Sola Publishing News and Feedback http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html News, devotions and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/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.

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:

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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/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.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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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Scripture Jigsaw Puzzles http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 13 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500

Check back often, as at least one puzzle is added per week. These puzzles are made with graphics from Sola's Online Worship eResoure. Learn more about it here

Simply click each puzzle thumbnail to work the puzzles below. 

Genesis 1:27

The First Commandment

The Second Commandment

The Third Commandment


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


The Fourth Commandment

The Fifth Commandment

Psalm 1:2

Psalm 4:6

Psalm 8:3–4

Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23:5


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


Psalm 32:7

Psalm 47:5

Psalm 47:5

Psalm 66:8-9

Psalm 85:9

Psalm 89:1

Psalm 118:19

Psalm 118:24


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.


Psalm 119:97

Psalm 119:160

Psalm 146:1

Psalm 148:3

Isaiah 52:10

Isaiah 53:6

Isaiah 60:4

Isaiah 64:10

Jeremiah 26:13

Joel 2:12


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. 


The Apostles' Creed

The Lord's Prayer

Matthew 4:4

Matthew 25:21

Luke 2:10

Luke 2:49

Luke 24:51

John 8:31

John 10:9

John 14:6

John 14:19

John 14:27


 

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

 


John 15:9

John 20:15

Acts 1:11

Acts 2:42

Acts 6:2

Acts 10:43

Acts 17:30

Acts 20:32

Romans 6:23

Romans 8:6


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. 


Romans 10:8

1 Corinthians 1:18

1 Corinthians 15:28

Ephesians 1:18

Philippians 3:14

1 Thessalonians 5:2

Hebrews 10:17

1 Peter 2:9

1 Peter 2:24

1 Peter 3:18

Revelation 1:8

Revelation 5:6

Revelation 7:14

Revelation 7:17

Revelation 22:12


 

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/news_feedback/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.

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. Limited back issues of Connections are also available. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 09 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

 

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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 04 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic  • Original image  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for audio of today's lesson.

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.

 

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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 03 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic  • Original image  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for audio of today's lesson.

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.

 

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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 02 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic  • Original image • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

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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/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 28 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic.  • Image  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

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From the Word: 1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples 2 saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they order, but not the works they do. For they say, but do not act. 4 Yes, they bundle backbreaking burdens, and set them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with their finger. 5 For they do all their works to be seen by other people. They make their phylacteries broad, and lengthen their tassels, 6 and love the highest position at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called Rabbi by the people. 8 But do not ye called Rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth your father, for you have one Father who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called teachers, for you have one Teacher, the Christ. (Matthew 23:1–10)

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

What the Church Is

Although the Church properly is the congregation of saints and true believers, nevertheless, since in this life many hypocrites and evil persons are mingled therewith, it is lawful to use Sacraments administered by evil men, according to the saying of Christ: The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat, etc. (Matt 23:2). Both the Sacraments and Word are effectual by reason of the institution and commandment of Christ, notwithstanding they be administered by evil men.

They condemn the Donatists, and such like, who denied it to be lawful to use the ministry of evil men in the Church, and who thought the ministry of evil men to be unprofitable and of none effect.

Pulling It Together: Today's reading from the Confessions underscores both justification by the grace of God alone (Article IV), and the means of grace (Article VII) mentioned before. The Confessions make it clear that God offers his grace without the assistance of perfect people. He accomplishes this through the preaching of the gospel and his word of promise in water, wine, and bread. The Church is that assembly where God perfectly bestows his grace, not a place where holy men do it for him. Just as God does not need, nor does he use, a person's virtues to bring her to saving faith, he does not require so-called "good" people to deliver his grace or make it valid in a congregation. As grace does not depend upon perfect people to preach and administer the sacraments, imperfect and even evil men cannot nullify the promise of God.

The Donatist controversy mentioned in this article is a case in point. Followers of Bishop Donatus insisted that the sacraments, especially baptisms, administered by those who had bowed to persecution and had seemed to deny the faith were now invalid. This would mean that God's grace depended upon sinless humans. But we confess that it is the Spirit who is the administrator of God's grace. Though the church and its officers be ever so imperfect, as pastors are sinners along with the rest, God's grace is not restrained. Our eyes must be ever upon the giver of grace, not the pastor who speaks the words of God's promise. It is God who washed us, gave his body, and shed his blood—not a pastor. It is the Spirit who speaks the Word of Christ to human hearts—not the one in the pulpit. So, Lutherans confess that the holy, catholic Church is that assembly where the gospel and the sacraments are rightly handled, however imperfect the bishop or pastor be who preaches and presides.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for baptizing me and keeping me in your grace. 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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Keeping the Commandments http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 28 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original painting by Carl von Weinberg

John 14:8-17

From the Reformer

…a true Christian says: “I believe in Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour,” who gave himself for my sins, and is at God’s right hand, and intercedes for me; fall I into sin, as, alas! oftentimes I do, I am sorry for it; I rise again, and am an enemy unto sin. … But human strength and nature are not able to accomplish this true Christian faith without the Holy Spirit. It can do no more than take refuge in its own deserts.

But he that can say: “I am a child of God through Christ, who is my righteousness,” and despairs not, though he be deficient in good works, which always fail us, he believes rightly. But grace is so great that it amazes a human creature, and is very difficult to be believed. Insomuch that faith gives the honor to God, that he can and will perform what he promised, namely, to make sinners righteous (Rom 4), though `tis an exceeding hard matter to believe that God is merciful unto us for the sake of Christ.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

Jesus laid a heavy burden upon his followers when he said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). How can they do this? They fail and fail and fail to keep his commandments; this is the curse of the law. At the end of the day therefore, if you really love him, staying true to God means coming home to him, regardless of one’s performance. Like the Prodigal who has been willful, believers must embrace their new nature, having faith that God in Christ forgives “the old man” (Col 3:9 KJV) and empowers them to try again. Continuing faith is the truest indication of the changed heart—the heart that tries again because it believes in a loving Father, a faithful Son, an empowering Spirit.

