Saturday, March 05, 2011

What Scumbags

"There is absolutely nothing in us that should cause God to forgive."

What do you think of that? It's a sentence from the new Lutheran Catechesis -- Catechist Edition, as Pastor Bender discusses Psalm 130. We might think that sentence is a downer. But it's not!!! It is good news!

If there is nothing in me that causes God to forgive, if all His forgiveness comes because of His decision, His will, His suffering, His promise, His plan, His love, His mercy, then ... well, think what that means. I don't chase Him off because of my failings. I don't undo His promise because I was weak yet again. I don't have to worry that I didn't do enough to stay in His good graces. Because it's all GRACE.

Nothing --nothing nothing nothing-- in me to make God be favorable to me. But He still is.

Gosh, that's worth some Tigger-ish bouncing and a HappyDance of Joy!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Lutheran Catechesis -- Catechist Edition

We finished our work two weeks ago. The manuscript was delivered to the printer/binder; they've told us when they'll have the book ready. If you'd like to pre-order, click here.

I loved reading the new material!!!!!

Those who are interested in reading about Christian vocation will find the section on the Table of Duties helpful. Also, the paragraphs on "Bible Verses for Meditation" persistently and sweetly remind us of what Christ has done, and that it is His work alone (through the Word!!) that draws us to Him and keeps us.

Thriving in the 21st Century

Barbara Frank has a new book out. It's about the economic changes in the last couple of decades and what impact that has on our families and how we raise our children. Check out the website for some interesting reading!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Curly-Fry Light Bulbs

Those new, expensive, "energy efficient" light bulbs seem to burn out much faster than the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs. Someone recently explained to me that fluorescent bulbs use a lot more energy when turned off & on than when they stay on. Well, how does that work in a house? It might work fine in a school or a factory or a place of business, where the lights are on all day. But in a home, where you move from the living room to the kitchen, run out to the garage for a minute, go to the laundry room to change a load every 50 minutes, etc?? No wonder my curly-fry light bulbs need to be replaced every 5 months instead of the incandescents' every year (or, as the package for the curly-fry bulbs proclaims, every 5 years).

I was in the room when a curly-fry bulb burned out the other day. Puff of smoke and a sizzle sound. Ick! Makes me scared to leave the bulbs on, unattended.

Why can't we keep our old-fashioned light bulbs that don't pollute with mercury, that don't give people migraines, that don't burn out so fast, that cost less? Congress was short-sighted when they passed the law which put so many restrictions on energy usage that they virtually outlawed the future sales of incandescent bulbs.

Guess what? HR 91 has been introduced which will repeal the law. Call your Congressman. Save our normal light bulbs from extinction.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Taking Away the Idols

In Exodus and Deuteronomy, the first commandment says, "You shall have no other gods before Me." What we recite is shorter, though: "You shall have no other gods." After all, God did not mean that it's okay to have other gods, but, well, y'know, He wants to be in first place ahead of the others.

And yet ...

He does let us keep our other gods. Over the course of a lifetime, He takes away one god after another. Sometimes those gods go toppling in a hurry: when there's a financial disaster, or a diagnosis of a deadly disease, or the death of one who is especially dear to us. Or maybe those gods aren't toppled easily. Maybe we simply become aware of our idolatry and confess it and beg forgiveness, unable to free ourselves. Sometimes the true God goes slowly and gently, unwilling to free us of our idols so quickly that we are unable to stand. (Think of Job's wife who advised him to curse God and die.)

It is amazing that, even in something so fatal as idolatry, God's love for us is paramount. He saves us from our idols. But He does it in a time and a manner that is good for us -- not in a way that focuses on His due place as king.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Matthew 6:25

Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

The question that Matthew answers here is answered succinctly by John: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."