27 February 2021

Hedonistic Adaptation

That’s a term I learned from Mr. Money Mustache. But I was thinking about it in regards to the difference between the home I live in and the home I grew up in (we won’t even go into my grandparent’s home!). I just started listing out the things that I have come to take for granted that I certainly did not grow up with in our little post WWII bungalow in the Maryland suburbs:
  • Central air
  • Microwave
  • Garage (let alone three car garage; and those magical garage door openers!)
  • More than one car
  • More than one full bath
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Coat closet
  • Color TV (oh, and all the “remotes” - I’m not sure if the plethora of those is actually a blessing or not! I struggle to use them)
  • Deck
  • Fireplace
  • Master bedroom with its own bath (two sinks even!) and larger than normal closet
  • Entertainment Room
  • Home gym (hey, mine’s not pretty, but it’s got everything I need!)
  • A home office
  • Dryer
  • Pool
  • Driveway
  • Children’s playroom (attached to the entertainment room; perfect for the grandchildren, the toys all stay downstairs!)
  • The whole tech area: Homepods, iPads, etc. We had, you know, a phonograph. 
I usually don’t even think about any of these things as “luxuries”—they’ve just become second nature to me. But when I remember the house I grew up in, I realize how very blest we are with such things that I’ve long since grown to take utterly for granted. And I’m sure I’ve forgotten stuff. What about you? What are things that you have grown accustomed to that you certainly did not grow up with? 


Pastor Peters nails it. Read here.

Moon shot


26 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Since the Judge will reward every individual according to his works, we must busy ourselves from the heart with good works, so that we at that time shall receive a reward of grace and not a wrathful punishment.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:237.

Because God alone can convert us, fear and trembling should be in us so that we do not hinder the working of God’s Word in us.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 257.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Make me whole, O Lord, and I will become whole! O only wise and merciful Physician, I beseech Thy benevolence: heal the wounds of my soul and enlighten the eyes of my mind that I may understand my place in Thine eternal design! And inasmuch as my heart and mind have been disfigured, may Thy grace repair for them, for it is true salt.—St. Ephrem the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter, #3.

Catechesis: Original Sin

Augustine therefore consistently speaks in this way: original sin is not the nature itself, but an accidens vitium in natura (that is, a contingent lack and defect in nature). Before this quarrel broke out, this was the way people also spoke in our schools and churches—following the rules of logic—freely and without raising suspicion. Neither Dr. Luther nor other teachers of integrity within our pure Evangelical churches ever criticized such a definition.—SD I:56.

25 February 2021

Carnivore Craziness

Hey, the title warned you. Just a bit of an update. We dropped the dairy (for the most part) back at the tail end of September and that REALLY seemed to kick things up a notch for us both. It’s absolutely weird. 

I always have thought of myself as ideally somewhere between 145 and 150 lbs. My frame is slight, like my dad’s was. And though I don’t remember my weight in high school or college, I think 145 or so is a good guess. Well, in the last week I’ve hit as low as 135 and today I’m sitting at 136. I even had to buy new jeans (the old ones were falling off) and I still can’t believe I’m comfortably wearing a size 28 waist. Never remember that in my life. 

But Cindi’s has been even more remarkable. Her weight has hit pre-pregnancy numbers that she’s not seen since she was 27, and in a little over a month she turns 61. What amazes me even more than that though is how you can SEE the change in her face even from the woman I married nearly 39 years ago. Let me show you what I mean

Here’s a picture from our wedding day: 

And contrast that face with this:

No inflammation anywhere in that last pic! And though we’ve obviously grown older, I think we both look far healthier at going on 61 than we ever did when we were even young pups, just newly married. The long and short of it: meat heals. And the truth is that dairy, which is fine for lots of people, was obviously holding both of us back. Anywho, there’s your crazy carnivore update.

