Monday, June 03, 2013
It has been a while since I have taken the time to post. In large part this is due to the fact that I have been scrambling to recover from an accident in which my chipper truck and chipper were totaled.
On March 8 I was merging from westbound Kellogg onto northbound I-235. Apparently, as I was looking back to prepare for the merge, I must have drifted to the left, because I found myself headed for the dip/ditch between the merge lane and the highway. Attempting to correct this situation would almost certainly have caused the truck to flip, so I chose to continue onward through the ditch and make the correction on the other side. But the ditch was too much for me and I ended up in the median against the guard rail on my side.
Thankfully, my preparations for merging were blessed by the Lord so that no one else was involved. Moreover, the Lord carried me through this incident without serious injury to my body or person.
The recovery time has primarily involved replacement of the truck and chipper and the many challenges involved in this process. I finally have things restored to a point that I am able to function nearly normally again in my tree business. I still have more to do, but at least I am able to begin servicing the needs of those who are requesting my services.
So, for those who care to know about what has happened, this will provide at least a snippet of the story.
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
If you desire to sign the petition on-line, click here.
It seems strange that such a petition would be necessary. Saeed Abedini is an American citizen. Both Congress and Obama know of his illegal arrest and imprisonment.
But then the same is true here in America, where citizens also are known to be innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted and are nevertheless still held in prisons. Such cases, whether here at home or in far away Iran, should be addressed with urgency.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I gave up on IE long ago when it kept presenting security hazards. But it also seems to be very quirky and unstable when playing/working with other browser compatibility issues.
It seems that the problems for my blog appeared with the last post that included the embedded code for the tag program. I am wondering whether this post may cause an override. If not, I will delete the other embed code to see what effect it has.
OK. It seems that the issue was with Internet Explorer, or at least with IE and Google's Blogger. But as usual, other browsers functioned correctly while IE refuses. Other browsers seem to accept the embed codes without any problem. Why do so many people still use IE?
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
CATO Institute has an article entitled: Freedom Banned in Washington. The article shares that in Washington DC there are limits to what a person is allowed to use on vanity license plates.
FREEDOM is one of the banned words.
Apparently a person can use the method below to test various words to learn whether or not the words are permitted.
(embeded code for tag test deleted due to conflicts with IE)
Try it here.
Indeed, Freedom is not permitted.
I tried a number of others that would surely be more controversial and those particular ones were deemed to be OK. But Freedom is not OK.
Try it yourself.
Among a few others that I tried that turned out to be banned are:
(but Slave is OK)
At the government site for the State of Maryland’s Health Department here is what is posted:
Can you believe this? Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Is this another term for Brainwashing?
Is this getting scarey yet?
Yesterday I was reminded of a previous post, God’s Grace in Injuries & Healing . The following picture was displayed after my knee injuries had healed.
I was surprised by the comments that were made, seemingly oblivious to the statements that I had made about how wonderfully and marvelously the Lord had granted healing. I was left wondering if they read my words at all. Their display of concern and caring was nice, but did they read what I said?
Here is a picture taken today of the same injuries.
I had not really paid much attention until today as I have had no pain or other cause to pay any attention to my knee. I was rather amazed to realize that the scars are so negligible that even with close examination I hardly notice them. In fact, my scar from when I was a youngster and fell on a freshly sharpened lawn mower blade is far more noticeable, even though it, too, has faded over the years.
At any rate, I wish to share this with whomever may be interested. I did not rush to the emergency room and pay outrageous fees. I received no stitches, no pain meds, no powerful antibiotic shots or pills.
I thank God for the functions that He has built into my body. I thank God that I do not need the Federal government to mandate what my body needs. If only the Federal government would stay out of my life and let me and my neighbors live in peace.
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I find what is shared in this video at The Blaze hard to believe. A nurse speaks to a 911 operator, calling for emergency assistance for a dying woman, but refuses to help the woman. The facility’s policy forbids doing CPR to save a resident’s life.
I cannot imagine anyone signing such a restrictive policy. Well, Obama or Sebelius or Feinstein, yes, but well . . .
This is hurtful to my soul. Moreover, it is becoming commonplace.
It is hard to imagine that on Facebook and other social media that people post endlessly about abuse of animals and saving the lives of dogs and cats, even old and decrepit dogs and cats. Meanwhile the daughter of this woman, a nurse, says that she is satisfied with the care that her dying mother received. What care did her mother receive?
Perhaps this 87 year old woman did not want CPR. Perhaps she did not want to be assisted. Perhaps this is why she came to live at this facility.
Was this the case? Is it my place to speculate? Is there a time when such a decision is appropriate?
And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.(Genesis 49:33)
And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house: and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation: the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's knees. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.(Genesis 50:22-26)
As I ponder what has been reported, and consider the statement of this woman’s daughter, perhaps I really should be careful about presuming to know more than I do. After all, this woman lived in a very comfortable environment. She did receive assistance in her day to day needs. She was blessed to live to 87 years of age. Her body was weakened. Her bones were frail. She elected to live in a facility where the policy was stated that the rigors of CPR would not be performed. Does this policy take into account the low success of CPR on such older people? Does this policy take into account the likelihood of deep and painful bruises, possible broken ribs, and even possible rupture of blood vessels?
Perhaps I am wrong to presume to judge these people of whom I know so little. After all, they did not withhold food or drink from her. They did not administer lethal drugs. They did not refuse to call for paramedics who have the defibrillation and other equipment.
