Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Valiant One, Whom God Himself Elected ...

Here I Stand

"Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by plain reason, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and I will not recant, because going against one’s conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
- Martin Luther, Diet of Worms, 1521

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reformation Day

On October 31st, 1517, Luther nailed his Ninety-five theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, setting off a series of events which led to one of the most important eras in history - the Protestant Reformation.

Although nearly every facet of life was affected by its changes, the Reformation was at its core a rediscovery of the Gospel - the truth of God’s undeserved love for man through the person and work of Jesus Christ found in the Word of God. This became the driving force of the entire movement - the fact that we are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone, found in Scripture alone.

(Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Christos, Sola Scriptura).

These great truths are still as true today as they were 500 years ago.

As we take time this week to remember Luther and the first Reformation, let us remember that although the church is reformed, it is always in need of reform (ecclesia reformata semper reformanda). And let us pray that our hearts and minds continue to be reformed, conformed, and trasformed through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Friday, October 17, 2008

simple pleasures, pt. 2

There is nothing like eating a fresh apple picked from your own apple tree in your own yard. I love the fact that I can walk to church in the morning, pick an apple along the way, and eat it as I leisurely enjoy the fresh fall morning. Does it get any better than that?
Thank you Lord, for simple pleasures.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day of Atonement

"This shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year." Leviticus 16:34.
Today is Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement.It is the most important of all the Jewish holidays, and it is important for us as Christians as well.The Day of Atonement was the one day, once a year, that the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies to offer a blood sacrifice on behalf of the people, sprinkling the blood from a lamb onto the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant.The sacrifices on this day, and all other sacrifices in the Old Testament, were previews of the great Sacrifice that was to come.
The Book of Hebrews tells us this in such a beautiful way ...
"When everything had been arranged, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. They are only a matter of food and drink and ceremonial washings, external regulations applied until the time of the new order.
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

A Blessed Day of Atonement to you all!

Friday, October 3, 2008

the Jesus Bowl

A team of scientists recently announced that they have found a bowl dating from the 1st century AD that is engraved with what could be the world's first known reference to Christ. The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted to mean, "by Christ the magician".
"It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ," said Frank Goddio, co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology. He and his colleagues found the object during an excavation of the underwater ruins of Alexandria's great ancient harbor. The Egyptian site also includes the now submerged island where Cleopatra's palace may have been located.
"It is very probable that in Alexandria they were aware of the existence of Jesus and of his legendary miracles, such as transforming water into wine, multiplying loaves of bread, healing the sick, and the story of the resurrection itself."
No, its not the Holy Grail, but it is a fascinating and thought-provoking archaeological find.