Saturday, February 05, 2011

Today's Laugh

A woman from Wisconsin had 50-yard-line tickets for the Super Bowl. As she sat down, a man came along and asked her if anyone is sitting in the seat next to her. "No," she said, "the seat is empty."

"This is incredible," said the man. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the world, and not use it?"

Somberly, the woman says, "Well... the seat actually belongs to me. I was supposed to come here with my husband, but he passed away. This is the first Super Bowl we have not been to together since we got married in 1967."

"Oh I'm sorry to hear that. That's terrible. But couldn't you find someone else -- a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take the seat?"

The woman shakes her head. "No, they're all at the funeral."

Ooooh. That's from my friend Suzanne. Tsk tsk tsk! You'd be tempted to think she lives in Wisconsin, she knows cheeseheads so well ....

Friday, February 04, 2011

Upon This Your Confession

The absolution spoken on Sunday morning after the general confession sometimes begins: "Upon this your confession, I by virtue of my office as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God to all of you, ..."

Too often we think that that means God is forgiving us because we confess. We think our confession is what triggers His forgiveness.

Uh,... there'd be a theological problem with that, don't you suppose?

Maybe, instead, the pastor says "upon this your confession" not as a cause for the absolution, but as the occasion upon which the absolution is spoken. The absolution is valid because of Jesus' death on the cross, but when we confess our sin, we need to hear (again and again and again) the absolution. Nevertheless, the sinful nature prefers to twist those weekly words ("upon this your confession") into something that gives us at least a little credit before God for believing in Him.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

God Will See You Through It


When things go wrong, upbeat Christians will sometimes cheerily assure you that God will see you through the troubles. When things go wrong, people point out how God has brought you through trials in the past, and He will be faithful and bring you through these current trials too.

But some of those past trials left scars -- death of a loved one, divorce, irreversible health problems, etc. There is no assurance that these current trials will not also have their ramifications and leave their own scars.

It is true that the Lord will work for our benefits even when harm comes to us. It is true that He will preserve us in the faith and see us through these trials to bring us to our heavenly home. But sometimes the prospect of new scars is daunting.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Deep Snow

No getting out the front door this morning. It wouldn't budge. We raised the garage door, made a narrow path, and started moving snow.

Gary hurt his back shoveling yesterday. He collapsed last night; his legs just wouldn't hold him. I've called doctors' offices, but they aren't open today. He's doing better now, he can get himself to a stand. We haven't decided yet whether to try to get him to the hospital or wait till tomorrow in hopes of finding the D.O. or chiropractor or family doctor available. Just in case, Andrew and I managed to break through about 1/3 of the driveway's width, in hopes that we could squeeze the car through that passage.

After some breakfast and a rest, it's back outside to make sure the vents are clear, start roof-raking, and then try to free the front door.

Stilling of the Storm

On the road to Emmaus, Jesus explained to the two disciples (Luke 24) how the entire Old Testament was about Him and His work. Earlier He had told the Pharisees the same thing: "These are they which testify of Me" (John 5).

We recently studied the story from Mark 4, when Jesus stilled the storm for the fearful disciples whose boat was going down. The moral of that story is usually that God is more powerful than the storm. When Pastor teaches in Didache, his main point is that Jesus mercifully rescues those who have "no faith" and are accusing Him of not caring about them.

But there's something else too. Remember how Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth and preached from Isaiah (Luke 4) about the things the messiah would do? Remember how Jesus responded to John the Baptist (Matthew 11) about how to know whether He was the messiah? The Old Testament says thus-and-such; Jesus does thus-and-such; there's a clue that He's the one. The blind see; the deaf hear; the lame walk; the poor have the gospel preached to them.

Look at Psalm 107. Yahweh the Lord commands and raises the stormy wind which lifts up the waves of the sea. The sailors' hearts melt because of the trouble when their boat is pitching on high waves. The men in the boat are at their wits' end, declares the psalmist. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet. So He guides them to their desired haven.

What did Jesus DO?
That is precisely what Yahweh does.
He is the one whom the prophets foretold ... and He does more than just the "short list" from that passage in Isaiah.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


Three dig-outs and counting.

This stuff is WAY lighter and easier to shovel than the Snow of Good Friday '08. (That was overwhelming: shovel, church, shovel, church, shovel, church, shovel. A memorable day.) I expect the light fluffiness, however, will mean we get to shovel the same snow multiple times when the winds start. ;-)

So does anybody besides us use an actual old-fashioned shovel instead of a snow blower or a plow?