If this is the way, then perhaps this should be explained to the EMS people so that they are not put in the horrific situation that this creates. As I listened to the audio, my heart ached for this dispatcher. It seems that at the very least, facilities such as Glenwood Gardens should be required to list their policy with the EMS and explain why CPR is not practiced. These facilities often are frequent callers of EMS. The dispatchers should be given better information, both for their own conscience’s sakes as well as to avoid such ugly misunderstanding.
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Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Drones Will Become Such a Routine Part of American Life That They Eventually Will Be Used to Find Lost Dogs and Cats
The quote is found at 1:30 and following:
More on this is reported at Drones used to find lost dogs, cats?.
It is actually quite a wonderful invention, despite its rather intimidating appearance. It is a tool designed to grant comfort and relief. It is a shoe stretcher. It is designed to be used to alleviate pressure on bunions and other troublesome areas of the foot. It is used to stretch the area of the shoe that would cause pain to the bunion or other oddly shaped part of a person’s foot.
Of course, if applied incorrectly to the shoe, or in some other way misused, it could actually become an instrument of pain or torture. It could be used to increase agony rather that to relieve it. Even if used with good intentions but misapplied, it could work the opposite for which it is designed.
For example, if the stretcher is used improperly so that the area is not sufficiently stretched, and yet the suffering person is coerced to wear the improperly stretched shoe anyway, the condition of irritated bunion could be worsened. If the person is told that the pain is not real and that the stretcher has removed the cause of pain, the person may be further injured emotionally.
Sadly, the Gospel, while not a tool, but nevertheless a means of comfort and relief, is often used improperly so that the result is a worsened state of suffering rather than relief. It is not the fault of the Gospel that this happens. Rather the fault is in the misapplication of the Gospel. Often it is not only misapplied, but entirely misrepresented.
Imagine if the shoe stretcher were given to a person and told to use it to apply pressure to the bunion to reshape the foot to relieve the problem.
As outrageous as this sounds, it is very similar to how many apply the Gospel. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel as God’s work to address and remove sin and the guilt of sin, people are told to use the Gospel as a means through which they must reshape their lives and eliminate sin and guilt by their own endeavors. When these attempts fail or make matters worse, then the Gospel itself is reshaped and redefined to make it feel less powerful when it is misused. Eventually it becomes defined as nothing more than a placebo, a sugar pill in which people hope for relief.
When the shoe stretcher is used rightly, it does provide the promised relief. It can even reduce the swelling and inflamation.
The Gospel, when used as it has been given to be used, does much more. It actually heals the disease. It not only addresses the symptoms but actually restores to the true spiritual health that has been lost. But this does not happen when those who use it do not believe the efficaciousness of its proper use.
Another example can be gleaned from my experience as an arborist. I often observe where someone has pruned a dead limb from a tree. However, it has not been properly pruned and so while it temporarily has a better appearance than having a dead limb extending from the trunk, it nevertheless does not properly close. The dead stub remains and the fungal growth finds its way into the heartwood of the tree rather than sealing the area against such infection as normally occurs with proper pruning.
From these three crude drawings the contrast can be observed. The first shows the tree with the dead limb. The second shows the limb pruned as is commonly seen by those who either don’t know better or don’t care. The third shows the limb properly pruned near the growth collar, so that the natural compartmentalization by the tree is complemented by the pruning so that the cambium grows over and seals the wound in the least amount of time and without the fungal acids that would be produced by the fungi growing in the dead stub which would digest the tree’s waxy protective sealant.
Improper pruning is no more effective than leaving the ugly dead limb. Both result in the fungal growth that eventually may infect the heartwood of the tree. Both result in the cambium improperly growing outward over the remaining dead material so that a hollow area is produced that catches moisture and fungal spores.
The proper pruning eliminates the deadwood, thereby eliminating the fungal growth. The cambium grows straight across the wound, sealing it properly. Heart rot from such a pruned limb is much less likely.
The Gospel is something like this, but even better. One who hears the Gospel for what the Scriptures actually declare it to be will readily see the comparison. The Gospel actually does much more than mere pruning of deadwood or diseased limbs from a tree. It actually restores life where death and decay have already occurred. But that only happens when and where the Gospel is actually administered in its purity and as it has been given to be used.
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When I was a little boy, my father decided that I should have a toolbox of my very own. So he told me that I would make a toolbox for myself. It would be like some of the other toolboxes that he had.
He supplied the materials. He carefully measured and sawed the wood to precise specifications. He applied the glue. He drove the nails. If I remember correctly, he gave me the nails to hold for him and then had me help him to hold the pieces of wood in place. When it was securely fastened, he gave me some paint and a brush with which to apply a couple coats of paint. When it was dry, he secured the hardware to the box along with some leather straps to hold the lid open.
When all was done he told me what a good job I had done. Now my box was ready for my tools, my own hammer and saw and screwdriver, which Daddy also gave to me.
This is how God does with His children, too. He performed the work of redemption and salvation. He established His Church for preaching of the Gospel and administration fo the Sacraments. He generates faith in the heart through these means. He baptizes the child into His Church. He gives His Holy Spirit to call, gather, enlighten, and sanctify His children. He supplies all that is needed, even the faith by which His children believe. Then he gives them some paint to brush on, that is, He gives them the good works that flow from their faith-filled hearts to embellish their lives, and he gives them the tools for their lives of faith. In the end, He tells them what a good job they have done.
I still have the toolbox that my daddy made for me. It has been through quite a bit of abuse over the forty-five or so years that I have used it. It still functions perfectly. I still hear his words telling me what a good job I did.
I also still have the faith and life that the Lord built for me. I continue to believe in accord with that faith and to live in accord with that life. And I still hear Him tell me what a good job I have done. He is our true Father and we are His true children. He provides all that is good and then tells us what a good job we have done, even though it all has been worked by Him.
