Lutheran Confessional Quotes of the Day on St. Matthew 11: 28

Concordia and Koinonia

“…faith is conceived and strengthened through Absolution, through the hearing of the Gospel, through the use of the Sacraments, so that it may not give in to the terrors of sin and death while it struggles. This method of repentance is plain and clear. It increases the worth of the Power of the Keys and of the Sacraments. It illumines Christ’s benefit and teaches us to make use of Christ as Mediator and the Atoning Sacrifice…Christ says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Here there are two parts. The “labor” and the burden signify the contrition, anxiety, and terrors of sin and death. To “come to” Christ is to believe that sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake. When we believe, our hearts are brought to life by the Holy Spirit through Christ’s Word. Here, therefore, are these two…

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“Doggy Doors”

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Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

 

“Doggy Doors”
July 1, 2017
James 1:14-15 – But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
Ask around and the experts will tell you about the greatest fights in history. In the top 10, most would likely list the “Thrilla in Manila” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Others would mention the 1952 battle between Rocky Marciano and Jersey Joe Walcott. That battle was won by Marciano who finished his career undefeated.

Truly, those were epic contests, but they were mere skirmishes when compared to the 2016 battle waged by “Boone the boxer.” Before I go further, allow me to share that Boone the boxer is a dog owned by the Scott Gray family of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Dog or no, right before Halloween last year, Boone got himself into a prime-time fight. And if you’re wondering how this battle began, I can tell you: the Gray’s house has a dog door to make Boone’s comings and goings more convenient.

Unfortunately, that dog door can be used by other animals — other animals like skunks, for example.

The Grays were not at home the night an uninvited skunk came in through the doggy door. A few hours later when the family returned, Boone and the skunk were still at it. Mr. Gray managed to corner the skunk in a bedroom and have it removed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Experts were called in to tell how the Grays might restore their home to pre-fight conditions.

What the experts said was this: get rid of your clothes; toss your furniture; tear the sheet rock off its studs, and begin over. The insurance company agreed that doing those things would be the way for the Gray family to proceed. Oh, the insurance company also said something else, something like “While we feel sorry for you, and deeply regret what has happened to your home, you should know your homeowner’s policy does not cover your domicile for damages done by skunks that gained entrance through a doggy door left open.”

As this devotion is written, the Grays have shelled out $70,000 and they estimate they will spend another $50,000 before they are done reclaiming their home.

Now there ought to be a devotional point to this sad story — and there is. The point is we need to watch what comes into the homes of our hearts.

James talks about the process of how a sin begins in a simple way. It all starts when a heart which ought to be owned by the Lord has been built with a doggy door. It doesn’t take too long before an unchristian temptation saunters in. Left unchecked, that desire will grow and become a sin which, as James says, “brings forth death.”

Now, unlike the Gray family, we do have good news for those who find their hearts have been befouled by sin. We have a Savior who can, for people of faith, remove that sin and set things straight. Scripture is clear: if we confess our sins, the Lord wall forgive us our sins. But, the Bible tells us God’s people are smart if they don’t leave open a doggy door for sin, in the first place.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant me the faith and the wisdom to stop sin before it starts. Keep my heart dedicated to giving thanks for the Savior who has done all to win my forgiveness and salvation. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Adalberto Toledo for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on June 6, 2017.

 

In Christ I remain His servant and yours,

Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
Lutheran Hour Ministries

 

Today’s Bible in a Year Reading: Ecclesiastes 10-12; Acts 10:24

 

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int’l LLL (LHM).

 

“Empty “

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(Compendium: REBLOGGED WITH PERMISSION)

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

 

“Empty “

May 30, 2017

Colossians 2:8 – See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

My mother used to say that every day a person ought to learn something. Now that “something” doesn’t have to be a big something; it just should be something. Today I am pleased that I have learned the definition of a term — a term I had never heard being used before. Now, if you haven’t yet managed to learn something today, let me share that knowledge with you.

The term is “slack fill.” Would you like to take a guess as to what slack fill means?

No, it has nothing to do with a pair of jeans which, having been washed in hot water and thrown in the dryer, are overly tight.

Slack fill is the term various industries use to explain why their big boxes of stuff are only half-filled with product. Did you ever buy a box of breakfast cereal and, having opened it, found you needed a flashlight to see where the contents began? That’s slack fill in action. Manufacturers say slack fill happens two ways: it can happen accidentally when the product settles, or it happens deliberately because a product needs room to breathe.

No matter how you look at it, slack fill means you have more container than product.

This is a fact not lost on a Missouri man who is suing Hershey’s Chocolate for the small amount of candy he received when he bought a box of Reese’s Pieces and Whoppers. The man, Robert Bratton, says his Reese’s® Piece’s box had about 29 percent empty space, and the Whoppers had a, well, there’s no other way to say it — it had a whopping 41 percent of empty.

As of right now, nobody knows what the outcome of the suit will be. Hershey’s wants legalities to cease immediately since everybody understands the idea of slack fill, and the amounts of candy are printed on the box. Mr. Bratton says that everybody does not understand slack fill, and he wants the court to decide how much empty carton is too much empty carton.

