Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Living in These Troubled Times

Amy Medina is a missionary in Tanzania.  She writes about how American Christians might need to start living as if they were missionaries.  And she's not talking about speaking the Gospel to those around you.  She's talking about feeling like an outsider, but nevertheless refusing to hole up in our little conclaves.  She's talking about being limited in job options, and expecting that we could quickly lose our possessions.  She's talking about praying for a country and being engaged with the neighbors, while still knowing that nobody cares much about our opinion or rights.

The article is a fresh perspective on how we are pilgrims in this world.  In these turbulent times of post-modernism, her message reminds us of things we know but too often blow past.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Interfering with Faith

The Large Catechism tells us about the Holy Spirit's work: "If the work [of Christ's suffering death, resurrection] remained concealed so that no one knew about it, then it would be useless and lost."

Luke 24: The atonement is not all that's necessary.  It's also necessary that repentance and remission of sins be preached.

The devil tried, but he couldn't keep Jesus from the cross.

So now his only shot at destroying God's work is to interfere with the preaching of repentance and forgiveness

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rebuking Unbelief

Mark's Easter account tells us that Jesus "rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart" when He appeared to the disciples-in-hiding in the upper room that Sunday.

We think rebuke and imagine a scolding, a wagging finger, and a hefty dose of "Shame on you for not believing those who had reported My resurrection!" 

But what do the other gospel accounts tell us?  There is not a shred of scolding anywhere.  The way Jesus "rebuked their unbelief" was to forgive them.  To speak "Peace to you."  To show them that He who had died was now alive.  To expound to them what the Old Testament scriptures had taught of His suffering and atonement.  To restore them to their office of forgiving others.

That is how He rebuked [chased away or beat back] their unbelief.