Here’s a few tasty morsels for you to snack on from the Winter 2013-2014 edition of Around the Word. ATW is a quarterly theological and devotional journal that extols the Lord’s gifts of Law and Gospel for the curious Christian.
From Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller’s article “A Body Under Attack: Spiritual Warfare in the Church”:
We are to be spiritually awake, which means we are watchful in our prayers. The sleeping Christian is the Christian who does not pray.
From Sarah E. Ludwig’s article “The Care and Feeding of Pastors”:
So he has years of education, a fancy degree, and he has received a divine call—he’s still a regular, sinful guy, albeit with a greater burden on his shoulders than most of us have. His family is a normal, sinful family too. They’re not perfect any more than you and your family are. According to H.B. London’s Pastors at Greater Risk, 94% of pastors feel under pressure to have a perfect family. Don’t put excess stress on them by expecting them to be.
Treat them like you treat everyone else. Invite them over for dinner. Offer to baby-sit the kids so he and his wife can go on a date. Take him fishing or golfing or invite his wife over for coffee. If he messes up, remember that he is human and sinful just like you, and forgive him, just as you know he would forgive you. Give him and his family room to be themselves. And please, do not say to any of the pastor’s kids, “Oh, so you’re one of THOSE…” (If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, well, you know.)
From Pastor Jacob Corzine’s article “Contrary to the Evidence: Faith in Tension”:
…Where direct faith is absolutely confident, although maybe you don’t realize it, reflexive faith is constantly in flux, moving all the time between strong and weak, certainty and doubt. It’s the place of what Luther called Anfechtung—a word that’s so hard to translate that it’s usually left in Luther’s German. It means something like “internal struggle.” Its Latin equivalent, tentatio, is the root of the English word “tension” (not “temptation”!).
Put simply, Anfechtung is what you have when you’re doubting whether you’re really a Christian or not. This is why it’s so important to not confuse it with temptation. It’s not Anfechtung when you’re tempted to sin. That’s just sin. Anfechtung is what happens when you realize that the Bible teaches that Christians are righteous, and that righteous people don’t just not sin—they want nothing to do with sin. Except that you do. Anfechtung is what happens when you begin not just to know that you’re a Christian, but also to compare your life with the scriptures. Anfechtung sounds like about the worst thing there is, because it’s basically the opposite of faith, but it’s actually essential to the life of every Christian. Here’s why:…
To find out why, visit their website at http://www.aroundthewordjournal.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AroundtheWordJournal. The theme for the winter issue is Sin, Death, and the Devil.