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Posts Tagged ‘faithfulness’

older couple's handsWe are witnessing the deconstruction of marriage. But, how did it happen and why? Can we place the blame on those who advocate same-sex “marriage”?  Are they the only ones  chipping away at the institution of marriage?

Long before society began to tolerate the “marriage” of two men or two women, it accepted cohabitation, adultery, and no-fault divorce. It accepted the lie that we are, first and foremost, sexual beings who have the “right” to love, be loved, and have our needs met. Society, however, would not be left in such darkness if we in the Church had trusted the Light and resisted the sexualization of marriage.

What does this mean? In 1961, Mary Calderone, the co-founder of SIECUS (Sex Information and Education Council of the U.S.) and former medical director of Planned Parenthood, lectured on the role of churches in sex education to 500 delegates from 38 Protestant denominations. Calderone worked her way into churches and homes because she feared that parents did a poor job of teaching their children about “sexuality.” She wanted parents to teach children the “yeses” of sex instead of so many “thou shalt nots.” She wanted boundaries and inhibitions removed. Calderone wanted children to experience the “wow” factor of sex. There were those in the Church who embraced this thinking. It was their hope that talking about sex with children beginning at an early age would help boys and girls grow up to be husbands and wives who would experience the “wow” factor of sex.

And so, for half a century and from kindergarten on, children hear: “God created sex to be beautiful within marriage.” “Sex in marriage is the best thing ever.” “Sex is worth waiting for.” “Sex within marriage is when we are the closest to God.” “Sex is so amazing, my dear child, that we are going to talk about it a lot.”

Because sin permeates all relationships, including marriage, is it possible that years of fantasizing on the ecstasy of sex might have an impact on a husband and wife? Might sexual expectations be so high that when marriage is put to the everyday challenges of real life, husbands and wives are disappointed? Might they be so disappointed that they are tempted to believe that sex with someone else might be better, maybe even with someone of the same gender who might better understand their partner’s needs?
Has marriage been sexualized?

Consider the husband and wife who desire to bring new life into the world, but are barren. Rebecca Mayes writes, “One of the aspects of barrenness that is so awkward is the fact that the ‘success’ of your marital relations (more modernly called your ‘sex life’) with your spouse is often scrutinized by those around you, either privately in their own minds, or quite publicly to your face. The joining of two fleshes into one in the bonds of holy matrimony used to be treated with such modesty and respect. No one would dare ask you whether you’re ‘doing it’ right or if you’ve tried such-and-such a method. But the sexual revolution has changed all that, and in numerous Christian publications we read that the act is a beautiful, natural part of marriage and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We should celebrate our ‘gift of sexuality’ and teach children in our Church all they need to know to be prepared for utilizing this ‘gift.’ But is this what the Bible says? When we blush at the questions about what’s wrong with our reproductive organs, is that for a good reason, or are we just prudes?” (He Remembers the Barren, 6-15-2014)

Sex matters, but marriage matters more. Some pastors take care during pre-marital instruction not to overemphasize sexuality because they believe that it could threaten the hierarchy of values in marriage and assume too predominant a place in terms of producing a well-grounded and joyful marriage. The “wow” factor of sex can be wonderful, but it is the friendship, trusted companionship, communication, and agape love of a husband and wife that carries them through good times and bad, sickness and health. With an identity that is primarily “sexual,” we are limited in the ways we can serve others. Not so with our holy identity; for indeed, when we see ourselves as “uncommon” and set apart for use not just by anyone but by God, our opportunities to serve are multiplied.

Instead of detailed sex talk, parents do better—with the support of the Church—to help boys understand the vocation of manhood and girls to understand the vocation of womanhood. Boys need to know how they, as the stewards and defenders of life, should regard women, most especially their someday wives. Girls need to know how they, as the co-stewards and nurturers of life, should regard men, most especially their someday husbands. Parents go a long way in preparing sons and daughters for marriage by mentoring respect, patience, selflessness, and forgiveness. Parents also do well in preparing young men and women for the realities of married life. Because of the Fall, marriage is hard work. It requires appreciation of our differences as male and female, the commitment to work together, trust, friendship, and more agape than eros love. Marriage can be a beautiful relationship, not just because of the sexual union, but sometimes even in spite of it.

