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What you’ll find on this blog are responses to the reading of God’s Word.  If you would like to share, please leave a comment.  Below you’ll find YouTube videos, musings, devotions and information on some of the people’s whose lives inspire our response.

Here’s a book I very highly recommend for daily Bible reading:

Published in: on January 1, 2010 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Patrick, Missionary to Ireland – March 17

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Patrick is one of the best-known of the missionary saints. Born to a Christian family in Britain around the year 389, he was captured as a teenager by raiders, taken to Ireland, and forced to serve as a herdsman. After six years he escaped and found his way to a monastery community in France. Ordained a bishop in 432, he made his way back to Ireland, where he spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel and organizing Christian communities. He strongly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in a time when it was not popular to do so. His literary legacy includes his autobiography, Confessio, and several prayers and hymns still used in the church today. Patrick died around the year 466.

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Source: http://www.LCMS.org Commemorations Biographies

For an educational but slightly unique sharing of St. Patrick story:

Knock knock

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Reformation Day, October 31

Martin Luther, Augustinian monk, pastor and professor at the University of Wittenberg found many problems with the Roman Catholic Church’s complex system of indulgences and good works. On October 31, 1517, Luther posted 95 Theses on the door of his church, All Saints’ Church, also known as “Castle Church”.

In the 95 Theses, Luther attacked the indulgence system, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and that the doctrine of the merits of the saints had no foundation in the Gospel.

Luther’s teaching for the moral and theological reform of the church can be summarized as: Scripture alone is authoritative (sola sciptura) and justification is by faith (sola fide) not by works and grace alone (sola gratia) is the free gift of God’s grace (undeserved mercy) for Christ’s sake alone, not as something merited by the sinner.

The 95 Theses were quickly translated from Latin into German, printed and widely copied with the recent invention of the printing press. Within two weeks, copies of the Theses had spread throughout Germany; within two months throughout Europe.

Luther published a short commentary on Galatians and his work on the Psalms. Many of his important works were written within a few years following the posting of the 95 Theses. Three of his best-known works were published in 1520: To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church and On the Freedom of a Christian.

While Luther did not intend to break with the Roman Catholic Church, a confrontation with the Papacy was not long in coming. In 1521 Luther was excommunicated. What began as a reform of the Roman Catholic Church, led to the beginning of the Lutheran Church.

Published in: on October 31, 2015 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  

August 27 – Monica, Faithful Mother

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A native of North Africa, Monica (A.D. 333-387) was the devoted mother of Saint Augustine. Throughout her life she sought the spiritual welfare of her children, especially that of her brilliant son, Augustine. Widowed at a young age, she devoted herself to her family, praying many years for Augustine’s conversion. When Augustine left North Africa to go to Italy, she followed him to Rome and then to Milan. There she had the joy of witnessing her son’s conversion to the Christian faith. Weakened by her travels, Monica died at Ostia, Italy on the journey she had hoped would take her back to her native Africa. On some church year calendars, Monica is remembered on May 4.

Source: www.LCMS.org Commemorations Biographies

Published in: on August 28, 2015 at 8:14 am  Leave a Comment  

August 19th, Bernard of Clairvaux

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Bernard of Clairvaux was the author of the hymn, O Sacred Head.  Thank God for that gift:

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O sacred Head, sore wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

Now from Thy cheeks has vanished their color once so fair;
From Thy red lips is banished the splendor that was there.
Grim death, with cruel rigor, hath robbed Thee of Thy life;
Thus Thou hast lost Thy vigor, Thy strength in this sad strife.

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,
For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

My Shepherd, now receive me; my Guardian, own me Thine.
Great blessings Thou didst give me, O source of gifts divine.
Thy lips have often fed me with words of truth and love;
Thy Spirit oft hath led me to heavenly joys above.

Here I will stand beside Thee, from Thee I will not part;
O Savior, do not chide me! When breaks Thy loving heart,
When soul and body languish in death’s cold, cruel grasp,
Then, in Thy deepest anguish, Thee in mine arms I’ll clasp.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

My Savior, be Thou near me when death is at my door;
Then let Thy presence cheer me, forsake me nevermore!
When soul and body languish, oh, leave me not alone,
But take away mine anguish by virtue of Thine own!

Be Thou my consolation, my shield when I must die;
Remind me of Thy passion when my last hour draws nigh.
Mine eyes shall then behold Thee, upon Thy cross shall dwell,
My heart by faith enfolds Thee. Who dieth thus dies well.

J.W. Alexander’s translation, 1830

Published in: on August 19, 2015 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Calvary hosts Life Line Screening

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Published in: on August 11, 2015 at 9:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lawrence, deacon and martyr, August 10th

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Lawrence Deacon and Martyr

Early in the third century AD, Lawrence, most likely born in Spain, made his way to Rome. There he was appointed chief of the seven deacons and was given the responsibility to manage Church property and finances. The emperor at the time, who thought that the Church had valuable things worth confiscating, ordered Lawrence to produce the “treasures of the Church.” Lawrence brought before the emperor the poor whose lives had been touched by Christian charity. He was then jailed and eventually executed in the year AD 258 by being roasted on a gridiron. His martyrdom left a deep impression on the young Church. Almost immediately, the date of his death, August 10, became a permanent fixture on the early commemorative calendar of the Church.