Gerhard and Walther

Blessed and holy is the person who never forgets the final judgment, but instead remembers it every day—indeed, every hour and twinkling of the eye—so that at all times they hear the voice of that final trumpet saying: Wake up you dead people and come before the judgment. For this contemplation of the final judgment restrains us from all godlessness. Contrariwise, it also tugs, lures and drives us towards godliness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:234.

In an unconverted person there is not even a glimmer of true goodness.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 254.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Glory to Thee, O Lover of mankind!
Glory to Thee, O Merciful One!
Glory to Thee, O Longsuffering One!
Glory to Thee, Who forgivest every fall into sin!—St. Ephrem the Syrian, A Spiritual Psalter #2

Catechesis: Original Sin

So sin cannot be the human being itself, for God receives human beings for Christ’s sake into grace but remains hostile to sin for eternity.—SD I:45

24 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Ab acedia, from laziness. Why would we want to put off until the next day that which our office obligates us to do now; and through it all conclude today with idleness and laziness? We don’t know if we will still be alive tomorrow. While we have time, let us do good.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:231.

As God could not have had any assistant in creating the world, which He made out of nothing, so also the Son of God could not have been helped by any kind of creature at the second creation, the redemption of the world. He trod the winepress of God’s wrath alone, and only He could have done this.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 252.

Catechesis: Original Sin

The distinction must be maintained between our nature, as it was created and preserved by God and in which sin resides, and original sin which resides in our nature. According to Holy Scripture, both propositions must and can be considered, taught, and believed as distinct from each other.—SD I:33.

Patristic Quote of the Day

No one in creation is rich but he that fears God; no one is truly poor but he that lacks the truth.—St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Admonition and Repentance.

23 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die, said the Epicureans... However, true Christians turn it around and say: Let us be sober, let’s fast and pray, for tomorrow we die and have to stand before God’s judgment.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:229.

One Christian doctrine that is frequently and vehemently denied states that there is a devil who fiercely and ceaselessly attacks man.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 249.

Patristic Quote of the Day

If charity dwell in you, you have on earth no enemy.—St. Ephrem the Syrian, Homily on Admonition and Repentance

22 February 2021

Catechesis: Original Sin

[Among the rejected positions] They teach that it is not true, as is sung in our churches, “Through Adam’s fall human nature and essence are completely corrupted.”* Instead, as tiny, small and insignificant as it might be, there is nevertheless something good left from our natural birth, such as the capability, aptitude, competence, or capacity to begin something or to effect something or to cooperate in spiritual matters.—SD I:23

*See Walther’s Hymnal #236.

Gerhard and Walther

If we would consider that in death we will not longer have control over our hands and feet, then we would certainly not offend anyone with our hands. Instead, we would much rather open them up in good deeds for the poor. We would not allow our feet to tread us into the state of sin. Instead, we would much rather, let them carry us to the Lord’s temple.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:227

With a few words from the Old Testament Scriptures, [Jesus] destroyed all the entrenchments and bulwarks of the hellish spirit. How else could Christ have more clearly and undeniably shown to the whole world that the Bible is the imperishable Word of Him who created the heavens and the earth, and that this Word firmly stands when everything else perishes!—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 248. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

We understand from this that evils often happen to us by God’s providence, in order that we not have what we want and, oppressed by various calamities and misfortunes of this life, we may be forced to return to the service of God.... Israel is taught by every scourge and torment.—St. Jerome, on Hosea 2:7

Catechesis: Original Sin

This inherited defect is so huge and abominable that it can be covered and forgiven in God’s sight in those who are baptized and believe only for the sake of the Lord Christ. Only the new birth and renewal of the Holy Spirit can and must heal this deranged, corrupted human nature. This renewal only begins in this life; it is finally completed in the life to come.—SD I:14

20 February 2021


Out to Dieterich today to celebrate Griffin turning 1 and Felicity turning 4 (later this week). A few pics:

