Sola Publishing News and Feedback [Devotions Category] http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html?category=19 News, devotions and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1629.html Fri, 25 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: 25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the end, he will stand upon the earth. 26 Then, after my flesh is destroyed, I will, in my flesh, see God. (Job 19:25-26)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

For this reason, it is also useful that we form the habit of daily entrusting ourselves to God—soul and body, spouse, children, employees, and all that we have—for every need that may occur. This is why the blessing and thanksgiving at meals, and other prayers, both morning and evening, have originated and remain in use.

Pulling It Together: Poor Job was tormented by his friends, shunned by his family, and was of the opinion that God was after him. Did he simply complain about his plight? Was he reduced to whining about his tribulations? He did complain, but he also confessed. He commended himself to God. He believed that in the end, when all else was dead and gone, it was God who would stand upon the earth. He also professed that this life is not the sum of existence, that after his death and subsequent decay he, in a resurrected body, would see God. So, even in the midst of the greatest difficulties of life, God’s name should be in our mouths, confessing what we know to be true, and entrusting ourselves to his care.

Prayer: I trust you, Father, to care for me and those whom I love, regardless of all that life throws at us. Amen.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1628.html Thu, 24 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: Jesus answered, “It was not because this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God would be manifested in him.” (John 9:3)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

This is a blessed and beneficial discipline, and very effective against the devil, who is always around us, lying in wait to bring us into sin and shame, calamity and trouble. But he is disinclined to hear God’s name, and cannot long remain where it is spoken and called upon from the heart. Indeed, many a terrible and shocking calamity would befall us if God did not preserve us by our calling upon his name. I have tried it myself, and learned from experience that sudden and great calamity was often immediately averted and removed by calling upon God. To confound the devil, I say, we should keep his holy name in our mouths, so that he may not be able to injure us as he desires.

Pulling It Together: There is no easier way for the works of God to be demonstrated in our lives than by our calling upon the Father. See the different ways we pray it is so. May your name be holy among us. May your will be done. Meet our needs, Father. Forgive us of our sins. Help us forgive our neighbors. Lead us out of temptations. Rescue us from evil in the holy name of Our Father. In all these ways, as we pray these seven petitions that Jesus taught us, God is invoked and his power is displayed in his church.

Prayer: Help me to pray, Holy Spirit. Amen.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1627.html Wed, 23 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for jigsaw puzzle.

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From the Word: 21 On a scheduled day, Herod dressed in royal attire, and sat on the throne, and made a speech to them. 22 And the assembly shouted, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 And immediately, an angel of the Lord fatally struck him, because he did not give God the glory. And he was consumed by worms, and expired.

24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. (Acts 12:21–24)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

On the other hand, children should be constantly urged and encouraged to honor God’s name, and keep it upon their lips in all situations and experiences. Truly honoring his name means imploring it for all consolation, and expecting to be heard. Accordingly, as we have heard above, first, the heart through faith gives God the honor due him, and then the lips do so in confession.

Pulling It Together: In this example of Herod, we may quickly observe what is important to God. Herod was full of himself, wanting people to hear his words. When the people, wanting government welfare, wrongly honored him with the appellation of a god, he accepted their praise. Elsewhere in the Scripture, we see people correct this misappropriation of the honor due to God alone (Acts 10:26; Rev 19:10, 22:8-9). Herod was dealt a fatal blow, and his words died with him. But God’s word, and therefore, the honor due his name, will endure forever (Isa 40:8; 1 Pet 1:25). 

Prayer: Grant me the wisdom, O God, and the courage to give you the glory always. Amen.

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1626.html Tue, 22 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: Will you speak unjustly for God, and speak deceitfully for him? (Job 13:7)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Therefore, I counsel and urge, as I have before, that by means of warning and threat, restraint and punishment, children be trained early to shun dishonesty, and especially to avoid the use of God’s name to support a lie. If they are allowed to do as they please, no good will result. It is evident that the world is worse than it has ever been. There is no government, no obedience, no fidelity, and no faith, but only willful, unbridled people, whom teaching and rebuke do not improve. All this is God’s wrath and punishment for such headstrong contempt of this commandment.

Pulling It Together: Some people, those relying on their own old nature, cannot bear to hear God’s word, let alone understand it (John 8:43). They will not listen, because they are not of God; they do not have a new nature. So, they will invent whatever suits their narrative, and often try to make their views more appealing by swearing, or otherwise, wrongly using God’s name. The practice begins at a very young age. So, it must be rooted out early and often. Children must be taught, for it is not in their natures, to use God’s name correctly. This may best be done by not putting words in his mouth. Better to let God speak for himself—and listen to him. I know no better and more objective way to listen to God than to be often in The Holy Bible.

Prayer: Help me to hear you, Father, and obey. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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. Dr. Steven E. King, is a 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 is on Moses and the Exodus Cycle, with Bible Study lessons taken primarily from the Pentateuch.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1625.html Mon, 21 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: 31 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

If one party swears falsely, his sentence is that he will not escape punishment. Though it may be deferred a long time, he will not succeed. All that he might gain from perjury will slip out of his hands, and never be enjoyed. I have seen this in cases of those who lied in their marriage vows, never having a happy hour or a healthful day, until they perished miserably in body, soul, and possessions.

Pulling It Together: The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26b). Some say that this means “little Christs.” If so—if Christians are those who would imitate him—their lying would immediately bring dishonor to the name of the God whom they follow. After all, their words and actions are to be spoken and done in his name. Now, we would be telling the truth indeed if we testified that Christians sometimes lie, especially if we are testifying about ourselves. So, what is a “little Christ,” a Christ imitator, to do?

Being a Christian does not mean you are perfect, that you keep the commandments without failure. It does, however, mean that when you have failed in commandments two through ten, you return to the First Commandment. You admit that God is God, that neither you nor your sin is greater than he is, and then, you continue in his word. By still believing in him, despite yourself, and trusting in his promises, you demonstrate—at least to yourself—that you are truly Christ’s disciple. Understanding this simple truth can set you free from the guilt of Satan’s accusations. Abiding in that truth who is the Truth will set you free, not only from guilt, but from sin and death and the devil to boot. For the Truth is greater than all your lies.  

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help me to continue in your word. Amen.

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1624.html Fri, 18 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: All the prophets bear witness to him, that through his name everyone who believes on him receives forgiveness of sins. (Acts 10:43)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Here you have an explanation of the essence of the entire commandment. With this understanding, the question that has troubled many teachers is easily solved: why swearing is prohibited in the gospel when Christ, St. Paul, and other saints often swore. In brief, here is the explanation. We are not to swear in support of evil, that is, of falsehood, and where there is no need or use. Yet, we should swear for the support of good, and for the advantage of our neighbor. It is a truly good work by which God is praised, truth and justice are established, falsehood is refuted, peace is made among people, obedience is rendered, and quarrels are settled. In this way, God himself interposes and separates between right and wrong, and good and evil.

Pulling It Together: The worst way to take God’s name in vain, is to say or believe that favor from God is received in one’s own name, by his own reputation—in other words, by the merits of what he does. To stake your forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life on religious devotion, good deeds, or anything other than Christ alone, is to claim God’s promises on your own will, on your own reputation. It makes these matters an equation of Christ plus something else: Christ + religious devotion, Christ + good deeds. This is not the gospel. The gospel says Christ alone is the sum of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. To swear something else as truth and gospel, is false and evil. You are free to assert truth to be true; only swear to the greatest truth, and you will have used God’s name properly. 

Prayer: I believe in you alone, Lord , for all good. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1623.html Thu, 17 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: If anyone’s will is to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is of God, or that I speak from myself. (John 7:17)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Because using the holy name for falsehood or wickedness is forbidden here, it is a natural inference, on the other hand, that we are commanded to employ it for truth and for all good, as when one swears truly when there is need and demand. This is also the case when there is right teaching, and when the Name is invoked in trouble, or praised and thanked in prosperity, etc. We comprehend all of this summarily in the directive: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me (Psa 50:15 RSV). All of this uses his name in the service of truth, employing it in a devout manner. Thus, God’s name is hallowed, as we pray in the Lord’s Prayer.

Pulling It Together: Jesus uses the Name in a doubly devout manner. Not only does he teach what his Father sent him to teach, he gives God the credit too. Jesus’ teaching depended on the reputation of the one who sent him. We are enabled to believe right teaching, Christ's word, when the Spirit gives us the faith to do so. Because true faith is based in the divine word alone, the Father’s will is done. It is accomplished when we believe based upon his name, his reputation. This faith, itself given by God, “holies” the Name. The highest and best use of the Name is to believe him.

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Lord, that I may believe in you. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1622.html Wed, 16 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: And why do you not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, and you will seek me, but I will not be. (Job 7:21)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Besides this, you must also know how to use the name of God correctly. For when saying, “You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain,” he would have us understand at the same time that his name is to be used properly. For it has been revealed and given to us for the very purpose of being of constant use and profit.

Pulling It Together: Jesus taught us in the Fifth Petition of his prayer to trust in God for forgiveness of our sins. Human nature reasons that our suffering is caused by God no longer loving us, and that there must be a reason for the loss of his care. We think it must be because of some unconfessed, or even unforgiven, sin. The Spirit of God comforts our spirits, helping us to believe that it is God’s will to (Third Petition) forgive (Fifth Petition) and that we may properly call upon the name of the Lord for forgiveness. Furthermore, we are to know that we are forgiven of all our sins (Third Article), through Christ.

Forgiveness does not alleviate human suffering. Yet, the promise of the Father’s pardon allows us better reason, the knowledge that God does take away our iniquity, and that at the end of our suffering, when we are laid in the dust, he will indeed see us, for we will be when we are raised on that last day (Job 19:25–27).

Prayer: Place in my heart a love of your name, that I may use it as you intend. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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 certificates for your congregation's celebrations. They are printed in color on heavyweight parchment paper, and come with with envelopes. Editable PDF versions are also available. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1621.html Tue, 15 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw

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From the Word: It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no advantage. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit, and are life. (John 6:63)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

So, you now understand what it is to take God’s name in vain. To reiterate, it is either simply to lie and to use God’s name for something that is not so, or to curse, swear, trick, and in short, to practice any kind of wickedness.

Pulling It Together: Why is it that God is so concerned with words, that we speak the truth and use his name, his reputation, with care? Words, true words, create life. They create faith in Christ Jesus, which leads to eternal life. Lies lead to death. Misuse of God’s name, using it for personal gain and evil, leads to the ultimate loss. Hearing the truth, however, leads to faith, revivifying spirit and bringing life (Rom 10:17).

Prayer: Help me listen, Father, more than I speak. Amen.

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

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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1620.html Mon, 14 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for jigsaw.

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From the Word: So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up, And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased. (Acts 9:31)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Therefore, our young people should, above all things, have this commandment strongly enforced upon them. They should be trained to hold this and the First Commandment in high regard. Whenever they transgress, we must be after them at once with the rod, confronting them with the commandment, and constantly impressing it upon them, so as to bring them up not merely with discipline, but also in the fear and reverence of God.

Pulling It Together: Fear is a good thing. But we say that we do not want our children growing up, fearing the Lord. We want them to fear hot stoves, bad influences, and other harmful things, but not to fear taking the Lord’s name in vain, or to keep the Lord’s Day holy, let alone keeping the rest of the commandments. But this is what it is to fear God: to be mindful of keeping God’s statutes. In fact, keeping his commandments means we love him. Teaching our children to fear God does not mean they will grow up not loving and trusting him. In fact, the opposite is true. If you have a hard time wrapping your mind around this, consider children raised as hellions, and how they love their parents when they have become adults. Or consider the congregation without discipline, and without genuine, godly fear. Stand by; the rod will be taken them too, soon enough. 

Prayer: Make me a good neighbor to children, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1619.html Fri, 11 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for jigsaw.

