31 October 2021

Busy Weekend

Friday night, we got together with local friends for pinochle (single deck, no passing); then Saturday night, we got together with our regular six-handed pinochle crew (three decks, passing on both sides). Let’s just say that Saturday night’s game was JUST the way such games are supposed to me. The male of the species won big time. This morning we were out to Church early as both Bells and Choir were on deck for the Reformation Festival. And this afternoon, we went to Dieterich and celebrated Annabelle’s birthday. Some pics:

30 October 2021

Happy birthday to my second…

…oldest granddaughter: Lydia. She has always been a boatload of fun. And she makes the absolute craziest faces you could ever imagine, however THIS is a seriously “thinking” moment I was fortunate enough to capture. Happy birthday, honey!

29 October 2021

Workout Summary for October

Had a few days in October that I missed. :( Still the summary of the month was 505 pullups; 505 45-lb. kettlebell swings. 4,160 pushups. Not too shabby for a 61 year old. I did change up my routine a bit. I used to do my pushups in sets of 25. Now I do them in sets of 50. So just four sets a day, M-F, framed (generally) by 12 pullups / 12 KB swings before and after. Oh, and I was trying to get in 12K steps a day (or 5 miles). I’ve dropped that back to just 10K a day, with only 5K on Sundays. Saturdays are my HIIT days, but I’ll find any excuse to get out of those 10 minutes. Here’s how I keep track, so every four months I need me a new piece of paper! This one is now filled up. Next one should get me to the end of February!

Gerhard and Walther

Marvelous is the goodness of our Saviour, that He not only assumed our nature in His incarnation, and carried it with Him to His throne of heavenly glory, but that He also gives us His own body and blood to nourish our souls unto eternal life.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XVIII

And ever since God reconciled Himself to fallen mankind and redeemed it, the devil and his angels have been striving, day and night, to deceive me and to drive them away from that reconciliation and redemption.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 829.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Note how scrupulously the disciples refused to record those things that might have given the impression of their fame. Note how they handed down in writing numerous charges against themselves to unforgetting ages, and accusations of sins, which no one in later years would ever have known about unless hearing it from their voice. By thus honestly reporting their own faults, it is reasonable to view them as relatively void of false speaking and egoism. This habit gives plain and clear proof of their truth-loving disposition.—Eusebius, Proof of the Gospel

Catechesis: The Mass

At the outset, we must again make this preliminary statement: we do not abolish the Mass, but religiously keep and defend it. Masses are celebrated among us every Lord’s Day and on other festivals. The Sacrament is offered to those who wish to use it, after they have been examined and absolved. And the usual public ceremonies are observes, the series of lessons, of prayers, vestments and other such things.—Ap XXIV:1

28 October 2021

AND today (Sts. Simon and Jude) my OLDEST granddaughter…

…turns 8! Happy birthday, Annabelle! Here she is (“lady in red”) hugging her cousin, Lydia, her junior by two days. Annabelle is so sweet, kind, giving. She spoils her siblings and seems to have a great time doing so. She is also unbelievably soft-spoken, so grandpa (who might just be a little hard of hearing) has the worst time actually catching what she’s saying. Anywho, Annabelle, we love you very much and look forward to seeing you Sunday, D.v.!

Another Reinhardt Joy


Gerhard and Walther

Baptism is that spiritual flood in which our sinful flesh is drowned; the foul raven, the devil departs, not to return, but the dove, the Holy Spirit, returns with the olive leaf, that is, with peace and quietness, to the weary soul. Call to mind, therefore, O faithful soul, this wonderful peace offered to thee in baptism, and for it give due thanks to God.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XVII

Those who perish, then, do so only because they refuse to receive the free gift of salvation.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 823.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For the prophets foretold two comings of Christ—one, which had already happened, when he comes in the form of a dishonored and dying man, and the second, when as has been foretold he will come from heaven in glory.—Justin Martyr, First Apology 52.