It is God’s design that the marital union of man and woman become the nest for new life; the foundation for home and family. Sin has distorted God’s perfect design but, even in disappointment and difficulty, a faithful marriage is the bedrock of a finely-tuned and healthy society. Marriage is the amazing teamwork of male and female; indeed, the two eyes of the human race. Both eyes are needed for a proper perspective on all matters of life. Biblical marriage is the only pairing that allows a man formed from the dust of the ground to welcome the help of a woman made from his rib. The world is better for it.

Intimacy in marriage is not all about the sexual act. It is the most perfect trust, companionship and loving faithfulness this side of heaven. It is the unity of two spirits in this life—male and female, each encouraging the other to journey well to a sure and certain destination.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com
Linda Bartlett strives to help mentor
biblical womanhood through Titus 2 for Life .
She is the author of The Failure of Sex Education in the Church:
Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (Amazon.com)
Visit: Our Identity Matters

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Joseph and MaryJoseph, a young man from the house of David, was probably like every other soon-to-be husband: nervous, but excited all the same.  That is, until his fiancée came to him with shocking news.  Mary was pregnant, but Joseph was not the father.  The world, as Joseph knew it, had collapsed around him.  He felt betrayed, hurt, angry.  Break the engagement, whispered his pride, and walk away from this woman.

Everything had changed.  Plans were ruined.  Reputation was at stake.  Unchartered territory lay ahead.  At this precarious moment in his life, Joseph had nothing to hang on to… nothing, that is, except the Word of the Lord.

The Word gave Joseph courage.  “Don’t be afraid!”  It was the word that showed Joseph how to be faithful.  “Take Mary as your wife.  She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-21).

Perhaps, in holding on to the Word, Joseph remembered the experience of his ancestor, Adam.  Perhaps, in a moment of truth and with eyes focused, Joseph could picture Adam standing next to his wife, Eve.  Perhaps, with wisdom only from the Holy Spirit, Joseph recognized the significance of Eve’s creation by God from man’s rib.

God made (literally: “built”) woman using part of man.  With this, He established their relationship within the order of creation.  A rib is structural; it supports.  A rib guards and protects the heart and breath of life, yet it is vulnerable.  Under attack, it can easily be fractured or even broken.  Satan despises the order of creation that God uses to protect the man and woman He so loves.  So, that day in the Garden, Satan set his target and went straight to Adam’s rib.  The man was responsible for using God’s Word to cover his wife, yet he did nothing.  Joseph knew the consequences that followed.

Perhaps, with discernment only from God, Joseph understood that he must not repeat the sin of his ancestor and do to his rib what Adam had done to his.

Perhaps, in remembering what Adam had failed to do, Joseph was given the courage to cover his wife, Mary, and lead her to safety.  Let the village talk!  Adjust carefully-made plans!  Trust the Word of the Lord!  Although it meant leaving his zone of comfort, Joseph did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him to do.  He covered his rib by taking Mary as his wife.  And, when Mary’s child was born, Joseph named Him Jesus.

God wanted Joseph to make a difference – a difference that would impact the world.  But, such a difference could be made only by being faithful.  Such faithfulness required that Joseph leave all that was familiar and put his life and the life of Mary into the hands of God.

Today, when a young man pressures his girlfriend to have sex, he is leaving her physically, emotionally, and spiritually vulnerable.  He has placed his “needs” before hers and, in so doing, left her open to attack.  When a man does not promise to love, cherish, and cover a woman with his name, but simply share living quarters and a bed, he is leaving her open to attack.  When a man fathers a child but does not accept the privilege and responsibility of being a daddy, he is leaving both mother and child uncovered and vulnerable to the world.

