Today, millions of Americans will be hitting the road to travel to the home of a loved one to enjoy the company of family and friends while eating a feast that's fit for a king.

While there is much for us to be thankful for, a day like today reminds me of Psalm 122...


 
Psalm 122:1-9 (ESV) I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD!" Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed fora Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! "May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!" For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, "Peace be within you!" For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.


Like David, we are welcomed to the Lord's house and can rejoice at the invitation.

We are drawn to a heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22). At the throne of Christ, the eternal Son of David, we find a place of peace (Romans 5:1; Romans 8:1). May God give us a place among all his people who walk by faith in Christ (Galatians 6:16).

In the introductory remarks to his explanation of Psalm 122, Martin Luther tells us whence thankfulness should come...


4354 The Roots Of Gratitude 
To begin with, we must rejoice at the less important good things (exiguis bonis) which we enjoy according to the Second Table of the Law in that our bodies and possessions are protected. For these gifts are of minor importance when compared with those which we enjoy according to the First Table: that God has revealed Himself, has made known what He intends to do with us, gives His Word, grants faith and the Holy Spirit, hears prayers, daily increases His church, etc. These things are so great that no tongue is able to amplify and praise them as they deserve. ... To this David turns his eyes; on this he meditates, and so he is moved to gratitude. ... For only those who are truly thankful who receive the gifts of God joyfully and rejoice in the Giver. 
-- (W 40 III, 80 f -- E op ex 19, 225 -- SL 4, 1810)


This is most certainly true.

Gratefully doing so is worship at its best.

In Reading The Psalms With Luther, we also find the following words on Psalm 122 written by Luther...


The 122nd psalm is a psalm that gives thanks with joy for the Word of God, which in a specific city, namely Jerusalem, was given through a specific people, namely the Levites and kings, and received by specific hearers, namely the tribe of Israel. How much is it to be lamented that, seeking everywhere for God's Word and being nowhere able to find it, the children of Israel wound there way to idols? And we Christians did the same with our running to pilgrimages and winding our way to the cloister. But the Holy Church is our Jerusalem, and Christ is our temple, city, altar, and mercy seat, to which, from which, and with which we seek and hear His Word. 
Our hearts are glad and our souls rejoice before You, Lord, our God, because by Your Word of truth You have made us members of Your Holy Church, in which You daily and richly forgive the sins of all those who build their trust on Jesus Christ. Grant us grace to abide in the love of Your Word, in purity of faith and in piety of life, even to our end. Amen.


May we never forget that the Lord is the provider and source of all our blessings in this life.

We are reminded of this whenever we pray the words "give us this day our daily bread" too, and yet, we are so often tempted to forget Him and honor ourselves or others instead.

Speaking of God being our provider in this life, here's something else I found...


God Is Our Provider 
The Scriptures teach that God is not only our creator, He is also our provider. The catechism teaches that "He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life." But why do we give God credit when, in fact, we purchase the things we need from grocers, builders, clothiers, and so on? 
The answer is in the doctrine of vocation. The Christian doctrine of vocation teaches that God works through means, that is, He provides for us physically just as He does spiritually, through specific channels or means. Spiritually, He provides for us through His Word preached and His Sacraments properly administered. Physically, He provides through bakers, butchers, and builders. In other words, it is God who is at work behind the people we go to in order to meet our needs. 
This is why we celebrate Thanksgiving, to thank God for His providence. He gives gifts (talents) to people that they might use them to serve others as good stewards of God's varied grace (1 Peter 4:11). This is also why we pray, "Grant, O Lord, that children may develop their talents not for their own sakes but to Your glory and the welfare of their neighbor." 
So, give thanks to God for all His many blessings this Thanksgiving Day. 
-- Rev. William Heine / Headmaster - Memorial Lutheran School


Amen!

In a Lutheran layman's terms, when we sit down at the Thanksgiving table today, let us give thanks for our First Table and Second Table gifts from our gracious God.




NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Executive Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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The Sixth Commandment given to us by God says the following...


 
You shall not commit adultery. 
What does this mean? 
We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed and each love and honor his spouse.


Certainly, that's rather plain and straightforward and easy enough for anyone to clearly understand.

Still, in this post-modern era, contemporary Christianity continues to struggle with applying these truths to the world in which we live.

Over the years, I've jotted down my own notes to help me remain focused on what this Commandment is teaching us. Things like...


-- Remember: Christ = Bridegroom / Church = Bride

-- The 6th Commandment is actually tied to the 4th Commandment

-- Breaking the 6th Commandment will often lead to a breaking of the 5th Commandment (i.e., abortion)

-- Breaking the 6th Commandment also includes choosing a selfish pursuit when you should be helping your spouse

-- Marriage is a commitment

-- Love is an ACTION as opposed to just a FEELING all the time

-- The Lord has not given us the option of divorce in response to a marriage's problems. However, Scripture does actually permit divorce, but only in a few certain specific circumstances, and it should always be a last resort with reconciliation the goal.