This wonderful perspective is what He declares in the Aaronic Benediction:
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and grant you peace. Amen.
I especially love the look upon my wife’s face every time that she hears these words, especially after I explained them in fuller detail. The first sentence seems to be understood fairly easily, although its richness is certainly greater than most people first realize. But the second and third reflect the Lord’s attitude toward His children over and above His gracious blessing and providence and protection. Here He promises that He lifts us up from our guilt and shame, having proclaimed His Gospel to us and having fed us at His Table of forgiveness and life, and He makes His face to shine with the loving pride that He has as our Father who has declared us to be righteous with the righteousness of Jesus. He promises that rather than looking down upon us with the disgust that we have earned for ourselves, rather than looking down and away from us as we deserve, He lifts up His countenance so that we see how He loves us and takes pride in us and calls us to Himself so that we receive that peace of His Holy Communion. The divine service closes with His promise that He lifts up His countenance upon us, showing us His smiling face of love and mercy, so that we have the peace that surpasses all understanding that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
God does it all for us and then He says to us: “Look and see how pleased I am with you, my wonderful children.”
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Saturday, March 02, 2013
Friday, March 01, 2013
There are many examples of this in the world. A statement is made, using portions of the truth to present a falsehood. The devil is the inventor of this tactic. He used this tactic in the garden of Eden to tempt the woman to doubt the truth and to refashion God’s Word according to her own reason. The result was that Mankind was cut off from the Truth, cut off from Life. Death thereby came to mankind in connection with the blindness and corruption of sin. The devil foolishly tried this tactic with Jesus, too. The devil actually quoted Scripture to Jesus in an attempt to move Jesus to accept something false. The devil actually quoted the Scripture verbatim. But he used the Scripture out of context, applying it to try to present a false precept, and therefore the true statement was actually false. Even though the statement was true in the context in which it stands written, used as the devil used it, it was nevertheless false.
At When Love Encounters Impenitence, Love Does Not Go to War a statement is quoted as a beautiful “bit of grace and truth.” The statement is made at Steadfast Lutherans within the comments concerning the article Interesting Interview of Pastor Morris in the Newtown Bee, by Pr. Rossow. Notably, Pr. McCain in his blog post quoting this statement does not provide a link to where it was made. Thereby he uses the quote without allowing his readers to examine how it was used.
The quoted statement was actually used to attack other Christians, using the deliberately controverted guise of love. The statement is actually an attack on people who are openly and honestly addressing a serious issue and calling for dishonesty within their church body to be swept away so that the truth may prevail among them.
Here is the statement, which, divorced from the context in which it was presented, is a truly beautiful “bit of grace and truth.” It sounds wonderful until one reads it in the context in which Pastor Fiene has written and presented it.
The issue being raised by the original article is the issue of a blatant sin committed within the LC-MS. The pastors and congregations of the LC-MS take an oath not to partake in unionistic worship. In the situation being addressed, a pastor openly, publicly, and proudly violated this oath. When he was called on it, he apologized in a way that actually accused those who sought to bring him to repent. I posted concerning this at An Apology Is Not Repentance. The end result was that the LC-MS president apologized for attempting to do his sworn duty, while the one who should have been called to repent denied that he did any wrong. The way it was finally presented was as a call to the members of the LC-MS to repent of their desire to call sin “sin” and to call sinners to repent of their sins, especially their public sins against the Gospel.
The falsehood begins with the very first sentence, where Pr. Fiene says: “When love encounters impenitence, love weeps while shaking the dust off its feet.”
This is a very devilish use of the truth. For this is exactly what the Lord Jesus has commanded the saints to do regarding those who reject the truth that has been presented to them. However, Pr. Fiene is not in agreement with Jesus that Pr. Morris should be confronted openly with the truth and then told that he is not a Christian on account of refusing to acknowledge his sin and repent of it. The people whom Pr. Fiene is countering are actually calling for Pr. Morris, as well as his district president and Pr. Harrison to be called to repent of their public sin in this matter, the sin of calling sin as “righteousness” and righteousness as “sin.” They are calling for repentance of all three lying pastors. But even they are not speaking of shaking the dust off their feet. Even they are not saying that if these lying pastors refuse to hear the truth and be called to repentance that they should be excommunicated for the sake of showing them the seriousness of their impenitence. Pr. Fiene especially is not calling for this. He is trying to condemn those who are at least calling their leaders to be accountable. He is trying to change the focus from the call to the leaders to repent, so that the focus becomes one of calling those who are calling for repentance to repent. But because this devilish maneuver is masked as love, it is a very effective deception.
If those who practice unionism don’t believe that it is sinful, then they should admit this and end their participation in the LC-MS communion. However, the sad fact is that the LC-MS is not what it claims to be. The LC-MS has openly practiced unionism at many levels for decades, perhaps really even for its entire existence. The LC-MS has only pretended to be against unionism, while allowing it and actually practicing it for years.
From that perspective Pr. Fiene would be correct, if indeed he were saying that the members of the LC-MS should admit the longstanding impenitence of the LC-MS and with tears shake the dust off their feet and walk away.
But Pr. Fiene’s dishonest use of the truth goes further still. He says:
Love doesn’t go to war. It doesn’t badger. It doesn’t shout. It doesn’t scream for everyone to fix their eyes on the sin that’s already been made as public as it can be.
Love doesn’t continually appoint itself to the task of penning another epistle of rebuke.
This ignores the very obvious fact that war has already been declared and imposed upon those whom he is condemning. War has already been declared by those who gave an oath not to partake in unionism and then have openly done so and furthermore have publicly sought to make unionism the accepted practice of the church. Those who stand up against this are persecuted until either broken or driven out of the LC-MS. Those who do resist, those who do fight against those making war against them, are doing so not only for their own sake, but for the sake of their loved ones who are being destroyed spiritually in this war imposed by the so-called tolerant ones.
