"Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the Lord, His wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven." Psalm 107:23-30

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Piety vs. Pietism

My husband and I are choosing to raise our children in a very different fashion than we ourselves were raised. Both of us were public school all the way through to high school graduation, put in all sorts of sports and extracurricular activities as early as pre-K, attended sleepovers and birthday parties without our parents from young ages, and allowed to watch plenty of TV and movies in family down time. Of course at the time I thought my parents were "strict". And they were compared to other parents. I remember being annoyed that before I could sleep over at someone's house my parents had to meet the friend's parents. I myself shudder at the thought of doing this with my own children. On the one hand I think, well, I made it through all of this without falling away, rebelling, or going crazy...I mean, isn't what's important is a child being a light to the world, a city on a hill? Give 'em a good home life then watch 'em shine to all around?

Except when that doesn't happen. Because all around me I watched those I love fall away, rebel, and be brainwashed into the ways of the world. And that begs the question: who ever said that children are supposed to be sent out among the world all alone for 8 plus hours a day to be that "light"?

I cannot control the faith of my children, that is up to the Holy Spirit, but I am willing to lay down my life to do everything I can to train them up in the way they should go. It is not just for them, it is my duty, my vocation, and the work God has given me to do. Scripture tells us that in the end it will be as in the days of Noah, when there were 8 righteous people. That is so sobering for Christian parents.

So our children's lives look very different. We home school, our children are not allowed to go to birthday parties unless they are adult/family included parties, they are not allowed to participate in sports teams or extracurriculars at this point, and TV and movies are very strictly monitored.

Our children will not have cell phones until they are driving, we have told them they are not allowed to have a girl friend until they are ready to pursue marriage, and they are not allowed to play with the neighbor boys who live behind us because the children are disrespectful and naughty.

Sometimes I look at all of our decisions and I shudder a little...are we making a huge mistake? This is so different from the mainstream way I was brought up.

Our almost 9 year old is of the age now where he is very closely watching my husband and me and all of our parenting decisions. He questions us constantly, comparing us with what little he has observed in the world (which is still plenty), and he isn't afraid to ask hard questions of us. It terrifies me while also making me so proud because WE, my husband and I, are who he asks these questions of: not his friends, not any teachers: us. And we, in turn, answer from Scripture. He knows that is the ultimate authority.

But one of the main hardships of this very close life is how easy it is to begin to feel dragged down by the weight of responsibility. It's easy to become pietistic rather than simply trying to live piously. One is pietistic when their salvation and the salvation of their children is based in works they try of their own accord to perform in order to be seen as holy and to think it will protect them from the devil and falling away. To those who cling to pietism, faith is something they must work out, something they must attain of their own devotion. One is pious when they know their salvation is a free gift given by the Holy Spirit and all good works flow from Him alone and are for the purpose of serving others in humility and love. And we know He will grant it because God desires that all should be saved. And so we pray, "Lord, we believe, help us with our unbelief."

And so I struggle. But my children see me struggle. Yesterday I got really angry at my oldest, I lost my cool and began yelling at him and then generally just yelling at all the children. I had to ask their forgiveness but used it as an opportunity to explain to them that while mommy is sorry, and I'm going to try very hard to not yell again, I will fail. I will always fail because I am a sinner.  I will always fail in many ways. But I promise to always forgive them when they fail as well. And I am only able to do this because Jesus first forgave me, us. One by one my children forgave me and we tried to move on and change the tone of the home by doing something pleasant together.

This parenting thing, it's not glamorous. Kids have a way of acting like the mirror function of the law, but there's nowhere more painful to see your own sin than in your beloved children. And so I pray, when I do, that the Lord would help me turn to Him rather than in on myself and my children.

Lord preserve us.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Homeschooling Real life style

It's 8:15 at night and it feels like 10...maybe 11. My neck hurts, my back hurts, and I can hardly keep my eyes open. Today was a good day. God has made me rich in my vocation. Notice I did not say it was a good day because anything particularly fun happened today or because I got to DO anything fun today, but it was good because what God ordains is always best. It was good because it was a day of love and service and God has given me so many ways to serve. Here is one day of many (today):

6:15am: 2 year old wakes up and begins calling to his three brothers in his room that he needs to go potty. I kick my husband and ask him to go help said 2 yr old so his brothers can sleep a little longer. He very graciously obliges and I fall back asleep.