19 February 2021

Latest Book

“They Shall Never Perish” is a children’s book (with awesome illustrations by Edward Riojas) that we’d be happy to send your way for any sized donation to The Word Endures before Easter, April 4th. You can make a secure online donation at thewordendures.org or make your check payable to The Word Endures and send it to Box 616, Collinsville, IL 62234. This book is actually largely due to Crystal Wagner’s encouragement. She read the story to her preschoolers every year since she first heard it, and she suggested it would make a great children’s book (but the oldsters seem to appreciate it well). Thanks to LPR for publishing it! AND a huge thank you to Deaconess Lynn Frederickson for proofing, laying it out, and overseeing the whole publication and distribution process. She’s a gem and a half!

Gerhard and Walther

Wisdom consists in the daily contemplation of death.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:222

A person who has true love is gentle toward the sinner and the erring, but he is just as earnestly opposed to sin and error. True love is holy love. A love that does not hate unrighteousness and does not rejoice in truth is only an illusion of love.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 241.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For Personality is unchangeable; else how could Personality remain, if it were changeable, and could be removed from one to another? But they who make Unbegotten and Begotten natures of equivocal gods would perhaps make Adam and Seth differ in nature, since the former was not born of flesh (for he was created), but the latter was born of Adam and Eve. There is then One God in Three, and These Three are One, as we have said.—St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 39

Catechesis: Relative Place of Scripture and Confessions

Just as we base our teaching on God’s Word as the eternal truth, we present and cite these writings [the AC, Ap, SA/Treatise, Catechisms] as testimonies of the truth and as the unanimous, correct understanding of our predecessors who steadfastly held to the pure teaching.—SD Binding Summary 13


18 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

While you are pilgrims and strangers here on earth, and you will shortly have to depart, it then will not be appropriate for you to hang onto fleshly lusts and set your agenda on this temporal life. Instead, you should concentrate on eternal things and lead a good life here on earth so that you do not lose the kingdom of God.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:220.

Love is the true crown of all gifts, the true weight in the scale of all deeds. Where it is lacking, all works and the entire life of a person, are sinful, lost, and rejected before God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 238.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For Hosea, in our tongue, means savior, the same name that Joshua son of Nun had, before his name was changed by God.—St. Jerome on Hosea 1:1

Catechesis: Sola Scriptura, not Nuda Scriptura

Fundamental, enduring unity in the church requires above all else a clear and binding summary and form in which a general summary of teaching is drawn together from God’s Word, to which the church that hold the true Christian religion confess their adherence.—SD Binding Summary, 1

First, we confess our adherence to the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments, as to the pure, clear fountain of Israel, which alone is the one true guiding principle, according to which all teachers and teaching are to be judged and evaluated.—SD Binding Summary, 3

Since in ancient times the true Christian teaching as it was correctly and soundly understood was summarized on the basis of God’s Word in short articles or chief parts against the adulterations of heretics, we confession our adherence, secondly, to the three ecumenical creeds, the Apostles’, the Nicene, and the Athanasian, as the glorious confessions of the faith—succinct, Christian, based upon God’s Word, in which all the heresies that had at that time arisen within the Christian were clearly and thoroughly refuted.—SD Binding Summary, 4

17 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Therefore, when God the Lord sends us tribulation, we are thereby reminded regarding our sins that we are to acknowledge them and heartily regret them. Such contrition and repentance is the beginning and the foundation of true godliness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:212.

Many are ashamed to seek salvation through faith in Christ, the Savior of the sinner, and instead they build their hope for eternity on their upright life. They carelessly regard themselves as good, without having examined their heart, their words, and their works.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 235.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So let us not fear and shudder. Let us repent while there is opportunity. Let us rise out of our sins. We can by grace, if we are willing.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 90 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Intro FC, SD

For these controversies are not mere misunderstandings or semantic arguments, where someone might think that one group has not sufficiently grasped what the other group was trying to say or that the tensions were based upon only a few specific words of relatively little consequence. Rather, these controversies deal with important and significant matters, and they are of such a nature that the positions of the erring party neither could nor should be tolerated in the church of God, much less excused or defended.—SD Intro: 9


Some pics Cindi snapped at the Ash Wednesday Divine Service this morning. It is always such a joy to serve with these two...even when they leave yours truly feeling rather short.