I’m sure the court will eventually decide those differences. Sadly, there is no earthly court with the authority — or ability — to rule on the differences between the Lord’s truth and Satan’s slack fill.

When the devil tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, his promises were slack filled. He promised they would be just like God, that they would be just as smart as God, that the Lord’s warnings about the forbidden fruit were ridiculous and could be discarded without any negative repercussions or ramifications.

It was a fancy package that Adam and Eve bought. In doing so they bought a fancy package that failed to deliver on its promises and enticements.

In contrast, we have the words of the Faithful, Holy Lord. What He says is — you should excuse the expression — the Gospel truth. When He says, the soul which sins will die (see Ezekiel 18:20), you can believe it. When He says faith in the Savior is the only path to heaven, you had better trust Him. Maybe that’s why the Bible says, “Thy Word is truth” (see John 17:17) rather than “The Bible is slack full.”

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it is one thing to be deceived by half-full boxes; it is quite another to buy into Satan’s pseudo-truths. Let my faith always be placed in and centered on the Savior whose life was spent taking away the sins of the world. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.

The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Michael Hartorne for Newser on May 20, 2017. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written. Please click here.

Bible Not Meant for Today, but the Book of Mormon Is

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You can read the TRUTH of the Bible as God’s, unchangeable truth, in the REBLOGGED post by Pr. Reeder.

Life After Ministry

1 Peter 1:25; “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

The other day, Melissa noted in an article how the Church said the Book of Mormon was meant for people living now. This reminded me of a few comments made by past LDS leaders who didn’t give the Bible the same credit, so we have a few questions in light of their warnings!

Take a quick look at what Joe Smith and Orson Hyde said about God’s word –

joseph-smith-the-choice-seer Joseph Smith, The Choice Seer, p. 25; “We have no right, he explained, to lay claim to promises made to another people in another time.  – Joseph Smith

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The Bible = God’s Word

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Wonderful message!

Pastor Reeder's Blog

14As for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

As we reflect on these words of our Lord today through the sainted apostle, I would like to read some words from a document entitled, “Brief Statement of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod.” This document, written and adopted by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in the year 1932, might seem a bit dated, and perhaps not well known, but succinctly states what we…

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The Mormon Gospel is like a Fairytale

Shocking that LDS makes this comparison. Very well-written article!

Life After Ministry

lds-living-logoThe other day I came upon an article on ldsliving.org titled “How the Gospel Is Like a Real-Life Fairy Tale”. It’s funny they think of the Mormon gospel as a fairytale, I always thought of it as science fiction drama. I can see the introduction going something like “In a galaxy far, far away on a planet next to the star Kolob…………” (Book of Abraham 3:2-3)

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“Making a Stand”

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(REBLOGGED WITH PERMISSION)

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

October 27, 2016

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who … in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:4-5, 8

Milliken University is a fine private school in Central Illinois.

At their football game on September 24th, some of the members of the team decided to “take a knee” rather than stand for the national anthem. In doing so, they followed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick who, in his protest against racial injustice, has also not shown respect for the anthem.

The reaction of the local community was one of outrage.

In response the Milliken football team decided on another course of action: they would remain in the locker room until after the anthem had been played, and then they would all spend a moment in personal reflection on those who had made sacrifices for the country and how they can live up to the idea of “liberty and justice for all.”

And that’s what they did… except for Connor Brewer, a defensive lineman.

The picture of Brewer, standing alone on that football field while the anthem was being played, was picked up by the news media. Some said he was a hero, while others complained he had betrayed the solidarity of his team. Brewer, himself, out of respect for his coach and fellow players, declined to be interviewed.

So there you have it: Americans making use of their freedom of speech to convey a message.

No one can doubt they are acting according to conscience, nor dare we think those protesters have proceeded without first having searched their hearts. Still, the responses to what they have done have not been especially positive.

That is because most have forgotten you do not right a wrong by doing another wrong. You cannot help someone you feel has been mistreated by mistreating the values of someone else. In this case, discussion has revolved more around the protest than the cause which motivated it.

St. Paul makes the point better than I ever could when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23: “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.”

Now I don’t expect the world will pay much attention to the inspired words of the apostle. People outside the Christian community will continue to indiscriminately use their “rights” to correct all manner of real and imagined wrongs.

But we believers should be different. Following the Savior’s example we should, in humility, look to the interests of others. Following Jesus, we should bring about positive changes, by reaching out to others and encouraging them to be better than the world.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for the Savior who gave up heaven and humbled Himself so that all who believe on Him might be forgiven, saved and be changed for the better. May my Christian life be conducted in a way that will strengthen others rather than tearing them down. In the Savior’s Name I pray it. Amen.

 

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Scripture Passages for a Presidential Election Season

Concordia and Koinonia

Psalm 146

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.   Psalm 118:8-10 (ESV)

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. (ESV)

Daniel 5

21   (Daniel is speaking to King Beltshazzar about his father King Nebuchadnezzar) He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew…

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