7:05: get up, kiss children good morning, head down to basement to work out.

7:45: dart up the stairs, drink a glass of water, do strength training in the piano room with kids climbing on me and mimicking me.

8:00: kiss husband goodbye, open front door for drop off of baby we are watching full time.

8:05: put on educational show for kids, baby secure in bouncy seat with the kids in the living room, jump in shower.

8:20: Make bed, pray.

8:30: change baby's diaper, put her down for a nap, take kids into kitchen for Bible study. This is probably my favorite time of the day. All four boys gathered coloring supplies and sat down while I opened up to today's readings in the Treasury of Daily Prayer. I am so thankful for the Treasury because just like in Divine Service we get a daily Psalm, Old Testament, and Gospel/Epistle reading (so unlike DS we only get one, either Gospel or Epistle). Then there is a church Father Writing and we also know if there is a specific commemoration that day with an explanation of who the person was or what the commemoration is about.

Devotion time is one I have really struggled with. I grew up in the Baptist belt where one's "personal relationship" with Jesus was emphasized over and over and over. "Devotions" were all about "listening" to Jesus, trying to hear some personal message for you through His Word, some whispering in the wind meant just for you that day. It was all about feelings, emotions, metaphysical gobbledygook. I shake my head now that I ever felt so guilty and so pressured into thinking that was correct. I still fight that mentality today. For the longest time I have made my children sit with nothing to do during our entire 45 min of Bible study, questioning them repeatedly throughout to make sure they were PAYING ATTENTION. But lately I've realized that while there is nothing wrong with helping children learn to sit still, and training them for church on Sunday is good and well, perhaps there is no harm in letting them color and scribble quietly while we read...after all, if I truly believe God's Word does what it says, that it is Living and Active, sharper than any two edge sword, then is it really about them? No. It is not. So they colored. Between readings we pause and youngest to oldest they get to share what they heard, or nothing at all. Questions come up, I try to hold off interruptions until the end of the reading but sometimes we pause. Today the OT reading was David and Bathsheba. You can imagine the questions that brought up. I have never been so thankful to be home schooling where we can age appropriately discuss adultery. I love that there is nothing we won't discuss with our children, they are learning from the earliest age that communication is always open in our home and there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about even when we must discuss hard things.

After the readings we did our hymn study. We are working on "The Church's One Foundation" and "A Mighty Fortress". We go over when it was written, who wrote it, who composed the tune, etc and we sing each hymn in its entirety. Well, I do. Voices ebb and flow and I don't force it. They listen, hum, tap on the table, sing a line then fall silent. But my favorite thing is when I walk by them later in the day and while they are deep in play they are singing the hymn all on their own.

After hymn study we read our "Follow and Do" book for the week. This week we are working on the 10 commandments. Those Follow and Do books by CPH have made learning the catechism so simple and beautiful with their sweet illustrations but complete sections of the chief parts.

Finally we close in prayer by saying Luther's Morning prayer and sometimes extra petitions for other things. Lately the children have been praying that our church will open the Lord's Supper to them so that they might be strengthened too by Jesus' Body and Blood.

When devotions were over the children showed me what they had drawn during Bible study. My oldest showed me a drawing with landscape of a bald eagle. He made a point to show me that there were things in the background, middle ground, and foreground. He of course did not know these titles so we discussed them and I explained the purpose of each in a piece of art work. My second oldest, who is often very quiet about his faith and often very unexpressive and almost non interested (another time I am thankful to not be non-denominational or Baptist where my trust in his salvation would be in his own works, or lack thereof) quietly and almost embarrassed showed me what he had been drawing...page after page of beautifully designed churches. I smiled privately and whispered to him how beautiful his drawings were. The two year old proudly carried his OWN color book back to the cabinet and put his crayons away and the 4 year old asked me questions about the wolverine he had colored from his Alaskan Animals coloring book.

9:35: heat baby's bottle, get baby up, go into living room to feed baby and read stories to the kids. First we read "The Mitten" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears". In keeping with yesterday, we spent these two books looking for the "ch" "th" "sh" and "wh" consonant digraphs. Each time we found one we would pause on the word, say the digraph together, then sound out the rest of the word. My 2 and 4 year olds are getting really good at spotting them before we even get to the word and then excitedly pointing them out. The 8 year old and 6 year old are a little tired of me pausing in the story to point out something they already know and yet they are very patient and get excited to see their brothers learning. When each story ended each child got to dictate back to me some of what they heard, ask questions, and answer questions I thought of.

