Sola Publishing - Devotions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/feed.html Daily Devotions in the Lutheran Confessions en-us Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 10 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500

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1 For freedom Christ set us free. Hold your ground therefore, and do not be subjected again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Understand; I Paul say to you, that if you allow circumcision, Christ will be no benefit to you. 3 So, I testify again to every man who agrees to circumcision, that he is obligated to carry out the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law. You are fallen out of grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision amounts to anything, but faith working through love (Galatians 5:1–6)

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

We confess that love ought to follow faith, as Paul also says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love” (Gal 5:6). Yet we must not think on that account, that by confidence in this love or on account of this love, we receive the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation, just as we do not receive the forgiveness of sins because of other works that follow. The forgiveness of sins is received by faith alone because the promise cannot be received except by faith, in the right sense of the word. But true faith is that which assents to the promise. Scripture speaks of this faith. And because it receives the forgiveness of sins, and reconciles us to God, by this faith we are accounted righteous for Christ's sake before we love and do the works of the law, although love necessarily follows. This faith is not an idle knowledge, nor can it coexist with mortal sin, but it is a work of the Holy Spirit, whereby we are freed from death, and terrified minds are encouraged and given life. Because this faith alone receives the forgiveness of sins, and renders us acceptable to God, and brings the Holy Spirit, it could be more correctly called gratia gratum faciens, grace rendering one pleasing to God, than an effect that follows, that is, love.

Pulling It Together Faith happens when the heart is prompted by the Holy Spirit to believe that the promise of God is true. By faith, we take hold of the gospel with confident hope, becoming certain that Jesus died for the sin of the world. Because of faith, we are certain that it is Christ alone who makes a person acceptable to God. We do not take into account of any good deeds except the gracious work of Christ on the cross. As a result of his work, our sins are forgiven.

Faith is so certain of forgiveness that it liberates us from the law. We stop looking over our shoulders, worrying that our sins have put us in bad standing with God. The law is no longer a burden; instead, we are delighted to keep the spirit of the law for Christ’s sake. We practice love, patience, self-control, faithfulness, meekness, and mercy—not because we are saved by doing so but because we want to please God. Again, pleasing God does not mean that we expect him to forgive us because of our deeds. Rather, because we believe that he has already forgiven us, we are now free to live the Christ life with a confidence that is no longer in ourselves, but in Christ alone.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for setting me free from the fear of sin and death, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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The 2020-21 Year B Liturgical calendar charts the Scripture readings for each Sunday in the Church Year, with Sundays printed in the proper liturgical color for easy reference. Sola Publishing recommends the use of the Revised Common Lectionary as found in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) published by Concordia Publishing House, and makes use of this lectionary in its own Sola Online Worship eResource (SOWeR) website. 

Order a copy for pastor, secretary, choir director, and the sacristy. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 09 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Even so, it is not the will of your Father, the one in heaven, that one of these little children should perish. (Matthew 18:14)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Now, we have, in all, five parts of the entire Christian doctrine which we should constantly discuss and require children to recite word for word. Do not expect them to learn and remember these things from sermons alone.

Pulling It Together: If left to themselves, it is obvious enough, that we leave our children to the world and the rulers of the darkness of this time (Eph 6:12–13). So, we must teach our children to take up the armor of God (ibid), especially to fortify themselves with the Word and prayer. This must be a diligent effort, one in which they are assisted by parents, pastors, and teachers. Left to their own discipline, only a few will take on the program. We must coach them, pushing them to learn the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed, and as well, to understand the meaning of the Sacraments. In doing so, we gift them with Law and Gospel, preparing them for anything the world and its devil may throw at them.

Prayer: Give me the creative courage, Lord, to both learn and teach your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The 2020-21 Year B Liturgical calendar charts the Scripture readings for each Sunday in the Church Year, with Sundays printed in the proper liturgical color for easy reference. Sola Publishing recommends the use of the Revised Common Lectionary as found in the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) published by Concordia Publishing House, and makes use of this lectionary in its own Sola Online Worship eResource (SOWeR) website. 

Order a copy for pastor, secretary, choir director, and the sacristy. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 08 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 2 And calling a young child, he set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you change, and become like little children, you will never enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself as this young child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2–4)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Concerning the Sacrament

In the same night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Pulling It Together: My grandchildren help themselves to our pantry and refrigerator. They understand that Nana and Papa do not want them to be hungry. We encourage them to take and eat. I admit to being a little nervous when one gets into a high cabinet for a favorite coffee cup. That mug is irreplaceable. Nonetheless, take and drink. Jesus would have us be just like my grandkids. Take him at his word, and do so in remembrance of him.

Prayer: Help me believe that what you promise is for me. Amen.

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Winning, Losing, Loving: The Gospel in the Old Testament is an overview of Old Testament Scripture, tracing themes of chosenness, sin, and grace throughout the early books of the Bible. These cycles of sin and redemption point forward toward God's ultimate act of Redemption in Jesus Christ.

 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 07 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God in salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For it it, a righteousness of God is revealed from faith into faith, as it is written, “But the one who is righteous through faith shall live.” (Romans 1:16–17)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Concerning Baptism

Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe shall be damned.

Pulling It Together: The power of Baptism is faith in the Baptizer, in God. Without faith in God’s word of promise, baptism is a ceremonial cleansing at best. But when the word of God is spoken through the water, and is received in faith, there is divine, salvific power. The one who is baptized but does not believe the promise of God’s word, is damned. But the one who believes the word of the Baptizer will be saved.

Therefore, Baptism is God’s work from start to finish. He gives faith to believe the gospel, and the faith to receive all of its promises. God’s righteousness, not ours, is revealed in Baptism, from faith to faith. Our righteousness is his, not ours, received from God through faith, as it says, “the one who is righteous through faith will live.” We are righteous because we believe his promise.

Prayer: Keep your church in steadfast faith, Lord, so that she may proclaim your word of promise to the nations. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 06 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called as an apostle, detached to the gospel of God, 2 which he promised through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 who was defined as the Son of God in power, according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience of faith in all the nations, for his name’s sake, 6 among whom you also are called Jesus Christ’s. (Romans 1:1–6)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

When these three parts are comprehended, it is a person’s duty to also to know what to say about our Sacraments, which Christ himself instituted: Baptism and the holy Body and Blood of Christ, specifically in the texts that Matthew and Mark record at the close of their Gospels, when Christ said farewell to his disciples and sent them forward (Matt 28:19–20; Mark 16:15–16).

Pulling It Together: Why do we teach this condensed summary of the Holy Bible? We do so because Christ Jesus said, “Go” (Matt 28:19). Jesus tells his church to make disciples by baptizing them in the name of God and teaching them to obey his commandments (Matt 28:20). This gracious calling is to bring about the obedience of faith throughout the world. Submission to God in faith means that we try to obey his commands but, day by day, we depend upon his faithfulness to us, not our ability to be faithful to him. We try to honor our parents and love all our neighbors, but when we do not — for invariably, we will fail to do so, despite our best intentions (Rom 7:15) — we remember that we were baptized into the death of Christ at the font, and are further reminded of that promise of life at the table.

The conclusion of The Commandments is the forgiveness of a loving God. The point of The Prayer is that we may speak with a loving Father. The harmony of The Creed is that we know to whom we pray, and therefore, may depend upon his promises. And the point of the Sacraments is that we do indeed, have very gracious promises. We go with these teachings into all the world, beginning in our own backyard (Acts 1:8), to usher in the obedience of faith.

Prayer: Make of me a faithful priest in your kingdom, Lord. Amen.

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Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 03 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: All has been heard; this is the end of the matter: fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

For in these three parts everything that we have in the Scriptures is comprehended in short, plain, and simple terms. In these, the holy Fathers or apostles (whoever they were) have summarized the doctrine, life, wisdom, and study that occupies the conversation and interests of Christians.

Pulling It Together: James is correct: faith must be shown in deeds (James 2:18). In other words, we are to love our neighbor. Yet, duty is learned; keeping the commandments does not happen naturally. Unless a thing is viewed as a responsibility before God, we will naturally put self before neighbor. In other words, if you do not know the commandments, how will you keep them? And when you do not keep them, how will you know there is a First Commandment and a God to whom you may turn to and receive forgiveness?

Prayer: Oh, most holy God, give me such love for you that I may rightly fear you and so, keep your commandments, and trust in your faithful love when I fail to do so. Amen.

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The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

Most of the hymns and other resources in ReClaim are part of Sola's Online Worship Electronic Resource. Check out all that is in SOWER here

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 02 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter responded to him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you this, that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not overwhelm it.” (Matthew 16:15–18)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Our children should be taught to recite these parts each day when they arise in the morning, when they sit down to their meals, and when they retire at night. Until they repeat them, they should be given neither food nor drink. Likewise, every head of a household is obliged to do the same with servants, and not keep them in his house if they do not know these things or are unwilling to learn them. A person who is so rude and disorderly as to be unwilling to learn these things is not to be tolerated. For in these three parts everything that we have in the Scriptures is comprehended in short, plain, and simple terms. In these, the holy Fathers or apostles (whoever they were) have summarized the doctrine, life, wisdom, and study that occupies the conversation and interests of Christians.

Pulling It Together: Luther’s words seem extreme and even cruel to us. Yet there is nothing so cruel as to abandon one’s children at the gates of Hell. Our children, and all for whom we bear responsibility, should be taught the Scriptures — at very least, this summary of Scripture contained in The Small Catechism. In these three (or four) parts are lessons for the whole life. We may find material for lifelong conversation there, and guidance for living a life that pleases God. For what do we find in the Catechism but that we are to hold nothing above God, that all things come from him, and that he is in control of all creation, including our salvation and eternal life. In the Catechism alone, we, along with our children, will find ample inspiration to join with Peter, adding our own confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Furthermore, how else would one come to this declaration, if not by Christ himself working through the Word?

Prayer: Be my bedrock, Lord, in these difficult days and always. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

We Still Believe is offered as a resource for reflecting on key themes in biblical, Lutheran doctrine that are at risk in the Church today. It is offered in the hope that it will inspire individuals and congregations to examine the core beliefs of traditional Lutheranism and how these beliefs apply to our own present context. Written in a question and discussion style, the participant's book includes an introduction to and copy of the faith statement known as the Common Confession.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 01 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees approaching, testing, asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 But he answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather because the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today because the sky is red and gloomy.’ You know how to evaluate the appearance of the sky, but you unable to perceive the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but there will no sign given to it save the sign of Jonah.” And he departed from them, and went away. (Matthew 16:1–4)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

These are the most necessary parts of Christian education, so we should learn to repeat them word for word.

Pulling It Together: These lessons are primary and, therefore, necessary because they point beyond us. They direct us to God, instead of to ourselves, with our limited grasping. There is so much uproar surrounding us, demanding our attention, approval, and finally, allegiance. If that is all we listen to, we are undone. There must be a ready word within us, to which we may appeal for truth, and so, for peace. Memorize Scripture; store it up in your heart (Luke 6:45). Meditate upon it day and night (Psa 1:2). A good place to begin your memorization and meditation would be with these three principal lessons found in the Catechism. The Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed will always point you back to Christ Jesus. 

Prayer: Turn my eyes and tune my ears to you, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Pastor Kent Groethe's study of the Book of Acts, Acts - Old Places, New Facesfocuses on the life of the early church as a model for church life today. The message and power of the church today needs to be revitalized and renewed by the power of God's Spirit, just as it was in the early church.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 30 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And they all ate and were filled. And they collected seven baskets full of the broken pieces remaining. (Matthew 15:37)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

The Prayer, or “Our Father,” that Christ Taught

Our Father who art in heaven.

1. Hallowed be Thy name.

2. Thy kingdom come.

3. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

4. Give us this day our daily bread.

5. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

6. And lead us not into temptation.

7. But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Pulling It Together: God wants us to ask him for all good things. In other words, he wants us to ask him for those things that he knows are best for us. So, being the knowing child of the Father, God’s Son teaches us how to pray for those things the Father wants us to have from his hand. And so praying, we will be satisfied. All who would be his followers must learn this simple lesson. Ask of God what he wishes to give. Desiring beyond this, risks breaking the commandments.

Prayer: Give me this day, Lord, all you know I need. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The newest volume in the series, "Old Places, New Faces," The General Epistles offers a series of 12 Bible studies based on Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, and Jude. The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve him better.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 29 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: …my little children, for whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

The Chief Articles of Our Faith

1. I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

3. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (or Christian) Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Pulling It TogetherWe don’t believe in creeds. I have heard people proudly recite that statement many times too. We only believe in the Bible, they usually continue.

The Apostles Creed is based on the Bible. It is a concise statement of what we believe as Christians. The word “creed” itself is from the Latin credo, meaning “I believe.” It is inconceivable that Christian people, or any people for that matter, do not have credal statements. Of course, they do; we all do.

There is a danger in speaking the Creed, nonetheless. Perhaps it is this danger that naysayers find suspect in us. People may thoughtlessly recite the Creed, not even thinking about what they believe. Saying the Creed should be done with such thoughtful consideration that any number of verses of Scripture come to mind, bearing out the truth of the Creed, the truth of what we profess to believe. Pastors would do well to slow down as they lead their congregations in reciting the Creed. Doing so, may force them to think: do I believe this is true? They may even have to go to the rest of Scripture to find out.

Prayer: Lord, help my unbelief. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The first in the series, Superior Justice is a mystery-fiction novel that features the character of Jonah Borden as a not-so-typical Lutheran Pastor, who also happens to investigate local mysteries. Set in the midst of the striking beauty of Minnesota's Lake Superior coastline, Superior Justice will draw you in with its unique and quirky characters, and keep you guessing until the end.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 26 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 21 Is the law then, against the promises of God? Not at all. For if a law had been given that was able to make alive, then indeed, righteousness would have been of the law. 22 But the Scripture locked up everything under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:21–22)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

The Ten Commandments of God

1. You shall have no other gods before me.
2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take his name in vain).
3. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
4. Honor your father and mother (that your days may be long in the land which the Lord your God is giving you).
5. You shall not kill.
6. You shall not commit adultery.
7. You shall not steal.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

Pulling It TogetherI don’t have to keep the law. I’m a Christian and we don’t have to do that anymore. I have heard plenty of people, even pastors, say similar words. Vehemently.

Of course we have to keep the law. But we are not saved by doing so; we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Nonetheless, this does not give us license to forget the commandments. Were it not for the Ten Commandments, we would not recognize God’s grace or our need of it. The commandments drive us to God. They can and should therefore, help us remember the context of the First Commandment. “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:2). When we put something or someone before God, when we take his name in vain, dishonor the Lord’s Day, disgrace our parents, murder (Matt 5:21–22), commit adultery (Matt 5:27–28), steal, lie, and covet, we had better keep the First Commandment. When, after disobeying the other nine commandments, we then, keep the first, putting him before such things by asking his forgiveness, we are even then keeping the law.

In the end, we discover that we can only keep the commandments for Christ’s sake, through faith.

Prayer: Give me the courageous humility, Lord, to fear, love, and trust you enough to ask for your forgiveness. Amen.

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You Can Understand the Old Testament: Its Message and Its Meaning is an introduction to, and overview of, the Old Testament, exploring its meaning and its message for readers of today. Individual overviews and discussions of each book of the Old Testament are provided along with helpful maps, tables and charts as well as complete indexes of subject matter, biblical texts cited, and Hebrew words noted in the discussion. The book is aimed at students of the Bible, whether members of church congregations, pastors, or students in college or seminary. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 25 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 19 And he ordered the crowds to recline on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed and broke the loaves. He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples to the crowds. 20 And they all ate and were filled. They collected twelve baskets full of what remained of the leftover portions. 21 And those eating were about five thousand men, besides women and children. (Matthew 14:19–21)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

However, for the people in general, we are satisfied if they learn the three parts that have remained in Christendom from of old, though little of it has been taught and handled correctly so that both the young and old who are called and wish to be Christians may be well trained in them and familiar with them.

Pulling It TogetherThe Small Catechism is aptly named; it is a little book of instruction on the Christian faith. It may not seem like much, and perhaps one is thinking, Why not read the entire Bible? Indeed; why not? Still, the crowd, along with Jesus’ disciples, in that lonely place where they had followed him, must have thought, Five loaves and two fish for all of us? What a puny meal! But with Jesus’ blessing, it became a feast with so much left over that it could not be consumed in one sitting.

The lifelong catechumen will never get his plate clean. There will always be more to digest because God will bless the study of that little book. Moreover, it will lead the true student deeper and deeper into the rest of the Word.

Prayer: Teach me, Lord, what you would have me understand for this day. Amen.

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It is a vital task of the church today to encourage a renewed interest in and use of God’s Word. Unfortunately, many people find the Scriptures difficult to read and hard to understand at first. The purpose of Epistles, a Guide to Reading the Scriptures is twofold: to encourage Christians to read God’s Word on a regular basis and to help the reader slow down and concentrate on each chapter of the epistles before moving on to the next.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 24 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 We are Jews by nature, and not from Gentile sinners. 16 Yet, knowing that a person is not justified from works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, for no flesh will be justified by works of the law. (Galatians 2:15–16)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

I remember the time — indeed, even now, it is a daily occurrence — when there were rude, old people who knew nothing and still know nothing of these things, but who, nevertheless, go to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and use everything belonging to Christians. Yet, it is they who come to the Lord’s Supper who should know more and have a fuller understanding of all Christian doctrine than children and new disciples. 

Pulling It Together: There are those who are members of a church, yet not members of the Church of Christ, Christ’s body. Perhaps they were raised in the church or had a moment when they thought joining would be a good idea. I have known people who were church members because it was good for business. They lack the understanding of faith but take part in all the mysteries of the church. They go through the motions of religion, as though that makes some difference. It does not. Faith is crucial. This is why the Catechism — at least — is so vital. Members of the body of Christ know what they believe; they understand that they are saved, not by the duties of religion, but through faith in Jesus Christ. Then the duties come genuinely and joyfully.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for justifying me through your Son. Amen.

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Portraits of Jesus is a nine-session Bible study that explores the "I AM" statements given to us by Jesus himself. In comparing Jesus' words with related Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, the study provides a well-rounded look at the center of our faith in Christ.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 23 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 18 And I hated all my work in which I toiled under the sun, for I must leave it to a person who will be after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will manage all for which I labored and shown myself wise under the sun. This too, is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 2:18–19)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Therefore, it is the responsibility of every parent to question and examine one’s household at least once a week and to discover what they know and have learned of the Catechism, and if they do not know it, to keep them faithfully at it.

Pulling It Together: One may find much to do, if staying busy is the plan. Or, if making money is the idea, again, there is no end to work. At the end of a life, what will be said of such people? “He sure was tired all the time,” or, “He made a lot of money but he didn’t take it with him.” It is hollow and conceited to make life into a contest to see who worked hardest or made the most money.

There are much better things to do with your time. If you are working so much that you do not have the time or energy to be with your family at the dinner table, talking a little while about the Word, then you are almost certainly going to leave the fruit of your labors to fools.

Prayer: Help me live at your pace, Lord. Amen.

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Genesis "Old Places, New Faces" Series    Places have to do with geography. In the Bible we find God's people in many different places, both physically and spiritually, in their relationship to the Creator and Savior. We, like them, journey through many lands in our Christian walk. We move from chaos to order, from Ur to Canaan, and from obedience to disobedience. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve him better.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 22 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 6 I marvel that you are so quickly renouncing him who called you in the grace of Christ, for a different gospel — 7 not that there is another. But there are some who trouble you, and desire to alter the gospel of Christ. (Galatians 1:6–7)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

This sermon is designed as an instruction for children and the uninformed. From olden times, it was called in Greek, a “catechism,” an instruction for children containing what every Christian needs know. Whoever does not know this should not be numbered among Christians nor be admitted to the Sacrament, just as a craftsman who does not understand the rules and customs of his trade is considered incapable, and expelled. Therefore, young people must learn the parts of the Catechism, or children’s instruction, well, becoming fluent by diligently exercising themselves in them and keeping occupied with these parts.

Pulling It Together: Having spent the weekend with my grandchildren, I wonder if I might still be a child. I have the same question when I read the Bible and study the Catechism. There is so much to understand better. Now that I am at a point in life when they say one’s memory may begin to fail, it is all the more important to admit I am but a child, that there is so much to learn. So I must apply myself to these things as a new convert should. If I do not train myself in the Word — especially these things in the Catechism that every Christian ought to know and believe — then I run the risk of trading in the catholic faith for some counterfeit of my own making.

Prayer: Keep me close, Lord. Amen.

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The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experience Life Together: A 15-Week House-Church Model Resource & Session Book, by Rev. Tom Hilpert, is designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 19 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: He told them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until it was all leavened.” (Matthew 13:31)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

If they demonstrate such diligence, then I promise them, and they will see, that they will bear fruit, and that God will make them excellent men. In due time, they will acknowledge that the longer and the more they study the Catechism, the less they know of it and the more they have to learn. Only then, hungry and thirsty, will they truly relish what they cannot now endure, because they are presently full of it and bloated. To this end may God grant his grace! Amen.

Pulling It Together: When Luther was praised for the great work he had accomplished, he returned the praise to God. He replied, “I did nothing; the Word did everything.” So it is with the kingdom, or at least that little part that we perceive: our own church. We think it grows because of programs, or an exceptionally talented pastor, or the architecture, or some other business that makes us imagine we had something to do with it. And so it is with ourselves. We think we are mature because we sit on a committee, or have perfect attendance, or do some other work in the congregation.

Now, all of these are fine things. Youth, children, and senior activities, a hard-working pastor, lovely stained glass and a high steeple, serving in the sacristy or on the Council, and actually going to worship, are all pluses. But they fall outside the parentheses where the formula produces the real work. If these things are all we have, we are self-satisfied and full of ourselves.

It is the leavening agent of the Holy Spirit working through the Word that produces kingdom growth. Be conscientious enough to spend at least some time in the Catechism each day. You might also be so industrious that you read your Bible even more (perhaps reading a daily lectionary), sang a hymn, and prayed for your family. Then, toward the end of life, you could echo Luther, admitting that the Word did everything.

Prayer: Revive me, Father, through the inspiration of your Spirit in the Word, for Christ’s sake. Amen.

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Hymns and Spiritual Songs from The North is a compilation of Nordic hymns. In the spirit of Martin Luther, such a hymn is usually a meditation or sermon on a Biblical text that grows out of the text for a Sunday. Sometimes it is long and slow, even mournful, giving singers the possibility of meditating on God's Word in their own context. Less often it is joyful, but it is always filled with longing and hope. We can imagine the grandma, during long dark winters, sitting by the fire, spinning or knitting as she sang stanza after stanza of an old favorite hymn or spiritual song, teaching her grandchildren to sing along with her. When they learned to lisp those words with her, they were learning how Scripture could be used to meet the deepest sorrows and the greatest joys of life.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 18 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 7 Sidestep profane and superstitious tales. Instead, train yourself toward godliness. 8 For physical exercise is a little useful, but godliness is beneficial for everything, having promise for this life and for that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:7–8)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Therefore, I again implore all Christians, especially pastors and preachers, not to be doctors too soon, imagining that they know everything. For unshrunk cloth falls short of the measure. Exercise yourselves daily in these studies and practice them constantly, so that you guard yourselves carefully and diligently against the poisonous infection of self-security and vain imagination. Keep on reading, teaching, learning, pondering, and meditating, and do so steadily. Do not stop until you are proven, and are certain that you have taught the devil to death, and have become more learned than God himself and all his saints.

Pulling It Together: When I was in elementary school, I was always the fastest kid in my class. Although sometimes, Melony or Raymond gave me a run for my money. Mrs. Allen, our fourth grade teacher, tested us throughout the year to determine the swiftest. By the eighth grade, I still imagined myself fleet of foot, so when I heard that David was on the track team, I laughed. When he challenged me to a race, I easily agreed. When I found out it was to be four laps around the school track — one mile — it gave me pause. I was good on the 50-yards, or even 100, but 1,760 yards?

David left me in the dust. He did so because he had been training, while I had been resting on what had always come naturally. I vainly imagined I was faster than he was because I once had been; but times change, and so do people. David disciplined himself; I did not.

It is, of course, the same with Christians. Do you think that because you were confirmed, you now know it all, or have already run the race and won the prize (1 Cor 9:24–27)? There are probably confirmands in your church who know more of the Bible than you, who are more spiritually aware than me. We must be diligent, like David, training every day in the mysterious race of godliness (1 Tim 3:16).

Prayer: Take me to your track, Lord, and train me. Amen.

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As the subtitle indicates, this Bible study was written for mature Christians. Consider the Years, by the Rev. Brad Hales, bears in mind the unique perspective of those who have seen many years in their relationship with God and may wonder how faith can speak anew to their daily lives. The study offers 13 brief sessions on issues seniors must navigate, emphasizing how God's Word can bring strength and comfort in the unknown.

This study has been printed in a larger type-face than other Sola Bible studies. The questions offered for discussion focus on Scripture texts that address some particular concerns of older Christians.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 17 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold; but the Lord tests hearts. (Proverbs 17:3)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

What is the entire Psalter but reflections and exercises based on the First Commandment? Now I know it to be true that these lazy paunches and presumptuous souls do not understand a single psalm, much less the whole Scriptures. Yet they pretend to know and despise the Catechism, which is a compendium and brief summary of all the Holy Scriptures.

Pulling It Together: A neighbor told me yesterday that she thinks, “this is a wake-up call for America.” Then she added, “I hope we’re listening.” She was referring to the Covid-19 crisis, as well as the civil unrest in our country. I hope we are listening too, but I hope our ears are tuned to the correct frequency.

Prayer: Lord, it is you — not the times — who tests my soul, and I trust you to bring me through. Amen.

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Sola Publishing has added an online resource component to its education materials called SEED: the Sola Electronic Education Database. This new subscription-based resource provides teachers with tools to build a Sunday School program and lead classes for children, youth, and adults, with original resources printed in full color! The year's curriculm provides a full Bible overview — from Genesis to Revelation — with a collection of online media for each lesson, including new artwork, video presentations, updated teaching ideas, crafts, and more! 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 16 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: The light of the eyes gladdens the heart. Good news puts fat on the bone. (Proverbs 15:30)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

One might say that whoever knows the Ten Commandments perfectly knows the whole of Scripture. That person can advise, help, comfort, judge, and decide both spiritual and temporal matters in all affairs and cases. He is qualified to sit in judgment upon all doctrines, estates, spirits, laws, and everything else in the world.

Pulling It Together: When I was in high school, my grandma tried everything to fatten me up, as we say. I think skinny me was a slight on her good cooking. God, also, has laid out a banquet of his good news in the Scriptures, which he urges us to eat (Psa 119:103; Jer 15:16; Ezek 2:8; Matt 4:4). Yet, we sure do have a lot of skinny people in his church.   

Prayer: Fatten me up, Lord. Amen.

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The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes a limited selection of music for use in worship, drawing primarily upon texts and music in the public domain, along with biblical texts set to familiar tunes. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 15 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 3 As I exhorted you when I was going into Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus so that you may charge certain people not to teach a different doctrine, 4 nor to heed myths and endless genealogical studies that produce disputes, rather than matters of God that are by faith. (1 Timothy 1:3–4)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

God himself is not ashamed to teach these things daily. As he knows nothing better to teach, he keeps teaching the same thing, and does not take up anything new or different. All the saints know nothing better or different to learn, but cannot learn it entirely. So then, are we not the finest of all fellows imaginable, if we have read or heard it once, and know it all, having no further need to read and learn? Can we learn in one hour what God himself cannot finish teaching, though he is engaged in teaching it from the beginning to the end of the world — and all the prophets and saints have been occupied with learning it, and have always remained pupils, and must continue to be such?

Pulling It Together: The Revised Standard Version may not be the most accurate English translation of 1 Timothy 1:4, but the idea of “divine training” has its appeal. Training does not seem too tempting, at first glance. But there has to be something to it, since I receive regular advertising for training in an assortment of things from languages to exercise. Most of them offer their training in minutes a day. Just yesterday, I viewed an offer to know and understand the great works of literature by watching video summaries in seven minutes a day. Notably, I can also get rock-hard abs in just minutes a day if I purchase the right gizmo. But can I learn great literature while getting my six-pack? That would be a special kind of training.

Divine training does not come easily. It does not take mere minutes per day, or an hour a week. It does not happen in thoughtless ritual or mindless routine. Divine training, the ordered life of God, happens in the exercise of faith. God has offered the program; and he is the instructor to boot. We can do no better.

Prayer: Teach me your way, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings.

SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 12 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 8 Watch yourselves, that you do lose the things which we have accomplished, but that you receive a full reward. 9 Whoever oversteps and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. The one who abides in the teaching, the same one has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 8–9)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

What are these arrogant, shameless saints who are unwilling to read and study the Catechism daily? They clearly consider themselves more learned than God himself with all his saints, the angels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and all Christians.

Pulling It Together: It is too easy to become a heretic. It is easier to stop believing. Perhaps the easiest thing is to be lazy. Church membership rolls are filled with all three, but probably more of the third class. Every new pastorate requires becoming acquainted with scores of people who are so lazy that they cannot get to worship on the Lord’s Day. They will tell you that they believe, but something keeps them from the Lord’s Sunday blessings.

If you do not abide in the teaching of Christ, you are likely to end up as one of those three types of church members. If you are not living in the doctrine of Jesus, you can eventually, die in false teaching. Soon enough, you may find yourself not believing at all. Or, without the vitality of the Word of Christ Jesus, you will languish in spiritual sloth.

Prayer: Give me a hunger and thirst, Lord Jesus, for righteousness. Amen.

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Winning, Losing, Loving: The Gospel in the Old Testament is an overview of Old Testament Scripture, tracing themes of chosenness, sin, and grace throughout the early books of the Bible. These cycles of sin and redemption point forward toward God's ultimate act of Redemption in Jesus Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 11 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 25 On that occasion, Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to babes. 26 Yes, Father, for this was favorable in your view. (Matthew 11:25–26)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Oh, what mad, insensible fools we are that, while we must always live and dwell among such mighty enemies as the devils, we nonetheless despise our weapons and defense, too lazy to consider even them.

Pulling It Together: There are those who take no thought of the Bible, or even the Word in brief, speaking of the Catechism. They are either too dull or too brilliant. One way or another, they are too big for their britches. Some will not keep a simple discipline of reading and prayer. Others consider the Catechism — and even the Bible — the textbook of children. And right they are! To little disciples such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:14).

Prayer: Create in me, O Lord, the heart of a little child. Amen.

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Teach Us to Pray is an eight lesson curriculum based around Luther's Small Catechism.  Each lesson has a Bible study connected to the article of the Lord's Prayer covered. A section entitled "About Prayer"  teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week.  A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer and practice it in a variety of ways. This book could be used as part of a larger Confirmation series, or as a "pre-confirmation" Sunday School series for Jr. High and Middle School youth.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 10 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For this is the love of God: that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not overbearing. (1 John 5:3)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

If this were not sufficient to admonish us to read the Catechism daily, then we should feel sufficiently compelled by the command of God alone. In Deuteronomy 6:6–9, he solemnly charges us to always meditate upon His precepts — sitting, walking, standing, lying down, and rising — and have them before our eyes and in our hands as a constant reminder and sign. Doubtless, God did not require and command this so earnestly without a purpose. Because he knows our danger and need, as well as the constant and furious attacks and temptations of the devil, he wishes to warn, equip, and defend us against them, as with good armor against their fiery darts, and with good medicine against their evil infection and allure.

Pulling It Together: "I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me" (Psa 16:7–8). How can we keep God’s commandments if we do not know them, or worse, forget them? One of his directives is that we think about, or meditate, on his commandments throughout the day (Deut 6:6–9). Look at the many examples of how to do this that he provides us in those few verses. We are to have his Word on our lips, speaking to others about his teachings throughout the day, as we sit in our homes, walk about, go to our beds at night, and of course, first thing in the morning. We should have his Word on our walls and in our hands. But above all, we should have it in our hearts. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to treasure your Word in my heart. Amen.

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The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experience Life Together: Experiencing House-Church Ministry, by Rev. Tom Hilpert, is a 15-week house-church curriculum designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 09 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we know and have believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4:15–16)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

And what need is there of many words? If I were to recount all the benefit and bounty which God’s Word produces, where would I find enough paper and time? The devil is called the master of a thousand arts. But what shall we call God’s Word, which drives away and brings to nothing this master of a thousand arts with all his skills and power? God’s Word must indeed be the master of more than a hundred thousand arts.

Shall we frivolously despise such power, profit, potency, and produce — we, especially, who claim to be pastors and preachers? If so, we deserve no food, and to be driven out, chased away by dogs and pelted with dung. Not only do we need God’s Word every day as we need our daily bread, but must also daily use it against the daily and relentless attacks and traps of the devil with his many arts.

Pulling It Together: The Catechism is a short discourse, packed with God’s Word. In it, the law accuses us, yet as we read on, we are reminded of the gospel, of God’s great love for us in Jesus Christ. Through the Word in the Catechism, the Holy Spirit reminds us where we live, and who it is who lives in us who believe.