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From the Word: For this is the will of my Father: that everyone who beholds the Son, and believes in him, has eternal life. And I will resurrect him on the last day. (John 6:40)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

This is the common course of the world, which, like a great storm, has flooded all lands. Consequently, we have our just deserts: pandemics, wars, famines, fires, floods, wayward spouses and children and employees, and abuses of every sort. Where else would so much misery come from? It is a great mercy that the earth still bears and sustains us.

Pulling It Together: Everywhere one turns, there are lies and deception. In the modern age, we call it spinning the truth, and thereby, we even lie about lying. People claim to no longer lie, but to simply spin the truth. But if the truth is spun on its axis, it comes out on the other side: a lie. Therefore, they get what they deserve, the whole world spun on its axis. Everything comes out wrong, backwards and upside down. Instead of peace, there is war; instead of health, disease; instead of life, death. So, they seek easy answers, some truth that will make things better, even if they have to spin it to turn things their way. Yet, their attempts will never turn out the way they want. There is only One who satisfies, One who gives life, peace, and contentment—even in a topsy-turvy world.

Still, people want what they want: their idea of peace, not Christ’s, free food and drink instead of the Bread of Life and Living Water, their will be done instead of God’s, their truth instead of the Truth that will set them free (John 8:32). In other words, they want a lie, even one gilded with religious overtones. But we are called to believe in Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), whether things go our way or not. Then like Job of Uz, and Saul of Tarsus, when life is turned upside down, our orientation remains true. We must depend upon God, not things. Luther said it this way: “His goodwill should be greater comfort to us than all his gifts, for God is immeasurably greater than all his gifts.” We need not lie in order to gain, for if we have God, we have enough—we have everything.

Prayer: Give me the strength, Lord, to labor for true food that endures to eternal life. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1618.html Thu, 10 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for jigsaw.

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From the Word: 20 Then Job stood up and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing. (Job 1:20–22)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

We all have naturally within us this handsome virtue, that whenever we have done wrong, we like to cover it over and gild our disgrace so that no one may know or notice. No one is so arrogant that he boasts to all the world of the wickedness he has perpetrated. Everyone wishes to act in secret, without anyone being aware of what they do. But when anyone is accused, the name of God is dragged into the affair to make wickedness look like godliness, and shame like honor. 

Pulling It Together: Wickedness exists because people want things their way. They want what belongs to another, or they want but will not work. They want their own will to be done, not, “Thy will be done.” The will of the Lord may be difficult, but it is always good. It may not be what we want, but what he wants for us is always best. There are greater things at work in our lives, that require one greater than us to direct them. This is chiefly why so many would usurp the authority of God: they do not trust him. So, they manipulate things to go their own way but then, when things go awry, they blame it on God, or on their neighbor, or on anyone but themselves.

Job did not manipulate matters, nor did he blame God when things did not go as he would have liked. He blessed the Lord in spite of tragedy. Disaster and heartbreak caused him to trust God all the more. His response to the difficulties of life was worship.

Prayer: Compose my spirit, Lord, that I may find joy and peace in you alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1617.html Wed, 09 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for jigsaw puzzle.

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From the Word: And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the idol, and went away into the midst of the people. (Judges 18:20)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Sadly, it is now a common tragedy around the world that there are as few who do not use the name of God for purposes of lying and all wickedness as there are those who trust with their heart in God alone.

Pulling It Together: Have you ever noticed in the Old Testament the convention of capitalizing (or using “small caps”) the word “Lord,” or sometimes “God”? These indicate a place where the consonantal name of God, YHWH, commonly spelled Yahweh in English, has been replaced in the ancient texts with the Hebrew words for Lord or God. This was done because the name was considered so sacred that it should not be pronounced. I believe it may also have been done out of pastoral concern that someone, even in reading the Scripture aloud in the synagogue, may take the Name in vain.

It is a far piece down the road to ruin—from a people who fear and love God so reverently that will not say his name at all, to whole societies that use some version of his name so casually as to cuss or otherwise swear to clinch a deal. And they are glad to do it in the name of God, so long as they get what they desire. This is what the whole company did in today’s larger story (Judges 18:16–31). Micah did what seemed good enough to him, setting up idols in the place of the Lord. The Levite, who should have served the Lord, served Micah through those idols. The 600 Danites stole priest and idols, to set up a cult in Laish. All this was done in the name of religion, loosely, in the name of God. God would suffer the sullying of his name only so long, and finally, judge them all, delivering his power into captivity and giving his people over to the sword (Psalm 78:61–62).

Prayer: Keep my feet, O God, on your straight and narrow path, through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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John is the fourth book in the "Old Places, New Faces" series. Twelve studies explore the profound metaphors of the Gospel of John. This study guide will make the story of Christ alive and relevant for today's readers.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1616.html Tue, 08 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for a jigsaw.

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From the Word: 1 And Saul consented to his murder. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all—except the apostles—scattered about the regions of Judea and Samaria. 2 Yet devout men gathered Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. 3 But Saul devastated the church. Entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and delivered them to prison. (Acts 8:1–3)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

For this reason also, God has added a solemn threat to this commandment: “The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” That is, no one who violates this commandment will be overlooked or left unpunished. As little as God will leave one unpunished if he turns his heart from him, just as little will he allow his name to be employed for dressing up a lie.

Pulling It Together: Some of the things that are done in God’s name are appalling. Name-calling, threats, imprisonment, and murder are bad enough but when they are done under the cover of religion, these things are contemptible. Be careful what you say and do on behalf of God. He will not have his name sullied by anyone.

Prayer: Make me thoughtful, Lord, and careful with your reputation. Amen.

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Journey Through the Bible is a twenty-session series written by Tony Stoutenburg, intended as a video study guide for watching the made-for-television miniseries, "The Bible" — a ten-part video available on DVD and Blueray. (Note: For those who do not have access to “The Bible” Miniseries, it is certainly possible to substitute other videos or clips to tell the same stories. The classroom portion of this book also can be used as a stand-alone, 10-session study.)

Alternating between classroom discussion and video viewing sessions, the goal is to visually expose students to the stories of the full Biblical narrative across the Old and New Testaments. The curriculum is aimed at the middle-school age level for use as an introductory pre-confirmation Bible overview or as a year-long Confirmation unit. (Click HERE to purchase the Leader's Guide.)

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1615.html Mon, 07 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for an online jigsaw.

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From the Word: In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did what seemed right in his own estimation. (Judges 17:6)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

So then, let us learn and take to heart the great importance of this commandment, that with all diligence we may guard against and dread every misuse of the holy name as the greatest sin that can be outwardly committed. For to lie and deceive is itself a great sin, but it is greatly magnified when we attempt to justify and authorize it by invoking the name of God, and use it as a cloak to conceal our shame. So, from a single lie a double lie results. Indeed, the result is multiple deceits.

Pulling It Together: Micah stole a great sum of money from his mother, then returned it because he feared her curse. She then dedicated it to the Lord, evidently hoping to amend the curse that ended up being upon her son. But, instead of devoting the 1,100 pieces of silver, she only gave 200 pieces to be made into an idol. One might put the best construction on her actions by assuming the other 900 were for the ongoing upkeep of the idol, yet the text gives no such impression. However, the son was able to make an ephod and a shrine, so one wonders if the remaining silver ended up in his possession once again. All of this was done in the name of the Lord. In other words, these things were carried out as a way of seeking God’s favor.

Later, Micah, the son, hired a wandering Levite to be a priest to him. One must wonder again, if his wage was from the remaining silver. The priest’s employment was also done in the name of the Lord, seeking his favor by manipulating God’s reputation. “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me,” (Judges 17:13) Micah said, all because he took matters into his own hands, and called it God’s will.

Prayer: Thy will be done, Father. Amen.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1614.html Fri, 04 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: Jesus therefore said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (John 4:48)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Understand that all of this is adorning one’s self with God’s name, making a pretty show, or claiming to be right, whether it occurs in mundane, worldly business or in sublime, subtle matters of faith and doctrine. Numbered among liars are blasphemers too, and not just the most blatant, well known to all, who disgrace God’s name without fear (who are for the hangman to discipline, not us), but also those who publicly denigrate the truth and God’s Word and consign it to the devil. Of this, there is no need to speak further.

Pulling It Together: Among the crowds was a royal official who believed Jesus. While he took Jesus at his word, the rest seemed to need a show of it: signs and miracles. Trusting God to be good for his word is the measure of faith. Needing more, demanding more, is using the name of God in order to get what one wants. This was Gideon’s offense: he needed more than a word; he required a sign, a wonder, in order to believe. That is blasphemy. It profanes the sacred, insulting the truth of God’s word by not trusting the one behind the promise.

Prayer: Give me faith to believe, Lord, though I never see a miracle. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1613.html Thu, 03 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have learned my riddle.” (Judges 14:18)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

But the greatest abuse occurs in spiritual matters, which pertain to the conscience, when false preachers rise up and market their lying conceits as God’s Word.

Pulling It Together: As one would imagine, there are stark differences between Samson and Jesus. Samson took whatever his flesh desired. Jesus wanted what his Father willed. Samson killed to get what would not come to him naturally. Jesus was an uncomplaining lamb, led to the slaughter. Samson ate what was forbidden to him. Jesus, acquainted with fasting for weeks on end, feasted on spiritual fare (John 4:32). Samson spoke in riddles in order to have his way over men. Jesus spoke the word of the Lord, so that people would be reconciled with God.

There is a riddle in the answer given Samson by the men of Timnah. “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” The answer is as profound as it is obvious. God’s Word is sweeter than honey (Psa 119:103) and the Lord is abundant in strength (Psa 147:5). Those who trust in his sweet strength will not be led astray by the heresies of false preachers.

Prayer: Help me to desire your will, Lord. 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 edition

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1612.html Wed, 02 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 For his disciples were gone away into the city to buy food. 9 So, the Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, being a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her and said, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:7–10)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

Everyone can easily conclude from this when and in how many ways God’s name is misused, though it is impossible to enumerate all its abuses. To tell it in a few words, misuse of the divine name is prevalent, first, in worldly business and in matters that concern money, possessions, and honor, whether publicly in court, the market, or wherever else people make false oaths in God’s name, or pledge their souls in any matter. This is especially widespread in marital affairs, where two people go and secretly consent to marry, and afterward disavow their oaths.

Pulling It Together: See how near the Samaritan woman was to missing the grace of God. Old wounds and deep pride kept her from speaking the truth. This happens so often when people feel cornered, when the truth is near enough to unravel the past. It is best to keep one’s promises and then, not need to worry about hiding the past. Of course, that being rarely accomplished, one’s only recourse is to ask for living water: for mercy and forgiveness and peace.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your great gifts that are mine in Christ despite my past. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1611.html Tue, 01 Sep 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for jigsaw puzzle.

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From the Word: Then they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name. (Acts 5:41)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

If asked, “How do you understand the Second Commandment?” or, “What is meant by taking in vain, or misusing God’s name?” answer briefly in this way. We misuse God’s name when we call upon the Lord God in any way, for purposes of falsehood or wrong of any sort.” So, this commandment charges that God’s name must not be appealed to falsely, or taken upon the lips, while the heart knows, or should know, better or differently—like those who take oaths in court but one side lies against the other. For God’s name cannot be more gravely misused than for the intentions of falsehood and deceit. Let this remain as the plainest and simplest meaning of this commandment.

Pulling It Together: If the apostles had promised to teach no longer about Jesus, but did so anyway, they would have taken the Lord’s name in vain. They would have lied in the name of God. If we remain true to God, we will speak truth in his name. Speaking the truth may mean we have to suffer. The apostles considered this kind of suffering a great privilege. Speaking the truth, especially confessing Christ Jesus, may bring dishonor from the world, but God’s grace and peace are greater.

Prayer: Give me a boldness to be a witness to the truth, to the name of God. Amen.

