Fortunate Freudian Slip?

I had an oddly beneficial experience in my 4th hour class today.

At the beginning of the hour, I was very frustrated with them. . .and showing it. However, class progressed. We got toward the end of the hour and began our reading for the day. We're working on Macbeth currently, which means that I have to stop and explain the language every 20-30 lines (or less). During one of my brilliant explanations, I had a slip of the tongue. Actually, what I said was perfectly innocent, unless you're a crude adolescent who consistently takes certain words as slang words meaning things to which they don't remotely relate in reality. At any rate, as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I realized how it would sound to their ears. There probably would have only been a couple smirks, but I couldn't restrain a violent blush--a blush I quickly covered with both hands, which of course sent the entire class into a chorus of improper laughter. Curses on my imprudence! Nevertheless, I must say that my mistake seemed to break a bit of ice between the class and myself, creating more of a community atmosphere than has existed all semester. Amazing. . .and appalling. . .what things will get them on my side. I don't yet know what to think, and I'm still struggling to restrain a blush when I try to figure it out.

Oh well. I suppose any amount of class cooperation is worth a little embarrasment on my part. A very little. Perhaps the laughter today will help ease any trauma caused by April Fool's pranks tomorrow.


Whining & Wishing, Procrastination & Propriety

Life is slightly better today than it was yesterday afternoon. Fourth hour was twice as loud, but half as whiny and incompetent. . .just don't ask me to look at the research papers they handed in. Not yet. At any rate, I can handle loud better than whiny. Tomorrow is the last day for them to retake a test that over half the class failed before Spring Break. As of yet, no one has come in to take advantage of my oh-so-generous retake offer. In fact, no one who was absent has even come in to take it the first time. I suppose I shall have a roomful tomorrow. Why do we humans always wait until the last minute for things?

I am still slightly whiny myself. . .still, as if it only started yesterday and is not almost the norm lately. Only, it's not so much whiny. I don't whine. I just sigh wistfully. I suppose that's slightly better than whining. I'm sure I should greatly appreciate my 4th hour if they only sighed wistfully for lack of easy, brain-dead assignments instead of whined for them. So I shall self-righteously insist that my wistfulness is perfectly understandable and acceptable. In the meantime, I shall continue ignoring it and throw myself into the grading that is waiting to be done and the laundry that is waiting to be put away. It is beyond me how any woman manages an all-consuming career along with a husband. I should think I'd go insane if I didn't know an end was (almost) in sight.

Notice my affinity for "I should" and "I shall." Aren't we proper?



For some reason, my latest post only shows up in my archive. . .not on the main page. Why???

From Easter to Monday to Mental Exhaustion

I spent the first Easter of my married life driving through Arkansas with my husband. We intended to go to church. We found the address of a Lutheran church not far from where we were staying. We got up early and checked out early so we could attend. We arrived to discover that their Easter service had been at 7am, not the normal 10:45. Perhaps I should have foreseen that possibility, but. . .I'll plead my newness to the world of reformation. Evangelicals would NEVER have service that early.

So we did the only reasonable thing. . .headed for home while I read the Easter story aloud. We discussed communion and baptism and I-don't-know-what without coming to any conclusions, but were nonetheless thankful for God's grace in spite of our ignorance.

Then Monday and school. Have I mentioned that school is wearing on me? The ever-increasing desire to stay home and take care of our (messy and cluttered) home is seeping deeper and deeper into my bones. I keep thinking of one of the Elisabeth Eliott books, in which she talks about a couple she was counseling. The wife was complaining about her job, saying it was beneath her skill and educational levels. She was apparently trapped in it for her husband's sake. . .I don't remember the details too clearly. What I do remember is EE's response. She asked the wife why she was working. She reminded her that this was necessary for herself and her husband at that point in time. She asked her if she could work the job for her mate, not for herself or her career, until such a time as it was no longer needed.

I keep reminding myself that this is what I need to do for now. It is not forever, but it is my place for now. Truthfully, it hasn't been bad. I enjoy the kids and the teaching. It's when I come home and still have school work to do. . .on top of the housework and cooking I'm not getting done but really want to do. . .that I get impatient. It's not that I'm unhappy. I just can't do all the things I would like. . .but who can?

