Monday, January 30, 2012

The Love of God

"There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." Corrie ten Boom. Or, put another way by a dear pastor: "It is in suffering that God moves closer to us." He does carry our burdens in this life of afflictions, and went to the cross with all of them. He comes to us now in His Word and Sacraments, to comfort, strengthen, and forgive us. Thanks be to God.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fully Devoted?

Are you a "fully-devoted Christ-follower?" I can answer that question for you and everyone else: No. Here is a pastor's explanation of what is wrong with the term "fully-devoted Christ-follower" and what focus will bring true comfort and healing (the explanation is less than a minute).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's Happening with the Palmers

Since I didn't send out a Christmas letter, I thought I would give a short update here. We stayed here for Christmas; since Stan is a vicar this year he is directly a pastor-in-training, and pastors do not get holidays off! We had a nice Christmas here, holding our annual waffle party with our dear friends who have become like family to us. We enjoyed the various services offered at church throughout the Advent and Christmas season. We had our own family Christmas here in the late afternoon after Stan was finished with his vicar duties of the day (that was a long time to wait to open presents, but the kids are old enough to be up to the challenge). Stan continues to enjoy his work very much, which we are thankful for. Homeschool is coming along nicely, although the end is in sight for my oldest student/daughter. What's up with the kids: Elise: continues her organist position at an area LCMS church, and likes it a lot. She will be taking the ACT and SAT soon, and will be finishing her homeschool work this year. Then it will be time to take classes at a local college. It's hard to believe. John: is playing basketball with our homeschool group, and continues to enjoy his piano. He accompanied the children who sang in the Christmas program. He also won our homeschool group's spelling bee, and will advance to the local level in February. Lindsay: is enjoying her piano, books, science, and any outside time she can get. We haven't had much snow, and she can't wait to go sledding! Bethany: started piano in the fall, and tries to keep up with her siblings. She likes school a lot, as well as playing chess with her brother (or on Dad's laptop). Stan's vicarage will last until August. As much as we miss our family and friends back home, this is home for us now (or perhaps I should say, for now). I am thankful to feel at home here, and glad that my family is settled. God will lead us to the next place. We will keep you updated on the adventures of the Palmer family!

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Year Thoughts

This is a long quote, but it is very comforting regarding the new year, aging, and life in general! Should the Christian stand all day long at the grave of all joys which he enjoyed in past years? Through Holy Baptism a great stream of joy has been conducted in his heart, which does not drain away, but streams forward with his life until its waves carry him into the sea of a blessed eternity. Should the Christian be reminded all day long that the flowers of his youth fall more and more? He stands planted by God in the water of his Baptism as a palm tree which becomes a greener and greener and whose leaves never wither. Yes, his Baptism makes death for him like a short winter's nap, out of which an eternal spring-an eternal youth-follows. For Baptism is a bath that washed me not only once when I received it-washed me pure with Christ's blood-but it continuously washes me clean even daily for as long as I hold it in faith. For just as that same water of the flood drowned the sinners, but Noah with his relatives were brought to salvation and carried to Mount Ararat, so also did the water of my Baptism drown my sins, but my soul was brought to the eternal mountain of divine grace. And just as once those same waves of the Red Sea, which swallowed up Pharoah and his army, were a protective wall for Israel, so also has my baptismal water swallowed up all of my damnation and is for me a sure wall before God's wrath and punishment... Now, then, all of you who believe in God's Word, let your watchword for entering the new year be this: "I am baptized!" Although the world may laugh at this comfort, the enthusiasts vex its confidence...nevertheless, abandon any other dearly held pledges and speak only throughout the entire year to come, in all terrors of conscience and necessity through sin and death: "I am baptized! I am baptized! Hallelujah!" And you shall prevail! In every time of need, you will find comfort in your Baptism; on account of it Satan will flee from your faith and confession; and in death you will see heaven opened and will finally come into the joy of your Lord to celebrate a great year of jubilee, a year of praise, with all the angels forever and ever. Amen! ~C.F.W. Walther