This morning's killings of two reporters on air by a deranged killer shocked and saddened most everyone. The media will turn to various experts decrying this issue, that injustice, this systematic failing or some other issue. While these things might have some sort of impact, the root cause is sin. As shocking and brutal yesterday's killings were, there is no difference in God's Law with any other sin. The tortured deaths of Christians and others in ISIS controlled lands is just as evil as the on-air killings or those committing adultery with the Ashley Madison site. The claim that hinduism and Christianity are just shades of the same is as sinful as coveting your neighbor's possessions or simply stealing gum. A Just God requires the same from all. Thank God that He is also merciful and has provided a means of Grace. All of the sins we daily commit, intentionally or not, are covered by the sacrifice of Christ. To have that gift in spite of our flesh's daily rebellion is joy unbound.
Prayers for the families of the slain and the unfortunate killer. May God use this to the betterment of the Kingdom in His own way.
Sunday, July 26, 2015
This is a very short excerpt from "Sermons of Martin Luther" edited by Lenker, Vol 3-4 from the sermon for the Second Sunday after Easter focused on John 10:11-16.
There are three kinds of shepherds: good or true shepherds, hirelings, and wolves. Good shepherds are like the good Shepherd Christ, who tends the sheep, goes before them, cares for those that are sick, scabby, or have the snuffles; who does not flee when the wolves come, but "who giveth his life for the sheep," as Christ here in this Gospel describes. It is not enough that we preach correctly, which the hireling can also do; but we must watch over the sheep, that the wolves, false teachers, may not break in, and we must contend for the sheep against the wolves, with the Word of God, even to the sacrifice of our lives. Such are good shepherds, of whom few are found. ... This the hirelings do not; they care not for the sheep, they receive temporal wages, riches and honor, and feed themselves; yet they are good to a certain extent and Christ also preaches through them; but they are not true to the sheep.... This is clearly seen, when trouble comes, when the wolves break in there is no one who remains faithful to the sheep."This is what I see in the LCMS and other church bodies. They are staffed by hirelings and not shepherds. True, shepherds are more rare. But the encouragement of hirelings over shepherds dooms a church body to eventual heresy and falling away. The Church is always under assault by wolves, and the hirelings do little to counter the wolves, running away from the "controversy." The reason doesn't matter, whether it is riches, pensions, or even not wanting to be inconvenienced. Ultimately it scatters the flock and subverts their office as specified by Christ. Take heed, then, that your shepherd is a true shepherd, and not a hireling just earning a paycheck.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
It's on the news with two horrible videos where Planned Parenthood employees are discussing the sale of fetal organs. Ironically this undercuts their whole premise to scared new mothers that it "isn't a baby but a fetus." If it wasn't human, why are you selling the organs? Planned Parenthood really just are butchers of the unwary and unprotected. I pray the nightmare of legal abortions is snuffed out soon. God have mercy on these unfortunate souls.
Monday, June 15, 2015
Many of us covered the Rich Man and Lazarus recently in church services talking about faith of the individuals in the parable. We nod our heads and inwardly scoff at the rich man for being so callous. We then head home, pop lunch in the microwave, peruse Facebook and maybe turn on the big screen television for a sports show. Not once do we consider the problem with the Rich Man while doing many of the things he would never dream possible or affordable. This isn't an article, though, on how riches are evil but the danger of cares of this world. His goods and riches didn't force him away. But they did distract and dissuade him from faith and a life devoted to God. Immediately following the parable, Luke 17:1 has the following: "Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come." The parable and this verse brings the parable of the sower to mind recorded in Luke 8:
13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.Why the Rich Man was faithless is irrelevant. Lack of faith is eternally fatal without regard as to why. I wanted to caution you to be careful lest the world carefully snatch your faith, smother it under the cares and entertainment of this world, and replace it with the useless gods of this age. Guard yourselves carefully as the devil and the world have been deceiving since the Fall. Which is more important- Pintrest or Bible study? We might know the answer in our heads, but our daily routines would likely argue against our soul.
Sunday, March 01, 2015
Sometimes you hear people complaining that if God was really all powerful He would do this or that. Or perhaps it is worded as "Works don't merit salvation, so why do I have to..." The root of the complaint is really the speakers desire to do what they want, which is to rebel against God. Using the common Biblical comparison of a parent and children, the tasks we have to accomplish in a day sometimes are assigned as chores for children. It isn't because we can't do them. Its to teach them how to do the chore properly and to help them grow mentally. A lot of time the children really don't like the chore, but the action of working through the chore teaches them. It isn't for the parent's benefit, but the children's. So when you hear the complaint, ask what it is they think God is trying to teach them or why they are rebelling. That might cause them to think a little harder about the task, and less about the chore.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
According to recent articles, IS (ISIS/ISIL) came into an area in Iraq where there were Christians. IS demanded they recant Christ and pledge their loyalty to Mohammed. Four of the children refused, and IS beheaded them. This is the brutality of the group, and now there are (at least) four more Saints before the throne praising God for eternity. A reminder for all of us to append our Advent services with "Come, Lord, return and bring us home!" Only that will end the madness.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The season of Advent is well underway. Most of us are looking to Christmas with a mix of anticipation and dread for various reasons. We see the manger scenes and christmas trees. There are festive songs on the radio. We have decorations and plans all drawn up to maximize the holiday. All is well with the world, isn't it? Not really. The signs of the second Advent of our Lord are everywhere. Natural disasters, wars, rumors of wars, corruption, greed, and insidious movements within christian churches endeavoring to steal the Word all show that the world is groaning, waiting for the coming King. While you are baking or shopping this season, ask yourself if you are truly prepared for the coming of Christ. Are you ready to face your Lord? He won't be in the manger, sleeping while swaddled in cloths with cute rosy cheeks. Christ will be leading the armies of heaven, the visible wounds of Calvary on his hands and feed as He comes in judgement. Our Lord is coming, and I hope you are taking the time to reflect on His Word, lest you be caught unaware.