Free Time

When I worked for the school district, they had a weekly column in which employees were interviewed. It was kind of a “get to know you” segment where each employee shared some information about their personal life, such as who was in their family and what their hobbies and interests were. Well, eventually it became time to do my column. What I wrote was that I enjoy gardening and cooking and spending time with friends and family. That seemed better than admitting the truth. What I really did for a hobby was come home exhausted from work and lay on the couch watching Netflix until I fell asleep.

Does anyone else struggle to find creativity in their life? Sometimes it seems like we get so caught up in the daily activities of chores, work, and errands that there does not seem like time for anything else. Any free time seems better spent catching up on rest and vegetating in front of the television. However, while those activities might be needed sometimes to rejuvenate ourselves, they are used far more than is needed.

First Timothy 4:14-15 “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.  Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.”

My goal for this month is to make better use of my free time. I am not exactly sure what gifts I have, but it seems worthwhile to reflect on what they are and how I can better use them. Does anyone have any feedback on how they have found their gifts and what they are doing with them? I am open to suggestions!!

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The Lutheran Ladies Listen to Luther

Isn’t this what we are doing?

Remembering What We Are

“For he (God) knows our frame;  he remembers that we are dust.”  Psalm 103:4

God knows us because he made us.  In Genesis we learn:

“…the Lord God formed man of dirt from the ground, and breathed in to his nostrils the breath of life;  and man became a living being.”  Genesis 1:7

Sometimes we forget who and what we really are.  God created us, and he sustains us.  Our body is fragile and temporary.  We are dust, and in a few short years our time on earth will be over.

On one hand, it can be depressing to realize this;  on the other, it makes our lives precious and meaningful.  Do I really what to delude myself by thinking I am in charge of the world?  Or do I want to make a difference by obeying the one who made me?  Do I want to waste my time acquiring things that don’t matter in the long run?  Or do I want to contribute to God’s plan and hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant?”

Your time here is short.  God knows who you are and what you are?  Do you know Him?

 

Memorial Day Memories

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Remember the Gospel

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:1-2

My husband says every good Lutheran sermon must contain both law and gospel:  law so we recognize that we are sinners and the gospel message that through Christ’s atonement we are saved.

In our daily world, it’s easy to forget both of those things.  Sin has become a bad word.  We’re told it’s not healthy to feel guilt.  We simply “made a mistake” or “used poor judgement.”  It’s easy to make excuses for our behavior that lessen our responsibility.  It’s easy to deny our faults and blame somebody else.  That goes as far back as Adam, remember?  He told God, “the woman you gave me, caused me to sin.”

But we’re made for God and without Him we feel incomplete, so no matter how hard we try, guilt creeps in.  We doubt and despair.  We try to feel good about ourselves, but the devil continually whispers to us that we’ll never be acceptable.

There’s only one cure:  go to church, confess your sins really are sins and really are yours and then hear the gospel.  My husband says that’s simple, too:  Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for me.

Did you confess your sins today?  Did you hear the gospel?  If so, you may be a Lutheran.

Remember Me, Lord

Do Lord is a traditional African-American spiritual, and the author is unknown.  I don’t know if it is based on a particular scripture, but when I wrote my post about the two thieves on the cross, this is the song that came to my mind. Connecting the song and Bible story make it more meaningful for me.  I hope you’ll enjoy this version sung by Johnny Cash.

Which One Are You?

“One of the criminals who were hanged, railed at him, saying, ‘Are you not the Christ?  Save yourself and us!  But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed, justly, for we are receiving the reward of our deeds;  but this man has done nothing wrong.’  And he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’  And he said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  Luke 23: 39-43

When I read these verses, the thought that comes to me is which criminal am I?  Make no mistake, I am a criminal, condemned for my sins and unable to save myself.  Sometimes I, like the first man have expected God to rescue me from all the consequences of sin in my life.  If I say I believe in Him, doesn’t He owe it to me?  Or shouldn’t He do it to prove Himself to me?  I’ll happily be a good follower, if Jesus does His part and makes my life easy and comfortable.

Not the right attitude.  I need to accept the fact that I deserve all the problems I’ve created and more.  I am indeed a poor, miserable sinner, justly condemned to an eternity of separation from God.

The second thief got it right.  He realized that he was only getting what he deserved. He recognized Jesus for who and what He is;  the blameless savior of the world.  The one who is willing to die so that even if sin (mine and others) causes me to suffer today, I don’t have to suffer eternally.

Isn’t it amazing that all I had to do is recognize my plight and say, “remember me, Lord”?  Then I’ll find that He has never forgotten me.  The God of the universe has never forgotten me, because I’m one of His children.  I’m engraved on the palms of His hand.  He’ll welcome me into His kingdom as soon as I ask.

Which one are you?