This is true also for those who have admitted the truth of the impenitence of the LC-MS and have shaken the dust off their feet and walked away in tears. They still look on as they see their family and friends being led further and further away from the narrowness of the truth into the broad path of relativism and tolerance of adulterated doctrine and practice. As they view the changes effected in their family and friends, their love does move them to pen yet another and another epistle. They do experience and even express holy anger as they stand helplessly watching their loved ones spiritually eviscerated.
And then Pr. Fiene and Pr. McCain cry out that love does not cry out against such things.
Truly there is a point where one must finally say, “I have nothing more whatsoever to do with thee.” There does come the time where mourning and even praying for such comes to an end, as the Lord told Samuel to stop mourning for Saul and John says not to pray for those who sin unto death (1 John 5:17).
I must admit that I don’t really know how to make this distinction and so I simply continue as the Lord Jesus teaches in the Our Father and as the General Prayer follows the admonitions of the apostles, praying for everyone generally. As for those who seem to be beyond receiving anything good from me, I do eventually stop praying for them specifically, including them in my general prayers for all and for all of the enemies of the cross. And even though I have shaken the dust off my feet concerning the impenitent churches and those who remain in their clutches, my heart nevertheless longs for their repentance unto the way of true peace and life.
It seems that a big issue for those still in churches like the LC-MS is that they imagine that they are still fighting to protect their home and loved ones. They seem not to realize that their church body that they call home has been confiscated by the enemy. So they continue fighting for what is no longer theirs. They fight battles that are nothing more than futile rebelling against the established rulers of the household. From this perspective they would do well to hear Pr. Fienes that such is not the way of love. Love rather would admit the impenitence of their false church so that they would shake the dust off their feet and walk away in tears. Then they would be free to embrace the true faith, the true doctrine, and the true worship without continually fighting the enemy whom they falsely call brother. Then they would begin to understand what St. John declares, saying:
Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.(1 John 3:13-14)
In order truly to love the brethren, one must first rightly acknowledge the brethren. Continuing in fellowship with those who are not the brethren is to malign and despise the brethren. Those who love the brethren do not join themselves to the world that hates the brethren. Rather, in love for the brethren, they stand together with the brethren apart from the world. It seems odd that so many have forgotten this so that they continue to cling to worldly corporations that use “Church” in their corporate identities while ignoring and even despising those who stand apart, gathered into the name of Jesus. They somehow seem to have become convinced that love means holding to the church that bears the name and works of their fathers and grandfathers rather than the Church founded upon and preserved through the name and works of Jesus.
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Last evening while studying and surfing the net, I was directed to this tender video:
Casper and Disney are two boys who learned of the blessings of Baptism and wanted to be included in the kingdom of these benefits. Disney volunteers, saying:
And I was about five, too. At the beginning of kindergarten, I was crying a lot because I didn’t have a baptism and everyone else did.
He was cut off before he could finish explaining. When asked why Baptism was so important to him he says: “Baptism was so important to me because I, because we become a child of God. That’s why it’s important to me.”
This is why these boys wanted to be baptized. Their parents had not given this to them. They wanted what the other children had received. They wanted to be generated from above into the kingdom of God. They wanted to be adopted as God’s children. Disney automatically paused when he began to say “I” and corrected himself saying “we become a child of God.” This is a display of an amazingly deep theological understanding. This was not taught by his teachers but rose from his own realization of what Baptism is. While Baptism is applied to each individual, it is the way for all who are truly generated into God’s family. While it is unlikely that young Disney made this connection to the statements of Jesus in John 3, he received the Holy Spirit in his baptism and the Holy Spirit imparted to him the true faith and continues to instruct him in the understanding of this faith that has been generated in him.
I find the mater-of-fact manner of responses from children to be delightful. This is the way that children speak when they are certain of their responses. These two boys have been catechized. They have been taught what the Holy Spirit declares. But their responses are more than what is heard as the result of programmed indoctrination. They are speaking from their hearts of what they have been moved by the Holy Spirit to believe. This is more than merely repeating what they have heard many times from parents and teachers. They speak from their hearts of what they themselves know. Disney’s response is especially delightful when he says:
Yeah, we get to be God’s child, like I just said.
He says this after he was asked, “And what do you get in Baptism?”
His response is: “The forgiveness of sins.”
His questioner seems to be fishing for more, very likely what St. Peter declares in Acts 2:38, where he speaks of the gift of the Holy Spirit as well as the forgiveness of sins, but young Disney responds with what the forgiveness of sins means to the regenerated child of God, “Yeah, we get to be God’s child, like I just said.”
When Peter preached to those who were gathered at Pentecost, he explained the how of the new life that accompanies the reception of the remission of sins through Baptism. The Holy Spirit is the one who works this miracle of faith through which the remission of sins is worked. The Holy Spirit is the one poured out in Baptism to preserve this faith within the newborn child of God so that this faith is nurtured and strengthened, so that it grows to maturity and in deeper understanding. But for young Disney, the unity of the Holy Trinity is so clear that he responds to the foremost issue, that the remission of sins means that one is received back into God’s family forevermore. Just as the Holy Spirit does not direct attention to Himself, neither does the child of God reflect upon this but rejoices first in the remission of sins through which he gets to be a God’s child. This is what Baptism foremost means to sinners who realize that their sin cuts them off from God. It is only when people begin to rely upon their own understanding and begin to focus upon their own displays of sanctification that they begin to focus strongly upon the gift of the Holy Spirit. When sinners truly realize their sinfulness, they count the remission of sins as the most important of their needs, and they rejoice in the reconciliation with God that remission of sins establishes.
