Loyal to the End — A Quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“The messengers of Jesus will be hated to the end of time. They will be blamed for all the division which rend cities and homes. Jesus and his disciples will be condemned on all sides for undermining family life, and for leading the nation astray; they will be called crazy fanatics and disturbers of the peace. The disciples will be sorely tempted to desert their Lord. But the end is also near, and they must hold on and persevere until it comes. Only he will be blessed who remains loyal to Jesus and his word until the end”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

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Martin Luther on How to Begin When Busy

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Martin Luther

 

 

Beginning the Day with Prayer

Writing about the Lord’s Prayer yesterday reminded me of this beautiful rendition by Charlotte Church.  I’m posting it as a reminder to begin your day with prayer.

Beginning to Pray

In the 6th chapter of Matthew, Jesus gives some instructions about how to pray.  He cautions against praying in a way that is boastful, or calls attention to the prayer;  he advises against using flowery phrases and unnecessary words. We should begin with a proper attitude. Then he tells the disciples to “Pray … like this:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.”  Matthew 6:9-13

This, of course, is known as the Lord’s Prayer, and most Christians repeat it every week during the worship service.

Today I’d like to focus on the beginning words of this prayer, because they are so important.  The first word is not “my” but “our.”  This reminds us that just as there is a vertical relationship in prayer(me and God), there is also a horizontal relationship (me and other believers).  Prayer and faith are communal.  We have brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are meant to be in fellowship with one another.  There are no lone ranger Christians.

The second word is “father.”  This is the most frequent image Jesus uses to describe God, and that was unusual at the time.  God is not a judge to be feared, but the head of our family, someone who loves us.  His discipline is not intended to simply punish, but to correct and edify us.  He cares for us as a loving parent and his actions are always for our good.

Whenever we pray, begin as Jesus taught.  Pray to a Heavenly Father who loves not only you, but the whole family of God.

Not Forsaken by Louie Giglio–Book Review

Did your earthly father let you down?  Was he absent, abusive or indifferent?  Did he make you feel unimportant or even forsaken?  If so, this book by Louie Giglio (founder of Passion Conferences for young adults) is for you.  In fact, it’s for all of us because no human father is perfect, and we all desire a father’s blessing.

Not Forsaken

According to Louie, the most important thing in our lives is the way we think about God.  Maybe to you God is a scorekeeper, balancing our good acts with our bad ones.  Maybe He’s angry, or distant.  Perhaps you think God should be like a concierge, catering to your wants and demands, or maybe He’s a buddy.  Maybe God is a lot like you, because really, you want to be your own God!  The most frequent image for God used by Jesus, however, is a father.  He refers to God as father 189 times in the New Testament, and this term is used to describe God more frequently than any other term or adjective.

“… the fatherhood of God is the main characteristic that holds all of His attributes together.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not Forsaken sets out to help us understand and appreciate God as our heavenly Father.

Louie acknowledges that this may be difficult to those who have a strained or nonexistent relationship with their own father.  However, he reminds us that God is not a reflection of our father, but the perfection of fatherhood.  With our spiritual rebirth, we have a new and perfect father, and we have inherited His DNA.  Yes, we will still look and at times act like our human Father, but we have the ability to mature and resemble our brother, Jesus.  We are God’s beloved children and this is His message to us:

“I want to continually shape your life in such a way that you look like Me, sound like Me, talk like Me, act like Me, and think like Me, more and more.”

Not Forsaken is an easy read, and I found the section on growing in spiritual maturity challenging.  Although it’s meant for youth, sometimes we adults become complacent with where we’re at in our Christian walk.  Maturity means growth, and we all need to be about growing up to be more like our true Father.

VERDICT:  4 stars

If you would like to learn more or purchase this book, go to the following link:

Not Forsaken

The Lutheran Ladies received a free copy of this book in return for an honest and fair review – Disclaimer pursuant to FTC 16 CFR Part 255

 

 

The Beginning of Heaven

“Let God do with me what He will, anything He will;  whatever it be, it will be either heaven itself or some beginning of it.

William Mountford, English Unitarian preacher and author

Lutherans and the End Times

Until I was grown, I never heard much about the end times at church.  All I knew about the rapture came from bumper stickers (In case of the rapture, this car will be unmanned) and I never heard of the 1000 year reign.  All this is probably because most Lutherans are amillenialists (big word for the day).  This means that unlike the pre- and postmillenialists, Lutherans don’t believe there will be a 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.  We believe that when Jesus comes again, that is the end.  What comes next is the New Jerusalem, the earth perfected.  Lutherans also believe that we are in the end times now, the time that began with Christ’s ascension into heaven.  How long will the end times last, and when will Christ come again?  As Lutherans the correct answer is, “I don’t know.”

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your LORD will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Matthew 24:36-44

It seems pretty plain to me — nobody know when Jesus will come again, not even Jesus himself!  The truth is, we probably won’t be expecting it.  Instead of spending time “predicting” when the end will come, we should concentrate on being ready today because it may happen at any time.

Of course, some believe these verses to refer to the rapture, but most people don’t know that this reading of Scripture wasn’t even around until the 1830’s.  It was developed by John Nelson Darby, a Plymouth Brethren pastor, who edited a study bible which popularized his theories.  There are no other verses in the Bible to support or further explain the rapture (Lutherans say when in doubt, compare Scripture to Scripture) and so Lutherans do not accept this interpretation.  We are decidedly “unraptured.”

All this being said, I must point out that I am a layperson without seminary training.  I don’t claim to have all the answers about Lutheran theology and doctrine, but should any readers have questions, I will earnestly try to obtain the answers!