The Catechism tells the story of God’s love for sinners. For who can read or recite the Ten Commandments and not be told yet again what a great sinner he is? Who can pray the Lord’s Prayer and not be reminded he is an everyday sinner in need of God’s everlasting forgiveness? But then, who can thoughtfully read or say the Apostles Creed without comprehending God’s solution in Christ?

This is why we must feast daily in the Word, for we need it every day as much as we need our meals. By the latter, we may live another day, but in the former we find a benefit that lasts forever, that gives us life in an eternal day. For in the Word, we find that God loves sinners like you and me. We must be reminded of this every day. “If you, therefore, would proceed wisely, you cannot do better than to be interested in the Word and in God’s works. In them he has revealed himself, and in them he may be comprehended” (Martin Luther from a sermon for Trinity Sunday).

Prayer: Open my heart to your Word, Lord. Amen.

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Subscribe to Connections Magazine today. Connections features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism provides the inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 08 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 23 And this is his commandment: that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us. 24 And the one who keeps his commandments abides in him, and he in him. By this, we know that he abides in us: by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1 John 3:23–24)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

For this reason alone, you should gladly read, recite, meditate upon, and practice the Catechism, even if by doing so, you received no other benefit and reward than driving away the devil and evil thoughts. For he cannot endure hearing God’s Word, which is not like some silly babble, like the one about Dietrich of Berne. But as St. Paul says, it is the power of God (Rom 1:16) — indeed, the power of God that gives the devil burning pain, but strengthens, comforts, and helps us beyond measure.

Pulling It Together: When we work in the Catechism, we are essentially learning one thing in different ways. And what is it that the Catechism, in all its parts, teaches us but the greatest commandment which is the sum of all of God’s commandments? We are to believe in Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, and because we do, to love our neighbors. With this great command comes a promise: the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle’s teaching shows us the whole Trinity, the one God whom we are to fear, love, and trust above all things. The one who believes in him, hopes in the gospel and all its promises, and is greatly strengthened and comforted. 

Prayer: Help me to know and believe your Word, Lord, so that your power may be at work in me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Ten Commandments workbook is a ten-week Confirmation unit that includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 05 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 4 Everyone who sins also does lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that he appeared to take away sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Whoever abides in him does not sin. Whoever sins does not see him or know him. (1 John 3:4–6)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Besides, being occupied with the Word of God —to speak of it and meditate upon it — is an exceedingly effective help against the devil, the world, and the flesh, and all evil thoughts. The First Psalm declares as blessed those who meditate upon the Law of God day and night. You cannot offer a stronger incense or other cleansing agent against the devil than by engaging with  God’s commandments and words — speaking and singing them, and thinking about them. This is actually, the true holy water, the holy symbol from which the devil flees, and by which he is driven away.

Pulling It Together: In many cases, Greek is difficult to translate into English in a way that makes sense. Today’s New Testament lection is such a case. Many English translations makes it sound like Christians do not sin. However, that is not what it says in the biblical language. Sometimes, we need to add words to make the English mean what the Greek says.

The original language in today’s reading carries the idea of a continuous activity. This is why the NASB and the ESV add words like “keeps on” or “practices.” So, those who abide in Christ do not practice sinning. They repent and ask God’s forgiveness. This does not mean that they will no longer sin, or even commit the same sin again. It means that they do not continuously do so.

Now, how would you know that, and be comforted by the Spirit of God, unless you were occupied in the Word? If you do not read it, listen to it being read (Rev 1:3), study it, meditate upon it, talk about it, pray it, and sing it, you will not be blessed by it. And the devil will run roughshod over your soul.

Prayer: Show me ways to meditate on your Word, Lord, and share it with others. Amen.

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Luther's Small Cat Series from Sola Publishing is a graded elementary-aged Sunday School curriculum based on the sections of the Small Catechism, with each lesson focusing on an applicable story from the Bible. This easy-to-use workbook style curriculum, allows kids to have a keepsake of the memory piece they master for the year.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 04 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 24 As for you, let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will also abide in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he promised to us: the life eternal. (1 John 2:24–25)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Therefore, I beg these lazy paunches, such presumptuous saints, to be persuaded and believe for God’s sake that they are very truly not so learned or such great doctors as they imagine. They are never to presume that they have finished learning the parts of the Catechism, or know it well enough in all details, even though they think that they know it ever so well. Even if they knew and understood it perfectly (which is impossible in this life), if they read it, meditated upon it, and spoke about it every day, there are many fruitful benefits still to be obtained. The Holy Spirit is present in such reading, meditation, and conversation, granting ever new and more light and piety, so that we enjoy and appreciate it better every day. For Christ has promised this: “For where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matt 18:20).

Pulling It Together: What goes for the pastors and theologians, goes, of course, for the whole church. None of us should presume that we have learned the Catechism, the basics of the Christian faith. The best that much of the church ever does, is recite the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed on the Lord’s Day. Never mind the Ten Commandments or a deeper appreciation for the Sacraments.

This, though, is largely the fault of pastors. Pastors must find ways to weave the various parts of the Catechism into the whole fabric of the church. What if announcements (God forbid that we should neglect such an important feature of worship!) were concluded with the congregation reciting the Ten Commandments? What would happen to the people if the sermon spoke to the assorted allusions to the Catechism in each of the readings for the day?

Then, if the people would only talk about it all, instead of just going to lunch and a nap, what would happen to the church? It almost seems like we do not want Christ among us. For, if we did want him present, we would converse about such things, and pray together. And we would do it often, and in our homes, instead of waiting for the next Sunday to roll around. Every time we did these things, Christ Jesus would be present, and his Spirit would give us new life and greater faith as we remembered together the things that we heard at the beginning of faith.

Prayer: Help me remember and appreciate, Lord Jesus, the basics of faith in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

• Participant's Book    • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 03 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. (Ezekiel 34:7)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Yet these delicate, finicky fellows would, after one reading, straightaway be doctors above all doctors, know everything, and need nothing. Well, this too, is a sure sign that they despise both their office and the souls of the people — yes even God and his Word. They do not have to fall; they are already fallen all too horribly. They need to become children and begin to learn their ABCs, which they imagine they outgrew long ago.

Pulling It Together: Who calls pastors and teachers? God, of course. He should be able to expect of those he has employed that they do their work as he intends. Yet, in our churches, too many have ignored the basic teachings of Scripture. A pastor goes in to a new parish and sees the evidence plainly. It is as though Luther never made his tour of Saxony, never wrote the Catechism. Worse, because it has not been taught — indeed, has not been learned by the pastors — many so-called shepherds have jumped to the devil's answer: “The Catechism is not relevant in modern culture.”

This is tantamount to saying, While the Ten Commandments are irrelevant, what I want to tell you is quite important. God will hold them accountable (Ezek 34:10); only let us do better, feeding and caring for the sheep who are in our folds.

Prayer: Give me the strength and courage to be faithful, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Family Matters is a nine-session Bible study that focuses on the first generations of God's people—Abraham and his descendants. It looks at how God's covenant promise sustained them as they navigated family relationships.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 02 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And in this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (1 John 2:3)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

As for myself, I too am a doctor and preacher, as learned and experienced as all the cheeky and proud. Yet I do as a child who is being taught the Catechism. Every morning and whenever I have time, I read and say, word for word, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Psalms, etc. I must still read and study daily, and yet I cannot master it as I wish, but must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad to remain so.

Pulling It Together: When I was a boy, I would walk down to Jeff’s house and he would join me on the walk to school. We would stop a few houses down the street to get Chris. Many mornings we had to wait on him to finish writing out the 50 states and their capital cities, before we could walk on together. Chris could rattle off those capitals to us on the way to school. He knew them by heart, but he still practiced every day.

Many churches close committee meetings by praying the Lord’s Prayer together. There used to be churches who began services by reciting the Ten Commandments. Luther encouraged all Christians to begin every day with both. Beyond that, we are to put them in to practice, not just be able to recite them.

Prayer: I want to know you, Lord. Amen.

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Come, Worship the Lord (Sola Music Series, Vol I) The Sola Music Series offers simple collections of easy-to-play worship music, including new songs and arrangements of old favorites. Based in a confessional theology and a respect for the historical and sacramental liturgy, these resources do not require a high level of musical expertise. Written in a simple and straight-forward style, these songs are intended for congregations that would like to explore a less formal musical style in worship, while still maintaining the integrity of the traditional order of worship. Such music would fit into what is sometimes referred to as "contemporary" or "blended" worship, without necessarily requiring a full band of experienced musicians and singers to lead the songs. Providing lead sheets for guitar and vocals, along with full scores for piano, Sola Publishing grants to those who purchase this volume the permission to reproduce words and music of the songs within for local congregational use. This book includes music from "The Holy Cross Setting," available with a SOWeR subscription.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 01 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the gospel is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Indeed, even among the nobility some loudmouths and misers declare that we no longer need either pastors or preachers, that we have everything in books and can easily learn it by ourselves. So, they are content to let the parishes decay and become desolate, and pastors and preachers to suffer distress and hunger, just as it becomes crazy Germans to do. We have such disgraceful people among us, and must endure them.

Pulling It Together: There are plenty of know-it-alls out there. They have all the answers for you, and are happy to let you know what they call “truth.” Sadly, some of these gasbags are in our congregations. Who do we listen to; who has the final word? Neither the loudmouthed laymen or the blowhard pastor has the final say. What is written? There is your final word.

It is, therefore, appropriate and beneficial for both to begin their days with Scripture in the right hand, and the Catechism in the left. Then we windbags will discover that we are all sinners, in need of God’s grace. If we say we are not the ones sinning, it is that other guy, then we are lying to ourselves. Furthermore, the truth, the gospel, is not at work in us.

So, we must be sure to begin and end our days with the Bible — and return to it in our minds throughout the day. Without God’s Word, we are left with our own word. And we are lost.

Prayer: Give me the courage to hear you, Lord, and obey. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Learn about customized Pocket Catechisms.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 29 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their mind, and I will write it in their heart. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Sadly, our people regard the gospel altogether too lightly, and we accomplish nothing extraordinary even though we use all diligence. What then, will be achieved if we are negligent and lazy as we were under the papacy?

Added to this is a shameful and dangerous contagion of security and satisfaction. Many regard the Catechism as a mediocre, simple teaching, which they can read through once, immediately understand it, and then throw the book into a corner as if they were ashamed to read it again.

Pulling It Together: When my wife and I were dating, we would spend hours on the telephone. We did not have anything to say to each other for long stretches of time, but we would not hang up. We just wanted to be together, if only silently.

The Christian is that person who wants to spend time with God. This is a sure sign of faith. She may not have read The Dogmatics or the latest commentary or journal. She is content with her Bible and the Catechism. She cannot help herself, for God has put this in her mind and heart. Faith compels her to sit in silence before God, listening in his Word.

Prayer: Help me to read your Book, Lord, with an ear to the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Creed. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Speaking for Christ is a Bible study about evangelism. Specifically, it stresses what it means to share the message of Jesus in our everyday life. It approaches the subject by focusing on how God uses us to be his ambassadors and drives to the heart of the reason Jesus came into the world: to reconcile the world to himself through the proclamation of repentance and forgiveness of sins.

Participant's Book  • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 28 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 20 But that is not how you learned Christ— 21 if indeed you have heard him, and were instructed in him, as truth is in Jesus — 22 that, as to your former conduct, you take off the old self that is corrupt through the lusts of deception, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which is created according to God in righteousness and holiness of truth. (Ephesians 4:20–24)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

Now that they are freed from the fruitless and burdensome babbling of the Seven Canonical Hours, they could instead, morning, noon, and evening, read a page or two in the Catechism, the Prayer Book, the New Testament or elsewhere in the Bible, and pray the Lord’s Prayer for themselves and their parishioners. In doing so, they might render honor and thanks to the gospel, by which they have been delivered from an assortment of burdens and troubles, and might feel a little shame because, like pigs and dogs, they retain no more of the gospel than this lazy, insidious, dishonorable, carnal freedom.

Pulling It Together: We need not lay this at the doorstep of the past. Let us look to ourselves.

One has to wonder how much fruitless babbling occurs on Sunday mornings. Is the heart engaged when we pray the Lord’s Prayer, sing the liturgy and hymns, say the Creed, or even sit through the Readings? If not, it is useless blathering. Do we recite and listen mindlessly? Are we involved or just going through the motions?

Can there be any real engagement with these components of worship if we are not reading the Bible daily? Our prayers and hymns are secondary sources that are informed and enriched by the primary source of Scripture. Let us cast off the old sloth and commit to being renewed in the spirit of our minds. May we, at least once a day, read a little in the Scripture and pray the Lord’s Prayer, at very least. Then, worship will be enhanced, as the Spirit will have something to work with other than a lump in the pew.

Prayer: Clothe me, Father, in the Living Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. 

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 27 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 11 And indeed, he granted the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers, 12 for refining the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we each attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, into a mature man, to the measure of a maturity of the fullness of Christ — 14 so that we may no longer be children, pitched about and carried away with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by cunning in deceitful ways. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way in him who is the head: Christ. (Ephesians 4:11–15)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

They now have everything that should be preached and taught abundantly available in clear and simple form, in so many excellent and helpful books, such as Sermons That Preach Themselves, Prepared, and Treasury, as they were called in earlier times. Yet, they are not so godly and honest as to purchase these books, or even if they have them, to look at them or read them. Sadly, they are altogether shameful gluttons, servants of their own bellies, who would more appropriately be swineherds and dog-tenders than caretakers of souls and pastors.

Pulling It Together: God provides everything we need for the ministry of his church. Now, we must use what he has provided. For example, if he has granted that one is a teacher of some kind, that person must teach truly, so that others may grow correctly. If God has not given you the mouth of a teacher, then he has given you the ear of a student, or disciple. So, listen and learn. The intent of this Christian classroom is that the whole church grows up in Christ, becoming more and more like him. There is no other maturity of faith than that which is measured in Christ himself.

Prayer: Fill me, Lord, with yourself. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Word of Life Series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ, to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 26 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 14 For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory, he may cause you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward being, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, that being rooted and grounded in love, 18 you are able to grasp with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14–19)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

We do not have trivial reasons for dealing with the Catechism so constantly, and for desiring and urging others to teach it. For we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this, and offend both their office and this teaching. Some do so because of great and high learning, giving their mind, as they imagine, to greater matters. But others are negligent out of sheer laziness and gluttony, assuming no other relation to this business than if they were pastors and preachers for the sake of their bellies, and had nothing to do but to live off the fat of others as long as they live, as they have been accustomed to do under the papacy.

Pulling It Together: What does it mean for Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith? It means that you have cast off all moorings to what you imagine brings security. You no longer depend upon those things; you trust in Christ alone. Do you suppose that your religious devotion or good works cause Christ to dwell within you? Is it because you can recite the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, and that you do so in church every Sunday, that the Lord lives within your innermost being? Is it because you took some classes for a few years and have been confirmed that you are strengthened by his Spirit?

The whole Christian life is confirmation. Living in the face of those things that might cause us to have faith, or depend, on other things — if only ourselves — we discover what we truly believe. Therefore, we deal with the Catechism daily, so that we may know what to believe, and that that we are strengthened by God’s Spirit to believe it deeply. Faith is not simply head knowledge; it is a substantial understanding of faith that God loves us through Christ Jesus. Real faith grounds us in the love of Christ. His love gives us sure footing, strength, courage, and conviction to believe in a love that would fill us with all the fullness of the divine.

Prayer: Fill me to the fullness of your Spirit, Lord; fill me with your love. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

Volume 1  • Volume 1 Leader's Guide  • Volume 2  • Volume 2 Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 25 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 8 To me, least of all saints, this grace was granted, to carry to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone what is the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. (Ephesians 3:8–9)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

We do not have trivial reasons for dealing with the Catechism so constantly, and for desiring and urging others to teach it. For we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this, and offend both their office and this teaching. Some do so because of great and high learning, giving their mind, as they imagine, to greater matters. But others are negligent out of sheer laziness and gluttony, assuming no other relation to this business than if they were pastors and preachers for the sake of their bellies, and had nothing to do but to live off the fat of others as long as they live, as they have been accustomed to do under the papacy.

Pulling It Together: Notice how the Catechism deals with both Law and Gospel. We see readily enough, how the Ten Commandments deal with God’s law, telling us what we must do and must not do. These are commands, or law. In the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Sacraments, we hear the word of grace, the Gospel. Yet, if we listen carefully to the First Commandment, we will also hear there the word of grace: I am the Lord, your God.

This is the mystery of the ages: he gives himself to us. God cannot be revealed through our searching, any more than he would reveal himself to us because of our good works. It is quite the opposite: God reveals himself to sinners (Rom 5:8). This is his plan, and it is encapsulated in the Catechism. The Ten Commandments make us despair of our attempts at being good, moral, or righteous. The Lord’s Prayer makes it clear that God gives us all good things, even our daily food. The Creed, tells us who God is and what he has done for us — and yet shall do. The Sacraments reinforce his graciousness, comforting us through the peace of his righteousness that has been assigned to us through faith in Christ.

All of this, of course, brings us back to the First Commandment, to the one who has done all this for us. He is the Lord: your God. No wonder we spend so much time in the Catechism. It directs us repeatedly, in the simplest way possible, back to God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for revealing the mystery of yourself through your Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 22 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 2 There is none holy like the Lord;
For there is no one besides you,
No rock like our God.
3 Do not continue to speak so very proudly;
Let not arrogance come from your mouth;
For the Lord is a God of knowledge,
And by him are actions weighed. (1 Samuel 2:2–3)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

We do not have trivial reasons for dealing with the Catechism so constantly, and for desiring and urging others to teach it. For we see to our sorrow that many pastors and preachers are very negligent in this, and offend both their office and this teaching. Some do so because of great and high learning, giving their mind, as they imagine, to greater matters. But others are negligent out of sheer laziness and gluttony, assuming no other relation to this business than if they were pastors and preachers for the sake of their bellies, and had nothing to do but to live off the fat of others as long as they live, as they have been accustomed to do under the papacy.

Pulling It Together: God knows us through and through. He comprehends the underlying reasons for all our actions, even before we have performed them. Further, he understands our inaction too, our sloth, our interest in things other than his will. We cannot fool him, even if we are able to fool others, or even ourselves. God knows.

Therefore, we must be diligent to, first, instruct ourselves in the ways of godliness. Second, we must instruct others in that school where we have learned — and continue to be trained. The Catechism deals with these essentials in the knowledge of God. Sitting daily under the teaching of the Law and the Gospel — the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer, Creed, and Sacraments — gives us the ongoing foundation that works its way out into understanding the rest of Scripture.

Thus, the Word of God instructs us daily about his will, and raises us up out of sloth and negligence to do what he prepared us to do: to be his own workmanship. For this is why we were created and born again (Eph 2:10).

Prayer: Search me, O God, and know my heart. Amen.

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It is only in God’s Word that we find what God has to say about himself, and what he has chosen to reveal to us in Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus? An Introductory Bible Study is a five-session study, written by the Rev. Roy Beutel, is meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ — who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord. The study would work well for introducing people to Bible Study, for those new to the Christian faith, or for those who want a refresher on the basics of our faith in Christ.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 21 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to keep all that I commanded you. And observe: I am with you every day until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:19–20)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

A Christian, profitable, and necessary preface, and faithful, earnest exhortation of Dr. Martin Luther to all Christians, but especially to all pastors and preachers, that they should daily exercise themselves in the Catechism, which is a short summary and, epitome of the entire Holy Scriptures, and that they may always teach the same.

Pulling It Together: How are we to go, unless we go with the whole Word of God: both his moral Law and his gracious Gospel? How are we to teach that Word of God, unless we know it? And how would we know it well and properly, unless we have a guide (Acts 8:31)? We are not guided by baptism alone, but by the instructive ministry of the church. That religious instruction, or catechism, is what we take up now, using the expanded explanation of The Large Catechism.

In this small book, we will discover how to understand correctly the essential teachings of the whole Holy Bible. In order to teach these essentials, first to our neighbors at home, and then to the entire world, we do well to develop a discipline that trains us in these godly doctrines. In plain words: we must read the Scriptures with an ear to the catechism, so that we may understand rightly.

Prayer: Open our minds, Lord, to understand your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Customized Pocket Catechisms

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 20 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 27 And if in spite of all this, you will not follow me, but walk contrary to me 28 then I will walk contrary to you — in wrath — and I will discipline you seven times for your sins. (Leviticus 26:27–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Everyone in Common

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. In this, all the commandments are summarized (Rom 13:8ff). And persevere in prayer for all people (1 Tim 2:1-2).

Let each his lesson learn with care,
And all the household well shall fare.

Pulling It Together: Paul is famous for writing greetings like: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:2). How could he wish such abundance on the saints, if he did not love them and pray for them? Contrast this with today’s Old Testament reading. Seems harsh, at first glance. But ask yourself why God would perfectly punish any wayward children of Israel. Any father who really loves his kids, will punish them when they do wrong, so that that they learn through discipline how to rightly conduct themselves through life.

So, whether our neighbors do right or wrong, we ought to follow God’s example of loving them. That love sometimes includes discipline, but it always involves prayer. And beyond prayer, the love of neighbor (especially our closest neighbors: spouse and children) includes the example of right walking, of following Christ Jesus. If we have learned these lessons well, our children will stand a better chance in life.

Prayer: Help me to walk with you, Lord. Amen.

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Since you've run out of things to binge watch on your subscription services, consider this series.

Today, the reliability of the Gospel is questioned or denied by many voices, inside and outside the Church. But if we, as Christians, have only "hoped" in Christ, and do not see Him as reliable, then we are "most to be pitied." This series by As We Go Ministries examines the reliability of central claims of the Christian faith, including the truth of Scripture, the promise of the Gospel, and the certainty of Christ's death and resurrection for our sake. 

The series requires the accompanying video DVD featuring the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church, in Hutchinson, Minnesota: the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan. 

Click the thumbnails for product descriptions and ordering details. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 19 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 11 And I will place my dwelling among you, and my soul shall not loathe you. 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. (Leviticus 26:11–12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Widows

She who is really a widow, alone, hopes in God, and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who is self-indulgent is dead while she lives (1 Tim 5:5–6).

Pulling It Together: What else is there for anyone to do but to love God and one’s neighbor? This is the greatest commandment (Matt 22:36–40). What better way is there for anyone to love God than to spend time with him? What better way is there for one to love her neighbors than to pray for them? No one is really alone when she lives her life with God as he has commanded.

If you keep God’s commandments — ultimately, if you believe in the incarnate God and love your neighbor (1 John 3:23) — then he makes his dwelling with you. God is living with widows, and not only those who are isolated from others, but with all who believe in him.

Therefore, when you are feeling alone, know that you are not really alone. That loneliness is a feeling — not a fact. Open your Bible and listen to God who abides with you. When his Spirit prompts you to pray for someone, do so. Night and day, be assured that you are not alone. For God in whom you hope, walks with you.

Prayer: Open my heart and my lips, Lord, to pray for my neighbor. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Martin Luther, following St. Augustine, described the sinner as incurvatus in se, as "curved in on oneself." Looking to ourselves for righteousness or spiritual peace will lead us only into pride or despair. It takes the external word of the Gospel to draw us into a saving relationship with God in Christ. Video recordings on DVD, a necessary component of the Lost and Found Bible Study series, feature the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, MN, the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan.

• Workbook  • Leader's Guide  • DVD

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 18 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For the children of Israel are servants to me; they are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 25:55)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Young Persons in General

5 Likewise, you who are younger, be submissive to the elders. Yet, all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. For God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time (1 Peter 5:5–6).

Pulling It Together: Young people are to learn humbleness and submissiveness to those who already know how to live before God. They learn, not simply by obeying the commandment but by observing the rest of us live in this godly manner. As with all of God’s commands, there is good reason for the directive. On that Day, the children of God will share in the glory that is to be revealed in Jesus Christ. Already, God has brought each of us out of the land of bondage to sin, death, hell, and the devil. We did not do this ourselves. So, we are to live humbly with one another so that we may be exalted by God, not by elevating themselves over each other. Let us all live in this way toward all our neighbors, yet especially so toward those of the household of faith, so that the young may learn by example.

Prayer: Give me the courage and faith to humble myself in your sight, Lord. Amen.

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There are six VBS adventures in Sola’s Versatile Budget Series. This simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum is designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations. The flexible format works well for groups with limited budgets, or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. Unlike more elaborate and expensive VBS kits, this book is meant to serve as an “all-in-one” teacher’s resource. The worksheets and handouts it contains can be reproduced according to local needs. Each book in the Versatile Budget Series focuses on a particular character from the Bible, bringing together several stories on a common theme. Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 15 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Therefore, whatever you desire that people would do to you, do the same to them also, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  (Matthew 7:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Masters and Mistresses

Masters, act the same toward them. Refrain from bullying, knowing that both your Master and theirs is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him (Eph 6:9; Col 4:1).

Pulling It Together: It all goes back to the commandments. It always does, the greatest commandment encompassing them all. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matt 22:37–38). If we love God with our entire being, we necessarily love all that is ultimately his, including our neighbor. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:39).

Therefore, even those whom society deems of lower station, God calls our neighbors. We are to regard them as we would want them to act toward us: with dignity and fairness. All of life is condensed into these similar commands of God. Love him and the people around us.

If you are a business owner, love God through fairness to those in your hire. Are you a manager or supervisor, then love God by treating those in your charge with dignity. In God’s estimation, there is no difference between the boss and worker. If you would have God honor the boss, the boss had better esteem the worker.

Prayer: Love through me, Lord, those whom I cannot love without you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Subscribe to Connections Magazine today. Connections features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism provides the inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 14 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may deem you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every intention for good and work of faith in power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11–12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Slaves and Laborers

Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not with eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with good will as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is slave or free (Eph 6:5–8; Col 3:22).

Pulling It Together: There are over 40 million slaves in the world today. Far, far more feel enslaved by the workplace, though that is a far cry from any semblance of truth. Nonetheless, the same word goes for all. Do your work as though you were doing it for the Lord. In doing so, whether a slave or a free person, you bring glory to the name of Christ, and are worthy of your calling—both your vocational calling and your calling to be Christian: a slave of Jesus Christ. We are uncomfortable with such words, which may be an indicator of how deficient our service is to Christ.

Are you comfortable with being known as God’s slave? It will change how we act at work, at home, and at church—especially in committee meetings.

Prayer: May you be glorified, Lord, by my good intentions, at very least. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Wise & The Foolish is a nine-session Bible study that focuses on Jesus' "people parables" — or what might be described as discipleship parables. These are the character stories that focus on the nature of discipleship and what it means to be a wise and faithful follower of Jesus.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 13 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 3 Every person shall respect his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God. 4 Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves metal gods. I am the Lord your God.'" (Leviticus 19:1–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Children

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, as this is proper. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with promise) that it may be well with you, and that you may be long-lived on the land (Eph 6:1–3).

Pulling It Together: How many times have we heard it said to us by our parents? Who can say how much good those four little words have done for us? “Because I said so.” When our small consciences refused to accept the demands of mother and father, we appealed to fairness, even insisting our parents explain themselves to us: children. And the response we received was final, and good for us: Because I said so. Those who obeyed, knew cooler backsides, and have otherwise, lived longer and better in the land.

It is much the same with our heavenly Father. In his wisdom, far exceeding our collective comprehension, he tells us what we must do, and why we must do what he says. “I am the Lord your God.” Because I said so; that is why.

Not only is it proper for children to respect their parents, it gives them the most excellent training in godly obedience. Those who have learned well in the home school, will fare far better in the church and in the world.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving me parents, so that I could begin to learn your ways in the home. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Getting to Know Martin Luther is a five-lesson Conformation workbook about Martin Luther's life that will help confirmands get a better glimpse into what faith means for their own lives by searching and understanding the Word of God, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, standing up for what they believe in, and helping others to learn the truth about God.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 12 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Therefore, do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Parents

Fathers, do not anger your children, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

Pulling It Together: Our heavenly Father knows of everything we need, but do earthly parents understand everything that their children need? We know the basics, yet some of the real necessities can go begging. What about our Father’s needs? God wants us to teach our children about him, and about how he wants them to conduct themselves. Discipline of children only goes so far with us; but if they are raised right, we may entrust them to the Lord’s discipline. Though they kick against the goads, training in godliness will serve them well. Through that foundation, God may give them reminders and counsel of conscience throughout their lives, whether they know they need it or not.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us raise our children as though they are yours. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola provides many free resources, and its prices kept affordable, through the offerings of God's people.  

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 11 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet blast of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then the living who remain will be snatched up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16–18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Wives

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as unto the Lord, like Sarah did—who obeyed Abraham, calling him lord—whose daughters you are, as long as you do right and are not afraid of any terror (Eph 5:22; 1 Pet 3:5–6).

Pulling It Together: When we do well, we should not be afraid of anything that might bring terror into this life. What is more right and holy, more acceptable to God, than to offer ourselves to him in the living worship (Rom 12:1) of seeking his mercy and grace? At the end of a life, this is what makes us right with God: appealing to his grace through Christ. Doing right extends to every facet of life, even the everyday things like marriage and family. Therefore, the sometimes failures that we tend to be, even in doing ordinary things like being a wife or husband, require that we take some effort at holiness, honoring husband and wife, and in so doing, neighbor as well (1 Thes 4:4–6). Whoever disregards this practice, dishonors spouse and neighbor, but God foremost (1 Thes 4:8).

So, we must take aim at doing God’s will: that which is good, acceptable, and perfect to him (Rom 12:2). We must do so in all things, yet especially to our neighbor, and in particular, our nearest neighbor. Those who do so, may sincerely seek God’s forgiveness in times of weakness, having nothing to fear on that Day. We should find comfort in these words.

Prayer: Help me fulfill my calling, through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola provides many free resources, and its prices kept affordable, through the offerings of God's people.  

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 08 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 27 You have heard that it was said, “‘You shall not commit adultery,’ 28 but I say to you, that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Husbands

Husbands, in similar manner, live with your wives as understanding, giving honor to the woman as a weaker vessel, since they are joint heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be obstructed (1 Pet 3:7). And do not be bitter with them (Col 3:19).

Pulling It Together: When marriage is rightly considered as a vocation, a calling for life, it is sobering. Would that more couples entered into the estate with a proper understanding of the gravity of what lies ahead. As the years pass, the situation makes itself clear enough: marriage can be, and often is, an arduous affair. So, it calls for understanding on both sides of the aisle, for there will be countless times that one must bite the tongue, hold back the hand, soften the countenance, and avert the eyes. The husband, in today’s reading, is called daily to love his nearest neighbor, cherishing her as he would himself. This means he has eyes and a heart for her alone. That is the full weight of his vocation as husband.

Prayer: Love through me, Lord, when I am weak, and brighten my love when I think myself strong. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola provides many free resources, and its prices kept affordable, through the offerings of God's people.  

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 07 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And Moses hastened to bow his face toward the ground, and worshiped. (Exodus 34:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

What Citizens Owe to the Authorities

Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (Matt 22:21). Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities, etc. Therefore, the requirement is to be submissive, not only because of the punishment, but also for conscience. For this reason, you also pay taxes, since they are ministers of God, devoted to this very duty. Give everyone their due: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor (Rom 13:1, 5–7). First of all then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all people: for kings and all that are in a high position, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity (1 Tim 2:1f). Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work (Titus 3:1). Be subject, for the Lord’s sake, to every human agency, whether to the king as highest authority, or to governors as sent by him in vengeance of evildoers, but in praise of welldoers (1 Pet. 2:13f).

Pulling It Together: See how Moses did not take matters into his own hands—perhaps as he had done when he emptied his hands of the tablets in a fit of exasperation and anger. He soon humbled himself under the Lord’s will, bowing in worship. How could he have done this if he was angry with his neighbor? This is why Paul admonishes to not let the sun set on our anger (Eph 4:26). We cannot worship God when we are angry with our neighbor, any more than Moses could.

At the end of the day, God must deal with our resentments and annoyances with others, let alone our anger when we let these irritations get out of hand. Vengeance is his domain, not ours (Deut 32:35). This extends beyond our neighbor on the block, to family, to church, and even to country. There are all sorts of reasons to be fed up with all kinds of people, but at the end of the day, we must bow to the Lord. His will be done.

Today’s portion from The Small Catechism deals with a controversial area of God’s will: subjection to the governing authorities. The Bible teaches us to be submissive to these servants of God—for the Lord’s sake. As far as it does not conflict with Christian conscience, with disobeying God’s will, we are to obey the civil government even if we do not share their opinions, like their orders, or even like them. For that is God’s will, as the apostles make clear.

Here is only one example. Is it inconvenient or disagreeable to avoid being around people during a pandemic? Of course. Are executive orders along those lines in conflict with my Christian conscience? Not as far as I can see. Yet, when I defy those whom God has told me to obey, my conscience is troubled because I have disobeyed the Lord. The only thing left to do is quickly bow my own obstinate head to the ground, and worship.  

Prayer: Your will be done, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola provides many free resources, and its prices kept affordable, through the offerings of God's people.  

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 06 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey, but I will not go up in the midst of you, for you are a stiff-necked people, and I might destroy you on the way. (Exodus 33:3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

Concerning Civil Government

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no ruling authority except those established by God. Whoever opposes the authorities, opposes the rule of God; and those who defy them will receive judgment. For he does not wear the sword in vain. He is a servant of God, a punishing wrath on the wrongdoer (Rom 13:1–4).