10: baby is done drinking bottle, burp her, change her, put her on play mat while kids grab snacks. The snack choice for today was handfuls of pretzels. The giant tub we got from Costco was limited edition pretzels shaped like footballs, football helmets, and football fields. The kids were very excited about these shapes and I explained to them that they are only "limited edition". We discussed what this meant, why it was smart advertising wise, and what limited edition shapes might be next (Halloween? Christmas?).  We sat back down on the couch with baby playing next to us and read "Mouse Tales". We talked about the homophones "tail" verses "tale", how they are each spelled and what their different meanings are. Then we read the stories in the book. We also ended up discussing what a "tall tale" is due to the  nature of the stories in the book.

10:40: kids ran to play.

10:40-11:30: My oldest folded a load of laundry for me while the two middles took our dog out for some exercise in the backyard. I vacuumed and mopped the kitchen floor, checked my yogurt that I started yesterday, wiped the counters down and the table, and laid the baby back down for a short snooze because she was rubbing her eyes.

11:30-12: played outside with the boys. My oldest began asking questions about our read-aloud "The Secret Garden" from yesterday. We checked our garden, looked at the progress of our apples on our apple tree, watched some airplanes fly over, and the boys showed me some traps they were working on building.

12: lunch prep, lunch, lunch clean up. The boys all help, they all clear their spots, and they all take turns getting drinks, getting plates, getting out dips, etc.

12:35: get baby up, feed her second bottle, change diaper, fold a load of laundry with her playing next to me and the boys playing around her and talking to her.

1pm: put 2 year old down for a nap, a friend of the kids' comes over to play.

1-3: kids play hard outside. Baby plays then goes down for a nap at 2. I fold laundry, straighten house, check email, and begin dinner preparations.

3: get baby up, feed, change diaper and get her ready for pick up. Baby and kids' friend leave at 3:30.

3:30-4:30: give kids snack, sit down on couch for our read-aloud. 2 year old wakes up, I take him potty and he joins us for read-aloud. We read two chapters of "The Secret Garden" and discuss any new words. The kids guess the definition of the word based on it's context, sometimes we look up words in the dictionary and try to come up with new sentences for the word, and when we are done each kid, youngest to oldest gets to dictate back what they heard. Again I ask questions to prompt them or keep them moving.

4:30 kids go play with toys upstairs while I change into a fresh shirt (too much baby spit up) and finish dinner prep.

5:30: welcome Daddy.

This is what our day looked like today. Tomorrow it will look completely different. Some days we do math pages and play with math manipulatives. Right now each kid has their own math book, either Singapore or Rod and Staff. We do it when we feel like it, and I try to make sure that is at least 2-3 times a week. But more and more I feel comfortable teaching through life. I don't need a curriculum to point out all the words that start with "th", "wh", "ch", or "sh" in a book. And starting this young gets kids really focusing on words while we read...it teaches them HOW to read without some hyper time consuming "curriculum". But even more important, it teaches them HOW to LEARN. By observation. By asking questions. By talking to others. By looking in a book.

It has taken me a long time to get this comfortable with real life learning. I still freak out on a very regular basis wanting charts, control, "100 easy ways to homeschool a child into a perfect child".

But here's the thing: when I feel like that I want to ask myself, "You crazy girl, what are you thinking imagining that teaching your children in a way that revolves around real life (family, meals, service) will actually prepare them for REAL LIFE?!" Oh, wait...it will. :) And the other day, when one of the boys came running inside with a question about the sun as he observed it in his play out doors, we grabbed a nearby ball off the floor, tilted it, and spun it around while I held it up over my head by our chandelier that is over our kitchen table. In about 10 minutes the kids all understood orbit, why a day is 24 hours and one full revolution of the earth, why a year is 365 days and one full orbit around the sun, etc. No text book, no graph or diagram, just a ball, a light, and kids running back outside to look up into the sky.

