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Alle Meine Quellen Sind in Dir

This woodcarving hangs above the hallway in our home.  Quite often, guests inquire about what it means.  Rather than directly translate, I tell them the painful but sweet short story behind it.

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My wife’s maternal great-grandparents, the Hellings, lived in Germany.  Opa Helling was a baker there.  After having new mechanized equipment installed in the bakery, presumably an automated dough mixing machine, he called for his wife to come in to watch the new process.

As the machinery began, his wife bent over to get a closer look.  As she did, her long hair fell down into the gears. Before anything could be done, horribly the machine pulled a large section of her scalp away. One can only imagine the horror of the joy and pride of that moment turning so quickly to pain and suffering.

Making matters worse, Oma Helling was a diabetic. Her wound never healed. For the rest of her life, she had a metal plate that covered the wound.  In a family picture we have of her, she reminds us so much of Miriam’s grandmother and mom. She is looking down as she busily works with her […]

For Your Thanksgiving Day Table

If you are looking to read one of the old American Thanksgiving Day proclamations around your table this year, here is the 1781 proclamation by Thomas McKean, President of the Congress of the United States.

Remember that this proclamation was issued a week after Cornwallis had surrendered at Yorktown. Notice the detailed list of specific reasons for thanks to God – if you had to make a similar list for our nation this year, what would you include?

President Obama usually issues his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation on Thursday; you will find it at www.whitehouse.gov.

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By the United States, in Congress
Assembled.

PROCLAMATION.

Whereas it hath pleased Almighty God, the Father of Mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America in their important struggle for liberty against the long-continued efforts of a powerful nation, it is the duty of all ranks to observe and thankfully acknowledge the interpositions of his Providence in their behalf; – Through the whole of the contest from its first rise to this time the influence of Divine Providence may be clearly perceived in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few: –

In revealing the counsels of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and […]

Lessons from a Humiliating Failure

Have you had this nightmare? Your child is on stage in a school play; she is in the middle of a solo which she has performed flawlessly in every rehearsal and on previous nights, when suddenly her voice wobbles and then chokes. You can’t believe it’s happening, but there she is, humiliated and devastated, her hands covering her face trying to block out the hundreds of eyes watching her while the rest of the cast try to improvise around her failure.

Except that for my wife and me it wasn’t a bad dream. It happened to one of our children (who shall remain nameless, at a time that will remain unspecified!).

After first of all pouring out love, comfort and sympathy, my wife and I then began to talk with our daughter about some of the lessons God might be teaching her even through something as difficult as this.

Our starting point and overarching principle was that Romans 8.28 really means what it says. All things really do work together for the good of those who love God. God is good and wise and in control of everything that happens. He can use even huge catastrophes to bring about good things—if he could […]

A Great Pro-Life Idea

On a cold, wintry day in the early 1980’s, while a student at the University of Michigan, I participated in a pro-life march on campus.  As a brand new Christian, I wanted to witness publicly regarding my freshly experienced faith.  So as the snow fell, 10-15 of us walked silently and sheepishly across the campus, holding up amateurishly hand-painted signs made out of cardboard. One sign had a picture of an aborted baby stapled to it.  The rest had the typical slogans of the day.

“Abortion Kills a Child.”

“Abortion Hurts Women.”

“Adoption the Better Option.”

The next day in the student newspaper, a front page picture appeared of our group.  My presence was seen front and center, with a somewhat mocking article underneath.  Since the paper was printed on the very day of my January birth date, I kept a copy and took it home to show my parents, thinking they would find it amusing.  I remember being a bit shocked at their response.  My dad was not happy, and seriously warned me that my photo could be placed in government and employer files, making it difficult for me to find a job someday.  I was told that it was okay to have a private belief about this subject, but […]

Russell Moore Interview of Rosaria Butterfield

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church held their national conference at the end of October on the topic of “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.”  Russell Moore interviewed Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.  You can watch this fascinating interview below.

Browse Worthy: Holding Hands

Often it is a little look, a quiet gesture, a soft touch that communicates so much.  I wanted to highlight these two articles in the hope that you might stop today, take a loved ones’s hand in yours, and dwell on the beauty and love that simple gesture conveys to another.