For this reason, it makes me very sad to realize that these dear boys are part of a church body that robs them of the fullness of being regenerated into God’s Holy Communion. I regretfully confess my own sin as a pastor in this regard, having taught the false doctrine and practice of Confirmation as a necessity for partaking of the Holy Supper through which the continual remission of sins is promised to the children of God. It saddens me that sweet children of God are baptized into His Holy Communion and then are taught that they must achieve an elevated status of understanding before they are allowed to be counted as true partakers of God’s kingdom. The very food by which God promises to sustain His children is denied to those for whom He promises it. Just as these two boys were denied Baptism until they cried for it, so they are being denied the family meal so that they still are looking on for what belongs to all of God’s family but they are not being counted as true communicant members.
I rejoice that these dear boys have been baptized and that they rejoice in the promises of their baptism. Yet I grieve that the primary proclamation of the Lord’s death till He comes (1 Corinthians 11:26) is denied to them. Even though they are rightly instructed that their sins are remitted and that the true faith is generated in them and that the Holy Spirit is poured out to them to keep them with Jesus Christ in the one true faith, yet they are denied the Sacrament of the Lord’s Holy Communion for which their baptism generates them. The Supper of Life is denied to them. They are instructed that they are not yet worthy, even though the true faith in the merits and promises of Christ is the only cause of worthiness.
Is it any wonder that more than half of those who are baptized in these church bodies become confused and disheartened and fall away? Is it any wonder that of those who do progress to the rite of Confirmation, more than half then lose their desire for the Sacrament? Is it any wonder that in these church bodies that their own statistics show that in nearly every congregation that less than half and usually even less than a third of the so-called communicant members partake of the body and blood of their Lord on a given Sunday?
Should this be surprising when for the most important years of their lives they have been taught that they do not need the Sacrament? For the years of their greatest development bodily, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, they have been taught that all that they really need is their baptism and that the Family Supper is not necessary. Then, after Confirmation, these dear saints who have been thus falsely taught are suddenly to cast away all of these years of instruction in the lack of need for the Sacrament and now to begin to crave the Sacrament as a great necessity.
Does this make any sense at all?
Saint Paul is often quoted in this regard. This would be wonderful if his instruction were taken as he gives it rather than applying private interpretation to his words. Here is what the dear apostle says:
Sadly, verses 27-29 are usually quoted apart from and even contrary to the context in which St. Paul is speaking. These verses are usually used as a proof text. A proof text is a text used to make a predetermined point, rather than quoting the text in accord with the point for which it stands written.
Thus these particular verses are quoted as proof that individuals must examine themselves concerning what they understand before counting themselves properly prepared [worthy] of partaking of the Lord’s Communion.
However, even with only the immediately preceding verse as a reference for the context, these verses instantly are perceived very differently than they are generally interpreted. What is the context for the necessity of a man examining himself? If we review the second paragraph above the perception is greatly enhanced.
For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
What is the point of St. Paul’s chastisement? He is chastising for the divisions that exist within the congregation. In the third paragraph he declares that because of the aforementioned heresies that the congregation’s suppers are not even the Lord’s Supper. He is declaring that merely following the outward form and labeling it as the Lord’s Supper does not make it the Lord’s Supper. He is warning that this form of practice is actually the opposite of proclaiming the Lord’s death till He comes. Instead, it is actually a mockery of the Lord’s death and thereby brings judgement upon the communicants of these false suppers.
So the real issue that a man is to examine is whether or not his household is gathering with a true congregation that is truly offering the Sacrament as a “shewing of the Lord’s death till He comes” in accord with the pure teaching of the Gospel.
In this particular setting, the Corinthian congregation was so far from the right shewing of the Lord’s death till He comes that they were not even considering the purpose and meaning of the Supper. Their treatment of the Supper was so bad that they did not even care who partook of the Supper. They treated it as an individualistic participation rather than the Lord’s family meal of forgiveness and nurturing in His Communion. They were not rightly discerning the Lord’s body and therefore they were ignoring others so that they were left out, just like the doctrine and practice of Confirmation does to those who have not been “properly instructed and confirmed.”
Young Casper and Disney have it right. “Baptism was so important to me because I, because we become a child of God. That’s why it’s important to me.”
These boys have been taught a marvelous hymn, a hymn which they prize and sing from their hearts. It is a shame that the doctrine of this hymn is ignored by their teachers and pastors regarding their true place in God’s family.
The words of this hymn are available at God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It and at Witness, Mercy, Life Together: God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It. From these I quote the 2nd and 3rd stanzas:
What is the purpose of Baptism? What is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper? Young Disney says it wonderfully.
Isn’t it time that the pastors, teachers, and parents learn it, too? Isn’t it time that they stop eating and drinking judgment upon themselves by refusing the Lord’s command to suffer the little children to come to Him? Is this not the invitation of the Supper as well as of Baptism?
The wise and the prudent imagine that admission to the Supper is dependent upon being able to express one’s understanding, forgetting that:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.(Proverbs 9:10)
Is this not what this wonderful hymn that is taught to the children teaches? Is this not their understanding that the Holy Spirit imparts to them and continually instructs them in connection with the one true faith given to them in their baptism?
Here is the full hymn presented by Gillian and Paul Norris as a YouTube video:
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Monday, February 25, 2013
For a very disturbing look at the US Health Care System, see 50 Signs That The U.S. Health Care System Is A Gigantic Money Making Scam That Is About To Collapse.
Included in this article is a warning against government provided health care.
Others are urging us to become more like Europe.
