Thursday, December 31, 2020
Friday, December 25, 2020
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Friday, November 20, 2020
Saturday, November 14, 2020
"For God has not destined us for wrath" (1 Thess. 5:9).
To the dear people of Faith:
Today (Nov. 15) is the second-last Sunday of the Church Year. These last days of the Church Year remind us that we are living in the last days. And as Christians, we are looking forward to the Last Day - yes, longing for it to come! Longing for Him to come: our dear Lord Jesus Christ!
We express this longing when we say in the Creed, "From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead." And when we exclaim in the Communion liturgy, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"
But because we are sinful and weak and have only a little faith, thoughts of the Last Day, or Judgment Day, can easily frighten us. When that happens, remember that the Judge on that Day will be Jesus, in whose righteousness you are dressed!
Luther preached it this way: "None other will hold court on the Day of Judgment than He who gave Himself for us. He will certainly not deny Himself but will declare that He gave Himself for your sins, as you believe. What, then, will sin do when the Judge declares that He Himself has taken it away? Who will accuse you? Who will judge the Judge? Who will overcome Him? He avails more than innumerable worlds with all their sins. Had He not given Himself, but something else, for you, one would still expect much of Him. But now, since He has given Himself for you, what can terrify you? He Himself would have to be condemned before sin could condemn you for whom He gave Himself. Oh, here is great, sure security!"
I would put it this way: On the Last Day He will say to you one last time what He says to you every day and every hour, "Take heart, child, your sins are forgiven!"
God bless you today, tonight, and this week! I can't wait to be back with you this Wednesday and then Sunday! I can't wait to say, "As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim the Lord's death until He comes."
And I can't wait to hear you say, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"
With love and prayers,
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020
For another thing, the Marine Corps has a "warrior ethos" and is the "first to fight" to protect our freedom. Luther was a spiritual warrior who fought to defend the greatest of all freedoms: the freedom of the Gospel, the Gospel of Christ and the forgiveness of sins.
And for a third thing, each may be summed up in two words of Latin. For the Marines the two words are semper fidelis. It means "always faithful." General Berger wrote in this year's birthday message to his Marines, "While this year's many challenges are significant and unique, they are not unprecedented, and it is important to remember that our Nation and Corps have endured difficult times in our past." And, "There is no challenge we cannot overcome, together, by holding fast to our core values." He then signed the letter under the words "Semper Fidelis."
And for Luther the two words are sola fide. It means "by faith alone." It has been called Luther's refrain. It is shorthand for, among other verses, Galatians 2:16: "...a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ." In other words, you are counted righteous before God not because of the things you have done, or tried to do, but because of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ! The following hymn lines put it perfectly:
Salvation unto us has come by God's free grace and favor;
Good works cannot avert our doom, they help and save us never.
Faith looks to Jesus Christ alone, who did for all the world atone;
He is our one Redeemer.
Happy birthday, dear Marines, and dear Martin! Where would we be without you?
Sunday, November 8, 2020
"It came to pass" (Matt. 11:1).
By Richard Wurmbrand
It is said that King David once called a jeweler and said, "Make me a ring whose appearance will gladden my heart when I am sad, and make me sad when I am joyful. You have two days for this. If you bring the ring, you will be richly rewarded. If not...."
The jeweler left in despair. He knew his life would be forfeited. Who could make such a ring?
When he crossed the palace yard, little Solomon, who was playing, observed his grief and asked him what it was about. The jeweler told him of the foolish demand the king had made.
The child laughed and said, "Make him a simple ring of tin and write on it the words "This will pass, too." Nothing more is needed. In moments of darkness, the king will read that this will pass and find comfort. In revelings, the ring will remind him that joys in this world are transitory."
The jeweler made the ring and received a rich reward.
One of the beauties of the King James Version of the Bible is that the expression "It came to pass" occurs so often. What burdens you have today will pass. Don't be so occupied with your present griefs. What were you sad about five years ago, on November 8? You don't even remember anymore. So today's sorrows soon will be forgotten. And when you are joyful, don't forget that you have not attained heaven yet. All joys in this world are temporary.
Christians seek the eternal abode in which all tears will be wiped away.