The sum of the commandments is to love God with one’s whole heart. Luther said this was impossible—that no one does this—and that is true, up to a point. Yet, when one fails to keep all the rest of the commandments, and then, returns to God, brokenhearted for his sin, he has kept the commandments. He has declared the love of a whole heart. “Here I am, Lord, a poor sinner. I have sinned but I dare to love you anyway. I can do no other because of your grace at work in my sick heart. I believe and will continue to believe and love you, despite my failings.” If you return to God in faith, you have kept the commandments.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 27 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic.  • Image  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

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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Recovery http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 27 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo

John 14:3–6

From the Reformer

This Gospel text teaches exclusively of the Christian faith, and awakens that faith in us; just as John, throughout his whole Gospel, simply instructs us how to trust in Christ the Lord. This faith alone, when based upon the sure promises of God, must save us; as our text clearly explains. And in the light of it all, they must become fools who have taught us other ways to become godly. All that human ingenuity can devise, be it as holy and as luminous as it may, must tumble to the ground if man be saved in God’s way—in a way different from that which man himself plans. Man may forever do as he will, he can never enter heaven unless God takes the first step with his Word, which offers him divine grace and enlightens his heart so as to get upon the right way.

This right way, however, is the Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever desires to seek another way, as the great multitudes venture to do by means of their own works, has already missed the right way; for Paul says to the Galatians: “If righteousness is through the Law,” that is, through the works of the Law, “then Christ died for naught” (Gal 2:21). Therefore I say man must fall upon this Gospel and be broken to pieces and in deep consciousness lie prostrate, like a man that is powerless, unable to move hand or foot. He must only lie motionless and cry: Almighty God, merciful Father, now help me! I cannot help myself. Christ, my Lord, do help now, for with only my own effort all is lost! Thus, in the light of this cornerstone, which is Christ, everyone becomes as nothing; as Christ says of himself in Luke 20:17-18, when he asks the Pharisees and scribes: “What then is this that is written. The stone which the builders rejected, the same was made the head of the corner? Every one that falleth on that stone shall be ‘broken to pieces; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will scatter him as dust” (Psa 118:22). Therefore, we must either fall upon this stone, Christ, in all our inability and helplessness, rejecting our own merits, and be broken to pieces, or he will forever crush us by his severe sentence and judgment. It is better that we fall upon him than that he should fall upon us. For this reason the Lord says in this Gospel: “No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day.”

—Martin Luther, Assorted Sermons, “On Faith, And Coming To Christ”

Pulling It Together

At first he would not admit he had a problem but then, he went to his father for help. He told him that he would have to do this on his own and that all he had to do was white-knuckle it. Then, after years of struggling to control his abuse of alcohol, the man hit bottom, breaking into emotional, financial, physical, and spiritual pieces. No matter how much he had tried, alcohol was a part of his life that controlled him as often as otherwise. He needed help outside himself.

It is a similar condition that plagues humanity. It is also addicted; its addiction is to sin. No matter how it tries to be good, it is bad. Like the alcoholic who is not always drunk, the “good” person’s life is touched by bouts and even binges of sin. Try as they might to be otherwise, all are sinners (Rom 3:23) and controlled by sin unless they seek assistance. The Father has a Way where you do not have to do it on your own, try harder, or just use more willpower. When the alcoholic walked through the door of his local AA meeting, he was on the road to recovery. When you walk through the Gate of God, the Father recovers you by his will—not yours, by his effort—not yours, by his grace—not by your goodness.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 26 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 24 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

  Click for a recording of today's lesson. 

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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.

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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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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.

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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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/news_feedback/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. 

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/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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Providential Pasture http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 11 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Psalm 23:1–6

From the Reformer

This psalm is neither intermingled with prayers, nor does it complain of miseries for the purpose of obtaining relief; but it contains simply a thanksgiving, from which it appears that it was composed when David had obtained peaceable possession of the kingdom, and lived in prosperity, and in the enjoyment of all he could desire. That he might not, therefore, in the time of his great prosperity, be like worldly men, who, when they seem to themselves to be fortunate, bury God in forgetfulness, and luxuriously plunge themselves into their pleasures, he delights himself in God, the author of all the blessings which he enjoyed. And he not only acknowledges that the state of tranquility in which he now lives, and his exemption from all inconveniences and troubles, is owing to the goodness of God; but he also trusts that through his providence he will continue happy even to the close of his life, and for this end that he may employ himself in his pure worship.

—John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms

Pulling It Together

It made no difference to David the condition in which he found himself. Certainly he wished for comfort and gave God thanks for ease. Yet he seems to have learned to give God thanks regardless. With Paul, he could say that he had learned to be content in whatever state he found himself (Phil 4:11). God had so tempered his character that he could lie down in providential pastures; whether they were green or brown, God was there. If enemies were present, so was the Good Shepherd. If death was near, so was the Lord of eternity and so, his cup ran over with the blessing of God’s presence.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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 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/news_feedback/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.

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.

   

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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 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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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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Hearing Christ Alone http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 30 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo by David Berkowitz

Luke 9:28-36

From the Reformer

After Christ complains that they have not received him [Jn 5:37], he speaks even more bitterly of their blindness. When he says that they have not heard or seen God, he speaks in a metaphor and means that they are utterly turned aside from the knowledge of God. For as men make themselves known by face and speech, so God speaks by the voice of his prophets, and puts on a visible form in the sacraments, so that he may be known by us according to our own measure. Anyone who does not know God through the living image he himself has given us shows that he only worships a God of his own fabrication. Therefore Paul says that they do not see the glory of God in the face of Christ, because a veil is thrown over their eyes (2Co 3:14).

