Thursday, July 28, 2016

Wake Me Up When It Ends

It has been a dark, dark summer.

Election years are never good times. But violence and tragedy worldwide and here in the U.S. have pushed this year to a new level of wretchedness.

I need to unplug from it all for awhile. Life around me has enough trials and troubles of its own. That's enough to deal with.

Last week I realized I was worrying too much about things that are wholly out of my control and I was badly in need of distraction. And, lo and behold, a distraction found me.

A woman my daughter, Lucy, works for asked her if she sews. Lucy said, "No, but my mom does." And the lady gave her an overlock machine! She had bought it years & years ago, hardly used it, and packed it away. She had moved 4 times with the thing and never unpacked it! She figured it hadn't been opened since the early 1990s. She is down-sizing and getting rid of a lot of her stuff.

It is a tiny, portable serger that only holds 3 spools, but the instructions were in the box and I was able to get it threaded and working. Go, me! But that's not all that was in the box....

In the box was a gallon sized zip-lock with fabric strips for a quilt. Seven colors and yards and yards of material. What she was planning to make is a mystery - Lucy's employer doesn't remember it.

I've made a couple of quilted "things" but I have never made a quilt so I've done some research. I think a Log Cabin pattern will work with the colors and amount of material that I have. Plus it is recommended for beginners. I'm not going to escape this endeavor expense free since I need a cutting mat, rotary cutter etc. And batting and backing and edging. Oh, I'm so excited just thinking about it!

I've found an escape. For now.

Pray without ceasing!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Cleanliness is next to godliness. - said no Bible, ever.

As a teenager I worked one summer as a room maid for a resort hotel. My girl friend, Gee, and I got jobs there partly because employees had free use of the water park. I think Gee & I only used the water park once or twice. When our shifts ended we just wanted to get out of there.

Being a maid is not very taxing work. We were armed with a checklist of what needed to be done and in what order and, for most rooms, if you followed the checklist the room got clean lickety-split. On to the next one. There were exceptions, of course. Some people trash hotel rooms. In those cases management is notified and getting the room back in order becomes a team effort.

Point is, cleaning should not get your undies in a bundle. Sometimes cleaning becomes over-analyzed and you start to take it personally. Then instead of a task that can be easily completed when approached methodically, every wipe and every swipe bears some incredible amount of significance. Drama and hand-wringing follow. "Oh, whatever shall we do! The TV needs dusting! Woe, woe is me." In a marriage this often turns into a power struggle - the "good" spouse does the cleaning.

My in-laws fought so much over housework they even separated for a time.

They were both serious neat-freaks.

This has been to my benefit, as I married their son who was sick to death of having to keep his room spotless at all times. I'm okay with him leaving his clothes on the floor. He appreciates that. I realize the dirty clothes will get picked up, eventually, either by him or me. We don't keep track of whose turn it is. It isn't a competition.

I'm not saying neglect is okay. No! Not at all. We are not animals. Cleanliness and order make a comfortable home. Filth invites vermin and odors. I really can't stand either so I will do what it takes to prevent it. But whether or not my TV is dusty or my husband's socks are on the floor has no moral bearing. It is just a task that needs to be done.

When morality gets involved, and cleanliness becomes less about comfort & hygiene and more about spiritual superiority, your home has become your idol. Its "cleanliness" a reflection of your spotless, obedient soul. An outward sign of inward glory. Pride & idolatry go hand in hand.

There isn't much that can be done about it. We are sinners. We sin. We do the right thing for a thousand wrong reasons. Confess, repent, try try again. Try not to judge other peoples standards, whether too clean or too messy. It just doesn't matter.

What saved my in-laws marriage was hiring a housekeeper. Instead of fighting over who left a fingerprint on the refrigerator, they'd shrug and say, "Let Terri get it on Thursday."