Catechesis: Marriage of Priests

We have already expressed our opinion, however, regarding Jovinian, which concerns the comparison of virginity and marriage. We do not make marriage and virginity equal, although neither virginity nor marriage merits justification.—Ap XXIII:69

27 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

As the Eternal Father, at the baptism of Christ, declared, “This is my beloved Son” so all who believe and are baptized receive the adoption of sons.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XVII

Whoever wants to become stronger in his faith must boldly grasp the promises God gives to all penitent sinners, comfort himself with them, build upon them, and ground himself upon them as upon an unshakable rock.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 821.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When he did not open his mouth, it was reminiscent of the figure of a lamb. It was not as one of bad conscience convicted of sins, but as one who in his meekness was being sacrificed for the sins of others.—St. Augustine, Tractates on John 116

Catechesis: Marriage of Priests

So now marriage should be strongly defended by the strictest laws and warning examples. People should be encouraged to marry. This duty belongs to public officials, who should maintain public discipline. Meanwhile, the teachers of the Gospel should do both of these things: encourage unchaste people to marry; encourage others not to hate the gift of chastity.—Ap XXIII:55.

26 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Besides this there is an inward call of Christ to our souls, and blessed is he who heeds it. Christ often knocks at the door of our hearts with holy longings, devout aspirations, pious meditations, and blessed is he who throws wide open his heart’s door to the Christ.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XVI

Faith must rely on the Word even when everything else seen, felt, and experienced appears to contradict it.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 819. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

He redeemed us from the sway of the devil on that very day when the ancient people of the Hebrews remembered casting aside the yoke of slavery under the Egyptians by the immolation of a lamb.—The Venerable Bede, Homilies on the Gospels.

Catechesis: Marriage of Priests

For just as one gift excels another, as prophesy excels agriculture, and power of speech excels architecture, so virginity is a more excellent gift than marriage…. Neither Christ nor Paul praises virginity because it justifies, but because it is freer and less distracted by domestic occupations in praying, teaching, and serving.—Ap XXIII:38, 40.

25 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Love has an assimilating power; if thou lovest the world, thou wilt become worldly; if thou lovest heavenly things, thou wilt become heavenly-minded.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XVI

We use so many hours for sleeping, for eating and drinking, and for friendly visits. Shouldn’t we be able to find time for prayer, for praising God, for examining His Word, which alone saves us?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 816. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Consider what befell him (Judas Iscariot), how he simultaneously lost the money, committed the sin, and destroyed his own soul. Such is the tyranny of covetousness.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 85 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Marriage of Priests

By this commandment of Paul, “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife” (1 Cor. 7:2), all are held bound who do not truly keep themselves chaste. The decision about chastity is one of individual conscience.—Ap XXIII:17

23 October 2021

And going through old pics…

…Cin found and shared this one of Bruce Dormier. This was from the time he popped in on Christmas Eve, what? Some 30 years ago this Christmas. Rest in peace, dear friend!

The Old Ones…

…I’m the caboose. The middle cars are both gone, but the two oldest siblings are still here and Sis just sent me this picture of them. So glad they got to visit. That’s Jimmy and Sis (second oldest; or fourth youngest, depending how you’re counting!), Bonnie and Butch (and he’s definitely the oldest, but you’d never know it by his activity level!). They’re standing together on my sister’s front porch. 

What 30 Years Brings..

…Bekah tried to tell us we didn’t have many baby pictures of her. We had to show her that we did, so Cindi found a bunch. I thought it would be fun to compare 30 years later (and these pics are exactly that):

22 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Man had forsaken God, and allied himself to the devil, God’s bitter enemy; and yet He, who had been thus deserted, with tender concern seeks the deserter, and most gracious begs him to return to Him again. Man had gone away from infinite Goodness itself, and had fallen into infinite depths of evil; but that very infinite Goodness, having paid an infinite price for his redemption, rescues him from those infinite depths of devil. O does not this infinite mercy exceed the highest thought of the finite human mind?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XV

Above all, Christians should not be vexed in this evil time. They must not lose confidence in the divine Word when they encounter the travails of this world. They should not lose heart with all the hindrances to their faith.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 814.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Jesus himself speaks of his blood. Before the consecration it is mentioned as something else; after the consecration it is called blood. And you say, “Amen,” that is, “It is true.” Let the mind within confess what the mouth speaks. Let the heart feel the words it utters.—St. Ambrose, On the Mysteries I.