—John Calvin, Commentaries

Pulling It Together

“When they became fully awake” must speak to a physical reality though it may hint at a spiritual one. It is clear that the three disciples had yet to full awaken spiritually since they seemed to credit all three who appeared in glory as equal. Peter gives the impression that he is about to create some sort of new religion: “Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” There is an almost sideshow air to the suggestion. Peter did not know what he was talking about and the Father was about to straighten him out. He meant for Peter and us all to understand that we are to listen to his Son. The lawgiver and the prophet departed and Jesus alone remained.

At the end of the day, we are meant to see Jesus and him alone. By “seeing” him alone, our Father means that we are to listen to and follow his Son, the Christ who has fulfilled the law and the prophets.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 28 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And [Abram] believed in the Lord, and he accounted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

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: Do we give up in our praying? Or do we persist and see the Lord’s will displayed in power and glory? Abram prayed and prayed, his petitions buttressed by Sarai’s pleas to the Lord for a child. In Abram’s and Sarai’s old age, God would finally answer their prayers, but now the answer seems unbelievable. How would two very elderly people have a child? This is often the moment of God’s glory: the time when he does the impossible in our lives. Will we believe? Will we add the “Amen” with confidence?

Prayer: Help me to pray to you, Lord, with faith. Amen.

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Click for larger image

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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The Struggle http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 28 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

John Wyclif (or Wycliffe) sending out his followers with hand-lettered New Testaments (original image)

Acts 10:34-43

From the Reformer

Be not youre herte afraied, ne drede it; ye bileuen in God, and bileue ye in me. In the hous of my fadir ben many dwellyngis; if ony thing lesse, Y hadde seid to you, for Y go to make redi to you a place. And if Y go, and make redi to you a place, eftsoones Y come, and Y schal take you to my silf, that where Y am, ye be. And whidur Y go, ye witen, and ye witen the weie. Thomas seith to hym, Lord, we witen not whidur thou goist, and hou moun we wite the weie? Jhesus seith to hym, Y am weie, treuthe, and lijf; no man cometh to the fadir, but bi me. If ye hadden knowe me, sotheli ye hadden knowe also my fadir; and aftirward ye schulen knowe hym, and ye han seyn hym. Filip seith to hym, Lord, schewe to vs the fadir, and it suffisith to vs.

—John Wyclif’s 14th century translation of John 14:1-8

Pulling It Together

Go ahead; try to read it again. Do not skim over it; read it aloud; struggle to pronounce the words and their meaning will come to you (especially of you have spent much time in the King James Bible, for it owes much to Wyclif’s text). Your struggle to understand the Medieval English of this 600-year old document is nothing compared to the struggle of Wyclif and his followers (the Lollards) to translate and publish it. It was a monumental effort in its day and met with disdain and reproach at nearly every turn. Wyclif and his followers must have known that not many of their hand-lettered copies of the New Testament would make it into the hands of the English people. Why? There were no machines, presses, duplicators, or copiers in the 14th century. Any copy had to be painstakingly reproduced by hand. So why did they work so hard and with such little thanks?

It may seem strange to modern churchgoers but, other than some history and moral lessons, the Bible was largely not taught in the churches of the 14th Century. The church was telling the people that salvation came through the church. John Wyclif, a post-medieval proto-reformer, read in the Bible that salvation comes through Christ alone. That Jesus is the way to God was kept from the eyes of the people, as though, if they did have one of Wyclif’s New Testaments, the John passage above had been smeared while the ink was still wet. Still, the passage was clear to those early proponents of reform in the church. They saw that salvation was not through the church and they wanted as many as could read to know (and share with others) that the gateway to God was through his Son alone.

More Reflections

Click for larger image

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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Peace Restored http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 28 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

John 20:19-31

From the Reformer

The apostles themselves did not know every thing, even after they had received the Holy Ghost; yea, and sometimes they were weak in faith. When all Asia turned from St Paul, and some of his own disciples had departed from him, and many false spirits that were in high esteem set themselves against him, then with sorrow of heart he said: “I was with you in weakness, fear, and in much trembling.” And “We were troubled on every side; without were fightings, and within were fears.” Hereby it is evident that he was fain to comfort him, saying: “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my power is strong in weakness.”

This is to me, and to all true Christians, a comfortable doctrine; for I persuade myself also that I have faith, though it is but so so, and might well be better; yet I teach the faith to others, and know, that my teaching is right. Sometimes I commune thus with myself: Thou preachest indeed God’s Word; this office is committed to thee, and thou art called thereunto without thy seeking, which is not fruitless, for many thereby are reformed; but when I consider and behold my own weakness, that I eat, drink, sometimes am merry, yea, also, now and then am overtaken, being off my guard, then I begin to doubt and say: Ah! that we could but only believe.

Therefore, confident professors are troublesome and dangerous people; who, when they have but only looked on the outside of the Bible, or heard a few sermons, presently think they have the Holy Ghost, and understand and know all. But good and godly hearts are of another mind, and pray daily: “Lord, strengthen our faith.”

—Martin Luther, Table Talk, “Of Jesus Christ”

Pulling It Together

“I don’t believe it!” This is a common enough saying but in connection with the Lord’s promises, one is aghast that someone would doubt—especially one of the apostles. Yet Thomas doubted and is famous for it—and so do you. You sometimes think, “How could God continue to forgive a sinner such as me?”—one who accepted his forgiveness and yet, does that which requires it again. And again. You do doubt. Ah; you think there is a difference between Thomas and yourself; he doubted the very presence of the resurrected Master. So do you. You doubt the presence of One who would forgive the likes of you. Yet every time you believe, he is present to forgive. You see clearly enough in that moment to understand that he does indeed forgive, and not just that: he restores his peace in you.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/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.

