31 January 2021

Special “Guest” in Church this morning...

....from our new nativity set, given in loving memory of Norma Steinmann. Can’t wait to see the rest of it! The angel was so beautiful I thought what a shame to put it away. I’d love it we had it up year round in the sanctuary. A beautiful reminder of “with angels and archangels!”


29 January 2021

What’s fun?

When you’ve lost so much you just have to go and purchase some new clothes! 30 months Carnivore.




I LOVE writing

...in this calming space.



Gerhard and Walther

For even though Christ Jesus, our Savior and Mediator, redeems us from the curse and the curse of the law, Gal 3:13, yet He has not pronounced us free from the obligation to obey the Law so that we might now do what we please and live according to the lusts of the flesh. Instead, He all the more establishes in our hearts obedience toward God’s command. He does this through the Holy Spirit, by whose power He enlightens, regenerates, renews, and sanctifies us.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:145.

If Luke wanted to present to us Simeon’s joy at the prospect of death, why did he so carefully convey the fact that he “just and devout” during his life? He doubtless wished to tell us that if we also want to die in a joyful and blessed manner, we must, like Simeon, prepare ourselves for our death by a truly godly and God-fearing life.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 191


Patristic Quote of the Day

Caiaphas “tore his garments.” Unaware of his own madness, he deprived himself of priestly honor... You are oblivious to the command you read concerning high priests: “Do not let the hair of your heads hang loose, and do not rend your clothes” (Lev. 21:10) But you, who have now forfeited your dignity, are the very object of disgrace. And in token of the end of the old regulation, the same rending that rips your priestly attire will soon also tear apart the veil of the temple.—Pope St. Leo the Great, Sermon 44.2

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

Although the work took place on the cross and forgiveness of sins has been acquired, yet it cannot come to us in any other way than through the Word.—LC V:31

This faith he demands in the Word when he says, “given FOR YOU” and “shed FOR YOU,” as if he said, “This is why I give it and bid you eat and drink, that you may take it as your own and enjoy it.”—LC V:34

The treasure is opened and placed at everyone’s door, yes, upon the table, but it is also your responsibility to take it and confidently believe that it is just as the word tells you. Now this is the sum total of a Christian’s preparation to receive this sacrament worthily.—LC V:35, 36


Another of Wolf Moon

 


28 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

And it is His immutable will that the rational creatures are to regulate themselves in accordance with the norm and guiding principle of His immutable will which He has set forth in the writings of His law.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:143

One day we will die. Nothing is more certain than this. But there is nothing more uncertain than the time, place, and manner of our death.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 188.

Patristic Quote of the Day

After the disciples celebrated the feast with their teacher and received the bread of blessing and are the body of the Word and drank the cup of thanksgiving, Christ taught them to sing a hymn to the Father for these gifts and to pass from one height to another height.—Origen, Commentary on Matthew 86.

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

For in the first instance, we are born anew through baptism. However, our human flesh and blood, as I have said, have not lost their old skin. There are so many hindrances and attacks of the devil and the world, that we often grow weary and faint and at times even stumble. Therefore the Lord’s Supper is given as a daily food and sustenance so that our faith may be refreshed and strengthened and that it may not succumb in the struggle but become stronger and stronger. For the new life should be one that continually develops and progresses.—LC V:23-25

The moon on the breast...

...of the new fallen snow 



27 January 2021

A snowy sunset

 


Gerhard and Walther

So, then, these divine, unfailing promises of temporal and eternal rewards for good works can and should indeed rightly awaken us to true godliness. For God the Lord has especially given such great promises in order that we thereby awaken and encourage our indolent, sinful flesh, so that it does not hinder or restrain us on the pathway of the divine commands, but instead that we hasten toward the set goal with eager zeal.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:141.

It is an exceedingly precious and comforting truth, firmly grounded in God’s Word, that God always receives a person when he repents, even if it is in the hour of his death... Yet this truth is not given for the comfort of those who are healthy so they may delay their repentance until the last hour.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 185, 186.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Why was this sacrament instituted at the time of the Passover? That we might learn that he is the giver of the law and that the things that are foreshadowed in the law are fulfilled in him. The Old Testament was a type of the things to come. He is the truth of those things.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 82 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

But if the words remain, as is right and necessary, then by virtue of them the elements are truly the body and blood of Christ. For as Christ’s lips speak and say, so it is; he cannot lie or deceive.—LC V:14

26 January 2021

Walther and Gerhard

However, since God is rich in mercy, He thus did not only want to show His gentle goodness through manifold blessings, but He wanted to show His gentle goodness also by rich promises so that He might all the more also awaken us, cheer us, and motivate us to be obedient to Him and to true godliness. He actually has shown many blessings to His dear children. However, He has promised even greater and more that we might thereby be admonished to love and serve Him.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:138, 139.