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Where Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1610.html Mon, 31 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: Jesus answered, “Very truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he is unable to see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The Second Commandment

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

As the First Commandment has instructed the heart and taught us faith, this commandment leads us outwardly and directs the lips and tongue to God. The first things that flow from the heart and manifest themselves are words. Now, as I have taught above how to answer the question, what it is to have a god, you must learn to comprehend simply the meaning of this, and of all the commandments, and to apply it to yourself.

Pulling It Together: The keeping of the commandments, so far as it depends upon us, begins with controlling the tongue. The Apostle James said that the tongue is a restless evil (James 3:8), so we must try to give it a rest. Nonetheless, no one can control the tongue. Controlling this seemingly small thing is really a work of the Spirit within our own spirits. Control of our words begins with being born again. Even then, as we try to tame the tongue, we will fail, and must go back the First Commandment, believing God to be a loving and forgiving Father. In our efforts to domesticate the tongue, we are learning to depend upon God above all else, including our efforts at righteousness.  

Prayer: Take possession of my mouth, Holy Spirit, that I may speak words pleasing to you today. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1609.html Fri, 28 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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For there must be also factions among you, so that those who are authentic among you may be apparent. (1 Corinthians 11:19)

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Marriage of Priests 

We know that because we seem to have separated from those who are considered regular bishops, some regard us as schismatic. But our consciences are quite secure. Despite our earnest desire to establish harmony, we cannot please our opponents unless we reject clear truth by agreeing with these very men in defending this unjust law to dissolve marriages that have been contracted, to put to death priests if they do not obey, and to drive poor women and fatherless children into exile. Since these conditions are most certainly displeasing to God, we can not regret having no alliance with the multitude of murderers among our adversaries.

Pulling It Together: What is one to do when all attempts have been made to reason with people who have willfully gone astray? There are people—yes, even in the churches—who willfully ignore Scripture, insisting instead on their own bent reasoning. This is the kind of reason that Luther called a “whore.” When people get in bed with that sort of thinking, they become diseased in the soul and spirit. If there are demon-possessed people among us, these are surely the ones who need a good, old fashioned casting out. Sometimes though, the best we can do is come out from among them.

Prayer: Lord, keep me true to your Word. Amen.

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All God’s Critters is a fully reproducible Sunday School series designed with the particular needs of small churches, mission congregations, and house churches with 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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1608.html Thu, 27 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you, and your son, and your grandson also. For you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.” 23 And Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:22–23)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Let this suffice as an explanation for the First Commandment. We explained it at length because it is of primary importance. For as said before, where the heart is rightly disposed toward God and this commandment is kept, the other commandments will also be observed.

Pulling It Together: Conversely, when the First Commandment is not observed, the other commandments will be broken. See how quickly, even after Gideon says God will rule the people, they put their trust in an object (Judges 8:27)? In quick succession, they begin to worship the Canaanite gods, and with that, break the rest of God’s commands. This is common to all people, including you and me. No sooner do we trust in someone or something before God, and the other commandments begin to fall. They must, and they do. For if you imagine some thing, or someone else—like you—is to be trusted before the Lord, then you decide whether or not to love your neighbor, honor the Sabbath and parents, murder, cheat, steal, lie, or covet. No sooner do you put your trust in anything else before God, than you have become your own ruler and lord. 

Prayer: Rule over me, Lord. Amen.

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Strugglers with the Faith is the second in a series of Saints and Sinners from the New Testament. Volume 2 focuses on those who struggled with faith and the witness of Christ. Studies in this series are formatted for each person in a group to spend time alone with God in the Word for five days and then gather with the group for a time of sharing and debriefing. The booklet can be used by each member of the group as a daily devotion, with a Bible study on the sixth or seventh day, when the larger group gathers.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1607.html Wed, 26 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong, whom you see and know. And the faith that is through him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all. (Acts 3:16)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Let us, then, learn the First Commandment well, so that we may understand that God will not tolerate presumption nor trust in any other object. He requires nothing more of us than wholehearted confidence in him for everything good. Then we may proceed properly and directly, using all the blessings that God gives—like a shoemaker uses his needle, awl, and thread for work, and then lays them aside, or as a traveler uses an inn, and food, and his bed only for temporal necessity, each one in his station, according to God's order, and without allowing any of these things to be our lord or idol.

Pulling It Together: It needs saying again, that a particular idol is always lurking nearby. We need to be aware of it so that we may give it a good kick behind us. This needs doing on an almost daily basis. That idol is religion. Our church going can become a god, a thing in which we put our confidence. Religion is the most dangerous and crafty idol because it seems to us so close to divinity, for through it, we focus on the divine. Be aware so your focus does not shift from God himself to the works of religion. This very idol sparked the Reformation. So, keep a watch that your trust is in God alone, not in Bible reading, praying, or any other devotional practice, nor in serving on church committees, feeding the poor, or any other service of righteousness. For it becomes unrighteous as soon as you begin to trust in the work. Saving faith comes through the Lord alone—never through the idol of religious works, no matter how pious they may seem.

Prayer: Give me, O Lord, a sincere faith through Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Seasons of the Church Year introduces students to the seasons or cycles of the liturgical year as the Church reflects upon the story of Christ and our life of faith in this world. It was written for a 3rd-4th grade level, but is flexible enough to be used for most elementary-aged students.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1606.html Tue, 25 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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From the Word: But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have, I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk!” (Acts 3:6)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

You will find plenty of examples in history, as well as in the memories of aged and experienced people. Observe and consider them. Saul was a great king and a godly man chosen by God. Yet when he sat self-confidently on his throne, and allowed his heart to decline from God, putting his trust in his crown and power, he perished with all that he had, so that none of his children remained. David, on the other hand, was a poor, despised man, hunted and chased, finding no place safe. Nevertheless, he remained secure in spite of Saul, and become king. These words must stand and come to pass, as God cannot lie or deceive. Only do not allow the devil and the world to deceive you with their show, which indeed remains for a time, but in the end, amounts to nothing.

Pulling It Together: Look to the lowly apostles. None of them was high or mighty in the ways of the world. They were mostly fishermen, but because they put their trust in the Lord, God made them fishers of men. They, like no others, were used of God to change the world. It was and is still changed by these simple, trusting, faithful fellows. God has changed the world through them for you and me as well. But when one of their number could only see what he wanted for the final result, trusting in himself instead of God, the hangman’s noose was the last thing he would see. 

Prayer: Give me the courage and clear-eyed faith to see the truth of things. Amen.

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A Prophet Foretold the Messiah is a Christmas pageant that focuses on the biblical story of the nativity, told in poetic verse form. Using this approach not only helps young people to read the text itself, but the rhyme and meter help to aid in memory and recall. Downloadable. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1605.html Mon, 24 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 36 And Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 see, I am placing a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he arose early the next day, and squeezed the fleece, he wrung dew out of the fleece, a full bowl of water. (Judges 6:36–38)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Reflect for yourself; make inquiries; then tell me. Those who have employed all their care and diligence in the accumulation great possessions and wealth, what have they secured in the end? You will discover that they have wasted their effort and labor, or if they have accumulated great treasure, that they have been turned to dust and disappeared. They never found happiness in their wealth, and it never reached the third generation.

Pulling It Together: If you would trust anything in this life, trust that which has been from the beginning, that truth which continues to flow down to us today. “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). Trust in the Word. He is faithful, not only to care for your earthly needs but to sanctify your whole person—body, mind, and spirit—in his peace (1 Thes 5:22–24). Trust in the Word who spoke his peaceful benediction over you at the font. Trust him because he said so, because he promised. Take to heart the sign for Gideon, who arose in the morning to find the fleece soaked with water while all around was dry. Have you been baptized? Though all around you seems dry and dead, his promise over you remains. Do not question God’s word. He is full of grace and truth, and is faithful to keep his word to you, bestowing true happiness, grace without limit.

Prayer: Sanctify me by your truth, Lord; your word is truth. Amen.

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God's Reluctant Leaders is a nine-session Bible Study that 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.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1604.html Fri, 21 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 1 And when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly, a sound came from heaven like a violent, driving wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And dispersed tongues like fire appeared to them and rested upon each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1–4)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

The failure is that the world does not believe any of this, nor regard it as God's Word. It sees those who trust in God, instead of mammon, as suffering sorrow and want, that the devil opposes and attacks them. They do not have money, favor, or honor, and besides, can scarcely stay alive. On the other hand, those who serve mammon have power, favor, honor, property, and every comfort in the eyes of the world. So, in the face of ostensible contradiction, we must consider that they do not lie or deceive, but must prove true.

Pulling It Together: Gathering together, likely for prayer and the latest word from the apostles, those earliest disciples were probably considered fools by those in the streets of Jerusalem. Descriptions like weak, poor, and pathetic were possibly in the thoughts of those outside the little church, just like many think of the church today. There they sat, low and weak in the estimation of the world, yet about to be given the power from on high.

In the weakness of faith, we discover that God’s grace alone is sufficient, and that his power is manifested in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). When we are weak, we are most strong because weakness has us depend upon God. It is then that the Spirit of God alights and rests upon us. Yes, yes, we are weak, but in our weakness, the power of God is at work.

Prayer: I depend upon you alone, Lord, as you are above all things. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1603.html Thu, 20 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which the Lord has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the Lord gone out before you?” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men behind him. (Judges 4:14)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Therefore, let everyone seriously take this to heart, not regarding it as though spoken by a man. For it is a question of either eternal blessing, happiness, and salvation, or of eternal wrath, misery, and woe. What more could you have or desire than God’s kind promises to be yours with every blessing, and to protect and help you in every need?

Pulling It Together

Just as Joshua exhorted the Israelites to choose whom they would serve (Josh 24:15), Deborah pressed Barak to trust the one God, fearing him more than Jaban, the Canaanite king, and his commander Sisera, with all his troops. Judas also had the option to fear, love, and trust God, but he feared the Romans more, wanting Jesus to be a military king instead of the Prince of Peace. We too, must take the matter seriously, choosing daily to “fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness” (Josh 24:14). Having no other Gods before the Lord, is to have the Lord go before us, imparting every needed blessing. These include, not only the benefits of this life, but forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. If we do not honor the Lord as God above all, there is defeat and death, as Sisera, Jaban, and Judas knew too well. Therefore, choose life (Deut 30:15).

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that I may arise and follow you today. Amen.

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Sola Publishing has added an online resource component to its education materials called SEED: the Sola Electronic Education Database. This new subscription-based resource provides teachers with tools to build a Sunday School program and lead classes for children, youth, and adults, with original resources printed in full color! The year's 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1602.html Wed, 19 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

As terrible as these threats are, far more powerful is the consolation in the promise that those who cling to God alone may be confident that he will show them mercy. That is, he assures them of pure goodness and blessing, not only for themselves, but also for their children and their children’s children, down to the thousandth generation and beyond. If we desire every temporal and eternal good, we should be moved and driven to fix our hearts with all confidence in God, since the Supreme Majesty graciously offers such a companionable incentive, and so rich a promise.

Pulling It Together: It may seem, at first, that God’s offer is not so friendly, for we see readily enough in the commandment, the threat of his wrath if we disobey. And how can we not disobey? There are countless other things in which we put our trust, and these things, as we have learned, are idols. Nonetheless, God’s command—and with it, promise and motivation—is entirely gracious. Knowing that we are utterly incapable of keeping the First Commandment, let alone any others, he became us, bearing his own wrath on the cross. He became so thoroughly human that when Jesus cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” he was speaking for us all. For in our sinful, broken humanness, we are forsaken, rejected by God. Yet through faith in God’s gracious gift of a Justifier, we are forgiven, reconciled, cherished, and loved.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for satisfying the commandments for me. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1601.html Tue, 18 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 25 Now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that has been kept silenced through prolonged ages, 26 but now has been revealed, and through prophetic writings, is made known to all the nations, according to the command of the eternal God, for obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be the glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen. (Romans 16:25–27)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

It is because of blockheads who think that God allows them to rest in security, and thus, that he is either completely ignorant or cares nothing about such matters, that he must deal a smashing blow and punish them so sternly that he does not forget his fury down to their children’s children. His intention is that everyone may take note and observe that this is no joke to him. These are those whom he means when he says, “who hate Me,” that is, those who persist in their defiance and pride. They will not listen no matter what is preached or said to them. When they are rebuked, in order that they are brought to their senses and might mend their ways before the punishment begins, they become so mad and foolish that they merit the wrath they get, as we notice daily with bishops and princes.

