About jculler1972

My husband is the retired pastor of St. Paul's Free Lutheran Church in Leitersburg, Maryland. I have two grown daughters, three grandchildren and am retired after a career in Purchasing. I have published articles in The Lutheran Ambassador, Lutheran Witness, and Lutheran Digest. My Bible study on the Book of Acts was published in 2016 by the Women's Missionary Federation of the AFLC(Association of Free Lutheran Churches).

What is the Office of the Keys?

Recently the church I attended included in the bulletin an explanation of parts of the service. Many of us can probably use a refresher on why we do what we do during worship, so I’ll be including some of these explanations this month. The first one is on the Office of the Keys, and Confession and is taken from Luther’s Small Catechism.

What is the Office of the Keys?

The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to His Church on earth and Pastors to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent.

Where is this written?

This is what St. John the Evangelist writes in chapter twenty: The Lord Jesus breathed on His disciples, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:22-23)

What do you believe according to these words?

I believe that when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His diving command, in particular when they exclude openly unrepentant sinners from the Christian congregation and absolve those who repent of their sins and want to do better, this is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ our dear Lord dealt with us Himself.

(1965, Luther’s Small Catechism, pg. 18).

For more about the catechism see:

A Feast to Remember

A Book of Questions — Luther’s Catechism

The Catechism Teaches

New Month/No Theme

Can you believe it’s February already? Hopefully the worst of the winter is behind us. It’s staying light longer. If you’re anything like me, that gives adds a bit of energy to my step and my life in general.

This will be a no theme month — which doesn’t mean there are not themes to be explored. Valentine’s Day is this month — that makes me think about love in all its’ many forms.

Ash Wednesday and Lent are coming. Always a time for introspection, confession and honest evaluation of our lives.

Of course, who knows where the Spirit will lead. As usual, I’ll be reading, studying, attending church services, and other events. God speaks through all of our activities and I see His fingerprints everywhere I go.

Journey with me this month as we let God surprise us — maybe some of my fellow bloggers will jump in and surprise me as well!

God loves you and so do I!

Omniscient and Omnipotence

“Divinity is in its omniscience and omnipotence like a wheel, a circle, a whole, that can neither be understood, nor divided, nor begun nor ended.”

Hildegard of Bingen

For more about the omnipotence of God see:

St. John Chrysostom on the Attributes of God

Martin Luther on the Omnipotence of God

The Dark Night of the Soul by Gerald G. May –Book Review

God’s Holy Character

“Don’t take the holiness of God lightly, for it is the very essence of His character.”

Billy Graham

For more about the holiness of God see:

The Holiness of God–R.C. Sproul–Book Review

The Holiness of God–R.C. Sproul–Book Review

The Attributes of God part 2

A Song about the Omnipotence of God

Recently, I’ve been writing a talk for an upcoming Via de Cristo weekend. The title of the talk is piety, or the process of learning to direct our entire live toward God. We can be comfortable doing this because, as the Bible tells us, “Nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37. That doesn’t mean we’ll always get our way, but it does mean that God is omnipotent, He will work everything out in accordance with His Will, and it will be good.

As you listen to this song, resolve to surrender and allow God to control your life. He’s full of wonderful surprises!

For more Christian songs see:

The Wondrous Cross

One Final Song for the Road

God is Bigger

God is Eternal

Every human relationship is bound to let us down, because every human is finite. At some point, our spouse, our children, our best friend will leave us. It’s inevitable. The only unending security is in God, because God is eternal. That lasting comfort is expressed in the hymn, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. It was written in by Professor Anthony Showalter.

In 1887, Professor Showalter spent some time in Alabama teaching music. One day, after class, he returned to his boarding house to find letters from two of his former music students. Both men were writing with the sad news that their wives had recently died.

Showalter wanted to console them with a Bible verse, and this is the one he chose:

“The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy before you, and will say, ‘destroy.'” Deuteronomy 33:27

He decided that rather than sending simply the verse, he would compose a song based upon it. He wrote the chorus with which we are all familiar:

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms,
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

He later sent the chorus to Reverend Elisha Hoffman in Pennsylvania who added the verses for this beautiful hymn.

For more hymns see these posts:

A Communion Hymn

Hopeful Hymn #3

Hymns for a Funeral

The Omnipotence of God

“Clearly, the Scripture tells us that we lack the capacity to grasp God’s infinite mind or the way He intervenes in our lives. How arrogant of us to think otherwise! Trying to analyze His omnipotence is like an amoeba attempting to comprehend the behavior of man.”

James Dobson

For more about the attributes of God see these posts:

The Aseity of God

The Attributes of God

A. W. Tozer on the Attributes of God

More about the Immutability of God

“Consider what you owe to His immutability. Though you have changed a thousand times, He has not changed once.”

Charles Spurgeon

For more quotes by Charles Spurgeon see these posts:

Charles Spurgeon on Wisdom

Christ’s sacrifice condemns sin – Charles Spurgeon

God is Immutable

Recently I was asked to serve on a Via de Cristo weekend, and to give one of the talks. The title of the talk is “piety.” Writing it has required me to look back over my life with God (I’m old so it’s long). It’s been interesting to realize how much I have changed in 70+ years. Even though my basic personality is the same — quiet, serious, introverted, I’ve become more confident, more reliant on God, less adverse to change.

These changes in me would not have been possible without the immutability of God. Lucky for us, God does not change. In Psalm 102, the writer tells us:

“Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment.

You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away; but you are the same, and your years have no end.” Psalm 102:25-27

Just about everything in life is subject to change. We change jobs, loved ones die, friends move away. Our health may fail. Technology changes so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Civilizations come and go Even churches have a life cycle of growth and death. In a world like that, it’s hard to feel stable — is there anything on which we can count?

The answer of course, is God. He provides the foundation, the rock that is always there for us. We can change, our circumstances can change, but God will always be there. We can run to His love, His mercy, and His justice whenever we are afraid. Who wouldn’t worship a God like this?

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore, we will not fear thought the earth gives way; though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling….”Psalm 46:1-3

For more about Via de Cristo, see these posts:

What is Via de Cristo?

Remembering My Via De Cristo Weekend

My Via de Cristo Experience

Mission Possible One-Year Devotional by Tim Tebow–Book Review

One of the things that has helped me to grow in my Christian life was discovering and living my personal mission, or vision. In this devotional, Tim Tebow guides the reader through the steps of finding your purpose in life and moving forward in that purpose. Some topics covered include:

  1. Identifying your priorities
  2. Making wise choices
  3. Harnessing your passion
  4. Aligning your will with God’s will

Each short, daily reading includes a Bible verse, short devotion, and a question or comment that could be used for discussion or journaling.

VERDICT: 4 STARS. Biblically based and practical!

For more reviews of devotionals see these posts:

Luke: Stories of Mission and Mercy by David Murray–Book Review

Women of Courage: a Forty-Day Devotional — Book Review

On-The-Go Devotional by Leslie Hudson — Book Review