Tuesday, September 29, 2009

the King of angels

Christ, the Lord of Hosts, unshaken
By the devil's seething rage,
Thwarts the plan of Satan's minions;
Wins the strife from age to age;
Conquers sin and death forever;
Slams them in a steely cage.

Michael fought the heav'nly battle
Godly angels by his side;
Warred against the ancient serpent,
Foiled the beast, so full of pride;
Cast him earth-bound with his angels;
Now he prowls, unsatisfied.

Long on earth the battle rages,
Since the serpent's first deceit;
Twisted God's command to Adam,
Made forbidden fruit look sweet.
Then the curse of God was spoken,
"You'll lie crushed beneath His feet!"

Jesus came, the word fulfilling,
Trampled Satan, death defied;
Bore the brunt of our temptation,
On the wretched tree He died.
Yet to life was raised victorious;
By His life our life supplied.

Swift as lightning falls the tyrant
From his heav'nly perch on high;
As the word of Jesus' vic'try
Floods the earth and fills the sky,
Wounded by a wound eternal
Now his judgment has drawn nigh!

Jesus, send Your angel legions
When the foe would us enslave.
Hold us fast when sin assaults us;
Come, then, Lord, your people save.
Overthrow at last the dragon;
Send him to his fiery grave.

(test: Peter Prange, b. 1972 LSB 521)

re-thinking Darwin


St. Michael and All Angels

Ye watchers and ye holy ones,
Bright seraphs, cherubim, and thrones,
raise the glad strain: Alleluia!
Cry out, dominions, princedoms, powers,
Virtues, archangels, angels' choirs:
Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

Monday, September 28, 2009

rekindling hope

"A world that does not love or repect little ones, that does not defend those who are weakest in this life is a world of the dead, a world of truly desperate people. A world that rejects life, which does violence to the life of children, cannot even be called a world. Yet God calls us specifically to love this world, to be carriers of hope and sparks of light and kindness that resurrect humanity." (Mother Elvira Petrozzi)

Friday, September 25, 2009

new study bible

Gregory the Great (540–604) said: “Scripture is like a river, broad and deep, shallow enough here for lambs to go wading, but deep enough there for the elephant to swim” (from Rev. Matt Harrison's endorsement of the new Lutheran Study Bible, CPH).

Thursday, September 24, 2009

fight the good fight

Christian, do you see them
On the holy ground,
How the powers of darkness
Rage your steps around?
Christian! up and smite them,
Counting gain but loss;
In the strength that fills you
From the holy cross.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

new hymn

go to http://cyberbrethren.com
to see the latest from Rev. Stephen Starke,
coming to a Lutheran Church near you:)

Monday, September 21, 2009

constitution or sharia

John D. Guandolo:
Response to FDLE Investigative Report on Rifqa Bary Matter
Upon my review of the report filed by the FDLE regarding the Rifqa Bary Matter in Florida, I offer my professional opinion.

1. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Investigative Summary OR-73-1741 encapsulates the investigation into allegations made by Fathima Rifqa Bary (hereafter referred to as "Rifqa Bary") that she is or may be in physical danger from her father, Mohamed Bary, or others. Point 4 on page 2 of the report states Rifqa Bary believes her life to be in danger from an "honor killing" by her family or others, which she states is in accordance with Islamic Law. The report finds: "Ms. Bary's concern that she may be killed because of her conversion from Islam to Christianity remains a subjective and speculative concern..." and concludes there is no conspiracy to commit violence against her. The investigators in this matter offer this opinion void of any knowable facts.
In fact, a due diligence review would reveal the existence of authoritative Islamic Law texts officially translated into English. This review would further reveal Islamic Law - which is real law - has requirements and rules as to how to deal with those who leave Islam [eg The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, "Umdat al-Salik" also known as "Reliance of the Traveller" - publicly available]. If it can be shown (1) there is a requirement in Islamic Law for killing Ms. Bary as a publicly declared apostate from Islam, (2) that her parents adhere to Islamic Law, and (3) that she did, in fact, leave Islam and convert to Christianity, then the FDLE has a professional responsibility to include these facts in this report, and investigate this matter fully. There is nothing subjective about this - these are all ascertainable facts. I would hope the Florida State's Attorney's Office has done their due diligence on this matter and is aware of this

2. Mr. Bary's comments to the Investigators claiming there is "absolutely not" any concept of Honor Killings under Islamic Law can also be comparatively and factually reviewed against Islamic Law. There are, in fact, rules and requirements as to how apostates should be handled within the context of Islamic Law, and these facts must be reviewed by FDLE if a professional and factual report is to be completed.
3. It was noted that the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) -Columbus (Ohio) and the Staff Attorney for CAIR were present during the interview of Mr. Bary by FDLE Investigators. Absent from the FDLE report was any mention that CAIR is a known Muslim Brotherhood entity and an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial - the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history - revealing HLF as a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States. All defendants in this case were found guilty in November 2008 and are serving long prison terms. These facts about CAIR were testified to at trial, and accepted as legally true. They are irrefutable - the documents demonstrating these facts were stipulated to by the defense. The Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) creed is "Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our guide: the Koran is our constitution; Jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our inspiration," and their stated objective in America is a "Civilization-Jihad" to destroy the United States from within, and the MB exists to implement Islamic Law here in the United States.
All of these facts are relevant for two critical reasons. First, these material facts should be made known to the State Attorney's Office and any Judges involved in this case as a matter of course. Secondly, when representatives from an organization that is objectively known to be hostile towards to the United States and unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history, are allowed to be present during a law enforcement interview of someone, it raises questions as to why they were allowed to be present at the interview at all.
These facts further demand an objective look to determine if the Muslim Brotherhood itself has a position on Islamic Law and Apostasy. One of the MB's two stated objectives is to implement Islamic Law in North America (and across the globe), and it is known they call for adherence to Islamic Law wherever Muslim communities exist. The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law: Reliance of the Traveller is approved as valid Islamic Law by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), a known Muslim Brotherhood entity, as proven in the HLF trial.
In Reliance of the Traveller, Investigators will find specific legal doctrine on how apostates are to be treated under Islamic Law. Furthermore, the Muslim Brotherhood has a history of officially addressing the issue of Apostasy. In 1984, Ismail R. Al-Faruki , the Founder of IIIT, stated: "That is why Islamic Law has treated people who have converted out of Islam as political traitors...[Islam] must deal with the traitors when convicted after due process of law either with banishment, life imprisonment, or capital punishment...but once their conversion is proclaimed, they must be dealt with as traitors to the state."
Apostasy is also specifically addressed in Peace and the Limits of War, published by IIIT and written by Louay Safi, the former Executive Director of IIIT, Malaysia, the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (a proven Muslim Brotherhood entity), and the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America's (ISNA) Leadership Development Council. ISNA was proven to be a Muslim Brotherhood entity and is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history - HLF. The book is also approved by the Secretary General of ISNA. In it, Mr. Safi notes that individual apostates cannot be killed for a "quiet desertion of personal Islamic duties," but can be put to death as "just punishment" when the apostate deserts Islam publicly (p. 31).

4. This is a statement of facts regarding this matter:
•There are requirements in Islamic Law regarding someone who deserts Islam
•The Muslim Brotherhood's objective is the implementation of Islamic Law in the United States
•Rifqa Bary has left Islam and become a Christian
•Rifqa Bary has made statements to FDLE officials and others that her parents have threatened to kill her because she has left Islam
•The Bary's appear to be adherent to Islamic Law
•The Bary's appear at an interview with two Muslim Brotherhood representatives doing business as CAIR, a group known to be hostile towards the United States which is also an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history
•The Muslim Brotherhood supports the killing of Muslims who publicly leave Islam
5. It is my professional opinion that sufficient Probable Cause exists to believe that Ms Bary's concerns for her personal safety are based in a realistic and factual understanding of her situation, and, therefore, a further criminal investigation is warranted.

John D. Guandolo is a 12 ½ year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Friday, September 18, 2009

50 years

Celebrating our 50th anniversary this weekend, by God's grace, fills my heart with thanksgiving to God for His mercies that are new every morning, for faithful ministers of Word and Sacrament, for hymnals that give us songs that are both faithful and new, for countless saints whose labors of faith, hope and love have brought us thus far.

Preserve in wave and tempest
Your storm-tossed little flock
Assailed by wind and weather,
May it endure each shock.
Stand at the helm, our pilot,
And set the course aright;
Then we will reach the harbor
In Your eternal light. (LSB 658)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

walking in darkness

+ Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost +
13 September 2009
Isaiah 50:10
Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.

A grieving father wrote this: “Sometimes the grief hurts so much that even though you confess truth, believe truth, and deep down know that someday everything will be okay, there is a rainstorm going on in your heart that just won't go away. As I sit on the front porch and cry, mourning the loss of (my son) Stephen, the gentle, tearful streams of faith are almost drowned out by the loud, pounding rain of feelings.”
Isaiah, the prophet, anticipated times when it would be hard to keep focused on the comfort and security we have in God. Consider Isaiah 50:10,
Perhaps it is surprising to find these conditions grouped together:
• Fears the Lord and obeys the voice of the servant of the Lord
• Walks in darkness and has no light
Even as we walk through valleys of deepest darkness, the presence and power of God are with us and comfort us.
1. Who fears the Lord and obeys the voice of the servant of the Lord/
a. Job
This kind of trust is what made Job say, "Though he slay me yet will I trust in him" (KJV). Job was willing to trust God in spite of having no idea why he was being afflicted. Just like us, Job had lots of questions. However, God never answered them. Surely if anyone ever deserved an explanation it was Job.
Job continued to trust God, and we need to trust God the same way. This kind of trust says that I don't have to understand what's going on around me. I don't have to try to make sense of my circumstances. This is faith that trusts God unconditionally.
b. Post-modern people: We live in a society that pays a lot of attention to feelings. That's not all bad: feelings are real and are not to be ignored. But faith and trust transcend and rise above feelings. You can decide to trust God unconditionally no matter how you feel.
Will this make the pain go away? No.
Will you immediately feel better? No.
Will it still hurt? Yes.
Will you still be sad? Yes.
So what's the benefit of this unconditional trust?
However, when you can trust God amid great sorrow and disappointment, you quietly preach a sermon that not only grabs the attention of detractors and skeptics but is noticed in the unseen world as well. Your quiet sermon of faith and trust baffles the unbelieving. It is also of great benefit to believers, encouraging them as much as would the most polished sermon.
Your faith and trust in God can sustain you, even while your emotions drag you down like a ball and chain. Faith transcends pain; faith transcends emotions; faith transcends feelings.
Indeed, even though the rough, sharp, piercing edges of despair will still be there, in time, as they rub against your faith, they will polish it, making it shine brighter than ever before.
2. How can we walk in the darkness as if we had no light?
a. The name of the Lord has been put on us in Holy Baptism
Romans 5:3-5 describes the benefits of persevering in the midst of trouble:
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NASB)

b. Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Word and Sacrament, communion of saints+
As we endure dark days let us not lose heart. Let us heed the words of the prophet Isaiah. Let us trust in the name of our God and rely on him.
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NASB)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

freely you have received, freely give

(Comment by Metropolitan Jonah, OCA, at the beginning of the Orthodox new church year, 9/1/09)
Our Church has many challenges before it, financial, legal, organizational. But we must remember that, as important as these things are, as critical as they may be the life of our Church at this time, they can quickly become distractions from the one thing needful: to keep focused on Jesus Christ and the ministries which He has given us as a means of participation in His own ministry. While we might have budget challenges, there is nothing that can prevent us from preaching the Gospel, consoling those alone and abandoned, and setting at liberty those held captive by their sins.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

belated birthday wishes

Inside the back cover of my 1897 German Bible from Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO (loose translation): Epistles and Gospels for Apostles' Days and certain other Feasats which will be celebrated in certain areas. "On the Day of Mary's Birth" (that would be September 8, although no dates are given for ANY of the feasts); Sirach 24:2-31; Matthew 1:1-16.