Prayer

Almighty God, You called Lawrence to be a deacon in Your Church to serve Your saints with deeds of love, and You gave him the crown of martyrdom. Give us the same charity of heart that we may fulfill Your love by defending and supporting the poor, that by loving them we may love You with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Published in: on August 10, 2015 at 9:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Faith’s Fight

The great art and power of faith consist in seeing that which is not seen and in not seeing that which is nonetheless felt, aye, which oppresses and depresses a person; just as unbelief sees only what it feels and does not at all like to cling to that which it does not feel.

Therefore God does not confront faith with trivial things but with such things as all the world cannot bear, like death, sin, the world, and the devil. For all the world is not able to stand up against death but flees from it, is frightened by it, and is overpowered by it. But faith stands fast and battles with death, which devours all the world, and gains the victory over it and devours the insatiable devourer of human life.

Is not faith, which can hold its own against such mighty enemies and attain the victory, an almighty and unspeakably grand matter? Therefore St. John well says 1 John 5:4: “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.”

-Martin Luther

Published in: on July 9, 2015 at 10:05 am  Leave a Comment  

St. Philip and St. James

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Philip and James

Writing for St. Philip and St. James, Apostles

Somebody might ask, “Why did the Gospel writers tell us only how Peter and James, John and Philip were called, but not the others?” It is because these, more than the rest, were in such a lowly walk of life. There is nothing worse than being a tax collector or more ordinary than being a fisherman. Philip was clearly not from a noble class, as is clear from where he came. They reveal their lowly ways of life so that we will believe them when they declare the glorious parts of their life. They did not choose to pass by anything that would be considered shameful, but since they are so careful to tell us all these sort of details, no matter whether they relate to the Teacher or to the disciples, how can they be suspected when they write about those things that require our reverence? Even more so, since they pass over many signs and miracles, while the events of the cross, which are considered to be so shameful, they tell us about with great clarity and boldness. They even tell us about the lowly jobs of the disciples, and the faults and failings in the Master’s ancestors, some of whom were notorious for their very public sins. They are very clear about this. Thus, it is very clear that they are concerned about the truth above all else and did not write to gain favor or for the sake of appearances.

—John Chrysostom

St. Philip and St. James, Apostles

St. Philip is mentioned in the lists of the apostles (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13), but only in John’s Gospel is more told about him. Philip was from Bethsaida in Galilee and one of the first disciples called after Peter and Andrew. Philip also was instrumental in bringing Nathanael to Jesus (John 1:43-51). It was to Philip that Jesus posed the question about where to buy bread to feed five thousand men (John 6:5). During Holy Week, Philip with Andrew brought some inquiring Greeks to Jesus (John 12:20-22). And on Maundy Thursday evening, Philip asked Jesus to show the Father to him and to the rest of the disciples (John 14:8). According to tradition, Philip went to labor in Phrygia and was buried there.

St. James was a son of Alphaeus and was also called “the Younger” (to distinguish him from James, the son of Zebedee, “the Elder,” whose festival day is July 25). His mother, Mary, was one of the faithful women who stood at the cross of Jesus (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40). James is mentioned in the same apostolic lists as Philip, but there is no other mention of him in the New Testament. There is also no information regarding his field of labor or the circumstances of his death, except that he may have been martyred by being sawed in two.

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, Your Son revealed Himself to Philip and James and gave them the knowledge of everlasting life. Grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life, and steadfastly to walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Published in: on May 4, 2015 at 9:01 am  Leave a Comment  

Frederick the Wise,

Frederick the Wise, Christian Ruler

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Frederick the Wise, elector of Saxony from 1486 to 1525, was Martin Luther’s sovereign in the early years of the Reformation. Were it not for Frederick, there might not have been a Lutheran Reformation. Born in Torgau, Germany, in 1463, Frederick became so well known for his skill in political diplomacy and his sense of justice and fairness that he was called “the Wise” by his subjects. Although he never met Luther, Frederick repeatedly protected and provided for him. In all likelihood, he saved the reformer from a martyr’s fate when he refused the pope’s demand to extradite Luther to Rome for a heresy trial in 1518. When Emperor Charles V declared Luther an outlaw in 1521 at the Diet of Worms, Frederick provided sanctuary for Luther at Wartburg Castle. On his deathbed, Frederick received the Lord’s Supper in both kinds—a clear confession of the evangelical faith.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, You provided wisdom and skill to Frederick the Wise as elector of Saxony during the early years of the Reformation, using his rule and authority to protect Martin Luther and preserve the preaching of the Gospel. Graciously regard all Your servants who make, administer, and judge the laws of this nation, and look with favor upon all the rulers of the earth. Grant them wisdom and understanding that they might provide sanctuary for Your Church to continue to proclaim the true faith; for You live and reign with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Published in: on May 1, 2015 at 7:24 am  Leave a Comment  

A Spark in the Ocean

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The good God permits such small evils to befall us merely in order to arouse us snorers from our deep sleep and to make us recognize, on the other hand, the incomparable and innumerable benefits we still have. He wants us to consider what would happen if He were to withdraw His goodness from us completely. In that spirit Job said (2:10): “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” . . . [Job] said (Job 1:21): “As God wills, so let it be; the name of the Lord be praised.” He did not simply look at the evil, as we would-be saints do; he kept in sight the goodness and grace of the Lord. With this he comforted himself and overcame evil with patience.

We also are to look at our misfortunes in no other way than that with them God gives us a light by which we may see and understand His goodness and kindness in countless other ways. Then we conclude that such small misfortunes are barely a drop of water on a big fire or a little spark in the ocean. Then we understand and love the words: “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!”

—Martin Luther

Published in: on February 21, 2015 at 8:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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