Pulling It Together: It can be difficult to obey the will of God when we are busy listening to our own voices. This was the case of the people of Israel as they journeyed through the wilderness. They were obstinate, unwilling to follow the Lord’s lead—especially when he was leading through his friend, Moses. Why should we follow him? We’re just as smart as him! Let’s go back to being enslaved in Egypt. At this point, we may be seeing the first shelter-at-home policy in place, as every person stood at the flap of his own tent when Moses went to meet with God (Exod 33:8).

When God uses his servants, religious or civil, to exercise his will for our own good, we would do well to listen and obey. This is a difficult lesson to learn, perhaps especially for Israelites and Americans.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for establishing civil government. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola provides many free resources, and its prices kept affordable, through the offerings of God's people.  

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 05 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 2 We give thanks to God always for you all, continuously remembering you in our prayers, 3 recalling before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfast hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2–3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

What the Hearers Owe to Their Pastors

Even so, the Lord has ordained that they who preach the Gospel should have a living by the Gospel (1 Cor 9:14). Let him who is taught the Word, share all good things with the one who teaches (Gal 6:6). Let the elders who lead well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the Word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and “The laborer deserves his wages” (1 Tim 5:18). Obey those who rule over you, and submit yourselves to them, for they watch over your souls—as they will have to give an account. Obey them so that they may lead with joy and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you (Heb 13:17).

Pulling It Together: Those called to the ministry of the Word deserve their wages. It is written, but it does not say how much or how well. The closest we can come to an understanding of salary is that those who do so most ably deserve twice as much pay for their labors. That reminds me of the Chief of Police who was so pleased with my chaplaincy work that he declared he was doubling my salary the next year. That doubling would have made my paycheck come to the sum of zero dollars over the seven years I served the Lord in that police department.

I cannot think of many pastors who would not be willing to serve for less pay than they deserve if they got more out of their people in other respects. If the words of Paul to the church in Thessalonica could be said of any pastor’s congregation, those pastors would be so grateful, that salary would be the last thing on their minds.

In this time of sheltering at home because of the pandemic, our pastors have been faithful and creative to find ways to get the Word to you. In doing so, I have no doubt that God is using their daily devotions, services of prayer, and worship—in print, by television, radio, telephone, the Internet, and likely in other ways too—to reach a larger net than their labors had previously extended. Praise the Lord! Their “faith in God has gone forth everywhere” (1 Thes 1:8). And if it bears fruit in the lives of their own people, they will be very thankful pastors indeed, giving thanks for you always before our God and Father (1 Thes 1:2–3).

Prayer: Help me, Father, to be faithful to the preaching of your Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) includes hundreds of hymns and songs for use in worship, organized by season and theme, available in full score, lead sheets, image files, and text only. These include popular hymns and songs, as well as new hymns from the lectionary texts and set to familiar tunes.

SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, graphics, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 04 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 And seeing the crowds, he went up into the mountain, and when he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:1–10)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Table of Duties

Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, warning them about their duties and responsibilities:

For Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers

A bishop must be above reproach, married once, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent, nor greedy, but patient. He should not be quarrelsome or covetous. He should ably oversee his own household, having his children in subjection with all seriousness. He should not be a new convert, but one who holds fast to the faithful Word as he has been taught, so that he may be able to both exhort and to convince the argumentative with sound doctrine (from 1 Timothy 3:2–7; Titus 1:6).

Pulling It Together: The Beatitudes provide us a sufficient test of those who would be teachers of the Word of God. The rest of Scripture makes it even clearer, but if we looked for evidence of the Beatitudes in the lives of those whom congregations are considering for pastoral call, we would do well. Instead of where they have served before, the so-called richness of experience they might bring to a new church, we could and should consider whether they are poor in spirit—whether they depend upon Christ Jesus or their talents and life experience. Are they sorrowful for being a sinner? Do they have a meek bearing? Do they yearn for the righteousness that is imputed through faith in Christ or instead, seem satisfied with where they went to seminary, or what degree they have earned? Are they gracious and kind when meeting people for the first time in an interview? Does their preaching identify the attitude of their hearts as dependent upon God or self? Do they recall quarrels with previous congregations; do they seem to have to be right, or do they show a practice of peacemaking? Have they been persecuted—even by a previous church body—for the sake of righteousness, for doing what Christ wanted instead of what was desired by the squeaky wheels in former congregations?

While we are testing pastoral candidates along these lines, we might test ourselves as well.

Prayer: Bless, O Lord, the pastors of your church, that they may be faithful to their calling. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

   

Since you've run out of things to binge watch on your subscription services, consider this series.

Today, the reliability of the Gospel is questioned or denied by many voices, inside and outside the Church. But if we, as Christians, have only "hoped" in Christ, and do not see Him as reliable, then we are "most to be pitied." This series by As We Go Ministries examines the reliability of central claims of the Christian faith, including the truth of Scripture, the promise of the Gospel, and the certainty of Christ's death and resurrection for our sake. 

The series requires the accompanying video DVD featuring the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church, in Hutchinson, Minnesota: the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan. 

Click the thumbnails for product descriptions and ordering details. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 01 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And he did not stretch out his hand against the leaders of the people of Israel. And they beheld God, and ate and drank. (Exodus 24:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Returning Thanks

After the meal, they should reverently and with folded hands pray:

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. He gives food to all flesh; He gives food to the beast and to the young ravens that cry. He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.

Then pray the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

We thank Thee, Lord God, our Father, for all Thy benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Pulling It Together: Even when facing the fear of God’s wrath, the leaders of the people were able to go up into the mountain of God with Moses and Joshua. How is it that they were able to do such a fearsome act? They went to face God because they had faith in him, and the promise of his covenant with the people of Israel. This answer is proved out in today’s verse. See what happened, what came first? First, the people beheld God; they looked upon his fiery glory, a devouring fire that they drew near to instead of fleeing.

We too, every day, draw near the devouring glory of God, expecting the benefits that come from the loving hand of the Father instead of the rage of a tyrant. We face the fire and instead of destroying us in his wrath, he feeds us and provides other benefits. He forgives our sins and gives us, not shortened life, but everlasting life.

This scene most certainly anticipates Holy Communion, where we behold God in faith, then eat and drink, consuming the very promise who is God. But it also speaks to the faith of people who are able to give the Almighty thanks, who are emboldened to face him despite their sin, and expect the care of a gracious God and loving Father.  

Prayer: Open my eyes wider, Lord, that I may see you by faith in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Holy Families! is an initiative of the North American Lutheran Church provided through a generous grant from the Thrivent Foundation, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (1517 AD to 2017 AD). Produced by Sola Publishing, this special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations, including Daily Family Prayer Resources, Parent Pages, Faith Formation downloadable pages for children/families, Educational Videos, and the Reformation Bible Study: In the Luther Household

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 30 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he hungered. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but by each word going out through the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:1–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Returning Thanks

After the meal, they should reverently and with folded hands pray:

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. He gives food to all flesh; He gives food to the beast and to the young ravens that cry. He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.

Then pray the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

We thank Thee, Lord God, our Father, for all Thy benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Pulling It Together: When at table, and we consider all of God’s benefits, we must not think only of those things that go into our mouths. We should also give thanks for what comes out of God’s mouth. All the commands, precepts, and teachings of God in Scripture are a great benefit. The stories and teachings of the patriarchs, prophets, psalmists, apostles, and of course, Jesus, are there for our good. We should not only dine upon them but give thanks to God for them too.

Where would we be without the Ten Commandments? If you think the world is nuts now, imagine it without God’s commands. Where would we be without the warnings and rebukes of the prophets, the poetry and song of David and the other psalmists, the foundational and fortifying instruction of the apostles, and certainly, the stories and teachings of Christ Jesus?

All these point us to the Savior. How could we not give thanks for such a great benefit?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for all you have given that is meant for my mouth, but also for that Word which proceeds from your mouth. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

"Homebound Homilies" have been added to SOWeR. These may be found under the Gospel lesson for each service. Consider printing them and a copy of the Word of God insert, and sending them to people without Internet during this pandemic.  

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 29 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For in him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether officials or authorities, or supernatural powers or rulers. All things have been created through him and for him, 17 and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15–17)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Returning Thanks

After the meal, they should reverently and with folded hands pray:

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. He gives food to all flesh; He gives food to the beast and to the young ravens that cry. He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.

Then pray the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

We thank Thee, Lord God, our Father, for all Thy benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Pulling It Together: Once again this morning, I looked for Corona virus news in the local paper. Specifically, I was looking for news about social isolation and stay-at-home orders. I read that police departments in my county arrested people for violating our Governor’s executive order to stay at home during the pandemic. From another perspective, I was kept from a local hardware store twice over the weekend because there were so many people there. I had never seen the parking lot so full of cars. Topping off the news is the warning that starvation is coming next because the food chain is breaking down. Nonetheless, there is so much chicken and beef available, that you may buy it off trucks in various advertised locations. It all makes me scratch my head; I am almost bewildered. Who do I believe?

There is a supreme ruler who has always published good news during dark times. He urges me to obey the governing authorities (Rom 13:1–5), so long as it does not damage Christian conscience. So, I stay at home and place my trust in the Lord. He is good, and his mercy endures even during pandemics. Now, there is some glad news that revives my hope.

Governments, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and a host of other experts and authorities are not really in charge. In the end, though they issue a stream of often confusing, but nevertheless, authoritative press releases, they are not the ones who will make it all work out. All things in creation consist, or hold together, in Christ. My hope is in him—not in how much food I have, how sound my health is, or who is in office. Therefore, I give God thanks for all his benefits, including food and other necessities, as well as for health, shelter, family, friends, and the divinely instituted governing authorities.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for holding it all together. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This book and the one on The New Testament would be good individual studies for adults too. 

Sola offers a Bible Overview year to its Confirmation Series, with two ten-session booklets — one on The Old Testament and one on the New Testament. These books provide a step-by-step overview of the history and geography of the Scriptures, exploring the various time periods and sections of the Bible and how they connect to one another. The goal is to give students a sense for the over-arching story of Scripture, fulfilled in the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

OT Leader's Guide  • NT Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 28 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 For this also, since the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in full spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 to walk worthily of the Lord, fully pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to the might of his glory, in all endurance and patience with joy— 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you in that portion of the inheritance of the saints in light, 13 who has rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, 14 in whom we have full redemption: the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:9–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Returning Thanks

After the meal, they should reverently and with folded hands pray:

O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. He gives food to all flesh; He gives food to the beast and to the young ravens that cry. He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.

Then pray the Lord’s Prayer and the following:

We thank Thee, Lord God, our Father, for all Thy benefits, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Pulling It Together: When we return thanks to God, our gratitude should not be merely for the food and drink we have received from him. We should be thankful for all his benefits: for wisdom and a knowledge of God’s good will, for the Spirit’s work within us that brings benefit to our neighbors and contentment to our Father, for enduring faith in difficult times, for the work of Christ Jesus on the cross that has made us fit us for heaven, for the inheritance that awaits us there through faith in God, and for his forgiveness and the salvation that goes hand-in-hand with the absolution of sinners who trust in the merits of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God and Father, for all of your good gifts. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 27 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may lift you up in due time— 7 putting all your concern upon him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Table Grace

Children and the rest of the household should go to the table with folded hands and reverently say: “The eyes of all look to you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (from Psalm 145:15–16).

(Note that to satisfy desire means that all living things receive enough to eat that they are joyful and happy. Anxiety and greed hinder such satisfaction.)

Then the Lord’s Prayer should be prayed, and following it, this prayer:

Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts, which we take from Thy bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Pulling It Together: What is your concern, perhaps even an anxiety? Your heavenly Father cares for you, so he shares your concern—though it is no cause for angst in him. Are you concerned for your daily bread? Place that concern upon him; you cannot carry that burden, but he will meet your need. Are you anxious about health, perhaps the Coronavirus? How can worrying over it add another day to your life (Matt 6:27)? Lay your concerns upon your Father. He cares for you, and his hand is all-powerful. In due time, he will raise you up and get you out. In the meanwhile, trust in the one who has always cared for you. He still cares.

Prayer: Give me this day, Lord, my daily bread. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola VBS Series

It's time to get ready for Vacation Bible School—even if we are social-distancing. It will be here before you know it. So, consider Sola's VBS series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 24 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And it happened that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses. (Exodus 16:22)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Table Grace

Children and the rest of the household should go to the table with folded hands and reverently say: “The eyes of all look to you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing” (from Psalm 145:15–16).

(Note that to satisfy desire means that all living things receive enough to eat that they are joyful and happy. Anxiety and greed hinder such satisfaction.)

Then the Lord’s Prayer should be prayed, and following it, this prayer:

Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Thy gifts, which we take from Thy bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Pulling It Together: There are many lessons to be learned in this one verse. Let us learn one: that we may depend upon God for our daily bread, just as that wilderness congregation could. The whole world lives in a different sort of wilderness today. Ours does not wander; it is stuck at home. Ours is not a large congregation, but individuals and family units isolated from larger family, neighbor, church, and even work. Our wilderness trial looks different but the lesson remains the same. So, let the Christian hear. There is no reason to hoard. God still provides in the wilderness.

Prayer: I depend upon you, Lord, faithful to open your hand of bounty even in times such as these. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

It's time to get ready for Vacation Bible School—even if we are social-distancing. It will be here before you know it. So, consider Sola's VBS series. Here's one of those:

Mary, Martha & Many Faithful Women is a five-session VBS book designed especially for small churches, house churches, and mission congregations with a limited budget or in situations where the ages and number of students may vary from session to session. This resource includes worksheets and handouts that may be reproduced, Resources and ideas are provided for gathering time, music, activities, games, and refreshments — allowing just a few adult leaders to host a week of Vacation Bible School.

The price of Sola's VBS books includes permission to reproduce the worksheets and handouts for local use. For smaller churches in a "one-room schoolhouse" setting, only one book is necessary. For churches with multiple grade levels and individual classes, we suggest that each teacher have a copy of the curriculum book.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 23 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And it came about as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they turned toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. (Exodus 16:10)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Evening Prayer

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Pulling It Together: It seems, these days, that I am looking forward to going to bed as soon as I wake up each morning. When I was a young man and earlier, a teenager, going to bed was the last thing on my mind. As a child, my parents had to threaten me with punishment if I did not go to my bed and sleep. It can take scores of years before we desire what is good for us.

The people of Israel did not want what was good for them. They had to be forced and threatened and coaxed the whole distance from the Red Sea to the Jordan River. They kept looking back to Egypt, longing for the kind of days that they had complained about previously. So, here in today’s verse, we see a wondrous thing. When they turned to face the direction of the promised land, when they faced the desert that lay between, they beheld the presence of the Lord. When we acknowledge God’s will for us, his glory bolsters our spirits.

Some days, there is so much I want to accomplish that sleep seems like a vast desert to traverse before I may work again. Yet, sleep is God’s will. I should do so promptly and cheerfully. God will help me realize his good will in the next day.

Prayer: Give me a spirit, Lord, that would look toward your glory. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

It's time to get ready for Vacation Bible School—even if we are social-distancing. It will be here before you know it. So, consider Sola's VBS series. Here's one of those:

The biblical focus of The Adventures of Paul, a five-session VBS book, is the life of the Apostle Paul, using lessons from the Book of Acts. Here Scripture tells the story of serious man named Saul who worked to silence Christianity — until the risen Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and changed his life. With his new name, Paul, the one who had persecuted the Church went on to become one of the greatest apostles. 

The price of Sola's VBS books includes permission to reproduce the worksheets and handouts for local use. For smaller churches in a "one-room schoolhouse" setting, only one book is necessary. For churches with multiple grade levels and individual classes, we suggest that each teacher have a copy of the curriculum book.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 22 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Evening Prayer

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to sleep promptly and cheerfully.

Pulling It Together: Jesus wants us to do more than follow him. Following Jesus is the starting point, from which eventually, there must be something more, lest following becomes stiff habit and we hang dead upon the vine, until some wind knocks us off, or the gardener’s shears remove us. Following is fine when you are able to see the one who called you. We do not always see — even spiritually — so clearly. Though Jesus has promised to be with us, we do not see him physically. What are we to do when we have followed but cannot see the next step? What are we to do when the next step is simply the habit of repeating something done for many years?

Jesus prepares his followers for such a time. He teaches us to do more than follow; he urges us to abide. There is so much to say about abiding. Let it suffice for the moment to say that sleep is an abiding in Christ. We may lay down each night, commending ourselves to the Father’s care. Though we venture into the darkness where we cannot see to follow Jesus, we may nonetheless, abide in him for the night. He is faithful to forgive us the sins of the day and keep us in the Vine through the night.

Prayer: Into your hands I commend myself—my body and soul. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

It's time to get ready for Vacation Bible School—even if we are social-distancing. It will be here before you know it. So, consider Sola's VBS series. Here's one of those:

Rebekah & Her Family, a five-session VBS series, uses the Book of Genesis as its biblical focus. God's hand is seen at work throughout the story — from Rebekah’s being chosen as a bride for Isaac, through the birth and lives of their twin sons, Esau and Jacob. The story illustrates how God remains faithful to his promise, despite our sin, and that God's power can change our lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 21 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But I do as the Father has commanded so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise up; let us go from here. (John 14:31)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

Go to your work with joy.

Pulling It Together: “Go to your work with joy” does not mean that you love your work. It means you love the one you work for (Col 3:23), and who is with you while you work (Matt 28:20). It means that, because Jesus has given you his peace (John 14:27), you may face the day with the joy that his peace provides—even if the work itself provides no satisfaction.

So begin your day well. Make the sign of the cross and bless yourself in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Say the Lord’s Prayer and recite the Apostles’ Creed. I encourage you to follow a daily lectionary (such as may be found in the Lutheran Book of Worship, pp 179–192), or read through the Bible in a year (Here is a free brochure of that reading plan). Reflect on the Creed as you read each verse. You will be amazed how that short distillation of Scripture is found throughout the Scriptures. Then say a prayer such as Luther’s Morning Prayer, sing a hymn, and get up and go to work. Your Lord goes with you.

Prayer: Give me joy in your presence, Lord. Amen.

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Lord, Teach Us to Pray is a eight-session curriculum on prayer intended for youth. Based on the themes of the Lord’s Prayer, it uses a Bible Study format, with each lesson including multiple Scripture texts along with the related section of Luther’s Small Catechism. A section entitled “About Prayer” teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week. A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer, and practice it in a variety of ways. 

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 20 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Do not allow your heart to be distressed. Believe in God; trust in me also. (John 14:1)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, as the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

Pulling It Together: I used to sing quite softly, especially in worship. Because I was unsure of my voice, I held back for fear of sounding worse to others than I did to myself. One day, I determined not to hold back anymore. I would sing out. Singing then, became a sort of exercise. The more I sang, especially with force, conviction, and passion, the stronger my voice became.

The idea of becoming stronger in voice carries over to faith. This is what our morning prayers can teach us. Do not neglect singing a hymn in the morning. If your devotional practice does not suggest a hymn for the week, adopt one from Sunday’s service. Sing it each morning of the week. Sing it throughout the day. For you cannot have a troubled heart if you are singing to God. Sing to him with faith, and you will grow in faith.

I have no way of knowing, but it is a nice thought that perhaps the Hebrews sang a hymn together as they walked through the Red Sea (Exod 14:21–31). That is how we should sing each new day, trusting in God to see us through.

Prayer: I believe in you, Lord; help my unbelief. Amen.

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It's time to get ready for Vacation Bible School—even if we are social-distancing. It will be here before you know it. So, consider Sola's VBS series. Here's one:

Brave Queen Esther focuses on the story of a young Jewish girl named Esther, who was raised by her older cousin Mordecai after the death of her parents. Set in a time when people of faith were suspect in the eyes of the surrounding culture, the story illustrates the values of integrity and honesty. It shows how being faithful to God, caring for one another, and standing up for what we believe, can help us through times of fear and doubt.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 17 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in an instant, in the fluttering of an eye, at the last trumpet blast. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be transformed. (1 Corinthians 15:51–52)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foae may have no power over me. Amen.

Pulling It Together: We entrust ourselves this day to the care of the one who will bring us into everlasting day. As eyelids flutter into wakefulness, our sleeping eyes—at the command of the Lord—will be instantly awakened. We will be transformed from death to life just as surely as we are from sleeping to waking. We have commended ourselves to the only one who can make it happen—and has promised to do so. Entrust yourself each morning, not simply to an angel’s care, but to the one who cares for you forever.

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, to see that you are with me. Amen.

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Many Gifts, One Lord considers grace in relation to the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to show that the grace of God is free to flow with all those gifts without causing division and disharmony in the body of Christ. It is interesting that we really never seem to tire of gifts. Sad to say many go through life not even aware that they have specific gifts; which could not only be a blessing to themselves but to others. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 16 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And as we have worn the likeness of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the one from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:49)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foae may have no power over me. Amen.

Pulling It Together: Luther encourages us to give thanks for making it through the night. That idea has a little more gravity when there is a global pandemic. So, we should thank God for each new day, as well as delivering us from sin, death, the devil and every other evil. As we will see when we come to “Evening Prayer,” we may go to sleep in peace each night because God has promised to keep watch over those who, through faith, wear the image of their Savior.  

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for sleep and for the light of a new day. Amen.

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Martin Luther, following St. Augustine, described the sinner as incurvatus in se, as "curved in on oneself." Looking to ourselves for righteousness or spiritual peace will lead us only into pride or despair. It takes the external word of the Gospel to draw us into a saving relationship with God in Christ. Video recordings on DVD, a necessary component of the Lost and Found Bible Study series, feature the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church in Hutchinson, MN, the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan.

Workbook  • Leader's Guide  • DVD

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 15 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: It was a night of vigil for the Lord, to bring them out from the land of Egypt. This same night of the Lord is a night of watching by all the children of Israel throughout their generations. (Exodus 12:42)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer. 

Pulling It Together: The ordinance of the Passover provided a way for Jewish people to remember who and whose they are. In this observance, they remembered how the Lord delivered them from more than four centuries of slavery in Egypt.

Each morning, after making sign of the the cross, Luther urges us to remember God in specific ways too. First, say the Creed. In doing so, you set the table for prayer by recalling whom you pray to: the Father, Son, and Spirit by whom you just blessed yourself. The Creed distills the character and functions of the triune God. Second, pray the Lord’s Prayer. If you pray nothing else, you will have prayed the way the Jesus taught you to pray (Matt 6:9–13; Luke 11:2–4). In doing so, you may begin each day well by remembering who God is, and by praying over those matters that concern his will for you.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Word of Life Series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 14 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And when all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who subjected all things to him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

How the head of the family should teach his household to pray morning and evening

Morning Prayer

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say: In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Pulling It Together: I really enjoy that unexpected Richard Pryor line toward the end of the movie “Silver Streak” when a gunfight has broken out between the FBI and criminals. Bullets are flying everywhere and Pryor, hunkered down behind a 55-gallon drum, has had enough of the chaos. So, he stands up and demands, “Who’s in charge here?”

Sometimes it feels like the world itself is chaos and the Holy Spirit needs to hover over the face of this deep again (Gen 1:2). We want to know who is in charge, who has the authority to fix things. Ultimately, our heavenly Father is in charge. His Spirit is moving over the chaos; something is happening. Jesus has conquered sin and death. Things are moving in the right direction, and finally, God will be “all in all.” His authority will be fully recognized in eternity.

For now, that recognition might begin every one of our days. As soon as we wake up in the morning, we should kneel in prayer. As we begin our prayers, we may say the name of God, establishing—at least in our own lives—who is in charge here.

Prayer: Subject me, Lord Jesus, to your Father’s will, through the power of your Spirit at work within me. Amen.

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In Harmony with the Word is an eight-session Bible Study focusing on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew 5-7. It is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. The study would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 13 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Now I make known to you, siblings, the gospel which I preached to you, which you also received, and in which you stand, 2 by which you are also being saved—if you hold fast the word that I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 3 For I passed on to you—as being of chief importance—that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

Fasting and other outward disciplines are indeed good preparation, but people are truly worthy and well prepared who believe these words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But those who do not believe these words or who doubt them are unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Pulling It Together: Belief is the key to readiness. Do you believe that you are a sinner? If you do, then you are almost ready for the table. Do you believe that Jesus died to save sinners? If you do, then you have a “believing heart” that has faith in what is of chief importance for receiving grace from God. Belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ means that one is prepared to trust God to do what he promised: to forgive sins. This is what the Scriptures teach us, and so we confess. We believe.

Prayer: Give me a strength of faith, Lord, that holds fast to your word. Amen.

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Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Martin Luther's Small Catechism provides inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design. Subscribe today. Limited back issues of Connections are also available. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 10 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 18 …knowing that you were redeemed from the pointless conduct handed down from your fathers, not with perishable things, with silver or gold, 19 but with Christ’s precious blood, that of an unblemished and flawless lamb. (1 Peter 1:18–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

Fasting and other outward disciplines are indeed good preparation, but people are truly worthy and well prepared who believe these words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But those who do not believe these words or who doubt them are unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Pulling It Together: All of our religious devices will never set us free from sin and death. Prayer will not do it, nor will Bible reading, Sunday School, or going to church. Now, praying, studying the Scripture individually or in a group like Sunday School or another small group, as well as worship in larger groups are not pointless activities. Unless…

If the point of those activities is your redemption, then they are worse than futile; they are sanctimonious. Presuming that our devotion amounts to salvation from the devil’s clutches is audacious and disrespectful of Jesus, as though God needs to add your devotion to Christ’s body and blood. When you come to the table, put all of your devotion behind you. Think only of Christ and his benefits. Believe that he offered his body and shed his blood, not just for the world, but even “for you.”

Then, regardless of your acts of devotion, you are ready to eat the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and drink the cup of salvation (Psa 116:13).

Prayer: I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on your name, Lord. Amen.

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Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 09 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. (1 Corinthians 11:27–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

Fasting and other outward disciplines are indeed good preparation, but people are truly worthy and well prepared who believe these words, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” But those who do not believe these words or who doubt them are unworthy and unprepared, for the words “for you” require truly believing hearts.

Pulling It Together: It was such agony. Decades ago, I would sit in the pew, trying to decide if I had been good enough in the past week to receive the bread and the wine. Of course, I was not good at all (Rom 3:12), nor would I ever be good (Mark 10:18). I was and am a sinner. However, though I had acutely examined myself, I had failed to discern the body and blood of the Lord. If I done so, I could have freely confessed my sinfulness while proclaiming Christ’s death too. Then I would have seen that Jesus died for people just like me, people who could never be good or righteous without him. Examination is not complete if we only look at ourselves. We must then look to the one who has given himself for us. He delivered his own body to the cross, and shed his blood so that a world of sinners may be saved, despite themselves. Believe that, believe in him, and you are worthy and prepared for the Holy Supper.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making me worthy of your table. Amen.

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Custom Designed presents guided questions, ancient wisdom, and insightful diagrams for understanding your unique individuality, recognizing God’s guiding hand, and even grappling with two of life’s more practical yet significant questions: “Who am I?” and “What am I to do?”

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 08 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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2 Corinthians 3:12–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Repentance 

Therefore the teaching of the adversaries that people obtain the remission of sins by their contrition and love, and trust in their own contrition and love, is merely a doctrine of the law. Furthermore, it is misunderstood, just as the Jews looked upon the veiled face of Moses. For let us imagine that love is present, let us imagine that works are present, yet neither love nor works can be a propitiation for sin. They cannot oppose the wrath and judgment of God, according to Psalm 143:2: “Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for no man living is righteous before thee.” Nor should the honor of Christ to be transferred to our works.

Pulling It Together: We cannot read the law with veiled hearts and expect to find the grace of God. All we sense is God’s displeasure. So, we cannot expect the law to come to our rescue. All it will ever do is accuse and condemn, for that is what it was made to do. But when we hear the Scripture with the mind of Christ, we know nothing but grace and peace. We believe that our heavenly Father loves us better than the best father on earth. We are assured by the Holy Spirit that he forgives us because of what his only begotten Son accomplished at Calvary. Knowing this, how could we presume to take his place? Expecting that our own contrition and devotion is required is the same as saying, Step aside, Christ. You made a valiant effort on the cross but it didn’t work. So, I will have to do what you failed to do, and save myself. “God forbid” (Rom 6:15) that we would be so arrogant. Let us then turn to the Lord, instead of to ourselves, so that the veil is removed and, beholding the glory of the Lord, we see clearly and finally that he is our only propitiation.

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, that I may behold the beauty of your glory. Amen.

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The Sola "Word of Life" Series is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gatherings, each of the six sessions in each book is based on a primary Scripture text, with intentional time for reflection. There are questions, prayer, faith sharing, and mini-evangelism case-studies. The series would be helpful for those involved in starting a Bible study fellowship, house church, or mission congregation. They may also be used by established congregations to aid in establishing a small group ministry.

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 07 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Yes, we felt within ourselves the sentence of death, so that we would not believe on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

How can bodily eating and drinking produce such great benefits?

It is not the eating and drinking alone, but also the words that accompany it, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, together with the eating and drinking, are the chief thing in the Sacrament, and those who believe them have what they say and declare, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Pulling It Together: The struggle to be righteous is a desperate effort. There have been times when considering my life—my thoughts and actions—I nearly despaired. The words of the psalmist have come home to me more than a few times (Psa 25:7). My youth, yes, but do not remember the sins of my adulthood either. So, I have to rely on God’s mercy. The Lord alone makes this sinner holy. I could not do it in a thousand lifetimes. Yet, I have learned that God is bent over me with a steadfast and faithful love. He is intent to give me forgiveness of my sins whenever I ask. Imagine that: God giving such a remarkable gift, just for the asking. For Christ’s sake, he gives even more. He gives salvation and everlasting life. This is the promise apprehended each time we eat and drink with faith.

Prayer: Lead me from hopelessness to trust in you, Lord. Amen.

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In Prayer as Joy, Prayer as Struggle, Rev. Mark Braaten explores many types of prayer, including thanksgiving, confession, praise, wrestling, petition, intercession, listening, and hope. He also explores what it means when the answer to prayer is "no" and how we experience prayer in times of doubt. In each chapter, he uses and extended biblical example of prayer and also provides the text of prayers we can use in our own practice. For all who seek joy in prayer, even as we struggle, Braaten offers an engaging personal and pastoral reflection on the ways we pray.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 06 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For as the afflictions of Christ abound to us, even so our comfort also overflows through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

How can bodily eating and drinking produce such great benefits?

It is not the eating and drinking alone, but also the words that accompany it, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, together with the eating and drinking, are the chief thing in the Sacrament, and those who believe them have what they say and declare, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Pulling It Together: How solitary sits the city, how lonely and desolate. This is the lament of Jeremiah over Israel (Lam 1:1). Jesus grieves similarly over the people because they are without a shepherd (Matt 9:36; Mark 6:34). This is the human condition. In the end, sin reduces each of us to ruins. There will be nothing left but suffering for those who will not recognize the time of their visitation (Luke 19:44). Only comprehend how complete God’s visitation is for us, for the world. Jesus has delivered us from our ruinous affliction, his own sufferings surrounding and defeating our ultimate human suffering: sin. He also gives us the strength and courage to “patiently endure” (2 Cor 1:6) while comforting others with his gospel (2 Cor 1:4).

In doing so, Christ Jesus calls a communion of saints to refill the ruins, transforming them into a heavenly city. We already gather there in faith, seated around his table, believing the promise: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”

Prayer: Be my resolve, Lord, to endure through your Spirit. Amen.

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A Thirty-Day Walk through Luther's Small Catechism is a devotional book that follows the sections of Martin Luther's Small Catechism, and is designed for daily reflection on the Scriptures and the faith that we believe. Guiding the reader through a journey of Law to Gospel, the devotions are meant to show readers not only their need for grace, but where that grace is found in Jesus Christ. The book is not only meant as a basic daily devotional and prayer resource, it also serves as a brief overview of the themes of the Catechism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 03 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 20 The one among the servants of Pharaoh who revered the word of the Lord made his servants and his livestock flee into the houses. 21 And the one who had no regard for the word of the Lord left his servants and his livestock in the field. (Exodus 9:20–21)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

How can bodily eating and drinking produce such great benefits?

It is not the eating and drinking alone, but also the words that accompany it, “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” These words, together with the eating and drinking, are the chief thing in the Sacrament, and those who believe them have what they say and declare, namely, the forgiveness of sins.

Pulling It Together: Be sure you do not get caught out in the field with your cattle. God’s forgiveness is abundantly available—even to pharaohs, even to sinners. Just come in from the storm. This is a helpful way to think of the Sacrament. We have no problem thinking of Baptism in this way, for we are often heard to remind each other, “Remember your baptism.” In doing so, we call each other back in to the house of God. The Sacrament of the Altar is also a home-calling. Those who revere his word and fear his wrath will come in from the field of death to eat and drink at the table of grace and life. Those who have no regard for the word of the Lord, stay in the open field of their sin. Meanwhile, unseen in the spiritual backdrop, hail and rain thunder down upon them.

Remember the mercy and grace of God. Come in from the field of your sins.

Prayer: O Lord, give me a greater regard for your word. Amen.