Our life is not organized, it is not super structured, it is messy and chaotic sometimes, and every day at day's end I look back and see opportunities I missed to teach them that one more thing or to have structured that one other moment better... but every day we have breakfast, Bible time, lunch, dinner, and Daddy (and another Bible/prayer time led by Daddy in the evening) and every day my kids have more questions, more energy, and we keep on rich in our vocations of mother, father, husband, wife, brother, son, neighbor, and friend. We live to serve and love. And tomorrow is another day to be rich in our vocations.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Abel 8-11-13

It was supposed to be our only family vacation of the year. We were on a gorgeous lake, in a mansion of a lake house, with friends. I was newly pregnant and thinking that since I had conceived only two weeks after my previous miscarriage, that this one would stay. My sister had once conceived just weeks after a miscarriage and had twins 8 months later. I was elated. 

But that week went from bad to worse. Since I was pregnant I declined all sorts of bad foods, drinks, and did not ride the jet skis I had been looking forward to. I skipped the long horse back trail ride I had wanted to do with my two oldest...which meant they had to skip it too. And then, one night while miniature golfing, my body began to let me know something was going very wrong. I felt hot and then cold over and over. I felt clammy and dizzy and nauseous and had a head ache all at once. 

The next morning I found out from my OB that my progesterone, which had been taken four days earlier but no one had bothered to call with the results, was critically low. We spent and entire day of our vacation dealing with a huge battle at the pharmacy in town, spent over $100 out of pocket for the prescription, and a day later, Abel went home. 

Alleluia Abel...Praise the LORD, a breath. 

I sat on the bedroom floor with my knees drawn up to my chest, rocking back and forth and sobbing. I had just woken up and when I went to the restroom...well, Abel was gone. My family was already all up and eating breakfast with our friends on our last day of vacation and I didn't know what to do...go out and announce to everyone I was miscarrying? Try to get my husband's attention and take him back to the room to tell him? 

Instead I just sat there in the room crying until he came in to get dressed and found me there. By then the name had come to me. Alleluia was because the hymns I kept singing to comfort myself all seemed to have "Alleluia" in them (especially "Alleluia Song of Gladness, LSB 417) and I knew as one who grieves with hope I had to cling to "Alleluia". I chose Abel because I suddenly felt at the same time so angry and hopeless over this third loss of the year that for the first time I found myself really thinking on the story of Cain and Abel and my heart hurt for Eve...this woman who believes so strongly in the promise that at the birth of her first son she declares him to be the LORD, only to have her one son kill the other. When I looked up what Abel means it seemed even more fitting. 

Today my husband carried in a box from the mail as I busily prepared lunch. "What's that?" I asked. He smiled and handed it to me...I smiled back. I always smile when cards or packages from her show up. Why? Because it's not only a card or package, but it always shows up so humbly with no previous announcement, it's just there so sweetly with beautiful handwriting and even packaged with such great care. 

I immediately stopped lunch preparations to open it, wondering what I was forgetting that a package was showing up. Inside the package was a small cellophane bag with two sprigs of white silk lilies. I was completely stumped. I opened the card and before I could even read all the words my eyes fell on his name, my little Alleluia Abel. She remembered. This sweet friend and her husband, whom my husband and I had asked to be his Godparents before we lost him, first sent a crucifix on his due date and now, in remembrance of the week of his pregnancy and home-going, lilies to adorn his cross with as we all look forward with such hope and joy to our reunion in heaven. 

Now this cross is on a prominent wall in our living room, just above my and my husband's wedding photos, and I stare at it blooming in all its hope and feel as eager as a child on Christmas Eve. Abel! How I long to see you, touch you, and as a mother, rejoice in our reunion in Christ's Heavenly Kingdom. I love you my son. 

And to my dear friend and sister, you are a sweet pearl of a friend, your thoughtfulness and love remind me so dearly of the love of Christ. Thank you. 




Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Planning

I loved school when I was a kid. Nothing excited me more than that back-to-school shopping list and filling my new back pack with all the perfect supplies in all their brand new perfection. I loved perfect college-ruled notebook paper with it's perfect red and blue lines and spiral bound notebooks without a single thing written in them yet. Perfection.

Sigh, then I had to write my name on it. I have awful handwriting. Every one of my teachers cheerfully told me I would make a fantastic Dr one day because of my illegible handwriting. I tried, the Lord knows I tried, but alas, I inherited my father's handwriting instead of my mother's.

So, I don't know if it's the time of year that draws up in me a desire to plan and organize and categorize or if it's the fact that I had an energy burst today or both, but I began to have one of those days where I suddenly felt the need to micro manage the home.