I must say that my 4th hour does not help any. There are some great kids in there who I really like, but there are others. . .and I don't know what to do. Today I am completely and totally exhausted. I was fine at 1:05. At 1:15 I started feeling anxious. By 1:45 I was hot and harried. By 2:20 I was slightly irritable. By 2:40 I was impatient and frustrated. Pretty normal for that class. If my day could only end after 3rd hour. . . . But it can't. There's one girl who laughs at me. Always. I instruct, she laughs. I discipline, she laughs. I answer a question, she laughs. Her insolence galls me. It makes me feel petty and childish. And I can't win. Mental exhaustion sets in amid the whining and the laughing, and I just hold on until the bell rings.

But enough of this. I must go and start dinner. Cooking is almost always therapeutic. . .as long as I don't burn my hand or chop my finger off. Then it's stressful. I shall endeavor to refrain from either tonight.


Latest Thoughts on the Holy Spirit

In Sunday School this morning, we discussed the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was a good discussion, and I think quite productive. There is some further study I wish to do, but I think this is a good working doctrine in the meantime.

It was pointed out that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament and only about 9 times in the NT. The references given are Matt 3:11, Mark1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33 (all from John the Baptist's quote regarding He who would come after), Acts 1:5, Acts 11:16, Acts 2, I Cor 12:13, and Romans 6:1-4. Actually, I question whether the Romans 6 passage is referring to Spirit baptism or water baptism, but it has little bearing on the conclusions--at least for now.

Next, we discussed 4 specific actions of the Spirit: baptism, filling, indwelling, and sealing. They were differentiated as follows: baptism signifies a believer's joining of the body of Christ and is given in response to belief (see Acts 11:16-17); filling empowers the believer for daily Christian living; indwelling is the Spirit taking up permanent residence within the believer; sealing is the mark of permanent possession by God. We talked about the literal meaning of the words. Filling is to put into a container as much as it can hold (with the spiritual application that as the believer grows in Christ, his capacity for 'fullness" may increase); Sealing connotes approval, ownership, completion, and/or authority. Indwelling is said to be different from filling in as much as the Spirit may still inhabit the believer, even if the believer is not living righteously as a result of continual and constantly increasing filling. The proposition is that all 4 take place simultaneously at the conversion of a believer (which brought up a discrepancy in belief about infant baptism, but we'll get there later).

We then looked at the following scriptures with the associated interpretations:
1. John 14:16-17 The Spirit was sent by Christ in inhabit and be with believers forever. That is, the filling or indwelling of the Spirit cannot be temporary. (Overtly Calvinist - it brought up some curious questions about evangelicals who believe in backsliding. I'm still not sure what I think about that.)
2. John 7:37-39 The Spirit was first given after Christ's ascension in response to belief alone, not specific requests. (Hence, no need to pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit)
3. Ephesians 1:13 Believers are marked with the seal of the Spirit at conversion; a pledge for the future, this is eternal and permanent.
4. Galatians 3:2 The Spirit is received by those who believe.
5. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 The Spirit's seal is one of ownership, a deposit that absolutely guarantees the future.
6. Ephesians 4:30 The command is given to not grieve the Spirit. (Therefore, there is a potential for stifling the Spirit.)
7. Ephesians 3:19 Paul's prayer for Ephesus is that they may know the love of Christ to abound in knowledge and be filled with all the fullness of God. (Already believers, they must already be filled with the Spirit. The interpretation is that their capacity might be increased to be filled with ALL the Spirit.)
8. Ephesians 5:18 The command to "be filled" with the Spirit. (Why is the command necessary if filling is automatic upon belief, unless the believer may be "further filled" in time? The interpretation is that the filling of the Spirit is continual and ever-increasing in response to the believer's increasing humility and submission to God's sovereignty.)

As for speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Spirit, it was proposed that they are each a manifestation of the baptism of the Spirit, but none is the manifestation. This may fit with 1 Corinthians 12, if you ignore the section heading inserted between verses 11 and 12 in most Bibles. 1 Corinthians 12 is the chapter on the gifts of the Spirit and the unity of the the body's many different members. Verse 13 says ALL believers are baptized in the Spirit into 1 body. It comes after 12 verses of discussing the different gifts and members of the body, emphasis on the word different. This is what I want to study more, but here's my initial idea: the chapter is all on the different gifts of the Spirit for different members of the body. Might that support the idea that speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit, but not the single recognizable gift?

