Tuesday, November 6, 2018


“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; Matthew 23:37-38

Preaching the admonition of Jesus from Matthew 23, John Chrysostom lays the blame of empty churches/dwindling church rolls on those who follow the false prophets in touting the success of the Church and pursuing the same by earthly measures and means.



Are we listening?

3. Then He directs His speech unto the city, in this way too being minded to correct His hearers, and says, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! 
Matthew 23:37 What means the repetition? This is the manner of one pitying her, and bemoaning her, and greatly loving her. For, like as unto a woman beloved, herself indeed ever loved, but who had despised Him that loved her, and therefore on the point of being punished, He pleads, being now about to inflict the punishment. Which He does in the prophets also, using these words, I said, Turn thou unto me, and she returned not. Jeremiah 3:7

Then having called her, He tells also her blood-stained deeds, Thou that killest the prophets, and stone them that are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, and you would not, in this way also pleading for His own dealings; not even with these things have you turned me aside, nor withdrawn me from my great affection toward you, but it was my desire even so, not once or twice, but often to draw you unto me. For how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens, and you would not. And this He says, to show that they were ever scattering themselves by their sins. And His affection He indicates by the similitude; for indeed the creature is warm in its love towards its brood. And everywhere in the prophets is this same image of the wings, and in the song of Moses and in the Psalms, indicating His great protection and care.

But ye would not, He says. Behold your house is left desolate, Matthew 23:38 stripped of the succor which comes from me. Surely it was the same, who also was before protecting them, and holding them together, and preserving them; surely it was He who was ever chastening them. And He appoints a punishment, which they had ever dreaded exceedingly; for it declared the entire overthrow of their polity. For I say unto you, You shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord. Matthew 23:39 And this is the language of one that loves earnestly, earnestly drawing them unto Him by the things to come, not merely warning them by the past; for of the future day of His second coming does He here speak. . . .

5. . . . But are you on fire with exceeding desire for riches. Have the possessions of all men instead of your own. For indeed I give you, He says, more than you seek, in opening to you the houses of the wealthy throughout the world. For whosoever has forsaken father or mother, or lands, or house, shall receive an hundredfold. 
Matthew 19:29 Thus will you not enjoy more abundant possessions only, but you will even remove this grievous thirst altogether, and will endure all things easily, so far from desiring more, not seeking often even necessary things. Thus does Paul suffer hunger, and is held in honor more than when he ate. Forasmuch as a wrestler also, when striving, and winning crowns, would not choose to give up and to be in repose; and a merchant who has entered on sea voyages would not desire to be afterwards in idleness.

And we therefore, if we should taste as we ought of spiritual fruits, shall thenceforth not even account the things present to be anything, being seized by the desire of the things to come as with some most noble intoxication.

Let us taste of them, therefore, that we may both be delivered from the turmoil of the things present, and may attain the goodthings to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the might, now and ever, and world without end. Amen.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

The DIDACHE: The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

The Didache

The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

Image may contain: one or more people

I. The Two Ways and the First Commandment.

1. There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.
2. The way of life is this:" First, you shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbor as thyself; and whatsoever thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not thou to another."
3. Now, the teaching of these words is this: "Bless those that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those that persecute you. For what credit is it to you if you love those that love you? Do not even the heathen do the same?" But, for your part, "love those that hate you," and you will have no enemy.
4. "Abstain from carnal" and bodily "lusts." "If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also," and thou wilt be perfect. "If any man impress thee to go with him one mile, go with him two. If any man take thy coat, give him thy shirt also. If any man will take from thee what is thine, refuse it not," not even if thou canst.
5. Give to everyone that asks thee, and do not refuse, for the Father's will is that we give to all from the gifts we have received. Blessed is he that gives according to the mandate; for he is innocent; but he who receives it without need shall be tried as to why he took and for what, and being in prison he shall be examined as to his deeds, and "he shall not come out thence until he pay the last farthing."
6. But concerning this it was also said, "Let thine alms sweat into thine hands until thou knowest to whom thou art giving."

II. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden.

1.             But the second commandment of the teaching is this:
2. "Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods";
3. Thou shalt not commit perjury, "thou shall not bear false witness"; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice.
4. Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is the snare of death.
5. Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action.
6. Thou shalt not be covetous nor extortionate, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor proud, thou shalt make no evil plan against thy neighbor.
7. Thou shalt hate no man; but some thou shalt reprove, and for some shalt thou pray, and some thou shalt love more then thine own life.