But, when a man remembers God and His call to leadership, he is able to make a difference.  A young man who guards his girlfriend’s virtue makes a difference.  A husband who remains true to his wife makes a difference.  A dad who understands the privilege, responsibility, and generational influence of fatherhood makes a difference.  Men of faithfulness have a grand opportunity to defend against chaos and leave a legacy of hope.

Convenience told Joseph to walk away from Mary.  Self-defense told Joseph to think of “number one.”  Pride told Joseph that he could do better.  Fear told Joseph to hide.  But, God told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.

Joseph did what the angel of the Lord commanded.  He covered Mary, his rib, and the unborn Child whose heart beat under her own.  And, after the Baby was born in the most humble of circumstances, Joseph named the Child Jesus.  Through all the frightening days ahead, Joseph remembered the Word of the Lord.  And the Lord did not forget Joseph.  In the midst of danger, the angel of the Lord warned Joseph.  When uncertainty abounded, the angel of the Lord directed Joseph.

It’s true that life wasn’t ever the same for Joseph.  It certainly wasn’t what he had planned.  But, Joseph remembered the Word of the Lord.  And, in doing so, he received courage to do what was asked of him.  Joseph was faithful to cover Mary, his rib.  He raised her Son Jesus in a godly home and took Him to worship.  Some 2000 years later, the Boy who grew to be a Man in the house of a carpenter is still changing lives.

Joseph made a difference.

Copyright 2010

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The following excellent post is from THE CHRISTIAN PUNDIT.  It’s worth the time and thought of any young woman who is contemplating marriage.

It Matters Whom You Marry

My husband and I were once with a youth group. There were three kids sitting across from us at a meal: two guys and a girl. The one guy was a computer geek with glasses. The other one was a college student with slightly cooler hair and no glasses. The girl was obviously with him. But while the computer geek was busy serving everyone at the meal, clearing plates and garbage, the college student got angry with the girl for a small accident and poured red juice over her leather jacket and white shirt. She picked the wrong guy, and the juice didn’t seem to change her mind. She is in for some grief if that relationship continues and especially if it leads to marriage.

So to all the young, unmarried Christian girls out there, listen up: who you marry matters. You might think that the way he treats you isn’t so bad. It’s not going to get better after the wedding. You might think that he’ll change. It’s possible, but most don’t. You might think that you’ll be able to minister to him and help him. Possibly, but if you can’t now, you won’t then, and you will be at risk yourself. A husband should lead and cherish you, not need your counsel for basic personality or behavior issues.

Unless someone married is very frank with you, you can’t understand how much a husband will impact your entire life. Next to salvation there is no other long term event that will change so many areas of your life so deeply. Here are just some of the ways that marriage will impact every aspect of living.

1. It will impact you spiritually. If the guy is not a believer, you can stop right there. You have no business yoking a redeemed soul with an unregenerate one, even if he seems open to change. Christ has bought you with a price and it is not an option to give away that blood bought heart to someone who doesn’t know and love your Lord. It will cripple your spiritual development, open up a host of temptations, stifle your prayer life, make regular church going difficult, and cause massive parenting conflict if you have children.

If the guy is a believer, is he a strong one? Will he lead you in prayer, Bible reading, family devotions, and public worship? Or will you be on your own? Is he going to make spiritual growth a priority or do other things come first? Is he going to ask you how it’s going with your soul so he can help you grow in holiness and love for Christ, or will he leave that to your pastor? Is he going to lead the children in this, or will you have to spearhead that? In church, is he going to help the kids sit well, pray, find the hymn, or will you be the one pointing out what is happening next and helping the family keep up? Many women have married spiritually immature men, thinking that it wasn’t a big issue, or that the man would change, and they were wrong. They bear the scars.

The health of your eternity is at stake. Think carefully.