St. Zita, patron saint of housekeepers. She'll help you find your keys. Of course, if your house wasn't so messy you wouldn't have lost them. A place for everything and everything in its place. ;-)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

If Jesus Led a Bible Study

As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (The Message)

I think a Jesus led Bible study would focus more on the gospel and less on the law. More discussion on what He wants us to believe and less on what He wants us to do. Like in the Mary/Martha story. The woman at the well is probably a better example because we do not have a record of what Jesus was saying in front of Mary & Martha. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Book You've Read at Least Once

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


I last read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. I didn't intend to re-read it, but the e-book happened to be available from our library and Harper Lee's recent death made me realize how little of the story I remembered. 

I'm from a small town and grew up in a relatively poor family but my family lived in that county for 6 generations so I was related to "everyone." There is a sort of status in having a lot of cousins. Even though my family was nothing special, we were related to some who were. I knew families like the Ewells and Cunninghams and Finches. I knew a kid like Dill. A lot of what Lee writes about small town life resonates as true with me. Probably more so now that I have moved away from it all. Time and maturity have altered my perspective. Rose-colored glasses are firmly in place.

It was nice to read something so good that I stayed up late to keep reading, even though I knew what was going to happen in the story. Does that make sense? Anyhoo -- 2 down, 10 to go.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

2 Yrs L8r

Two years in Arizona, already! Still feel out of my element, but less so.

The old saying is "bloom where you are planted." I am not blooming. But not withering and dying, either. More just living. Just being. But life is like a bicycle, you have to pedal now and then if you want to get anywhere. The only time you can coast forever is on the final downhill run.  I need to stop coasting. Life is getting dangerously slow and unsteady. So pedal I shall.

Blooms are happening around me if not within me! And hummingbirds are loving these two in the yard.

And it looks like I will pick my first tomato tomorrow, with many more to follow.

Summer break starts next week. I welcome the brief change of routine and a bit more sleep in the mornings. And time to enjoy a cup of tea on the patio at the start of my day. Perhaps that is all the fertilizer I need to get my bloom on.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Strong's #2428

The Hebrew word translated variously as “virtuous” or “noble character” or "worthy" in Proverbs 31:10 is only used to describe one other woman in the Bible – Ruth (Ruth 3:11). As we know from her story, Ruth was a very hard working woman and not the Angel in the House many want to twist the Proverbs 31 woman into. Ruth is also a foreshadow of Mary. I think we protestants latch onto the imaginary Proverbs 31 woman and ignore the flesh-and-blood Mary as a model of womanhood because the reality of Mary We are comfortable making an idol from the mythical Proverbs 31 woman because we tell ourselves we can become her if we try, try, try. One only needs to look in the mirror to greet her early each day before heading off to tackle that to-do list! But apparently praying to have the faithfulness and humility of Mary would be idolatry. Go figure.

And what is to be gained if I become the perfect Proverbs 31 Woman and dance about telling everyone? The comfort that I can rely on myself to work out my personal salvation? The honor of others looking to me as an example? Oh, yes, I am promised that my children and husband will arise and call me blessed. The word vainglory comes to mind.

No. Not going to do it.

Ruth & Mary humbled themselves as servants. The better choice.

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38 ESV)

He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” (Ruth 3:9 ESV)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

B&W vs. Kodachrome

The devil's favorite color is gray. - G.K. Chesterton

Years ago I read Ben Franklin's list of virtues that he tried to abide by and how he evaluated himself daily. I thought that was a bit extreme, but I found the idea of 7 deadly sins vs. 7 heavenly virtues a more attainable challenge, at least in my head.

The best way to score oneself on this Vice/Virtue challenge is to imagine it is like a customer service survey where Always is on the far right and also on the far left. 50/50 is in the middle. Always on the far left is BLACK and Always on the far right is WHITE.  Anything in between is a shade of gray.

Immediately we fail because no one can check "Always Humble" without pride. And we continue to fail because practicing these virtues perfectly is impossible.

We can hope to live our lives in the lighter shades of gray. Perhaps leading a light gray life is a sign of a person with very good character, but real life isn't light gray. It's blue and green and yellow and pink and so on. Those nice bright colors, the greens of summer, makes me think all the world's a sunny day (oh, yeah)...Everything looks worse in black & white.