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Living Faith, a Believer's Guide to Growing in Christ is a discipleship resource based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. This 12-part Bible study by Pastor Brack East is designed to help individuals grow more deeply into a living faith in Jesus, while interacting with other believers in a life-to-life setting of three or four people. Such settings around the Word of God have proven to be part of the workshop of the Holy Spirit, and Luther’s Small Catechism has stood the test of time as a reliable guide to growing in faith. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 02 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same likeness from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

It is pointed out in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Through these words the forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the Sacrament, for where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation.

Pulling It Together: Holy Communion is a turning to the Lord (2 Cor 3:16), and in it, we behold his glory. Furthermore, the table is a sort of mirror in which we may begin to behold ourselves as God sees us. He is remaking us, bit by bit, “with ever-increasing glory” (NIV), transforming us into the Lord’s likeness. Now, this has been God’s intention since creation (Gen 1:26–28), but sin spoiled humankind. Nevertheless, God is determined to fulfill his creative work, despite sin and the devil. Spread before us all, unveiled and in plain view, God is working through faith in Word and Sacrament. Behold! The glory of the Lord is for you.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for not giving up on me. Amen.

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Through 48 daily reflections, Christ in Me celebrates God's deep desire and his amazing plan for all who believe in His Son-transformation from the inside out. Jesus lives in us, and it is he who proclaims who we are. When we entrust ourselves to his care, we experience fullness of life in him, even as we grow in his character. And, in faith, we rejoice in the presence of God, for we are as welcome there as the sinless Savior who made us his own.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 01 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God in them who are saved, and in them who perish— 16 to one an odor of death to death, to the other an aroma of life to life. And who is adequate for these things? (2 Corinthians 2:15–16)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

It is pointed out in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Through these words the forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the Sacrament, for where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation.

Pulling It Together: What a pleasing fragrance arises to God when his church believes the gospel by eating and drinking in remembrance of Christ Jesus. The aroma of our witness extends horizontally as well (1 Co 11:26). It touches the lives of others because the smell of Christ is in our eating and drinking. Of course, this is true because we are communing on Christ himself. But it is also true because the faith to do so is initiated by the Spirit of Christ within us. Jesus is the competency or adequacy of our table testimony. Holy Communion is Jesus Christ through and through, and because of that, a profound witness to himself until he comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Prayer: I will depend upon you, Lord, to be the sufficiency of my witness for you. Amen.

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At a time when the Word of God is casually avoided or actively silenced, it is more important than ever to stress the power of at work when God speaks. This book not only reminds preachers of the importance of proclamation, it help lay readers to know what to listen for. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 31 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh; for by a strong hand he will let them go, and by a forceful power he will drive them out of his land.” (Exodus 6:1)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

It is pointed out in these words: “Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Through these words the forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given to us in the Sacrament, for where there is forgiveness of sin, there is also life and salvation.

Pulling It Together: The Lord is still driving us out of the land of slavery, not a three-day journey (Ex 5:3), but a full six days into the wilderness, to feast with the Lord. At his holy table, we see the power of God’s hand at work, always moving us out of the wily pharaoh’s land of sin, and into the graceland of Christ Jesus. In the Sacrament, the Lord gives us forgiveness of sins, and in doing so, eternal life and salvation.

Prayer: Remove us from this land of isolation, Lord, that we may go into your wilderness and feast. Amen.

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In the Luther Household is a six-session Bible study on the Lutheran understanding of marriage and family. Based on foundational texts from Scripture, the study also draws from the real-life experience of Martin and Katie Luther, who were not only husband and wife, but the parents of several children. It includes excerpts from Luther's personal writings to family and friends as they faced the good and bad that come in everyday living. Some pastors use this study in marriage counseling.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 30 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 30 And Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped. (Exodus 4:30–31)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Where is this written?

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul say:

In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying: “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

Pulling It Together: I remember so many Sundays about 40 years ago, when I remained in the pew, trying to decide if I was ready to receive Holy Communion. Was I penitent enough, devoted, pious, holy? Was there someone else I needed to speak with, to clear up some hurt? I was never sure of any of these things, so there I sat, not daring to eat or drink because I did not feel ready, and that I might eat and drink condemnation upon myself (1 Cor 11:29).

When I consider the spiritual conditions of those first disciples, they too, were they to rely upon their feelings, would never have dared to obey the Lord’s command: eat, drink. The Hebrew children in the wilderness are another example. Before their considerations were God’s word and signs. “And the people believed” (Exodus 4:31). If they relied on their fluctuating feelings, they too could not have believed.

Before us are both word and signs. Take and eat. Drink. Here are the signs: bread and wine, body and blood. These are all we need to believe and obey.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

My New Bible is a five-session study for use in Sunday School at the presentation of the Holy Scriptures to elementary students. It introduces them to the layout and contents of their new Bible, shows them how to identify books and find verses, and gives them an overview of the major parts of Scripture.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 30 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 30 And Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. 31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped. (Exodus 4:30–31)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Where is this written?

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul say:

In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying: “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

Pulling It Together: I remember so many Sundays about 40 years ago, when I remained in the pew, trying to decide if I was ready to receive Holy Communion. Was I penitent enough, devoted, pious, holy? Was there someone else I needed to speak with, to clear up some hurt? I was never sure of any of these things, so there I sat, not daring to eat or drink because I did not feel ready, and that I might eat and drink condemnation upon myself (1 Cor 11:29).

When I consider the spiritual conditions of those first disciples, they too, were they to rely upon their feelings, would never have dared to obey the Lord’s command: eat, drink. The Hebrew children in the wilderness are another example. Before their considerations were God’s word and signs. “And the people believed” (Exodus 4:31). If they relied on their fluctuating feelings, they too could not have believed.

Before us are both word and signs. Take and eat. Drink. Here are the signs: bread and wine, body and blood. These are all we need to believe and obey.

Prayer: Lord, help me ignore my feelings, and focus on your word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

My New Bible is a five-session study for use in Sunday School at the presentation of the Holy Scriptures to elementary students. It introduces them to the layout and contents of their new Bible, shows them how to identify books and find verses, and gives them an overview of the major parts of Scripture.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 27 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger imiage

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From the Word: And a cloud happened to overshadow them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” (Mark 9:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Where is this written?

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul say:

In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying: “Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.” Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.”

Pulling It Together: Oh, that we would listen to Jesus.

I once knew a brother in a congregation who would walk straight out of church as soon as he had communed. Singing a final hymn of edification to his sisters and brothers was of no importance to him. Nor was any more of God’s Word in benediction and blessing, let alone even the briefest period of fellowship following the service.

Nonetheless, I would have him a thousand times over those who ignore the benefits of Holy Communion altogether. I have known hundreds of people who claim Christ as Lord but ignore his command to eat and drink.

Do not listen to any voice that would keep you away from Communion. It is the command of your Lord. “Take and eat.” Listen to Jesus.

Prayer: Lord, open my heart so that I would heed your voice. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Lord's Prayer workbook is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on the Introduction, one for each of the Petitions, and a one-session Conclusion. The Scripture focus in the Lord's Prayer unit in the Sola Confirmation Series is on the Parables of Jesus, with Bible Study lessons taken from the Gospels.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 26 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Pulling It Together: I do not intend for us to understand this verse as being about Holy Communion. Obviously, it is about Baptism. Yet, there is relationship between the Sacraments, at least in Spirit and Word. Because all of us who have been baptized have been caused to drink of the one Spirit, we are all remade or rebirthed into the family of God. The drinking at our baptisms was done once. Now, we are to drink at God’s table often. And we are accepted at the King’s table because of this familial bond, our blood relationship. So, the Spirit within us, whom we received in Baptism (Acts 2:38), uses the Word to call us all to the feast of grace.

Prayer: Open my ears, Lord, so that I would open my mouth at your table. Amen.

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Examining Our Core Beliefs explains in straight-forward terms, the core of what we believe—from a biblical, theological, historical, and confessional point of view. A 30-page study guide is included in the back of the book. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 25 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and had but one loaf with them in the boat. (Mark 8:14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Pulling It Together: One wonders if John Mark wrote this verse with tongue in cheek, or if Peter had told him the story with a wry tone at the memory. The disciples were worried about bread for their bellies, while they had the One Loaf to share as they sailed.

I write this in week three of social distancing because of the coronavirus. At times like this, we see how much we are like those disciples of old. We may be more concerned for our bellies than they were. Reports of empty grocery store shelves permeate the social media feeds. Whether they are actually empty or not, it shows our ever-present worry over food. The last time I was at the biggest grocery in town, they had scads of bread. It was all of one brand and kind—evidently the one that no one likes—but there were many loaves nonetheless.

So, here I sit “in my boat” with the One Loaf to share with my wife—and with you. It is not the loaf I purchased from the grocer but “food that endures to eternal life” (John 6:27).

Prayer: Break the Bread of Life with me, Lord, as you did with your disciples. Amen.

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The Sacraments is a ten-week study, including sessions on Baptism, Communion, and the Office of the Keys. The Bible Study lessons in the Sacraments unit of the Sola Confirmation Series emphasize the connection between Old and New Testaments, by drawing on sacramental themes foreshadowed in familiar Old Testament stories, and how the promises of God "for you" are expressed and fulfilled in Christ.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 24 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also passed on to you, that on the night when he was handed over, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In like manner, he also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Pulling It Together: This is how Jesus established his holy meal, and this is how we pass it down, like Paul, from generation to generation. We receive from the Lord himself, his body and blood—his own precious life—in the elements of bread and wine. In eating and drinking with faith, we remember what he did and does for us, but also what he promised. Every time we commune, we remember to one another and to the generations that follow, that Jesus will return on that Day. And when he does, we will eat and drink with him in his kingdom (Matt 26:29; Luke 22:18). Blessed are they who have been invited to that banquet, a feast that we have already begun to eat and drink (Rev 19:6).

Prayer: I will remember you, Lord, so that others may remember you. Amen.

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The Apostles' Creed book is a ten-week unit, with one session on the Trinity and three sessions on each article of the Creed. The Bible Study lessons in the Creed unit of the Sola Confirmation Series provide an overview of creation-redemption themes in Scripture, driving toward the promise of God at work in our present lives. Click here to see the introductory pages and a sample of session one.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 23 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not fellowship in the body of Christ? (1 Corinthians 10:16)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Pulling It Together: When we share in Holy Communion, we are receiving the true body and blood of Jesus Christ. We are not simply receiving bread and wine that we eat in memory of what Christ did for us. Now, that is certainly true, but there is more to it than our grateful remembrance. Making it a point to remember Jesus in the Lord’s Supper is something that we do. But what truly happens in the holy meal is something that God does, as of course, it must be. It is a sharing in his blood—not a distribution of wine. Communion is fellowship in his body—not a serving of bread. Paul shows us what this bread and wine truly is, when it is received with faith in Christ’s words of promise. “This is my body” (Matt 26:26). “This is my blood…” (Matt 26:28). 

As Holy Communion is fellowship in Christ’s true body and blood, it is life and grace for those who believe, eat, and drink. It is a communion because we are many who share in it. It is holy, because it is something God does in all of us when the bread and wine are mingled with faith. He gives us himself and therefore, the full measure of his grace: the forgiveness of our sins (Matt 26:28).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, by your grace, cause me to grow in your life and will. Amen.

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The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 20 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 48 And seeing that they were struggling to row, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea. And he wanted to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea, they supposed it was an apparition, and cried out. 50 For they all saw him, and were afraid. But immediately, he spoke with them, and said, “Be courageous; it is I. Do not be afraid.” (Mark 6:48–50)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Pulling It Together: Jesus reveals his divine power at times when those in need may apprehend. He speaks to peace of heart, saying, be not afraid, grab some courage. This word is always predicated on the fact that he is present. When the disciples were in danger of being swamped on the sea, he said it: “Take heart” (ESV). He spoke to a paralyzed man: “Take courage” (NASB). He told a hemorrhaging woman, “Be of good cheer” (ASV). He speaks to us too. ”I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

We may take heart because our courage and peace is found in Christ. When our sins would swamp us, when our transgressions might paralyze us with a fear of divine wrath, when our lives have brought us to moments of desperation, we come to the blessed table, and know that Christ is with us. His body is given to us; his blood is shed for us. He is within us, giving hope of glory instead of fear of damnation (Col 1:27). Take courage: eat. Be of good cheer: drink. Have peace—the transcending peace of Christ (Phil 4:7).  

Prayer: Give me your peace, Lord, through faith in your presence. Amen.

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A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

• Part 1  • Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 19 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And everyone ate and they were satisfied. (Mark 6:34)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

Communion is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, given to us Christians to eat and drink, as it was instituted by Christ himself.

Pulling It Together: Jesus fed people throughout his ministry. I have a feeling that he fed people far more often than Scripture chronicles. The recorded cases were miraculous in nature, a little going a long way. In today’s larger pericope (Mark 6:30–46), he fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. Not only were 5,000 men fed, they were stuffed.

Jesus is still feeding people today, and in a miraculous way. He takes something much smaller than a loaf, and far less ample than a bottle, and fills us to the point of satisfaction. A bit of bread so small that we refer to it as a wafer, and a mere sip of wine amount to a meal, a supper. The whole church on earth communes around this holy meal, and is filled. We are satisfied because what fills us is not just bread and wine, but the true body and blood of Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that I may be content with you. Amen.

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A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 18 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But be careful that this right of yours does not somehow become a cause of sin to the weak. (1 Corinthians 8:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: Sometimes, it is when we imagine ourselves most right, that we may be very wrong. In today’s larger reading (1 Cor 8:1–13), Paul discusses Christian freedoms or rights, the liberties and privileges we have in Christ. He uses eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols as an example. A Christian may eat these foods without damaging her own conscience. However, doing so may damage a weaker believer’s conscience. So, we must be careful that our freedoms do not cause a weaker sister or brother in the faith to stumble, or even fall away from faith. We may be looking to the grace of Christ while they are still looking at laws.

This is tricky business, a fine line of exercising our rights while protecting the fragile faith of another. When we do not consider the latter, we sin, as we have become the cause of their sin. In self-examination, we ought to discover such truths about ourselves—and confess these sins too. We may be right, that these are Christian freedoms, while at the same time, be wrong in exercising them sometimes because they are a cause of sin for others.

Prayer: Open my eyes and heart, Lord, that I may be as concerned for others as I am for myself. 

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Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Martin Luther's Small Catechism provides inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design. Subscribe today.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 17 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And they departed and preached that people should repent. (Mark 6:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: The old proclamation of the twelve disciples still has legs. Even now, they go from house to house, urging us to repent. Have we failed God in the light of any of his commandments? Of course, we have. Confess it and be done with it. I say, “be done with it,” in the sense of no longer dodging the fact of your sin, or groaning under its weight of guilt. Be done with it so that you may walk out into the light of day to be obedient, faithful, industrious, joyous, loyal, encouraging, and kind.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, so that I may live for you. Amen.

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We live in a culture in which "knowing" is frequently associated with an accumulation of details and facts. But what is the meaning of "knowing" in the terms of a close relationship with our heavenly Father? The objective of this The Ultimate Intinmacy is learning that knowing the Father is not so much about details and facts as it is realizing the various ways the Lord has to make himself known to us in a personal way. The result is that each day and moment become a marvelous, mysterious adventure of experiencing his great love for us.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 16 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 33 But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came fearing and trembling, and bowed down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction." (Mark 5:33–34)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: Who was this woman, so afflicted that she hemorrhaged for a dozen years? She would have felt unclean and, no doubt, been considered unclean by others. After twelve years, she was used to people keeping their distance. Yet, she dared to approach Jesus.

What afflicts you? What have you wrestled with all these years? Come near the Lord. Approach with the faith of that woman. Dare to reach out to the one who saves.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 13 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 39 And he awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace; be still.” And the wind abated, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said to them, “Why are you frightened? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:39–40)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: The storms of life howl upon us, and we are frightened. The obvious example, at the moment, is the coronavirus. We shrink before the tempest, yet muster enough courage to rush out and purchase more toilet paper, soap, and sanitizer than we could use in a month of Sundays. Meanwhile, God is in our boat; Jesus is right here with us.

Now, that does not mean we should not take precautions, that we should not be sensible. It does mean, however, that we should not panic. God cares about our situation (Mark 4:38). But there is another situation that Jesus cares about as much as the storm. He cares about our faith. Have we still no faith? Can we trust God through these times? Perhaps the sin we should be confessing is lack of faith—not a trust that God will wipe out the virus, but that he would calm the storm, the one that rages within us.

Prayer: Use the storm, Jesus, to increase my faith in you. Amen.

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 12 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? And you are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: We are united with the Lord, and by his grace made one spirit with him (1 Cor 6:17). Therefore, we should take special care not to sin, as our sins are really sins against the Lord, since we are one with him. Yet, sin we will because we exist in two realities: the natural and the spiritual. We must not fall prey to the idea that we are now completely spiritual and that we therefore, cannot sin. We can; we do. And this, the Christian, because she is spiritual, acknowledges. Knowing she is not her own anymore, that she is bought with the price of a Savior’s sacrifice, she repents and confesses, expecting the forgiveness of a loving Father.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for forgiving me all of my sins—even that one. Amen.

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By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 11 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And some of you were such. But you were washed; you were sanctified; you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What sins should we confess?

Before God we should acknowledge ourselves guilty of all kinds of sins, even those of which we are not aware, as we do in the Lord’s Prayer. To the confessor (pastor), however, we should confess only those sins which we know and which trouble us.

Pulling It Together: Like Joseph’s brothers, we must confess, “In truth we are guilty” (Gen 42:21). Ours may seem to us lesser or greater crimes. No matter. We are guilty. We are guilty of “all kinds of sins”—even sins “of which we are not aware.” Like Luther once did, we could spend hours each day, confessing the assorted sins we commit. So, which of these many sins should we confess?

We may confess our sins to God, repent, and be done with the matter. However, some sins plague us, as their sin against Joseph dogged his brothers. Confess such sins and hear the Lord’s forgiveness announced through your pastor or confessor. Each of us needs to do this, for each of us has been unrighteous, and the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9). But Christians are now in his kingdom where we acknowledge our sins, confess them, and firmly believe God forgives, and furthermore, makes repentant sinners righteous.

Prayer: Forgive me my trespasses, Lord. Amen.

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Today, the reliability of the Gospel is questioned or denied by many voices, inside and outside the Church. But if we, as Christians, have only "hoped" in Christ, and do not see Him as reliable, then we are "most to be pitied." The Reliability of the Gospel by As We Go Ministries examines the reliability of central claims of the Christian faith, including the truth of Scripture, the promise of the Gospel, and the certainty of Christ's death and resurrection for our sake. 

The series requires the accompanying video DVD featuring the pastors of Faith Lutheran Church, in Hutchinson, Minnesota: the Rev. Scott Grorud and the Rev. David Wollan. 

Click the thumbnails for product descriptions and ordering details. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 10 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 28 Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they swear. 29 But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin. (Mark 3:28–29)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What is Confession?

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins and the other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor as from God himself, in no way doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Imagine a person who goes to church and thinks, I do not need to confess my sins because I am a good person. It is easy enough to imagine a person like this outside the church, but they exist inside the church too. They go to church every Sunday, thinking that is what good, moral people do. These people have been duped—fooled by themselves and the devil too. They believe there is no room for God’s grace, or at best, just a little bit of it, perhaps a small religious dose of grace here and there. A Christian will not have this, cannot stand for it.

It is either all God’s grace, for the Christian, or nothing. They come to church, knowing they are sinners, and confessing it (Luke 18:13). There is complete forgiveness for these sinners, no matter the sins they commit. But for that person who says, I’m good enough. I am a moral person and my good deeds have made up for any bad things, there is no grace at all. This is the blasphemy against God that cannot be forgiven. For it is nothing else than unbelief, a shunning of Christ and his benefits. The one thing God cannot forgive is a person who believes in himself so much that he will not believe in God.

Make no mistake; belief is more than assent to a knowledge of God. Real faith also acknowledges one’s need for God.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner who needs you. Amen.

 

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Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 09 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For the kingdom of God is not in talk, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What is Confession?

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins and the other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor as from God himself, in no way doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Is the power of God at work in you? God forbid that it is only talk, just religion. The power of God’s kingdom has accompanying signs. These are not the sort of signs one finds in the world; they are God signs, signals of an unfamiliar power. The power at work in his kingdom turns the world upside-down, and all of its reason with it. You will look weak and foolish to an outsider, a worldly person. But the kingdom person knows this supposed weakness is really strength (2 Cor 12:9).

Just so, the power of God produces things that seem strange and foolish and weak in the world’s estimation. The power of God, if it is working within you, produces faith and hope and love. It produces a powerful faith that hopes when it feels like there is no hope (Rom 4:18), that trusts God to the point one may even love their enemies (Luke 6:35). This is weakness to the world but it is real power because it is trusting God, instead of self.

Therefore, if the power of God is at work in you, it will produce confession of sin. Confession is a supernatural work that trusts in God instead of self. Confession and firm belief in God’s forgiveness is the very power of the gospel at work in you, a sure signal that Christ’s kingdom is here.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Lord. Amen.

 

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Come, Lord Jesus answers the many questions that arise when modern readers look into the book of Revelation. In this book readers will come to understand the first-century context in which Revelation was written—and readers will join the holy choir in looking forward to the fulfillment of God's plan, offering our own invitation: "Come, Lord Jesus."

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 06 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you supposes he is wise in this evil age, let him become foolish, that he may become wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What is Confession?

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins and the other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor as from God himself, in no way doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Sometimes we think that if we try harder and work smarter, we will become good people. Then, a new day dawns and we discover we are still sinners. So, we read the Bible more, go to church every Lord’s Day, maybe even start attending a Bible study, give to missions, and donate to the food pantry, hoping our religious devotion will make us better. Somewhere in these efforts, we discern that our sinful nature is exceptionally persistent (Rom 7:15).

God forbid we should stop reading the Bible or giving to the poor, but the things we do are not means of grace. And grace is precisely what sinners need. So it remains to us to do good but depend upon God. This means confessing our sins and confidently believing God forgives us for Christ’s sake—not because of the good deeds we perform.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for forgiving me of all my sins. Amen.

 

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The Minor Prophets in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is a twelve lesson study that peeks at each of the dozen books we call the minor prophets, books that are often forgotten or neglected. Yet, their messages are deeply relevant for today's believer. The prophetical books contain God's call upon His followers of every century. These exhortations are either calls to positive actions that honor God or warnings to stop attitudes and behaviors that dishonor Him. As we rediscover these profound words, we will be reminded of what it means to follow and obey God, as well as be challenged to live a life that glorifies God in greater and more significant ways.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 05 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What is Confession?

Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins and the other is that we receive absolution, or forgiveness, from the confessor as from God himself, in no way doubting, but firmly believing that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Some people have a problem with one person forgiving the sins of another. This is largely because they do not understand whom it is who is actually doing the forgiving. For example, when a pastor stands before a congregation and announces that their sins are forgiven, he does so under the authority of another. When one absolves or acquits an individual or a group of people, it is actually Christ Jesus who is forgiving them. We announce the forgiveness of God under Christ’s authority.

It would be entirely foolish and arrogant for me to say, “Son, I forgive you for what you said to that man yesterday,” if I were doing so in my own authority. I have no authority in myself to forgive people for what they did not do to me. For example, I might say, “Child, I forgive you for hitting me,” but I would never say, “Child, I forgive you for hitting your sister.” Yet, I can and must say it, if called to do so for Christ, for he has the authority to do so on earth (Mark 2:10).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for forgiving me of my sins. Amen.

 

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Where does the Bible come from? Who decided what should be included in it? How do we know it is reliable? Why should we even care what it says? And even if we do care, how can we make sense of of such a big and confusing book? Author and pastor Tom Hilpert takes readers on a journey of discovery through the world's best-selling and most-printed book. Written in clear, understandable language, Who Cares About the Bible? tackles the most important questions concerning this unique book. It is an excellent primer for anyone interested in what the Bible is, how to properly understand it, and how to deal with the vast amount of misleading information that has been spread about it.

We are currently out-of-stock but I just got off the phone with the author and he is sending us more.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 04 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: When Reuben returned to the pit he saw that Joseph was not in the pit. And he ripped his clothing. (Genesis 37:29)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: Perhaps we can see in Joseph’s escape from the pit, a foreshadowing of Christian baptism. In baptism, God snatches us from death and the evil intentions of the devil—though, indeed, we die in that pit. Our birth nature, with its original sin, is left floating to the bottom of the font. Our friends and family look in the font and exclaim like Reuben, He is not there! Unlike Reuben and his brothers, however, we have no reason to fear. For God has promised rebirth in that Water through his life-giving Word. Though our old nature dies with Christ in baptism, he raises us from that pit to walk in his newness of life (Rom 6:8).

Prayer: On that last day, O Lord, raise me up with you, according to your will. Amen.

 

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In Prayer as Joy, Prayer as StruggleMark Braaten explores many types of prayer, including thanksgiving, confession, praise, wrestling, petition, intercession, listening, and hope. He also explores what it means when the answer to prayer is "no" and how we experience prayer in times of doubt. In each chapter, he uses and extended biblical example of prayer and also provides the text of prayers we can use in our own practice. For all who seek joy in prayer, even as we struggle, Braaten offers an engaging personal and pastoral reflection on the ways we pray.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 03 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 30 But because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption. 31 And so, as it is written, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:30–31)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: Sanctification or holiness is not something we do. Instead, Christ has become our sanctification. His righteousness is ours through faith. So is his sanctification and redemption. We do nothing to acquire these great things, except to believe. They are gifts of God because we are in Christ.

Knowing that sanctification is given by God, we should know that this new, holy nature comes forth every day from our baptisms. For baptism is not something done once, then forgotten about. Rather, baptism is done once, then remembered every day. We do well to remember daily what God has done, and is doing, in us: forgiving, perfecting, and sanctifying through Word and Sacrament all those who believe.

Prayer: Sanctify me, Lord, according to your Word. Amen.

 

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Exodus in Sola's "Old Places, New Faces" series is an adult Bible study that seeks to make the stories and places of the Bible a reality in our lives today. It makes the messages of Exodus relevant for today. This study relates to the Bible as a book that speaks clearly about present realities through stories of the past. Old places from within the Bible can come alive with present significance to new faces—us. 

Other books in the "Old Place, New Faces" series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 02 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: I baptize you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: Paul remarked how thankful he was that he personally baptized only a few, so that personality cults could not rise up around him (1 Cor 1:14–15). I used to think it was Pastor Chu who baptized me at St. Luke’s back in 1955, but then I read his obituary and discovered he was pastor there from 1960 until 1966. So, who was it who baptized me?

It was God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who baptized me, no matter who the vicar was. God used a pastor, who vicariously poured water over me while proclaiming the words of promise. But it was God, through Word and Sacrament, who engulfed me into the life of Christ so that a new person would come forth in that infant life, and indeed, in all the days that lay ahead of him.

Prayer: Keep my old nature under the water, Lord, so that I may live in your righteousness. Amen.

 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Luther's Small Cat: Learning the Ten Commandments teaches the Ten Commandments according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Third Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism Children's Version. Lessons emphasize a Lutheran understanding of God's Word as both Law and Gospel, calling for faithful obedience and showing the need for Christ's forgiveness and grace.

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 27 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 25 Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 to present to himself a glorious church, without stain or blemish or any such thing, so that she would be holy and unblemished. (Ephesians 5:25–27)

From the Confessions: The Chief Articles of Faith in the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church

Lutherans also teach that the one holy Church will continue forever. The Church is the congregation of saints, in which the gospel is rightly taught and the sacraments are rightly administered.

For there to be true unity in the Church, it is enough to agree on the doctrine of the Gospel and the administration of the Sacraments. It is not necessary that human traditions like rites or ceremonies, that are institutions of men, should be the same everywhere. For Paul teaches, “One faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all,” etc. (Eph 4:5-6)

Pulling It Together: The Lutherans may have seemed suspect to the Church in Rome because of their belief in justification by faith alone. Perhaps they were perceived as a group intent on destroying the Church. It was quite the opposite. Still, it begs the question: How would one go about destroying what Christ said he would build (Matt 16:18)? The Church has never been in our hands. We should rather think that because of Christ's word, the Church will “continue forever”—in spite of us. So, it becomes important for us to understand what the Church truly is.

Building on the confession of “the communion of saints” in the creed, and that God imputes righteousness through faith (Article IV), Melancthon is emboldened to state that the Church is a “congregation of saints.” Church is that assembly of all those whom Christ has made righteousness through his grace alone. Again, the Church is not in our hands. He makes his people saints without their assistance. But Church is not merely an assembly. Though we may do other things under the banner of “The Church,” we are not really the Church unless two things occur. The gospel must be correctly taught to the congregation of saints and the sacraments must be rightly administered. We confess that where these two “outward marks” are faithfully observed is the holy, catholic Church.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for making me one with you in your Body, the Church. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Pastor Kent Groethe's study of the Book of Acts, Acts - Old Places, New Facesfocuses on the life of the early church as a model for church life today. The message and power of the church today needs to be revitalized and renewed by the power of God's Spirit, just as it was in the early church.

Other books in the "Old Place, New Faces" series

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 26 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, being sexual immorality, impurity, wantonness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostilities, strife, jealousy, fits of fury, selfishness, discord, factions, 21 envyings, drunkenness, intemperance, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you previously, that they who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 And those who are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its inclinations and cravings.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us likewise walk with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:18–25)

From the Confessions: The Chief Articles of Faith in the Augsburg Confession

Concerning New Obedience

Also they teach that this faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God's will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: "When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants" (Luke 17:10). The same is also taught by the Fathers. For Ambrose says: It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone.

Pulling It Together: The Augsburg Confession clearly states that works are excluded from justification. Nothing is needed for our justification before God except the work of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross (Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8–9; Rom 3:28; 4:5). Nevertheless, the Lutherans also wished it to be known that justification by faith did not negate the command of God for his people to do good works. However, these acts of charity and obedience are a result of faith—not a requirement for justification. Those who have faith must be obedient to God and therefore they will do good works. They can do no other, for real faith is a living faith, full of the fruit of the Spirit. Those who are enlivened by faith, live by the Spirit and so, they will also keep in step with the Spirit who is the author of all good.

Prayer: O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, open my heart and my hands, that I may willingly do good and bring you glory. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight-session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 25 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5 For Moses writes that the man who does the righteousness of the law shall live by doing so. 6 But the righteousness of faith says this: “Do not say not in your heart, ‘Who shall ascend into heaven?’—that is, to bring Christ down—7 “or, ‘Who shall descend into the abyss?’”—that is, to bring Christ up from the dead. 8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth, and in your heart—that is, the word of faith that we preach. 9 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, blessing all who call upon him. 13 For, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how will they believe in him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? 15 And how will they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

16 But not all have obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:5–17)

From the Confessions: The Chief Articles of Faith in the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Ministry

That we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Ghost is given, who works faith; where and when it pleases God, in them that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our own merits, but for Christ's sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake.

They condemn the Anabaptists and others who think that the Holy Ghost comes to men without the external Word, through their own preparations and works.

Pulling It Together: The faith that justifies always springs from the word of God. Real faith does not happen because one decides to believe, because one disciplines herself to be a holy person, or as the result of any other personal or religious preparation. I speak here of an actual faith, the kind that puts no hope at all in one's efforts. Faith is effected by the Spirit, who always does so in concert with the word. He never brings faith apart from the word—though we often hear of people claiming that he has done so. Without God revealing what faith is and in whom to have faith, our beliefs are spread across the spectrum, from silly to sublime and all to no eternal good. Yet when the Spirit works in his word through baptism, communion, and preaching, people are brought to faith apart from any efforts or virtues of their own. We confess that this is the way God has determined to bring people to saving faith: by the Holy Spirit working through the Word for Christ's sake.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, fill me with wisdom and grace from your word so that Christ is always glorified in me. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Baptism – Dove and Shell    A card, bookmark, gift tag, and envelope set that proclaims the truth of Baptism: Word and Water are a sacrament to wash away our sins. This set is a keepsake that will remind the recipient of their baptism, and provide the comfort of assurance of salvation for all who believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Sola carries an assortment of greeting cards.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 24 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins, 14 erasing the record of debt against us with its obligations, and has removed it, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13–14)

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The faithful should be seized with the most bitter grief if they consider the fact that the Mass has been largely transferred to the dead and to satisfactions for punishments. This banishes the daily sacrifice from the Church. It is the kingdom of Antiochus, who transferred the most blessed promises concerning faith and the remission of guilt to the most vain opinions concerning satisfactions. This defiles the gospel and corrupts the use of the Sacraments. These are the ones whom Paul has said are “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). They have suppressed the doctrine about faith and the forgiveness of sins, and, under the pretext of satisfactions, have devoted the body and blood of the Lord to sacrilegious gain. Some day they will pay the penalty for this sacrilege. Therefore we and all godly consciences should be conscientious against approving of the abuses of our opponents.

Pulling It Together: Using the Sacrament in a way that Christ did not intend, abuses and profanes his Holy Supper. Offering his blessed promises to the dead and to those who do not believe makes it an occasion for sin and judgment. Teaching people that they must make satisfaction for punishments that await them beyond this life, makes mockery of Christ’s cross, as well as his promises. Of what use is the cross if I must now do other things to appease an angry God? This scoffs at Christ, teaching that he was not up to the task—but we are; it will just take some extra time.

