Greetings from the southwest corner of Wyoming

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

CrossTalk: Thank God by Receiving His Benefits

Thanksgiving Day is about giving thanks. That’s a no-brainer. The question is: to whom, why and how?

Giving can only be done toward somebody else. We can give gifts to friends and taxes to Caesar, but to whom do we give our thanks? We can certainly start with our parents. They, after all, gave us life, protection, nourishment, upbringing and, most of all, love. Giving thanks to parents, brothers and sisters for the love that they have given us makes Thanksgiving Day a holiday about family.

Still, when we gather as a family to share a meal, to whom does the family give thanks? Who gave your parents life, protection, nourishment, upbringing and love? Nobody answers with endless genealogical lines. We know instinctively that it is about God, “the Father from whom every family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15).

So, Thanksgiving Day is about giving thanks to God, our Creator. We give thanks to Him because life is good, and I mean that in the most basic sense possible. Despite the evil in the world and all the pain that we have experienced, despite of the inevitability of our own death, we know unshakably that to be alive is better than to not be alive.

And the living existence that we have came from God. In his love He considered whether to give you life or not, and He chose the better thing for you. He didn’t have to do it. You hadn’t done anything to earn life. How could you? You didn’t even exist! He gave you your life and existence as a gift, by grace.

In the very first interaction you ever had with God, you were on the receiving end of the greatest gift ever. We give thanks to Him because He first gave life to us, and He continues to give it and everything you need to support, protect, and save it from death.

His initial gift of life is matched by His continual giving of rain and sunshine, harvest and springtime and absolutely everything that is needed to support your body and life. And since, due to evil and sin, your life is inevitably marching towards death, He even gives you the free gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue you from sin, death and the devil and to keep you alive forever.

It’s for all of this that we give thanks. Our thanks doesn’t pay Him back. We can’t. It simply acknowledges these two things: Life is good, and God gives it to you.

But how can you give thanks? Is it simply a matter of setting aside one day a year? Of course not. It is not even covered by saying the words “thank you” a thousand times a day. The only real way to give thanks is to appreciatively receive what you are given.

When you’re at Grandma’s house on Thanksgiving Day and you want to thank her for the meal, you won’t simply send her a nice card and head out to McDonald’s. You will skip the card and sit down at the table. It makes Grandma happy to see you enjoying what she gives you.

The same is true of God. He who loves your life so much that He decided from all eternity to give it to you also wants you to enjoy it for all eternity. He is pleased to see you appreciate the value of your life. He is delighted when receive the suffering and death of His only-begotten Son who preserves your life forever.

The best way to thank God this Thursday, and every day, is to ask and receive from Him every good and gracious gift that He desires to give you.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Body of Christ and the Public Square

I just learned about this great series of conferences hosted by Our Savior Lutheran Church in Hartland, MI. It is called "Body of Christ and the Public Square"

Here are all the YouTube links and MP3 files.

2015 September 26
Dr. William Weinrich MP3 / YouTube
David Barton (1) MP3 / YouTube
Senator Patrick Colbeck MP3 / YouTube
Rev. Raphael Cruz MP3 / YouTube
William Wagner MP3 / YouTube
David Barton (2) MP3 / YouTube
Bob Dutko MP3 / YouTube
Representative Lee Chatfield MP3 / YouTube
Panel Discussion MP3 / YouTube

2016 October 1
Rev. Christopher Thoma - The Two Kingdoms and the Tragic Assumptions MP3 / YouTube
Rep. Lana Theis and Senator Patrick Colbeck - An Exercise in Religious Liberty MP3 / YouTube
Professor William Wagner - God, Man and the Constitution MP3 / YouTube
Dinesh D'Souza MP3 / YouTube
Panel Discussion MP3 / YouTube

2017 October 7
Joshua Thoma MP3 / YouTube
Rev. Christopher Thoma MP3 / YouTube
Rev. Dr. Jamison Hardy MP3 / YouTube
Senator Patrick Colbeck MP3 / YouTube
Dr. Thomas Burke MP3 / YouTube
Dennis Prager MP3 / YouTube
Panel Discussion MP3 / YouTube