16 February 2021

Now, I ask you...

...whatever am I to do with this crazy woman? No, you see correctly, no shoes and it’s not even 10 degrees outside, and she decided that to fix dinner on the grill. 

Pics from a Cold Morning!

Gerhard and Walther

If a traveling person had to enter into the kind of inn in which resided a murderer who had taken many peoples lives, he no doubt would sleep very little that night. Instead, he would arm himself with some weaponry. That’s how we live in this world, in which the devil, as the god of this world, is the innkeeper who has taken away the eternal salvation of many of his guests. Consequently, it is of utmost importance that we wipe from our eyes the sleep of cocky self-assurance, and alertly entrench ourselves so that we are not cheated in this evil inn.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:208

May all this move us during the Lenten season before us to search the writings of the prophets in holy silence, both to find references to the suffering and dying Christ and to see, as in a mirror, the abomination of our sins and God’s anger over them. There, too, we will find the complete atonement of our sins and the riches of divine love and grace.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 233.

Patristic Quote of the Day

This discrepancy would be troubling unless we understand that Matthew remained silent about that angel whom they saw when they entered the tomb and Mark remained silent concerning the angel whom they saw sitting on the stone outside the tomb. If this be the case, the women saw two angels and heard from them about Jesus progressively; first from the one who sat on the stone outside the tomb and then from the one whom they saw sitting on the right when they entered the tomb. They went into the tomb then because they had been exhorted to by the angel sitting outside, when he said, “Come and see where the Lord was placed.”—St. Augustine, Harmony of the Gospels.

Catechesis: Absolution

Because absolution or the power of the keys is also a comfort and help against sin and a bad conscience and was instituted by Christ in the gospel, confession, or absolution, should by no means be allowed to fall into disuse in the church... We should not neglect it but value it highly, just as all the other offices of the Christian church.—SA III:III:8:1,2

15 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

As Anthony saw a vision of the entire world being full of entrapments, he said: “Who then can escape from this entrapment?” Thereupon he received his answer: Sola humilitas, only true and inward humility.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:209. 

We also see how foolish it is for people to think the can hope for God’s grace while they continue to cling to open or secret sin. Such people make devil out of God. For it is the devil, not the holy God, who takes no notice of sin. Therefore, whoever has been clearly convinced that some behavior of his is a sin, who nevertheless refuses to let go that sin, and who comforts himself with the thought that God’s great grace applies to him is actually sinning against grace, trampling upon the Son of God who bled for his sins, considering the blood of the testament impure, and insulting the Spirit of grace.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 231.

Patristic Quote of the Day

An angel descended and rolled back the stone. He did not roll back the stone to provide a way of escape for the Lord but to show the world that the Lord had already risen. He rolled back the stone to help his fellow servants believe, not to help the Lord rise from the dead.—St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 75.

Catechesis: Repentance

This repentance endures among Christians until death because it struggles with the sin that remains in the flesh throughout life. As St. Paul bears witness in Romans 7[:23], he wars with the law in his members, etc.—not by using his own powers but by the gift of the Holy Spirit which follows from the forgiveness of sins. This same gift daily cleanses and sweeps away the sins that remain and works to make people truly pure and holy.—SA III:III:40

14 February 2021

When the coldest weather of the year (so far) hits...

...and your furnace gives up the ghost. But thanks be to God, we at least have a wood burning fireplace to warm up next to. [Update: and Roger was our angel. He swung by and got it going again, thanks be to God, so it’s nice and toasty at the moment!]

13 February 2021

No, T. S.

I quite disagree with Elliot that April is the cruellest month; it is clearly wretched February. 

