Golden and Noble Works


“A wife too should regard her duties in the same light, as she suckles the child, rocks and bathes it, and cares for it in other ways; and as she busies herself with other duties and renders help and obedience to her husband. These are truly golden and noble works."
Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tend to Me: Devotions for Mothers




I just received an email from Emily Cook to let all know that her second book, Tend to Me: Devotions for Mothers, is now available!

Emily is a pastor's wife and mother of six. She knows sin and God's Grace and always points her readers to Christ, so I'm really looking forward to this book.

I was blessed by and recommend reading her previous book, Weak and Loved: A Mother-Daughter Love Story also Ifind much wisdom and encouragement through her blog, Weak and Loved.

And to let you know, Emily will be giving all the profits from her book to the ministry she writes about below:

I am excited to announce that all profits from this book of devotions will be given to Project 24, a mercy project helping orphans in Kenya.  Read why here, and learn more about Project 24 here.  This project is near and dear to my heart. 
Writing is one of my joys, as you know.  

I write because the flowers grow,
because grace showers down on me
and I am compelled to gather it up in words.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Living, Daring Confidence


"Faith, however, is a divine work in us that change us and makes us to be born a new of God. It kills the old Adam and makes us altogether different men, in heart and spirit and mind and powers; it brings with it the Holy Spirit.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God's grace so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times. This knowledge of and confidence in Gods grace makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and all creatures.
And this is the work that the Holy Spirit performs in faith. Because of it, without compulsion, a person is ready and glad to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, out of love and praise to God who has shown him this grace."  Martin Luther
As I live and breath in this body I am minute by minute reminded of how sinful I am and really I minute by minute ignore how sinful I am. I can say "I see my sin" but there are many many sins I choose not to see, worse I deny.

I don't know how many other vocations will reveal your sin to you the way being a parent will. The dying, the humiliation of it. The constant servitude. The demand to stop what I want and give. Give my time, my attention, my care, my love. And how often do I willing give any of these things? How much more often do I give them begrudgingly, or out of guilt or just not at all?

I cling like a nasty spoiled brat to my SELF, my WILL and say NO I will not love you right now. And when we get this honest with ourselves we see the worse part, the anger of it all and the pride. I'm angry that I'm needed, I'm angry that I can't do what I want when I want all day.

But as a child of God, I'm not supposed to be this way right? Why can't I gladly serve and suffer? Questions for better Theologians than I.

What am I supposed to do then?

I think I'm slowly learning the answer to that and the answer humbles and frustrates and relieves all at once. It's all a poor miserable beggar can do, repent and be forgiven, repent and be forgiven, repent and be forgiven.

In that is the faith that Luther speaks of, the "living daring confidence in God's grace". Apart from that we are all doomed.

Lord help us to live confidently in your Grace.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update on Baby Ephraim



Just wanted to let all here know that Ephraim was hospitalized yesterday with moderate dehydration and more weight loss but we are very pleased with the improvement we are seeing today. After fluids and some potassium, he is not only looking so much better but he is also finally starting to make more "normal" diapers. I'll spare you the details, but just say I've never been more excited about poop in my life!

Thanks be to God for His gifts of doctors, medicine and the love of friends and family. Please continue to pray for Ephraim as we move toward the possibility of taking him back home and figuring out how to keep him on the mend.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Welcome Baby Ephraim


 Announcing my newest blessing, Ephraim Job, born Saturday, October 20th! He's a little peanut, just 18 inches, and weighed 7lb 2oz.


Big brother and sisters are gaga about him, Clara too, though she looks like she couldn't care less. (She thought I was having two babies and keeps looking for "the other one".)

Ephraim will be baptized this Sunday. Praise be to God!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Church Meetings



Emily O. writes:

I don't know about you, but I tend to dread church meetings, typically Voters' Meetings. They loom on the calendar like infrared targets ripe for a sudden and terrible strike. As the day approaches, the tension rises and the pressure increases until I feel like an overfilled balloon. And I don't even personally attend any meetings at church!

While my description of meetings is dramatic, the truth is that church members and pastors are sinners, and whenever sinners get together, they tend to, well, sin. Depending on the church and the dynamics thereof, people exhibit and/or experience volatility when congregating together (I would even venture a guess that there's more fireworks in church meetings than in many other places, and not the kind that make people "oooh" and "aaah" with pleasure). And this is a sad reality of life together as God's people. We get mad, we get frustrated, we say mean and hurtful things. We get quiet and brooding and sullen. We harbor malice. We reject the mercy that God has given us in Christ and so reject our neighbors.

