Monthly Archives: September 2017

What We Need to Learn Daily

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Every day.

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Book Learning, Again

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If you’ve been following our blog for any length of time, you know I love books.  Today I’m excited because I found a great website our readers should visit if they have young children or grandchildren.  Here’s the link: http://readaloud.org/.

Evidentially one of the best things you can do for your children is read to them.  My mother read to me and I, in turn, loved reading to my girls and my granddaughter.  They still remember some of those favorite books.  Anyway, there is a reading challenge on the website — 15 minutes a day for 21 days.  Twenty days results in a habit, ninety in a lifestyle.

As a Christian parent, I would like to add this suggestion:  spend some of those reading times on Bible stories.  When our daughter Kate, was in second grade, we went to her parent/teacher conference, and the teacher told us this story about our daughter.  They had a story time each day when the teacher read aloud to the students;  sometimes the children brought favorite books for her to read.  One day Kate brought in a book of Bible stories.  Her teacher explained she was not allowed to read them to the class, but Kate could certainly bring her book to read to herself during their “free reading” time.  Kate did this, and her teacher said pretty soon a couple other kids were reading Bible stories during that time, too!

So, I say, read to your kids;  read Bible stories to your kids.  Let them see you reading your Bible.  It will become a habit and then a lifestyle.  It will influence them and they will influence others.

Let me know if you take the 21 day challenge!  It starts on October 2nd and I want to hear your stories!

God loves you and so do !!

Joan

Learning Grace: Book Learning #3

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We Lutherans are big on grace.  It’s one of the five “solas” of the reformation:  we are saved by grace alone.  If you’re interested in reading a spiritual autobiography about someone who believed in God’s grace in his life, check this one out:  it’s an easy read, I finished in one day..

Brennan Manning was a Catholic priest who left the priesthood to marry;  he eventually divorced;  he was an alcoholic who struggled with his addiction on and off throughout his life.  He made many mistakes.  He was also a writer, speaker, teacher and evangelist who touched many with his spiritual insights.  Throughout everything he continued to believe that God loves us, and extends grace to us, wherever we are in our lives.

“Like Christian, the everyman character in The Pilgrim’s Progress, he progressed not always by making right decisions, but by responding appropriately to wrong ones”

from “All is Grace” by Brennan Manning

I like this quote because isn’t it true of most of the “heroes” of the Bible, David, for instance?  His life was a mess, too.  He committed adultery and murder, among other things.  However, he was also “a man after God’s heart.”  He sinned, but he repented, he never turned away from God, he accepted what came from God’s hand, the good and the bad.  Like all of us, he was saint and sinner.  Just like Brennan Manning.  Just like you and me.

No pain, no gain.

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No pain, no gain.

I’m gonna be totally honest. I don’t know what this month’s theme is. Sorry, I’m doing good these days to know what day it is. (Which literally happened, in the middle of class, announced out loud . . .) Things have been a little hectic, but bearable, and I of course know how immensely blessed I am. I don’t want to appear as though I’m whining. I’m well aware that I’m not the only ‘older-mother-of-three-going-back-to-school-and-working-part-time-person’ out there. And others have it much harder I’m sure. I’m leaving something out though. And I believe what I’m leaving out  might encourage someone else.

I have struggled for a long time with back pains and problems. Please no sympathy. It’s given me perspective and gratitude. At 29-30 years old (I can’t remember exactly.) I suffered a massive rupture. God provided for me that day with an attentive husband, he noticed I was hurting more than usual and stayed home to help. I slipped off the bed I was trying to get out of to make it to the couch (with my husbands help) and it was enough to leave me paralyzed from the waist down. I couldn’t feel either of my legs and (long story short) had surgery which gave me a lot of relief,  but permanent nerve damage and a modicum of weakness remained.

Five and a half years later I’ve had a new symptom, swelling. And I can do less physically than before. A whole day of work over the summer doing the wrong things and it takes me a day to recover, with the help of some strong pain meds. I’ve tried physical therapy, Ice/Heat, pain pills, exercises,  nerve medicine, (I hated that) and currently I have a compression sock and back brace. The sock helps with swelling and the pain a bit. Not to mention I sit with pillows and pick things up with my feet or a grabber. I’m rambling I know, but I’m going somewhere I promise. Well now I’ve had another MRI. Nothing ‘new’ per say. But put my MRI’s side by side and I look like a burn victim on the inside. I am technically healed. Except the scar tissue is part of the problem. And the part of my back that malfunctioned is now riddled with arthritis. I have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease. No surprise to me.