III. Other Sins Forbidden.

1. My child, flee from every evil man and from all like him.
2. Be not proud, for pride leads to murder, nor jealous, nor contentious, nor passionate, for from all these murders are engendered.
3. My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication, nor a speaker of base words, nor a lifter up of the eyes, for from all these is adultery engendered.
4. My child, regard not omens, for this leads to idolatry; neither be an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a magician, neither wish to see these things, for from them all is idolatry engendered.
5. My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft, nor a lover of money, nor vain-glorious, for from all these things are thefts engendered.
6. My child, be not a grumbler, for this leads to blasphemy, nor stubborn, nor a thinker of evil, for from all these are blasphemies engendered.
7. But be thou "meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth;"
8. Be thou long-suffering, and merciful and guileless, and quiet, and good, and ever fearing the words which thou hast heard.
9. Thou shalt not exalt thyself, nor let thy soul be presumptuous. Thy soul shall not consort with the lofty, but thou shalt walk with righteous and humble men.
10. Receive the accidents that befall to thee as good, knowing that nothing happens without God.

IV. Various Precepts.

1. My child, thou shalt remember, day and night, him who speaks the word of God to thee, and thou shalt honor him as the Lord, for where the Lord's nature is spoken of, there is he present.
2. And thou shalt seek daily the presence of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words.
3. Thou shalt not desire a schism, but shalt reconcile those that strive. Thou shalt give righteous judgement; thou shalt favor no mans person in reproving transgression.
4. Thou shalt not be of two minds whether it shall be or not.
5. Be not one who stretches out his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving.
6. Of whatsoever thou hast gained by thy hands thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins.
7. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor shalt thou grumble when thou givest, for thou shalt know who is the good Paymaster of the reward.
8. Thou shalt not turn away the needy, but shalt share everything with thy brother, and shalt not say it is thine own, for if you are sharers in the imperishable, how much more in the things which perish?
9. Thou shalt not withhold thine hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but thou shalt teach them the fear of God from their youth up.
10. Thou shalt not command in thy bitterness thy slave or thine handmaid, who hope in the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he comes not to call men with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit has prepared.
11. But do you who are slaves be subject to your master, as to God's representative, in reverence and fear.
12. Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord.
13. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord, but thou shalt keep what thou didst receive, "Adding nothing to it and taking nothing away."
14. In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

V. The Way of Death.

1. But the Way of Death is this: First of all, it is wicked and full of cursing, murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, charms, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, a double heart, fraud, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul speech, jealousy, impudence, haughtiness, boastfulness.
2. Persecutors of the good, haters of truth, lovers of lies, knowing not the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, spending wakeful nights not for good but for wickedness, from whom meekness and patience is far, lovers of vanity, following after reward, unmerciful to the poor, not working for him who is oppressed with toil, without knowledge of him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of God's creatures, turning away the needy, oppressing the distressed, advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful; may ye be delivered, my children, from all these.

VI. Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols.

1. See "that no one make thee to err" from this Way of the teaching, for he teaches thee without God.
2. For if thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect, but if thou canst not, do what thou canst.
3. And concerning food, bear what thou canst, but keep strictly from that which is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.

VII. Concerning Baptism.

1. Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, "baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," in running water;
2. But if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm.
3. But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
4. And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.

VIII. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord's Prayer).

1. Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
2. And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever."
3. Pray thus three times a day.

IX. The Eucharist.

1. And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus:
2. First concerning the Cup, "We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child; to thee be glory for ever."
3. And concerning the broken Bread: "We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
4. As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, but was brought together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom, for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever."
5. But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

X. Prayer after Communion.

1. But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks:
2. "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in out hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
3. Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child.
4. Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever.
5. Remember, Lord, thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and gather it together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it. For thine is the power and the glory for ever.
6. Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come! if any man be not, let him repent: Maranatha ("Our Lord! Come!"), Amen."
7. But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will.

XI. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets.