Pulling It Together: Because the Israelites lived with the evil in the land, instead of driving it out as God commanded, God allowed to happen what would, of course, transpire. The same thing has happened in our own country: having grown complacent with evil, it eventually becomes our authority. Culture now commands us: Do this. Think that. You can’t say that! Thus, we, like the Israelites at the time of the Judges, find ourselves “in sore straits” (Judges 2:15 RSV).

Will God abandon us to evil, to the outcome of own adolescent misbehavior? Surely not. He has made a covenant with his people, confirmed in the blood of Christ, who has given us his Spirit as a guarantee of his plans for us: forgiveness, resurrection, eternal life. To help us toward his ends, he has also given us the written revelation of himself, in order that we may believe, that there is created in us the “obedience of faith”—despite the times.

Prayer: Give me courageous strength, Lord, to believe in you even in times like these. Amen.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1600.html Mon, 17 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: Now then, put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel. (Joshua 24:23)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

He has demonstrated this throughout history, as the Scriptures abundantly show and daily experience still teaches. From the beginning, he has uprooted all idolatry, and because of it, both heathen and Jews. Even so, in the present day, he overthrows all false worship so that all who continue in it must finally perish. There are proud, powerful, and rich worldly people, boasting defiantly of their mammon, with utter disregard as to whether God is angry at or smiles upon them. They dare to withstand his wrath, yet they will not succeed. Before they know it, they will be wrecked, along with all in which they trusted, just as all others have perished who have thought themselves higher and mightier than God.

Pulling It Together: Because God is a loving Father who cares for those who believe in him, we owe it to him to esteem him above all else. Yet, even those who do not believe are obliged to honor him, simply because he is God. This is not too much to ask. It means that you have your proper place in the world, not thrusting yourself before your neighbor and especially, not above God. It also means that nothing of your own making is to be held above God. No idols, whether of stone or wood, or of riches or power, are to be regarded as greater or more cherished than God.

Be certain of this: whether or not to love and trust God is not a choice that may be made without consequences. For he is also to be feared. If we refuse to incline our hearts to God, we will perish in due course, and along with ourselves, everything in which we trusted and valued more than God.

Prayer: Give me such faith, Lord, that my heart is inclined to you above all else. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1599.html Fri, 14 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 3 So Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem, sent to Hoham, king of Hebron, to Piram, king of Jarmuth, to Japhia, king of Lachish, and unto Debir, king of Eglon, saying, 4 “Come up to me, and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, since it has made peace with Joshua and with the people of Israel. 5 Then the five kings of the Amorites—the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon—gathered and went up, they and all their armies, and encamped against Gibeon, and made war against it. (Joshua 10:3–5)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Although these words relate to all the commandments (as we will learn later), they are, nonetheless, connected to this chief commandment because it is of foremost importance that people have a right head. For where the head is right, the whole life must be right, and vice versa.

Learn from these words, then, how angry God is with those who trust in anything but him, so that his anger does not cease until the fourth generation. On the other hand, his blessing and goodness extend to untold thousands of those who trust and believe in him alone with the whole heart. Otherwise, people live in a sense of security, committing themselves to fortune, like thugs who think that it makes no great difference how they live. He is God, and will not leave it unavenged if people turn away from him, and will not stop being angry until the fourth generation, even until they are utterly exterminated. Therefore, God is to be feared, not despised.

Pulling It Together: The news had traveled throughout the land, how God had fought Israel’s battles. Country after country, and city after city were terrified of Israel’s approach. Still, the king of Jerusalem dared defy God’s will by asking four other kings to help him with their armies at their sides. Yet, note how he did not wage war with Israel itself, but with one of the cities who made peace with Israel. The-Lord-is-Righteousness (that is what Adoni-zedek means) asked the other kings for help, when he should have turned to the just God of heaven and earth for aid.

Before we dismiss the five kings as nitwits, we might take the measure of our own hearts and minds. Although we should fear and trust God alone, we too, trust in the imagined might of self, of alliances, of any number of things other than God. This is true particularly when the guilt of our sins weighs heavily. We might turn to trying harder, being more religious, ignoring our consciences, doing good things for others, all in an attempt to feel better. But it does not work; we never feel better until we kneel before the true Lord, who is alone our righteousness, confessing our sins and receiving the forgiveness and peace that only God may give, and will give, if we just ask him: “Help me!”

Prayer: Help me, Lord, a sinner of your own redeeming. Amen.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1598.html Thu, 13 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

In order that we may understand that God will not have this commandment cast into the winds, but will strictly enforce it, he has attached to it first, a terrible threat, and then, a beautiful, comforting promise. Both are to be emphasized and impressed upon young people so that they may take them to heart and retain them.

Explanation of the Appendix to the First Commandment

You shall not bow down to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, inflicting the guilt of ancestors on the children to the third and the fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing unwavering love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments (Exod 20:5–6).

Pulling It Together: First, let us deal with the common misconception that because my father or mother sinned, I and my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will pay for their transgression. It is altogether simpler and more comforting. Here is the meaning of the passage. If you do not believe, the same guilt that fell upon your ancestors will be within you. The guiltiness of bowing down to false gods does not wear off as time moves on. So, teach your children well, so that they may believe.

However, if you do believe, if you do love God and keep his commandments, he will love you steadfastly. In addition, you may count on his faithful love for a thousand generations—in other words, forever and ever. Even in the explanation of the First Commandment, we see law and grace at work to bring all people to the care of our loving Father. In believing, we will be filled with joy, hope, and peace because of the power of God’s Spirit at work within us.

Prayer: Father, send your Spirit and Word into the minds of our children so that they may believe. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1597.html Wed, 12 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 32 And there, he engraved upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he inscribed in the presence of the children of Israel. 33 And all Israel, foreigner and native, with their elders and officers and their judges, stood on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the Lord—half of them in front of Mount Gerizim, and half of them in front of Mount Ebal—as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded at the beginning, to bless the people of Israel. 34 And afterward, he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the scroll of the law. 35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel, and the women, and the little ones, and the sojourners who were among them. (Joshua 8:32–35)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Let everyone, then, be careful to esteem this commandment above all things and not regard it lightly. Search and examine your heart diligently, and you will discover whether or not it cleaves to God alone. If you have a heart that expects nothing but what is good from him, especially in need and distress, and that renounces and forsakes everything that is not God, then you have the only true God. If, on the other hand, your heart embraces anything else, from which it expects more good and help than from God, and does not take refuge in him, but in times of trouble flees from him, then you have an idol, another god.

Pulling It Together: If you have ever watched someone incise a single letter into slate, you can imagine how long it took Joshua to engrave the whole law on the altar at Mt. Ebal. If you were an Israelite, having just passed through Jericho and Ai with Joshua, you would not need to imagine. You would have taken note how long it took him because it would have been the central activity in all of Israel. After engraving the law, he read it to all the people. Now here, you need not imagine. As he read the law to them, would it have convicted them of any sins? When it is read to you, or when you read it, hopefully, you feel guilty too. I say hopefully, because there in the midst of your guilt, having trespassed the commandments of the Lord, you have the opportunity to keep the law. You have the occasion for faith.

When you are guilty and your conscience troubles you, do you run to the bedroom to sleep away your shame? Do you turn to a bottle, to increased work, the gym, or any other diversion? Or do you turn to the Lord, expecting all good, especially that best and greatest of all good things: forgiveness in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? If, in your guilt, you turn to God, then you have honored him as God above all else—even above your own sin. And in this, you may know that yours is no religious idol, but instead, the one true God.

Prayer: Forgive me my trespasses, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1596.html Tue, 11 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 And the Lord said to Joshua, “Do not fear and do not be disheartened. Take the whole army with you, and arise; go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, with his people, and his city, and his land. 2 And you shall do to Ai and her king as you did to Jericho and her king. Plunder nothing but its spoils and take the cattle prey to yourselves. Lay an ambush behind the city.” (Joshua 8:1–2)

From the ConfessionsThe Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Therefore, no one should venture to take or give anything except as God has commanded. We are to acknowledge everything as God’s gifts, giving thanks to him for them, as this commandment requires. Because of this, receiving good gifts through God’s creatures is not to be scorned, nor should we insolently seek other ways and means than God has commanded. That would not be receiving blessings from God, but seeking them for ourselves.

Pulling It Together: We want it, and we want it now. Furthermore, we want what we want, not that which is given. This is a depiction of children, but when adults act that way, it is an indictment. We too want a different job, a different spouse, and different children. We want more money, a bigger house, a fancier car. It seems that few are happy for long, and this of course, leads to childish impatience and a lack of gratitude. Furthermore, it gives way to taking matters into our own hands, taking what is not given, as happened with Achan after the defeat of Jericho (Joshua 7:19–21). What Achan’s greed would not allow him to see was that there was no reason to covet the contents of Jericho when the Lord was about to give him the things of Ai.

Prayer: Give me the patience and maturity, Lord, to receive with thanksgiving only that which you provide. 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1595.html Mon, 10 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: “Stand up; consecrate the people, and say, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “There is a devoted thing in your midst, O Israel. You cannot stand before your enemies, until you take away the devoted thing from among you."’” (Joshua 7:13)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Even though we experience much good from people, we receive everything by God’s command or plan. Our parents, all authorities, and all our neighbors, have received the directive from God that they should do us all sorts of good. Therefore, we do not receive these blessings from them, but from God through them. His creatures are the hands, conduits, and means by which God gives all blessings. As examples, he gives to the mother breasts and milk for her child, and grain and all kinds of produce from the earth for our nourishment, things that no one could produce by himself.

Pulling It Together: Lest we lose sight of our theme, we are considering how all good gifts come from God. We do not take them; we receive them. Some of the Israelites snatched blessings from Jericho’s dead. These were not given by the hand of God, but taken by the hands and from the hands of men. When we do not receive what God has provided, and have instead, taken what we want, we have failed to fear and trust God above all others. We have taken matters into our own hands. We have therefore, made ourselves above God.

We must return to our rightful place by consecrating ourselves. How else is one to do this sanctifying than by doing the very opposite of his previous defilement. Where you formerly put yourself over God, come under him again through confession and repentance. Believe that he forgives you, for this too is a way—perhaps the principal way—of honoring God above all others: expecting all good from him alone by expecting his pardon.

Prayer: Lord, walk me along the path of sanctification by always expecting your mercy and forgiveness. Amen.

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

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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1594.html Fri, 07 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 12 ...rejoicing in hope, being patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer, 13 sharing in the needs of the saints, pursuing hospitality. (Romans 12:12–13)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

This should be said to ordinary persons, that they may note well and remember the meaning of this commandment: We are to trust in God alone, looking to him and expecting nothing but good from him, since he gives us body, life, food, drink, nourishment, health, protection, peace, and all the necessities of both temporal and eternal things. He also preserves us from evil, delivering and rescuing us. It is God alone, as has been amply said, from whom we receive all good, and by whom we are delivered from all evil. I think this is why, since ancient times, we Germans have called God, more elegantly and appropriately than any other language, by that name derived from the word “good,” as he is an eternal fountain from which flows abundantly nothing but what is good, and is considered good.

