Monday, September 25, 2006

The Little Blessings

The Lord never fails to shower us with his blessings. Sometimes these blessings are hard to see, sometimes they are everywhere you look. Today was one of those everywhere you look days, at least once I arrived home from work. I walked in the door and my children greeted me with glad tidings, and my oldest son Ben wanted me to go out and play badminton with him. Did I mention that I was really tired and the couch was calling? The couch could wait, my son couldn't. Besides it was a beautiful crisp Minnesota fall day - how could I say no? My other three children came along excitedly once they caught wind of the badminton match. What fun!

The sun was illuminating the woods behind where we were playing, making for a nice view. The dogs were chasing each other, wanting the same piece of rawhide, having a grand time. What a perfect day. My thoughts of the couch receeded with the energy from the kids infecting me, and we had a great time playing.

We wrapped up the day with our normal Evening Prayers and a Bible reading, which is a fitting close to any day. The Lord blesses us richly. He gives us everything.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Church in Crisis

Is our church in crisis? It would seem so, with the continual and neverending assault of evangelical influences. We are part Lutheran, part evangelical, part hymn, part contemporary candy bar Christianish song, part litergy, part praise worship. It would seem that things are coming apart at the seams. We are organ, we are guitar and bass, choir and praise team.

Then our pastor speaks, the Litergy is spoken by Christ through the pastor, responded to by the congregation. The sermon is full of Law, it is full of Gospel. A baptism took place last Sunday, and the Lord’s Supper. In the words of C.F.W. Walther, “[the true church] can definitely be recognized, namely, by the marks of the pure preaching of God’s Word and the administration of the sacraments according to Christ’s institution”. God blesses us at our church, through his spoken Word, and the gracious gifts of his sacraments.

We can only continue to press forward supporting our pastor, who, through faithful teaching, will bring these influences to heel at the foot of Christ, if it is His will. Our Savior’s grace is the only way faithful preaching and teaching will continue at any church. Just as He has preserved his Word for over 2000 years, he will continue to preserve his true, invisible church.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Fine Line

There is always a fine line we tread in life. Work. Family. God. We all know who must come first, but do any of us really put God first? As Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians, we are to “pray without ceasing”. Even a liberal interpretation of this verse shows us that we should at the very least pray often and consistantly, thanking the Lord for all things. Fruits. We are to produce fruits as evidence of faith. Growth in holiness. Peter shows us that virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, and kindness are all necessary evidences of faith “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” Make your call and election sure! Do these things and you will never stumble he goes on to say.

A fine line we must walk my friend. A fine line indeed. The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is a wonderful and precious gift from God. Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you see these things? We all see these things to varying degrees, but we also see that there is still the taint of sin in our lives. The mirror of the Law shows all - if you are willing to look into it. Examine yourself! Are you growing in holiness? Is sanctification a fancy word that has no meaning in your Christian walk? The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father to dwell within us should we be saved. He will produce fruit. Are you producing?