Quote for 11/27/2020

Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.    1 Timothy 2:1-2

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Either you are happy about the 2020 election – such as it is so far – or not.  Maybe your guy looks like the winner or he doesn’t.  It makes no difference.  Whoever ends up in the White House will be there, because God had a hand in it.  And who knows why?

I always say that prayer should be our means of first resort, not last.  So pray for your elected officials from the top down.  Pray for their wisdom to come from God.  Pray for their hearts to be governed by God.  It is only with God’s blessings that any person or any country can have peace and prosperity.

You don’t like who got elected?  All the more reason to pray for God’s blessings on him!

Quote for 11/26/2020

For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.    Romans 13:6

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Yeah, I’m not a big fan of this one either. Taxes and corruption usually go together like peanut butter & jelly…although the latter is a good thing. Recall that even Mathew who wrote one of the Gospels was formerly a tax collector and was surprised Jesus would have anything to do with him. After deciding to follow Jesus, Mathew made good on all of his dishonest dealings.

When the Pharisees tried to put Jesus on the spot by asking Him about whether to pay taxes, His response was to render to Caesar what’s his and to God what’s God’s.

We might not like the corruption of government and the waste of tax money, but if we’re being honest, you and I are corrupt too! The lesson is that we pay into the system called government and play by the rules of said government. Without it is anarchy, which is worse than corrupt government!

Just as the tabernacle and temple were imperfect reflections of heaven, so I will offer that perhaps government is an reflection of God. There’s a verse that see now we see darkly as through a mirror, but at the end we will see God face to face.

Obey the law so far as man’s law does not contradict God’s Law. Pay taxes; that’s part of the law too. We might not like it, but that’s the way it is due to sin.

Which reminds me of a personal “law” I often have to remind myself of: Everybody is somebody’s jerk, including me. And, apparently, the government.

Play nice, stay out of trouble, do what God says, have faith in Jesus, and we all get out of this alive. Forever!

Back to Prayer

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.    Philippians 4:6

I used to pray every morning.  Every morning started with a contemplation from Portals of Prayer, Concordia Publishing.  Then I went through my prayer list.  That started in earnest in 1981 when I started graduate school.  It’s a habit that stuck until a year or two ago.

I still pray, but it tends to be a spur of the moment thing.  I try to give thanks for the day as I lay down to sleep.  I pray for whoever is in the rescue squad that just went by, siren wailing.  As for starting my day with prayer, well, it’s been a while.

I dusted off my old prayer list, editing it to be current.  Here’s how I use it.  Just sharing my practice in case you find it useful.  Every person or issue on the list gets individual attention.  This often consists of thoughts more than words, because I can’t think how I want to phrase it.  It’s brief.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.    Matthew 6:7

Once every item has gotten it’s due, I pray the Lord’s prayer very slowly, one petition at a time.  I pray with my eyes open, scanning the list and mentally offering up whichever items relate the most to each petition.

That’s it.  It is, for me, a very focused way to pray without a wandering mind.  Maybe it’ll work for you, maybe not, but there it is.  The key is to make it a habit, however you go about it.

Using the Lord’s Prayer is a great way to go.  Jesus already gave us the words, so we don’t have to search for them.  We go slowly and allow the purpose and meaning of each to resonate quietly in our minds.

Which brings me to a different type of prayer; orders of worship in the hymnal of whatever church you attend.  My favorite was always the Order of Matins.  If you’re older like me and Lutheran or Roman Catholic, it should ring a bell.

My Lutheran grade school had Wednesday morning chapel every week.  Pastor Carl Beuschlein spent weeks going through Matins a piece at a time, teaching us the purpose of every aspect of it.  Even today I could do it from memory, if my church would ever decide to use it again.  I miss it terribly.

Why?  I know it’s been fashionable for decades now to move away from the old orders of worship.  A grab bag of elements is thrown together in the bulletin while hymnals sit idle.  The phrasing always changes, and that’s a disservice to members.  I know…  The argument is that keeping it unfamiliar forces people to pay closer attention.  I disagree.

What needs to happen is to have a predictable, familiar order of worship like Matins.  Then, like using the Lord’s prayer as described above, the words just come while we contemplate what they are saying for us!  After all, Matins is largely lifted wholesale from the Bible itself!

The trick, the challenge is to teach parishioners why Matins is organized and phrased as it is, not succumb to the lowest common denominator.  People don’t like it, because they were never taught it!

Which brings me to one final thought that I must credit my pastor for.  I recently bought Luther’s Prayers, edited by Herbert F. Brokering.

Prayer is a very precious medicine, one that helps and never fails – Martin Luther.

Pastor Chuck mentioned during Bible class a few weeks ago that prayer books can be very beneficial tools.  Someone took the time to craft simple prayers for various occasions.  That leaves us with being able to pray in a focused way where we are not struggling for words.