Pulling It Together

Of course, the risk is that the First Commandment be turned into a business venture. If you just do this or that, it might be promoted, then God will give you whatever you desire. This does not expect from God all good, but instead, seeks to make him something he is not. God promises to care for our needs, as a good Father does, and even to deliver us from evil, as we often pray. But we would have him keep the evil from happening at all. We would have him do our bidding, those things that we want to be. If we carefully weigh the words, “to trust in God alone,” we would thank God that he is wiser than us. We would pray, “Thy will be done” in heaven and earth — and even in my life.  

Prayer: Give me the courage and fortitude, Lord God, to trust in you alone. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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. Part 2: What We Do is an introduction to the practice of discipleship, using the Lord's Prayer to take us through key aspects of our life of faith as followers of Jesus.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1593.html Thu, 06 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For through the grace given me, I say to everyone among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, each according to the measure of faith that God has apportioned. (Romans 12:3)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Besides this, there is another false worship, an extreme idolatry, practiced up to the present time, and still prevalent in the world. All religious orders are founded upon it. The conscience that seeks help, consolation, and salvation because of its own works, presumes to wrest heaven from God. It keeps count of how many donations it has made, how often it has fasted, celebrated Mass, etc. It depends upon such things, and boasts about them, as though unwilling to receive anything from God as a gift. Instead, this conscience wants to earn or merit these things through more and more works, as though God must serve us, as though he were our debtor, and we his liege lords. What is this but reducing God to an idol, indeed, an apple-god, and elevating ourselves as God? This reasoning is a bit subtle, and is not for young pupils.

Pulling It Together: One cannot think of himself any more highly than to think he is fit to do what only God can do. God helps us in our human weakness, comforts us in our consciences, and saves us, not only from our sins, but also to eternal life. God does all this because people cannot. When we imagine we must help, comfort, and save ourselves, what have we done but take the place of God? Sober judgment brings us to the realization that we must trust God for all these things. In doing so, we trust in him above all others, especially ourselves.

Prayer: Give me clearheaded judgment about myself, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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 Two or Three Are Gathered is a guide for what Luther referred to as "mutual conversation and consolation" among believers. These are the times we come together one to one, as people of faith, to talk about our lives and struggles, and strengthen one another in prayer with the promise of God's grace and mercy. This devotional conversation guide may be used for a number of purposes and applications where people are looking for some help in structuring conversations on the practical and spiritual dimensions of Christian discipleship.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1592.html Wed, 05 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: For from him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

So it is with all forms of idolatry. It does not consist merely in erecting an image and worshiping it. Rather, idolatry exists primarily in the heart, which gazes at something else, seeking help and consolation from creatures, saints, or devils. It has no care for God or expectation of anything good from him that would cause one to believe that God wants to help. Nor does it believe that whatever good it experiences comes from God.

Pulling It Together: All good is from God, as well as through him, and returning to him. He gets the credit: all the credit. I do not get the glory, nor do you. Government does not get the praise, nor its politicians. Your country does not get the acclaim of being a wonder from which you may expect a bounty. Any good you receive, seemingly by these avenues, are by the hand of God. Ascribing his glory to anyone or anything else is the same as propping them up as idols and praying to them. One expects good things either from the one true God, or from any number of false gods.

Prayer: Give me a spirit that depends upon you, Lord. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1591.html Tue, 04 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off that I might be engrafted.” 20 True enough; they were broken off because of their unbelief, while you stand through faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. (Romans 11:19–20)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Their error is this: that their trust is false and wrong because it is not established in the only God, besides whom there is no true God in heaven or on earth. Consequently, the heathen actually make an idol from their invented notions and dreams of God, putting their trust in a sum of nothing.

Pulling It Together

There is no greater idol, no hollower false god, than self. When we puff ourselves up with religious pride, we should remember that only emptiness may be inflated. We stand before God by faith in the grace of Christ alone, not by our religious ideas, our inventions of what one must do to be saved, our various echoing idols of nothingness. Trusting in any of these things is to have a god above the Lord, and breaks the greatest commandment. 

Prayer: Help me to trust in you alone, Lord God. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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. 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1590.html Mon, 03 Aug 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 8 As it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupefaction, eyes that would not see, and ears that would not hear, to this very day.

9 And David says,

Let their table become a snare and a trap,
a baited trap, and payback for them.
10 Let their eyes be darkened so that they may not understand;
and bend their back forever (Romans 11:8–11)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

For example, the heathen who put their trust in power and authority elevated Jupiter as the supreme god. Others, who were bent upon riches, happiness, pleasure, and a life of ease, worshiped Hercules, Mercury, Venus, or others. Women with child, venerated Diana or Lucina, and so on. Everyone made a god of that to which the heart was inclined, so that even in the minds of the heathen, to have a god means to trust and believe.

Pulling It Together: Minerva is the Roman counterpart to the modern idol of work and industry. There is nothing wrong with a day’s work or of being industrious. But when one puts their trust in the bending of the back, in human labor, in, as they say, working your way up the ladder, it can become a spiritual problem. If one trusts and believes in their works, in religious devotion and good deeds, he has elevated self over God. His mind is dark and confused. If he puts such trust in his works, may he bend his back forever. The Lord God is whom we must trust, even when our good works fail us. 

Prayer: Give me enlightened eyes, Lord, that I might always hope in you alone. Amen.

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

Go and Tell, unit 2 in the Word of Life Series, is a resource for those looking to develop small groups built around the Word of God. This model of small-group ministry is an excellent tool for evangelism since it is rooted in prayer and Scripture. Its primary focus is to empower those who believe in Jesus Christ to be comfortable sharing their faith and inviting others to experience a transformed life in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Meant for use in Small Group gathering, each of the six sessions 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. It can 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1589.html Fri, 31 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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8 Be vigilant so that no one manipulates you by philosophy and empty deception, according to human tradition, according to the rudimentary principles of the world, and not according to  Christ. 9 For in him dwells bodily the entire fullness of the divinity, 10 and you have been filled in him who is the head of all dominion and authority. (Colossians 2:8–10)

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

Paul teaches this in Galatians 3:13, when he says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.” That is, the law condemns all men, but because sinless Christ has borne the punishment of sin and been made a victim for us, he has removed that right of the law to accuse and condemn those who believe in him. He is the propitiation for whose sake they are now accounted righteous. But since they are declared righteous, the law cannot accuse or condemn them, even though they have not actually satisfied the law. Paul writes to the same effect in Colossians 2:10. “You have come to fulness of life in him.” It is as though he were to say, “Although you are still far from the perfection of the law, the remnants of sin do not condemn you because for Christ's sake you have a sure and firm reconciliation—if you believe—even though sin still dwells in your flesh.

Pulling It Together: You are not whole because you have filled yourself. If you believe in Christ, you are whole and filled in him, by him, because of him. So far, and as far as this life allows, you will never be whole as a result of your religious works and moral behavior. You will fail as much or more than you succeed at these works because sin and the old nature cling to you. Nevertheless, you are reconciled to God because of the wholeness of Jesus Christ. Be sure of this; be confident in your faith in him. Christ alone is your fullness. He completes you—in spite of yourself.

Prayer: We praise and bless you for being our fullness, the one who completes us. 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.

Learning About Confession teaches the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according to Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. It is recommended for the Sixth Grade Level. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1588.html Thu, 30 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 11 You were also circumcised in him with a circumcision not man-made, in the undressing of the sinful humanity of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ: 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the work of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 You were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature. God made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins. (Colossians 2:11–13)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism 

The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

We should fear and love God so that in matters of sex we are chaste and disciplined in our words and actions, and that husband and wife love and honor each other.

Pulling It Together: It is helpful to remember that you are baptized. In Christian baptism, Christ removed your sin, though that old nature would still rear its evil head in this life. So, you must often consider that your old nature is now dead to God, and with it, human nature’s sin. The old person is left behind in the water; a new person has arisen through faith in God’s work in Christ Jesus. While in this body, you will remain a sinner who needs forgiveness daily. You should strive to keep the commandments; but you will fail in the effort. Nonetheless, God’s work prevails over your sins. Your sins are nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). Leave them there, remembering it is not your sinful nature that now lives in you, but instead, the power of God at work in Christ Jesus (Rom 7:16–17).

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for making a way to you through Christ. 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 Sola Confirmation Series, written by the Rev. Steven E. King, is 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1587.html Wed, 29 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: So then, it does not depend upon the will, nor striving, but on God who has mercy. (Romans 9:16)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Behold, here you have the meaning of true honor and worship of God, that which pleases God, and which he commands under penalty of eternal wrath, specifically, that the heart knows no other comfort or confidence than him. It does not allow itself to be torn from him, but for him, risks and disregards everything upon earth. On the other hand, you can easily see how the world practices only false worship and idolatry. There has never been a people so degenerate that they have not established and observed some religion. Each has propped up a god from whom to expect blessings, help, and comfort.

Pulling It Together: You may be certain that God will abandon the one who trusts in himself — to himself. If a person takes pleasure in his own striving, if he finds consolation in his devotion, if he is confident in anyone but God, he will discover himself undone. God does not suffer spiritual pride, for this is nothing else than to prop oneself up as an idol over the only true God. Luther wrote, “He withdraws his power from them and lets them puff themselves up in their own power alone. For where man’s strength begins, God’s strength ends. When their bubble is full-blown, and everyone supposes them to have won and overcome, and they themselves feel smug in their achievement, then God pricks the bubble, and it is all over. The poor dupes do not know that even while they are puffing themselves up and growing strong they are forsaken by God (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 21: The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 21. Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. p 340.).

Prayer: Bless you, Father, for your great mercy toward sinners. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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. Each week focuses on a specific Bible story that illustrates the theme, with additional references from Scripture and Luther's Small Catechism - Children's Version. With a healthy balance of Law and Gospel, lessons emphasize the connection between repentance and forgiveness, and how the promise of God’s forgiveness changes our lives.

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1586.html Tue, 28 Jul 20 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 Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

So, you can easily understand what and how much this commandment requires, namely, that one’s entire heart and confidence be placed in God alone, and in no one else. For to have God, you can certainly see, is not to lay hold of him with our hands or to put him into a purse or lock him in a chest. To apprehend God is when the heart lays hold of him and clings to him. Clinging to God with the heart is nothing more than to trust in him entirely. For this reason, he wishes to turn us away from everything else that exists outside of him, and to draw us to himself because he is the only eternal good. It is as though he would say, Whatever you sought before from the saints, or however you have trusted in mammon or anything else, expect it all from me. Regard me as the one who will help you and pour out upon you richly all good things.

Pulling It Together: We should, without any difficulty, be able to expect from God alone all good things, for he has given us the greatest gift already. He has provided for us forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life through his Son. Since the Father has bestowed on us the best of all gifts through his Son, how could we not expect from him every other good? He is our Father, and a loving Father as well.

Would you go next door and ask the head of that household for something that your own father could and would provide? It would be incredibly rude, perhaps to your neighbor, but especially to your own parent. You have laid hold of the most giving Father, through faith in the loving grace of God. You may trust him for all temporal needs, since he has already provided that which is the only eternal good. The First Commandment requires such trust.

Prayer: Thank you for all of your loving gifts, Father, but especially for the gift of your Son. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1585.html Mon, 27 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 26 Similarly, the Spirit helps our incapacity. For we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with indescribable groanings. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26–27)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Besides, consider what we were blindly doing under the papacy. If anyone had a toothache, he fasted and honored St. Apollonia, If he feared fire, he chose St. Lawrence as his patron. If he dreaded pestilence, he made a vow to St. Sebastian or Rochio. There are a countless number of such abominations, where everyone selected his own saint, worshiped him, and called for help to him in distress. This is the same class of idolatry as those who make a pact with the devil, so that he might give them plenty of money or help them in love affairs, preserve their cattle, restore lost possessions, etc., as magicians and sorcerers do. They place their heart and trust elsewhere than in the true God, neither expecting nor seeking anything good from him.

Pulling It Together: Where does your help come from; from whom should you expect any assistance? To place your hope and trust in anyone but God is idolatry. A modern version of this kind of fanatical worship has arisen in our times. We see people beseeching their false gods of government, expecting politicians to provide for them all they need.