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 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/news_feedback/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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The Gate of God http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 24 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo by James Emery  

John 20:1–18

From the Reformer

For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. They had often heard from the mouth of Christ what they now saw with their eyes, but this flowed from their hearts. Being now warned by the sight of a strange spectacle, they begin to think of Christ as having something Divine, though they are still far from having a clear and accurate knowledge of him. John, therefore, accuses himself, when he acknowledges that the first time that he believed was, when he beheld the proofs of Christ’s resurrection.

Besides, he represents more strongly his own guilt and that of his brethren, by adding, that they not only had forgotten the words of Christ, but that they did not believe the Scriptures; for to this ignorance lie ascribes the deficiency of their faith. Hence, too, we may draw a useful instruction, that we ought, to ascribe it to our carelessness, when we are ignorant of what we ought to know about Christ, because we have not profited as we ought to have done by the Scriptures, which clearly reveal the excellence of Christ.

—John Calvin, Commentary on John

Pulling It Together

Anyone who has read this gospel would not be surprised that the Son is the Gate of God. Jesus is the way to his Father. In the tenth chapter he said, “I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture” (John 10:9). In the fourteenth chapter, he said that he is the only way to God (John 14:6).

When you find yourself, having run to the tomb, empty of breath and life, do not be surprised to find the door wide open. The certainty of this blessed event are discovered when you avail yourself of the Word of God—the key to the Gate of God. Faith comes when you believe what Jesus says; it is then that the Gate of God is open to you.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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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Merry Christmas http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 24 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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  Click for a recording of the Christmas story from the second chapter of Luke (ASV).

Now it came to pass in those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first census made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to register themselves, every one to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to enrol himself with Mary, his betrothed, who was great with child. And while they were there it happened that the days were fulfilled for her to give birth. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord was standing by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they feared a great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this is the sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is delighted.”

15 And it followed that when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the matter that was told to them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary stored up each of these things, pondering them in her heart.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as it was spoken to them.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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.

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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:

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/news_feedback/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.

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.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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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Momentous Trivialities http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 12 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original image by edouardo 

Philippians 2:2-8

From the Reformer

The tractarian literature of the fourteenth century set forth the rights of man and the principles of common law in opposition to the pretensions of the papacy and the dogmatism of the scholastic systems. Lay writers made themselves heard as pioneers of thought, and a practical outlook upon the mission of the Church was cultivated. With unexampled audacity Dante assailed the lives of popes, putting some of St. Peter’s successors into the lowest rooms of hell.

The Reformatory councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basel turned Europe for nearly fifty years, 1409-1450, into a platform of ecclesiastical and religious discussion. Though they failed to provide a remedy for the disorders prevailing in the Church, they set an example of free debate, and gave the weight of their eminent constituency to the principle that not in a select group of hierarchs does supreme authority in the Church rest, but in the body of the Church.

The hopelessness of expecting any permanent reform from the papacy and the hierarchy was demonstrated in the last years of the period, 1460-1517, when ecclesiastical Rome offered a spectacle of moral corruption and spiritual fall which has been compared to the corrupt age of the Roman Empire.

The religious unrest and the passion for a better state of affairs found expression in Wyclif, Huss, and other leaders who, by their clear apprehension of truth and readiness to stand by their public utterances, even unto death, stood far above their own age and have shone in all the ages since.

—Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church

Pulling It Together

A video was aired on a popular television program, showing a pastor baptizing a young boy. The pastor’s style was to scoop a small amount of water into his hand and as with a shell to pour water three times onto the child’s head. When finished, as the pastor was saying a few words to the family and congregation, the boy stuck his hand into the bowl and with one hard shove, splashed water back onto the pastor. The pastor, taking it all in good humor, smiled and handed the child back to his family.

In the big picture of history, we may consider the faithful, little things we do today as trivial. Indeed, one may wonder if Wyclif, Huss, and Dante ever suspected that they would shine through the ages. What they did in their time is what we must do in our own: be faithful. It may not seem like much, to baptize a child, or pen a tiny tract, or put the needs of another ahead of your own. The Roman soldiers and Pilate likely thought that crucifying a rabbi was of no consequence. Yet, Jesus was faithful to his Father and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” And the world was forever changed.

God may greatly impact the world by your faithfulness to him today—even if that faithfulness seems small to you.

More Reflections

The biblical focus in the five-session Moses and the Great Escape VBS book is found in the Old Testament book of Exodus. God has a grand plan for humankind—a plan he enacts through the Hebrew people. He created Moses to be instrumental in this plan.

Sola’s Versatile Budget Series is a simple and flexible educational Vacation Bible School curriculum 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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 11 Dec 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 

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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.

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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 10 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 9 I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation, and kingdom, and resolute endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamum, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”” (Revelation 1:9–11)

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: Being a citizen of the Father’s kingdom does not exempt us from trials and distress while we still have a foot in this world (John 16:33). John was imprisoned on Patmos; each of us may have our own exiles—from family, neighbor, workmates, or society as a whole—but we know our citizenship is in heaven. The old Larry Norman song (“Reader’s Digest”) ends, “I’m only visiting this planet,” prior to his homage to John Benson’s hymn: “This world is not my home; I’m just passing through.” Knowing we are ambassadors here (2 Cor 5:20), only visiting this world, allows us, through the power of the Spirit of Christ within us, to persevere so long as we are stationed here. We are residents in this world, citizens of another, fairer realm. Despite the tribulations of this place, we must listen for the great voice of Christ and be at peace in his presence. For he is with us, even here (Matt 28:20).