-- Most remarriages today are actually considered "adultery" according to the Bible though it is sill allowed in some specific circumstances.

-- Celibacy is not Biblical at all


Recently, I came across a couple of Worldview Everlasting "Grappling" videos by Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller as well as a 2013 commentary by Nathan Redman, and all three exceptional resources had to do with taking a closer look at the Sixth Commandment.

Actually, that's not quite right. It would be much more accurate for me to say that all three take a closer, more narrow-minded look at the Sixth Commandment.

Now, before you get all bent-out-of-shape and think I intend for such a description to be pejorative, let me just point out to you that I'm using the description "narrow-minded" in the Christian sense as opposed to the secular and worldly way of using it all the time.


"Narrow-Minded" = "100% Biblical"


So, now that we have the disclaimer out of the way, let's continue with our study today.

First, Rev. Wolfmueller presents what Martin Luther wrote for us in the Large Catechism about the Sixth Commandment...


Grappling: Unfolding The Sixth 


As one Christian commented in response to that video, "You gotta love Luther's theology. It is especially meaningful to an former evangelical who was told to obey but never why I should obey."

Another person properly observed that, "God's Word really does have a lot to say about marriage and its sanctity, and says precious little about convents and monasteries. Luther was very counter cultural in recognizing and teaching this."

With that being said, this next video presentation highlights how the Lord uses the Sixth Commandment to protect the gifts of marriage and chastity...


Grappling: Sex And The Sixth Commandment (The Ten Commandments) 


I'm willing to bet that if you're anything like me, then that one hit much closer to home than perhaps the first video did. I like how one viewer put it: "Any diligent study of the 6th commandment always seems especially convicting and close to home. Who doesn't 'lust' in their heart? This 'law' definitely says, 'You're toast!'"

A more powerful point that was made in that one (and I hope you caught it) is that breaking this Commandment can eventually lead to falling away from the faith! It's an excellent observation, but a sobering one for us to prayerfully consider as well.

That's why I say thanks be to God that His forgiveness, grace, and mercy is available to me (and to you!) despite my wretched sinfulness particularly in this area of my life!

At this point, some of you might be interested in checking out the piece I did on lust and pornography and my own personal struggles with it throughout my life and even after becoming a Christian.

Keep in mind, however, that it's not just men or an addiction to porn that this Sixth Commandment is condemning. It's also condemning women who enjoy books like Fifty Shades of Grey or the couple that likes to make sexual comments and tell dirty jokes around others all the time.

This next video wasn't included in that post, but I'd recommend watching it too since it's a nice complementary piece where we learn that Solomon teaches the Sixth Commandment and warns of the foolishness of the adulterous woman in Proverbs 5...


Grappling: The Woman With The Trap-Door Bed (Proverbs 5) 


Yes, beware of the woman (or man) with the trap-door bed!

Now, as good as all of those videos are, wait until you read this commentary that was written a few years ago by Nathan Redman.

What I really like about it is not only how honest and transparent he is, but how he ultimately admits what each and every one of us should be able to admit each and every day: "I've learned in my daily struggles with the 6th commandment that I am in constant need of the law and the gospel."

So simple, and yet, so profound, isn't it?

Please be sure to read "Having A Narrow View of the 6th Commandment" where Mr. Redman will walk you through his grace-filled journey of discovering the truth that included stops at...


COLLEGE!!!

My View Widens...Just A Little.

The Devil, The World, And My Sinful Flesh.

Don'T Put Your Adultery On A Scale.

Your Adulterous Sins Won't Stick.


This is most certainly true.

Why is a study of the Ten Commandments something that all Christians should continue to do on a regular basis regardless of how long they've been a part of God's family?


"When we teach the chief parts of Christian doctrine to the baptized we are talking to God’s children. We are telling them who they are, what belongs to them, and what God wants them to do. Teaching the commandments will necessarily show people their sins. What else would you expect? By the law is the knowledge of sin. The law works wrath. But teaching the commandments to Christians is also to teach them what God has called them to be. When we are born from above in Holy Baptism we find our identity and purpose in a holy place. We are seated with Christ Jesus in the heavenly places. This is why we are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This entails lifelong catechesis. Whenever we teach what God would have us teach we are starting a fight. This is because the teaching of God’s word is always at odds with the errors, distortions, and perversions of a godless culture. The catechetical task always engages one in warfare." 
-- Rev. Rolf Preus


In a Lutheran layman's terms, these helpful Bible studies remind us that "the Law shows us our adultery for what it is...SIN," but they also remind us that "the Gospel shows us that adultery is forgiven because of Christ's life, death and resurrection" too.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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For some reason, fire has been a prevalent theme for me this week. I just noticed that.

So, with that in mind, let's begin with a popular Proverb today...


 
Proverbs 17:3 (ESV) The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.


Both the "crucible" and the "furnace" as they are mentioned in the above verse were used for refining and testing the purity of gold and silver. The true character of gold is seen in a refiner's fire, and so faith's true character is only revealed when tested.

Ok, so what is God saying to us here? What are we supposed to learn from this verse? What does He mean that He "tests hearts" like it says? Furthermore, why would He even do something like that?