1. Whosoever then comes and teaches you all these things aforesaid, receive him.
2. But if the teacher himself be perverted and teach another doctrine to destroy these things, do not listen to him, but if his teaching be for the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
3. And concerning the Apostles and Prophets, act thus according to the ordinance of the Gospel.
4. Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord,
5. But let him not stay more than one day, or if need be a second as well; but if he stay three days, he is a false prophet.
6. And when an Apostle goes forth let him accept nothing but bread till he reach his night's lodging; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.
7. Do not test or examine any prophet who is speaking in a spirit, "for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven."
8. But not everyone who speaks in a spirit is a prophet, except he have the behaviour of the Lord. From his behaviour, then, the false prophet and the true prophet shall be known.
9. And no prophet who orders a meal in a spirit shall eat of it: otherwise he is a false prophet.
10. And every prophet who teaches truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet.
11. But no prophet who has been tried and is genuine, though he enact a worldly mystery of the Church, if he teach not others to do what he does himself, shall be judged by you: for he has his judgment with God, for so also did the prophets of old.
12. But whosoever shall say in a spirit "Give me money, or something else," you shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others in want, let none judge him.

XII. Reception of Christians.

1. Let everyone who "comes in the Name of the Lord" be received; but when you have tested him you shall know him, for you shall have understanding of true and false.
2. If he who comes is a traveller, help him as much as you can, but he shall not remain with you more than two days, or, if need be, three.
3. And if he wishes to settle among you and has a craft, let him work for his bread.
4. But if he has no craft provide for him according to your understanding, so that no man shall live among you in idleness because he is a Christian.
5. But if he will not do so, he is making traffic of Christ; beware of such.

XIII. Support of Prophets.

1. But every true prophet who wishes to settle among you is "worthy of his food."
2. Likewise a true teacher is himself worthy, like the workman, of his food.
3. Therefore thou shalt take the firstfruit of the produce of the winepress and of the threshingfloor and of oxen and sheep, and shalt give them as the firstfruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.
4. But if you have not a prophet, give to the poor.
5. If thou makest bread, take the firstfruits, and give it according to the commandment.
6. Likewise when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, give the firstfruits to the prophets.
7. Of money also and clothes, and of all your possessions, take the firstfruits, as it seem best to you, and give according to the commandment.

XIV. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day.

1. On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure;
2. But let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled.
3. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, "In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king," saith the Lord, "and my name is wonderful among the heathen."

XV. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof.

1. Appoint therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved, for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers.
2. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honourable men together with the prophets and teachers.
3. And reprove one another not in wrath but in peace as you find in the Gospel, and let none speak with any who has done wrong to his neighbour, nor let him hear a word from you until he repents.
4. But your prayers and alms and all your acts perform as ye find in the Gospel of our Lord.

XVI. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord.


1. "Watch" over your life "let your lamps" be not quenched "and your loins" be not ungirded, but be "ready," for ye know not "the hour in which our Lord cometh."
2. But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time;
3. For in the last days the false prophets and the corruptors shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate;
4. For as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began.
5. Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and "many shall be offended" and be lost, but "they who endure" in their faith "shall be saved" by the curse itself.
6. And "then shall appear the signs" of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead:
7. But not of all the dead, but as it was said, "The Lord shall come and all his saints with him."
8. Then shall the world "see the Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven."

Thursday, December 28, 2017

On the Fourth Day of Christmas Our Dear LORD Gave to Us

December 29: The Holy Innocents, Martyrs

Matthew 2: 16-23
Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”


19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

Martin Luther writes:
We resist evil with the ministry of the Word [in Christ’s kingdom of the Church] and sword [in Christ’s kingdom of the world], and yet, the evils which cannot be averted we bear to our great advantage but to their detriment and destruction.
In regard to this line of thought there is also a celebrated dictum of Gregory: “The ungodly do good to us by doing evil.” And Augustine says of the infants slain by Herod that an enemy with his whole strength and all the resources of his kingdom could not have benefited the children more than by killing them.
Accordingly, God humbles those who are His to exalt them: He kills them to make them alive; He confounds them to glorify them; He makes them subject to raise them up.

Still the question persists, “How can a loving God allow such horrible things to happen?” For some, the question is an excuse for atheism. For others, a cry of pain in the midst of trying times, or even a prayer for faltering faith.

For the Baptized, the answer as touched upon by Luther, Gregory, and Augustine above, is to be found in the Word of God and Him made flesh to dwell among us even now in our suffering. As always, God has the bigger, global, intergenerational, eternal picture in mind.