Prayer: Open my ears to hear your great voice, 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 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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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 personal and congregational benevolences. You may also securely donate as an individual by clicking the blue donate button above. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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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Convocation http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 22 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Ezekiel 37:1–14

From the Reformer

In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, he connects together the voice of the archangel and the trump of God: As therefore a commander, with the sound of a trumpet, summons his army to battle, so Christ, by his far sounding proclamation, which will be heard throughout the whole world, will summon all the dead. Moses tells us, (Exo 19:16) what loud and terrible sounds were uttered on occasion of the promulgation of the law. Far different will be the commotion then, when not one people merely, but the whole world will be summoned to the tribunal of God. Nor will the living only be convoked, but even the dead will be called forth from their graves. Nay more, a commandment must be given to dry bones and dust that, resuming their former appearance and reunited to the spirit, they come forth straightway as living men into the presence of Christ.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Corinthians

Pulling It Together

C. S. Lewis reminds us, “The Church will outlive the universe” (The Weight of Glory). One day, when days are no longer counted, every member of the Body will be called together and joined with the Head of the Body who is Christ. “Everything that is joined to the immortal head will share his immortality.” People of the Spirit believe it to be so because the voice of God has said so and will perform it. Yet there is a coming together that should already be occurring for the Body of Christ. Therefore, people of the Spirit must already be willing to be called together. Why should they wait until eternity?

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 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 

  Click for audio of today's devotion.

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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The Heresy of the Modern Spirit http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Romans 4:13-25

From the Reformer

The verse in the 115th Psalm is masterly: “He shall bless them that fear the Lord, both small and great.” Here the Holy Spirit is a fierce thunderclap against the proud, boasting Jews and papists, who brag that they alone are God’s people, and will allow of none but of those that are of their church. But the Holy Ghost says: The poor condemned people are also God’s people, for God saved many of the Gentiles without the law and circumcision, as without popedom.

The Jews see not that Abraham was declared justified only through faith: Abraham believed God, and that was imputed unto him for righteousness. God with circumcision confirmed his covenant with this nation, but only for a certain time. True, the circumcision of the Jews, before Christ’s coming, had great majesty; but that they should affirm that without it none are God’s people, is utterly untenable. The Jews themselves, in their circumcision, were rejected of God.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk, “Of the Jews”

Pulling It Together

The great heresy today is one shared long ago by Pelagius. That Celtic theologian, fueled perhaps by an excessively strong Irish individualism, relied not on the sacrifice or resurrection of Jesus but, like those who still hold to the old law or newly penned “laws,” on his own ability to choose to be a good man. This is the heresy of the modern spirit. Those interested in spiritual things today are intrigued by what they can do to be good or powerful or wise. The Christian does not boast in such things. Followers of Christ put no hope in laws, rites, secret knowledge, or their own devotion. Their hope is not in what they do but in what has been done for them. This is precisely what the modern (or if you must, the post-modern—or the post-postmodern) spirit condemns. It is also this very thing that condemns the modern spirit. The hope of the Christian is not in the Christian; the hope of the Christian is in Christ.

More Reflections

Connections magazine is an emerging voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, that features ministries and mission efforts, reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages—all in a “coffee table quality” package.

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Everything You Need http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo 

Romans 5:1-5

From the Reformer

JOHN THE STEADFAST: Elector of Saxony 1525-32, brother of Frederick the Wise (q.v.); b. at Meissen (15 m. n.w. of Dresden) June 30, 1468; d. at Schweinitz (54 m. n.e. of Merseburg) Aug. 16, 1532. He received a scholarly education, was trained in the arts of knighthood, and is said to have distinguished himself in the struggle against the Turks. Luther’s writings soon won his heart, and he followed the development of the reformatory movement with ever increasing interest. It was he who, in the absence of the elector, omitted to publish the bull directed against Luther. In his letters to his brother he warmly recommended Luther and admonished the cautious elector to adopt more decidedly the reformer’s cause and to influence other princes in the same direction. His influence decided Frederick to protect Luther in the Wartburg. During the printing of his New Testament, Luther sent John the single sheets, and thenceforth he read the Bible daily.

—Philip Schaff, The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge

Pulling It Together

God does not leave you alone in your struggles to live up to being created in his image. He gave you his example, his Spirit, and his Word. Beyond this, he lends you friends who stand with you in the struggle. God does everything but stand for you. And where it counts most, he has done even that, standing as substitute for the life you owed him.

More Reflections

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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Let Us Confess http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Genesis 30:1-24; 1 John 1:1-10; John 9:1-17

From the Reformer

Moreover, the evil which remains in our flesh is like a spur which urges us on, with the result that we are angry with ourselves, condemn ourselves, and cry out with Paul (Rom. 7:24): “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this sin?” Lord, take away and crucify our flesh! Thus faith grows by reason of our failings, the seeds of which remain in our flesh.

—Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis

Pulling It Together

When reading the story of Jacob and his wives, one would have to conclude that they were not quite walking in full light. Yet, God answered these sinners’ prayers, as we see with Leah and the mandrakes, in order to accomplish his own purposes. Later, we see Dan and his brothers enter into acts of awful darkness. It is no wonder the disciples asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?”

Let us confess our own proclivity for sin. For, if we lie about our sinfulness, we are darker still. Though we sometimes stumble into the darkness of sin, it does not mean we do not walk in the light. If you walk in the broad sunlight today but sometimes step into shadow, it does not mean you walk in darkness, for in the next step, you emerge into the sunlight again. Walking in the light includes confessing to the darkness in you and being cleansed from sin.

Get back in step with your Savior and keep walking with him. In doing so, the mightiest work of God is displayed in you; his ultimate purpose is accomplished: you walk with him, in the fullness of his light.

Prayer: Forgive me, O Light of the World, for I am a poor sinner who wants to walk with you. Amen.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 20 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 

  Click for audio of today's devotion.

