Monday, December 22, 2008
2 Let Israel say: "His love endures forever."
3 Let the house of Aaron say: "His love endures forever."
4 Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever."
5 In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.
6 The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
11 They surrounded me on every side, but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
12 They swarmed around me like bees, but they died out as quickly as burning thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!
16 The LORD's right hand is lifted high; the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
17 I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18 The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
"His love endures forever." What comforting words for us. No matter what, we can count on God's love. I really love v. 6.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the LORD : "O LORD, save me!"
5 The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
6 The LORD protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.
7 Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
8 For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling,
9 that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living.
10 I believed; therefore I said, "I am greatly afflicted."
11 And in my dismay I said, "All men are liars."
12 How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.
14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
16 O LORD, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant; you have freed me from my chains.
17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.
You can really hear and feel the anguish of the psalmist in this psalm. And we today can certainly relate to those feelings. The LORD does save us. He has compassion on us. In our darkest, most anguished moment, He is right there. That is why the psalmist, though he has been going through a lot of "stuff" can speak of the LORD'S goodness and want to offer thanksgiving and praise. God is good to His children. I especially love vs. 8 and 15.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
Most Christians say the Lord's Prayer often. Christians need to take care that they don't start just saying the words without thinking about what those words really mean! The Small and Large Catechisms of course are wonderful resources that expounds on the meaning of the Lord's Prayer. And this book by Martin Chemnitz is another valuable resource. He analyzes the petitions of the Lord's Prayer and helps the reader to get a fuller understanding of why we address God the way we do and why we pray what we do in this prayer. It's very easy to read and has many insights.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
An awesome thing about Bronner's is the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. I'll always remember walking along the path outside the chapel and seeing the words of "Silent Night" in all different languages. Very powerful.
18 When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O LORD, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
I always thought this was so comforting. In life, don't we feel like we are slipping a lot? Don't we feel great anxiety? But the Lord never leaves us. He is always right there to support us and console us. Thus we can have joy even in the most difficult and challenging times of our lives.
Friday, December 12, 2008
"The title 'our Father' teaches us with what faith and confidence we are to pray to God. We are not to pray in proud and Pharisaic presumption based on our own justice or worthiness, or on the works and merits either of ourselves or others. We are to pray with the humble acknowledgement and confession of our own unworthiness. We are to pray with the merits and intercession of the only Son of God, our Mediator, through whom the Father has adopted us to be sons and heirs (Eph. 1:5).
Likewise, the fullness of this title 'Father' reminds us of a very sweet consolation. We have 'a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God' (Heb. 2:17). 'But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense...He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins' (1 John 2:1-2). 'He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them' (Heb. 7:25, cf. Heb. 9:24). He has received gifts from kings (Ps. 68:29), and he gives the same to us (Eph. 4:11). We are not commanded to call God a lord, just, great, almighty, or terrible, but our Father. By these words those who pray are confident that they will be heard and that they will obtain their requests. 'Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need' (Heb. 4:16)... The title 'Father' gives us confidence. As Christ himself declares in John 16:23, our prayers are neither grievous nor ungrateful to God. The Father so loves us that he is delighted with this our duty. When we come to him with our prayers, his fatherly mind is full of care for our necessities (Matt 6:32). Of his own accord he is ready and active to hear and to help us 'as a father has compassion on his children' (Ps 103:13; cf. Lk. 11:9)."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
This was written and first performed in 1984 to raise money for relief of the 1984-85 Ethiopian famine. Artists such as Duran Duran, Phil Collins, George Michael, Bono, Paul Young, Sting, Kool and the Gang, and others participated. I dig when a bunch of artists get together like this and perform together, especially when it is for a good cause.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The premise of the show is that two families swap wives/mothers for two weeks. Usually the families are are extreme opposites in some way (eg. one wife is extremely neat and orderly while the other is extremely messy or one family has tons of rules while the other has no rules and the kids do whatever they want). So it's interesting. And then when you have say a family of clowns or family of pirates, it's really interesting. For the first week, the wife/mother has to abide by the rules of the house. The second week, she gets to set the rules that the family must follow. This is often very difficult for the family, taking them out of their comfort zone.
Though it's kind of disturbing sometimes to see how some people live, it's fascinating to watch, and it's actually quite touching at times, because often families really do learn something from each other. Sometimes the mom (or dad) sees she or he needs to spend more time with the kids, or sometimes they learn how to do something that makes the household run more efficiently. So it's kind of cool. Someone kind of laughed at me the other day for liking this show, but hey, I dig it.
This verse has been going through my mind a lot lately. It was the theme verse of my Christmas letter in fact. Though this past year has had its challenges (as every year has its challenges), there have been so many blessings. And all blessings come from God. He is the Giver of all good things. Sometimes we are guilty of not recognizing the blessings or not expressing gratitude for His blessings. But He keeps on giving the blessings anyway. Because God gives not based on what we do or how "good" we are (thank God, since we are sinful to the core!). He gives purely out of grace. My friend Lisa, from when I first met her would say, "Blessings are chasing you down." That's always stuck with me. Of course the greatest blessing is that Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life. Then there are the blessings of family, friends, vocation, house, food, clothing, music, and on and on and on. So many blessings! What a loving, awesome God we have!