·          Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:19-20
·          As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3
·          Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
     “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

        we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:35-37
·          So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. . . . For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7, 10
·          Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. . . .  God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? . . . He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. Hebrews 10:3, 7, 10
lm

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The DIDACHE: Catechism of the Apostolic Church


The Didache
The Lord's Teaching Through the Twelve Apostles to the Nations.

I. The Two Ways and the First Commandment.
1. There are two Ways, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the two Ways.
2. The way of life is this:" First, you shalt love the God who made thee, secondly, thy neighbor as thyself; and whatsoever thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not thou to another."
3. Now, the teaching of these words is this: "Bless those that curse you, and pray for your enemies, and fast for those that persecute you. For what credit is it to you if you love those that love you? Do not even the heathen do the same?" But, for your part, "love those that hate you," and you will have no enemy.
4. "Abstain from carnal" and bodily "lusts." "If any man smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also," and thou wilt be perfect. "If any man impress thee to go with him one mile, go with him two. If any man take thy coat, give him thy shirt also. If any man will take from thee what is thine, refuse it not," not even if thou canst.
5. Give to everyone that asks thee, and do not refuse, for the Father's will is that we give to all from the gifts we have received. Blessed is he that gives according to the mandate; for he is innocent; but he who receives it without need shall be tried as to why he took and for what, and being in prison he shall be examined as to his deeds, and "he shall not come out thence until he pay the last farthing."
6. But concerning this it was also said, "Let thine alms sweat into thine hands until thou knowest to whom thou art giving."

II. The Second Commandment: Grave Sin Forbidden.
1. But the second commandment of the teaching is this:
2. "Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods";
3. Thou shalt not commit perjury, "thou shall not bear false witness"; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice.
4. Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued, for to be double-tongued is the snare of death.
5. Thy speech shall not be false nor vain, but completed in action.
6. Thou shalt not be covetous nor extortionate, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor proud, thou shalt make no evil plan against thy neighbor.
7. Thou shalt hate no man; but some thou shalt reprove, and for some shalt thou pray, and some thou shalt love more then thine own life.

III. Other Sins Forbidden.
1. My child, flee from every evil man and from all like him.
2. Be not proud, for pride leads to murder, nor jealous, nor contentious, nor passionate, for from all these murders are engendered.
3. My child, be not lustful, for lust leads to fornication, nor a speaker of base words, nor a lifter up of the eyes, for from all these is adultery engendered.
4. My child, regard not omens, for this leads to idolatry; neither be an enchanter, nor an astrologer, nor a magician, neither wish to see these things, for from them all is idolatry engendered.
5. My child, be not a liar, for lying leads to theft, nor a lover of money, nor vain-glorious, for from all these things are thefts engendered.
6. My child, be not a grumbler, for this leads to blasphemy, nor stubborn, nor a thinker of evil, for from all these are blasphemies engendered.
7. But be thou "meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth;"
8. Be thou long-suffering, and merciful and guileless, and quiet, and good, and ever fearing the words which thou hast heard.
9. Thou shalt not exalt thyself, nor let thy soul be presumptuous. Thy soul shall not consort with the lofty, but thou shalt walk with righteous and humble men.
10. Receive the accidents that befall to thee as good, knowing that nothing happens without God.

IV. Various Precepts.
1. My child, thou shalt remember, day and night, him who speaks the word of God to thee, and thou shalt honor him as the Lord, for where the Lord's nature is spoken of, there is he present.
2. And thou shalt seek daily the presence of the saints, that thou mayest find rest in their words.
3. Thou shalt not desire a schism, but shalt reconcile those that strive. Thou shalt give righteous judgement; thou shalt favor no mans person in reproving transgression.
4. Thou shalt not be of two minds whether it shall be or not.
5. Be not one who stretches out his hands to receive, but shuts them when it comes to giving.
6. Of whatsoever thou hast gained by thy hands thou shalt give a ransom for thy sins.
7. Thou shalt not hesitate to give, nor shalt thou grumble when thou givest, for thou shalt know who is the good Paymaster of the reward.
8. Thou shalt not turn away the needy, but shalt share everything with thy brother, and shalt not say it is thine own, for if you are sharers in the imperishable, how much more in the things which perish?
9. Thou shalt not withhold thine hand from thy son or from thy daughter, but thou shalt teach them the fear of God from their youth up.
10. Thou shalt not command in thy bitterness thy slave or thine handmaid, who hope in the same God, lest they cease to fear the God who is over you both; for he comes not to call men with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit has prepared.
11. But do you who are slaves be subject to your master, as to God's representative, in reverence and fear.
12. Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy, and everything that is not pleasing to the Lord.
13. Thou shalt not forsake the commandments of the Lord, but thou shalt keep what thou didst receive, "Adding nothing to it and taking nothing away."
14. In the congregation thou shalt confess thy transgressions, and thou shalt not betake thyself to prayer with an evil conscience. This is the way of life.

