A Thrivent Christmas Comparison

The Lutheran Satire produced the above video.

The Lutheran Satire is a good YouTube channel.

Unfortunately, the above video is not satire.  Herod tried to kill the child while Joseph protected him.  “Because they got caught supporting Herod … Thrivent no longer supports Joseph.  Please pray for everyone at Thrivent.”  (“A Thrivent Christmas Comparison,” The Lutheran Satire).

an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.”  And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt …

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.  Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

— Matthew 2:13-18, ESV.

Kyrie eleison.

A popular satirical video for the season of Christmas from The Lutheran Satire is: “Horus Ruins Christmas.”

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Blessed Christmas 2013

Happy birthday, Lord Jesus.

The picture above is of the Christmas Eve candlelight service at St. John in the Town of Center, Wisconsin.

May the Lord of Truth bless you and your loved ones today and always.

Merry Christmas!

Saluting a Veteran

mjs wisconsin veterans honor rollRecently, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel began a weekly series “saluting Wisconsin’s veterans.”

For week two, they saluted Sergeant Jonathan Donnan.  Please click on the image in this post to read a pdf copy of the Journal Sentinel’s salute to Sergeant Donnan.  (If you are unable to view pdf documents, please click here on the Journal Sentinel’s site, scroll to the bottom, and then click “Week 2”).

I don’t think a civilian can salute a veteran, at least not officially, but I would like to add my thanks to Jonathan for his service to our country and our church.

Jonathan and his wife Mara are members of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Appleton, WI (WELS).  And like me, they are also former members of St. Peter & The CORE (also in Appleton, WI (WELS)).  Jonathan is originally from the Ukraine, and came to Confessional Lutheranism through the Thoughts of Faith mission outreach program.

Sergeant Donnan has not only well served our country, he has also served our church with bravery, honor, dignity, and courage.

Thank you Sergeant Donnan.

God Paints with Reality

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Nobody does art better than God.  We draw with mediums like paint and photography, but God paints with reality.

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When He paints a sunset, He does it on a scale so large that even people can live in his creations.

Our art is best when it reflects the truth of reality.  The truth is beautiful.

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God’s word is truth.  With words God created the reality of the heavens and the earth.  (Genesis 1 & 2).

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I hope you enjoyed these sunset pictures.  The picture above was supposed to be redder, but I went through three successive dead batteries.  The charged battery was in the car.  So the reddest part of this sunset was lost to unrecorded history.  Still, God is good, and beauty exists even if it goes unseen.

No one does beautiful reality better than God.  Moreover, God does not create with just pretty lights and colors, He also creates with the truth of His love.

There is another reality that is ugly in every way except for the love it confesses.  That reality is Christ crucified.  His sacrifice was not a beauty of the eye, but rather a beauty of the heart.  Only in faith can we truly appreciate the deep beauty of His love and sacrifice.

We live in him.  He is for us a new reality.

Rust and Treasure

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“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy
and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys
and where thieves do not break in and steal.

For where your treasure is,
there your heart will be also.”

— Matthew 6:19-21, ESV.

The Seasons Change

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The seasons change.

But the Lord stays the same.

Autumn signifies the end of the growing season.  For some it signifies an end; maybe the end of a friendship or even the end of physical life.  But with the Lord all things will be made new.  (Revelation 21:5).  In Christ there will always be a Spring after Winter.  Seasons come and seasons go, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.  (1 Peter 1:25).

We can trust Him, we can rely on Him, we can take everything including our sins to Him.

“Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

“Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
In His arms he’ll take and shield you;
You will find a solace there.

“Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.”

— “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” Christian Worship, 411:3 & 2b.

Issues, Etc. Reformation Week 2013

Issues, Etc. Reformation week 2013 is from Monday, October 21 to Friday October 25.

Michaelmas

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Clouds always make me think of heaven.  Maybe it is because when God ascended into heaven He was hidden by a cloud.  (Acts 1:9).  Also, when God appeared to the ancient Israelites, He was often hidden by a cloud.  (e.g. Exodus 13:21).

Recently in recognition of the Archangel Michael’s service to our Lord, the Church celebrated Michaelmas.  Michael fought the dragon in heaven:

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon.  And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

— Revelation 12:7-9, ESV.

The scenes from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring & The Two Towers where Gandalf stands against and fights the Balrog are a fun artistic symbol of this battle.  I quite enjoy this quote from Gandalf:  “From the lowest dungeon to the highest peak I fought with the Balrog of Morgoth…  Until at last I threw down my enemy and smote his ruin upon the mountain side…”

— Gandalf; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.  Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them!  But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

— Revelation 12:10-12, ESV.

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The picture above makes me think of the Last Day when Christ will return with all the armies of heaven marching in order.  The time is indeed short.

The Beginnings of Autumn Color

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Autumn Color in Northeastern Wisconsin will hit peak soon.

One of the best places for Autumn color photography is Hartman Creek State Park near Waupaca.  The whispering, green pine and reflective waters help to contrast and show off colorful autumn leaves.  In the picture above the leaves are just beginning to turn color.

Hartman Creek also has some excellent mountain bike trails.

Dreams of Fall in Wisconsin

Jordy Nelson plays for the Green Bay Packers, and is originally from Kansas.

The above video was produced by Travel Wisconsin; to see the “making of” this video click here: The Wizard of Ahhh’s.