17 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

God also has a gracious good pleasure in everything that He has commanded. For how could He command something for which He had no desire? He has commanded that we are to place our hope in Him. Therefore, He will bear a gracious pleasure over this….The Lord has pleasure…in those who hope in His goodness (Psalm 147:11).—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:153.

Whenever the tree of the Church has blossomed in faith, the fruits of brother love have appeared right away. During the first three centuries of the Christian era, when so many thousands of believers sealed their faith with their blood under the persecution of heathen emperors, love was stronger than it has been at any time sense. Although Christians were scattered in many countries, they were still bound by love as to a great family.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 511.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Sharing all things in common, both good and bad, is the only way to achieve complete communion.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 31 on 1 Corinthians. 

Catechesis: Holy Baptism, Preface Baptism Booklet

Ah, dear Christians, let us not value or treat this unspeakable gift so half-heartedly. For baptism is our only comfort and the doorway to all of God’s possessions and to the communion of all saints.—Preface, 9.

16 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

O Lord Jesus Christ! On the tree of the cross, for a short time You lamented about being forsaken by God so that I may never be forsaken by God and with steadfast trust may at all times place my trust in Him. Grant grace so that I solely and totally rely upon Your precious merits. Grant that I may not place all my trust upon my own righteousness, but instead solely upon Your righteousness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:151.

If a person wants to be saved, he must first diligently hear, read, and examine God’s Word. Whoever does not want to do this cannot be helped, despite his prayers and concerns, for he remains in his natural darkness, in sin, and under God’s displeasure.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 508.

Patristic Quote of the Day

This faith which is given by the Spirit as a grace is not just doctrinal faith but a faith which empowers activities surpassing human nature, a faith which can move mountains…For such a one places the thought of God before his mind and as enlightenment of faith permits it, beholds God. His mind also ranges through the world from end to end, and with the end of this age not yet come, beholds the judgment already, and the bestowal of promised rewards.—St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture on Faith 5.11

Catechesis: Preface, Baptismal Booklet

Instead, see to it that you are present there in true faith, that you listen to God’s Word, and that you pray along earnestly. For wherever the priest says, “Let us pray,” he is exhorting you to pray with him. Moreover, all the sponsors and the others present ought to speak along with him the words of his prayer in their hearts to God. For this reason, the priest should speak these prayers very clearly and slowly, so that the sponsors can hear and understand them and can also pray with the priest with one mind in their hearts, carrying before God the need of the little child with all earnestness on the child’s behalf setting themselves against the devil with all their strength, and demonstrating that they take seriously what is no joke to the devil.—Preface, Baptismal Booklet 6,7.

15 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

With great diligence, the Holy Spirit removes everything upon which a person might place his trust in order that he only and simply cling to God and solely trust in Him.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:146.

We see here that there is only one city of God in heaven and on earth. Whoever wants to dwell in heaven must already inhabit its earthly suburb. There is only one temple of God on earth and in heaven. Whoever wants to enter into the holy of holies must already have entered the courts of grace on earth. And whoever wants to take part one day in the glorious entry into the heavenly Jerusalem must have become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom on earth, in company with the saints and the household of God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 507

Patristic Quote of the Day

Since no one has the capacity to receive all spiritual gifts, but the grace of the Spirit is given proportionately to the faith of each, when one is living in community with others, the grace bestowed on each individual becomes the common possession of the others…. One who receives any of these gifts does not possess it for his own sake but rather for the sake of others.—St. Basil the Great, The Long Rule 7.

Catechesis: On Prayer for the Baptizand

Therefore, you have to realize that it is no joke at all to take action against the devil and not only to drive him away from the little child but also to hang around the child’s neck such a mighty, lifelong enemy. Thus it is extremely necessary to stand by the poor child with all your heart and with a strong faith and to plead with great devotion that God, in accordance with these prayers, would not only free the child from the devil’s power but also strengthen the child, so that the child might resist him valiantly in life and in death. I fear that people turn out so badly after baptism because we have dealt with them in such a cold and casual way and have prayed for them at their baptism without any zeal at all.—Intro to The Baptism Booklet (appended to the Small Catechism), par. 3,4.

14 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Earthly wealth is an outstandingly unreliable thing. Anyone who relies on them is acting very foolishly. Within the hour there can come a burning fire or a flood or also an army or a thief and take everything away. Where, then, are the riches on which such a fool has relied? And even when neither fire nor water nor warlords nor thief take away the temporal things, we still will have to forsake them when we die.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:140, 141.

Those who long for His grace cannot be lost no matter how poor they are in spiritual things. Even if they are still great, miserable, and shameful sinners, who are rejected by all and comforted by none, the invitation to enter Christ’s kingdom of grace remains open to them. All who by God’s grace recognize that they are completely unworthy sinners and who long to be received into Christ’s kingdom should rejoice, for Christ calls, “Come, for everything is now ready!”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 504.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Wisdom refers to the knowledge of divine things, and knowledge to human science.—St. Augustine, On the Trinity, 14.

Catechesis: Marriage Prayer

Lord God, who have created man and woman and have ordained them for the married estate, have blessed them also with the fruit of the womb, and have therein signified the sacrament of your dear Son Jesus Christ and the church, his bride: We beseech your never-ending goodness that you would not permit this your creation, ordinance, and blessing to be removed or destroyed, but graciously preserve it among us through Jesus Christ, our Lord.—from the Marriage Booklet attached to the Small Catechism; this prayer originally concluded the marriage service in the Lutheran liturgy, the pastor praying it over the couple just married.