V. The Way of Death.
1. But the Way of Death is this: First of all, it is wicked and full of cursing, murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, witchcrafts, charms, robberies, false witness, hypocrisies, a double heart, fraud, pride, malice, stubbornness, covetousness, foul speech, jealousy, impudence, haughtiness, boastfulness.
2. Persecutors of the good, haters of truth, lovers of lies, knowing not the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, spending wakeful nights not for good but for wickedness, from whom meekness and patience is far, lovers of vanity, following after reward, unmerciful to the poor, not working for him who is oppressed with toil, without knowledge of him who made them, murderers of children, corrupters of God's creatures, turning away the needy, oppressing the distressed, advocates of the rich, unjust judges of the poor, altogether sinful; may ye be delivered, my children, from all these.

VI. Against False Teachers, and Food Offered to Idols.
1. See "that no one make thee to err" from this Way of the teaching, for he teaches thee without God.
2. For if thou canst bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect, but if thou canst not, do what thou canst.
3. And concerning food, bear what thou canst, but keep strictly from that which is offered to idols, for it is the worship of dead gods.

VII. Concerning Baptism.
1. Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all these things, "baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost," in running water;
2. But if thou hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst not in cold, then in warm.
3. But if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head "in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
4. And before the baptism let the baptiser and him who is to be baptised fast, and any others who are able. And thou shalt bid him who is to be baptised to fast one or two days before.

VIII. Fasting and Prayer (the Lord's Prayer).
1. Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.
2. And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: "Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever."
3. Pray thus three times a day.

IX. The Eucharist.
1. And concerning the Eucharist, hold Eucharist thus:
2. First concerning the Cup, "We give thanks to thee, our Father, for the Holy Vine of David thy child, which, thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child; to thee be glory for ever."
3. And concerning the broken Bread: "We give thee thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
4. As this broken bread was scattered upon the mountains, but was brought together and became one, so let thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth into thy kingdom, for thine is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ for ever."
5. But let none eat or drink of your Eucharist except those who have been baptised in the Lord's Name. For concerning this also did the Lord say, "Give not that which is holy to the dogs."

X. Prayer after Communion.
1. But after you are satisfied with food, thus give thanks:
2. "We give thanks to thee, O Holy Father, for thy Holy Name which thou didst make to tabernacle in out hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou didst make known to us through Jesus thy Child. To thee be glory for ever.
3. Thou, Lord Almighty, didst create all things for thy Name's sake, and didst give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to thee, but us hast thou blessed with spiritual food and drink and eternal light through thy Child.
4. Above all we give thanks to thee for that thou art mighty. To thee be glory for ever.
5. Remember, Lord, thy Church, to deliver it from all evil and to make it perfect in thy love, and gather it together in its holiness from the four winds to thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it. For thine is the power and the glory for ever.
6. Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come! if any man be not, let him repent: Maranatha ("Our Lord! Come!"), Amen."
7. But suffer the prophets to hold Eucharist as they will.

