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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Six Parts, One Heart

To the members of Faith: Two things about this Sunday.  First, we switch to the new schedule: Service at 9:30, followed by fellowship and Education Hour.  Second, don't forget to fall back an hour on Saturday before bed.  God bless our new schedule!

"If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32).

As Lutherans, we don't have Rome or St. Peter's.  We don't have icons, as beautiful as they may be.  We don't have The Purpose Driven Life.

What we have, however, is the Small Catechism, and we wouldn't trade it for the world!  Put together by Martin Luther, it's a simple-but-rich, second-to-none summary of God's Word.  The whole Bible in just a few pages.  Deeply spiritual and very practical at the same time.

It has six parts: The Ten Commandments, The Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, Confession, and The Sacrament of the Altar.

My new Illinois license plate reads, "LSC 6."  It stands for "Luther's Small Catechism has 6 parts."

Six parts but one heart.  And that heart is found in these words, considered one of the most perfect sentences outside of the Bible:

"I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord, who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity."

The one who knows this, knows the Truth.

We thank God for the Small Catechism - and the chance to learn, love, and live His whole and holy Word!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

One Little Word

To the members of Faith: Let me say how proud I am of the congregation for the loving way that a compromise was reached at Sunday's meeting!  The new Sunday morning schedule will take effect on November 4.  But this Sunday is Reformation Sunday, and so wear something red if you can.  The message is titled "Everything I Need to Know about God I Learn from..."  Trunk or Treat will be Sunday afternoon at 2, followed by the Reformation Roast.  Talk about a good Sunday!  Sunday School at 9, Service at 10, and Fellowship and ABC to follow.

Luther's great hymn, "A Mighty Fortress," contains the line at the end of the third verse: "One little word can fell him."  Many know this line, but few may know the one little word Luther had in mind.  What would you say it is?

In a writing called "Against Hanswurst," Luther explained that the one little word is, "You lie."  Luther writes:

"For all such books written against me, even if there were as many as thousands of them written every day and every hour, are very easily refuted with the single word, 'Devil, you lie,' just as that haughty beggar Dr. Luther sings so proudly and boldly in those words of his hymn, 'One little word shall fell him.'"

Now to simplify and make it just one word, we could say, "Liar!"  In John 8:44, Jesus says about the devil, "When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies."  Luther believed that deeply.

We know that Psalm 46 formed the basis for "A Mighty Fortress."  But Luther must also have had in mind the story of David and Goliath.  In the first place, the devil is our Goliath.  In the second place, the one little word (Liar!) is just like the one little stone David used.  And in the third place, that one little word "fells" the giant.  "One little word can fell him."

Now try it, and use it often.  This one really works!  Next time that temptation comes, that discouragement, that fear, reach into your bag for one little word.

Liar!

And spread the word!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Death and Resurrection

"For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again..." (1 Thess. 4:14).

To the members of Faith: The risen Lord be with you!  Let's keep Jean Attebery in our prayers.  Her father Charles received Christian burial yesterday in Mt. Erie.  This is a picture of the casket just before it was lowered.  The cross is our faith, and the rose is for our hope of the resurrection.  "The third day He ROSE again from the dead" (Apostles' Creed).  I have something special planned for this Sunday's service, and the following Sunday.  Be looking forward, and God bless it!

With love,
Pastor Matt


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Prepare for Heaven

To the members of Faith: The Lord be with you with His peace and joy!  I'm looking forward to this evening's Divine Service!  And this Sunday will bring us the story of the Rich Young Man in Mark 10.  Service on Sunday will be followed by the voters meeting and then a potluck.  Nice!  God bless these things, and this week's small devotion!

"Fool!  This night your soul is required of you" (Luke 12:20).

How many years of life do we still have?

A king gave to his clown a marshal's baton and told him, "I nominate you as marshal of the fools.  If you ever find one who is more foolish than you, hand it to him."

Years passed.  The king was on his deathbed.  The clown asked him, "Do you know where you go?"

"No," answered the king.  "I know only that I must die."

"So there is a 'must' for kings, too.  Did you store for yourself some riches in the world beyond to which you go?"

"I never thought about it."

"You knew that you would have to die and, notwithstanding, you made no definite choice?  You did not prepare for heaven?  You did not avoid hell?"

"I never took time even to ponder deeply about these things."

The clown took the baton from the sleeve in which he had hidden it, and returned it to the king.  "Now I nominate you as marshal of the fools."

Remember that you will die, and that you do not know when this will happen.

The above is from Richard Wurmbrand, and to it I add only this: The one who is prepared to die by faith in Jesus Christ is the one prepared to live on this earth for however long, and according to the law of love.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

A Man Shall Father, Mother Leave

To the members of Faith: The big, exciting news is that our float in the Fall Fest parade last Saturday won the award for "best use of theme."  Way to go, Faith!  This Sunday we'll focus on marriage, using Genesis 2:18-25.  And in ABC we'll definitely finish up "Spiritual Day-Timer."  Until then continue praying, "Let Your holy angel be with me."

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24).

A man shall father, mother leave
And to his wife alone shall cleave,
And now the two one flesh shall be--
All this in love and purity.

So soon was marriage marred by sin!
Now each one's love is turned within
Till Cana's Christ comes to restore
The blessing as it was before!

New love, new joy, new peace, new life:
His wedding gifts to man and wife
And to us all for whom He died
To have us always as His bride!

I originally wrote this hymn for my niece's wedding.  It is based on Genesis 2:24, of which stanza 1 is a paraphrase.  The key to the hymn is its use of the word "love" three different times: love before sin (st. 1), love after sin (st. 2), and new love in Christ (st. 3).  And the heart of the hymn is "Cana's Christ comes," a rich reference to the Incarnation, the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11), and the desire of Christ to be invited to each wedding and into every marriage.

To listen to the hymn sung by a soloist, go to www.oyeoflittlefaith.org.  Click "Music at Gloria Dei" and then "new hymns."