Psalm 113

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The sun sets over Hartman Creek forming silhouettes of the trees.

From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!

The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!

— Psalm 113:3-4, ESV.

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Sun beams peer through the trees at Hartman Creek State Park.  This area of the park is a good place to contemplate.  God creates amazing beauty for even the poorest of us.

Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?

He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people…

Praise the Lord!

— Psalm 113:5-9, ESV.

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Happy Easter 2018 A.D.

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Mary of Magdala was the first, but not the last, to report back to the disciples: “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18).

He is risen!

Happy Easter/Pascha!

Given For You

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“… he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.’  And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.'”

— Luke 22:19-20, ESV.

Merry Christmas 2017 A.D.

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

— Blessed Theodoret,
Book of Concord, Catalog of Testimonies (632).

That the nature received from us is a participant in the same honor of Him who received it and that no difference in worship appears, but the divinity which is not seen is worshiped through the nature which is seen—this surpasses every miracle.

— Blessed Theodoret,
Book of Concord, Catalog of Testimonies (629).

Book of Concord Drawing, Reformation 2017 Followup

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In recognition of the five hundred year anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, Light from Light hosted a giveaway of a copy of the Christian Book of Concord, Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.

Seventy-two people entered.  The winner chosen at random was David P.

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.

Book of Concord Drawing, Reformation 2017

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Five hundred years ago on October 31, Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses.  Those theses sparked a discussion in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church that is still ongoing.  The first theses said:

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

In recognition of this 500th anniversary, I would like to give away a copy of the Christian Book of Concord bonded-leather-cover Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.  This is similar to the regular hard-cover Second Edition, except it has a bonded-leather-cover with gold trim on the page edges and comes in a gift box.  The condition is new, never used.

If you would like to enter the drawing for a free copy, just fill out the form below.  However, you must be at least 18 years old, may enter the drawing only once, and you must be a resident of the United States.

After the winner is chosen at random, all names and emails will be permanently deleted.  The deadline for entries is 12 noon CDT on All Saints’ Day (Wednesday, November 1), 2017 A.D.

The Lord’s Bow

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And God said,

This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.  And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.

— Genesis 8:12-16, ESV.

Resurrection Sunday 2017

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Now I will cling forever
To Christ, my Savior true;
My Lord will leave me never,
Whate’er He passes through.

He rends death’s iron chain;
He breaks through sin and pain;
He shatters hell’s grim thrall;
I follow Him through all.

— “Awake, My Heart, with Gladness,” LSB 467:6.

Happy Easter & Pascha!

He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Happy New Year 2017 A.D.

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Happy New Year and Merry Eighth Day of Christmas.

Almighty and ever-living God, You make us both to will and to do those things that are good and acceptable in Your sight.  Let Your fatherly hand ever guide us and Your Holy Spirit ever be with us to direct us in the knowledge and obedience of Your Word that we may obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

— “For divine guidance” prayer, LSB, 310.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  (James 1:17, ESV).

The Lord’s Regard

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May you have a blessed Christmas Eve.

My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.

For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.

— Luke 1:46-49, ESV.


*

The Magnificat, by Martin Luther

Mary confesses that the foremost work God did for her was that He regarded her, which is indeed the greatest of His works, on which all the rest depend and from which they all derive.  For where it comes to pass that God turns His face toward one to regard him, there is nothing but grace and salvation, and all gifts and works must follow.  Thus we read in Genesis 4:4, 5 that He had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering He had no regard.  Here is the origin of the many prayers in the Psalter—that God would lift up His countenance upon us, that He would not hide His countenance from us, that He would make His face shine upon us, and the like.  And that Mary herself regards this as the chief thing, she indicates by saying: “Behold, since He has regarded me, all generations will call me blessed.”

Note that she does not say men will speak all manner of good of her, praise her virtues, exalt her virginity or her humility, or sing of what she has done.  But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed.  That is to give all the glory to God as completely as it can be done.  Therefore she points to God’s regard and says: “For, behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.  That is, beginning with the time when God regarded my low estate, I shall be called blessed.”  Not she is praised thereby, but God’s grace toward her.  In fact, she is despised, and she despises herself in that she says her low estate was regarded by God.  Therefore she also mentions her blessedness before enumerating the works that God did to her, and ascribes it all to the fact that God regarded her low estate…

But for this one thing alone, that God regarded her, men will call her blessed.

Whoever, therefore, would show her the proper honor must not regard her alone and by herself, but set her in the presence of God and far beneath Him, must there strip her of all honor, and regard her low estate, as she says; he should then marvel at the exceedingly abundant grace of God, who regards, embraces, and blesses so poor and despised a mortal.  Thus regarding her, you will be moved to love and praise God for His grace, and drawn to look for all good things to Him, who does not reject but graciously regards poor and despised and lowly mortals.  Thus your heart will be strengthened in faith and love and hope.  What do you suppose would please her more than to have you come through her to God this way, and learn from her to put your hope and trust in Him, notwithstanding your despised and lowly estate, in life as well as in death?  She does not want you to come to her, but through her to God.

… who does not reject, but graciously regards poor and despised and lowly mortals.

Again, nothing would please her better than to have you turn in fear from all lofty things on which men set their hearts, seeing that even in His mother God neither found nor desired anything of high degree.  But the masters who so depict and portray the blessed Virgin that there is found in her nothing to be despised, but only great and lofty things—what are they doing but contrasting us with her instead of her with God?  Thus they make us timid and afraid and hide the Virgin’s comfortable picture, as the images are covered over in Lent.  For they deprive us of her example, from which we might take comfort; they make an exception of her and set her above all examples.  But she should be, and herself gladly would be, the foremost example of the grace of God, to incite all the world to trust in this grace and to love and praise it, so that through her the hearts of all men should be filled with such knowledge of God that they might confidently say: “O Blessed Virgin, Mother of God, what great comfort God has shown us in you, by so graciously regarding your unworthiness and low estate.  This encourages us to believe that henceforth He will not despise us poor and lowly ones, but graciously regard us also, according to your example.”

Luther’s Works, Vol. 21: “The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat.”
Concordia Publishing House, 1999, 1956, 321-322.
Emphasis in original.