11 June 2021

Joshua Flynn Herberts

Happy birthday to second oldest grandson, Flynn! You know, part of me shakes my head and asks how the child can possibly be six years old today. But then part of me is amazed that he’s ONLY six. You see, he has always acted so much older than his age. He has always striven to keep up with older brother Sawyer. There was a stage where he and older sister Annabelle were so much the same size everyone mistook them for twins. He’s climbed on beyond her now. He’s enjoying some beach time with his family this week, but here’s to my boy: Happy birthday, my Flynn! Grandpa and Nanny love you big time! P.S. He’s climbing on his Opa in the pic. He LOVES on Opa all the time!

Gerhard and Walther

It’s just as a child: he does not prescribe to his father the time or the manner for helping, but leaves it to his wisdom and to his fatherly will. All this so that we do not out of mistrust expect something contrary to His Word and His will.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:137.

No, God had an inexpressibly higher, more glorious intention in creating us. He wanted to make us blessed, not by the enjoyment and love of the creature, but the enjoyment and love of God Himself.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 497

Patristic Quote of the Day

As often as we receive, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If death, we proclaim the remission of sins. If, as often as blood is shed, it is shed for the remission of sins, I ought always to accept him, that he may always dismiss my sins. I, who always sin, should always have a remedy.—St. Ambrose, The Sacraments 4.6.29.

Catechesis: No Law on the Sacrament

For these reasons you do not have to make any law concerning this, as the pope did. Only emphasize clearly the benefit and the harm, the need and the blessing, the danger and the salvation in this sacrament. Then they will doubtless come on their own without any compulsion.—SC Preface 24

10 June 2021

A Visit with Peter and Naomi (Cindi’s and my nephew and his wife)

Peter was in David’s wedding. Some home-made ice cream to celebrate the occasion!

Gerhard and Walther

Anyone who trusts God is certain and sure that through God’s protection and guarding he shall endure every danger. To this end he adopts a fearless mindset and is unafraid.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:128,9.

No work can blot out our sin and no love can reconcile us with God. Only faith in Christ makes us just and holy before God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 495. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

But our being reconciled to God through a Mediator, and receiving the Holy Spirit, so that we who were enemies are made sons (“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”): this is the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.—St. Augustine, Enchiridion 33.

Catechesis: Preface to SC

Those who do not hold the sacrament in high esteem indicate that they have no sin, no flesh, no devil, no world, no death, no dangers, no hell. That is, they believe they have none of these things, although they are up to their neck in them and belong to the devil twice over.—Preface SC 23.

09 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Whoever loves God has to hate what God hates.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:115.

Love reveals one’s heart to the beloved and expects every good from Him. If we love God, we will have a joyful confidence in Him. Praying to Him will be our heart’s desire and in all trials we will call to Him, in childlike faith, “Abba, dear Father!”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 493

Patristic Quote of the Day

And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls?—Eusebius of Caesarea, Demonstratio Evangelica, X.1

Catechesis: Fuller Understanding

In the third place, after you have taught the people a short catechism like this one, then take up a longer catechism and impart to them a richer and fuller understanding. Using such a catechism, explain each individual commandment, petition, or part with its various works, benefits, and blessings, harm and danger, as you find treated at length in so many booklets.—SC Intro 17

08 June 2021

Summer sunset


Catechesis: Text First, Then Understanding

In the second place, once the people have learned the text well, then teach them to understand it, too, so that they know what it means. Take up again the form offered in these charts or some other short form that you may prefer. Then adhere to it without changing a single syllable, just as stated above regarding the text.—SC Preface 14.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For our sins, says the Apostle; we had pierced ourselves with ten thousand evils, and had deserved the gravest punishment; and the Law not only did not deliver us, but it even condemned us, making sin more manifest, without the power to release us from it, or to stay the anger of God. But the Son of God made this impossibility possible for he remitted our sins, He restored us from enmity to the condition of friends, He freely bestowed on us numberless other blessings.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Galatians 1

Gerhard and Walther

The holy martyrs, the greatest lovers of God, were drowned to death, but the fire of divine love was not thereby extinguished in them. The tyrants beat, pierced, and cut their bodies, but the bond of love by which they were united with God the Lord they were unable to sever or suffocate.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:115.

God is absolutely holy and just. Therefore, He cannot pardon fallen people and make them holy in their present condition. However, it is His immutable will, purely from His grace, to admit into heaven those who humble themselves before Him, who seek His grace with contrite hearts, and who, with hearts of faith, avail themselves of the reconciliation brought about by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 490.

07 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Whoever loves God will love that which is sent to him from God. In this life, God the Lord sends various crosses upon those who love Him. Therefore, they must also receive from Him with love and patience.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:114. 

Aside from God’s Word, there is nothing we can rely upon. We cannot trust our heart, for it always wants to follow the erring path. Scripture says that whoever relies on his heart is a fool. Our own understanding is equally fallible…. We cannot depend on the testimony of people for their judgments can be both errant and deceptive, sometimes by mistake and sometimes wantonly. All people are liars, the Bible teaches, and experience confirms this.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 488. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Now when God is said to be angry, we do not attribute to Him such a disturbed feeling as exists in the mind of an angry man; but we call His just displeasure against sin by the name ‘anger,’ a word transferred by analogy from human emotions.—St. Augustine, Enchiridion 33

Catechesis: Consistency of Text

In the first place, the preacher should above all take care to avoid change or variations in the text and version of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the sacraments, etc., but instead adopt a single version, stick with it, and always use the same one year after year.—Preface, Small Catechism

05 June 2021

39 Years Later…