To answer those questions, let's start with what we know to be true.

God tempts no one (James 1:13) in the way that Satan tempts us to sin in order to achieve our destruction and fall (1 Peter 5:8), and we know that "the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). However, it's also true that God tests and tries us.

What!?! How can this be? That doesn't sound right, does it? And yet, it's entirely Biblical and true.

These days, far too many Christians speak of "The Victorious Christian Life" as though a life completely free from any kind of trial and tribulation let alone a struggle with sin is possible if not also "crystal clear evidence" that you're a "True Christian" too, and, if that's not the kind of life you have at the moment, well, then you might have a good reason to start doubting your salvation.

Friends, this kind of belief, teaching, and confession is a perversion of God's Word! Worse, how does that give anyone hope when it's likely hope that they desperately need? Look, as a Lutheran, it's true that we believe what the Bible teaches through each and every warning to be careful not to fall away from the faith and risk losing your salvation, but this is not the way to point that out to people.

Never mind the fact that if that's our Litmus Test (a.k.a "The Victorious Christian Life"), then what do you say to the handicapped Christian or the brother or sister in Christ who just lost their job or found out they've been diagnosed with cancer? Plus, if that were true, then we'd also have to conclude that a majority of the divinely inspired authors of the Bible (including the Apostles) weren't "True Christians" either given their circumstances, doubts, fears, feelings, and struggles in life!

That particular mindset is just so damaging and destructive to one's faith. Ironically, it actually creates or perpetuates the very problem it claims it wants to avoid and prevent (1 Timothy 1:18-19). So, let's dig in and take a closer look at this topic in an attempt to better understand it.

First, it's important for us to distinguish between "testing" (a.k.a. "being tested") and "tempting" (a.k.a. "being tempted") though.

The "testing of our/your faith" generally refers to the "external circumstances" of life (James 1:2-12). So, in that sense, any challenging circumstances that befall a Christian would be considered "testings" or "trials" even. The "tempting" we speak of is typically referring to our/your "internal struggles" against sin.

As you can see, those are two very different things, but they're often confused in any conversation about this subject.


"[God] does not test in order that we may fear and hate Him like a tyrant but to the end that He may exercise and stir up faith and love in us. Satan, however, tempts for evil, in order to draw you away from God and to make you distrust and blaspheme God." 
-- Martin Luther (Luther's Works, 4:132)


Needless to say, that's why it's 100% true that God tests us, but 100% true that He doesn't tempt us.

He tested Abraham in order to teach him (Hebrews 11:7), and it is through many trials that we enter God's kingdom (Acts 14:22). Scripture assures us that we will not be tested beyond what we can endure though (1 Corinthians 10:13). In addition, the Apostle Peter also speaks of testing and refining the genuineness of faith (1 Peter 1:6-7).


1 Peter 1:6-7 (ESV) In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.


What does this mean?

"All Scripture compares temptation to fire. Thus here St. Peter also likens the gold that is tested by fire to the testing of faith by temptation and suffering. Fire does not impair the quality of gold, but it purifies it, so that all alloy is removed. Thus God has imposed the cross on all Christians to cleanse and to purge them well, in order that faith may remain pure, just as the Word is, so that one adheres to the Word alone and relies on nothing else. For we really need such purging and affliction every day because of the coarse old Adam."  
-- Martin Luther (Luther's Works, 30:17)


This is most certainly true.


The words "for we really need such purging and affliction every day because of the coarse old Adam" definitely describes me too!

The reality is that we are all born in sin and will continue to commit sins even after becoming a believer due to the temptations of our fallen flesh, the world, and the devil, but this is different from being tested in this life.

We certainly don't blame God for these temptations (remember, He tempts no one as James 1:13 says!) or blame Him for the presence of sin in our lives and the world. We merely recognize the reality of its presence all around us and within us and then be on guard against it at all times without ever taking it lightly.

By ourselves, we have no hope of salvation. Thankfully, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer! He has broken our bondage to sin, delivered us eternal life instead of eternal damnation, and has given us the free gift of salvation! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, He has promised to bring us to faith and to help us persevere in the faith as we receive (and remember) Him, His life and work upon the cross for all mankind, and His means of grace that are His Word and Sacraments.

So, let's take comfort knowing that even though we are both tempted and tested on a daily basis, our faith is in the One who said, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Even so, we need to prayerfully consider the lessons learned from that same passage of the text.

In short, those Christians who boast about "spiritual maturity" stand in great danger of succumbing to human pride and unbelief. When we face temptations and tests in this world, we can take heart that Christ, not us, not ourselves, has overcome overcome the world for our sake.

While we Christians should never intentionally seek out tests or trials, we should expect them in this life, and we should be ready to face them in faith, with God's power, of course, and simply trust that they are always for our own good (Romans 8:28).

At the end of the day, we have to understand that it's not so much a faith in the strength of our own faith that we're after here either. Not at all! What we should be seeking is a confidence in Someone outside of ourselves that is entirely based on the Person and work of Jesus, which promises us the assurance of hope in Christ (1 Peter 1:8-9).