I once bought a book that encouraged planning every 15 minutes of every family member's day for the entire day on a massive wall chart with sticky notes.


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

ahem.

But the reality is, micro managing has two major downfalls.

1. It takes away the opportunity for initiative.

Example: A few days ago I was standing in the kitchen and my four year old wandered out into our huge half acre backyard. At first he just wandered around and then I saw him go back into the garage and emerge with the dog poo rake and scooper. I watched him spend about 30 minutes scanning the entire backyard and cleaning up every last pile of dog poop, which was considerable since it had been two days since we had cleaned up. You better believe I went out there when he was done and praised him for his initiative along with rewarding him. And I had to wonder...if that job had been assigned to someone for the day and if he had a list of jobs already assigned to him, would he have done that? Now I am certainly not against giving kids chores, but this gave me a whole new idea of how to manage chores in the home that I'll share later.

2. It forgets that the real moments of life are the interruptions. C.S. Lewis said it best:


“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's 'own,' or 'real' life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one's real life -- the life God is sending one day by day.”


― C.S. Lewis, The Collected Works of C.S. Lewis

So, my goals now are to focus on the real things and simply use organization as a tool to help only in the areas that really need help. AKA: IF IT'S NOT BROKE, DON'T FIX IT. 

It's so tempting to want to control and perfect, but it's never going to be perfect and, really, I think it's such  a joy stealer to see life's work as something that needs perfecting and controlling instead of viewing it as something that can constantly remind us of Christ. Example:

Laundry. (I can hear the collective groan right now throughout cyber space.) IT. NEVER. ENDS. EVER. This reminds me that all of creation tends towards the fall. But the redundancy of our work humbles us. In the drudgery, in the relentlessness, in the dirt, we may sigh, but we don't sigh as those that do not have a release. I need to put a crucifix over my washer and dryer so I can see in the drudgery my glorious release. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. 

So, as I sat at the table today so tempted to begin the micro managing that makes me feel more perfect and makes me feel like maybe, maybe this time I will be able to control this mess that is our sinful world and life, I looked at the crucifix over our kitchen table and lectured myself, "only fix what really needs fixing"..and even that is such meager attempts. And yet, I feel pretty proud of the managing that has worked out!

So the planning I did accomplish was for our school year. My 2 year old will begin learning his letters and numbers and already knows his colors. My 4 year old will begin "4K" at home and we are using Rod and Staff's ABCDEFG books. I'm also using "Beginning Reading at Home" which is an old, out-of-print set of 10 kits that introduces letters and words in a multi-sensory way. My 6 year old will be using the "Beginning Reading at Home" as well as our CLE readers and for math will be using Singapore math. And my 8 year old will be using Singapore math, finishing his CLE readers, Story of the World, Apologia Science, and Spelling Power. We are not doing any further work in Language Arts this year because next year we will be using Classical Writing's upper level books...the primers just seem too much a waste of time. I really want him to focus on lots and lots of free time reading to get him reading proficiently enough to tackle Classical Writing and Latin next fall. 

The way I play to get through all of this each day is as follows:

Every day we will do: 

Morning: Catechism/Bible/Hymn study with all, 15-20 min per child of math instruction.
Afternoon: 15 min per child of reading instruction

In addition:

Monday: Writing for 8 year old (whatever I assign, no curriculum). 
Tuesday: History for 8 yr old: Story of the World
Wednesday: Science for 8 yr old: Apologia
Thursday: Piano. He practices every day but Thursday he will practice double the time. 
Friday: Dad's day off. 

And that's it. We keep it as minimal as possible so that the rest of the day learning can flow from all the interesting things we do, see, and talk about. And, if at breakfast someone asks a question that flows into a rabbit trail of learning as often happens with curious little boys, well, so be it. 

My comfort, when we don't stick to curriculum, comes in a handy print-out for each child's grade from wordbook.com that gives a list subject by subject of each thing they should know by the end of the year. Whenever I begin to worry whether my kids are actually learning I begin to go down the list for each child and see how ahead they actually are. This also allows me to watch for gaps or areas I wouldn't think to cover. 

I've also been doing some further planning in the area of chores and housework and meals/cooking but I'll save that for another day. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mr. President

A couple months ago our family brought home a new member, a white German Shepherd named Harrison. Pretty cute, no?



