Sola Publishing News and Feedback [Reflections series] http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/feed.html?series=8 News, devotions and feedback blog for Sola Publishing en-us Longsuffering http://www.solapublishing.com/news_feedback/longsuffering/a1288.html Tue, 11 Jun 19 00:00:00 -0500 Click for larger image

Original photo

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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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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