2. It will impact you emotionally. Is the guy you’re thinking of going to encourage you, love you, be kind to you, and seek to understand you, or will he want to go out with the guys when you’re having a hard night? Will he listen when you are struggling with something or will he be preoccupied with a video game? Is he going to be annoyed when you cry or will he get you Kleenex and give you a hug? Is he going to going to understand that you are probably more tender than he is, more sensitive to issues and comments, or is he regularly going to run rough shod over your feelings? One woman was struggling to breastfeed her new baby, believing that that was the best thing for her, but it was very difficult. Instead of giving support and encouragement, the husband would make mooing sounds whenever he saw his wife working at it. We have to get rid of princess complexes, but we do have emotional needs. Any guy who is uncaring about your feelings and self esteem is selfish and should be left alone.

Be careful – a husband can cripple or foster emotional health.

3. It will impact you physically. Is the guy you’re with going to provide for your basic needs? Will he be able to shelter, clothe and feed you? At one point in our marriage, I was worried that there was no employment opportunity. My husband assured me that he would work at McDonalds, dig ditches, clean up roadkill – whatever it took to provide for the family, regardless of his gifts and training. That’s the kind of attitude you want. A man who doesn’t provide for his household is worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). You might have to help ease the financial burden, but unless your husband is disabled or there is another unusual circumstance, you shouldn’t have to carry it yourself.

Will the man you are with care for your body or abuse it? If he gives you little smacks, kicks, etc. when you’re dating, get away. It’s almost guaranteed that he will abuse you after marriage, and stats show that’s especially true when you are pregnant. Is he going to care for and protect your body or will he hurt it? There are women in churches across America who thought it was no big deal to have little (sort of friendly) punches or slaps from their boyfriends, but who are covering up the bruises from their husbands.

Will the man you are with care for you sexually? Is he going to honour the marriage bed in physical and mental faithfulness to you or will he flirt, feed his porn addiction, or even leave you for another woman? You can’t always predict these issues, but if the seeds or practices are already there, watch out. I recently saw a newly married couple and the husband was flirting openly with another woman. Unless something drastic happens, that marriage is headed for disaster.

Is he going to be tender and gentle to you in bed? An unbelieving co-worker once told my sister that after her first sexual encounter, she had trouble walking for a few days because her boyfriend was so rough. In other words, he wasn’t selfless enough to care for the body of the woman he said he loved.

Watch out. Your body needs care and protection.

4. It will impact you mentally. Is the man that you’re thinking of going to be a source of worry or will he help you deal with your worries? Is he going to encourage your intellectual development, or will he neglect it? Is he going to value your opinions and listen to what you are thinking, or will he disregard your thoughts? Is he going to help you manage stress so that your mind is not burdened that way, or is he going to let you struggle through issues alone? Is he going to care for you and be thoughtful of you if you are experiencing mental strain, or will he ignore it? I know of a woman who could handle pregnancy and child birth very well physically but postpartum depression took a huge toll on her mind. The husband overlooked it, continuing to have more children, until his wife ended up in a mental institution.

You might think that the intellectual or mental side of a marriage is small. It’s bigger than you think. Consider it seriously.

5. It will impact you relationally. How’s your relationship with your mother? Your dad? Do you love them? Does your boyfriend? Fast forward ten years: you tell your husband that your mother is coming for the weekend. Is he excited? Disappointed? Angry? Making snide jokes with his friends? Of course, a husband should come first in your priority of relationships, as you both leave father and mother and cleave to one another. But parents are still a big part of the picture. Whatever negative feelings he has about your parents now will probably be amplified after marriage. Your marriage will either strengthen or damage – even destroy – your relationship with your parents. The people who know you best and love you most right now could be cut out of the picture by a husband who hates them.

It’s the same with sisters and friends. Will they be welcomed, at reasonable times, in your home? Will the guy who you’re with encourage healthy relationships with other women, or will he be jealous of normal, biblical friendships? Will he help you mentor younger women and be thankful when older women mentor you, or will he belittle that?