Catechesis: Marriage of Priests

We cannot approve this law about celibacy that the adversaries defend, because it conflicts with divine and natural law and disagrees with the very canons of the councils. It is clearly superstitious and dangerous. It produces countless scandals, sins, and corruption of public morals.—Ap XXIII:6

21 October 2021

Scenes from around town…

…on a chilly October morning.

Gerhard and Walther

What good thing will He, who loved us while we were yet His enemies (Rom v. 8), disdaining not to take our human nature into the very closest union with His divinity, withhold from those who are partakers of with Him of the same flesh?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XV

There are few people who want never to convert, but most of them anticipate doing so tomorrow, or perhaps next year, or after this or that upcoming event in their life has passed… Whoever knows that, in his heart, he is still not right with God cannot afford to wait even a single day to address this matter.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 810, 11.

Patristic Quote of the Day

That bread which God the Word confesses to be his own body is the Word that nourishes souls, the Word proceeding from God, the very bread that comes from the living bread which is set upon our table, of which it is written: “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”—Origen, Commentary on Matthew 85.

Catechesis: Both Kinds

The Sacrament was instituted to comfort terrified minds. This happens when they believe that Christ’s flesh is given as food for the life of the world and when they believe that, being joined to Christ, they are made alive.—Ap XXII:10

20 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Let us stand in wonder at the marvelous power of our God, who was able to unite in one two natures so diverse as the divine and the human, so that one and the same Person is now both God and man.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIV

With our every step, we draw closer to eternity, but our condition in the short term of our life determines our fate in the long term of the hereafter. Our life is the path by which Christ leads us into eternal life or the world and our own flesh and blood lead us into eternal death.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 809. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Our Lord is the counterpart to the paschal lamb. Five days before he entered upon his suffering, he came to the place of his passion to teach that he was the one Isaiah had predicted.—The Venerable Bede, Exposition of the Gospel of Mark 2.3

Catechesis: Both Kinds

There is no doubt that using both parts in the Lord’s Supper is godly and in agreement with Christ’s institution and Paul’s words. For Christ instituted both parts, not for a portion of the Church, but for the whole Church. Not only presbyters, but the entire Church uses the Sacrament by Christ’s authority, and not by human authority. We suppose the adversaries recognize this.—Ap XXII:1

19 October 2021

The heavens declare the glory of God…

…and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Ps xix.1


Sunrise with Mercury on far left


Moon rise (Witch’s Moon)

Gerhard and Walther

Let us go now with the shepherds to the manger of Christ, that is, His church, and as He lay in that manger in swaddling clothes, so in the sacred scriptures, we shall find our Saviour.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIV

Times of persecution bless Christians by preserving them from security, from love of the world, and from a lust for its goods, joys, and glory. A desire to be out of the sinful world and in their true homeland with Christ is awakened in them.They experience the powerful divine comfort of the Word of God, and a spirit of confession arises in them.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 806.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The first coming of Christ the Lord, God’s Son and our God, was in obscurity. The second will be in sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity, no one recognized him but his own servants. When he comes openly, he will be known by both the good and the bad.—St. Augustine, Sermons 18:1-2

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints

The adversaries teach us to place confidence in the invocation of saints, although they have neither God’s Word nor the example of Scripture. They apply the saints’ merits on behalf of others in the same way they apply Christ’s merits, and they transfer to the saints the honor belonging only to Christ. Therefore, we cannot accept their opinions about the worship of the saints, nor the practice of invocation.—Ap XXI:31

18 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

He is the first and only-begotten of His mother here on earth, who according to His divine nature is the first and only-begotten of His Father in heaven.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIV

Let us not be content with the mere appearance of Christianity, but present ourselves to the Lord as we are. Let us, as poor sinners, daily fall at His feet, seek salvation with earnestness, follow Christ from our hearts, and serve Him. Thus He will one day recognize us as His own.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 802, 3.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When His disciples asked Him about the end, He said with precision: Of that day or that hour no one knows, not even himself—that is, when viewed according to the flesh, because he too, as human, lives within the limits of the human condition. He said this to show that viewed as an ordinary man, he does not know the future, for ignorance of the future is characteristic of the human condition. Insofar as he is viewed according to his divinity as the Word who is to come, to judge, to be bridegroom, however, he knows when and in what hour he will come.—St. Athanasius, Four Discourses Against the Arians 3.46

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints

Since the invocation of saints does not have a testimony from God’s Word, it cannot be affirmed that the saints understand our invocation or, even if they understand it, that God approves it.—Ap XXI:12

16 October 2021

This ‘n’ That Chores

For a couple years my covered window wells have looked like terraria. So today I unscrewed the covers and cleaned them out. Good thing my wife or daughters weren’t doing the job; they’d have had heart attacks over the spiders! And several years ago the kids had given me a purple martin house (because they eat so many mosquitoes). Unfortunately, the SPARROWS and WRENS moved in and refused to even allow the purple martins anywhere near (we saw them try one day when we were in the pool). Hosting a hotel for those little guys is a messy venture, so I took that down too. Only thing I didn’t deal with yet is the post at the bottom which David set in cement. It’s not budging. Also checked the gutters, and they were clean as a whistle. Good to get that kinda stuff done on a crisp fall day. Our thermometer says that it was still not 60 yet!

Oh, speaking of the Apocrypha…

…reading this morning was from Wisdom 5 and included these beautiful words:

But the righteous live for evermore; their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the most High, Therefore they shall receive a glorious kingdom, and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand he shall cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.—Wisdom 5:15,16. 

Ha! Starting a movement!

Well, at least Cindi and I are on board. She just got her new Bible: KJV with Apocrypha and all the original King James textual notes. It’s a really lovely edition. She saw how much I loved mine and decided to get one for herself. 

It’s a pricey little volume, but I’m planning on it being the last Bible I’ll ever use. It’s the perfect size. And quite easy to read. I love the old familiar words, the careful attention to Greek and Hebrew (evidenced in the notes) and the use of italics to show when they’ve added words to make sense in English. 

I’ve had mine now for over a year and I read it according to the schedule that was published in the original KJV, sadly not included in this volume. I’ve got a spreadsheet of it, though, if anyone wants a copy, give me your email.

Anyone else want to go back to the Authorized Version? 

Here’s where we get them:

Catechesis: Invocation of the Saints

Granted, the blessed Mary prays for the Church. 

Does she receive souls in death? 
Does she conquer death? 
Does she make alive? 

What does Christ do if the blessed Mary does these things? 

Although she is  most worthy of the most plentiful honors, yet she does not want to be made equal to Christ. 

Instead, she wants us to consider and follow her example.—Ap XXI:27

From the House Postils…

The sermon for this coming Sunday, Trinity 20, from 1532 and it sounds like was written today:

“Of course, apart from that, there is a great deal about us that is contrary to our Lord God and justly displeases him—things like anger, impatience, greed, belly-serving, sexual voyeurism, evil lusts, fornication, hatred, and other vices which are nothing other than abominable mortal sins—rampant everywhere in the world. But such sins are nothing compared to the terrible disdain of the divine Word, disdain that is so deep and so pervasive, that in truth, greed, stealing, adultery, whoremongering, and so forth, cannot even compare; yes, these sins would be as nothing if people would only love and esteem God’s Word… But worse still is the fact that this disregard for God’s Word is now so commonplace that this truly terrible, hellish, devilish sin is not even regarded as being sin at all, like other sins. Everyone simply dismisses it as a trifling matter that people fail to listen diligently to preaching; yes, the majority hold that opinion, believing that wine and beer taste as good when listening to the preaching of the Word as at any other time. Nobody is bothered by this, much less does anyone make it a matter of conscience for having such little regard for the beloved Word. This does not happen in connection with other sins, like murder, adultery, and robbery; for with them there is remorse, if not sooner then later, because the heart is horrified and wished it had never happened. For no one can regard these things as right. But for inattention to God’s Word, yes, for despising and ridiculing it, for this no one has conscience scruples.—HP III:93, 94.