Sometimes anger is righteous. But too often, bitterness reigns. The balance is so difficult to keep, whether you're a layperson who's given decades of service to the church or whether you're a pastor's wife.
But thanks be to Him who saved us--and still saves us--from ourselves. He forgives our biting words, our sarcastic asides, our wrong assumptions and conclusions, our hateful thoughts. And--miracle of miracles--He comes again to meet us in each Divine Service, to serve us perfectly, to grant us forgiveness and to give us peace. I still won't be attending Voters' Meetings anytime soon, but I'm thankful that there's always a Christ-meeting just around the corner. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blessed Holy Cross Day


In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

When the woes of life o’ertake me,
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me,
Lo! it glows with peace and joy.

When the sun of bliss is beaming
Light and love upon my way,
From the cross the radiance streaming
Adds more luster to the day.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure,
By the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure,
Joys that through all time abide.

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

In the Cross of Christ I Glory

Listen to tune HERE 

“Merciful God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, was lifted high upon the cross that He might bear the sins of the world and draw all people to Himself. Grant that we who glory in His death for our redemption may faithfully heed His call to bear the cross and follow Him. Amen.”

From Treasury of Daily Prayer for Holy Cross Day


Image Jan Sadeler

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bible Study Invitation

 
BethAnn writes:

Dear Pastors' Wives, 
I would like to extend an invitation for a monthly ladies bible study on biblical mothers. 
There are two different times:
1st evening bible study will be on Sept. 10th at 7:30 p.m. & 1st mid-morning bible study on Sept. 11th at 10:00 a.m. 
The first time we meet will be at Golgotha Lutheran in the Fellowship Hall in Wausa.  
To order a book for the Bible study you can email me at bethannsalinas at rocketmail dot com. The cost of the book is approximately $13. You are still welcome to join us without purchasing a book. You also do not have to make a commitment, but I think you will want to after the first lesson. 
So please join us as we learn, reflect, and study God’s Word together. This will be open to the community as well so invite your friends. I have not lined up caregivers yet so if you know of someone who would like to help please let me know. 
After the first study we will discuss meeting at other places, like Grand Junction in Creighton, The Bloomfield Bakery, & The Wausa CafĂ©, etc. 
Other Dates are as followed:  
2012:
Oct. 8th or 9th possibly two studies 
Nov. 12th or 13th 
Tentative Dec. 10th or 11th (we might skip the one study in December due to Advent)
2013:
Jan. 14th or 15th possibly two studies,
Feb. 11th or 12th  possibly two studies, March 11th or 12th,
April 8th or 9th, May 13th or 14th possibly two studies.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How's Your Mrs. Hyde?



Jenny writes:

I hope to get a discussion going as a follow up to my Mrs. Hyde post.

About a week ago, she reared her ugly head again and that really bothers me.  She is kept contained within my own head, and heart, but I need to give her a voice and this is the safest place to do so. 

The boys have been known to ask me, "Is daddy gone tonight AGAIN?"  And as one sets the table, it's not uncommon for him to ask me, "Will dad be home for supper tonight?"  I don't like hearing those questions.  I know they must be asked, but no matter how many Bible studies the people ask for, or how long they keep Pastor after the closing prayer, doesn't it eventually get to the point where I get to say, "NO MORE!" 

I am not looking for my problems to be solved. They are not terrible. Jon and I have many good discussions, so please, no worries there! I just want to see us share some experiences and ideas. Sound good?

What I'd like to hear about is how you ladies guard your families.  How do you guard your time together?  How do you guard your husbands' day off?  How do you impress upon your husbands the importance of time with family without sounding selfish, keeping in mind the importance of his calling?


Monday, August 6, 2012

Becoming what you eat! - From BethAnn


BethAnn writes:

I always used to get comments on how I looked. It was nice to be noticed for having a normal body weight. Also others also noticed that I didn’t overeat. I ate the correct portions. 
Well, that as all changed. I am now struggling with my weight. I am involved in a healthy eating program that sets goals to help me with my weight. I pray that I can reverse the damage I already caused my body. This issue has put more pressure on my back and hip. It seems to be a cycle….a never ending cycle. Maybe I need to transform my mind as well. 
And you would think that having numerous family medical issues as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure would motivate me, guess again. Lately, I have been praying for others and not myself because it feels selfish. I have been eating because the change of becoming a mother and staying at home has given a new unknown and stressful dimension of my vocation here on earth. 
Don’t get me wrong I have LOVED being a mother and staying at home and training my daughter in the way she shall go. I thought I could do it on my own. But I have failed miserably! I want to eat correctly again. I want to have the peace that passes my understanding rain in my heart. But I can’t do it without HIS guidance and forgiveness. But there is one last step which is even harder to meet or surpass - forgiving myself!
God's love and my smiles,
BethAnn  

Image Sunny Breakfast Vladimir Volegov

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and “Mrs.” Hyde - From Jenny



Jenny writes:

Are you familiar with this old story by Robert Louis Stevenson? Dr. Jekyll invents a potion in an attempt to hide the evil desires within himself with which he has been battling for years. But to his horror the potion transforms him into Mr. Hyde, giving the evil desires full reign.

