Friday, June 25, 2010

huge miracles

Faith thinks: "This poor beggar has been redeemed by the blood of the Son of God. As far as I am concerned, this makes this man worth as much as a king or an emperor." These are the kind of huge miracles that faith works in our hearts.
-- C.F.W. Walther

Augsburg Confession, 6/25/1530

"I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings, O Lord, and shall not be put to shame." - Psalm 119:46

"Our Churches do not dissent from any article held by the Church catholic. They only omit some newer abuses."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

persecution in America

Still happy about Muslims moving to the good old USA?

'Allahu akbar!' shouted as Christians cuffed
Witness: 'I never thought I would see this in America'
Four Christians were arrested and thrown out of a public Arab festival in Michigan – and at least two people claim a crowd cheered "Allahu akbar!" while the Christians were led away in handcuffs for doing nothing more than engaging in peaceful dialogue and videotaping the event.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

good works

Do good works that you may persevere in your calling, that you [do not fall away again, grow cold and] may not lose the gifts of your calling, which were given you before, and not on account of works that follow, and which now are retained by faith; for faith does not remain in those who lose the Holy Ghost, who reject repentance, just as we have said above (253:1) that faith exists in repentance.

...For we do not make void the Law, says Paul, Rom. 3:31; yea, we establish the Law, because when by faith we have received the Holy Ghost, the fulfilling of the Law necessarily follows, by which love, patience, chastity, and other fruits of the Spirit gradually grow.

Apology of the Augsburg Confession XX

Monday, June 21, 2010

confessing the real presence

The Copts at this place make a profession of faith in the Real Presence, which, on account of its singular beauty, we give word for word. It is as follows: "I believe, I believe, I believe, and confess to the last breath of my life, that this is the real, life-giving flesh of they Only Begotten Son, our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ; he received it from the blessed Lady of us all, the Mother of God, and ever Virgin Mary."

church's vocation

The vocation of the Church is to make out of lost and condemned people children of God, who have received grace and are saved, with the liv- ing hope of eternal life enflamed in dark, dead hearts. Our Savior said this very clearly at the conversion of St. Paul: “[I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen Me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom] I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me’” [Acts 26:16–18].

Now, what is the means through which the Church accomplishes this? These means are not all sorts of self-chosen methods and regulations. Christ said, “In vain do they wor- ship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men” [Matthew 15:9]. Neither is the divine Law the means. To be sure, the Church shall preach the Law, but not in order in doing so to fulfill its proper task, but in order to show people the forlorn, condemned condition in which they find themselves, and that they with their sins have merited God’s wrath and displeasure, temporal death, and eternal damnation. The only means through which people will be saved and redeemed is the sweet Gospel, the amazing teaching that God so loved the world that He gave his only-begotten Son, and that Christ, through suf- fering and death, already has found an eternal redemption for all, and every sinner now should lay hold of it in confidence. This is why the Resurrected One said in the circle of His disciples: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem” [Luke 24:46–47].
-- C.F.W. Walther

Friday, June 18, 2010


When Cain and Abel first offered their sacrifices,
God considered not so much the gifts
as the spirit of the giver;
God was pleased with Abel's offering
because He was pleased with Abel's spirit.
Thus Abel the just man, the peacemaker,
in his blameless sacrifice taught us
that when they offer their gift at the altar,
they should approach as he did,
in the fear of God and simplicity of heart,
ruled by justice and perfect harmony.
Since this was the character of Abel's offering,
it was only right that he himself should afterward become a sacrifice.
As martyrdom's first witness,
and possessing the Lord's qualities of justice and peace,
he foreshadowed the Lord's passion
in the glory of his own death.

---from a treatise on the Lord's Prayer by St. Cyprian of Carthage, bishop and martyr

Monday, June 14, 2010


Furthermore, we wish here again to testify that we will gladly maintain ecclesiastical and canonical government, provided the bishops only cease to rage against our Churches. This our desire will clear us both before God and among all nations to all posterity from the imputation against us that the authority of the bishops is being undermined, when men read and hear that, although protesting against the unrighteous cruelty of the bishops, we could not obtain justice.
-- Apology XIV

Sunday, June 13, 2010

critical prayer

Prayer for Enemies

Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst command us to love our enemies, and those who defame and injure us, and to pray for them and forgive them; Who Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies, who crucified thee: grant us, we pray, the spirit of Christian reconciliation and meekness, that we may heartily forgive every injury and be reconciled with our enemies. Grant us to overcome the malevolence and offences of people with Christian meekness and true love of our neighbor. We further beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant to our enemies true peace and forgiveness of sins; and do not allow them to leave this life without true faith and sincere conversion. And help us repay evil with goodness, and to remain safe from the temptations of the devil and from all the perils which threaten us, in the form of visible and invisible enemies. Amen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

pleasing psalms

What is more pleasing than a psalm?
King David expresses it well:
"Praise the Lord, for a song of praise is good;
let there be praise of our God with gladness and grace."
Yes, a psalm is a blessing on the lips of hte people,
a hymn in praise of God,
the assembly's homage,
a general acclamation,
a word that speaks for all,
the voice of the Church,
a confession of faith in song.
It is the voice of complete assent,
the joy of freedom,
a cry of happiness,
the echo of gladness.
It soothes the temper,
distracts from care,
lightens the burden of sorrow.
it is a source of security at night,
a lesson of wisdom by day.
It is a shield when we are afraid,
a celebration of holiness,
a vision of serenity,
a promise of peace and harmony.
It is like a lyre, evoking harmony from a blend of notes.
Day begins to the music of a psalm.
Day closes to the echo of a psalm.

