Listen to Psalm 12 for our Wednesday Night Service:
Listen to me read Psalm 11...
To the choirmaster. Of David.
 In the LORD I take refuge;
how can you say to my soul,
“Flee like a bird to your mountain,
 for behold, the wicked bend the bow;
they have fitted their arrow to the string
to shoot in the dark at the upright in heart;
 if the foundations are destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
 The LORD is in his holy temple;
the LORD’s throne is in heaven;
his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
 The LORD tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
 Let him rain coals on the wicked;
fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.
 For the LORD is righteous;
he loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.
This podcast episode was originally uploaded in the Fall of 2017 (I believe). It is the one-and-only episode from a podcast that I was going to call, "Ask Pastor Matt." It flopped, not because it wasn't a good episode, but because I never made another one. Well, I'm back at it, so I thought that I would upload this one and get it back out there.
In a July 8, 1530 letter from Martin Luther to Lazarus Spengler, Luther interprets his seal:
Grace and peace from the Lord. As you desire to know whether my painted seal, which you sent to me, has hit the mark, I shall answer most amiably and tell you my original thoughts and reason about why my seal is a symbol of my theology. The first should be a black cross in a heart, which retains its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. "For one who believes from the heart will be justified" (Romans 10:10). Although it is indeed a black cross, which mortifies and which should also cause pain, it leaves the heart in its natural color. It does not corrupt nature, that is, it does not kill but keeps alive. "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17) but by faith in the crucified. Such a heart should stand in the middle of a white rose, to show that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace. In other words, it places the believer into a white, joyous rose, for this faith does not give peace and joy like the world gives (John 14:27). That is why the rose should be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and the angels (cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12). Such a rose should stand in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in spirit and faith is a beginning of the heavenly future joy, which begins already, but is grasped in hope, not yet revealed. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that such blessedness in Heaven lasts forever and has no end. Such blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable, most precious and best metal. This is my compendium theologiae [summary of theology]. I have wanted to show it to you in good friendship, hoping for your appreciation. May Christ, our beloved Lord, be with your spirit until the life hereafter. Amen. (source: Wikipedia)
If I add to Martin Luther's interpretation some significance to the 5 petals of that rose... representing the 5 Solae of the Reformation... I get this:
Special Thanks to Trinity Shanks of Iron Tide Gallery in Danville, IL.
I would like to take a moment to address the abortion conversation. I would like to do this, not just to stir the pot or poke the beast. And I absolutely don't want to do this out of any desire to be dis-compassionate to anyone.
Please note, I am not going to be addressing the actual topic of abortion itself in this post... at least not directly... but I would like to discuss the issues that tend to arise in those particular conversations where abortion is the core topic. Now, I will obviously be speaking/writing from my own vantage point, based on my own experiences, and to be completely honest, this isn't a topic that has come up very often, but when it does, the flow of the conversation tended to go the same way every single time... It was a downhill slide... away from abortion.
So... the purpose of this post is to tackle the conversational slide that I've experienced by "thinking through" (in blog format) what is happening in these conversations, and what issues, I feel, are steering the conversation toward that downhill slide. I would like to call these issues "detours" ... they are the blockades that steer the conversation away from anything productive and into side topics that really aren't helpful and usually aren't accurate. The first detour I would like to mention, can be found in the misuse of the word, "compassion."