15 October 2021

Catechesis: Invocation of Saints

Everyone should imitate the saints according to his calling.—Ap XXI:6

Patristic Quote of the Day

The more the Adversary rages, the more error deceives. Senselessness makes its pretenses, envy inflames, covetousness makes blind, impiety depraves, pride puffs up, discord exasperates, anger hurries headlong… Let the brethren beware of these things, for “I have told you all things beforehand.”—Cyprian of Carthage, On the Unity of the Church 16.

Gerhard and Walther

It is by faith alone that we are made partakers of this blessed spiritual union, as it is written, “I will betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” By faith we are engrafted as branches into Christ, the spiritual Vine, so that we derive all our life and strength from Him; and as those united in marriage are longer twain, but one flesh, so “he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,” because Christ dwells in our hearts by faith.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIII

In justification, sin is forgiven, but it retains its roots in our heart. Therefore, if a Christian does not daily renew himself, his heart will again become wild, like tree that is not pruned or a garden in which weeds are not removed.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 796.

14 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Consider, O faithful soul, His immeasurable love towards thee! A love that brought Him from heaven to earth; a love that bound Him to the post to be scourged; a love that nailed Him to the cross; a love that enclosed Him in the sepulchre; a love that dragged Him down to hell! What led Him to suffer all this, but a tender love for His spouse? And our hearts must be harder than stone and lead if such mighty love as this does not draw them upwards to God, from whom it first drew God Himself down to men.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XIII

If we want to use forgiveness rightly, we must depart from the prison of our sins. We do this by heartily accepting our absolution, by comforting our self in it. In other words, it is by maintaining a firm and certain faith. If we hear the preaching of the forgiveness of sins, let us believe that this preaching is God’s forgiveness for us.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 793. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

By the holy place is to be understood every saying of divine Scripture spoken by the prophets from Moses onwards, and by the Evangelists and apostles. In this holy place of all the Scriptures, Antichrist, the false Word, has often stood. This is the abomination of desolation.—Origen, Commentary on Matthew 42. 

Catechesis: Good Works

Faith does not remain in those who lose the Holy Spirit and reject repentance. As we have said before, faith exists in repentance.—Ap XX.90

13 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

By faith Sarah in her old age received strength to bear Isaac, her son; so by faith, though spiritually dead, we receive strength to bring forth Christ. For as Christ was once conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, so is He daily born in the faithful soul that keeps itself pure and free from worldly defilement.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XII

Instruction for a pious and virtuous life is the central teaching of every religion except Christianity. But in the kingdom established by Christ, the main thing is the forgiveness of sins. In order for all people to obtain this forgiveness, the Son of God became man and died on the cross. This was the real purpose of His entire great work on earth.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 789.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When alms are given, we attend to nothing else except the disposition required. And if you say that money is needed, and houses and clothes and shoes, read those words of Christ, which he spoke concerning the widow, and stop being anxious. For even if you are extremely poor, and among those that beg, if you cast in your two small coins, you have done all in your power. Though you offer only a barley cake, having only this, you will have arrived at the heart of the matter.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 52 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: Good Works

The consciences of the pious will not have sure enough comfort against the terrors of sin and of death, and against the devil tempting with despair, if they do not know that their confidence lies in the forgiveness of sins freely for Christ’s sake. This faith sustains and enlivens hearts in that most violent conflict with despair.—Ap XX:85.