But do we really want what they have in the UK?...
Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.
Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.
But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.
One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.
Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.
The article in the link mentioned above is Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor's haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan.
According to what is reported in this article, the health care industrialists have determined that some people should be sent home to be murdered. They are not merely sent home without medical assistance, but actually have their food and water denied to them so that they die of dehydration and starvation. This is a very different action than declaring that no additional medical treatments will be administered. This is a determination to kill the person. The person is condemned to an agonizing death as this hospice pediatric nurse reported in the article:
‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.’
‘I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’
What does it take to cause people to become alarmed? This is appalling! These decisions are not based upon helping people but upon judging people as unfit to live and to receive love and care. This is not “end of life” care. This is determining to end life.
Doctors do not know whether a person can survive. Anyone with any long term experience in these issues has seen multiple cases where the doctors were DEAD wrong. People have been healed of what doctors declared to be incurable diseases and circumstances. People have recovered and lived when doctors judged them to be terminal, often even audaciously predetermining the time frame.
Acceptance of the judgment of doctors in these matters becomes more and more common as fewer and fewer people trust that these matters remain in God’s merciful judgment. As God becomes reduced to technology and the limitation of medical ‘science,’ people begin to trust the arrogant judgments of doctors and bureaucrats and begin pondering the “most humane” ways of “letting people die.”
Truly loving and caring people will recognize that there are times when what is called “heroic measures” should not be pursued when a person’s heart has stopped beating and the person has stopped breathing. But this is not the same as determining no longer to give hydration or nutrition to a person, or administering lethal drugs to hasten a person’s death.
True caring for people involves standing by their bedside, speaking kind words, leading in prayers and hymns and administering the means of grace. Such acts truly comfort a person facing life threatening illness and even death itself.
But who believes in such things today?
As for me and my house, ... (Joshua 24:15)
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It seems that everyone has been afflicted with the viral attacks currently circulating. I have heard from many people who say that they have been bed ridden for several days. Here are several videos sharing some very interesting sources of relief that are not the pharmaceutical drug based suppressants and decongestants.
Coughing Fix: How to Suppress an Annoying Cough
Apple Cider Vinegar with Honey Knock Out Any Cold!
Apple cider vinegar + honey = natural cough remedy
Using raw honey that is locally produced is a very important aspect of the honey remedies. Cooking and pasteurization destroy many of the benefits of the honey. Locally grown honey also has the benefit of assisting in relief from local allergens.
Another beneficial practice is nasal rinsing, using equal parts of table salt (NaCl) and Baking Soda. A very safe level is 1/8 teaspoon of each dissolved in a cup of warm water.
Other natural aids for colds and especially head colds and sinus congestion and drainage include Bromelain and Wild Oil of Oregano. The bromelain must be taken separately from meals or it will be utilized in the digestive process rather than absorbed and used as an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric and ginger can be consumed also as anti-inflammatory foods. Turmeric aids in reducing headaches and heartburn as well.
For a list of such ingredients see What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Spices?.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Yesterday produced various reports of a domestic incident in Darien, CT. According to police, a family fight ensued between CBS news personalities Robert and Ashley Morrison. Ashley’s mother called the police to report the incident. The police found red marks on Ashley’s neck and arrested her husband for felony strangulation.
Here is Robert’s mug shot:
While the various reports all mention that upon arrival the police found Robert’s face bloodied, not a single word is mentioned in any of the news reports concerning how this occurred.
How did Robert receive these injuries?
In the elevated family fracas, who first acted with violence against the other?
How can it be that with two people suffering injuries that only one is charged with violence?
In the film, Joe Somebody, Joe and his girlfriend, Meg, have an argument where she gives him an ultimatum regarding his plan to do something very stupid and wrong. He has planned and prepared for a fight with a bully who previously assaulted him and humiliated him. She presents the ultimatum of a choice between keeping the appointment for the fight or keeping her. He sadly says that he cannot make that choice and walks away.
After facing the bully and declining to fight him, Joe comes to Meg to share the news of his choice. She does not listen, but reacts angrily and violently. She first gives a two-fisted and forceful thrust to Joe’s chest. Then she punches toward his face, which he blocks. He explains how important she is to him and she calms down and all is wonderful.
How many times is this sort of scene portrayed in the movies? How many times is this encountered in real life?
How many people will be inclined to call the police upon seeing a woman striking a man? If a man calls the police saying that his wife is pushing him around and hitting him, will they even respond to the call? If they do, will they arrest the woman or will they bring a straightjacket for the man and take him for a psych evaluation?
How many wives hit their husbands and when confronted act as though they did nothing wrong?
Admittedly, in many cases it is like a flea attacking a dog. Yet even the tiniest flea can drive a dog crazy.
I have witnessed women acting violently toward men on many occasions, even as they walked down the street or in a shopping mall or parking lot. I have never seen the police called unless the man responded in similar manner. In fact, I’ve never seen people intervene in any way unless the man became forceful. This is especially true in less affluent areas.
How is it that a woman can be abusive to a man without a strong likelihood of being held accountable, but if a person acts abusively to a horse the person is very likely to be charged with a crime?
What actually transpired in the Morrison household is not known publicly. Yet the reporting certainly reflects this inequitable perception in society. Moreover, the reported assumptions of the police also seem to reflect this injustice. The police responded to a reported incident. Upon their arrival at the home they find two people with injuries. The man is arrested and charged with multiple crimes. The woman is presumed to be an innocent victim.
Maybe the police were correct.
Certainly Robert’s love for his wife should have restrained him from acting as he did, whether or not he was provoked by his wife or even if she bloodied his face. Certainly he should have found a non-violent way to address whatever issues existed between them, even if this meant leaving the issue alone until they both could confront one another calmly and rationally.
