Have you won many awards in your life? In our society today, there are many opportunities to win awards. Medals and trophies are awarded to excellent sports teams or individual athletes. Prizes of many kinds are awarded to choirs, bands, speech teams, and dance teams. Plaques and other awards are even awarded to us teachers for excellent service in the profession. As a whole, our society likes to give and receive prizes. Winning these prizes means a lot of tireless work and effort on our part, but when we win the prize, we know that it was worth it. Yet these prizes pale in comparison to the prize that awaits us.
In Philippians 2, the apostle Paul writes to the church at Philippi about the state of their generation. The wickedness and sin of their time was in stark contrast to the behavior that he prescribed for the Christian people in this area. When Paul wrote these words to the Philippians, could he have imagined that people would still be reading those words and struggling with the same sins thousands of years later? Life for the Philippians can’t be too similar to life now, at least in regard to clothing, food, technology, resources, daily life, entertainment, and so on. Surely the turmoil and sin that assails our modern world is also very different from the time of the Philippians, right?
My guardian angel logs frequent flyer miles.
We once followed a blizzard across the western United States while trying to get home for Christmas.
As we reached the top of an incline in icy Utah mountains, blowing snow concealed a semi stopped in our lane. With little time to respond, our guardian angel kicked, and we slid to the right, unharmed but stuck in a snow-packed ditch. We tried to dig out with large cups until other stopped travelers had mercy on us and pushed us out.
Is your classroom full of tattlers? Kindergartners are notorious for tattling. They are very aware of the rules and the disciplinary actions that occur when the rules are broken. They love to point out their peers’ mistakes. The world and its rules are very black or white for young children. They see things in the simplest way and don’t question the rules. Well, most of the time. Rules are good and they know it. You have classroom rules. Some are similar to other classes; some are different.
Have you ever played the game Would You Rather? This is a simple question-and-answer game where one person describes two scenarios and the other person must decide which scenario they would rather experience. Typically, these are not pleasant scenarios. Let’s practice. Would you rather be stuck in so much snow that you couldn’t leave your house for three months? Or, would you rather be stuck on a desert island without any form of communication? My answer would be–neither! Given the choice of experiencing a difficult time, I think we all would choose to opt out.
Have you experienced recalling a memory with a friend or relative and finding that you remembered different things? This phenomenon causes us to wonder what differentiates what we remember from what we forget.
“I’ll never forgive that!” Have you thought this about someone, or even about yourself?
Forgiveness isn’t easy. In fact, it’s impossible without the Spirit’s work within us.
Interactions with other people sometimes become angry, bitter, and bruised. Our sharp communication skills often fall flat. We harbor grudges, self-righteously demanding behavior from others that we can’t maintain. We fake high ground with low behavior.
Confession What is the Office of the Keys? The Office of the Keys is that special authority which Christ has given to His church on earth to forgive the sins of repentant sinners, but to withhold forgiveness from the unrepentant as long as they do not repent. he jingling keys on the school janitor’s belt caught …
History records Martin Luther as a champion confessor. As a young monk, Luther’s sins tortured him so persistently that he confessed for hours to Dr. Johann von Staupitz, his supervisor, mentor, and personal confessor. Luther also fasted rigorously and imposed other self-punishments for his sins, but they offered little relief.
The headline that starts this section of Luther’s Small Catechism makes us wonder, why do we need to teach Christians to confess? Isn’t confession something Christians do naturally?