No! God has accomplished all things through Christ. Our sin—every last bit of it—has been nailed to the cross. God made us alive in Christ while we were still sinners. Now that we are alive in Christ, are we to do things that make us live? Again, no! We are already alive through faith in God’s grace toward us. We can add nothing to the cross of Christ. Indeed, nothing needs to be added.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving us all we need in Christ alone. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Luther's Small Catechism provides inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design.

Subscribe today. For information on congregational/group orders, click HERE.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 21 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be is not yet clear. We know that when he appears we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2–3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: Our hope is in Christ alone. His resurrection from the dead is the basis of that hope. Because we were baptized into his death, we will be resurrected like him too (Rom 6:3–5). The details of what comes next are a mystery but our hope is unwavering. Our sins do not get in the way of hope, and this is the case for two reasons. One, though we will always sin as long as we live in these earthly bodies, Christians do not make sinning routine. Two, when we confess our sins and repent, Christ Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9–10). In this daily forgiveness, he purifies us, cleansing us in his own righteousness.

We live before God in this sinful flesh by always looking to Christ for righteousness. When we look to self—to religious devotion and good works—for a sense of our own virtue, we are undone. As soon as we look to Christ alone, buttressed with the hope of his commitment to us, the new person comes forth again to live in Christ’s righteousness and purity.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making me your child, whom you will never abandon. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 20 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 13 And who is he who can harm you if you are zealous for that which is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, blessed are you. Do not fear them, nor be troubled, 15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to give a defense to each person who asks you for a reason about the hope that is in you. Yet do so with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better, if that should be the will of God, that you suffer for doing good rather than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:13-17)

From the Confessions: sections ten and eleven of the Preface to the Augsburg Confession

...we, with the Princes and friends aforesaid, here before Your Imperial Majesty, our most clement Lord are prepared to confer amicably concerning all possible ways and means, in order that we may come together, as far as this may be honorably done, and, the matter between us on both sides being peacefully discussed without offensive strife, the dissension, by God’s help, may be done away and brought back to one true accordant religion; for as we all are under one Christ and do battle under Him, we ought to confess the one Christ, after the tenor of Your Imperial Majesty’s edict, and everything ought to be conducted according to the truth of God; and this it is what, with most fervent prayers, we entreat of God.

Pulling It Together

Luther had been declared an outlaw by the emperor in 1521 at the Diet (or assembly) of Worms. Though his teachings were now forbidden in the empire, the teachings of Luther and other Wittenberg reformers were sent throughout the parishes of Saxony for a systematic reformation of the church. These teachings, of course, were challenged by Roman Catholic theologians who placed the Wittenberg reformers in the same grouping as unorthodox critics of the church. This gave the effect of making the Wittenberg contingent appear outside the church catholic. Philip Melancthon, Luther’s colleague at Wittenberg, drafted a defense of the Wittenbergers’ orthodoxy, drawing from a number of other documents by the reformers. This confession, or testimony, was adopted by nine German dukes, princes, and mayors, and presented to the emperor at Augsburg in 1530.

The Emperor Charles had called the Diet of Augsburg in an effort to have a unified Christian empire meet the threat of the expanding Ottoman Empire. That these documents were to be presented by all of the electors, princes, municipalities, and estates attests to the political aspiration of the diet. That there would be unity in understanding the one true faith was the hope of The Augsburg Confession.

Christians ought to hope for unity, beginning to do so by considering how they agree on matters of the faith. After all, they are called to fellowship together in Jesus Christ our Lord (1 Cor 1:9-10). Christians are also to be ready to defend the faith (1 Pet 3:15), even if it is in confessing it to one another. Yet, they are to do so with gentleness and with respect. To that end, it may be very helpful in our time to imagine that we are giving our defense to an emperor.

Prayer: Help me to honor you, Jesus, as Lord in my heart, my words, my life. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Of One Mind and Purpose is a six-session study examines the unique way in which the Bible describes being united in Christ. It explains how God’s Word can either divide people or bring them together in faith, showing how the relationship we have with one another in the Church comes through Christ alone.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 19 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Matthew 21:21–22

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

Let us eliminate these trifles. It is ridiculous that our opponents produce such trifling conjectures about a matter of such great importance. For though the Mass is called an offering, how does that term support the imaginary opus operatum, and the imagined application that merits forgiveness of sins for others? It may be called an offering because prayers, thanksgivings, and the entire worship are offered, and so, it is also called Eucharist. But neither ceremonies nor prayers are profitable ex opere operato, without faith. Still, we are not disputing about prayers, but particularly about the Lord’s Supper.

Pulling It Together

There are many fine collections of prayers available. If a person reads those prayers but does not believe in God, are they effective prayers? According to Jesus, you must have faith in order for your prayers to be answered. Just doing the work of saying a prayer is powerless. If a person does the work of eating bread and drinking wine, but does not believe it is the body and blood of Christ, is his eating and drinking effectual? No, for faith is required, not the act alone. So, it is absurd to imagine the merits of the Eucharist are available to someone who does not believe, let alone is not present to eat and drink.

Prayer: Strengthen my faith in you, Lord, by the working of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Receive Sola's Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Martin Luther's Small Catechism (Spanish/Español)

Este pequeño manual, conocido como El Catecismo Menor de Martín Lutero, ha sido utilizado por los Luteranos durante siglos como una herramienta de enseñanza, especialmente en la instrucción de la confirmación. El pequeño manual pretende dar a los lectores un breve resumen de las enseñanzas de la Biblia, viendo algunos ejemplos de versos bien conocidos por los cristianos, oraciones y elementos de adoración.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 18 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From thje Word: 1 First of all, therefore, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who would have all people be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and people, a man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1–6)

From the Confessions: The Athanasian Creed

He suffered death for our salvation. He descended into hell and rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Pulling It Together

Because the Athanasian Creed expressly states the unity of Christ's two natures, it is appropriate to think again on who it is who died for us, and rose, and ascended. When the Word became flesh (John 1:14), he did not do so for a time—namely for about 33 years. Jesus remains both God and man; he retains this dual nature and it is important that he does.

When Jesus rose from the dead, he still had a body. “Touch me,” he said to his disciples (Luke 24:39). Christ is still both God and man even after the ascension, as it teaches us in Scripture. It is not a spirit who mediates between God and man. It is the one who is both God and man who mediates for us, “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

The Small Catechism also—even though teaching from the Apostles' Creed that does not deal explicitly with the dual nature—teaches us that the ascended Christ is “true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary.”

Why is this all so important? It is important because you are human. Jesus conquered sin, death, and even hell—as a man, so that these things have no power over people of faith. Because the man Christ Jesus rose from the dead, you too will rise (Rom 6:5). Likewise, because the man Christ Jesus ascended, you too also will ascend. It is no stunning achievement that God went up into heaven. That humans may now do so, is predicated on a human being there to begin with, and that man we confess is God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Give me the strength and courage and peace to live a life pleasing in the sight of God my Savior. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship eResource (SOWeR) provides so many resources that it is hard to list them all. One of those resources is a section of bulletin templates that subscribers may use along with SOWeR's color and monochrome artwork to easily create beautiful and useful bulletins. Templates are provided for basic Communion and non-communion services, Ash Wednesday service, midweek Lenten services, LBW Communion and non-communion services for each setting, Reclaim Communion and non-communion services for each setting, and Sola Holy Cross Communion and non-communion service settings.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 17 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And [Jesus] said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam (which translates, ‘Sent’).” So he went away and washed, and returned seeing. (John 9:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: The blind man in John 9 went to a pool called “Sent,” and was blessed with sight. We have been dispatched to a fount called Christ, and have been given new life, lived forever before God in the righteousness and purity of Christ Jesus. We begin eternal life now, putting aside our sins in daily confession, and remembering that the old Adam, our birth nature, was drowned in the baptismal waters. A new person with a rebirthed nature has come forth, and must now walk with Christ, for Jesus still beckons, “Follow me.”

Prayer: Give me the strength of your Spirit, O Lord, to walk with you in newness of life. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

      

    

The Sola Confirmation Series is a basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum composed of five books. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. Click HERE to download a pdf sheet describing the program, including an outline of session topics.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 12 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 I implore you then, fellow believers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, well pleasing to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this evil age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mental state, so that you may distinguish what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil desires, should be drowned by daily repentance and sorrow for sin, and be put to death, and that the new person should come forth every day and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

Saint Paul says in Romans: “We were buried therefore with him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

Pulling It Together: Every day we must slay the old nature in us. By offering our doubts, temptations, and sins to God, we crucify the flesh (Gal 5:24). This is not a physical act like sacrificing an animal. Rather, this is a new variety of sacrifice, a correction of one’s state of mind. In this crucifixion, this mental and even emotional readjustment, the believer is tuned to the will of God. Be clear: this is something God does to us; we are not the doers. Paul says, “Be transformed,” not “Transform yourselves.” We simply offer our attitudes to God; he does the rest, the transforming. The Holy Spirit shows us his will, where we saw our inclinations before. He presents the things that are acceptable to God, where we had been interested in what pleased us.

What is more, when we insist on operating in the old mindset, and sin by failing to regard God’s will, God is not defeated. God is not beaten because we are not the transformers; our spiritual makeover does not depend upon our actions but upon the faithfulness of God. So, even when we sin, the appeal remains the same: offer yourself to God. We were buried with Christ in Baptism, and that old person must remain dead through daily repentance. In this attitude check, the new person, God’s person, emerges to live righteously before God. Daily repentance shows us that God’s perfect will is not something we accomplish. God does his own will by loving us as a Father, forgiving us, and transforming us through his righteousness, not our own.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, and transform me through your Spirit. Amen.

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Check out Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Apostle’s Creed, designed to be a small group Bible study, student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 11 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And Isaac dug again the wells of water that they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. The Philistines had filled them after the death of Abraham. And he called them by the names that his father had named them. (Genesis 26:18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“The Means of Baptism”

How can water do such great things?

It is not the water that does these things, but the Word of God connected with the water and our faith which relies on that Word. For without the Word of God it is simply water and not Baptism. But when connected with the Word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit.

As Saint Paul says to Titus: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy.” (Titus 3:5-8a)

Pulling It Together: Jesus confirms that we are all sinners (John 8:7). Who of us does not sin daily? Day after day, our sins can pile up in our memories. If we are not careful to seek the Father’s forgiveness and remember the promises of Baptism daily, the devil may slowly stop up the well. The water remains. The promise remains. But we need to dig down to the source again by asking forgiveness and remembering that God is good on his word. It is not the hard labor of Isaac, but instead, an easy word of contrition. It is a request born of trust, for God is faithful to forgive repentant sinners.

Prayer: I ask again today, Lord, that you would forgive me, a sinner who fears you, but loves and trusts you too. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 10 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from his inmost being. 39 Now, he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive; for the Spirit had not been given since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:38–39)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“The Means of Baptism”

How can water do such great things?

It is not the water that does these things, but the Word of God connected with the water and our faith which relies on that Word. For without the Word of God it is simply water and not Baptism. But when connected with the Word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit.

As Saint Paul says to Titus: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy.” (Titus 3:5-8a)

Pulling It Together: In Christian Baptism, water does more than touch the outside of us, as though washing the skin. Because God’s Word is bound with the water, it cleanses and renews the whole person. This is the work of God’s Spirit, who does his work in us so thoroughly and abundantly (Titus 3:6) that the Holy Spirit himself wells up from the believer as a kind of flowing, living water. That which touched the outside must, by virtue of the Spirit of God, reach deep within the believer. God’s Spirit revives believers’ spirits, now pouring forth from within us as the baptismal water had once been poured upon us. We are able, therefore, by faith to hear him speak within us through that same binding Word. Through the Word and the Water, God renews us daily, and even more often, since he is always flowing from our “innermost being” (John 7:38 NASB). The Spirit revives us in many ways, not least by testifying to our own spirits that we are God’s own children (Rom 8:16).

Prayer: Revive me, Lord God, according to your Word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? examines the most profound event of salvation history—the crucifixion of Jesus Christ—exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement. This six-week Bible Study would be particularly appropriate during the season of Lent.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 07 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: At the time, all discipline seems miserable rather than joyous, but afterward it yields to those who have been trained by it a peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“The Promise of Baptism”

What gifts or benefits does Baptism bring?

It brings about forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.

What is this Word and promise of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

Pulling It Together: God’s discipline is a difficult thing, but the Father does not discipline us so severely that we die (Psa 118:18). His Son, however, was disciplined to the point of death for the sins the world. Therefore, when we were baptized into Christ, we were also buried with him into his death (Rom 6:3), thereby escaping the second death (Rev 20:6). Eternal death has no power over those who keep faith in Christ. Nonetheless, we do not escape the Father’s discipline.

Through the Father’s corrections, the Holy Spirit trains us for eternal glory (Rom 8:18). Divine discipline is also good for the present because it produces peace: “the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” This is not some personal righteousness, the yield of toughing it out. It is the righteousness of Christ Jesus produced in us through God’s discipline. His loving discipline calls us to look beyond ourselves to a righteousness not our own (Phil 3:9). Because Christ has given us his righteousness in baptism, the chastened spirit may look to God for help and find an abundant store at the foot of the cross. God’s discipline drives us to keep faith in Christ who is our forgiveness, deliverance, and certain peace in difficult times.

Prayer: Give me faith, Father, to know the peace of Christ. Amen.

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Learning the Apostles' Creed teaches the Apostles' Creed according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Fourth Grade Level.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 06 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 For this reason—being surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses—let us also remove each hurdle, and the sin that constrains, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the leader and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“The Promise of Baptism”

What gifts or benefits does Baptism bring?

It brings about forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.

What is this Word and promise of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

Pulling It Together: Remember Jesus. Keep him in mind as the one who ran before you and is now waiting for you to cross the finish line. Now, if you believe and are baptized, you are in the race, but finishing the race (2 Tim 4:7) requires the endurance of faith. Therefore, the Christian must lay aside everything that would keep her from faith in Jesus. The Christian life is a daily pressing on to the finish of a very long run, so it demands faith in the one who supplies the courage and strength to continue running. Baptism was the beginning of a marathon that promises the prize of salvation and eternal life at the end. You must run, however slowly, with endurance to the finish: to Jesus. That means you must keep faith in him all the way to the end of your life. You must continue believing, despite the obstacles of sin, the devil, or simply the hurdle of yourself.

Prayer: Give me, Lord Jesus, the strength and courage of faith. Amen.

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Written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, The Life of Martin Luthera nine-session adult study, takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 05 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And he said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing that you have not held back your son, your only son, from me.” (Genesis 22:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

“The Promise of Baptism”

What gifts or benefits does Baptism bring?

It brings about forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the Word and promise of God declare.

What is this Word and promise of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16)

Pulling It Together: Obedient to God’s command, Abraham took his son up the mountain to sacrifice him to the Lord. But God spared the child’s life, and his parents untold grief. There was another son led up a hill to be sacrificed. Yet this time, God did not stop the slaying. He spared Abraham’s son but did not spare his own Son. This sacrifice was not a witness to the love of a man for God, but the love of God for a world. And all those who have the faith of Abraham, a loving trust in God, and are baptized into the death of God’s Son receive forgiveness of sins, and are delivered from death and the devil. Faith in his death has provided undying salvation for all who believe. This is the word of God: a promise for you and all people.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your great love of sinners. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 04 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 17 And God heard the boy’s crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said to her, “What distresses you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. 18 Get up! Lift up the boy and hold him tightly, for I will make him into a great nation.” 19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. And she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink. (Genesis 21:17–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: Our lives are in the Lord’s hands. He has prepared a better place for us, a heavenly city, an excelling country (Heb 11:16). It was so for Abraham who with Sarah was made to wait in faith on God’s promise. Waiting was also the lot of Jacob, Isaac, and Joseph. And so it is for us; we must wait with faith in God (Heb 11:17–22). Hagar, Sarah’s maid, was also required to wait, though it seemed to her that her son Ishmael would die in the wilderness. In her season of misery, God opened her eyes so that her hope in him might be maintained. His word of promise was supplemented with the view of a nearby well that would sustain her child and herself.

God does the same for us. His word of promise attends a nearby well, and that word is for you. When life is most difficult, may your eyes be opened to view the “fount of every blessing” (Robert Robinson, hymn writer). May you recall the font of your baptism, always nearby in memory, but even more, may you remember Christ the living fount, whose word of promise reminds you that your life is in his hands. He has gone to prepare a place for you (John 14:2), of which your baptism always stands ready as reminder. God will sustain you until you reach his far city.

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see. Amen.

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The Creator has revealed to us the Trinitarian nature of the name of God in “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” This six-week study explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain,” while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 03 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5 By faith Enoch was transported from this realm so that he would not see death. He was not found because God had taken him. Before being taken up, he was confirmed as having pleased God. 6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:5–6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: There is one thing that pleases God: faith in him—faith in his existence and faith in his grace. Abel brought an offering to the Lord, having faith in God instead of a confidence in his offering, and so, his offering was acceptable or pleasing. Cain brought his offering without faith in anything but his gift, and thus, his religious deed did not please God and was rejected. We too, must be careful, lest we relegate our baptisms to the fate of Cain. Baptism is not a religious work that satisfies God. It is faith in God’s grace working in the prescribed water that propitiates God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God, no matter the deed.

Prayer: Give me enough faith, Lord, to follow you always. Amen.

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This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week Lenten Series features monologues from Martin Luther himself, based on his writings in the Large Catechism. Luther explains eloquently and simply what each part of the catechism means for us as believers and ends it with an affirmation of certainty: "This is most certainly true!"

Luther's thoughts have been transformed here into dramatic monologues so that we might hear and meditate on the foundations of our Christian faith. In addition to a sample worship service outline, there are hymns suggestions for each monologue and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 31 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 17 “And I will remember their sins and their crimes no more." 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (Hebrews 10:17–18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: Baptism is something God does to and for us. It is not our offering to God, as though God is a theatergoer soothed by our performance. It is not something we do in order to appease God, because Jesus is the once-and-for-all propitiation for our sins. We do not offer ourselves in a washing because we are sinners. Because we are sinners, God washes us. And where God does the cleansing, it stays clean. Confessing sinners remain clean before him, because those old clothes, our sinful, human nature, are left behind in the laundry. We arise in new wraps, the very skin of Christ. The Father no longer sees the old nature. He sees the new: old sinners robed in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only and final offering for sin. Remember that you are baptized, that Christ has done the deed: the sacrifice and the baptism. You cannot do it, nor redo it; it is finished. Christ accomplished it on the first take.

Prayer: I remember, Lord, all you have accomplished, and I believe. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Upper Room is a six-part drama and sermon series for use during the weeks of Lent, in midweek or Sunday morning services. The stories in this series seek to focus our hearts and minds on the last days of Jesus, drawing us into a greater spiritual maturity that recognizes the blessings and responsibilities of this life of faith, as we walk with our Lord on the path to the cross.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 30 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of covenant between me and you. (Genesis 17:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: The promise of God is for all people. Circumcision was a signal that there is something greater than the shedding of human blood. We are meant to look to something far greater. In Christian baptism, we are “circumcised” by the hand of God. The whole body of this flesh—not mere foreskin, and not only males—is put to death in the “circumcision of Christ.” We are buried with him, into his death, in baptism. The old nature is now nailed to the cross and dead. We have been raised with Christ through faith (Col 2:11–14). The old person is dead but a new nature has arisen; our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3).

Prayer: In the water and the Word, you speak to me, Lord, and I believe. Amen.

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Pilate's Investigation is a five-part series designed for use during Lent. Each of the dramas feature Pontius Pilate, seeking to learn the identity of the mysterious figure who has been brought to him for judgment. Scripture texts are assigned for each of the dramas, along with notes for the actors.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 29 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for large image

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From the Word: And for this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, because a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, so that they who have been called may receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: All our sins are drowned in Christian baptism, for the “old man” was buried with Christ in his death (Rom 6:3). At first blush, this hardly seems fair. How may the sins of the entire human lineage be satisfied by the death one person? Yet, God is just to do this because it is his own death that secures an eternal redemption (Heb 9:12) for all who are called: all who believe Christ’s call for them.

The Lord’s voice is upon the waters (Psa 29:3). Do you hear him calling? Do you believe his word spoken for you over the waters of baptism? If so, then you are alive in Christ, even though you were dead in your sins (Eph 2:5). That dead man lies at the bottom of the font. You are raised with Christ to the New Covenant life (Rom 6:4).

Prayer: I remember you this day, Lord, and your death for my life. Amen.

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Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Luther's Small Catechism provides inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design.

The next issue of Connections (March/April 2020) will be built around the Eighth Commandment.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 27 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and departed. (John 4:50)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Conclusion

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

What does this mean?

It means that I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father and are heard by him, for he himself has commanded us to pray in this manner and has promised to hear us. So we pray with confidence: “Amen,” meaning, “Yes, it shall be so.”

Pulling It Together: “Thy will be done.” We may pray this, meaning, “Please, Lord, do my will. Make my will your own.” Instead, our weekly, if not daily, prayer must also be a confession to ourselves that it is God’s will that must be done, that it is our will that God’s will be accomplished, even if it is not the outcome we may have wanted. We must believe the word of Christ Jesus and depart, be on our way to live the day ahead of us. This was the experience of David and Luther. Unlike the father in today’s verse, each would send his child to heaven, David a newborn, and Luther his 13-year-old Magdalena. David prayed for a different outcome but resigned himself to the Lord’s will. “Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” (2 Sam 12:15–23). Luther, also, prayed fervently that his daughter might live but added to his prayers, “If it is thy will, O God, to take her from us, I will be glad to know that she is with thee.” David knew much the same, saying, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam 12:23).

It is God’s kingdom, not ours. To him belongs the power to add to his glory in the fashion he knows to be best. The Lord hears our prayers, and answers them as may be expected of a loving Father, with the authority of a wisdom far beyond our own. Knowing this, we may confidently add the “Amen” to our prayers. May it be so; may your will be done no matter my own wishes.

Prayer: May your will be done in my life today. Amen and amen.

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The Power of Lent is a series of Lenten dramas pairing two characters each week from the story of Jesus' Passion; bearing witness to what they saw, heard, and felt. Each pair of biblical characters reflects upon a similar theme for the week, showing how the same events brought about very different reactions to Jesus and his identity.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 24 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham returning from the felling of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham allotted one tenth of everything to him. First, by translation, he is king of righteousness, and then king of Salem also, that is, king of peace. 3 He is fatherless, motherless, without a genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but being like the Son of God, he remains a priest evermore. (Hebrews 7:1–3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Conclusion

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

What does this mean?

It means that I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father and are heard by him, for he himself has commanded us to pray in this manner and has promised to hear us. So we pray with confidence: “Amen,” meaning, “Yes, it shall be so.”

Pulling It Together: God has made believers a kingdom of priests (Isa 61:6; Exod 19:6; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6). Priests are the ones who receive the tithe from subordinates, as Melchizedek did from Abraham. Though priests, our blessings nonetheless come from a higher power than ourselves, so we give back a portion. The kingdom and the power and the glory are entirely his; we are dependent upon him, offering in tribute a portion of his blessings.

See how God turns common practice on its head: the sovereign priest giving to his inferiors. Giving back the tithe is our “amen,” our confident assent that a higher sovereignty, might, and wonder will always bless his people. In God our King, “righteousness and peace kiss each other,” (Psa 85:10), and the result is everlasting blessing.

Prayer: O righteous King, you are our everlasting peace. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Fulfilled In Him is a five-part Lenten drama series, focusing on five pairs of characters — one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament — who demonstrate in their witness the fulfillment of God's promise. Presented with a kind of before-and-after perspective, the pairing of characters examines how Christ is the key to Scripture — "the founder and perfecter of our faith."

Other Lenten Dramas

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 23 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger imaage

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From the Word: For when God made a promise to Abraham, he swore by himself since he could swear by no one greater. (Hebrews 6:13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Conclusion

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

What does this mean?

It means that I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father and are heard by him, for he himself has commanded us to pray in this manner and has promised to hear us. So we pray with confidence: “Amen,” meaning, “Yes, it shall be so.”

Pulling It Together: Who has commanded us to pray in the manner of the Lord’s Prayer than God himself? And whose name, whose reputation, is higher than God’s. No one’s name is greater, so we may pray with confidence. Just as God promised Abraham, God swears by his own name to hear our prayers, and answer them. He will do all these in our lives: hallow his name, bring his kingdom, do his will, give us food and the necessities of life, forgive our sins, supply us with faith and keep us from unbelief, and guard us from all evil. God stakes his reputation on answering these prayers. Of this, we may be as confident as Abraham.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for hearing my prayers. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 22 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click here for all 23 lessons in the Apostles' Creed. 

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1 Thessalonians 4:13–18

From the Confessions: The Apostles’ Creed

“The Resurrection of the Body”

Pulling It Together

Put a Christian in the ground and she will rise again just as her Lord rose from the dead. She will rise because her Lord rose (Rom 6:5). It is not just the body, in terms of skin and bone and muscle and organ, but as Luther said, “the whole man through and through” that will rise (Luther’s Works, vol 30, p 118). A few centuries ago, we used to say that we “believe in the resurrection of the flesh.” That older language puts a finer point on our confession. Christ has redeemed everything we might consider corrupt, so the flesh, though it undergo decay or be consumed by fire, will be raised by the power of God. Reason says that this cannot be. No matter; reason will be raised right along with the rest of our flesh. The whole person—body, soul, and spirit (1Thes 5:23)—will be raised.

Resurrection is a mystery. It is difficult to comprehend how it will be or can be, but we confess our belief that in the flash of an instant, we will be changed. We will be made otherwise, altered, glorified. The perishable flesh will be clothed in the imperishable glory of God so that we may always be with the Lord. When this new and immortal being is put upon us, we will enjoy God's eternal fellowship since sickness and death will no longer affect us, nor will grief or pain or anything else that our flesh once endured. All of this is the victory that only Christ could obtain for us. It is ours by faith in God, whom we confess will raise us from the dead.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for giving us the victory through Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Small Cat series is a comprehensive way to teach the Catechism to all of your children. There is a workbook and leader's guide for each of grades one through six, along with other complimentary resources. 

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 21 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600

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Romans 13:1-7

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church 

Christ has warned us in his parables about the Church that when offended by the private vices of priests or people, we should not instigate schisms as the Donatists wickedly did. We consider those who have incited schisms to be altogether seditious because they denied that priests are permitted to hold possessions and property. The holding of property is a civil ordinance. It is as lawful for Christians to use civil ordinances as they use the air, light, food, and drink. Just as the order of the world and fixed movements of the heavenly bodies are truly ordinances of God and are preserved by him, so lawful governments are truly God’s ordinances, and are preserved and defended by him against the devil.

Pulling It Together: It is important for us to distinguish between the two kingdoms—the kingdom of God and worldly kingdoms. Both Church and State are under God’s authority but they serve different ends. The State is used by God to provide order in civic matters. God uses his Church to bring about a different kind of order. The Church’s job is to bring the peace of Christ into the world by proclaiming the gospel of grace and forgiveness. Both of these kingdoms work together for the common good under divine authority. So the Church does not exercise legal authority and the State does not legislate in affairs of the kingdom. May the Church be about the work of the gospel while they pray for peace, pay their taxes, vote, and trust in God. 

Prayer: Bless and guide, O Lord, those you have placed in authority over me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 20 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Matthew 28:18-20

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Church 

The entire Eighth Article has been approved, in which we confess that hypocrites and wicked persons have been mingled with the Church, and that the Sacraments are efficacious even though administered by wicked ministers, because ministers act in the place of Christ, and do not represent themselves. Jesus said, “He who hears you hears me” (Luke 10:16). Impious teachers are to be deserted because they are antichrists who no longer act in the place of Christ. Again Christ says, “Beware of false prophets” (Matt 7:15). And Paul, “If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:9).

Pulling It Together: Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions urge us to be not only wary of false teachers and ministers, but to have nothing to do with them. Remove them from the churches or if need be, get out of their congregations. Their words are not to be trusted. But the sacramental ministry that they have done in the name of Christ is still effective. If you were baptized by a minister who does not believe or no longer believes in Christ, your baptism is still effective because that minister did not baptize you. God baptized you. You were baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit—not in the name of Reverend Whatshisname. Remember that you are baptized by God, so the work of God in Christ remains, whether done at the hand of a pious minister or not. Your sins are forgiven because the sinless Christ baptized you, not because you were baptized by a sinless minister of Christ. 

Prayer: Help me to remember my baptism, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Luther's Small Catechism provides inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 17 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Be vigilant, brothers, that there be in none of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to forsake the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Is there anything more evil than the human heart? “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5). The human heart is the source of floods. If we imagine postdiluvian people are different, better, than the mighty men of renown and the giants of old, we deceive ourselves. We too, are fallen just like the Nephilim. We remain dry only by the grace of God.

So we must stand at the watch over our hearts, asking the Father often each day to deliver us from the great evil that beats within us. Otherwise, through sloth or pride, we may fall away from the living God and be consigned to an eternal death. The only thing that keeps us from falling is a soft, believing heart. But faith requires vigilance. Do not abandon your watch, lest you forsake God in your negligence.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to continue with believing faith in you so that I may be with you forever. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Customized Pocket Catechisms

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 16 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And I vowed in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest. (Hebrews 3:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.

Pulling It Together: The ancient Hebrews were being led out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and into a land of rest—a place where they would no longer be in bondage. Although Moses was his human representative, they were being led by God, seen clearly enough in supernatural and always present pillars of fire and smoke (Num 14:14). But they were tempted to return to Egypt (Num 14:4), where all they would know was slavery.

Let us not be too quick to judge their decision. We too, have been known to follow our own deliberations instead of God’s lead. May he deliver us from the evil of deserting him altogether. The desertion of faith results in the greatest loss. Forsaking faith is to abandon God, the source of rest. The eternal Sabbath, a blessed rest prepared by God for those who believe, awaits those who follow him there.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for preparing a place for me in your Father’s house. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

When we speak of the "Great Commission," we usually think of Jesus' words at the end of Matthew's Gospel. But there are actually several places in the New Testament that describe the commission we have been given to speak and act, bearing witness to the truth of the gospel message. All these biblical articulations convey the same charge and calling, but each adds something important to our appreciation and understanding of the mission to which we have been called.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 15 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door, and its desire is for you. But you must master it. (Genesis 4:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Sin is lurking in our doorways every day. Therefore, we must be certain it does not to rule over us. The idea here is not that Cain, and we too, somehow work hard enough to stop sinning. So long as we live in this flesh, we will struggle with sin. So, we must daily see it plunged beneath the waters of our baptisms. What does that mean but that we trust in God? We cannot trust in our power to conquer sin any more than Cain could, yet we must overcome nonetheless.

All Cain had to do was look to God. The testimony clearly states that what he did was look to himself instead. May we not fall into that trap. Look to God! That is the secret of the overcomer; she keeps looking to God. Even when a Christian sins, she must look to God. When we simply confess our sin—that we have not done well—then we have done well. Cain’s big sin was not the bringing of a meager offering; it was being angry with God and with his brother. He may have even been a little angry with himself, as we are upset with ourselves when we sin. But these responses look to self when we should be looking to God. Confess your sin to the Forgiver, and he will accept you. He will lift you up (James 4:10). In this way only, will you ever master your sin.

Prayer: Have mercy on me, O Lamb of God. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 14 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 Having been perfected, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 being appointed by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 5:9–10)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Jesus, sinless and therefore perfect in our minds, was nevertheless perfected through his suffering on the cross. Because of this perfecting, God designated his Son as our great High Priest (Heb 4:14-16). As such, he is the Mediator of our salvation, our sole deliverance from evil. Whatever suffering we endure, due to the evil that surrounds us, or imposed upon ourselves, or simply the because of the difficulties of life itself, our suffering will not merit salvation and eternal life. God requires a perfect priest or Mediator between himself and our fallen nature. This is why Jesus was perfected through death on the cross. Ultimately, we confess in this petition the hope we have in Christ alone, that when we die, we will not be taking our last breath. Because of Jesus’ death, those who believe on him will not perish but will enjoy everlasting life with God (John 3:16).

Prayer: I believe in you, Jesus, and trust in you as the source of salvation. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

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Walking Together,  A Bible Study on the Importance of Fellowship in our Lives as Disciples of Christ, explores one of the most important words we find in the New Testament: fellowship. The life we share with others in Christ as brothers and sisters in the family of God is a gift he gives as he he grafts us into the larger Body of Christ, giving us a place alongside one another as we journey together in faith. Walking Together will help you discover that faith is not merely between an individual and God. He God has made us a part of something much bigger, blessing our lives as disciples of Christ when we walk together with others, bound in love by "one Lord, one faith, and one baptism."

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 13 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For from his fullness we all received, and grace after grace. (John 1:16)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Seventh Petition

But deliver us from evil.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition, as in a summary, that our heavenly Father would deliver us from every type of evil — whether it affects our bodies or souls, property or reputation — and at last, when our hour of death comes, would grant us a blessed end to our earthly lives, and graciously take us from this world of sorrow to himself in heaven.