12 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Since we know that we still bear sin within us, it is indeed right and proper that we patiently take up the cross which God the Lord lays upon us...because it is especially placed upon us by God for the purpose that we thereby crucify the flesh within us, guard against sin, and be sustained unto eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:203

There is no doubt: the suffering and death of Christ were not accidentally forced upon Him by the decree of man. Rather, they were decided, appointed, and administered by God Himself.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 229.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Behold, with the Lord’s resurrection the evening does not grow dark, it becomes light. What normally was the beginning of night now becomes the break of day.—St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 77.

Catechesis: False Repentance

Here we see how blind reason gropes around in the things of God and seeks comfort in its own works, according to its own darkened opinions. It cannot consider Christ or faith. If we look at this now in this light, then such contrition is a contrived or imaginary idea. It comes from one’s own powers, without faith, without knowledge of Christ. In this state, a poor sinner who reflected on this lust or revenge would at times more likely laughed than cried—except for those truly struck down by the law or falsely plagued by the devil with a sorrowful spirit. Otherwise, such contrition was certainly pure hypocrisy and did not kill the desire to sin. They had to be contrite, but would rather have sinned more—had it been without consequences.—SA II:III:3:18

11 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

The restoration of the image of God and the renewal of our nature is not perfect in this life, but sin in the flesh is still continually present in the reborn and renewed people. By the power of the Spirit, they must strive against this, stifle it, and kill it off in order that they may not be overcome by it and become stuck into the former yoke of sin.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:201.

Even the natural man, who has no aversion to sinning, finds it extraordinarily repulsive to listen to someone who talk only about himself, his good qualities, his great deeds and riches, his skills and wisdom, and even his godliness.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 221.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The women were first to be attentive to Jesus at his death and burial. The sex most likely to be despised was the first to enjoy the sight of his resurrected blessings.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 88 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Law and Gospel

The foremost office or power of the law is that it reveals inherited sin and its fruits. It always shows human beings into what utter depths their nature has fallen and how completely corrupt it is.—SA II:III:2:4

Moreover, the Gospel does not give consolation and forgiveness in only one way—but rather through the Word, sacraments, and the like (as we shall hear), so that with God there is truly rich redemption from the great prison of sin.—SA II:III:3:8.

10 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Through this grace, you not only have forgiveness of sins, but also have obtained the gift of the Holy Spirit who kills off the sin which still remains in the flesh.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:198, 199.

A church in which man’s delusion and wit are proclaimed instead of Holy Scripture is nothing but an open gate to hell, a butchering table of Satan, and a house of plagues to the soul.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 219.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Dispelling the shadows of death and illuminating the darkness of hell, Christ destroyed the spoils of death itself at the resurrection of the saints, who saw Him immediately.—St. Hilary of Poitiers on Matt 27:52.

Catechesis: Sin

Here we must confess that sin comes from one human being, Adam, through whose disobedience all people became sinners and subject to death and the devil. This is called the original sin, or the chief sin. The fruits of this sin are the subsequent evil works, which are forbidden in the Ten Commandments....—SA II:III.1,2

This inherited sin has caused such a deep, evil corruption of nature that reason does not comprehend it; rather, it must be believed on the basis of the revelation in the Scriptures (Ps 51, Rom 5, Ex 33, Gen 3).—SA II:III:3

09 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Anyone who wants to long for the coming of Christ in judgment must not live in sin against conscience, otherwise he will have very little about which to rejoice in regard to His return.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:190.