Therefore, if a person seeks the true Church, he must look for a place where God’s Word alone is preached, where the Church is built on the foundation of the prophets and the apostles, where Christ Jesus is the cornerstone, and nothing is added to or taken away from the divine Word. Such a person cannot be deceived by the good appearance of the heterodox churches, and he cannot take offense at the weakness of the true Church.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 184.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When did He keep the Passover? To indicate in every way and until the last day that He was not opposed to the law.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 81 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Holy Baptism

Where this does not take place but rather the old creature is given free rein and continually grows stronger, baptism is not being used but resisted. Those who are outside of Christ can only grow worse day by day.—LC IV:68

On the other hand, when we become Christians, the old creature daily decreases until finally destroyed. This is what it means truly to plunge into baptism and daily to come forth again.—LC IV:71

If you live in repentance, therefore, you are walking in baptism, which not only announces this new life but also produces, begins, and exercises it.—LC IV:75

As Christ, the mercy seat, does not withdraw from us or forbid us to return to him even though we sin, so all his treasures and gifts remain. As we have once obtained forgiveness of sins in baptism, so forgiveness remains day by day as long as we live, that is, as long as carry the old creature around our necks.—LC IV:86

25 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Rather, you have received them so that you use them solely to the glory of God and for the building up of the Christian Church. Great gifts do not make a person great and acceptable before God; instead, the proper use of these gifts pleases Him. Wherever such proper use of these great gifts does not exist, they can more readily be harmful than helpful to one’s salvation.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:136, 137.

If members of a Christian congregation openly commit sins and, with impenitence and stubbornness, want to persist in them, the Church has the duty to cut them off as rotten and dead members from its body. It must announce to them God’s wrath and eternal condemnation, regard and declare them to be heathens, and avoid fellowship with them. In short, it must excommunicate them.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 181.

Patristic Quote of the Day

O madness! The covetousness of Judas altogether blinds him! He had often seen Jesus when he went through the midst and did not betray him. Jesus had afforded many demonstrations of his Godhead and power, and no one had laid hold of him. Even at the supper Judas did not cease to talk with him and receive his care. This could have put an end to his evil thought. But all this profited nothing.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 80 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Holy Baptism

I myself and all who are baptized, must say before God: “I come here in my faith and in the faith of others, nevertheless I cannot build on the fact that I believe and that many people are praying for me. Instead, I build on this, that it is your Word and command.”—LC IV:56

24 January 2021

An afternoon in Narnia

My children gave me this absolutely gorgeous edition of The Chronicles of Narnia for Christmas this year, and I spent much of a lazy Sunday afternoon, sitting beside the fire, revisiting the old Narnian haunts with Digory and Polly. I’d forgotten much of the story (to my own surprise) and it was a delight to reacquaint myself with it again. 

So much wisdom in the book from the first time we meet Aslan. The winning line from the first book is Aslan’s sad observation that “All get what they want, but they do not always like it.” 

Two random thoughts from Genesis...

...Read Genesis 45 this morning, and after Joseph makes himself known to his brothers (who had done him this great wrong, but which God used to bring them salvation), “moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them.” And I could not help but think of the Pax in the Divine Service, where the Son of God, after the great wrong done Him, turns to us and speaks His peace and offers us the kiss of peace, for He loves us through it all, and the proof is in what He suffered and what He gives: His body and His blood for our forgiveness.

...Read Genesis 46 this evening, and when Jacob at long last sees that his beloved Joseph is alive, he says: “Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.” And again, an echo of the Nunc Dimittis where St. Simeon basically says the thing upon beholding that the face of the Savior was alive, and how we are blessed to take his words upon our lips after receiving the Holy Eucharist in which the same Lord shines His face upon us to give us peace. 

