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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 2/14/15)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was, for Luther, a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins which include Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). For the most part, these will be things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week. Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the "commercials" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?

8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): Lutheran Satire's Facebook page had this from Valentine's Day back in 2013: "'I don't need Valentine's Day. I have Jesus,' mumbles Evangelical while shoving fistfuls of self-bought chocolates into mouth."

I don't know much of anything about this blog or its writer except for the fact that "My name is Mike Adams. I am a former pastor on the slow road to performance recovery. I post stuff here about my life and what I'm learning about grace whenever the urge hits." All that being said, I want to urge caution, as always, that my inclusion of a commentary I saw people on Twitter referencing from this site should not be interpreted to mean that I agree with anything and everything published there. Again, this is the first time I ever read anything there. What I can tell you is that there's absolutely nothing objectionable in "My Valentine's Day Grace Massacre" (as far as I could tell), and it's actually something we all should read particularly since it deals with "performance-based Christianity" or something we've been trying to expose and discuss in recent weeks.

This Valentine's Day, let's take a moment to prayerfully consider the real understanding of the love of God in Christ Jesus from C.F.W. Walther's "Law & Gospel - Thirty Seventh Evening Lecture" from October 2nd, 1885: "Let no minister think that he cannot induce the unwilling to do God's will by preaching the Gospel to them and that he must rather preach the Law and proclaim the threatenings of God to them. If that is all he can do, he will only lead his people to perdition. Rather than act the policeman in his congregation, he ought to change the hearts of his members in order that they may without constraint do what is pleasing to God with a glad and cheerful heart. A person who has a real understanding of the love of God in Christ Jesus is astonished at its fire, which is able to melt anything in heaven and on earth. The moment he believes in this love he cannot but love God and from gratitude for his salvation do anything from love of God and for His glory. It is a useless effort to try to soften with laws and threatenings such hearts as are not melted by having the love of God in Christ Jesus presented to them. The best preachers are those who in this respect do as Luther did, such as preach the Law only accomplish nothing. In such measure as you exhibit the Law in its spiritual meaning, in that measure you sink your hearers into despair, but do not make them willing to serve God."

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): John 15:12-17 (ESV) "12 'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants,a for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.'" This passage is typically misinterpreted and/or misunderstood by so many (it was by me for so long!) that I thought we'd take a quick look at it on this Valentine's Day. Here's what my Lutheran Study Bible has to say about this: "God has previously commanded His people to love others, even at some cost (Matthew 5:38-46), but Jesus' sacrificial love sets a far higher standard than anything before. Genuine faith in Christ shows itself in brotherly love (John 13:34-35). The disciples cannot follow Christ to the cross (my note: and neither can we!), but He asks them (my note: and us) to imitate His love for them (my note: for us) as they (my note: as we) love one another. Christians bring dishonor to Christ and His love when they deal with one another in a loveless manner. Christ redeemed us through His self-sacrificial love that we may in turn imitate His love (Ephesians 5:1-2). John 15:13 is the highest expression of love (giving one's life as a sacrifice for a friend). We do not become Christ's friends through our obedience, however, but we obey Him because we cherish our relationship with Him (John 15:14). God called them (my note: God called us) as believer; they (my note: we) depended on divine initiative, not human choice (John 15:16). Jesus focuses on love and self-sacrifice as the basis for this relationship among His disciples (John 15:17). Christ is the true vine, and His disciples are the branches, vitally connected to Him and spontaneously bearing fruit under His purifying care. Christians must love one another as friends, not regard one another as enemies. By grace, God has dwelt among us in His Son (John 1:14) and has joined us together in a fellowship of self-giving love. Hear the prayers of Your faithful people, who desire to do your will, dear Lord. May Your love guide my every action. Amen."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): Had a surprising discussion with another Christian woman about the Fifty Shades phenomenon. Not wanting to come across as being a "Thou Shall Not Read That Book Or Watch That Movie!" fatherly type (because we're all adults here and all have freedom in Christ), I still think there are some things that my dear brothers and sisters in Christ should prayerfully consider about both. First, there's "The 3 Most Dangerous Lies Promoted By 50 Shades of Grey" and then there's "Fifty Shades of False Love" before you conclude with "The Reality of a 'Fifty Shades' Relationship" too. I fully admit that I may be showing symptoms of my "Old Evangelical Adam" still being present here, but I also have a dark, sinful past with pornography and think I know better than most how saying "What's the big deal? It's just a book/movie! It's harmless!" is incredibly inaccurate. In addition, yes, I watch movies and TV shows that others might call "inappropriate" too (i.e., The Walking Dead). Maybe I'm being a hypocrite for saying this, but I think there's a BIG DIFFERENCE in watching something about zombies (nothing real about any of that) and reading/watching something about a sexual relationship (real-life scenarios that could occur and take place any time on any day of the week). Again, please just prayerfully consider the linked articles.

Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, 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 note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that 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!?!). In addition, 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 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 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. 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 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. Grace and peace to you and yours!


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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