Sometimes, as the wife of the pastor, I feel a bit like this twisted character. The “real me” is so very proud of my husband; of the studying he’s done and continues to do; of the work he so tirelessly goes after. He upholds the Office of the Holy Ministry very well, thank you very much! I’m sure you feel the same about your husbands. What a blessing isn’t it, to have the privilege to know these men?

I willingly share him with the people of the congregation, knowing that the Lord’s work needs to be done. People want his ministry so I release him to be “over there” at any and all times. Bible studies need to be written and prepared, sermons need to be researched and written, people need counselling, couples need to be married, widows need to be visited, meetings need to be attended, and the list goes on, right? I know it must happen and for the better part of the day, of the week even, I don’t miss him. He’s at work and I’m at work. We are busy with our callings, doing the Lord’s bidding.

But then he is asked to visit Africa with his father. He will be gone almost three weeks. He will miss two Sundays and five Tuesday/Thursday Matins services. The catch is that he will be home on Wednesday, meaning he should be able to have Matins on the following Thursday. But he cancels it, knowing he will miss six Matins services. He was told by his Board of Elders to take the rest of the homecoming week off – to be with family – to recover from jet lag. I love the Board of Elders! 

Sunday morning comes and we are all in church again. The congregation is happy to have their shepherd back. I am happy to have my husband back. My children are happy to have their father back. But there are a few who never miss Matins. Ever. And they are not happy. I feel Mrs. Hyde beginning to bubble under the surface. 

“I was going to have a welcome home party for him and he didn’t even have Matins.” 

I smile, understanding her disappointment. Mrs. Hyde continues to bubble. 

“I hate being away from Matins so long. Why did he cancel it?” 

I try to explain in a gentle way while Mrs. Hyde wants to raise her voice and say, “Because he’s been away from his wife and sons for over two weeks!!”  

She shakes her head in disbelief. “Well I just don’t understand. I had a bon voyage party for him and I planned to have a welcome home party for him.”  

Her lips purse as she walks away. Mrs. Hyde is not happy. Another member tells me how many times she will be away from her shepherd over the summer, what with all of his trips and the times she has to be gone. I listen sympathetically. Inside, Mrs. Hyde is now screaming, “What about your shepherd’s family?! Why are you people so selfish? Can you not understand how much of him we share already? Why must you steal away the time he is to spend with us?!” *sigh*

It can be a bit unnerving, dealing with this “Mrs. Hyde.” I love the members of our congregation. We have had, in the past, some difficult congregations to deal with. Most members have been anything but kind. The selfishness was par for the course. After three years of being in the midst of these loving Christians, I guess I was taken aback by their disappointment; by the upset in their schedule and how they vocalized it so matter-of-factly.

Just goes to show me that no one is free from the temptations of the Devil. Everyone is self-centered. Even the most faithful Dr. Jekyll can have a selfish Hyde within.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Weak and Loved


 “People say be strong. I say be weak and be loved.” Emily Cook
Emily Cook is the author of Weak and Loved: A Mother Daughter Love Story about her daughter's struggle with epilepsy. She writes:

"In October 2008, shortly after her fourth birthday, my daughter Aggie was diagnosed with epilepsy.  The year that followed was one of the most difficult years of our lives."
Right now you can get a copy of the eBook for Free HERE. I don't have an eReader but I just bought a copy of the book and can't wait to read it.

And she keeps a blog, Weak And Loved, if you haven't been there you should check it out. I've been blessed by her words many times.

"Emily Cook is a mother of six, a sinner, a child, covered in the blood of Christ, and freed from the burden of pretending she is strong. She s a woman growing backward, a mother-child, messy with sin, but rejoicing in the constant love of her Heavenly Father. She lives with her husband and their six children, including now-healthy Aggie, in the arms of the church where he is a pastor." from Amazon Bio





Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Prayer Request - From BethAnn



BethAnn writes:

While I was pregnant I thought of a children's book that talks about how we get our belly button. Now I have been praying, discussing, and trying to figure out if I want to publish it or not. All the people who have read it so far really like it...and this is a first for me. When I have done projects before I haven't received good reviews! So I am excited about this. However, I want to publish but I am scared. Also I really don't have the money to self-publish. I need 2 peer review authors in order for CPH to  see if they would publish it. This is not just a children's book but a Christian perspective of God's creation and I use:
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.” Psalm 139:13 in the story to explain to the main character.

I just need prayers. I am not asking for help. But I would like to know if this is my selfish will or God's will. Maybe I will get some clarity if others pray with me. I will appreciate the time and prayers.
God's love and my smiles,
BethAnn

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Marriage By God's Design


We all know that in our day, marriage is so misunderstood, undermined, despised and taken for granted. You look around and if you're like me, you start to feel like defending it is a "loosing battle". This morning I listened to an interview with Rev. Robert Baker on Marriage and I encourage all of you to listen as well.

Find it HERE.