The world around us is colorful and vibrant and interesting. It is also imperfect (but that is okay)! Let go of perfectionism and enjoy the ride. That is truly a challenge but those who can do that have genuinely good character.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Just a Reminder

Disagreements happen. I believe this is not a bad thing. Pretending to agree just to get along is so....fake. But disagreeing for the sake of creating an argument,'s unnecessary. I feel a little guilt there. Yet I gain a lot from disagreement. It challenges me to examine my faith, my behavior, and my relationships.  

There is a lot of toxic "Christianity" on the web. By toxic I mean it drives people away from faith rather than reaching them with it. It teaches false doctrines. It diminishes Christ's work of salvation on the cross. It casts doubts on God's sovereignty. It is hard to sit in silence sometimes.

The gentle reminder, kind of whispered in my ear = Prayer Is Important.

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A: It keeps no record of wrongs.

Q: What is love?

One woman was telling her story of divorcing her husband due to the hardness of her heart towards him. Years later, her granddaughter held her face in her hands and asked her, "Nana, did you ask for forgiveness from Papa {her grandpa} for divorcing him?" and she said, "Yes." "Did you ask my mama forgiveness for divorcing her dad?" and she said, "Yes." "Did you ask my aunts to forgive you?" "Yes," she replied. Then that little girl looked right in her grandmother's face and asked, "Why haven't you asked me for my forgiveness?" - Source
Yet it would be a million-zillion-billion times more important to teach the little girl to forgive her grandmother without making "Nana" beg for it.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 
as God in Christ forgave you. - Ephesians 4:32

But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. - Matthew 6:16

Monday, April 18, 2016

The CCO vs The Merciful God

The Chief Compliance Officer is the person who makes sure a company is obeying state and federal regulations and internal policies and procedures. CCOs are a necessary part of modern corporate America and ever increasing layers of regulation and litigation. The CCO knows the rule book cover to cover and is responsible for training employees to comply with the rules.

Does the church need CCOs? In Bible-speak, a CCO is a Pharisee.

Pharisees believe in obedience to the letter of the law. Compliance.

One of my top 10 favorite verses:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8

Do justice. To who? Jesus lives this verse. Do justice to the poor, the lame, the sick. Do justice to those the Pharisees excluded: whores, lepers, tax collectors, the demon possessed. Do justice on the the Sabbath. Do justice to the woman at the well, the bleeding woman, the dead girl, the adulteress.

What do all these people have in common? They are the weak. The victims. The abused. They didn't earn Jesus' mercy by obedience, but they received it by His Grace. It is absurd to believe Jesus would ever side with the abuser for the sake of keeping the law. It is beyond absurd to believe God would condemn an abused woman for divorcing her abuser.

The church does not need CCOs. It needs Jesus.

And if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. Matthew 12:7

Monday, April 11, 2016

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Most Modest of Them All?

Are clothing choices an issue in third-world countries? What clothes I choose to wear or not to wear and how much skin I expose or don't expose seems very #firstworldproblems. Having a choice in what I wear is a luxury not everyone can claim, and (I'm guessing) many people cannot even choose here in the U.S

What I do with my freedom of choice reflects the content of my character or, more likely, my character flaws. Do character flaws put me in the goat column? How about those who judge other people by how they dress? Another character flaw. Or men who blame their lusty thoughts or violent actions on women's attire? Another character flaw. That sinful nature is with us even when we try to do what is right.

The Amish use two German words I rather like;  hochmut (pride, arrogance, haughtiness) and demut (humility). The Amish, by having a strict dress code, have eliminated the freedom of choice. Their clothing won't reflect their character flaws (hochmut). Everyone in the community dresses the same and inequalities are eliminated. Therefore, demut is to blend in - to dress like those around you. To NOT stand out from the crowd.