12 October 2021

Deus deorum Dominus

The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.—Psalm 50:1

Gerhard and Walther

Consider, O my beloved soul, the excellency of faith, and then give thanks to God from whom alone it comes. Faith alone unites us to our Saviour, so that we derive our spiritual life, our justification, and our salvation, from Him, as the branches draw all their sustenance from the vine.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XII

So many fail to recognize the special comfort that lies in the private absolution is [due to the fact] that they do not vividly recognize their sins. They may say: “I have no need of this. I can sufficiently comfort myself from the general absolution.” However, is it not possible that a true Christian would not at times be so weighed down by his sins that from his heart he would gladly hear the voice, “your sins are forgive you?” Or are there today Christians with the kind of strong faith that people sought in vain at the time of the Reformation?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 787-8. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Sadducees do not have our hope for the resurrection, since they “know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God,” who is able to restore what is lost, to raise the dead to life, to revive what has rotted away, to gather together what is corruptible and finite. The Lord promised to do this, and he gives as a guarantee the promises he has already fulfilled. So let your faith speak of this to you, since your hope will not be disappointed even though your love may be put to the test.—St. Augustine, Letter 263.

Catechesis: Free Will

But those who dream that people can obey God’s Law without the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit is given so that obeying the Law may be considered meritorious, have wickedly hindered the distinction [between human and spiritual righteousness].—Ap XVIII:76

11 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Let Thy most sacred divinity, which sustained Thy human nature in Thy passion, which refrained from the exercise of its glorious power while the adorable mystery of my redemption was being wrought out, and which gave infinite value and merit to Thy suffering for sin, so that God might ransom me—me, a miserable sinner—with His own blood (Acts xx, 28), come to my assistance in my distress!—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation XI.

When a Christian receives and rests upon private absolution, is he not raised above all doubt? Must he not say when forgiveness is spoken to him in Christ’s name, it is just as if Christ Himself had come down from heaven and spoken it to him with His own mouth?—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 786.

Patristic Quote of the Day

All the more shall we bound to them [who were our spouses in this life], because we are destined to rise to a spiritual partnership. We will recognize both ourselves and those to whom we belong. Else how shall we sing thanks to God to eternity, if there shall remain in us no sense and memory of this relationship?—Tertullian, On Monogamy 10.

Catechesis: Human Traditions

Nothing in customary rites should be changed without a reasonable cause. So to nurture unity, old customs that can be kept without sin or great inconvenience should be kept.—Ap XV:52*

*Oh, what heartache and trouble our Synod would have saved itself across the years had it simply remembered and practiced this faithfully!

10 October 2021

What a wonderful visit!

Got to run up to Victor, Iowa and preach at St. John’s Lutheran Church for our dear friend, Jenn Rethwisch’s, installation as teacher at the local interparish school. Jenn taught for many years at Trinity-St. Paul Lutheran School (and she taught our youngest, Rebekah). Jenn’s hubby, Pr. Stuart Rethwisch was first a field worker at St. Paul’s and then our first vicar. AND our daughter Lauren and hubby Pr. Dean Herberts are godparents to the Rethwisch’s youngest lad: Eli. Great, great joy to see them again, and to worship in the breathtaking St. John’s!

09 October 2021

A Fall Evening

What is it about a fall evening, as the light is rapidly fading outside and the lamps glow warm inside, that is so inviting? 

08 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Shall we charge the Lord with a lie, or try to render His mercy of no effect by the weight of our sins? To charge God with a lie and to deny His mercy is one of the greatest sins we can commit; from which it appears that Judas committed a greater sin in despairing of God’s mercy, than did the Jews in crucifying Christ.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation X.

In addition, God has given the Christians prayer, through which they can obtain anything they think needful. God has also supplied them with the holy angels and all creatures as their servants, for He has ordered that everything—even the world with its temptations and troubles, even the devil with his trials and fiery darts, and even their own sins with their humiliations—must serve them for their best.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 781. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

That means render the image of Caesar, which is on the coin, to Caesar, and the image of God, which is imprinted on the person, to God. You give to Caesar only money. But to God, give yourself.—Tertullian, On Idolatry 15.