XI. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets.
1. Whosoever then comes and teaches you all these things aforesaid, receive him.
2. But if the teacher himself be perverted and teach another doctrine to destroy these things, do not listen to him, but if his teaching be for the increase of righteousness and knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.
3. And concerning the Apostles and Prophets, act thus according to the ordinance of the Gospel.
4. Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord,
5. But let him not stay more than one day, or if need be a second as well; but if he stay three days, he is a false prophet.
6. And when an Apostle goes forth let him accept nothing but bread till he reach his night's lodging; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.
7. Do not test or examine any prophet who is speaking in a spirit, "for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven."
8. But not everyone who speaks in a spirit is a prophet, except he have the behaviour of the Lord. From his behaviour, then, the false prophet and the true prophet shall be known.
9. And no prophet who orders a meal in a spirit shall eat of it: otherwise he is a false prophet.
10. And every prophet who teaches truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet.
11. But no prophet who has been tried and is genuine, though he enact a worldly mystery of the Church, if he teach not others to do what he does himself, shall be judged by you: for he has his judgment with God, for so also did the prophets of old.
12. But whosoever shall say in a spirit "Give me money, or something else," you shall not listen to him; but if he tell you to give on behalf of others in want, let none judge him.

XII. Reception of Christians.
1. Let everyone who "comes in the Name of the Lord" be received; but when you have tested him you shall know him, for you shall have understanding of true and false.
2. If he who comes is a traveller, help him as much as you can, but he shall not remain with you more than two days, or, if need be, three.
3. And if he wishes to settle among you and has a craft, let him work for his bread.
4. But if he has no craft provide for him according to your understanding, so that no man shall live among you in idleness because he is a Christian.
5. But if he will not do so, he is making traffic of Christ; beware of such.

XIII. Support of Prophets.
1. But every true prophet who wishes to settle among you is "worthy of his food."
2. Likewise a true teacher is himself worthy, like the workman, of his food.
3. Therefore thou shalt take the firstfruit of the produce of the winepress and of the threshingfloor and of oxen and sheep, and shalt give them as the firstfruits to the prophets, for they are your high priests.
4. But if you have not a prophet, give to the poor.
5. If thou makest bread, take the firstfruits, and give it according to the commandment.
6. Likewise when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, give the firstfruits to the prophets.
7. Of money also and clothes, and of all your possessions, take the firstfruits, as it seem best to you, and give according to the commandment.

XIV. Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day.
1. On the Lord's Day of the Lord come together, break bread and hold Eucharist, after confessing your transgressions that your offering may be pure;
2. But let none who has a quarrel with his fellow join in your meeting until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice be not defiled.
3. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord, "In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king," saith the Lord, "and my name is wonderful among the heathen."

XV. Bishops and Deacons; Christian Reproof.
1. Appoint therefore for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, meek men, and not lovers of money, and truthful and approved, for they also minister to you the ministry of the prophets and teachers.
2. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honourable men together with the prophets and teachers.
3. And reprove one another not in wrath but in peace as you find in the Gospel, and let none speak with any who has done wrong to his neighbour, nor let him hear a word from you until he repents.
4. But your prayers and alms and all your acts perform as ye find in the Gospel of our Lord.

XVI. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord.
1. "Watch" over your life "let your lamps" be not quenched "and your loins" be not ungirded, but be "ready," for ye know not "the hour in which our Lord cometh."
2. But be frequently gathered together seeking the things which are profitable for your souls, for the whole time of your faith shall not profit you except ye be found perfect at the last time;
3. For in the last days the false prophets and the corruptors shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate;
4. For as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders and the earth shall be given over into his hands and he shall commit iniquities which have never been since the world began.
5. Then shall the creation of mankind come to the fiery trial and "many shall be offended" and be lost, but "they who endure" in their faith "shall be saved" by the curse itself.
6. And "then shall appear the signs" of the truth. First the sign spread out in Heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead:
7. But not of all the dead, but as it was said, "The Lord shall come and all his saints with him."
8. Then shall the world "see the Lord coming on the clouds of Heaven."


Sunday, July 26, 2015

God's Rainbow Promise--It's Not What the GLBTs Say It Is

In today’s OT lesson God tells Noah--and all mankind who would born of him and his family to repopulate the earth to what it is today: "I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth… When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” [Genesis 9:13, 16]
IOW, He will withhold his wrath from destroying the whole earth in this fashion again. And to this day He has. Not only has He withheld His wrath from using a flood to destroy the earth and all that is in it, He unleashed the total fury of His wrath on His only begotten Son—you know, the One who miraculously fed the 5000; the One who walked on water and saved the disciples from the winds on the sea; the One who sanctified all water for Baptism with the forgiveness of sins into the kingdom of God.