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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Curses http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 20 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo by mzsu

Genesis 3:14-21

From the Reformer

…only unbelief is called sin by Christ, as he says in John, chapter 16, “The Spirit will punish the world because of sin, because it does not believe in me.” Furthermore, before good or bad works happen, which are the good or bad fruits of the heart, there has to be present in the heart either faith or unbelief, the root, sap and chief power of all sin. That is why, in the Scriptures, unbelief is called the head of the serpent and of the ancient dragon which the offspring of the woman, i.e. Christ, must crush, as was promised to Adam (cf. Ge 3). Grace and gift differ in that grace actually denotes God’s kindness or favor which he has toward us and by which he is disposed to pour Christ and the Spirit with his gifts into us, as becomes clear from chapter 5, where Paul says, “Grace and gift are in Christ, etc.” The gifts and the Spirit increase daily in us, yet they are not complete, since evil desires and sins remain in us which war against the Spirit, as Paul says in chapter 7, and in Galatians, chapter 5. And Genesis, chapter 3, proclaims the enmity between the offspring of the woman and that of the serpent. But grace does do this much: that we are accounted completely just before God. God’s grace is not divided into bits and pieces, as are the gifts, but grace takes us up completely into God’s favor for the sake of Christ, our intercessor and mediator, so that the gifts may begin their work in us.

—Martin Luther, Preface to Romans

Pulling It Together

“I can’t stop sinning!” he complained to the pastor. “I keep asking God to help me but he doesn’t.” But God has indeed helped; his heel has crushed what we see as a still-powerful enemy. Long after the snake is dead the effects of his bite linger. One is delirious, doing things beyond their control, but slowly the poisonous effects wear off and some control of body and mind comes to the one bitten. Be reminded in your delirium that the serpent has been crushed. Sin has been destroyed.

More Reflections

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 19 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Click above for larger graphic  • Index of Scripture Graphics and posts by Scripture reference 

  Click for audio of today's devotion.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 18 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 

  Click for audio of today's devotion.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 15 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 

  Click for audio of today's devotion.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 14 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 

  Click for audio of today's devotion.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 13 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: 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. 

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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.

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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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 18 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 24 What a wretched person I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24–25)

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

We are saved from sin and death through faith in Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, sin is not a thing of the past; it is a present reality. Though we pray, “thy will be done,” and we know, even have memorized, the commandments, we cannot keep them. So, one may ask, what is the point?

On one level, the law provides discipline, a restraint against sin. Still, we do not keep the commandments perfectly. At this point, the law of God makes us aware of our sins, so that we may ask the Father to forgive us for Christ’s sake. Most importantly, the law makes us look beyond ourselves. Realizing our condition—that our very nature is corrupt and incapable of being good (Isa 64:6) or being justified with God by our own merits (Psa 143:2)—the sad awareness that the law brings, makes us look for help elsewhere. Thanks be to God that there is indeed help: in Jesus Christ alone.

Prayer: Help me to look to you, Lord Jesus, for forgiveness and peace. 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.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 13 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 5b I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the ancestors upon the children, upon the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:5b-6)

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

Verse five from the Word today can be a troubling verse, especially if you read the NIV. In that version, it reads: “punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” God does not punish children for the sins of their ancestors. However, the effects of murder, theft, adultery, divorce, lies, dishonoring parents, and generally hating God, can linger for generations.

Nonetheless, those who have faith in God and his Christ, discover that God loves them in spite of their lineage, often breaking the chains of their ancestors. He gives believers a new and noble ancestry, becoming for them the Father of all good things.

Prayer: Help me believe in your love, Father, and 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.

Sola’s Confirmation workbook, The Lord's Prayer, is 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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 10 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And this is his commandment: that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he has commanded us. (1 John 3:23)

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

All the Commandments are rooted in the First, or as it quickly came to be understood: the greatest or most important commandment (Matt 22:36–40). This greatest commandment sums up all of the commands. So, what does God command us other than what Jesus says: to love him in a manner that depends upon him, that trusts in his name, his character, his reputation? To believe in Christ Jesus is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30–31).

You say that this is impossible, that you do not love the Lord with your whole heart. Luther would agree with you, at least in a legal reading of the Commandments. But consider this the next time you confess that you have not loved him with your whole heart. In that confession, you are wholly trusting him. You are not depending upon yourself, your ability to do better, to cease sinning. At that moment, you are trusting the Father’s forgiveness; you are indeed trusting and loving him with your whole heart.

And so, the impossible becomes possible because of God (Matt 19:26). You are able to trust God completely because of Christ’s reputation. You have faith in that great name, and no other. You see that his is the saving nature, not yours, and so, you have faith in Christ alone. This faith is keeping the Commandments.

Prayer: I believe in 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.

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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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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Our All and Everything http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 06 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Psalm 111:1-10

From the Reformer

On Redemption:

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, descended to Hell, on the third day rose again from the dead, ascended to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Almighty Father. From there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Q: What does this mean?

A: I believe that Jesus Christ is truly God, born of the Father in eternity and also truly man, born of the Virgin Mary. He is my Lord! He redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, bought and won me from all sins, death and the authority of the Devil. It did not cost Him gold or silver, but His holy, precious blood, His innocent body—His death! Because of this, I am His very own, will live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him righteously, innocently and blessedly forever, just as He is risen from death, lives and reigns forever. Yes, this is true.

—Martin Luther, The Small Catechism

Pulling It Together

You await nothing to be added to your life so that you might be saved. You owe nothing. You must do nothing. Nothing needs to be added to faith because nothing needs to be added to the one in whom we have faith. Good works? No. Penance? No. Get baptized again? No. Stop drinking, smoking, chewing, cussing, dancing, going to movies, reading popular fiction? No to all of these and more. 

There is no greater cause to come, no finer moment, no more wondrous event, no fuller teaching. Jesus is the One. He is the Only One. He has given you someone to live for, joy in the living, the wonder of history to remember, and the assurance of your hope in him. He has done all this in himself—and for you.

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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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/news_feedback/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 same address with "Unsubscribe" as your subject.