And from a Christian perspective, the responsibility does fall upon the husband to act as the head of his family. This means that he will be the one to bear the injustice and unfairness of the situation. He will be the one to step back and wait patiently for his wife and family to become calm again. The Lord has placed this upon the man. He is to be the stronger one who bears all things in love, dealing with the issues from the strength that the Lord gives.
It is amazing how often extremely heated arguments if viewed in retrospect are perceived as arising from very insignificant issues. Pride and an unwillingness to bear what is perceived to be unfair are usually the main problems.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
(1 Peter 4:8)
Agape kalupsei plethos hamartion. (1 Peter 4:8)
of lacking of share in/missed marks
Husband and wife, sharing together in Agape, see not the missed marks of the other, perceive not the short comings of the other, count not any lacking of sharing in the union with the other, for all that they perceive is the Agape. It is as though the bridal veil is again covering the bride’s face so that she sees her husband through the veil and he sees her through the veil. Both are viewed with the perfection of the love that binds them together.
When this veil is removed and cast aside or stored away someplace, then they see each other very differently. Then every fault, every failure, ever shortcoming is viewed and accounted.
In Joe Somebody, when Joe stops Meg from hitting him and pressed beyond her anger to express his love for her, he tells her: “You're what I want. I don't think there's anything about you that I don't like.” She responds: “My ears aren't perfectly even.” Joe responds: “I like that.”
Joe seems not even to have noticed that she tried to hurt him. He counts no insult from her ridiculous minimization of her faults with the vain remark about her ears. He sees only the beautiful perfection of his love for her.
This is the way with Agape. It is a one-sided love. Agape is of God. Thus it covers all to whom He gives it so that they begin to see through God’s love for us, which covers all imperfection with God’s perfect love. This is more than an emotional attachment or infatuation. For those to whom God’s love is poured out in their baptism, God’s love covers them and fills them completely so that their view of the world is changed. This is because they themselves are changed.
The beginnings of this are experienced even now for those who are baptized into Christ. In the resurrection they shall experience this in its fullness everlastingly.
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Monday, February 18, 2013
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.(Matthew 24:11-12)
Upon viewing this video I was amazed that the driver in the car was so alert as to stop. The danger was quickly assessed and proper safety maneuvers were enacted.
Then I was astounded by the same driver’s actions as he inspected the front of his car for damage, giving only a cursory glance toward the driver of the truck, with seemingly no concern whatsoever for the other driver’s well-being.
This sort of love waxed cold is becoming more and more evident today, at least in my daily observations. The caring that I remember observing as common in years past seems to be fading into the shadows.
At the YouTube page for this video a number of people commented. Some expressing alarm or disappointment that the man did not display any apparent concern for his neighbor. Others, however, expressed sentiments like this one:
You think YOU'd care about some asshole who almost just killed you? I wouldn't. I commend the guy for illustrating his apathy for the other driver's health.
This is very disturbing to me. I cannot imagine not caring. Furthermore, I cannot imagine praising such apathy. This is entirely alien to me.
My citizenship and mindset are not of this world, and so I suppose that I must simply accept that from the worldly perspective, I am the alien.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
In times past there were many, especially in this country, who embraced this mindset. There are far fewer today who truly hold to this and indeed we are seeing the love of many waxing cold, just as the Lord Jesus forewarned. The more that the Christian churches muddy their doctrine and practice, the less grounded that they are in the pure preaching and administration of the Word and Sacraments, the less that God’s love shines.
This is not to say that even among those of other religions and corrupted Christianity and even among atheists that no sense of caring is displayed. One would be acting blindly to make such a claim.
For the law of God is written upon the hearts of all men, having been inscribed from the sixth day of creation, when Man was made in God’s image. Thus even in our corrupted state, we still show the dim reflection of how we were originally created. Even the various other religions and false Christian religions reflect this. This reflection is, however, very dim and lacking the true love that is of God.
For example, the yin and yang philosophy, embraces a dichotomy of supposedly complementary forces. Thus fighting styles and methods are often used to teach peace. This is a very, very different way from the way of Christ. This concept of peace and especially of love is expressed as a balance of forces. Not so for the way of Christ, where love prevails and rules the heart and life of the believer. Christ’s way is not at all harmonious with the worldly way. For the Christian love is not a choice. For the Christian love is the very essence of one’s life in Christ.
Such love does not wax cold. Such love prevails even when one’s reactionary response would be that the other person deserves to be treated with apathy or even worse. Even when the Christian becomes momentarily lost in the way of the sinful nature, the Holy Spirit speaks peace and love to the regenerated nature so that God’s peace and love again rise triumphantly in the heart.
It is sad to realize that many will never know this love of God in Christ. Many will settle for the worldly notions of love that depend upon a person’s own willingness to act lovingly and caringly. Even from this perspective, most imagine love to be merely an emotional response. Such a view of love is flighty at best and has no real substance.
The love of God is such that one’s enemies are blessed rather than cursed. The true Christian is moved by God’s love to pray for even one’s enemies, even as the Lord Jesus Himself did from the cross and as St. Stephen did as his enemies were stoning him to death.
In a world where even most who call themselves Christians think of love as a choice and often even as a meritorious work, when this essential article of Christian doctrine is obscured, it follows that the love of many will surely wax cold. Thus Christians will want to prize the pure means of grace and flee to them where they receive God’s love, His grace, mercy, and peace, freely as His gifts from above administered to us in forms that we can see, touch, taste, and hear, even as He Himself took bodily form to live, suffer, die, and rise again for our redemption, salvation, justification, sanctification, and regeneration to life in communion in His love.
