Friday, November 02, 2012


Paul and Mandy in their Halloween best!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Those Martyrs

Excuse me for a brief ADD moment regarding Romans 5:

For when we were still without strength,
in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die;
yet perhaps 
for a good man someone would even dare to die.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us,
in that while we were still sinners, 
Christ died for us.   (Romans 5)

So Jesus told John Mark (aka, the "rich young ruler") that no one was good but God. 

Jesus IS the "good man."

Perhaps for a good man --for the Good Man-- someone would maybe possibly dare even to die.   "Those martyrs stand, a priestly band, God's throne forever near."

Ah, but that's not Paul's point here.  His point is that Christ does what none of us could ever do: He dies for the ungodly, for sinners, for me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why It's Hard to Pray

from John Kleinig (not a quote but the gist of what he said) --

You find it hard to pray?  You intend to have family devotions every evening?  You intend to do a better job this time of sticking to your private prayers each day?  But you keep failing!

That's exactly what the devil wants!  Your failure to pray doesn't mean you're a failure at it and therefore should give up.  Your failure to pray is, instead, proof that the devil is out to stop you at all costs.  Your failures are, oddly, evidence of how important your prayers are!

And maybe if you know how important it is to Satan that you don't pray, maybe it will be easier to persevere in your prayers, going to your Father who invites you, who offers you help, who promises to hear.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Country Dancing

Mr Toad's Character

What a difference 100 years can make!

Background:  Maggie and I weren't sure what new book to start after our last read-aloud concluded.  We'd run across a reference to The Wind in the Willows in her math book [yes, I did say math book, odd as that may sound to those of you who don't know Fred] and I realized that Maggie had not heard TWitW last time the family had read it.  [Amazing problem that homeschool mothers have!  Some children have the audacity to not be born yet when you did something that all the kids were supposed to experience for "school."] So anyway, we grabbed a copy from the library and started reading.  I enjoyed the book well enough when we read it 20 years ago, but I'm finding it positively delightful this time!!  Maggie appears to be finding it acceptable. 

In The Wind in the Willows, Mr Toad likes new things.  He likes nice clothes.  He flits from one new curiosity/passion to another.  When he fell in love with boating, he ditched his previous passions.  When he decided to go traveling in a gypsy carriage, he was done-done-done with boating.  When he discovered a motor car, he promptly dropped his interest in traveling in his gypsy carriage. 

My impression is that, when the book was written, this Affinity For The New was seen as a character flaw.  Most of the other animals were more content with their place in life and with the simple pleasures of their surroundings.  Not Mr Toad.  The other critters bore with Mr Toad's idiosyncrasies.  He was curious about new things and always wanted to find out more about whatever-was-novel-today.

Today, in our society, in our economy, it's all flip-flopped.  Contentment is not considered good.  It's often considered hokey.  It's often considered unpatriotic (as contentment won't boost consumerism).  And it's definitely considered "dull."  Desire-for-the-new is held up as a cherished characteristic. 

We even run political campaigns with the promise of CHANGE.

My, how values have ... uh ... changed.

Monday, October 29, 2012

I have gobs of pictures to download off my camera. But in the meantime I will steal borrow some other people's snapshots.
Alia raking leaves.

Our friend Rachel caught a lovely picture of Maggie!

Olivia and Andrew.

Olivia and Maggie.

Mandy and Paul.

Zoe in the pile of leaves.

Surely in Temples Made with Hands...

I used to love "Built on the Rock the Church Doth Stand."  It has some great lines and a good, strong tune. 

But when I began to understand that Jesus really truly IS there in the Divine Service -- there in His word -- there in the Supper -- there in the preaching -- there in the absolving -- I began to be troubled by
Surely in temples made with hands
God the most high is not dwelling.
High above earth His temple stands,
all earthly temples excelling.
But He is dwelling here, in this building, in this nave, in this chancel, on this altar.  He is!

When I crabbed about that line to Pastor Wiest, he told me to "take it up with Paul" because it's exactly what the apostle said when he was preaching in Athens, at Mars Hill.  Well, just go and hog-tie me, Pastor Wiest!  Darn it, how can I argue with the apostle who was inspired by God to say it?

But it still bothered me.

So after church today we looked at the Greek.  And now it makes a little more sense.  All through John -- especially where Jesus talks about abiding in the word, and abiding in the Spirit, and abiding in Him, and His abiding in us -- it's a different word.  It's not the same kind of "dwell."  So often "dwelling" is "living" or "abiding" or "remaining."  But at Mars Hill, when Paul said that God does not "dwell" in earthly temples, it's more like God isn't housed in earthly temples, like, y'know, "contained."  

Well, now, that makes loads more sense. 

He does abide here in our churches.  He does remain there.  He does dwell with us there.  But He's not limited there; He's not locked up there.

So now I'm wondering what impression the song gives other people.  Maybe I'm the only one.  Maybe everybody else thinks it's a no-brainer that God is everywhere and yet at the same time is specially located in the holy place of our churches.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hush That Timer!

Beep.  Beep.  Beep.  Beep.

"Whose timer?'
Nobody answers.

"Hey, Andrew, is that your timer?"
"No, I didn't set it."

When I find Gary, "Hey, did you set the timer?"

When I find Maggie, "What's the timer for?"
"I don't know."

"Well, somebody must have set it for something."

But nobody owned up to it.

Oh yeah....
I wanted to remember to not forget the perma-press in the dryer.