What we should desire and pray for us a firm faith that trusts in God's faithfulness to us, trusts in God's Word and Sacraments, and that trusts in His provision, because only then do we receive His blessings (Luke 11:9-13).

Through the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we now have a living hope and know the promise of God that we will live in Him forever. We can face any trial knowing we are always safe in His care and we can look forward to that day we are in His kingdom, in His presence, for all eternity.

I pray that the Lord would strengthen us in our faith even in the midst of trials and suffering so that we may gaze upon the glory of our Savior. I pray that we will continue to learn how to focus our faith on Him and the cross rather than focusing on ourselves and our circumstances. I pray that He will give us rest when we fail at doing that as we surely will from time-to time (Philippians 4:7; Matthew 11:28-30).

Personally, I don't think there are more sobering words about this issue than those we read in James 1:1-18 in his letter to Christians who are facing many trials and temptations. Yes, those who face such tests may be tossed about (James 1:5-8), and yes, some may even eventually find themselves destroyed by sin (James 1:15). Yet, those who continue to seek God's wisdom through it all will endure such trials (James 1:2-4).

In Baptism, God gives His struggling children like us the crown of life not because of our strength, but because of His grace. In that grace, we can follow Him and live confidently in this world of constant struggles and uncertainty.

Now, here's where the two ("tests" and "temptations") appear to be connected even though both have their root in different and opposing sources.

In this life, the tests from God may be used by Satan, the world, and our flesh to tempt us to doubt His promises! However, just as He did with Abraham, God will strengthen our faith, assure us of His many promises, help us to trust, and fulfill all He said He would do.


Romans 4:20-25 (ESV) No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness." But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.


Behold, Christ's righteousness imputed to us!

When sins are forgiven, only the fruit of faith remains!


In a Lutheran layman's terms, thanks be to God that we have been refined by the righteousness of the Redeemer!



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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This one's a few weeks old now, but it's definitely worth sharing...


 
A Fire In The House Of My Fathers 
Once upon a time, there was a family. They built a house together. It was a fine house: sturdy, with an excellent foundation. But the family had enemies. Sometimes it was enemies from the outside. Sometimes, sad to say, it was rogue family members. Regardless of who the enemy was, the tactic was always the same. They would light the house on fire. In the early days, the family was vigilant. They would constantly check to make sure the house was not burning. If it was, when someone called “Fire in the parlor!” or “Fire in the Back Room!”, the entire family would rush to that room and put out the fire. 
Once, there was an evil branch of the family that was very dedicated to destroying the house. They managed to light lots of little fires at the same time. When the cry went up, “Fire in the East Wing!” the rest of the family put out the fire, but it was too late to save some of the rooms. An entire wing of the house was destroyed. But the family dutifully rebuilt as best they could. 
This time though, something had changed. The family was tired of fighting fires. Now, when a fire was lit, the family was not quite so quick to respond. The urgency was gone. “But we fought a major fire and won. So, fire is not really a danger anymore.” 
This time when the cry was heard, “Fire in the kitchen!” some in the family responded, “You always say there is a fire in the kitchen. But what about the Dining Room? There is smoke there as well. If you will not also acknowledge the smoke in the Dining Room, then you should not complain about the fire in the kitchen.” And others responded, “Sure our kitchen is on fire, but the neighbor’s entire house is aflame. Why can’t you focus on the good we have, instead of the problems? It could be worse.” Some said, “Until you have spoken privately to whomever lit the fire, you can not even cry ‘Fire'”. And still others said, “If you are complaining about a fire in the kitchen, what does that say about the rooms near it? Why are you complaining about those rooms?” And some even said, “You know, if you don’t like this house the way it is, fire and all, you can just leave.” 
And those who called attention to the fire were puzzled. In the past, those same people would stand shoulder to shoulder and arm in arm, as they fought the fire together. But now, it seemed that it was more important to justify all the places that were not on fire, rather than fighting against the places that were on fire. It’s not that their beloved family members were lighting fires. They were not trying to destroy the house. But they got mad at those who pointed out new fires. 
And so, fewer and fewer family members were willing to call out “Fire.” Until finally, everyone just sat in the living room, watching the great old house burn down around them, and discussing how well crafted the falling timbers had been.


This is most certainly true. Sad, but true.

It also reminds me of this video I created a few years ago when I first launched this blog.

As Rev. Lincoln Winter wrote in the above commentary, "And so, fewer and fewer family members were willing to call out 'Fire.'" I hate that he's right about that, but here we are.

How did it ever come to this? What are we doing fooling around with sin as if it's ever been no big deal? Everywhere I look, lately, all I see is apathy! Worse, an increasing number of Christians (unfortunately, many Lutherans I know and love) never want to hear a word of warning against the power and temptation of sin either!

"Ignorance Is Bliss!" right? I think Romans 6:23, James 4:4, Galatians 1:10, and 1 John 1:8-10 would all have something powerful to say about that.