Don’t sacrifice many good relationships for the sake of one guy who can’t value the people who love you.

So how will your boyfriend do after the vows? Because this is just a sampling of the ways that a husband can bless or curse his wife. The effects are far reaching, long lasting, and either wonderful or difficult. True, there are no perfect men out there. But there are great ones. And it’s better to be single for life than to marry someone who will make your life a burden. Singleness can be great. Marriage to the wrong person is a nightmare. I’ve been in a church parking lot where the pastor had to call the police to protect a wife from a husband who was trying to stop her from worshiping and being with her family. It’s ugly. Don’t be so desperate to get married that your marriage is a grief. If you are in an unhappy marriage, there are ways to get help. But if you’re not married, don’t put yourself in that situation. Don’t marry someone whose leadership you can’t follow. Don’t marry someone who is not seeking to love you as Christ loved the church. Marry someone who knows and demonstrates the love of Christ.

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Before the election, I suggested that we “Vote: Then Stay Calm and Carry On.”

Well, the people have voted.  We cannot blame the president for what will or will not happen.  His ideology and hope for America were made clear through his unapologetic support of abortion, partnership with Planned Parenthood, promotion of sodomy, new definition of marriage, and health care mandate that forces Christians to choose God or Caesar.   The people, whether church-goers or not, determined the kind of leadership this country will have for another four years.

For the believer, nothing has really changed.  The day before the election is the same as the day after.  In all circumstances, we are to stay calm and carry on.

But, how can we do this?  How can we carry on the work of Christ in a nation that puts its trust not in God but in government?  In a culture that lifts the “right” to uninhibited sexuality and abortion above the right of conscience and faith?  In congregations that compromise God’s Word for the sake of church growth?

We stay calm and carry on.

There is a passage from Scripture that many of us like to offer as encouragement to friends or family.  It reads: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).  Left to itself, this passage assures us that all will be well.  All will turn out for good.  But, Steve Elliott of Grassfire.com and my own Pastor Beisel remind me how crucial it is to read all of God’s Word in the context of when and why it was written.

The “future and a hope” passage is from a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the surviving elders, priests, prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.  Please take note that the Lord God “sent” His people into exile.  It didn’t happen by accident.  It wasn’t because Nebuchadnezzar outwitted God or was more progressive.

What were exiled and captive people of God to do?  They were to be faithful.  They were to “build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.  Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.  But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:5-7).

They were also to heed God’s warning.  “Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream, for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in My name;  I did not send them, declares the Lord” (vv. 8-9).

Then the Lord continued, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill my promise and bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (vv. 10-11).

It is for this reason that I started Titus 2 for Life years ago.  After hearing the cries of so many Christian women deceived by the world’s focus on sexuality and “my right;” after hearing their cries after choices of promiscuity and abortion, I was motivated to encourage believers using God’s Word of Genesis together with the mentoring model of Titus 2.  Young pastor Titus was concerned for his congregation.  They were pressed on all sides by a culture that craved new ways and personal fulfillment.  What could Titus do for the few believers so that they would be equipped to raise up Christian families and, at the same time, push back against evil?  St. Paul offered Titus a model for mentoring that has always proved effective for any generation – in or out of exile.

So, on a quiet evening, please read Jeremiah 27-33.  Read the whole story.  Then, read Titus 2:2-15.

But, don’t stop there.  It has become very important for me to remember what happened when God’s people came out of exile.  In the Book of Ezra, we learn that only a few of the Jewish exiles wanted to return to Jerusalem and their homeland.  Most were unwilling to give up their Babylonian property or lifestyle to which they had become accustomed.  They didn’t want to return to “old ways.”  So, with only a few faithful ones returning to rebuild Jerusalem, the work was hard.  Some people in the area offered their help.  Those people didn’t worship Yahweh but held to a blend of mixed religious beliefs.  Suffice it to say that they had their own motives for wanting to help.  God told His people to refuse the help of unbelieving neighbors in the land.  Why?  Because accepting help from non-believers would obligate God’s people to pagan ways.  The potential for corruption in worship was too great if God’s people became aligned with non-believers (Ezra 4:3).

