me how to take the cabinet off the machine. (I've taken the washer apart before to do repairs, but as I blunder my way through it on my own, I end up taking apart a lot of things that don't need to be dismantled. I love the videos that tell you where to start and what to do next!) We discovered which part was broken. Gary duct-taped the lid switch in place so that the machine is usable if we treat it gently and use it as little as possible. I ordered the replacement parts online, and they should be here in a week.

This is a whole lot better than a $70 housecall fee and $50-100/hour for the repairman.

(Crossing fingers in hopes that we don't still need to call a professional to install the parts.)