2017 October 14
Rev. Christopher Thoma MP3 / YouTube
Professor William Wagner MP3 / YouTube
Senator Joe Hune MP3 / YouTube
Rep. Louis Ghomert MP3 / YouTube
Panel Discussion MP3 / YouTube

Friday, November 3, 2017

Dr. Maureen Condic

Headwaters Circuit Forum, September 9, 2017 (audio)
Embryology, the Basics
Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Life: Defining the Beginning by the End, First Things, May 2003
When Does Human Life Begin? The Scientific Evidence and Terminology Revisited, University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy, Fall 2013, Vol. 8, No. 1. 44-81
A Scientific View of When Life Begins, Lozier Institute, June 11, 2014

Congressional Testimony:
Fetal Pain at 8 weeks, April 2017 (YouTube)

Recommended Reading:
Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, Robert P. George and Christopher Tollefsen

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Luther Rose with notes

Central to the Christian life is faith in Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). The BLACK CROSS declares: “God made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (1 Corinthians 5:21).

This is set against the background of a RED HEART indicating that Jesus shed His blood out of His great love for you and all sinners. And it is not only Jesus’ heart, but the Father’s own heart. Jesus is “the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the exact image of His own nature” (Hebrews 1:3).

Flowering from the Father’s love in Christ Jesus, is the WHITE ROSE indicating that you have been washed clean and made white “in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14). By Christ’s atonement you have “neither spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing, but are holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).

The GREEN PETALS remind us that the life given by the Holy Spirit “grows in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 1:21). For the Living God now lives in you by the Holy Spirit of Christ, so that “the life I now live, I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20).

The rose is set against the backdrop of HEAVENLY BLUE because we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13); and “being justified by His grace, we are heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

All this is RINGED IN GOLD because “according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Crosstalk: Reformation 500 - It's Still About Jesus

On the last day of this month the world will be observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany.

This was not an unusual event. Wittenberg was a University town, and the door of the church was the town bulletin board. As a professor, Luther was merely posting a notice about a public debate that he wanted to have.

As history unfolded, this simple act set off a chain reaction that would change the world. Ever since, Luther has been known as “the Reformer.” But on that day, he didn’t think of himself as a reformer, but simply as a pastor. He didn’t want to change the world, but just to help clear up some confusion for his students and members of his parish.

That’s the way God works. Usually, our grandiose plans to change the world fizzle. But when we aren’t looking to change the world, just humbly hoping just to change ourselves, God moves mountains. That’s why we should never be frightened at the world’s overwhelming evils.

“We are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world” (Ephesians 6:12). True, this is all too powerful for us. But Satan is not too powerful for Jesus.

The blasphemies of our time will not be defeated by stepping up our game to fight them. But neither should they cower us into silence. While we have no power of our own, the simple Word of God can, and will, defeat even the strongest lie.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, is a hymn that Luther wrote which has become a sort of anthem of the Reformation. The profound words of its third verse teach us a calm resolve, even in the face of the most frightful and satanic opposition.

“Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us. We tremble not. We fear no ill. They shall not overpower us. This world’s prince may still scowl fierce, as he will, he can harm us none. He’s judged. The deed is done. One little word can fell him.”

The last words of this stanza point to the reason we can be so calm. It’s not because we are strong enough to take on Satan. It’s because Jesus is. More than that, it’s because Jesus has put all of His divine power into the simple Word of God.

Since the Word of God is the only effective power against the devil’s lies, Satan can only win if we don’t speak God’s word. That’s why he fights so furiously to silence it.

Sometimes he fights openly by threatening Christians and churches with death, persecution, legal trouble, or unpopularity if they speak it. Other times he fights secretly by tempting Christians and churches to substitute the wisdom of man for the Word of God. In either case, we are quickly overwhelmed.

All this Luther summed up in the second stanza.

“With might of ours can naught be done. Soon were our loss effected. But for us fights the Valiant One, whom God Himself elected. Ask ye, ‘Who is this?’ Jesus Christ it is, of Sabaoth Lord, and there’s none other God. He holds the field forever.”

The Reformation was about Jesus. It was never about personal freedom, or conscience, or political rights, etc., etc. It was about a bold and confident trust in the simple Word of God, who has become a Man for us. It is still about Jesus.