Monday, November 2, 2020
Monday, October 26, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Friday, October 9, 2020
Thursday, October 1, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Friday, August 28, 2020
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Thursday, August 13, 2020
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Thursday, July 23, 2020
Friday, July 17, 2020
Monday, July 6, 2020
Friday, July 3, 2020
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Friday, June 19, 2020
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Thursday, June 4, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Wednesday, May 6, 2020
Saturday, May 2, 2020
Friday, April 24, 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Monday, April 13, 2020
Sunday, April 5, 2020
As God made the world in six days and then rested, so on Palm Sunday He entered Jerusalem to redeem the world. He "finished" (John 19:30) that work by day's end Friday and then used Saturday to rest.
We know from Genesis that man was created on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26-31), that is, Friday. No coincidence then that Jesus died for man also on a Friday.
The Bible's two weeks and the parallels between them must not go unnoticed. The One who made the world without sin in the course of a week, in the course of a week saved it from sin. More personally, He who made you head to toe has redeemed you body and soul to be, again, His own.
To you and yours a very blessed Holy Week!
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Monday, March 30, 2020
God gives us what we need one day at a time. He is determined to teach us trust. He calls us to trust that He will provide again tomorrow as He did today.
In the Old Testament He instructed the Israelites to gather just enough manna for the day. He sent it again the next morning. In the New Testament, in which we live, He teaches us to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." In other words, just enough strength for today. He will supply it again tomorrow.
All of this leads to two definitions:
Anxiety = looking at tomorrow's challenges without tomorrow's strength.
Trust = knowing that tomorrow's strength will be a match for tomorrow's challenges.
You are not yet in possession of tomorrow's strength. It will be yours tomorrow morning, but not before. You are given strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow, and the most blessed of all things: trust in your heavenly Father.
Saturday, March 28, 2020
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Let's go for a moment to Nazareth as it stands today. We enter the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the Grotto of the Annunciation, held by tradition to be the place where the angel came to Mary. Inside the grotto, or cave, is an altar bearing five Latin words: "Verbum caro hic factum est." They belong to John 1:14. One word, however, is added: hic (in English, "here"). And so it reads: "Here the Word became flesh."
While there is no way to confirm that this was the exact location, the words should be understood more deeply as pointing to the Virgin's womb. Of that location we can be certain!
Sadly, many Christians miss the significance of March 25 as an opportunity to remember, ponder, and celebrate the Incarnation: God's Son putting on our flesh. But you needn't miss it at all!
Take time to read Luke 1:26-38, say the Creed, and sing perhaps this ancient hymn:
Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh -
Woman's offspring, pure and fresh.
Here a maid was found with child,
Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown:
God was there upon His throne.
And celebrate the day with your family and Christian friends! Forget your Lenten fasting for a day and prepare a feast instead! Give thanks with greatest joy for the love of God shown to us in the incarnation of His dear Son!
Pray the Holy Spirit to come upon you. See your faith as the womb in which Christ is conceived and grows. Then give birth to Him through words and works of love so that He may touch the lives of others.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Saturday, March 14, 2020
Friday, March 6, 2020
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Monday, February 17, 2020
These words of Jesus move us to avoid temptations to sexual sin, many of which enter through the eye. Remove and resist visual stimuli that would appeal to a sinful heart.
But the eleventh-century Archbishop of Bulgaria, Theophylact, explained, "When you hear 'eye' and 'hand,' do not imagine that the Lord is speaking of parts of the body, for He would not in that case have specified 'right eye' and 'right hand.' He is speaking instead of those who appear to be friends, but who are in fact harming us. Take, for example, a young man who has friends living in debauchery, and who is harmed by their bad influence. Cut these off from you, the Lord says, and perhaps you will also save them, when they come to their senses. And if you cannot save them, you will at least save yourself. But if you continue in your affection for them, both you and they will be destroyed."
We are reminded in the Small Catechism that God has given us our eyes (First Article). It would not be right or thankful to throw away a divine gift. Far better to see that He has also redeemed our eyes (Second Article) and makes them holy for new use (Third Article).
See your eyes as precious, think of what they are able to do, and resolve not to set before them "anything that is worthless" (Ps. 101:3). Use them to "look at the birds of the air," as He instructs later in the same sermon (Matt. 6:26). Lift up your eyes to the Hill and to the Crucified, from whence come both forgiveness and then help, much help, in the fight against temptation (Ps. 121).
Remember that lust is never satisfied (Prov. 27:20), but that love always finds fulfillment.
If you (or someone you know) seem trapped in sexual sin, seriously consider talking with your pastor. He will hold the matter in strict confidence, offer a listening ear, and share with you God's Word of forgiveness, hope, and help.