Transfiguration




23 January 2021

Apple Fitness

Back when Apple bundled several features together, we bought into it (splitting the cost with my youngest daughter and her hubby). So we have Apple Fitness as part of the deal, and I must confess: IT’S TOTALLY AWESOME!!! I have dropped my seven minute wild-workouts, for the 10 minute HIITs with the Apple folk. I’m glad that I can do these in my family room with no one watching me (not the most coordinated; keeping left and right straight is a challenge!). But Jamie-Ray destroys me in those ten minutes. Perfect! When you’re done, your lungs (and legs) tell you you have had a real workout. Cannot recommend it highly enough, but you do need an Apple Watch to make it work. 

22 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

For what are such blessings other than powerful means by which our God the Lord wants to cheer us up to recognize his goodness through such blessings, continually thank him for them, and to show our grateful obedience? What are such marvelous blessings other than avenues of divine wisdom which God the Lord actually allows us to be gently drawn to him? What are these but little golden chains which God allows to be lowered down from heaven to us so that by means of them he might draw us into the realm of his love and in service to him?—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:134. [This comes close to my picture of this world as the front porch to our Father’s house, welcoming us, but beckoning us further in!]

Let us prove to the world that we carry love for it in our heart—not a pretended love, but a true, natural love, a love that reveals itself, not merely with the tongue but principally in action directed by the heart. Such a love includes our enemies as well as those who love us. Let us prove to the world that when we chastise it, we do so, not in hatred, but in sympathy and pity. We abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Let us prove to the world that it can count on us in every need, to be ready with an untiring willingness to help.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 143.

Patristic Quote of the Day

And this was at once consolation to his disciples and comfort and praise to her. “For all the world will celebrate her hereafter. Now she has announced beforehand my suffering by bringing to me what is needed for a funeral. So let no one reprove her. For I am so far from condemning her as having done wrongly or from blaming her as not having acted rightly that I will not permit what has been done to lie unnoticed. The world will know that which has been done in this house and in secret. It is in truth the deed of a reverential mind and fervent faith, and a contrite soul.”—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 80 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Holy Baptism

The power, effect, benefit, fruit and purpose of baptism is that it saves... To be saved, as everyone knows, is nothing else than to be delivered from sin, death, and the devil, to enter into Christ’s kingdom, and to live with him forever.—LC IV:24, 25

21 January 2021

Thou makest...

...the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice. Psalm 65



Cindi’s year long project

This thing is actually HUGE. It’s a temperature blanket. The color of each row of yarn represents the temperature’s high that day, with blues representing cold and red and browns the higher temps. You can see towards the bottom our trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic last February! She crocheted some on this each day and then tied the tassels on at the end. 

Gerhard and Walther

Upon the justification and rebirth of a believing person there immediately follows the renewing of that person and the giving of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, this work of grace is inextricably connected to the former.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:123ff.

Whoever wants to be a Christian must justify his faith before the world by the manner in which he conducts himself in his vocation.... In all our pursuits, let us demonstrate that faith makes us the best we can be. In this way, we justify our faith before the world.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 141.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Even in the wintertime you cannot tell the healthy trees apart from the withered trees but in beautiful springtime you can tell the difference, so too each person according to his faith and his works will be exposed. The wicked will not have any leaves or show any fruit, but the righteous will be clothed with the leaves of eternal life and the fruit of glory. In this way they will be separated by the heavenly shepherd and Lord.—Opus Imperfectum on St. Matthew 25:31ff. 

Catechesis: Holy Baptism

As truly as I can say that the Ten Commandments, the Creed (sic!), and the Lord’s Prayer are not spun out of anyone’s imagination but are revealed and given by God himself, so I can boast that baptism is no human plaything but is instituted by God himself. Moreover, it is solemnly and strictly commanded that we must be baptized or we shall not be saved, so that we are not to regard it as an indifferent matter, like putting on a new red coat.—LC IV:6

To be baptized in God’s name is to be baptized not by human beings but by God himself. Although it is performed by human hands, it is nevertheless truly God’s own act.—LC IV:10


20 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

For such a faith is not an ordinary scientific knowledge, much less a worthless, perishable boast of the mouth. Instead it is a living, powerful assurance, a change of the heart—indeed, of the entire person. It is a living, active, mighty thing, for true faith is active in love, and manifests itself through works.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:120

The Church reveals and proves herself faithful by this alone: she is subject to Christ, who rules her with His Word as the scepter of His eternal love. Every word of Christ is a commandment for her that she carries out with joy, even if it costs her blood and life.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 136.