Let us never forget that we are saved not merely by coming to faith, but by persevering in it. We do not reach the heavenly goal because we were once zealous to avoid the sins of the world, but because we remain on that path all our days. We are not heirs of eternal life because we were once united with Christ, but because we maintain fellowship with our Savior until death.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 215.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So for this cause He cried with a loud voice, that it might be shown that this act (i.e., the giving up of his spirit in death) is done by His own power.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 88 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: The Pope

This business shows overwhelmingly that he is the true end-times Antichrist, who has raised himself over and set himself against Christ, because the pope will not let Christians be saved* without his authority (which amounts to nothing, since it is not ordered or commanded by God). This is precisely what St. Paul calls “setting oneself over God and against God” (2 Thes. 2:4).—SA II.IV.10, 11

*Luther was referring to the papal bull Unam Sanctam of Pope Boniface VIII issued in 1302 which declared quite baldly: “Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” As I say, hold it up to the John 3:16 test: is there a hidden clause in our Lord’s word requiring such submission or does His promise stand as it reads? “Whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

08 February 2021

A tradition...

...of sorts is spending super-bowl evening playing pinochle with the Wagners. We kept to our old ways last evening and enjoyed a wonderful night of cards. One of the wives (who shall remain nameless, but not mine!) assured us that we men were in for a butt-whooping. However, the gentlemen won FOUR out of the six games, but graciously let the ladies win first and last. Scott and I did check in on the game periodically by asking Siri what the score was. I was delighted when Brady pulled off another win.

Gerhard and Walther

John 13:15 “I have given you an example, that you do as I have done.” Here we hear that Christ’s life and obedience is not only a gift of which we become partakers through true faith, but it is also an example, which we are to follow.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:187.

Whoever wants to be saved must listen to God’s Word with great attention, and the divine thoughts it reveals must fill his whole heart, creating a living faith in Christ and a new life. Whoever does not want this must also give up the hope of being saved.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 213.

Patristic Quote of the Day

That they distributed his clothes by casting lots for them rather than by cutting them up signifies the eternal incorruptibility of Christ’s body. The life and salvation of all things was hung from the tree of life with a thief on his left and a thief on his right. This demonstrates that the entire human race is called to the mystery of the Lord’s suffering.—St. Hilary of Poitiers, On Matthew 23:4,5

Catechesis: On the Papacy

The pope is not the head of all Christendom “by divine right” or on the basis of God’s Word, because that belongs only to the one who is called Jesus Christ. Instead, the pope is only the bishop, or pastor, of the church at Rome and of those who willingly or through a human institution (that is, through secular authority) have joined themselves to him in order to be Christians alongside him as a brother and companion, but not under him as a lord—as the ancient councils and the time of St. Cyprian demonstrate.—SA II:IV:1

Therefore the church cannot be better ruled and preserved than if we all live under one head, Christ, and all the bishops—equal according to the office (although they may be unequal in their gifts)—keep diligently together in unity of teaching, faith, sacraments, prayers, and works of love, etc.—SA II:IV:9

06 February 2021


...was a remarkably productive day for both Cindi and me. Cindi got her driving license updated (and we always dread that!), some quite successful shopping at bargain prices, and a doctor’s appointment all taken care of and home by nearly noon. In the morning, I rearranged my study in a way I really like: 

That print above my desk is a most remarkable confession of the faith, a gift from Bart Day when I retired from Synod. I love it! Riojas is simply amazing, and I can’t wait for you all to see what he’s done with my wolf story! Coming soon... 

Best of all, with this arrangement, I still get to write looking OUT the window, but without being IN the window (which is kind of awkward in the very early morning when the sun is beating in).

And then Amazon delivered some curtains and curtain rods and some pants I had ordered (I still can’t believe that I needed to get a pair of 28’s!). Rebekah had recommended this brand and she was right. They are just perfect. Sadly, the curtain rods didn’t actually work, so then I did a trip down to Lowes and of course, they had what I needed, AND I was greeted by a man who saw me looking lost when I entered and he brought me right to where they were; much better than my usual wandering in that maze. 

Anyway, we have all but eliminated blinds in favor of curtains and we both like the look ever so much more; not to mention that CLEANING the window and curtain is infinitely easier than keeping blinds clean.

