A Reformation Quote of the Day

I find myself needing this explanation when witnessing to non-Christians and Christians of other denominations. Yes, they think that we ‘follow’ Luther. Very good and concise explanation!

Concordia and Koinonia

Image result for cfw walther Dr. C. F. W. Walther

IntroductionA controversy that beset the nascent  Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod  (LCMS) was the use of the name “Lutheran”.  People said that we worship Luther or revere him as a prophet.  The first president  of the LCMS and first president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Dr. C.F.W. Walther responded in an article in Der Lutheraner in 1844.  I think this article is highly instructive for us beyond the presenting controversy.  In this quote, we see the reason we should separate ourselves from the less than salutary writings by the Reformer such as about the Jews but be instructed by him when he was in agreement with the Scriptures.

“…we do not call ourselves Lutherans after him in the same way that we are called Christians on account of Christ. We are not called such because we believe in Luther. As highly as we treasure this…

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“In It but Not of It”

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Lutheran Hour Ministries

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
“In It but Not of It”

April 29, 2018

Romans 12:1-2 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.

Ercan Ozer is a shepherd in the mountainous region of Muradive, Turkey.

Whether Ozer is a good shepherd or not, that I cannot say. I do know that today he has fewer sheep to take care of than he used to have. That is because, not so long ago, 80 of his sheep committed suicide. According to his telling, one of his flock decided it could fly. To test the theory, sheep number one walked off the side of the mountain.

The long and short of his story is this: he was wrong.

Amazingly, rather than learning from the mistake of sheep number one, a second sheep, sheep number two, followed the first. Sensing a pattern was developing, Ozer sprang into action and inserted himself between his flock and the cliff. Things happened very quickly after that.

In order: sheep number two also found out she could not stay airborne for any length of time. Even with their shepherd between them and open air, the flock continued to surge ahead. Like a river flowing around a rock most of the flock simply bypassed Ozer and stepped out into space and into sheep baaa-lhalla. As we said above, 80 sheep died, and Ozer found himself with a flock considerably diminished in size.

Years ago, I remember my father asking, “Ken, if everybody jumped off a bridge, would you do the same?” It was his way of telling me that I shouldn’t be a blindly following sheep. Instead, he wanted me to do the right thing, the smart thing, even if that meant I wasn’t going to be a card-carrying member of the flock.

It was good advice. Indeed, it is the kind of advice Christians should follow. I know it is good advice because in John 17, Jesus said, “I have given them Your Word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

Writing to the church in Rome, Paul rephrased Jesus and said it this way: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.”

And if you’ve been listening to your pastor on a Sunday morning, he has probably said it this way: “We are in the world, but we are not of the world.”

Now let’s make it simple. Christians have been rescued from the punishment of sin by the Savior, Jesus. When that happened, the Holy Spirit made changes in us. Those changes mean the world no longer dictates what we think and what we do and what we want.

Replacing that old-world view, we find our thoughts and actions centering on the Lord who has saved us at the cost of His own Son’s life. True, we still are living with the things and the people of this world, but we will no longer follow them as they disobey and disregard the loving Lord.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we are people who live in this world, but no longer are of this world. Grant us the discernment to walk Your path rather than the world’s superhighway to nowhere. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.

Bright Week! Friday

Concordia and Koinonia

 

From St. John 20:

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

From Rev. Paul Kretzman’s Commentary on(Jesus) sent (the apostles) forth to preach the Gospel. For that is the summary and content of the Gospel, peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. And having named them thus as His messengers, as His ambassadors, the Lord formally inducts them into this office. He breathed on them, thus symbolizing the transmission of, and actually conveying to them, the Spirit who lived in Him, and whom He had the authority to bestow. The power of the Spirit was to…

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“He has Risen, as He said,” Matthew 28:1-10

He is risen indeed!

Pastor Reeder's Blog

“He has risen, as He said”

1Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to…

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“Surety in Christ according to His Word”

“Nothing in my hands I bring. Simply to the cross I cling.”

