Monday, November 29, 2010

Our wake up call

+ First Sunday in Advent+
November 28, 2010
The hour has come for you to wake up from sleep. – Romans 13:11

1. We wake up by casting off the works of darkness
a. Excess and immorality – golden calf; Baal Peor; David; today.
b. Quarreling and jealousy – Korah’s rebellion; Korea; C.S. Lewis The Great Divorce

2. We wake up by walking properly as in the daytime
a. Moderation and chastity, compliments and contentment – power of praise!
b. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ – a sacramental, liturgical spirituality

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

numbers, numbers, numbers

From St. Gregory the Theologian (Valedictory Oration #42)

You did not know that three gathered together in the Name of the Lord count for more with God than tens of thousands of those who deny the Godhead. Would you prefer the whole of the Canaanites to Abraham alone? or the men of Sodom to Lot? or the Midianites to Moses, when each of these was a pilgrim and a stranger? How do the three hundred men with Gideon, who bravely lapped, compare with the thousands who were put to flight? Or the servants of Abraham, who scarcely exceeded them in number, with the many kings and the army of tens of thousands whom, few as they were, they overtook and defeated? Or how do you understand the passage that though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved?

And again, I have left me seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal? This is not the case; it is not? God has not taken pleasure in numbers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

an intractable, refractory ass!

So, too, this doctrine of the Law is needful for believers, in order that they may not hit upon a holiness and devotion of their own, and under the pretext of the Spirit of God set up a self-chosen worship, without God's Word and command, as it is written Deut. 12:8,28,32: Ye shall not do ... every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes, etc., but observe and hear all these words which I command thee. Thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish therefrom.

For the old Adam, as an intractable, refractory ass, is still a part of them, which must be coerced to the obedience of Christ, not only by the teaching, admonition, force and threatening of the Law, but also oftentimes by the club of punishments and troubles, until the body of sin is entirely put off, and man is perfectly renewed in the resurrection, when he will need neither the preaching of the Law nor its threatenings and punishments, as also the Gospel any longer; for these belong to this [mortal and] imperfect life. 25] But as they will behold God face to face, so they will, through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God, do the will of God [the heavenly Father] with unmingled joy, voluntarily, unconstrained, without any hindrance, with entire purity and perfection, and will rejoice in it eternally.

Solid Declaration, FC 1580

Monday, November 15, 2010

prayer for the persecuted church

+ Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost +
November 14, 2010
This will be your opportunity to bear witness – Luke 21:13
The three-fold jihad/struggle/strife: Money Blood Immigration
70:1-2 Make haste, O God, to deliver me! O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor who delight in my hurt!
1. Bear witness by our use of resources
a. Generous giving = good works that move people to glorify our Father in heaven
b. Allows us to speak the truth in love with boldness. Resist the spirit of passivity!
“After the sharp point of terror has been made dull, the cause of the struggle remains, a struggle which is stirred up terribly by the crafty enemy in the fury of persecution, but brought in all the more harmfully by the appearance of peace. When the battles are out in the open, the crowns are also evident. This, too, nourishes and inflames the strength of patience, that, when disaster is nearest, the promise is also at hand. After the public attacks of the wicked ones cease and the devil restrains himself from the slaughter and torture of the faithful, lest by the intensity of his cruelties there be a manifold increase of our triumphs, the raging adversary turns his bloodthirsty hatred to quiet treachery, and those he could not overcome with hunger and cold, with sword and fire, he will wear out with an easy life; he will snare with willfulness, inflame with ambition, and corrupt with luxury. + Leo the Great, 461.
2. Bear witness by the blood of Christ
a. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
b. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin (Hebrews 12:4).
3. Bear witness by loving the children God has given us
a. Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from him. The
children born to a man when he is young are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them. He will not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the city gate.
b. Big brother- big sister, foster care, adoption, reading/mentoring in the schools, VBS to the community, etc.

Friday, November 12, 2010

laugh or cry?

George Carlin's observation:

"They want me to call that thing in the street a personhole cover. I think that's taking it a little bit too far. What would you call a lady's man, a person's person? That would make a He-man an It-person. Little kids would be afraid of the boogieperson. They'd look up in the sky and see the person in the moon. Guys would say come back here and fight like a person. And we'd all sing 'for it's a jolly good person.' That's the kind of thing you would hear on late-night with David Letterperson."

tertio usus legis

For the explanation and final settlement of this dissent we unanimously believe, teach, and confess that although the truly believing and truly converted to God and justified Christians are liberated and made free from the curse of the Law, yet they should daily exercise themselves in the Law of the Lord, as it is written, Ps. 1:2;119:1: Blessed is the man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in His Law doth he meditate day and night. For the Law is a mirror in which the will of God, and what pleases Him, are exactly portrayed, and which should [therefore] be constantly held up to the believers and be diligently urged upon them without ceasing.
Solid Declaration, FC 1580

Thursday, November 11, 2010

and the good news is...

For everything that comforts, that offers the favor and grace of God to transgressors of the Law, is, and is properly called, the Gospel, a good and joyful message that God will not punish sins, but forgive them for Christ's sake.
Solid Declaration, FC 1580

Friday, November 5, 2010

God's back

Thus we conclude from seeing God's back that so much evil cannot be inflicted on us that God will not heap far greater blessings on us -- Martin Luther

Thursday, November 4, 2010

faith and good works

For, as Dr. Luther writes in the Preface to St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: Thus faith is a divine work in us, that changes us and regenerates us of God, and puts to death the old Adam, makes us entirely different men in heart, spirit, mind, and all powers, and brings with it [confers] the Holy Ghost. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, powerful thing that we have in faith, so that it is impossible for it not to do good without ceasing.
Solid Declaration, FC 1580

Monday, November 1, 2010

Reformation Day

+ Reformation Day +
October 31, 2010
The eternal Gospel
1. Fear God and give Him glory
a. We should fear, love and trust in God above all things
b. What gives God glory?
John Chrysostom: "'How is it then, when a man being wicked is rich, and suffers nothing dreadful?' you ask. Since if being good he has wealth, he has it justly. But if bad, what shall we say? Even therein he is to be pitied. For wealth added to wickedness aggravates the mischief. But a person who is a good man, and poor is in no way injured. A bad man, who is poor is justly so and deserves it, or rather it is even beneficial to him. But you say, 'What of a person who received his riches from his ancestors and lavishes it upon harlots and parasites, and suffers no evil?' What are you saying? That he frequents prostitutes and that he suffers no evils? That he is drunken, and you think that he is in luxury? He wastes his time in idleness, and you think he is to be envied? No, what could be worse than this wealth that destroys the very soul? If the man's body had been broken and maimed, you would say that his was a cause of great lamentation, wouldn't you? But look, his whole soul is mutilated, and yet you count him even happy? And you contend that he does not perceive it. Well then, for this very reason again he is to be pitied, as all frantic persons are. For he that knows he is sick will of course both seek the physician and submit to remedies; but he that is unaware of sickness will have no chance at all of deliverance. Tell me, could you call such a one happy?

2. Worship Him who made heaven and earth
a. Prof. Paul Raabe: We are monotheistic Trinitarians who confess the Nicene creed!
b. Romans 8:18-23. I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to
the glory that will soon be revealed to us. All creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal who his children are. Creation was subjected to frustration but not by its own choice. The one who subjected it to frustration did so in the hope that it would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom that the children of God will have. We know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time.
However, not only creation groans. We, who have the Spirit as the first of God’s gifts, also groan inwardly. We groan as we eagerly wait for our adoption, the freeing of our bodies from sin.