19 January 2021

Patristic Quote of the Day

For all the angels will be present with Him. They are there to bear witness to the many ways they had served when sent by the Lord for the salvation of humanity. Everything spoken of that day shows that it is fearful. Then “shall be gathered together,” he says, “all nations,” that is, all humanity.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 79 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Our Father

Thus you see how God wants us to pray to him for everything that attacks even our bodily welfare so that we seek and expect help from no one but him. But he has placed at the end this petition, for if we are to be protected and delivered from all evil, his name must first be hallowed in us, his kingdom come among us, and his will be done. In the end he will preserve us from sin and disgrace and from everything else that harms or injures us.—LC III:117, 118

But the efficacy of prayer consists in our learning to say AMEN to it—that is, not to doubt that our prayer is surely heard and will be answered.—LC III:119

Gerhard and Walther

For as God bestows such a blessing to us by grace that He justifies the godless ones (Rom 4:5), so also it is proper and right that we acknowledge this great grace with indebted gratitude, and show ourselves thankful to Him, not just with words, but by deed with love and obedience. From our own merit and and might we would never have been counted righteous before God had not God the Lord out of pure grace justified us, remitted our sin, and bestowed upon us Christ’s righteousness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:117.

There is a union that the eternal Love instituted among men in Paradise, whose fragrance lingers by His creating power. It is the covenant of holy matrimony. Without marriage, the life of man in this selfish world would be like an endless icy winter. Marriage ties a warm band of love around millions and produces precious family circles of natural love. Only believers experience all of this in the fullest sense.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 135. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

The wise virgins are those who, embracing the time available to them, were prepared at the first onset of the coming of the Lord. But the foolish are those who were lax and unmindful. They troubled themselves only over present matters and, forgetting what God said, did not direct their efforts toward hope for resurrection.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matthew 25

Catechesis: Our Father

This, then, is what “leading us not into temptation” means: when God gives us power and strength to resist, even though the attack is not removed or ended.—LC III:106

But no one can be harmed by merely experiencing an attack, as long as it is contrary to our will and we would prefer to be rid of it... But to consent to it is to give it free rein and neither to resist it nor to pray for help against it.—LC III:108

If you attempt to help yourself by your own thoughts and resources, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil a wider opening.—LC III:111

18 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

However, those are unworthy guests at this heavenly Meal who do not examine themselves; who do not judge themselves; do not remember the death of Christ, nor proclaim it, nor discern His body; i.e., who without true repentance, without true faith, and without the sincere intention to better themselves from now on, who live in impenitence, self-assurance, godlessness, and unreconciled with their neighbor; who do not from God’s Law confess their sin, nor bear any contrition or sorrow over their sin; who do not believe that Christ’s body and blood are truly present; who do not believe these words, given and shed for you; who do not thank Christ for this His great love, etc.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:115.

It is clear, therefore, that whoever does not inquire of God about his choice, depending on his own wisdom or following impure motives, takes a spouse, but does not find her. He may make his choice on the basis of fleeting beauty, uncertain riches, quickly dwindling honor, or the hope of good days or a voluptuous life.—C. F. W. Walther (sermon on Proverbs 18:22), God Grant It!, p. 133.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So then let us understand, dearly beloved, that this parable relates to us all, that is, to the whole church together, not to the clergy only, of whom we spoke yesterday, not to the laity only, but generally to all.—St. Augustine, Sermon 93 (the passage he considered the day before was on Matthew 24:45-51).

Catechesis: Our Father

Indeed, the greatest need of all is to pray for the civil authorities and the government, for it is chiefly through them that provides us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. Although we have received from God all good things in abundance, we cannot retain any of them or enjoy them in security and happiness were he not to give us a stable, peaceful government. For where dissension, strife, and war prevail, there daily bread is already taken away or greatly reduced.—LC III:74

How much trouble is now in the world simply on account of false coinage, yes, on account of daily exploitation and usury in public business, commerce, and labor on the part of those who wantonly oppress the poor and deprive them of their daily bread! This we must put up with, of course; but let those who do these things beware lest they loose the common intercession of the church, and let them take care lest this petition of the Lord’s Prayer be turned against them.—LC III:84

He has reserved to himself this prerogative: those who boast of their goodness and despise others should examine themselves and put this petition uppermost in their minds. They will find that they are no more righteous than anyone else, and in the presence of God all people must fall on their knees and be glad that we can come to forgiveness. Let none think they will ever in this life reach the point where they do not need this forgiveness. In shortly, unless God constantly forgives, we are lost.—LC III:90, 91

17 January 2021

Joyous and fun weekend

Saturday found us heading to Murphysboro to help Andy and Bekah move to a new duplex, a really nice place. I think they’ll love it there. So spacious!