The online modesty contests that break-out on Christian women's blogs make me shake my head. Inevitably they result in an endless one-upmanship battle. Instead of passing along encouragement and compliments they pass along gossip, judgement and condemnation. It's ugly and a perfect example of how clean we get "the cup" on the outside while the inside remains a dirty mess. (Matthew 23:25)

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dichotomies or Blurred Lines?

Note the complete absence of FAITH or JESUS or GOSPEL or GRACE or even SANCTIFICATION.

This is written by someone who does not want to be reminded of her sins and attends a non-liturgical church with none of that uncomfortable confessional stuff. Plus her church rocks-out every Sunday to a praise band pumping out the top 10 CCM hits. That's not being entertained by popular media?? Seriously??

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!!

Time to eat those chocolate bunnies -- nom nom.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:  Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Cristo Crucificado by Diego Rodriguez da Silva y Velázquez  1632 (Art and the Bible)

Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. All we like sheep have gone astray and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Hear my prayer, O Lord: and let my cry come unto you.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Holy Thursday: Blood of the Covenant

Man of Sorrows Jacob van Oostsanen 1510

Holy Thursday (or Maundy Thursday) is when the church commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus and His disciples. The Last Supper is where Jesus instituted the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Some important Scripture verses that pertain to my ongoing contemplation of repentance, penance, and forgiveness.

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. -

(Matthew 26:26-28 ESV)

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. - (Luke 22:19-20 ESV)

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. - (John 6:53-56 ESV)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. - (1 Corinthians 11:23-32 ESV)

For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. - (Hebrews 10:26-31 ESV)

The point? To receive Holy Communion without first being repentant of our sins is to receive it unworthily. To receive Holy Communion without discerning the true presence of the body and blood of Christ is to receive it unworthily. To receive Holy Communion without understanding it is for the remission of sins is to receive it unworthily. May God's mercy rest upon those who receive it and teach others to receive it, in an unworthy manner.


O LORD God, Who has left unto us in a wonderful Sacrament a memorial of your Passion: Grant, we beseech you, that we may so use this Sacrament of your Body and Blood, that the fruits of your redemption may continually be manifest in us; Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday in Holy Week


GRANT, we beseech you, Almighty God, that we, who for our evil deeds are continually afflicted, may mercifully be relieved by the Passion of your Only-begotten Son, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Lutheran Prayers for Holy Week

Continually afflicted by evil deeds. Can I get that tattooed on me? Maybe across my forehead.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday of Holy Week


Almighty and Everlasting God, grant us grace so to contemplate the Passion of our Lord, that we may find therein forgiveness for our sins; through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Passion means suffering.

I do not understand how some can look upon Christ on cross as something they earned by their good behavior (choosing to believe) rather than their bad condition - being born a sinner. Did He redeem you because you let Him? Or did He redeem you because He chose to? When you believe redemption is entirely the work of Christ Jesus it is much more humbling and you are more likely to see an ongoing need for forgiveness because there is an ongoing need for the Savior.

Deep thoughts on a Tuesday afternoon.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday in Holy Week

The Collect

Grant, we beseech you, Almighty God, that we, who amid so many adversities do fail through our own infirmities, may be restored through the Passion and Intercession of your Only-begotten Son, Who lives and reigns, with you and the Holy Ghost, ever One God, world without end. Amen.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday of the Passion

Jesus, I will ponder now
On Thy holy Passion;
With Thy Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of Thy suffering, pain, and death,
That I may not perish.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Judica Sunday

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
(Psalm 43 ESV)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Laetare Sunday

Laetare is the ancient name for the fourth Sunday in Lent. It means rejoice.

The introit for Laetare Sunday:

Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. Psalm: I rejoiced when they said to me: "we shall go into God's House!"  The texts of the antiphon come from Isaiah 66:10-11 and Psalm 122:1.

