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Sunday
Nov022014

Heidleberg Catechism

Question 60. How are you righteous before God?

Answer: Only by a true faith in Jesus Christ. (a) Even though my conscience accuses me of having grieviously sinned against all God’s commandments, and of never having kept any of them, and even though I am still inclined to all evil, (b) nevertheless, without any merit of mine, (c) out of of mere grace, (d) God grants and imputes to me, (e) the perfect satisfaction, (f) righteousness, and holiness of Christ, (g) as if I had never sinned, nor been a sinner, and as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. (h) All I need to do is accept this gift of God with a believing heart. (i) 

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov012014

Sunday's Hymn: Fairest Lord Jesus

Fairest Lord Jesus, Ruler of all nature,
Son of God and Son of Man!
Thee will I cherish, thee will I honor,
Thou, my soul’s glory, joy, and crown.

Fair are the meadows, fair are the woodlands,
Robed in the blooming garb of spring:
Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer,
Who makes the woeful heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine, fair is the moonlight,
And all the twinkling, starry host:
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer
Than all the angels heav’n can boast.

Beautiful Saviour! Lord of the nations!
Son of God and Son of Man!
Glory and honor, praise, adoration,
Now and for evermore be thine.

  

This performance of this beautiful hymn by the St. Olaf Choir is among my favorites. You’ll notice the translation they use and the translation I’ve posted are a little different. Theirs is the translation Lutherans usually use; the one I used came from the Trinity Hymnal.

Piano and Violin

Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.

Friday
Oct312014

For Reformation Day

I posted a biographical sketch of Jan Hus, one of the forerunners of the Reformation, at Out of the Ordinary this morning. Here are some of the things Hus taught: 

  • the Word of God is our highest authority. All of his preaching was based directly on scripture, and when he was accused of heresy, he asked to be shown from the scripture where he was wrong. 
  • Christ alone is the head of the Church. In Hus’s time, there were three men who claimed to be pope, and the Church was divided over which so-called pope was the true one. Hus said that it didn’t really matter because the church’s only pontiff was the Lord Jesus Christ. 
  • God alone can forgive sins through the merits of Christ. Hus said, Let the pope, or a bishop or a priest say, ‘I forgive thy sins; I absolve thee of thy penalty. I free thee from the pangs of hell.’ It is all vain. It helps thee nothing. … God alone can forgive sins through Christ.”

Hus was declared a heretic and executed when he refused to recant. You can read the whole story at Out of the Ordinary.

Thursday
Oct302014

Thankful Thursday

Today I’m thankful 

  • for an upcoming month of thanksgiving at Out of the Ordinary.

  • for snow. There’s a point where all the color is gone and the sky is dark, and we need snow to brighten things up. So I’m thankful for whiteness outside.

  • for a fun day with the grandchildren, who are little blessings from God.

  • for busy days to work and not-so-busy days to rest. 

  • that an important document my sister mailed me finally came.  

  • for the Lord’s Supper. 

Also thankful today:

What are you thankful for? Leave a comment with your thanksgiving, post your thanksgiving on your blog, or tweet it. Give me the link by email or in a comment and I’ll add your thanksgiving to the list in the post.

Wednesday
Oct292014

Looks of Love

In Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know,  J. I. Packer says that during the Lord’s Supper, our thoughts of love should be focused in four directions.

Look Up

We should reflect on Christ as he reigns right now at the right hand of the Father. He is 

our Redeemer-ruler, our sovereign Savior, the supplier and sustainer of our peace, love, joy, and strength, and as the sender of the Holy Spirit to generate within us, in union with himself, the fullness of our newness of life.

The Lord’s Supper is an opportunity to praise and thank the ascended Lord Jesus for interceding for us and and feeding us.

Look Back

Paul’s instructs us that in the Lord’s Supper, we “proclaim the Lord’s death.” 

Christ’s transcendent achievement by his death on the cross must ever be central in our remembrance of and communion with him who is now our risen Lord and our true host at his table… . Glorying in the cross … should be part of each Christian’s mental and spiritual exercise as we come to receive the bread and wine.

As we partake, we should contemplate Calvary and everything Jesus achieved for us there.

Look Ahead

The Communion table points us forward, too, to the future coming of the Lord. As we partake in the bread and wine “we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

[C]ommunion with the Father and the Son in prayer no will bring joy, but the joy will be greater in heaven, where each of us will simultaneously receive Jesus’s full attention … and we shall see him face to face, and our fellowship of love with him will be unimaginably close and rich. 

In the Lord’s Supper, we should anticipate our future with him forever.

Look Around

We are members of the spiritual body of Christ, and in the Lord’s Supper, we partake with the other members of the body. The Lord’s Supper is a family meal, strengthening our bond with the other family members, and reminding us that, as a body (or family), our purpose is loving service to our Lord, our fellow-believers, and needy people outside of the body.

[A]s we share in the Supper, we should be asking ourselves, and asking the Lord Jesus to show us, what human needs we should devote ourselves to serving once our Eucharist service is over and we have scattered back into the wider world.

Packer urges us to “reconsecrate ourselves at each Communion service” to serve those around us.

My mind tends to wander more than I’d like during the Lord’s Supper, and I’m hoping these four directions to circumscribe my communing in love (to use Pacter’s language) will give direction to my meditation.