I'm sorry, but I personally need to hear Law and Gospel REGULARLY to prevent me from giving in to lawlessness, self-righteousness, pride, and despair.

If that means that another dear brother or sister in Christ sometimes needs to be the one to have a difficult and uncomfortable conversation with me in an attempt to call me to repentance, then so be it! I certainly wouldn't criticize or hate them for loving me enough to do precisely what the Word of God encourages them to do in such cases.

I think it's time for some Christians to finally admit that they're wrong about picking-and-choosing the parts of the Bible they will believe, teach, and confess while ignoring-and-rejecting the parts that they dislike and hate.


Otherwise, they might want to re-read Matthew 25:33 that says rather plainly, "And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left."

In a Lutheran layman's terms, keep playing with fire and you'll likely get burned, but repent of playing with fire by putting it out with the waters of your Baptism, and simply remembering what that means for you as a believer in Christ Jesus!



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Please join me in prayer today...


 
Lord God, as I pray for all who are in authority, I thank you especially for the form of government given us in our beloved country. Give me the grace with my fellow citizens to value the officers and the magistrates of our government as those sent by You. Instill in me that respect and honor that is due them. Lord, endow them with wisdom for their several duties, with a spirit of sacrifice for the common welfare, with mercy and justice, with uprightness and kindliness. Correct the evils of selfishness, greed, a vain desire for honor, or abuse of power among us as well as in the other governments of the world. Grant that the true purposes of government may prevail, safeguarding peace and prosperity, so that we may live soberly and uprightly in Your sight and have opportunity to tell of You and Your kingdom. These petitions I direct to You as my Father and Lord. Amen.  
-- An Election Day Prayer / Lutheran Book of Prayer


In a Lutheran layman's terms, this is most certainly true.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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I'll admit, today, I'm a strange brew of emotions.

I realize that we Christians are supposed to be faithful, fearless, firm, and sober-minded even in the face of so much evil and uncertainty in this present life.

The challenge of me, personally, is that I kinda feel like the curtain has been lifted so-to-speak and I've seen too much if not also the types of things I wish I hadn't.

It's not like I was intentionally looking for any of it either, but it's hard to ignore when it's being talked about everywhere online by people I'm connected to and know.

As a Christian, and someone who professes to love the truth no matter how shocking and twisted it might be, I suppose it comes with the territory and we should always expect the unexpected.

While I know fully well that God is not the author of fear (1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Timothy 1:7), there's a lot that's been on my mind in recent days that has kept me up at night and caused me to pray more often than I normally do, and it all has to do with this upcoming U.S. Presidential Election to take place tomorrow.

There are times when I must report on things even though I'd rather not. My reluctance is mostly due to a non-Biblical fear of man and the response such reports will get from my Christian brothers and sisters if not also my family members and friends.

Lord, please forgive me!

That's when I rely on Galatians 1:10 the most. The rest of the time, my reluctance is due to a concern about how such reports might affect my testimony and witness for Jesus Christ when it comes to confessing the Gospel (our highest calling in our various God-given vocations).

That's when I have to be careful to issue the proper disclaimers and warnings up front. What I mean by that is simply that there are some subjects, some facts, that are so blatantly obvious in that they reveal the harsh reality of this world we live in, that it's genuinely hard for people to accept them as truth despite all the evidence to the contrary, because of the incredible implications.

I know that denial is a defense mechanism we've all employed at one time or another, but we Christians alive today must no longer give in to that urge to use it again and again, because we have the distinct privilege (and the responsibility) to remove our heads from the sand and to call a spade a spade regardless of the personal cost.

In these cases, we always have two choices.

We can report on them truthfully and perform our duty as watchmen on the wall in a sense (Isaiah 21:6-9), or we can ignore them completely and have to answer to God for that one day (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

I think you know the choice I will try to make (the one I hope I'll be able to make when put in a position to do so).

Such controversial subjects are always a classic case of how truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Any mere mention of a "political conspiracy" these days seems to send rather reasonable people running despite any hard evidence you can produce to support your claims.

I guess that's due to the acknowledgement that if such-and-such is, in fact, really true, then the severe implications threaten to shatter the bubble of ignorance we've created and surrounded ourselves with for so long.

In other words, if such charges of political corruption and conspiracy are true, then it forces us to take action and make some hard decisions in response to them.

Of course, the downside to all of this is that this has a way of playing right into Satan's hands, doesn't it? When fear replaces faith, it means we've opened the door to our hearts and minds allowing them to be further influenced by our flesh, the world, and the devil. Those doors were once held securely shut by The Rock (Psalm 18:2; 1 Corinthians 10:4) every time we remembered or Baptism, recalled His Word, and rested upon His promises for us and for all mankind.

Yes, the Old Adam within each and every one of us has a way of being easily aroused on a daily basis, but certainly on the eve of a Presidential Election in this country.


I'm willing to bet that, for most people, it's due to the erroneous belief that a political party, if not also a single politician, can somehow "save" this nation and its people.

Hardly.