Today, after morning coffee, we headed out to Lauren and Dean’s and attended at St. Paul’s, Deterich, where Dean is the pastor. We got to visit with Ashley and Margaret White, old friends from NC, together with Dean’s family, Tim and Deborah Herberts. Lauren made a scrumptious breakfast after Church. AND of course, we got to love on the grandkids! I can’t even believe how much Griffin has changed since we last saw them at Christmas! He’s at that age, I guess. So thankful that both my daughters and their families are so close now; and of course David’s family is closest of all, down in Edwardsville. 

15 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

We through this Sacrament [the Eucharist] are made one body with Christ, and are fed unto eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:106.

Any Christian who wants to be a spiritual priest must separate himself from the world. He cannot walk through life in a wild, disorderly manner or participate in its vain desires.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 127.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What is the meaning of “to go and meet the bridegroom”? To go with all the heart, to eagerly await His coming.—St. Augustine, Sermon 43

Catechesis: Our Father

Now we ask for both of these things: that [the Kingdom of God] may come to those who are not yet in it and that, by daily growth here and in eternal life hereafter, it may to us who have attained it.—LC III:53

But because he is God, he also claims the honor of giving far more abundantly and liberally than anyone can comprehend—like an eternal, inexhaustible fountain, which, the more it gushes forth and overflows, the more it continues to give.—LC III:56

14 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Since Christ united Himself with us so deeply and so closely that He proffers to us His body to eat and His blood to drink, we also should bind and unite ourselves to Him through faith and love. What is more closely related to the Lord Christ than His body and blood which He assumed into His eternal Person? Once again, what comes closer to us than the above as we eat and drink it? What comes closer to us than that which enters into us and is united with the substance of our nature?—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:106

To be a priest of the Most High God is the highest honor and blessedness in which a created being can participate... The main duty of a priest is to sacrifice... But how can a Christian sacrifice himself? He does this when by the power of the Holy Spirit, he daily and even hourly, kills everything evil that is in him, and lays at God’s feet everything he has that is good.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 123, 124.

Patristic Quote of the Day

What does He refer to when he says “this generation”? He is speaking not of the generation then living, but of the age of believers. For He is prone to distinguish a generation not by times only, but also by the mode of their religious service and practice.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily77 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Our Father, 1st Petition

Since we call God our Father in this prayer, it is our duty always to act and behave ourselves as godly children, that He may not receive shame, but honor and praise from us.—LC III:39

In this petition we pray for exactly what God demands in the Second Commandment.—LC III:45

To hallow means the same as to praise, magnify, and honor both in word and deed.—LC III:46

13 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

How could Christ have shown His love towards us more clearly than that He feeds us with His body and blood in the holy Supper? Where else is there a Shepherd who feeds His little lambs with His own flesh and blood? What is more noble in heaven and on earth than Christ’s body and blood which He assumed by His personal union?—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:105.

According to the testimony of the holy apostles, all believing Christians are priests and the whole Christian Church is the temple, the house of God, in which they serve under the only High Priest, Jesus Christ, who by His own blood once entered into the holy of holies, that is, heaven, and established an eternal redemption.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 122.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He foretells a spiritual summer, a calm for the righteous that would come on that day, after the storm.—St. John Chrysostom on the Lesson of the Fig Tree, Homily 77 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Our Father

Therefore, God also requires that you weep and ask for such needs and wants, not because He does not know about them, but so that you may kindle your heart to stronger and greater desires and make wide and open your cloak wide to receive much. Everyone of us should form the daily habit from his youth of praying for all he needs.—LC III:27, 28

12 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

So then, in the holy Supper, not only is bread and wine distributed, on the strength of the Word of Christ, the almighty Son of God and true Witness, but also His true body by means of the consecrated bread, and His true blood by means of the consecrated chalice.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:101.