Rejoice in the Lord, Always! is a nine week study examines some of the most treasured verses in Scripture, in ways that are encouraging and realistic about our life in faith. Celebrating both the tensions and the joys of discipleship, Paul reminds us of Who it is that makes us a community as we share our lives together in a common commitment to Christ.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 26 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 16 These are the things that you shall do. Every one of you speak the truth with your neighbor; pronounce truthful judgments and peace in your gates. 17 Do not plot evil in your heart against your neighbor, and do not love a deceitful oath, for all these are things that I hate, declares the Lord. (Zechariah 8:16–17) 

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

God is listening. He listens to our hearts, as well as our words. Even our intentions, our deepest desires, are known to him. We are to fear and love him to such a level that we dread our neighbor’s harm—whether at our own hands or another’s. We are to strive for his peace and prosperity, not imagine ways to undo him. God is listening.

Prayer: Give me your peace, Lord, so that I may live your peace in times of temptation. 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.

God's Reluctant Leaders is a nine-session Bible Study focuses on the stories of three biblical characters: Jonah, Gideon, and Moses. Sessions explore how God works to create faith within those whom He calls to serve His mission. The study is written at an introductory level, to be led by a lay leader or pastor in a small-group question and discussion format. It would serve as an excellent resource for monthly women's group meetings, or in an informal small-group setting.

To view the Leader's Guide click HERE.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 23 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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1 Timothy 4:13–16

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

On the other hand, all the sermons in our churches are occupied with such topics as repentance, the fear of God, faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, the consolation of consciences by faith, the exercises of faith, prayer—what its nature should be and that we should be fully confident that it is heard and is effective, the cross, the authority of magistrates and all civil ordinances, the distinction between the kingdom of Christ (or the spiritual kingdom) and political affairs, marriage, the education and instruction of children, chastity, and all the works of love. From this report of our churches it may be judged that we diligently maintain church discipline, godly ceremonies, and good customs in the church.

Pulling It Together

Paul exhorts the young pastor to devote himself to three practices in his ministry: being sure that the Scriptures are read in services of worship, and preaching and teaching the Word of God. This is what the Church needs, though it is not necessarily what the people in congregations want. Too many of our churches want money managers, hand holders, back patters, and meeting goers who go by the name of Pastor but are afforded little time to actually fulfill their office.

The Church must make sure its pastors are allowed to absorb themselves in the office of God’s calling, not in the job description of a Council’s choosing. Then our pastors may faithfully read, preach, and teach God’s word in a way that is beneficial to their congregations.

Prayer: Give me the discipline, Lord, to immerse myself in your word. 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.

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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 22 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson, a Throwback Thursday devotion from August 22, 2016. 

1 Corinthians 1:20–25

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Human Traditions in the Church 

Among the adversaries, in many regions, no sermons are delivered during the entire year except in Lent. Yet the chief worship of God is the preaching of the gospel. When the adversaries do preach, they speak of human traditions, of the worship of saints, and similar trifles which the people justly loathe. Therefore, they are deserted as soon as the text of the gospel has been recited. A few of the better ones are now speaking of good works, but they say nothing about the righteousness of faith, faith in Christ, or the consolation of consciences. Indeed, they rail with reproaches at this most wholesome part of the gospel.

Pulling It Together

The gospel of God’s grace through Christ was snubbed as something “Lutheran” in the 16th century. In the 21st century, other gospels persist in churches. In their roots, these various false gospels are the same that Luther contended with and that the Apostle Paul fought against. They are a so-called gospel of works righteousness. The prosperity gospel and the social (or activist) gospel are two of many such false gospels in our world today. Giving in order to gain is obviously a works-centered belief. A church that rallies around the latest cultural correctness and that believes God favors them for doing so, is also focused on a righteousness of works.

But we teach a much different gospel than these. “We preach Christ crucified.” This is a point of stumbling and offense for many but to those who are called, Christ is the power and wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:23–24). Christ is our righteousness, and his cross our rallying point. This is what must be preached and taught in our churches, lest human traditions and Christless religion soon overtake us.

Prayer: Ever draw me, O God, to the power and wisdom of Christ crucified. Amen.

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In One Word” is a Christmas program that tells the story of the nativity in the fictionalized format of a first century game show. The script is reproducible for use of the children. The program is able to accommodate eight character parts, plus a primary narrator (also able to be divided among multiple students). Simple biblical costuming and props are suggested. The script also includes music lead sheets for the Christmas carols that are a part of the program.

Click HERE to see the introduction and a couple of sample pages.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 21 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 8 Above all, maintain being diligent in the love among yourselves, for love covers a host of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one to another—without grumbling. (1 Peter 4:8–9) 

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

How long would you expect people to stay at a party where the host walks around complaining about the party guests? When entertaining, one is considerate of the guests, shows interest in their lives, and even their opinions. Concern for the welfare of the guest is the measure of true hospitality. This kind of ancient hospitality hearkens back to a kinder day when travelers might be welcomed into a home. Imagine being such a wanderer, brought in to someone’s home for the evening. They provide you with supper and even a bed to sleep in, but the owners of the house bicker and complain throughout the evening. Eventually, they begin to grumble about all the visitors who come to their door, looking for a handout.

The church is to be passionate about hospitality. So when your church holds their next potluck, and you end up having to do all the dishes, or cleaning up after that particular family, do it without complaint. Speak of those folks as though you love them. Forgive them. The sin that is covered in doing so, may not be theirs alone.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, give me the heart of 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.

In Part 2 of Sola Scriptura, "The Norm of Faith" study shows how an active view of the Word informs and guides our understanding of what Scripture says. In other words, it will talk about what the Bible means based on what it does. In terms of how we come to articulate our faith and our doctrinal teachings, to speak of Scripture as the "norm" of faith means that it is the standard against which our theology and proclamation are measured.

• Leader's Guide   • See also Sola Scriptura, Part 1: The Source of Faith

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

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From the Word: Love endures, is kind; love is not jealous; love is not proud, is not arrogant, 5 not inappropriate. It does not demand its own way, is not provoked, does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 It does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 suffers all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4–7) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism – part 94

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

What if God did not think the best of us? We would be hopeless. If each time he looked at us, he thought of us as irredeemable, each time he heard us, he considered us deplorable, each time he knew our hearts and minds, he found us sickening, we would be despondent.