But God already knows our needs, even when we do not know them ourselves, or even how to ask of him. His own Spirit mediates for us. Best of all, the Holy Spirit intervenes on our behalf according to God’s will, so that we may trust in him for all good and every needful thing.

Prayer: Help me trust in you, good Lord, for all good things. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions Monday through Friday by 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. Part 2, What We Do, is an introduction to the practice of discipleship, using the Lord's Prayer to take us through key aspects of our life of faith as followers 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."

• Part 1 Participant's Workbook  • Part 1 Leader's Guide

• Part 2 Participant's Workbook  • Part 2 Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1584.html Fri, 24 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, and, behold, you have thoroughly blessed them these three times. 11 Now then, flee to your home. I said I would greatly honor you, but see, the Lord has kept you from honor.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will. What the Lord speaks is what I will speak’”? (Numbers 24:10–13)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

So, too, those who trust and boast of their great skill, wisdom, power, favor, friendship, and honor also have a god — but not the true and only God. Notice again, how presumptuous, secure, and proud people are because of such possessions, and how despondent they become when these things no longer exist or are withdrawn. Therefore, I repeat that having anything in which the heart entirely trusts, is to have a god.

Pulling It Together: Balak is exasperated at the realization that he cannot have his own way. He tried three times to coerce Balaam to curse God’s people, yet God blessed them three times over. Balak was told beforehand that God’s word would be spoken, only for the king to try to undo the divine will those three times. This is, of course, the promotion of one’s own will over God’s will. It is trust in one’s own power of persuasive speech, one’s own power and position. It is trust in a false god.

Before we dismiss this as an interesting story about someone else, do make yourself consider that it is also a story about you and me. We too, can place our trust, hopes, and dreams in other gods. And we do.

Prayer: I ask you again, Lord, to help me fear, love, and trust in you above all other gods. Amen.

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1583.html Thu, 23 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, “All that the Lord speaks, that I must do”? (Numbers 23:26)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

I must unfold this more plainly with ordinary examples of failing to observe this commandment, so that it may be understood and remembered. Many think they have God and an abundance of everything they need when they have money and possessions. They trust in them and boast about them with a stubborn sense of security, and care for no one else.

Such people have a god, and its name is Mammon, that is, money and possessions. They set their whole hearts on this most common idol in all the earth. Those who have money and property feel secure, happy, and untroubled, as though sitting in the midst of paradise. On the other hand, they who have nothing, doubt and despair as though they never knew of God. They are a very few are who are cheerful, who do not worry and complain, if they do not have mammon. This desire for wealth attaches and adheres to our nature, all the way to the grave.

Pulling It Together: See how unhappy King Balak is, with his godless insecurities. He will only be happy if millions of Israelites are cursed. Balaam also seems less than pleased, if the New Testament commentary has anything to offer (2 Pet 2:15–16). He is willing to climb to any height or go to any depth to get the king’s riches. The irony of the story is that Balaam could only do what the Lord told him to do. He did the Lord’s will, but without honoring him as God, with true fear, love, and trust (Num 25:1–18; Num 31:16). Balaam, who wanted the king’s purse so acutely, came up as empty-handed as he was empty-hearted.

Prayer: Help me to trust in you, Lord, with true faith. Amen.

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This free download provides an overview of Sola Publishing’s online worship resource: SOWeR. There are sample pages from the website to provide you with a sense of the variety of content offered in this subscription-based resource. Subscribe here. 

 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1582.html Wed, 22 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 7 And he took up his address, and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East. ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, condemn Israel.’ 8 How canI curse whom God hath not cursed? How can I denounce whom the Lord has not condemned?” (Numbers 23:7–8)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

Therefore, it is the intent of this commandment to require true faith and trust of the heart that settles upon the only true God, and clings to him alone. That is to say: “See to it that you let me alone be your God, and never seek another.” For example, what you lack of good things, expect it from me, and look to me for them. Whenever you suffer misfortune and distress, come, cling to me. I will give you enough and help you in every need. Only do not let your heart cling to or rest in any other.

Pulling It Together: What do you want: Balak’s fortunes, or God’s blessings? We get in trouble when we want more than we need, more than what God has promised to provide. Do you desire fame instead of the vocation you have been given? Unless God’s will is held above that desire, then you will push your donkey forward toward your desire, at your peril. Do you want wealth or any other god, instead of what God has provide for you? Then, you have made wealth, fame, health, friends, work, family — whatever it might be in your life — a god above the Lord.

Balaam, in the midst of his desires, did not go beyond the will of the Lord. But he tried; he wanted to pursue his own will and desires. We run the same danger when we confuse want and need. God has promised to provide the latter. When we want the former, at the cost of obedience to God’s will, we break the First Commandment.

Prayer: Keep me true to your word, 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.

Did you know that SOWER contains a worship music database with hundreds of hymns and songs? Each one features author information, plain-text lyrics, full-score hymn graphics, and simplified lead sheets for accompanists. This is a great resource for building bulletins and powerpoint presentations. 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1581.html Tue, 21 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his sword drawn in his hand. And he bowed his head, and fell on his face. (Numbers 22:31)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, The Ten Commandments

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods before me.

That is, you shall have and worship me alone as your God. What is the force of this, and how should it be understood? What does it mean to have a god, or indeed, what is God? Answer: A god is that from which we are to expect all good and to which we are to take refuge in all distress. So, to have a god is nothing else than to trust and believe him from the whole heart. As I have often said, the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust are right, then your god is also true. On the other hand, if your trust is false and wrong, then you do not have the true God. These two belong together: faith and God. That upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.

Pulling It Together: The story of Balaam can be confusing. We might be tempted to take his side against God, unless we understand that God allows us to pursue those things we truly desire. He shows us, often in mysterious or hidden ways, what his will is, as he did with Balaam. Putting him above all else is the only way we will see the will of God, hidden in the way before us. Balaam did not do what he knew to be righteous, but turned this way and that in order to pursue his greed (2 Pet 2:15). He was bent on monetary gain, even if it meant doing the wrong thing. This revealed his true god.

We must put all our faith in God alone, not in things, lest they rule over us. That is what gods do, whether they be false gods of our own devising, or the one true God. We should recite the Ten Commandments often, if only to give ourselves the opportunity to ask, Do I have any other gods than the Lord?

Prayer: Stand in my way, Lord, so that you alone are my God. Amen.

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

The Sola Online Worship 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1580.html Mon, 20 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But thanks be to God, that once servants of sin, you conform from the heart to that standard of teaching in which you are delivered. (Romans 6:17)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

The reason we exercise such diligence in preaching the Catechism repeatedly is to instill it in our youth, not in a condescending and clever manner, but briefly and with great simplicity, so that it may enter their minds readily and deeply, and so, remain fixed in their memories.

Therefore, we will now take up the above-mentioned parts, one by one, and in the plainest way possible, say as much as is necessary about them.

Pulling It Together: This is the whole point of the Catechism: to instill a standard of teaching to which our hearts may be conformed and confirmed. Then at all points in life, good times, bad, and worse, the Spirit may remind us that there is something — someone — at work within us. The indwelling Word (Col 3:16) thereby, comforts us and reassures us that God is greater than the troubles of this life, grander than death, stronger than the devil, and tougher than our sin.

Prayer: Hammer into my heart, O Spirit of Christ, the blessedness of your teachings. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1579.html Fri, 17 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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From the Word: But the law came alongside so that the transgression would abound; yet where sin abounded, grace abounded more. (Romans 5:20)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

However, it is not enough for them to learn and recite these parts accurately. Young people should also listen to preaching, especially during the time that is devoted to the Catechism, so that they may hear it explained, and may learn the meaning of every part. Then they will be able to repeat what they have heard, and when asked, give a correct answer. Preaching then, will not be without profit and fruit.

Pulling It Together: The Catechism is meant to accomplish two things: expose our sins, and reveal God’s grace. These very things may be easily overlooked if we view Catechism as a class one takes to memorize a little booklet. It must be understood. So, the church used to (and some still do) have the sermons during Lent focus on teaching the meaning of the Catechism. This may be where the practice started of having confirmands take notes on sermons.

A good preacher will be able to tie the Catechism in to every sermon, not just those preached during Lent. Nonetheless, we must redouble our efforts to instill the words and the meaning of the Catechism in our youth. That exercise begins with our own appreciation for and comprehension of the Catechism, indeed, of all Scripture.

Prayer: Teach me your Word, Lord, that I may obey you, yet be comforted by your grace when I do not. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1578.html Thu, 16 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500

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From the Word: 1 Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1–2)

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

When these parts have been carefully learned, you may supplement and fortify them by adding some psalms or hymns that have been written along these lines, and thereby, lead the young into the Scriptures and make daily progress.

Pulling It Together: Have you ever tried to help your child with algebra homework? First, you have to learn it yourself. Second, you dare not help today but then, not help again until weeks later. You will be relearning algebra each time, not to mention the frustration caused for your child. It is the same with the Catechism. Work with your children every day, so that they learn about God’s grace, and how they may rely upon it through faith.

When they have mastered the Catechism (though one never does), unfold the rest of Scripture to them. Teach them verses that harmonize with the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer. Then show them the abundance of verses that show the Creed. In doing this, you will bolster your child’s faith — and your own as well.

Prayer: Teach me your Word, Lord, while I teach others. Amen.

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1577.html Wed, 15 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Reposted from July 15, 2015

6 And on this mountain the Lord of hosts make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of aged wines, of fat pieces full of marrow, of refined, well-aged wines. 7 And on this mountain he will destroy the face of the covering that is over all peoples, and the veil that is woven over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces. And he will take away the reproach of his people from all the earth. For the Lord has spoken.

9 And it will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:6–9)

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law

But Christ was given for this purpose: that for his sake the forgiveness of sins and the Holy Spirit may be given to us to bring forth in us new and eternal life, and eternal righteousness. Therefore the law cannot be truly kept unless the Holy Spirit is received through faith. Accordingly, Paul says that the law is established by faith, not abolished, because the law can only then be thus kept when the Holy Spirit is given. Paul also teaches that the veil that covered the face of Moses cannot be removed except by faith in Christ (2 Cor 3:15-16), by which the Holy Spirit is received. He says, “Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” By “the veil,” Paul means the human opinion concerning the entire law, the Decalogue, and the ceremonies. In other words, hypocrites think that external and civil works satisfy the law of God, and that sacrifices and observances justify before God ex opere operato. But when this veil is removed from us, when we are freed from this error, God reveals to our hearts our unrighteousness and the heinousness of sin. Then, for the first time, we see that we are far from fulfilling the law. Only then do we understand how flesh, dwelling in security and indifference, does not fear God, and is not fully certain that we are favored by God, but imagines that men are born and die by chance. Then we see that we do not believe that God forgives and hears us. But when we hear the gospel and the forgiveness of sins, we are consoled by faith and receive the Holy Spirit so that now we are able to think correctly about God, and to fear and believe God, and so forth. It is plain from these facts that the law cannot be kept without Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Pulling It Together: Why did the Father send his Son to earth? He did this so that humanity would be redeemed. In other words, Jesus, the long-awaited Savior, came to save us from sin and death by justly forgiving our sins and giving us rebirth and his own eternal righteousness. This is something we could never do for ourselves through keeping the law. So, Jesus fulfilled the law and gave us his Spirit so that we could practice even the spirit of the law—the first table that commands us to love God. His Spirit produces true love for God in us so that we no longer seek to satisfy God through mere performance of good deeds. Rather, we live for God because we love him. We love him because his Son satisfied the law for us. All of this happens when we hear the gospel and believe what God has done for us through Christ. Only then does the Holy Spirit indwell us and produce the kind of love in us that desires to keep the whole law. We do not love him first and then receive his forgiveness as a reward. Rather, while we were still sinners, God first loved us, and sent his Son to die for us and for our sins (Rom 5:8). It is clear that the love of God for us is what produces love for God within us.