If a young man dedicates his youth to the service of the Savior, he will be truly happy. Joy enters his heart and divine grace makes him sure. He looks happily to a future that is full of hope. God’s blessing rests upon all his works, and the love of Christians is a rich replacement for the friendship of the world that he has forsaken.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 120.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Because the Old Testament normally calls the abomination an idol, the word desolation is added here to indicate that the idol shall be placed there resulting in the temple’s abandonment and destruction.—St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 24:15

Catechesis: The Our Father

There is no nobler prayer to be found on earth than the Lord’s Prayer. We pray it daily, because it has this excellent testimony, that God loves to hear it. We ought not to surrender this for all the riches of the world.—LC III:23

For whoever would pray must have something to present, state, and name, which he desires. If he does not, it cannot be called a prayer.—LC III:24

11 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

A huge portion of true godliness consists of Christian love. For as bread is prepared from many kernels [of grain], and a drink from many grapes, so also in the holy Supper we are all fed and given to drink to become one body, so that as members of one body we busy ourselves with peace and unity; and, that we should live toward each other in heartfelt love.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:101.

The Son of God could have entered the world as an adult, but He did not want to do this. Instead, He wanted to be a child, and by His holy childhood, He wanted to redeem us from the sins of our childhood and to provide all boys and girls with a model of godly childhood they should follow.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 117.

Patristic Quote of the Day

From the anonymous fifth century Opus Imperfectum on St. Matthew: For previously he was showing in many ways what the Church of Christ is and what heathenism is, but now [in the time of great apostasy when heresy has overtaken the churches] those who want to know what the true church of Christ is can know it in no other way than only through the Scriptures. (Tran. James Kellermann, Opus Imperfectum vol II:383.)

Catechesis: Our Father

For we are in a situation where no person can perfectly keep the Ten Commandments, even though he has begun to believe. The devil with all his power, together with the world and our own flesh, resists our efforts. Therefore, nothing is more necessary than that we should continually turn towards God’s ear, call upon Him, and pray to Him. We must pray that He would give, preserve, and increase faith in us and the fulfillment of the Ten Commandments.—LC III:2

08 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Is faith created in the heart through Holy Baptism? Aha! Well then, we must also show our faith by works if really want to be certain that we received faith through Holy Baptism. For through faith the heart is cleansed, Acts 15:9, so that also pure fine works flow forth from such a pure font. Where such works do not manifest themselves, there a person boasts about his Baptism in vain.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:95.

God does not tire of doing good to us, and we must not tire of doing good to our brothers.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 104. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

This man of iniquity can be interpreted either as the antichrist, or as the image of Caesar which Pilate put in the temple, or as the statue of Hadrian the equestrian which still today stands in the holy of holies.—St. Jerome, Commentary on Matthew 24:15.

Catechesis: Creed

So, until the Last Day, the Holy Spirit abides with the holy congregation or Christendom. Through this congregation He brings us to Christ and preaches to us the Word. By the Word He works and promotes sanctification, causing this congregation daily to grow and to become strong in the faith and its fruit, which He produces.—LC II:53

07 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Fourthly, something like this also appears to point to the fact that with the Baptism of Christ heaven has opened itself (Matt 3:16; Mark 1:10; Lk 3:21); for by this is shown that also in our Baptism, by which we are embodied with Christ, heaven is opened to us; and we are received as heirs of eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:91

Even if Christ had never spoken these word [the Great Commission], the Church would still be obligated to spread the Gospel throughout the world. Doesn’t each Christian have an eternal debt of love toward God? How, then, can he say that he loves God if he is able to look on peacefully as the enemy of God, Satan, holds in his snares millions of people who were created for fellowship with God?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 101.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Note that the war is coming from three sources simultaneously: from the deceivers, from the enemies, from the false brothers.—St. John Chrysostom Homily 75 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: The Creed

[The Holy Spirit] leads us first into His holy congregation and places us in the bosom of the Church. Through the Church He preaches to us and brings us to Christ. LC II:37

For, in the first place, the Spirit has His own congregation in the world, which is the mother that conceives and bears every Christian through God’s Word. Through the Word He reveals and preaches, He illumines and enkindles hearts, so that they understand, accept, cling to, and persevere in the Word. LC II:42