Pulling It Together: Life, and with it rescue from all evil, comes through the Living Word (John 1:4). Everlasting life comes only through him who is the life and light of humanity, when each person receives him by believing in him (John 1:12). This is how God delivers us from all evil: sin, death, and the power of the devil too. These evils hold no dominance over the child of God. Why? Because God gives his grace to sinners. He is no begrudging divinity, only yielding a little of his favor. He gives abundantly from the storehouses of his grace. You cannot out-sin God’s grace (nor should you try—Rom 6:1–2). He delivers those who trust in his Word, and he does so with one grace stacked against another, his grace matching and overcoming each of your sins, and all your sin—for the sake of Christ.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for delivering me from evil through your blessed Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 10 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: In his days, Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: The Lord is our righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Pulling It Together: Do not be tempted to believe the claims others make about what you need to do in order to be saved. Instead, hang on with faith in what Christ did for you. Hold fast to the Head (Col 2:19), not to things a small part of the body performs. You have “fullness of life” (Col 2:10 RSV) in Christ, not in yourself. Your faith is in him. You were buried with him in baptism, so how can that dead flesh of yours do anything that merits life? The legalistic demands of small-hearted brethren have been “nailed to the cross” (Col 2:14 RSV) along with all your sins.

So, do not be anxious about what others say you must do. Usually, that happens when one is overly concerned with someone’s opinion of you. Do not seek to be acknowledged for what you do. Rather, be known by what the Lord has done. Gladly share his reputation, his name. You are a Christian. The Lord is your righteousness—not you.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for giving me your righteousness. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

God is constantly speaking to us to communicate his love, comfort us in our affliction, guide us in our personal affairs, and lead us into more effective service. Even though God is always communicating with us, we are often deaf to his voice. Hearing God, by Pastor Kent Groethe, helps the reader become more aware of the divine voice and more curious about hearing it on a regular basis.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 09 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: …God desired to make known what is the means of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Pulling It Together: Temptations come in different forms. Typically, we think of them as being interior, compulsions of the mind or heart. But temptations are exterior as well, sometimes coming from the persuasive speeches of false preachers, or even friends and family. So, we must listen to the Spirit, thinking about those things that commend us to truth (Phil 4:8). Yet, the truth is often difficult to know; after all, it lay hidden for long ages. It remains a mystery unless revealed by God (Col 1:26). That is why we must listen to the Spirit in the Word. In this way, God leads us out of temptation. The way out is always through Christ. He who is within you through his own Spirit is the agency of truth, and hope, and glory.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to hear your Spirit. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of six books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 08 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 21 And you—once alienated and enemies in disposition, in evil deeds— 22 he has now reconciled in the body of his flesh through his death, to present you holy and unblemished and beyond recrimination before him, 23 if you continue in the faith, founded and steady, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which was heralded in all creation under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:21–23)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Pulling It Together: How are we to be protected from the devil, or from the world, or even from our own corrupt nature? Can we provide our own protection? Are we able to purchase it with our deeds or those of someone else with the same debased disposition? Can religion defend us from ourselves? It can be tempting to imagine such things. Yet, Christ has already settled the matter, making us holy children, unaccusable through his own work, through his death to our sin. Do not ever be tempted to believe in yourself, in your deeds. Keep believing in Christ. Do not be moved from the solid ground of faith in him. He alone is our hope. Cling to this glad news: the victory over sin and death, over the devil himself, has already been accomplished. It is secured for those who prevail in faith, who remain steady, founded upon the hope of the gospel.

Prayer: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief! Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Invitation Project is a congregational guide that describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical step-by-step “how to” approach, provides guidance, organization, and ideas — not simply to promote a single program, but to develop and inspire the over-all outreach of the congregation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 07 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 12 …giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you in that portion of the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us out of the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, 14 in whom we have full redemption: the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:12–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Pulling It Together: It is tempting to merely ask God to deliver us from urges to rebel against authorities, to hurt someone, commit adultery, steal, lie, or desire what belongs to others. Those are petitions for help against temptations to break the second table of the law; but what of the first? We are in danger of breaking the first table when we put another god before the Lord. That false god is self, when we do not fear, love, and trust God above all things.

It is a temptation to imagine we can do something to alleviate God’s wrath for our sin. Who has not feared his retribution, and then tried harder to be good. There is nothing wrong with that, in a general sense. We should try to be good. However, in a specific sense, if we think human efforts appease God, then we have been tempted in the worst possible way. For we are altogether unfit for the task of storming heaven; we are unqualified to a person. God alone qualifies us to receive a share in the eternal inheritance of his kingdom. We do not redeem ourselves; we are redeemed. We are passive in the work of redemption. It is God’s action upon us. To believe that we have a hand in the matter means we fear there is something we must do, that we place at least some level of trust in ourselves. That is tantamount to a violation of the First Commandment. The Father qualifies each of us for Christ’s sake—his only, with no help from you and me. Do not be tempted otherwise.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for fully redeeming me by means of your Beloved Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Portraits of Jesus is a nine-session Bible study that explores the "I AM" statements given to us by Jesus himself. In comparing Jesus' words with related Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments, the study provides a well-rounded look at the center of our faith in Christ.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 06 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And the city has no need of the sun, nor the moon, to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. (Revelation 21:23)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Sixth Petition

And lead us not into temptation.

What does this mean?

God indeed tempts no one to sin, but we pray in this petition that God would guard and protect us from this, that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or lead us into false belief, despair, and other great and shameful sins, but pray that when we are tempted in these ways, we may finally prevail and gain the victory.

Pulling It Together: In eternity, the righteous will shine like the sun (Matt 13:43); but, I wonder, why should we wait for eternity? Let us burn brightly now. I know; I know. You ask, How can I, a poor sinner, blaze with such glory? And you will not, so long as you imagine it is you who are the fuel of the eternal city. You shine brightest when your face, your very life, is full of the Lamb’s light. Your glowing is not a matter of not sinning or being perfect, but of the perfect Lamb of God having died for your sins, yet is alive again. It is when miserable sinners confess their sins, turning to the one who forgives and redeems and showers them in his light, that they emerge from the darkness.

So, when we pray, “lead us not into temptation,” what are we asking but that we are continually led out of darkness and into the light of the Lamb? When we invoke the Sixth Petition, we are asking for more than a removal of temptations or for the ability to not sin. We are asking in faith that our human darkness be illuminated by the Lamp of the eternal city which even now has begun to shine.

Prayer: Give me such sight, O Lamb of God, that you fill my field of vision. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Who is Jesus? is a five-session study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 03 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and slander be put away from you, with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31–32)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition that our heavenly Father would not hold our sins against us and deny our prayers because of them. We know we have not earned, nor do we deserve, those things for which we pray. But we ask that he would grant us all things through grace, even though we sin every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And so we, too, will heartily forgive, and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Pulling It Together: It is our Christian duty to absolve one another (Matt 6:14–15; John 20:23; James 5:16), as Christ has forgiven us. Before we come to his table, we must graciously extend his peace to all. We dare not come to the blessed Communion to receive his grace for ourselves alone—nor can we. So, we must be as sure as we are able to make the way to grace free for others, those whom we might stand in the way of at the holy meal. They must not be thinking of us when they kneel. Therefore, all bitterness and anger must be removed from the chancel rail, so that Christ is everyone’s focus instead of some person on the other side of the table. This end is best served by humbly forgiving one another, just as God in Christ tenderly and graciously forgives us all.

Prayer: Give me, O Lord, your kind heart, so that I may be led by you to forgive—and to be forgiven. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Adventures of Martin Luther is a simple musical drama was written for youth to tell the story of Martin Luther's adventures, including his testimony before the Emperor at the Diet of Worms and what was happening in Wittenberg during Luther's exile at Wartburg Castle. Released by Sola Publishing as part of the celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, the drama serves as a fun and interesting way for young people to enter into the story of Martin Luther, acting out some key moments in his life. The script allows for many participants, using accessible language and easy-to-learn songs based on familiar hymn tunes. Costume and prop notes are included, to help those in charge of the production.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 02 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called in one hope of your calling— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all. (Ephesians 4:4–6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition that our heavenly Father would not hold our sins against us and deny our prayers because of them. We know we have not earned, nor do we deserve, those things for which we pray. But we ask that he would grant us all things through grace, even though we sin every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And so we, too, will heartily forgive, and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Pulling It Together: The unity of the church begins and ends with God. Her unity is the Spirit’s work—not yours or mine. Christ’s Spirit unites the church. There is but one body of Christ, not many bodies, and we are brought into the one body through baptism. Now, you may say that there are many kinds of churches and even different modes of baptism. Granted, but there is one Head of the body into whom we are all baptized. He is our unity—not our church names or rituals. God holds us all together, just as surely as he holds together the whole creation (Col 1:17). Though we cannot destroy his unity, we should be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 6:3). That begins with the word of forgiveness that we daily and weekly pray we will give.

Prayer: Lord God, give me your courageous humility so that I may forgive. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The kind of church we see in the New Testament is different from what most modern people imagine when they think of “going to church.” Experiencing Life Together is a 15-week house-church curriculum designed for pastors, lay leaders, and churches interested in getting a taste for what church in the home is really like. Whether referred to as a house-church, organic church, alternative church, or cell church, this material applies well to any group that wants to experience Christian worship in the context of a small group meeting within the homes of the participants.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 01 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and the one sitting upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon his head are many crowns. And he has a name written that no one but himself knows. 13 He is arrayed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name that he is named is The Word of God. (Revelation 19:11–13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition that our heavenly Father would not hold our sins against us and deny our prayers because of them. We know we have not earned, nor do we deserve, those things for which we pray. But we ask that he would grant us all things through grace, even though we sin every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And so we, too, will heartily forgive, and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Pulling It Together: We are not forsaken (Isa 62:12; 2 Cor 4:9), for we have a righteous deliverer, riding in on the horse of a champion and conqueror. The war he wages is cosmic, a battle with death itself. He does not engage the forces of flesh and blood but all the armies of evil and the devil. He fights with the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17), the word of his mouth, the invincible “it is written” (Matt 4:7) over which even hell’s general is unable to prevail. It is by this Word of God that we are absolved. His word is enough. Those who believe in Christ Jesus, The Word of God, triumph with him (2 Cor 2:14) since by that Name we are forgiven of the sin that would have defeated us. When we pray, “forgive us our trespasses,” we are asking the Father to deliver us from sin, death, evil, and the devil. He hears our prayer before we can ask it, opening heaven, and answering with the only solution in all of heaven: The Word of God.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for your righteous victory over my sin. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This is Most Certainly True! is a six-chapter mid-week Lenten Series features monologues from Martin Luther himself, based on his writings in the Large Catechism. Luther explains eloquently and simply what each part of the catechism means for us as believers and ends it with an affirmation of certainty: "This is most certainly true!"

Luther's thoughts have been transformed here into dramatic monologues so that we might hear and meditate on the foundations of our Christian faith. In addition to a sample worship service outline, there are hymns suggestions for each monologue and opening dialogues for worship based on the parts of the Small Catechism.

Other Lenten Dramas

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 31 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness, and moved us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition that our heavenly Father would not hold our sins against us and deny our prayers because of them. We know we have not earned, nor do we deserve, those things for which we pray. But we ask that he would grant us all things through grace, even though we sin every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And so we, too, will heartily forgive, and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Pulling It Together: Where I come from, it is illegal for drivers to make a turn without signaling. You may receive a ticket for failing to turn on that blinker. That is not the case where I now live. In this state, there are different laws. If you do not signal a turn here, except in some specific situations, you are not breaking the law.

Where we all came from, that dominion of the devil, everything we did was wrong. By God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been emigrated from that dark place to a kingdom of light where the laws are quite different. Here, the Magistrate says, “Oh, yes, I saw that you failed to do that; don’t you agree?” We respond, “I confess it is true, and am very sorry.” Then the Justice says, “All is well!”

How can it be? We live in a different land now—a land where there is redemption and forgiveness of sins.

Prayer: Thank you, Father God, for the forgiveness of sins you have granted through your beloved Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Introduce young students to the Church through this five-week series titled Welcome to Church. There are no student books necessary; all print resources needed to prepare and run a class session are included and are copy-ready. Each lesson includes background information for the teacher on the session theme and Bible lesson, as well as a step-by-step class session plan, ideas for welcome, prayers, Bible rhymes, activities and projects, as well as reproducible coloring pages and worksheets. The price of the book includes permission to reproduce pages for local use.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 30 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 8 Take care that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Everyone who oversteps and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. The one abiding in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 8–9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fifth Petition

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

What does this mean?

We pray in this petition that our heavenly Father would not hold our sins against us and deny our prayers because of them. We know we have not earned, nor do we deserve, those things for which we pray. But we ask that he would grant us all things through grace, even though we sin every day and deserve nothing but punishment. And so we, too, will heartily forgive, and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

Pulling It Together: One may believe in Christ, a sort of historical or even biblical knowledge of him, but still, not believe on him. Believing in him may require nothing more than one would by believing in anyone or anything else. But believing on him means you trust what he says. Now, when Jesus says, do not do this, or do that, you trust him to mean what he says. When Jesus says to repent, you take him at his word. When he promises to forgive you, you count on his word to be true.

We know what he has said to us through the Scripture. There is nothing else. There are many who will tell you the Bible is an ever-changing document, some of it to be believed in ancient times, but that it does not apply to modern folks like us. This is overstepping (2 John 9). The Apostle Paul warns us about going beyond what is written (1 Cor 4:6), which is tantamount to what John says about abiding in Christ’s teaching or doctrine. In fact, it comes down to believing on your words instead of the words of God.

Therefore, believe what God tells you in the Bible. And if he says, “repent,” turn from your sins and believe in his forgiveness of your sins through Christ Jesus.

Prayer: Give me courage, Lord, to take a good look at myself and see if there is some way I am not keeping in step with your word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of four books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 27 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fourth Petition

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God indeed gives daily bread to all, even unbelievers, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that he would help us to recognize this so that we would receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?

Daily bread includes everything required to meet our earthly needs, such as food, drink, clothing, home, property, employment, necessities; devout parents, children, and communities; honest and faithful authorities, good government, seasonable weather, peace, health, an orderly society, a good reputation, true friends and neighbors, and the like.

Pulling It Together: When we pray for our daily bread, we are only asking for what God has already promised. We confess this in the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed. By acknowledging that God is our creator, we are affirming that he provides for all the needs of our lives. When we ask for our daily bread, we are asking for all our needs. More than that, this petition is a daily reminder to thank the Father for everything, for life itself, and for the eternal life we have through his Son.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for being a loving and caring Father. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 26 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Now in those days, when the disciples were growing, a grumbling of the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily assistance. 2 So the twelve mustered the majority of the disciples and said, “It is not suitable that we neglect the word of God to serve tables. 3 Now, brothers, choose seven of your men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, who we will appoint over this work. 4 But we will devoutly persevere in prayer, and in the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:1–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fourth Petition

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God indeed gives daily bread to all, even unbelievers, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that he would help us to recognize this so that we would receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?

Daily bread includes everything required to meet our earthly needs, such as food, drink, clothing, home, property, employment, necessities; devout parents, children, and communities; honest and faithful authorities, good government, seasonable weather, peace, health, an orderly society, a good reputation, true friends and neighbors, and the like.

Pulling It Together: From the early days of the church, there was concern for both spiritual and physical needs. When believers are hungry, the church must feed them. When they are thirsty, the church must provide them drink. The church, following the Lord’s directive (Matt 14:13–21; Mark 6:30–44), has always endeavored to meet the nutritional needs of the people. But there is more than physical food and drink, and the church must be doubly devoted to feeding the spirit. We need the Word of God every bit as much and more than we need physical sustenance (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4; Luke 4:4). The spirit must be nourished; otherwise, we perish twice.

Prayer: Feed me, O Bread of heaven. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Please consider adding Sola Publishing to your church and/or personal benevolence by clicking the donate button above. You will be taken to Tithely, where you can quickly set up a secure account. Please note that you may choose to pay the processing fee too, and that you may set up automatic, regular giving. 

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 23 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time. (Luke 1:20)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: Our unbelief will not change the will of God. Everything he has resolved will come to pass in its season—whether we believe it will or not.

Sometimes we will not believe because God’s will seems too fantastic to us, as was the case with Zechariah. Other times, his will seems too harsh, and we refuse to believe. His will, now and then, seems too favorable toward us, and thinking we do not deserve God’s good will, we again, refuse to believe.

Nonetheless, God’s will is done, in spite of us. He does not rush to prove us wrong, but bides his time so that all things are accomplished in their season, including the span necessary to strengthen us in belief and to become steadfast in his Word and faith. In this way, we begin to desire his will be done in our earthly lives, even as it is done in heaven.

Prayer: Help, O Lord, my unbelief. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Your support of Sola Publishing enables Sola to benefit future generations of Lutherans by continuing to produce resources that reflect the integrity of the Scriptures as the Word of God, from the perspective of the historical Lutheran Confessions.

Click the "Donate" button above to make a secure, one-time or recurring donation. Or mail checks made out to "Sola Publishing" to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
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Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 20 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. (Revelation 5:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: It was the will of the Father that his Son, the perfect Lamb of God, be born, suffer and die, and be buried, raised, and ascended to glory. All this was the Father’s perfect will so that the imperfect world he loves may be resurrected to new life. The Lamb died so that those who believe in him may share in his perfect righteousness. Without the will of the Father and the obedience of his Lamb we would be unjust and unable to believe in “the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.” Yet, because the Lamb is worthy, the Father is just in calling us worthy, righteous, and perfectly justified to him. For his sacrifice has destroyed the intent of the devil, redeeming our sinful nature so that we may regard his name as holy. What are we to do then, but fall down before the Lamb and worship (Rev 5:14)? This too, is the will of the Father.

Prayer: Thank you, O Lamb of God, for making a way to your Father—even for me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sacraments is one of four books in the Sola Confirmation Series and serves as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Each book in the series may be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 19 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and they were created and exist through your will. (Revelation 4:11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: We were created as temporal beings; we exist within time. Therefore, we must learn patience. Patience is a virtue because it is so necessary and because it is God’s will. By his creation of all time-based things, he also dictates that we must be patiently faithful. In our waiting, especially in this season of Advent, we are aware of God’s seeming absence, yet we also become keenly aware of his promise. He is returning (John 14:3; Rev 3:11; 22:7, 12). In the interval of patient expectation, we find that our creator is worthy of all glory and honor and power. His seeming delay brings forth the fruit of patience in those who faithfully watch, for in waiting they learn the blessed will of the Father, and are at peace.

Prayer: Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Your support of Sola Publishing enables Sola to benefit future generations of Lutherans by continuing to produce resources that reflect the integrity of the Scriptures as the Word of God, from the perspective of the historical Lutheran Confessions.

Click the "Donate" button above to make a secure, one-time or recurring donation. Or mail checks made out to "Sola Publishing" to:

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 18 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: After this, I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice, which I had heard speaking with me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you that which must happen after these things.” (Revelation 4:1)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: We have seen the open door of the gospel (Rev 3:8) but here is a door opened to heaven, so that John may see into the realm of the divine and be assured that God’s will is being done on earth. The best events in our world have their cause in heaven, and are guided by the wisdom of the heavenly King. While this may be difficult to believe, it is what we confess and pray. Just so, in our Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is teaching us how our wills may come to match those of his Father. The Third Petition is not meant to muster our pitiful powers or steal our mettle, but to bolster our trust in the Almighty. In the Third Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we do not pray that his will might be done, but for faith to believe God’s will is truly being done. This is what John is about to witness through an opened door to heaven: God’s will is indeed being done on earth as it is in heaven.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Father. Amen.

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How to be a Disciple is a six-part series of dramas featuring the first twelve disciples, each exploring a piece of the discipleship puzzle. The disciples are placed in a light-hearted contemporary setting, helping listeners to get a sense for the down-to-earth interplay between personalities. The progression of the series is meant to provide the larger picture of what discipleship means. (Two to five characters per drama.)

Other Lenten Dramas

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 17 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 I know your works: that you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot. 16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you from my mouth. 17 Because you say, “I am rich and have become prosperous and need nothing,” but do not realize you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness not be revealed, and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. (Revelation 3:15–18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: It is God’s will that we find our satisfaction in him. When we are content with our deeds and religious devotion, we may feel satisfied but our attitude is bile in the throat of the Almighty. Tepid religiosity is a faith killer. Though we imagine ourselves rich in religion, and put on pious attire, and protest that it is we who see how the church ought to be, God’s will remains. He would have us obtain salve for our eyes so that we may see clearly, baptismal robes so that we are properly attired to walk with him, and his means so that we are rich in him. Beware, lest you become satisfied with your religion. May you find contentment in Christ alone.

Prayer: Awaken me, Lord, so that I am ready for your return. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Developed and used by Pastor Fred Baltz in his church in Galena, Illinois, this congregational resource book describes how a parish can host an “invite-able” event, as part of a larger evangelism initiative, energizing God’s people for the mission of Christ. Using a practical, step-by-step “how to” approach, The Invitation Project provides guidance, organization, and ideas, not simply to promote a single program of outreach, but to develop and inspire the overall outreach efforts of the congregation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 16 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: I know your works. See, I have caused there to be an opened door before you, which no one can shut. I know that you have little power, yet have kept my word and not denied my name. (Revelation 3:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: Who can shut the open door of the gospel’s invitation to faith in Christ? It is God’s will that we are strengthened to keep the faith, to remain steadfast in his Word. So, though we have little or no power in our human nature, God supplies us with enough to keep us in the faith and remain faithful to his Name. It is he who “encourage[s ]our hearts and strengthen[s us] in every good deed and word” (2 Thes 2:17). His will be done.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the open door of the gospel. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is an advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

Part 1 Leader's Guide  •  Part 2 Participant Book  •  Part 2 Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 13 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 25 But hold fast to what you have until I come. 26 To the one who overcomes and keeps my works until the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when clay pots are shattered—just as I have received it from my Father. 28 And I will give him the Morning Star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:25–29)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: What does love desire? A large, fine house? A car with a big red bow atop it on Christmas morning? Diamonds? Dinner and a movie every week? Each is more absurd than the next. Anyone who has ever been in love knows the supreme gift is one’s heart. Giving oneself to their true love is the highest measure of love.

So, what would it be that the church’s true love, Christ Jesus, would require of us but our hearts? And how do we give him our hearts but by remaining faithful to him, like any loving spouse does. We do not give our hearts to other gods, nor to any activities that would take us away from him. We are to be fully devoted to the Lord, not half-hearted. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with the whole heart (Matt 22:37). This is God’s good and gracious will, that when we have little else to give him, we give him what he desires most. We give him our hearts by being faithful to him alone until the end. 

Then, at that ending of all things temporal, Christ Jesus, the bright and Morning Star (Rev 22:16), will give us himself in glory.  

Prayer: I love you, O Lord of my heart. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 12 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 10 Do not fear things that you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will experience tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:10–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: We are to fear God rather than the things of this life. Suffering, even great suffering, may be our lot, yet it is only for the space of time. A Day is coming when time is undone, and with it all the tribulation of this life. Then there will be everlasting joy and peace. In the meanwhile, it remains God’s will for us to be faithful—even in the face of death.

Polycarp, that faithful disciple of St. John, and the bishop of Smyrna, faced death by wild beasts or fire, unless he recanted his faith in Christ. The blessed bishop would rather be burned than betray his Lord. And so, he was led to the pyre. He went joyfully, knowing that the fire would burn for an hour while a fire fit for the faithless would burn forever.

It is God’s will that we remain faithful regardless of this life’s troubles. Troubles come and go but the faithful will remain in the presence of their Lord forever.

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Father, that I may confess with the blessed bishop of Smyrna, “I am a Christian!” Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Your support of Sola Publishing enables Sola to benefit future generations of Lutherans by continuing to produce resources that reflect the integrity of the Scriptures as the Word of God, from the perspective of the historical Lutheran Confessions.

Click the "Donate" button above to make a secure, one-time or recurring donation. Or mail checks made out to "Sola Publishing" to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

Questions? Please call toll free: 888-887-9840.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 11 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 4 But I have this against you, that you have forsaken your primary love. 5 Remember therefore, from where you are fallen, and reconsider, and do the former works. Unless you repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:4–5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: The fear, love, and trust of God both bids us do his will and gives us the power to do so. And what is God’s greatest command than that we love him above all others, and our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27)? Do we still love him as we did when his own love for us was first made known? Does our love of the crucified motivate us to love those whom he loves? It must! Therefore, we should consider our current attitudes, whether there is some affection lacking in us. If so, repentance is our only course of action, as we “await[] our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). The people of God must be eager to do the deeds of love that glorify their King. This is his purpose for us (Titus 2:14); but if we will not do his will, how will we bear his light to the world? Our defiance would effectively remove the stand that bears the Light. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28 NIV).

Prayer: Strengthen me, O Lord, so that I may do your will. Amen.

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By What Authority is a book that confronts churches who no longer believe their own message. It is about the end of traditional Christianity as practiced in modern times—not a futuristic end, but an end already accomplished, or partially accomplished, in a majority of countries, cities, and churches. Strange as it seems, many Christians haven't noticed. But others were so concerned they've gathered in these pages the wisdom of alert pastors, theologians, laity, young seminarians, and evangelicals. They all have a story to tell you in their own voices. and it's a story so urgent and timely it opens your eyes in ways few might imagine. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 09 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5b To him who loves us—freeing us from our sins by his blood— 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be the glory and the dominion from everlasting to forever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5b–6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Petition

Thy kingdom come.

What does this mean?

The kingdom of God comes indeed by itself, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may also come to us.

How is this done?

God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word and live a godly life now and in eternity.

Pulling It Together: We have no beasts to sacrifice, yet we are priests to our God. We have no temple where the people come to our services, for we are all priests to our God. We have no special, ornate garments, as in baptism we have been clothed in Christ (Gal 3:27), our robes whitened in the blood of the Lamb (Rev 7:14). The duty of the old priestly system has been fulfilled in Christ. He is our great High Priest (Heb 4:14), his body and blood the fully sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (Heb 10:12). So, how is it that we are priests? What does this priestly role have us do?

Luther said that what we do have is God's Word, the Word that assures us of two things: that Christ Jesus is our High Priest, our Lord who sits in glory and dominion, and that we are, by this same Word, priests before God. But what are we to offer? Sacrifices? Deeds? Religious devotion? No, our offering is always the fear, love, and trust of God that manifests itself in faith. Our faith is what we give to the Father; it is all he desires. There are many things that flow from such God-fearing faith—the sacrifices of praise and prayer, good works, and worship—but faith is the priestly duty of Christians. When we pray, “Thy kingdom come,” we are asking that his kingdom come to us, and it does, by God’s grace through faith.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, may your kingdom come in the hearts of those we love. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is written in easy-to-understand language but is a challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format. Click here to see the Table of Contents and a sample session.

Leader's Guide 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 06 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 3 Beloved, though I was especially intent to write to you about our common salvation, I found need to write, exhorting you to fight for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have slipped in who were long ago charged with this condemnation: ungodly people, who distort the grace of our God into licentiousness, and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 3–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The First Petition

Hallowed be thy name.

What does this mean?

God’s name is indeed holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy also among us.

How is this done?

God’s name is hallowed when his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we, as God’s children, lead holy lives in accordance with it. Grant this to us, dear Father in heaven. But whoever teaches and lives in ways other than what God’s Word teaches dishonors the name of God among us. Prevent us from doing this, heavenly Father.

Pulling It Together: Our faith, which leads to salvation, is held or observed in common (Jude 3; Titus 1:4). What is our common faith if not summarized in this word: that Jesus delivered us from bondage (Jude 5)? Yet there are those among us who would remain in Egypt while partaking of the kingdom’s joys. We must give no quarter to those who compromise the faith. These blasphemers are a great danger to the church, and are to be shunned.

The best way to avoid them may be to give them cause to avoid you. Call a pastor who preaches both Law and Gospel, so that conviction of sins, as well as the consolation of Christ, is always in attendance at your assemblies. Build yourselves up in our common, holy faith, and pray that you are kept in the faith and not led astray by false teachers. In doing so, we live out the petition that God’s name may be kept holy among us.

Prayer: Multiply in the church, Lord, your peace, mercy, and love. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the Atonement.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 05 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 11 As all these things are to be obliterated, what kind of people are you obligated to be in holy and godly lives, 12 expecting and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and destroyed, and the elements will melt as they burn? 13 But, according to his promise, we are awaiting new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness resides. (2 Peter 3:11–13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven.

What does this mean?

God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father, and that we are truly his children, so that we may boldly and confidently pray to him, just as beloved children speak to their dear father.

How is this done?

God’s name is hallowed when his Word is taught in its truth and purity and we, as God’s children, lead holy lives in accordance with it. Grant this to us, dear Father in heaven. But whoever teaches and lives in ways other than what God’s Word teaches dishonors the name of God among us. Prevent us from doing this, heavenly Father.

Pulling It Together: How may we hallow God’s name but to believe his Word and act accordingly? This old world will not be around forever, and we even less time. All of creation awaits its destruction, when new and holy places will be given to those who have been reborn to live godly lives. As all is to be destroyed, it puts a fine point on the purpose of life. All of that stuff in your attic or basement or storage unit, everything packed away in drawers and closets and bank accounts, even those packages under the Christmas tree, will end in a cataclysmic apocalypse. Facebook disputes and arguments over the color of carpet or the expansion of the church building or whether to go to a second service, will be wiped out. Climbing the ladder of success will be reduced to nothing.

So, what kind of people should we be in the meantime? Holy. Godly. And how may we live such lives but by believing God’s Word and doing it? This is the petition given legs, the hallowing of the name of our heavenly Father.

Prayer: May your name be holy among us, Father. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study is presented in a discussion formation with assigned readings from the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Included in the study is a shorter work by Philip Melanchton called "The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope." 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 04 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven.

What does this mean?

God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father, and that we are truly his children, so that we may boldly and confidently pray to him, just as beloved children speak to their dear father.

Pulling It Together: The future is unknown, so I better put more money in my retirement fund. I would have less anxiety if I could just get a better paying job. Can the government do more for me? These are the daily worries of so many. But we must look to a surer source of help in life (Psa 121:1). Should our appeal be to a financial planner or employer, Congress or President? Is there actual hope in these resources—something that may sustain our confidence throughout life? We confess that our help comes from the Lord, that “our help is in the name of the Lord” (Psa 124:8). Therefore, Jesus teaches us to address our prayer to that great name, to pray to the one who is able to grant us our requests, and who, in fact, wishes to do so. Thus, we pray, “Our Father.”

Prayer: Father, thank you for listening. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Fulfilled In Him is a five-part Lenten drama series, focusing on five pairs of characters — one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament — who demonstrate in their witness the fulfillment of God's promise. Presented with a kind of before-and-after perspective, the pairing of characters examines how Christ is the key to Scripture — "the founder and perfecter of our faith."

Other Lenten Dramas

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 03 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken away and discarded into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever you request in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:21–22)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven.

What does this mean?

God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father, and that we are truly his children, so that we may boldly and confidently pray to him, just as beloved children speak to their dear father.

Pulling It Together: Everything belongs to the Father, and in him all creation holds together (Col 1:17). Is he then, unable to grant your prayers? Indeed, there is a so-called power that holds back the hand of God. Lack of faith checks the Almighty. However, Christ Jesus himself gives a promise to those who pray to the heavenly Father with faith—that is, with fear, love, and trust. Those who pray with faith in the Almighty, will receive what they ask of God, for he is a loving Father who gives his children all good things (Matt 7:11).

Prayer: Thank you, heavenly Father, for hearing my prayers. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Here is a free, one-year Bible reading plan you may print out for yourself or for your entire congregation. If you would like professional, personalized copies for your church, email or call 336-684-5634 for a quotation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 02 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1b To those who have received a faith of equal excellence as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be increased in you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. (2 Peter 1:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven.

What does this mean?

God encourages us to believe that he is truly our Father, and that we are truly his children, so that we may boldly and confidently pray to him, just as beloved children speak to their dear father.

Pulling It Together: Consider your worth. Your own merit, that which is yours through your deeds and religious devotion, is of course, relatively worthless. This does not give you any standing with God. Yet, the distinction you have with the Father because of Christ is of the greatest excellence. There is no higher merit. Because of Christ alone, you may come to the Father in heaven. He hears your prayers, even gladly expecting them, because of your faith in his Son. The knowledge of this truth, that you are justified or made right with the Father through Christ alone, adds grace to grace, enlarging your faith, and increasing your peace with God. This is why you may boldly and confidently approach the throne of grace (Heb 4:16). You are of great worth to God because of “the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”

Prayer: Thank you, Heavenly Father, for hearing my prayers. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 29 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5b Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. 6 And on that day there will not be no light, cold, or frost; 7 but it will be a singular day that is known to the Lord—not day nor night. When the hour of evening comes, there will be light. (Zechariah 14:5b–7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: On the last day, the Lord will return. These lengthening days of darkness will be no more, for the Lamb will be our light (Rev 21:23). We will have no concern for the heat of day, or cold, nor any interest in weather at all. For the Lord will captivate us. We cannot conceive of his eternal light, as yet known only to God. But at last, the Lord will return to raise us from the dead (1 Thes 4:16), and grant us everlasting life in the brightness of eternal day. Then we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thes 4:17). This is what we confess. This is what we await. This is the certain truth in which, even now, we have begun to live.