05 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

The rebirth is performed once and immediately completed, but the renewal extends itself throughout an entire lifetime, and will be totally completed in eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:185.

In the New Testament, where the types have ceased, grace is still greater. The signs of the Old Testament were connected with the promise, but the New Testament signs are accompanied by heavenly goods. The Holy Spirit is richly poured out at the Baptism of one who believes he is born again and renewed to eternal life. Whoever received the blessed bread and the blessed cup in the holy Supper is also fed with Christ’s true body and blood.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 297.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Through His cross, Christ defeated both death and the devil. Through the cross, Christ mounted His chariot of victory and chose the four Evangelists, as though horses for His chariot, to announce so great a victory to all the world.—Chromatius, Tractate on St. Matthew

Catechesis: The Mass

Thus it is not right (even if everything else were otherwise in order) to use the common sacrament of the church for one’s own devotional life and to play with it according to one’s own pleasure apart from God’s Word and outside the church community.—SA II:9

04 February 2021

A Daily Intercession

This is from Gerhard’s Schola Pietatis, volume 2:

Merciful, eternal God, comfort of the distressed, Healer of the sick: let our prayer come before You with whatever anxieties and needs we cry to You, so that all mankind may rejoice in Your help and thank You.

May You also graciously forgive Your Christian people their sins, and rescue them from all error and evil. Keep them in true faith and obedience. Give them faithful teachers.

May all authorities lead and rule to Your glory and for the common peace.

Protect all heads of households along with their wives, children, and household members. 

Cleanse the air of all pollution, pestilence, disaster, sickness, fires, and war. Graciously avert all the aforementioned, well-deserved punishments from us—or otherwise sustain us through them with Your mercy.

Give us fruits of the fields and protect us.

Take care of the imprisoned. Help those who have been shipwrecked back to land. Comfort the distressed. Grant the expectant mother a happy view of a new fruit from her body. Grant health to all the sick. Grant grace to sinners to better their lives. And show mercy to all believers in Christ. Impart Your Holy Spirit and eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Gerhard and Walther

Such a restoration and renewal of the divine image of God occurs: 1. In this life, and indeed incohative [imperfectly], in such a manner that only a beginning is made of this renewal; 2. In the future eternal life, and indeed consummative [consummately], in such a manner that from henceforth the initiated renewal shall be completely perfecti [to perfection] in every way.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:184

The entire teaching of the Gospel is a God-given absolution to all people that everyone receives for himself as soon as he believes it. Holy Scripture is an inexhaustible source of comfort for Christians.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 205. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Here was their choice: Let an acknowledged criminal go free, or free one whose guilt was disputed. If they should choose to let the offender go free, would it not be even more fitting to allow the innocent to go free? For surely Jesus did not seem to them morally worse than acknowledged murderers. But instead they choose a robber. This was not just any robber, but one who was infamous for wickedness in many murders.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 86 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: SA I: The Sublime Articles of the Divine Majesty

That neither the Father nor the Holy Spirit, but the Son, became a human being. 

That the Son became a human being in this way: he was conceived by the Holy Spirit without male participation and was born of the pure, holy [and ever*] Virgin Mary.

...These articles are not matters of dispute or conflict, for both sides confess them.—SA I:3,4

*Note that the “ever” is not in Luther’s original, but is in the Latin Book of Concord and does reflect both his personal conviction and the general consensus of the Lutheran theologians for some time, as is evident in the writings not only of Martin Chemnitz, but also Herberger and Gerhard; and reflects that the point was not a matter of contention between the papists and the Reformers.

03 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

This fire will destroy and burn up nothing else but sin. Consequently, the more a person sins, all the more straw and wood one piles onto this inexpressible fire of hell.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:153, 154.

According to our text, pure doctrine and knowledge are a gift from above. They are also a free gift, one that derives from divine grace. God showed no regard for merit in bestowing His Word upon the entire world, and He offers every person the power to recognize the need for His salvation.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 203.