Harrison has been a constant source of stress and frustration. He's a money drain too. Honestly I'm not sure one thing this dog is supposed to bring to our family. An alarm system would be cheaper, WAY cheaper, security wise.

Then, yesterday, I was walking through the backyard and something caught my eye. I almost threw up in disgust. There, in the middle of a pile of dog poop, was a large white worm. WHITE. A roundworm. I spent the rest of the day panicking as I read about the dangers of roundworms in dogs to children and pregnant women. That explains his recent loss of appetite and diarrhea bouts all night long that have required me to get up often twice a night and take him outside between going to the restroom myself. We now have to spent even more time and effort into protecting ourselves, our yard, and our home from these invaders in our dog. (Don't worry, I know how to handle it.)

Why did we get him? Why should we keep him? What is his value or worth? What were we thinking opening our family to him?

[15] We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; [16] yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15-16, ESV) (emphasis mine)

I wonder if the Jewish Christians felt this way when Christ let it be known that He had died not only for the Jew, but also for the Gentile sinner. I wonder if the Jews were disgusted. I wonder if they felt repulsed by the extra work and struggled against opening their faith to such a "sinful" people, to such lawless people...people that were never part of the exile into the desert or the exile into Babylon. People that had not suffered and wandered and had their heritage. And suddenly salvation unto them has come by God's free grace and favor. 

Sigh. 

So, Mr. President stays. He is pretty cute, after all. He's stupidly happy and you should see him when the water hose is on. I'm still not sure what he will add to our family and what all this money spent will do for us, but, sometimes it just has to cease to be about money or us. We certainly won't win any brownie points with God just for welcoming a stupid dog into our house. It's not like we did something noble like adopt a child. So it's not even a salvific good work. huh. What a waste. 

But he stays. 

May we stay too. Always. Christ keep us. 




Salvation unto us has come

By God’s free grace and favor;

Good works cannot avert our doom,

They help and save us never.

Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone,

Who did for all the world atone;

He is our one Redeemer.


What God did in His law demand

And none to Him could render

Caused wrath and woe on every hand

For man, the vile offender.

Our flesh has not those pure desires

The spirit of the Law requires,

And lost is our condition.



It was a false, misleading dream

That God His Law had given

So sinners could themselves redeem

And by their works gain Heaven.

The Law is but a mirror bright

To bring the inbred sin to light

That lurks within our nature.


From sin our flesh could not abstain

Sin held its sway unceasing;

The task was useless and in vain,

Our guilt was e’er increasing.

None can remove sin’s poisoned dart

Or purify our guileful heart—

So deep is our corruption.


Yet as the Law must be fulfilled

Or we must die despairing,

Christ came and hath God’s anger stilled,

Our human nature sharing.

He hath for us the Law obeyed

And thus the Father’s vengeance stayed

Which over us impended.


Since Christ hath full atonement made

And brought us to salvation,

Each Christian therefore may be glad

And build on this foundation.

Thy grace alone, dear Lord, I plead,

Thy death is now my life indeed,

For Thou hast paid my ransom.



Let me not doubt, but trust in Thee,

Thy Word cannot be broken;

Thy call rings out, “Come unto Me!”

No falsehood hast Thou spoken.

Baptized into Thy precious Name,

My faith cannot be put to shame,

And I shall never perish.


The Law reveals the guilt of sin

And makes men conscience-stricken;

The Gospel then doth enter in

The sinful soul to quicken.

Come to the cross, trust Christ, and live;

The Law no peace can ever give,

No comfort and no blessing.



Faith clings to Jesus’ cross alone

And rests in Him unceasing;

And by its fruits true faith is known,

With love and hope increasing.

Yet faith alone doth justify,

Works serve thy neighbor and supply

The proof that faith is living.


All blessing, honor, thanks, and praise

To Father, Son, and Spirit,

The God that saved us by His grace—

All glory to His merit!

O Triune God in Heav’n above,

Who hast revealed Thy saving love,

Thy blessèd Name be hallowed.


Salvation Unto Us Has Come, LSB #555




Saturday, July 26, 2014

The whole world's going crazy...

...but not in here.  Soli Deo Gloria




Your Sorrow Will Turn into Joy
[16] “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” [17] So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” [18] So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” [19] Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? [20] Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. [21] When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. [22] So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. (John 16:16-22 ESV)