Instead, the Father thinks the best of us by viewing us through the filter of his Son. May we see our brothers and sisters in the same way—endure them if necessary, but hope for their best because of Christ.

Prayer: Give me your patient strength, Lord, so that I may be patient with others. 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.

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 curriculum 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! 

Call 336-226-8240 to set up a 30-day trial. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 19 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Therefore, putting away falsehood, each of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are all members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25) 

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

In the strictest sense, we should not lie to or about our Christian brothers and sisters. No honorable reason denies this charity to all others. We should not betray, slander, lie, or gossip about the neighbor who lives down the street, a workmate, the president, or anyone. We are to think the best of them, pray for them, and when we cannot speak well of them, speak not at all. This is a spiritual exercise that we must practice, for we fail at it, must repent, and try again—and again.   

Prayer: Forgive me, Lord, when I break your commandments, and give me the courage and strength to keep them. 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 next issue of Connections is being sent to the printer this week. Subscribe today and you'll get the September/October issue on the Fifth Commandment in the mail at the beginning of September. Connections, a magazine for evangelical Lutheran Christians, provides great food for the soul, being filled with meaty articles as well as lighter spiritual fare. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Fri, 16 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But reverence with contentment is great increase. (1 Timothy 6:6)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

Are you content with God? Do you trust him? Do you fear him, love him? For the one who is content with God, there is no need of anything more, no need to steal from another. For the person who trusts God, there will be enough. There may not be all that was hoped for, but there will be adequacy for the need. For the one who fears, theft is out of the question, for God does not suffer unrighteous people (1 Cor 6:9–10). The person who loves God, will love neighbor also, not stealing from others, but helping them increase their portion. For the person who fears and loves God, is content with what God provides. This contentment is not religious, but very real, because Christ Jesus has become our sufficiency (Phil 4:11)—not only for godliness but also for life (2 Pet 1:3).

Prayer: Lord Jesus, increase my faith so that I might be content in 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.

Kinderbeten is a compelling story touching on the exercise of free religion, the religious wars in Europe, the roots of Evangelicalism, the supernatural, and more, all wrapped up in a religious revival which began not through a charismatic revivalist or any adult at all, but rather found it's origin with children aged four to fourteen. The children became pawns in a controversy between political and religious opponents. Indulge your curiosity and read the remarkable story about the King of Sweden and the 1707-08 Children's Revival in Silesia, a tale of hope and prayer.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/summaries.html Thu, 15 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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  Click for a recording of today's lesson, a Throwback Thursday edition from August 15, 2015.

Ephesians 2:4–10

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Anthony, Bernard, Dominicus, Franciscus, and other holy Fathers selected a certain kind of life either for the sake of study or other useful exercises. In the meantime, they believed that they were accounted righteous through faith, and that God was gracious to them for Christ's sake, not because of their spiritual exercises. But since then, the multitude has not imitated the faith of the Fathers, but their activities without faith, thinking that they might earn the forgiveness of sins, grace, and righteousness by such works. They did not believe that they received these freely because of Christ the propitiator.

Pulling It Together

Being a pastor or missionary is not a free ticket to heaven. While the work that such people do is important to the kingdom of Christ, it is only faith in Christ that opens the gates of heaven. A pastor may labor for a lifetime to swing those gates but they will not budge without faith. Only the righteous will enter that blessed rest. Now, that would keep us all out of heaven—except for the work of Christ. Those who have faith in him are assigned his righteousness. Without his righteousness, no one will pass through.

I received a text this morning. It was an electronic boarding pass for a flight home. My wife had purchased my ticket, and then had the airline send the boarding pass to my phone. Now, without this pass, I will never get home. More to the point, while I was busy doing pastoral work, my wife made sure I could get home. Once I get to the airport, I could argue all day about being a pastor and that I was busy doing the work of the kingdom. They still will not allow me on the flight. It is her work that will get me home. You were created for good works, and you should live a life of Christian service, but it is faith in the work of Christ on the cross that brings you home.

Prayer: Lord, empty me of trust in my efforts, and help me rely on you 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 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/news_feedback/summaries.html Wed, 14 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Give to the one who asks you, and do not reject the one who desires to borrow from you. (Matthew 5:42)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

We must read the Bible with the eyes of faith, instead of allowing feelings to interpret Scripture. Too often, passages like today’s verse leave us with a sense of guilt. We remind ourselves: I drove right by that homeless guy with the sign asking for money on my way to work this morning. Bless our hearts; we were driving to work to take care of those whom God entrusted to our care, not to give away their means of support. We have a responsibility to those whom God has enjoined by vocation. For example, if God has placed you in the role of parent, that vocation requires giving and lending to those in need: your spouse and child. Do not give their living to someone whom God has not placed in your life. That would be stealing from those whom God has entrusted to your care.

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to be faithful to my vocation. 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.

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/news_feedback/summaries.html Tue, 13 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For even when we were with you, we declared this command to you: if anyone is not willing to work, he does not eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10) 

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that we do not rob our neighbors of their money or property or take from them by unfair dealing or fraud, but help them to improve and protect their property and means of making a living.

Pulling It Together

Everyone plays a part. If that part is neglected it diminishes the whole. The rest must pick up the slack, and carry the burden of feeling as though they must take care of those who refuse labor. God’s justice is different than society’s. In the early church, he commanded that those who would not work, would not eat. Maybe it was meant to be motivation—perhaps justice. We might call it reasonableness or common sense. Whatever we call it, it is God’s command. Do not allow society to make you feel otherwise. Those who beg from the church, when they are able to work, are thieves. All have their jobs to do, vocations that are to be worked at peacefully, so that they may earn their living and share it with those who legitimately need help.

Prayer: Give me the strength, Lord, to say yes to work and no to those who will not work. 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 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/news_feedback/summaries.html Mon, 12 Aug 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Woe to the one who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper