Sola Publishing News and Feedback [Teaching Category] http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html?category=3 News, devotions and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Let Us Confess http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/let-us-confess/a1391.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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

From the Reformer

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

—Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis

Pulling It Together

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

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

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

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

More Reflections

Retirement: The Good, the Bad, the Blessings is a nine-session study takes a look at the good, the bad, and the blessings of retirement, reflecting on biblical themes that speak to this season of life. For those who are in retirement, as well as those who are moving toward it, God continues to open up new possibilities and challenges, as we continue to follow Christ into the future. As in all things, God walks with us, promising that he will never forsake us.

Leader's Guide

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Everything You Need http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/everything-you-need/a1390.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo 

Romans 5:1-5

From the Reformer

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

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

Pulling It Together

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

More Reflections

The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

Leader's Guide

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The Heresy of the Modern Spirit http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/the-heresy-of-the-modern-spirit/a1389.html Thu, 21 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

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Romans 4:13-25

From the Reformer

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

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

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

Pulling It Together

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

More Reflections

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

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Curses http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/curses/a1387.html Wed, 20 Nov 19 00:00:00 -0600 Click for larger image

Original photo by mzsu

Genesis 3:14-21

From the Reformer

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

—Martin Luther, Preface to Romans

Pulling It Together

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

More Reflections

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

Use the Small Catechism as an outreach tool with a Customized 100-pack.

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Our All and Everything http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/our-all-and-everything/a1338.html Fri, 06 Sep 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Psalm 111:1-10

From the Reformer

On Redemption:

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

Q: What does this mean?

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

—Martin Luther, The Small Catechism

Pulling It Together

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

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

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

Leader's Guide

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Longsuffering http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/longsuffering/a1288.html Tue, 11 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

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Galatians 5:22-23

From the Reformer

Longsuffering is that quality which enables a person to bear adversity, injury, reproach, and makes them patient to wait for the improvement of those who have done him wrong. When the devil finds that he cannot overcome certain persons by force he tries to overcome them in the long run. He knows that we are weak and cannot stand anything long. Therefore he repeats his temptation time and again until he succeeds. To withstand his continued assaults we must be longsuffering and patiently wait for the devil to get tired of his game.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians

Pulling It Together

He was sitting in line at the drive-through of a local hamburger restaurant, waiting three cars back. Suddenly, he backed up a few feet, almost hitting the car behind him, pulled out of the line, and roared out of the parking lot, blowing his horn and shouting inaudibly from behind his rolled-up windows.

You won’t find “shortsuffering” in the dictionary. Though you readily enough comprehend its meaning, it is not worth defining. This trait, which all possess, is without quality worth definition, perhaps because it is such an easy thing. Anyone can suffer for the short term. The Christian’s task, however, is to suffer long, to be patient, to wait through the night for the rising sun, to content oneself with the Lord’s thousand years as though it were but a day. This can be done easily enough when the long night and the longer life is spent with God.

More Reflections

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

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Drawing a Crowd http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/drawing-a-crowd/a1286.html Sat, 25 May 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Click Scripture graphic for larger image  • Original image

Acts 2:1-21

From the Reformer

…the Holy Ghost is sent forth into the hearts of the believers, as here stated, “God sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.” This sending is accomplished by the preaching of the Gospel through which the Holy Spirit inspires us with fervor and light, with new judgment, new desires, and new motives. This happy innovation is not a derivative of reason or personal development, but solely the gift and operation of the Holy Ghost.

—Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (4:6)

Pulling It Together

It is curious that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit happened quite suddenly, even surprisingly, but at a point when the little Church was in one accord. This should not be viewed as a formula by which to control the Holy Spirit. Yet it is worth noticing that God chose to pour out his Spirit on the congregation when they were already acting like his people. It is also worth noticing that the outpouring drew even more souls to this commonality, this communion of saints. When the Holy Spirit falls upon us, he lifts up Christ and draws all manner of people (John 12:32)—seekers and mockers alike.

More Reflections

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

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Blessed Are They Who Read http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/blessed-are-they-who-read/a1280.html Tue, 21 May 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

About the Reformer

Wyclif’s followers were called Lollards, I believe from their habit of lulling or chanting to themselves. After his death they went much farther than he had done, and some of them grew very wild in their opinions, so that they would not only have made strange changes in religious doctrine, but would have upset the government of kingdoms. Against them a law was made by which persons who differed from the doctrines of the Roman Church were sentenced to be burnt under the name of heretics, and many Lollards suffered in consequence.

—J.C. Robertson, Sketches of Church History

Pulling It Together

It is almost certainly the case that the name Lollard came from the sound that people heard as these priests chanted. It must have sounded like, luh-luh-luh-luh-luh, as they passed through the villages of England on their missionary journeys. But was the mumbling sound mere chanting? Knowing the cause of these followers of Wyclif was the dissemination of the Word of God in the common tongue, it is very possible what they were doing was reading the scriptures out loud as they traveled. Perhaps several were reading at the same time, adding to the confusing nature of the sounds.

Augustine is the first to record the experience of seeing someone (Ambrose) reading silently. Yet it was deep into the Middle Ages before authors began to assume that their readers would experience their work in any way but aurally. Add to that, that the Word of God was expected to be read aloud in Church (a point that even John may be mentioning in Rev 1:3) and you see that the Lollards may have been reading the scriptures as they traveled and that it was this muffled reading that seemed odd to those who heard them.

What seems to have set these Lollards apart in the eyes (and ears) of the people was the sound they made. What sets them apart in history is what drove them to make the sound. Their lifestyles were set apart by their stand on the Word of God. Indeed, those who reign with Christ in glory are those who travel with the Word on their tongues, despite the jokes and ridicule of the masses (Rev 20:4).

More Reflections

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

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Credo http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/credo/a1278.html Mon, 20 May 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Acts 16:4b-15

From the Reformer

The Third Article: On Becoming Holy

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the community of the saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and an everlasting life. Amen.

Q. What does this mean?

A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, He generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ.

—Martin Luther, The Small Catechism

Pulling It Together

Too often the Spirit is viewed as a tool or power. In fact, many believers refer to the Holy Spirit as an “it.” This is far from the truth. The Spirit is God. God is not to be manipulated nor can he be used. The Spirit dictates and you respond—not the other way round. He calls you, keeps you, comforts you, and completes you. People of the Spirit are only too happy to positively respond to him when he urges in whatever direction. This is nowhere more so than when he leads you to absolution, causing you to remember the words of Jesus: “Your sins are forgiven” (Luke 7:48).

More Reflections

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

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Knock, Knock http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/knock-knock/a1266.html Thu, 02 May 19 00:00:00 -0500

Acts 11:1-18

From the Reformer

Heaven and earth, all the emperors, kings, and princes of the world, could not raise a fit dwelling-place for God; yet, in a weak human soul, that keeps his Word, he willingly resides. Isaiah calls heaven the Lord’s seat, and earth his footstool; he does not call them his dwelling-place; when we seek after God, we shall find him with them that keep his Word. Christ says: “If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Nothing could be simpler or clearer than these words of the Saviour… (Martin Luther, Table Talk)

Pulling It Together

“But I have always done it this way!” Nevertheless, now it is time to listen to how the Lord wants things done. The person who responds to his will is the one who answers the knock (Rev 3:20). God comes in to the heart-home of the person who listens, hears the knock, and opens the door to God’s way instead of keeping the door of his mind and heart locked.

Sometimes the knock is heard in a dream; very often it resounds when reading the Scripture, or even in hearing a sermon or from conversation during a Bible study. However it comes, when you hear the knock, open your door.

More Reflections

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

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The Small Catechism http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/the-small-catechism/a1219.html Wed, 27 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600 Resources for Learning the Ten Commandments:

Click here for YouTube video (3:14) of the graphics below.

Click here to view video online. Right-click to download the video.

Click here for a PowerPoint presentation, suitable for memorization practice. 

Here is a collection of wallpaper graphics. Use them here to memorize the Ten Commandments. Or click each one to enlarge and save. Then right-click and save as your deskptop wallpaper. When you have memorized it, do the same thing with the next commandment. 

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Let Go http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/let-go/a1214.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by seriousfun 

Isaiah 43:16-21

From the Reformer

God delights in our temptations, and yet hates them; he delights in them when they drive us to prayer; he hates them when they drive us to despair. The Psalm says: “An humble and contrite heart is an acceptable sacrifice to God,” etc. Therefore, when it goes well with you, sing and praise God with a hymn: goes it evil, that is, does temptation come, then pray: “For the Lord has pleasure in those that fear him;” and that which follows is better: “and in them that hope in his goodness,” for God helps the lowly and humble, seeing he says: “Thinkest thou my hand is shortened that I cannot help?” He that feels himself weak in faith, let him always have a desire to be strong therein, for that is a nourishment which God relishes in us.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

You are a sinner, besieged with temptation. The weight of it worries you. Perhaps, you wonder, it is not well with your soul. Let go of it; give it to God. Take a breath; calm down and pray. “Be still and know” that God is God. (Psa 46:10) “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him”…”In just a little while” you will see that he has carried the load all the while. (Psa 37:7, 10a) Have a little faith and the mountain will be lifted and thrown far away. God makes a way for you even in the most difficult situation. Even in the midst of what might cause despair, the person of faith may confidently proclaim that all is well; God is in control.

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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A Fortune of Joy http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/a-fortune-of-joy/a1213.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by Yousef T. Omar 

Psalm 126:1-6

From the Reformer

When he adds that they were glad, there is an implied antithesis between this fresh joy and the long continued sorrow with which they were afflicted in their captivity. He expressly declares that joy was restored to them, to enable them the better to estimate the dismal condition from which they had been extricated.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms

Pulling It Together

The local bank began offering 5% interest on checking accounts. Many certificates of deposit do not offer that much. You would have to be crazy not to switch to a bank that offered such earning potential on a checking account. But God goes further still. He does far more than restore fortunes. At the bank you have a minimum deposit and monthly requirements. God starts with your nothing and makes it a fortune. Just so, like a stream through a desert, God gives you a fortune of joy.

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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Prudence http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/prudence/a1212.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Psalm 32:1-11

From the Reformer

David, after enduring long and dreadful torments, when God was severely trying him, by showing him the tokens of his wrath, having at length obtained favor, applies this evidence of the divine goodness for his own benefit, and the benefit of the whole Church, that from it he may teach himself and them what constitutes the chief point of salvation. All men must necessarily be either in miserable torment, or, which is worse, forgetting themselves and God, must continue in deadly lethargy, until they are persuaded that God is reconciled towards them. Hence David here teaches us that the happiness of men consists only in the free forgiveness of sins, for nothing can be more terrible than to have God for our enemy; nor can he be gracious to us in any other way than by pardoning our transgressions.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms

Pulling It Together

This Psalm is a maskil of David. Maskil is a Hebrew word meaning someone who is sensible or prudent. In other words, a maskil is a teachable person. When the word maskil introduces a Psalm, it is typically considered a song that teaches a particular lesson.

This Psalm then, calls people to be sensible by acknowledging their sin. God’s hand will be heavy upon them until they do. Therefore, prudence dictates repentance because the one who stubbornly clings to his wrong ways will never be happy. The only way to be truly happy is to confess and trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness.

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.

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The Right Focus http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/the-right-focus/a1211.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

 Psalm 85:8-13

From the Reformer

13. The result of faith is that for such a great blessing, the forgiveness of sins because of Christ, we love God in return. Therefore, love for God is a fruit of faith.
14. This same faith causes us to be ashamed of having offended such a kind and generous father.
15. Therefore, it cause us to abhor our flesh with its evil desires.

—Philip Melancthon, Loci Communes Theologici

Pulling It Together

He was convinced that he was no good because he could not keep the commandments of God perfectly. He did well most days but then fell down sometimes. His mistake was that he focused on the falling. Focus on the Father instead of the fault and you will find you have his strength again and the fruits to match.

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 free, special initiative includes a number of Lutheran discipleship resources for families and congregations.

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On the Run http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/on-the-run/a1210.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo from Wikipedia of a cave at Qumran similar to what David may have hidden within when hiding from Saul

Psalm 4:1–8

From the Reformer

It is uncertain at what time this psalm was composed. But from the tenor of it, it is conjectured, with probability, that David was then a fugitive and an exile. I therefore refer it to the time when he was persecuted by Saul. If, however, any person is disposed rather to understand it as referring to the time when he was compelled by the conspiracy of Absalom to secure his safety by flight, I will not greatly contend about the matter. But as, a little after, he uses an expression, namely, “How long?” (verse 3) which indicates that he had a lengthened struggle, the opinion which I have already brought forward is the more probable. For we know with what varied trials he was harassed, before he obtained complete deliverance, from the time when Saul began to be his enemy.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Psalms

Pulling It Together

David was called to be the king of Israel yet was consigned to the wilderness instead of a palace, running from the present king and the whole army. “But God promised!” It is a familiar lament in modern times. One wants what he cannot as yet have and is expected to find her contentment in God. If David, in his distress, was expected to find, and was able to know peace and safety in God alone, what is you struggle meant to accomplish? Let God put gladness in your heart despite your suffering. He intends to give you more than you imagine in spite of the struggle—and perhaps because of that struggle. “Put your trust in the LORD.”

Sola Publishing offers Liturgical Calendars that chart the Scripture readings for each Sunday in the Church Year, with each Sunday 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 one for pastor, secretary,and sacristy. 

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The Further Shore http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/the-further-shore/a1209.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by Chelle

Psalm 51:1–12

From the Reformer

…vindicating them from the hand of Pharaoh and from cruel bondage, [our Lord] paved a way for them through the Red Sea, and drowned Pharaoh himself and their Egyptian foes, who were pressing close behind, and threatening them with destruction. For in this way also he promises us in baptism, and shows by a given sign that we are led by his might, and delivered from the captivity of Egypt, that is, from the bondage of sin, that our Pharaoh is drowned; in other words, the devil, although he ceases not to try and harass us. But as that Egyptian was not plunged into the depth of the sea, but cast out upon the shore, still alarmed the Israelites by the terror of his look, though he could not hurt them, so our enemy still threatens, shows his arms and is felt, but cannot conquer.

—John Calvin, Institutes

Pulling It Together

It is God himself who provides that further shore of salvation. Indeed, he is the shore. You must rise up and go! The way is perilous and frightening and you will be told many times you cannot do it and that you will certainly drown in the difficulties. Yet, if in your journey, you have already taken hold of that Shore, and rest in his peace and the fullness of his joy, the harassment seems diminished, the threats hollow, and defeat impossible.

The course is plotted and behold! The Captain himself is in the boat with you, steering you to himself—always present yet bringing you toward a fuller presence.

Connections Magazine is a voice for confessional Lutheranism in North America, featuring ministries and mission efforts of the movement. It provides reliable, Biblically based content, stories of faith, and inspirational messages all in a “coffee table quality” package that delights its subscribers. Connections has a deep commitment to the evangelical nature of Lutheranism that responds with vigor to Christ’s great commission to go and make disciples. It also gives a public center to the effort to renew Lutheranism in North America in concert with Biblical authority and the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions.

 

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Glimpsing God http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/glimpsing-god/a1208.html Thu, 21 Feb 19 00:00:00 -0600

Original photo by Keoni Cabral

Psalm 99:1-9

From the Reformer

We must think of no other God than Christ; that God which speaks not out of Christ’s mouth, is not God. God, in the Old Testament, bound himself to the throne of grace; there was the place where he would hear, so long as the policy and government of Moses stood and flourished. In like manner, he will still hear no man or human creature, but only through Christ. A number of the Jews ran to and fro burning incense, and offerings here and there, and seeking God in various places, not regarding the tabernacle, so it goes now; we seek God everywhere; but not seeking him in Christ, we find him nowhere.

—Martin Luther, Table Talk

Pulling It Together

You may worship him in Zion or by the pillar of the camp or at his footstool or on the holy mountain or on the Mercy Seat itself! Where one worships, God is worshiped for two reasons: firstly, because adoration is due him, but secondly, because worship causes one to glimpse God in his glory. Seeing God as he truly is, draws one closer to God. That has, after all, always been his goal—to have you at his side.

This is why we are disciples and followers of Christ. We to be always by his side, beholding his holy glory.

Does the way you worship and therefore see God draw you close or distance you from the side of God?

Learning About Confession - Teacher's Guide guides leaders in teaching the meaning of Confession and Forgiveness according Luther's guidance in the Small Catechism. The student book, Learning About Confession 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.

 

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