I pray for courage and opportunity to use the model given me for mentoring.  Even if it means being strange or unpopular, I pray for help in persevering for God’s glory rather than my own.  At Titus 2 Retreats, I often tell women that I feel exiled in my own country even though never forced from my home.  Perhaps, that’s how it will be for the rest of my life on this earth.  After all, I am but a stranger here on a journey to my heavenly home.  I’m not sure I ever felt “different” in my youth, but I do now.

Identity is everything.  God doesn’t call me to fit in with the world or grow comfortable with my desires.  He calls me to be holy as He is holy.  And when I am not, He reminds me of all He did for me in Christ Jesus.  In exile or not, I am His.  Redeemed to holiness, I can fear less.  Serve more.

In exile or not, I can trust my identity.  Resist deception.  Mentor away from evil.  Seek what is good.  Plant the seed and till the soil.  Raise the standard.  Be fed with Word and Sacrament.  Not be ashamed.  Run my race.  Encourage family.  Stay calm.  Carry on.

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The mother of one of my dear friends is in a nursing home.  She is a widow of so many years I’ve lost count.  In the past year, she survived near death experience but, at 95, her body is weakened.  Her daughter is faithful.  She travels four hours one way to spend two or three days with her mother.  The daughter encourages the mother and, at the same time, I believe the mother remains the mentor.  Even in poor health and weakened condition, the mother is an instrument for good in the hands of the Mighty God.

I can do little.  But, today, I wrote my friend’s mother this note:

Dear One,

I had these note cards printed with the single word “Amen.”  Why?  Because this word means “so be it.”  It can be our voice, responding to God, saying, “I agree with You, Father!  You said it!  Yes, indeed!”

So many days of our life are spent wondering and questioning: Why, Lord?  Why am I in this place?  Why is this happening?  Where are You?

Without a doubt, you are asking these questions.  But, you know what?  You have the answer.  You are in the hands of the Mighty God.  He said it is so.  God has called you by name, you are His.  He said it is so.  God knows every hair on your head.  He said it is so.  Because of what Jesus has done for you, you are a treasure of great price.  He said it is so.

Do battle with the doubts and fears, my friend.  They are deceptions of Satan, your enemy and mine.  Hold fast to the Promise of Jesus who died for you and me.  Tell Satan to take a hike… be gone… diminish into the nothing that he is.

You remain — forever and in all circumstances — the daughter of the King.  You are loved no matter what.”

It is my hope and prayer that, someday, someone writes me an “Amen.”  “So be it!”  “You said it, Father, it is so!”  May someone else remind me to trust The Promise.  God, who calls us by name, is faithful to work a good work in us and through us — until the day He calls us home.

In Jesus,

Amen.

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Testifying before U.S. Congress, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) President Matthew Harrison said: “Religious people determine what violates their consciences, not the federal government.”  That perspective will be tested in several courtrooms.

If the Health and Human Services (HHS) health care mandate is not overturned, our children and grandchildren will have less religious freedom than their parents and grandparents did.  The stakes could not be higher for Lutheran Christians privileged to live in the United States of America.

The LCMS is seriously concerned.  The health care legislation allows the government to define not only what a church is but also what a church is free to do, or not to do.  You see, the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights is more than the freedom to gather with others for worship.  It is more correctly the freedom to live and speak our faith out in the community.  With the health care mandate, government is infringing on our religious freedom and rights of conscience.  It falsely defines Christian charity as limited only to work within our own church walls.  (Read more about “Charity and Compassion Outside the Church” in the next post.)