And while I'm on the subject, HERE is another presentation on Marriage and Family that I enjoyed listening to some time ago from the late Rev. Robert Preus who, along with his wife Donna, "were asked to give a presentation to the seminarians and their wives on the subject of marriage and family - especially as it relates to life in the parish." I couldn't remember if I've posted it here before, if so, sorry, listen again!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pastor's Wife - Perk #18

  
Kristi L. writes:


Funeral flowers.  That’s right, I said funeral flowers.

Several floral arrangements were delivered to our church this past week.  Two individuals, whose relatives belong to our church, died.  The outpouring of flowers enabled our church to be the recipient of some of those pretty blooms. One bouquet made the trip from Colorado to Nebraska.  It didn’t look quite right in a bouquet anymore – kinda wilty in places. Rather than throw the entire thing out, I got two nice floral arrangements.


See?  There are perks to being a pastor’s wife.  Yes, I know - they’re funeral flowers.  They’re beautiful in color, smell lovely, and I love them.  Now you’re wishing you had some, aren’t you?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New To GNW?


For any of you who are just beginning to read Golden and Noble Works (GNW) WELCOME! The purpose of this blog is to get to know each other better through encouragement in our vocations as pastor's wives and mothers and as children of God. If you would like to write up and "Introduction" of yourself and family please do and email it to me. My email address can be found on the side menu.

If you would like to make a post here, you can send it to me in an email as well. Anything goes with the posts. If you have a recipe to share, a prayer request, an issue you're struggling with (please try to keep these as "general" as you can), a great book review, an upcoming event, a super craft you want to brag about, whatever, feel free to pass it along here.

I wanted to point out a few things that I have added here that may be useful.

First, if you'll look to the right there is now a "Follow by Email" option. If you enter your email address there you will receive an email each time a new post is made on the blog. That way you don't have to come to the site every so often "just to see" if there's anything new.

Also, there are several new links to some resources that you may like. If you have anything you would like to add to our list (books, CDs, blogs, resource sites) please let me know! If you have a personal blog you would like to share here send me the address and I will add it to the "Our Blogs" list.

If there is anything else you would like to see here I am always open to suggestions!



*And I know you're wondering why there's a picture of a pineapple up there. Clicking HERE should hopefully explain that. It won't however explain why there's Pina Colada inside it...but the reason for that should be obvious.

Friday, April 27, 2012

EVE 2012

Kristi writes:

Teaching. Singing. Eating. Laughing.  There was lots of that happening at EVE 2012.  I can say with 100% certainty that it was a joy to spend time with these lovely ladies.  We were fed spiritually by Pastor’s presentation.  We confessed the Lutheran faith in word and song.

The camaraderie is unmatched by any other gathering.  I think that’s what makes this group so special to me.  I know that this group of women understands the isolation, the pressure, the compassion, and the unique joys that a pastor’s wife encounters day after day after day.  So thank you, ladies, for making my highlight reel for 2012.  I hope to see you again next year.  (Well, hopefully before that.)


Kristi

Saturday, April 21, 2012

He is the Vine - From BethAnn



BethAnn writes:

I was doing some gardening and landscaping today in my backyard. And we have some wild vines growing from the field located to the east. I guess I have never paid that much attention to the vine and how it grows. The vine is first and very strong! The branches are more flexible and not as strong. So when I was untangling this wild vine off my east fence the bible verse:

 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 

All of the sudden a light bulb went off, which made that above verse make sense. Then another thing came to mind which made me think of how much God loves me is that the vine grows first, reaches out to the surroundings, then the branches grow. Just like Jesus first, he reaches to us, then we grow in HIS word. WOW!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rest

Kristi writes:

Is it the weekend yet?  After a busy week of cooking, cleaning, teaching, playing, and more, I’m tired.  I’ve replied to emails; I’ve “liked” pictures and posts on social networks; I’ve answered phone calls.  It’s time to slow down and relax.  When I rest, my mind and body aren’t actively doing anything.  I’m recharging and refreshing.  I’m resting.

For some of us, it’s been the daily grind of keeping up with the pile of Mt. Washmore, keeping up with hubby’s schedule, shuttling the children from one activity to the next, and keeping up with the other work requirements.  It gets tiring.  I get tired simply listing all of the things that women do.

When having difficulties trying to conceive a child, I met with my doctor several times to discuss what could be done.  For a while, there were some daily measurements, some things to mark on the calendar, and some anxious waiting.  It was stressful.  Were the numbers reading correctly?  Was the test administered properly?  There was anxious anticipation while waiting for test results.  Undesirable answers were met with dejected emotions.  When all morally acceptable possibilities had been exhausted, it was time to be done.  I was tired of all the directions and requirements.  I was worn out.  It was time to rest.

The Word of God provides the best rest.  I need nothing more.  In the Holy Word, I hear of my sin and my need for a Savior.  In Holy Baptism, I am made God’s child.  In the Holy Absolution, I am pardoned of all sin.  The body and blood of Christ are given to me for my cleansing.  Nothing is required on my part to make these things come true.  I am simply the recipient.