Like I said, no pity. I have hope. Mainly in God and the after life, but earthly hope as well. There is a device called a spinal cord simulator. SCS is two wires (leads) they insert into your spinal canal that is attached to a battery pack. There’s a remote with various settings that you control. The whole thing is designed to send electrical currents through you blocking your body’s abnormal pain signals therefore providing relief.

I’m waiting on approval for a trial period to test this out. And I know I have lots of people praying for me. So I hang on to hope and faith, and get up every morning and put one foot in front of the other. God is good.

I

Am I Sorry or Repentant?

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A couple of weeks ago, Pastor Culler gave a sermon on repentance. Now being a Christian, this is probably not an earth shaking topic, right? Well, for some reason after listening to what he said I was struck by the fact that I often say I am sorry but did that mean I was repentant? It is hard to look inside ourselves and admit that we are not living our lives like we should, but I am finding out on my journey that it does not get easier, it gets even harder when you realize the huge sacrifice that was made and how little, sometimes, we appreciate it.

To be repentant means that you will turn away and change your life – have I always done that? Absolutely NOT, As a matter of fact, in retrospect I find that I have rarely been repentant, just sorry. Big difference.

However, being a Christian is about learning and growing and being a little better each day, so my next resolution is to actually think before I say I am sorry and instead learn to be more truly repentant and not just give lip service to the situation.

I am sure that I will fall, but at least I know that I can reach for my brother Jesus’ hand and He will pull me back up on the narrow path that I seem to wobble off of, a lot.

How have you approached being repentant on matters? Have you ever found yourself just saying I am Sorry to get someone off your back?

Share with me your thoughts on the subject – I am All ears or in this case EYES HAHA

Always remember

God Loves You And So Do I
Michele

Instructed by the Spirit

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On Lutheran Via de Cristo retreat weekends, we pray this prayer for enlightenment before each talk given.  

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit, and we shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth.

O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit instructs the hearts of the faithful, grant, that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in his consolations.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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Things We’re Not Meant to Learn

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“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are full aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

Well, I guess you’ve all heard, once again someone is predicting the end of the world.  The date?  September 23rd, 2017.  Tomorrow!  Yikes.  There have been many, many predictions of this sort, and it’s plain to see they’ve all been wrong. Not surprising when we actually examine what the Bible has to say. In the verses above, the apostle, Paul, says there is no need for Christians to concern themselves with this question.  The end will come without warning.  Jesus, in the book of Mark says that even HE does not know the exact date:

“But concerning that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Mark 13:32

Trying to figure out what God has specifically told us we can’t know is pretty presumptuous, not to mention downright sinful;  probably right up there with Eve eating the apple.  There is however, one big thing Jesus wants us to learn about the end of time, and here it is:

“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Matthew 24:42-44

Don’t waste your time speculating about when Jesus will come again.  Simply be ready ALL THE TIME.  This passage is immediately followed by two parables:  the Ten Virgins and The Talents.  The wise virgins didn’t wait to purchase oil for their lamps;  the good servant used his talents to produce more. Don’t put your relationship with God on hold for the things that seem more important today.  Be faithful now.  Stay awake.  The Lord IS coming.  We just don’t know when.

P.S.  I fully expect to be blogging tomorrow!

Open My Eyes

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“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”  Psalm 119:18

Think back to elementary school.  Two of the first words you learned to read were “look” and “see.”  They’re easy but important words.  If we really “look” at what’s around us, we see God through His creation.  You can’t look at the beauty, the design and the power of nature without marveling and realizing there must be a creator.

In the same way, we can look at people and see God’s work in their lives.  Somebody once said, “only God can make a bad man good.”  That’s true.  God changes lives, and when we look closely, we see that.  The apostle Paul changed;  Martin Luther changed;  no doubt you have changed as well.

If we open our eyes, we will see God’s presence in our worship service and in Holy Communion;  we will hear God speaking to us through the Scriptures and in all of history;  we will find God’s purpose for us in the world and society in which we live.

When we look with the eyes of faith, we will see amazing things.  So open your eyes and look, look, look!