Catechesis: Human Traditions

We cheerfully maintain the old traditions made in the Church for the sake of usefulness and peace. We interpret them in a more moderate way and reject the opinion that they justify…. We can truly declare that the public form of the churches is more fitting with us than with the adversaries… Among us many use the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day. They do after they have been first instructed, examined, and absolved. The children sing psalms in order that they may learn. The people also sing so that they may either learn or pray… Among us the pastors and ministers of the churches are encouraged publicly to instruct and hear the youth. This ceremony produces the best fruit… In our churches all the sermons are filled with topics such as these: repentance; the fear of God; faith in Christ, the righteousness of faith, the comfort of consciences by faith; the exercises of faith; prayer, what its nature should be, and that we should be fully confident that it is powerful, that it is heard; the cross; the authority of officials and all civil ordinances; the distinction between the kingdom of Christ, or the spiritual kingdom, and political affairs; marriage; the education and instruction of children; chastity; all the offices of love. From this condition of the churches it may be determined that we earnestly keep Church discipline, godly ceremonies, and good Church customs.—Ap XV:38-44

07 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Take courage, O my soul, and forget thy sins, because thy Lord hath forgotten them.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation X

When a person comes to faith, there is always the danger that he could lose both soul and salvation. Next to God’s preserving grace, a thorough knowledge of the truth is the only certain means of avoiding the danger of deception by false teachers.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 778.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let no day pass without reading some portion of the sacred Scriptures, whenever you have time, and giving some space to meditation. Never cast off the habit of reading the holy Scriptures. Nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so much as those sacred studies.—Epistle to Lucian, 9 (attributed to Theonas of Alexandria)

Catechesis: Human Traditions

Against this look of wisdom and righteousness in human rites, which tricks people, let us strengthen ourselves by God’s Word. Let us know, first of all, that these rites neither merit the forgiveness of sins nor justification before God, nor are they necessary for justification. We have mentioned some testimonies above. Paul is full of them. To the Colossians he clearly says: Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col. 2:16-17)—Ap XV:29, 30.

06 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

A benefit is not recognized for which thanks are not rendered; we are not truly thankful to Him whom we do not love. If thy faith is genuine, it will recognize the great benefits conferred by Christ, thy Redeemer; aye, it will recognize and render thanks; it will render thanks and it will love Him.— Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

As long as the Gospel’s sun of grace does not shine in a person’s heart, his doctrine cannot make him certain of his state of grace. Until he can triumphantly call out, “I have now found the ground which eternally holds my anchor,” he can have only a timid and wavering heart in doctrine. But as soon as his doctrine has become for him a rock when he is terrified before God and hell, a rock to which he can cling and be rescued from the shipwreck of his sin, and a rock of righteousness upon which he can find security and peace for his soul, then his heart will be firm and certain.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 776, 7. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Remember at the time of the sin of Adam and Eve they clothed themselves—with what? Fig leaves! That was their first act after the fall. Son now Jesus is making the same figure of the fig tree the very last of his wondrous signs. Just as he headed toward the cross, he cursed the fig tree—not every fig tree, but that one alone for its symbolic significance—saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” In this way the curse laid upon Adam and Eve was being reversed. For they had clothed themselves with fig leaves.—St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 13.18

Catechesis: Human Traditions

Finally, where are we made certain that rites instituted by men justify without God’s command since nothing can be affirmed of God’s will without His Word?—Ap XV:17

05 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Love unites and transforms… If thou lovest God and divine things, thou shalt become divine.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

But even this does not confuse the one who has an established heart. He looks alone upon the certain, never-changing Word. This is the precious thing of which our text speaks: an established heart is not carried about by various strange doctrines. Blessed, blessed is the person who has attained this treasure!—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, pp. 774,5.