To briefly return to the infant baptism question. . .
From Lutheran perspective, Spirit baptism occurs at water baptism. . .therefore in infancy for those born into a Lutheran church. Does that mean that conversion is not necessary for the infant baptized into the covenant? That would seem logical. However, the Presbyterians baptize infants as a sign of the body's belief in the covenant for the child. The child must still accept Christ when they are older; thus, conversion is separate from baptism. Confirmation, if I'm understanding correctly, is basically a new-member class. It has no bearing on conversion. Odd.

I shall be out of internet contact for 2 or 3 days. I hope to have some study time between now and then to further explore these ideas.


Second Thoughts

On second thought, I'm not sure "The House Beautiful" will inspire any more interest than the others. It might be a bit too pretentious. . .as if anything Oscar Wilde ever did was the least bit pretentious. Ha.

I shall continue ruminating.

More on The House Beautiful

Bad art is a great deal worse than no art at all.
A quote from Wilde's lecture. Taking parts of it with a grain of salt, I think it will generally due as the source for our club name. Check it out at House Decoration. Comments?


The House Beautiful

In talking to my dad about the homemaking club idea, we were kicking around titles. Domestic Divas leaves something to be desired on a moral basis, aside from the fake quality. In fact, I don't think anything with any form of the word "domestic" will win points at all. I know there is a desire among some of the kids for homemaking skills, but tapping into it and keeping it "cool" may be a challenge. Then I thought of Oscar Wilde and his lectures on "The House Beautiful." I wonder if something could be taken and used from that. It bears examination, at least. I'll have to delve into that later.

Homemakers R Us

We spent the latter part of our day at school in professional development meetings, discussing a variety of topics and arriving at few (if any) conclusions. Typical. However, one thing mentioned was the possibility of having an "activity hour" built into the monthly or bi-monthly school schedule next year. In that event, they are asking for teachers to step forward and suggest/volunteer for clubs or organizations. In light of my thoughts this past week, I was wondering about a "homemakers' club" (for lack of better terminology). I did make the mistake of mentioning my budding idea to a couple other teachers. By and large, I got laughed at. I shall also have to be more careful how forceful I am in my philosophical supports. . .I may step on toes.
Anyway, I remembered seeing a "Future Homemakers of America" sign in one of the rooms at a school I substituted for last year. The organization's creed was beautiful:
We are the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.
We face the future with warm courage and high hope.
For we have the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious values.For we are the builders of homes, Homes for America's future,Homes where living will be the expression of everything that is good and fair,Homes where truth and love and security and faith will be realities, not dreams.
We are the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.We face the future with warm courage and high hope.

As you can see, they've changed the name to the "Family, Career and Community Leaders of America." How PC. At any rate, I was getting really excited about the possibility of starting a chapter here. Then I discovered 2 things. First, to host a chapter, the school must offer Family or Consumer Science related courses. We don't. No Home Economics class. (That's what's wrong with our test scores. . . .) Secondly, only students currently or previously enrolled in said courses may be full members. *sigh* So much for wishful thinking. But why can't I do something similar? We don't have to have national recognition to teach girls how to make a home and take care of a family. . .although I would like a name better than Homemakers R Us.


My Long-Term Career

One of our teacher coaches (that is, a former teacher who now coaches and mentors teachers) was in the building earlier this week, and she asked me what my "long-term career goals" were? I suppose I should have been tactful and professional, but it just popped out. . ."to quit," says I as if it were the normal thing to say. She laughs, then asks if I'm going to have children.
"Well, yes, eventually."
"Okay, then after your children are out of the house, I want you to get your National Board Certifica--" (I interrupt.)
"I don't think I'll come back."
"Really? What will you do?"
What will I do? Really? Is that a serious question? But I don't say those things. I just say something about building a home and being a wife. Then she asks if I won't be lonely. Ha. I manage to refrain from laughing, then assure her that I will stay busy. And, to help ease her mind, I mention that I'd like to continue involvement with students on a volunteer tutoring/mentoring basis. I also mention that making a home is a lot of work, and I have every intention of making one. She agrees--sort of.

How sad that I should need to justify wanting to stay home and take care of my husband, with or without kids in the picture. Adults need TLC, too.

At any rate, in thinking back over the incident, I was thinking how the poverty cycle works. Kids grow up without a real home, so they don't know what one looks like, let alone how to make one. So they have kids who grow up without a real home, etc., etc. I wonder if I can "tutor" girls in homemaking. It's not widely taught now. And I do want to remain involved with urban schools in some capacity. I wonder if I could somehow collect 4 or 5 at-risk girls and teach them--in my home--how to make a home.

This has been a week of girl-fights at school. Girls trying to kill each other because somebody said that somebody said that somebody said something not nice. One girl's mom happened to be with her at the time; she got knocked in the face with a combination lock in the process of trying to hold her daughter back. At least she was trying to stop the fight. A couple of weeks ago, a mother went to eat lunch with her daughter at one of the middle schools that feeds into our school. She ended up holding down another female student so that her daughter could beat her up more easily. These are the girls about to get pregnant and raise more children like themselves. The cycle must be broken. Christian culture starts at home; shouldn't our efforts to spread it focus there? If 4 girls could spend a year visiting and participating in a real home, that's at least 8 children that are one step closer to the life Christ died to give us. Thoughts to muse on. . .plans to dream about. . . .

For now, I'm off to Parent-Teacher Conferences, where I shall undoubtedly see why my students are the way they are. . .if any parents show up. And if not. . .therein lies another reason why my students are who they are.



Please excuse the frivolous nature of the chocolate link. . .just spreading a little cheer.


Connecting the Dots

Let's postulate. . .

1. The Holy Spirit is Love.
2. Love is "communicative goodness."
3. The Holy Spirit is God's communicative goodness--His goodness communicated to us.



The Holy Spirit, Perspectives of Spiritual Gurus

In no particular order, here is the result of some studying. I throw them out as thoughts for contemplation, dialogue, and prayer, not conclusions.

Thoughts from or provoked by Matthew Henry. . .

from commentary on John 16:7-15
The Holy Spirit came in answer to "Christ's intercession within the veil." His role in the Christian life is a direct result of the tearing of the veil. This seems to support a more obvious and universal application of the Spirit under the new covenant than in the Old Testament, as postulated in my previous ramblings.

The Holy Spirit "will convince the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment." Here's a new idea. The Holy Spirit takes the place of the law (see Roman 3:20). In the commentary on Acts 2, Henry points out that the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit takes place at Pentecost--the Jewish holiday celebrating the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. Jesus was crucified during the Passover celebration. . .the sacrifice for salvation in the new covenant. The Holy Spirit was given during Pentecost. . .the law of the new covenant. It makes sense. Jump to Romans. . .

from commentary on Romans 8:1-9
OT law was a covenant of works; the new law of the Spirit is a covenant of grace. We are therefore free from the law of sin and death and now under "the law that gives the Spirit, spiritual life to qualify us for eternal." The requirement for satisfaction after a breach of law is satisfied by imputing Christ's righteousness to us. The requirement for obedience to the law is satisfied by the Spirit writing the law of love on our hearts; love is the fulfillment of the law.

The Spirit dwells in the sanctified believer, but only visits the unregenerate. Old Testament believers were not sanctified? Only after Christ's sacrifice could man be considered sanctified and therefore able to be a temple of the Holy Ghost.

The Holy Spirit in our lives is the Spirit of God motivating us to conform to the Spirit of Christ. He is somehow a reflection of the other two persons, yet still separate Himself.

from commentary on Romans 8:10-16
We cannout please God without the Spirit, but the Spirit will not work without our own corresponding effort. We are "led" by the Spirit as rational beings, but not "driven" as cattle.

from commentary on Acts 11:1-18, 10:44-48
The Holy Ghost is the gift of Christ, sent after He left His disciples. Does this make it separate from water baptism? All of the disciples would have been water baptized around the time that Jesus was, possibly by John the Baptist. Either the Spirit's baptism was delayed for only the disciples because of their unique position in time, living and experiencing Christianity parallel to Christ, or it is a separate thing from water baptism.

MH says the Holy Spirit is a "kind of baptism." For the first Christians, the Jews, it was a kind of confirmation after water baptism. God gave the Holy Spirit to the Gentiles as a way of showing His acceptance of their repentance. It was necessary that it happen before water baptism, because Peter would not have allowed the Gentiles to experience water baptism without the evidence of Spirit baptism. The baptism of the Spirit proved to the Jewish believers that the Gentiles were worthy of water baptism. It was still necessary, because we are tied to physical ordinances, even though God, of course, is not. Peter argued for the Gentiles' water baptism, saying (according to MH's translation), "Can we deny the sign to those who have received the thing signified?" This seems to mean that the external sign of water baptism is a physical seal of Christian fellowship and acceptance of new believers, the physical symbol of the spiritual seal given through the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts from Augustine. . .

The Holy Spirit is the "admonitio" to return to divine Truth. "Admonitio" is a "reminding" or a "friendly admonition." He is a gift. He is fully divine, by reason of the Scripture saying our "bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit." As a temple is a structure fit for deity alone, the Holy Spirit is deity. (I know this is not in dispute; I've simply never heard this support before and thought it worth mentioning.) In human experience, the Holy Spirit is love. The Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--may be described as lover, loved, and love, respectively. The Spirit is the love that unites the Trinity. (I find this description especially intriguing in light of Dr. Thimel's teaching. . .see previous post on the Holy Spirit.) The Father and Son are both "holy" and "spirit" in their individual persons; the Holy Spirit is what they share in common. As the representation of the relationship between the Father and the Son, He is also the relationship between God and the church (the arbiter of or the actual relationship or both?). The Spirit proceeds from God the Father through Christ, so coming from both of them.

Augustine also makes the correlation between Pentecost and Mount Sinai, mentioning the dichotomy between the law of fear written on stone and the law of love written on human hearts by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit, he says, is a "down payment" of the promise, of the believer's inheritance.

Thoughts from Martin Luther. . .

The Father is the Creator. Christ is the Redeemer. The Spirit is the Sanctifier. He is how we are to become "holy and pure and live and continue to be pure." The Spirit does this by leading us into the holy, catholic church. He preserves, preaches, and brings us to Christ through the church. He finishes the work of sanctification through the resurrection of believers after mortal death. The Spirit is bestowed upon the believer at the believer's baptism to do the work of sanctification.


The Vine

I'm supposed to be going to bed, but I stopped to read my Bible first, and now I must type a few thoughts.

John 15:2 - He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit.

MH says, Unfruitful professors are unfaithful professors, and no more.

Unfruitful = Unfaithful. Something to remember.

For the fruitful, on the other hand, God purges to produce more fruit. I have been noticing this week how often the parable is true that says "he who has will be given more, and he who has not, even what he has will be taken away." From a school context to employment to anything, it holds true. My students who have some knowledge inevitable gain more than those who have little. Those who have low grades continue to fall, while those with better grades continue to excel. Those who have patience continue to become more patient and more perfect. Those who lack it tend to become more impatient as time passes. Apart from God's grace, we are entirely hopeless. Only he can give what we lack and increase what we are privileged to have. And the more fruit we bring forth, the more we abound in that which is good, the more he is glorified (MH John 15:1-8).

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you - John 15:9

I never realized what that really means before. How does the Father love Christ? He loves Him as a Son, as someone worthy of His love; He is well-pleased with Christ. He loves us, who are unworthy, likewise: as children acceptable and pleasing in His sight. Consider the love of a natural father for his son; how much more the love of our Divine Father for His Son, part of Himself. One of the few (very few) beautiful teachings I received at ORU was Dr. Thimel's lesson on the Trinity. He spoke about the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From what I remember, it's something like this: God is love. Love is not love if it is alone. God can be love, because He is a triune being. There is infinite and perfect love between the 3 persons of the Trinity, providing the ultimate model for us. Add to that the image of Christ's love for us being a reflection of the Father's love for Him. Grace, indeed.

And then, the command--that we love one another in the same way. Grace is needed for that challenge.


Holy Spirit

We began a series on the Holy Spirit this morning in Sunday School. I'm looking forward to hearing so many perspectives from so many different, non-Pentecostal backgrounds, but dreading the inner upheaval that's already begun. It's so difficult to even know where to start when questioning so many years of teaching. Someone asked today about the dichotomy between the Holy Spirit's activity in the Old and New Testament, and I have a few thoughts addressing that. Mind, I did say thoughts, not answers.

The question arises from the verses in the New Testament where Jesus talks about sending the Holy Spirit to the believers and how the Spirit has been withheld until this time, yet He is mentioned frequently in the Old Testament. Someone posited that the difference is in his role and activity, which is slightly dispensationalist, but we'll consider it for argument's sake.

In the Old Testament, the Spirit was present and active at Creation. Adam and Eve, of course, had full communion with God until sin cut them off. It appears that the Spirit then continued to act upon and in certain people at divers times and places for divers purposes throughout Old Testament history. When Moses received the Ten Commandments, the Israelites were afraid and instructed Moses to speak to God for them--they were not bold enough to face Him themselves. I wonder if the great need for priests and prophets as God's mouthpieces would have been lessened in the OT if the Israelites had been bolder at Mount Sinai. I wonder if the Spirit of God would have spoken to more of the faithful, had they evinced a willingness to listen. Or, was that God Himself and not the Holy Spirit speaking at the mountain? I do not know. So, we continue through the OT with the Spirit speaking to believers only through a chosen few. Perhaps the requirements of the law dictated that; perhaps the grace we receive through Christ provided the bridge the Holy Spirit had to have to communicate openly with all believers. At any rate, it does seem that after Christ's arrival is the first time masses of people are visited by the Holy Spirit. Someone brought up Christ's baptism this morning, how the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form for the first time as a dove. They likened it to Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descended again in bodily form as tongues of fire. I wonder if Christ was, once again, the forerunner and firstborn for the baptism of the Holy Spirit as for our acceptance as children of God. That seems to be consistent with Scriptural teaching, does it not? He was the firstborn, enabling all believers everywhere to likewise receive after he paid the penalty required by the law. Then, what IS the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Is it closely related to water baptism? In Kevin's Bible, where the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Ephesians 1 as the seal of our salvation, there is a note equating the "seal of the Holy Spirit" with baptism. Water baptism? Baptism of the Holy Spirit? One and the same? Christ's water baptism, obviously, was the catalyst for if not simultaneous with the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Him. And that is recognized as the beginning of His ministry, yes? So, following that train, the baptism of the Holy Spirit--perhaps also water baptism--is God enabling us for work in His kingdom. That is different from the baptism-equals-circumcision and symbol-of-the-covenant position.

So many questions. I wish I had answers. This study promises to be challenging, at any rate, and I am grateful for the opportunity. I don't know how much sense I've made of all the rumbling in my brain. . .it translates to rambling, I'm imagine. Productive rambling in the long run, I hope.

Love, continued

A poem from Phantastes, by George MacDonald. . .

Better to sit at the waters' birth,
Than a sea of waves to win,
To live in the love that floweth forth,
Than the love that cometh in.

Be thy heart a well of love, my child,
Flowing, and free, and sure,
For a cistern of love, though undefiled,
Keeps not the spirit pure.



Larkspur is another name for delphinium, one of the comparatively few flowers that grows in various shades of blue. It represents a "flight of fancy" or an "ardent attachment."

Amazing Grace

"If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask,and God will give life to such a one--to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. All wrondgoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal. We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them." I John 5:16-18

If I am understanding this and MH correctly. . .
for the believer, there is sin that does not lead to death. Furthermore, he is protected and prohibited from that sin that does lead to death. Impenitence and unbelief lead to death, but "the gospel does not positively and peremptorily threaten death to the more visible sins of the members of Christ but only some gospel-chastisement" (MH 1 John 5:14-17). A comfort and solution to the "What if I die before asking forgiveness for a particular act?" question.

For those sins we do commit, which are not mortal, we may not only ask forgiveness for ourselves, but also for believing brothers with expectation of forgiveness. What grace that not only protects me from mortal sin, but also exchanges my non-mortal sin for life when a friend recognizes my need, albeit my own ignorance or inattention.


Love Is

"What attribute of the divine Majesty so clearly shines in all the world as his communicative goodness, which is love. . .Faith is perfected by its works, and love perfected by its operations." (Matthew Henry Commentary, 1 John 4:7-13)

Love as "communicative goodness." It is our actions, not our words and certainly not our emotions. Lack of love is amended by operating as if perfect love were present. This is the challenge. To love in doing (and thus in reality?) even when feeling that love is impossible.