That’s it.  This Thanksgiving let’s pray for all of the things God wants us to bring to Him thoughtfully, soberly.  Let’s pray, giving thanks first and foremost before making the requests our heavenly Father wants to hear.

Quote for 11/25/2020

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.    Ephesians 4:32

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Ephesians 4 is essentially good guidance for living a pleasing life to God. Such a life is one of love and generosity, not strife.

Kindness; letting another driver in in traffic. Complimenting a mother or father of well-behaved children. Holding a door for someone or remembering to say thank you when a door is held for you. Giving people the benefit of the doubt instead of assuming the negative.

We can all think of more, but that’s the goal, yes? To find as many ways and times as possible to be kind to one another!

Quote for 11/24/2020

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.    Romans 1:20

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Familiarity breeds contempt.  It’s the only explanation I can imagine.  We are so accustomed to our world that we neglect to see how truly amazing it is.

A small seed goes into the ground.  With nothing more than that small bit of matter and the DNA instructions inside, it manages to take nothing more than the air, water, and dirt around it and grow into a 100-foot tree!  Does anyone stop to think where those instructions came from?  An accident, they say?!?  Who ever heard of instructions that are not written by an intelligence?

What about the complexity of a single cell?  That all happened by accident?

NASA proved that the moon is largely hollow during the Apollo program.  Think on it; the moon is at a very critical distance from the earth to affect the tides that are vital to earth.  It is in precisely the right place to eclipse the sun completely.  If the moon were solid, in its current orbit it would cause catastrophic tides.  But Someone really smart figured out how to give it its size, place it in a precise orbit, and decrease its mass such that the tides are life-giving, not destructive.

Call me crazy, but I don’t see how anyone can not see a Creator’s hand in…everything!!

Quote for 11/23/2020

I pray that the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,    Ephesians 1:18

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St. Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome.  He was getting reports from his fellow workers on conditions in various churches.  He knew full well that young faith is vulnerable faith.

This verse not only tells the Ephesians that he is praying for them, but it encourages them to not forget God’s great wisdom and graces.  Most of chapter one up to this point describes God’s power and all the ways He works salvation in everyone’s lives.  Here he tells them that not only is he praying for them but he’s encouraging them to remember how richly they are blessed in salvation.

We should also actively work at not losing our focus on just how richly we are blessed by God!

Euthanasia – Holland Strikes Again!

You shall not murder.    Exodus 20:13

What is it with Holland?!?

If you read yesterday’s Grab Bag of Stuff, the first piece was about Poland passing a law restricting abortions of babies diagnosed with disabilities.  Good for them!!  The abortionists were, of course, apoplectic at the denial of “health care.”  I wondered when wanting to off people disabled by age would come into vogue, referencing a 2017 article of mine, Told You So… :

Holland – Not Elderly Friendly

The doctor, without asking the her if SHE thinks it’s time yet, slips her a mickey in her coffee to make killing her easier.  The doctor must have been out of practice, because she apparently got the dosage wrong.

The old girl wakes up when she feels the needle and fights back.  The doc then asks the family – whom I presume were indeed mentioned in the will – to hold her down…AND THEY SAY YES!!!

Well, the defecation impacted the ol’ turbine over that one, as one might say.  There was an inquiry.  The doctor was found to have acted “in good faith.”

Um…

Here we are roughly four years later, and Holland has fixed that problem.  No, they haven’t outlawed euthanizing someone who changed their mind.  They decided to legalize slipping a mickey to some old person whose cookies have started to crumble to keep them from fighting back while the health care giver (executioner) euthanizes (murders) them.  From the London Daily Mail article:

The Dutch government has introduced new rules which will allow doctors to spike the drinks of patients with sleeping pills ahead of administering euthanasia drugs.

The rules are intended to prevent patients from becoming violent ahead of their planned deaths. 

Officials were forced to introduce the regulations after a murder conviction of a doctor was overturned on appeal. 

Hold on there a minute, Sparky!  Did they say they were forced??  Did someone hold a gun to their heads…a needle to their veins?  No?

Some doctor kills someone and calls it euthanasia (I have to wonder if it’s the case I wrote about in Told You So…).  The people and the courts decide that, yes, euthanizing someone against their will does sound an awful lot like murder.  Then, miraculously – wait a minute; that would be God.  SATANICALLY, some lawyer convinces an appeals court that, no, this was actually health care, and the courts buy it!!

Quick question: did said lawyer resemble Keanu Reeves?  Was Al Pacino seen?  If you don’t get the reference, you should see The Devil’s Advocate.

Is it me or is this starting to resemble abortion at the old-age end of the life spectrum?  You have children unseen in the womb, which makes them a whole lot easier to kill as long as we use our pretty words: health care.  Now Holland leads the way on the other end.  Would the grave be like the womb?  Except they’d already be dead, so killing old people there isn’t an option.

