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Do We Have To Talk about the “S” Word?

pexels-photo-279991.jpegDevotional THought of the Day:
16  All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching the truth, rebuking error, correcting faults, and giving instruction for right living, 17  so that the person who serves God may be fully qualified and equipped to do every kind of good deed. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (TEV)

18 Lay the greatest weight on those commandments or other parts which seem to require special attention among the people where you are. For example, the Seventh Commandment, which treats of stealing, must be emphasized when instructing laborers and shopkeepers, and even farmers and servants, for many of these are guilty of dishonesty and thievery.8 So, too, the Fourth Commandment must be stressed when instructing children and the common people in order that they may be encouraged to be orderly, faithful, obedient, and peaceful. Always adduce ma.ny examples from the Scriptures to show how God punished and blessed.

531    “Treat him well for me, treat him well,” said a certain elderly bishop with tears in his eyes to the priests he had just ordained. Lord, I wish I had the voice and the authority to cry out in the same way to the ears and the hearts of many, many Christians!

The “S” word, sorry to tell you, isn’t “sex”

It’s the other “s” word that is difficult to talk about and for the same reason.  It is just as awkward, embarrassing, and produces as much anxiety as talking about sex with your 11-13-year-old child.

And the consequences of not having conversations about sin are worse than letting the world teach your kids about sex.  For lacking understanding about either sex or sin can lead to incredible pain, sorrow, and even death.

Not just physical death, the death of the spirit, death one’s soul.

So it is one we need to have.  Not just pastor and parishioner, but parents and kids, those who teach and govern with those whose lives they are entrusted with, those whom God has put in their lives to love and care for beyond the point of sacrificing convenience, to the point of complete sacrifice.

We have to get by the discomfort and have these talked with each other. talking about the sins which entrap us, the sins which drive us into despair, the sins that isolate us.

but we have to do it with the skill and wisdom that only comes because of the love we have, because of the love we know God has for them.  To talk about sin with the deliberate intent of freeing each other from its burdens of guilt and shame, from its curse and the death it causes.

We can’t talk about just to prohibit it, as if we could, by proper persuasion, convince them to never sin again. That will last an hour or two, and then they will hide the sin that entraps them, denying it, or justifying it in some form of logic we twisted them to use.  I say “we” because talking about sin improperly leads people to fear talking about it with us.  They have to realize that our goal is not to condemn the sinner, but free them.

This has to be made clear in our teaching, not just to proactively work with them to rely on God to overcome temptation, but also to help them run to the comfort and peace that comes with repentance, with absolution, that comes via the Holy Spirit washing and renewing our hearts.

This is our ministry, as pastors, as leaders, as parents, as those entrusted with the lives of others.  Yet in order to dohese things, we have to be confident that God is working in our life as well, cleansing and strengthening us, causing us to run to the Father, through Jesus.

This is who we are… and Lord help us talk about sin… in the way you did!  AMEN!

Tappert, T. G. (Ed.). (1959). The Book of Concord the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. (p. 340). Philadelphia: Mühlenberg Press.

Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 1285-1287). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Happiness? Sex, Anxiety and the Daily Grind…. but also…

Devotional Thought of the Day:Dawn at Concordia

4  May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again: rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (TEV) 

61 “Happy?”  The question made me think. Words have not yet been invented to express all that we feel in the heart and in the will – when we know ourselves to be children of God!.  (1)

I just entered a chapter in Furrow that is all about happiness, or perhaps, more accurately in English – joy.

I don’t feel all that full of joy today.  I have a bear of a sermon to write ( on the plan of God revealed in “Do not Commit Adultery.” to my older congregation.   I am dealing with some anxiety because of what I know some friends are enduring things I cannot imagine. I am tired and sore and the idea of putting on a fake smile and saying, “It is well”.  I would feel like a hypocrite. a liar, and in this season of Lent, not quite right.  I am supposed to be, and in many ways I am lamenting this broken world in which we walk. THere are days when what resonates with me is not “Rejoice!” but the phrase from my teenage years, “Life a b&@*#” or as Siddhartha Buddha put it, “Life is suffering”

Rejoice always?

Yeah, Sure.

Even as I type, I know that tonight, as the beginning notes of the Kyrie are played, as the voices of our congregation sing God’s praises, as they proclaim His love, I will know joy.  It will hear such joy in laughter, as they watch an middle age pastor try to preach about God’s masterpiece of life….within the scope of God’s words about….. SEX? I will know such joy as we communion, fellowship, as we share in Christ’s Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper.  It will extend through-out the service, and as we eat together, sharing in each other’s lives.

But what about until then?  How will I know that joy?  How will I obey Paul’s command to “REJOICE?”

I need to hear it less as a command, more of an encouragement, a reminder,

St . Josemaria does a great job helping me see beyond what I have read (and heard ) for years.  It is as we know ourselves as God’s children that we can find that joy. Even in lament, as we know, as we trust God, and know His promises of His presence, of His love, mercy and how He cares for us, It is that incredible love that gives us a sense that all will work it out.

No wonder ancient Jews would bind the word of God to their forehead and to their hands.  TO constantly remind them of this.  It’s why I usually wear a cross, either the one embroidered on my shirt, or one around my neck.

Paul says that to the church in Phillipi, in that passage ( I chose to use the TEV this morning – because it makes it more clear)  Joy is found as we now we are in Christ. In that union.  For God has attached us to Christ, to Him in His death, and in His resurrection.  And even more, in the very presence of the Father.  Again, from Paul,

1  You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2  Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.Colossians 3:1-3 (TEV) 

There it is, the words of life, that remind us of our greatest joy…..>

That we aren’t alone, that God is here… with us… and we are more than just walking through this life…

There is our joy, there is our hope, there are we…. with Him.

(1)  Escrvia, Josemaria  Furrow

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