Sunday, December 7, 2008
The Lord's Prayer, Chapter 1 An Introduction (We pray in faith that we would receive from God blessings)--Martin Chemnitz
"We also pray in faith that we would receive from God the blessings of this life and that by his blessings they may be profitable for us. Because God would have this glory given to himself as the Fountain, Author, and Giver of every good thing (James 1:17) and that we should wholly rely upon him, therefore we, in prayer, testify that we neither ascribe them to any other nor seek them elsewhere. We completely hope for, expect, and require the same from God alone. For God has promised that he will be ready and willing to help. In our prayers we lay our wants and needs before God, not as though he did not know them, but that by pouring out our cares into the Lord's bosom, we may unburden and comfort our souls. This promise is very sweet and comforting (Ps. 37:5; 55:22). 'Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you' (1 Pet. 5:7). Chrysostom adds this reason why we should pray: 'That by often calling upon God we may become familiar with him.' He urges prayer that we may more highly esteem and more reverently use that which God bestows upon us when we ask and knock."
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
In grateful devotion our tribute we bring.
We lay it before You, we kneel and adore You;
We bless Your holy name, glad praises we sing.
We worship You, God of our fathers, we bless You;
Through trial and tempest our guide You have been.
When perils o'ertake us, You will not forsake us,
And with Your help, O Lord, our struggles we win.
With voices united our praises we offer
And gladly our songs of thanksgiving we raise.
With You, Lord, beside us, Your strong arm will guide us.
To You, our great Redeemer, forever be praise!
Text: Julia B. Cory
Tune: Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck, Haarlem, 1626
This is such a wonderful hymn of praise and thanksgiving, that clearly reminds us of all the wonderful things our Lord has done and continues to do for us.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
This a well known and well loved psalm and for good reason--it gives such a comforting image of our LORD. He is our Shepherd taking care of us, the helpless and often stupid sheep. We need not fear death or anything else with our Shepherd taking care of us.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Catechisms and Smalcald Articles came from the pen of Martin Luther; the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, and the Treatise were written by Luther's co-worker, the scholarly Phillip Melanchthon; the Formula of Concord was given its final form chiefly by Jacob Andreae, Martin Chemnitz, and Nicholas Selnecker."
Confessional Lutherans believe these confessions in the Book of Concord are a correct exposition of the Scriptures. So, it's a pretty important book! It is awesome to read and re-read the confessions and see how clearly articulated all the doctrines are. Evey time the Book of Concord is read, something new can be gained or something significant can be reinforced.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
2 I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing."
3 As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
5 LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. 7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.
11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Truly apart from God we have no good thing. Though we face many difficulties in our pilgrimage here on earth, because of the LORD we can say we are not shaken. All our security and confidence is in what our LORD has done for us. And we know the grave cannot hold us because it could not hold our Savior. We have eternal life and joy that knows no end because of Christ.
Friday, November 21, 2008
When I saw the Paralympic coverage of the Beijing '08 games on TV, I was incredibly moved and inspired. The coverage included not just the events themselves, but stories about the athletes and the struggles they had overcome and the hard work they had put it to be at the games. These athletes have so much to teach about determination, perseverance, and courage.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Greater joy--that is what we have because of our LORD. It's a joy that is not found in the things of this world. It's a joy we can have even in the face of the greatest adversities. And peace is ours too. V. 8 is such a wonderful verse to think of as you go to bed at night.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This is one of those songs for me that when I heard it on the radio, I had to right away track down based on a snippet of lyrics who sang it and download it. The chorus is catchy, and I can play it over and over again. I wasn't really familiar with Eric Hutchinson. He kind of reminds me of Jason Mraz.
"If she wanna rock she rocks
If she wanna roll she rolls
She can roll with the punches
Long as she feels like she’s in control
If she wanna stay she stays
If she wanna go she goes
She doesn't care how she gets there
Long as she gets somewhere she knows"
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI God's Eternal Foreknowledge and Election (par 48-49)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article XI God's Eternal Foreknowledge and Election (par 45-47)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae
Saturday, November 15, 2008
My Sweet Love (Viral Video) from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.
This is my favorite song (right now anyway) from Mellencamp's 2008 album Life Death Love and Freedom. The music sticks in your head. There are a couple versions of the music video, but I prefer this one and think it's very creative.
Listen or download here
26 And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!
Job had been through a lot; he knew suffering. And he went through times of questioning God and not understanding why he had to suffer. Yet here he expresses his faith in his Redeemer. He speaks boldly about the resurrection of the body and eternal life. We too, by faith in Christ, can say these words with confidence! We need not fear death; because our Savior lives, we too shall live.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Esther bravely states she will go ahead and speak to the king in order to try to save her people, even though it means she could be killed. Though God isn't mentioned by name in the book of Esther, we see God at work in passages like this. He strengthened Esther and enabled her to speak these words and to risk her life.
This verse is special to me because it is part of the deaconess motto. I pray God will give me the strength to serve Him to the best of my ability no matter what the cost. Even if it would mean my life.
The first time I heard this song was when I played an 80s compilation CD I borrowed from I guy I was dating at the time years ago. I loved the music, and I played it one time in the car when my parents and I were going to Michigan. My mom loved it, and from that point on it became our official road trip song that we have to play everytime we are traveling somewhere. It's one of these songs that lyrically isn't that profound, but it sure is fun!
"See chameleon, lying there in the sun. All things to everyone. Run runaway."
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VIII The Person of Christ (par 96)--Chemnitz, Selnecker, and Andreae
At the end of the section that discusses errors people put forth regarding the natures of Christ:
"Since in the Holy Scriptures Christ is called a mystery upon which all heretics dash their heads, we admonish all Christians not to arrogantly indulge their reason in crafty investigations about such mysteries. With the beloved apostles, they should simply believe. They should close the eyes of their reason and bring their understanding into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5), and rejoice without ceasing in the fact that our flesh and blood is placed so high at the right hand of God's majesty and almighty power. In this way we will certainly find constant consolation in every difficulty and remain well guarded against deadly error."