R.C. Sproul Jr., now a widower, offers wisdom in Husbands, Hold Your Wife’s Hand.  After his wife passed away two years ago, he tweeted “I wish I had held her hand more.”  Don’t have the same regret.

We also need to hold our children’s hands.  Melissa Edgington writes her thoughts about doing so in a touching post fitly titled So Many Stories in a Mama’s Hands.

After you read these posts, you might then think about how many times the gospels tell us Jesus touched others with his hands.  Blessing babies.  Touching a leper.  Raising a child.  Healing a bent woman.  Those he loved he touched.

The Power of Memory

With my Uncle Don passing away this week, my mom lost both her brothers within a span of a few months.  Sadly, her dementia makes it impossible for me to relate to her what has taken place.

However, just a few weeks ago, Don and Mom spoke on the phone ever so briefly.  I saw in my Mom’s brightening eyes and emotional voice the signs she knew it was her brother on the line.

The videos below, one of an old trainer visiting his elephant after fifteen years of separation, and the other of an Alzheimer patient having a moment of recognition of her daughter lying beside her, capture the power of memories.

These events remind us of the importance of such things as lifelong bonds of love, of continuing to love the forgetful and wayward, and of the hope in calling people to remember the gospel that they so long ago seem to have forgotten.  “Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

 

The Children Are Always Included

Where do our children stand with respect to God’s covenant? How should we treat them as Christian parents? Why do we baptize infants? Those questions fill the mind of parents. They were never more on our mind this summer than as we drove to participate in extended family gatherings on both sides of our family.

In that drive time, we listened to Ted Donnelly’s six sermon series on infant baptism. He is a now-retired pastor in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland. Though the sermons were preached nine years ago, the timeless truth of God’s word is preached from a grandfatherly man who not only knows the Scripture but who has experienced the blessing of it in the various stages of life, too. In this series, he handles not only the technical aspects of baptism, but each message is drenched with pastoral love and tenderness.

“I Think I May Be Gay”

If you are reading this post and the title describes you, let me begin by saying that you are not the first person who has wondered about this issue.  You probably are being a bit discreet, reading this privately to see what it says.  Many people in this generation are asking the same question about whether they are gay or not.  Though you are most likely reading this alone, you are not alone in the thoughts you are having.

Since you are thinking about this matter, and I imagine you have been considering it for some time now, please let me ask you to consider three further questions this issue should raise in your mind.

How is your sexual self-identity determined?

Wondering about or even calling yourself gay is not just a  matter of sexual activity, but of identity.  Those who refer to themselves as gay see it as a lifestyle.   Many gay people describe their experience as a journey of self-discovery, as they come to a point in their lives where they realize they are attracted to the same sex.  Perhaps you believe that you have arrived at this  very juncture  in your own life.

Yet have you given serious thought to how […]

Browse Worthy: Gender Identification

It is amazing how quickly the gay rights battle is morphing into a transsexual one.  As men and women harden their hearts more and more against the Creator whose image they bear, they rebel against everything, even their own gender. When Times magazine features on its cover a picture of a man in a dress with the caption “The Transgender Tipping Point,” and Rush Limbaugh is speaking favorably with transsexuals, you realize you cannot avoid discussing an issue that in your parents’ day would have never been mentioned publicly.  As a pastor, I had to speak to those involved in gender confusion in my counseling office.

In these confusing times, here are some helpful articles from past and recent days that will help set our thinking straight (no pun intended).

The Briefing by Al Mohler.  Penetrating analysis of the transgender movement in light of the Times cover.

This Strange New World by Tim Challies.  A prediction eight years ago that gender issues would be confronting us wherever we turn.

Conservative Christianity and the Transgender Question by Russell Moore.  Words for dealing pastorally with this issue.

This Poor Child is Confused, not ‘Transgendered’ by Matt Walsh.  Perceptive insight into the family raising their young girl to be a boy.

Laverne Cox is not a Woman by Kevin […]