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Thursday, February 14, 2013
I saw this graphic today and wondered what was so hard?
I started naming all sorts of brands:
Kellogg, Doritos, Frito Lay, Pepsi, Coca Cola, Walmart, Kmart, Sears, Craftsman . . .
I read people’s comments and wondered what kind of brands they were mentioning.
My mind automatically added the missing R, or at least what my mind perceived as the missing R.
I don’t even know the names of any bands. Oh, well, of course:
Steel, aluminum, rubber (but it has 2 Bs), woven, nylon, polyester, muscle . . .
And of course:
Curad, Johnson & Johnson, Nexcare . . .
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I truly love Lententide as it is a very powerful season calling us away from the false worship that we devise for ourselves.
One of the stations that I hear when driving has a 30 Day Challenge in which the challenge is to listen to their station to hear only Christian Music for 30 days and see how it changes a person’s life. I would actually love to be able to do this. I truly would. If only such a station existed where Christian music is what is played.
Rather, all that is available is the pablum found on stations like theirs. If it were merely pablum, maybe I could still utilize it, but it is also bad theology, false theology. Thus, they are right, if I were to listen to this for 30 days, I would become the kind of Christian that these songs inspire, one who in self-delusion speaks of relying on Christ while ultimately relying upon my own reason and strength.
Thus I often turn on the radio and listen to such a station for as long as I can stand it, hearing the weather and a few other reports as well as the “uplifting Christian music,” and then I turn it off and sing and hum hymns and portions of the liturgy.
Lent is a time that helps me with this as the entire focus of Lent directs us away from self to the preaching of Christ crucified.
I often am befuddled when I observe how many people choose for themselves songs that consist of a few fragments of a Psalm or other Scriptural selection and twist these into a mindless orgy of delusional “praise.”
The Psalms were the hymnal for the Church of the Old Testament. They consist of the deepest doctrinal content. They rarely repeat except with those particularly written as responsive prayers, such as Psalm 136. Some are quite short and others are quite long. But they always are full of deep content and are written to fit within the greater life of worship with the coming of the Christ as the foundation. They teach of the grandeur and marvel of God’s work of creation. They teach of the fall of mankind and the promise of the Savior. They teach of the giving of the Torah/Law/Word of God for the enlightenment of mankind concerning the God of grace and salvation. They were compiled into a grouping together, to be understood one with the other, never as fragmentary praises to stand alone.
While a radio station may extend a 30 day challenge to listen only to their music as motivation to be changed in one’s focus and view, the Church has the 40 day season of fasting and prayer, calling us to be humbled so that we may turn from seeking to be uplifted so that we rather willingly and even eagerly fall to our knees before God to receive His merciful absolution and blessing of regeneration into His kingdom. Lent calls us to bow down and hear again our baptismal promise of absolution and reconciliation with God. Lent calls us to turn from the sweet notions of birthday parties for Jesus to the battered and bloodied Son of Man who cried out with our sin for us on the cross of our salvation. Exuberant cries of “Joy to the World” and “Happy Birthday Jesus” are turned to tears of thankful joy that God would take such suffering from us on our behalf.
Lent is still a time of praise, but of a very different kind than what the old Adam chooses. The old Adam wants to flaunt the freedom of the new life. The regenerated man rises up from being baptized into God’s kingdom and praises the eternal sacrifice of the Lamb who even from eternity volunteered to save the brothers whom He created.
It is quite marvelous to observe the manner of St. Peter after the resurrection contrasted to his manner prior to the crucifixion. Lent calls us to be turned to this humbleness of spirit, too. Lent calls us to look to the Holy Supper as our Thanksgiving. Lent directs our hearts to hunger and thirst for the pure administration of the body and blood of Jesus as our greatest praise of God. There we bow to His grace rather than to raise ourselves up to our own noise. There God is honored most fully, even as He Himself has said thus to do.
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“Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!”
This is in part, the message of Lent.
Yes, as a Christian I face this every day. As I profess to believe in Jesus as my Savior, I continually am confronted with my own unbelief. The greatest reminder of this is my internal war with those sins that seem to own me.
We each have our own lists. What is more is that we have sins of which we don’t even realize.
Lent is a time to be reminded how total our corruption is. Apart from the Gospel we are truly corrupt, that is, dead and rotting.
Throughout my life I have often encountered a dead animal that needed to be buried. Even something as small as a dead squirrel run over on the road can be horrific enough to send my olfactory senses into a reaction that produces convulsions of my guts. In such circumstances I have learned to dig the burial pit first so that I can scoop up the rotting corpse and hold my breath while carrying it to the hole. Sometimes it is so bad that I then have to walk away from the hole to get a breath and return to cast dirt over the corpse.
Anyone who has dealt with this has no question as to the rottenness and corruption of death. This is what sin makes of us all.
But we manage to keep our distance so that we can delude ourselves regarding our own corruption. Thus we need to hear, “Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!”
Truly this is an apt description. We go about our business, scurrying here and there, not realizing that our pants are on fire, telling ourselves that we are OK.
Lent is a season when we cry out to remind one another and ourselves that our pants are on fire and that repentance is not something needed by other people, but by ourselves.
But in order to repent, that is, in order to be turned again, we need to hear that we have someplace to turn. This is the ultimate goal of Lent. The Gospel is the ultimate message. Repentance is worked in us when the Holy Spirit implants the Word in us so that we hear both our need for salvation as well as the good news that in Christ this salvation is come.
Thus in His Church Christ ordained His means of grace. Through these we continually receive the administration of His forgiveness and renewal. Through these we are brought into His kingdom and preserved in His kingdom.
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