Psalm 146:3 (ESV) Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.


This needs to be our collective cry on a day like today and especially on a day like tomorrow.

Still, that doesn't change the fact that we also need to maintain a proper Biblical view of church and state. Thankfully, there are plenty of solid resources to help us do just that, and we would be wise to read them (and then read them again!), and then prayerfully consider the content.


President Harrison Provides A Lutheran View Of Church And State 
"I dare say we would all agree that this is the most interesting if not strangest election cycle we've ever seen. I thought I'd spill a bit of ink on the topic of the Two Kingdoms Doctrine and a Lutheran approach to politics."


That's definitely been in the "MUST READ" category for me since I first saw it several months ago during this election cycle.

As comforting and reassuring as that piece is, I still find myself at times worrying about what the future holds depending on the outcome of tomorrow's presidential race.

It's not like I'm anticipating "The End of the World" or anything like a lot of my fellow Christians are (and do every four years it seems), but I think it would be foolish for us to ignore the very real possibility that life as we know it as believers in Christ could drastically change following tomorrow's election.


 
Daniel 2:21 (ESV) He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding

Psalm 2:1-6 (ESV) Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, "Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, "As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill."

Psalm 102:15 (ESV) Nations will fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory.


I love reading verses like these ones, because they remind me in no uncertain terms that the Lord is sovereign, not man. God is the master of human history.  

God, in His infinite splendor, is not so far removed from creation that He is unaware of human deeds. Ever mindful of His creation, He mocks those who have the audacity to circumvent His laws and plans as Creator.

"Let us laugh at raging Satan and the world (yes, even at sin and our conscience in us). Truly, because the punishment of the godless is delayed up to now, it is certain that God is also laughing, God, who is in heaven and cannot be driven from there by impious men. Therefore He rightly laughs at their vain attempts. We may think that we would also laugh if we were seated in such a high place and a fortress so fortified...But these thoughts reveal our lack of faith. For all of us who believe in Christ are most truly in that same heaven in which the Lord dwells, if not in the flesh, nevertheless in faith and in the Word." 
-- Martin Luther (Luther's Works, 12:25)


Sure, my brain definitely understands that, but my Old Adam tugs on my heartstrings in a never-ending attempt to try and cloud my Biblical worldview every four years at this time.

With that being said, we might want to revisit the Book of Daniel for some godly wisdom. Concordia Publishing House decided to do just that in a recent blog post, and I found their commentary to be quite edifying for me on a day like today.


5 Political-Season Reminders From The Book Of Daniel 
Here are five lessons to remember during this political season that we can learn from the Book of Daniel: 
1. We don’t have to compromise our values. 
The subtext of Daniel’s entire story is about faithfulness to the one true God. It starts in the very first chapter when Daniel refuses to compromise his dietary restrictions with the king’s rich food (Daniel 1:8–16). It continues when Daniel’s friends -- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego -- refuse to bow down and worship the gold statue that king Nebuchadnezzar had erected on the plain of Dura (Daniel 3). We also see it in Daniel’s defiance of King Darius’s law against prayer (Daniel 6). Despite the fact that their rebellion could have cost them their lives (Daniel’s three friends were tossed into a furnace for their disobedience, and Daniel was literally thrown to the lions), they refused to compromise -- and God delivered them. It’s important to remember that throughout history God’s people have consistently found themselves in cultures where they were the minority, and they had to choose faithfulness despite strong pressure to conform. We don’t have to fear any administration or political outcome, because our God is always with us through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

2. Our example has influence. 
It’s not just Daniel and his friends’ refusal to compromise that’s amazing; it’s the respectful way in which they did so. They weren’t difficult and combative, and they didn’t stir up dissension. They just followed their convictions. Through king after king, Daniel maintains a role of extreme significance and importance. It can’t be denied that God’s influential hand was upon him, but we also need to recognize that Daniel and his friends were able to maintain their principles and their respect. God was able to do some dramatic work through Daniel’s faithful and humble service and witness. No matter how things go in our country, we have the responsibility to stand firm in our convictions in a way that’s respectful and kind to those who might not agree or understand. It’s in that tension that God will use us as witnesses to His grace and mercy in Christ.

3. God is always at work. 
The prophet Jeremiah had prophesied of Israel’s coming captivity in Babylon: “Behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares the Lord, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. . . . This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years” (Jeremiah 25:9, 11). Even though Israel was being disciplined, God was still at work using the influence of faithful Jews like Daniel to turn the hearts of pagan kings. With God’s help, Daniel is able to influence these kings as a prophet, as an advisor, and even through conscientious resistance. As Christians, we can never forget that God is at work. Even in the middle of a nation’s darkest moments, God is at work in the details reconciling people to Himself through the preaching of the Gospel and administration of the Sacraments. It’s easy to fall into despair when we lose sight of the fact that God’s constantly moving -- but when we realize God’s in the middle of our lives, we’re given renewed hope and purpose.

