It Came Upon The Midnight Clear


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Facing Fear With Faith

Facing Fear With Faith

There are a lot of reasons to be afraid today.  The U.S. is currently experiencing an outbreak of the enterovirus D68. Several people on our soil have been infected with the Ebola virus.  We see an even worse virus- a spiritual one- infecting our culture.  Since 1990, the unchurched segment of our adult population has grown from 30% to 43%.  Christians like you and me that hold to Biblical beliefs are targeted for ridicule and hate for being closed-minded and intolerant.  Islamist militant terrorist groups continue to pose a threat to our national security.  There is unrest all around the world. There is much to fear today.

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What Is In Your Heart Comes Out Of Your Mouth

I know a guy who talks about fishing almost every time I see him. I know a woman who talks about the Spartans all the time, and a man who talks about the Wolverines all the time. I know a woman who talks about her cats a lot, and a man who talks about his garden a lot.  We talk about what we care about.

And that is why, when God commands you and me to tell our kids and grandkids about God and his Word, he connects our hearts with our mouths:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.Impress them on your children.  (Deuteronomy 6:6,7)

 

Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. (Deuteronomy 4:9)

 

He said to them, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 32:46)

So if I am going to carry out my vital, God-given responsibility as the primary spiritual influencer and faith-builder of my kids, what is job one?  Building my own faith.  Here are a few suggestions for that.

Build into the start of your day time spent in the Word of God and in prayer. I have been amazed at how often what I read in the Bible on a given morning is just what I need to remember, trust, and live that particular day. Starting the day thanking God for his blessings and promises in Christ and bringing all our needs for that day to him arms us with a thankful and positive spirit as we take on the day with Jesus by our side.  Now you might be thinking, “But I don’t have time for that!  Mornings are always a big rush at my house.”  I get that.  But it takes no more than five minutes to read the “Meditations” daily devotion and prayer (plus the prayer for the day at the back of the booklet), or to read Pastor Tullberg’s daily email devotions (go to sothlansing.org to subscribe), or to read or listen to the WELS daily electronic devotions (go to wels.net to subscribe).

End the day confessing your sins, seeking God’s forgiveness, giving him praise and thanks, bringing various needs and concerns to him, and finding comfort in his Word.  Confessing our sins helps us not to take God’s grace for granted and gives us relief as we give our guilt to Jesus, who gladly bore the burden of our sin, shame, and punishment at the cross.  That mercy and forgiveness tops the list of things for which we will give thanks to God as we close the day, but looking back over the day we will see plenty of other reasons to end the day with praise.  Bringing everything on our hearts to him as we end the day will allow us to sleep in peace.  Reading one Psalm every night, or just one chapter of a gospel or epistle, and praying based on what we read is a simple way to be blessed through the Word.

And, of course, regularly hearing the Word of God and receiving the Lord’s Supper in worship services, as well as participating in a Bible Class, are givens if we want to deepen our faith. Both help us not only to grow in our knowledge of the Word and our faith in Jesus, but in supportive relationships with fellow believers who encourage me in the faith (and vice versa).

Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”  (Matthew 12:34) May the Spirit of God fill your heart to overflowing with faith in Jesus and love for him through his powerful word, and may you then eagerly, gladly, routinely share what is in your heart through your lips with your children and grandchildren.


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THE HIGH STAKES OF PARENTING

THE HIGH STAKES OF PARENTING

 

“We’re sending scores of well-educated, well-dressed, well-adjusted, well-connected children to hell.”  I can’t remember where I read that (it was probably 25 years ago or more), but it has stuck with me. What is at stake in raising our children is more than giving them the best life we can give them on earth.  What is at stake is where they (and ultimately their children and all who come after them) will spend eternity.

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Parenting Is A Privilege

Parenting Is A Privilege

Do you get a little sick and tired of everything you have to do as a parent?  Parenting can seem like a chore because of the chores that come with it- getting up with crying babies, chasing after toddlers, making meals, doing laundry, helping with homework, nursing sick kids, carting kids around.  Parenting can seem like a bore because the chores are tedious and keep repeating day after day.  But God elevates parenting to a high privilege by making parents his representatives to do his work for their (really HIS) children.  When, by faith, we grasp that, we are able to keep doing the mundane, repetitious chores of parenting with a renewed spirit of eagerness and joy.

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