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for putting to death my old nature and giving me rebirth, a new nature, so that I may fear and love you in the power of 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.

Sola’s 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 Dwell in My Love 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. It can 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1576.html Tue, 14 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Reposted from July 14, 2018

22 And as they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and blessing it, he broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And taking a cup, and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mark 14:22–25)

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

In addition to all this, this dragon’s tail, the Mass, has spawned a brood of vermin and manifold idolatries. Purgatory is the first. They have carried their trade into purgatory with masses for souls, vigils, weekly, monthly, and yearly celebrations of requiems, and finally through the common week, All Souls’ Day, and soul baths, so that the Mass is used almost exclusively for the dead, even though Christ instituted the Sacrament only for the living. Therefore purgatory, and all its pomp, services, and commerce, should be regarded as nothing but a specter of the devil. For it conflicts with the chief article that Christ alone, not the works of men, helps souls. Besides, we have not been commanded or taught about the dead in this regard. Therefore, all this may be safely done away with, even if it were not heresy and idolatry.

Pulling It Together: What Christ actually instituted is sometimes quite different from what is practiced. So, let us be clear on what was actually done by our Lord, instead of what has been invented since. As Jesus and his disciples were eating the Passover meal together, Jesus took the table bread, blessed it, broke it, and distributed it to his disciples. As he gave it to them, he not only told them to take it, he also instructed them, saying, “This is my body.” In doing so, he established a communion, not only between himself and his disciples but between his body and the bread. Those words, “This is my body,” are as emphatic and effective as, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:14). God’s word accomplishes what he desires (Isa 55:11).

Then he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to them, and they all drank the Passover wine. More instruction accompanied the cup. Jesus said it was his blood of the covenant. His sacrifice of his own body and blood would establish the meal he instituted with his followers. All of this was done for the living, with no instruction in the gospels or elsewhere in Scripture to commune the dead, those in a fancied purgatory—for which there is also no teaching or ground in Scripture.

Prayer: Help me believe what is written in 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 Ten Commandments is a ten-week unit in the Sola Confirmation SeriesIt 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.

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1575.html Mon, 13 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Reposted from July 13, 2018

11 And I looked, and I heard around the throne a voice of many angels and living creatures and the elders, numbering ten thousand ten thousands, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, 12 “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Revelation 5:11–12)

From the Confessions: The Smalcald Articles 

This article about the Mass will be the whole business of the Council. If it were possible for them to concede to us all the other articles, they would not concede this one. At Augsburg, Campegius said that he would be torn to pieces before he would give up the Mass. By the help of God, I too, would rather be reduced to ashes than allow a hireling of the Mass, be he good or bad, to be made equal to or exalted over Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. So, we are and remain eternally divided and opposed to one another. They know well enough that when the Mass falls, the papacy lies in ruins. Before they would let that happen, they would put us all to death if they could.

Pulling It Together: Millions of angels bow before Christ, who is worthy to be exalted over all creation. This is heard in Revelation’s septave of complete praise: power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing. No one else in all creation is worthy of such honor, yet it is afforded to priests. As long as one group believes Christ’s work is incomplete and therefore, further sacrifices for sin must be repeatedly offered, while another believes Christ’s single sacrifice perfects forever those who are being sanctified (Heb 10:14), there will be division in the Church. Such division is not a bad thing; it is necessary so that apostolic truth may be understood (1 Cor 11:19). Meanwhile, like the author of Hebrews and Luther and the Reformers with him, we must insist that priestly sacrifices, “offerings for sin” (Heb 10:18), are no longer necessary, and are even reprehensible.

Prayer: Help me trust in your sacrifice, Jesus, my High Priest. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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 1537, at a meeting in the German town of Schmalkalden, Martin Luther had his final opportunity to articulate his faith for posterity. The Smalcald Articles are often considered Luther's theological Last Will and Testament. Written in easy-to-understand language, this study in Sola's Book of Concord Series is presented in a discussion format 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1574.html Fri, 10 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500

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  Click for a recording of today's Sola Devotion, a reprint from July 10, 2015.

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

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Justification 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1573.html Thu, 09 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1572.html Wed, 08 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Concerning the Sacrament

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

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

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

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

 

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1571.html Tue, 07 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

Concerning Baptism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1570.html Mon, 06 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1569.html Fri, 03 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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. 

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1568.html Thu, 02 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1567.html Wed, 01 Jul 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1566.html Tue, 30 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

Our Father who art in heaven.

1. Hallowed be Thy name.

2. Thy kingdom come.

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

4. Give us this day our daily bread.

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

6. And lead us not into temptation.

7. But deliver us from evil.

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1565.html Mon, 29 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

The Chief Articles of Our Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayer: Lord, help my unbelief. Amen.

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1564.html Fri, 26 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

The Ten Commandments of God

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1563.html Thu, 25 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1562.html Wed, 24 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1561.html Tue, 23 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1560.html Mon, 22 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Preface

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

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

Prayer: Keep me close, Lord. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1559.html Fri, 19 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1558.html Thu, 18 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1557.html Wed, 17 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1556.html Tue, 16 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

Prayer: Fatten me up, Lord. Amen.

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1555.html Mon, 15 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

Prayer: Teach me your way, Lord. Amen.

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1554.html Fri, 12 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1553.html Thu, 11 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1552.html Wed, 10 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1551.html Tue, 09 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1550.html Mon, 08 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1549.html Fri, 05 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1548.html Thu, 04 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Participant's Book    • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1547.html Wed, 03 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1546.html Tue, 02 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1545.html Mon, 01 Jun 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Learn about customized Pocket Catechisms.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1544.html Fri, 29 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Participant's Book  • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1543.html Thu, 28 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1542.html Wed, 27 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

• Unit 1   • Unit 2   • Unit 3

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1541.html Tue, 26 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1540.html Mon, 25 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Student Workbook   • Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1539.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1538.html Thu, 21 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Large Catechism, Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Customized Pocket Catechisms

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1537.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.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1536.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1535.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1534.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1533.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1532.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1531.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1530.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1529.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1528.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1527.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.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1526.html Tue, 05 May 20 00:00:00 -0500

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1525.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1524.html Fri, 01 May 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for online jigsaw.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1523.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1522.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1521.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1520.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1519.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1518.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1517.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.

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It's time to get ready for Vacation Bible School—even if we are social-distancing. It will be here before you know it. So, consider Sola's VBS series. Here's one 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1516.html Tue, 21 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

Go to your work with joy.

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

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

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

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

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1515.html Mon, 20 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1514.html Fri, 17 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1513.html Thu, 16 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Daily Prayers

Morning Prayer

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

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

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

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

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

Workbook  • Leader's Guide  • DVD

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1512.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1511.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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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1508.html Mon, 13 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1507.html Fri, 10 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1504.html Thu, 09 Apr 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

When is a person worthy to receive the Sacrament?

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

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

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

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

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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1502.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1501.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1500.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1499.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1498.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1497.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1496.html Tue, 31 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1494.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1495.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1493.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1492.html Thu, 26 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Holy Communion

What is Holy Communion?

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1491.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1490.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1489.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1488.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1487.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1486.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1485.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1484.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1483.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1482.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1481.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1480.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1479.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1478.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1477.html Thu, 05 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism, Confession of Sin

What is Confession?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1476.html Wed, 04 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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

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

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

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

Where is this written?

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

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

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

 

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1475.html Tue, 03 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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

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

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

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

Where is this written?

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

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

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

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

 

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1474.html Mon, 02 Mar 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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

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

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

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

Where is this written?

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Teacher's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1471.html Fri, 28 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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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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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1469.html Thu, 27 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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

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

Concerning the Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1468.html Wed, 26 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600

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

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

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

Concerning New Obedience

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

Pulling It Together: The Augsburg Confession clearly states that works are excluded from justification. Nothing is needed for our justification before God except the work of his Son Jesus Christ on the cross (Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8–9; Rom 3:28; 4:5). Nevertheless, the Lutherans also wished it to be known that justification by faith did not negate the command of God for his people to do good works. However, these acts of charity and obedience are a result of faith—not a requirement for justification. Those who have faith must be obedient to God and therefore they will do good works. They can do no other, for real faith is a living faith, full of the fruit of the Spirit. Those who are enlivened by faith, live by the Spirit and so, they will also keep in step with the Spirit who is the author of all good.

Prayer: O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, open my heart and my hands, that I may willingly do good and bring you glory. Amen. 

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

The Cross and the Crown is an eight-session study in Lutheran Basics, using the word "sola" to get the big picture right: that salvation is all God's doing.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1467.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1466.html Mon, 24 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our sins, 14 erasing the record of debt against us with its obligations, and has removed it, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13–14)

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

The faithful should be seized with the most bitter grief if they consider the fact that the Mass has been largely transferred to the dead and to satisfactions for punishments. This banishes the daily sacrifice from the Church. It is the kingdom of Antiochus, who transferred the most blessed promises concerning faith and the remission of guilt to the most vain opinions concerning satisfactions. This defiles the gospel and corrupts the use of the Sacraments. These are the ones whom Paul has said are “guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27). They have suppressed the doctrine about faith and the forgiveness of sins, and, under the pretext of satisfactions, have devoted the body and blood of the Lord to sacrilegious gain. Some day they will pay the penalty for this sacrilege. Therefore we and all godly consciences should be conscientious against approving of the abuses of our opponents.

Pulling It Together: Using the Sacrament in a way that Christ did not intend, abuses and profanes his Holy Supper. Offering his blessed promises to the dead and to those who do not believe makes it an occasion for sin and judgment. Teaching people that they must make satisfaction for punishments that await them beyond this life, makes mockery of Christ’s cross, as well as his promises. Of what use is the cross if I must now do other things to appease an angry God? This scoffs at Christ, teaching that he was not up to the task—but we are; it will just take some extra time.

No! God has accomplished all things through Christ. Our sin—every last bit of it—has been nailed to the cross. God made us alive in Christ while we were still sinners. Now that we are alive in Christ, are we to do things that make us live? Again, no! We are already alive through faith in God’s grace toward us. We can add nothing to the cross of Christ. Indeed, nothing needs to be added.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving us all we need in Christ alone. Amen.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1465.html Fri, 21 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be is not yet clear. We know that when he appears we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:2–3)

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

"The Daily Purpose of Baptism"

What is the significance of baptizing with water?

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

Where is this written?

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

Pulling It Together: Our hope is in Christ alone. His resurrection from the dead is the basis of that hope. Because we were baptized into his death, we will be resurrected like him too (Rom 6:3–5). The details of what comes next are a mystery but our hope is unwavering. Our sins do not get in the way of hope, and this is the case for two reasons. One, though we will always sin as long as we live in these earthly bodies, Christians do not make sinning routine. Two, when we confess our sins and repent, Christ Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9–10). In this daily forgiveness, he purifies us, cleansing us in his own righteousness.

We live before God in this sinful flesh by always looking to Christ for righteousness. When we look to self—to religious devotion and good works—for a sense of our own virtue, we are undone. As soon as we look to Christ alone, buttressed with the hope of his commitment to us, the new person comes forth again to live in Christ’s righteousness and purity.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for making me your child, whom you will never abandon. Amen.

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

I Am Who I Am is a six-week study that explores what it means to “not take the name of the LORD your God in vain” (Exod 20:7), while at the same time trusting the promise in Christ that “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1464.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1463.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1462.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1461.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1460.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1458.html Tue, 11 Feb 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And Isaac dug again the wells of water that they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. The Philistines had filled them after the death of Abraham. And he called them by the names that his father had named them. (Genesis 26:18)

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

“The Means of Baptism”

How can water do such great things?

It is not the water that does these things, but the Word of God connected with the water and our faith which relies on that Word. For without the Word of God it is simply water and not Baptism. But when connected with the Word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit.