So get thee hence to church.  There you’ll be recharged and refreshed by the Lord.

That’s true rest.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Eggs the Natural Way Conclusion - from Kathy



Well, finally, the last of the Easter Egg Saga.   The colors took all morning and into the afternoon to set on the eggs.  Some took better than others.  I even had some that the color washed off.  Notice below...these were all in the grape juice, so the outside was sticky...so I washed it...notice the 2 on the right.  That is what happened.  Will have to find another way to make purple.  It didn't even look purple, but the before washing color was pretty.


These are a sampling of the eggs we made.  The orange and yellow turned out lovely.  (probably my favorites).  The blue wasn't too bad..but not very dark...and sort of gray looking.  The pink is nice.  The green, well, you heard that story in the previous post.   So, will we do this next year?  Yes.  But I will do some more researching to come up with some better options.   All in all, they will taste good no matter what color the outside is, right??


Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Eggs Part 2 - from Kathy


Notice that there is one jar missing from the previous line up of jars.  Let me just say, the green one fell to it's demise.  I was told to put 1 Tbsp of vinegar into each jar so the color would stay on the egg better.  Well, I did that and when I put it in the green jar...it quickly turned UGLY...like murky sea water...really GROSS!!!  I found out, after a little research that the vinegar killed the chlorophyll, thus turning my green brown.  A lesson learned for next year.   So now we have 6 colors.


and the eggs are soaking. 



The ones in the blue (almost straight grape juice) are floating...I think it's because of the sugar.  They didn't float when I boiled them...so I don't think they are rotten.  
To be continued....

Easter Eggs, the natural way from Kathy - Part 1

Kathy is coloring her Easter eggs using the "natural" method this year. She's letting us watch the process and providing updates as she can!

Kathy writes:


This year, the Feusse's decided to color Easter Eggs using all natural products.  So, you can tell from the picture, I am going to use Tumeric (yellow)  I could have used Cumin too, but choose Tumeric.  The grape juice concentrate with very little water added is supposed to be blue, with more water added, purple.  Spinach obviously will be green, beets hopefully will be pink, cherries will be red...and the most interesting one was yellow onion skins made orange.  Now, I am using words like "hopefully" and "supposed to" because the red, pink, blue and purple all look the same to me...so I am hoping that they will be different on the eggs tomorrow.  I will let you know how it turns out.

The onion skins pre-cooking

the beets


the cherries

we eat range free, brown eggs...so I hope the color will be dark enough to show up over the brown egg.


the spinach after being cooked completely down.


straining what I thought was grape "gunk" for lack of a better word...which actually need up being sugar...ick!!


from left to right: green, yellow, orange, pink, red, blue and purple (see the last 4 do look a like)


 Hoping for 7 colors, not 4.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Resurrection Rolls - From Kristi





Kristi writes:


In preparation for Easter, here’s a tasty treat to try with your children (or your husband).

Resurrection Rolls


1 tube of crescent roll dough
1/2 cup (or less) melted butter
Large marshmallows
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Give each child a triangle of dough - representing the cloth in which Jesus was wrapped
Give each child a marshmallow - representing Jesus' purity
Have each child dip the marshmallow in melted butter - representing the oils of embalming
Then have them dip the butter marshmallow into the sugar/cinnamon mixture - representing the spices used to anoint the body of Jesus
Wrap the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent dough (bring up the sides and seal the marshmallow inside) - representing the wrapping of Jesus' body after His death


Place in preheated oven for 10 minutes - representing the tomb, pretending like it was 3 days!!!

When the rolls are cooled slightly, the children can open their rolls and discover that the marshmallow is gone - representing the empty cloth and tomb.  JESUS is RISEN!



Image

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Baby, A Bath, and Dinner - Kristi L.


Kristi writes:

Lots of gifts are given at church.  Yesterday a baby was bathed in the waters of Holy Baptism.  I witnessed the sponsors confess the Lutheran faith into which this child was to be baptized.  I silently confessed my own sins and was given the comfort of the cleansing of my sins as the baby was given that same forgiveness.  The baptized child is now a member of the body of Christ.  I am joined to this child in the Christian faith.  I will pray for this child and encourage the parents as they teach their child the Christian faith.

Later in the service dinner was served.  The crucified and arisen Lord’s Body and Blood were eaten for the forgiveness of my sins.  This precious gift was given to me and my fellow believers at the table.  I shared in the wondrous blessings that are given freely by our loving God.

No need for dessert.  I’m cleansed, fed, and full.

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Monday, March 19, 2012

Dort Preus posting on Steadfast Lutherans

I'm happy to learn that Dort Preus is posting on Steadfast Lutherans. Her first post can be found here. Also last summer I posted a link to a wonderful paper she wrote here. I think we can all be blessed by her wisdom and experience as a wife and mother.

A little about Mrs. Preus from Steadfast Lutherans:

Associate Editor’s Note:  With this post we introduce Dort Preus as the regular writer for “Steadfast Moms”.  She will be contributing much from her years of experience in raising children in the fear of the Lord.  This post is to be paired up with her husband Pastor Rolf Preus’ posts under “Steadfast Dads”.  
  

We are glad to have their valuable experience to provide good resources to our readers.  A little more about Rev. & Mrs. Preus:
Rolf and Dorothy (Dort) Preus met at Concordia Lutheran Junior College nearly forty years ago, fell in love, got married, and were blessed by God with twelve children and twenty two grandchildren (so far).  Pastor Preus was ordained in 1979 and has been a Lutheran pastor in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.  He received his STM from CTS in Ft. Wayne in 1987.  Dort received her B.A. in elementary education from Concordia, St. Paul in 1975, and learned how to teach from teaching her children at home.  The Preuses presently live in Mayville, North Dakota.  Pastor Preus serves First American Lutheran Church in Mayville, First Evanger Lutheran Church in Fertile, Minnesota and Grace Lutheran Church in Crookston, Minnesota.

Her husband, Rev. Rolf Preus is posting there as well, his post can be found here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Prayer Request from BethAnn S.

 BethAnn writes:
Please pray the Hansen family...my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews. My sister is trying to heal from a C-section from my new nephew. They are both healthy. However, my older nephew has special needs and having a hard time adjusting to the changes. And to top it all off...Robert had  his annual review at work which was very unprofessional and two months late. And this has caused even more friction between his boss and himself...He is also waiting for a yea or nay for a job interview from another company because he is having a hard time working with people who constantly lie and communicate in an unprofessional manner.
God's love and my smiles,
BethAnn

Monday, March 5, 2012

EVE Getaway


Hello ladies!

Our EVE Getaway is just around the corner (April 22-23) and the registration deadline is THIS Saturday, March 10th. If you have not received an email with the Registration Form you can get one HERE.

See you there!

Aubri

Friday, March 2, 2012

They Will See His Face – Chapters 6, 7, and Conclusion


Kristi writes:

True healing comes to us in the Divine Service.  Here God gives to us His Holy Word and His Holy Sacraments.  In the divine service, we hear of our sin and our salvation.  In the divine service, we see the body and blood of Christ and the cleansing water.  In the divine service, we touch and taste the body and blood of Christ for our forgiveness.  It’s all there in the divine service.  Christ comes to us and heals us.

Chapter 6 focuses on the prayers of the church and the healing of sickness.  Make no mistake – God heals the believer and the nonbeliever.  Our prayers do not change God’s mind as to whether or not to provide healing.  Our prayers are based upon our faith in God, who will do as He deems best.  We sinners like to think that our prayers are what heal people.  Rather, it is God who heals.  That’s why our prayers always include the phrase, “Thy will be done.”

So then why pray for the sick?  As one who has been prayed for, it is comforting to know that others are praying for the Lord’s will to be done in my life.  In prayer, we also acknowledge that true healing will come from God alone.  It is He who enables the medical workers to diagnose correctly.  True healing is not of man’s accord but of God’s design.  And, finally, we pray for the ultimate cure of our sin-sickness: the God-man Christ Jesus.  We are healed of our illness through the cleansing blood of Jesus.

Chapter 7 continues with more healing, this time the healing of our intellect.  In our sinful nature, we claim to know all.  We are in constant conflict with the will of God because we sin.  It is important to remember that man’s intellect is subjective; Jesus Christ is the only absolute Truth.  In the Divine Service we confess our sin of self-idolatry; we are thick with sin and need cleansing.

The Creeds do a beautiful job of reminding us that we are created, redeemed, and sanctified.  We humans can accomplish none of those things on our own; it’s impossible.  God the Father creates us; God the Son redeems us; God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us.

Eyer wraps up the book with a packed conclusion.  He gives us good reason to continue using the liturgy in the Divine Service.  He says: Liturgy conveys the essence and meaning of our worship of God.  Worship is more than personal piety and personal expressions of faith.  It is the experience of God’s acting in our behalf so that we might act in His behalf in this world. [page 117]  The Divine Service is all about what God does for us.

Another awesome quote from Eyer: Liturgy may change over the centuries, but the change is in the matter of detail, not of substance.  [page 116]  These words comfort me.  When people change the substance of the liturgy to fit their “personal style,” then other groups of people are abandoned.  When we stay true to the Word of God within the liturgy, God’s Law and Gospel is clearly presented for all.

I highly recommend Eyer’s book.  The Divine Service is a gift to God’s people from God Himself.  Thanks be to God for His grace and healing presence among us.