Pastor Reeder's Blog

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?  For what can a man give in return for his life?  For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-38)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

bible-cross1It is not of the Gospel to be unsure or uncertain of God’s grace and favor in Jesus Christ.  The grace of God in Christ, without a doubt, is of faith, according to the Lord’s…

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Hope in Temptation

Pastor Reeder's Blog

“He (Jesus) was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan”

(Mark 1:13)

In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Words from Luther on temptation…

107] To feel temptation is therefore a far different thing from consenting or yielding to it. luther1We must all feel it, although not all in the same manner, but some in a greater degree and more severely than others; as, the young suffer especially from the flesh, afterwards, they that attain to middle life and old age, from the world, but others who are occupied with spiritual matters, that is, strong Christians, from the devil. 108] But such feeling, as long as it is against our will and we would rather be rid of it, can harm no one. For if we did not feel it, it could not be called a temptation. But to consent thereto is when we give it the reins and…

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“Many Called, Few Chosen”

Pastor Reeder's Blog

1Again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.’ 5But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.

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“A Gift for God”

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(REBLOGGED WIH PERMISSION)Lutheran Hour Ministries

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
“A Gift for God”

January 12, 2018

Psalm 51 (excerpts) – Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy … Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You may be justified in Your sight … Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. … O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare Your praise. For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

There is a story which comes from the Middle Ages.

It speaks about an angel who wanted to give God the gift which the divine Lord valued the most. The angel traveled to earth and began his search. It took a few hundred years, but the angel eventually returned to heaven with a glass vial. In the vial was sand which had been stained red by drops of blood taken from a martyr who had died in his Savior’s service.

It was a magnificent gift, a moving present, but the bloodied sand was not the gift the Lord most desired.

The angel returned to earth and, once again, began his wanderings. He stopped and was touched to see a poor widow offer up a few coins to people who had even less than she. Yes, the angel was moved by the dear lady’s actions, but he knew those coins would not be the gift the Lord loved the most.

The search continued. Occasionally, the angel found something which had possibilities. He came upon a cross which had been used by a great preacher; there were the shoes of a missionary who had shared the Gospel in a heathen land, and he was delighted by the laughter of a child who was loved by Christian parents.

“These are all wonderful gifts,” the angel said to himself, “but they are not the gift which God values most.” Once more the angel began his search on earth.

There the angel saw two men sitting by a fountain. One of the men bent down to drink and in the water saw his sin-ravaged face. Overcome by all he had done wrong — and who he had become — the man wept.

The angel, ever so quietly, moved up and collected a tear of repentance.

But the angel did not return immediately to heaven. The angel listened as the second man spoke of the Savior and the hope which comes from sins forgiven. Once again, the first man cried. But this time he cried with joy at the good news of the Gospel.

He had been given faith in Jesus as his Savior. His sins were gone. He was forgiven. He had eternal life.

The angel captured one of those tears as well. The angel brought the tear of repentance and the tear of faith to heaven. Those two tears, mixed together, were presented to God, and God smiled. Tears of repentance, tears of Gospel joy. According to the story, that was the gift which God loved the most.

Tears of repentance, tears of Gospel joy. I know they are what we need the most.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I always give thanks for Jesus who is Your gift to me. May my praise be sincere and unceasing. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen

The EPIPHANY of Our LORD, 6 January, anno Domini 2,018

Concordia and Koinonia

O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same  Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Old Testament: Is. 60:1–6
The Psalm: Psalm 24
The Epistle: Eph. 3:1–12
The Gospel: Matt. 2:1–12

Intro:  The feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord commemorates no event but presents an idea that assumes concrete form only through the facts of our Lord’s life. The idea of Epiphany is that the Christ who was born in Bethlehem is recognized by the world as God. At Christmas, God appears as man, and at Epiphany, this man appears before the world as God. That Christ became man needed no proof. But that this man, this…

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