Yes, that's what the rainbow stands for—not the adulterous lust of men for men and women for women, but the love of God for sinners and even for those who have taken His rainbow and rebelliously use it to stand for their sin. Don’t let an adulterous world redefine God’s love. And don’t let your fears stand in the way of God’s redemption.

To hear and/or read the entire sermon preached to the saints at Christ Lutheran-Elkhart, KS and Faith Lutheran-Hugoton, KS for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, "Take Heart; It Is I," click on this link. http://lcmssermons.com/index.php?sn=4247

Have a great week knowing the world's worst storms and your worst fears have their end in Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The High Cost of Free Mammograms

This is simply barbaric.

At the 3 minute mark of this video recorded by the non-profit organization, Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood Federation Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola, is shown feeding her face and slurping wine while she speaks of a lot of people wanting the livers and lower extremity muscle tissue of the in utero babies she slaughters for the harvest.

"Nucatola is seen in the video having lunch with actors posing as buyers who are interested in purchasing the body parts of babies who have been aborted. The Planned Parenthood senior staffer notes how abortion procedures are modified to ensure that requested body parts can be collected."

Not that there's anything wrong with that as long as you are giving free mammograms. Free, meaning somebody whose complaint can't be heard is paying for it. Which in turn means even if they did perform a free mammogram here and there without charge, which they don't, there are hundreds of thousands of babies who paid the ultimate price.

With that, I commend this request from the Center for Medical Progress to the reader:
Hold Planned Parenthood Accountable for Their Illegal Sale of Baby Parts


Saturday, July 4, 2015

When Church Mirrors Culture

Asked by a complimentary follower to write an "America Is Still Great" piece on his blog, nationally known columnist Matt Walsh responded:
"I’m sorry but I can’t give you exactly what you want, unless you want something better and truer than the sort of fraudulent ‘hopefulness’ and ‘optimism’ most people seek these days. . . . They want it like funnel cake: sweet, empty and quickly digested. I could give you that, but I won’t. I could write patronizing, pandering nonsense telling you everything is fine, this country is awesome, and the future will be bright and filled with lollipops and puppy dog farts.
 
 
"But what good would it do, besides win me some PR points? If you want hope, it needs to be planted firmly in truth, or else it’s like administering morphine while you die of kidney failure. It’ll make you feel better for a time, but it won’t save you."
 
What Mr. Walsh says about the American electorate also applies to the pop-Christianity out there, and could easily be spoken by any faithful Lutheran pastor and echoed in the congregations that maintain and "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints," as per Jude v. 3.
Our Lutheran churches and pastors don't tell you to, "Be happy, it's all good"--or, for that matter, to "Be good and it's all going to be happy." One look around, one newscast, tells you otherwise. And if that's not enough, the truth of Eden lost and fallen man cannot be overcome by any amount of happy thoughts or the power of optimism. That truth is that "the wages of sin is still death (Romans 6:23) , just as it has been since the man and woman God first created perfect to live forever, decided they needed something better and truer than everything God had created for them.
 
The message of Scripture, the Good News the Church has been given to proclaim to the world and by which the baptized believer is saved, is much better and truer and more substantial than anything those charismatic politicians and pop-Christian motivators have to offer.
 
We have something far better, a hope for which we eagerly, yet patiently wait in faith along with the litany of the faithful saints of which Scripture speaks:
"And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect." Hebrews 11:39-40
 
Our Lutheran churches and pastors exist for the sole purpose of delivering that which sinful men need most, that without which they cannot be saved, and that from which the other ancillary gifts of the Spirit proceed-- the grace of God in Christ Jesus that forgives sins and gives eternal life to all who believe it.

 "1] So that we may obtain this faith, the Ministry of Teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted. 2] Through the Word and Sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given (John 20:22). He works faith, when and where it pleases God (John 3:8), in those who hear 3] the good news that God justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ's sake. This happens not through our own merits, but for Christ's sake.
4] Our churches condemn [all churches and teachers] who think that through their own preparations and works the Holy Spirit comes to them without the external Word." [Augsburg Confession Article V: of The Ministry]
 
If you want hope, firmly planted in truth, that doesn’t just get you through the day but lasts forever, find a Lutheran Church and pastor that deliver the goods week after week, Sunday after Sunday, in the Word and Sacrament of the Divine Service.
 
We leave the funnel cakes and puppy dog farts to others--or at least save them for our picnics and bazaars.