As Saint Paul says to Titus: “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy.” (Titus 3:5-8a)

Pulling It Together: Jesus confirms that we are all sinners (John 8:7). Who of us does not sin daily? Day after day, our sins can pile up in our memories. If we are not careful to seek the Father’s forgiveness and remember the promises of Baptism daily, the devil may slowly stop up the well. The water remains. The promise remains. But we need to dig down to the source again by asking forgiveness and remembering that God is good on his word. It is not the hard labor of Isaac, but instead, an easy word of contrition. It is a request born of trust, for God is faithful to forgive repentant sinners.

Prayer: I ask again today, Lord, that you would forgive me, a sinner who fears you, but loves and trusts you too. Amen.

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1455.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1454.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1453.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1452.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1451.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1450.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1449.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1447.html Thu, 30 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of covenant between me and you. (Genesis 17:11)

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

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: The promise of God is for all people. Circumcision was a signal that there is something greater than the shedding of human blood. We are meant to look to something far greater. In Christian baptism, we are “circumcised” by the hand of God. The whole body of this flesh—not mere foreskin, and not only males—is put to death in the “circumcision of Christ.” We are buried with him, into his death, in baptism. The old nature is now nailed to the cross and dead. We have been raised with Christ through faith (Col 2:11–14). The old person is dead but a new nature has arisen; our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3).

Prayer: In the water and the Word, you speak to me, Lord, and I believe. Amen.

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Pilate's Investigation is a five-part series designed for use during Lent. Each of the dramas feature Pontius Pilate, seeking to learn the identity of the mysterious figure who has been brought to him for judgment. Scripture texts are assigned for each of the dramas, along with notes for the actors.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1446.html Wed, 29 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for large image

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From the Word: And for this reason he is the mediator of a new covenant, because a death has occurred for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, so that they who have been called may receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)

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

What is Baptism?

Baptism is not merely water; it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.

What is this Word of God?

It is the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Pulling It Together: All our sins are drowned in Christian baptism, for the “old man” was buried with Christ in his death (Rom 6:3). At first blush, this hardly seems fair. How may the sins of the entire human lineage be satisfied by the death one person? Yet, God is just to do this because it is his own death that secures an eternal redemption (Heb 9:12) for all who are called: all who believe Christ’s call for them.

The Lord’s voice is upon the waters (Psa 29:3). Do you hear him calling? Do you believe his word spoken for you over the waters of baptism? If so, then you are alive in Christ, even though you were dead in your sins (Eph 2:5). That dead man lies at the bottom of the font. You are raised with Christ to the New Covenant life (Rom 6:4).

Prayer: I remember you this day, Lord, and your death for my life. Amen.

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

The next issue of Connections (March/April 2020) will be built around the Eighth Commandment.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1443.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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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1442.html Mon, 27 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: Jesus said to him, “Go; your son lives.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and departed. (John 4:50)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Conclusion

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

What does this mean?

It means that I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father and are heard by him, for he himself has commanded us to pray in this manner and has promised to hear us. So we pray with confidence: “Amen,” meaning, “Yes, it shall be so.”

Pulling It Together: “Thy will be done.” We may pray this, meaning, “Please, Lord, do my will. Make my will your own.” Instead, our weekly, if not daily, prayer must also be a confession to ourselves that it is God’s will that must be done, that it is our will that God’s will be accomplished, even if it is not the outcome we may have wanted. We must believe the word of Christ Jesus and depart, be on our way to live the day ahead of us. This was the experience of David and Luther. Unlike the father in today’s verse, each would send his child to heaven, David a newborn, and Luther his 13-year-old Magdalena. David prayed for a different outcome but resigned himself to the Lord’s will. “Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” (2 Sam 12:15–23). Luther, also, prayed fervently that his daughter might live but added to his prayers, “If it is thy will, O God, to take her from us, I will be glad to know that she is with thee.” David knew much the same, saying, “I shall go to him, but he will not return to me” (2 Sam 12:23).

It is God’s kingdom, not ours. To him belongs the power to add to his glory in the fashion he knows to be best. The Lord hears our prayers, and answers them as may be expected of a loving Father, with the authority of a wisdom far beyond our own. Knowing this, we may confidently add the “Amen” to our prayers. May it be so; may your will be done no matter my own wishes.

Prayer: May your will be done in my life today. Amen and amen.

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The Power of Lent is a series of Lenten dramas pairing two characters each week from the story of Jesus' Passion; bearing witness to what they saw, heard, and felt. Each pair of biblical characters reflects upon a similar theme for the week, showing how the same events brought about very different reactions to Jesus and his identity.

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1440.html Fri, 24 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham returning from the felling of the kings and blessed him, 2 and Abraham allotted one tenth of everything to him. First, by translation, he is king of righteousness, and then king of Salem also, that is, king of peace. 3 He is fatherless, motherless, without a genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but being like the Son of God, he remains a priest evermore. (Hebrews 7:1–3)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Conclusion

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

What does this mean?

It means that I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to our heavenly Father and are heard by him, for he himself has commanded us to pray in this manner and has promised to hear us. So we pray with confidence: “Amen,” meaning, “Yes, it shall be so.”

Pulling It Together: God has made believers a kingdom of priests (Isa 61:6; Exod 19:6; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:6). Priests are the ones who receive the tithe from subordinates, as Melchizedek did from Abraham. Though priests, our blessings nonetheless come from a higher power than ourselves, so we give back a portion. The kingdom and the power and the glory are entirely his; we are dependent upon him, offering in tribute a portion of his blessings.

See how God turns common practice on its head: the sovereign priest giving to his inferiors. Giving back the tithe is our “amen,” our confident assent that a higher sovereignty, might, and wonder will always bless his people. In God our King, “righteousness and peace kiss each other,” (Psa 85:10), and the result is everlasting blessing.

Prayer: O righteous King, you are our everlasting peace. Amen.

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

Fulfilled In Him is a five-part Lenten drama series, focusing on five pairs of characters — one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament — who demonstrate in their witness the fulfillment of God's promise. Presented with a kind of before-and-after perspective, the pairing of characters examines how Christ is the key to Scripture — "the founder and perfecter of our faith."

Other Lenten Dramas

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1439.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1438.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1437.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1436.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.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1435.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.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1434.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1433.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1432.html Tue, 14 Jan 20 00:00:00 -0600

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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.

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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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1431.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1430.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1429.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1427.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1426.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1425.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1424.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1423.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1422.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1421.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1420.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1419.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1418.html Thu, 26 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 1 Now in those days, when the disciples were growing, a grumbling of the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily assistance. 2 So the twelve mustered the majority of the disciples and said, “It is not suitable that we neglect the word of God to serve tables. 3 Now, brothers, choose seven of your men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, who we will appoint over this work. 4 But we will devoutly persevere in prayer, and in the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:1–4)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Fourth Petition

Give us this day our daily bread.

What does this mean?

God indeed gives daily bread to all, even unbelievers, without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that he would help us to recognize this so that we would receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread?

Daily bread includes everything required to meet our earthly needs, such as food, drink, clothing, home, property, employment, necessities; devout parents, children, and communities; honest and faithful authorities, good government, seasonable weather, peace, health, an orderly society, a good reputation, true friends and neighbors, and the like.

Pulling It Together: From the early days of the church, there was concern for both spiritual and physical needs. When believers are hungry, the church must feed them. When they are thirsty, the church must provide them drink. The church, following the Lord’s directive (Matt 14:13–21; Mark 6:30–44), has always endeavored to meet the nutritional needs of the people. But there is more than physical food and drink, and the church must be doubly devoted to feeding the spirit. We need the Word of God every bit as much and more than we need physical sustenance (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4; Luke 4:4). The spirit must be nourished; otherwise, we perish twice.

Prayer: Feed me, O Bread of heaven. Amen.

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

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

You may also send your donation to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1415.html Mon, 23 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time. (Luke 1:20)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

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

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: Our unbelief will not change the will of God. Everything he has resolved will come to pass in its season—whether we believe it will or not.

Sometimes we will not believe because God’s will seems too fantastic to us, as was the case with Zechariah. Other times, his will seems too harsh, and we refuse to believe. His will, now and then, seems too favorable toward us, and thinking we do not deserve God’s good will, we again, refuse to believe.

Nonetheless, God’s will is done, in spite of us. He does not rush to prove us wrong, but bides his time so that all things are accomplished in their season, including the span necessary to strengthen us in belief and to become steadfast in his Word and faith. In this way, we begin to desire his will be done in our earthly lives, even as it is done in heaven.

Prayer: Help, O Lord, my unbelief. Amen.

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

Your support of Sola Publishing enables Sola to benefit future generations of Lutherans by continuing to produce resources that reflect the integrity of the Scriptures as the Word of God, from the perspective of the historical Lutheran Confessions.

Click the "Donate" button above to make a secure, one-time or recurring donation. Or mail checks made out to "Sola Publishing" to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1414.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1413.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.

]]>
Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1412.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1411.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1410.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1409.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1407.html Thu, 12 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 10 Do not fear things that you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, so that you may be tested, and you will experience tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:10–11)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

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

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: We are to fear God rather than the things of this life. Suffering, even great suffering, may be our lot, yet it is only for the space of time. A Day is coming when time is undone, and with it all the tribulation of this life. Then there will be everlasting joy and peace. In the meanwhile, it remains God’s will for us to be faithful—even in the face of death.

Polycarp, that faithful disciple of St. John, and the bishop of Smyrna, faced death by wild beasts or fire, unless he recanted his faith in Christ. The blessed bishop would rather be burned than betray his Lord. And so, he was led to the pyre. He went joyfully, knowing that the fire would burn for an hour while a fire fit for the faithless would burn forever.

It is God’s will that we remain faithful regardless of this life’s troubles. Troubles come and go but the faithful will remain in the presence of their Lord forever.

Prayer: Give me such faith, O Father, that I may confess with the blessed bishop of Smyrna, “I am a Christian!” Amen.

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

Your support of Sola Publishing enables Sola to benefit future generations of Lutherans by continuing to produce resources that reflect the integrity of the Scriptures as the Word of God, from the perspective of the historical Lutheran Confessions.

Click the "Donate" button above to make a secure, one-time or recurring donation. Or mail checks made out to "Sola Publishing" to:

Sola Publishing
PO Box 521
Maple Lake, MN 55358

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

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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1406.html Wed, 11 Dec 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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From the Word: 4 But I have this against you, that you have forsaken your primary love. 5 Remember therefore, from where you are fallen, and reconsider, and do the former works. Unless you repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Revelation 2:4–5)

From the Confessions: The Small Catechism

The Third Petition

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

What does this mean?

The good and gracious will of God is done indeed without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it will also be done among us.

How is this done?

God’s will is done when he hinders and destroys every evil design and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature that would keep us from hallowing his name and prevent the coming of his kingdom. And God’s will is done when he strengthens us and keeps us steadfast in his Word and in faith to the end of our earthly lives. This is his good and gracious will.

Pulling It Together: The fear, love, and trust of God both bids us do his will and gives us the power to do so. And what is God’s greatest command than that we love him above all others, and our neighbors as ourselves (Luke 10:27)? Do we still love him as we did when his own love for us was first made known? Does our love of the crucified motivate us to love those whom he loves? It must! Therefore, we should consider our current attitudes, whether there is some affection lacking in us. If so, repentance is our only course of action, as we “await[] our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). The people of God must be eager to do the deeds of love that glorify their King. This is his purpose for us (Titus 2:14); but if we will not do his will, how will we bear his light to the world? Our defiance would effectively remove the stand that bears the Light. “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28 NIV).

Prayer: Strengthen me, O Lord, so that I may do your will. Amen.

Receive these daily Sola Devotions by 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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1404.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1403.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1402.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1401.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1400.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1399.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1398.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1397.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1396.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1395.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1394.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/lessons-in-the-lutheran-confessions/a1392.html Fri, 22 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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