Monday, September 22, 2008

Luke 8:22-25

Jesus Calms the Storm

22One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.

24The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.

25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

It might be easy for us to be hard on the disciples. They had been around Jesus, and seen His miracles and heard Him speak. Yet here they get freaked out and are upset because Jesus is asleep and they think they're going to drown. We might wonder how they could worry the way they did with Jesus there. And Jesus says to them, "Where is your faith?"

But we really aren't any different. We know what Jesus has done for us, we know His promises to always be with us. Yet sometimes we doubt. Sometimes we feel like He's asleep on the job while we're drowning in whatever crisis or difficulty we're facing. And perhaps Jesus says to us too, "Where is your faith?" I have been convicted of this lately. I have been dealing with a lot the last several months with my dad's health issue, figuring out what's best for him, and deciding to move him down closer to me. And at times I have questioned how things were going to work out because I was overwhelmed and stressed.

BUT even in our times of doubt (perhaps especially in our times of doubt), our faithful Savior is there. He helps us and loves us even though we are unworthy and doubting people. In my current situation, God has provided for everything to fall into place and for people to help me. And now I wonder why I doubted. I am so thankful for God's grace and for His faithfulness. I'm thankful for His forgiveness.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Italian Fest--Collinsville, Illinois

From the Italian Fest website, "The Italian Fest now includes such features as the Paisan Pedal Push, 5K Run-Walk, continuous entertainment on two stages with authentic Italian Bands and local performers, Fest Olympics, Italian Cooking Contest, Bocce Ball, Grape Stomp, Wine Garden, Craft Fair, Wine Making Contest, Window Decorating, Little Miss and Mister Italian Fest Pageant and Pony Rides in the FREE Children's Area.

But, the real calling card for the Italian Fest continues to be the authentic Italian fare ... from spaghetti, baugna caulda, and Italian roast beef to Italian ices.

The festival now attracts more than 150,000 people during its two days and raises over $150,000 for various civic, social, church and school organizations in the Collinsville area."

This is a great tradition of Collinsville. 2008 marks the 25th year of Italian Fest in Collinsville. I love eating all the different Italian food. My favorite is definitely the baugna caulda. Other things I have gotten include spedini, cannelloni bites, lasagna, cannolis, spumoni ice cream, etc. Everything is always delicious.

The Aristocats

This is such a cute Disney movie. The 1970 animated film tells the story of a family of aristocratic cats kidnapped by a butler who is greedy for his mistress' inheritance which she has left to the cats. An alley cat befriends the aristocats, and helps them get back home. It's a fun movie to watch, and the scene where the cats are jammin' is pretty cool!

"God Loves Me Dearly"

God loves me dearly
Grants me salvation,
God loves me dearly
Loves even me.

Refrain: Therefore I'll say again:
God loves me dearly,
God loves me dearly,
Loves even me.

I was in slav'ry,
Sin, death, and darkness;
God's love was working
To make me free. Refrain

He sent forth Jesus,
My dear Redeemer,
He sent forth Jesus
And set me free. Refrain

Jesus, my Savior,
Himself did offer;
Jesus, my Savior,
Paid all I owed. Refrain

Now I will praise You,
O Love Eternal;
Now I will praise You
All my life long. Refrain

I have always loved this, and was so excited when it made it into our Lutheran Service Book (hymnal). Kids often learn it when they are little. It has a catchy tune, and it conveys the Gospel in a simple and straightforward manner. This is a hymn I often find myself thinking of, humming, singing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I think Arby's is a great fast food place! The roast beef sandwiches and potato cakes dripping with Arby sauce and Horsey sauce, are awesome. And I think they have one of the best chicken salad sandwiches around. The Reuben's are good too. And I love the Jamocha shakes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Reese's Cookies

The description from the Hershey's website: "Now you can experience everything you love about a REESE'S peanut butter cup in a crunchy cookie! HERSHEY'S created a brand new taste sensation - smooth, creamy REESE'S peanut butter layered on a delectable, crunchy cookie... then dipped in 100% real HERSHEY'S milk chocolate."

I think that pretty much speaks for itself. All I can add is, "Man, are these good!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1 Chronicles 29:6-20

6 Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king's work gave willingly. 7 They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. 8 Any who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the LORD in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. 9 The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.

David's Prayer
10 David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, "Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting.
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.

14 "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. 15 We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. 16 O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. 17 I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. 18 O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you. 19 And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided."

20 Then David said to the whole assembly, "Praise the LORD your God." So they all praised the LORD, the God of their fathers; they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king.

Lots of great stuff in this passage regarding gifts for the temple. I love how it says the leaders gave willingly and wholeheartedly. They gave out of gratitude for what the LORD had done for them. They are an example for us. This passage also reminds us though that everything we have is from God anyway. He is the Giver of all good things. What a wonderful prayer of David here, praising God for His greatness.


Many days, my first thought upon waking up is, "When can I take a nap today?" Now once I get going I'm usually fine, and I usually don't have time during the day to take a nap, but sometimes that moment in the morning of thinking of future sleep enables me to get up. Naps can be very refreshing. I used to always take a Sunday nap, but alas, even my Sundays here of late are too busy for napping it seems. But once in awhile, when I do get to lie down for a bit and take a nap--well, it's a wonderful, wonderful thing! I love sleep! I think everything should shut down for an hour or so in the afternoon so everyone can take a nap. (I think countries that do this have the right idea).

Talking about napping makes me think of the Seinfeld episode where George is so tired at work and has his desk modified so he can take a nap under it every day. That always makes me smile.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article III The Righteousness of Faith Before God (par 9-16)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae

"We unanimously believe, teach, and confess the following about the righteousness of faith before God, in accordance with the comprehensive summary of our faith and confession presented above. A poor sinful person is justified before God, that is, absolved and declared free and exempt from all his sins and from the sentence of well-deserved condemnation, and is adopted into sonship and eternal life, without any merit or worth of his own. This happens without any preceding, present, or subsequent works, out of pure grace, because of the sole merit, complete obedience, bitter suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Christ alone. His obedience is credited to us for righteousness.

These treasures are brought to us by the Holy Spirit in the promise of the Holy Gospel. Faith alone is the only means through which we lay hold on, accept, apply and take them for ourselves. This faith is God's gift (Ephesians 2:8-9), by which we truly learn to know Christ, our Redeemer, in the Word of the Gospel and trust in Him. We trust that for the sake of His obedience alone we have the forgiveness of sins by grace, are regarded as godly and righteous by God the Father, and are eternally saved. Therefore, it is considered and understood to be the same thing when Paul says (a) we are 'justified by faith' (Romans 3:28) or (b) 'faith is counted as righteousness' (Romans 4:5) and when he says (c) 'by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous' (Romans 5:19) or (d) 'so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men' (Romans 5:18). Faith justifies not because it is such a good work or because it is so beautiful a virtue. It justifies because it lays hold of and accepts Christ's merit in the promise of the Holy Gospel. For this merit must be applied and become ours through faith, if we are to be justified by it. Therefore, the righteousness that is credited to faith or to the believer out of pure grace is Christ's obedience, suffering, and resurrection, since He has made satisfaction for us to the Law and paid for our sins. Christ is not man alone, but God and man in one undivided person. Therefore, He was hardly subject to the Law (because He is the Lord of the Law), just as He didn't have to suffer and die for His own sake. For this reason, then, His obedience (not only in His suffering and dying, but also because He was voluntarily made under the Law in our place and fulfilled the Law by this obedience) is credited to us for righteousness. So, because of this complete obedience, which He rendered to His heavenly Father for us by doing and suffering and in living and dying, God forgives our sins. He regards us as godly and righteous, and He eternally saves us. This righteousness is brought to us by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and in the Sacraments. It is applied, taken, and received through faith. Therefore, believers have reconciliation with God, forgiveness of sins, God's grace, sonship, and are heirs of eternal life."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"The Remedy (I Won't Worry)" Jason Mraz

Jason Mraz is fun This is one of those songs where I prefer his acoustic versions of it to the version that was initially popular on the radio. Just him singing, playing his guitar (or there are some versions where there's another guy too just playing a guitar or bongos--those are cool versions too). This is just a fun song with a good reminder for life, "I won't worry my life away."

Listen to and/or purchase regular version

You can find acoustic versions various places online.

Mark 9:14-32

The Healing of a Boy with an Evil Spirit

14When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16"What are you arguing with them about?" he asked.
17A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
19"O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22"It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23" 'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
25When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
29He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."
30They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, 31because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." 32But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it.

We see here Jesus' power and His compassion. Jesus frees the boy from the evil spirit who had tormented him and held him captive. And I love the conversation Jesus has with the man's father. The boy's father says, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief." He's very honest, and this is something Christians can relate to. We have faith in Christ, we know what he's done for us, yet there are times where are faith may feel weak or when we may have doubts. But we too can speak to our Savior and say, "Help my unbelief." And He does! He strengthens our faith as we hear His word and as we receive His very body and blood.

Jesus at the end of this passage speaks of His death and Resurrection. We can rejoice in what His death and Resurrection means for us, and be thankful that our Savior has compassion on us just as He had compassion on this boy and his father.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home of the Brave

This 2004 film follows the lives of four soldiers at the end of their tour in Iraq and their return to the United States. When they come home they must deal with the physical and psychological injuries they sustained and attempt to acclimate back to work and life with their families.

I thought this movie gave a realistic portrayal of what soldiers go through. I mean, I can't speak from personal experience, but it seems like it captured the struggles and feelings the soldiers would have. Though this movie was incredibly sad in many ways, I think it does end with some hope that some of these soldiers are getting help, letting others get close to them, and learning to cope.

Samuel Jackson, Jessica Biel, and the others do a great job playing their roles. This was a powerful movie and it reminded me of what soldiers sacrifice and how we need to pray for them and as a country strive to get them the help they need when they come home.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Devil's Food Crumb Donuts (Entenmann's)

Devil’s Food donuts topped with Devil's Food Crumbs. Chocolaty goodness! This is probably my favorite donut, or at least up there as one of my favorites.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

John 20:31

31But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

This is why we have the Scriptures--so we can know of our Savior Who died for us. So the Holy Spirit can work faith in us and strengthen that faith through His Word. The Bible is more than a book of stories or a rule book (which many believe). The Bible is God's Word; it is a means of grace.

Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha

A delicious variation of the classic mocha. Rich, full-bodied espresso is complemented with creamy white chocolate syrup, raspberry syrup, and topped with whipped cream.

This is one of my favorite drinks to get at Starbucks (or other coffee places). The raspberry/chocolate combo is always good stuff.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"True Companion" Marc Cohn

Baby I've been searching like everybody else
Can't say nothing different about myself
Sometimes I'm an angel
And sometimes I'm cruel
And when it comes to love
I'm just another fool
Yes, I'll climb a mountain
I'm gonna swim the sea
There ain't no act of God girl
Could keep you safe from me
My arms are reaching out
Out across this canyon
I'm asking you to be my true companion
True companion
True companion

So don't you dare and try to walk away
I've got my heart set on our wedding day
I've got this vision of a girl in white
Made my decision that it's you allright
And when I take your hand
I'll watch my heart set sail
I'll take my trembling fingers
And I'll lift up your veil
Then I'll take you home
And with wild abandon
Make love to you just like a true companion
You are my true companion
I got a true companion
True companion

When the years have done irreparable harm
I can see us walking slowly arm in arm
Just like the couple on the corner do
'Cause girl I will always be in love with you
And when I look in your eyes
I'll still see that spark
Until the shadows fall
Until the room grows dark
Then when I leave this Earth
I'll be with the angels standin'
I'll be out there waiting for my true companion
Just for my true companion
True companion
True companion

This is such a beautiful, romantic song; a song about true and lasting love.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I am so hooked on this computer game! The goal is to swap adjacent gems to match 3 or more sparkling jewels. The more matches made, the higher the score. It can be played in a timed or non-timed mode. This game is so addicting.