Monday, 30 March 2020

Saturday, 28 March 2020

1 thing a pastor must do!

The pastor’s vocation is to minister the Word and Sacraments, which give what they promise. He must carefully distinguish guilt and shame in those whom he treats. Almost always we are both sinning and sinned against, but it is harmful to confuse these and to produce a false guilt or fail to deal with a sense of shame, however unjustified that might be.

Pastors must listen carefully enough to differentiate shame and guilt. The medicine for the 2 are very different.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

The Lord's Prayer as divine conversation

Packer on the Lord’s Prayer as Model Answers to God’s Questions:

In Praying the Lord’s Prayer, J. I. Packer says the the Lord’s Prayer offers model answers to a series of questions God puts to us to shape our conversation with him. 

What do you take me for, and what am I to you?

Our Father in heaven.

That being so, what is it that you really want most?

[1] The hallowing of your name;

[2] the coming of your kingdom;

[3] to see your will known and done.

So what are you asking for right now, as a means to that end?

[1] Provision,

[2] pardon,

[3] protection.

How can you be so bold and confident in asking for these things?

Because we know you can do it, and when you do it, it will bring you glory!

Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.
—Matthew 6:9–13

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Is Coronavirus making us jump blindly?

It seems we're rushing to make big decisions when the picture on COVID-19 is still unclear:
The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. We don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300. Three months after the outbreak emerged, most countries, including the U.S., lack the ability to test a large number of people and no countries have reliable data on the prevalence of the virus in a representative random sample of the general population.
For more see A Fiasco in the Making

Friday, 20 March 2020

Why men should love & women respect their husbands

As you know, the Bible instructs husbands to love their wives and wives to respect their husbands. This doesn’t mean that husbands are free to disrespect their wives or that wives need not love their husbands; rather, the commands are ordered to each one’s needs. Men are blessed when they are respected by their wives, and women are particularly blessed when they are loved by their husbands. 
As it turns out, these commands are also ordered to the weaker sides of each sex. Men naturally function in terms of respect, and so they often need to be reminded to love their wives. And women naturally function in terms of love, and so they often need to be reminded to respect their husbands. 
And what do these commands mean? Love is defined by the gospel. It is sacrifice for the good of the other, but it is thoughtful, intentional sacrifice aimed toward a goal. Christ did not die on the cross in order to put a generic pay check on some cosmic counter. He died for particular people, to pay for their sins, to make them clean, to bring them to glory. His love took thought for the needs of His particular people, and His love went out of its way to make a way for them. Husbands, this is what love does. 

Respect is defined by the response of the Church to this love, and that is primarily embodied by glad submission and obedience. Respect looks up to, honors, speaks highly of, is eager to serve. In Peter’s letter, he points to Sara’s example with Abraham, calling him “lord.” While this need not be applied in a wooden way, the spirit must be applied. And in our common parlance, perhaps the closest we have to such an address is the word, “sir.” When we say “yes, sir” we express respect and honor for a man. And the point is that respect is leaning in with a readiness and gravity and eagerness to follow. What are his preferences? What does he like or dislike? Respect thinks highly of those inclinations, just as the Church responds to Christ’s love. 

Thursday, 19 March 2020

2 words to avoid when in an argument

Two of the most unhelpful words whenever you are in the middle of trying to sort out a disagreement are the words “always” and “never.” It’s often the sign of a subtle (or not so subtle) bitterness or resentment that begins sentences like “You always…” or “You never…” And sometimes defensiveness does the same thing the other way around, “I always…” or “I never…” So sometimes when I’m involved in a tense counseling situation, I have been known to tell people that those words are under the ban.

The above is actually part of Lord's Supper mediation but very applicable to many relationship chats! HT: Always & Never: