X MARKS THE SPOT – A TREASURE HUNT OF Xs

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From Tapestry, Winter 1994
by Doreen and Laurie Schaeffer, Simcoe, Ontario

Please prepare for this study by prayerfully singing “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now” LSB: #902

Read responsively Psalm 103

When my children were small, getting a letter from Grandma and Grandpa always brought excitement. Grandma closed her letter with “xxxxx,” and the boys would come running to get their kisses. That was a letter to treasure. Love for one another in our family is a wonderful blessing from God.

So often, though, in the rush of daily activities, we forget the Source of our greatest treasure. We find ourselves hunting for the flashy treasures of the world – money, possessions, power, fame. These treasures are like fool’s gold – bright and shiny, but not worth very much.

Get your Bibles ready. Hunt for the treasure in the following situations.
#1 It’s election time. Candidates X, Y and Z are debating the issues on national TV. Candidate X steps to the microphone and says, “Our country is really in a mess. The previous administration has only made matters worse. If elected, I have the solution to these problems. Vote for me – I have the answers!”

Look up Isaiah 40:8 and John 14:6. Where is the real treasure?

#2 You are watching prime time TV. In the program little Suzy is being stalked by an unknown assailant. The only way the police can bring the attacker to justice is by catching him in the act. Constable X assures Suzy, “There is nothing to worry about. I’ll have policemen stationed all around you. There is no way this guy can hurt you. Trust me.”

Look up Genesis 28:15. Where is the real treasure?

#3 You are on the phone to Mrs. X with an important question about LWMLC work. She’s not home but her answering machine says, “You have reached the home of Mr. and Mrs. X. We can’t come to the phone right now. Leave your name, number and message after the beep. If we get the chance, we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. BEEP.”

Look up Isaiah 65:24. Where is the real treasure?

#4 You are relaxing with a popular magazine. While thumbing through the pages, your attention is arrested by the following advertisements: Try Diet X!!! You’ll be thin and beautiful! Your family and friends will love you!” “Buy Sonja X’s Aerobic Video! Take inches off your tummy! Trim your thighs! Have the Perfect Body! Be happy!!!” “Medical Authorities urge: Take Multivitamin X!!! Feel Better!!! Boost Energy!!!”

Look up Matthew 14:13-21; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 55:22a; Exodus 15:26b. Where is the real treasure?

The Greatest Treasure
Around my house are various keepsakes, mementos of my years at home as a child with my parents. I am reminded of their loving care, how they brought me, as a baby, to the waters of Holy Baptism, how my father directed me to take my concerns to the heavenly Father after sharing them with my earthly Father. They brought me to the greatest treasure.

Look up John 3:16 and John 11:25-26.

Sing: “Jesus, Priceless Treasure” LSB #743

Dear heavenly Father,
Out of Your wonderful love for us through Christ Jesus, You have freely opened to us Your treasury of promises and blessings. Through the death and resurrection of Your only Son, Jesus, we have received forgiveness, eternal life, a home in heaven and Your promise to help, protect and love us. For these blessings we praise You, dear Father. In the days ahead, help us to share the treasures of Your love with our families, co-workers and all those whom You place before us. Give us the strength and ability to act in Christian love. All this we pray in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

This study is taken from Tapestry, publication of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing. An order form can be found at https://lutheranwomen.ca/publications-and-forms/tapestry. The magazine is published four times a year and is available in print, large print, audio and via download.
©2018 LWML-Canada

Music Marks the Spot

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This story is from Tapestry, Winter 1994. Theme of the Winter 1994 issue was “X Marks the Spot,” hence the name of this article. It was written by Renate Bishopp, VP Mission Projects, Manitoba & Saskatchewan District in 1994.

As a child in my native Germany, I remember being quite intrigued by a story of young men in search of the Blue Flower. I don’t recall much of the story itself but I know that this elusive flower meant happiness and was exceptionally rare. The one finding the flower would be rewarded with the hand of a beautiful, but sad, princess and live happily ever after. And so the young men would set out over hill and dale, in and out of danger, to find this treasure. I often wonder when I see a blue flower why it makes me smile. Can it really make one happy?


When I ask myself if I am a happy person I would probably answer, yes. I enjoy simple things, particularly the wonders of God’s creation. However, there are times when my feelings are hurt, when I am disappointed or tired; sad about things that I cannot change or am too reluctant to change. I need a fix, a magic that will make it all better.
To some people this fix comes in the way of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, other diversions like movies, gambling, or running. For me it is music. When the need arises I curl up in the corner of my couch and listen. Handel’s Messiah is my absolutely preferred work. I turn the volume up a bit so that the “cobwebs” clouding my mind may be blown away.
With the first few bars of Sinfonia I feel the chains springing from my chest. I can breathe easier. I want to sing along but the soprano is too high and the alto not always easily recognizable. I also attempt tenor and bass parts. After all, it is just God and me listening.


Now it is Christmas, and it is Easter, and all of life in between. I marvel at the author who knew where in Scripture to find the right words to the music, or was it the other way around? I don’t care. Listening to the Messiah becomes a devotion, and therein lies the magic. It is being absorbed in God’s Word.


I owned a record of the Messiah years ago; some of my family members have participated in singing with the symphony. Parts were being practised at home, sections repeated over and over again. I really should get tired of it all.


There are several pieces missing on the record and I need them all. One Christmas my husband surprised me with the complete work. I was ecstatic. “He was despised and rejected of men…” that’s the one I was missing (Isaiah 53:3). Yes, someone hurt my feelings and I felt rejected! Jesus didn’t deserve being rejected and He bore it. So can I! I feel better already. “Surely, He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4-5). What comfort!


“Why do the nations so furiously rage together, why do the peopole imagine a vain thing” (Psalm 2:1-2)? I know war and strife are nothing new and God knows about them. “He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn, the Lord shall have them in derision” (Psalm 2:4). “Hallelujah, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth” (Revelation 19:16). As the great chorus swells so does my heart.


King of kings and Lord of lords! Thank you for being my God. “I know that my Redeemer liveth…” (Job 19:25-26). And finally the “Amen.” I take a deep breath; I feel good. God’s promises are always true. My dark clouds have been taken away. I have found my blue flower. I say a quick prayer of thanks. “Stossgebet” is what we call it in German; a brief prayer of thanks or a cry for help right now as the need arises, thrust at the throne of God. I think God likes this kind of prayer since He commanded us to “pray without ceasing.” I go away humming!

For me, music marks the spot.

 

This story is taken from Tapestry, Winter 1994, a publication of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing. An order form can be found at https://lutheranwomen.ca/publications-and-forms/tapestry. The magazine is published four times a year and is available in print, large print, audio and via download.

©2018 LWML-Canada

 

My Treasure – My Hope

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From Tapestry, Winter 1994
Anne Taylor, Laurentian District Editor in 1994

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE TREASURE?
Discuss treasure in relation to: Exodus 19:5 (compare 1 Peter 2:9); Psalm 119:162; Proverbs 15:6, 16; Proverbs 18:22; Matthew 12:35; 2 Corinthians 4:7.
What did the following discover about treasure?
Solomon – Ecclesiastes 2:8-11
The rich fool – Luke 12:16-21
The two home builders – Matthew 7:24-27
What advice does Matthew offer regarding treasure in Matthew 6:19-21?
Compare material treasure with spiritual treasure.

 

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF HOPE?
How is hope expressed in the following? Joshua 1:9; Job 19:25-27; Psalm 30:5; Psalm 119:81-116; Psalm 146:5-6; Isaiah 26:3; Lamentations 3:22-25; Matthew 6:25-34; Romans 4:18-21; Romans 8:23-25; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Philippians 4:6-7; Titus 3:4-7; Hebrews 13:5-6; Revelation 2:10.
What hope is given to the following?
Adam and Eve – Genesis 3:15
Abraham – Genesis 15:5
David – 2 Samuel 7:16
To us – Isaiah 41:10, 13; Isaiah 43:1-2; Micah 7:7-9
What is our hope? See Acts 26:13.
How is our hope challenged in 1 Peter 3:15-16?
What is our hope? See 1 Timothy 1:1.
What is Jesus’ hope for us, His redeemed and sanctified people? See Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8.
The title of our Bible study is “My Treasure – My Hope.” DO THE TWO THOUGHTS GO TOGETHER?
How do they fit together personally for you?
What were Paul’s comments regarding “My Treasure – My Hope” in Philippians 3:7-11?
Close by singing “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less” LSB #575, 576.

May Christ be our greatest Treasure and the fulfillment of your every hope!

 

This study is taken from Tapestry, publication of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing. An order form can be found at https://lutheranwomen.ca/publications-and-forms/tapestry. The magazine is published four times a year and is available in print, large print, audio and via download.

©2018 LWML-Canada

If God really loved me

If God really loved me – PDF to print

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The following story was published in the Winter 2008 issue of Tapestry and submitted to the Canadian Church Press awards competition in 2009. It is one of several award-winning articles published in various issues of this publication by Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada.

If God really loved me

by Marlo Schalesky

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so…” It’s such a simple song. I learned it as a child and sang it probably a thousand times. I never thought to doubt it, until a few short years ago.

It was my thirty-fifth birthday. Thirty-five is a milestone of sorts, when all the good statistics for pregnancy decrease while the bad ones take a giant leap forward. Of course, I’d always planned to have a house full of children by the time I was thirty-five, so the stats weren’t going to matter. But my plans obviously weren’t the same as God’s. Continue reading “If God really loved me”

Wise Men reach the right spot for treasure

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Wisemen Reach the spot – PDF to print

Magazine theme: X marks the spot – looking for treasure

From Tapestry, Winter 1994
by Rev. Fritz Schmitt, Ontario LWML District Pastoral Counsellor in 1994

Read through the account of the Wise Men worshipping Jesus in Matthew 2:1-12 (you may also want to check out the Old Testament references to this story in Micah 5:2 and Numbers 24:17).

Most of the artwork involving the Wise Men suggests the star they followed acted like some sort of beacon leading them to the treasure they sought. But how much did the star actually lead them and why did they make the journey to see Jesus?

1. From Matthew 2:1-2 we can tell they are probably not Jews and probably from outside the Roman Empire. What treasure (advantage, benefit, blessing) would they be able to find in paying homage to a foreign king in a foreign land who would have to struggle against foreign domination of His people?
What do people in our day and age expect to gain by giving gifts to politicians and powerful leaders of their own country.
2. What was it (vs. 5-6) that helped the Wise Men find the treasures they sought, more than the star, the ruling priests and the scribes could?
Does this suggest what we should use more than anything else to find a true and lasting treasure for ourselves?
3. When they are finally led to their destination the Wise Men leave treasure instead of taking some back with them, or did they exchange one treasure for another? If the latter, what did they take back with them?
4. Can the Wise Men and their actions tell us anything about the cost and the effort involved in locating the treasure that God has promised us?
5. Is there a risk or commitment involved in the treasure here?
6. How is God involved in the Wise Men’s journeys and searches?
7. How might the Wise Men’s actions demonstrate a proper regard for material treasures in comparison with eternal treasures?

 

This article is taken from Tapestry, publication of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing. An order form can be found at https://lutheranwomen.ca/publications-and-forms/tapestry. The magazine is published four times a year and is available in print, large print, audio and via download.
©2018 LWML-Canada

The Vocation of Soldiering

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This story, winner of an award from Canadian Church Press, is from Tapestry, Spring 2007. It was written by Rev. Victor Morris, Chaplain, Canadian Armed Forces.

One of my favourite verses to use with the soldiers I serve is Psalm 144:1 – “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”

Their reaction is usually, “You’re kidding, Padre! That’s in the Bible?!”  The shock value of this usually leads to some great discussion as we move to Romans 13 (see below). In the first seven verses we hear about God’s design of order, justice and authority in this world. In describing this authority St. Paul writes:

“…For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing.  He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (vs. 4). Continue reading “The Vocation of Soldiering”

The Master Weaver

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by Rev. Harold Clarke, Pastoral Counsellor in 1994

God, the Master Weaver, directs all His purposes. The lives of His called people reflect His plan of salvation for all mankind.

SARAH (Heb.: ‘princess’), the wife of Abraham, is an example of God’s plan woven in the lives of His people. Sarah (called Sarai in Genesis 11, 12, 16-18, 20, 21, 22, 49:31, Isaiah 51:2) was Abraham’s half-sister and became his wife (Genesis 11:29) before the family left Ur of the Chaldeans on the long journey to Haran, and from there to Canaan (Genesis 11:31).

The Lord stepped in to rectify the situation. (Genesis 11:17-20; 20:3).

Despite her beauty, Sarah was a very tragic woman of her generation. Why?
See Genesis 15:2, 16:1.

What made her situation all the more ironical? Genesis 13:16.

In keeping with the custom of her times, what was Sarah’s solution to her childless condition? Genesis 16:1-4.

Not the will of God, Sarah’s choice led to what problems? Genesis 16:5-6.

What was God’s answer despite the advanced age of Abraham (99) and Sarah (90)? Genesis 17:1-8, 17:15-22, 22:1-2.

Isaac’s name means “he laughed.” Do you see any significance to this name? Genesis 17:17.

God’s promise woven in the life of Sarah and Abraham finds fulfillment in what well-known figure? Matthew 1:2-16, Luke 1:33-37.

The Great Master Weaver has promised “…in all things God works for the good of those who live Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

This study is taken from Tapestry, Fall 1994, a publication of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing. An order form can be found at https://lutheranwomen.ca/publications-and-forms/tapestry. The magazine is published four times a year and is available in print, large print, audio and via download.

©2018 LWML-Canada