Epiphany: Jesus’ Baptism

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Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.  The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water …”

— John 4:13-15, ESV.

The water that wells up to eternal life is baptism.  Baptism is living water made alive by the word of God.  And through this water Christ grants his eternal life and righteousness to all who believe.

One of the first celebrations of Epiphany is of the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River.

In order to fulfill all righteousness, he took our place.  He submitted to John’s baptism in the Jordan river.  John’s baptism was for repentance, and in this way Jesus took our sin, and identified completely with us sinners.  He began his ministry by taking our place, and becoming our substitute.  He became the Lamb of God.  (Genesis 2:8).

When we were baptized, the water washed our sins away.  When Jesus was baptized, he accepted our sins from the water as his own.  John said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29, ESV).

To Jordan’s river came our Lord,
The Christ, whom heavenly hosts adored,
The God from God, The Light from Light,
The Lord of glory, power, and might.

The Savior came to be baptized
The Son of God in flesh disguised
To stand beneath the Father’s will
And all His righteousness fulfill.

Then from God’s throne with thunderous sound
Came God’s own voice with words profound:
“This is My Son,” was His decree,
“The one I love, who pleases Me.”

The Father’s word, the Spirit’s flight
Anointed Christ in glorious sight
As God’s own choice, from Adam’s fall
To save the world and free us all.

— “To Jordan’s River Came Our Lord,” LSB 405:1-2, 4-5.

Blessed Epiphany.

New Year Prayer 2016 A.D.

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Happy New Year and merry eighth day of Christmas!  The eighth day of Christmas is the day your true love gives to you eight maids a milking.  (See: “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song).

The New Year celebration is a part of the twelve days of Christmas because the calendar is based on the birth of Christ.  All human history revolves around the one eternal God made flesh, who became a human baby.

New Year prayer:

Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ , our Lord.

Lutheran Service Book, p. 312, “For purity.”

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Merry Christmas 2015

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Today is the first day of Christmas, the annual feast celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is:

“God of God,
Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made …
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
and was made man …”

— Nicene Creed.

Christ always received worship and adoration from the angels, for He always was God.  Now they are adoring Him also as man.

— Theodoret, “Catalog of Testimonies,”
Book of Concord, Readers’ 2nd Edition, 632.

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A great and mighty wonder,
A full and holy cure:
The virgin bears the infant
With virgin honor pure!

The Word becomes incarnate
And yet remains on high,
And cherubim sing anthems
To shepherds from the sky.

Proclaim the Savior’s birth:
“To God on high be glory
And peace to all the earth!”

— “A Great and Mighty Wonder,” LSB 383:1-2.

Merry Christmas!

Blessed Christmas Eve 2015

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Christmas Eve is the last day of Advent.  Tomorrow, we celebrate the coming of Jesus as a baby.  Jesus is fully God and fully man.  He is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made …” but who also “was made man.”  (Nicene Creed).

The complete divinity and complete humanity of Jesus Christ cannot be overemphasized especially in this world of ignorance where so many think that Christians and Mohammedans worship the same God, and that all religions are “basically the same.”  No one is like Christ, and no god can compare.

What happened at the Incarnation (March 25) and at Christmas (December 25) testifies to the true nature of God, the Trinity.  The Incarnation is beautiful and mysterious, and evinces a glory deeper than the greatest show of glory.  It is a hidden glory of weakness and love.  Almighty God became a real human baby.

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting Light:
O Christ, Redeemer, save us all
And hear Thy servants when they call.

To God the Father and the Son
And Holy Spirit, Three in One,
Praise, honor, might, and glory be
From age to age eternally.

— “Creator of the Stars of Night,” LSB 351:1, 6.

Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!

A Lutheran Satire Thank You

Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence,
and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
and uphold me with Thy free spirit.
Amen.

— Offertory, LSB 192-193
(Psalm 51:10-12).

Lutheran Satire links:

May we be always grateful.

Kirkus Reviews Magazine Reviewed My Brother’s Book

The Death You DeserveKirkus Reviews magazine reviewed my brother’s book, The Death You Deserve.  He was one of only 35 indie authors to be featured in their 15 November 2015 issue.  That is an honor in and of itself.  They said his story was, “An adventurous, deeply moral tale with all the trappings of high fantasy.”

I almost cannot conceive of a higher compliment for a book than to call it, “An adventurous, deeply moral tale,” and am proud that they thought so highly of the story my brother penned.

In this first volume of his series, Techlin effectively addresses such weighty issues as forgiveness within a family, faith and what it takes to regain it, and even what happens when people in power betray their souls for other aims…  Overall, the author has created a world that readers will want to spend time in, filled with characters who aren’t necessarily sympathetic but are always fully human.

Kirkus Reviews magazine.

Click here to read the entire review.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015

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In this world, some imagine “that godliness is a means of gain.  But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.”  (1 Timothy 6:5-6, ESV).

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.  And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.  Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.  Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.

I have received full payment, and more.  I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory forever and ever.  Amen.

— Philippians 4:11-20, ESV.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving in every circumstance.  Thank you for visiting, and may God be with you always.

The mountains are calling …

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The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.

— John Muir.

John Muir was one of the founding fathers of our national and state park systems.  The mountains called him, and he worked incessantly so that when the mountains called us, we could enjoy them.

God’s blessings.

BoC Drawing, Reformation 2015 Followup

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In recognition of the four hundred ninety-eight year anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation, Light from Light hosted a giveaway of a copy of the Christian Book of Concord, Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.

Over 140 people entered.  The winner chosen at random was Shelley Z.

Congratulations.

The Book of Concord should be in every Lutheran home.  If a person isn’t familiar with this book, he’ll think, ‘That old book is just for pastors.  I don’t have to preach.  After working all day, I can’t sit down and study in the evening.  If I read my morning and evening devotions, that’s enough.’  No, that is not enough!  The Lord doesn’t want us to remain children, blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine; instead of that, He wants us to grow in knowledge so that we can teach others.

Dr. C.F.W. Walther.

Click here for additional reasons why every Lutheran home should have a copy of the Christian Book of Concord.

May God bless you in the upcoming holiday / holy day season.

Autumn leaves in Fall

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Autumn leaves in Fall
Rich scents from the earth arise
God’s seasonal gift

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haiku:

a major form of Japanese verse, written in 17 syllables divided into 3 lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables, and employing highly evocative allusions and comparisons, often on the subject of nature or one of the seasons.

Dictionary.com.

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God’s blessings to you.