06 January 2021

The Epiphany Day Mass: Evening Divine Service

What an absolute joy tonight’s Divine Service was! I served in the Morning liturgy today, but was able to sit with Cindi at tonight’s. From the first moments when the incense wafts in at the front of the procession accompanied by joyous song, to Pastor Daenzer’s solemn and beautiful chanting of the Gregorian Introit for the day; from the amazing Scripture readings from Isaiah 60, Ephesians 3 and Matthew 2, to the gladsome announcement of the dates of the moveable feasts; from hearing Pastor’s proclamation of the saving Gospel (the glory of our Savior being His humility!) to joining in intercession for our country at this sad and frightening time; from being blessed to sing the Communion liturgy, with the Agnus in harmony and unaccompanied, to receiving the Light of the World in His true body and blood; in short, from start to finish, a day of joy and a peace that no distress of the world in her usual turmoil (and yes, we have had shocking turmoil today) can ever shake. Why? Because, as the Introit confessed, the Lord, the Ruler has come and the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory are in His hand. 

Gerhard and Walther

Along with the Word, God the Lord has given us the holy Sacraments. They are visible signs of grace through which the promises of the Gospel are empowered. Also, they are blessed means through which God the Lord imparts the heavenly treasures and blessings to us in no less measure than through the Word.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:83.

Unfortunately, in our day, far too many people, including those who are undeniably Christians, think that the mission to the Gentiles, while laudable, is something they can do or not do. With so much distress in the world, they believe the burden of missions should not be imposed on the Church as a potential hindrance to other important work. Such Christians are in error. The Christian Church is a debtor to the whole world that remains outside Christ.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 100.

Catechesis

We see [from the Incarnation] how He has completely poured forth Himself and withheld nothing from us.—LC II:26

Patristic Quote of the Day

In reality, the people were subject to another curse, which says, Cursed is every one that continues not in the things that are written in the book of the Law. As then both he who hanged on a tree, and he who transgresses the Law, is cursed, and as it was necessary for him who is about to relieve from a curse himself to be free from it, but to receive another instead of it, therefore Christ took upon Him such another, and thereby relieved us from the curse. It was like an innocent man’s undertaking to die for another sentenced to death, and so rescuing him from punishment. For Christ took upon Him not the curse of transgression, but the other curse, in order to remove that of others. For, He had done no violence neither was any deceit in His mouth. And as by dying He rescued from death those who were dying, so by taking upon Himself the curse, He delivered them from it.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Gal. 3

05 January 2021

Gerhard and Walther

For since God the Lord has allowed us to be presented and offered to us the great heavenly treasures and goods such as reconciliation with God the Lord, God’s grace, faith in Christ, true spiritual freedom, true righteousness, the gift of the Holy Spirit, the heavenly inheritance, eternal life, salvation and blessing, protection against the devil, food for our soul, and the like; so it is right that at the same time we acknowledge such generous goods, grace, and friendship of our heavenly Father with thankful hearts.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:81

Therefore, we who believe in Christ cannot doubt God’s fatherly love, even when He lays upon us much suffering in this life. God punishes and disciplines those whom He loves, knowing that one day He will make them glorious. He may let them struggle here, but He will one day bring them to a celebration of eternal victory. Those who mourn now will find eternal comfort.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 98.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The genuine faith of those being saved is seen in their exceeding readiness to follow [i.e., what God commands].—St. Cyril of Alexandria, Fragment 258

Catechesis: First Article

The Creed is nothing other than the answer and confession of Christians arranged with respect to the First Commandment.—LC II:10

04 January 2021

Today was for the Letter N...

...in preschool at St. Paul’s, so Henry got to show off his Nana by putting her into the N box. 



We woke up this morning

...to a foggy 25ยบ and so when we went for our morning walk, we saw a bit of winter wonderland. Truly “He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?” Cindi snapped a few pictures on her phone:





Tradition

Absolutely love this quote by Donald Kingsbury: 

Tradition is a set of solutions for which we have forgotten the problems. Throw away the solution and you get the problem back. Sometimes the problem has mutated or disappeared. Often it is still there as strong as it ever was.

Gerhard and Walther

Anyone who has been called into the fellowship of Christ’s kingdom, and then still does not want to take pains to apply himself to holiness and godliness, flies in the face of God’s ordinance and does not understand the end result ordained by God for his calling: to interverti [to be turned around, i.e., in genuine repentance and conversion].—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:79

So, then, let us take courage at this time of an almost universal falling away. Christ still lives and His Church will remain even if the whole world should conspire against Him. Therefore, let us faithfully follow Him, though He may lead us through the wilderness and desert, knowing we will arrive with Him at our true fatherland.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 96.