They Will See
His Face by Richard Eyer Preface

They Will Se
e His Face by Richard Eyer – Chapters 1 and 2
 
They Will S
ee His Face by Richard Eyer – Chapter 3

They Will
See His Face by Richard Eyer – Chapters 4 and 5

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our Father In Heaven - From Beth

Beth writes:

I thank our heavenly Father for my earthly father, James L. Stamberger, who was called home to heaven on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012.  It had been only eleven weeks prior that he first went to his family physician that eventually led to the diagnosis of brain cancer. My two youngest and I were able to spend seven precious days with him and were there the day he passed away. Even my hubby and two oldest children were able to join us on the Stamberger farm for a wonderful time with Dad/Grandpa the weekend before he died. Life during that week with him at home slowed down to a snail’s pace as I soaked in every minute of being his caretaker. He struggled with walking and needed step by step instruction to what he was doing at the present time, but yet could eat, sleep, and carry on a conversation so well. His sweet, appreciative disposition and witty attitude helped the rest of us to get through some tough days. We talked religion, politics, family and church history, laughed and cried together. He fulfilled his role as father so well in that he continued teaching little life lessons and giving us advice up until the end. When I think of my dad’s love for his family, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with how much our Father in heaven must love us as His dear children to sacrifice His own Son in our place. 

It was only on that Monday, the 6th, that he woke with excruciating pain from headaches. He eventually became nonresponsive and appeared to be able to sleep. We had him transported to the local hospital for a CT scan due to the abrupt change from the night before. The scan showed profuse swelling that was cutting off the flow of blood to his brain. He died there in the ER room with my mom, siblings and me, his sister and brother-in-law, and pastor at his bedside. We had the privilege of reciting the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, Psalms, and singing hymns together before the angels carried him home to be with Jesus.  Looking back on it now, I see how gracious and merciful our God is in all that he spared my dad (and mom, too).  Dad was to start radiation treatments on the day he passed away. We were all so worried what the treatments might do to him. But my dad’s days were beautifully orchestrated by God’s hand and I thank Him for the comfort that brings. I miss my dad so much and can hear his voice throughout the day and all that we shared together. What comfort Christ’s victory over sin, death, and the devil gives us as we look forward to one day joining our loved ones in heaven!
Your thoughts and prayers mean so much to me and I thank you. If you’d like, you can view my dad’s obituary at www.bcrnews.com   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Book: They Will See His Face – Part 4, Chapters 4-5

Kristi writes:

Eyer spends Chapter 4 sharing some wisdom regarding depression and the healing Word of God.

He identifies the difference between moments of depression and clinical depression.  I will not go into detail here lest I lead you astray with my minimal knowledge of the subject.  Know this: depression is not easily explained away.  Healing from depression must come from outside ourselves.  We, of our own accord, cannot walk away from depression or escape its claws.  The liturgy gives voice to our depression, expressing our grief and sorrow.  In the same way, the liturgy also brings healing.  The blessed and comforting Word of God is spoken in its truth and purity to our hurting souls.  The Holy Spirit works faith in us and shows us that Christ brings healing.

No matter how depressed or low I might feel, I have the solid Word of God that reminds me I am God’s child.  Whether or not I feel like being in church, I know that God’s Word is there FOR ME.  When I doubt whether God loves me, I know with 100% certainty that He does.  He tells me so in His Word, and He gives me the sacraments as tangible proof of His love.  When my feelings cause me to doubt God’s love, I cling to His Word and can be confident that He knows me.  What a blessed comfort.

Chapter 5 focuses on grief and the peace that only God gives.  Death is a reality.  I’ve been to numerous funerals, and it’s not easy to say good-bye to those we love.  However, for those who die in faith, death is not a permanent good-bye.  Rather, we can rejoice in the promise of a blessed reunion in heaven.  I am given the peace of God that is spoken at the funeral of a loved one.  The funeral service reminds me of the blessings given to all believers; that promise is sure and certain.

Eyer reminds all believers that we have life in Christ.  Knowing this, it is easier to face death.  There is a beginning after the end.  Christ conquered death, and now eternal life is ours.  Alleluia!

One of my favorite parts in the liturgy is the singing of the “Holy, holy, holy.”  I love that we are singing with “angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.”  I’m singing with loved ones who are enjoying the presence of Christ in its fullness.  As an organist, I play this portion of the liturgy quite triumphantly.  It’s a joining of heaven and earth – how glorious!  I can hardly wait to join that heavenly chorus.

They Will See His Fac
e by Richard Eyer – Preface
They Will See His Fa
ce by Richard Eyer – Chapters 1 and 2

They Will See His F
ace by Richard Eyer – Chapter 3

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Prayer Request From BethAnn

BethAnn writes:

My parents need some prayers right now....due to some things at my fathers work he was forced to take 'personal time without pay' for the whole month of Feb. And before that he was being sent home 'because there was no work for him.' So my father has not had a paycheck in 7 weeks. This is a manner of principal not finances. My dad can not take the stress at work anymore so he is going to take early retirement starting March 1. But since my dad has only worked at this job and security and only has a high school diploma it will be hard in this economy to find part time work. So please pray that my dad finds some work soon and that my parents anxiety will be filled with the promises of God's comfort.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review from Jenny


 Jenny writes:

I'm reading Grace Upon Grace right now, by John Kleinig.