Patristic Quote of the Day

He began with a manger and finished with a donkey, in Bethlehem with a manger, in Jerusalem with a donkey.—St. Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on the Diatessaron.

Catechesis: Human Traditions

We should not add to God’s covenant, for God promises that He will be merciful to us for Christ’s sake. Nor should we add that we must first get such merit in order to be regarded as accepted and righteous through these observances.—Ap XV:12

04 October 2021

61. How can that be?

Well, today I am 61. AND my sweet wife royally spoiled me all day. I usually get the coffee going while she’s finishing up in the bathroom, but today, she was up and had it all ready for me to pour by the time I got out to the kitchen. She blessed me with two cool sweaters and some awesome gift wrap (see pic!). And while I had started work, she snuck out and filled up my gas tank (we came home last night near to empty). Then she made me my favorite breakfast (egg porridge and also sausage patties topped with cheese and fried egg). Then for lunch today she made me my favorite carnivore pepperoni pizza. And I still have a zerocarb cheesecake to look forward to for dessert. Yes, there is no two ways about it: she spoils me rotten. Thank you, my love!

Gerhard and Walther

Every manifestation of good in the creature is but an image of the perfect goodness which is in God, nay, which is God Himself. Why then should we desire to leave the reality to grasp the image?—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation IX

The most glorious thing about all of this is that whoever seeks from his heart the salvation of the Gospel receives another heart that begins to glow in love of God and neighbor.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 772.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When the sons of Zebedee were seeking from Jesus seats in his kingdom, he at once called them to drink of his chalice, that is, to pattern themselves after the struggle of his suffering.—Venerable Bede, Exposition of the Gospel of Mark 2.21. 

Catechesis: Number and Use of the Sacraments

But if ordination is understood as carrying out the ministry of the Word, we are willing to call ordination a Sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God’s command and glorious promises, “The gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Likewise, “So shall My word be that goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose.”—Ap XIII:11

03 October 2021

Trinity 18

You can’t really see it, but Cindi observed how fun that the kids were all jumbled up downstairs; a Schnare sitting with the Askins; an Askins sitting with Vicar’s family; and also an Askins sitting with the Schnares. Beautiful! That’s what the Church is all about.

02 October 2021

Luther gem from 1539

See that you exercise and confirm your faith, so that when you are troubled or when sin is besetting you, you go to the Sacrament and heartily desire it, and what it signifies, and do not doubt that it will be done unto you as the Sacrament declares, that Christ and all His saints will draw near to you with all their virtues, sufferings, and graces, to live, work, rest, suffer and die with you, and be so fully yours that they have all things in common with you. If you are willing to practice this belief and confirm it, you will experience what a rich and joyful wedding-meal your God has prepared for you on the altar.—from On the Councils and Churches, 1539

01 October 2021

Gerhard and Walther

What if my sins accuse me; in this Intercessor do I trust; greater is He who is for me than my sins that are against me.—Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditation VIII

Woe to the free church* [*that is, not under the control of the state] that does not want to risk everything so it remains a church that is pure in doctrine.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 765.

Patristic Quote of the Day

It is hard to be saved if we have them [riches]; and impossible if we love them; and scarcely can we have them, but we shall love them inordinately. Teach us, O Lord, this difficult lesson: to manage conscientiously the goods we possess, and not covetously desire more than you give to us.—St. Augustine, Letter 203.

Catechesis: Confession and Satisfaction

We have already frequently testified that repentance should produce good fruit. These good fruit are what the commandments teach: prayer, thanksgiving, the confession of the Gospel, teaching the Gospel, obeying parents and rulers, and being faithful to one’s calling. We should not kill, not hold on to hatred, but we should be forgiving and give to the needy, so far as we can according to our means. We should not commit sexual sins or adultery, but should hold in check, bridle, and chastise the flesh, not for repayment of eternal punishment, but so as not to obey the devil or offend the Holy Spirit. Likewise, we should speak the truth. These fruits have God’s command and should be produced for the sake of God’s glory and command. They have their rewards also—AC XIIB:77