Wait!  We can make nursing homes like the womb.  Hardly anyone sees those old farts in there.  Surely, we can get away with murder there, if we use our abortion pretty words: health care.  Yeah!  That’s the ticket!

The slippery slope is long gone.  We’re now riding a greased water slide toward absolute depravity.  There was a time not too long ago when anyone in the world would recoil in horror at what’s being done, at the callous disregard for life that is being legislated!

Humans are using slippery language, what law schools tell their students to look out for: Weasel Words and Wiggle Room.  What’s truly astonishing is how people are coming to believe their own lies!  They have become entangled in their own web of words and are morally drowning.

We need to get back to plainer language.  We need the clarity of God’s simple Words to us, which include…

You shall not murder.

Quote for 11/22/2020

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.    Romans 12:1

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Paul wrote to the Romans that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.  That Person of the Holy Trinity lives inside us!  That is only possible, because God the Father and His Son, Jesus, planned to have Jesus be a perfect sacrifice for us and pay our debt to sin.  Jesus was tortured and killed physically, but even worse He was abandoned by God.  His soul experienced that hell for us.

After all of that, why would we drink ourselves into a stupor?  Why would we physically unite ourselves to a string of anonymous people through casual sex (and the two shall become one flesh – Matthew 19:5), defiling ourselves?

We were bought, body and soul, at unfathomable cost by the work of all three Persons of God.  We should present ourselves as a sacrifice to God by forsaking our sin.

Grab Bag of Stuff

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, that I know that full well.    Psalm 139:14

Poland Restricts Abortion – Many abortions are performed due to a doctor’s diagnosis that an unborn child will be born with a disability.  The argument is that one wouldn’t want that child to suffer through a life with a disability.  I suspect the truth is that parents want to avoid their suffering through having a child with disabilities.  First, many parents of disabled children find them to be a blessing.  Second, I wonder when wanting to get rid of age-disabled people will come into vogue?  Oh, wait…it has!  See Told You So…

Poland has made a landmark decision to rescind their law which targets babies with disabilities for abortion!  This law was responsible for 97-98% of Poland’s abortions, so this is a significant advancement.

Pro-abortionists are up in arms about the ruling, calling it inhuman, despicable, and torture for women.  Ironic, as killing babies in utero doesn’t seem so bad to them.

We are all made by God and deserve to have everyone’s lives respected.

Large Gem Crystals Formed Within Hours – Geologists and others subscribe to an earth millions of years old (deep time theory).  This is in direct opposition to the Bible, which clearly shows evidence that earth is merely 6000 years old.  Their theories rest on the idea that geologic processes take vast amounts of time to occur.

Granite is commonly a host rock that contains many large crystals, which are evident in people’s granite countertops.  It’s been assumed that such crystals only develop with very long periods of very slow cooling deep in the earth.

A recent study has upended this long-time growth theory.  Some granite formations are called chimneys due to their upward growth in narrow voids underground.  They cool much faster, which would lead one to expect very small crystals inside.  But some of the largest crystals have been found in these chimneys.  This is evidence that they do not require long growth periods as previously thought.  It begs the question of whether other geologic process take as long as once claimed.  Science seems to give evidence of a much younger earth.

Child Sacrifice – History is rife with events of child sacrifice.  Even the Israelites sacrificed their children to the god Molech.  It was one of the reasons God caused the Babylonian Captivity.  Surely, child sacrifice is a thing of the past!  Or…is there Modern Child Sacrifice?  See the video by Canadian pro-life group Choice42.

Is Unity Possible? – Joe Biden recently delivered a speech calling for national unity.  But is Joe Biden willing to see true unity under God and His laws?  Is he willing to denounce abortion?  Is he willing to accept God’s teachings on sexuality?  Is true unity possible without God?  Is true healing possible without God?

Unity will never happen on earth.  We can only hope to approach it under God’s leadership, but…

…the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light because their works were evil    John 3:19

Definitions for “Man” and “Woman” – Do you know what they are?  Probably not, according to the Oxford University Press.  They decided to eliminate or label certain synonyms as “offensive, derogatory, or dated.”  They went on: a woman “can be ‘a person’s wife, girlfriend, or female lover,’ not only a man’s.”  Their definition of “man” has also been updated with “a person’s husband, boyfriend, or male lover.”

Obviously, both changes leave plenty of room for homosexuality to be read into them.

And that’s the way it is, November 21, 2020.

Quote for 11/21/2020

The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?    Psalm 27:1

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What?  Me worry?

When you’ve got God going for you, it’s like you’re bringing a gun to a knife fight.  It’s like having Arnold Schwarzenegger carry your laundry basket.  It’s like racing a Lamborghini against a bicycle.

It IS the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the Universe bringing everything He has against anyone who threatens any of His chosen, His redeemed.  That’s you and me.

What!  Me worry?