--from "Explanation of the Psalms" by St. Ambrose of Milan, bishop

Friday, June 11, 2010


From Orthodox Spirituality and the Philokalia by Fr. Placide Deseille, tr. Anthony P. Gythiel

Source: Ora et Labora

When the evil nature of a thought has been discerned, how is it possible to resist it efficiently? One must be aware of the mechanism of temptation in order to apply the correct resistance at the appropriate moment. St John Climacus describes the various phases of temptation this way:

Gifted with discernment, the Fathers differentiated stages of the soul's confrontation with temptation: attack, connection, consent, captivity, combat, and passion of the soul.

These blessed men define the attack as the first appearance in the heart of a simple thought or image of an object.

Connection is a conversation with the thought or image, sometimes accompanied by passion.

Consent in the acquiescing of the soul, accompanied by delight at the proposal.

Captivity is a violent and involuntary carrying away of the heart or a permanent attachment to the object in question that destroys the excellent state of the soul.

Combat is a confrontation with the adversary through which the soul, according to the choice of her will, gains victory or undergoes defeat.

The Fathers say that passion, in the proper sense, is an evil that secretly affects the soul for a long time, establishing intimate rapport with her and a habitual disposition, by which she spontaneously tends the soul herself through the affinity of these movements.

The attack is without sin; connection is not always, and the degree of guilt concerning consent depends on the inner state of the combatant. The combat is the occasion that awards a crown or a chastisement.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

american history

Articles, Lawes, and Orders, Diuine, Politique, and Martiall for the Colony in Virginea: first established by Sir Thomas Gates Knight, Lieutenant Generall, the 24. of May 1610. exemplified and approued by the Right Honourable Sir Thomas West Knight, Lord Lawair, Lord Gouernour and Captaine Generall the 12. of Iune 1610. Againe exemplified and enlarged by Sir Thomas Dale Knight, Marshall, and Deputie Gouernour, the 22. of Iune. 1611.

WHereas his Maiestie like himselfe a most zealous Prince hath in his owne Realmes a principall care of true Religion, and reuerence to God, and hath alwaies strictly commaunded his Generals and Gouernours, with all his forces wheresoeuer, to let their waies be like his ends, for the glorie of God.

And forasmuch as no good seruice can be performed, or warre well managed, where militarie discipline is not obserued, and militarie discipline cannot be kept, where the rules or chiefe parts thereof, be not certainely set downe, and generally knowne, I haue (with the aduise and counsell of Sir Thomas Gates Knight, Lieutenant Generall) adhered vnto the lawes diuine, and orders politique, and martiall of his Lordship (the same exemplified) an addition of such others, as I haue found either the necessitie of the present State of the Colonie to require, or the infancie, and weaknesse of the body thereof, as yet able to digest, and doe now publish them to all persons in the Colonie, that they may as well take knowledge of the Lawes themselues, as of the penaltie and punishment, which without partialitie shall be inflicted vpon the breakers of the same.

1 FIrst since we owe our highest and supreme duty, our greatest, and all our allegeance to him, from whom all power and authoritie is deriued, and flowes as from the first, and onely fountaine, and being especiall souldiers emprest in this sacred cause, we must alone expect our successe from him, who is onely the blesser of all good attempts, the King of kings, the commaunder of commaunders, and Lord of Hostes, I do strictly commaund and charge all Captaines and Officers, of what qualitie or nature soeuer, whether commanders in the field, or in towne, or townes, forts or fortresses, to haue a care that the Almightie God bee duly and daily serued, and that they call vpon their people to heare Sermons, as that also they diligently frequent Morning and Euening praier themselues by their owne exemplar and daily life, and dutie herein, encouraging others thereunto, and that such, who shall often and wilfully absent themselues, be duly punished according to the martiall law in that case prouided.

2 That no man speake impiously or maliciously, against the holy and blessed Trinitie, or any of the three persons, that is to say, against God the Father, God the Son, and God the holy Ghost, or against the knowne Articles of the Christian faith, vpon paine of death.

Joseph's wounds

Others would heal Joseph’s wounds with tighter church governance. They say, if our presidents, visitors, and commissions had more authority, if they could prescribe things to congregations and the congregations had to obey, then life would be brought to these dead bones. Without question, if such a yoke were laid upon the necks of the children, many external works would be produced. Indeed, it wouldn’t even be that difficult to get the money to begin flowing. But that would in no way elevate spiritual life. In fact, it would suffer a retrogression. The Gospel tolerates no hierarchy. -- Friedrich Pfotenhauer
How did he know what we would up against in 2010?


Blessed is he who keeps the day of his departure ever before his eyes, and has learned to hate arrogance before our inherent worthlessness is to be revealed by putrefaction in the grave. -- Ephrem the Syrian + 373

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gospel Vision

Part of me might like the massive increase in power proposed for the Synod President. That’s why it’s not a good idea. -- Rev. Matthew Harrison

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Justin Martyr

For we do not receive these things as common bread or common drink; but just as our Savior Jesus Christ, being incarnate through the work of God, took flesh and blood for our salvation, so too we have been taught that the food over which thanks have been given by a prayer of the Word that is from Him, from which our flesh and blood are fed by transformation, is both the flesh and blood of that incarnate Jesus. (First Apology 66:2)