I could listen to that all day....and maybe I will. ;-)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Luther on Romans 6

In chapter 6, St. Paul takes up the special work of faith, the struggle which the spirit wages against the flesh to kill off those sins and desires that remain after a person has been made just. He teaches us that faith doesn't so free us from sin that we can be idle, lazy and self-assured, as though there were no more sin in us. Sin is there, but, because of faith that struggles against it, God does not reckon sin as deserving damnation. Therefore we have in our own selves a lifetime of work cut out for us; we have to tame our body, kill its lusts, force its members to obey the spirit and not the lusts. We must do this so that we may conform to the death and resurrection of Christ and complete our Baptism, which signifies a death to sin and a new life of grace. Our aim is to be completely clean from sin and then to rise bodily with Christ and live forever. 

St. Paul says that we can accomplish all this because we are in grace and not in the law. He explains that to be "outside the law." is not the same as having no law and being able to do what you please. No, being "under the law" means living without grace, surrounded by the works of the law. Then surely sin reigns by means of the law, since no one is naturally well-disposed toward the law. That very condition, however, is the greatest sin. But grace makes the law lovable to us, so there is then no sin any more, and the law is no longer against us but one with us. 

This is true freedom from sin and from the law; St. Paul writes about this for the rest of the chapter. He says it is a freedom only to do good with eagerness and to live a good life without the coercion of the law. This freedom is, therefore, a spiritual freedom which does not suspend the law but which supplies what the law demands, namely eagerness and love. These silence the law so that it has no further cause to drive people on and make demands of them. It's as though you owed something to a moneylender and couldn't pay him. You could be rid of him in one of two ways: either he would take nothing from you and would tear up his account book, or a pious man would pay for you and give you what you needed to satisfy your debt. That's exactly how Christ freed us from the law. Therefore our freedom is not a wild, fleshy freedom that has no obligation to do anything. On the contrary, it is a freedom that does a great deal, indeed everything, yet is free of the law's demands and debts. 
"Vorrede auff die Epistel S. Paul: an die Romer." in D. Martin Luther: Die gantze Heilige Schrifft Deudsch 1545 aufs new zurericht, ed. Hans Volz and Heinz Blanke. Munich: Roger & Bernhard. 1972, vol. 2, pp. 2254-2268. This translation was made by Bro. Andrew Thornton, OSB, for the Saint Anselm College Humanities Program. ©1983 by Saint Anselm Abbey. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Beauty in Sadness

The Penitent Mary Magdalene - Caravaggio c1595

Based on Luke 8:2 "and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,"

Friday, February 26, 2016

God's People Sing

A beautiful hymn written over 518 years ago. Just as relevant now as then. Faith is passed down from generation to generation. Occasionally reformed, but it should never be reinvented.

Jesus, Refuge of the Weary

Jesus, refuge of the weary,
Blest redeemer, whom we love,
Fountain in life’s desert dreary,
Savior from the world above:
Often have your eyes, offended,
Gazed upon the sinner’s fall;
Yet upon the cross extended,
You have borne the pain of all.

Do we pass that cross unheeding,
Breathing no repentant vow,
Though we see you wounded, bleeding,
See your thorn encircled brow?
Yet your sinless death has brought us 
Life eternal, peace, and rest;
Only what your grace has taught us
Calms the sinner’s deep distress.

Jesus, may our hearts be burning
With more fervent love for you;
May our eyes be ever turning 
To behold your cross anew
Till in glory, parted never
From the blessed Savior’s side,
Graven in our hearts forever,
Dwell the cross, the Crucified.

By: Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498)

A Musical Interlude

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Orthodox - conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true; established and approved

St. Cyprian of Carthage
250 AD
The Lapsed 15:1-3; 28

The Apostle likewise bears witness and says: ….”Whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord” [1 Cor 11:27]. But [the impenitent] spurn and despise all these warnings; before their sins are expiated, before they have made a confession of their crime, before their conscience has been purged in the ceremony and at the hand of the priest…they do violence to his body and blood, and with their hands and mouth they sin against the Lord more than when they denied him.