Patristic Quote of the Day

So why then did he not defend himself reasonably by recalling these acts when he was under accusation of being a usurper of power? Because his acts themselves proved his meekness and gentleness and spiritual power.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 86 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: SA Intro

Not that we need it [a council], for through God’s grace our churches are now enlightened and supplied with the pure Word and the right use of the sacraments, an understanding of the various walks of life, and true works.—SA Intro:10

02 February 2021

Joyous Feast Day!

It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who, sharing Your eternal splendor, was this day presented in Your temple in the substance of our human flesh and revealed by the Spirit as the glory of Israel and the light of all people. Therefore, with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying: Holy, holy, holy...

Today is the Feast of St. Mary’s Purification and our Lord’s Presentation in the Temple. We gathered for the Divine Service. School children and teachers and staff and sundry parents and grandparents.

Sadly, with social distancing, no blessing and distribution of the candles, but still a most joyous liturgy, at which Pastor presided and I was blessed serve as deacon. 

As Pastor preached I thought again of the truth that “Mary had a little Lamb whose fleece was white as snow.” From my seat, the image of the holy family with Sts. Mary and Joseph holding our Lord is in my view the whole sermon! The real offering that day wasn’t just the birds they brought along as the offering of the poor, as pastor reminded us, but above all the Child, the Lamb of God Himself. When you are poor in spirit and have only Him you still have the kingdom of heaven itself; and as He was presented this day in the temple in our flesh, so at the resurrection He will present us to His Father in THE temple of heaven itself, spotless and perfect, cleansed by His blood.

We had the joy of singing: “In His temple now behold Him” which proclaims that very truth; and at the very end of the liturgy we joined together in Luther’s incomparable “In peace and joy I now depart” singing with St. Simeon TWICE (also the Nunc Dimittis, of course, after the Distribution of the Holy Eucharist). 

I am so thankful that two of my grandchildren are educated in a place where this rich worship life forms them in the faith, with overflowing joy, engaging the senses in sight and smell and sound.

Gerhard and Walther

Therefore, just as He in former time dealt with the rebellious and disobedient, so also He will deal with us if we live in opposition to Him.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis I:151.

He was not ashamed of Jesus here, but confessed Him before the world as his Savior. Thus he knows his Savior will not be ashamed of him in heaven, but will there confess him as one of His own before God and all of His angels. Therefore, his death is no death. It is a blessed journey to the mansions of eternal peace. Full of longing, he looks forward to the day of his last breath.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 900 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Why then Christ now answer them? He did so to take away all their excuses. Even to the last day he taught that he was the Christ, and that he would sit at the right hand of the Father and that he would come again to judge the world. All this was the language of one manifesting his full accordance with the will of the Father.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 84 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Confession

Note, then, as I have often said, that confession consists in two parts. The first is our work and act, when I lament my sin and desire comfort and restoration for my soul. The second is a work that God does, when he absolves me of my sins through the Word placed on the lips of another person.—LC Confession, par. 15.

01 February 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Consequently, just as the faithful and unfailing promises of God should implant and strengthen child-like faith in us, so also His faithful unchanging threats can and should implant and strengthen within us the child-like fear of God in us. Out of these two chief sources—namely, out of child-like confidence and fear of God—springs forth true godliness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, I:148. 

God did not choose the elect because He knew they would remain in faith; instead, their election is the reason they persevere in believing. God did not choose them because He knew they would be saved; rather, they will be saved because they were elected.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 198. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us then return from the table like lions breathing fire, having become terrible to the devil; thinking on our Head and on the love He has shown us.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 46 on St. John

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

Therefore let all heads of a household remember that it is their duty, by God’s injunction and command, to teach their children or have them taught the things they ought to know. Because they have been baptized and received into the people of Christ, they should also enjoy this fellowship of the sacrament [of the altar] so that they may serve us and be useful. For they must all help us to believe, to love, to pray, and to fight against the devil.—LC V:87