Prayer: Turn my eyes, O Lamb of God, toward that brightness of eternal day which is you. Amen.

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Here is a free, one-year Bible reading plan you may print out for yourself or for your entire congregation. If you would like professional, personalized copies for your church, email or call 336-684-5634 for a quotation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 28 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 15 Having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and your love for all the saints, 16 for this reason, I do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your heart enlightened that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints… (Ephesians 1:15–18)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Oh, the wonder of faith in Jesus Christ! It is faith in God that makes a saint, and saints make the church, which has the Lord Jesus Christ as her Head. This is reason for great thanksgiving to God—not merely the apostle’s gratitude but ours too. Let us give thanks to God for the church, that blessed communion of saints where he gives us faith to receive all of God’s blessings: forgiveness of sins, resurrection of body, everlasting life—and all else besides.

Prayer: Thank you, O Father of Glory, for the church of Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Electronic Resource (SOWeR) also includes bulletin templates. There are word processing templates for both communion and non-communion services. There are also templates for Sola, LBW, and Reclaim service settings. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 27 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: In [Christ] we have great redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the wealth of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Within the communion of the Christian church there is the true faith that receives the free gift of Christ Jesus. There, in that Body, the Head forgives; and he forgives abundantly, as there is full redemption in his blood. The sacrifice of Jesus means that the Father’s gracious love is justly given to those who believe, to his church, his Body. His salvation is so complete that he forgives the sins of all believers not once, but daily. His blood is a full atonement, given once for all people, for all time, for all sin (Heb 10:1–18). The Father is not stingy or cheap with his grace; he lavishly forgives us our iniquities for Jesus’ sake. His Holy Spirit is his seal of our redemption, a guarantee we may rely upon until that Day when we fully inherit his blessings through resurrection to eternal life (Eph 1:14). 

Prayer: Give me, O God, receiving faith in Jesus Christ. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Electronic Resource (SOWeR) includes a database of hundreds of hymns and songs for use in worship. Search for titles, themes, or categories; then open individual pages that feature author data, plain-text lyrics, full-score hymn inserts, and simplified lead sheets for accompanists. Hymn numbers are provided for LBW/WOV and ReClaim hymnals. The database also includes original lyrics written by Sola authors, that may be sung to familiar hymn tunes.

SOWER is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 26 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 35 Now as he drew near to Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 And hearing a crowd of people going by, he asked what this was. 37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 And those in front rebuked him, so that he would be quiet. Yet he screamed even more. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 Then Jesus stopped and commanded him be led to him. And when he drew near, he asked him, 41 “What do you desire me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, that I recover my sight.” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 43 And immediately, he recovered his sight, and followed him, glorifying God. And when they saw it, the entire crowd gave praise to God. (Luke 18:35–43)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: We may think of this calling of the Spirit as a solitary affair, as though the Spirit says, “You there, come and follow Christ.” And so he does call each one of us, but we follow Christ together. This is the church; we are each part of the Body. We see how to follow Jesus in the company of other followers, and in their companionship we are encouraged to continue following.

See how a multitude clamored after Jesus as he neared Jericho? Yet, the whole company learned how to truly follow Jesus when a blind man cried out, “Lord, let me receive my sight.” Jesus granted faith true sight and the blind man, now seeing, followed Jesus. Then, all the people praised God.

This is how the Spirit works in the church. He calls people to see Christ through faith. Then the whole company of believers is encouraged and praise God. In the church, the blind receive sight, and the dead are raised to walk in newness of life. This is the Spirit’s work among us.

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, that I may follow you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, worship planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. This brochure will answer more questions about SOWeR. Call 1-888-887-9840 to order a yearly subscription. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 25 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20 You know the commandments: do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.” 21 And he said, “I have observed all these things since my youth.” 22 And when Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me. (Luke 18:18–22)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Jesus still calls. He beckons us to come to him from out of the darkness. Jesus calls us from the darkness of dependence upon anything but himself. Such is the case with the ruler in today’s reading. He would gain eternal life on his own. “What must I do?” he inquired, as if thinking that the keeping of the commandments or some other moralistic housekeeping was the trick. So Jesus gave him a very hard thing to do, hoping to show him that he could not perform it, and that he must depend upon a greater goodness than himself.

The ruler does not seem to comprehend Jesus’ real teaching, nor do the others who heard, imagining heaven an impossibility if one must sell everything and give it to the poor. Let us be clear: Jesus did not assign a good work to be performed in order to snatch eternity from the grasp of God. The point Jesus made to the ruler—and is making to you and me—is that no one can depend on their goodness or deeds in order to obtain eternal life. But we may depend upon Jesus.

Therefore, we should follow him, not a trail of our own actions. For we are preserved in unity with Jesus Christ by following him, which is tantamount to being in the one true faith. When instead, our steps correspond to our deeds, we are out of step with Jesus.

Prayer: Give me the courage to follow you, Jesus, even if it means I give up all else. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The goal of Personalities of Faith, a ten-session Bible study for youth, is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith". Using biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 22 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 28 Then they cry to the Lord in their suffering, and he brings them out of their distresses. 29 He stills the storm to a calm, so that the billows are silent. 30 Then they rejoice because the swells are tranquil, and he brings them to their desired harbor. (Psalm 107:28–30)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: If you have ever been on a boat in a bad storm, you know the helplessness of the situation. The closest many of us have come to this nautical nightmare is driving down an Interstate highway when a blinding rainstorm seems to come out of nowhere. The best one may do in such a situation is pull over and wait out the storm. Of course, when you are in a boat at sea, there is no place to pull over.

“The whole Christian church on earth” is that boat. Sometimes the storm—the angst over sin, and concerns about death—is overwhelming and it seems there is no refuge. The boat is our only sanctuary, so we wait it out together in that safest of places, awaiting the stillness that God has promised. And what is that promise but that he forgives our sins and gives us victory over death, and that he will, at last, bring this boat filled with all his people into her anticipated haven? Rejoice!

Prayer: Give me the courage to wait upon you, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name. Make his deeds known among the peoples. 2 Sing to him; sing praises to him. Meditate on all his marvelous works. 3 Glory in his holy name. Let the heart of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Seek the Lord and his strength. Constantly seek his face. 5 Remember the wondrous things that he has done: his miracles and the judgments that he pronounced. (Psalm 105:1–5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Do not give up hope about the church. God’s Spirit is still calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying his people. In doing so, he unites the whole Christian church on earth with Christ, thereby preserving it in the one true faith. Give thanks. Sing to him. Glory in the Name. Continually seek his face. Remember his marvelous works, for these works of calling, gathering, enlightening, and sanctifying are his works in us. Without the Spirit’s work in this catholic church, despite our best efforts, it would not be the church at all, for it would not be a holy church. The church requires the work of God to make it holy. In order to make it holy, this uniting with Christ must take place and be preserved. This is not something we can do; it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that unites us with Christ and therefore, makes the catholic church wholly holy. Therefore, our hope for the church must always be in the Lord of the church.

Prayer: I remember, O Lord, the wonderful things you have done for me—and for your whole church on earth. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 20 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 3 And another angel came and stood over the altar, having a golden censer; and much incense was given to him to add to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense with the prayers of the saints went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and cast it upon the earth. And there followed thunder and booms and lightning and an earthquake. (Revelation 8:1–5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Frightful things are looming. Judgment is coming. “But rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Though God’s judgment on each person is approaching, there is hope for those who believe in Christ. The prayers of all his saints—those of the whole Christian church—are still heard by our Almighty Father. Though judgment is certain, God preserves us in the true faith. We are still able to worship him and pray, working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). We will also be upheld by him in the judgment.

Yet why, we may ask, would a just and holy God do such a thing? He does so only because we are united with Christ. This is the blessed communion of saints: those who are united with Christ. Being wholly united and communing with the Spirit through Word and Sacrament, and prayer and worship, no terror is able to overcome anyone whom the Father has chosen to reveal the Son (Luke 10:22).

Prayer: Restore to me, Lord, the joy of your salvation. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Use the Small Catechism as an outreach tool with a Customized 100-pack.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 19 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 13 And one of the elders answered me saying, “Who are these who are covered in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are those coming out of the great oppression, and who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:13–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: The Holy Spirit sanctifies me; I do not sanctify myself. He consecrates me by giving me what I need for what he expects of me, and by forgiving me every moment of the day for my various sins, and finally, overarching all else, sealing me with himself (Rev 7:3–4). The Holy Spirit sanctifies me, therefore, not just by giving me spiritual gifts, but in giving me the most precious gift of all: faith in Christ. This bequeathed faith is the Spirit’s seal on me. By means of it, he equips me to believe daily that God really does completely forgive all my sins.

This life therefore, is that great oppression or tribulation or distress (Rev 7:14) in which I must daily depend upon Jesus through faith. Such faith is a washing of this fleshly robe, a renewed and glistening covering in Christ himself (Gal 3:27). By his grace, faith in Christ brings me through life—whatever it may bring—arrayed in a fashion fit and acceptable to the Father. 

Prayer: Wash me, O Lord, and I will be pure as snow. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Reading and Discussion of the Augsburg Confession is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, presented in a question and discussion format. The Leader's Guide that accompanies this study is a resource for those facilitating group discussion, or may serve as a reader's commentary for those who are studying the Book of Concord on their own.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 18 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 16:16–17)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: I do not believe in God by way of my reason, decision, determination, or strength. I come to God through God. It would be quite impossible to come to God by way of my own understanding, for if God had not revealed himself to me, how could I ever know who God is? Nor can I make a decision for him; but his Spirit works in me through the gospel. For it is not flesh and blood, human determination or strength, that brings forth the good confession. It is instead, his gracious will that we should know him, and confess him through faith (Phil 2:13). This is what Scripture tells us. It may defy our reason; and that is the point.

Prayer: Thank you for revealing yourself and calling me through your Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 15 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And I give them eternal life, and they shall never die, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Jesus made a promise (1 John 2:25) to all people that he would give eternal life to whomever would believe in him (John 11:25–26). We who confess the Apostles’ Creed believe in Christ Jesus, and all he has done for the world. And so, we believe in the resurrection too, but more: that he is the resurrection and the life. There is no life, no everlasting life, without Jesus, without believing in him (John 3:18). No one goes to the Father except through Christ—what he has accomplished, trust in that, faith in him (John 14:6). Jesus has achieved this victory over sin and death, and he has done this for you. Believe his promise.

Prayer: I believe, Lord Jesus, in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Retirement: The Good, the Bad, the Blessings is a nine-session study takes a look at the good, the bad, and the blessings of retirement, reflecting on biblical themes that speak to this season of life. For those who are in retirement, as well as those who are moving toward it, God continues to open up new possibilities and challenges, as we continue to follow Christ into the future. As in all things, God walks with us, promising that he will never forsake us.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 14 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who by the force that enables him to subdue all things to himself, will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20–21)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: We believe that God will raise our earthly bodies, just as Jesus was resurrected. Our humble bodies will be transformed to be like Christ’s in glory. We do not know what that will look like, nor should we care to speculate. All we know—and this is of paramount importance—is that these glorified bodies will usher us into the presence of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, enabling us by the power at work in Christ Jesus to enjoy their blessed communion forever.

Prayer: I am excited for your return, O Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Cross and the Crown is an eight session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 13 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 John 1:5–10

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Everywhere we turn, there are two things before us: sin (and lots of it) and forgiveness of sins. That we sin is perhaps the clearest indicator of our humanness. That God forgives our sins is the one of greatest expressions of his divinity. When we confess that there is forgiveness of sins, we are admitting that we are sinners and claiming that the Lord is merciful and gracious toward us.

Let us be clear, however: the forgiveness of sins is available to those who admit their condition, their need of a Savior, and the truth that the Father sent his Son into the world to accomplish this very thing once and for all (Heb 10:10). If we deny our sins, we deny the truth and are the worst sort of liars. We are fooling no one else but ourselves, stumbling through life in dark denial, if we say we have not sinned.

But if we acknowledge our sins, then God is not only faithful to forgive, he is just in doing so. He is righteous in his forgiveness (as opposed to that kind of bad parent who always lets their kid off the hook) since this is the very reason he sent his Son among us. When we walk in the light, Jesus' blood cleanses us from our sins. Now this walking in light is not walking without sin, as some will say it is. It is quite the opposite. Walking in the light is a living honestly before God, not hiding our sins from him as Eve and Adam tried to do, but coming out from the bushes and into the open before him. This is where God forgives; he does not forgive us in the bushes.

We believe in the forgiveness of sins so much that we are bold to announce with the authority of Jesus Christ the forgiveness of sins to repentant sinners. So, as you go through this life, you will sin by what you say and neglect to say, and by what you do and refuse to do. You will sin in thought, word, and deed. Yet, by the power of the Holy Spirit within you, you will remember, sometimes even as you are sinning, that the Father sent a Savior. Do not run for the bushes. Do not deny. Confess! For we believe in the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer: Help me walk in the light as you are in the light, Lord. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. 

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 12 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven through his name. (1 John 2:12)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: We believe in the forgiveness of sins. Pardon does not come by once being forgiven and then no longer sinning. The forgiveness of sins comes to us for his name’s sake, in other words, through the name of Christ. We depend upon Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins—original sin, sins once committed, as well as the sins of today and tomorrow.

This does not mean that we do not try to live godly lives or that we sin with abandon. “God forbid!” (Rom 6:15 KJV). But as long as we live in this flesh, Luther taught, we will continue to battle with sin (On Christian Freedom). Therefore, the victory over sin comes through Christ alone. When we sin, we turn again with sorrowful repentance to the Forgiver, to Christ. And again and again, Christ Jesus forgives. This is what we confess when we say that we believe in the forgiveness of sins.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, for your name’s sake. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Discussion of Living Religions is a brief introduction to major world religions that takes a conversational approach as a group of friends talk together about what it is they believe. Each has a chance to speak for themselves about how they understand the fundamentals of reality and faith.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 11 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 24 And let us ponder how to rouse love and good works in one another, 25 not forsaking our assembling together—as is the habit of some—but exhorting each another, and even more so, as you see the Event approaching. (Hebrews 10:24–25)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian,” he told me. Then he added, “The Bible doesn’t say I have to go to church.” I was so informed by a police officer in the process of a raid on a house. I suppose he need not have shown up for the raid, that he was police all the same. Well, in fact, Scripture does tell us that God expects us to go to church.

He tells us to assemble together because that is where the Holy Spirit, through his various gifts, builds up and sanctifies believers. He may or may not build up an individual or even a department at a police raid. Yet God is interested in more than civics, of having a fine department, or city council, or even whole town. He is intent on sanctifying his church, of making a holy communion. Fine individualism is not good enough; he demands holiness, indeed, the consecration of the whole church.

Sanctification is the Spirit’s doing, not our own, nor something that may be accomplished on our own. If you think you can make yourself holy through the things you do, then you may as well settle for the next raid in your city. If, however, you believe in the Holy Spirit and the communion of saints, you need to get yourself to worship and Bible study this week. That is where it happens.

Prayer: I believe in your sanctifying work, Holy Spirit. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This booklet provides a suggested list of Bible verses, prayers, and familiar worship texts assigned to various age levels, recommended for use along with Sola Publishing’s Sunday Schoolhouse curriculum series. The order of texts matches the suggested grade levels in Luther’s Small Cat Series: elementary-aged curriculum on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, also available from Sola Publishing. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 08 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 14 But far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For circumcision is nothing, nor is uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as many as will walk by this rule, peace and mercy upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14–16)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: What is this holy catholic church? Let us look to the defining words; and let us do so in reverse order, allowing the descriptive words to address the direct object. What is the church? It is an assembly (ekklesia)—in the case of the New Testament authors, an assembly of believers. In the instance of the Creed, it refers to a singular assembly of believers throughout time (Rev 4:4; 5:11; 7:9–17; 14:3; etc.). All believers in Christ will be assembled together around the throne of the Lamb of God. We see in Revelation the church or assembly of believers as it will be. And so it begins, even now.

Catholic. This is the archaic word for “universal.” We believe in the assembly of all Christians everywhere and throughout time—or as we may think of it, in the Old Testament and the New. You may ask how there may be Christians in the Old Testament. Paul refers to this wonder of the church, calling the muster of God’s people throughout time as “the Israel of God” (Gal 6:16). To better understand how Lutherans and Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox and Baptists, Jews and Gentiles, and other combinations you may imagine, may be part of the catholic church, let us consider the second descriptive word.

Holy. “There’s the rub.” The whole church throughout time is comprised of those who are holy. Their holiness does not come from living a certain life, though indeed, they make the attempt at a pious life. Instead, the catholic church is they who have put their whole trust in God’s industry, not their own. They believe in his Christ, not their religion. They put their trust in God’s grace, not human works. This is how those of the Old Testament are accounted in the catholic church. Like Abraham, they looked with hopeful faith for the promise of the Messiah. Faith then, is how they too receive their reward (Heb 11:1–2).

Is it not the same with us? We live in the so called church-age, and like our Old Testament counterparts, have never seen Christ. But we believe; we have faith. All who do, in any time, are the holy catholic church.  

Prayer: Thank you for gathering me, Lord God, unto your elect. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Views of Baptism is written for a range of readers including the parent or sponsor about to baptize a child, the adult who wants to understand baptism more fully, and the professional teacher or preacher who needs the truth about baptism stated simply but backed by careful research. This books explores three views of baptism: the individual-centered view, the means-of-grace view, and the Roman Catholic view. It includes a description of how Christian baptism came to us in stages from its Jewish roots. A question and answer section addresses specific matters often raised when people contemplate baptism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 07 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic.  • Original image  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

From the Word: Ephesians 1:1–14

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Christians believe that the Lord our God is one God yet three persons, or Trinity. We have named the first two persons of the Trinity who is God. The first is the Father. The second is Jesus Christ his only Son. The third is the Spirit of God whom we call the Holy Spirit, or sometimes speaking archaically, the Holy Ghost.

The Spirit hovered over the chaotic deep, bringing creation in the beginning. He overshadowed Mary, causing the virgin to be with the child Jesus (re: January 8, 2015). The Spirit reminds us of the things Jesus taught, as well as other parts of Scripture. He teaches us. He intercedes for us in prayer when words fail to come. He moves in hearts of Christians so that unity in a congregation that might otherwise dissolve is fulfilled for God's glory. He brings hope, encouragement, peace, and joy. He also helps us in times of trial and weakness. When we imagine that God cannot possibly love poor sinners like us, the Holy Spirit reminds us of God's love and sacrifice—that eternal life and peace do not depend upon our worth or our works. In short, this Holy Spirit of God whom we confess in the Apostle's Creed brings our attention back to Jesus at every turn. He is the guarantee of everything Jesus promised.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for sending your Father's Spirit to help us keep faith in you. Amen. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 06 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Therefore, I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one is able to say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: If we agree with Luther’s teaching on the third article of the Creed, we are acknowledging that we cannot climb our way to God. We are conceding that we cannot even believe in God without the Holy Spirit’s assistance. We need God’s Helper, the Holy Spirit, for without his help, we are unable to believe. For, we “cannot by [our] own reason or strength believe…” This is part of what it means to “believe in the Holy Spirit.” In other words, we believe in why Christ sent his Spirit, not merely that there is a Holy Spirit.

So, how does the Spirit bring us to faith? We may as well ask a second question. How does the Holy Spirit maintain our belief, or keep us “in the one true faith”? He does both through the gospel. The Holy Spirit does not act upon us through private, inner revelations, nor through manifestations to a group. He always acts through the agency of the outward gospel: Word and Sacrament. Through these means, the Spirit preaches Christ crucified, dead, resurrected, and ascended. He preaches Christ through the Word so that we may believe. He preaches Christ through the Sacraments so that we may remember that we believe and in whom we believe. Even here in the Sacraments, we hear the clear Word proclaimed to us by the Holy Spirit.

Through this Word of the Spirit Preacher, we are comforted, knowing that it is God himself who has brought us to and preserves us in the true faith.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, sanctify and preserve me, along with the whole church on earth, in the one true faith. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Life of Martin Luther Children's Coloring & Storybook presents children with an an easy-to-read introduction to the life of one of the most influential Christians in history, Martin Luther. From his childhood, to his days as a monk, to his becoming a teacher and pastor in Wittenberg — the stories in this book trace Luther's life of faith through many struggles and challenges, showing us what it means to be faithful to God's Word and bear witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 05 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But when the Comforter arrives, whom I will send to you from the Father—even the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. (John 15:26)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Article

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,* the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him; but the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith. In the same way, he calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and preserves it in unity with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church, he daily forgives abundantly all my sins and the sins of all believers; and at the last day, he will raise me and all the dead and will grant everlasting life to me and to all who believe in Christ. This is most certainly true!

*or “holy Christian Church” (“catholic” here refers to the fellowship of all believing Christians)

Pulling It Together: Jesus did not leave his disciples alone when he ascended. Nor are we alone today; he has given us the same Spirit, his own Spirit, “the Spirit of Christ” (Rom 8:9). Therefore, we confess in the Nicene Creed that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is not born or begotten, but is the eternal God proceeding from God the Father and God the Son. This One God in Christ gives believers himself—his Spirit—as a helper (John 14:16–17). He lives within Christians in order to guide them in the truth, and keep them in the faith, by reminding them of all that Jesus taught (John 14:26). He means to drive home to us one central theme: Christ.

Christ Jesus has ascended but he is still with us, living within us through his Spirit. So, when in the living of this messy, sinful life, where we try to be good Christians and do good things, but so often fail, we hear the Spirit of Christ speaking over our fear and guilt. What does he say? Christ. The Spirit ever moves us to faith, keeping us in the faith by testifying to Christ who forgives these sins, and more than that: improves our own spirits. In forgiving us, he relieves us of guilt, and restores the hope of resurrection to eternal life. This is why the early English translations call the Holy Spirit the “Comforter” (John 15:26 KJV; John 15:26 ASV), instead of “Helper” (John 15:26 NASB; John 15:26 ESV) or “Advocate” (John 15:26 NIV) or “Counselor (John 15:26 RSV).”

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for not leaving me alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Life of Martin Luther is written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This nine-session adult study takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 04 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 30b “What must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your family.” (Acts 16:30b–31)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: We come now to Luther’s teaching on what good it is to know this second article of the Apostles’ Creed. These benefits include the confident hope of redemption, freedom, inclusion, eternal life. But I cannot believe any of these good things, these precious promises. without believing in the one who made the promises. When, through faith in God’s grace, we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saved. 

This word “saved” is so commonly used that we do not think about what it means. We normally associate it with going to heaven—which we should. But how are we saved to eternal life? That we are saved means that we have been redeemed or delivered from something to something. We are rescued “from sin, death, and the power of the devil,” and therefore, delivered to eternal life and heaven. This saving work is that of Christ alone, not deriving from anything that we do or could do. This is what we confess because of whom we believe: Jesus Christ, who came to save sinners like us (1 Tim 1:15).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for all your benefits. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning the Lord's Prayer teaches the Lord's Prayer according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the Second Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 01 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 I charge you in the company of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all patience and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: The Father has appointed Christ alone to judge the world—both the living and all who ever lived. Christ must be the judge of the living and the dead because he is the only one appropriate to the task. He alone has lived the life by which all are to be judged. His holiness is the bar by which all will be evaluated. More should be preached along these lines; it should not be left to a sentence in the middle of the Creed.

It is worth noting that Scripture emphasizes preaching when it states that Christ is “judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1–2). This is notable because it is through preaching that the deeply wounding blow of the previous paragraph is relieved. For if we are to be judged on the basis of Christ’s righteousness, who will be spared in the judgment to come?

Through the process of patient preaching and teaching—using accusation, reproach, and encouragement—we are led from the fear of hell to the fear of God. We come to love and trust him with our life, and death, and eternity. For we believe that, by God’s grace, we will not only be judged by the measure of Christ’s righteousness but also be given his righteousness as our own (Rom 3:22).

Prayer: Amen. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola's Sunday Schoolhouse materials for Year A include reproducible sheets of Bible lessons, pictures, dramas, worksheets, and a Christmas program. It has four units of seven sessions each: two on stories from the Old Testament and two on stories from the New Testament. 

PDF Overview

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 31 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 20 …that he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and installed him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every title conferred—not only in this world, but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:20–21)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Being at the right hand of the Father means that Christ Jesus is seated on the throne of all thrones. He has power and authority which excels all others. This has always been the goal and the will of God (Psa 110:1; Matt 22:44), so that Christ may send his own Spirit into the world to convict it of sin and righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). His right-handed authority is therefore, even now working powerfully through the Holy Spirit to bring people to repentance. For God longs for everyone to regret their sins, and turn to him (2 Pet 3:9). He will not rest until the full and perfect number (Rev 7:4) of an innumerable multitude of believers (Rev 7:9) have been brought into that great communion of saints, the kingdom of him who is seated at the Father’s right hand.

Prayer: Convict me, Holy Spirit, and turn me more to him who is seated at his Father’s right hand. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Life of Martin Luther is written in honor of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This nine-session adult study takes participants through the circumstances and events of the life of Martin Luther as it reflects on the biblical themes underlying the Lutheran Reformation.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 30 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And when he had said these things, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him up from their sight. (Acts 1:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Jesus ascended; he was raised to the Father’s side in heaven so that he may share in the fullness of divinity (Phil 2:9). He is not simply God, nor only a man; Jesus is now God in the flesh, seated at the Father’s right hand. He is ascended to the position of power and glory that is due God alone. And because he is also man, those who believe in him may also hope for both resurrection and ascension. We do not look forward to merely being raised from the dead, but to being lifted up to heaven where we will live forever in the glorious presence of Christ Jesus (1 Thes 4:15–17).

Prayer: Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Learning About Baptism teaches the meaning of Holy Baptism according to the pattern of Luther's Small Catechism, and is recommended for the First Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story which illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. Lessons focus on Baptism as a promise from God, emphasizing the power of God's Word in the Sacrament to create faith and repentance in our daily life.

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 29 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 3 For I passed on to you—as being of chief importance—that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: We cannot live with Jesus in eternity if he is not there. If God’s Christ is still dead and buried in the ground, we cannot live with him in heaven—nor can we live there without him. Our lives are bound to his, come good or bad. Because Christ was resurrected, as the Scriptures proclaimed he would be raised, we too will be raised from the dead (Rom 6:4). Jesus himself foretold his resurrection (eg: Matt 17:22–23), and in doing so, foretells the resurrection from the dead of all who believe in him.

Resurrection from the dead is not something that happens only in the future, in eternity. Even now, having left the dead man in the font, we have been raised from an old, corrupt nature to live the new life in Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for your overwhelming grace that enables me to begin to know the joys of eternity even in this life. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study is presented in a discussion formation with assigned readings from the Scriptures and the Book of Concord. Included in the study is a shorter work by Philip Melanchton called "The Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope." 

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 25 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 Therefore God has also highly exalted him, and conferred on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee must bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: In reference to yesterday’s lesson on Christ Jesus preaching to those spirits in prison, many people want to know who these spirits are and what this prison is exactly. It is enough to know the universality of Christ’s sovereignty. There is no place he cannot or will not go to preach the gospel. There is no one in any place who should not bow the knee and profess his lordship. His preaching and journey to both Hades and Hell should not cause us to wonder about these places and their inhabitants overly much. Instead, we should take note that these reflections must profoundly redirect our thoughts to the fundamental nature of his mission. Christ Jesus came to earth as God and man to destroy death by dying and rising, and to destroy sin by taking upon himself the sins of the world.

“It is enough if we know that Christ descended into hell, destroyed hell for all believers, and delivered them from the power of death and of the devil, from eternal condemnation and the jaws of hell. We will save our questions (and not curiously investigate) about how this happened until the other world. Then not only this mystery, but others also will be revealed that we simply believe here and cannot grasp with our blind reason” (Formula of Concord, Ep IX 4).

Prayer: O King of kings, I bow to you and confess that you are Lord of all, and so, Lord of me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Luther's Small Cat Discovers: The Seasons of the Church Year is written for 4th grade level students. This book takes students through the church year, accompanied by Luther’s Small Cat — a character who is just as inquisitive and precocious as the students. May your journey through the church year bring you closer to Christ, who walks through each moment of life alongside you.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 24 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison. (1 Peter 3:18–19)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: It is a mystery to me why people want to get rid of the word “hell” in the Apostles’ Creed. Are they afraid Christ Jesus cannot handle the place of the damned? Do they think the holy God could never be in a place of such acute evil? They must, for they try to change the meaning of the word “hell” in the Creed, insisting it is a misunderstanding of the Greek and Latin. The word Gehenna is a place of eternal torment, associated with “unquenchable fire” (Mark 9:43). The word Hades however, is a place of rest, where the dead sleep, as it were. There has been much overlap and confusion in the use of the terms.

There is no confusion in the word choice of the Creed. Nor is their confusion in our understanding. Jesus descended into hell, the place of eternal torment and damnation. He did not merely descend to the grave, as stated in the words, “and was buried.” He went a large step further; “he descended into hell.” He went where the Creed says: hell. And it could not keep him.

This is good news indeed. Death has no power over those who are baptized into Christ’s death (Rom 6:3). Nor does hell have any hold on them. This is the position of the Lutheran Reformers. Jesus died, was buried, and descended into the devil’s domain, defeating him and death, overwhelming there the full effects of both sin and death. “In this Creed the burial and Christ’s descent into hell are distinguished as two different articles, and we believe simply that the entire person, God and human being, descended to hell after his burial, conquered the devil, destroyed the power of hell, and took from the devil all his power” (The Formula of Concord, The Solid Declaration, Art. IX).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for making it so that hell has no hold on those who have faith in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Live from the First Century is based on the Christmas Story from the Gospel of Luke. This children's program takes the form of a first century newscast, reporting on events in Bethlehem. The script includes a number of character parts, with each scene featuring a Christmas carol sung by the children. Permission is granted to reproduce the script for local congregational use.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 23 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: John 19:38–42

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: The way you know a person is really dead, is if he ends up getting buried. Jesus died. That is why they buried him. We confess with the Scriptures that Jesus was so truly dead that they buried him. This means that they spent the little time yet available to them to prepare the body before burial. His lifeless body was taken down from the cross and made ready for the grave by rubbing the body with spices and wrapping it in cloths. Using these spices would have covered the stench of expected decay. Having taken the time to prepare the corpse is another sign that Jesus was dead—so very dead that they embalmed him and laid him to rest. 

We confess that Jesus died and was buried, because he would soon rise from the dead. When he walks from the tomb and greets Mary three days hence, we can say that this Christ who now lives, had been dead and laid in a tomb. First, however painful it is to say, we must admit that Jesus suffered, was crucified, truly died, and was buried. 

Prayer: Lord of life, having been baptized into your death, we give you thanks that we now face our own graves with expectation of the life to come. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 22 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: From that time, Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scholars, and be killed, and the third day be resurrected. (Matthew 16:21)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: In order to emphasize the fact of Jesus’ death, the creed states that he was buried. Burial is necessary for those who are truly human and have died. In other words, Jesus was not an apparition; he was a man who had actually died. And so, he was buried, as the Scripture states and the Creed confesses.

The importance of this accentuated history is that Jesus did indeed suffer and die for our sins. That he was buried stresses the reality of his death. It also underscores the reason for his dying. His death is a fulfillment of the scriptures (1 Cor 15:3–4). Through his suffering and death, Jesus satisfied God over the matter of our sin, paying him what our iniquity had left in the balance. This was God’s requirement and Jesus’ mission (John 3:16). God in the flesh satisfied his own requirements of holiness and justified the world to himself.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to take up my own cross and follow you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Family Matters is a nine-session Bible study that focuses on the first generations of God's people—Abraham and his descendants. It looks at how God's covenant promise sustained them as they navigated family relationships.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 21 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Then, when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is accomplished,” and he bowed his head, and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Did Jesus really die? If he is God, can God die? Some say that he did not actually die. It is called the “swoon theory,” meaning Jesus only fainted on the cross, was presumed dead, then carried off to his grave. Yet Scripture tells us that the Roman soldier verified his death with a spear in Jesus’ side. Others say that Jesus is a spirit, and that spirits do not die. It was, in other words, a kind of stage play that dramatized the necessary sacrifice for the sins of the world.

The King James version says that Jesus “gave up the ghost,” a colloquialism for death we readily understand. This was not an act, a sham, or a misunderstanding. Jesus died. In fact, his death was necessary. In the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, God conclusively demonstrated his sovereignty over sin and death. And because we are baptized into Jesus’ death, we too will be raised just as he was raised from the dead (Rom 6:3–4).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for suffering and dying for me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

You may customize your catechism with church name, address, and website.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 18 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5 Have this disposition among yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grabbed, 7 but emptied himself, becoming the essence of a servant, coming in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5–7) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Why did God come to earth in human flesh? Why lower himself to such a level (if it really is such a low level [Psa 8:5])? God did so because love made him do it (John 3:16). As the incarnate God, Jesus did his Father’s will, suffering death for everyone (Heb 2:9) so that he may rightfully atone for the lives of all (Gal. 1:4; Heb 10:9–10). This is Jesus: the Son of God who emptied himself, becoming man, in order to take away the sins of the world he loves. Why did God come to earth in human flesh instead of destroying the earth and all its sinful inhabitants? Love made him do it (1 John 4:8–10).