….Of how much greater faith and salutary fear are they who…confess their sins to the priests of God in a straight forward manner and in sorrow, making an open declaration of conscience. God cannot be mocked or outwitted, nor can he be deceived by any clever cunning….Indeed, he but sins the more if, thinking that God is like man, he believes that he can escape the punishment of his crime by not openly admitting his crime….I beseech you, brethren, let everyone who has sinned confess his sin while he is still in this world, while his confession is still admissible, while the satisfaction and remission made through the priests are still pleasing before the Lord.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons
180 AD
Against Heresies 1:22

[The gnostic disciples of Marcus] have deluded many women…Their consciences have been branded as with a hot iron [cf. 1 Tim 4:1ff]. Some of these women make a public confession, but others are ashamed to do this, and in silence, as if withdrawing from themselves the hope of the life of God, they either apostatize entirely or hesitate between the two courses.

- From The Early Church Fathers on Confession

Monday, February 22, 2016

Prayers of God's People

ALMIGHTYE and everlastyng God, whiche hatest nothyng that thou haste made, and doest forgeve the sinnes of all them that be penitente; Creat and make in us newe and contrite heartes, that wee worthely lamentyng oure synnes, and knowlegyng our wretchednes, maye obtaine of thee, the God of all mercye, perfect remission and forgevenes; thorough Jesus Christ. 

-- The collect for the "Fyrst Day of Lent" from the Book of Common Prayer, 1549 - the first prayer book published in English.

A Book You Can Finish In A Day

It was a busy, busy weekend that has spilled into a busy, busy Monday, but I found time to read a book. For the "a book you can finish in a day" challenge I read The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

It could also fall under "a book you've been meaning to read" or "a book you should have read in school" or "a book published before you were born."

Friday, February 19, 2016

Reading Goals 2016

My daughter sent this to me at the beginning of the year. I accept the challenge, after all it is only 12 books. But here it is mid-February and I haven't started yet. I have a pretty clear idea what book to read for challenges 2, 3, 5,  and 7-12. The other 3 will be surprises. I'm starting tonight - not going to read them in order.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Can't Say it Any Better

“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”

   --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Another Angle I Hadn't Considered

Someone calling himself "Anon" chimed in on the repentance issue. I promise, Anon is not me. This is the exchange:
Anon: How do you explain Jesus telling the churches to repent after examining their works? 
Lori: You will have to tell me what verse you refer to. If it is to the churches in Revelation, He was calling some of them to the repentance that leads to everlasting life.
Anon: Then you are basing salvation on works. Each church that Jesus told to repent had to repent of specific works. Also, 1 John is written to believers. We have a sin nature. Pride is a sin that sometimes only God can see. "Take heed lest ye fall."
Lori: In Revelation, God is telling the churches to repent of specific things they were doing wrong meaning He wanted them to stop doing those things and do the right thing. It has nothing to do with confessing their sin and asking for forgiveness. The issue is "What will you do with Christ?" Not, "What will you do with your sin?" Christ has already dealt with our sin. Now we need to stop sinning and do the right thing that God has called us to do. Repent of our pride means we stop being prideful! God dealt with our flesh at the cross; He killed it and we are now new creatures in Christ!
Anon: You said some needed "repentance that leads to everlasting life", which would mean Jesus was basing their salvation on their works. Jesus did not say, "What will you do with me?", but told them to repent of those "specific things they were doing wrong", which is the issue of sin that would bring His chastening. Jesus warns these churches to repent. It sounds like you are contradicting yourself.
Lori: Some churches were not saved therefore they needed to repent and believe in Jesus as their Savior. This is not a work. It is believing in the finished work of Christ. Others were involved in some type of sin and God was telling them to repent which means to go and sin no more, stop sinning.

I forgot about the churches in Revelation! They were called to repent! Good catch, Anon!
To the highlighted (unsaved churches?!?) from Revelation 2:
“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.  I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary.  But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
There is more, but you get the point. It is clear the churches are still churches, because if they are "unsaved" they cease to be churches. They are lampstands and Jesus stands and walks among them. They are not "unsaved." They are saved and yet they are called to repent of their sins because they are in the world and will be led astray but also will be led to confess and repent. Just like all of us. Just like Scripture teaches.

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (Rev. 3:19)