Archive for September, 2010

I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s happened. I enrolled in midwifery school and am starting my studies. This verse keeps coming to mind:

The end of a matter is better than its beginning. Ecc. 7:8

 A few months back, I was ready to wait another 10 years, but a series of events the last few weeks has been used to bring this about.

I trust if God is starting it, He will enable me to finish it.


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First, as regards kingship, every Christian is by faith so exalted above all things that, in spiritual power, he is completely lord of all things, so that nothing whatever can do him any hurt; yea, all things are subject to him, and are compelled to be subservient to his salvation. Thus Paul says, “All things work together for good to them who are the called” (Rom. viii. 28), and also, “Whether life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours; and ye are Christ’s” (1 Cor. iii. 22, 23).

. . .

This is a spiritual power, which rules in the midst of enemies, and is powerful in the midst of distresses. And this is nothing else than that strength is made perfect in my weakness, and that I can turn all things to the profit of my salvation; so that even the cross and death are compelled to serve me and to work together for my salvation. This is a lofty and eminent dignity, a true and almighty dominion, a spiritual empire, in which there is nothing so good, nothing so bad, as not to work together for my good, if only I believe. And yet there is nothing of which I have need–for faith alone suffices for my salvation–unless that in it faith may exercise the power and empire of its liberty. This is the inestimable power and liberty of Christians.\

Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty

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definition of faith

Martin Luther doesn’t so much spell this out, but he talks so much about faith, describes exact things we are to believe and has enlarged my idea of “faith” amazingly. Perhaps I can write about some of it here.

But I wanted to post what I think is his definition of faith.

Faith is the confident trust of God’s favor towards me.

Can I have this in suffering as much as in abundance? Can I have this when God takes away as much as when He gives? Can I have this faith as much in pain as I do in happiness? Can I believe this when I obey and when I sin?

Can I always, every day, in every joy and trial, success and failure, confidently trust that God looks upon me with favor because I am in Christ?

Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

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There’s a good book by this title written by Tim Kimmel. And I’m currently re-reading that book.

But I want to talk about grace-based parenting from what I learned from Martin Luther.

Martin Luther got a lot of things right and figured out so much that we, even true believers, have forgotten or never gotten. I think this is because Martin Luther struggled with life’s most foundational question. His struggles about salvation and being accepted by God worked incredibly deep insights in his thinking.

And one thing I’m learning from him is this: that salvation IS The Thing in ALL of life, every single day. It’s not a first step, it’s not a topic that I settle then move on to deeper stuff. Salvation IS the stuff.

I highly recommend reading his work Concerning Christian Liberty. Just google it, and you’ll find it online somewhere. Especially parts 2 and 3. He understands how faith is not just the foundation of life, it is the entire structure. Anything else that really matters is a product of right faith.

I recently was in a conversation about children’s obedience, and I just couldn’t figure out what was bothering me, trying to apply to obedience what I knew from reading Martin Luther, compared to what we most usually hear as christian parents.

So I sat down and went through the first half of Concerning Christian Liberty, part 3, then I wrote out my conclusions (or philosophy) about obedience in the form of a letter to my kids. Here’s the letter. And I think that in the process of doing this excercise, God used Martin Luther to help me understand the grace basis in parenting. See if you notice it.

A letter to my child, to be discussed throughout your young life, on why you should obey me:

Dear child:

You should obey Mommy and Daddy because God commands and desires it of you. Christ has alreay completed your obedience–He lived a perfect life that is now accounted to you, and He died to be punished for the sins (of disobedience, etc) that you do.

This is vital for you to believe–that in Christ, God is perfectly satisfied with you. You are free now to serve God with joy and love, not out of any fear.

Being in Christ means that you are now a servant, like Christ was for you. And this is the main way God has asked you to serve right now–by obeying your parents.

And this obedience takes work, but God has put His Spirit in you to help you and give you power. You won’t ever be perfect, but God will forgive you when you fail, and the more you understand your faith in Christ, the more God’s power will be in you to obey.


I think this is the key thought of grace: “In Christ, God is perfectly satisfied with you.” It’s hard to start with an attitude of acceptace with our kids, you know? There’s just so much that needs changing!

And sadly, so many of us as Christians have the secret drive of wanting to please God, the idea that sanctification is something I do. First, Christ fulfilled the law for my life already; then, my righteousness is not a result of me, only of Christ anyway; third, my good deeds aren’t getting me any further up on God’s “In Good” list. There’s only one name on that list: Jesus Christ; and we all come in under Him.

What I’ve come to understand is that:

  1. Yes, I teach obedience, and I discpline, train, and disciple them.
  2. About half of what irritates me will be grown out of; I don’t have to live in a pressure cooker that I need to perfect my kid. It’s doesn’t mean I let it all go; it means it’s not all sin-level issues.
  3. God changes us starting with acceptance. He doesn’t change us through fear, manipulation, achievement, etc. This is the heart of grace. He starts with acceptance, and that’s the open door to transformation. When I started parenting, I came at my kids from the wrong end–“I’m here to fix you.” It wasn’t grace. Now I can relate to them starting with acceptance.
  4. I’m not a big one on giving advice, but for some of you out there who need a balm . . . Don’t be a lazy parent–it’s a huge temptation. But don’t be thinking that you, as parent, are the end-all of your child’s destiny. That’s way too much pressure for a parent to bear, and, especially as christian parents, we are very susceptible to this internal guilt and weight. In Christ, God accepts you as you are; He will use even your sins, failures, and weaknesses to work all together for your good. And as you understand and believe more and more deeply the depth of His acceptance of you through the law-fulfilling life (lived on your behalf) and the atoning death of Christ, the more you will be naturally transformed. So don’t focus on your parenting. Focus on right faith in God.


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by Martin Luther.

Lord God, You have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in Your Church, but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall teach the people. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon Your Word. Use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.

The “sacristy” (Latin, connected to the word “sacred” and synonymous with “vestry”) is a “a room in a church where sacred vessels and vestments are kept and where the clergy vests.” (Merriam-Webster)

So I gather that this was Luther’s prayer he said while in the back room preparing to preach.

Perhaps this prayer could be altered for almost any profession or calling we find ourselves in, and I want to modify it as my prayer as a mother.

“A Groggily Laying in Bed Early in the Morning Being Awakened by Small Hands and Voices Prayer”

Lord God, You have appointed me as a Mother in this Family, but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall teach our children. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon Your Word. Use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.


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wedding last Saturday

Skyla and Vika were the flower girls.

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