4. God’s eye is on the details and the big picture. 
Prophecy is one of the greatest areas of speculation in the Book of Daniel. Different schools of theology have attached all sorts of significance to various elements in Daniel’s prophecies. (For a faithful explanation of these prophecies, check out the Concordia Commentary on Daniel.) What is important to understand is that, in the midst of His people’s captivity in Babylon, God was unfolding a much larger story. The prophecies almost operate like the world’s largest crane camera. As the camera pans out farther and farther, we’re given a glimpse into a much larger narrative that God is working on. We see unfolding God’s plan to send His Son into this world to redeem and save it through His life and perfect death for our salvation. Some of the prophecies are more immediate, such as the writing on the wall (Daniel 5) where the loss of Belshazzar’s kingdom is foretold, and some (Daniel 11) have a much larger historical scope where kings and kingdoms are concerned. When the camera pans out far enough, we see God’s grand scheme: and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13–14). Because we’re finite in our perspective, it’s so easy to get bogged down in what’s happening right now. We need to remember that not only is God always at work, He’s at work toward a particular end. There is no captivity or election that’s going to undermine God’s ultimate plan to rescue sinners like you and me through His Son, Jesus Christ, the Ancient of Days.

5. Our prayers are heard. 
In the ninth chapter of Daniel, we’re given a glimpse into one of the most moving and powerful prayers in Scripture. Daniel knows that Jeremiah has prophesied a seventy-year captivity, but he’s still diligent in his prayer. This prayer is an expression of Daniel’s personal repentance and confession of sin for himself and his nation. He recognizes Israel’s sin that has put them in the position they’re in, and he contrasts their unfaithfulness with God’s loving-kindness and faithful covenant. From confession, Daniel moves to petition. While acknowledging God’s righteous judgment, Daniel asks God to show Israel mercy in accordance with His character. It’s an ideal picture of the words in 2 Chronicles: “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). The most profound thing Christians can do if we’re feeling anxious and passionate during this election season is pray. We need to acknowledge our lukewarmness and loss of love, we need to recognize God’s faithfulness to us, and we need to ask for His mercy -- all the while remembering that the Holy Spirit is at work among us to strengthen us and keep us steadfast in the true faith.


This is most certainly true.


As CPH concluded, "No matter who wins on November 8, people are going to feel like the world is ending. But we don't need to give in to despair. We can use this as an opportunity to become more hopeful and resolute in the work that God is doing. Making a commitment to study the Book of Daniel by yourself or in a group during this political season is a great place to start."

I agree. So, let's be sure to recall the Word of God...


Isaiah 8:12-13 (ESV) Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.


We need to depend on the Lord alone. That's the main point.

We need to recognize that He is sovereign -- not man -- and that nothing surprises Him since everything is under His firm control.

In other words, yes, sometimes "conspiracy" does exist, but where it does, we should shine the light of truth on the darkness of deceit (Ephesians 5:11; Matthew 10:16) not because we're afraid of it and the people involved, but because we simply want to call them to repentance and to point to them as further evidence that we are living in a fallen, sinful world, and one that is already in the prophesied last days.

Let's also remember what we're really dealing with here at the root of any and all political conspiracies and corruption in this world.


Ephesians 6:12 (ESV) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Isaiah 8:12-13 (ESV) Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.


Again, the above passages give us our proper perspective in this life as well as our proper response to it as Christians.

Folks, the kind of content shared in this space in recent days is not meant to imply that we should respond to any of it with fear (Psalm 23; Psalm 112:7; Proverbs 3:25; 1 John 4:18), but we also shouldn't bury our heads in the sand any longer and ignore it anymore either.

For me, I like to rest on something from 2 Timothy...


2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV) for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


Furthermore, please keep in mind that just because I'm writing about such things from time-to-time should in no way be interpreted as though I am fearful about them myself.

Initially, yes, I'll admit that such terrifying truths revolted me, but then I remember Who I belong to and Who is the King of kings and the fear instantly subsides. Again, we're not supposed to be ruled by a spirit of fear, because that's not a fruit of the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:18).

My dear friends, this Election Eve my prayer is that we can approach the ballot box with conviction and unshakable faith.

First, it's no longer a "conspiracy theory" when there are F-A-C-T-S that tell us otherwise. We knew God's Word promised days like these. I'm assuming many of you just didn't expect to see it in your lifetime. We need to view things as simply additional pieces of evidence that undeniably proves that we are living in the "last days" the Bible talks about.

Second, it's not right for us to give in to the whims of our Old Adam without putting up a fight. Believe me, he'll entice us to abandon ourselves to a patriotic fervor and to our political passions. Don't fall for it! It's ok to love this country and to admire the fact that we have the freedom to vote as we please, but we need to recognize where this country and that freedom ultimately comes from.

Let me say a few more things before wrapping this up today.

As Christians, Romans 13 (among other passages of Scripture) is our guide when it comes to government and politics, and we should not advocate or promote any kind of rebellion or violence no matter what happens tomorrow, because all government authorities are established by God for His own plans and purposes for humanity, and we are to submit to the authorities jut like Daniel did (as long as we don't disobey God and His Word in the process).