I find it a wonderfully peace-filled book.  It is easy to understand and so full of gems.  I'm reading through it slowly because of that.  Because of the gems.  Kleinig repeats himself often and I find that helpful.  His repetitious intent is, I'm sure, to drive his points home.  If the reader doesn't understand it on page 12, maybe he will on page 15. 

Some of those gems: 

receptive spirituality - "...it was Christ in the water and the Word of Baptism that worked in me faith and salvation.  And it was the faith of my parents and of the faithful people in my congregation that carried me along spiritually."  "Receptive spirituality embeds the life of the believer in the family of God and the Church."

poor in spirit- the Greek word for "poor" is also a term for beggar.  We are beggars before Christ, asking for what we do not have, and receiving the Holy Spirit.  "Yet that is only half the story.  We may be beggars, but, paradoxically, we also associate with the holy angels.  In the Kyrie,...we join the company of beggars who all appeal for mercy from Jesus as our advocate before the Father.  In the Gloria we join with the angels who stand in adoration and joy before God the Father as they glorify Him."

gradual demolition - I am being demolished, gradually and painfully , by God in order to receive all He has for me.  "He takes away everything that we have in order to give us everything He has in store for us."  "Our whole life as disciples is a process of receiving grace upon grace from God the Father."

meditation - This is what I am reading and digesting right now.  There is so much about meditation.  Kleinig starts by talking about Solomon and having a "hearing" heart.  And then there is Mary who "treasured these things up in her heart."  Right now Kleinig is teaching about the Psalms being the "best practical book on Christian meditation."  Most of the psalms are ones of lament.  We cry out against God along with the Psalmist.  But this crying out turns us right back to the One who can comfort.  Right back to receptive spirituality, back to grace upon grace.

Add this to your "I must read this soon" list.  I highly recommend it.

 
Jenny

Sunday, January 29, 2012

They Will See His Face – Part 3

Kristi writes:

Richard Eyer's book They Will See His Face continues to impress me.  Here are some thoughts on Chapter 3 - Liturgical Prayer and the Healing of Our Loneliness.

Eyer points out the difference between loneliness and solitude: Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful.  I've experienced loneliness and solitude.  Eyer gets the definition right on both accounts.  Loneliness is a place where you are turned in on yourself.  Solitude is a state that comes from outside yourself.

This leads me to wonder how so many people can be content with "worshiping" at home by themselves.  I am so tired of hearing the question, "Pastor, is it better to be fishing on Sunday morning, thinking about God; or being in church on Sunday morning, wishing I was fishing?"  Sin grabs hold and wants me to plot my own chart, do my own thing, and tell God how to run the show.  It's all about me.  This is sin, and I know it.  I am driven to my knees, begging God to forgive me of breaking the First Commandment yet again.

I like Eyer's thoughts regarding public and private prayer. They are two different things and should not be compared side-by-side in their purpose.  He reminds us that private prayer gives us the opportunity to share with God our deepest thoughts and desires.  Yet there is much to be gleaned by participating in public prayer.  In this way, our thoughts are not on ourselves only, but on the needs of the whole body of Christ.  Yes, sometimes it does get tiring repeating the phrase, "Hear our prayer."  However, this repetition points me to the object of my faith - Jesus Christ.  The focus is Christ, not me.  In the Divine Service, God gives good things to me immediately.  To that I can say, "Amen!"

Written prayer is a gift.  Written prayer comes from the Scriptures.  These are words that get us outside ourselves.  It is so easy for me to become focused on my needs, my wants, my sinful desires.  Written prayer reminds me of what God gives, purely out of His divine goodness and mercy; He gives me Himself.  Nothing could be better.

Finally, Eyer encourages a specific time and place for personal devotions.  This is a personal struggle.  It is quite easy for me to say that I'll get to my devotions later in the day.  I need to attend to schooling, cooking, laundry, fill in the blank.   When that happens, trouble is bound to occur.  By making time in the Word a priority, I receive Christ.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Busy Day Bean Soup - From Kathy F.




Kathy writes: 
This is one of my husband's favorite soups...a warm memory from his childhood....and it has become one of my all time favorites too.  Thought I would share it with the rest of you ladies!!  Enjoy!
 
1 large jar of precooked white beans
1 jar water
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic
2 T brown sugar
1/8 tsp season salt
1 large onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 carrot chopped
1 med potato chopped
1-2 cups cubed ham
put it all in crock pot
high 1 hour
low 6-8 hours
mash with potato masher before serving
freezes well

*Pictured above...not Kathy's husband.