Patristic Quote of the Day

“Woe” is a voice of sorrowing. For this reason He says that they close the kingdom of heaven, because they hide in the law the consolation of His truth. They lost sight of the advent expected by the prophets.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matthew 24.3

Catechesis: Ten Commandments

But do good to all men. Help them and promote their interest—in every way and where you can—purely out of love for God and to please Him. Do this in the confidence that He will abundantly reward you for everything.—LC I:328

03 January 2021

What wonderful time off!

So much joy in spending time with family and friends (even got to see ALL the grandkids twice!). This afternoon, Cindi and I went ahead and took down Christmas (yes, I know we have two more days to go!), because the week promises to be quite busy indeed. As always, I love the Christmas decorations while they’re up; and I love the much simpler look in the house when they have been put away yet again. I AM raring to get back in the saddle, writing and recording podcasts and shows again. Nothing like a stretch of time off to whet the appetite for work. The week ahead will hopefully see six podcasts written and recorded; an Issues series finally wrapped up; an article for the Lutheran Witness online blog; an interview with friend and colleague Chris Rosebrough; and serving as subdeacon at the Epiphany morning Divine Service and then attending the evening service with my wife (who will sadly miss the morning one due to an appointment), and my usual duties on Saturday and Sunday. Deep breath, but totally refreshed and raring to go!

Lovely evening

With Armbrusts. Here we are marveling together at iPhone 12’s weird ability to take these dark mode shots. Our faces are actually all in shadow. However, most of the evening was a joyous romp around the Scriptures.

01 January 2021

Just an Outstandingly Informative Discussion

Ivor Cummins discusses with three researchers and experts on Vitamin D for immunity. It is simply spell binding, and you gotta love their accents. 

A recommendation for New Year’s Day...

...if you have your copy of Starck’s Prayer Book, pull it out and pray the prayers upon the New Year. I just did and was hugely blessed. There’s a prayer for New Year’s morning; an exhortation and then longer prayer for midday; and finally an evening prayer. I saved that for later!

Cin put together this collage too...

That chronicles our journey a bit:

Top left, I think I was pushing 200 and Cin was over 300; we were either late 30’s or early 40’s. We both were feeling horrible, and had even eaten vegetarian for years (lots of homemade whole wheat breads and pastas...those dang carbs and seed oils will get you, folks, give it enough time). Top right was basically after Atkins. Cindi dropped to her lowest in years and so did I. It was miraculous, but we gradually started adding in more carbs, as Atkins encouraged. Oops. Then we did a variety of different ways of eating, lower carb always, but Paleo / Primal / Wild Diet; the factor they had in common was more veggies and fruits. Healthy right? And that brings us to the bottom left. You can see Cindi was still inflamed and so was I. It showed above all in the face, but in other places too. We figured we’re getting old, THAT’S why we’re having trouble getting off the floor and climbing the stairs. It’s what we were told. Enter 2018 and Jordan Petersen’s famous interview on Rogan. We tried Carnivore, convinced this was going to be really weird and hard. To our shock, after the couple weeks of adjustment, we’ve been feeling AWESOME overall. Joint pain? GONE. Cravings? GONE. And time? Did we mention how awesome when you get time back because meal prep is so stupidly simple, and we’re usually eating no more than one or two meals a day. And mess? And waste? What waste? We eat almost ALL of our meat. We don’t have to throw things away. Back at the end of September we largely gave up on dairy too and that seems to have worked well. We do intermittent fasting, only not really. As Dr. Shawn Baker calls it, it is intermittent feasting. We eat when we’re hungry and then not till we’re hungry again. Sometimes 24 hours later! And so the last pic from a Christmas gathering at some friend’s house a couple weeks ago. It has been a long journey, but we’re both rather persuaded by the results for our own bodies. Cindi’s still dropping the lbs; I’m rather stable at about 145 (like High School weight!); and we’ve both seen our bodies simply transform before our eyes. It’s been weird beyond belief. Who knew? Eat meat. Drink water. Thrive.

And what Diff Does Eating Carnivore for Going on Three Years Make?

Check it out! Now vs. New Year’s 2017



Some New Year’s Eve Pinochle Joys with Friends