The HHS mandate directs many religious groups and institutions to offer their employees coverage for contraception and drugs that result in the death of a preborn child regardless of whether or not that religious group believes abortion or sterilization is obedient to God as the Creator of life.  This is a direct violation of our religious liberties and our rights of conscience guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.

The largest historical question for my church body, the LCMS, is this: Does the federal government have the power to impose a heavy fine or tax on those religious groups who refuse to provide for their employees services that violate their moral and religious principles?  (Source: President Matthew Harrison on Youtube, and Timothy S. Goeglein in The Lutheran Witness, 9/2012)

The LCMS believes this matter is so crucial that it has set up a special website with the goal of providing Christian citizens of the United States with helpful resources.  Please take the time to visit www.lcms.org/freetobefaithful Listen to President Harrison express his grave concerns.  Then, respond by speaking up to your legislators, writing letters-to-the-editor, and talking to your family and neighbors.

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On March 2, my husband and I flew from Phoenix to Chicago.  There, we awaited the only flight being allowed into Cincinnati that afternoon.  A wicked storm system was building and air traffic was in turmoil.  Two of the three flights to Cincinnati were canceled.  There were rumors that a half hour window of good weather would allow our plane to make its way to our destination. 

Of course, we were anxious.  We didn’t want to be stranded at O’Hare.  We wanted to safely travel to northern Kentucky to be with our younger son and daughter-in-law for the baptism of their second child, our first granddaughter.  Joining us would be our oldest son, daughter-in-law, and three grandsons.  Our granddaughter’s other grandparents and great-grandfather would be gathering with us.  Oh, to greet newborn Kate and witness her becoming a new person in Christ.  Little did we know that we would all be gathering in the eye of the storm

Our sure and steady pilot did, indeed, find a “hole” in the gathering storm clouds.  We landed, disembarked, and within fifteen minutes heard sirens.  Someone said the airport was being evacuated.  Security guards told us to move away from the windows and take cover.  A tornado had been sighted.  No one knew what to do.  Where was a vulnerable person supposed to find shelter in a massive, glass-encased building?  I remember feeling no fear.  Perhaps it was foolish, but my husband and I decided to do the best we could and proceed with our original plan.  We went outside and hailed the shuttle bus to the car rental site.  The driver was calm.  Yes, he was listening to radio reports and storm warnings; nevertheless, he, too, proceeded forward.  There were no other travelers standing in line to rent a car but us.  The woman behind the counter kept glancing out the window, yet continued filling out papers, saying, “Let me get you on your way.  Here.  For no additional charge, take the bigger car parked out front.  It will be safer in the wind.” 

Once in the car, my husband and I navigated away from the airport and to our hotel.  There was only one moment when the uncertainty seemed to elevate emotions.  The moment passed and we found ourselves approaching the hotel just as the sun appeared from behind dissapating clouds.  Our uncertainty and concern had not been only for ourselves.  Kate, her parents, and her big brother, Max, were also in the eye of the storm.  Our son stood watch at the window, ready to lead his family to the basement if necessary.  Our oldest son and daughter-in-law with their three sons were due in Louisville within an hour or so of us.  Later, we learned that some of the greatest destruction was a few miles north of Louisville.  But, our family was spared.

Which of us knows when or where we will be in the eye of the storm?  Each day of life can bring with it uncertainties.  Difficulties.  Disappointments.  The need to adjust plans.  Make quick decisions.  Face fearful situations head on.  There can be a calm in the eye of the storm.  Life experiences have proven to me that while I may move away from God, He never moves away from me.  He often shows Himself most clearly when everything around me is swirling and supposedly out of control.

I thank my Heavenly Father for safely bringing baby Kate’s family to gather at her baptismal font.  In the challenges of her life, may Jesus Christ be her Rock.  Confidence.  Peace that passes all understanding.  May the Holy Spirit who has begun a good work in her give her wisdom and courage in the face of fear. 

Or in the eye of the storm.

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