Saturday, August 30, 2014

"Confession Is Made Unto Salvation"

God owes me, right?

I'm sure you've heard a take on Romans 10: 
If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
Here ya go; this is what you gotta do; fulfill the above requirements, and you will be saved.

[bangs head against the wall]

We can manage to twist anything into salvation-by-works, can't we? 

When Peter was sinking in the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14) he called for help.  That is "confessing" the Lord Jesus:  "I can do nothing to save myself.  Help me!"  Even in Romans 10, just a few verses following the quote above, it says the Lord is rich to all who call upon Him.  

And when do we call on Him?  When we've got a way to please Him?  Or when we have no hope in ourselves and are empty-handed beggars?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Influential Books

Melody tagged me on Facebook to list ten books that have strongly influenced my life.  I'm also supposed to tag ten other people to play the game, but I'm being contrary.  (And tired.)  Thus, no tagging.  But you're welcome to play along (on Facebook or on blogs) if you wish. 

1.  The Bible
2.  The Lutheran Hymnal
3.  Narnia series -- by C. S. Lewis
4.  The Proper Distinction between Law and Gospel -- by Walther

5.  Special Delivery -- by Rahima Baldwin
Because although it was about birth, it led to a rethinking about the place of medical professionals.

6.  Little House series -- by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Not just for the stories, but also because of the model of self-reliance and perseverance, as well as the political viewpoint.

7. Homeschooling for Excellence -- by the Colfaxes
Better Than School -- by Nancy Wallace
Better Late Than Early -- by the Moores
Teach Your Own -- by John Holt
I'm calling this a set, just as I'm claiming that Narnia and Little House each count as one book.

8.  Day by Day We Magnify Thee -- by Luther
Best devotional book ever if you're on the 1-yr pericopes.  And still good even if you're on the 3-yr series.

9.  In Christ, volume 1 -- by David Scaer
Because this is the book that [ahem] entangled me with CCA. 

10.  Lutheran Service Book
Because in spite of all the wonderful things in it, the publication of this book is what brought about the end of my singing-all-day-every-day.  And that's definitely "an influence."

In a similar vein, not being able [repeatedly!] to finish "Emily of the New Moon" influenced my life, not because of the book itself (seeing as how I never got beyond 1/4 of the way in) because that was the watershed when I gave up on reading to myself.   And about 20 years later, on the other end of that spectrum, "Mitford" was when I finally began reading stories for my own enjoyment again.  So I see these books as having a big influence on me even though it was because of circumstances more than content of the books themselves.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Definition of "Plague"

During chapel this morning, the word "plague" came up in our Bible story.  Pastor checked with the kids, "What is a plague?  What does that word mean?" 

A fifth-grader answered first: "That's like taxes."

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Turning My Breech Baby

When one of my babies was head-up and bottom-down, the midwife suggested I try turning him.  She said that doctors can sometimes manipulate kiddoes to turn them, but by this time my munchkin was too big and too far along for that.  (Also, some doctors worry about the safety of that exterior manipulation.) 
The midwife told me to lie on my back three times a day, about 15 minutes at a time, elevating the pelvis, oh, about 12 inches.  The theory is that gravity will help Baby out of the settled-in position, and when Mommy stands up, gravity could bring the [heavier-than-tuschie] head back down to the lower spot. 

This doesn't work for everybody who has a breech baby.  It's also important to have enough knowledge of your body, your baby's body, and be able to know through palpation your baby's position.  You must know when Baby's head goes down so that you Stop Doing The Exercise.  (Also, this is the internet, and I'm not giving medical advice, and all that jazz.  I'm just saying, "This is what I did and what worked for me.")

Also, I think it's good to make your request to the Lord that He turn the baby.

Monday, August 25, 2014

1200 Steps

Zoroastrianism versus Buddhism?

I'm reading Horses of Heaven right now, a novel set in central Asia around 200 BC.  (I'm 3/4 of the way through, o daughters-of-mine who have been waiting who-knows-how-long for me to finish reading your book before you get a crack at it.)  Zoroastrians believe that there can be joy in the world, and that the material world was created good but was infected with evil.  The Buddhists, on the other hand, are more in line with the Gnostics, seeing the material world as something inferior, something to be suffered, something to be released from.

Anyway ...
the Zoroastrian dude in the story is plagued by his struggle with sin.  While visiting another city, he finds himself a Zoroastrian temple.  He goes to the priest who suggests a purifying rite.  The Mazdayist liturgy included the line:
May the bright heaven, the all-blissful paradise, come toward you twelve hundred steps for every step.
And I kept thinking, ... wow, that concept shows up frequently in Christianity* too.  "God goes the distance; He comes to you; but [but BUT but] you have to take steps toward Him." 

We just can't stand the thought that grace is ALL from the Lord and not at all earned or merited in any way, can we?  That would be just too too radical.

* Footnote: That is, this teaching too often
shows up in Christian churches, even though
it is contrary to Christian teaching.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Brain Recovery

There were weird things that happened in the wake of the stroke.  For one, my skin is more sensitive.  Last week I picked three pumpkins and two tomatoes and soon had another rash.  There is no poison ivy mixed in with my pumpkin vines and tomato plants.  There isn't!  I'm not good at recognizing poison ivy and all its other poison-forms, but I do know pumpkin and tomato vines for what they are.  Then in a separate incident, I got a rash from a Tegaderm covering.  When the itching forced me to remove that (about 1 whole minute after the time-limit of the doctor's orders) I used a regular Bandaid.  Guess what?  Another rash.

Recent tests showed that the aneurysm mostly healed, but not all-the-way as we had hoped.  If you can picture an aneurysm sort of like a balloon, the bubble of the balloon is filled and clotted and healed.  The neck of the balloon is not.  That means more monitoring than would've probably been necessary otherwise.  But overall, it appears rather safe, quite unlikely to go and bleed (just as a balloon's neck isn't likely to pop).

I've been back at work for five weeks, doing mini-shifts three days a week.  Now that the doctor's had a chance to take pictures of the inside of my brain, I intend to ask him to lengthen the number of hours I'm allowed to work.  After a few weeks of longer part-time days, maybe he'll let me step up to a full-day with my half-days.  On the one hand, I'm anxious to get back to being helpful at work and getting my income back to where it was.  On the other hand, I sure am liking my mornings at home with Maggie, doing schoolwork and chores ... and not overtiring myself.

Oh, and it is absolutely maaaahrvelous, darling, to have car keys and a drivers license again!