While there's simply no disputing any of that, these truths need to remain on our radar so that we can prepare spiritually as best as we can for what seems to be coming sooner rather than later.

I think we'd all agree tha the Word of God is quite clear that any action we take must be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; Colossians 3:23), and must be in accordance with our God-given conscience (Acts 24:16).

Those two key pieces of the political puzzle are symbiotic, and not mutually exclusive.

Furthermore, the Word of God is also clear that when it comes to governments and political authorities, as previously mentioned, in that they are all ordained by God (Daniel 2:21; Titus 3:1; John 19:10-11).

I know that the Old Adam within us hates hearing that, but it's true.  I know it's been said by some that our voting for a certain kind of government, or a certain kind of politician, is rather meaningless from a Christian perspective when you consider these crystal clear Biblical truths.

Yet, it is within our fallen, fleshly lusts to want to have some kind of control and power in this life. We want our voices to be heard by other people, by The-Powers-That-Be, or we want to make a difference, but aren't we supposed to be praying to the Lord to help us with such things? Aren't we supposed to be praying for our political leaders, including those who we dislike and didn't vote for?

Yes and yes.

If we're not careful, then what we feel is "Doing The Right Thing" as Americans in this life can themselves become idols and lead us down a crooked path, particularly should we ever lose sight of the sovereignty of God in all things (Romans 8:28).

I've heard some Christians I greatly respect point out that if you are going to vote, then you must recognize that it's a question of Romans 13 and not a question of John 3:16. After all, we're electing a Commander-In-Chief and not a Pastor-In-Chief. We need to vote for the individual(s) that we believe will best uphold Romans 13 (even if they don't consciously or publicly acknowledge its existence or God in their life).

I think that's a solid point.

Most importantly, I think we need to understand that an election is a static event for us believers within the Body of Christ. Simply put, our primary concern of confessing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs to hear it, through our various God-given vocations, does not change depending on who becomes President of the United States of America.

Ok, I'm sure that there are some who are reading this who will suggest that certain political parties, politicians, and the resulting government that they establish could become a hindrance to our ability to preach the Gospel. That's fair point and definitely something else for us to consider as we enter the voting booth tomorrow.

At the same time, let's remember what it is we believe, teach, and confess. We cannot do anything apart from the Lord! It is He who saves souls through His Word and Sacraments (John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 3:21), and we merely get the privilege of being a part of the process as we faithfully confess Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind to others God places within our various vocations, but it's not us men and women ourselves as some sort of "Sacramental Entrepreneurs" who actually save someone's soul!

What I mean is that even if a law were made to prohibit preaching the Gospel in this country, the Lord would still find a way to save whomever He wishes to save in ways we probably couldn't even imagine.

So, in one sense, if we were all rounded up and put into FEMA Camps tomorrow as part of some national crackdown on freedom of speech and religion, guess what? Our mandate would still be the same. We would still be expected to bring glory, honor, and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by confessing the Gospel to those we were sharing a cell with, and to those who were persecuting us and putting us in those cells.

You do sincerely believe that, right? If not, then please go back and read through your Bible again and again tonight, especially the Book of Acts. Check out the biographies and testimonies of some famous Christian martyrs from around the world too.

The truth of the matter? The Bible that I've been reading and studying all these years tells me plainly that things are only going to get worse, not better, and that Christ's Church will still survive in the face of such blatant evil and persecution (Matthew 16:18). Don't forget, some of the most significant growth that Christianity has ever seen has been during times of intense persecution.

That's an undisputed fact, of course, but millions of Christians strongly believe that this is their one last chance to elect a man who can help God's "elect" right this sinking ship that we call America. More disturbingly, they seem to believe that one political party is more "God's Party" than the other.

On the surface, sure, but in reality? Not true at all. This is what caused me to come up with the term "Poligion" (the unholy marriage between Politics and Religion) and to write about it extensively in recent years.

Look, I'm not saying that we should become apathetic and just completely check-out when it comes to doing whatever-we-can-whenever-we-can to promote Christian values and to love and serve our neighbors by doing good in this nation. I'm not saying we shouldn't vote either.

What I am saying is that we can't just ignore God's Word like we have been or like we can so easily do during an Election Year.

Besides, it's foolish for any of us to think that if we can just get "our guy" into political office, then God will be obligated to do all the things we want done in this nation.

Participate, serve your neighbor, volunteer, vote, but don't listen to your Old Adam when he tries to tell you that all the answers to your problems in this life will be solved by the next U.S. President.


1 Timothy 6:13-16 (ESV) I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

2 Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV) Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

John 18:36 (ESV) Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."


Beautiful reminders for all of us!

I pray that we remember that we are Christians first and Americans second.

Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the "Gospel of Poligion" that has become all too commonplace these days and especially during an election.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, please join me in drowning your Old Adam on this Election Eve, and make sure people know you are a Christian first before they know you are a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian.

Praise the Lord that He is sovereign, not man!

Praise the Lord that it is His Son who saves, not a political party or its leaders!



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
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