Sunday, October 30, 2016


People are mean. Truly they are. Give people the opportunity to express themselves in a relatively "safe" environment, and they will begin to bludgeon others to death. Wait and see what happens after folks get up this morning (Sunday) and see that the Chicago Cubs lost to the Cleveland Indians last night, giving the Indians a 3-1 advantage in the World Series. There will be plenty of mean things said. Twitter will be alive with meanness. Facebook will be covered with folks saying mean things.

Oh sure, it will all be in "good fun." But when does being mean come under the umbrella of "fun"? What do we say to our kids in school when that bully starts to be mean to them, saying unkind things and then says, "JK." (JK mean just joking.) When the bully is faced with actions, he/she will say, "I was just joking. Can't a guy/gal just have a little fun?" Do we say to our kids, "Well, he/she was just kidding. No harm, no foul."? Of course not. We get upset with the person who is saying the mean things.

Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media have really made it possible for us to say unkind things, even mean things, and couch them in anonymity. We can say them and move on, leaving behind a mass of hurt feelings, much like a boat that goes through the lake, leaving a wake behind, which no one is really aware of until it causes them some problem.

Words hurt. Even when they are said "out of fun." I would challenge folks to watch what they say to one another and how they say it. I find myself struggling to not return meanness for meanness, to return bitter words for bitter words, to speak unkind things when unkind things are said. Only with the help of the Spirit is it possible to overcome such challenging times.

I have read these words many times and still struggle to follow them. "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17 ESV)

Lord, may the words of my mouth give glory to you. If I hurt someone with what I say, please forgive me and give me the opportunity to work to heal the hurt feelings of the other person. Help me never to forget that the person I am talking to, or writing to, is Your child too. I should speak to them as I would speak to You. If I would not say it to You, help me hold my tongue or fingers that I may not say or write it others. Amen.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Really random, possible even offensive. Focus is on Christ!

I begin today, unsure of where I am going. I guess that doesn't sound quite right. I know where I am going, ultimately. I am going to heaven. I am certain of that. Absolutely certain. Through Jesus Christ, and Him alone, I am certain that I am going to heaven. He is my Lord and Savior and there is no other place of hope and life. So like Paul I can say, "The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom." (2 Timothy 4:18a ESV) Certainty. There is nothing in this world that can shake that certainty, no sickness, no pain, no loss. All is sanctified by Christ.

So when I say I am unsure of where I am going, I mean with this blog. I feel the need to write but am not sure about what. I could get political. But that doesn't seem like the direction to go. Politics, after all, is that area that one is not supposed to talk about with family and friends. It might cause offense. So it causes offense, what happens? Do family members quit talking to each other because of opposite political views? Does an argument break out, such as hasn't been seen since the Hatfields and McCoys? Will family members stop visiting each other? Unfortunately, yes. That is what happens. Instead of seeing that one can have opposing views and still remain in a loving relationship, we allow such things as political views to polarize families and friendships. If, and that is always a big IF, family gets together again, there is a tension because one is afraid to say something because it might upset another. So there is an elephant in the room, often so big that folks cannot get around it. Tension. Hard feelings. All because of opposing political views. Really? We allow that to happen? Satan is laughing! He rejoices that he has had the hand in tearing families apart, destroying love and relationship. For what? Nothing. Your view, my view, is not going to change the politics of the world today. You being upset with me, me being upset with you, will not change who is elected, how they govern, the laws that are passed. It just makes each of us miserable or arrogant or whatever. It is a sad thing.

Being offended, that is the name of the game today. Someone says something, and we get offended. What happens if you or I get offended. In reality, nothing. Nothing at all. Unfortunately, we have gotten to the point that when someone says something that offends me, then that person is wrong and needs to be censored or punished. People lose jobs because someone was offended by what they did or didn't do, what they said or didn't say. Really? So a company is robbed of a good employee that gets the job done because someone is offended that he or she doesn't accept the gay lifestyle or is a Christian or drinks the wrong beer or wears the wrong clothes or says the wrong thing? Is this right? In our society today, yes. In reality? No. It is selfishness on my part to think that what I feel, offended at that action, should destroy that person's life. Why? Because it is me! And if I am offended, then everyone should be offended and that person should be punished. Why? I don't know. I just think it should be that way. So do it!

What is this all about? We live in a sinful, selfish world that is moving further and further from living in the love of Christ. Christ is seen as irrelevant or extreme and we must stop all talk of Him or even trying to live like Him. Why? Sin. Sinful people don't want Christ. They don't want His love. They don't want His "rules." They want to live their own life in their own way. That's OK. If that is what people want. I don't want that for them. Because to live apart from Christ is to live in such a way that you will never enter into heaven. Extreme thought! Yes. Accepted by society? No. Offensive? Yes. Will I change? No. I want all people to know Christ, to love Him, to be saved by Him. Why? Because I love them in Christ. I love them in Christ! And Christ came to save all people, even as we do not know that we need to be saved.

All right, so that is where I ended up going today. I wasnt' sure where I was going. So here I am.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I enjoy trying to get the perfect reflection picture. You know the one, the calm pond/lake, sunrise or sunset reflecting off of it, trees reflected in the water so that you don't know which one is the original and which one is the reflection. That, for me, is what I like to try for when I take all those photos of ponds and lakes and rivers. To date, I am sure that I have had a few good ones, but the perfect one is still out there, waiting for me to record on film (all right, record digitally as I don't use film any longer).

Reflections - a mirror image of that which is the original. I thought about how we are to be the reflection of God in this world. We read, "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." (2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV) And again in Colossians we are told, "...and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator." (Colossians 3:10 ESV) Contrary to what we think, we are not the original image. We are the reflection

We are the reflection of God. He made man in His own image. In the Garden, man was the perfect reflection of God. Then sin entered into the world and destroyed that image. Like a storm that destroys the stillness of the lake or pond, making the reflection distorted or perhaps even impossible to see, so sin has destroyed that reflection of the image of God in mankind. We look around us and wonder if this is really that reflection of God. We see pain and suffering, horror and lies all around us. The musical group Phish sings, "There must be something more than this." (From the 2016 release Big Boat.) We cry out. We wonder. We look for that perfect reflection. And like me and my photography, it just can't be found.

Here on earth, it won't be found. We will see glimpses of what might be, we will see a reflection poorly as through a cloudy mirror or window. We look forward to that day when Christ will come and then we will see clearly, the perfect reflection will once again be shown as all those in Christ will be made perfect. We will then be the perfect reflection of the Son of God.

So what do we do until then? As Paul writes to the Colossians, we are to be made into the new self through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Grace, through Word and Sacrament (Baptism and Lord's Supper). Each day, we are being remade into the reflection of Christ our Lord. Yes, we will struggle with our sinful nature, often reflecting the sinful world around us.  We do confess our sins, receive absolution and are once again made new in Christ. It is a continual, daily thing that will go on until the day our Lord returns.

When you get frustrated that you can't see Christ in the world around you, stop looking there. Look into your life as see if you are reflecting Christ in your daily walk. You cannot expect a fallen world to reflect Christ. It never will. But you can and should reflect Him. If each one of us that are Christian would reflect Christ in our little section of the world, there would be a greater reflection taking place. The picture would become a little clearer. That, my friends, is what we are called to be - a reflection of Christ in the world.

I will continue to try to get the perfect picture. And through the Spirit, I will work to become the reflection of Christ each day.