Prayer: O Incarnate Love of God, thank you for not letting go of me. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Why Did Jesus Have to Die? is a six-week Bible Study that examines the most profound event of salvation history — the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ — exploring from a biblical perspective what is known as the doctrine of the atonement.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 17 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no guilt in him deserving death. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” 23 But they lobbied with loud voices, demanding that he be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate resolved that their demand should be granted. (Luke 23:22–24) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Jesus, innocent man and holy God, was condemned to suffer the cruelest death the Romans had at their disposal. He would be crucified. His crucifixion was mere expedience in Pilate’s mind; it would silence the mob. Yet, the rabble continues to shout. Humanity’s sin persists in its piercing petition for the death of its Savior.

Nonetheless, Jesus, only Savior of a lost and condemned world, has already died. His death was no expedience, but a suitable sacrifice to God, one that redeems the world, and frees it from sin and death. This redemption is received through faith in Christ Jesus, the holy and innocent God-man, who suffered and died so that we might live—forever.

Prayer: Thank you again, Lord Jesus, for your obedience, even to the point of death on the cross. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 15 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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John 6:54–63

From the Ecumenical Creeds: The Apostles' Creed

“He was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”

Pulling It Together

Even in the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, we see that human works had no play. Mary did nothing. Joseph surely did nothing. The poor man was very likely stunned at the news of Mary's pregnancy. Jesus was formed in the uterus of Mary by divine agency alone. The power of the Most High God overshadowed her and that was that (Luke 1:35). This we confess to believe, as unreasonable or difficult as it may seem to some. And in this doctrine, we are professing that Jesus is at once God and man. For Mary carried the child while the Spirit of God did the conceiving.

"We must note this well, for we see here that our works are impotent. Christ our Lord is neither your work nor mine, but He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. I had no hand in this. I did not carve Him out of wood or bake Him with dough. He is God’s and Mary’s Son. I contributed nothing. And yet He says: 'He who believes in Me has eternal life; he shall have it.' Thus we will not reconcile God or be justified by our good works, but only by our faith in Him" (Luther’s Works, vol 23, p 108).

Prayer: Thank you, God, for giving me what I could never gain, eternal life in your Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Three Keys to What Lutherans Believe is a three-session introduction to themes in Lutheran theology. By focusing on key biblical concepts, it demonstrates the primary themes that Lutherans emphasize in thinking about the Christian faith and the teachings of Scripture. The study may be particularly suited to new member classes, adult baptismal or confirmation instruction, or for use with young adults. For use in shorter sessions, leaders may choose to divide each lesson into two parts to create a six-week study.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 14 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And the angel answered her to say, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be fathered will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Jesus was born of the virgin named Mary but he was conceived by God. The Holy Spirit was the fathering agent, therefore the holy child was of two natures: divine and human. Jesus was born in “the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7), that is, he is similar to a man. Yet, he is not exactly the same. For, while his nature is human, he is also divine. The man Jesus is begotten by the power of God, the presence or overshadowing of his Spirit. So, we say that he has a dual nature, our own being singular in quality—human nature. Jesus is similar but not identical, as he is true God and yet truly human at the same time.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for becoming like me so that you are able to redeem my human nature. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The English Standard Version Pew Bible containing the Old and New Testament is an affordable durable Bible, designed for regular church use. Hardcover black with black print.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 11 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: We moderns, especially in Western cultures, tend to speak of the heart as being an emotional vessel. In the consideration of the ancient Hebrews, the heart was the seat of thought and will, as well as emotion. So it is, that the greatest commandment calls us to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind (Deut 6:5; Matt 22:37). When we confess Jesus to be Lord, we are professing that he is God, doing so with our heart—mind, will, and emotion.

The Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament and the one we find Jesus and the apostles quoting in the Gospels and the New Testament, uses Kurios when it translates the sacred name of God. We use a Latin form of this word, Kyrie, in the liturgy. In the Apostles’ Creed, we say that we believe in a single God of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we acknowledge Christ as God, he is called both Son and Lord.

This word “Lord,” in the Apostles’ Creed comes down to us through the Greek Kurios and the Latin Kyrios, meaning not only “sir” or “master,” but in this context, “God.” It can escape us in the English, but what we are actually confessing in the Creed is, “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our YHWH” (Yahweh or Jehovah, the name of God). Read the beginning of John’s Gospel again to see this illuminated in fine detail (John 1:1–14). Then read Thomas’ confession again to appreciate his amplification of the word “Lord” (John 20:28).

Prayer: My Lord and my God! Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Connections Magazine features articles that connect Lutherans to the Word. Martin Luther's Small Catechism provides inspiration for confessional, biblical content, delivered in a stylish, readable design. Subscribe today.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 10 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 Therefore God exalted him, and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus each knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: As Jesus is master over life and death, so he is Lord of all things in life and death. He is God over all creation: in heaven, on earth, and even under the earth. Nothing is beyond his Lordship—even we who refuse to believe it. Because Jesus humbly fulfilled his redemptive mission (Phil 2:6–8), the Father has guaranteed that there is a day coming when every knee will bow to the Lord God (Rom 14:11).

This is what we do when we confess that Jesus Christ is the Father’s only Son, and our Lord. If only we knelt as we did so.

Prayer: I confess, Holy Father, that your Son is Lord—even my Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Personalities of Faith is a ten-session Bible study for youth. The goal of the series is to encourage young people to commit themselves to follow Jesus in discipleship by becoming "personalities of faith." By showing biblical examples of people who have followed—or failed to follow—God's call, participants will be prepared to better follow the Lord in their own lives.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 09 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 28 Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:28–29)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Thomas, the perennial doubter, at seeing his crucified rabbi alive and standing before him, confessed what John had related at the beginning of his Gospel. Jesus is the Word become flesh, that Word who was in the beginning with God—and who is God. Thomas confesses that this risen Christ Jesus is both Lord and God.

Jesus denies neither. Rather, he proclaims that there is a blessedness in confessing this without the proof of having seen him. This is what we do in the Apostles’ Creed: without seeing, without proofs, we confess Christ Jesus to be Lord and God. We must and can only do so through faith, by the grace of God. Blessed are they who do. 

Prayer: Thank you for the Gospels, Lord, that we may believe through what is written. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola has lots of resources for Advent: candle lighting readings, Bible studies, dramas, and music. Many are downloadable. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 08 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for each of us, how will he not also graciously give us—along with him—all things? (Romans 8:32)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: As Abraham did not spare his own Son when God commanded it of him, God did not spare his own Son when his will demanded it of himself. Through this precious, only Son, he has redeemed the creation he loves. By the “holy and precious blood” of an only child, the Father has provided for each of us mercy, grace, forgiveness, redemption—life. He loves us each with the utmost love, the love that sacrifices all.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for obeying your Father’s will. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Sola has a number of Christmas programs for children. Those listed in the link with an "N" product code are downloadable products. Those listed with an "S" product code are small booklets. All the programs are reproducable for local congregational use.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 07 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And the Word became flesh, and settled among us, and we have regarded his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Just as God settled among his people in the Old Testament, God now “tabernacles” among those who believe. He does so through his Son, Christ Jesus, who is the exact image of God (Col 1:15). It is not enough for God to be far off and heavenly; he is God among us. He is God who dwells among us so fully that he has experienced the human condition, suffering in every way (Heb 4:15) so that he is able to redeem us in all ways. Christ Jesus is “God made flesh,” though still glorious God, one person with two natures: divine and human. Because he is both, and full of grace and truth, he is inclined to be merciful toward our single nature: human, flawed, in need of forgiveness. He is faithful to be so; this is entirely true.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being faithful to God and mankind. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Get a 100-pack customized with your Church name and website printed on the back cover.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 01 Oct 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to encourage the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: Sometimes the Old Testament speaks of the king as an anointed one, a person on whom God’s blessing rests. A priest would pour a flask of oil over the king’s head as a symbol that God had anointed him king (1 Sam 10:1). The high priest was also anointed (Exod 40:13) as one set apart to serve God. At other times, the Old Testament referred to the people of Israel as God’s chosen people, his anointed. The anointed are those who have been chosen to serve God in a unique manner.

Scripture also refers to another anointed servant of God, his Messiah (a transliterated Hebrew word that means anointed one, Acts 3:18–21). The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, translates the Hebrew Maschiah (Messiah) as Christos, which is converted to Christ in English. The title Christ derives from the same Greek word that gives us these terms: chrism (anointing oil), christen, and even cream. The Christ is the one anointed to serve God for a singular purpose.

When we confess that we believe in Jesus Christ, we are declaring that Jesus is God’s Anointed, the one who has come into the world to free those who are captive to sin and bound for death. 

Prayer: Lord God, I believe in your Anointed One. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Who is Jesus? is a five-session Bible study, meant to serve as an introduction to what the Bible says about Jesus Christ—who he is and what it means to trust in him as Savior and Lord.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 30 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And she will give birth to a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Second Article

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

What does this mean?

I believe that Jesus Christ — true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary — is my Lord. He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, and has freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil, not with silver and gold, but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I might be his own, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, even as he is risen from the dead and lives and reigns for all eternity. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: The name “Jesus” is the Greek form of the Hebrew “Joshua” (which later morphed into “Jeshua”) which means “the Lord saves.” When we say that we believe in Jesus, we do not merely mean that we believe there was a person who once lived whose name was Jesus. We are declaring him to be the Savior of the world, the one who delivers us from our sins. This was the reason he was born into the world: to save us from sin (John 3:17).

When we say that we believe in Jesus, we are confessing that Jesus is the Savior, the deliverer of the world. Salvation comes in no other way (John 14:6) than through faith in him as deliverer. Though there are many who will not believe, he is their deliver nonetheless. C. S. Lewis wrote in his novel The Great Divorce, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

When we confess our belief in Jesus, we are saying to God, “Thy will be done”; deliver us!

Prayer: Jesus, Savior, deliver me. Amen.

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The Faith of St. Paul: Transformative Gift of Divine Power by Roy A. Harrisville III provides a fresh perspective on the letters of St. Paul by presenting the apostle's concept of faith as a transformative gift of divine power.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 27 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 37 Then Pilate declared, “So, are you a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and announced to them, “I find no fault in him.” (John 18:37–38)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: “This is most certainly true!” declares Luther.

“What is truth?” responds Pilate. The Truth was standing right in front of him, and he dismissed him as though truth were too difficult to nail down (as it were). The popular idea is that everyone has a particular point of view, and thus, truth is relative and subjective. In that case, each one’s “truth” is at most, maybe right, and very likely, not true at all. Your version may be on the side of cultural correctness—the current political or religious indignation—or simply make you feel better in the moment.

Winston Churchill said, “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it; ignorance may deride it; but in the end, there it is.” So, “what is truth?” God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). Criticize him; dismiss or even kill him. Yet, there he stands before you.

Prayer: I believe, Lord; help my unbelief. Amen.

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The Sola Online Worship Resource (SOWeR) also includes liturgies and services for your use. There are ready-to-copy settings for Holy Communion, services, services of the Word, Vespers, occasional services, funerals, and seasonal services. SOWeR is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 26 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Lord, you have been our sanctuary throughout all generations. 2 Before the mountains were born, or you had birthed the earth and the world, even from ages past until forevermore, you are God. (Psalm 90:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: God has given us all we need for life. More than that, he has made himself our home. Paul puts it this way: “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). The Father’s care for us is so complete that he provides himself as our dwelling place. It is beyond being more at home when someone special is present; he is himself our dwelling. His providence for his creation is certain, for he is an eternal refuge. While we may imagine our existence as uncertain and even fleeting, God’s existence is as never-ending as it is never-beginning. Therefore, our home in him is also infinite. His is an everlasting kingdom, a caring dominion, both faithful and kind to all generations and forever.

Such a caring and generous God deserves our obedience and service, as well as our thanks and praise. This is most certainly true!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for my daily bread. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Online Worship Resource is a lectionary-based web resource for Scripture lessons, lectionary inserts, children's bulletins, devotionals, text studies, prayers, hymn-planning, and much more! Join the hundreds of congregations who have discovered how simple, flexible, and useful SOWeR is for worship planning and sermon preparation. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 25 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: We confess that God is the creator of it all. In the beginning, he made the skies and the land, the heavens and the earth, and by this we mean to say, the universe—everything. “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Nothing exists anywhere that was not made by God, including life itself (John 1:4). But who is this fathering God?

Again, Scripture exposes the character of the Trinity. The psalmist and prophets declare that the Lord God is creator and does his making through his word (Psa 33:6; Isa 42:5). In Psalm 33:6, “word” has more meaning than is seen in a casual reading. Yes, God speaks and his creating will is accomplished. Yet, in John 1:1–3, we see that it is the Living Word of God, the Logos, his Son, who is creator of all things.

So, who is the creator—the Almighty Father, or the Son, or the Holy Spirit who hovered over the creation in the beginning (Gen 1:2)? Yes. God is the creator. God is the Savior. God is the Spirit indwelling the communion of saints. In the Creed, we name the creator as God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19).  

Prayer: Help me believe your Word, Lord God, even when it is hard to understand. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 24 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases. (Psalm 115:3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: When we confess that God is almighty, we are saying something more than that he is strong. This confession also declares that what is impossible with people is possible with God (Matt 19:26). This is especially important when we consider God’s will. What impossibility does God want to take place? Of all that God could have, what does he still desire? Of all that he does have, for what does he still long?

God desires that everyone be saved and know him (1 Tim 2:4). He wants a people of his own who are holy and intent on doing his will (1 Pet 2:9–10). This seems an impossibility. No other sinner is able to be any more holy than you are. So how does God get the people he wants? He does what he pleases, and makes them holy by his own mercy. He infuses them with grace through faith in his Son. The impossibility of a holy people for God becomes a possibility for Christ’s sake. Indeed, Peter insists it has already happened: “You are,” he says (1 Pet 2:9).

Prayer: Your will be done, Almighty Father. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The purpose of Epistles, A Guide to Reading the Scriptures is twofold: to encourage Christians to read God’s Word on a regular basis, and to help the reader slow down and concentrate on each chapter of the epistles before moving on to the next.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 23 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Pray then in this way: Our Father—the one in heaven—may your name be made holy. (Matthew 6:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together

We believe in God as our Father. He is a good Father, having provided all we need in this life. But he is more than a dispenser of goods. Jesus tells us to pray to God as our Father, yet that his name would be sanctified. There is no better place to begin this hallowing than in prayer. So, we ask that our Father’s name, his reputation and how we think of him, would be revered to the extent that we regard him as holy, fearing him while loving and trusting him with the life he has given us.

Prayer: Father in heaven, may your name be sacred in my life today. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is basic work-book style Confirmation curriculum. It is designed to serve as a simple and practical resource for teaching the biblical Word of God according to the traditional pattern of Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.  Each book in the series can be used as the basis for a “come as you are” small group Bible study, as a student book for home school or independent study programs, or as a classroom tool and homework resource as part of an existing confirmation program. 

The Ten Commandments book is a ten-week unit, which includes one session on each of the Commandments. The Scripture focus in the Ten Commandment series is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 20 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; there is no other God than me.” (Isaiah 44:6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The First Article

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

What does this mean?

I believe that God has created me and all that exists, that he has given me and still preserves my body and soul, my eyes and ears, my reason and all my senses, together with food and clothing, home and family, and all my property. Every day he provides abundantly for all the needs of my life. He protects me from all danger and guards and keeps me from every evil. He does this purely out of fatherly and divine goodness and mercy, though I do not deserve it. Therefore I ought to thank, praise, serve, and obey him. This is most certainly true!

Pulling It Together: When we say that we believe in God, we mean the Lord God named by God’s Redeemer in Matthew 28:19. Jesus gave the “name” of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In the Apostles’ Creed, we address this Trinity wholly and individually. In the first article of the Creed, we initially state our belief in God, then specifically, God the Father. In the following two articles of the Creed, we state our belief in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. In the Apostles’ Creed we affirm our belief in God: the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Though Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God, and therefore almighty, we lay this honor at the Father’s feet in the Creed. In doing so, we are also saying that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are omnipotent. As they are God together, they are together almighty.

Prayer: I believe in you, Almighty Father. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Teach Us to Pray is an eight lesson curriculum based around Luther's Small Catechism.  Each lesson has a Bible study connected to the article of the Lord's Prayer covered. A section entitled "About Prayer"  teaches students helpful items about a solid prayer life and a prayer assignment for the coming week.  A major goal of this material is to help kids experience prayer and practice it in a variety of ways. This book could be used as part of a larger Confirmation series, or as a "pre-confirmation" Sunday School series for Jr. High and Middle School youth.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 19 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image.

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From the Word: The father of the child cried out at once, saying, “I believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Apostles’ Creed 

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church (or holy Christian church), the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Pulling It Together

The English word “creed” comes from the Latin credo, which means, “I believe.” A creed is a statement of what one gives credence to, finds credible. This is what is happening when you say the Apostles’ Creed. You are reminding yourself of what you believe, and are recommending your belief as something worthy of acceptance by others (1 Tim 1:15). As such, the Creed is a statement of faith and a tool of evangelism.

Prayer: I believe in you, Lord; help my unbelief. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

A Latin phrase meaning “Scripture Alone,” Sola Scriptura is one of the traditional Lutheran slogans used since the time of the Reformation. It expresses our confession that Scripture is “the only rule and norm according to which all doctrines and teachers alike must be appraised and judged.” Using the familiar phrase as its title, Sola Scriptura is a new, advanced-level Bible Study in a two-part series, of six chapters each, on the functional authority of Scripture. For those who would like to cover the topic in detail, there is enough material to cover one chapter in two sessions, making each part a 12-week study.

• Part 1  • Part 1 Leader's Guide  • Part 2  • Part 2 Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 17 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For physical exercise is a little useful, but godliness is beneficial for everything, having promise for this life and for that which is to come. (1 Timothy 4:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

Pointing toward my stomach, the doctor said that I needed to lose my little friend. I asked, “What, about 20 pounds.” She dryly replied, “More like 30 to 40.” I took her seriously, and began to work on a discipline of exercise and eating not only less food, but better food. I lost 25 pounds because I took the word of my doctor seriously.

If we were as serious about the word of God, the benefits would be of greater profit than weight loss and all that comes with it—less stress on joints and hips and back, clothes that fit better, and so on. God promises not only his grace but every blessing to everyone who keeps his commandments. While we are saved through faith in Christ, not by keeping commandments, there are nevertheless benefits in doing so. Obeying God brings both grace and blessings. Why would we ignore such beneficial counsel?

Prayer: Give me courage and strength, Lord God, to keep your commandments. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Letters of Paul looks at all but one of Paul's thirteen epistles and seeks to get at the heart of each one so that his message can inspire new hope, faith, and love in us today.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 16 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 12 Not that I have already obtained it, or am already perfected, but I pursue it so that I may acquire it, because Christ Jesus has acquired me. 13 Brethren, I do not consider myself to have acquired it, so I do one thing: forgetting the past, I reach toward the goal. 14 I pursue the goal in the award of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12–14)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 109

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together: This may not be that hard to imagine. Think of the family dinner table with parents and children gathered for the evening meal. Now picture the children glued to their phones. They allow no time for interacting with mother and father because they are captivated by their friends’ posts in social media. This is no way for relations to be an actual family.

Nor will you grow into your faith, or receive “grace upon grace” (John 1:16) from Jesus by ignoring him. Word and Sacrament are necessary; they are the means by which we pursue the goal that we have yet to obtain. The promise is present, just as a child is given the family name, but a Christian is not one in name only. We are to imitate Christ, praying to the Father and listening to his Spirit in Scripture and Sacrament. This is how we are being perfected by God: by being in relationship with him through his Word and the sacraments.

We are pursuing a goal, one promised to those who hold on to God’s promises to the end. God accomplishes this through Word and Sacrament, by our giving him our attention, listening and receiving his grace. This is the way of pursuit that leads to eternal glory, the way that ends with the prize of the “morning star,” Christ Jesus himself (Rev 2:25–28).

Prayer: Help me hold fast to you, Lord Jesus. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The season of Advent is not only a time of preparation for Christmas, it is a time to consider God's long-term plans and how God has promised that he will intervene in the lives of his people, and the world itself, on the coming Day of the Lord. Prophecy Fulfilled is a four week Bible Study about the Old Testament prophecies of our Lord's Advent, showing how these prophetic words were fulfilled not only in the coming of Christ over 2,000 years ago, but how they also point ahead to the return of Christ in his Second Coming.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 12 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Who can say, “I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin”? (Proverbs 20:9)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

It does not matter how hard you try to be good; you are a sinner. You were born in sin, and as long as you are in this body, you will be a sinner; and you will sin. You should try to keep all of God’s commandments, but you will fail (Acts 15:10). For no one is able to say he is without sin.

The only answer is a life outside of this flesh: a new life. In the new life that God offers through Jesus Christ, the regenerated nature may delight in the law of God, even though the natural nature will inevitably sin (Rom 7:15–20). We are pitiful beings, but thanks be to God for the victory we have over sin, death, and the devil. This conquest is Christ’s doing, not ours. It is not an earned victory, but instead, given to us through faith. All we can do, while yet in this sinful nature, is continue turning to God, confessing our sins, and gratefully accepting his forgiveness.

There is no guilty verdict for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). Christians are conquerors because of their Commander, not because they are good soldiers, because of a gracious judge, not because they are guiltless.

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, a sinner who loves you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 11 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 25 And behold, an authority in the law stood up and put him on trial saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to obtain eternal life?” 26 And he said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you interpret it?” 27 And answering he said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind—and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10:25–28)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

When the law crushes us with its demands, as it did the lawyer in today’s Scripture, what are we to do but plead for mercy? Just when we imagine that we might have become experts in religion, God’s laws and even Christ’s example inform us otherwise. This is not the time to distance ourselves from God. It is the very time we should draw near to him, believing he is not only just but gracious and merciful too (Heb 4:16).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for being faithful to forgive me of my sins. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The ReClaim Hymnal for Church and Home contains three Communion Settings along with liturgies for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, Funerals, and other occasional services. It also includes the Small Catechism, as well as 275 beloved hymns from various hymn traditions. It is a resource that would be suitable for confirmation and graduation gifts as well as congregational use. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 09 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For the Lord your God is a devouring fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

What does God declare concerning all these commandments?

He says: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:5b-6)

What does this mean?

God threatens to punish all who violate these commandments. We should, therefore, fear his anger and in no way disobey them. But God promises grace and every blessing to all who keep these commandments. We should, therefore, love him, trust in him, and gladly keep his commandments.

Pulling It Together

God’s jealousy over us is ready to ignite. The word for fire in the Latin Vulgate is ignis, from which we get our English word “ignite.” The Lord’s wrath is ready to explode when we do not fear, love, and trust him. Therefore, we should fear him so that we are careful to please him. Yet, we should also love him and trust his love for us, so that even when we sin, we are confident of a loving Father who is ready to forgive us all our sins for Christ’s sake (1 John 1:9).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me a believing heart, one that trusts in you for the forgiveness of all my sins. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

This volume in the series, "Old Places, New Faces," The General Epistles offers a series of 12 Bible studies based on Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, I, II, & III John, and Jude. The geographical locations of Biblical characters can symbolically refer to places we find ourselves with respect to our faith. As we become more acquainted with our spiritual geography, we will better discern where God would have us go or what changes we need to make in order to serve Him better.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 06 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.

Pulling It Together

There is a difference between what your heart desires and what your flesh desires. As you find more and more joyful satisfaction, even sheer delight, in God’s company, you will find your heart desiring godly things. The Holy Spirit brings this to pass. Though the flesh still craves, God is also making you yearn for spiritual things. Delight in him, and he will delight to give you the latter.

Prayer: Give me the spiritual strength today, Lord, to hunger and thirst for you. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Not My Will, But Yours is a six-week study that explores the topic of the “free will” from a biblical perspective, looking at what Scripture has to say about the bondage of the human will, and how Jesus Christ has come to deliver us from ourselves.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 05 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Romans 16:25-27

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Secondly, the subject itself declares that works follow faith, and show that faith is not dead, but living and effective in the heart. Therefore, James did not believe that we earn the forgiveness of sins and grace by good works. For he speaks of the works of those who have been justified, who have already been reconciled and accepted, and have obtained forgiveness of sins. So, the adversaries are mistaken when they infer that James teaches that we merit remission of sins and grace by good works, that by our works we have access to God, without Christ as propitiator.

Pulling It Together

The old real estate expression, “Location, location, location,” might be modified when it comes to reading. “Context, context, context,” is crucial when interpreting a text. Otherwise, one may end up buying into the wrong teaching. James has been teaching about what real faith is, and uses works as a proof of faith. His subject is faith: “Can that faith save him?” (James 2:14). Everything read in this section, if read in context, refers back to faith. Therefore, if one has saving faith in Christ, works that glorify God will ensue. First, Christ satisfies God’s righteousness, then because we believe in his sacrifice for our sin, we are made righteous because of him. Only those works that are attached to his righteousness are acceptable to God. One may do religious deeds for a lifetime, but they will never save. Yet, a sinner, having never done anything good, may finally believe and be saved because of Christ alone. That sainted sinner will then seek to be obedient to the gospel, to continue in a true and living faith that glorifies God. Chrysostom said it well: “As faith without works is dead, so are works without faith dead.”

Prayer: Make my faith in you a living faith so that you are glorified in my life, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

You may download a free, color PDF file of the 2019-2020 Year A calendar under the Home tab above, then clicking Free Resources.

For those who want calendars on glossy cardstock, printed copies of the Sola Liturgical Calendar may be ordered. Print or purchase calendars for sacristy, pastor, and secretary. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 04 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Speak to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, and say to them, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.

Pulling It Together

We should fear and love God so that we do not make plans to steal anything or anyone that belongs to our neighbors. Indeed, we should so fear and love God that we do not even consider such a thing. For evil desires are also sin. Who has avoided both the doing and the thinking about doing? We all sin in thought and deed, or even as we declare in the Brief Confession: “in thought, word, and deed.” All the while, we are constrained to be holy like God is holy. What are we to do, if we take the Scripture seriously? How are we to be holy, holy like God?

We have two options. The first is horrible; the second meets the need. We might take upon ourselves a regimen of pharisaical living, in which we act quite religious and try to convince ourselves that we are not sinners like everyone else. We will not convince the others any more than we convince ourselves.

Or we may finally and fully believe there is a “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). If so, we are made holy by the sacrifice of God’s Lamb (Heb 10:10), not by religious devotion. We do not make ourselves holy; God does that by forgiving our sins (Eph 1:7) based on the offering of a perfect Lamb (Heb 9:14). This is how a person becomes holy; she is simply given the “righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21), being dressed in the holy robes of Christ himself in baptism (Gal 3:27).

When you sin—and when you are tempted to fix your sin by being holy—remember that you are already baptized into Christ Jesus. You are already holy: not your holiness, but Christ’s. Confess your sin, and give thanks that God forgives sinners. What else can you do but lift the cup of salvation and be thankful enough to drink (Psa 116:13)?

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Combining the message of salvation in Christ with personal witness, The Gospel in Miniature is a Lutheran guide for evangelism. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 03 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 For the law: you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet—and if there is any other commandment—is summarized in this statement: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore, is the fullness of the law. (Romans 13:9–10) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, his workers, or his livestock, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not ruin our neighbors’ relationships with their husband or wife, workers, or livestock, or try to lure them away, but encourage them to remain and serve each other faithfully.

Pulling It Together

The Ninth Commandment deals with craving your neighbor’s goods, those inanimate possessions of your neighbor. The Tenth Commandment speaks about lusting after living things that are your neighbor’s, whether family or not—indeed, human or not: spouse, employees, farm animals, as well as domestic. We are not to yearn for anything that is in our neighbor’s care, but instead, take care of our own matters, and where possible, help our neighbor care for his own. This care for our neighbor demonstrates the sacrificial love that is to be the overarching ethic of all Christian relationships, just as it is the chief principle of the relationship between God and humanity.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for loving me; help me to love my neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Basics of the Christian Faith is an edition of the catechism that is aimed at seekers, visitors, and those that may not come from a Lutheran background. It is recommended for use in outreach, as a visitor welcome gift, or in new member packets.

Customized edition

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Mon, 02 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an occasion for the flesh, but through love be servants to each other. (Galatians 5:13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together

The example of Christ instructs us to serve one another. Because of his love, alive within us through the Holy Spirit, we look for opportunities to care for our neighbors, instead of seeking a chance to steal their property. Indeed, the idea is so foreign to us, that we would not consider the idea of taking what is not ours. We understand—again, because of the Spirit of God who lives in us—that what we have is a gift from God. So, we do not plot to take another’s goods, knowing that we would be stealing God’s gift, which is tantamount to robbing God. Who would consider such a thing? More importantly, Christ’s love enjoins us to do better, to live at a higher level, to care for our neighbors as God cares for us.

Prayer: Show me my neighbor’s need, Father, and give me the means to meet it. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Saints and Sinners, Witnesses to the Faith, is the first in a three-volume series on saints and sinners in the New Testament who were powerful witnesses to faith in Christ. May this study of saints and sinners enrich your understanding of life with Christ and encourage you in discipleship.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Fri, 30 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 3 Do nothing through selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility, consider others more significant than yourselves. 4 Each should look not only to his own things, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3–4) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together: If we trust God, we are able to be interested in more than ourselves. God will take care of us, so we are freed up to take care of others. In the most basic sense, if parents only cared for themselves, who would look after the children? Parents pay attention to the needs of their children because they have set aside their own wishes. If a mother or father only looks to selfish desires, the child is abandoned. This basic understanding may be applied to one’s neighbor, the people at church, at work. What are their interests and needs? Do you know?

Prayer: Open my eyes, Lord, and my heart. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Thu, 29 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Mark 7:31–35

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

The Third Part

The following articles deal with matters that may be considered with learned and reasonable people, or among ourselves. The pope and his government do not care much about these things, since the conscience is nothing to them, while money, honors, and power are everything.

Pulling It Together

What can you do with those who cannot or will not hear? If they will not listen, as reasonable people make a point to do, how will they be able to obey God’s Word? In Hebrew, the word for “listen,” also means “obey.” To truly listen to God’s Word means obedience to his word. It is no wonder some will not listen to the words of Scripture. Their ears are plugged and they like it that way. This is a real disability, but one that Jesus can easily heal. Jesus will open the ears of those who would truly hear, making them also able to speak plainly with others.

Prayer: Open my ears, Lord, so that I may obey your word. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Disciples of the Cross is a two-part Bible study addressing the topic of Christian discipleship from a uniquely Lutheran perspective. Part 1: Who We Are is an introduction to the theology of discipleship, laying the biblical groundwork for what it means to be called to live the life of faith as a follower of Jesus. 

The study may be used in conjunction with various discipleship programs and studies to highlight themes from the Lutheran tradition that are not often addressed in many discipleship materials. These include: a Theology of the Cross, the centrality of the Word and Sacrament, an understanding of the Means of Grace, and a recognition of the Christian as both "Saint and Sinner."

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Wed, 28 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we are unable to carry anything out of it. 8 But having sustenance and clothing, we will be content with these. (1 Timothy 6:6–8) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not plot to take our neighbors’ possessions, inheritance, or home, or obtain them through deceptive means, but assist and serve our neighbors in keeping what is theirs.

Pulling It Together

The fear and love of God ought to constrain us from taking the property of others. The trust of God should make us content with what we have. This does not keep us from working hard, trying to make life better for ourselves and for those whom we love. It should, however, restrain us from plotting to take what does not belong to us. Indeed, the fear, love, and trust of God should compel us to work for our neighbors’ good, to help them not only keep what they already have, but even assist them, working to increase their share in life.

Prayer: Lord, show me how to be a good neighbor. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

All God’s Critters is a Sunday School series designed for young students in Preschool and Kindergarten. Lessons are based on storytelling, rhyme, and pictures, and are suitable for participation by non-readers. The flexible lesson plans introduce the youngest believers to the importance and truth of God’s Word. Each lesson includes the story of the day written in a simplified manner so that young children may understand an important truth about God and what it means for us to be God’s children.

The All God’s Critters curriculum is fully reproducible and is designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches in mind. Check out some sample pages by clicking here.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/devotions/summaries.html Tue, 27 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Above all, maintaining diligent love among yourselves, for love conceals a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Eighth Commandment

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not betray, slander, lie, or gossip about our neighbors, but defend them, speak well of them, and put the most charitable construction on all that they do.

Pulling It Together

There may be little worse than carrying a grudge. It lessens the life of the person holding the grudge, as well as the one for whom the grudge is held. We confess to be the “communion of saints” where there is “forgiveness of sins.” Now, the Apostles’ Creed is referring to the forgiveness of God. However, if there is real community of Christian people, there is forgiveness among them too. This is precisely what we pray: “as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Real love conceals umbrages; it covers them, no longer to be seen, mentioned, or remembered (Prov 10:12).

Prayer: Give me, O Father, the Spirit of your Son so that I may love your church. Amen.

Click here for resources to learn the Ten Commandments.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by email. Write mryman@solapublishing.com with "Subscribe" as your subject. To unsubscribe, send an email to the s