Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The First Article

"God settles the solitary in a home" (Ps. 68:6).

"He also gives me...home...and children" (Small Catechism).

We leave behind the Ten Commandments now and come to the Creed.  I love this moment in the Small Catechism!  The Creed is the true center of the Catechism.  The Commandments point to the need for it, and then the Lord's Prayer and the Sacraments flow out of it.

The Creed is one, and yet has three parts or "articles."  That is because God is one, and yet three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

About the First Article many things could be said, but I will choose one or two.  We learn and remember that God gives.  God is the Giver.  And among the things He gives are "home" and "children."  No one is learning this more right now than the Schmeling family and two very special young men named Ryan and Erik.

Ryan (14) and Erik (12) are brothers, and they are the nephews of Bryan and Kathleen Schmeling, who have three girls: Caroline, Abigail, and Elizabeth.  On Sunday, the day of resurrection and hope, it became clear to all that God was giving the boys a new home and was giving two more children to the Schmelings.  It's a new thing and it's going to take some time, but there is no doubt that this is God's "appointment" to show His love.

We talk a lot about Home here at Our Redeemer.  This is one very exciting example of what that means!  And we talk about Church, which is really a family of faith and love.  As the Schmeling family grows to seven (the perfect number!), the Our Redeemer family grows "two."  This Sunday when the Schmelings come to Church, we'll get to show Ryan and Erik how happy we are to have them be part of our family!  God bless it!

God is truly the Giver.  The Giver of His Son for our salvation - and the Giver of all good things.  "If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?" (Rom. 8:31-32).

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Close of the Commandments

Sad and glad.  That is what I am as the commandments come to a close.

I am sad because for the past ten weeks I have been meditating on these "ten words" - one per week.  Each one had something to give me.  Each one showed me how to love God or my neighbor.  They are more beautiful than I remember them.  More loving.  More practical.  And yet so deeply spiritual.  I'm going to miss them.

And I'm sad because I have missed the commandments, am missing them, and will always miss them.  That is, miss the mark.  As beautiful as they are, I begin to see only the ugliness of my sin.  The longer I spend with them, the shorter I know I have fallen (Rom. 3:23).  I feel sadness and fear to see myself as such a sinner.

But from the Close of the Commandments I see another word coming: Creed.  How glad it makes me!  How happily I will close the commandments and open the Creed, and discover the Trinity and all that God has done, is doing, and will do for me to rescue me from my sins!

What need I have for the Creed!  It is the need that makes me sad, but the Creed that makes me glad!

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments

The Ninth and Tenth Commandments say, "You shall not covet."

But Covet has a mother and her name is Compare.  This means that before one can covet, he must first compare.  He must compare two things: what God has given him, and what God has given to another.  All coveting begins with comparing.  Even to compare your present situation with one you'd rather be in, soon leads to the sin of coveting: the desire to have what God has not given you.

Covet has a daughter and her name is Complain.  She has no friends.  Complaining is always the direct result of coveting, just as coveting is the direct result of comparing.  Hold in check your comparing and you will hold in check your coveting and complaining.

Replace all of these C's with Contentment.  She is the happy, beautiful daughter of faith and trust in God.  But do not stop at thanking God for what He has given you.  Thank Him especially for what He has given to others.  Pray that God will create in you this kind of heart.